My annual performance review continues, and it’s a grueling, 10-day process. Even more challenging, I won’t know how I did until this time next year.
I’ve never been the most observant member of my faith, but one aspect I take very, very seriously is the Ten Days of Awe, when every Jew is called upon to account for himself as the High Holidays begin on Rosh Hashanah and close at the end of the Yom Kippur fast.
Our goal, of course, is to conclude the Days of Awe with a promise that we’ll still be here next Rosh Hashanah. It’s either incredibly poetic, or impossibly devious, that we won’t know if we’ve made the cut until we’re back in the next performance review, asking for one more shot at getting it right. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?
As I cycle through the Days of Awe each year, I recognize the absolutely unassailable value of an annual performance review; not a review of my activities or my possessions, but of my value as a human being. I'm not being measured by any standard standards; instead, I'm rated on a table of Cosmic Benchmarks.
Most of the year, I forgive myself for all sorts of trespasses, but I’m more demanding about my Cosmic Benchmarks, both because the issue is life or death and I am not the One delivering Judgment. Yes, I realize there might not be a God and there might not be a Book of Life and this whole process might not have any relationship to the year ahead. Still, there’s something to be gained from considering all of it to be literally, brutally, eternally True.
Every year…so far…I’ve gained new perspectives, new insights, as a result of my performance review. Even if I’m really talking to myself, I emerge from the Days of Awe with a renewed sense of mission, a revived spirit, and a bit of added momentum. I’m more appreciative of the time I’ve been given and more aware of the time to come. I don’t know what is coming next, but I am more intent on being worthy of each new day, each new breath.
We all tell people there’s more to life than money or possessions or careers, but we tend to focus on those transitory artifacts much more than we emphasize the overarching purpose of Life. I’m grateful for the yearly reminder of what’s important, why I’m here and the work I still must do…assuming my annual review goes as hoped.
Wish me luck, and follow my progress, by clicking here to subscribe to our weekly updates at Dad Writes.
High Holidays post
My annual performance review continues and it is a grueling process.
Seriously, is there any holiday more depressing than Labor Day?
It goes without saying that our last summer holiday comes much too early, but this year we have the special bonus of leaders who are furious with the lazy, shiftless, unproductive, ungrateful, useless mopes who make up the American workforce.
Most years, politicians will issue proclamations about U.S. workers, the bedrock of our nation, pursuing the American Dream, yadda yadda bull bull bull. Not in 2021, though. This year, they're all screaming just one question: Why doesn’t anybody want to work anymore?
It's a legitimate question, since millions of people, from bartenders to rocket scientists, are taking extra time to return to the workforce. From entry-level serfs to highly-sought techies, the hesitation is broad-based and troubling.
Still, let's be honest about the whole thing. All the politicians and pundits aren't asking about the people who decided to retire last year, a number that apparently doubled to more than 3 million. And they aren’t asking about the people who are earning enough to thrive on one income instead of two.
No, the vitriol is reserved for the poor, semi-poor, nearly poor and the millions who are just getting by in the land of plenty. Entire industries, from restaurants to ride shares to daycare, depend on people working for low pay and, often, zero benefits. Pretty much every industry in the country is facing staffing shortages, but we’re only angry at the people who are at the bottom of the pyramid.
Fun Fact: None of us wants their jobs, either. Really, when was the last time you woke up and said…
“Gee, I wish I could wash dishes for the next ten hours,” or
“Wouldn’t it be fun to spend the day cleaning an airport bathroom,” or
“I love taking calls all day from people with problems I am not authorized to resolve.”
Anyone who wants one of those jobs can get one, because millions of people have moved on to greener pastures. Any takers?
Of course, this is how capitalism works. Supply and demand drive prices, free markets create new opportunities and every resource seeks its maximum returns. Most of the time, those resources are steel or oil or rail cars, but this year the scarce resource is people. Real wages for most workers have actually declined over the past 40 years, but it looks like 2021 is the year that everyone is getting a raise, including the dishwashers.
Personally, I think it’s worth the tradeoff. I’ll end up paying an extra dime for my coffee and a dollar for my pizza, but maybe we’ll be seeing fewer homeless encampments under the expressway. Maybe fast-food workers will finally be able to buy some of the food they make. Maybe working moms will still have a few bucks left over after they pay someone to watch their kids for ten hours a day.
Now, if only we could stop being so furious at the people who are getting a chance to move up a rung on the ladder, Labor Day could be just a bit less depressing for everyone.
Our labors would be much more rewarding in the coming year if you just click here to subscribe, and it won’t even require a minimum wage increase.
It’s Independence Day and, like all loyal patriots, I will spend the day at a public reading of the Declaration of Independence, followed by a reenactment of the signing.
Hah! You fell for that? No way, Joseph. Like all my fellow countryfolks, I’ll spend the holiday at a barbecue, consuming huge amounts of food and way too much beer. Then I’ll look for the closest fireworks display and spend the night watching stuff go boom.
Even in our polarized nation, great holidays like Independence Day bring us closer together. I once argued with my neighbor about the relative merits of Maker’s Mark versus (boo, hiss) Crown Royal, but it’s really hard to keep up the rancor when you’re stuffing your face...and in a stupor.
That’s why we need more holidays in America and not just “historical” holidays like Independence Day, Juneteenth and Mother's Day. We need new holidays that celebrate all that makes our nation special today and every day. At the Holiday Viability Assessment Laboratory at Dad Writes, our research team has identified the ten holidays most worthy of celebration in coming years, including:
Have we missed anyone? Let us know your recommendations for new holidays and we will add them to the list that we deliver to Congress by way of our lobbyist friends on K Street. We can’t wait for the parties in 2022.
When Dad Writes receives the Medal of Freedom for our leadership in the holiday sweepstakes, subscribers will be invited to the ceremony. Don’t miss your chance to be part of history. Click here to subscribe now.
On behalf of the university, its staff, and all the alumni of our fine institution, I bid a warm welcome to the graduating class of 2021.
What an exciting year to be completing your studies at our university. Yes, I realize that you didn’t exactly complete your studies “at” our university, but we did include the school colors in all our Zoom backgrounds and we did insist that you rent space in our dorms even when you couldn’t be here, so it’s really the same thing.
At first, I was a bit nervous about speaking to such a large group, even on Zoom, but I remembered that incredibly sensible advice that I should imagine all of you are just sitting there in your underwear. And that’s easy to do, since I can see so many of you actually are sitting there in your underwear. Also, it turns out that Spiderman underpants come in adult sizes.
Of course, you didn’t travel all the way from your kitchen to your dining room table to listen to a long presentation about the glories of our university or the traditions we uphold. You want to hear about how special you are and how bright your future is, and you especially want to hear that you’ll be able to pay back your student loans before you die.
I am delighted to tell you that I can answer all your questions in the affirmative. Yes, you are a truly special class, a group of immensely gifted students who mastered the art of packing, again and again, while we announced and retracted our campus opening plans 42 times over the past 15 months. You completed more than 35,000 hours of distanced chemistry lab with only 17 homes burned down in the process. You made your school spirit known when you hacked into the scoreboard at the stadium to Rickroll the football team. And you certainly made your mark when you voted to replace our school mascot with a CBD gummy bear.
We know this past year has included a number of disappointments for you as we canceled many on-campus experiences. Many of you were upset you were unable to make out with your bae in the library and you couldn’t play Frisbee on the quad. You’ve told us you feel cheated because you didn’t spend enough time in our hallowed halls, partying with your friends in the dorm, and sharing meals in the cafeteria. (Well, actually nobody said they missed the cafeteria, but the staff there is very sensitive, so we are including them here.)
We feel your pain, but our attorneys want you to see this in the most positive of lights. When you return for your class reunions, it will be as if you are here for the first time. You’ll be energized and inspired as you experience the university in 3-D. And, of course, you’ll be surprised as you sample the unique offerings in our cafeteria. (Not pleasantly surprised, we know, but at least you’ll be grateful that you didn’t spend all four years dining on this stuff.)
Most important, our distanced journey over the past year has prepared you better than any other graduating class for the world you enter as adults. Working in isolation is now the number one job skill that almost every employer seeks. Whether you’ll be picking produce in the grocery store for Instacart or lubricating the self-driving cars for Uber or dropping Amazon boxes in somebody’s yard, your ability to thrive without human contact will make you even more valuable to the handful of companies that will still be hiring humans in the coming years.
For those of you who will be entering the white collar professions, your year of remote learning has prepared you for a lifetime career of working from home, sitting at the same dining room table where you have been based since early in 2020. While earlier graduating classes developed such obsolete skills as personal contact and team building, your graduating class is uniquely equipped for the brave new world of isolation, two-dimensional colleagues and, of course, working from home while wearing Spiderman underpants.
Yes, honored graduates, you are the most special, most prepared, most likely to succeed class in history. While many of the adjustments we made to your education over the past year were forced on us by the pandemic, we now recognize that they are the model we should follow from this day forward. Clearly, the incredible value of your remote education justifies the 27% tuition increase we implemented last September, and we look forward to increasing our distanced learning, and tuition, for many years to come.
And, no, we don’t give refunds.
Unlike a college education, subscriptions to Dad Writes are free for the next 5,000 people who click here to sign up.
I think I’ll cancel my plans for April 1, but maybe I can schedule a really great dinner, as I shift my calendar yet again…
Before you share your April Fool’s Day pranks in the comments section, be sure to click here to subscribe to Dad Writes.
Omigod!! Wake Up, MEN!!!! It’s Valentine’s Day and you didn’t get anything!!! What are you going to do to survive this disaster?????????
JK, guys. VD is next week, so you can hit the snooze alarm. Still, we could be posting this alert two months from now and it wouldn’t matter. For most guys, Valentine’s Day is a lose-lose proposition that adds anxiety and risk, but doesn’t exactly spur a ton of strategic thinking.
Yeah, there are a few traitors to the YChrom Movement who book spa days and hire private chefs and learn how to, um, scintillate via foot massage, but most men are going to claim they “think best under pressure” and grab whatever they can get delivered in an hour or less next Sunday morning.
Yours truly will probably get up around 7 a.m. on the 14th, steal the neighbor’s Sunday papers, and cut out letters for a VD card that just might be incredibly endearing—if I was six years old. Since I’m several times that tenure, it will look more like a ransom note and it will be received almost as warmly.
Let’s face facts here. For most men, Valentine’s Day is not the most alluring of holidays. Thanksgiving has food and football. New Year’s has food and football. Super-you-know-what Sunday (today!!) has food and football. Valentine’s Day? Well, there’s food, usually, but not the incredible array of nachos/pizza/wings we get when there’s football.
More than the food/football gap, Valentine’s Day is designed for failure. Seriously, there is no way to buy the exact right thing, say the exact right thing, and massage all those toes the exact right way. The only thing that comes in the right size is a Roomba and, trust me, guys, this gift is not as romantic as those Home Depot ads would suggest.
Never fear, though, for the passionate devils at Dad Writes have devised the perfect manly measures for VD excellence. No matter what your situation, here are the perfect gifts for that special other humanoid in your life:
If you have children, buy them a pizza and eat it in the car, leaving your significant other alone at home with no interruptions. They get a bit of me-time and you get a pizza. Win and win.
If you’re quarantined together, buy a Peloton. There’s no better way to say, “I think you’re hip and hot and fit,” than a $3,000 hamster-wheel/TV combo. And, yes, we’d still think it’s the perfect gift even if we hadn’t bought options on 30,000 shares of Peloton stock.
If you’re both working from home, nothing says “You’re a star,” like a bath towel they can use as a Zoom background. Pro tip: Buy a gray towel so the lint and soap suds are less obvious.
If you won’t be in the same place, order a romantic dinner to be delivered to each of your locations and enjoy it together on a video call. We suggest a heart-shaped pizza as the main course, although we forget what wine goes with anchovies.
If your relationship is brand new, send flowers. It’s the most polite way to say, “I’m excited now, but I know this might fizzle in a week or two.” Plants and candy might still be hanging around as painful reminders after the passion fades, but flowers know how to leave before it all goes south.
If your relationship is decades old, buy a bottle of cheap champagne. It’s not very creative, or romantic, but both of you will be too tired to argue about it once the bottle is empty.
Best of all, every one of these special, meaningful, truly romantic gifts can be arranged today, while we’re all watching the matchup of, um, you know, uh, those teams from those cities that we don’t live in or near or come from. And enjoy your nachos. After all your Valentine’s planning, you’ve earned a break.
Dad Writes subscribers are prepared for all the holidays, from Valentine’s Day to Alban Arthan, and you can be an expert, too, if you just click here.
Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.