Grown-ups lie to kids. I have discovered this.
When I was young, my mom did not have a lot of money, and so things like trips to Disneyland, when they occurred at all, were on an extremely tight budget. No buying candy, souvenirs or extras. I swore that when I grew up, went to graduate school and made money I was going to go to Disneyland and buy whatever I wanted. The grown-ups told me that it would not be what I expected, that by the time I was an adult it wouldn’t be the fun I thought it would be.
They were wrong. I have been to Disneyland a dozen times, stayed at the different hotels, ridden all the rides a hundred times and, to this day, whether it is Disneyland, Seaport Village or the Third Street Promenade, I go into almost every candy store I see and buy one of everything, and it is GREAT! (And yes, I weigh less than I did as a teenager, but I must admit that I am pretty certain that I have single-handedly paid to put my dentist’s kid through USC.)
Another thing grown-ups lied about. All of that random crap I had to learn in high school that I did not want to learn never came in useful and I doubt it ever will. The things I did not want to learn included Chinese poetry, the pluperfect tense (or something, I still don’t know what it is). The classes I took that I actually WANTED to take, like Matrix Algebra, Analytic Geometry – that turned out to be stuff I have used my whole career.
[By the way, this does not apply to college, where Washington University in St. Louis was right and I was wrong. Those programming courses that I did not want to take back in 1976 because I was never going to use a computer, uh, thanks to the dean of the Business School or whoever the person was who clearly had a lot more foresight than me as a college sophomore.]
All the way through four degrees I said that when I graduated I was going to learn what I was interested in learning, and it would be GREAT. The grown-ups said the workplace is not like that.
Well, guess what? I work at a university with 26 libraries, a few miles from the five-story downtown Los Angeles Public Library, a few blocks from the brand new Santa Monica Public Library, and they have this new thing that exploded since I left graduate school called the Internet. You can find more stuff in it than a candy store, I spend much of my time just learning what I am interested in and it is GREAT . Even better, since my job is to consult on statistical software, I get paid.
There are a few sites that I like so much that when I found them, I felt like someone had given me a present.
Tom Peters website actually does give you presents, in the form of downloadable files of slides from his presentations. Tom became famous for his book In search of excellence, but he has done a great deal since then. He was even a speaker at SAS Global Forum. His site also has the best leads (for me) on other sites I would find worth spending a lot of my time reading, we must have nearly identical interests, but he is much, much richer. I would feel envious about that except that he lives in Vermont where it is freezing while I live in Santa Monica where the weather is so beautiful that when you come outside in the morning it is like being kissed by God.
Speaking of not being envious, the Clarion Call to Leadership blog has some of the best advice not just on being a good leader but being a good person.
Cool & Tech-y
100 Great Blogs for Librarians – librarians?! Yes, actually, much of what goes on in libraries now is computer labs, database searches, electronic books, e-journals. The library where our consulting office is located is four stories, only one of which holds books. Two of the floors are computer labs. Don’t actually know what is on the third floor. Maybe that is where they house the trolls. I’ve always suspected there were trolls on campus somewhere. There are 100 blogs here, hence the name (duh!) . Like libraries themselves, this is a good place for browsing.
Social Science Statistics blogs – random, interesting things
LoveStats – how could you not like a blog with a name like that?
Then there is all the just cool amazing stuff like
National Public Radio – my daughter, the perfect Jennifer, who is in graduate school, Julia, the world’s most spoiled 11-year-old, my husband (the rocket scientist/ cartoon fanatic) and me all love their podcasts.
Free e-books – books for free? I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Much of what I found here is junk food for the brain, mystery novels written in the 19th century and the like, but they were well-written, and, as you might guess by my candy fetish, I am not always about the meat and potatoes of life.
What have we learned? That life as a grown-up CAN be every bit as good as you imagined it when you were a kid. Can you believe it, your own PERSONAL computer !! (I’m still waiting for my flying car.)