Winter Break

Woohoo! It is vacation time! I have been feeling pretty stressed out lately with the deadlines and workload at the office. It was really getting to me over these last few weeks. Fortunately, I managed to get all of my assignments completed by the time my vacation started. I had scheduled to take off the final two weeks of the year, and now I can do exactly that without feeling an ounce of guilt. These last two days have been awesome. I've had no problem falling asleep. I've been more pleasant to be around. I've spent some quality time with Jenn and Corbin. It has been awesome.

Yesterday, I finished reading one book and made it all the way through another. I finished Patton on Leadership, a book about applying the war general's maxims to the business world. It was neat book to read. I wasn't all that familiar with Patton's exploits, and I've never seen the movie with George C. Scott. The book was broken down into several single page elaborations of quotes from General Patton. It discusses (in a very macho kind of way) how the same principals that guided Patton during the war can be applied in business. When to step in, when to get out of the way, making decisions, leading.... it's all covered. It is easy to pick the book up and flip to any page. There is no reason that it has to be read front to back. Being written this way, it is a little difficult to sit down and read in one sitting though, and there is quite a bit of redundancy as the same concept is repeated again and again.

The second book I read was Gung Ho! This is another book off of the list of reading for our leadership program at Flexware. It was another quick and easy read, and much easier to finish in one sitting. Gung Ho! covers the story of a manager who was setup to fail at a plant that was had poor production results. She had pointed out to her managers how one plant was going to fail, and was rewarded with the sink or swim job of making it profitable. Her boss had hoped it would be a convenient way of getting rid of a nuissance employee who just made him look bad. The book covers how the victim of this arrangement discovered some very effective methods through an unsuspecting source to motivate her plant to the top. I won't cover the main points of the book, as to discuss them out of context would make them sound, well, stupid. But in the context of the book and the story, the concepts are great ideas found in several texts on how to motivate your people to do their best work, and to raise the morale of any place of business.

As for other plans for the break, I hope to spend a lot of time with Jenn and Corbin. I've been working so many hours lately that I hardly see Corbin, and when I do he is really cranky and ready for bed. Jenn has been bearing the brunt of the child raising duties, and I really love her for all of the support she has been giving me, but I need to jump in there and help out. I also want to pass my next Microsoft exam. I've been putting it off for some time, but the projects I have been working on recently cover the topic that the exam focuses on (distributed computing architectures in .NET). I think with a little studying, I can be ready for it in a week or so. I need to get some Christmas shopping done too, but otherwise, I hope to just relax and enjoy my time off.

I hope everyone enjoys the holidays. If I don't get a chance to tell you in person, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Jade Mason