March 1st, 1998.

Splinter in my eye.

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." Or so said Albert Einstein.

He was of course absolutely right. Change is so often a huge challenge, be it on a public or personal level. Throughout history, people have resisted all sorts of changes for no better reason than 'things are just fine the way they are.' But change is the key to progress. The need to constantly explore the boundaries and push them further is vital to our growth and the development of humanity as a whole.

It annoys me greatly then when I see the situation of people resisting something that will obviously be good. People are all so very different. That is what makes life interesting, the fact that people aren't all woven together in harmony like some wicker basket. Individuals pull in different directions and force changes to be made. Their struggles and their challenges make us sit up and take notice. However, people will resist change to what is known and comfortable. Risk can end up as a loss, and no one wants to lose. People who are different usually end up being seen and treated as troublemakers. Some end up eventually toeing the line, others refuse to be shaped by the machine, and a few end up re-shaping the machine itself.

Apple Computer's 'Think different' ad campaign made no sense to me at first. I thought the money would be better telling people the facts like nothing Pentium can offer touched the new Mac G3 processor. However the 'Think different' campaign has become somewhat of an inspiration to me of late, an unexpected voice of encouragement.

You see I work at a place filled with computers. Specializing on the internet lends itself to computers, as you'd imagine. However, in all the computers used at the office, there are just two Macs. I love Macs and am never slow to tell people that. As a result, my vocal support for the minority has put me in the firing line for many an office ribbing. All of which I take in the spirit it is given. Recently though, I have felt that my vocal support for Apple and my character as a whole has come under more serious fire. The Apple jokes still come from the same quarters, but from 'the powers that be' rumblings of a more serious and sinister nature have been felt.

In my workplace I am different. I am lively and vocal in a place where most people stay in their clique and more pointedly, stay quite! Ambition is not encouraged and it seems to me that people with drive and enthusiasm have that beaten out of them pretty quickly. Different is most definitely seen as disruptive and counterproductive. The management rarely recognizes those who do a good job (there are only a handful of exceptions to that) but are fast to chastise those who do something 'wrong.'

For 5 months I have served this company with diligence and loyalty that goes far beyond the realms of my contract and pay. It's contract renewal time soon and at a meeting with my immediate 'manager', far from there being the offer of a new contract I was told that "certain people" felt I was not 'proactive' enough.

This came somewhat as a blow out of the blue to me. I think I do a good job and the suggestion that I am not giving ten-tenths is only just a little less than deeply insulting to me. I was not prepared for this blow, and because of that, I had no answers to the criticism. Not a word was said about my willingness to be flexible and my unwavering punctuality and efficiency. In short the "certain people" had taken a clean white sheet and searched hard for the imperfection.

In a way, I feel that the criticism was said just for the sake of having something to criticize. After all, it would have been a short meeting otherwise! My commitment was also questioned, something that seemed ridiculous in the light of the fact that I had attended that meeting on my day off! I can't think of any others who would do such a thing.

So my future at this company hangs in the balance. Am I not concerned though... well in truth maybe I am a little. It would be a lie to say I don't care, I like my job. But the fact is that I do have other plans and that under the contractual agreement with them I deliberately did not include the company in my future plans. Having said that though, I don't want to leave the place until such time as I am ready, and I am not quite ready to leave yet a while. If my contract is not renewed on the 3rd of April it will be a sad end. However, it will just be the end of a paragraph of what is shaping up to be a truly great chapter in my life.

The future doesn't end when someone changes the short term, it just looks different. But then being of the other side of normality is something that I am well practiced in. It doesn't scare me. People have called me crazy, a troublemaker, and a bad influence for as long as I can remember. I doubt that will change any time soon. In truth, I don't think I'd want it to either!