Happy Labor Day, from Victoree

Rosie The Riviter Honor Labor poster

Rosie says…

It’s the last party of the summer. It’s the holiday before we hang up our bathing suits and face the fact that last fall’s clothes don’t fit. After the heartburn from the hot dogs is long gone, we launch into the matter of school–beginning with, “what is school for?”

trinity-knot-clipart-1Whether we in this society state it clearly enough, consider that an active, successful producer in the workforce is the end product of schooling. We go to school to go to work and expect to work darned hard, too. Here’s a twist on that from the founder of Mindvalley,  Vishen Lakhiani. Over the years, industry has uncoupled itself from any responsibility for training and the task floated to education to basically prepare new entrants to the workforce. So, education and industry work hand in hand (or they used to). Instead, Industry and Education became like long-married people who grow apart over the years. This is why companies grumble when they discover they have acquired new hires who do not “come up to spec”. They feel somehow that they have been “cheated” and the schools have “failed” because the product they were promised never shows up. The relationship of school and industry is essentially a provider-consumer relationship. Then, we as a society hope that the schools we release our precious youth to, these educational expert partners we support with our taxes will somehow accomplish this:

  •  turn out good, patriotic citizens
  • caring, concerned parents
  • generally moral people

Yes, I said, “turn out”, because, let me repeat, the unspoken social contract school has with industry is that school will do the workforce preparation and industry will provide the employment. Religious institutions have the job of providing the moral piece. However, something has happened to “the triple knot” of home, school and business.

Whether you will be returning to school, college or work, remember on Labor Day (before the heartburn after that hamburger) that an honest day’s labor is an honorable thing to be celebrated. Work is not a curse. It is a blessing.

Happy Labor Day, from Victoree




Victoree’s BACK TO SCHOOL Assembly


Hope you all had a wonderful summer vacation. Time to remember how the alarm clock works. Wash the swim trunks so they can be packed away for next summer. Even Michael Phelps has to get out of the water sometime. We’ll write about how we spent the summer later on. (Forgive me, Father; I am an educator…) As classrooms in Washington DC open for Semester II, classrooms will once again be rife with the voices of eager youth in squeaking shoes and clothes that smell like never-washed, factory-fresh textile sizing. Other systems will follow after the ritual last party of the summer–Labor Day. Then they too will be filled with new haircuts and pristine backpacks.

Once again we concentrate energy on that institution our society has assigned the project of developing the young–workforce fodder–into fiscally productive adult citizens, namely the education industry. It is an industry that still resembles its early 20th century  manufacturing system parentage with its assembly line scheduling of days.

We pause until Labor Day to think again about school. Let’s kick around a few ideas about how school is evolving to approach the challenges of the 21st century. While we’re at it let’s look at some current ideas about career choice and preparation including:

  • How has career education changed?
  • Exactly what do parents, corporations, and society expect school to do?
  • How well are school and the business world aligned?
  • Are schools preparing American youth for full participation in today’s workforce ?
  • What new skills should be taught in schools now?
  • New configurations for school?

It promises to be not your usual ride on the big yellow bus. Got your brand new no. 2’s sharpened? Let’s go!



Work Is A Circus; You’re In It

KuriosatTysonsCirque du soleil has come to Tysons, close my northern Virgina neighborhood and its romance stirs the summer-soused brain. Have you ever considered how in many ways, the workplace is a lot like the circus? Everybody performs. On some days, the ring master is indistinguishable from the clown.

Some of us are areal dancers: high flyers spinning in the middle of the air; amazing everybody with their perfect timing and technically flawless moves. Some of us operate closer to the ground: We eat fire; awesome producers of goods and service made out of things and emotions that if handled by lesser skilled would be distructive. Others of us keep the gate: we sell the tickets and count the money, making it possible for the show to continue–and to pay the company! Early last century, there was the “freak show”: public displays of human and animal oddities at which it was okay to stare, hiding behind mom’s skirts, scared out of your wits, but looking at it anyway.

It'sACircusInThereHere it is: we all perform in this great show called working, but not in the same role throughout our careers and not at all times.

The Big Myth: The American Dream


Finally, campers, we come to one last item, a fixture of our national mythology embedded in our identification of ourselves as “the land of opportunity”:anybody from anywhere on earth can  come to the USA and go from rags to riches; the sky’s the limit for those who work hard and persevere. Unlike in some countries, commonly held ideas are the glue that holds us together as a nation.

Each succeeding generation expects to fare better financially and socially than the parent generation. It may have been true for a while for some. However, as a member of the first generation of Americans who did not rise higher than their parents, I can say that the American Dream (as pictured above) is just that–a dream. It surprised and angered me at first. I felt like I had somehow been duped; bamboozled; cheated. Somebody lied. I was a nice kid; quiet, docile and feminine; never gave my parents an hour of trouble; got good grades and stayed out of jail. Success should have just walked up and kissed me on the lips.


Future professionals, take the Myth of The American Dream with a tablespoon of salt. Pass it right through the system ASAP. In order to move on to the reality, I found it necessary  to examine deeply held beliefs about success, career, and everything else in life under strong, unfiltered light. Are you in that place on your path of self-development? Refuse to simply parrot the so-called “truths” as touted by the culture. Understand exactly what school is really set up to do. Forgive your parents, friends, relations, enemies and mentors for passing on all their off-base advice. Forgive yourself for misguided movements in unproductive paths. Just as you were born largely unfinished (could we stand on our own hours after birth?; are humans grown in a year?), upon graduation from High School and College, your education is largely unfinished. Who is responsible for completing your life learning?



Get some pool time in before first semester begins. Have a great summer.sun

Victoree Takes A Lap!



51tlCigbjwL._SX295_BO1,204,203,200_My 62nd birthday was this past week and usually, I have an annual personal retreat. That’s when I take a long, hard look at my life and plan the steps for any course corrections and adjustments to honor the past year’s learning on the journey. It’s also a celebration of survival. You can say it’s a “Victoree lap”. This year I am extending this blessed time because it is a major  “passage”/transition point in my life. I have decided to retire early and to complete the career shape shift I have been working on for the past 5 years or so. So, let me bust just one more myth today, namely:

People stop growing after adolescence.


Even if we somehow missed Gail Sheehy’s “Passages” and “Menopause…”, we should understand this today more than ever because of dealing with the effects of the boom generation’s now heading into retirement. Growth, development and change continue throughout an entire lifetime. Adulthood itself has several stages. Our generally longer lifespan has spawned an entire new industry centered upon the other stages of adulthood. (hint–it’s not all about nursing homes and cemeteries). Here’s the thing: many places in society are unprepared to use the knowledge and did not heed certain warnings/predictions that were clearly and unmistakably written in bold letters across the sky. We are going to take a little side trip to explore this subject in the next series of thoughts.

As we dismiss New Professionals summer camp we prepare for the reopening of the academic year. Harvest time is just ahead and we must see what is ready to be gathered in.  At last, if you are a “moon child” and celebrating your birthday with me, a very blessed and happy birthday to you too!

Industrial Myth #4: Careers Do Straight Lines


Please observe the illustration found at a career blog I saw at:http://www.thedavidwells.com/blog/.

Real Career Path

I could talk until the wind shifts.

I could write until the words run together like tears and mascara.

Compare the “fantasy” with the “real”.

Stare at it as many times as you want. Chances are your consciousness will return and return to this when the mind is just wandering around as our monkey-mind thoughts do whenever we’re bored or stressed.

Let the learning tattoo itself on your soul.

A career begins with divine desire, intention and aim; if the intention is strong

And the aim is true–

Real purpose will meet you in the maze of living.

Real purpose is the surprise at what seems to be a dead end.

There is a path,

But it is not entirely of our own making

And it sho’ nuff ain’ straight.





Industrial Myth #3:College Teaches All


2016…S.O.S. (Same Old Stuff)



There is still much emotionally charged discussion about exactly what role education is supposed to play in a society like the USA. Period. Some say college is for training certain youth for their professions. If true, what about the sizable number of college grads who never go anywhere near what they majored in. Again, another group of grads gets into the “chosen profession” only to find out they are a match made in hell.

It was that way with me and classroom teaching. Originally trained as an elementary school teacher–6 years of study and tears–I went off to bag my first teaching job after graduation. In my neighborhood, teaching was a respected profession so smart young women went to normal school. After my first career in Journalism fizzled out, I went to “plan B”.


confused graduate

Three failed classrooms later, I agreed with a teacher mentor in one school and a professor that perhaps my decision was not well thought out. I became depressed when they told me I would not be a very good traditional teacher(I was going to become one of those infamous “bad teachers” politicians have spun into legend). Had I wasted all that time and the government’s money? I did all that research so this would not happen to me!)  Then, I struck upon the idea that just maybe all the exploratory intelligence I had collected on my personality and my passions through professional and casual testing was not totally wrong. Yes, there I do have a teaching streak, but not one colored for the traditional classroom setting.

The knowledge I gained about myself; having a seeking spirit; a hunger to learn: these are things school hardly acknowledges exists at all, but very essential to the life of professionals. I’m through with the angst part, but if you want more of a view of the inside of what it is like to be twenty and in the throes of acquiring wisdom about your self and your profession; questioning everything you ever learned or thought to be real, please take a look over at All Groan Up with Paul Angone on You Tube.

Industrial Myth #2: Personal Worth = Net Worth

Saint Daddy

SD (Saint Daddy)

Today, Father’s Day, is a great time to do some myth-busting about a subject we make first contact with through men we love: our fathers, uncles, brothers and husbands. Where did they get their bankrupt ideas from? Who else but their grandfathers, great uncles and brothers-in-laws. Bad ideas about money (and good ones as well) often pass through the generational lines. Today, let’s toss out this one for good:

Penny you have; penny you’re worth.

Now, my immigrant dad grew up poor in Panama. From his young perspective, a person’s worth as a person is tied tightly to and is not distinguishable from their net worth. It infected his thinking about money and the rich. Therefore, to have money was a righteous goal. In my dad’s old neighborhood in Panama, people treated kids who dumpster-dove for dinner as if they were garbage on two legs. The children of the wealthy and socially well-connected to the colonial powers, by contrast, were perceived to be  somehow made of better stuff and were treated as if they were.

Here’s the truth: Money is just a piece of paper or a scrap of metal unless human beings assign them worth. Let the Confederate dollar after the American Civil War prove it.

People, in contrast, have intrinsic worth simply because they are human.

So, whether you’ve got a wad that would choke a horse or a little ball of lint rolling in your pocket right now, you, human being, are worthy of taking up skin, air and space on earth.

Personal worth ≠ net worth.

To all our dads, uncles, brothers and husbands, a happy and blessed father’s day!



Industrial Myth 1: Career Fail Is Bad Luck


Good morning, campers!

Today we will start our talk about Industrial Mythology. These are the tales we tell ourselves about working, originally dutifully passed down from generation to generation. Oh, the injustices laid at the door of Fortuna! (an image of the Roman goddess of luck, Fortuna, appears for you)  As if life was a thing that simply happens to people!

Here’s the truth: If you let life blow you around like a piece of driftwood, it will do just that. Yes, you will end up on some beach somewhere.

As a kid, I believed that somehow the winds of Fortune would magically blow me toward my “dream job”.  I believed in the myth of the “career ladder”. Just “start somewhere” and climb up from the bottom. This belief was the driver. All I did was unquestioningly follow lock-step grade to grade winning A after A and B after B. I was an excellent student. I got to the honor society, but I was totally unprepared for life after high school graduation (so, I went to college). By becoming life’s flotsam I handed my fate gift wrapped to the winds. Then, I complained to myself and commiserated with everybody who would listen about how “Life didn’t turn out the way I imagined it” and how all my teachers lied to me about “how things should be”.

The emotional reward was a seething sense of resentment against school which goaded my sense of “righteousness” into high gear. Feeling superior. Nothing like it in the world…The amazing thing is how many people in 2016, in the early 21st century still hang on to this tattered old medieval belief that a human being’s life is in somebody/something else’s control. This is straight out of that basic “crap-app” package that the “social factory”(the culture) installs into maturing mental operating systems (you).By merely “drifting” through life with fingers crossed you are handing your powers to decide what happens to you to Fortune’s tides. Next time, we’ll talk about how to “hack” Luck and make that driftwood into a surfboard.


The Ego And Ali

muhammad_ali_quoteMuhammad Ali is gone and now the world has a hole in it. When I was a child my mom and several other adults in  my neighborhood disliked this man who declared, “I am the greatest!” Back then, Nice Colored People never took on the “way things were” barefaced like Cassius Clay did. Then, he disrupted proper social order and changed his name to Muhammad Ali! Surely, he and that Rev. King in Georgia were going to get all of us in trouble in America. Women never talked back to their fathers and husbands either. That was sin in the skin! Until my early teens, I parroted my elders’ 1950’s ideas about race, color and gender as if they were my own. But they were not my own.

You see, being an introspective, wallflower of a girl, I believed that only men had “egos” which had to be dutifully tended like orchids by all the women in their lives–wives, sisters, girlfriends or whatever you were to the man. Oh, yes. Women were a “whatever”. Standing above and apart, I, the Princess Morally Puritan Purest of all, certainly did not have this “ego” that if in any way was insulted, would ruin me for life or something like in “Gremlins”.

Then, one day, click! I looked at the boxer; I listened to the boxer and I began to look closely at the so-called ancient wisdom about who I could never be or do. It seemed there was always some reason I could not succeed based on something I was born with:my skin was too dark; my hair was too kinky; my torso was too short; my feet were too flat; on and on.Then, to top it all off, I was born female. Doomed! Doomed forever to live chained to a man whose ego I had to stoke like a fireman on a steam engine.

Thanks to Mohammad Ali I re-examined all my hand-me-down beliefs and got abundantly clear about exactly what I did believe about race, gender roles, and most of all about my Self. Mirror, mirror on the wall; who has one of the biggest egoes of all? It was an ugly truth that began my journey of soul growth.

I do not agree with all Muhammad Ali’s ideas, but I certainly thank him for helping many of us de-mythologize our beliefs and de-colonize our minds. May you rest in peace, my brother. Salaam.