An unexpected change in jobs teaches me a lot about the importance of good workplace culture.

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Eight months ago, I found myself in a work environment that was so toxic that it was all I could do not to walk ‘out the door’ and take early retirement. I was working on an information technology team where the customer thought the best way to manage our contract was to find every possible way to write a deficiency report on our work. To make matters worse, I had a project manager who was ‘brainwashed’ by corporate management in believing that the personnel at our worksite were a bunch of ‘losers.’

I was working two full completely different full-time positions at the same time (while only being compensated for one of them). Because of a sudden management change which I had no control over, I was denied a promised position transfer and promotion by the new program manager (after being promised both by the previous manager). Then, to top everything off, I was asked to move to another worksite 50 miles from where I was living, with only 14 weeks left on our contract. …

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These photos taken by Unknown Authors are licensed under CC-SA

How a Medium Partner Program check and some unexpected praise rekindled my passion for writing

It’s been a long time since I’ve published anything on Medium. Far too long.

Not even four short months ago, blogging was my passion — almost an obsession.

Then, my life was turned upside-down.

In four short months, I lost my job, moved (not once, but twice), attempted to retire, and then was lured back into the workforce but what I consider my dream job. …

A 50-word micro-fiction inspired by ‘the fickle finger of fate’ prompt.

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Photo by Luka Vovk on Unsplash

The howling wind, the flashes of lightning, and the roar of the thunder that followed had kept him awake all night.

But was it the noise, or the restlessness within his mind that kept him from sleep? He wondered.

Charlie was looking to this day with a sense of dread.

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Photos by Unknown Authors are licensed under CC-BY-ND

These cross-country afternoons with friends were one of the highlights of my life in Colorado.

Cross country skiing is certainly not the most’ extreme’ outdoor winter sports activity that anyone could take up. But there is nothing like cross-country skiing as a perfect way to spend a late winter or early spring afternoon.

The coolest thing about cross country skiing is that you can do it anywhere there is snow. In the Northeast and the Upper Midwest, thousands of parks and forests would make for an ideal cross-country outing. In the Mountain and the Pacific Northwest, there are hundreds of gentle mountain valleys with streams and rivers that make for ideal cross-country outings.

Cross country skiing is certainly cheaper its downhill sibling, that’s for sure. Rather than worrying about spending thousands of dollars on fancy alpine ski equipment and outfits, you only need a good pair of cross-country skis, boots, and poles. A complete set (skis, boots, and poles) will only cost about 300 to 400 dollars. There is no need for fancy ski clothes; almost everyone I know that picks up the sport skis in jeans, flannel shirts, and a good winter coat, hat, and gloves. There are no lines, no lift tickets, just you and your friends and nature. …

Rivers speak to us with their life-giving water. We need to listen.

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I start small, as a spring,

Or a dripping snowmelt high in the mountains.

I begin my life with hardly a notice,

Far, far from prying eyes.

I begin the long journey,

That will end hundreds, even thousands of miles from where I started.

Sometimes flowing as gently as a cool summer breeze,

Sometimes raging like a sudden storm.

Always down, down, down to the sea.

I smile as I see your delight,

In coming to me to cool off a hot summer day.

I delight to pass through your cities, teeming with life.

And sometimes I cry at the way you abuse me,

with your dams and your chemicals and your waste.

I am your River, going ever to the sea.

I give you joy, I give you my life.

Please, Oh, Please take care of me.

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Photos by Mark Tegethoff, Karolina Bobek, and Kristina Rogers on Unsplash

A micro-fiction about spring and new life

In April, they explode into an array of bright colors.

First, the cherry trees, with their bright pink blossoms.

Next come the azaleas, white, red, and purple.

Finally, the tulips, with an array of reds, yellows, whites, and more.

All are reminding us of the joy we find every spring.

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Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

My thoughts about entering retirement.

Carpe Diem! It was the first thought I had as I woke up today.

It’s been kind of a weird weekend. It’s a weekend of endings and beginnings. I think it’s somewhat fitting that my retirement came on Easter weekend.

Friday may indeed be my last day in the corporate world. With my turning in my ID cards on Friday afternoon, I ended my 25-year career in Information Technology. This, after an earlier distinguished 20-year military career in the Air Force.

It all ended on Friday. No more long commutes. No more eight-to-five. No more sitting in long, boring meetings. No more office politics. …

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Pictures by Alex Lange and Geoffrey Arduini on Unsplash

A plea from a visiting brother led me to a -70 windchill skiing day. I feel lucky to have survived.

My brother was excited. He was coming to Colorado to ski with me during a much-needed break from his brutal training schedule with the Navy up in Idaho.

I was living the ski-bumming dream up in Summit County, Colorado, at the time. My brother Steve was eager to come and share a week with me skiing the slopes of the Summit. But he could only get leave in January.

That created one small problem — the weather.

For those who have never experienced living in Colorado at 9,000+ feet, January is a brutally cold month in the mountains. Even on a bright, wind-free day, the temperature will never get above 10 degrees Fahrenheit. But when the weather was terrible — woo boy, it could get nasty. …

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Photo by Kristine Weilert on Unsplash

Some thoughts on what we need to hold onto during these dark days.

“These are the times that try men’s souls.” Thomas Paine penned that in “The American Crisis” over 250 years ago. He was referring to the crisis that America was going through in its struggles to free itself from the tyranny of Great Britain. I don’t think that Thomas Paine could ever imagine that some 250 years we would be in even darker times that try all of our souls.

But as I’m an eternal optimist, I like always to see things from the most favorable light possible. …

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Photo by José Martín Ramírez C on Unsplash

You worked hard. You’ve won the admiration of your boss.

Another promotion! Another rung up the ladder of success.

Another two hours of work. But you strive on.

Forty years later. You got the gold watch — and a divorce.

Your spouse never knew you.

Was the chase just fool’s gold?


Dr. David Martin

I write about leadership, tech, education, current affairs and life in general from Seoul, South Korea (poetry, too!). Email me at

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