Thursday, October 07, 2010

10/7/2010 The Boat

Unsafe to post anything real, but I'm exhausted from boat-rocking and doing a poor Norma Rae imitation today.

Why can't I learn to kiss *ss and keep my mouth shut, and set aside personal principles for the good of others? How can I even think to risk other people's livelihoods for my own idealogical beliefs of right and wrong? Why can't I suck up and take orders for the greater good? Why can't I dig deep and find some acting skills and control my window-like face that reveals every thought I have, especially when someone else's rear end is on the line? Why can't I detect the sensitivities and nuances in people's interactions and carefully control peoples' perceptions of my words? Why is my adherence to the straight blunt truth so dogged, even when it directly harms people I respect and want to protect? Can I learn to control my emotions, compartmentalize, look outside the box, and act on what's truly important, to me and to people I care about? Some people are willing to sacrifice greatly for a cause, even at the expense of their family. I never thought I'd be like that, but my inability to set aside my deep distraction on Katrina's birthday says I am.

These are not things that typical Silicon Valley engineers have to ask themselves about their work environments.

I suppose that in the end someday, I will be a better person for having exploring these dark depths, for having asked myself some very difficult questions, for being forced to face my worst weaknesses and having to clarify my priorities. It's extraordinarily difficult to reconcile basic guiding principles of right and wrong with harming people, and their families, who I like and respect and who've risked a great deal already on my behalf. It's almost worse than a Supreme Court nominee's confirmation proceedings.

I had a remarkable moment today in all this though. As I was concluding a long gripe to my mother on the phone, and feeling better, I looked down at a tearful Katrina, wiped her eyes, gave her a hug and a glass of milk "to make me stop crying." As my own mother was comforting me, I was comforting my own daughter. It didn't answer the questions, but it made them all go away.


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