Thoughts on the Future of Work

Lately I’ve been following Penelope Trunk’s thoughts on the future of work, as well as Richard Florida’s thoughts on the future of cities  (See also All About Cities, an excellent blog on…cities!).  Add to that Jamais Cascio’s thoughts on the Metaverse, and it’s a lot of food for thought.


Here are Penelope’s predictions:


1.) The end of gender disparity
The end of the stay-at-home parent
The end of the grind
The end of “work friends”
The end of office life
The end of consulting
The end of hierarchy

I’m not so sure.  Coming as I do from Pittsburgh, a conservative town, most of this stuff is FAR from reality.  Even with Gen Y coming in to the workplace, very little has changed.  And most of the X’ers I know just adapt – indeed, are co-opted – into the conservative culture.  Five days in the cube, with extra hours when necessary.  No special perks or cool offices.  And everyone goes home at the end of the day and work and home are completely separate arenas, as far as friends, anyway.  Believe me, hierarchy is alive and well here.  Perhaps that’s part of the reason we have outmigration.

Perhaps in tech firms it’s different, but as far as I can see in the engineering industry and the banking industry nothing has changed here.


When it comes to parenting and work, most households I know have both parents working full time jobs.  A few, like mine, have one parent working while the other stays home.  We pay the price in that we can’t afford some of the things that others can – for example, we’re still in an apartment although we’re saving for a house.  It also leads to friction since the stay at home parent feels like they work more than a full time job and can’t understand why the wage-earning parent wants to relax in the evening since they don’t get a chance to relax.


I want to explore this more in the coming days.  Telecommuting is rare here (as a regular practice, anyway) since most employers are conservative Boomer types.  Gil Schwartz wrote an article in Men’s Health Best Life magazine where he demolishes the idea of telecommuting.  He questions why he would want an employee that doesn’t want to be in the office.  It’s a bit tongue in cheek, and totally opposed to Penelope and Ryan/Ryan’s Gen Y thoughts, but it rings true to me, at least here in Pittsburgh.


What are your thoughts?  Do you see a shift to more telecommuting?  Do you see a blending of work life and home life?  Are your friends at work and your friends at home the same or separate?  Is your organization flat or pretty hierarchical?  Let me know in the comments!


Of Bellydancing and Adventure

I leaned against the wall of a small teahouse on the outskirts of Marrakech, taking in the exotic locale, the musicians and bellydancers…

Well, sort of. The location was actually a vegetarian cafe – Zenith – on Pittsburgh’s Southside.  The musicians and dancers were very real, though.


My wife and I, neither of whom bellydance (Yes, men do it too!) or play instruments, really enjoyed it.  The occasion was Jalsah Pittsburgh.  What’s that, you ask?

“The Jalsah is a Middle Eastern music event that invites all musicians (regardless of instrument) and drummers to sit in and play Middle Eastern music for open floor dancing all night. This is a participatory community event designed to bring together dancers and musicians inspired by Middle Eastern music. Experienced….inexperienced…all are welcome! For those folks who wish to sit and listen, chairs will be provided.”

My son even got into the act, and the dancers were gracious enough to teach him:


One of the organizers was the writer of “Your Inner Vagabond” (check out the blog, now!) and his wife.  They also provided the excellent coffee.  The cafe au lait was awesome! Snacks were provided by Zenith.  Zenith is an amazing place.  It has an eclectic decor with stuff from just about everywhere.

We met a lot of neat people, and I know I’m going to miss some, but here’s a few:

AJ and Andrew of Your Inner Vagabond

Claire and Berna of Khafif

Sterling of Yoga and Bellydance


Sue, Becky, and Dur

The musicians of Ishtar 

And I believe I saw Olivia of Zafira as well.

Guests included Kristina Melike, Carmine Guida, and Umut Yasmut.

Good stuff!  The event is held every few months or so here in Pittsburgh, and each of the artists has their own schedule.  I also would put in a plug for the Globalista Jam being held May 18, which will feature artists from all kinds of traditions, such as Irish dance and of course, bellydance.

Pittsburgh has definitely got a thriving art scene.  Get some culture and try something new!


100 Reasons I love my wife

 This is actually an old meme, but I wanted to put it up anyway.  With Valentine’s approaching, I think it’s especially appropriate.

Love you, Babe!

 1.)    I love the little notes she puts in my lunch.

2.)    Love when she says “my honey”

3.)    She has beautiful eyes

4.)    She has this husky voice sometimes that she whispers I love you in

5.)    She’s excellent at balancing the checkbook

6.)    She sings to our son before his nap and at night

7.)    She prays with him too.

8.)    She genuinely cares about others.

9.)    I like when she gets tears of happiness

10.) I love her long dark hair

11.) I love the birthmarks that stand for HLM on her arm

12.) I love her laugh

13.) Watches out for my health

14.) Makes great brownies

15.) Got me eating pizza with tomatoes on it instead of sauce

16.) Makes sure we don’t get cheated on bills

17.) She actually knows the words to “Oklahoma”

18.) She gives great hugs

19.) Her hand fits just right in mine

20.) She loves games and is competitive!

21.) She’s good with small details

22.) She spoons really well

23.) She never cusses

24.) She’s good with kids

25.) She sings beautifully to music

26.) She improved my wardrobe a lot

27.) She’s very humble

28.) She’s assertive

29.) She was by my side when I was unemployed

30.) Her come-hither expression makes me weak in the knees.

31.) Her face is very expressive

32.) Her lips are so soft and kissable

33.) She has a childlike sense of wonder.

34.) She likes to read mysteries.

35.) The only time I don’t miss her is when I’m with her.

36.) She cares about her parents.

37.) She has a great deal of empathy for people

38.) Her dazzling smile

39.) She’s a great cuddler

40.) She thinks I’m sexy

41.) I know she’s sexy

42.) She’s a great mom

43.) She’s rubbing off my rough edges

44.) My breath still catches in my throat when I see her across a crowded room

45.) She bore my son

46.) She stands her ground

47.) She’s good at meeting people

48.) She’s smart

49.) Her profile is gorgeous

50.) She knows how to give massages

51.) She forgives me when I screw up

52.) She pays our bills on time

53.) She volunteers for the church nursery

54.) She let’s me tell the same old stories over and over

55.) She help me to realize that it is more important to care for others than yourself

56.) She’s amused when I put my foot in my mouth

57.) She says “I love you” and means it

58.) She is a romantic

59.) She looks great in a bikini

60.) She’s a good Christian woman

61.) She doesn’t mind when I’m a bit overweight

62.) She cries during movies

63.) She loves to dance

64.) Great at finding deals at stores

65.) Cares about my health and makes me see the doctor

66.) She believes in the power of prayer

67.) She gets mushy after a glass of wine

68.) She tolerates my book buying addiction

69.) Her skin is so soft and smooth

70.) She’s absolutely faithful

71.) She’s not materialistic.

72.) She is very feminine

73.) She is a cancer survivor and I admire her for that

74.) She keeps in touch with her friends

75.) She encourages me to do the same with mine

76.) She likes to talk to me

77.) Watching her sing shake your booty with our son

78.) She’s a MILF.

79.) Wiggle wiggle wiggle 😉

80.) She is a girly-girl

81.) She’s determined

82.) She makes me look good

83.) Because I can’t imagine life without her

84.) Her hair always smells so good

85.) She can eat anywhere, not just hoity-toity places

86.) The way her face lights up at my gifts to her

87.) Pat, pat, pat 😉

88.) She looks incredible in a formal dress

89.) She makes me feel like James Bond

90.) She hates to sleep without me in the bed.

91.) She looks good even without makeup

92.) Her political views mostly match mine

93.) She’s a good teacher to our son

94.) She irons my shirts even though she hates doing it

95.) She is good at arranging the dishes in the dishwasher

96.) She meets my needs even at times when she is not in the mood

97.) She likes to hear from me everyday when I travel

98.) She misses me whenever I’m gone, even if it’s just to the store

99.) She takes pictures & video so we’ll have a record of our son’s life.

100.) She doesn’t mind my Steelers mania

101.) She doesn’t make me watch chick flicks

102.) She puts up with my swearing

103.) She knows the words to lots of 80’s songs

104.) That she likes chest hair on men

105.) That she likes to play putt-putt

106.) She goes to my church

107.) She married me

108.) She’s a chocoholic

109.) She gave us a beautiful child

110.) She gets mad when she sees injustice

111.) She drives safely

112.) She wanted to be a stay at home Mom

113.) She needs all the covers to stay warm

114.) Thinks I’m a good Dad

115.) Her long fingers and toes

116.) Her clothes are so tiny compared to mine!

117.) That she wants to celebrate our 50th anniversary together – 46 to go!

118.) and many, many, many more

The Wealthy Barber

One of my long term goals is to leave a financial legacy for my descendents. As I’ve noted before, the future wasn’t in my planning until recently So I’ve had to do a lot of work on learning about finance.

It’s ridiculous that we don’t teach this in schools. Kids go out in the world never having learned much about saving for retirement, compund interest, and so on. And especially about philanthropy! So it looks like I’ll have to teach Number One Son how to do his own financial planning.

This year I have a number of books on finance set aside to read. One that I’d heard about but never read was “The Wealthy Barber” by David Chilton. I picked it up at the local library and gave it a read last week.

Book Cover

There’s a good, comprehensive review here at Getting Rich Slowly, but these are some of my takeaways:

  • I need to upgrade my insurance
  • Save 10% first IN ADDITION TO your retirement funds
  • Don’t invest in penny stocks, ever
  • It’s okay, if you’re doing the right things automatically, to spend your cash on things for you.

One thing the book didn’t discuss was giving. I’ll get into this more in a future post, but I often see 10% as the amount for giving. I need to do better at giving.

Anyway, I recommend this book. It’s a good basic description of a smart way to manage your finances. In the beginning of the book, it states that if you take 100 25-year old Americans, by the time they reach 65 1 will be rich, 4 will be financially independent, and the other 95 will be in trouble financially.

Be one of the 5!


On Leaving a Legacy, Part 2

Before I got married and had a child, I really didn’t pay much attention to the future. Even after marraige, I was pretty much concerned only with having enough to retire on. But when my son came along, things really changed. I knew already I needed to think about things like wills, insurance, and college education, but soon I found out there was more…

The first that happened was that I read a series of articles in Worth Magazine. Now don’t get me wrong, I hardly fit into their income demographic, but it seems to me that knowing a little about how the wealthy think would help me to manage my own finances. In any case, the series of articles was on the 100 Year Plan.

If you look at the Rockefellers, Hearsts, etc., you’ll find families that have managed to preserve their wealth through time. Many families start with nothing, make a lot of wealth, and lose it all in three generations. My family tree shows that happening. So I wanted things to be different, and these articles talked about managing not just financial wealth, but social, intellectual, and spiritual wealth through four or five generations. My goodness – I was thinking about my great-grandchildren!

The second thing I read was the story of a preacher in what we’ll call Denomination X . This man got on his knees fifteen minutes a day and prayed for his descendants. He had children – boys and girls. The girls all married ministers in Denomination X, and the boys all became ministers in Denomination X. The same proved true for the next generation. And the next generation, his great-grandchildren, did the same, except for one. That one, the one who decided not to be a minister, was James Dobson.

Now you may or may not think much of James Dobson, depending on your political views, but still, his great-grandfather left quite a legacy!

So I began to see the future in a whole new light. And I evaluate my goals, both short and long term, in light of the fact that I would like to leave a legacy for my own family.

No pressure, no pressure…..


What I’m Thankful For

Tomorrow, of course, is Thanksgiving, and on blogs all over I’ve seen posts on what people are thankful for.  Since gratitude for what we have (and not worrying about what we don’t have) is important to our happiness, I wanted to note my list:

I’m grateful for…

My beautiful, intelligent, loving wife

My awesome son

My parents

My Gram

My sister

The rest of my relatives

My In-Laws

My job

My car

My apartment

My salvation

My friends

My health

My sight

My hearing

My sense of taste

My sense of smell

My sense of touch

My country

This beautiful world

And for so many other things.

When I look at how much I have to be thankful for, it reminds me that what I don’t have in material possessions isn’t that important.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Halloween Capers and Zombies attack STBD!

Last night we took #1 Son trick or treating for the first time. As it was also his birthday, he loved every second of it, rain and all. People were passing out tons of candy since there weren’t many kids out, so he made out like a bandit. Gotta love it!

UPDATE:  Here he is in all his glory – points to you if you can tell me what he is:

In other news, Something to be Desired has their Halloween episode out – zombies attack! Check it out:

Hmmmm. Am I allowed to have STBD in the same post as my son? In any case, I should also mention that they have a blog, too! Check ’em out!

Fiddlesticks, Symphonies, and Irish Pubs

This month has been a big one for the Pittsburgh Symphony with my family.  This weekend, we took my 3 year old son to the symphony.  PSO has a series of concerts called “Fiddlesticks” wherein kids 3 – 8 can go and experience it.  It starts at 10:00 on Saturday, and the kids get to enjoy activities such as coloring, dancing, and sing-alongs.

The actual concert began at 11:15.  The conductor was Lawrence Loh, and the soloist was Jessica George.  And of course, Fiddlesticks the cat showed up and Little Buddy loved it!  The pieces included America the Beautiful, If You’re Happy and You Know It, the Fiddlesticks song, and some classical pieces including Mozart and also Hadyn’s Surprise Symphony.  My son was enraptured and now tells me he wants to play the violin!  Well, we’ll see if he feels that way after the next two in the spring.

My only complaint is that I thought Little Buddy would get to meet more of the musicians and actually get to see the instruments up close.

Movement Room:

In the Movement Room

At the Performance:

My family at the Symphony

With Lawrence Loh and Fiddlesticks:

with L. Loh and Fiddlesticks

Overall, though, it was great, and I really enjoyed the family time.  Afterward, we went to Claddagh’s Irish Pub over in the Southside Works.  The food was good, the service great, and the atmosphere was pretty cool.

Yesterday my wife took me back to Heinz hall to see Beethoven’s Fifth.  The PSO, accompanied by the Mendelssohn Choir, did three pieces by Brahms, which were all very good, if somewhat depressing.  That assumes you read the words in English or spoke German.  I haven’t seen the orchestra paired with a choir before, so it was pretty neat.

Brahms Concert

As for the Fifth, WOW!  I’ve listened to it many times on CD and tape, but to hear it live….outstanding!  The PSO did great and of course got a standing ovation at the end.  What a great birthday present!

Our next trip to the symphony is next year, so now I’ll have to find other topics to write about!

Weekend Travel

My nephew was confirmed this weekend and we traveled to my sister-in-law’s place in New Jersey. The food was excellent and we had a great time. Number one son did especially, as he got to play with his favorite cousin and on the swingset…