Would you believe....?

Would you believe….?

The question is, “Why on earth don’t you settle down and get a job like a normal person?” Or, is it, “Why the **** (choose your own bad word) do you go from-job-to-job so much? Then there is the ever-refreshing, “Why can’t you keep a job?”

I just brought all this up (UGH) as the possible thinking behind the one question that scares applicants the most:”Why did you leave your last job?” Of course it must be answered. The potential employer does has a right to know, so, “Non of your beez-wax!”, although flipping like an Olympic diver on the tip of the tongue, is never the right answer. Oh, yes, there are “right answers” and none of them are:

  • My last boss was a jerk
  • It was a conspiracy against me
  • I lied on my resume
  • I stole millions from the company

Some people–some we even elected to positions of power–can really say that they bad-mouthed the boss, were the object of bullying, lied about having an MBA or stole #Big-Bucks from consumers, friends, family, and shareholders. Regardless whether or not they made the news for what they did, there is a way of handling it on the resume. If the immortals of imfamy can, so can all of us lesser lights. Of course, if there was an “incarceration event” (prison) it is better for the applicant to be candid about it then NOT GET TOO DETAILED. We humans become the stories we tell ourselves. Negative stories make for negative outcomes in interviews. Someone who has spent a substantial amount of time out of the workforce caring for a relative can actually tell that story provided it is short, to the point and told in a positive way. A military wife is not required to hide a lifetime of making multitudes of “homes on the base” in support of a spouse’s career in the armed forces.

The norm is that workers, especially younger ones, seldom stay at one job for more than 2-3 years. There is an unspoken rule, though. Frequent job change might be expected these days, but  the “hopping” has to suggest a thoughtfully planned array.


Heaven, the Racetrack and the Hamster Wheel

This Lenten Season, I have taken on a personal/professional growth goal: working through Dan Miller’s 48 Days To The Work You Love. To force myself out of my one cracking great weakness, procrastination, I borrowed the book from my local library instead of purchasing it immediately. Believe me, this is one work worth the shelf space. It is available in traditional print and Kindle version at . Currently, I am  at the point of defining for myself the words vocation, career and job. Why don’t we travel together in this journey awhile? It would be a hoot!

Career "The Racetrack"

Career “The Racetrack”


We must have clear, personal meanings for vocation, career, and job since these words are too often used interchangeably. A closer examination using the Oxford English Dictionary shows just how farcically inaccurate doing that is.  Consider that the word, “career”, which comes to the English language from a 16th century French word, “carriere”:a “road; a racecourse”. In turn, the French word comes from the Latin, “caraia”:a track for wheeled vehicles. Its root is the Latin word, “carrus”, or, wagon. This is probably where we got the word, “carriage” and “car” from. So, a career is a racetrack–like the Roman Circus Maximums in the movie, “Ben Hur”. Don’t you love this rushing around and around in a circle? Nascar: that’s a career!

Samuel hears the call.

Samuel hears the call.


Gazing deeply at the word, “vocation”, we see in the Merriam Webster Dictionary that this noun strikes one of the main chords in “passion” (another word bandied about these days in employment lingo).  Having a vocation means having a strong desire to be/to belong someplace or in something. Vocation has a “fixation” or object/place of desire. Until the employment profession co-opted the term, it used to mean the personal answer to a divine call toward living a life dedicated to serving in a priesthood. The word has roots in Middle English, Anglo-French and Latin–combining “vocare”, to call, and “vox”, voice. A person with a vocation hears a “call” to a specific kind of work and is in essence “saying yes” in answer to that divine summons. Drawn toward heaven: that’s a vocation.

The J. O. B. (just over broke)

The J. O. B. (just over broke)


Last of all there is the word, “job”. A job is “a paid position of regular employment”, according to the Oxford Dictionaries. This noun seems to be the “one-dollar bill” of economic currency, embracing the idea of a “task” or a “responsibility” carried out on a regular basis. I cannot get a fix on exactly where this word comes from, but it sure carries a nasty connotation that focuses on every-day, basic, common, and even difficult and dirty tasks. It is even used as slang for paid criminal acts. Of all three, this is the word that has in its morphology become an action word. The hamster wheel:what we have to do every day to earn the salt…or the lettuce.

So, tell me…what is the definition of these words in your life?

Yes, I Am An Old Lady. Get Over It.


Date: Today

To: Anybody with a bee in the bonnet about working with “Baby Boomers” on any project anywhere:

From: Bold, Brassy 40+ Worker

Don’t whisper. I can hear you very well. Don’t expect me to hurry anywhere, to drop everything to answer phones, to care about what happens to Justin Bieber, or join the rest of the gang at the local watering hole after work. I would rather pass on doing all the things younger people with more energy, more tolerance for nonsense and no family obligations do.

Yes, I know. All the articles advising 40+ professionals sing the same song: go to the gym; get fit; lose weight; drop the 30-year-old hairstyle; get a suit whose pants do not have elastic in the waistband and ax the flip phone with the big buttons that looks like the one you gave mum last Christmas.

I am so tired of the pointing and tittering behind well-manicured hands; so weary of fighting to keep up with the latest fad and fashion. I may not seem be on the bleeding edge of the trend, but never, ever be lulled into believing that somehow it has slipped under my radar. My brain is as sharp as it ever was. I can trend in my sleep and dreamed about it coming at least 5 years ago. I was a part of the original concept, was in the planning of it yesterday that made it work like magic today and am now reveling in how my concept baby developed. Therefore, I have earned my right to walk at a dignified pace and do not have to barrel down the halls like a bob-sled on foot.

You have always suspected it. Let me put an end to the speculation. Caught you ogling my cane.

Yes, I am an old lady. Get over it.


The VP falls asleep in congress

Now, the man pictured above was caught on camera enduring another obviously impossibly long meeting. This man is fully employed…and he is tired. If this highly paid executive can get weary at work, what about the hundreds of thousands of people who are not working? I say let us get off our friends’, relations and our own backs and face the reality that looking for work is hard work and job seekers have a right to be tired. Think about this:

The very day a once-employed person becomes unemployed, BOOM! That former-worker immediately becomes the project manager of the biggest project in a lifetime: getting another job.  Immediately, everything is her direct responsibility.

After becoming an unlicensed mental health worker in order to slow the slip-n-slide into situational depression, the role of marketing executive immediately demands attention. The newly unemployed worker has to find and run a skills assessment, compare the results with what the market requires and upgrade where necessary. Upgrading skills calls for locating an educational agency, enrolling in coursework and financing it. That’s not all–

  • An employment goal has to be determined and that means becoming a researcher.
  • A timetable has to be created and steps toward the target plotted, so that means becoming a career strategist.
  • A marketing campaign has to be created and put into action including writing a resume (you’re a technical writer, now), creating an elevator speech, and practicing interviewing. That is public speaking–something many people would rather have a double wisdom tooth extraction than do. It can also include an occasional smattering of stagecraft.
  • All the while, the budget for this project is rapidly blowing up because being out of work becomes increasingly more expensive (figure out the gross loss of income and multiply by the time without a job). The CFO (Chief Financial Officer You) is never happy. That is the one who demands getting up at 3:00am to cry,worry and bargain with God.
  • Then, there is the administrative role. Somebody–guess who–has to write, answer and monitor emails; keep the appointment calendar; always answer the phone professionally; create business cards; on and on.

Plus, remember while all this is going on in one ring, the other two in this crazy circus are going on at full tilt–the spouse; the kids; homework; housework; managing chronic conditions (yours and other people’s); managing a household and relationships and more. Nobody does all these jobs like a rock star, but we cross our fingers, go to job clubs that coach job search skills and hope to get good enough at it to get that next job. Meanwhile, so much attention is given to acquiring job search skills that the skills actually used to perform the job act like muscles when they are not regularly used–they atrophy if not exercised. Why are job seekers so tired? So frustrated when the search drags on? Take a good guess!

The Last Word From Victoree–NOT!


I thought I was going to at last close this blog and develop the next idea, but I thought better of it. Both ideas can live side by side!

Here it is–

The new blog will be called, “Fruitivity”, which will explore life in the “third age” of life, that time when many of us of the “Boomer” generation will “retire”. Frankly, I think “retirement” is a wasteful idea since people were actually created to be productive their entire lives. I am not suggesting a little tweak. I am proposing a revolution.


Watch for FRUITIVITY.WORDPRESS.COM coming in September.

All the best,


Welcome To The Time of Morganne

The Journey ahead

The Journey ahead

Welcome to 2014. Are you ready for the journey?

According to the Chinese zodiac 2014 is a “horse year”. The ruling element is, “wood”, so, 2014 can be called, “year of the wood horse”. A dear friend of mine lets me know that this particular solar return is significant because it is the year of my 60th birthday when the stars will be aligned exactly the way they were when I entered the world.Year of the wood Horse

Consider that the result of having clean water, great nutrition and good medical care is–you’ve guessed it–longer lifespan for many of us. In the USA, someone reaches the age of 65 every second. More of us are living into our 70’s and 80’s and our demographic’s sheer numbers are straining the current structures  of society including business and government to understand what to do with us.

So what are my boomer classmates doing in retirement with their better health and longer life? I am hearing that some are seeking second and third careers; some are establishing businesses of their own.  Some of us (yours truly) who must continue to earn income to make up for pension shortfalls or the absence of a pension are finding employment is harder to get for various reasons including negative attitudes about being older.

Let’s talk about what being 60 means. Our trip begins with a discussion about the time in life we will refer to as “the third age”.  Some folk in the world where I live are choosing to mourn their youth’s passing indefinitely.  I have personally embraced being a “crone” or “wise woman”. My daughter and I share notes about living aware and well in these days beyond the traditional end of the career sidewalk. She dubs them my “Morganne years”.  I insist that these are the years a woman should own her strength and power, as did the legendary Morgana Le Fey.

Let’s go!

Eureka! I have found it!

Monday, January 6 is the celebration of the Feast of Epiphany, a commemoration of the Magi’s discovery of the Christ Child. Look at this: it took these wise seekers about two years to locate their target. It took me that long to find my very first job, so an extensive search is not all that farfetched–especially not for those 40+ these days. If one of the goals for 2014 is to find a new job, get a new career, establish a new practice, write a book, or anything important in life, some of the same skills the Magi used to find the Christ Child will be needed. It is going to take a strong sense of mission, perseverance, mental toughness like a tortoise shell, and laser sharp focus. If you’re game to go, the ride this year will begin with talking about what it will take to finally “find that baby”.

Going my way?

Welcoming Yuletide

Winter Crossing

Winter Crossing

We welcome Yuletide.

The solstice of winter  arrives at the end of the week and we move toward putting the cap on all the preparations for the coming holiday celebrations. 2013 is hurrying to an end. For those of us who are now searching for work,  all those holiday gatherings of family and friends are prime opportunities to sow seeds of networking expecting the effort to put out their first results like Snowdrop flowers early in the new year.

It is easy to think of winter as a “downer” time; a depressive time; an inactive time; a time when even as the earth is quilted with snow, our minds “snow down” too. Not really.   Yes, the last harvest is all stored and we need a date with a hot tub of Epsom salts. Yes, the fields are clear and the tools put to rest, but now the real work of winter comes.

Winter is the time of clarifying intention.  Winter in the soul or in a career strips all the fixtures the soul uses to hide and real purpose (or lack of it) is bare like trees standing in their naked honestly without the leaves and vines of other seasons.Winter is a time to rest and reflect, not to merely  doze by the fire. If a job search or a new state of life is in sight, winter is a time tailor made for taking counsel with the inner being about direction and purpose. Attending events meant to arouse creativity, investigate new possibilities, restore the mind, and care for the body is a good idea. Winter is also the time of dreaming, visualizing and planning. It is time to envision and set expectations for next year’s planting, summer, and harvest. Have a soulful Yuletide.


Retirement: The Falling Nightmare

Is that all there is, ...

Is that all there is, … (Photo credit: rahid1)

At age 30 or so, we recognize the life season we live in. We are no longer teens, as a glance at the pile of bills on kitchen table will testify. We look around and mumble to ourselves in the lyrics of a once popular song, “is that all there is?”

After having not walked into an office as an employee in over a year, the same song comes to mind. A short pace into retirement, after finding out that eternal leisure is not all it is cracked up to be, again Peggy Lee croons, “Is that all there is?” Just as we did when we entered work life, at the end of it we ask,

“What now?”

My understanding is that human beings are born with only two fears: loud sounds and falling. In a graduate school early learning course, I saw films of an experiment with crawling babies wherein every one of the infants stopped moving at the place they perceived was the edge of the surface.

In the beginning, retirement might evoke memories of the falling nightmare. The last day of employment is the dreaded “end of the table”. In that universal nightmare, there is a feeling of helplessness, powerlessness, and loss of control. There are no boundaries: the sky is not above and the earth is not beneath. Then, startled out of sleep, the familiar surroundings of the bedroom or the TV room is reassurance that it was only a bad dream and we change pajamas with gratitude.

However, the more times we meet the sun, the fainter that helpless/powerless feeling becomes. Finally, there will come a day that it no longer makes sense to base our identity upon the old relationship with The Company as it fades into a one-line parenthetical. We do the same thing on our resumes. The situation is now dominated by a new identity: The Free Man/Woman; The Independent Agent.

What now?


Retirement: Time Is On My Side; I’ve Got Nothing But Time

seeking purpose

What do I do now?

I have a theory. Correct me if I’m wrong…

People in the early days of retirement go through the same stages of grief that people in long term non-employment do. The first hurdle in this marathon is time. It is all about the challenge of managing all the endless days and restless nights.

Why am I saying this? Very simple answer: Other People.

From the time we come into this world Other People manage our time. Mom is sent home loaded down with a schedule of feedings, changings and inoculations. Parents anxiously watch for signs of achieving growth benchmarks. Baby should pull up at 6 months; baby should roll over at this time; baby should attempt self feeding at blah-blah-blah…

Then, we are herded into the education system and the time-driven goading by Other People continues. Every hour of every day is regimented. We pass through the grids, er, grades and forms like a product on an assembly line in a system where we are stamped slow or advanced according to a time schedule we have no power to influence.

School days turn into work days and in place of school, The Company manages a big chunk of our day.  We arrange our non-work activities so that they do not conflict with this great big “Other Person” who commands  most of our awake time. We trade away our limited time and freedom for years.

Noticeably, depression becomes like the universal solvent for the long-term non-employed and the newly retired.  Just as in the case of the Former Employee, the Other People The Retired One used to rely on to plan days and to take up gross emotional space has suddenly evaporated. Many new retirees respond to this sudden withdrawal of social contact and instant organization by becoming depressed. It is a loss so profound the only response to it is to run up the flag at half-mast– a state of mourning.

This is what happens: Suddenly, BAM!

You name it, disaster strikes: graduation comes; the layoff comes; retirement comes and there is abruptly, unceremoniously (except for that sad retirement party) silence.  Life feels like free falling because there is no order to days anymore. The Retired One goes cold turkey into self-management. YOYO (You’re On Your Own)  and get this– expected to magically know how to do it and be expert at it too!