Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Unemployment Chronicles: Vol. 4 — The movement is brewing

Sometimes, when opportunity knocks, there is some other preoccupation that keeps us from wanting to answer the door. Be it a trip to Tahoe to reconnect with a group of lads from up north with whom I have had good times past. Or it could have been the pending call for employment that could have stopped me, but I decided to answer the door.

I later learned I missed out on quite the trip from what I gather. Somehow the lads encountered a brush with fame, an establishment t-shirt signed and a possible appearance on an upcoming HBO reality show.

However, presented with the chance to attend the first day of a two day leadership training hosted by a central coast non profit organization — an alliance whose aim is to unite for a sustainable economy — I entered with a cautious optimism. I figured I had done this sort of thing before. My leadership training and experience launched as a preteen as I became a counselor with a beloved 4-H camp back in my native Maryland. That continued each year, through college, until I made it to director of the residential camp and was then responsible for training the next wave of camp leaders. That early experience helped form my character as I, and countless other youth tapped into something special, selflessness. Great bonds were made. This is how I cut my leadership teeth. Intense training in the sharp leadership and servant standards of my dear fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha; and the residents life circuit soon followed. Various campus involvement took me from cocoon to caterpillar.

So would this be lip service, pontification, feel good stuff?

After the first part of the CAUSE training, I was more than glad I attended. I began to meet a band of hand selected change agents within the latest community to have embraced my nomadic spirit. I was charging to get involved, as that has always been a source of personal enjoyment. I had also learned a thing or two about taxes in this great state of California. It was enough to make me want to come back for the second and much longer day. Scheduling and the blessings of the Queen Bea allowed. Next thing I know I'm part of the movement.

A stir of energy and before long, as was the case back in camp, and many times before and after, I found myself responding to the name Spider-Man. These change agents somehow quickly extracted my alter ego and I found myself sharing the principal value; "with great power also comes great responsibility."

I engaged in discovering my self interest, and challenged to have conversations to help others find theirs. That should continue. It's about more than merely passing time on this earth I was reminded.

The play was called, backfield in motion. Sugar mama is slacking. We've talked, but she is not yet taking care.

I found myself espousing the merits of participatory democracy. No longer part of the masses that cast my vote, wiped my hands and thought, "great, now get to work fixing this mess." A marriage of voice and vote. A spark of co-powerment to embark on the collective Herculean task. I began to ask questions again, although I no longer get paid to do it. There is power in those questions and there is power in the corresponding stories. Conocimiento!

The vision: to think Seven generations ahead in decision making as was, and still is, custom in Iroquois culture. How how!! It's strange how it is all connected. Noon-way. Seven is a powerful number. The goals, the objective and the plan laid out. Charged.

The play starts. Pass is made. Catch and touchdown. Sugar mama, I'm done with you, well at least for now.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Unemployment Chronicles: Vol. 3 — Knock, knock

I keep seeing the digits on the clock. Most recently it was 11:11.
I had my sister look into the numbers for me, just out of pure curiosity because this keeps happening to me, daily. And to see if it sheds any light on life situations. You know the 1, 11, 4, 44, they keep appearing in my life.

This is what she came up with:
The number one, a few attributes; independence, leadership skills, ambition, strong will, driven, great potential for success, as well as stubborn, impatient, pride, demands respect and attention ...
While the number four, indicates stability, after all it takes four legs on a table to make it stand sturdy, other things were practical, dependable, orderly, and once again, stubborn, bossy, too serious ... there was mention of four seasons in a year and four directions on a compass, but all I could really say to it all is, hmmmm, interesting.

She also suggested that I look at the numbers 3 and 5 for obvious reasons. Do some math!

It's been some time since my last correspondence. Guess I had to let the experience of being unemployed soak in, because something tells me I'm not going to be able to do it for long.
Mama, says a person with my skills and talents can't stay unemployed long, someone will snatch me up.
"Chics dig guys with skills."
But something tells me that's not the kind of snatching up she was referring to.
My partner in the snipers bullet has left. More urgent matters call from her native land. I'm content with the new role as calm-assertive pack leader.

Life spins sometimes.
Where to go when my equilibrium returns?

My conversation with a Just man, a journalism vet, urged me to remain optimistic. There will always be a need for the skills I posses. After all, he had always preached, there is money to be made in this industry.

Optimistic I remained. Knowing I have a longing to craft the written word, and to make a living at doing so again would be cool. But how?

They came a knocking. The same company that thrust me from the journalism industry more than a year prior, called when an opening became available, as I was the next name on the callback list. The position that had become open, happened to be an offer for my old job, the education reporter. About a half hour prior to the call, I had already known the position had come available — gotta love social networking.

Although a year away for the industry gave me much more appreciation for the craft and the lifestyle, what wise man hops back on the sinking Titanic without a plan to patch up the hole?
So I respectfully declined and made a pass similar to that suggested by the young pledges of G Phi G in School Dayz.

After a trip along the Pacific Coast by train for a brief weekend visit to San Diego, I continued to ponder if I had made the right decision. Regardless, I made it. And I pride myself on my ability to be decisive.

Photos also by James Joyce III/ First: Statue by E. Barrias 1893 the Tomb of Anatole de la Forge in Père Lachaise Cemetery. Second: Statue at Père LaChaise Cemetery.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Unemployment Chronicles: Vol. 2

The sky was crying for a week upon my return from the southwest. Maybe a projection, possibly a reflection.

It's hard to tell.

On the first day that I was no longer getting paid, our earth shook. Was that a call and response?

I can't express my need for her in the most convenient way. I have tried to contact my sugar mama several times, to no avail. True to form, I need special handling. So I phone her.
She doesn't answer. Knowing I'll need her, I crawl. I go to her gatekeeper who gives me a basic card to her riches.
I step back through the teary sky.
Cheap movie matinee: $3, the world as we know it just may end in 2012. The signs are there.
Take a step back, send a message to sugar mama through courier.

The ocean pushes the surfers away, yet he continues to tempt her. Keep casting.

In my nest, I rest, but haven't quit. Days pass without spending. Time is money in the bank though. The self-imposed confinement is both good and necessary. The tears had a great deal to do with that.

While my meager job searching efforts have yet to bear fruit, the crying broke as I pursued the allure to go green. The four of us were young, professional and at varying levels of ambition. The gathering at the Staples Center boasted job opportunities in various green industries.

Perhaps a sign of the times, there were fewer than 10 companies in the job expo section. I walked past. Another sign of the times, some of the booths were requesting donations for the swag. The promise of swag was part of the draw.

Now an experience adding to the fuel to allow things to continue to percolate on the back burner. With visions of a burner strapped across my back, the whole world is in attack mode.

The clock keeps hitting triple digits, 1:11 twice, 4:44 the most memorable. Make a wish, use my foundation and grow.
The pen is my discipline and it is indeed mightier than the sword. Or at least works in consort.