Friday, November 16, 2012

The Search Continues

So while I've got the day off, let me give y'all a brief update on how goes the internship search. Last I left off here, I had interviews on four consecutive days, and I felt good about every one of them. American Express was my top choice, and I felt good about that interview, and one place that I felt like I had a really good shot at, DigitalGlobe, based in Colorado, had some really positive indications for me as well.

After my interviews I told Amy, "I could get all of them or none of them, I really don't know." Interviews don't intimidate me at all, I feel like I represent myself well in person, but it's so hard to know what it is that the other person across from you is feeling.

We were supposed to hear back at the end of that week. Friday came along and no word had come from any company for most of the day, but then at 4:30 I got a phone call from American Express. They said no. That one hurt because I just really didn't know what I could have done differently, and I honestly felt like my interview went well. I happened to be at home, so I told Amy. I was really disappointed, and went for a run right after hearing so I good just get rid of some of that negative energy.

The run was good and Amy and I decided to go out to dinner. We talked ourselves back into the game. We talked about how there are plenty of good companies left, how it's still only October anyway, and there would be plenty of time for something to work out. We were feeling good again, but I still hadn't heard from two of the companies yet, so that naturally led me to checking my phone every few minutes.

As we were eating, we kept up the same rah-rah dialogue. I loved that my wife was still so supportive and optimistic. The only problem was that as she began to launch into another thought about how things would be fine, I checked my phone, got an email from DG and I cut her off mid-thought to say that I had been turned down for that one too.

We didn't talk the rest of the meal. That one really hurt. Doors were closing everywhere. It was just a really rough day. One no is hard to hear, but I could bounce back from that. Hearing several so close together was worse.

And I didn't really understand why. On paper, I stack up at least as well as most of my classmates. In person I'm sure that I come across better than most of them, but things just haven't panned out for me like it has for some others.

I hardly slept that night. I woke up in the middle of the night, started combing through different job listings, company offerings, trying to figure out where my place would be. I took a 45 minute assessment from Gallup. I emailed about a dozen different people.

I emerged the next day and the following week with much more optimism, which is more than I can say for a number of my classmates. I ran into one guy at Wendy's and he had a similar day as I had on that fateful Friday. He said his wife was beginning to freak out. He was contemplating switching tracks in the program to catch the recruiting season for finance. Another guy I talked to later that week was feeling similarly. Every time I tried to speak positively, he kept shooting me down. I finally got to a point where I told him, "well, I guess if Kellogg's doesn't work out, then that will be the end of it, so good luck."

The thing is, I really do believe things will still work out. Not long after I heard all of my no's, I talked to a friend who is a second year in the program. He is a stellar guy, and he didn't get his internship until late in the school year, but still managed to land a great one. He gave me his formula, and I'm sure it will work out. I called some of the recruiters I had interviewed with previously about their thoughts on anything I could improve. I talked to my second year mentor and he told me that he was as surprised as I was that nothing had really panned out yet. The program lead told me the same, and I've since heard that from a few different second years.

Something that really helped me put things in perspective was reading from some conference talks. From Elder Nash's talk, By Faith All Things Are Fulfilled: "The Apostle Peter looked to the Lord one stormy night and walked on water—until he averted his gaze and “saw the wind boisterous [and] was afraid” and then sank into the stormy sea. He could have continued walking if he had not feared! Rather than our focusing upon and fearing the boisterous wind and waves in our lives, the Lord invites us to “look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.”

What kind of faith would I have if after being rejected a few times I simply gave up? I know that I have the same opportunities and talents that anyone else has in my program, so how could I lost my trust so quickly that things wouldn't work out? I've dealt with setbacks many times in my life, so how is this any different than those times? Like Peter, I want to walk, and maybe I can learn from his lesson and stay afloat instead of sinking.

And I also read this from Elder Johnson, which helped also:

Making the covenant to be a disciple of Christ is the beginning of a lifelong process, and the path is not always easy. As we repent of our sins and strive to do what He would have us do and serve our fellowmen as He would serve them, we will inevitably become more like Him. Becoming like Him and being one with Him is the ultimate goal and objective—and essentially the very definition of true discipleship.

If I ever do want to become a true disciple, then what I really need to worry about is how I measure up as a follower. Am I living up to my privileges? Do I think on others before myself? Am I abiding by the commandments? Do I maintain an eye of faith even when things sometimes get discouraging? Those are the things that really matter. Getting an internship is only a detail, but not the essential one.

So that's where things are at. I'm still looking, but I feel like I've made some great in-roads since then. I've made some contacts at Ford, with whom I interview on Monday. I'm going to Adobe today for the main purpose of connecting with some people there. I still have Citi on the horizon, Price-Waterhouse Cooper, and one more ace in the hole that I'm really hoping will work out soon. I applied to Goodyear, and got a good recommendation from one of the second year students.

Things will work out, and I'm still really excited about my prospects. I just thought I'd share some of the process because not everything has been just easy for me, ever, and I think I've gained some valuable insights that maybe could apply somewhere else out there for another person.

A total of 7 no's so far. Looking for some yes's to put in the win column. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

California Video

Finally got around to doing our California trip over the summer.

For your entertainment...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Country Tis of Thee

Nope, not going to have lots of updates about the election. I'm still feeling very optimistic about Romney's chances though. Early numbers for the Romney camp shows great GOP turnout in all the key states - Colorado, Iowa, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, etc. Lots of good signs.

I forgot that my mom became a US citizen a couple of years ago. I got the cutest text from her today: "I just vote today First time. I vote in Romney."

Love it.

I'm so eager to see how everything will unfold. Win or lose, it's going to be so interesting to see how the country responds.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

To Our Sweet Girl

Dear Jane,

It’s strange for me to write a letter to you that you may read in a few years, but one which you won’t really grasp the full import of for maybe another 20 or so years into the future. I say that because while you can have some level of appreciation for the event of your birth that I’m about to describe, it just really isn’t one of those things that you can really understand and appreciate until you go through this experience and have your own first child.

The simple act of being the first born in our family, of course that carries enormous significance. The birth of any person is significant. However, if you look at the number of people in the world, how many are born every second all over the world, it somewhat diminishes the singleness of the experience. But, I’m pretty sure that there is something completely novel about the first born in a family because of the simple fact that it is the first time to ever occur in our family. That is what makes your arrival so truly awesome (using that word in its truest sense). Yours are the first diapers of any of our children that your mother and I will change. The sleepless nights we experience because of your being a newborn, that’s only entirely new when it is with you. Obviously every child we have will be exciting and wonderful in their own ways, but our firsts with them will only be their own, but in your case, your firsts are our firsts too. Not just firsts, but firsts ever. That is something really unique.

Anyway, I digress. The story of your birth goes like this…

Your due date was September 13, 2012, and except for a few aches and pains that your mother had, especially with her back, things really couldn’t have been much better. Truly we were so blessed with you. Without much to go off of, we thought you might come late, just because your grandmother Mary always came late with her children, but of course you had different plans than that. You spared your mother the pain of being pregnant longer than the due date, which is something that nobody ever wants to do. (Again, something you’ll appreciate more later down the road.) And like your mother, you were very punctual, coming the day before we expected you to.

Something we really hoped for with your birth was just for it to be a surprise. It seems like so many people have false alarms or end up getting induced, so we just hoped that it would be something like out of the movies where we absolutely know that you are about to come in a major way and make your first mark on the world. You did not disappoint in the slightest.

Your mom and I went to bed around midnight on the night of the 11th, as is standard fare for her and I, only to be woken up a couple hours later at about 1:50 by the bursting of her water sack. Until it happens, you just never realize how jarring it is to be woken up out of a dead sleep in the night by, "Oh my gosh, my water broke! This is happening!" It was just crazy, and to be instantly aware of everything that is going on at that time too. There was not even a second of grogginess, or trying to grasp the gravity or import of the situation. It was perfectly simple: We were going to be having a baby and you were most likely going to be born that day, September the 12th.

We left for the hospital right away, sent out some texts, and made a couple of phone calls to the people who would want to know first.  People were sweet. Some were up at that time (Mike and Brian Walton, of course), while others were woken up by the text and couldn't wait to hear the progress (Elisha, your aunt, and my stepmother, Juliana), but most everyone was pretty unaware until the morning.

Progress was mostly pretty slow from that point. Amy was having contractions, and although the pitocin was stimulating the contractions to occur about a little more than a minute apart (which is pretty close together), she wouldn't fully dilate for awhile. Because she ended up getting an epidural, for us, that meant that we would just try and pass the time by taking naps, watching movies and TV, and eagerly waiting for your arrival.

Most of the day passed without anything really interesting happening. The contractions were consistent, the pain medication was working fine, so we just waited. And waited. Finally, a little after 5pm our nurse came back, saw that Amy was fully dilated, and told us that we could begin the delivery soon. Our room began to fill with people, and your mother started pushing.

The experience was just so fun for us. We found ourselves laughing frequently in disbelief; We just couldn't believe what was about to occur, and I guess that's just kind of how we react to things, which I think is a nice indication about the condition of our relationship, and how surreal that event was for us. She pushed and your head began to emerge. Everything just looks messy when you haven't seen that kind of thing before, but it was just so amazing to see everything unfold.

You finally entered into our world at 6:41pm. It turns out that your heart rate had been slowed because the umbilical cord had wrapped around your neck, and that prompted some of the procedures that followed, but it wasn't something to be really concerned about.

When a baby is born the medical staff will look for a few different things to make sure everything is okay. One of those signs is a good healthy cry from the baby. Not crying can be an indication that something is blocking the airways, but for you, once that had been cleared and everything checked out okay, you still wouldn't cry - not much anyway. You kind of whimpered a bit, cried some, but you calmed down so quickly. And that's kind of how you've been ever since you were born. You have such a sweet and mild temperament. Even when there are things that should upset you, you hardly stir a lot of times.

You've been with us now for a few weeks and so far the transition to having you in our lives has been easier than we thought it would be. It feels like we have had you our whole lives. I guess that's how a lot of these transitions can feel sometimes. You forget what life was ever like before that thing happened, but you're glad now that it's always going to be this way. That's how your mother and I feel about you at least.

Your birth and growth has been the highlight of our marriage to this point. We just love you more than we could ever express and we are so glad to call you our own. Welcome to this world, Jane. Your mom and dad love you so very much.


Thursday, November 1, 2012


Any guesses about why we vote on Tuesdays? It's pretty interesting and has to do with horse and buggies, and is explained in this Ted talk video.

Then this video talks about why your vote doesn't matter.

PBS - "Voting Schmoting" from Tilapia Film on Vimeo.

Don Boudreaux, GMU economist, explains the reasons why he doesn't vote here, which touches on the some of the same points mentioned in the video above. Here's a brief excerpt:

First—and least interestingly—my vote will never determine the outcome of a political election. The chances that my voting for candidate Smith rather than voting for candidate Jones (or rather than not voting at all) will assure that Smith wins the election are practically zero. Put differently, from my perspective, the outcome of any election will be what it will be no matter what I do or don’t do at a polling place on election day. Because my time is valuable, I never vote; I instead spend my time on activities whose outcomes I am more likely to affect.

Some people insist that non-voting is “selfish.” Perhaps. But note that I’m not the only person to benefit from my refusal to spend my time pointlessly. By not voting, I have more time to prepare for the classes I teach, or more time to write articles that (I hope) at least some people enjoy reading, or more time to spend helping my son with his homework or just enjoying time with my family. Because my refusal to vote changes nothing, the cost to others of my not voting is zero. But the cost of my voting to others (my students, my colleagues, my adoring reading public, my family) is real. So by not voting, I make at least some people better off while making no one worse off.
Spoken like a true economist, right? There are some other considerations in the voting equation, namely, the sphere of influence that a person wields over the people in his/her circle. Another economist, Russ Roberts, explains his non-voting position in a more palatable way than Boudreaux does. His point was mostly about educating others, and how touching other people personally will do more to swing an election than what a simple vote does.

In any case, I haven't voted in awhile, mostly because I'm not registered in Utah, and the absentee ballot where I am registered to vote has been problematic to get the last few times. I've mostly just resigned myself to the fact that I have never actually lived in a swing state, so my vote matters very little. There are other issues of smaller scales that maybe I could help tip the scales more, but in the end, I think I largely align with these thinkers. At this point, voting is mostly just a symbolic gesture, but it still feels good to do it.

(The biggest reason why I don't register to vote in Utah is that I would have to give up my CA driver's license, and I keep holding on to the thought that some day I'll buy a Disneyland pass, in which case, I'm going to want that California resident discount. The price I pay...)