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.