Monday, June 1, 2009


So, I resigned - or quit. Or was fired. Depends on your perspective. The deciding moment for me was when I stated to the European partner, I would like to stay, but only if there is support for me to continue to stay. Her response, "Well, I never had any faith in you from the beginning..."

Alright. That was all I needed to hear. Thank you. We picked my last day (Wednesday) and I've been alternating between excitement, disappointment, frustration and sadness since.

So, now "Survival".

I go back and forth between strategies for managing life, work, money etc. I used to believe you should set a goal then impose a structure on that which you are responsible for managing. I pretty much used this approach up until the last couple of years. I think it was moderately successful. Then, I met my husband. He did not have this approach. He was more of the revolving responsibility type. Like, the bill arrives, you pay it. An email comes, you answer it. People want something, you give it to them. And, frankly, we could make the argument he has been more successful:

Grad school - he finished, I didn't
Money - he makes more
Enemies - he has none
Jobs - he keeps them
Career - works for a respectable company that respects him

So, as you might imagine, I thought I was doing something wrong and decided to adopt his "take it as it comes" approach. To clarify, for awhile before adopting his philosophy, I thought he was wrong. Over the years though, his approach has seemed to consistently bring him success (see above). As a disclaimer, I do feel the need to point out it's not clear that I have all the relevant information needed to draw conclusions as to which approach is better. I might be oversimplifying.

But to summarize the results of me using his "take it as it comes" approach:

That shit didn't pan out for me either. (see above where I say that I resigned)

Interestingly, lately he seems to be shifting to the disciplined method and, in fact, since last week, has been telling me I need to be more structured. Hardly seems fair!

More interestingly though, I was watching one of these wilderness survival shows "Man vs Wild" this weekend. The host, a crazy, but quite handsome, Brit named Bear Grylls (I kid you not) found himself in a bit of a predicament. He had been dropped into the Great Plains with little more than a rucksack and a mess kit and was challenged to survive among the rapidly shifting elements and uncertain terrain.

As he stood there skinning a snake he just caught for dinner or assembling a torch from green sapling and birch bark, I can't remember which, he looked into the camera and plainly stated something like, "The key to survival is taking control of your environment."

Call it what you will - an Oprah-like "aha" moment; Eureka; BGO (blinding glimpse of the obvious), etc etc - but at that moment, any doubt I had about how to move forward was removed. In doubt's place was the realization that to get on with things, I'd first have to put things into order.

No doubt, millions have realized this before me. Gandhi sought sanitary reform by Indians in South Africa for similar reasons. Voltaire's Candide famously states, "Il faut cultiver notre jardin." For me, I knew it, then doubted it, and now know it again.

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