Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Risk management: the effect of uncertainty on objectives (whether positive or negative.)

2010 was supposed to be a year of risk-taking.

Not like risk-taking in the past, which usually involved some sort of ill-conceived plan of mischief or giant leaps into abysses. I don't think there's anything wrong with a giant leap into an abyss every now and then. Good for the soul, especially when you have to climb your way up and out.

But 2010 was supposed to be a year of risk-taking that encompassed discovering new paths, new ways of thinking, and new life experiments. New Orleans will be a part of this; a week with strangers is far outside of my comfort zone, and I am not exactly a master carpenter. But I'll learn.

Stephanie Klein, for whom I still have a serious soft spot and a much greater tendency towards creating personal boundaries thanks to her homegrown and iron-clad brand of stating what you will and will not stand for in your life (you teach others how to treat you), recently wrote a blog post aimed at creating a new career mid-life. Specifically, it was about starting a writing career. I've started so many writing careers I can't keep track.

Her advice? Get the full-time job, and make it work for you. Find out how to get your employer to pay for extracurricular classes, use your vacation time to pursue your life's loves.

It isn't bad advice, certainly, but it sort of sails over my head because I've stalled out on that front: getting the full-time job. Apply, apply, apply, fill out more applications, talk to everyone you know, write your resume ten different ways in ten different fonts and scatter them to the winds. Searching for a job is a full-time job, and you're supposed to treat it as one.

Except it's the most thankless, exhausting, draining full-time job you could ever have.

Still, I read her blog post and realized that the thing that she was saying without really saying it had a whole lot to do with my ideas about risk: do what you gotta do, and find a way to make the doing a part of the greater process. Sometimes it doesn't look traditional, sometimes it's not exactly what you thought it might look like.

But you've gotta be doing something. And that's the risk. Inaction is laziness, it's safe, it's protecting, and it's also a very poisonous and stagnant way of being. Inaction leads to stultifying fear of taking a step in any one direction. I've found, in the last three or four years, that I'll be inactive for a great period of time before I'll finally just say, "Screw it," and jump. And the jumping is always somehow so much easier than I thought it would be. Mid-air, knowing not where I'll land, I somehow always find myself with this thought: "I should have done this a long time ago."

Whether it's a move, a career change, a new way of thinking- 2010 is the year of risk-taking, and it's time for me to get on that. I've been trying too hard for too long to do things the traditional way, and it's not working out. So let's approach it from a different angle. Find an internship. Volunteer. Get yourself in there, learn what you need to learn, and get out of this rut.

But, above all, make it work for you, not against you.


Stephanie Klein said...

Success is all about remaining enthusiastic in the face of rejection, failure, and a general sense of swampass laziness. Chin up, girly. This really is all part of the process. I like your take on it.

The New Glitterati said...

Oh, Stephanie. How you do rock! And I know, it's not the destination it's the journey....

Thanks for reading. I'm swooning a little.