Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Maternal Time Warp

This week, my mother hit one of life’s chronological milestones – she turned 80.

Even as an octogenarian, she still cycles, plays tennis or takes Appalachian Trail-length walks on a daily basis.

She has trekked across Canada, rode a tortoise on the Galapagos Islands, lived with a tribe in Africa for two weeks and shot (with a camera) a charging Rhino that came thisclose to her jeep on the Serengeti.

It’s safe to say she was, and is, not typical of her generation. She was one of the first-ever female carriers for the old Brooklyn Eagle newspaper back in the early 1950s and was a working mother since I was in second grade.

For all her groundbreaking progressiveness and Hemingway-esque adventures, however, she still doesn’t understand the concept of working remotely in a home-based office. To her, that was something that doctors or dentists did, or those who worked in telemarketing sales jobs such as Fuller Brush or Avon.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wicked Good

Prior to tax season I was informed by the folks who sign my paychecks that part of my territorial responsibilities would now include New England- which essentially means Providence and of course, the greater Boston area.

No slight to the fine folks and hard-working CPAs in states such as Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, but truth be told, we don’t get much call for added penetration those markets on a regular basis.

Since my 8th grade field trip to Boston, I’ve always returned with a takeaway, whether it meant reading up about one of this country’s most historical venues, or in the case of this week, lessons in the local culture.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I can’t live, if living is without you

No, this Tuesday’s blog will not be a paean to the late performer Harry Nilsson, but rather a not so surprising survey from the Bank of America regarding mobile phone usage.

Or more to the point, how long could you last without your mobile phone before you began taking hostages?

A week? A day? An hour? 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Don’t Answer It!

After nearly a quarter century of commuting from the leafy northern suburbs to New York City, it was, as you can imagine, quite an adjustment getting used to a home office. Like anything there are pros and cons of working remotely.

I did and still do miss the camaraderie of an office and the social aspect. Conversely, I do not pine away for anything related to the commute to Manhattan, i.e. long waits on a 100-plus degree subway platform, or excuses why the air conditioning is not working as you and 300-other commuters are sardined in a space the size of a walk-in closet.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Robbing “Peter” to Pay Paul

For those of you like me who regularly get invitations to join AARP, you may be old enough to remember the hoopla surrounding the release of the 1970 blockbuster, “The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong.”

Long before we began regurgitating such nauseating corporate buzzwords such as “win, win” or “thinking outside the box,” there was the Peter Principle. Named after the author, Laurence J. Peter, the Peter Principle is a management theory that suggests people will keep getting promoted until they reach their own level or position of incompetence.

Now anyone who has logged more than two weeks with a large or even midsized company has surely witnessed evidence of that, even if they were born long after the book’s unveiling. How many times have you asked yourself, “How has (add any name here) managed to get to be (add specific title)?" when you realize that he or she is not within three area codes of competence. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Those were the days?

My daughters are, to be blunt, tired of my more than occasional lectures that begin with the line – “When I was your age.” And they’ve never missed an opportunity to tell me.

But truth be told, I believe there’s always merit in my sermons, no matter how repetitive.

Both in high school and college, their research for term papers and similar assignments could and would be done in a matter of minutes with a laptop or tablet.

I’m old enough to remember when you actually were required to learn how to navigate the card catalogue system in a library in order to compile enough sources and content.

To my point, the job search thing, particularly for my oldest and most recent college graduate, is well, to be kind, going somewhat slower than her mother and I had hoped.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and IRAs

Is it just me or is the enjoyment factor of summer inversely proportional to the number of graduation parties you get invited to?

As I get older, and unfortunately, receive invitations to more of them, I’m convinced of it.

Last weekend, we set a personal record – three graduation parties in two days – one for college and two for high school. Three overstocked buffet lines offering basically the same menu adjacent to the perfunctory coolers of beer, wine and bottled water. The repetitive conversations droned on, only the faces changed.

All I know is that at the end of the day – or more accurately, two days, my checking account was debited for roughly $300. That’s a lot of money for the privilege of eating off paper plates loaded with penne alla vodka and chicken Marsala.