Monday, January 30, 2012

Working 9 To 5

Actually, working 9 to 5 would be pretty cool. I imagine I'll be working much more than that in the coming weeks.

Today is my first day back to work! I couldn't be happier about that. At least as of this morning I couldn't be happier. By this evening I'll probably be wishing it was Friday.

I have spent the last week doing "homework" for the new job, including some recommended reading from my boss, and documenting some work experience from previous gigs that we hope to implement in the new job.

With the new focus on my new job, I haven't had much time, or really, I haven't had much concentration, to devote to new topics at 4th And Goals.

I did have time to complete a new column for the San Diego Chargers fan blog where I have been writing for a few years now. You can check out my tongue-in-cheek look at the Chargers 2011 season here: San Diego Chargers 2011 Season Recap

I hope to figure out some sort of writing schedule to keep me involved with both 4th And Goals and BOLTHYPE going forward, but it might take a little time to balance the new demands on my time. I'm not complaining; that's a good problem to have, right?

That being said, thank you again for all of your support! If you have ever thought about contributing a guest post to 4th And Goals (or even BOLTHYPE if you're a fan of those heart-breakers), please check out this post and let me know what you would like to write about.

Wish me luck today!

Follow me on Twitter: @JSWilliams75

Friday, January 20, 2012

Five For Friday

Yes, I’m absolutely ready to get back to work. Still…no one has ever complained about having too much freedom to do whatever they want during the day. Here are the top five things I’ll miss when I go back to work in a couple of weeks.

1. Watching movies my wife doesn’t like. I’m a huge movie buff. I’ll watch most any movie that has something close to a decent plot line. My wife…she won’t. So for those movies that she would not enjoy watching, movies like Cowboys And Aliens, X-Men, Transformers, Star Wars for the one-millionth time, or anything not based in any sort of reality, there was no better time then to watch them during the day while she was slaving away at work.

2. Learning random things. Learning doesn’t stop because I’m going back to work, but the randomness of the things I learn will most likely change based on new responsibilities taking up my free time. While out of work I learned Objective C programming for iPhone apps (on a very basic level), taught myself to sew seams and buttons, and learned how to take apart and put back together any number of electronic and mechanical devices.

3. Covering the Chargers. Those who know me are aware of my love of all things Chargers. In the time that I’ve been without a job, I spent a lot of time focused on all things Chargers-related, including spending time at training camp and meeting and interviewing a number of Chargers players including Ryan Mathews, Shareece Wright, and my favorite interview with former Charger LaDainian Tomlinson.

4. Discovering new blogs. One of the cool things about blogging is that there is a great community of fellow bloggers from whom you can learn a lot. But finding cool and interesting blogs takes time and effort. And with a renewed focus on killing it at work, I’m not sure how much time I’ll have left for exploring the blogging universe.

5. Writing. One of my biggest fears is that I will have to put this whole writing thing on the backburner while I dedicate myself to the new 9-5 gig. If this last year will be remembered for anything other than anxiety and stress, it will be remembered for the growth I have witnessed in myself as a writer. So while my writing may be less frequent, I hope to continue to push myself to keep at it. At the same time, this would be an awesome time for you to write a guest blog for 4th And Goals!

I have about one week left before going back to work. If you had one week of freedom before starting a new job, what would you do with it?

Follow me on Twitter: @JSWilliams75

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

To Be Fond Of Presence

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’m not sure who “they” are exactly, but I’m sure they have a website. You can probably like "they" on Facebook.

Most people associate this phrase with the absence of someone. I would take it a step further and say that I associate this phrase as much with the someones as with the somethings.

I’m happy to announce that I was just offered a job with a great company, in an interesting position with a good salary. I couldn’t be more excited to start this next chapter in my career!

It’s been more than a year since I left my last employer for a number of reasons that aren’t worth going into here. Since December of 2010, it has been my goal to focus more on the things that I love doing (hence, the creation of 4th And Goals), while also searching for a job that put my career back on the level in which I left it following a layoff in 2008.

There have been a lot of stops and starts and ups and downs since then. Man, 2008 seems like such a long time ago.

But I’ve learned something in all the turmoil and stress and anxiety that have filled these recent years. What I’ve learned is that I miss working hard and making a difference. I miss working toward a goal worth achieving. I miss proving myself worthy of new opportunities while helping others find those opportunities as well.

I have often prayed for my next job, but even more I prayed and asked why that next opportunity was so slow to arrive. “God,” I frequently asked, “what am I supposed to learn in all this waiting; in this lack of apparent progress?”

Only recently did I figure it out. In not having a job, and often feeling so far removed from ever finding one, I realized how much I missed working. Such a simple idea, but something that hadn’t always been so apparent to me in this job search. I realized not only how much I have to contribute to a company, but also how much that company can contribute to me.

So I recommend that anyone who is tired of his or her job take a year off with no real sign of future opportunities on the horizon. Wait until your savings have dwindled, and those next job interviews become associated with disappointment and failure, and the monotony of each day becomes so overpowering that the only thing that seems to keep you moving forward is the fear of never finding a job that you could enjoy again. Before you know it you’ll realize the absence of work makes you miss it so much more.


You could just pause where you’re at, and thank God that you are there. Thank God that you’ve been blessed, and look around to see how much you have to be grateful for. Rather than wait for an absence of work to make your heart grow fonder for it, try to become fonder of your presence.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who has had us in your thoughts and prayers!

Follow me on Twitter: @JSWilliams75

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tall Tales In Advertising

When did commercials become so obviously false? When did television advertising become such a blatant lie?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like commercials have ever been a trustworthy source for unbiased information. Still, it never seemed like they were selling products based on aspects of a product that it can’t do in reality.

Then again, I didn’t grow up in the anything-goes-advertising days of the 1950’s. Back then you could say that smoking cigarettes was healthy. Then again, if you look at smokers in cigarette print ads today, I guess they still try to say that.

But what cigarette print ads don’t do is literally show you a pack of Marlboros that turns into an iPad, and can fly itself and a family of four to the moon.

That’s the type of sales pitch that advertisers seem to be going for today.

No commercials better exemplify this ridiculousness than TV ads for the Nissan Frontier. Recent commercials for their mid-size pickup included a demonstration of how their truck can fill in for the damaged landing gear of an airplane (it can’t), or how it can push a stuck dune buggy up a desert sand dune (it won’t). But worst yet is their newest commercial showing a truck driving (skiing? snow boarding?) down a snow-covered hillside and launching itself off of a hill/jump, executing a barrel role, and landing safely in front of the camera. Each of these commercials states in the fine print that they are fantasy, or fictional, and that you should not attempt. Because you couldn’t attempt even if you wanted. Because their truck can’t come close to performing any of those stunts.

I know, it’s a joke. No one is supposed to believe a Nissan Frontier can do any of these things. Maybe I’m old school, but I believe it is better to see what a product can do then to see a dramatization of what it can’t do. Perhaps the message is that what the Frontier really can do is not good enough?

What do you think? Am I taking their joke way too seriously?

Follow me on Twitter- it will cause Peanut Butter Cup trees to grow in your pantry (fantasy): @JSWilliams75

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A 2012 Challenge

With most of the New Year’s resolutions stories behind us and, honestly, a lot of resolutions already broken, I wanted to drop one more take on the new year. You might remember that I’m not crazy about resolutions, but I’ll admit that the turning of the calendar does represent a natural marker for changing things up and starting something new.

And if you’re looking to try something new, then this is my message to you. If I could challenge you with one task in 2012, it would be to fall in love with something you enjoy all over again. I’m not talking about some romantic, love-your-significant-other kind of falling in love. I wrote about that last week.

Think about those dreams in life that you have loved or that you do love, and fall in love with them again.

We all have things we enjoy in life. We all have activities we love. They may be things we love to do, or who we love to be. They might be lessons we love to learn, or talents we love to share. But there is that something in all of our lives that we love, yet for some reason have become neglected, ignored, or sadly forgotten.

It’s unfortunate how easily we can fall in and out of love with something based on the circumstances around us. When a passion becomes too hard, or developing a dream becomes too tedious, it’s easy to forget why we pursued that thing we love in the first place. It’s easy to get tired. It’s easy to just be over it.

When I’m over it, over that thing that I love, something like writing a semi-daily column for this awesome site full of entertaining and/or inspiring awesomeness, I try to remind myself why I’m doing it. I actually have to remind myself that I love writing. I have to make myself remember that I love having the ability to express myself and I love the challenge of learning to do it well (arguably) using the written word.

Taking that one step back to reflect on what I’m doing and why I’m doing it is enough to help me to fall in love with that passion all over again.

It has become easier for me because I am actively practicing that thing that I love. What about you? What are the things you have loved, but have long since ignored? What is something that you love to do, but have stopped making time for?

Ask yourself those questions. Don’t dwell on the doubts that enter your mind about those long-neglected loves of your life (sure, becoming an astronaut at this point in your life may be hard…just blame NASA budget cuts). Then ask yourself why you love to do that something, or why you love to be that someone.

Before you know it you’ll be falling in love with that something all over again. And you’ll fall in love all over again with a new perspective and even some fresh new ideas regarding that love. That’s the first stop toward lighting a fire on the pursuit of a great goal in 2012.

Follow me on Twitter: @JSWilliams75

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm Still Alive

Do not be disheartened.  I am still planet-bound and air-breathing...just in what some might call a bit of a transitional phase (note:  transitionary is not a word according to spell check, although I thoroughly disagree).

My knee dictates that my "goal" of a marathon may not be in this year's cards...but that does not mean there are not goals to be met in the near future.

Just know, I'm here, I'm working on it, and I'll be back with more substantial ridiculousness in the coming weeks.

Hope your Merrys were Merrys and your Happys were Happy.

Much love y'all.


Friday, January 6, 2012

The Secret To An Awesome Relationship

I just celebrated my seven-year anniversary to my smart, talented, and beautiful wife, Lisa. We were married on New Years Eve, and our wedding day was so great that they made a movie (albeit, a sucky movie) about it. The last seven-years have been a blur, but mostly a good blur. Does every marriage feel that way?

The seventh year of marriage is synonymous with a fancy term, something called "The Seven-Year Itch". It implies that seven-years in a marriage brings with it boredom, or one’s desire to re-evaluate the relationship altogether.

I’m happy to report that I have no such scratch that needs to be itched.

Don’t get me wrong. No relationship goes without its ups and downs; it’s happy times and frustrating times, and ours is no different. But over the years I have discovered a secret to help turn those occasional bad times back into good times.

My secret? I open the car door. For her, I mean. Not just for me. My secret is NOT getting in the car and leaving her alone to avoid spending time together, although that seems to be the preference of some other people.

I open the car door for her. That’s not a euphemism for some other kind or thoughtful gesture, although I guess it could be. I literally open the car door for her.

At the first sign of tension, or during an argument, or just when things are boring and kind of hum-drum, I open the door for my wife and it always takes her back to that flirting, courting, winning her over time in our relationship. It’s the simplest gesture in the world, but it always means so much.

Opening the car door for her reminds her that I’m thinking about her needs and that I do care (since for most guys, it can be hard to tell whether we care or not sometimes). It tells her that I want to put her needs first; even the simplest of those needs.

And when I open the car door for her, I’m always rewarded. It might be with a smile (because, honestly, she has the best smile), or with a quick kiss (they aren’t too shabby either). It might just be with an easing of any tensions that had slowly (or even quickly) built up over time.

So what is the secret to an awesome relationship? If I’m giving advice to you men out there (not that women couldn’t benefit from this as well), whether you’re married, dating, or looking, my advice would be to figure out that “opening her door” moment in your relationship, and then do it. Figure out what gesture will make her smile, and that will make her forget about the problems that may be going on in life. Figure out that action that will tell her you still care without needing to say a word. And then do it.

Don’t forget about it. Don’t “not feel like it today”. Just do it. Unless you're actually looking for an itch to scratch, it's totally worth it.

Follow me on Twitter: @JSWilliams75 and tell your friends!