Helplessly Hoping for Job Advice

This blog-end starts at the top.  If in doubt, take the job that is "more different".  It may or may not build your portfolio, but it's guaranteed to add value from new perspectives.  My jobs as janitor,  truck driver, and office executive... I'd call them all "ingredients".  That a lesson of Hesse's Siddhartha.

Being a small business owner has been one of the most interesting and spiritually rewarding careers I've had.  But if that's all I ever did, I'd be wondering what was left out.   Non-profit.  Volunteer.  Regulator.  Food service.  Consultant.  Investor...  You know a city best by taking subway, boulevards, and alleys too.

It's tempting to be attracted to the social importance of a job's title... succeeding in the eyes of others.  But the ability to define importance based on your own direction is like being able to travel without asking directions (I got into recycling a decade before 1990 "Earth Day", my folks thought I was going into the junk business).  Know thyself - the maps, direction and destinations, and you have better questions to ask of society when seeking their advice.  Social advice may tell you to spend an hour in line at the Louvre to see one painting.  Titles and experiences are also "stuff".

Success is part luck, part skill, part practice... and early mornings and late evenings.  But the main advice I have is to form a spiritual "aim" or direction.  Let truth be the light, let faith be the gravity.  A central spiritual direction will bring humor in uncertainty, i.e. surprises.  Surprise comes from change, the opposite of changeless.  Better to laugh than be frightened.

So... where's this going.. career advice.  Evolution seems to favor seven card draw over five card stud.

Over the course of the next decade, there will be a huge change in the developing world.  China has proven just how fast a nation can shed its reputation through the sweat and energy of a new generation.   Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Iran and Libya have shown how suddenly a new generation of leaders can make a past forgotten.   And give the USA some credit for moving from a stereotype of race riots and bigotry to showing the world our salad of color and attitude.

So, I'd look for an assignment someplace new.   I fully expect Africa to follow the path of Southeast Asia, where the Asian Tiger economies were catalyzed by displaced Chinese entrepreneurs, in their own kind of Chino-Muslim melting pot, tinkering and assembling and reverse engineering past their own curse of natural resources... If you want to be where the action is, if you want to enjoy the kind of career wave I've surfed, you could do worse than plan a career in the developing world.  I tell my kids the same.

The biggest danger to the world, I think, remains consumption.  It is both a risk to the planet, and a risk to the spirit.  The biggest threat to the American Dream is spoiling its children with expectations of excess.  Like moths racing towards a flame, we worry the American Dream will be extinguished.

From that perspective, income may still be important to achieving your goals, like preserving habitat or enriching lives or making discoveries.  Or it may just mean you'll just consume more. Efficiency and conservation are going to be vital.  Part of being compassionate is to let go of the premise that wealth is the only value.

The planet will survive off of the comfort of a mother's lullaby, and the laughter a father has with his kids when they spray paint a rusty bicycle instead of ordering a new one.  The "American Dream" has to be re-defined, taken back from the "Mad Men" pitches.  If it's about log cabins, honest farmers, singing pizza oven chefs, and grandmothers stories about the "old country".  Heart and art, music, dance, and friendship, preferably all in the public domain.

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