Tag Archives: creative satisfaction

Have we really simplified some things during the last few decades?

I believe there are some instances, in job-searching as well as in other things, where the following statement applies. “The more we try to simplify some things, the more difficult they become”.

Allow me to explain.

Below is a picture of 2 television sets. One television set is new, and the other one isn’t. It shouldn’t be too difficult to determine which one is the older of the two. (Here’s a hint; it is the one with the 2 circular dials, and the 2 small knobs on the front of it.)


The purpose of this week’s blog post is to comment on the changes in the way we do certain things today; as compared to the way we did those same things about the time that the television set on the left was bought.

The television set on the left does not have a stand attached to it, (and never needed it) while the television set on the right cannot stand on its own without one. This leads to the fact that anyone purchasing a TV set today is at the mercy of whoever writes the instructions on how to assemble a TV stand, and then, to connect it to the actual television set. While I can claim to be at least a little bit mechanically inclined, and to have studied a few foreign languages between high school and college, I haven’t quite been able to translate those small pictures and symbols that appear in an instruction manual. A few more words in the illustrations that are in manuals would help.

The television set on the left was simple. After you bought it and brought it home, you simply hooked it up to your antenna, plugged it in, and started watching it. Cable TV came a few years later, and sometime after that, we began using a “remote” control.

Now, with the new television set, I have to use another “remote” control in addition to the one I used for the old TV.

Just as things have changed in the way we set up our TV’s, so have things changed in the way we search for jobs.

I was “in transition” for one month during the year before I bought that old TV, and because I still have a good memory, I also have a pretty good idea about what a job-seeker had to go through back then.

The most prominent difference between then and now is the way a person looked for a job that actually existed. Back then, a job-seekers’ primary source for job leads was in the classified section of the local newspapers. When you found a job that you liked and felt you were qualified for, you looked at the contact information in the ad, and either called the phone number that they listed, or you mailed them your cover letter and resume.

In today’s world, the equivalent operation for a job-seeker going after positions that exist goes something like this. You now have to look for those jobs on the internet, and then submit your resume electronically. If you have an account with a job board, you might even have an electronic “agent” which can send you an alert when jobs are posted which ask for those same skills you listed with your “agent”. And if you are lucky while responding to one of these job postings, the company receiving your information might not swamp you with a whole bunch of behavioral questions.

Maybe my opening statement should have been, “The more someone tries to simplify some things, the more difficult those things become for everyone else”.

Dave Vandermey is a web developer.



By Cynthia Simmons

Centering is a word now commonly used to describe achieving harmony with one’s own personal values. For someone working with clay, centering is an active process. It is creating a physical  relationship with a lump of clay. As an action, centering is how a potter work begins to work with clay. And the importance of centering is that it requires your complete attention and your complete focus.  Because in that instant when you stop paying attention, the clay will be as honest and true as your best friend, and it will begin to fight you. There will be a struggle where before there was harmony. Centering is about preparing a ball of clay to be shaped on a potter’s wheel, slapping it down on a potter’s wheel, making it evenly smooth and moving the weight of the clay so that it’s perfectly distributed, with the weight radiating out from the ball’s center.

Blog photo - thrown bowls - mine (08-2000) - cropped - smaller

My porcelain plate, minutes after being thrown.

Centered clay has great potential… If it has been well kneaded to remove any small pockets of air, there will not be air bubbles to fight against the even spinning motion of the clay. It means everything is even, and there are a more limited number of forces to cause the clay to sag or move off center. Centered clay is balanced clay. It knows where it is centered. It respects the core and seeks to maintain its shape evenly.  It acts purposely. With intention.

After the clay is centered, the clay can be opened up, to begin to shape a bowl. Pressure is applied to the center of the mound of clay, first directly down, and then in subsequent movements, the clay is pulled out, up and away from the center and a wall rises.  The clay still requires that you know how to move with it. If you stop paying attention, if you stop acting with your full attention, the weight will shift and your bowl will start to knock toward/against one hand and away from the other one. There may still be adjustments you can make to go back to center. Or this lump of clay may not become a bowl today, but instead go back into the bucket of clay recycling into new clay after some time.

After a bowl is thrown, it is cut off the wheel head using water and a wire. The water will allow the bowl to float after the wire cuts the bowl loose from the wheel. Then your hands, or perhaps a helping tool, will lift up the bowl to place it on a shelf to dry. Later when the bowl is dry enough to hold its shape, it goes back to the wheel, inverted/upside down, and extra clay is trimmed away. A pattern or border may be carved into the clay. The clay still remains faithful. If at any point in the process, your attention wanders, the clay will fight you and the shape may become damaged.

Blog photo - thrown shape - master class (08-2000) top - cropped contrast smaller

Porcelain pot, thrown and incised by a master potter.

When I work with clay, I know exactly what I am thinking. If I remember an angry remark, the even force of my hand alters. I can see exactly when that anger held my attention.  Lines or shapes record emotions on the clay. So as I keep centered with the clay, I am myself centered.

Cynthia Simmons is a publishing and communications professional. © 2014 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job. All rights reserved.

Sales Approach: Just Be Yourself

By Deb Bryan

While listening to a seasoned sales professional talk to his new recruits I heard, “Just be yourself.”  What a welcomed thought!

I have been on the job search trail for a while.  I have been told to retool; pursue further education, dye your hair, memorize behavioral interview questions, lose weight, excel at networking, reframe your thinking for “you are not your job search”.  It is refreshing to hear the words, “just be yourself”?

The truth is we all are selling something; we all have talents we would like to use in the market place.  Sure, there are days we would not give a plug nickel for what we’re selling while the newspapers assure us there are people and companies who struggled.  Other days, we are just fine. We feel a bit confused by our culture with a tinge of worry about our future but then, so are our fearless leaders; and they’ve got jobs.

Another day I feel good about myself, what I have accomplished, and what I have still to contribute.  What feels good today  is though I have been through some difficult times and had some hard lessons-learned along the way, I have given back to the society around me.  My dad likes to call it ‘keeping my ears level’.

American Rock Band, The Byrds, had a hit song titled, Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season).  The lyrics of this song recorded in 1964, reminds us there is

Dove of Peace, Bing

Dove of Peace, Bing

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late lyricsfreak.com/b/byrds/turn+turn+turn_20026419.html

They were right; there is a time to make peace and the time to make peace with ourselves is right now.  Among the numerous reasons to make peace, there is one we can take even into the marketplace.  As we make the sale of these wonderful and worthwhile products of time and talent to the market place we can show up and be ourselves, our best selves.

I wish you peace my friend.

Deb Bryan has 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry.  She has a passion for writing and Toastmasters International.© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job.  All rights reserved

Creating Your Future

By Cynthia Sutherland

“You can’t create the future by clinging to the past.” So says a recent Delta Airlines TV commercial. I agree. We create our future by defining desires, setting goals and moving toward them. You create with small steps or a big leap.

In job search, the goal is often to find a new job – quickly. But since a job choice has implications for your future, it pays to be clear about what you really want going forward.

A fork in the road, by Nicholas Mutton, from Wikimedia Commons (in the public domain)

A fork in the road, by Nicholas Mutton, from Wikimedia Commons (in the public domain)

You may believe that this job market limits your choices. At the same time, you do have leeway in choosing your career (and life) direction.

I have friends on various career paths, those who:

Deliberately retired early to be true to their desires. I know, they could somehow afford to, and many can’t. But those I know who adjusted their lifestyles stayed true to their life goals. I admire that, knowing and holding to your life goals.

Took the first job that came along. It’s scary to be out in the job market. They responded to time and financial pressures. Some of those job gambles paid off; some didn’t. They or their new employers miscalculated “fit.” Or the new employer reorganized (again) and eliminated their jobs after a short time.

Waited and angled for the same or next level job. Some achieved those goals of “more of the same.” Good for them. But did they think about what they wanted? And some are still looking because the job market re-defined the value of a lot of careers.

Embraced a different mix of volunteer efforts, part-time or temporary jobs, and even internships in mid-career. Some enhanced their skills or changed direction by going back to school, adding certifications or degrees, or even started entrepreneurial ventures.

Defined what they wanted in a career as they went along, trying things to see how it would go. They refined from what worked and discarded what didn’t. I think Generation Y is known for this attitude toward serial jobs and careers. But other generations are learning from them AND the economy.

More often, though, we toddle along and stick with a job choice because it’s comfortable. We settle.  But some have a clear and undeniable talent that must be pursued. Or they nurture a desire for a different path that just bubbles up at some point.

And when a career choice is made for us, e.g., being disconnected from a job involuntarily, passive styles suddenly change. Now we need to actively make choices; that’s really an opportunity. You can feel the elation when you deliberately set new goals.

Where am I in all this? Job change led me to a process of reinventing myself. It’s ongoing. I previously chose a career-oriented path that was satisfying, very typical for baby boomers. But a job shift caused me to re-think my life goals, not just job choices.

That led me to adopt the mixed path: some volunteer work, looking for part-time or temporary work, and moving into some new directions, like doing a little consulting, and writing for fun.

Mine is not a unique path, but it responds to the times, the opportunities, and activates new possibilities.

Cynthia Sutherland is a senior human resources professional, focusing primarily on diversity and inclusion and work-life.
© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job, All rights reserved

Try’n to Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

by Deb Bryan

I have been caught by surprised for my need for friendship lately.  And today’s job search brings special kind friends.  The kind you make at college, during military service, and now finding work in a disastrous, difficult, no good economy.  I have found that I need those friends because they know how I feel, care about my interviews, and grieve with me when a myriad of job search disappointments come.  


And then there has been another self-discovery piece; I rot at sitting still. Waiting to be picked by an employer feels like I’m at a junior high dance waiting for the guys to ask me to dance.  For those of you that have made your way through raising kids: did you every have one (or a few) when you did not hear noise coming from their direction, you had better get up fast and figure out what’s coming on?  You just knew something exciting was about to happen and you were about to pay.  Something like teaching themselves to parachute off the roof, tying firecrackers to the family dog’s tail to make him run faster in a neighborhood race, combining chemicals in the basement like in an old Frankenstein movie, or running away with a friend to see how it feels. (Didn’t we all think other kids were just as creative as we were?) During my childhood my Dad was usually in another part of the world; and good thing too!


Sympathy doesn’t cut it.  Truth is I need to do something, anything, rather than wait for the phone to ring.  It isn’t the money so much as the nothingness that causes the angst.  I need to work; I need to feel I have a purpose.  I need to feel like there is something creative, physically taxing, something productive, something to, you know, get the hustle from my decidedly American brain.  I worked at starting my own company for medical billing, recycling for cash, and adult daycare but somehow they just can’t scratch the itch I have for creative satisfaction. 


Trying to think creatively is what has brought me to blogging my thoughts.   But you know what?  Blogging is kind of embarrassing.  What if no one likes it?  Blogging is scary.  What if no one thinks I am creative but my Ma?  Blogging requires that you work to write something down on a very regular basis.  What if I get writers block and sit here for hours? What if the dog eats my latest creation?  What if I never start?!


Public Domain Photo

Public Domain Photo

So I have been caught by surprised for my need for friendship lately.  And today’s job search blog brings special kinds of friends.  Try’n to get by with a little help from my friends.  (Hey Ma!  It’s getting quiet again; must be something creative coming on.)