Why I Stopped Officing

Why I Stopped Officing

I’m going to take a more in-depth detour from my normal descriptive shenanigans to describe the shenanigans specifically pertaining to why I downgraded my work shirt.

As you may know, I’ve never been particularly skillful at politics. I tend to have the worst luck with appearance. It’s not that I have a bad appearance, per se, near as much as the fact that my appearance tends to correspond exactly to what I really am deep-down. Apparently, when those kids shows said “be yourself”, I took their advice a little too far.

Unfortunately, most places in this world involve politics. Generally, the higher you go up the management ladder, politics matter more and more and most other skills become less and less relevant. This is largely because a manager’s performance is tied almost exclusively to the success of others, and while a manager of 5 can pull his own weight to make up for a lack of ability to inspire work out of others it becomes harder for a manager of 100 to do the same thing.

The only way around this while having a career that doesn’t require government supplementation is to find a line of work that specializes in a unique need of society. Actuaries, for example, crunch complex and intricate statistical probabilities behind insurance policies and can make upwards of $180,000 a year!

The trouble with this is that eventually the work reaches a “glass ceiling” of sorts regarding management. Not only is the Peter Principle a working concept, but often the pay caps off at a certain level before management becomes an option.

Now, in this strange job market, specialized blue-collar work is actually in higher demand that many white-collar workers are turning down. If you think about it, that means that there is an army of unemployed people not willing to get their hands into a new type of work simply because they aren’t skilled for it/they don’t want to/they’re lazy/ they don’t know about it/all of the above.

Along with all of this, there are a number of personal reasons pertaining to my decision:

  • I had been unemployed for a few months and had heard that logistics companies are desperate for OTR truck drivers.
  • My package center supervisor job paid less than starting off as a truck driver.
  • The expectations of a truck driver are fulfilled by humanly possible limitations that don’t really change, while UPS is understaffed, under-resourced and struggling to maintain a public image on a decaying status.
  • I get more of a chance to do what I love, such as writing more and reading audio books most of the workday, instead of fighting the temptation to give myself a brain hemorrhage on the nearest wall.

Finally, if that’s not enough to convince you that I’m relatively sane, I’ve been following the truck driving industry closely for a while now and have one last thought to level at y’allses.

Many people believe that truck driving is a dying industry since automation is taking it over. I even saw the idea surface in an episode of South Park! Though this idea is technically true, it’s overlooking a few major  elements.

Firstly, automated vehicles are a ways out before they can become a viable universal solution. This article neatly explains the levels of automation, but allow me to make it even neater:

  • Level 0 – The vehicle doesn’t drive itself, though it might have something like ABS
    • This has been around since cars were a thing
  • Level 1 – The vehicle steers or controls speed, but not both (basically old-timey cruise control)
    • This has been common since the 80’s
  • Level 2 – The vehicle is essentially able to navigate one lane of a highway
    • Though this is common in cars it’s just barely getting introduced into trucks, largely because they’re large
    • This is simply a convenience for the truck driver, since everything is still literally in the driver’s hands
  • Level 3 – The vehicle drives like a nervous 15-year-old with a permit
    • This is brand-spanking-new in cars, and trucks will get it when the computer can think a mile ahead
    • This won’t be hard to implement, but it will still require the driver behind the wheel and will simply make the truck driver’s life even easier
  • Level 4 – The vehicle can drive itself on a sunny day on freshly paved roads
    • Google is doing this, but it’s not particularly marketable right now due to the hundreds of legal issues that come with nobody in particular to pin blame on
    • This will likely roll out for big rigs but will still require a driver, since the liability of a Prius hitting something is slightly less than 80,000 pounds of gasoline
    • This will be the biggest hurdle, since figuring out how to legally pin responsibility will be a headache and a half, as this TEDed video shows (good legal industry to get in on the ground level with, high school buddy of mine is an attorney in it now!)
  • Level 5 – The vehicle drives itself anywhere, anytime
    • This doesn’t exist
    • Truck drivers will need new jobs when this comes around

This entire issue seems like a repeat of the accounting industry in the 70’s. Computers were starting to add big numbers, and some people forecasted that the computer would replace the accountant. This was echoed more loudly when VisiCalc came out in 1979, Lotus 1-2-3 came out in 1981, and finally when Microsoft ruthlessly sabotaged VisiCalc’s creator and sold the product under a different name created a similar product with Excel in 1985.

Well, where are the accountants now?

The last time I checked, accounting is a high-demand industry. Though the original tasks of the low-level accountant (add, subtract, copy numbers over, repeat, repeat) is pretty much easy enough for secretaries to do while answering dumb questions, the advanced report-generation and business decision-making is honed in to being an analytical art form of its own.

In the same way, automation will hit truck driving slowly. Backing a truck once you get to a destination will not go out of style, so maybe there will be drivers paid to literally back trucks at sites and truck stops all day. The need for logging, endless coffee and heart-attack food at truck stops, sleeper cabs and 20% of the country songs will go by the wayside. At the same time, the need for dispatchers, trip planners, computer maintenance personnel, mechanics and specialized sensor mechanics will go up or stay the same.

Until then, truck driving is indisputably the lifeblood of the American economy, and I’m proud to be one of its blood cells. Transit by rail only gets the load part of the way, and many of the rails are severely under-maintenanced. Cargo by boat can only travel on waterways, which leave out a few small parts of America (like Utah). That leaves shipment by truck, expensive drones, big Jetsons-style tubes that haven’t been made yet, or magical fairy teleportation that’s been severely underfunded by our current science programs.

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A Few More Miles

After getting some of the rest that comes with home time, my mind and body are sound enough to express ideas in writing again without sounding like Dollar Tree’s version of Alexa.

For the most part, driving a large truck across the country is somewhere between boring and mind-numbing. If you’re not enriching yourself with audio books (or paper books if you’re extremely bold) or actively thinking about something, the hundreds of miles to be driven a death clock for your IQ.

The precise deficit of truck driving, however, comes at the benefit of teaching the importance of focus. If you read my past blog posts, you’ll discover that i clearly come from a family heritage of individuals with the attention span of a medium-sized housefly. By applying a focus of driving a vehicle, much of that has burned itself off by virtue that 200 miles away is not as important right now as the next 2 miles if you like keeping your driver’s license.

Like toilet paper when camping or an ear for tone when singing, one individual item can demarcate the difference between success and failure. In this case, the solitude and peace of being isolated in a truck cab on the road has failed to provide an opportunity for me as long as I don’t have a proper laptop to create with.

The importance of creation cannot be understated. Without our ability to make paintings, lawn gnomes and fart jokes, humanity would be like any unintelligent being. Even with a highly sophisticated miracle of engineering like my phone, it wasn’t designed for power-using. Instead, I should use a windows-based OS that allows dragging and dropping items more effortlessly, and the best window-based operating system is, obviously, Microsoft’s iOS.

Editor’s Note: Upon further research, apparently Microsoft has not created iOS. Therefore, I meant to say that the most window-based OS is Apple’s iOS.

In the meantime, this downtime has sometimes given way to the uptimes of forcing meditation time. Due to all of this time, I’ve had plenty of thinking time, and it has wrought many changes over time upon me. In fact, the first time I came home to my Booger Noodles, she had a hard time recognizing how I behaved!

I will endeavor to share most of the thoughts, experiences, failings, etc. in future posts, books, podcasts, YouTube videos and other narcissistic media, but for now I only have one thought to express, and I’ll close with that thought until I have enough money to buy a device that will allow me to write with gusto and pesto about anything I darn well feel like.

I am making a public modification to my previous posts regarding my extended family. As you have probably noticed, I have had a beef with them. Thankfully, this has downgraded to a chicken with them. Hopefully in a year, I’ll be all tofu up in this situation.

My mother has NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), and you’ll note her lack of a Facebook profile as evidence of it once you combine it with her lack of desire to learn any new technologies ever. She needs formal diagnosis, but the very diagnosis means she will evade the diagnosis, so here we are.

In most non-Hollywood functioning homes, the husband is the voice of reason. My father has decided that it is better to adhere to the absurd demands of an image-obsessed mentally unwell individual over his own common sense, and that has created a morbid fear of the vast and beautiful expanse of Everything Else.

This marriage has never really been healthy. Since we often become more like who we associate with, my father’s latent NPD that lies within all of us individually through our sin condition came into fruition.

About 5 years ago I started blogging about whatever the heck came to mind. My parents’ response was to bring in their usual Shame Train with heavier payloads. Since I didn’t want any bad blood I adapted my writing style, deleted and edited old posts, tore down entire blogs and was very careful about what I said. However, that didn’t yield any affirmation from them that I had actually done anything noteworthy.

3 years ago I started expressing thoughts more articulately and with more devotion to what I truly wanted to say. I had downsized my Pain Yard and rejected most of the loads that came in from them. The result was 3 parts confusion, 1 part bitterness and a dash of something that was almost, but not quite, like spurned love.

Finally, once I started succeeding with completing my 100,000 Tips, publishing my first book, getting into management, having a miniature human with the love of my life and whatnot, their feelings of shattered image were so great that they were incapable of BIRGing with me about literally anything.

However, instead of holding the grudge that I deserve to hold over this rather unfair treatment, I’ve instead decided to publicize the truly miraculous work God has brought into this arrangement before it even got this ugly.

The science has shown that NPD is probably about 5.9% of the population. If you find Facebook annoying, blame that 5.9%. If you post more than 2 times a day on Facebook, you might be that 5.9%!

Contrastingly, ASD (autism spectrum disorder) is about 1% of the population. If ever you find yourself in the geekiest parts of the internet and hear an argument about the colors of lightsabers or which model of tricorder was the most advanced for its time, you’re surrounded by autistics.

If you combine the two, it’s a weird mixture. NPD by nature is obsessed with image, appearance, power from image and looking perfect all the time. ASD is a deficiency in understanding the sociological nuances of image, how power dynamics actually work and a general inability to see the world like neurotypicals see it.

The odds of two NPD’s spawning an ASD are pretty low (0.059% if you put the 2 together), but God provided me with an in-born obsession with strictly what is true to offset their obsession with what everyone sees things as. In fact, now that I’ve grown well into this development, I can faithfully say that I am healthily capable of caring about image to the extent it truly matters, but never more than it can really matter.

In light of this, my extended family will be floundering for years to come as their adult child continues to flex his intellectual muscles, unheeded by the hindrances of implied image impotently imposed on his person. This will come full circle with pepperings of shame and guilt every time I do something that could be risky (which you all know I never do), but it’s worth it to live the good life.

Besides, how many other people can stick accountant, analyst, supervisor, truck driver, published author, dad and site admin on their resume?

Last Year, But New & Improved!

Happy New Year everyone! While everyone else was performing the ceremonial ornamentation of a dead tree’s corpse, sharing cards that have less value than money but somehow mean more, eating candy out of fake socks and making vain promises while drunk, I was separated a week at a time from my Glimpsy Squinters and Cherry Tomato acquiring the legal credential to operate heavy machinery.

Outside of how much more relevant children’s cough syrup’s warning labels mean to me, it is the start of a rewarding-enough career that will keep my family and I from dying of EPP (Empty Pocket Poisoning).

I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions, but here goes:

  1. I resolve to stop being as fat as I am now. I’ve already gone from 315 lbs (tubby-tub-tub) to 285 lbs (tubby-tubbers) and all I need now is to drop another 45 lbs to get to 240 (tub) to look into the Army as a transportation officer before I’m denied from too much Bengay and a tendency to complain about kids these days.
  2. God-willing, enough grinding will get my 8-month Floor-Licker to evolve into a 20-month Drunken Wanderer. I’ve heard that if you keep throwing money and love at them they’ll eventually evolve into an 18-year Decent Human Being, and enough of the right engineering will enable a 25-year Reproducing Human Being.
  3. I’ve created the format of The Lifehacks Wikia, and I intend to update everything in the Philosopher Accountant’s 100,000 Tips into it. Also, while I’m at it, I plan on writing a few more books. More on all of that later.

That’s it. The new year is new possibilities, but only 365 days’ worth of it, and there’s no guarantee that any of us will make it through all the way before we discover which of the religions was correct.

So yeah, fun stuff. Since the experience of truck driving is a new one for me, I’ve also set upon myself to vlog about it. It’s a bit like this, but far less entertaining because it’s my boring face saying things that aren’t that exciting. However, it’s a nice release from the insanity that comes from the fast-track to starting a driving career through Swift.

So that’s it for now. If you want to celebrate Run it up the Flagpole Day tomorrow, you can always try out putting something on my Lifehack Wikia to help it get started. Otherwise, stay tuned to that wikia in the coming months and my YouTube channel to see what happens when insanity meets perseverance.