We are all the authors of our own careers and lives. Learn how to understand what directions your voice is directing you to take through writing and speaking about YOU, THE WORLD AND ANY OBSTRUCTIONS, internal or external that are blocking you from understanding your heart’s desire and how others wish to use your heartfelt work in order to serve clients, organizations and any other people or entities that need you.
"Career Discovery and Advocacy" Training and Coaching are applications of the Ethical Presence TM process.
Sample Career Journal Entry
What follows is my personal career journal entry from 11/28/18. Note that career journal entries often do not reflect final points of view. As one experiences life and work one’s understanding of life and work, and all of their details, changes. Career journaling is a process of self- overhearing. The objects of career journal entry are to lay out what you think and feel in the moment, live the questions related to those thoughts and feelings and follow the progress of the
journalist’s inner life as related to career. It is very important to write in an uncensored way. Just put down what you really feel, don’t worry about political correctness or any other concerns of what other people think. Your changing opinions and values are the path to career clarity. Each career is the responsibility of the individual pursuing it. No one can make your decisions for you. No one size fits all. To go forward is to go into the unknown, and career journaling charts the map to the new.
I teach career/life journaling as part of my course. The assignment is to regularly write about yourself, the world, and any internal or external obstructions between yourself and the world.
The uninitiated see obstructions as negatives. Obstructions are opportunities, useful directional arrows. I don’t know how anyone exists without periodically making a career/life journal. Life is an art form. You can be Picasso or paint “Dogs Playing Poker.” This phase of The Rick Blog which started in October 2018 is a career/life journal. I see that this morning. I didn’t set out go down this path. I don’t control what I write, I follow my soul and the world.
(I looked at my blog as a whole this morning. I don’t know why I did that. I’m glad that I did. I am very happy with it. In its totality it is a fine piece of
work and can be viewed here.)
In my last entry, I wrote that I was going to teach independently and continue to self-publish on the blog. I said that I would teach at a school or other entity, and get a publisher that shared my values and respected my autonomy. If no such people and organizations exist, I’d keep working on my own.
No one really works on their own, even if they are freelance independents. Realizing that I reached out to an old friend who offers training to attorneys. I love this guy. I trust him. My meeting with him was very helpful. He gave me a great name for my course. He made some suggestions which led me edit the text book that I have written for the course and to systematize my lesson plans. My course and the text book are improved because I spoke with him. He also spoke to me with a friend’s love. It is always a gift to be in the presence of someone who cares about you.
I make my own decisions however, and there are three suggestions that he made that I cannot act upon. I am pretty sure that he will be critical of my choices. I accept that. When you chart a course that goes against more conventional wisdom, you set yourself up for criticism.
I am sure that my friend will think that my choices make me unemployable. I know that he is wrong. His three suggestions would set me up for failure. I know that because I have made similar errors in the past. I also am not critical that his suggestions reflect choices that he has made. In work and life, one size does not fit all.
Suggestion 1: Write your blog under an assumed name. My friend fears that law firm management would never hire me because of the political and social comments that I make on my blog. That may very well be true. If that is the case, my course will not be offered under the aegis of law firm management.
This morning MSNBC reported that the Trump Administration has discontinued FBI background checks for workers in detention camps for refugee children. The entire refugee and immigrant policy at our southern border is immoral and inhumane. Family separation is child abuse. Trump is ruining these children’s lives through his abuse. Now, the danger of other child abusers being hired to “care” for these children is adding a high risk of physical and sexual abuse to be added to the psychological abuse that is already devastating these children.
If my opposition to this grotesque Presidency offends some major domo at a Big Law firm, so be it. I emphatically associate my name to every word that I have said about Trump.
I am not a prominent man, but one thing that the 2016 and 2018 elections show is that we are a democracy. What every person believes matters. I believe in the power of citizenship. I believe that we have a moral obligation to stand up for right against wrong everywhere, particularly where we work — even when our work is looking for work.
Trump is the zenith of a political, social and cultural degradation that has been building in our country since the first settlers came to North America.
So I also sign my name, Richard Thomas to every other word that I have written spelling out the truth about other immoral aspects of our society that have nothing to do with Trump.
I do not arrogantly say that I am right about everything that I have written in my blog. But I proudly say that I have pursued the truth and will continue to do. I am a writer and a teacher and that is my job.
Which leads me to the second rejected suggestion ...
Suggestion 2: Go to iO and see if they will accept the idea for my course. Let iO promote the course and work out some kind of 60/40 or 70/30 split with the tuition money. This suggestion is a harder one to write about. I have friends that teach at iO, and they are certainly not immoral people. The same is true of the Second City Training Center. I would never want to work in association with either place however.
I think “improv” training in Chicago is superficial. “Classes” are like cooking classes or wine tasting where people go to find dates, spouses and lovers. Or to go forward into careers in show business, a pursuit that I think is an unworthy one. Art is about the pursuit of truth. Entertainment is a sub-division of sales. We need more artists and fewer salespeople. I don’t do what iO or Second City does.
Professionals go to the Second City Training Center and iO to get better interpersonal and communication skills to apply to their work. I have written a lot about the superficiality of the program I used to work alongside at UIC (I never participated in UIC’s approach — in that sense I was never in the program). Apply all that I have written about UIC to SC and iO. These “improv” classes are selling professionals a bill of goods.
I know what real improvisation is, and I know what real professionalism is. I will not betray the truth.
Which leads me to the third rejected suggestion ...
Suggestion 3: My friend tells me that my text book and course has too much content. He was very nice about it. He says that I am trying to save people. I am not. I’m trying to tell the truth.
My friend thinks that most people do not want the depth that I go into in my teaching. I think he is right. I know that some people do want that depth. Those are the people that I will teach.
I have no interest in playing party games with people and conning them that they learned something. The learning process is messy and painful — frustration leading to growth. I want my students to be truly satisfied, not distracted. My classes have the objectives of having the students and the world reach their full potential. Art is about the expansion of the consciousness
of individuals and society. That may sound grandiose and Pollyannish. It is not. It’s the truth.
My friend also misnames my artistic process as undisciplined, unedited and disorganized. Art’s first step comes in the chaos of the moment. Editing and organization come later. Discipline means seeing things through to the end. It does not mean settling for a quick and inaccurate fix and rigidly conforming to it because it is profitable.
Some additional comments:
I have worked on what I do my whole life. I lost my job last June, but I never stopped working. I require respect from those that I work with. This is not the howl of a fragile ego. It is a necessity of protecting the integrity of my work. I am not deferential to anyone who has more money than me. They are insecure and are keeping score on a scorecard that I have never signed on to. Big law firms for example have to have their egos punctured in order to truly improvise and truly be professional. Ethics and creativity are the same thing looked at from different points of reference.
If everyone took my course, we would save the world. That’s not going to happen, so I do what I can. What sounds self-aggrandizing here is not. This is what we all should be doing in our own ways.
Character is what matters.
All men are created equal.
Real work brings livelihood, honors the soul and serves others. One last thing:
I have written extensively about my love of Paul Sills and David Shepherd. I had the great good fortune of knowing two of the great artists of the Twentieth Century. Their example has served as a lodestar for me.
To a point.
But my art is my own.
I have created and am creating a new thing.