The 2-Week Rule

Suzie and I were sitting in the hot tub last night when this topic came up.  It's a thing that I've observed over the years.  I'm sure it's already noted by anyone that studies such things, but I'd like to think that I'm the one that really noticed it.  If nothing else, I'm the one that blogged it.  That makes it official.

What is it?  It's the 2-Week Rule.

When I count the things that have happened in my life that revolve around changes of one kind or another, they all have one thing in common:  They all seemed to take two weeks to become workable or come up to par.  Everything we do seems to have a learning curve or adjustment period.  Everything seems to have a hump that you need to overcome before things start clicking or start working correctly.  A certain amount of time has to pass before enough confidence, understanding, or ability trickles into our heads that it tips the scale in our favor.  Oddly enough, it seems to always be two weeks.

For example, anything we do that is physically strenuous but is also repetitive seems to be subject to the 2-Week Rule.  When I used to be a runner (that's right--I haven't always been just sitting here at my computer!) I noticed that it was a full two weeks before my body stopped complaining at my sudden overuse of previously inactive muscle groups.  After two weeks had elapsed things got much easier and more predictable.  I could run without stopping or collapsing.  I could breathe without worrying about dying from lack of oxygen.  I'm not saying it stopped being hard, I'm saying there was a definite point that things got easier and more predictable.

Any time I have gotten a new job or a new position I was again subjected to the 2-Week Rule.  For the first two weeks I muddled through--taking notes, listening to whoever was teaching me, reading instructions, or what have you.  It was never until two weeks had past that I ever felt that things finally started to "click".  It always seemed to take two weeks to learn the traffic patterns going to and from work, and the best place or area to park in.  It took two weeks before I felt like I could actually recall someone's name.  It took two weeks before I felt like I really learned the "lay of the land" as far as where things were, who did what, and what happened when.  As far as the job itself went, it was always the same amount of time before I really felt almost like I knew what I was doing.  How long?  You guessed it--two weeks.

Is it any coincidence then, that employers want you to give them two weeks notice when you're leaving a job?  Of course not.  They and everyone else that remain behind are on the receiving end of our job being passed on to someone else.  They are just as subject to the 2-Week Rule as we are.

Suz commented last night how she's starting to become pretty confident about things at her new job.  It's a temporary job, but she's had it longer than most temp jobs she's had.  She's had it long enough for the 2-Week Rule to come into play.  It's two-sided too:  She has had enough time to learn what needs to be done, how to do everything, how the others like it to be done, and it's been long enough that her coworkers know her capabilities.

I don't know about you, but even if I buy a used car it's also subject to the 2-Week Rule.  It takes me that long before I stop listening to every little noise, and evaluating every little thing it does.  It takes me that long to really learn the car and be comfortable with it.

Think about it.  Isn't everything that has ever changed in your life taken two weeks to notice results?

That Travelin' Bone

Sue saw this past weekend as sort of a 'last gasp' opportunity, so we just had to take it.

I'll be starting work this Friday, so who knows how my scheduling will go?  Plus, she had a green light to take Friday off.  Those two things together are a perfect excuse for a photography excursion.  The topic?  Fall colors.

The famous North Cascades Highway was our destination.  For traffic reasons (and the fact that I'm a contrarian) I opted to do the loop kind of backwards.  Most everyone (for whatever reason) always seems to do the loop clockwise.  Maybe it's because everyone seems to live along the I-5 corridor and they figure it's the logical choice.  Trouble is, for us to go up the freeways to our starting point on a Friday morning would have put us in pretty heavy traffic all the way up.  Instead we opted to go over Snoqualmie Pass and turn north.  In retrospect, it was a pretty good choice.  We had zero traffic issues at all anywhere we went.

The fall colors were rampant.  Our state isn't heavily into the red spectrum as far as tree varieties go but there were still quite a few of them among the yellow-colored ones that made up the majority.

Our 600+ mile trip took us on some pretty nice roads as well as some that were more suitable for a 4x4 truck.  It's not the first time and it won't be the last.  Some of the best photography roads are the least traveled ones after all.  We seemed a little more in tune this time than some during some of our other road trips.  Lots of times I get the "Never mind--it's too late now... You passed it" remark as as far as the repeated stopping for pictures.  This time we were both zeroing in on the same things for the most part.  Lots of stopping is our M.O. when we're out on these junkets.

Its kinda funny the things you see when you're out driving.  Like a giant, hand-scrawled sign next to the road inviting hunters to stop and remove the clothing from their deer.  Then, when you look down the road there's a nice vintage Ford truck repeating the message.

As per our usual experience when we're out on one of these photo trips, the "I wonder what's up this way?" roads we wander down turn out to be our favorites.  We find some of the most scenic stuff that way.  If nothing else, the roads are usually way less traveled, and in many cases, pristine.  This trip was no exception.  We really enjoy the "road less traveled" and we also look forward to those kind of pathways.

Sue always loves to make fun of me when we're in stores about how easily distracted I am.  "Ooo... Shiny things!" I'll say and wander off.  During one of our photo stops this weekend she wandered up the highway a little ways taking pictures.  I put on my long lens and managed to catch her having a 'shiny things' moment when she was on her way back.  Ha!

"Dum de dum..."
"Ooo... a piece of firewood!!"
"Oh shoot--he caught me."
Besides traveling well together, we also give each other the utmost respect when it comes to shooting.  I always give her lots of time to make the shot she's after, and if I see her shooting something really interesting, a lot of times I'll leave it be--sort of giving her an "exclusive" on the picture.  Likewise, she always gives me plenty of respect when I'm shooting too:

Not Dead Yet

"Are you finished blogging?"
"Don't you blog anymore?"
"We haven't seen a blog from you in a long time."

These are just a few of the things that have come from people that are used to seeing the awkward glimpses into my life and times.  Yes, plainly, they miss me.  They miss being able to compare my amazing life to their mundane meanderings.

The 27th of August I said goodbye to my previous job of over 10 years.  They hated to see me go, as did I.  After all--I was there over 10 years and had earned a fairly good reputation for jobs well done.  (When you get raises without asking for them there ought to be something to that, right?)  Anyway, it was a good run and they are a good reference in my work history.
What kind of idiot would jeopardize his family and his finances by leaving a job in this economic climate?  Me apparently.  It wasn't a great move, and guilt overwhelmed me.  I jumped into working here at home with gusto.  Guilt is a strong motivator.  I worked hard.  We got a lot of things done around here.  The 'honey-do' list got whacked down to nothing.

I also applied for lots of jobs and attended workshops at the Auburn Worksource place.  I learned a lot about interviews and resumes.  What to do and what not to do.  All sorts of things.

In the end, the bottom line is that I have accepted at offer at Boeing as a Manufacturing/Engineering Planner at their Auburn location.  It's the same job I did when they laid me off back in December of 2001.  The difference is that it's a lot more money.  More than I made at Boeing and more than I made at LaCroy (not the real spelling--I modified it for search engine reasons).  I start next week.

This whole thing has had way more positive than negative.  The negatives?  Leaving my job and having a negative cash flow.  The positives?  Several:
  1. Left the old job.  After wondering for a few years whether or not the company would actually last until I could retire, I can put that behind me now.  I hope for the sake of everyone else that works there still (which are lots of great people) that it continues to last a long time.
  2. The weather.  This has been an unbelievable streak of fantastic weather here in western Washington.  Record-setting weather.  What nice conditions to not have to get up to go to work.
  3. Chores completed.  This was a lot of stuff.  The weather played a major part in it as well.  We split wood, finalized the stump removal/tree planting that had stared at us since the winter storm that inundated us with ice.  We moved beauty bark, trimmed things, cleaned things, and built things.  Lots and lots of things got completed.  It was good.
  4. New, better job.  Obviously, this is a big one.  Will I like it?  I'm optimistic.  I'm really looking forward to it.  In the last 10 years, I've come to miss the team environment at Boeing.  Nothing at LaCroy went that way.  It was very fragmented.  It was a whole company with stand-alone people that were excellent at their jobs, but that not many other people knew how to do.  When you take a vacation from a job like that, the company is crippled while you're gone, then you're crippled when you get back and try to play catch-up.  This job and its benefits mean more opportunities for us to take the trips that we love to take.
  5. Count my blessings.  The whole process of losing my job caused me to do a lot of soul-searching.  When you go from provider to embarrassment it causes you take stock of your life.  I wanted to turn back time and undo the whole thing, but of course that is not possible.
When I left LaCroy, I clamped down on my interaction with people.  I killed almost all of my Facebook friends that weren't part of my immediate family.  As a matter-of-fact, I'm this close to killing my Facebook account completely.  It's just too public.  Anyway, I just had a real introspective look at myself.  Sue and I are both looking at this whole thing as a new beginning.

Keep an eye on me everybody--this is my last run until retirement.  Don't let me screw anything up.