Tag Archives: commentary

Kids on grass

Community Management

I have always wondered about the title “Community Manager” attached to those well-known names. These folks are often admirable in how they can rub elbows with the who’s who of certain industries and communities. I have always wondered, though, if communities needed managing at all. Are not communities supposed to be self-managing?

But then given the dynamics between and among individual community members, I have come to realize that communities need guidance in order to keep moving toward the right direction.

However, today we talk about a different kind of community than what many of us in the online realm are familiar with: an actual, physical community — one in which a person or family resides within.

My family moved to a new community last summer, and we thought this would be a good move for us. The place is near the kids’ schools, there are a lot of greens, and it is considered generally safe. All was well, until a few months into settling down. We came to discover that discord and deceit has been plaguing the community for some time now. In short: people were not in good terms with each other, for one reason or another.

For some, these have been due to deep-rooted misunderstandings and grudges that often manifest themselves in collaborative decision-making processes. For some, these are due to mishandling and mismanagement of the community’s resources. For some, these are due to personal differences — some people just don’t click.

This is a relatively young community, and we’re what one may consider newcomers — the new kids on the block. But here are a few observations, so far.

In a community, there’s always power play. While we would ideally want to have an equal or at least equitable treatment of community members, there will be some who will want to take control and keep it. Then there is the never-ending battle of wills among those that want to be at the top. There may be times of peace, in which level-headed and responsible members of the community will take control, but this is often short-lived.

There will always be rotten apples. And we know what these do, right? They tend to spoil the whole bunch. It’s a matter of containing the problematic members of a society, and not letting these spread their influence too much throughout the community at large.

In a community, you will find people who are surprisingly good. Yes, first impressions matter. But what matters even more is finding the reality behind those first impressions. You might find true friends — or at least true neighbors — in those whom you least expect to.

The whiners. In a community, there will always be those who whine about this and that. It’s great to offer constructive criticism. But whiners will just whine about, without actually contributing anything good to the community. These are needy people who always want to make their presence felt, but in loud and irrelevant ways.

Then there’s everybody else. There are just some people who don’t really give a damn — those who just go about with their business, quite oblivious to the fact that there’s a whole lot going on around them.┬áThere’s truly nothing wrong with being oblivious, but being apathetic is a different thing altogether.

This is my ideal, though: I’d rather just go on minding my own business, which I especially need, given that my time is precious.

Featured image credit: Shutterstock

Coffee

What drives you?

For most people, coffee would be a morning habit. You have a sip while breaking your fast. For some, though, coffee is so much more. Connoisseurs would only have the best beans, blends, grounds and brewing methods. Those in the BPO industries would take coffee to keep them awake in the ungodly hours of the day. Kids drink coffee as a social activity, and some folks will buy expensive branded coffee as a fashion statement.

My kids often ask me how many cups of coffee I drink in a day. Sometimes I surprise myself with my answer, because it’s very rare that I only take just one. Never mind if it’s the cheap instant coffee that comes from a packet or if it’s my preferred perfectly-ground, perfectly-brewed concoction. I make myself a cup as often as I sit in front of my computer to write and to work.

And that’s quite often, because in a day I would write in bursts for as long as my energy permits.

For me, coffee helps keep me awake and focused during those times. Perhaps it’s the caffeine. Perhaps it’s a psychological effect that having my favorite cup beside me brings. Or maybe it’s a bit of both.

So it becomes a question not only of how much I drink, but for also what reason. I drink because it helps me work. I like being focused at work because I know I have to earn a living. I earn a living for my family.

Because of this, drinking coffee is not only sustenance for oneself, but it now has a bigger purpose. One’s motivation for doing it is not only for the sake of the bitter-sweet taste, nor just for the stimulating effects. Nor just for the added productivity. You do it because you know it helps you do things better for those who matter in your life.

In anything you do, you have a motivation. The question is whether it is a good one, and if you are doing the things you do for the sake of the ones who are important.

Featured image credit: Shutterstock

The Biggest Loser

At some point in your life, you might sometimes feel that life has shortchanged you. Your family hates you. Your kids are unappreciative. Your spouse no longer has confidence in you. You have a dead end job, if you have one at all. You have mountains of bills to pay every month, and you struggle to make ends meet. You have a demanding boss, and your colleagues keep pulling you down. It’s often a cycle that you want to get out of. You want to do something good, something meaningful, and something that can be life-changing. But it’s always a struggle.

Sometimes, you compare. Other people are richer. Other people are happier and more fulfilled. They have more money, better gadgets, better education, a satisfying profession, a clearly-laid career path. You’re on the losing end. You drew the shortest straw. Your at a dead end. You’re in a sinkhole.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t have U-turns. You can’t just keep dwelling on the past, mulling on the what ifs and the bygones. If time machines existed, a lot of people will probably take advantage of the technology and keep on trying to correct mistakes of the past. But this would split the world into infinite universes, and there would be no single reality at all.

Where to turn to, then?

Perhaps, even if life doesn’t have U-turns it does offer some paths along the way, and you are the one who has the power to choose which to take and what to do. Only, there are no assurances that things will be easier. It’s always a tough thing to make decisions, and it’s sometimes even tougher to stand by these decisions.

Sometimes it just needs a bit of an effort. You need a push. You need a catalyst. It might be a great idea. It might be a person. It might be a tragedy. The important thing is to see those opportunities for what they are, and to act now, without blinking an eye. Know what you want and go for it.

The great thing about being the biggest loser is that when you’re at the bottom, there’s usually no other way but up.