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General update and further thoughts

General update:
I have a total of 28 weeks of class left before I (theoretically) graduate. How I do thesis research and coursework at the same time is a bit of a puzzle. I’m unrealistically proud of my 4.0 average, but prioritization may come into play during my last two classes and necessitate a B. Which is really counter to my uber-perfectionist-secretly-afraid-I’m-really-a-slacker personality. Hopefully I can pull it all off and also not drive David completely insane. Come December, I will have three, count them, three degrees to my name. Woo! Anyone know where I can get a business ethics related PhD? I keed, I keed. I think.

Further thoughts on the nature of leadership, ethics, and organizational culture:
Most organizations really don’t know what they’re doing. The things that the founders/leaders are comfortable with or uncomfortable with become conventions, and then they become unsurfaced cultural artifacts – rules of conduct that we generally pick up intuitively and then promptly forget. The problem is most people don’t give a lot of thought to the fact that when they form an organization they’re creating a mini-society in their own image. And all of our personalities are limited and flawed. So unless our founders and leaders are introspective enough to recognize this fact, some really strange, counterintuitive, and bizarre behaviors can become codified.

I recently finished what I hope proves to be my FINAL paper on my Former Place of Employment, and the most interesting thing I learned was how a really self-referential, self-reinforcing culture can blind people to physical, obvious truths. It’s not just about how the culture effects the way you see things, it’s about whether or not the cultural constraints allow you to see it at all. And in the case of my former place of work, the espoused (projected) internal culture was so strong, and so embedded, that as long as you can speak the jargon, wear the tee-shirt, and shake the super secret handshake, you can get away with pretty much anything. As you might imagine, this leaves room for some teensy little ethical problems. It means that crafty and unscrupulous people figure out how to work the system, and work it they do. Meanwhile the execs continue to comment on the openness and beauty that is their organization, even when evidence to the contrary has been formally presented to them by people they pay to do just that.

What is it in our makeup that allows us to put our faith in human systems that are by their nature flawed? Seriously. We’re human, we’re flawed. But we’re always holding out for that nirvana-like place where we no longer have to think critically, question, or suspend judgment either way. I’m highly inquisitive by nature, but I do it, too. What gives?

Anyway, those are my Deep Thoughts of the Day. Enjoy.

Travel Hell

I’m back from Belize, but before I continue with travel accounts and photos, let me say a not so brief word about the Ass that is American Airlines.

David and I ended up being two of those poor bastards stranded by the closure of DFW due to a rainstorm. Our itinerary was as follows:

12/29
12pm Leave hotel via taxi and go to tiny airport in San Pedro to take tiny plane.
1pm Tiny plane ride to Belize City
1-5 pm Wait for plane (scheduled 4:15) to Dallas Fort Worth
5-9 pm Fly to Dallas, circle Dallas for 1.5 hours, miss flight to Austin which was cancelled anyway
9-10:30pm Immigration, Customs, and a huge ass line to be told that we couldn’t be rescheduled until 9:45 the next morning, and that they wouldn’t pay for a hotel, but they could book one.
11:30pm Arrive at hotel (David went to sleep, I did a load of laundry and then dreamt that I couldn’t sleep all night, woke up at 5:30am on…

12/30
6:30am Taxi back to DFW
6:45-10:15 Waited in a huge fucking line to check our bags back in, because the morons who booked us on the flight the night before didn’t un-check our bags. Don’t ask.
10:15-12:30 Waited for our flight to Austin (scheduled for 9:45) to leave – it was grounded because the flight crew was delayed
1:15pm-2:30 Waited at the luggage carousel in Austin for our bags to arrive. They sent about 5 down at at time.
3:00 Got home, collapsed.

I figured we spent about 8 hours standing in lines over the last day and a half. American Airlines sucks beyond the telling of it. They were understaffed, under prepared, and largely unhelpful. I overheard a few employees talking, and they were pretty much as disgruntled as the passengers. I tell you, they are not at the top of my list of companies to work for, own stock in, or ever frequent again, if at all possible. I could add my complaint to the hundreds or thousands lodged in the last month, but the ineptitude and lack of accountability seems to be epidemic throughout the company, and as my studies in leadership over the past year have shown, probably starts at the top.

The frustration level of the crowds waiting in endless lines was palpable, even when I wasn’t consumed by my own. AA didn’t make announcements or give much personal attention to the people waiting, but security guards walked up and down, presumably for crowd control.

Honestly, it’s hard to write anything witty or even biting about this experience, it was so exhausting and irritating. I’m just thankful that David and I are home safe, and so is our luggage.

Next time, I’m renting a car in Dallas and driving the fuck home.