Thursday, February 23, 2012

If Opportunity Knocks...Answer The Damn Door!!!

     How many times do we tell ourselves or someone else that we are just waiting for that one big opportunity to come: after that, the sky is the limit. We stop for a brief moment to let the idea sink in.  It gives us a temporary rush to think about the great things that could possibly result when opportunity finally decides to knock on our doors.  Once the moment comes to pass, we come to terms with the grim reality that the actual probability of opportunity actually knocking is very slim at best.  Going back to what I have said prior to today, we learn to accept what we have, and come to believe that there is not much more to look forward to once you reach a certain point.

     How often do you see people out there who have decided to put their lives on hold for whatever reasons?  For many, the reason could be that they decided to have kids rather than establish themselves first.  Other people decide that they are not cut out for school, so they drop out and pursue some form of blue collar work, or low paying office jobs, etc.  The constant here is that people in this position feel like they have placed their future on hold for the time being, when in reality many of these people are sealing their fate.  Little do they know there is always something out there: an opportunity waiting to be had.

     I remember being laid off from my previous job 3 months before my daughter was born.  My girlfriend was pretty worried to say the least.  We were in the process of buying a house, but all that fell through when I lost my job.  She kept telling me to take whatever job I could get to at least hold us over.  Part of what I said had to do with my stubbornness, but there was more to it: I told her that I would not go to work for less than I earned with my previous employer.  Three months went by, and still no responses or interview requests from prospective employers came my way.  My daughter was due to be born any week now, and my girlfriend was completely frantic because our money was pretty low, and she was the only one bringing in any kind of income.  Then, out of nowhere, I got the call I was waiting for while we were shopping for baby clothes at Target.  Two days later, I had an interview, and one week later I was in my new job.  My daughter was born three days after I started working with my present employer.

     There was a reason I didn't just take any job I could.  I knew if I got too involved with a job I didn't want, it was very possible the opportunity I was waiting for would have passed me by.  Whereas I was able to answer my phone at 3 in the afternoon that day, that may have not been the case if I was working at another job.  That means someone else could have easily been contacted, and there would have gone my opportunity.  This is not to say that my position is considered an opportunity of a lifetime for me, but it was definitely an opportunity to move in a better direction.

     Let's look at it a little differently now.  If I was approached tomorrow by someone with the opportunity to work in a different career field with a significantly higher income potential, chances are there won't be any second thoughts.  Conversely, considering that I am comfortable with the position I am in, it is also just as likely that organization could attempt to contact me with that same opportunity and I would just ignore it.  Well, in that case, I just let a great opportunity pass me by and someone else will have the chance to capitalize off it.  In my opinion, this is an example of settling for what I have: being content and not desiring that move forward.

     For those of you who fall into the younger reading crowd, here is a little bit of wisdom from someone who is not too much older, but knows enough to say it: opportunity will only knock so many times.  There will come a time when opportunity will just leave you a note, letting you know it stopped by, but you apparently weren't available enough to hear its pitch.  Here's another little point to consider: just because you may be presented an opportunity, don't mistake that for something being handed to you on a silver platter.  An opportunity is an open door, you still have to walk through the opening.  In other words: you still have to work to get what you want.  I am going to elaborate some on this next and final point which applies to all ages: just because opportunity stops knocking, it doesn't mean that it is gone for good.  

     Let's take a moment and think about that last statement.  I have caught myself settling for things I know I can get rather than look at the possibility of achieving much greater feats.  I found myself sitting down and waiting for things to be handed to me (proverbially speaking) on a silver platter.  I was operating with the mentality that if things are meant to happen, they will over time.  The reality is that sitting and waiting may work for a lucky few, but standing up and pursuing can only increase the chances of actually getting to wherever it is you want to end up.  The same thing applies when it comes to opportunities.  For a while, opportunity may look for you: eventually, however, the roles will be reversed and you will have to look for opportunity.  So many people are willing to just give up at that point because they feel there is no point in pursuing something that is so hard to find.  How do you know it's that difficult if you are not making even a remote effort to look for it?

     In the end: if opportunity knocks, answer the damn door!  If you don't, that doesn't mean that it will be impossible to find opportunities going forward: it will just be more challenging.  Take the challenge head on, and you at least guarantee yourself a chance to move in a positive direction.  Do nothing, and you guarantee yourself a lifetime of mediocrity.  To some, that is more than satisfactory, and that is absolutely fine.  More power to them.  To others, it is the ultimate failure knowing that you are capable of so much more, but decided to never pursue it.  I ignored the knocking on many occasions in the past, so I am doing things the hard way.  That said, I am enjoying the thrill of the chase.  Opportunity: you can run, but you can't hide.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Just a Thought: What is Fair?

     I was thinking about things the other day: wondering about where I stand, where I could be, where I would be if I didn't do certain things and vice versa.  Most of all, I was wondering if my position in the world was a fair one.  What I realized is that I didn't really know what to consider fair or unfair.  I don't think many of us - if any at all - can really come up with a clear definition of what "fair" really is.  Sure, the dictionary has a simple definition that anyone can use, but it is such a vague term since the definition can vary so widely depending on where you are in your life: be it from a professional, political, religious, ethnic or financial standpoint.  I am sure there are other areas which I am overlooking, but my point is this: how can we talk about what is fair when we don't even know what is FAIR to begin with?  Sure, we can say what we perceive to be fair for ourselves, but fairness to one person may not be so fair to the next.
     To me, fairness is not something that can be defined by the masses.  I think the definition varies from person to person.  I have worked hard to get to where I am today.  I am not wealthy, but I am not struggling either.  I have made my mistakes, and learned from most of them.  Where I am today was determined by my previous experiences, good and bad.  So, in retrospect, I think that - based on my compensation, living situation, family, etc. - life has been pretty fair to me.  But it's not all about me.

     I think it is fair that someone who has worked hard to achieve a high level of success should be able to reap the rewards that come with that success rather than being scrutinized for the life of frivolity they live.  I think it is NOT fair that - as much as wealthy people are taxed - people at the bottom expect them to pay even more because they are not paying their "fair share".  To me, that is penalizing success and rewarding failure.  I think it is not fair for someone who has worked so hard to have to dole out insane amounts of money to supplement the living of people who choose not to do anything for themselves.  (I would like to clarify, that not all people who are on public welfare fall into this criteria, so before you get offended and attempt to chop my head off: I do understand that some folks are in that position due to unforeseen circumstances, and that some people legitimately have it hard.)

     I think it is fair for everyone to have an equal shot at success.  People often misinterpret an equal shot for being a guarantee, so when they don't succeed, they cry foul and blame the system.  I know I could be much further ahead than where I am now, but I decided not to pursue my education.  I chose the route of the military, and even then I could have still taken classes.  Rather than taking classes, I chose to frequent the bars and club scene.  Now I have a family and work nights.  While pursuing an education is not necessarily out of reach, there are definitely more variables to consider and less time which can be allotted for that purpose.  At no point have I pointed the finger and blamed anyone.  I had plenty of opportunities to pursue that pinnacle of my life, but chose to do other things instead.  The phrase "your loss is someone else's gain" is completely applicable, and is - in my honest opinion - the closest universal definition of fairness.  Everyone has a chance, whether they want to believe it or not.  People are so devoted to pointing fingers and defining fairness based on their own personal interests, when in reality, fairness has been there the whole time.

     I don't care what your walk of life is: don't tell me life isn't fair and blame it on someone or a group of people.  Everyone has a chance: how you go from there is completely on you.  It is easy for people to blame their upbringing on why they are in the position they are in; people also have a tendency to blame the color of their skin, their religion, their sexual orientation and other factors as contributing reasons why they are not treated fairly.  By placing blame on those factors, you are contributing to your own stereotype.  If your background is consistent with poverty, drugs and violence, you decide to blame that for your failure.  I call BS, because I know a bunch of people who came from that exact walk of life, and are achieving immense success.  Heck, look no further than your television screen.  There are actors, singers, CEOs, and all sorts of other successful people who came from the lowest of lows.  You know what they did?  They took advantage of the opportunity that you DID NOT take.  That is absolutely fair.

     Fairness is so difficult to define because people only define it as it pertains to them.  If that is how you want to pursue it, that is fine by me: but nothing will ever be fair to you.

     I pose this question to you all, and feel more than free to respond (remember, we are simply trying to establish opinions, not who is wrong or right): How much better or worse do you think the world would be if everyone earned the same amount of money and had the same exact entitlements regardless of what your career and status in society was?  I ask this question only because that is pretty much how it would look based on the dictionary's definition of fair ("free from bias...neither excellent nor poor" according to

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Social Networking and Media: Good and Bad for Society

     If there is one thing that many people can thank technology for, it is the ability for one person to communicate with any other person in any location around the world so long as you know how to work a mouse and a keyboard. For those of you who are more tech savvy, web cams and microphones can also be included into the methods of communication. It is impossible to talk about how social media sites are bad without highlighting the undeniable positives that it brings. Because of social networking, it becomes nearly impossible to lose touch with someone after you move to a different location. Suddenly, it does not become a necessity to have an interview in person: some companies are willing to accommodate candidates by setting up interviews through skype and other avenues.

     Because of social networking, people have met their true loves that they may never have met had there never been such sites as eHarmony,, and others. Because of social networking, everyone can know exactly what you are doing, where you are doing it and who you are doing it with: and you don't have to call anyone in the process! (I'm not sure if that is always a good thing, but everyone is doing it, so I guess it's good!) Because of social media, we have been able to enjoy videos of people acting completely retarded, allowing videos to become insanely viral, resulting in the unlikely successes of many people. I won't lie, if I was smart enough, I would have had a camcorder fastened to my waste about seven years ago, waiting for that moment that would make me known to the world!  Yes: social networking and media has presented quite an array of benefits to society...or has it?

     There is no question that social networking has made it significantly easier to keep in touch with one another, but it has also proven quite detrimental to society because we are subconsciously creating barriers in our relationships with this technology.  Once upon a time, I would go out, meet new people, and ask for their phone numbers to keep in touch and meet face to face in the future.  Now, instead of a phone number, I am asking people if they have a Facebook page or if I can follow them on Twitter.  Back then (which was no more than 10 years ago, by the way...), people relied on face to face encounters to generate first impressions and gain information about one another.  Today, all you have to do is go to their profile page, which will provide you all sorts of information such as: home town, date of birth, relationship status, email information, employer, phone numbers, and much more.  Hell, if I was into identity theft, all I need to do is invite people on Facebook, and I'll get everything minus their social security number, which I wouldn't be surprised if they gave it to me considering how much information they are willing to provide in the first place!

     Just as easy as it may be to make friends or find long lost friends through social networking, it is now just as easy to cut communication or to end relations using the same technology.  The worst part about it is that people actually take it to heart!  Once upon a time, confrontation was the norm; as a matter of fact, it was welcomed!  Shoot, even a break-up with a significant other over the PHONE is more personal than doing it on the internet!  Instead, people resort to Facebook to tell us all how they feel: eliminating (in their minds) the need for confrontation.  We have grown so attached to social networking that we hope someone will take a hint when we "de-friend" them, and hope that we can avoid the awkward moment the next day when we see them at work or school.  Whereas we used to be able to handle issues in person, we let Facebook, Twitter and the like do the talking for us.  The more people who "like" your status, the more meaningful your statement becomes, and the more it affects the individual(s) targeted.

     And then there's our goodness.  I remember when I was a kid.  All I wanted to do was go outside and play with my friends every day, regardless of the weather conditions.  If it was a rainy day, it just presented an opportunity to make more of a mess of myself as I rode my bike through the mud!  Nowadays, children will sacrifice a breath of fresh air just so they can interact with their next door neighbor (no exaggeration!) online through Facebook or Skype.  Not only that, but we have our kids talking in abbreviations like brb, ttyl, lol, lmao, omg, rofl, omg, idk, etc., to the point that I am smdh (shaking my damn head!)!  If that isn't enough, kids are also shortening their words to the point where I question if vocabulary is even taught in school anymore (lyk instead of like, sed instead of said, ima instead of I'm going get the picture)!  Something tells me that our college students in the future will be reading phonics books instead of taking legitimate classes.  In case you haven't notices...our kids are becoming stupider with technology!

     It was bad enough when kids had to deal with bullying in school.  With technology we have allowed them to receive a double dose.  Just when you think you got away for the evening, you go online and see more nasty verbal taunts directed at you.  Now, instead of leaving your issues at school, everyone else on your profile can see what's going on since the attacks just keep coming.  And then we wonder why kids are committing suicide at such an alarming rate.  Think about it: once upon a time, people had an opportunity to collect their senses after a bad day, and hope that the next day would be better.  People could reflect on why things went wrong and make adjustments.  Now, bullies - or people who may have it out for you - can continue the onslaught and torment you to the point of submission.  But no, social networking is AWESOME.

     Here is the kicker, even employers are jumping on to social networking and media sites to assist in evaluating a prospective candidate's activities outside of a professional environment.  So, not only do we have to deal with the aforementioned issues, but now we have to make sure we are squeaky clean because our profiles and activities could very well determine our success or failure in life!  Don't make joking comments that may potentially offend a particular race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion because your would-be future boss might fall into those criteria, resulting in your disqualification from the job you wanted.  How sad is that?  We have become so dependent on technology that we are at a point where we wouldn't know what to do without it.

     The more I look at it, the more I wish we were back in the stone age (the 1990's...think about it, compared to where we are today, we were inventing the wheel back then).  We used to value face to face meetings.  We were so much more eager to take trips back home to see our friends and family because we had stronger bonds.  While we can definitely keep in touch more due to several methods of communication, there is no way to deny that there is less meaning to friendship with one another.  I can attest to that.  Whereas, I was always eager to contact long lost friends, now I can just look them up, talk to them, and forget about them again like it was nothing.  Social networking definitely makes life easy, but it takes away from the real value of living.  That is an opinion from an Average Jorge!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lead-in To Next Weeks's topic

I came across a video which I think would be a perfect lead-in to my next topic: social networking and technology in general.  While technology has been quite the gift, it has been just as much - if not more - of a curse to people today.  It is great to interact with people without having to leave your bedroom, but not having those face to face interactions on a steady basis - in my opinion - has taken away from the value of relationships.  Nowadays, if you don't want to be someone's friend anymore, you just "defriend" them, block them from being able to view any information on your page, and hope they can take a hint so that no up front confrontation is needed.  I think technology has a lot to do with why we have become so much weaker as a country. 

To touch back on the last topic a little, cyber-bullying has proven to just as effective as physical bullying.  Where it is more noticeable is with the age group that has been raised with all the social media accessibility.  These kids are most likely getting a dose of both the physical AND cyber-bullying.

On Monday I will provide my opinion on this and a number of other areas when it comes to our technological advances, and how they have helped and hindered the way we operate today.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Opinions From an Average Jorge - Violence and Bullying

Here is my take on violence and bullying, which I split into two parts because there was just so much to say.  We are so quick to judge others without taking a look in the mirror and evaluating ourselves first.  The more I look at things, the more I realize that we are a nation engulfed in hypocrisy.  I have said it before, and I will say it again, we must become individuals and learn to APPRECIATE other INDIVIDUALS if we ever want to achieve some sort of unity.  The violence that takes place has so much more to do with this than anyone wants to think.  We are so worried about offending people because so many will act on being offended.  This world is screwed up, and if we don't correct this soon, we will never recover from it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Upcoming Video on Violence Against Homosexuals and Bullying

Going forward, the plan is to post up one video each week establishing my opinion on any given topic.  However, this week I am going to make an exception.  I am beginning to notice a lot of articles regarding bullying and violence against the homosexual population in this country.  The worst part of it is that the violent acts committed involve groups of people attacking one person.  Really?  It takes five people to beat up one person?  The sad part is that technology plays a huge role by giving the assailants an opportunity to record the beating and post it to social media sites, knowing that such videos will generate a great deal of buzz.  When did people suddenly let spirituality take a back seat and decide to become judge, jury and executioner themselves?  It is time for all of you to be called out, and I am going to be the one to do it.  Get ready to look in the mirror.

My Opinion of The Susan G. Komen Foundation

On this video, I talk a little about the Susan G. Komen Foundation and how they revoked their funding from Planned Parenthood.  While I didn't necessarily agree with their move, what struck a nerve was that they reacted to the backlash by issuing a statement reversing their initial position.  It is clear that flip-flopping is running wild these days, but do people and organizations think at all about the repurcussions that may result from going back and fourth on their decisions?  When I see actions like this, I begin to question the integrity of an organization to the point where I just don't support it.  Feel free to weigh in on this topic.