You may have noted that you’re now on a new URL.  (And if you haven’t noted, take a look.)  You should also have noted that this site is a lot more colorful than it used to be.  My wonderful hubby gifted me with a new domain for Christmas, and it’s just taken this long for me to transition over.  (Actually, he had it all set up for me a bit ago: I’ve just been a bit busy lately.  See postings immediately before and after this one for various reasons of busy-ness.)  Hopefully, you think it’s an improvement.  Luckily for me, even if you don’t, _I_ think it’s an improvement.

The CD player is shuffling between Bonnie Raitt, David Wilcox, and 4 Runner. A pleasant sense of expectation with each song transition, wondering what’s coming up next. That, and a few coffee and Kahluas, are making an evening spent working on a take-home exam much more pleasurable.

This post started out as a post on software development: as a senior techie within my company, and a tech lead at that, there’s a certain pressure to have better or at least as good as technical chops than the folks I work with. Some of the guys I work with are senior themselves and darn good in their particular areas, so it’s a constant push to stay at the top of my game. But then I realized that I run into the same trap in my biz classes: have I read everything and done everything as the other folks in my class? Hmmm… the same can be said of the mommy track, though there it takes a slightly different spin. Have my kids done everything/read everything/known everything they should given their particular age? Have my hubby and I gotten to have every travel experience, every deep conversation, every loving experience that we “ought”?

Sheesh… quite a long list in that PDA. Which of course has to be the latest/greatest to keep up.

Bleah… waiting for us all collectively to decide that the keeping up/staying ahead race just isn’t supportable or cool anymore, and that we all oughta find some other way to fill and overfill our time. Or for me, anyway, to decide that my ego doesn’t need to be at the top of my game. Um, you go first, and then I’ll de facto be at the top, and we can all just slow down.

I’m one in 30 million… That’s the number of folks who supposedly wait until the last week to submit their tax returns. I used to turn my in as late as possible in years where I owed money, just on the theory of getting every last cent of interest on that money in my bank account. This year, though, we were one of the many Americans getting money back that we’d “loaned” the government for its use during the year. Just work has kept me so busy that we didn’t get around to finishing up our paperwork until, oh, 3:00 in the morning this morning. More specifically, I put down my Jane Hancock early this morning – Jas did all of the various wrestling with various forms that took an hour to complete and made an impact of $1.11 in the final amount of our tax return. In our favor, at least, but $1.11? For an hour’s worth of work, between examining instructions, tracking down the info, and then doing the calculations? That hour’s worth of work would be of more value to me and to society if I spent it helping in a soup kitchen. Heck, if I sold drugs on a street corner, I’d provide more value, just in the terms of the sales tax I’d generate when I bought my fancy car, jewelry, and other trappings.

I heard an interesting piece of trivia the other day that said that 45 cents on every dollar collected goes to the cost of collecting the other 55 cents. Boy, that’s a lousy ROI – I’d never give a charitable organization any money that told me their cost of fundraising was 45%.

Interesting tax trivia (whether they’re true or not, I can’t vouch):
* National Retail Sales Tax – Virginia Chapter
* Cato institute facts and figures

The government needs money to do its job for me – I get that. But don’t make me spend hours trying to figure out whether I’m doing the right thing, paying the right amount, filling out the right forms… the tax on my time and my stress is worse than the cost of the dollars. I owe the gov’t the dollars… I don’t owe them the time and stress.

This entry is a draft of a portion of a required essay for entrance into business graduate school. The topic is my reason for pursuing a business graduate degree. I’m posting this draft for critique, in the same way that you’d ask a classmate to proof read a paper. Thanks for any comments. Comments of the “this is awful” sort can be emailed directly to me. (t i n a – at – this domain)Wonderful praise should of course be posted here…

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To put it in the most blunt terms possible, a business graduate degree represents to me the required next step both personally and professionally. My undergraduate degree is a dual degree in computer science and economics. Computer science offered me a hands-on skill; economics showed me how to look at the business arena in which my technical skills are offered. Several years of work later in the software industry, I ve become more and more convinced that the value of my technical skills and abilities is tied to the way that they solve customers business needs. I want to understand those needs, be able to speak knowledgeably of the return on investment of my services, and be able to craft the solution that solves a business need, rather than merely a technical itch. My economics degree began to hint at the impacts of markets and trends on business needs, but took much more of a broad-brush approach than the in-depth detail I find myself lacking. I need to understand the financial models used by businesses, the case studies in marketing, management, and operations from companies who have done well and companies who have failed miserably, and the skills in strategy necessary to craft a company or project s direction. Personally, attaining these skills represents an accomplishment worth working for, a business itch scratched in the same way that mastering a technology scratches a technical itch. Professionally, the value of a geek understanding the problems or opportunities of a customer is immense, both within my current company and in the industry overall. This geek envisions proposing business solutions implemented via technical means, rather than the technical solution du jour shoehorned onto a business need that s only been loosely translated into the technical realm. A business graduate degree will earn me the knowledge and skills necessary to be the geek whose solutions add recognizable value to the customer.