This and That

Following a decade of disaster, I am trying to remain positive. Seriously. But sometimes I feel like the gods are just not cooperating.

January 1, 2010 I received a phone call from my boss: “We don’t have the budget to put you on the schedule for next week. Sorry.”

True story.


It’s December 31, 2009.

Snow has been quietly falling outside my window for the past hour  –silently erasing the gnarled brown tufts of grass and piles of still unraked leaves. It’s covering up the ugly exposed bits of earth with a clean white blanket and turning it into a brand new winter playground.

Life should be so simple.

Lately when I think of myself, I get the image of a stump-legged pigeon for some reason. You know the one. Still flying in the group; gathering at all the feeding holes; pecking around for crumbs; all the while hobbling around on that stump leg of his.

Guess I’m actually feeling “better” about life lately. This image says to me: you may be down, but you’re not dead. You can still fly if you put your mind to it.

I’ve been inspired by those in my community of creative people who have taken the “lemons” they were given and made “lemonade” with them. They successfully re-invented themselves professionally. They seem to be genuinely happy about the changes in their lives.

Had my creative unemployment actually come with a genuine “pinkslip”, then it probably also would have come with some sort of severance pay and unemployment compensation. In my defense, I think I fell so hard, because I had no buffer. There were only the cryptic, apologetic, emails from former clients and then, the phone stopped ringing.

My first reaction was to reach back into my bag of tricks. I thought I might have a (pardon the pun) “leg-up” on the competition by following a [former] passion – food. If you have followed this blog at all, you have seen that didn’t go where I had hoped it would.

So, I’m going to crawl from the wreckage, again. Take the extra time “offered” to me by not being offered full-time employment, and see what I can muster.

This time I have new parameters:

Raw talent. Non-perishable.

Stay tuned.

head in vice

Today is my one year anniversary of “Plan B.” Given where this has taken me: the birth of this blog and my state of mind at the moment, I don’t think it’s going to work. So, I am now back to brainstorming.

Did I learn anything? Yes, most definitely.

I learned a lot about myself:

  1. I am without a doubt a “creative” person.
    One night one of my co-workers remarked to me that she is constantly blown away at how I always come up with lots of ideas. Tons of ideas. Ways of doing things; Ways of re-doing things; Thinking of things to do.
  2. My mundane tolerance is approximately 3 months.
    I cannot “hold my breath” longer than that without getting frustrated. It occurred to me that the only time I have had to take a job that required only that you smile, be nice and wait on people, was when I was in high-school and college. These jobs were only summer-seasonal. I only had to tread water for 3 months while I worked to save money for school. A steady diet of this makes me crazy!
  3. I am a person of character and find it difficult to show up at one of these jobs without my “A” game.
    I always bring my brain to work which makes it exceedingly difficult to function consistently at such a low level – without creative or educational challenges.

I need to make a move before I sink to the depths of depression. There, I said it out loud. Depression.

My friends and co-workers see anger and frustration, but it’s depression for real. I feel terrible about it. I hate being a person who doesn’t laugh as often as they used to, and seems always “on the verge” of tears.

Hopefully, I’ll get through this.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed that all people seek to satisfy five basic kinds of needs: physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness needs, esteem needs and self-actualization needs. He suggested that these needs constitute a hierarchy of needs, with the most basic or compelling needs—physiological and safety needs—at the bottom.

Maslow argued that the lowest-level needs must be met before a person will try to satisfy needs higher up in the hierarchy, such as self-esteem needs. According to the theory, the lowest level of unmet needs in the hierarchy is the prime motivator of behavior. If and when this level is satisfied, needs at the next level in the hierarchy will begin to motivate behavior.

Under this theory, individual growth is key to an organization’s success. Supervisors must attempt to identify individual employee needs and foster employee job satisfaction. If they do so, employees will progress toward self-actualization, and will improve the organization in the process. Following is a partial list of the various rewards, practices, and programs that supervisors and their organizations may use to satisfy employee needs.

Physiological (Basic) Needs

  • Furnish a pleasant and comfortable environment
  • Provide for a “comfortable” salary

Security Needs

  • Adhere to safety rules and regulations
  • Minimize layoffs and downsizing
  • Provide well-defined job descriptions
  • Minimize negative stroking and threatening behavior
  • Provide information about the firm’s financial status and projections
  • Provide “just” compensation and supportive fringe benefits

Social Needs

  • Encourage the team concept to execute projects
  • Systematically use job satisfaction surveys
  • Sponsor office business and social meetings
  • Provide close personal leadership
  • Encourage participation in professional and community groups
  • Compensate on the basis of total team performance

Self-Esteem Needs

  • Include employees in goal-setting and decision-making processes
  • Provide opportunities to display skills and talents
  • Provide recognition symbols—for example, print names on stationery
  • Provide opportunities for coaching and development
  • Use a positive reinforcement program
  • Pay attention to office size, office location, parking spaces, and other perks
  • Institute a mentor system
  • Compensate as a recognition of growth

Self-Actualization Needs

  • Provide for participation in goal-setting and decision-making processes
  • Provide opportunities and support for a career-development plan
  • Provide job rotation to broaden experience and exposure
  • Offer optimal innovative and risk-taking opportunities
  • Encourage direct-access communication with clients, customers, suppliers, and vendors
  • Provide challenging internal and external professional development opportunities
  • Provide supportive leadership that encourages a high degree of self-control
  • Compensate as a reward for exceptional performance

This installment of FM Check List is adapted from BOMI Institute’s Administration, (, a course in BOMI Institute’s Systems Maintenance Administrator (SMA) program.

I took this image at the beach the other day. Funny how the tide pulls at the mud and leaves trees. Sometimes I feel like my waking hours are spent in a mud forest.

Mud Forest

This is when I realized I was a true “Hobo”.

For those who have not followed my posts, I need to let you know, that I currently spend my new workday in an upscale grocery store. Due to my extensive background in chocolate and baking, when I was hired, the HR department suggested that I work in the specialty department. I toil away daily making mundane chocolate products and fancy coffees (lattes and the like) for the self-indulgent.

One perk of the job is getting free food. Generally, it’s given to us if it is perfectly good, but damaged or “out of date”. We refer to that as “coded”. Much of what is currently in my home freezer is coded food.

Anyway, on this particular day, one of my “team mates” was given a partial dozen eggs for free because an egg or two was damaged. She was excited. We, as a team, had “scored!”

She took out the department’s hot-plate, boiled up a pot of water and proceeded to hard-cook the eggs. To make the meal complete, we ravaged our “tip cup” for $1.85 and purchased a loaf of french bread.


~pathetic or poignant?

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