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,



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.


On Writing For a Life

Pieter Claeszoon - Still Life with a Skull and...

Pieter Claeszoon – Still Life with a Skull and a Writing Quill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Writers are very special entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, writers learn late that there is a business side of their art because of a belief that art has nothing to do with business. In order to exist art has everything to do with business.

This is how I learned: I never pursued art. Art chased me and Art has always loved me.

Believe me, I ran from writing for a living for years. Earlier in life, I was angry and envious of people who had abilities to excel in math and science. These people were all but worshiped in school as I was growing up. As a result of testing in the sixth grade, I was tracked into the non-academic track, relegated to remedial classes in math and told I would never be much more than a housewife.

In my strengths analysis (associated with the SAT’s) it was found that I had drama timing sense. I had spatial intelligence so that I could identify the three-dimensional outcomes of flattened shapes. I had color sense and a profound love for words. I had musical intelligence and,most pervasive of all, a deep need for periodic silence and solitude. Back then, introversion was something to be treated as a social malady and my talent mix does not usually lead to engineering.

In this culture, a creative child  is admired as a curiosity like two-headed cat, but the common thinking is that we would shrug off this “unreality” and somehow “grow out of it”. An adult with intentions of becoming a professional artist is judged to be weird at best and immature at worst. Career experts often recommend them to “have a plan B” or “get a real job”. Some parents even threaten not to support children who declare art majors and urge them to switch to accounting because of the fear that the arts have negative career potential after graduation.

To my brothers and sisters in whatever art loves them:

What the gypsy lady says is simple: discover the original factory installation talent and gift package as early as possible, then unashamedly work it to the hilt. The one thing I have found out in my short lifetime is that nothing develops well if not given all it needs for growth. Flowers never bloom when starved of light, good soil and proper nourishment. The plants may grow, but their development may be stunted and ugly. So it is with potential musicians. singers, dancers, painters, sculptors and writers. Regardless of whether or not you will ever make it to Broadway, get rich, and seem totally useless to an ugly, money obsessed culture like ours today, take your native strengths seriously, develop them passionately and avoid frustration and regret later.

I stopped running away from words at last. I turned around and embraced them and here I am speaking to you today.

Non-Profit Organizations: Busineses For The Greater Good

Somewhere, sometime, somebody in response to seeing a crying need said, “Somebody ought to do something about that…” and BLAM! a non-profit organization begins its existence in the mind of a founder.

Non profits are organized for the good of mankind. Some of them are cultural icons like Boys Town  or the Salvation Army, which even enjoyed a background role in the musical  “Guys and Dolls“. Some are quite controversial like The League of Women Voters and Planned Parenthood. Still others are friendly fellowships or community service organizations . There are many categories of non-profits, so, any potential founder needs to do some research to be able to register correctly  on the IRS website . Additionally  registration with the state where you will be doing business and following their guidelines with regard to associated fees is necessary.

Generally, the classification number for a non-profit or charitable institution is in the language of the Internal Revenue Service (good old IRS), a “501(c)”:

  • 501(c)3 – Education, religious, literary, or charitable
  • 501(c)4 – Social Welfare
  • 501(c)5 – Labor Union
  • 501(c)6 – Business/Trade Association
  • 501(c)7 – Social Club
  • 501(c)9 – Voluntary Employee Benefit Associations

This is by no means a definitive list. Non-profit organizations, often also called charitable corporations are a serious economic niche for career hunters or re-careering professionals whose personal Divine Mandate involves helping to alleviate suffering among people, animals, or the earth. For example, Angel tree, a program of Prison Fellowship, addresses the need of the children of incarcerated parents. The National Science Foundation works with young people too–education in science and technology.

The first and most important question that must be answered is, what specifically is the need I want to address among what population? Is it pain? disease? ignorance? homelessness? hunger?

What kid of suffering do you want to help put an end to?

Business and knotwork

English: This image outlines the basic path of...

English: This image outlines the basic path of the monomyth, or “Hero’s Journey”. Non copyrighted, free work. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some folk see life as a hero’s journey. Still others see life as a tale told. To me these images are ways of looking at life from different angles. My name for it is best symbolized by the eternal knot. In my lexicon of personal imagery, everything is interrelated and intricately intertwined. One strand cannot be pulled out without unraveling something else. Business is one of the strands in the knot. Who knows to what it was originally joined? When the business strand was originally woven, it may have been joined from the career thread, the family thread, or the spiritual thread. (Of course, this way of thinking is common to a certain style of dealing with life in terms of the Meyers Briggs personality assessment. Find out yours here.) 

When considering what kind of business to start, it is always good to consider the strands of interests, skills, talents and passions already manifesting themselves in a present job, a hobby, or a natural ability. For example: with me it has always been words–words on paper; words artistically rendered; all forms of the written word; typography; calligraphy. Then there is the spoken word–public speaking and storytelling. Another strand is art–painting; sculpting; music collecting; music performing; theater. Embracing them all is the golden strand of the spiritual: interest in the other-worldly; the supernatural; religion; mind-body connections and the like. Do you see how all these things are interrelated? Try to spot patterns in your own life threads/strands of interests. When all laid out, these threads may begin to tell what kind of business or in what industry your business will naturally arise.  Every personal knotwork  is actually information about places where a successful business may be waiting to happen.

Embracing Freedom: Writers as Solopreneur Naturals

The longing embrace of Liberty

The longing embrace of Liberty

As a journalism major back in the 70’s, just as did many of my classmates, I dreamed of being on the editorial staff of the great newspapers of the USA. I went on several interviews imagining what it would be like to belong to such organizations as The Chicago Defender, the New York Times and the Richmond Afro-American. I even almost became a page designer at one newspaper in Raleigh, NC, which 3 days after making a hiring decision, withdrew their offer.

After graduation in 1977, that dream did not materialize and it was two years before I got my first professional gig writing advertising for the newly changed to all-news format radio station affiliated with the Providence Journal and Bulletin. However, during the two years before I was attached to a paper, I was freelancing.  Back then, I was called a “stringer” reporter, taking assignments that sent me to cover local events. It was during those days that I learned that my “way with words” was worth money, that I loved community celebrations and my “job-gypsy” habits began.

Writers–content providers–are natural solopreneurs. Staff writer positions on magazines and newspapers have always been extremely competitive, but these media are also always ravenously hungry for content. Today the grand old dames of print journalism are all but gone and in their place the internet has arisen. Many of my old-guard newspaper classmates, now retiring I suspect would probably not consider me a real journalist anymore because I became a “blogger”–a member of the “new journalism”. Somehow this new medium where anybody from anywhere can put up a message is seen by some newspaper professionals as cheapening the profession. They hold a disdain for bloggers akin to the kind I grew up with having for the “yellow journalism” tabloids considered little more than rumor mills. A similar revolution has happened in publishing. No longer “vanity publishing“, self-publishing and on-demand publishing have changed the game. The whole effect on publishing houses and retail outlets of an audience using Kindles and iPad reading apps to buy and read books has not yet been fathomed.

Do you put words on paper? Is writing for your pleasure alone, or do you have a “Divine Mandate” –a word to communicate? If you write to be read; if you are not merely fascinated by the power of language, but want to share information for public consumption, you are on the path of the story-teller’s way. You are the descendant of the griots, bards and birch-branch druids of old and –if you are not a staff-writer–an independent content provider; an entrepreneur by default.

Liberty reaches out to you in a very special way. Embrace her fearlessly.

Meditation at Equinox: A Job Seeker’s Rite of Spring

Saint Patrick's Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig)...

Image via Wikipedia St. Patrick's Day Parade, Dublin Ireland

Spring approaches! Having made the daylight time adjustment (hopefully) we are sidetracked with wonder at the outburst of color and life everywhere. Personally, I begin dreaming in the Aisles of Michael’s Craft Store and  dive into a little “default activity”: crafting spring-themed wreathes and arrangements to cheer myself up after the seemingly endless grayness of the past season. Sometime during the week of St. Patrick’s Day, I clean out my closets and put my warm  winter interviewing suit away for the season (it’s one of those personal  rituals that helps me keep track of the passage of time without the artificial fixtures–like counting down the days to vacation– usually given by employment. Creating these personal time keepers is one of the other things that happen after 1/2 year of non-employment).

It is time to quicken winter’s snow-encumbered pace; to clear away the winter-kill of past failed projects; to lay out  new gardens and plant fresh seed of an effective search. Last season’ lessons  informs this season’s efforts. Some ancient cultures called this “horse back season” too, because it begins the time when plans for conquest and acquisition laid in winter’s cold can now be acted upon. A few centuries ago, a land owner would ride throughout the property to review the condition of the real estate holdings while collecting rents in person. Battles were scheduled to be fought. So it is with the job hunt.

Equinox is a point in the cycle of the year where the hours of  daylight and darkness balance. From that point, the light advances, becoming longer and stronger into the decadent  high productivity days of summer. If there was any time to “work your plan” this is it. Taking a lesson from the early rising bees, we know in our aching bones that all the hard work will pay off somehow at harvest time.

shamrock claddagh

Beloved Eire

Just Being Me: “Default Activity”

reading, an all favorite pastime

a featured illustration from Shay's Word Garden on Blogspot

Some people actually cannot imagine themselves alive on earth having nowhere to go every day that promises a monetary reward at the end of a week. It was from graduation to first job. No space between. It is simply mind-boggling for some folk to consider there could possibly be other places to be during the day and none of them involve parking on the living room sofa watching daytime TV.  “Being me” happens in the spaces not filled up by “the job”. Satisfying the need for a more meaningful life while having a low-paid, boring job causes this space.”Disassociation” from a former job will open more of this space too.
collage of hobby and off time activity

When I'm not working, I'm at...

Let’s play a game.Pretend suddenly you flew off to your favorite place to be; the place that could be called your “second address”…a place where if anybody goes there, they would find you. Are you there? Answer me honestly from where you are hiding. MARCO!

Who said, “POLO!”?
Found you. I know where you are. After the initial drama of joblessness, what might begin to happen is a rediscovery of joyful activity engaged in before there was any thought about paid employment. I call that “default activity”. For some, this kind of activity is laced up tightly into weekends and often called, “hobbies”. For others, it is what one naturally turns to when the day is over. It is what people do to “decompress” or “unwind”. Another word for it is “pastime activity”. Some people take chunks of time to do special projects like teaching kids to read in another country. Still others are gaming, treasure hunting, cooking, painting, sitting in front of the fridge inhaling more than the fragrance or on the dock of the bay “watching the tide roll away”. Default activity. It comforts; it relaxes; it probably started in childhood and it is organic to the personality. After the six-month anniversary of joblessness, default activity might be just the ticket to realign the soul with  authentic purpose. Who knows where a default activity might lead? A business, ministry and yes, a new career, may suggest itself that way.

My Wonderful Life Between Jobs: How To Keep Going

Elizabeth Regina 1

I am the queen.

Of course one day the crashing reality must be faced. One must give a straight answer to the question: what have you been doing for two years since you last drew a paycheck? At first that intrusive, incredibly boorish question used to throw me down. That question is so lacking in class.  I remember when I first heard it I used to lie there and let the anger-embarrassment-sorrow pound me into the dirt and hope the whole experience would just be over quick. After that I could hobble away; pretend it was a dream until the next time. This was my life until something remarkable happened in my thinking. Something happened in my soul that changed me forever.What was I doing between jobs? I was living, of course. I was being me. What I do does not define me (see our talk last week. Scroll one posting back). With or without employment I am still me and that is important because I am an incredibly talented, worthwhile human being. Our humanity determines that  we all have intrinsic worth.

A person’s real worth is not her net worth whether she is a queen or a courtesan. It was only when I came to believe this  that I began to see myself as also a worthy employee or, why not, a worthy entrepreneur. This is the mindset that has to be in place within a job seeker before she can conduct an authentic search for work:whether I am employed or not I am a worthwhile person. I don’t even have bus fare right now, but I am still someone who is valuable and highly valued.This has to exude from within. Not a puff of light powder fresh from a motivational seminar, this is what will keep the job seeker continuing to be on top of the earth when all indicators point only to the futility, the uselessness and to the conclusion that a better position is to be among the dead.

The Sun King's mistress

I am the courtesan

Some call this the brave heart. Some call this  the lioness’ heart. Whatever anyone names it, this is the survivor’s heart.


Last time I told a little tale about “disassociation”, my view of what begins to happen as a former employee has less and less contact with the former job over time. I said that ex-employees slowly begin to think of themselves in terms other than associated with the company. The morph begins here. Some people, extroverts especially, begin to show withdrawal symptoms from mild to severe from the instant social network that the old job used to provide so finding a new job might in reality be an attempt to quickly end the uncomfortable position of not having a social “nest” to be in. The introvert may show withdrawal brought on by the absence of a “place to go every day”;  the background noise of the old job in another way. However, since the greatest problem for an introvert might be “invisibility” on the job (what do you DO here anyway?), the task of finding a new place with the right background noise is agonizing and tiring because of suddenly having to talk  so much to so many new people. Please put an end to this agony quick once again.

Six months later, however, in some job seekers‘ heads  attention and interest begins to wane. It may take more effort to keep focused on the passion As the “old work identity” begins to dissolve like an Alka Seltzer tablet. The dispossessed, disincorporated former employee begins the real search for a new home; a new body,  I would say. This is stage two of the shape shift; a place where the seeker is not what she was nor what she will be.

As I remember, this was the place in the process where my self-image imploded. I tried on jobs and titles one after another and became increasingly frustrated because none of them felt “right”. Questions about where exactly I fit in society got me out of bed at 3:00a.m. for weeks. Nothing is more stressful than to have to put some title, any title on a resume. Nothing is more mortifying than stumbling through a makeshift answer to “what do you bring to the table?”, another form of , “tell us about yourself”. What belongs in that blank space? Nobody I knew had any answers. I was expected to figure it out on my own as most good career counselors usually recommend. What do you really want to do? What is your real basic passion?

But, “figuring it out on my own” takes time. So much time without a landing target frustrates networking partners because to them it  looks like a lack of focus or seriousness.  It seems so much easier to just stumble into yet another short-term “throw away” job. End the pain fast. Never face the real question. Hide from the real answer. The next step is life or death: stay a formless blob or snatch up the courage to participate in creating the new reality; making the new body.

That is the place where I ran out of tears. I decided to become myself.