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Sometimes, you’ve got to grow your own luck

lightening(photo courtesy of thefost)
When my father was alive, he considered himself to be the luckiest guy and said so many times. Through what he considered a real stroke of luck, he ended up going to medical school in Scotland. Looking at what was going on at the time, the chances of that happening were pretty slim: It was 1938. My grandfather had gone into bankruptcy and lost his business. My father was not a very good student. He had a lead on going to the University of Minnesota and trying to get into the medical school there, but it was only a shot – he could get out there and be refused and would have to go home, a waste of a train ticket. He was working for the summer in the Catskills in a terrible hotel and had basically resigned himself to going back to New York, enrolling at City College to get a high school biology teaching certification and giving up. At the end of the summer, his father called him to tell him that they’d just gotten a telegram from a medical college (a prep school really, one of those places where regular medical students who were not doing well could go for extra tutoring to get through the boards) in Glasgow, saying that if my father could get there by the first week in September, he’d have a place. My grandfather, who goodness only knows was coarse, illiterate in about 5 different languages, and generally a nasty SOB, asked him if he really wanted to do it. My father said yes but there was no way to get everything done – a passport, clothes, a ship fare, especially with my grandfather’s situation. “F**k you – if you want it, go do it – we’ll find a way.” (more…)

Do the Drill: Brain rehearsal for job loss


(Photo courtesy of Lebatiheim)
This is more for people who still have their jobs. For those people who have unfortunately lost theirs, I’m going to point you to the post called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” Kevin Bacon

You have a job and you are determined to hang onto it like Indiana Jones hanging off that cliff. But what I really want you to do right now for the next five minutes is this: Imagine…

— it is another day at work – you walk in, exchange pleasantries with the receptionist, and go to your desk.
–you have an email or voice mail on your phone from the boss asking you to ‘stop down this morning’.
— you do that, walk into his/her office and you are asked to close the door and sit down.
— you are given a packet of materials, a cardboard box for your belongings and told that you need to be out within thirty minutes.
— when you get back to your desk, your computer access has been cut off completely.

Quick. What do you do? (more…)

What do you know?

This weekend, the DH, our son and I went to see the newly released film, ‘Defiance’ with Daniel Craig, Leiv Schreiber and Jamie Bell, which is about the fantastic and almost unbelievable story of a family of brothers who escaped to the woods in Belarussia in 1941 and managed to save over 1000 Jews from the Nazis by hiding underground, creating a series of communities in the woods, and frankly stealing and attacking the German army and collaborators wherever they found them. One of the most interesting scenes in the film is one where a great number of Jews from a town are rescued and are asked, while they stand in line in front of a make-shift registration area in the woods, what they know how to do. A watchmaker demonstrates that his skills can be turned to repairing a rifle. Others announce themselves as nurses, dressmakers, boot makers and so on, worthy additions to the Bielski Brothers’ ever expanding world. (more…)

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, or, Some Really Important Stuff To Know In Today’s Economy

OK, folks, so we are back in the kitchen with Aunt Toby (sing that to the tune of “Strummin’ on the Old Banjo”), which of course is my very favorite place in the world because all sorts of important and useful stuff goes on there. And today’s assignment (you knew that I’d have one of those for you, didn’t you?) is an exercise in what is termed in the biz as “contact management.”

You will need: Paper, pencil, and however you keep your contacts going: Roladex, PDA, address book, file cards, the old scraps of paper on the refrigerator with the grease stains on them, etc. (more…)

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