Seen in an office window:
Must be a speed typist and have computer skills.
Successful applicant must be bilingual.
We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.
A short time later, a golden retriever dog trotted up to the window, saw the sign and went inside. He looked at the receptionist, wagged his tail, then walked over to the sign, looked at it, whined and pawed the air.
The receptionist called the office manager. He was surprised to see a canine applicant, but as the dog looked determined, he was shown into the manager’s office. Inside the dog jumped up on a chair and stared at the manager expectantly.
The manager said, “I can’t hire you. The sign says you must be able to type.”
The dog went to the typewriter and proceeded to quickly type a perfect business letter. He took out the page and trotted over to the manager, gave it to him, and jumped back up on the chair. The manager was stunned, but told the dog, “That was fantastic, but I’m sorry. The sign clearly says that whoever I hire has to be good with a computer.”
The dog went to the computer and proceeded to demonstrate his expertise with various programs, produced a sample spreadsheet and database, and then presented them to the manager.
The manager was dumbfounded! He said to the dog, “Look, I realize that you are a very intelligent applicant and have fantastic talent, but you’re a dog. No way could I hire you”.
The dog jumped down and went to the sign in the window and pointed his paw at the words, “Equal Opportunity Employer.”
The exasperated manager said, “Yes, I know what the sign says. But the sign also says you have to be bilingual.”
The dog looked him straight in the eye and said, “Meow”.
As I listened this the State of the Union Address this past Tuesday night, I was struck with the image of America asking each of us, as citizens, for our help in creating some manner of a more perfect union. Being acutely attuned to today’s job market, I caught myself wondering if I could stand a little bit of the same assistance albeit in a completely different way.
With plenty of evidence already presented [see any of my posts under this humble banner], I know how much I still don’t know. In fact, it may be one of the few things I truly know for sure. But on the other hand, I know a lot.
Case in Point: Poised for my next assignment, a well-meaning HR professional recently e-mailed me a job description. What was extraordinary was the Client had prepared a job description with forty-eight attributes and/or qualifications for the hourly candidate they were looking for. 48!
My own assessment of the description was the company was looking for Jesus Christ with a double MBA, a concentration in computer sciences and a minor in macro economics. Being able to knit a sweater while playing the trumpet was also desired (but not necessary). Are you kidding me?
OK….maybe I exaggerate…trumpet playing may not have been mentioned.
When I called my handler after reading such a magna carta, the first question out of my mouth was, “Dave. Has the client found anyone even close?” No. “How long have they been looking?” Oh, I don’t know…maybe three or four months. “Dave, I’ve got to be honest with you, it reads to me like they are going out of their way to insure they’ll never find anyone”. What stunned me was Dave’s honest response when he said that a lot of job descriptions are written to exclude…after that, they don’t matter much.
That’s when it hit me.
I don’t know about you, but my quest for continuous self-improvement can seem, at times, more like a tediously detailed job description; a list of impossible goals I’ve laid out for myself that I’ll never fully achieve. For example, it drives me nuts when thinking I’ve conquered an old habit or behavior, that very habit or behavior reaches out and bites me on the butt when I least expect it. And when it does? It is so very seductive to respond to the siren’s call imprinted on me since birth and plunge into a session of breast-beating and caterwauling. “When will I get it? Why can’t I do better? I’ve worked so hard and yet, here I am, back at Square One.” Sound familiar?
But once I’m done wallowing in my pity party for one, someone (usually Rick) will say something profound like “So?”
Exactly. So what. It isn’t about having fallen down umpteen hundred times. It really is as simple as getting up just one more time than I’ve fallen. ‘Just one more time’. There are those of us gathered here today who’ve spent years of our lives and thousands of dollars on self-help seminars, weight loss programs and motivational tapes who have yet to grasp the simple power of that single empowering question. So what?
For me, the potency of that simple question does more to unclench my Soul and lower my blood pressure than any pill ever could.
When I relax my jaw and acknowledge that it is not likely my face will ever be carved into the side of Mt. Rushmore, my own natural gifts re-emerge. When I apply my own knowledge of not being anything like what I or someone else thinks I ought to be (e.g., the 48 items), I find myself doing a better job of breathing, being me…the ‘me’ I am born to be…the better version. And let’s be clear. The responsibility of being the truest me is not insignificant. In and of itself, it is a herculean task – even without all the christmas tree ornaments that others want to hang on us.
I heard it said once that each of us has at least two beasts inside and the one we feed, is the one we become.
But like I’ve already acknowledged, coming into a better me does take work. For me, one of the essential tools to coming into understanding of how I tick, comes from reading the thoughts of others (many of you being in that number). In this instance, I appreciate Kevin Evers for pointing me to an essay by James Altucher. As ever, I’ve included the link to his offering at the conclusion of today’s meanderings so you can read it for yourself. But in the interest of your time, permit me to touch on just two of the thoughts he presents so you are in position to learn for yourself, the power of the insights authors like Altucher unselfishly share? Me? I’m as much only a messenger as I am a fellow traveler. But see what you think.
His first point is to procrastinate.
To me and my mid-western work ethic, such counsel borders on blasphemy. But the more I thought about it, his point makes sense. Maybe putting something off isn’t sloth. Maybe it’s our mind’s way of telling us to slow down. After all, what makes a tug boat captain worth his weight in gold is not knowing when to speed up, but rather, when to slow down…way down. Maybe the Cosmos (or our Mind) is trying to tell us something. Sometimes I think my compulsion to excel at doing is precisely how I get in my own way doing just that.
His second of seven points is to fail.
OMG. I’m now going to either clutch my chest like Fred Sanford and call for Elizabeth or I’m going to make some calls and see if I can bring criminal charges against Mr. Altucher! Fail? What kind of definition for personal growth is that? How is such heresy part and parcel of the American Dream (much less mine)? The whole point of trying so hard is that I don’t fail in my stated objective. Duh!
But upon some long overdue reflection, what I failed [sic] to grasp wasn’t the failing (or succeeding), but the significance of learning to persist. Practicing the art of getting back up to the point where one day, you accidentally cease to fail. And the more I practice, the more often I accidentally succeed. And after some time in that mode, I begin to succeed on a more frequent, if still accidental basis.
Wow! I had to let that one sink in for a minute.
And let me be clear. This works no matter what your personal definition of success might be. That’s your job, not mine. But it was in that quiet moment, I recalled something an old salesman once said when I asked him how he kept going in the face of constant rejection. Terry smiled, saying: “If he keeps at it, sooner or later even a blind man stumbles across a log” Even crusty old Terry knew what Altucher was trying to get across to me…”keep going” – especially when on the surface, it doesn’t make sense. But sometimes, it’s all we can do. But it IS what we can do. And like clockwork, somehow, someway, the time comes when it is more than enough. Accidental? I think not.
In that moment, my Soul unclenched and my blood pressure began dropping back into normal ranges. And that’s how I knew it to be true. My body knew it to be True and was responding in-kind. It was time for me to follow suit and do less in order to ‘be’ more.
No one but me is holding me to my self-imposed litany of having missed my own marks. No one can depress or de-motivate me unless I’m giving them tacit permission to do so. And quite frankly, at the end of the day, most people are secretly glad it’s me going through such hoops and not them.
But here’s the newsflash: I think it might just be that we all feel that way sometime or another. It’s part of the forty-eight items on the job description that comes with being human.
So my charge (to myself) this week is to not do more, but rather to ‘be’ better…to be the me the Cosmos intended for me to be…dare I say, needs me to be. There are things that need doing in the world this week that I’m uniquely qualified for. But it all really sources from the being part. When I get a handle on that, the doing part just sort of naturally falls into place. I know what to do. It then becomes very likely I’ll be successful in leaving someone (or something) a little better than they were when our paths crossed. We really do rise (or fall) together.
While I appreciate the passion of those who don’t have a clue as they so zealously proclaim to know (better than I do) what I need to (or should) do, I am adopting a new strategy this week. First, I’m acknowledging to me and those of us assembled here today that like America, I do need help; I am asking; I am committed to doing the work of being my truest self, but I can’t do it alone.
So the next time I’m confronted with a long laundry list of qualifications and requirements that don’t really have much to do with getting the actual job of being the best me done, I’m going to reclaim both my sanity and status as a full-standing Citizen by smiling back as I get back up – one more time. And as I do, I only have one thing to say to the naysayers. “Meow”.
December 11, 1931 ~ February 14, 2013
“Ronald Dworkin, a legal philosopher and public intellectual of bracingly liberal views who insisted that morality is the touchstone of constitutional interpretation, died on Thursday in London. He was 81.
Thomas Nagel, a philosopher and Professor Dworkin’s partner in a colloquium in legal, political and social philosophy offered for many years at New York University, said in a 2007 tribute that his friend’s analytic power was amplified by the vigor and verve of his writing. Professor Dworkin, he said, could “explain difficult moral issues about law, politics and society in lucid terms to a general nonacademic audience — without in any way watering them down or simplifying them.”
Ronald Myles Dworkin was born in Providence, R.I., on Dec. 11, 1931. His parents divorced when he was young, and he said his memories of his father were hazy, though he believed his father had emigrated from Lithuania as a child. His mother, Madeline, raised three children on her own by teaching piano. He went to Harvard on a scholarship reserved for graduates of Providence’s public schools. “There were rarely any takers,” Professor Dworkin recalled.
Professor Dworkin’s most influential book was “Law’s Empire,” on the nature and role of adjudication. It was among the most-cited books on law of the last century. He also wrote “Life’s Dominion,” on abortion, euthanasia and the questions they raise; “Sovereign Virtue,” on equality; and three collections of essays, “Taking Rights Seriously,” “A Matter of Principle” and “Freedom’s Law.” “
PHOTO CREDITS and ATTRIBUTIONS: Help Wanted Sign Source in opening United States map graphic compilation: http://bigsiouxmedia.com/?attachment_id=273, United States in 1835 – originally published by Olney’s School Geography Atlas in 1835: http://www.thehiddentreasure.org/AntiqueMaps.html; Source for the Help Wanted Joke: http://www.whatistruth.info/silly3/14.html; Help Wanted Everyone: http://www.newclearvision.com/2012/05/14/help-wanted everyone needs to apply; Help Wanted (Neon) – http://www.blossomss.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/help_wanted.jpg; old_help_wanted_ad : http://www.clumsycrooks.com/pictures/old_help_wanted_ad.htm; Fred Sanford Clutching His Chest: http://wdwd.blogspot.com/2006_04_01_archive.html; Persistence: http://www.clumsycrooks.com/pictures/old_help_wanted_ad.htm; Mediocre Target and other Rumpus original art by Liam Golden – http://liamgolden.com/home.html; Ocean Views by David Pasillas: http://iphonephotog.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/ocean-views/
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE MEDIOCRE PEOPLE By James Altucher:
And in closing, a musical gift to PurpleMary54. While you may well be one of my Sistuhs from a different Mistuh, you are so not alone. Here’s one of my favorite contemporary trumpet pieces by Chris Botti as concrete proof of my sentiment. Click on the album cover pic and join the concert already in session.
Be well. Be you. Do that instead.
“Indian Summer” from A Thousand Kisses Deep by Chris Botti:
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