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Archive for December, 2012

Well, so much for daily blogging.  It’s been wild around here, and I’m not even talking about Christmas activities – but it’s been wild in a good way.

I thought I’d combine two blog posts in one, by combining two themes from the NaBloPoMo prompts:  “If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?” which is tomorrow’s, and “Do you enjoy your current job (or your last job)?” (today’s prompt).

When I was working, I was most enjoyably employed as a secretary.  Being a secretary has a bad reputation nowadays, being seen as a scutwork job for the nearly brainless; in reality, it was the gateway to a wide variety of fields.  Working solely as a secretary, I worked in textiles, publishing, education, law – and law enforcement – and advertising, this last as a secretary in one of the top three advertising agencies on Madison Avenue.

My last job in this field was as a secretary for my parish church, and that was the most fun of all, because the office had been neglected for so long that it was in complete disarray, and I got to construct it from the ground up, creating the filing system, a tracking system for parishioners’ contributions, a parishioner database, the Rolodex for the parish, and a means of tracking parish vendors, as well as keeping track of work done to the physical plant – this way, it was easier for  the Parish Council to see when a contractor had last shown his face in the door, and to follow up on jobs in progress.  I actually was not finished setting up this last vendor system when I was replaced with someone younger and – I can only assume – more ethnically desirable, since I was not of the same ethnicity as the rest of the parish.  That still hurts, though not as much as it did at the time (see beginning posts from January 2010).

So.  If I could have any job in the world?  It would be my old job, or something similar.  The problem is, I’m now of official retirement age, the point at which your shelf life in any field has basically expired, and you’re expected to go out to pasture and vegetate, until the point where the goal of your life becomes providing an income for the health-care industry.  No, thank you.

Since this line of work is now closed to me for good, I’ve made the adjustment – somewhat – to the idea that hey, I’ve worked hard all my life and earned my retirement, and I’m going to get what I can out of it.  An education in art, something I’ve always wanted to understand.  Expanding my knowledge of music, my chief recreation in life.  Most of all, I’m going to focus on the things that matter most:  spiritual warfare, reconciling the demands of this age, and of old age, with the requirements of eternal life; becoming, as best I can, more conformed to the life of Christ, without losing one iota of the snarkiness that is the hallmark of any good New Yorker.  I figure, if God put me in New York at the beginning of my life, He must have meant it to shape my personality.  Now I just need to develop it into a tool for introducing people to the novel notion that Christians aren’t necessarily pious wusses.

Hah!

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Living La Vida Loba

Prompt:  “Do you feel most comfortable being a leader, a follower, or a collaborator?”

First, I would like to say that my absence has been due to National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo – “thirty days and nights of literary abandon,” in which one writes a 50,000-word novel during November.  Well, the 50,000 words are written.   The novel is not complete, and it’s virtually all dialogue and no action so will require major revision, but it’s written.

Now, as the English say, “to our muttons,” the prompt.

There’s no way I could be a leader.  I hate being out front and visible.  I was a choir director for almost three years, and while I loved the rehearsals, and I loved when things came together for the choir, I hated having to get people from Point A to Point B.  Those people simple did not want to learn new music, and would dig in their heels, well, like recalcitrant sheep.  And there were several who could not get it through their heads that rehearsals were a good thing; they’d show up and attempt to sing music they’d never sung before, throw everybody off, then say, “We know all this already.”  And there was no way to motivate them to change.

Nor do I especially care to Follow.  Following can get you into big trouble.  Or, as our mothers used to say when I was young, “If everybody jumps off the Brooklyn Bridge, are you going to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge?”  Everybody’s mother said it, and it was the standard (New York) response to the standard kid whine, “But everybody’s doing it!”

I like collaborative effort.  Not that I’ve ever experienced collaborative effort, but it sounds good in theory.  Everybody gets their ideas out on the table, and you sift and sort through them to see what works.  It takes longer, but in the end, you have something that works.  In theory.  Actually, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak are a perfect example of a collaborative effort that really worked.  So are Craig Benson and Robert Levine, who started out in a garage and built Cabletron, one of the computer giants of the 1990s (and a classic lesson in securities fraud:  Read all about it here).

But what I really like is the Lone Wolf approach.  Stick me in a room with a project, describe the parameters, and let me puzzle out what works.  My Lone  Wolf efforts are the ones that are always the most successful; I can work at my own pace, dope out the most efficient way to get the project done, spend the least amount of money doing it, and have fun in the process.

It’s certainly the way novels get written.

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