11.19.2008

help! i need somebody ...

Hey, it snowed today! These snowflakes are actually vintage flakes, from Denver last winter. The flakes today were elusive -- here & gone.

I'm taking a little break from homework to get a little thing off my mind.
People ask me for help. This is fine -- good, even. I'm all about helping people. But there are two kinds of help I'm not keen on: Resistance to help and theft help (those aren't the best names -- I'm a bit at a loss here. Bear with me.)
The first kind of help has to do with employment advice. Folks ask me to help them find employment (I know, I know -- I'm laid off! Why ask me?). But actually I can help them -- except that right after they ask for help, they tell me all the things they're not interested in doing.
Well, I can't help there. Because my approach is this: If a door is open, walk through it. You don't know what lies through that door, and you can't afford to dismiss it without looking. It's like "Let's Make a Deal," where you have to trade in your winnings for something behind one of three doors -- it might be a bright shiny car or it might be a donkey or some other unsavory thing. Except in this case, if you've been laid off, you have nothing to lose. If there's a donkey on the other side of the door, and your mission in life does not include having a donkey, then you just say, "No, thanks." Nothing lost.
I offer this advice, then step away. I don't have time to persuade people of the advantages of this approach. They can do it or not. They can continue to pursue a dream job that may or may not exist right now, or they can take opportunities that come their way.
Tomorrow (well, today), I am walking through a door that opened. I don't actually have a chance to do the thing behind the door right away, because I have some other commitments. But I didn't say no. I said, "I have some other commitments, so I won't be able to work for you. But I'm really interested in finding out more about what you're doing. Can I come anyway?" And they said yes.
So I'll go and I'll learn and I have every reason to believe that I will gain from the experience. Learn what you can and don't say no. That is the gift of being laid off; you have time to explore. And, for me, maybe later the knowledge that I gain and the people that I meet will become a larger part of my life. And if not, I haven't lost anything but a few hours.
I am, as regular readers of this blog know, working in a yarn shop two days a week. This is a good thing; it is moving me forward in ways I can't explain quite yet. This door opened almost immediately upon my layoff. I walked through it. I have a PhD in literature and rhetoric. I could be doing other things. But this is a thing that moves me forward while allowing me time to pursue other endeavors. And I have learned a lot -- things I can learn only by working in a yarn shop.
And the yarn shop brought me to the other kind of help I'm not willing to give. Someone came in to ask for advice on a pattern I've been working on. I was working on it in the shop, so the person knew I was familiar with it. This pattern does not belong to me; it belongs to the designer who developed it and who sold it to a magazine that now sells it online. It has a trick or two that I'm willing to help a crocheter work through. But it quickly became clear that she wanted me not to tell her how to get past a tricky spot, but to tell her how to do the whole thing. I can't do that. I told her how to get it online, but then she told me why that wouldn't work for her. That was the end of the help I could offer.
Joe and I met with our financial adviser today. She seemed surprised that we weren't more stressed about the fact that I don't have regular employment. Well, here's how it is: We can do our work and be stressed or we can just do our work. Stress is counter-productive. I have my moments (btw, the picture on that post is of the bit of crocheting that I'm talking about above). But they are fleeting. Mostly, I focus on things that are moving me forward, and I have faith that one or all of them will pay off in time.
Faith is good. Nurturing it is the help that people need.

1 comment:

kristin collins said...

Hey Marcy. I just found this blog. It was great to catch up with all that's happening with you. Email me and let me know your hours at the yarn store (it's the one I think it is, right?), so I can stop by sometime when you're there.

Oh, and have you read VV's blog? She and A.K. are trying to adopt a child.