Category Archives: RIGHT WORK

(finding our place in the world … career transitions … making a living)

the anatomy of scarcity

View from Sun Tower

(view of Vancouver from the Sun Tower)

Scarcity. What a compelling topic. It’s been part of my way of life for as long as I can remember, all the way back to childhood. Something was always missing and that feeling of “not enough” an inherent part of every one of my waking moments to a greater or lesser extent.

Now moreso, since I’ve been without work and have not found a replacement job to date.

I thought that somehow I could manage to shift from one industry to another by sheer force of will and transferable skills. Apparently thirty years in one area, despite there being an overlap in skill set and an accumulation of many other (applicable) skills throughout the course of these many years, is not sufficiently convincing enough for someone to hire me into untested areas. The only way I can make the shift is by getting more training and/or going it on my own somehow. Both, I suspect.

I thought all of this free time would enable me to be creative, that I would take advantage of it to get things done that I’ve always wanted to do.

I even warned a co-worker who had been laid-off a few weeks prior to me to stay focused on the gift of time rather than on the state of worry that being without a job invariably puts us into.

Turns out that money really does make the world go round and that I can’t do much without more of it, that worry over finances summarily blocks the places where my creativity lives and that on top of blocking creativity, it also seriously limits my cognitive ability to think outside the box… so creative thinking not just in creative terms but also in practical terms, is also stunted.

I’ve been reading Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir.  (If you feel moved to purchase the book, I would be immensely grateful if you use my link to purchase it.. it adds a few pennies into my Amazon Associates fund – thanks in advance.)

The book raises some interesting points on how scarcity in its various forms affects our ability to work through the lack, ostensibly affecting us in all areas of our lives not just the ones where the scarcity occurs. Essentially, if one is experiencing scarcity in one area, it is likely to diminish our cognitive ability to find a workable solution to resolve the lack. So lack perpetuates lack and degrades our ability to figure out a way in which to overcome it.

That’s huge, in my opinion. It also is very much in line with my own experiences, and speaks to the very large epidemic that is sweeping the poor and quickly declining middle classes. We are in a bind and seemingly incapable of coming up with viable solutions. How did the human race manage to survive for millions of years and yet become so paralyzed and incapable of finding a good resolution to its most pressing current issues?

These days basic survival is on my mind. Shelter. Food. Bus fare so that I can travel to interviews or temporary assignments. There is very little wiggle room and it is quickly diminishing to even less. I think it is difficult for those who are not faced with these issues to fully understand their implications.

The book promises to provide “simple suggestions that just might change the way you live”. While I am creeping through the first chapters – the writing style, though informative, is a little stilted – I hope that these suggestions will provide the change that will shift this life-long rut I’ve found myself in.

If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts, both on the topic and the usefulness of the book.

Love,
Adriane xo

Advertisements

on passion (& vintage typewriters)

vintage typewriter

“Ignoring your passion is slow suicide. Never ignore what your heart pumps for. Mold your career around your lifestyle not your lifestyle around your career.”
Anonymous

I saw this post online (if you click the photo up top, it will take you to it – I hope), along with the caption.

I really want one of these old typewriters – one is on my wish list…

But… I’ve come to find that I have made peace with the dichotomy of passion and earning a living not necessarily being one and the same…

One can be passionate about one’s work – its quality, the service it provides to those we are hired to assist, the higher purpose of the organizations for whom we work, the connections we make with inner and outer clients, our sense of usefulness in our roles… those are many things we can be passionate about in relation to earning a living.

I was stuck for so long for much of my adult life fretting about how to turn the things I was passionate about (my writing, my art, my creative pursuits, my volunteering work) into a living, so much so that I lost sight of the passion and also was in a constant state of discontent at being unable to make this shift I so wanted to make yet was incapable of defining.

It turns out that I’m damned good at my “day job” and despite having one (when I’m not unemployed) I can still engage in the things I am passionate about on my own time because they energize me and infuse me with enthusiasm.

I’ve learned that those two parts of my life are not mutually exclusive. Joy (and passion) can be found in all things.

dreaming on…

The opening quote (from George Bernard Shaw) for a book I’m reading (“Body of Work” by Pamela Slim) says:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself.
Life is about creating yourself.”

 

I’ve been on quite the journey since being laid off. I saw it coming, so it wasn’t a huge surprise, though one is never really prepared to let go the safety rope when the time comes. And I’ve spent quite a bit of time, over the years, mulling over what I wanted to do with this one and precious life but I’m still dumbfounded, some.

There is a difference between dreaming wildly about something and determining and implementing specific steps towards something.

So I’m at that discovery place…

The “What can I do that someone might value and be willing to pay me for?” place.

The “What is it that makes me shine from the inside out?” place.

The “Where can I find ways in which to share the shine?” and the “Where can I find the support network that will help me build the infrastructure to enable this freedom making dream to materialize?” place.

I find there is a lot of fear around this cutting lose of dreams and audacity. Not just mine but others’. People want you to stay realistic, practical – the same. Well there is a place for practicality, once the dream is determined… the steps to implement are practical ones, and finding leads and sources of income are practical… even the doing of the work for which one hopes to be paid is practical… but the visioning and the dreaming… that must remain something impractical, and MINE. Something incorruptible and MINE. I must take ownership of it in order to make it happen, and it will never be if I continue to let others influence what MY dream must look like.

And then there is the ridicule, the doubt… the removal of support from those who think that machete-ing my way through an untread upon path will surely result in failure, because.. look at me, I’M the unemployed one here.

And it’s tough, this place. This place of beginning and not knowing… not knowing the what I have to offer, its inherent value and how to go about offering it.

So I look like I’m at a standstill, engaging in creative things like journaling and painting and writing. It’s not that I’m just playing and wasting time. It is my honest attempt to unlock those very answers that I’m sure I’ll find the keys to when I’m engaged in something else.

In the meantime, I hope to find support, whether financial or otherwise, from the people that are close to me, those who care. I hope they will stand in solidarity with me, until I’ve cut through to clarity.

Work and life are changing. We are at the cusp of a new work paradigm. We have the power in our hands to craft our lives into something radically different. Our reach is wider spread than ever. The potential for success is greater now than it has ever been. Why are we so afraid to take that step? (And by “we” I mean me, but if you identify with this perhaps you as well.) Let’s talk. Comments are open, below. Add your voice to the discussion. Peace. xo

finding purpose… or the search for the holy grail

Recently we had a rather lively conversation in our little artist group Salon about preferred mediums, the nature of titles (artist or not, etc.) and purpose (as in the “what is my purpose?” question). So I’ll share here some of what I wrote there, because I’m sure that we creative types all process these questions over time.

I’ve called myself, on and off, both a writer and an artist, but they’ve always felt like unvalidated terms, because I’m not thriving in either area, though I would like to be.

Sometimes I wonder why we (humans, I mean) feel compelled to categorize ourselves. There is joy in the making and the doing, and so I’m not sure whether calling oneself one or the other really is what makes it so, and why it should matter to anyone else but ourselves.

We are so much more than one or two words.

I am a maker of wonderful chocolate chip cookies, with butter and semi-sweet chips.
I am a great sorter and hoarder of condiments.
I am the creator of wonderful hugs.
I am the holder of space for people in which they can safely express.
I am the keeper of an open heart.
I am the seeker of tins of rolled caper studded anchovies in oil (why can’t I find these anymore?).
I am a teller of stories, in words and pictures.

I’ve been pondering on direction since being let go from my last job. Clearly I need to make a decent living, but HOW do I choose to make a living? Do I go about it in the same way that I have up until now? I don’t know… I’m still thinking on that one.

The ephemeral question has always been “what is my purpose” (which is also one of the questions that has come up during the 30 Day Journaling Project).

I find it stigmatizing, this question. We are all here to be here and show up as our unique selves, in whichever way we grow into ourselves throughout the course of our lives. Our search for ultimate meaning seems to take away from the meaning of our journey. Every person whose lives we touch finds meaning in our presence (and vice-versa).

I’ve struggled with that question for time immemorial. Seriously… I’d BORE my early twenty something peers with the question. It’s always been a sort of quest, and feeling like Percival in his search for the Holy Grail, not seeming to ask the right questions. I think maybe it’s that we don’t need to know. Maybe we just need to live.

And this circles back around to being an artist and/or a writer. I have felt compelled to do both since I was a little kid. It is how I express myself in the world, or rather, my inner world outwardly. And some may or may not like or appreciate how I do that, but that’s not for me to worry about.

Somehow, I believe, we are all our own masterpieces.

on worrying…

I’d like to think that I am mature enough to know that expending energy on worrying is a self-defeating activity, that I am evolved enough as a human being to know that indulging in the activity of “worrying” will result in nothing positive… may in fact result in attracting more negative energy toward me… as in the self-realizing prophesy, perpetuating exactly what it is that I am worried about… but sometimes I am just human and can do nothing more than be hostage to my emotions… and sketch about it.  Art does indeed Save…

Purpose

Do you ever get the feeling that greatness is in your periphery, but as soon as you move your head to gaze at it directly, it shifts again, there, but only just out of reach? I get this feeling often, particularly when I try to pin down my ‘purpose.’

As with most, I have many purposes–to raise a child, to earn a living, to fulfill the role of wife and mother, but what I’m talking about is that THING that I was created and put here to do.

That purpose. That thing. If I could only pin it down, life would go much more smoothly. At least I’d know what to pay attention to… what to foster… what to focus on. Besides all of the other things.