Thursday, November 19, 2009


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” or so wrote Charles Dickens 150 years ago, although I’ve certainly heard people quoting one half or the other recently. There was an article in the Seattle Times recently about how tough the market is and how current job descriptions include everything and then throw in “personal assistant tasks” whatever the heck that means. If we include “discouraged” workers along with people still looking for work, unemployment pencils out as 15% or more. We’ve all been impacted by an economy that is the worst since the Great Depression. At the same time, people are going to work. Some of the folks working with NFJS are getting their dream jobs. Some are looking at their careers and saying, “I need to do what I love!”

One woman who has been a participant started out completely desperate for work. While coming to NFJS we helped her articulate what her dream job was and how to accomplish it: Creating an Art School. Eventually her desperation won out (or so we thought) and she took an admin job for the Feds. Within one month, she quit, rented some space and started her school. It’s been about a month since I’ve heard from her, but at that point, she had four classes going and was paying herself enough to stay afloat. It took her about four months to create her dream job at a level that supports her minimum requirements. She won’t buy a BMW this year, but then she doesn’t want one. What she wants is to teach art, and what she’s doing is teaching art. For her this is the “best of times”.

Another member of NFJS came to us looking for manual testing contract at Microsoft, testing hardware or software and complaining about how Microsoft has cut the compensation for contractors. This man did his homework while with us and developed a much better understanding of his own experience, his capabilities and his passions. What he got was an FTE position for AT&T at about 1/5th more than he thought he would be able to ask for as a contractor and doing precisely what he wanted: Leading a team doing automated hardware and software testing of devices.

The point of these two stories is to recognize that we have opportunities in spite of what we might read or hear. It always requires work to become what we want to become, but if we can articulate it and the steps necessary completely, if we can imagine it and the steps to get there completely, then we can do it. For most purposes, we get to choose if this is “the best of times” or “the worst of times”. Creating “the best of times” is hard work, but so is creating “the worst of times”.

Amazingly, the Green Bean Coffee house has been resurrected! Wayward Coffee House has been a great answer for the last month, Thank you, thank you Wayward Coffee House!
The Green Bean is now housed in the “Sip N Ship” on Greenwood Ave. 8560 Greenwood Ave N. Being back at the Bean will be great.


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