Thursday, August 28, 2014

Life is difficult.

A friend, who I didn't realize at the time was a friend, gave me a copy of "The Road Less Traveled" in 2007. I say I didn't know he was a friend because, at the time, I was too full of myself to think that anyone could do something really nice for me without a hidden agenda. He gave me the book because he obviously could tell I was full of myself. He highlighted the first sentence of the book.


You see I had (and still have) the best life anyone could ask for. But there was always a reason I was unhappy. Somebody else's fault, I thought. So I threw the book on a shelf and assumed that this was just another dude trying to make my life harder. I really read the book in 2013. I mean REALLY read it. I really enjoyed it and I recommend you read it too. But....if you just want my quick-take on it, here are the main points from the first couple of chapters.

1. We do ourselves no favors when we avoid walking through the painful times in life.

2. There is value in suffering. There is value in facing problems and there is value in feeling pain.

3. Delaying gratification can be almost spiritual. It builds so much inside of us that is of value we cannot understand.

4. (Now this.....this is my favorite one.) If we don't challenge and truly re-evaluate in an honest way what we believe periodically we are....just.....just.......cheating ourselves.

I'd love to talk to you about any or all of these points sometime. This book changed my perspective and thusly changed my life.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

First Friday

Many of you know that I feel a real calling to be of encouragement to those that are going through difficult times in their lives. The impact that others have had on me by encouraging me when I was in a rough patch is a deep impact. I appreciate the people that have been there for me. I tell them I appreciate it. I seek opportunities to repay their kindness to me by doing the same for others that I know are in a tough spot.

I encourage others by mentoring younger business professionals. Oftentimes I will also encourage young fathers and the newly married men I know. I believe that "everything we go through makes us more valuable to others" and I certainly have been through my share of stuff that has taught me not only a lesson but what it's like to be in need.

In 2008 I started the East Metro Career Transition Group with some guys in Conyers, Georgia. After a year or two the economy picked up (or maybe everyone just got used to it) and we had a real deficit of people attending so we closed it up. I continued to help people in my network both professionally and personally. Now I'm happy to be starting the group back up in the form of "First Friday". First Friday is a monthly gathering of people that are encouraging, people that are in career transition and people that are hiring. We have coffee and talk. That's it. Sometimes.....we help somebody find a new employee or find a new job. But most importantly we tell people that we care for them during their tough times.

Visit us on Facebook at: http://facebook.com/firstfridayconyers

Come see us at the awesome AWAKE Coffee Community in Conyers!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saying Goodbye Is Important

Maybe because it's a rainy, cold day and I'm feeling really sentimental because my oldest daughter is visiting. More likely....it's because of what happened to me today that I'm writing this post. Here is my thought.....

I have always felt that it is very important to say good-bye to somebody when you should say it. The first reason why is kind of obvious. The second reason is why I felt compelled to write this blog post today.

Primarily, it's important to say good-bye to somebody when they are moving or you are moving or they are getting old.....or you are getting old. You may never see them again. This is an easy one, relatively speaking though some people still don't like doing it. Here's why; People sometimes feel like if they say good-bye then it might "come true" and they might never see you again. It's sad. It's true though. People like to say all kinds of little tricky things like "I don't say good-bye. I just say see you later!" Or they like to say things like, "This isn't good-bye it's just 'until we meet again'." What they actually do is let the relationship kind of slide out into the vapor to wander around without closure or validation.

I like to say "Good-bye." The reason is because of the second reason you should say it. Because saying good-bye validates that you have a relationship. It means that you have had fun visiting. You've had a nice time with them. You're glad you got to know them. You are glad you got to spend time together and you won't quickly forget what you have shared. It validates your relationship. Saying good-bye doesn't end your relationship it strengthens it by actually admitting that it means enough to you to say good-bye and admit you recognize it's about to change. You are saying that the change in your relationship means enough to you to actually put a milestone in place.

At this point  you either think I'm nuts or you "get" what I'm saying. Here is my example from today though.

Some nice people across the street (Marius, Rosalie and their baby Amy) moved in a few months ago. We really didn't get to spend a lot of time together but we shared some good times and did neighborly things. Again, nice people. Well, they moved today. They are on their way to the airport right now as I write this. They are moving back to Germany. They have TONS of things on their mind. They have loads of excitement, stress and anxiety they are dealing with as they take their new baby back home to Germany after a brief (too brief in both of our books) stint in the United States. But....before they left for the airport, on a rainy and cold day, they take their baby and come across the street to knock on my door to say good-bye. That is awesome. Because.....it validates that they value what time we've had. It says they want to stay in touch. It also (and listen closely here young adults) says that grown people say good-bye and walk through the awkwardness and sadness and do the right thing when they could have EASILY just driven to the airport and never seen me again. What a classy thing to do. They actually came and said good-bye. They said, "We will probably never see you again but we are glad we got to know you." And I said the same and I smiled and wished them God's blessings in their life. If they had just "left" I would have thought they never really cared. They might have thought that I was just some dude across the street that didn't really care about them. But...neither is true.

Now......why all the fuss from me about this? Because if you read this you might take the time to say good-bye someday to somebody NOT because you don't know if you'll see them again but because you want to say that what you had was enjoyable and rewarding and important to you. That is a real gift that you give somebody. So call it what it is. It's good-bye and it's okay. If you see them again you'll still be friends. If you don't see them again there will be no denying that you both actually had a relationship you appreciated and that's.....kind of what you were shooting for in the first place right?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My friend Josh.

Friendship is something that I take very seriously. Probably, as my wife and I have discussed recently, too seriously. Sometimes I get my feelings hurt when I want to be friends with somebody more than they want to be friends with me or when I choose to invest in a friendship and there isn't much reciprocation. I guess we've all been there. I certainly have.

It's hard, particularly, for guys. Men don't tend to make new friends. Rather we have friends from early in our life and as we grow apart we end up being alone. Many of us are fortunate enough to have great wives like I am. But it's not the same. As a man you need a guy or two that you can really count on. I can really count on my friend Josh. Here's why.

Josh has been there with me since "the beginning". He was there for me when I didn't really know how to be a good friend. He let me make mistakes and we looked to each other for guidance and friendship when we were both young men trying to find the right path to go down towards manhood.

Josh tells me what I need to hear not what I want to hear. This is what makes Josh "valuable" to me. Listen to me carefully here. When I need to be told to sit down and shut up he tells me. When I need to be told to quit doing something he tells me. When I need to be told my thinking is wrong he tells me. When I need reassurance I'm on the right track in times of doubt he tells me that too. He doesn't apologize for disagreeing with me and he doesn't sugar coat anything to save my feelings. We don't have time for that. Neither one of us do. We are accountable to each other and while it's not all about being valuable to people I don't think you can discount how important it is that you shoot straight with your friends.

Josh is there for the important times and I'm there for him too. Whether it's a funeral or a wedding, a birthday or a bbq. Josh and I are there for each other. We've fished some great afternoons and we've sat by a campfire and laughed our heads off. We've smoked a cigar (or two) during times like when my son was born and toasted to his beautiful wife at his wedding. We've been to (not enough) Braves games and he's been there when my kids were born to hold them and to hug me too. I only hope he appreciates having me there as much as I enjoy and appreciate his presence in the special moments in my life. I'm sure he does.

It's Josh's birthday today. I wanted to just take a minute to let you all know how I feel about Josh. Many of you feel the same way about him as I do. Let's celebrate Josh and the friendship that he has shown all of us.



Scott






Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Exercising- Lessons Learned

One of the things I'm very in-tune with is how I learn. I can read something and it doesn't stick. I can hear it. I can say it. But when I WRITE IT....then it tends to stick in my brain. So I'm going to keep a running list (pun intended) here on this blog post of the lessons I've learned from my running, biking and general "working out".

I've been TECHNICALLY running since I was in the Marine Corps back in the 80's though I've only become relatively serious about running, mountain biking and working out on a regular basis in the past couple of years. Like most middle-aged men I have come to the realization that I'm not this guy and that if I don't start working out soon (and stick with it) I'll end up being this dude. So I started back with a few activities that I enjoy and try to do them on a regular basis. Here are some things I've learned:

1. Donuts and coffee are not fuel for running. Yesterday (July 30, 2013) I ate a donut and had an iced coffee at 4:00 and then went running at approximately 6:00. About 4 miles into my run my body quit. I mean quit. I was mentally ROLLIN' BABY!!! But physically my body said, "Nah,  you're done. Walk home." So I had to walk 2 miles back to the showers. I tried running several times on that two-mile walk back and it was always the same thing. I had no fuel. Lesson learned.

2. Mountain biking - Look ahead on the trail. If you look a foot in front of your bike you will crash. Seriously.

3. The weakest link in my regimen is not my equipment, it's me. Let me tell you what I mean. The reason I shoot golf poorly is not my clubs, it's me. I could buy expensive clubs and still suck. I could buy a $8,000 mountain bike (Here is one I like) and I'd still ride like a dude that's 45 and only been riding for 6 months. I have basic running shoes but buying really expensive ones aren't going to get me off the couch.

4. Running: You have to stretch properly and you have to have good shoes. I wore some shoes too long and didn't properly stretch for about two months. During that time I developed plantar fasciitis. Now I get to deal with that for a couple of months.

5. Long bike ride coming up? Put in the miles beforehand or your butt will be sore. Trust me!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Barksdale Elementary School

Just a quick post that is likely too long to put into social media outposts. I'll drive traffic here from status updates and Tweets.

I'm going onto the Barksdale Elementary School PTO Board as President this year. (2013 - 2014) I'm also on the committee to implement a STEM program at BES for our school choice initiative. Real quick, what that means, is that we'll be a school where students can apply to attend with advanced cirriculum in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The entire county is migrating to school choice options.

I'm looking for a few things and wanted to start the dialogue with you, my personal and professional network:

1. We want to provide some technology training for the teachers at BES.
2. We'll need to make some device and software purchases.
3. We need partners in the community for fund-raising and in-kind donations.

I need ideas, volunteers and friends that can help me find free/reduced-price technology. Regarding the PTO I will also need partners that want to help our school through things like gift cards, donations, raffle prizes and such in exchange for some marketing exposure through the school to our parents.

Please email me (sburkey1@gmail.com) if we can talk about our school and how we can work together this year!

Scott Burkey

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Price of Shovels

Many years ago a good friend of mine used to tell me the story of the price of shovels. He said you could tell some people there is a huge pile of gold out in the parking lot and it's free for the taking. All you have to do is buy a shovel and take all of the gold you want. Some people will then promptly complain about, "Don't you know the price of shovels!"

I hear a lot from people things to the effect of, "Hey Burkey, I'm looking at getting into I.T. what do I need to do to get some of that sweet money you make and work 4 hours a day?!" In most cases I tell them how to do what I did. Then they tell me that either they are GOING TO DO IT!!! or that they'll "need to think on it."  I never hear from them again in either instance.

Here is what I tell them: (and if you are not in I.T. and want to get into I.T. here is what I would tell you too)

1. I didn't just fall a$$-backwards into a job making six figures that affords me the opportunity to write snarky blog posts all day. : ) I had to follow some steps. (2-7 below)

2. Pick what you want to do in I.T. (graphic design, computer networking, programming, security, etc..) It helps if you make a wise choice here. Use a mentor that is already in I.T.

3. Work at it in your free time for a long time. "I don't have any free time Scott!" Yes you do. You're going to have to be honest with yourself or you're wasting your time already.

4. Get a certification if you can. MCP, CSM, MCSD, CCNE something........

5. Get a part-time job doing what your certification is in.

6. Get a better, full-time job.

7. Keep doing #6 until you are satisfied. Note: Happiness is an inside job. Your profession won't take care of that.

If you want to discuss this and talk about how you can do this and what decisions to make in steps 2-5 I can help. sburkey1@gmail.com  I'm serious. I will absolutely help anyone that wants to get into I.T. Somebody did it for me and I'll do it for you. 

If you want to try to find the trick to getting to step 6 without doing the four steps before it.....don't waste either one of our time. Time is the one thing I am in shortest supply of and I don't waste it hardly at all these days.

Now I go on this rant as a "qualified rant" meaning I have actually lived this.....several times. I was having lunch with a friend of mine today and we were talking about how he used to wash windows by day and build software at night until he could build software in the day and watch tv while eating ice cream bars at night. I worked on a loading dock all day and learned how to build websites at night until I could build websites all day and watch tv while eating Moon Pies at night.

There is a pile of gold in the parking lot. It's in parking lots all over Atlanta and San Francisco and New York and DC. It's in Raleigh and Charlotte and Austin and Chicago. But......you gotta get a shovel and roll your sleeves up and harvest it. It's not easy. But the payoff is there. Trust me or not. Your call. But you can't borrow my shovel.