Wednesday, February 25, 2009


New Inventions

Over the past week I have received three emails from friends who have just lost their jobs. Serious jobs, too, jobs that seemed secure. Being self-employed, I suppose I cannot really lose my job - I sort of am my job. But when those who once hired me are now contacting me for leads themselves, I know something troublesome is afoot. While I am truly encouraged to see the way our new president has grasped hold of the reins of this runaway coach, I know it will take a while to pull it up to a comfortable pace for all the rattled passengers inside. Indeed, even when this downhill ride has reached level ground, the economic landscape seen outside the windows might look a bit unfamiliar to us all.

All this has led me to think about reinvention. I was speaking to a friend a couple of weeks ago, a woman full of optimism and industry who thinks this is the perfect time to start a new career, to take a chance on an idea that might have been simmering on the back burner of one’s mind for ages. Her enthusiasm was infectious. It made me think anew of the old adage, “necessity is the mother of invention”. Perhaps, for some of us, this financially fitful time represents the impetus we have waited for. Too many people of my acquaintance work away everyday at jobs they truly despise. They look wistfully at the Songwriter and myself and say if only they could get up every morning and love what they do. Of course, we hasten to tell them that self-employment is quite often far from a bed of roses, but they are difficult to convince. Perhaps this current situation, though worrisome and rocky, may serve as a bit of a reshuffling of ideas and goals, of priorities and dreams. Perhaps, just perhaps, there are people like my friend, who will see this time as the fabled fork in the road they have longed for, a magic moment to reinvent their lives, to create a new venture, to realize a long held dream.

Invention, it must be humbly admitted,
does not consist of creating out of void, but out of chaos”

Mary Shelley

48 comments:

  1. Mary Shelly's final quote could be taken to heart. We all feel so disturbed when chaos comes to call. Thanks for your optimism and I hope all is well for your friends as they begin to re-invent their lives...willingly or not so eagerly. <3

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  2. I love that there are those that try to see the glass half full. It is a difficult time-it's all around us and effects each of us in some way. But trying to see a bit of a silver lining can be contagious. Thank you ~

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  3. I love the Greek word crisis which means opportunity. Redundancy must be seen as one door closing and another opening, a cliche but a true one.

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  4. Profound, Pamela. Mary Engelbreit has an illustration of a traveler on a road that has a fork ahead. One path's sign reads "My Life," and the other path's sign reads "No Longer An Option." I love that. Thank you for a very well-written post.

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  5. Well said! I think there is a lot of truth in your point of view here. A lot of people get on the treadmill of work and cannot get off and sometimes a push is all they need to connect with what is really important in life. That is not to say, of course, that many people are not going to be put out of work and left in dire straits.

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  6. It is horrible hearing about all this job loss. This crisis is touching us all. I’m self employed too, but the economy is hurting both arts and publishing. I can at least keep working and sell later, unlike a pastry chef. Luckily my husband is a tenured professor.

    I like the idea of using a crisis to try something new. I love how you can find a positive spin to just about anything. Thank you!

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  7. Your post is wonderfully uplifting, and reframes the negative into something with great potential.

    May I have your permission to print it off and stick it on the wall by my computer, please Pamela?

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  8. don't you love having inspiring friends lie that? I know that tour troubled finances had a plus--starting my own side business which wears me down but hey, it's mine! and i love that.

    Good luck in your work too! Keep at it.

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  9. don't you love having inspiring friends lie that? I know that tour troubled finances had a plus--starting my own side business which wears me down but hey, it's mine! and i love that.

    Good luck in your work too! Keep at it.

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  10. forget the 'fork in the road'....
    i feel like i have a 'FORK IN MY HEAD'.

    i have loved what i do all my life, but it has become so difficult to find clients who are willing to spend money....

    and i am trying to re-invent myself daily....LOL

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  11. My husband and I only had that discussion at the weekend..being self employed I mean. Sometimes extrememely difficult but at least no one can fire you.

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  12. " A man can only rise,conquer and achieve by lifting up his thoughts"
    James Allen

    We must look for the positive in all of this as dwelling on the negative will only make things worse!

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  13. This is such an uplifting post - we too have seen some major cutbacks in both hubbie's place of employment as well as mine. We hope for the best but are preparing for the worst.

    Thanks for giving another brighter, happier outlook on this situation we all find ourselves in :-)

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  14. The painting reminds me of a favorite woven blanket I bought once on a vacation - it has air balloons on it.
    About your story, I quess it's time for the stronger ones of us (in mind and spirit) to step up and help the ones who are overwhelmed right now.:)

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  15. working for yourself doing what you love is not working. i highly recommend it to anyone who can manage it.

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  16. We found our fork in the road all by ourselves 17 years ago when we bought the farm in the hope of becoming selfsufficient. The pressures of academe slowly lifted off the Prof's back as all our souls expanded.
    Sometimes our guardian angels give us a good push inthe back which seems to be happening on a larger scale at the moment, where more and more people are having to re-evaluate their lives.

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  17. What a hard time so many are having. This economy is touching all of us. It makes me so sad. I believe strongly in being a creator. You are so right. Lovely post.

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  18. This is a great, grounded message.

    I hope you're right, that people everywhere will try to take this time of stress as an opportunity, and try something new.

    We never know until we try.

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  19. Un être qui se fait!

    "Man, without any support or help whatever, is condemned at every instant to inevent man" Ponge

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  20. It is sad to see people losing their jobs and homes. I count my lucky stars (so far). Half full is a good way of looking at things. Hugs...

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  21. Your post has hit a nerve with the commenters. This is a difficult time for so many people. I second Peggy's comment. I have that Mary Engelbreit magnet affixed to the inside of my front door....

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  22. I have not been blogging much lately because the company I work for is restructuring and I am told I will likely be laid off the end of March and dealing with the waiting has been very difficult. I am sure it is no accident I looked at your post this evening. Thank you for sharing your thoughts which are very encouraging. You really have a wonderful gift for writing.

    Gillian

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  23. Created out of chaos indeed..In my life at this point everything is changing..Work..finding a new home ...etc..so in a way we are swimming upstream,while we are seeing others going past in the opposite direction!It took a lot of courage to make the decision we made a few weeks ago but we believe in change..and change starts within yourself..Lets stay at the bright side and dont lose hope.Thank you for this post:)

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  24. Good thoughts. I agree - shake-ups are always a good time to re-evaluate and maybe restart. Sometimes we need something to get out of our ruts. :-)

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  25. Hello P&E,

    It would be wonderful if we could float off in your balloon and leave the struggle behind but, sadly, that is rarely possible.

    I have been self-employed for almost 20 years and I'm hoping that I still will be when the anniversary comes round! We have to look on the positive side, there's little alternative.

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  26. Yes this is so true. I love what I do, what's more, I get a regular salary for being paid to do just that! My heart goes out to those who have lost jobs. It is an opportunity for something new but I think it involves a time of grieving. Some of us bounce back sooner than others.b

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  27. i read on the news recently that the risk of being self-employed/starting a business now is the same as working for a company, so perfect time to start working for yourself! :)

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  28. These are tough times, to be sure, but they are also the times of the true survivors

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  29. i can so relate to your friend. when i found out i was going to lose my job in 2007 i started thinking about what i wanted to do next. that is how my whole mixed media gig got started. now i'm learning photoshop, doing photography, writing poetry and having the time of my life. these are all things i would most likely not have done if not faced with a challenge and an opportunity to reinvent myself.

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  30. love your positive spin on a difficult situation for many - I'm in agreement - it could be a different kind of gold worth much more if forced to reinvent.

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  31. I love change. Sometimes the path is painful but something better is always around the corner.
    Happy Weekend Pamela and Edward!
    Catherine

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  32. Inspiring. Some of the self employed people I know are really struggling. God help us all.

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  33. I'm certainly trying to keep the half-full outlook going into my new little business venture...Keep your fingers crossed, and I whole-heartedly welcome prayers as well:-)

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  34. Yes we are self employed too so have been worried for a while about work drying up. So far though it has been making customers come to us with new ideas. I hope this will be a creative time for people to explore new things too.

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  35. I do feel for those losing their jobs. Let's hope that it is an opportunity to be gainfully employed elsewhere, without too much disruption.

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  36. Thank you for this wonderful post! Like others I am updating my resume...

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  37. Pamela,
    You most certainly have a gift of seeing things in a positive light. I inherited that same spirit from my mother and we have nothing to compare to the life they have lived and the challenges they have witnessed and endured. Let's pull up our boot straps, and "keep a stiff upper lip and a fuzzy brow>" My Mom tells me this still.
    pve

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  38. What a sweet blog. I shall be back again for a visit~
    Kelly

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  39. Next month will be a telling month as to whether or not I'll have the same job in the future. Like many others I've given a lot of thought about what to do next. I really would like to try something new. But if I'm lucky enough to keep my job, then I will be thankful to not have to worry about losing my home. Hmmmm, exciting job change/loss of home.....not an easy decision.

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  40. It is a scary time and difficult time for many industries and professions. Many of which have never experienced such a downturn. We have to continue to seek the positive as we know we still face many challenges ahead.

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  41. I suppose it is difficult for those who've lost jobs to see it as something positive but so often it turns out to be springboard to something so much more rewarding.

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  42. I'm on a job hunt myself, and in the other part of my day I have found the time to work on my manuscripts, finally. The publishers are still buying new manuscripts and with that writers have hope.

    Pamela, keeping positive in the trying time of economic woes everywhere is the key to finding something new to try.

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  43. Oh this is so true and hits home here in Canada just as hard too... it is the main topic of conversation...
    The times are a changing..before our very eyes in ways we have not seen before..and the trickle down effect is more like pouring...

    we have worked for ourselves for the past 16 years ... it sure keeps you on your toes but we wouldn't want it any other way...

    we always recommend to others to do what you love if you possibly can... it gives freedom... and freedom is the ultimate...

    I love your painting!!

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  44. We know so many who have lost their jobs recently or who have been forced to take early retirement. It can be hard to reinvent yourself when older but life is always a winding road with no guarantees.

    One thing I've stressed to my children when they reached adulthood was to keep diversified and to keep learning new skills. Hopefully better days will soon be ahead.

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  45. Very well stated, with an encouraging message.

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  46. And the painting of the balloon makes being unmoored appear to be a positive state.

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  47. Lovely painting. Do you know who did it?

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  48. I've long believed that many mid-life crises are (at least in part) a direct result of feeling locked into a job we should never have had, or which we have outgrown. Life is about change; our system sets us up to be one thing all our lives, but as we grow and change, we usually don't fit into the same slot we did 5, 10 or 20 years ago. Look for the intersection of your passions, gifts and callings, and see if you can live on something there. When that intersection moves far enough, you may need to change what you do as well. OTOH, if your "day job" simply pays the bills so that you may pursue what matters to you the rest of the time, your day job probably won't push you toward a mid-life crisis.

    Troubled times indeed. Most Americans (I include myself) have grown spoiled to relative peace and prosperity, as most of the world struggled on with neither. We can choose to find new paths in the trouble-- personally, corporately, governmentally-- or we can try to muddle on as before. In that case, the country's mid-life crisis will probably feel extra brutal, and we'll feel trapped, acting out our own mid-life crises (regardless of age).

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