Category Archives: work

I PASSED THE CISSP EXAM!!!

I found out on December 20th that I actually PASSED the CISSP exam!  I can’t believe it, after a VERY long wait I am pleased to offer an example of an excerpt from an  email from (ISC)² offering congratulations:

CISSP Logo

I FINALLY passed the CISSP exam

Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have passed the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®) examination – the first step in becoming certified as a CISSP.

I am still in shock. I was not confident at all that I would pass! The test was pretty darn hard! It was the hardest test I have ever taken actually.  By far.  The wait was excruciating. The results took an abnormally long time. I guess there were a huge amount of people that took the exam on the same test date as I ( November 6, 2010) and it took a long while to grade. Six full weeks! I guess a lot of military personnel and contractors were trying to get certified before the end of the year, so the date became the last one before the end of the year (where one would get the results before the end of the year-although those that took it a week after me received their results before me) and thus was a very popular test date.

It was by far the best Christmas gift I received this year!

Merry Christmas everyone (fourth day of Christmas?)! Happy Holidays, and here’s to a very Happy New Year.

Blessings to you all.

I passed! WOO HOO!

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The Door Exam: A CISSP Exam Analogy

Sectional-type overhead garage doors in the st...

The Garage Door Domain has its ups and downs

It has been about 10 days since I took the CISSP exam and still I am dreaming all things security. Literally dreaming, at night while I am trying to get restful sleep. This time I dreamed up an analogy to the whole CISSP preparation and exam that I think can be appreciated and found humorous.

The CISSP exam is like studying for a certification exam on doors.

Not everyone needs to be certified. If you just merely use doors, most likely you don’t need to be certified. But if you install doors-especially unusual doors, or if you wish to design doors-especially with specific purposes in mind, you may want to prepare and pass the door exam and get door certified.

Certification has advantages. Being door certified will tell the world that you are qualified on all things related to doors-hinges, knobs, the door-y part. Just by having the certification good things can happen to you, you may have more opportunities. The certification could open many new and exciting doors.

Experience is essential. Let’s say you’ve been studying one of the bodies of concentration, the garage door domain. Well, if you have installed a garage door before then you will be able to relate and bring something experiential to the exam. If you install garage doors for a living then you probably will have no problems with this domain. If you design garage doors, their installation and write documentation and are in charge of sales, well then you can consider yourself an expert on the garage door domain and you will have very little problems with this subject on the exam. Your experience will help you with questions regarding spring sizes and radio frequencies. You should memorize sizes and frequencies, but there won’t be any questions related to that on the final exam. The question on the final exam will be something like what is the worst type of garage doors opener to use around bombs. You won’t know the answer 100%, but your experience should help you narrow it down to an educated guess.

Some questions are designed to trick you. You have to immerse yourself into the (ISC)2 world. Let’s say you get a question from the farm door domain.

Barn

You have to know what color the barn door is supposed to be in the (ISC)2 farm.

The question is what color should a barn door be? You’ve narrowed the answers to “Red” and “Red & White”. Well, in reality a barn door can be whatever color the farmer wishes it to be, but you have to know what color the barn door is supposed to be in the (ISC)2 farm, er, I mean world. The question also may be negatively worded, like: The color of barn doors is essential to the function of the entire farm, not just the barn. Which of the following colors is the worst color to use on a barn door: A Red, B White, C, Black, D Brown. Of course the answer is brown. However, none of the practice tests will explain why the correct answer is most correct and the others are righter, just that D is the best answer. Shon Harris will have had a 3-minute segment on the color of barn doors which starts out, “Now, what is a barn door? We’ve talked about that before. The color of barn doors are essential to the function of the entire farm, not just the barn…” And some smart dude from India submitted the question. If he can get the color right then you should too. Duh. Moron.

Study deep. You may have a clear understanding between the different types of opaque doors used in residential, commercial, industrial and high-security settings both internal and external. You may understand the different types of glass used in internal sliding patio doors, external restaurant drive-thru doors, 1980 computer monitors, the 12-inch by 12 inch glass used in oatmeal factory doors, and the bullet-proof plastic used in jails. You may understand the purpose and the placement of the sticker that states: “THIS DOOR TO REMAIN UNLOCKED DURING BUSINESS HOURS’ and understand the history of why there was no business before the creation of the sticker. But the question on the final exam will be what is the best type of opaque material to use in airplane cockpit sliding doors while flying in areas that are highly populated with penguins. The answer will have to do with cold temperatures, the number of drinks served on a transatlantic flight and how many passengers breath through their nose. However, the answers will reflect this.

I am still waiting for the results of the exam. I feel pretty calm about it. Hopefully I got enough right to pass!

-Durk-

A Funny Thing Happened to Me on My Way to Resetting a Password

Me: I had originally posted this a couple of years ago.  I took it down and after hem hawing about the “security-ness” of it and after editing I am now posting it again-thus the old, old comments.  It is a funny story!

I hope you can follow this…

Part of my job is resetting user’s passwords for the security system that I support. End users submit a ticket that has basic info in it including an ID that is unique. Users use this ID as their login to the system that I support-as well as many other systems, but my system uses a unique password. Most users that submit a ticket to have their password reset have attempted to log in many, many times and just keep entering the wrong password.  We’ve all been there, we forget it, guess wrong, whatever. No problem.

So I get a ticket across my desk late in the day. When the user was asked for their ID they put something like, “sweet06” or something. Obviously this was their password. Since I didn’t have a clue what the user’s ID was (their login) I had to reject the ticket.  In the notes I stated that I needed their login-not their password.

So she calls into our group. I answer, she explains that she doesn’t understand why the ticket was rejected.   So I say that I need her ID.

Silence.

“Your login,” I clarify.

Uncomfortable silence.

“Not your password.”

“OHHH,” she says, “You mean the thing on the first line”.

Silently shaking my head while trying to control myself.

“Yes,” I say, “the thing on the first line.”

Wow.

-Derin-

New Journey and New Blog

I am staring a new journey, so I created a new blog, it just sounded like the right thing to do!

My Boss is asking me to study and pass the CISSP exam.  He is paying for me to take the exam too.  The CISSP certification is a pretty big deal.  It will mean more pay in the long run.  It is every bit as valuable as a 4-year degree.  Three team members in my network security group studied and passed the CISSP exam already.  One was my boss.  I have 10 weeks to prepare.  One week is already over.  To show my commitment, I quit my second job.  Yeah, I know right?

Read more about it here:  http://inchdeepmilewide.wordpress.com/

-Durk-

Plan B

I love listening to NPR’s This American Life.  Here is an expert from an episode I recently listened to entitled Plan B:

There’s the thing you plan to do, and then there’s the thing you end up doing. Most of us start off our lives with some Plan A which we abandon…switching to a Plan B, which becomes our life.

I had a Plan A a very long time ago.  I am not only on Plan B, but C, D and maybe even E, F & G.

My Plan A did NOT include:

  • Working for a local telephone company
  • Having to work a second job
  • Constant and persistent collection calls from the student loan folks
  • Renting instead of buying
  • Having my check garnished

Derin

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses a House

Y’know when you watch a movie and then you watch it again later and it takes on a new meaning?  I re-watched Fun with Dick and Jane:

An update of the 1977 comedy, Dick and Jane are living the good life. That is until Dick (Jim Carrey) loses his job shortly after getting a promotion that convinced his wife Jane (Téa Leoni) to quit her job. The money is gone, and the house ends up in foreclosure. Dick decides to turn to a hilarious life of crime to pay the bills with his lovely wife by his side. Then together they decide it’s time to steal back what Former CEO Jack McCallister (Alec Baldwin) had stolen from them.

The first thing to go is their lawn-the sod gets repossessed.  The electricity gets shut off.  They bathe in the neighbor’s sprinkler system.  They downgrade to a POS compact car.  It was a really funny movie a couple of years ago.  Now it is an uncomfortably funny movie.  You don’t have to look too far to see the effects of the current financial crisis.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the financial crisis for a few months now.  Things are getting pretty rough.  I am in the telecom industry and work for a company that can fall apart at any moment.  And I am not alone.  I have many friends and former co-workers that are jobless.  A couple of my friends just got laid off.  A few years ago there were still jobs to be found…now it is somewhat different.

Most people, even though they live paycheck to paycheck, could survive for a few months.  But then they get hungry.  And cold.  Or hot.  And frustrated.  And depressed.  And finally desperate.  Desperate people do desperate things.

Think about it.  I mean really think about it.  What if…What if you lost your job.  Spouse loses theirs.  Interview after interview, resume after resume.  Can’t find a job.  Or worse yet the ONLY job you can find a $10.00-13.00/hr job.  Any job means no unemployment checks.  Or unemployment runs out.  No insurance.  $10.00 per hour times 40 hours a week times 2 (mom & dad) equals…about $40,000 a year.  That’s about 75% to 50% of what most of my friends at Embarq make in a year (with both working).  Could your family make it if you lost 25-50% of your income?  Even those jobs will fade when folks can’t afford to eat out or remodel or whatever.

One of my favorite radio programs, This American Life, on NPR, had an incredible episode a couple of months ago entitled, Bad Bank.  They talked about a hypothetical bank-the smallest in the world, it has the owner’s $10 and a guy’s $90-he earns 3% for storing his money.  Then the bank turns around and loans $100 to a gal at 6% for a doll house.  This is called a balance sheet.  $100 in the bank, $100 being loaned out.  The bank profits 3% interest right?  Except gal loses her job and can’t afford her doll house payments anymore.  Now the bank doesn’t have the guy’s $90 to give back.  The program stated that the top 3 banks in the US have a unbalanced balance sheet-if there was a run on those banks today they would fail.  The banks want the government to know this, but not the average person!  As a friend of mine pointed out, the FDIC insures deposits up to $100,000 right?  Correct, and who pays that?  The government, the taxpayers, you and I.  And so banks are using that argument-give us a bailout now where folks can keep their homes, or bail us out later when we crash and burn and folks are homeless.

I live on a street that is full of duplexes.  The short block has maybe 20-30 families on it.  If half of them lost their jobs to the point where they could not pay their rent/mortgage and got behind to the point where they were getting evicted…if that happened over the period of a few months they would easily get escorted off the property by the authorities-some would get deported.  And what would become of empty houses?  Where would homeless folks go?  Personally I have no family in the area.  I have no friends with extra houses in the back yard.  But what if that happened over the period of a couple of weeks?  And multiply that times the number of neighborhoods around the city.  It is a much different picture.  There would not be enough police to force folks off the properties.   There would be folks who refused to leave.  There would be desperation, theft, anger, violence.  Things could get way out of control very fast.  Evicting squatters would be at the bottom of the list and the least of anyone’s worries.

OK, here it is, here is the heart of my thoughts:  What is the role of the church in these financially stressful times?
Does the church encourage their congregation to uphold the law and keep the peace?  Will churches open their doors to people who are homeless?  Open soup kitchens and clothing pantries?  Offer transportation-carpools?  Treat people with dignity and respect?  Offer training?  Assistance?  Pull their monies together?  Help single moms?  Pay mortgages and rent?  Stock food pantries?  Pay for lights, gas, water, etc?  Or be in a similarly depressing state?  Will churches end up in foreclosures too?

One of my friends has been laid off-for a year.  He paid his bills with credit cards.   He is pretty upset that he did the responsible thing, went into debt and kept current and others are getting bailed out.  And what about those that took out loans that shouldn’t?  The ones that knew they could not afford it?  The ones that depended upon the banks to deny them the loans.  They should get bailed out?  Businesses should be rewarded for failing?  It doesn’t seem fair!  The responsible ones are getting punished.  That all sound reasonable…right up until you lose your job.  And you suddenly become one who shouldn’t have taken out a loan.  You become the irresponsible one.  You become the failure.  And you feel like you have no options.

I work with a guy at Home Depot (most likely a few guys like this), he has a wife and child.  He works full time and he still qualifies for federal assistance.  I mean he is doing things right!  And he still can’t make it!  He is still at poverty level.

Another friend points out that laws are man-made and that we should do what we need to do to take care of our families.  What does that mean?  Squatting?  Stealing?

Another points out that God won’t give us more than we can handle.  But I am afraid that this line of reasoning is “prosperity Gospel” and faulty.  The truth is that God will never let anything happen to us spiritually to cause us to fall from grace-to break our spirit.  I am afraid that money is another matter.  Food, shelter, clothing, transportation-not spiritually guaranteed!  Will my theology friends steer me straight?  Or back me up?

Another says let’s go, the rapture is coming, Big Daddy is gonna take us home.  However, history paints a different picture of suffering and poverty-Christians participate, and are not delivered from it.  The plague, the depression, wars, martyrs.  God’s people are continually delivered from their sins.  Just not from the pains of this world.

And I am sure the list can go on and on.  The economy isn’t really that bad…It is the worst ever.  Tax and spending is the answer or not the answer.  The President is too liberal.  The Republicans are vetoing everything.  But I don’t care about the President or our government or economists.  I care about the church.  What is the church gonna do?

Another one of my friends attends a church who wishes to move from a temporary setting (mobile church-they set up each week in a school or some sort of facility, then tear it all down and store it during the week) to an actual building.  The pastor is continually asking for money for this endeavor.  My friend asks if that is the responsible thing to do?  The pastor is encouraging folks not to get “distracted” by the environment around them.  My friend is a little uneasy about that.  He sees people around him having a rough time.  He doesn’t want them to become a distraction that gets ignored!  He is considering giving to a charity.

What happens when folks stop paying tithe?  Not because they don’t want to, or because they don’t have any money left after paying for food.  But what if they don’t have money.  Any money!  What if they don’t have food?  No place to live?  No gas to travel?

I know it is a depressing and bleak picture.  I hope it is all crazy talk.  On one hand I say that things will never get that bad.  On the other hand I see layoffs and low-paying jobs.

But…what if?  And what will Christ’s church do?  I hope pastors are paying attention.  I hope they are thinking about preparing for a possible crisis.  I hope Christians are thinking outside of their consumer society.  Outside of their immediate family-you might not think you have extra room…but your friends may be eying your garage or basement soon.  Heck, I might be eying your basement!

I would like to know what you think.

Here’s what I think I think:

The church has a real opportunity to be the church.  The real test will be to see Christians taking in other Christians (and non-Christians!).  Families!  Will churches open their doors to the poor?  The homeless?  The filthy?  The non-Christian?  I hope so.

Will Christians do the right thing?  I don’t know what I would do if I was facing eviction.  I don’t know where I would go or what I would do.  I have no family in the area.  I don’t know who I would feel remotely comfortable asking for a place to stay-for a family of 6.  Or a handout.  Or a ride to work.  I would really want to stay and become a squatter in my rented duplex-my landlords have a real nice house…until they need to downgrade to my place.  I hope I embrace legal and peaceful options.  I hope I remember who is my Father.  I hope I remember you, my friends and offer to help you.

Will Cristian landlords reduce rent?  Will Christian business owners take a decrease in pay?  Will Christians continue to sacrificially give?  Will Christian landlord evict families?  Well, these are difficult ones that have no easy answers.

I hope most of these questions will not have to be answered-especially by me.

-Derin-

PS:  Please send pics of your basement.

The Ups and Downs of Life

It seemed I was a mite of sediment
That waited for the bottom to ferment
So I could catch a bubble in ascent.
I rode up on one till the bubble burst,
And when that left me to sink back reversed
I was no worse off than I was at first.
I’d catch another bubble if I waited.
The thing was to get now and then elated.
—Robert Frost, In a Glass of Cider

Working at Home Depot & a Review of cl1p.net

I have come to the conclusion that Home Depot is the worst place on earth to be employed at. Not because of the pay or the people or the policy, all that is pretty good.

I used to work in the food service industry, Hardee’s, Arby’s, campus cafeteria, and as manager at an on-campus snack shack. When you work around food you get hungry. If you want to satisfy your desires you eat. You get full. You go on. And maybe you repeat the next shift.

But at Home Depot I work around stuff. Home improvement, gas grills, appliances, projects, gardening, and the list goes on and on. I get hungry for stuff. This door is on sale, a dryer has been marked down, there is a display of 100 shop vacs, I need a cordless drill, I want to redo my kitchen, I want to grow a new yard! And the list goes on and on. The problem is if I do give in and buy something-anything, there is just more expensive stuff to buy the next time!

Another dumb thing that Home Depot does is restrict technology, let me explain. Home Depot employs a person whose sole responsibility is to create the weekly schedule. Even though they have a paper form that you can fill out to request days off or to detail availability, how much easier would it be just to email the Scheduler? Nope, they have internal email, but not external. OK, so use the many PCs to create a document…NOPE, no such application-no MS Word, no Wordpad, no Notepad! NOTHING! AHH! BUT,

I persevered. And I remembered a really useful website called http://cl1p.net/ Now HD is pretty good about filtering out questionable sites (and not-so-questionable), but they let you go to Google and such, and it let me go to http://cl1p.net. You simply add your own subdirectory and type something up, save it and it is on the net! Notes, pics, storage, etc. It is like an online clipboard. Check this out: http://cl1p.net/durk-Home_Depot So I used this nifty website and typed up my availability schedule and submitted a professional-looking, printed page. And then I was asked to fill out a paper form anyway (sigh).

-Derin-

Blessed Beyond Grace and Giving Thanks

I used a new phrase in the past couple of weeks, “Blessed beyond Grace”. Now, I don’t know if I actually coined it, but I can’t consciously remember hearing it. And, quite frankly, I like the phrase a whole lot. At first read there is no such thing as being blessed outside of grace. But I mean it to say that I am blessed beyond Grace (capital G). Beyond salvation, beyond reconciliation, beyond forgiveness. I am blessed even though I have been made right with God and have a relationship through Jesus Christ. I am blessed even beyond that. God has chosen, for whatever reason (and let’s be accurate-out of grace) to bless me with many other things in addition to salvation (Grace). I hope that makes sense…God continues to pile on the goodness on top of salvation.

I was born in the richest nation in the world. I have clean running water that probably has fluoride for the teeth and minerals added for good health . I don’t merely live in shelter, but a 3-bedroom duplex with a garage and basement. And not out in the sticks or isolation or in the middle of a crowded ‘hood, but in wealthy, affluent, convenient Johnson County, KS. I have 4 Wal-Marts within 10 minutes of my house, like 20 within 20 minutes. Heck, 135th st has 2 Wal-Marts, a Sam’s Club, 3 Price Choppers, and at least 5 Mc Donald’s-all on one friggin’ street. (Is “friggin” a cuss word?)

I am not merely clothed, I have designer jeans, name brand underwear, new socks, a catalog-company shirt and a super warm fleece. And shoes. And that isn’t merely what I am wearing today, but my drawers and closets are full of nice clothing.

Shelter, clothing…FOOD. Yeah, fridge stocked with it, freezer in the basement, cupboards and pantry full of it. I am at least 50 pounds over weight.

Transportation, check. I have 2 minivans. That alone makes me wealthier than 92% of the world.

So, I guess what I am saying is that I have much to be thankful for and, that ultimately, I am blessed WAY beyond Grace. I have an awesome family. My wife loves me. I have 4 healthy boys. I have 2 wiener dogs (Dash & Izzy) that are mostly potty trained. I have a great job and so does my wife. I have an XBOX360 and a Wii. Ahh, blessed. I have friends who love me (or at least love to make fun of me). I am mostly healthy. I am somewhat intelligent and educated. I go to a great church with a great support system. I work with great people.

You can’t get much better than that.

Here is the Beechner family Christmas card 2007. Derin & Minnie are in the back. Then Keegan is on the right left and Kaleb on the left right, they will be 12 in mid January. Calvin will be 4 in mid December and Corbin will be 2 at the end of January.

Beechner Family Christmas Pic

Notice the sledding pics?

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Happy New Year,

-Derin-

Part-Time Jobs, Death of Dreams, Reality Bites

Where to start…there is so much I want to talk about…I have made many observations this past few weeks.

Observation:  If I work 30 hours at my new part-time job (Home Depot) then I will almost make enough money to pay half a payment for half of my total student loans.  Or another way of looking at it:  I will almost make enough money to make a payment on the interest on one loan.  I need about 4 more part-time jobs to make any difference.  Which sucks.  I am working a whole lot of hours for a whole little pay, spending way too much time away from home and family, making time sacrifices and I am sore and tired all the time.  I almost like the job itself and the people I work with.  But I am not so sure it is worth it.  I simply need to make more money.

Observation:  Dreams exist so that they can be killed and obliterated, only then can one start to accept reality and live their miserable life.  I see people every day who want to do more with their lives, become a lawyer, pastor, own their own business, etc.  These people are dreaming.  They are still 18 years old and have the lie in their heads that they can do whatever they want to do.  My case-in-point:  I saw a magazine last night at Home Depot, it had a dream house on the front cover.  I remember the days when Minnie and I would sit around and dream about the perfect house…wrap-around porch, verandas, gazebos…sigh.  Then it dawned on me:  I am never gonna have that.  I may never even be the owner of any house.  It is time to wake up.  I’m never gonna fulfill those dreams, no pastoring, no dream house.  No putting my kids through college.  No retirement.  No new cars.  No nice chrome, front-loading matching washer and dryer.  No big-screen, HD TV.  No refrigerator with the ice maker and the water dispenser that holds the milk on the door and has that extra door on the outside where you can just reach in and get juice or milk or a snack.  No white picket fence.  Although Home Depot sells most of that stuff.  I’ll work until I am dead.  I’ll have debt until I die.  The best that I can hope for is to teach my kids to not follow in my footsteps.

Kids…I keep telling myself that someday Kaleb and Keegan will grow up in a house, with a yard and a tree house.  Another dream.  They are growing up so fast.

OK, so I am a little depressed and feeling sorry for myself.  So what.  Reality bites.

Observation:  Debt still sucks.  I was talking to a friend this past weekend and he confided that he was not very happy with God and student loan debt (and other debt).  There was cussing involved between him and God.  I cuss about 2 dozen times a day to myself.  The really bad 4-letter words too.  I am angry and frustrated.  This student loan debt is doing more than killing dreams.  It is starting to consume me, starting to master me.  I hate the fact that I went to MNU to be a pastor.  I hate that I feel cheated and lied to by Christians.  I even consulted with a bankruptcy lawyer last week.  But there isn’t much they can do unless one is disabled or at the poverty level.  I am neither and am actually sad about it!  I hate that even though I am taking steps to better myself that they really don’t matter!  I mean really!

So let’s review…Mad at God…Conned into going to MNU…insanely high student-loan debt…2nd job meaningless…hope slowly dying…future looks bleak…Life sucks.  Yep, that sums it up.

And then I hear the angel in the other ear:  You have a great job.  You have a great family.  You are getting caught up in consumerism.  You got to play the XBOX360 this past weekend and kill people-that was so much fun, remember all the carnage and death?  That was fun right?  You’re just tired.  Slow down.  Take a breather.  Calm down.  It’ll be OK.

But reality still bites.  There still won’t be that “American Dream”.  And yeah that is the lie of a consumer-based culture.  But it is still a lie I want so desperately to be a part of.  I don’t want to work 2 jobs until I die.  I want my kids to have a better life than me.

Man, I am tired.

-Derin-

One Definition of Insanity

…is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different or new result. If you go back to my very first post  you will read about my work laptop crashing. You will read about me vowing to back up data. Well, guess what? My work laptop crashed yesterday.

So the question is did I lose everything or did I learn my lesson the first time around and backed up my data? Well, I am not too sure that the data is completely irrecoverable. But that isn’t the point is it? I did purchase software that would back up data. I installed it and even configured it. But work has these limitations. You can’t save certain file types. You can’t back up Outlook when it is running. And the list goes on and on.

So the answer is I had very little backed up. But I am not doing everything the same…I am BEGGING my boss to have IT do EVERYTHING they can to get the data off my hd. Which may involve spending money.

I did take the first step to do things differently in the future. I am encouraging the boss to entertain different ideas of backing up data.

I am insane today. But maybe more sane tomorrow. Well, not tomorrow because I will be going crazy hoping that they can get the data off my laptop tomorrow. But maybe soon.

-Durk-

If You Never Had To Worry About Money EVER Again

It is really fun to dream about winning the lottery-to win 100s of millions of dollars.

My email and lunch buddy, Kevin, and I were talking on this subject. He asked me what the very first thing I’d do after I won that kind of money. OK, after you tell your wife and a few friends. We happened to be at lunch and so I told him that I’d go back to work to tell everyone and then politely get my stuff and quit-walk out to never work another day in my life. Kevin said he’d pack up his stuff and not tell anyone! In the past he’s said he’d just not go back, forget his stuff-hire someone else to collect it for him!

For some people it is hard to grasp what that much money can really do for them and others. Our other email buddy, Chris sent me this quote from a CNN article:

Daisy Buck of Bluff, Utah
I would quit my job and retire. Then, I would give some money to my children/grandchildren and to my family. Most of it would probably go to fixing my house, paying the bills, and just kicking back and enjoying life.

My friend then pointed out, “Just in case you didn’t get it, I’ll repeat it for you, ‘Most of it would probably go to fixing my house.'” Well Daisy Buck of Bluff, Utah, your house must be one heck of a fixer upper. I replied to his email and joked that I could pay up my rent for years. But folks don’t really understand how to think with that much money.

I was thinking along a different line…I’d build a house and furnish it with all new EVERYTHING. With the exception of some personal photos or some really meaningful personal stuff I would walk into my new house naked and empty handed ready to embrace the whole new life inside. I apologize for the mental picture.

Kevin and I continued talking about a woman that had won that had kept her job. I remarked that that was just plain irresponsible! I then went on to say that it would be cool to sit back and invest in people’s dreams, finance thier business endeavors or the like. But Kevin was quick with a chastise, you don’t need to invest with the purpose of making money…YOU HAVE MORE THAN YOU’LL EVER NEED! The question isn’t what would you do with all of that money, how would you spend it. No, the question is what would you do with your life! What would you do to impact the lives around you? What would you do for mankind? If you never had to worry about money EVER again what would you do? Where would you go?

It is kinda like an episode of the A-Team I saw on Tuesday January 14, 1986. Captain H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock was the crazy character-the BEST character I might add. Well he was on Wheel of Fortune. Remember when you could go shopping as a winner on Wheel of Fortune? You’d buy 2-3 big things for thousands of dollars then go for the $150 lamp or $75 dog statue. But not Murdock! He bought 5-10 of the little things and then had enough to get one big thing! Pretty funny. I love the A-Team. (Sigh).

So for Kevin he’d just go fishin’! He’d go volunteer at a fly-fishing shop to learn the trade and go somewhere to be alone fishing! I am more extroverted so I would do things to include my friends. I said I’d buy a really nice suit to wear to some really nice restaurants. Kevin said he’d never wear a suit again! I said I’d hire a chef to make meals where I could lose weight.

And that is how it is for most of us. We’d pay off our bills. Or buy a house. Or buy a car. Or set up some trust funds. Or fix something up or restore something. But that is all piddly stuff! I mean a $1M dollar house plus extravagant $500,000 in bills plus a REALLY nice over-priced sports car…well that is still just under 1% of a $200M payout! PEANUTS! A drop in the bucket! I’ll be 35 this year. Let’s say I live to be 85, that’s 50 more years…200M divided by 50 years…that’s $4,000,000 a year…about $75,000 a week…that’s over $10,000 a day! And that is without any kind of investment whatsoever. TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS A DAY!

Some folks would fly to different places. I’d buy a plane and learn how to fly it when my pilot wasn’t taking me to a show in New York or to a national park in California for a birthday bash with 1000 of my closest personal friends! Or for a snowball fight in Alaska! Some folks would buy a really nice house or fix up the one that they have, I’d build a housing complex where my family could live in an over-sized cul-de-sac of 4-5 houses that were connected by underground game rooms and pools and a really large banquet hall and maybe a theater or bowling alley…With a 5-story hotel off to the side where people could stay for free while visiting me! Yeah, now we’re talking. Some folks would buy a sports car; I’d go to a car dealership and get one of each with cash in hand, or cash in boxes.

I’d also do some cool stuff for my friends and family. I’d be creative in giving money away. I’d buy my kids a toy store. Maybe a video game store too. Heck maybe a train for the Thomas the Tank lover in my house complete with an engine, cars and a caboose on a 20-mile long track. I have a friend who really likes beer. I’d buy him a bar. Tell him that if he doesn’t want it he can sell it and do whatever with the money. My other co-worker is a pilot; I’d buy him a jet. I’d buy pocket PCs and laptops and maybe an Escalade for all of my friends!

I’d take Rush Limbaugh out for dinner. I’d play a video game against Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. I’d hire author Orson Scott Card for a one-on-one lecture/Q & A about his books. I’d pay to eat at a fund-raiser to meet President Bush. I’d build a house with President Jimmy Carter. I’d donate money and time to that “Extreme Makover: Home Edition.” That darn show makes me cry every time!

I’d build a church for the church plant that I attend that currently meets in an elementary school’s cafeteria. I’d give $100 bills away for no reason at all. I’d spy on folks just to learn what extravagant gift they want for Christmas and leave it on their front porch.

I’d help the poor as much as I could. But that kinda goes back to the idea of financing dreams and investing in businesses. I’d do that, start new businesses or invest in companies. Not with the purpose of making more money, but to create jobs and to build a legacy for generations to come. Maybe create departments at those jobs to recruit the homeless, clean them up and give them a place to live to transition into the workplace. Give them hope.

What Sam Walton did for his family and for the rest of the world is pretty cool. He created jobs; his Wal-Mart brand is world-recognized. Look how Wal-Mart is driving down the prices of prescription drugs. Not to mention the community involvement and the money that they are able to give to charity. I know some folks hate Wal-Mart.

Then you read story after story of those that have spent all of their winnings and get sued or file for bankruptcy. How can that be? The first thing you should spend money on is a financial advisor!

Some folks go back to work to be around their friends and maybe work at what they love. Some people might go off and be alone never to be heard from again. Others would stay right where they are and fix things up. Others may invest to make more money. And still others will buy a whole lot of little things and maybe waste all of their money.

But a few will do something worth while. They’ll leave their mark on the world-and not merly for the sake of being remembered. They’ll be a good person. They’ll have enough money to be a human being and give back to mankind. Maybe that’d be me. Then again maybe I’d end up filing bankruptcy in a few years.

I’d learn how to ride a Harley. I’d buy minivans for all the moms at the local Mothers of Mulitples organization. I’d build a really freakin’ huge tree house that spanned a forrest! OK, maybe not.

What would you do? I’d love to hear from you.

-Durk-

Old Job-The Big Move

I only have a few more days in my current role before I am off to start a new position on a new team within my same company. It is only a small physical move; I am moving one floor down. But it is going to be a pretty big move just the same.

I have been in my currnet position for over 6 years now. I know my job pretty darn well. Oh sure, their is TONS more I could learn right where I am. But I am comfortable in my current position, I know what I am doing and I am a “goto” guy for many who respect me. I am really going to miss the people I see and talk to and work with everyday! Jacquie and Jeff, I’ll miss you guys. Charles and Kevin F too. I hope Kevin G will still eat lunch with me once in awhile. Kurt and Robert are great co-workers, Chad is super smart! Erica trained me-now she’s the new boss. I’ll miss Paul’s crankyness, Pat’s quiet humor and even Darius!

But I remind myself why I am leaving: More money. More direction. Opportunities to learn new things in an exciting group. A new manager who just might promote me. Leadership opportunities. Career development.

I am excited and nervous about the Big Move. Such is life. Change is inevitable. Change is good. It is also hard.

Come see me on the 3rd floor.

-Durk-

New Job

Mr. B, the manager of the Security group, had approached me quite awhile ago about a job in his group. He asked if I had experience with C+ and some other computing languages. I told him that I did not have the programming language skills he was looking for. He asked me to be on the lookout for a qualified person and I asked him to keep me in mind for any future position within his group. Mr. B approached me on 5-20-06, he walked into my cube and told me to write a number down. At first I thought it was a phone number, but he clarified that it was a job requisition number, that it was for his group and that I’d better hurry because it ended THAT DAY! So of course I went to apply for the job right then and there-as fast as I could! I could not find the job requisition! So I immediately emailed Mr. B. my resume and told him that I’d love a chance to work for him.

In the mean time I phoned a friend and he suggested that I try to track down the recruiter. So I began to call around and so did he. I found a name and my friend found out more details: Only 14 applicants, all external; I’d be the only internal applicant, which could really give me an edge! So I emailed the recruiter, stating that the hiring manager had asked me to apply and asked if she would add me to the list of applicants. Mr. B called me and tried to help me look up the job, even though the job was still open it was not available to for additional applicants. So he IMed the recruiter and asked if I could be put on the list. She said that normally I couldn’t but that she would add me. YES! I would at least get an interview with 14 external employees and me-the internal employee!! And then Mr. B asked me: “Are you interested?” OF COURSE! And then asked me what my current pay was. I told him and then he did the totally unexpected: Asked me to meet him at the elevators for a talk! We went to the picnic lunch area, he bought me a pop and we sat and he interviewed me! More like explaining the details of the job-telling me what I’d be doing! Again he asked if I was interested, again I said yes. “How does a 10-15% raise sound?” I said that is sounded awesome! And he said that he’d have the recruiter write an offer! AWESOME. He even showed me the new area where they would be moving to-showed me about where I would be sitting in the group!! AWESOME!

The next day I approached one of the people on Mr. B’s team, mentioned that I had talked with their manager the previous day and they explained how Mr B had offered me a job! It had really happened!

A few days later, even before I a formal offer, I sat down with a couple of teammates under Mr. B and they explained what I ‘d be doing on the new team! WOW.

Here it is a couple of weeks later…I have a verbal offer and am merely waiting for the written offer and then I get to haggle about the actual raise! SWEET!

-Durk-

The Re-Building Phase

I lost everything on my work laptop’s hard drive-so much for hope. All my email is gone. All of those spreadsheets are gone. All my automation scripts, gone. No more bookmarks, no backups of files that I left on the local hard drive, no more pics, no more music, IT IS ALL GONE.

But it isn’t all irreplaceable or a critical loss. Life will go on, even my work life. I will still get emails in the future. I can re-create spreadsheets-maybe even better than before or see if I emailed a copy to someone else. The automation can be re-written-although not automatically. I can find all of those websites again. I can take more pics and steal more music.

I would like to say that I have learned from my mistakes! I will find some nifty program that will automatically back up my email .pst file. I will back up all of the documents in My documents folder. I will print out pictures and burn music onto CDs.

But what is reality? Reality is loss. Reality is pain. Reality hurts. OK, so that may be a bit dramatic, but no matter what I do I can’t protect everything from everything.

So what? Well, thank goodness for second chances. Monday is over and Tuesday is here. IT Guy will hand-deliver my “new” laptop any minute now. I’ll spend the next couple of days tweaking, installing and setting things just right. Then I’ll get all of that backup stuff in place. Then I’ll start working on all of those things that I lost.

Thus marks the beginning of my re-building phase.

Here it comes again: The Great Cosmic Truth:

Life is full of second chances. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing. Grace is a wonderful thing. This Easter season can be one where the old passes away and the new person is re-born. It isn’t easy giving birth…Just ask my wife who had baby boy #4 just a couple of months ago (no girls). It also isn’t easy re-building and changing for the better.

Is it worth it? Well, I don’t know yet. I know I can’t go back. There is nothing to go back to. So I have to move forward. I don’t have to learn anything new or do things differently. But I can’t remember everything that I lost…Or it wouldn’t be that big of a loss. I don’t remember how everything worked or was worded or organized or whatever. So I am going to have to do some things differently. Hopefully I will do them better as well.

Change is good. Growing is hard.

-Durk-

If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done You Will Always Get What You’ve Always Gotten

Today is shaping up to be a stereotypical Monday. My work laptop PC is dead. It indicates that there is no bootable drive. Which may mean the hard drive is dead. This makes me sad and mad and angry. I should not feel this way. I should have a warm and fuzzy feeling that everything is OK, that all my data is backed up in a safe place, just waiting to be recovered. After all my hard drive crashed and burned last September. I lost everything then-especially VERY important emails. And I vowed that I would back things up. A promise broken. I’m not too sure how many times I have to go through this to learn to back things up. All is not yet totally lost-the IT Guy still has to look at it. So there is hope.

So I asked my local admin assistant if she will assist me in submitting a ticket. She recommends calling help desk and asks me to use the new number, “Did you get the email with the new number,” she asks. It gets a little painful after this, but finally she figures out that I don’t have access to my email. Surely this is not the first time she has these frustrating conversations.

There may just be a lesson in all of this. OK, here comes the Great Cosmic Truth:

Such is life. We do dumb things (or bad things just “happen”) and we react. And when we have a chance to do things differently the next time, we don’t! Instead we think that we can do the same thing over and over again and there will somehow be a different result. And when the result is the same we wonder why. All of this is not too far off from the definition of insanity.

All is not yet totally lost-people can change. People can chose to learn from their mistakes. So there is hope.

I really hope I get my emails back. And my eBay stuff. And my pics. Oh yeah, that work spreadsheet too. I have hoped for this before and have been disappointed. I really hope I am not insane. I think I have hoped for that before too.

-Durk-