After several weeks of wating since my interview, finally got the ok on the job! Its more of a lateral move but I did get a raise, and I'll be doing something completely different in a diff dept.
Should be fun, but that also means I might have to delay going back for MBA by another year since I do want this experience as this should help boarden my experience.
There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys, how's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, "What the hell is water?"
If at this moment, you're worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise old fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don't be. I am not the wise old fish. The immediate point of the fish story is that the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about. Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude -- but the fact is that, in the day-to-day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have life-or-death importance. That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense.
A huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. Here's one example of the utter wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely talk about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness, because it's so socially repulsive, but it's pretty much the same for all of us, deep down. It is our default-setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: There is no experience you've had that you were not at the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is right there in front of you, or behind you, to the left or right of you, on your TV, or your monitor, or whatever. Other people's thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real -- you get the idea. But please don't worry that I'm getting ready to preach to you about compassion or other-directedness or the so-called "virtues." This is not a matter of virtue -- it's a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default-setting, which is to be deeply and literally self-centered, and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.
People who can adjust their natural default-setting this way are often described as being "well adjusted," which I suggest to you is not an accidental term.
Given the triumphal academic setting here, an obvious question is how much of this work of adjusting our default-setting involves actual knowledge or intellect. This question gets tricky. Probably the most dangerous thing about college education, at least in my own case, is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualize stuff, to get lost in abstract arguments inside my head instead of simply paying attention to what's going on right in front of me. Paying attention to what's going on inside me. As I'm sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head. Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal-arts cliché about "teaching you how to think" is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: "Learning how to think" really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about "the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master." This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in the head. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger. And I submit that this is what the real, no-bull- value of your liberal-arts education is supposed to be about: How to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default-setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone, day in and day out.
That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense. So let's get concrete. The plain fact is that you graduating seniors do not yet have any clue what "day in, day out" really means. There happen to be whole large parts of adult American life that nobody talks about in commencement speeches. One such part involves boredom, routine, and petty frustration. The parents and older folks here will know all too well what I'm talking about.
By way of example, let's say it's an average day, and you get up in the morning, go to your challenging job, and you work hard for nine or ten hours, and at the end of the day you're tired, and you're stressed out, and all you want is to go home and have a good supper and maybe unwind for a couple of hours and then hit the rack early because you have to get up the next day and do it all again. But then you remember there's no food at home -- you haven't had time to shop this week, because of your challenging job -- and so now after work you have to get in your car and drive to the supermarket. It's the end of the workday, and the traffic's very bad, so getting to the store takes way longer than it should, and when you finally get there the supermarket is very crowded, because of course it's the time of day when all the other people with jobs also try to squeeze in some grocery shopping, and the store's hideously, fluorescently lit, and infused with soul-killing Muzak or corporate pop, and it's pretty much the last place you want to be, but you can't just get in and quickly out: You have to wander all over the huge, overlit store's crowded aisles to find the stuff you want, and you have to maneuver your junky cart through all these other tired, hurried people with carts, and of course there are also the glacially slow old people and the spacey people and the ADHD kids who all block the aisle and you have to grit your teeth and try to be polite as you ask them to let you by, and eventually, finally, you get all your supper supplies, except now it turns out there aren't enough checkout lanes open even though it's the end-of-the-day-rush, so the checkout line is incredibly long, which is stupid and infuriating, but you can't take your fury out on the frantic lady working the register.
Anyway, you finally get to the checkout line's front, and pay for your food, and wait to get your check or card authenticated by a machine, and then get told to "Have a nice day" in a voice that is the absolute voice of death, and then you have to take your creepy flimsy plastic bags of groceries in your cart through the crowded, bumpy, littery parking lot, and try to load the bags in your car in such a way that everything doesn't fall out of the bags and roll around in the trunk on the way home, and then you have to drive all the way home through slow, heavy, The point is that petty, frustrating crap like this is exactly where the work of choosing comes in. Because the traffic jams and crowded aisles and long checkout lines give me time to think, and if I don't make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, I'm going to be pissed and miserable every time I have to food-shop, because my natural default-setting is the certainty that situations like this are really all about me, about my hungriness and my fatigue and my desire to just get home, and it's going to seem, for all the world, like everybody else is just in my way, and who are all these people in my way? And look at how repulsive most of them are and how stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed and nonhuman they seem here in the checkout line, or at how annoying and rude it is that people are talking loudly on cell phones in the middle of the line, and look at how deeply unfair this is: I've worked really hard all day and I'm starved and tired and I can't even get home to eat and unwind because of all these stupid g-d- people.
Or, of course, if I'm in a more socially conscious form of my default-setting, I can spend time in the end-of-the-day traffic jam being angry and disgusted at all the huge, stupid, lane-blocking SUV's and Hummers and V-12 pickup trucks burning their wasteful, selfish, forty-gallon tanks of gas, and I can dwell on the fact that the patriotic or religious bumper stickers always seem to be on the biggest, most disgustingly selfish vehicles driven by the ugliest, most inconsiderate and aggressive drivers, who are usually talking on cell phones as they cut people off in order to get just twenty stupid feet ahead in a traffic jam, and I can think about how our children's children will despise us for wasting all the future's fuel and probably screwing up the climate, and how spoiled and stupid and disgusting we all are, and how it all just sucks, and so on and so forth...
Look, if I choose to think this way, fine, lots of us do -- except that thinking this way tends to be so easy and automatic it doesn't have to be a choice. Thinking this way is my natural default-setting. It's the automatic, unconscious way that I experience the boring, frustrating, crowded parts of adult life when I'm operating on the automatic, unconscious belief that I am the center of the world and that my immediate needs and feelings are what should determine the world's priorities. The thing is that there are obviously different ways to think about these kinds of situations. In this traffic, all these vehicles stuck and idling in my way: It's not impossible that some of these people in SUV's have been in horrible auto accidents in the past and now find driving so traumatic that their therapist has all but ordered them to get a huge, heavy SUV so they can feel safe enough to drive; or that the Hummer that just cut me off is maybe being driven by a father whose little child is hurt or sick in the seat next to him, and he's trying to rush to the hospital, and he's in a way bigger, more legitimate hurry than I am -- it is actually I who am in his way. Or I can choose to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket's checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, and that some of these people probably have much harder, more tedious or painful lives than I do, overall.
Again, please don't think that I'm giving you moral advice, or that I'm saying you're "supposed to" think this way, or that anyone expects you to just automatically do it, because it's hard, it takes will and mental effort, and if you're like me, some days you won't be able to do it, or you just flat-out won't want to. But most days, if you're aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-lady who just screamed at her little child in the checkout line -- maybe she's not usually like this; maybe she's been up three straight nights holding the hand of her husband who's dying of bone cancer, or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the Motor Vehicles Dept. who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a nightmarish red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it's also not impossible -- it just depends on what you want to consider. If you're automatically sure that you know what reality is and who and what is really important -- if you want to operate on your default-setting -- then you, like me, will not consider possibilities that aren't pointless and annoying. But if you've really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, loud, slow, consumer-hell-type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars -- compassion, love, the sub-surface unity of all things. Not that that mystical stuff's necessarily true: The only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. You get to decide what to worship...SUV-intensive rush-hour traffic, etcetera, etcetera.
Because here's something else that's true. In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship -- be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles -- is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things -- if they are where you tap real meaning in life -- then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already -- it's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power -- you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart -- you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.
Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They are default-settings. They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing. And the world will not discourage you from operating on your default-settings, because the world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default-setting, the "rat race" -- the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
I know that this stuff probably doesn't sound fun and breezy or grandly inspirational. What it is, so far as I can see, is the truth with a whole lot of rhetorical **** pared away. Obviously, you can think of it whatever you wish. But please don't dismiss it as some finger-wagging Dr. Laura sermon. None of this is about morality, or religion, or dogma, or big fancy questions of life after death. The capital-T Truth is about life before death. It is about making it to 30, or maybe 50, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head. It is about simple awareness -- awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: "This is water, this is water."
It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive, day in and day out.
U of A Eller accepted me! Great news! If my half ass app with the horrible Gmat score got me in, it really gives me hope that I will have a shot at ASU or UT Austin McCombs once I have a better score with a more polished app and essays :> I might also apply to Rice and Texas A&M too since I figure I'll stick with the southwest/west region and these are all powerhouses in the area
ALRIGHT back to studying
Tomorrow I will be interviewing for a spot at University of Arizona Eller MBA program! Although chances are I won't be attending school there, the fact that I get an interview base on my current background, experience, and low Gmat score really gives me confident that I might be able to attend a better school if I can get my Gmat score up.
I am currently taking some math classes to bosst my quant skills. Just completed the Algebra class and am taking an online class in Stat/Probability, if I can master the classes I should do fairly well on the quant section. On verbal I am doing some practice test, the critical reasoning section I can score above 90%, but on the reading comprehension and sentence correction sections I can only managed about 2 out of 3... these two are my achilles heels. Will definitely need to focus on those. But if all goes well I hope I can score 720 on it, which should place me above most applicants for ASU and a shot at landing a full ride scholarship or tuition waiver.
I finally feel like I am doing something worthwhile... in the cusp of achieving a life long goal/dream
If only I could attend any school on the list...
A good summary of the top 50
Don't think anyone's interested in this, but its good for my own sake, since this is a good place to keep track of this sort of stuff for me.
Work is kicking my ass, literally. The last thing I have to learn in the operation area, check adjustment, when I'm done I'll be the super employee at my company who knows everything in operation. But this check adjustment is tough and quite complicated... drains me completely when I'm done for the day
And I'm kicking my studying into high gear, that and work pretty much takes up all of my posting time, which really wasn't much to begin with. I'll have quite a bit to chew through materials wise and hopefully I'll be able to take the test on December.
Well, that's it for now. Ciao dudes
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
-William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)
Just took a sample online test on the verbal secton of GMAT, completed 50 questions and got about 45 of them right.... that is very encouraging indeed.
Math section I don't do too well on, mainly because of a lack of math classes taken during college. I imagine that's where I'll need to spend the most time on.
I read through some of the tips regarding the essay section. Essectially as long as I have an "accepted" format layout and the reasoning behind my points "not too shabby", that part shouldn't be too challenging since it is open-ended.
I think I can do well on the GMAT
So I've been looking up materials online regarding various programs, and I've decided to take the GMAT and see if I'm good enough for a master at a traditional college. I got my MBA at U of P and the only (real) requirement for admission was working experience, and the level of education there, while some of the instructors were quite brillant, was less than steller. It was convenient for meat the timesoI went ahead with it. Now that I have more work experienceunder my belt and a bit more financial power and a clearer career goal in the finace field, I think it is time for me to pursue this worthwhile goal.
I was going to attain a CFA first, but I came acrosssome programsthat offer course specifically deal with theCFA examination.So for someone who doesn't have a lot of finance/investment related education and experience such as myself, enrolling in such a program seem a logical step for me to take. I would be able to attend a traditional college with a traditional MBA orMaster inFinance,and prepare myself for the CFA exam.
So for this reason, I will start to hit the book and prepare myself from now on, which means I'll probably come on here less often in what little time I already spend on here. I'll still pop in every once in awhile
Just came back last night. Here's what I thought about the trip:
-I don't remember Vegas being this hot. Its even worst than Phoenix
-The stay at New York New York was very nice, much much better than I had anticipated
-Caesar Palace is way bigger than I remember
-Took a walk in Aria and Wynn, they weren't built yet last time I was there several years ago. Those places are grand
-Casinos have fewer patrons than I remember, probably the reason why the penny slots are brought back
-Outside of the strip Las Vegas is a very barren land, even more so than Arizona
-There is a sizable Chinatown not too far from the strip, food is very good there
-We saw the show "Jubilee". Had quite a bit of topless dance in it, but I still couldn't figure out why they were topless... really had nothing to do with the overall theme of the show. And I still couldn't figure out what the theme of the show was.
-Todai is surprisingly good. Its a Japanese buffet located at Planet Hollywood. Way better than the one in Phoenix (which closed several years ago) and the one in San Diego. We ate there twice because we probably won't be able to find another joint like that in Phoenix in terms of quality at that price range
-It is a place we consider relocating to previously because we had favorable impression of the city from previous visit... that sentiment changed completely this time. It feels inferior to Phoenix this times around.... have a lot to do with the heat and the subpar environment off the strip
-With the economic still deep in doo doo, now is a good time to visit Vegas. Not only things are cheaper, the traffic is a lot less congested than before on the strip. Now I can just drive around in our rental on the strip and its not bumper to bumper
-Our rental car, a Toyota Yaris, drives a lot better than I expected. I might look into buying one when my Corolla, being at 100K miles, finally calls it quit
Though I still don't consider myself a die-hard Suns fan, I am pumped up about their upcoming game 5 tonight at Staple Center against the Lakers. They got me believing in them. If they are to beat the Lakers, tonight's game is pivotal
I'll be glue to the TV tonight
We got back from San Diego couple weeks ago, had a smashing time but, still no photo because my wife didn't like the way she look on them...
Anyhoo, we'll be leaving for Florida tomorrow for a week. First off to Orlando to check out Disney World and the surrounding area... we heard they got some other attractions in the area beside DW, which is exciting for me since I have never been to Disneyland or Disney World before. Then we'll head off to Miami, stay another couple days and finally to Key West. We'll drive back to Ft. Lauderdale and flyhome from there. Hopefully my wife will like the way she look and I might have some pics
Been extremely busy lately. My in-laws are here from China and we've been busy getting things ready for their arrival. Because it's only me and my lady living at the house so we've only had enough just to get by, now that they are here we have to get everything's set up and ready to go. They buy stocks in China so I pretty much yield my online access to them, which is why I'm rarely online lately.
We'll be taking plenty of trips later: to San Diego in two weeks, Florida and Washington D.C. at the end of April, and Yellow Stone Park later in June. We wanted to do more but since I don't have much vacation time from work, this is all I can manage to do.
Anyhoo, I'm off now since it's trading time for my in-law
Have a good one everyone!
Just had my performance review today at work. Not only did I do great, I am being promoted to a manager position, taking on more responsibilities and, of course, more pay!!
I was fairly worry about my appraisal this year, because the COO of the company, out of nowhere, decided to sit in on my performance review with my manager. That either is a really good sign, or really bad. And in this economy, my bet was on the not so good side...
Anyway, I went in today pretty much expecting the worst. Then, boom, out came their decision to promote me to a manager role, essentially my new responsibility would be to learn everything in the operation dept and be the utility guy to fill in whenever one of the dept get hit with extra load of work or if someone call in/on vacation. I was totally elated!!
This is the first time I get a promotion at work... besides the monetary gain, being recognize for good performance is a very rewarding experience in and of itself.
Now I can sleep well tonight