Parents are great. They have so much accumulated knowledge which can be helpful in so many circumstances.
I’ve done a fair amount of car work in my brief life — Changed the oil, replaced two half-axles, a timing belt, alternator, water pump, etc. This weekend I took on my brakes. I’ve done it several times before, but this time it was more difficult. Which is kind of ironic because my car has 45k miles and has never seen salt. Whereas every other car I’ve changed them on have had 100k+ miles and spent more time in winter weather than they did outside of it.
It was difficult because the brake rotors were rusted on to the wheel hubs. While this usually isn’t a big deal, this time they didn’t want to budge one bit. Spending 15 minutes banging on them with a hammer and kicking them did nothing. I spent an hour scouring the internet to no avail, everyone was recommending doing the exact same thing as I had been doing, but do it until the rotors shatter. I live in an apartment complex, and was working inside of the parking garage — I don’t think my neighbors would enjoy me banging a metal hammer to a metal rotor for 30+ minutes.
So I called my dad. He recommended what the internet had already, to which I told him I already had done, and then he me gave this gem: Jack up both sides of the car, take off the wheels and get the wheels spinning about 5mph then slam on the brakes. Do it both going forward and reverse and check the rotors to see if they moved. This is relying on the fact that the holes in the rotor for the wheel studs are always about 1 milimeter larger in diameter than the wheel studs. Also, rotors are “floating” in that there is nothing keeping them from moving other than the wheel securely bolted to the hub. So I set out to try it. Sure enough after doing it they were loose enough to hit once with a hammer and pull right off the hubs. From there it took no more than 30 minutes to replace the rotors & pads on both sides and get the car (with wheels on) back on the ground.
That wasn’t his only advice — he also recommended putting high-temp anti-seize lubricant on the hubs and the first centimeter of the bolts. To make sure the next time I deal with them will be a tad more pleasant.
I hope one day I can be a similar resource for information to my own kids. I suppose that would require that I have kids.
This past weekend we went to visit my wife’s grand parents in Florida. They live in a retirement community called The Villages. If you’ve never heard of it, it really is quite amazing. There are over 80,000 55+ year olds in this community. The community is made up of several “town centers” each having their own theme (spanish, southern, western, etc) with each containing shops, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. There are 20?+ golf courses, innumerable swimming pools, several tennis courts and so on. Everyone travels via golf cart. There are several other absolutely crazy things about this community, but I think the most impressive is that it has all been developed by one developer.
Ashley’s grandparents love it. It’s warm/hot, it’s filled with people who are in a similar life stage as them and it’s convenient. In contrast, I see it as one of the last places I’d like to live as old person. I can’t imagine not working. Not because I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but because I like working. I like occupying my time with things I feel like are productive and when I spend a day or two or three just sitting around/not working, I feel like I’ve wasted it. (Some exceptions exist, such as spending time with family and friends)
I wondered, briefly, if I would ever get sick of this “working” thing. I’m fairly certain I will not. If I look at my family, it is apparent we are not wired to stop working. My grandpa is 78 (79 in a month) and still actively practicing chiropractic medicine. Late last year he opened up another business, in the office adjacent to his, providing message therapy. Not long ago I talked with him about it and he can’t imagine the day he stops working. For him it means his body has given up, something he doesn’t want to see. Given how energetic he is and how he looks (easily 10 years younger than he is) it’s no wonder. The other part of it is that he loves working. He loves working with people and investing into their lives.
I see my grandpa and I can’t help but be proud. He’s shown me the elderly shouldn’t be relegated to bingo, nursing homes, and card games. They are as capable as I am (just a young lad at 25) to produce great work and be a contributing member of society. I do realize not all people are blessed with great health which can limit this severely, but at least I need not worry about being relevant as I age assuming I work hard.
Today I saw a tweet from a CEO of a company I interviewed at once upon a time. The tweet was about something important to me — time away from work. His tweet was along the lines of he and his team not realizing Monday was a holiday and what to do about it. To me this meant, “Work Monday, Everyone!” Once I saw it, it immediately validated my decision to turn down an offer-in-the-works. I won’t lie, there were many times after making that decision I questioned it. I don’t any more.
I value my time away from work. I value my holidays. That isn’t to say I’m someone who only wants a job for the amount of vacation time given. It means I value my time with my friends, my family, and my ability to use that time for personal growth.
If I look at how I work best, it’s in two to three hour stretches with a break of an hour or two. I tend to be highly productive during those stretches. I’m pretty sure I could work twelve productive hours a day, everyday, with very little issue. I often spend my Saturdays and Sundays doing just this.
The problem is, at my current job, and most companies, doing something like this is completely against the “right way”. Instead the “right way” is working from 8-9am to 5-6:30pm with a lunch somewhere in there. Some places allow you to pick a different start time (my place of work) and end 8-9 hours later. If I look at how much I accomplish, I’d hazard a guess that it’s somewhere around 6 hours of work daily, total. Assuming it’s a good day. I’m not wired, nor is anyone else, to work non-stop in front of a computer for two 4-5 hour blocks, uninterrupted. Humans were built to engage and exercise their bodies and brains, not just brains. It’s sad we transitioned the same business hours from our primarily manufacturing economy to our sit-down-at-a-desk economy today.
Several companies are starting to find ways to encourage productivity without forcing more hours. They are implementing flexible work schedules, extra days off, more vacation time and by doing so reaping in extra productivity from their staff while they are on the job. Not to mention improving morale, cohesiveness of the team and so on. (All good things!) 37Signals, LinkedIn, Team TreeHouse and several others all fit this bill.
I hope one day I can work for one of those companies. I want to be productive while I’m at work. It’s more engaging, fun and most of all, rewarding.
Edit: After thinking about my comments at the beginning of this post, I’ve realized the holiday in question is not nearly the same holiday down here in Atlanta as it is in the upper-midwest. It’s seen in the midwest as the final day of summer, and usually spent with friends and family. Given Atlanta is a fair amount different (from a weather standpoint), I can understand not realizing it’s a holiday and potentially not recognizing it as a holiday for employees as very few people down here do anything special.