Monday, December 13, 2010

Career advice, right livelihood, Zen economics, or, dude, you're not a kid anymore.

Ven. Warner is concerned about his economic situation, as are we all.   Meanwhile, because of some warp in the space-time continuum, for some odd reason, I'm doing so well in life I get to spend an evening with Leonard Cohen,  and purchase a stainless steel double edge razor.   It might be interesting to juxtapose things here.

First, thinking of Cohen, here's a guy who at the age of 73 wound up with most of his money gone, because of a wrongful action, evidently, on the part of someone with a fiduciary responsibility to him.   He went on tour, and has been doing that for 3 years now.  I'm sure he clears more in an evening than probably Warner makes all year.
What does Cohen have that Warner doesn't have?

Next, consider the Feather All Stainless razor.  It comes from a company that makes real stuff, no gimmicks except quality.  Despite the ridiculous price (which it's not, if you compare it to the price of the original Gillette double edge razor in today's dollars) , it should be paid for in about a year or so, based on current blade consumption.

Yeah, there's a quid pro quo here.   But both "sources" of stuff from which I give my money, to my way of thinking, are themselves engaging in "right livelihood." Both have carefully honed and managed their crafts, and managed to both make it in the marketplace and develop a product that's basically better than alternatives from a moral/ethical standpoint.

And how is my work fitting in here?

I work in a field that changes rapidly, and I work hard to be on top of it,  and to do so in a way in which my practice is expressed in the workplace - I simply do not have the time nor lack of responsibilities to do otherwise.  I can't spend ump-dee-ump weeks a year sitting in retreats - my retreat is helping my son with his homework, and making sure he gets to where he needs to be on time.

And believe me, workplace practice is serious business.  It is possible - hell, likely - that in a few years I'll be doing something in a different field in terms of product categories that are of interest to my employer.  It is also possible, as with all employment these days, that I might need to look for a job at some point.  Luckily, or thanks to the efforts of all I know including myself, or both or neither, I have a sufficient set of skills that would be of interest in a variety of areas.   But believe me, it was something I thought about years ago.

So my advice to  Warner is simply practice where you can find it.  If the marketplace is not buying your crafts and teaching,  get a job.  Warner's in his mid-forties, if memory serves me right, and though he's single,  the inexorable laws of biology, economics, and actuarial science will mean that unless the guy has any kind of a nest egg or unless he dies early, he will, at present rates, be in poverty in his old age.  And trust me, if you're not doing this in any real way you're in trouble if you life in the US, and least until the revolution comes.

  Maybe Bernie Glassman can get him a gig in Hollywood.  I probably won't be going to see "Tron: Legacy,"  though.  Sorry Jeff & Bernie.

No comments: