With vs. For

I had a conversation last week which led to a realization: The distinction between the two words with and for.  Consider the subtle differences between the two prepositions.  I’m looking particularly at the way in which they are used in the context of collaboration or employment.

With: Accompanied by, moving in the same direction, in concert and in proportion to something or someone.

For: In benefit of, or employed by someone or something.  In the service of someone or something.

As an idealist (according to Myers-Briggs, as well as the dictionary definition), I have a tough time dealing with offenses against the human spirit, and an even harder time dealing with what I consider at first to be offenses against my own human spirit (dreams, goals, ambitions, passions).  So it occurred to me, that perhaps the slight shift in usage between these two words might be a telling signal.

Consider phrases that use the preposition, “for:”

  • I work a 9-5 job for Super Mega Corp.
  • I make dinner for my family.

Now, consider:

  • I work a 9-5 job with a team of bright and talented individuals.
  • I enjoy an hour of my evenings with my family, cooking dinner, eating and talking about our days.

Again, it is subtle.  But I’m discovering that there is more power, and potentially more joy to be found by behaving collaboratively, building towards an ideal goal.  It starts with the way we focus our energy, and energy focus starts with the way we formulate our ideas and thoughts.  Life becomes less about enduring hardship, and more about overcoming it.  Choose a positive thought!


No Sun Run :(

Yes, my shoes are shelved for this year’s Sun Run.  After last year’s stellar performance, I am forced this year to sit out.  I am finally getting over a nasty sinus cold, and a lovely issue in my left knee related to my quadriceps tendon.

I am disappointed, especially since I’ve been training for the past three months, but at the same time, I know that there’s more glory in not finishing than there is in not starting.  I can’t say I didn’t try.

Musings on the topic of productive employees

It seems to me like there are a few companies that have an ideal mix of work/life balance, but more often than not, these companies are really not living the balance.  And often if we try as employees to engage in some semblance of a balance, well, there are just so many aspects to life to find balance.  It’s tough!

Why can’t we do like other countries do?

In Spain, Mexico, and other places that use Spanish words, they have a thing called “siesta.”  People take a rest in the afternoon and (usually) come back to work afterward, refreshed and ready to take on whatever’s on their plate.

In Japan, like we all saw in that episode of Heroes, they go up to the roof every morning and do crazy exercises. Workers begin their day with oxygen-rich blood coursing through and feeding their brains.

Here in Canada, what do we get? Maybe a bike locker in the basement and a maybe a shower room. The rest is up to you. As long as you don’t do it around company facilities or on company time.

But study after study shows that workers are more productive when they have endorphins running through their systems.  Easy to write a business case and point to these kinds of things.

Are companies just to chicken to expose themselves to the legal implications of doing anything other than sitting in an office chair? Mind you, I have a massage therapist who tells me that more of her patients are so messed up from sitting in office chairs all day…

Don’t get me wrong, I love the kind of work that I do, I just think it needs to be more balanced.  I’m a bit upset today since I haven’t been feeling well, I haven’t been able to get outside and run or bike, so perhaps at this moment I am just feeling a bit of cabin fever.  Fortunately for my work, I am able to sit here in a chair with my laptop.

So, in an effort to actually propose some kind of solution rather than just complain, here goes:

Work from home one day per week.  Instead of commuting, in the time that you would normally commute, go for a run or a yoga class.  Then get to work (and quit blogging all the time)!

Beginning with a daily foundation for greatness

Why should I set out a goal to be “great,” and what on earth does that mean anyway?  Isn’t it a bit egotistical to think that I could possibly be a great person?  Why should I even bother?  Let’s set some ground rules: Being great is about being honest with one’s own self.  Being great makes no implication that any other individual isn’t great.  Being great is all about personal responsibility, growth, and possibilities.  It’s already within each of us, and we all have something to share.  I believe that there is, within each of us, the desire to make today better than yesterday.  For ourselves, for our community, for our planet.  To this end, I write with the intent that my humble words here will make even just the tiniest impact in your life, and that you will become greater in yourself and begin inspiring greatness in others.

Even with the best of intention and planning, some things just don’t work out.  People say, “Well, you can’t say you didn’t try.”  I hate that – it’s as if the only thing we should be concerned with is P.R. and damage control on our failures; how to make ourselves look better.  It’s not about that.  Great people don’t care whether someone is going to make fun of them for trying.  Great people aren’t afraid to try.  We must own our failures and learn from them.  Didn’t do it right today?  Don’t worry, you’ll get another chance.

It’s always wonderful and frightening when we are given an opportunity to start something anew.  Like starting a new job, or moving to a new city.  Realize that you have that same opportunity every morning as the sun comes up, to choose how you want to go about your day.  You can make only one choice, so make it a good one.

I wish you all the best in 2009, and I hope that you’ll inspire me too!

Triathlete, Tinkerer