Monthly Archives: October 2018

Mishkin Berteig


Breaking news: I did better than I expected! I thought I would get somewhere between 70 and 80. Sweet!!! I’m so happy!

Sabbatical Day 59 – Work and Work and School

Well, I apologize for the long time without posting.  Suffice it to say that I’ve had a pretty crazy couple weeks.  There’s been some work stuff and other work stuff, and some school stuff.  Here we go:

Work Stuff 1 – There have been some interesting challenges at work with culture.  It’s inevitable, I suppose, with being on sabbatical.  Me leaving has been a huge stress on the team in so many ways, but in particular, there’s been a great deal of adjustment in team dynamics.  I’ve had several tough conversations with people really concerned about what’s going on.  The dynamics will heal, but the stress is very very real.

Work Stuff 2 – Not connected to the earlier bit of work stuff, we had one of our senior employees ask for a change in role… and it’s a good thing… but it left us with no one to take care of marketing and content.  So, after consultation with my business partners Melanie and Travis, and in consultation with my wife, I have decided to volunteer to temporarily take on that role, part-time, until we can find a suitable person to do it full-time.  That will probably not be until the new year.  So, I’ll put in some extra hours in the afternoons.  I’m actually quite excited about the temporary return to the work I did early in the life of the business.

What will it mean in practical terms?  Well, I’ll be using some techniques from the Kanban method to act as a facilitator for the delivery of the marketing and content service.  I’ll get help from the rest of the team, of course, in both ideas about marketing and with people actually doing the work of marketing.  And I’ll be helping to evolve policies about how the work gets prioritized, chosen, and delivered.  It’s back to basics since I won’t have capacity for anything really sophisticated.

The one big change is that based on the advice and consultation with one of our external advisors, we are putting in place a new metric for our marketing efforts that will drive our strategy and activities.  I’m always wary of over-measuring, and of using metrics without extreme care.  Therefore, even the use of metrics is an experiment to me.  I will be monitoring how it affects the culture of our organization.

I’m also concerned about “coming back” during my sabbatical, no matter how limited.  That said, I also take personal responsibility for the health of the business.  There is a need, and since I have the flexibility to support it, I can’t do anything but rise to it.  Of course, there are lots of confidential details about the operation of the business that I’m not sharing here, but suffice it to say that I hope I’m exercising wisdom and judgement in doing this.

School Stuff – I had my first midterm exam last Thursday in Mathematics 3020 – Introduction to Abstract Algebra.  It was my first exam in over 23 years.  I’ve shared before that this class is pretty hard.  I studied somewhere between 15 and 20 hours in preparation for the exam in addition to the regular homework assigned for the class.  That’s more than I’ve studied for any exam ever in my life.  Honestly, I wish I had studied more.  In particular, I wish that I had started studying a week earlier… during reading week!

But I studied hard, and I was super excited (nervous and enthusiastic).  The morning of, I hadn’t had as much sleep as I wanted, so I had a half-cup of coffee (that’s way more than I normally have!)  I got to the Western Campus quite early just to make sure.  I did a quick last minute-review of some notes.  And then wrote the exam.

It was fun!

In fact, by the end of the 2 hour exam, I was super-high on adrenaline and the joy of math. I could barely contain myself.  I actually cried from joy.  I know that’s probably hard to relate to: someone crying from joy doing a mathematics exam… but that’s how much I love this field.  It’s challenging, it’s beautiful, and it gives me a deep sense of peace and harmony, that the universe has a foundation created by the Ultimate Intelligence.

The exam itself?  Well, I hope I find out soon how I did.  I suspect I did better than I feared and worse than I hoped… probably between 70 and 80% based on what I completed and a fudge factor for stupid mistakes.  I ran out of time and probably would have been able to finish if I had another 30 minutes (or if I had studied more).  I also confused the concepts of “well-defined” and “homomorphism” for a time and had to erase and re-do a question when I realized my mistake.

Again, it was incredibly fun.  And now I know what I need to do to prepare for the final!

Food and Weight Day 11 – 104.5kg

Well, yesterday was stressful and I’ve had three nights in a row of poor and little sleep. So yesterday I ate a big pile of fries with gravy, cheese and ketchup and a bag of chips after that. Suffice it to say my weight going up is not a surprise. Today is exam day – my first midterm in 23 years. So, maybe after the stress of that is reduced I will start getting better again.

Food and Weight Day 10 – 104.2kg

I’ve discovered a simple and delicious alternative to wheat/sugar-filled sandwiches: lettuce wraps. Now this might not be earth-shaking to many of you further along this path than I, but it’s new to me. I make a lettuce wrap with ham, cheese, and artichoke hearts (or something similarly flavorful), and no sauces and it’s great!!! Filling and perfect after a bike ride to school. An apple rounds it out as a meal.