[MD] The need for quality

Andrew Chu andrew.chu at gmail.com
Fri Aug 25 06:38:50 PDT 2017

Hi Dan,

Interesting question.  So just about two years ago I faced this very question, or at least, the inverse of it, i.e. even if money were an objet what would I not be willing to do?

I had worked at a company for five years and it was a good job.  Not a dream job, not bliss, but good.  Good paying, good people (mostly) and generally engaging.  In the last year, things started to turn towards a very low quality situation.  

It’s one of those situations where life reveals to you some options.  I had the option to ultimately work for someone who I didn’t respect and in my view, didn’t respect me.  

Aside: he at one point pointed to me in an open office setting and jokingly said without actually joking “Is this guy fired yet”?  He is and was the president of the company and I was, at the time, working my tail off to fix a critical problem and, while I don’t do anything in expectation of deference, I certainly don’t believe I deserve that type of attitude or treatment.  Just because he was in an open political feud at that time with my direct manager at the time, does not merit that type of petty behavior, particularly from someone who is in a leadership position like that.  A bit stressed and particularly engaged in some vexing work, he broke whatever quality connection I was trying to invest in my work, and so I looked him in the eye and responded simply “that would be a mistake”.  He stood back a bit, unsure how to take this as he had never had a subordinate react this way and after a moment responded “well it’s not the first time the company made a mistake” and walked away.

Needless to say, having someone openly challenge him did not put me on his favorites list.  So the writing was on the wall and, unsurprisingly, my work situation became more and more precarious as he pulled strings using whatever political means he had.  

My option was thus as follows:  continue to work and get paychecks in an increasingly low quality situation or make a decision that even if money were an object, I would not subject myself to that declining quality.  

So in September 2015, with one child and one on the way, I quit.

I had no job lined up, I was accused of secretly having a job already with one of our competitors, of basically being a corporate spy, to which I simply and flatly denied.

I don’t recommend people take this line of action, cold turkey as it were.  I am very fortunate that I was able to save enough and that my family was supportive enough that I could essentially leave this situation behind and have some time to figure out my next move. 

The next year I spent reflecting on exactly the question you asked.  

I spent time writing, which is something I realized I enjoyed to do even published a short collection of essays about quality (which probably no one has read but that is ok).  My son’s public school district was thrown into a giant controversy touching on racial and socioeconomic segregation literally the month after I quit which added to an already uncertain situation.  I spent some time creating software which I also enjoyed.

The interesting thing is, while I didn’t know it at the time, each of these activities/events has played a part in getting to my current pattern if you will.  The software I made didn’t amount to much but it helped open conversations to my current employer who, in contrast to my prior executive, I truly respect and is teaching me so much every day.  My son’s school situation struck me as a disaster at first but since then I have invested myself into building the school and joined the school’s leadership team as a parent in hopes of creating something new, a third way between overpriced private schools and segregated public schools.  

So long story short, I know money is crucial and again, I don’t propose others take the drastic route I did, but I do think there are ways to allocate time towards things that, even if they don’t generate money, offer psychic, emotional and perhaps even karmic value that is very hard to predict.  Watch one less hour of tv a week and write.  Skip the first half of that big game on Sunday and go for a run.  Instead of dropping your child straight off at school and picking them straight up, stop in and ask if they need help with anything.  I’m sure the folks on this list already do a lot of these things in big and small ways so this is preaching to the choir.  

I guess what I’m trying to say is no matter what it is you think you would want to do, just try it, but try it consistently.  In short weekly sessions perhaps at first.  And if you find you like it, you may naturally allocate more time.  If you don’t connect with it, then try something else, no harm done.  And don’t necessarily do it with the money in mind, you have your day job for that hopefully, do it because you connect with it.  It’s an investment in quality and, if anything, the last two years has taught me that investments in quality do come back to you in sometimes unpredictable and surprising ways.

From: Dan Glover
Sent: Friday, August 25, 2017 12:09 AM
To: moq_discuss at moqtalk.org
Subject: Re: [MD] The need for quality

Andrew, all,

If money were no object, what would you do?

On Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 6:48 PM, Andrew Chu <andrew.chu at gmail.com> wrote:
> Maybe one way to spread quality is to imbue it in what we do?
> Spend our precious hours finding those things that we uniquely connect with and venture into that quality connection.
> Has anyone watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi?  That’s quality if I ever saw it.  It’s as if a low thunderous roar of quality was building over the last 70 years of his life and once it crested it left a lasting impression across the world.
> We need more of that.  It could be anything, sushi, soccer, singing, strawberry jam.  The paradox of our time is that we have so many ways to express our quality and so little quality to express.
> That needs to change.
> From: Dan Glover
> Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 11:19 PM
> To: moq_discuss at moqtalk.org
> Subject: Re: [MD] The need for quality
> Hi Adrie,
> Yes, new every day. I like that. Thanks, Adrie!
> On Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 3:18 AM, Adrie Kintziger <parser666 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Can we still be surprised and feel awe when we discover a bird's nest in
>> the
>> shrubs or a frog in the polder?,we should be!,....many people loose this
>> ability early in life.We can ask ourselves,...
>> Did the emotional/intellectual adaptive filter close too early for them,and
>> did the pattern dissolve itself to give way for other patterns to
>> emerge?......,
>> Sometimes a bit strange that i will take a philosopher stance to stop
>> thinking about these things, and go back to expiriencing again, as if
>> everything is anew every day.
>> Adrie

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