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It’s been said that within every challenge resides an opportunity. Then again, it’s also been said that it’s always darkest just before it’s pitch black. It’s largely a matter of perspective of course, though the “facts on the ground” matter a great deal.
The prominent fact in this instance is that my employer and I parted company a few days ago, which puts me in circumstances that are at once perilous and exhilarating. What does a guy with a fairly wide array of experience do next? After all, I can’t exactly lug an M-60 machine gun mile after mile and then annihilate the enemy with it anymore, and the days of shifting through 18 forward gears in an 80,000 lb. semi are done due to the physical toll all that stuff took on me last time around.
Which leaves open a wide variety of communicative skilled jobs. I do, for example, enjoy retail and sales work in as much as it provides an opportunity to meet interesting people and send them on their way happier for having made their desired purchase. Granted, my enthusiasm is tempered somewhat after having been part of an organization whose short term methodology positively sabotages its long term survival. (Note: If you demand that your employees meet stratospherically high sales goals by selling mainly full priced items, and you then plop said employees down in an ocean of bright red 65% sale signs, you are at cross purposes with yourself and need your corporate head examined.)
So that with respect to retail work, I’ll need to be more discerning about a prospective employers’ governing ethos and whether they are prone to slitting their own throats and cannibalizing their employees in the bargain. If they are comparatively sane, I’m happy to sign on and be a productive member of the team. And if they sell fine watches, that’s an alluring bonus as far as I’m concerned. I have experience in public speaking, teaching, and I’m sure I could also do a superb job at recruiting or inside sales.
Of course, my true passion resides in the world of ideas, both written and spoken. To let the mind roam about and explore current or enduring questions; to tell lively stories from the past or shine a spotlight on a particularly amusing recent event; to turn the microphone on and let the mischief run free — these are the moments I live for, the moments in which I feel truly engaged, connected, and worth the oxygen that I use. Now, if any of you have any suggestions at all (short of me rattling a tin cup on a Go Fund Me page) as to how I can pay the mortgage while pursuing those passions, please let me know.
On the day I left the department store, a friend on social media wrote the following:
So you have to look for a job, I get it.
But here is something else to fill the space until you find the next employer.
The other day I was seriously going to suggest to you that you collect your Rico posts into a Steinbeck-like-Travels-with-Charlie book. It would be a fantastic glimpse of a man coming to grips with the political landscape of the last 10 years. Each article would have a small prologue that said where you were geographically and politically (I read your stuff, you evolved) . Anyway, now I’ve made the suggestion. Hope you’ll consider it.
In a similar fashion, my Mom wrote:
Praying you will find something soon that will be just right. Still hoping you will get that book out before too long. You know your Mom, never give up!
To be sure, there are two separate books being discussed here. The first, written a few years ago, detailing my travels around the world and across the country, went to a book agent who I’ve not heard from in a very long time, leading me to wonder if he viewed the thing as a posthumous work. The second book, suggested by my friend, would (I think) be an interesting journey both metaphorically and analytically through the mind of one who has observed and commented on current events for the better part of four decades.
My heart very much wants to see the first book published and the second one (among others) written, and at 58 years old, time is not exactly standing still. The question is when? The bills demand attention now; attention that thus far is not to be found in pursuing those things that I’m actually best at. I reluctantly confess that there are times I’d almost rather be a drooling idiot, staring at the world through vacuous eyes, than to have the ability — but not the time — to do so much more.
But there’s no time for a pity party. I have more resumes to send, more calls to make, and more applications to complete. Lacking the luxury of waiting until the perfect opportunity knocks, I need to secure something fast. And, as circumstances require, I need to either find something in the Memphis area, or something that can be done from home. If you have any suggestions or ideas, I respectfully ask that you pass them along in the comments below, or in private messages. I sincerely thank you in advance and promise to keep you all updated and to get back to writing and podcasting as soon as the current crisis abates.Published in