Tuesday, February 5, 2013


One has to consider if it's intentional or not. Consider something that is retractable. This implies three states, extended, retracted, and the transition process. Any of the other two states actually occurring when one in particular is desired could be a bad thing. A football stadium, for example, stuck open when it starts raining. Not a big deal. Now think of an airplane near the ground; a very big deal.

But people are retractable too, when you think about it. Sometimes a person is open and outgoing, other times withdrawn and secluded. I know from experience that the transition can happen quickly. It can take as little as being interrupted in a presentation after you've been asked to start, by the person that asked you to start, who then proceeds to take over the presentation. (I'm looking at YOU, Lucy).

Retractable is a verb that applies to politicians, big time. They put it out there, till you call them on it, or circumstances change, then even in the face of documentary evidence, they LIE LIE LIE! Except they would call it being retractable because it beats being called a flip flopper. They try to hide the evidence.

Sometimes there are time limits around retractability. An offer is good for so long, then it expires, or is withdrawn. This sort of think pisses me off, because I hate being rushed, and it makes it seem like they don't value their customers. My feeling is that if they need a limited time offer to get someone to use their product or services, they must not be confident of them. Or it's over priced. Or, they think they've got a hook to keep you paying. Some gym memberships are famous for that. I know people that have had to close a bank account because the gym wouldn't stop taking the membership, even after the patron complied with all their hoops to quit.

The most amusing bits of retractability we see recently, is Curtis waving his paws under the bedroom door as we're getting dressed. The paw appears, waves around a bit, disappears. Then the other paw. Touching it with a belt incites a flurry of activity, then it disappears again, dragging the belt under the door. Only the foolish would use their finger.

One of the most traumatic bits of retractable comes in the form of conditions of employment. As in, you are terminated from your job. The job is retracted from you. Most people realize this can happen in theory, but are always astonished when it happens to them. Maybe it's because I'm old and cynical, but whenever I'm working with young people, and we're talking about the job, I always have the same advice. They know they are not going to retire from this company in 30 years with a gold watch and a pension. That means that the only alternatives are you telling the company you are leaving, or the company telling you that you are leaving. Yet somehow they overlook the consequences of this binary choice.

Let me tell you, having experienced both, the first is infinitely preferable. By paying attention to the subtle currents of your working life, you'll know when the time comes to go looking for another place to trade your time and skills for their money. By taking control, you ensure it happens on your schedule, on your terms. The second will happen with the company spitting you onto the sidewalk like used chewing gum. They con't care about your home life situation. They don't care if you just took out a mortgage and are right at the edge for a while. They don't care if you've just had a baby. Some accountant shows the bottom line to a manager, and that's all.

If you don't do the first, rest assured they will do the second, sooner or later. Retractable happens by design, not by accident.

In other news, my legs are feeling better after the pummeling massage on Sunday. That was much needed brutality. Downstairs for a light core workout.

The sunset was so promising as I was out there doing a chicken BBQ, and then all the clouds that were in the right place sort of evaporated. Disappointing.

1 comment:

  1. I totally get why this one's popular, Keith. Well written and excellent advice. Thanks!


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