Monday, October 30, 2006

At A Crossroads

I have been an attorney for the federal government for 17 years. I believe that government service is a worthwhile career that provides a decent salary and benefits, flexibility, and the satisfaction of helping your fellow citizens. In addition, my personality and second generation American, lower middle class background likes the stability provided by a civil service job. However, I find myself at a career crossroads. I have reached the highest level as a staff attorney and the next logical step would be a management position. I have expressed my interest in a management position to my boss but nothing has happened. Meanwhile, people from the private sector with connections are being brought in at supervisory levels and attorneys who have a decade less experience are being promoted to management positions. While my area of specialization is not highly valued at my agency, I have not been given a good opportunity to develop in another area despite promises to the contrary. Believe me, I understand that life is not fair and no one ever said it was going to be.

The big question is what do I do? Do I express my dissatisfaction to my boss? Do I just stay where I am and bide my time until change occurs? Do I look for opportunities elsewhere in the agency or even elsewhere in the government? While I know I would be a good manager because I am fair, treat people decently and like to teach, am I not fully considering the pitfalls of dealing with personnel issues? Am I putting too much emphasis on my job and allowing that to define my success? Am I incorrectly believing that the grass would be greener somewhere else? These are the questions that I am pondering.

However, I don't want you to think that I am not happy. I have a beautiful, wonderful wife and fantastic daughter who will soon be two. Every moment I spend with them is precious to me. I am able to indulge my interest in writing through this blog. I just started a three year term on a citizen advisory board in my county and am hoping to make a contribution there. I am the general counsel of the union at work and know that I have been making a contribution on that front. I am very interested in getting involved in the 2008 presidential election and am just looking for the right Democratic candidate.

I obviously have a lot of thinking to do. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Solution for Many Problems

The other day I was watching a program from the Science Channel called "What If The Oil Runs Out." It was a fictional scenario of a worldwide energy crisis in 2016 and the effects on a fictional family in Minneapolis. It also included commentary by various experts on the possibility of such a scenario. While we have not endured a real energy crisis since the 1970's, that does not mean that one is not on the horizon especially with most experts believing that we have reached the peak of oil production.

Unfortunately, I do not think the United States is taking the issue as seriously as other countries in the world. President Bush says we are addicted to oil but fails to tell us that he and his oil company and Saudi friends are the "pushers." I hope the next Congress and certainly the next President see the real need for a comprehensive energy policy that will either drastically reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. If the U.S. government committed itself to a Mercury/Apollo or Manhattan type project for energy, it is hard for me to believe that we would not come up with many feasible long term solutions. It may not happen overnight but I do not think it will take that long. It was less than a decade between President's Kennedy's speech committing this country to a space program and the Apollo 11 mission landing on the moon.

I do not think we are going to get one magic bullet that completely replaces oil. However, many things put together can remedy the current situation. It will be a combination of biofuels, windpower, solar power, geothermal power, tidal power, and other alternative energy sources. It will require changes in industries, changes in people's thinking and changes in our lifestyles. However, a real comprehensive energy policy will help the economy, mitigate the possibility of a global warming doomsday scenario, and could totally change U.S. foreign policy in the Mideast. Do you really think we would be in Iraq if there was not oil there? And I would really like to see the day when we can tell the Saudis to fill their swimming pools with oil because we do not need it.

I also do not want to hear naysayers or NIMBY people complain about a spoiled view or a bird crashing into a windmill. Would you rather have the polar ice caps melting and Americans dying in even greater numbers in future wars about oil? I am all for protecting wildlife but there has to be a limit. I am quite sure that a few birds got caught off guard and crashed into the first skyscrapers. But they may have been the dumb ones anyway and it probably did not take long for the others to avoid that mistake.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

May Cause Side Effects

I have nothing against the pharmaceutical industry. The drugs it produces and the research and development it conducts has, for the most part, improved people's lives. However, I would rather not see the drug commercials that have invaded our living rooms over the past few years. Luckily, we have TIVO so some of it can be avoided. Nevertheless, I really do not want to hear about sexual dysfunction, "whether the moment is right," and erections lasting 4 hours or more. I do not want to hear about shorter periods, longer periods, or no periods. I do not care if the butterfly flies through your window and puts you to sleep. I do not want to hear about side effects including nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, stomach pain, blurred vision, or any of the dozens of other possibilities. And on a related matter, I probably can do without commercials for feminine hygiene products and hemorrhoid remedies. Is advertisement really necessary? If you have a serious medical problem I hope you are going to the doctor and not diagnosing it via a 30 second commercial. And if your issue is not so serious, go to a darn drug store. The aisles are well organized and I am sure you can find what you are looking for. And, if not, ask the pharmacist but not too loud because I may be behind you and do not want hear where you are going to put the ointment.