WRITE010 Finding Hope Out of the Most Unlikely Places

Posted on : 08-12-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Featured, Humor, Mind Fodder

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A couple of days ago I was driving down the highway in a rush to get by Starbuck’s before my next meeting across town and an El Camino up ahead caught my eye not so much because I hadn’t seen one in at least a handful of years but rather because it was in pretty much mint condition.  And then I noticed the driver, he had long grey hair pulled back in a ponytail and a mustache under his nose.  I noticed that up on his reviewer mirror hung a handicapped tag.  I’m not quite sure if I fantasized that he resembled Sam Elliott’s “The Stranger” from the Big Lebowski or if he actually did have the countenance of him, so for the sake of this blog we’ll pretend that he was.

The main point of this whole memory is that of all the things at 3pm on a consistently sunny day that could make me feel hopeful, this aging baby boomer with his gray pony tail and El Camino did just that.  The hope swam up at me out of a swarm of realizing that in a world of 7 billion people, and 311,591,917 of those people living in the good ole USA, seems like most people have become the cookie cutter image of the cookie cutter box stores with very little unique qualities evident to the outside world.  Of course, you and I both know that we’re all unique; however, many of us have just gotten really good at hiding ourselves under the shell of sameness like a million tiny crabs scuttling along the beach.

Oh sure, you could argue that this pony-tailed boomer also came out of a generation of many of us following the same trip, but jimminy when you consider all the changes that we boomers have undergone and endured since the high-flying times of the 60’s and 70’s, well, those of us that have held on to our threads and ways give me heart.  I think it’s because of what I’ve experienced that goes with all of that.  The awareness and consciousness of the people and the world around them/us as well as the curiosity to still ask questions.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now that although there are some differences between the aging hippies today and the 20-somethings, they all speak the same language.  If ever there was a time in history when we needed inter-generational communication and connection, it is now. And if ever there was a time when this was possible, it is now.   The old can help the young and the young can help the old.  And I suspect that they would find each other very interesting.    I’m an interviewer in the core of my being, so I’ve had the opportunity to talk to many people from both of these generations and so there’s some meat behind my words. There’s substance in them thar hills of wishful thinking.

So next time you just happen to glance over and see someone who is an aging flower child remember, “The Dude Abides”….

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DINK #127 When the Rules Change

Posted on : 29-07-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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However you look at the unemployment rate right now for the U.S. (I know globally the stats are not good either) many of us are going through some tough times together right now (http://www.bls.gov/cps/). I’m sure there are Historians and Futurists out there who can give us their analysis of the situation right now and the many changes that are occurring but what I want to speak to in this post is how many of the rules seems to be changing as well.

The rules I am speaking about are the intangible situations such as because we humans have figured out how to take care of ourselves better and in spite of our medical expenses and insurance crisis we are living longer. To top it off the fifty year old of today really is noticeably different from the 50 year old of even a generation ago. Being of better health and living longer is probably a good thing to since the social security benefit plan that was laid out for our parents is now being deleted pretty fast by the first wave of the baby boomers who have reached retirement. Even with that, because of the economy most of the baby boomers who could of retired are having to stay at work longer than ever before.

So then we run smack dab into several facets of the rules changing in mid-air. Simple things like a resume are having to be completely revamped especially if you’re an older worker. Gone are the times when length and stability with a company is respected. I’m not bitching here, I’m just stating what I’ve seen and experienced. The good news is that if ever there was a population of people who could shake their heads and get on track with all of this, it is the baby boomers. I was only 10 when Woodstock was going on, but I remember the electricity in the air with all the changes happening then too. I have often wondered if many people who were exploring life back then and decided at some point to “grow up” and get a job, have a family and be mature….didn’t just go into a long, long sleep. Many of those people then who are with us now still have that spark of creativity and life within them….they just have to remember.

If there is anyone from then who is reading this now and who needs to keep working and therefore revamp their resume I want to tell you to remember who you are and not focus so much on who you have been.

Ten things for Baby Boomers to remember in the rule-changing job hunt environment:

1 Do not go overboard on your cover letter. Write it with the person in mind who will be reading it even if it goes to a department—some one will read it. Within a couple of paragraphs you should be able to communicate why you are a good choice for the job and specifics on how your experience can help them so that they will want to read your resume;

2 In your resume, get rid of the jargon and jive talking. It is outdated, trust me. Find a concise and creative way to explain what you did and what your responsibilities were;

3 Yes, you and I know that you have many years of experience that has contributed to
your wisdom and that is valuable; however, this is the Google generation now so find
clear cut ways to say what you did and if you can add some natural pizazz to it–all the better (if you know someone in their 20’s or 30’s get their feedback);

4 Do the background research for a job when and where you can. If you can find a person you know or someone that knows someone who works where you are applying for a job, send them a copy of your resume and the job description and let them know that you are applying for a job with their company.

5 When submitting your resume on-line, always copy and paste it within your email unless they ask for it to be attached as a document.

6 Do not give up, do not give up, do not give up. Yes, you may have to accept a position for the time being that you would never have thought you would work at but remember “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”;

7 Constantly be thinking of how you can help a person or place with your expertise and skills. Whittle down the summary of what you do so that it just rolls off your tongue in an easy way whenever the opportunity arises. Don’t be a pain in the ass with this, but think of how you can be of service….you may be able to create a job for yourself.

8 I’m not so sure how I feel about the whole volunteering thing if you are poor and need to have your basic needs met but if your situation is dire, you could volunteer your services for those places that can feed, clothe and shelter you. If you are not poor, then think of those places that could use someone like yourself that you would enjoy working at….it will give you something to do while you’re looking for a job and it will be something that you can be proud to put on your resume.

9 What would you be doing now if money was not an issue? If money makes it not an issue than it isn’t about the money. Believe me, this is my big sticker point right here but my higher self does think this idea rings true. I’m working towards understanding it better.

10 In the meantime, if you are not working now every activity you do to better yourself counts. Start a daily blog if you have access to a PC, there are all kinds of free services out there that you could explore like blog talk radio, think of what you can do to keep your mind sharp and your body healthy and then go do it!

The rules are changing now but then they’ve always been changing the good news is that we are wide enough awake now to see them and make better choices about how we will respond. I’m wondering if perhaps what happened four decades ago is a whole lot of seeds got planted and what we are seeing today is just a huge garden that has gone wild. Sure, a whole lot of weeds need to be pulled and mounds of soil needs to be turned and a whole bunch of thirsty plants and flowers need to be watered but this is your garden that you planted many years ago so the hope of the future is still in there somewhere and only you have got the key.

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Blog #34 When Life Gives You Lemons….Juggle!

Posted on : 24-04-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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Sometimes I’m just so dang cute with my naivety and ignorance that I just wanna pinch myself. Take today for instance. I’d seen postings for several positions with the local campus radio station last week and jumped on the band wagon pronto-like. I took care to contact the station manager directly to see if they really–REALLY–really would consider a Non-Traditional Student such as myself. You know…old enough to be their mother kind of a non-traditional student! We had a great little exchange of emails and I was encouraged to submit my resume and apply…so I did.

I even tapped out a witty letter with my resume and application explaining in a new way why I was experienced and they should want me and some of the wonderful things that I could do to help them.

I began planning for David and my future with all the extra money I’d be making doing something that I really loved. Today when I went in for my interview, I took great pains to wear professional clothes with a bit of attitude to them and my hair behaved even though the air was pregnant with moisture. I liked the way the offices “felt” and the people that I saw running in and out. During the first fifteen minutes of the interview, I felt confident and like I’d want to hire someone like me if I was interviewing me all the way until the coup de grace….when we began discussing the hours I could work, etc.. I explained about the classes I was taking, my part time job, writing, web radio interviewing etc. and somehow brought up the discussion of money which was when the gal said, “oh you realize that ALL these positions are volunteer don’t you?” Which of course I nodded my head and kept listening to her talking about the work that needed to be done.

If I was a cartoon character, my body would have frozen in mid-air and then shattered and nothing would have remained but my Cheshire grin smile. Finding out the job was not paid and having to act like it didn’t matter and that I was still really interested felt the same as if I’d finally been asked to coffee with a guy that I had a really big crush on only to learn that he was either married or only thought of me as a real good friend or was gay and I had to act like I was on board with his reality too!

But you know, I think all my years of meditating and learning and asking for wisdom and guidance came through because I found myself stepping up to the plate and when she asked me which jobs I’d be most interested in and began telling me further details about the volunteer positions, I juggled…..I suggested to her that she consider taking advantage of my experience and years in the business world and my nine years of coaching experience. That I’d be a really good person for her, as Promotions Director, to bounce ideas off of and use as a sounding board. I could certainly do that and I believe I would enjoy helping her. Besides, if I could get a half an hour time slot to put on my own interviewing/talk show using their board, it would be well worth any effort on my part.

So my friends, take a tip from me…when life hands you lemons….learn how to juggle them up in the air round and round till you regain your composure and can toss ’em up and behind your back and catch them in mid-flight and wing them around to your front again. It’s all how we look at things.

There’s just all kinds of things we can do with lemons!

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Blog #33 A Gal Walks Into a Bar….

Posted on : 23-04-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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One of the things I learned in recovery programs years ago is that when you’re drinking or smoking or doing any number of things to disassociate yourself from your present life you’re not able or willing to step out of the bar or get up off of the couch or turn away from your techno toys and do something.

A month or so ago I had an interesting phone conversation with Dr. Ron Glasser who is the best selling author of 365 days and Wounded: Vietnam to Iraq. Since his time serving as a medic during the Vietnam war, he has written books and spoken about what he has learned concerning the consequences of war from a medical perspective. Here’s an excerpt from his website:

“The Wounded Keep the Death Count Low The real “body count” of this war is not only our dead, but our wounded. The real risk to our troops is no longer the numbers of dead but the numbers ending up on orthopedic wards and neurosurgical units.”

I’m not sure how old Ron is, but my Dad was a pilot in Vietnam and he’s 77. Ron has been going at this for decades and he sounds tired and ready for someone to step up and grab the baton from him.

Likewise, in today’s American-Statesman there was a long article on Bill Moyers definite retirement from his show. One excerpt from this article jumped off the page at me:

“Moyers has devoted much of his life to the larger idea of an informed democracy. Yet he bows his head ever so slightly at the mention of Robert F. Kennedy’s intent, articulated in 1968, to have the major TV networks air a two-hour prime time documentary on American poverty if he were elected president. If the people knew, certainly we would act.” “I no longer believe that, by the way, he says softly. We have so much information. We know what’s wrong. The predicament is: We don’t do anything about it. That may be a factor in my decision to retire…..We’re saturated. There are more people who know than there are people who do. That’s a quandary I haven’t resolved yet. But it’s a fact.”

Bill Moyers is 77

These are just two examples of fathers of the Baby Boomer generation who have been working their butts off to help and inspire us in the world. I know, I know that many of us Baby Boomers have lost our jobs or been forced to retire early but I know that there are more than just a few of us who can step up to men (and women) like these, and take the baton to carry it forward.

What are you doing to make a difference in this world? Sitting on the bar stool and knocking down a few cold ones while waxing philosophical about what is wrong with the world or getting lost in the fog of from a bud and dreaming up another conspiracy plot is just not going to change things. For the past seven years, for example, I’ve been mentoring seven people who I speak with five times a week for fifteen minutes every morning. It may not seem like much, but it’s one little way that I can help others get on their feet and be a contributing member to the world.

Focus in on one person, place or thing that you can offer your own brand of help and guidance towards. Let’s acknowledge the people who have been blazing the trails before us and let them know that we appreciate the good works they have done and that we will take the load from here for them so that they will know their message has been received and heard.

It always comes back to you and us.

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