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March 08, 2009

On giving. And, would you participate in my focus group?

March 8. Day 251.

Once in a while, I get asked, too: for advice, help, a ride.

And I enjoy saying yes. (Yeah yeah, I know, you, yes you, you know who you are, you're rolling your eyes and muttering "magnanimous my arse" because I told you no last [Tuesday/month/year]. Well... fiddle dee dee.)

Actually, being an asker, a taker, a requester -- an opportunist of sorts, really -- has changed the way I view giving. It's become slightly more nuanced in my mind. Some people give out of obligation, guilt, a sense of quid pro quo; some give out of necessity or responsibility (whether personal or global, whether socially or personally imposed), others motivated by love, affection & co, and many others -- many people who I've encountered through this project, I gather -- give because it's fun. It's empowering. It's a break from the routine and a chance to exercise one's autonomy. A chance to make someone's day. And if you can do that... why wouldn't you?!

There are overlaps between these loose categories, and I haven't given it much thought, as you can doubtless see. But all this to say, maybe starting July 1 I'll launch a new project: the daily giver. Try to give something to someone, every day for a year. Advice, $1, a book, a donut, a haircut, a break, a lecture, a loan.

Just a thought.

What do you think? If you had to generalize, would you say you prefer giving or receiving? What about: prefer asking or answering? What's easier for you?


And now, back to our regularly schedule programming:

Around midnight Sunday, March 8, my life changed.

I realized with a jolt what I'm going to do with my life.

I have a career path. I have a PLAN. I have a future.

And... I can't tell you what it is.

SORRY! It's just that if I write it here, possible employers may find the blog, now or later; I can't take that risk. Let's just say it involves writing and people. It puts my degree to use in an interesting way. It challenges me, and exploits what I do best. And I will be free. Not glued to a chair all day. Not working weekends unless I want to. Not stuck in committee meetings and filling out expense reports. Not working for free. But free.

It was a cumulative revelation, built on several smaller ones, and by Sunday night it was screaming for attention.

It dawned on me when a friend asked for input on his business plan for a competition. Mr. A and I listened to his proposal, which is great, and bounced some ideas back and forth.

And as that conversation unfolded, my own ideas on this path to gainful employment crystallized.

So I asked Mr. A and this friend if I could tell them about my plan, and they said they think it could work. Then I looked online for domain names and found a few available possibilities. I asked for more feedback, on potential names, and narrowed it down to two, which I'll register.

The whole plan is still just a twinkle in my eye.

And I still have the dissertation to finish.

But it's a start.

Gained: Confirmation, from a mini-focus group, that the service I intend to offer could be unique, useful and alluring. I could jump right in, or use it as a backup plan. Either way... yay!!!
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