How was the Star Trek Cruise?

I receive this question often, this is likely due to me spamming all social media for the past few months. It’s really difficult to explain why I loved it so much. My background of Trek is really only the past few years while trying to stay sane during the lockdowns and such. Sara used to take me to conventions in years past and I really only enjoyed the heavily fan-run ones versus the cash cow Comic-Con type.

For starters, everyone on the ship is like-minded, full of love, and excited to be their true selves, whatever that may be. It’s refreshing watching people let loose without fear of looking silly or their body type – it was a full-on party for 7 days straight. You could have a conversation with a 70-year-old man about something Trek-related and then look across the ship and see three people breakdancing to the Beastie Boys…there was just action everywhere and you could people watch for hours – never a dull moment.

You are up close and personal with the actors from multiple eras of Trek – this isn’t a having to wait in line for hours to get in the first couple of rows of their panels. You could walk in 20 min early, be served a glass of wine and watch the stars come up on stage one by one. While walking throughout the ship, you’d see stars walking around, sitting at a bar, hitting the buffet, and the fans were polite and respectful of their privacy didn’t see one occasion of an awkward exchange between the fans and the actors. The panels were excellent – none of it was scripted – it was just chatting on stage.

Most of the actors have other talents – whether it be Tim Russ (Tuvok from Voyager) playing with his blues band, Garrett Wong (Harry Kim from Voyager) doing stand-up comedy, or Kenneth Mitchell (multiple characters on Discovery) putting on a DJ set – there was never a dull moment. Speaking of Kenneth Mitchell, he suffers from ALS and during his performance, the cast of Discovery surrounded him dancing, while he DJ’d from his wheelchair – the fans were given glow-in-the-dark pool noodles to make it an unforgettable scene from the stadium seating. It was such an emotional moment seeing how much love they had for each other that it was almost unbearable to watch without getting teared up.

But, the number one thing about everything is seeing all of the fans and chatting with so many people and creating friendships. You’d see folks that you met for the first time the night before, you’d look a bit “dehydrated” and would chat about the previous night’s event. Whether it was a roaring 20’s party where balloons were scattered everywhere, or, Q’s costume event where there were dozens of unique outfits, or, the alternate universe evening where you could rock the evil or sexy version of the Trek character. It truly was one of the best times of my life and since my expectations before the cruise weren’t blown out of proportion, it was an extremely special experience. Oh, and I was constantly being checked out by all genders… which never hurts the ego 🙂

High-Fives for My Peeps

As a human race, we were never supposed and we’re also not used to having every piece of knowledge at our fingertips. There have always been terrible things happening in the world but there has never been a time when we could get slapped in the face with it all at once. Add in the disinformation to manipulate the mass population to be swayed one way or the other and you’ve got a big ol’ bowl of “what’s the fu**ing point” soup. It’s really easy to get swept away by the giant picture and forget about the little things that make people happy.

It’s extremely difficult to get out of the negative mindset… even with the ability now to do more stuff, I’m still finding myself being pulled back in time and time again to stories and events that I cannot control – I see an injustice and I want to fix it but it’s overwhelming my brain seeing multiple struggles on the planet earth because I can only do so much… help so much. The billionaires that can do something about it, don’t. Yeah… depressing shit!

I’d like to offer up high-fives to those people that are fighting the uphill battle to help… Spending time with family members, getting involved in local events, helping small businesses, lending a hand to people in need, coaching a kid’s sports teams, taking an interest in their significant other’s hobbies, staying active, posting positive things online, learning to play an instrument, cutting back on their social media, using less filters for their pictures – because you’ve accepted yourself, stopping their obsession with celebrities, travelling to other parts of the world, telling others they have done a great job, messaging a teacher from back in the day that had an importance in your life today, being there for someone that needs it, checking in on someone that might also need it, mentoring someone, picking up a new skill, trying something new, making people laugh, going out of your way to help, holding the door open for an elderly person, buying a meal for anybody, complimenting someone on their look/attire, reviewing movies online, supporting live music, then posting about it… you folks deserve a high-five, and are what’s going to help us get over these dark days until Starfleet has a chance to be formed.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the bullshit of the world that to pull yourself out of it, do some good. I can guarantee it’ll make you feel better about the earth and who lives on it.

Craft Beer, and Where To Eat in the Tri-Cities

For those that know me, you are likely fully aware that I’m a big fan of craft beer. In this blog, I’ll feature the restaurants that do it right and a small description of why I love the places so much. It’s easy to get lazy when it comes to finding the places to eat and support, due to how easy it is to just hit chains. They’re familiar, you know the menu, you understand what you like from there, it’s quick and easy… fully get it.

Arabella Beer Bar:

When they initially opened, I thought it was an extremely cool spot; they had a wicked selection of beer, excellent snacky food and a cool hipster vibe. Arabella doesn’t have TVs to fully promote chatting with people, instead of staring mindlessly at a sports game. Then, they went through a phase of constantly being slammed with people, extremely loud, music was even louder, and it was difficult to chat in a friendly setting. On top of this, they went through a phase of having A LOT of sours (yuck!). Recently, I decided to give it a few more chances, and to my happiness, they are back, and with a vengeance. Start with the food; they have a top-notch smash burger, the legendary chip truck fries that are deep-fried with a malt vinegar type oil, and many other incredible sharing options. Arabella has also honed on their beer selection – they have various top craft beer options and do an excellent job of mixing and matching Porters, Stouts, IPAs, Lagers, Barrel-Aged, Pilseners, etc., from the best breweries in Ontario. Also, their patio setting is excellent in the cutesy Belmont Village area… I highly recommend giving them a shot on a hot summer day.

Falls Road:

Right around the corner from my place is the hole-in-the-wall pub, Falls Road. The building is TINY, formerly an Enterprise car rental place. What makes this place unique, besides the fantastic regulars that can constantly be seen there, is their live music. Every weekend they get top-notch musicians, and being such a small establishment, the sound is fantastic. The pub food they offer is one of the best in the city, and they constantly upgrade their sauces and recipes, experimenting with new flavours. The craft beer selection is alright, they bring in a few of the different KW-craft beers, but that isn’t their specialty… they pour the best Guinness in the city, and it’s a wicked vibe there always.

The Bent Elbow:

The Elbow’s vibe is great. You sit down and receive a beer bible, which is a book that explains the flavour of each beer – they have blues/jazz/classic rock playing in the background. Harold is the snarly owner that loves to chat and knows his stuff in regards to food, beer, and sports. The food is excellent, coming in huge portions with a lot of flavours. The Elbow is the OG of craft beer bars, doing it around a decade earlier than everyone else… and poke fun at the Coors Lite and Bud Lite drinkers of the world by having the urinal flusher being a Bud Lite keg handle, while the Coors Lite keg is literally water. The beer selection is constantly revolving and has some misses and some hits, but it’s really about the against-the-grain vibe that makes it so appealing.

AOK Craft Beer and Arcade:

It was a happy day when AOK re-opened their doors post-lockdowns – they were only open for a few months before having to close down due to the pandemic, it was a great feeling. AOK has classic video games, ballpark-type food, and a wicked craft beer selection. The coolest thing about their bar is that you never know if you are going to have people hitting it up after work, a family with kids playing the games, or craft beer lovers. It’s a unique place that is run by a top-notch staff and is by far the most fun place to have a quick bite to eat and a couple of great pints. Whether you want to shoot hoops, play Tetris, classic pinball, Super Smash Brothers, AOK has it all… it’s very likely you will see me there at 5 pm on a Wednesday or Thursday weekly.

The Gator’s Tail:

The crown jewel of Southern Ontario. They do it all! Yuk Yuks, sports bar, karaoke, great service, fantastic cajun style food, and THE BEER… The difference between Gator’s and the rest is that if you want a Bud or Coors, you can get that, but the gem is their craft beer menu. Every single brewery that they bring in is the cream of the crop – they also specialize in IPAs, which makes it so difficult to choose a couple of beers, because I have to drive. There’s nothing better than going to Gator’s on a Sunday afternoon, watching 3 different football games at the bar area, having their famous gumbo, and sipping on a Third Moon and then a Badlands. I can’t say enough great things about this place, they are generally pretty quiet and have a really cool bar seating area… the owners are extremely good people, that take care of their employees, and the regulars are all super-nice.

If you haven’t checked out these places, I highly recommend checking them out. One thing that you’ll notice is that all f of these places are small businesses and their love of the food, vibe, and beer has earned them regulars like myself.

Ottawa Is Still a Mess

It’s been a wild ride in Ottawa. As I’m watching the police finally take action, you have to wonder if there’s another country in the world that would allow their country’s capital to be occupied for three-four weeks with people partying, screaming freedom, and causing the downtown of Ottawa to be disrupted that’s not related to physical-mistreatment, genocide, murder, etc… People in France tried to pull this stunt and tear gas was used within hours… I have a feeling that’s how the majority of places would have handled this.

While watching CBC there are very few people of any ethnic diversity – it’s mainly Caucasian folks. I try to envision the BLM movement trying this same stunt… what would this have looked like?

What if a Liberal Government had been in control of the Province or a Conservative Government had been in control of the country?

What happens now? Ottawa was overrun and was taken control of for nearly a month – what happens the next time something happens… will this be attempted again? Will they use more force on either side?

It’s impressive that there hasn’t been much violence. With this many people in an area with strong views, sometimes emotion can cause violence – it doesn’t seem to be the case here, I guess that’s one positive.

There will be a Netflix series based on these events – there’s just too much gold content from every single angle. Rob Wells from Trailer Park Boys has to play Pat King.

Would this have happened if it was the Summertime? Winter is depressing and it’s not easy to get outside to relieve some of the Cabin fever.

The lack of trust in the media, science, and healthcare is alarming. If nobody can agree to who the ‘experts’ are, we’re running blind. Will there ever be trust again, or, does the skeptical nature and the spread of misinformation on the internet continue to pull people in different directions?

To end this off, in my opinion, the real cracks of our system were shown in the healthcare system… I’m immunocompromised – having ulcerative colitis and having to take Remicade for treatment leaves me susceptible… Sara works in healthcare and saw some sh**… I also had to have 3 medical procedures pushed back due to the pandemic, luckily everything is ok. The whole point of everything was to ensure that the healthcare system didn’t get overwhelmed – it nearly did, and it shouldn’t have… the cuts to Healthcare that have been going on for years, finally caught up to us.

After all of this is said and done, it comes down to there are two types of people in the world, and what they value…

  1. Do what’s right for the greater good of everyone
  2. Do what I believe is right for myself and my family

Sometimes they line up… and, sometimes they don’t…

The Odd Things That Are Happening in Ontario

Ontario is a “great” place to live right now. Set aside all of the mandates and vaccine talk for a minute… we have a mob of people in our country’s capital screaming about freedom at Prime Minister, Trudeau and disrupting Ottawa’s downtown. There are trucks blocking the borders disrupting other truckers from getting their deliveries to places on time… potentially, causing Toyota to have to shut down their factories because they can’t get parts. Both Saskatchewan and Alberta have fully opened up, which has made the “freedom fighters” believe that their actions have caused this, which is actually probably true. Remember, there are provinces that have opened up and Trudeau didn’t have anything to do with that (I’m fully aware that Trudeau definitely gives his recommendations and it’s up to the provinces if they take the suggestions or not)… this is key to the whole point of this blog.

All of this venom is being spewed at Trudeau, and in my personal opinion, Trudeau has made some bad calls during the pandemic… moving an election up during a pandemic when he’s been preaching to stay at home. CERB was extremely unorganized and chaotic. Going on vacation at in-opportun times while again, preaching everyone else to stay at home. I’ve given him a bit of a break since this is unprecedented times and even early on I thought Ford was bringing the province together better than Trudeau was.

But, let’s shift ahead to today…

In Ford’s province, he’s allowing a movement to spread that there are very little to no consequences for anybody causing problems anywhere in his province. This has allowed it to gain steam and people now believe they’re invincible and it’s become a (somewhat) lawless province with zero backlash from our Provincial Government and also leaving the province more divided than I’ve ever seen it. Let’s take a step back from all of the hatred towards our Liberal Government and use some factual evidence of who controls what.

Provincial (Doug Ford):

  • Masks
  • Vaccine mandates
  • Opening/closing of businesses
  • Number of people allowed indoors for events

Federal (Justin Trudeau):

  • Vaccine mandates for cross-border activity (except for going into the US, which is the only country that we border with – that’s on Biden). The only thing that can be stood upon is Trudeau trying to negotiate with Biden. If you know anything about politics, the US don’t generally give in to anybody, let alone Canada.

So, there are a few things happening here and none of it’s logical, which makes it kind of hilarious but also extremely embarrassing. Once you cut through the noise, this is what’s really being said.

  • I’m hating on Trudeau because he’s Liberal.
  • I think it’s all a conspiracy, and the Healthcare system is in “fine order”, but I’m mad at the wrong person
  • I’m mad because I don’t like wearing a mask, but I’m angry at the wrong person
  • I’m mad because I want the choice to be vaccinated and not forced, but I’m angry at the wrong person again
  • I’m using this as a vehicle to get other points across, or, to help gain power for other movements
  • I’m just mad and I want to party with like-minded folks
  • I don’t know anything about who’s in control of what, and everyone seem like their mad at Trudeau, I’ll join in.
  • I don’t give a shit about any of this, I just want to blow off some steam and honk my horn and yell freedom.
  • I just don’t want to be told what to do and I know who to be mad at, but “Fu** Trudeau” anyways because he sucks.
  • I always vote PC and bitch about anybody else in power other than them.
  • I’m tired of working from home and I once went to a tailgating party at a Steelers game in Pittsburgh… drank a little too much, but it was a really fun time and I want to relive that event for a full month instead of a day.

Personally, I try to stay neutral, but logic always has to reign true when it comes to anything, and I’ve got no idea where any logic lies in this protest other than people are just mad and don’t like Trudeau, which is likely the truest answer.

Wearing a Hawaiian Shirt at Tim Horton’s

Sara and I have been trying to watch documentaries every Sunday morning. We watched one recently that told a story about voter suppression within the United States. The main storyline talked about Stacey Abrams running for Georgia Governor and how the entire system is meant to keep people down. The quick definition of voter suppression… it’s a strategic way to influence an election by discouraging people or making it difficult for people to vote. The documentary is called All In: The Fight for Democracy (100% of Rotten Tomatoes). It should be watched by every single person – especially now with Freedom chants coming from folks in Canada about lifting (in my opinion – yes, I know others feel strongly about this, I’m not one of them) very minor mandates. This is a real struggle that continues to happen really close to home even today. It put everything into perspective for me and was the exact shot in the arm that I needed to fully understand that the rich and powerful will do anything possible to stay at the top.

Now that this is out of my system… back to your regularly scheduled programming.

This seems par for the course for Covid times, but my bi-annual colonoscopy and endoscopy is on Sara and my wedding anniversary. Nothing more romantic than arriving back home after being probed and prodded, and being asked… “everything cool with your bum Mr. Pooks?”

On the document that needs to be filled out for the preparation of the colonoscopy, there’s a question that asks… “have you had this procedure before and was it comfortable?”  Like, did I enjoy it? Or, was it tolerable? What kind of question is this?

My average screen time is shown to me every Sunday at around 8 am. Maybe they should change it to make me feel like even more of an addict when they post it. “Hey loser, you looked at 26 articles about your shi**y Philadelphia Flyers – maybe pick up a book sometime A**hole”.

The first Sunday that football isn’t on after having it for a few months is weird… like, what do you do at 1 pm now? Do I start gambling on reality cooking shows? Is there a Red Zone version for curling? Does Jamaica still have a bobsled team? I don’t remember owning that shirt that I’m wearing in a 15-year-old Facebook picture.

For years, I was a big fan of Tim Horton’s coffee. I’d buy a double-double and eat a muffin every single morning. Not until years later did I realize that this not only was an unhealthy way to start the day but shaking from sugar withdrawal was not healthy? Apparently, being able to see electricity because of your caffeine and sugar highs “isn’t great” for your body.

I use the professional version of Grammarly for business emails and for my blogs. There are currently so many blue underlines for better ways to phrase sentences that I’m shortly going to say… “why don’t you write the fu**ing blog di**”

Lighting Toilet Paper on Fire in a Snuggie

In the news this week… dude lights multiple toilet paper displays on fire at three different Walmart locations in the KW area – ruining millions of dollars worth of merchandise.  It is hard not to laugh about how ridiculous this is. “Here we go boys, here’s the plan… we’re going to hit up 3 Walmart’s simultaneously, storm the TP department and light it all on fire”  Gus, already suspect about Paul’s other plans of the McDonald’s cheeseburger contest and getting his Mustang up on two wheels for 1 km… “yeah… I’m out man”.

At the beginning of working from home, everyone had their webcams on – you were trying to keep connected and professional.  Now, every square foot of the household is being used to take calls, for it to feel different.  Laying under the table, eating a block of cheese, wearing your last clean shirt (Some 5k walk that you did to raise money for the foxes in Alberta) listening to the forecasts of Q4 wouldn’t be surprising. 

Top 3 Things Nobody Gives a Shit About If They aren’t Involved:

3 – Fantasy football – if you ever want to see someone’s eyes glaze over go through your roster and the reason that you are handcuffing certain running backs.  This really could be a cure for insomnia

2 – A dream you had – unless they are in it – they will likely say “that’s crazy man” a number of times to get you to shut up.

1 – Your children doing everyday things –

“Wow… Dennis went to school today and then was one of the last people out during dodgeball”

“Oh, Beverly, you should have heard him today, he was just so ecstatic – now wants to be a professional dodgeball player.”

“Dennis sounds like an idiot”

Listened to the debate between Trump and Biden last week… these are your two best, eh?

Really feel for the kids this Halloween – there wasn’t a better holiday in a small town.  You knew all of the best houses that would give out the good stuff.  Full-size chocolate bars, cans of pop, the good chocolate.  Sometimes you would get fooled though – Mr. Rhodes would all of sudden be on a health kick and you’d get some fu**ing raisins.  Getting home you’d sit on the ground and dump out the bounty of stuff on the ground.  Your parents would look at you with horror as you devoured 7 chocolate bars in a row, laughing uncontrollably, beginning to levitate from the ground.

To those people that work in retail and wear glasses – how do you manage to wear a mask all-day?  Just say fu** it and bump into things the entire day, or is there a super mask that doesn’t cause the fog issues?

Living in an old apartment building has its downfalls… I can’t control the heat in my apartment and the water pressure/temperature fluctuates constantly.  After living here for multiple years though – I can sense when the water is going to become burning hot and ice cold – it’s an anticipation that is similar to an all-star goalie in hockey. This is the only skill that I’ve picked up since Covid has hit.

It’s actually been pretty impressive how the majority of people that I see in stores are still kind to others.  There are a few one-off instances, but for the most part people, seem to be holding it together… let’s ask the health minister what the secret is…

Elon Musk is doing tests to see if humans are actually in fact in a Matrix.  It feels like the alien that was in control of the original Matrix fell asleep and his 10-year-old sadistic alien child has taken over the storyline.  “Ok, I’ve got everyone feeling the need to buy a fast car to rip around because they can’t release their energy any other way.  What’s next? Let’s have Nickelback release a new album and put it into everyone’s Spotify algorithm.” In the news tonight… Kitchener man witnessed sobbing sitting at the side of the road wearing only a snuggie.

Sending Cameo Videos to the Wasp Hunter

Even as a self-proclaimed well put together dude, the constant pounding of bad news and the world being in turmoil is starting to wear me down.  My company has decided that we should continue to work from home until 2021.  What does this mean going into winter?  You look outside that window and see snow piling up, search the internet and either see something Trump has done or Covid cases are rising.  You’re bombarded by stats and experts warning you of everything from global warming to being in quarantine for another full year… I can’t imagine being someone that is already battling depression or anxiety.

Now that you know the world is shit…

How do comedians perform for drive-in crowds?  Do cars honk their horns when they like a joke?  The only good thing about this is that there likely isn’t a shot that you’ll get heckled while in a car.  Unless you’re repping the nutsack on the back of the truck – that’ll likely get you a chirp or two.

The one thing that’s good about this pandemic is that I get out of awkward hugs after seeing people – giving a wave is the absolute best.  The hug sometimes has a kiss on the cheek as well, I have no idea how to position myself and sometimes headbutt the person – all of this gets taken away with the wave. 

During a coed slopitch game this past week, I went way past the acceptable amount of intensity.  Playing for the ‘b’ championship in a league at the Cambridge Ice Park should only be a 5/10 intensity level.  I ripped a 9/10 by throwing my glove against the fence after the final out of a 1 run victory.  Last year the winning team received a backpack that said Cambridge Ice Park Hockey Champions (or something similar) and we were playing baseball. 

Sport car purchases are on the rise.  This is obviously a result of the world being at a stand-still and needing excitement.  Pretty sad existence by having to buy a 40k car to rip up and down Margaret Ave at 2 am, once a week.  Soon we’re going to see vehicles that have fire coming out of the back.  Maybe someone strapped to the front playing the electric guitar… wait, I think this was a movie?

Top 3 Breweries in Tri-City Area

3 – Counterpoint Brewing – good dudes and great hazy IPA’s.  They’ve stepped it up recently and released a few great porters and stouts as well.

2 – Wavemaker – Don’t brew a tonne of different beers, but when they make an IPA it’s always fantastic.

1 – Jackass Brewing – Have mastered the art of the New England IPA.  Really good guys that have a great patio in the back and the coolest symbol of all the breweries in the area.

Hunting is weird – I don’t even like seeing a deceased animal on the side of the road.  I can’t imagine wanting to kill something like a deer… One thing that I wouldn’t mind hunting is wasps – fu** those guys.  I’d have a stick that would just electrocute them one by one.  My soundtrack would just be ‘Kickstart my Heart’ by Motley Crue the entire time.  My costume would be Bam Bam Bigelow’s wrestling outfit – head tattoo and all.

I’ve never owned an umbrella – can only think of 10 times in my life that it would have really come in handy. 

Seeing memes of people dropping knowledge and using a celebrity’s picture that doesn’t make any sense is one of my favourite things.  Picture of Brad Pitt pointing at you from Fight Club talking about problems with the Liberal Government. 

There is a website called Cameo.  It has a bunch of ‘c’ and ‘d’ celebrity actors that will film a small clip and send it to someone for a fee.  There are a bunch of awesome old school wrestlers that have examples up.  If we go into full quarantine, I’m going to send random people messages from actors or athletes that they’ve never heard of before.  Fred Anderson (Zombie from Resident Evil) “wishes you a happy Wednesday, hope you are enjoying the latest episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, and that the pancakes that you made were up to par.”

As you all (should) know, Sara had Covid at the start of all of this.  Since she’s recovered, I’ve beaten her multiple times at games that she used to own me at (Catan, Connect Four, Jaipur).  Now, she has a great excuse why I keep winning – Covid brain.  This has been her one bright spot of the pandemic.

The Whirlwind of the Past Five Years

This is my experience over the past 5 years…

For over a decade I worked in the retail field and didn’t have a desire to leave it.  It was comfortable and the money was decent enough to make a living.  It was always an assumption (of mine) that I would end up working in Real Estate or managing a big box store of some sort down the line.  Around 2 years before Future Shop closed its doors, most people could see the writing on the wall.  Instead of doing 70-80k per day on the weekend, it was dwindling down to 30-35k.  Staffing was non-existent in certain departments and sales-people were asked to be experts in all different areas of technology. I actually sold a fridge with a closing line of “that it could take a punch if you ran out of beer”. It was only a matter of time before our store in Cambridge was going to fold up and I would receive a buy-out.  At the time in my head, it did not make sense to look for a new career because of this.

Over those two years, I was determined to figure out what to do next – Real Estate, Insurance, and Managing in Retail were all possibilities… sales in tech was where I decided to go.  It wasn’t easy to get into, there were many companies that didn’t want to hire a mid-30’s retail sales dude as an Account Executive.  Most tech companies want b2b (business to business) sales experience which I did not have.  Business Development was generally a role for young adults straight out of school and had a salary that was going to be a pay cut compared to what my commissions were at FS.  Even after deciding that it was worthwhile taking the dip it was still extremely difficult to get hired into this role. Most companies figured that I would leave at the first chance I got.  That, or my expectation to move up within the company would be urgent – interviews were piling up in tech, but no bites.  There was a job at a Bell store that was sitting waiting for me, but the burnout from Retail was real for me.  I did work one day at Bell and dealt with a (Karen) customer issue of their kid streaming media while in the States and the bill was in the hundreds… that afternoon I decided to quit with no offer in hand.

Finally, I interviewed with a cybersecurity company called eSentire… I’d never heard of them and had no idea what they did.  I met with a VP at the company that was building out the Business Development program and ran the Inside Sales team as well.  This dude interviewed me in a style that I had never seen or been a part of before… no standard template of interview questions or typical fluffy banter.  It was a relaxed conversation asking me questions on how I (the style) sold computers at Future Shop and drilling into what his concerns were about hiring someone that had so much experience selling a certain way.  Instantly, my guard was down, and it felt like a real-life conversation you would have at a bar versus being judged and analyzed.  It was refreshing and I laid it all out and ended up getting the gig.

Since then it has been a crazy ride of moving into different roles and learning all sides of how tech sales works.  The easiest way to describe the fast-paced world of tech is, it is like a very addictive drug.  Every decision and direction that you take has a huge impact on the business – I have been lucky to be given a lot of free reign on the moves and vision that I have.  To make changes at most companies it has to run through multiple layers of the business before even the smallest thing can be changed.  This is not the case at most tech companies, changes are often made on the fly. This makes the job fun, and also extremely stressful.

In my case, I’m directly/have been responsible for the livelihoods of dozens of young professionals that for the most part is in the first “career” type job.  The hiring strategy that I take is that it is preferable for the candidate to have had a tough job (retail, serving, door to door, etc…) in the past. Cold calling potential prospects requires a thick skin and have already dealt with tough situations it is easier to get over that “fear” barrier. Generally, with the talented people that I have seen it takes 6 months of the job before I see the light bulb “turn on” above their head. At that point, you can generally see what skills they have to help them choose a career path to strive towards in the future. Anywhere from the 1 year to the 2-year mark they leave the nest so to speak. It’s extremely satisfying seeing people that I’ve managed to move into different areas of tech, and quickly have success… that’s my drug! If I didn’t get a chance to work with my original VP there’s no doubt in my mind that things would have ended a bit differently. He taught me that I could be myself while managing… (I’d like to think of myself as) honest, genuine, and empathetic when leading. I always had this idea in my head that you needed to “become corporate” when in charge – there is nothing further from the truth. The goal that was imprinted on my brain was that you allow people to show you their skillset, give them structure and confidence to excel in the role without hanging over them.

I’ve been lucky to have great leadership for nearly my entire time moving from eSentire to Axonify, and back to eSentire – you don’t know how important it is until it’s gone.  I have no idea where/what I will be or doing in 5 years… that used to stress me out.  Now, since living in slightly controlled chaos it does not give me the same anxiety – it’s a nice feeling.

A Strange New World

It’s been an extremely odd last couple of weeks.  I went from being a dude that was able to go out and do whatever I wanted to a guy that was restricted to his house for the majority of the day – adjustment has been difficult.  All of these articles you read telling you about the wonderful things that you could be (re)discovering while you work from home… play board games, read books, cook wonderful time-consuming dinners, watch all of the movies, etc… all of this is true.  It does take time to get used to though – when your world gets flipped upside down (bonus point for anyone that read it in the Fresh Prince tune) like it has for many of us it’s a strange existence.  It’s not the fear of getting the virus that I’m afraid of, it’s the time that it will take for things to go back to normal.

When will sports resume? Going to a pub with a buddy? Having lunch with people from work? None of these questions are even close to being answered.  Trying to stay informed is fairly easy right now with nothing else to report on (Tom Brady somehow still wins), the entire world is on pause right now.  There are a few sides that you can see on social media.  Some people are afraid and are posting things that the Government should do (becoming upset when it doesn’t happen the way they believe it should) and/or becoming vigilantes for the general public of things they see wrong.  Others (myself included) are trying to make light of the situation ease their own tension behind the severity of the virus.  Lastly, you have the realists that know we haven’t seen the peak of this, and expect things to get much worse.

I’m trying to stay positive during this whole time.  I do believe Canada got ahead of the virus quicker than other countries.  It would be difficult for me to believe otherwise.  My personality doesn’t suit a doomsday persona.  I’m abiding by all the rules and know the severity of the situation… it’s just not healthy for me to believe that I won’t be able to enjoy the company of others through the summer months – taking it week by week is the healthiest approach for my own personal sanity.  Eating properly, exercising, writing, keeping things light on social media, and staying productive while I work from home is how I’m surviving this.  Adjustments are being made daily – it’s easy to get into a mode of extreme routine.  Unfortunately, this becomes problematic after even a couple of days.

Others will have zero issues handling this.  Many people seem like they’ve been training their entire lives for this.  It really is as easy as sitting on the couch and keeping yourself entertained.  It’s interesting watching people handle this situation online.  None of it is incorrect, other than sharing misinformation.  I’m trying to keep an open mind that not everybody will handle this the same and that people on social media are scared and they’re digesting everything the only way their body will process the fear.

After this is all over there are multiple things that will be interesting to watch moving forward…

  • Will this be the kickstart that the world needs to see to try to solve global warming?
  • Is technology going to be as heavily relied on for entertainment? It’s one of our sole sources currently.
  • How will the economy bounce back? Will we go into a multi-year recession?
  • Will Governments be more prepared for the next time this happens?
  • What will Charmin (toilet paper company) do first when they purchase the country of Ukraine?

This is the weirdest situation that I’ve ever witnessed.  During 9/11 we had a bad guy(s) to blame and it was simpler to understand how to keep people safe.  This is a silent killer that we can’t blame (unless you are Trump blaming China).  The fix is not easy, it requires an adjustment across the entire world.  With over-population and the ease of travel all over the world, this virus will definitely have staying power.  In years past with deadly diseases we couldn’t travel as simply to spread it – this made it so much easier to contain.  Now we have to deal with misinformation, ignorance, unpreparedness, fear, and a global spread.  Fuck, this is depressing! It’s only been a short time of course, and at the end of the day, we are really only being told to stay home.  My job has been fantastic with the pandemic and the team that I lead has been phenomenal during this whole ordeal.  There is no doubt that my situation is ideal compared to some… it is still taking time for me to adjust, and the way I deal with processing issues is downloading my thoughts into my blog (you must sanitize your hands when leaving my brain).

Also, yes, I realize that Facetime is being used commonly to communicate.  I find it to be very similar to having a conversation with a girlfriend in grade 11 over the phone.  You are constantly interrupting each other by accident, making small talk about nothing, and struggle with when it’s time to hang up.  If I’m going to partake in a (buddy) date it will be while enjoying a pint of Guinness, asking for the bill when it’s obvious that the hangout is done (two empty Guinness glasses)… this is my preferred type of hangout.  You shake their hand or give them a hug and wander home feeling a bit better about the world.

(virtual) Cheers to hoping things get back to normal sooner rather than later.

Stay safe out there!

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