“Hey, so how do I turn this mike on, anyway?”
“There’s a sliding switch on the handle.”
“Truer words are rarely spoken, boys. But I’ve tried it six times already.”
[Sounds of scurrying just off the podium while a technician (wearing overalls, for gawdsakes!!*) roots around in the sound equipment, checking connections. Anxious moments pass.]
“Um, we think we found the problem — the mike’s cord wasn’t plugged into the unit. How’s it wo…piiiiiiingggggggggggg……..SKREEEE-ee-EEEKKKKKkkkkk!!!!!…….rking now?”
“Much better, thank you. Uh, hello everyone. My name is Russ, and I’m a latent blogaholic. It’s been six months since my last post.”
They say that when you’re driving at maximum legal speed on the freeway and a major seismic shock occurs underneath you, it can feel as if all four of your tires have suddenly gone flat; your sudden fight to control your vehicle alarmingly cancels all other thought processes. In an instant, you begin to realize something crucial has cracked within the confines of your seemingly-serene continuum; everything you had just been considering for how you’d spend your next moments, days and years has rudely crashingly distilled into one signifying act: maniacally defending your life against disaster. Naturally, your first instinct is to pull your foot off the gas pedal and quickly press it onto the brake; your belief in all things possible having abruptly downshifted into defensive mode, if not an outright Suspend Mode.
|From the San Jose Mercury News: ‘Frightening’
job losses. Source: planspark via Flickr
Or, in my case, given the very personal and all-too-real effects of our current economic seismicity, you pull in your horns and you endeavor to focus on the basics — to attempt to make things right again with your life and your career.
Many of my readers know that I have long supported myself as a Silicon Valley technical writer; I continue to market myself with these skills due to an awareness that this economy has not particularly supported my dream career of hosting luxury/adventure endeavors, i.e., wine and hiking tours.
That’s the straight dead nuts and there’s no getting around it; tourism in California has softened considerably these last two-plus years.
Indeed, the unemployment rate in California has been inordinately high since 2007. It’s especially high in Silicon Valley. And yet despite my reasonably-competitive skillset plus my efforts to continue my own employment here, I can’t particularly explain why my continuum has been seemingly discontinued. Unless, that is, I care to consider that perhaps I’m competing against more job candidates than I ever have previously — and for less pay than I have previously earned — or that, heaven forbid, I’m simply viewed as “older”. In which case, it’s easy to assume a common perception by those holding the purse strings that I, as a a seasoned technical communicator, probably want more money to do the same jobs that likely are instead being awarded to fresh-faced college graduates — because it’s been misconscrewed that the hiring company will get more bang for their bank.
Folks, I’m here to tell ya: more money is not the issue. At least not for me — I’m much more the quality guy. Mr. or Ms. Hiring Manager, your goal is to raise your productivity as efficiently and effectively as possible toward the bottom line; hopefully you’re also a good facilitator who takes an active role in forging your employees’ successes. For me, Mr. Would-Love-To-Be-Hired, the foremost goal is to synergize my skills, aptitude and attitude toward achieving your goal.
Not that I wouldn’t also welcome the return of a little stability in my life.
But I also consider myself human, very much a thread that serves to stitch the company fabric together, and I believe strongly in gaining the satisfaction of a job well done for myself, for you, and the team I expect to be an integral part of.
So even if I were to accept a salary that’s not commensurate with my previous one, I’d do it gratefully because — and this is a sure bet — I’ll simply sleep better at night.
Yep, I occasionally get an interview. No, aside from the occasional short-term contract stint or freelance job, I haven’t received a permanent job offer after 30 months of trying. And while the reasons why I haven’t been hired may be nebulous, it’s painfully clear that I have been marking ever-lowering depths, depths that I never expected I would, could or should encounter in my life. There’s a stiletto-sharp and very eye-widening edge to engaging in a never-ending daily job search, after these many months, while also realizing that I am someone who has sunk to finding himself again extending his unemployment, even applying for food stamps in an effort to survive.
You can bet I’m not tasting much wine these days.
Alright, so I am not sharing this post because I desire sympathy. I’m not looking for handouts either, nor am I burned out on blogging, as some might feel. As far as blogging goes, I realize that my own desire to not share bad news has overridden any other concern; after all, I have my pride to consider. (Pride: such an obstreperously silly virtue.) No, I simply haven’t wanted others to concern themselves unnecessarily about my welfare. So, since I haven’t had much of anything good to say, I simply haven’t blogged. Sure, I could still have written a few posts to work off some steam. But I’ve long known that if I don’t have anything nice to say, I probably shouldn’t say anything at all. (After all these years, I still hear my dad’s echo.)
Then again, that silly ol’ pride I just mentioned? Well doggone it, it’s a rootin’-tootin’ thumpin’-an’-a-shootin’ pride for the pure notion of winehiking’s appeal; why would I whine about bad news?
Well, because first of all, there’s only one “h” in winehiking.
But it’s been six months since I last posted to this blog, and I realize I need to say something. To someone. To anyone — to anyone still reading this formerly-semiinfluential blog.
And, quite simply, that something is: I still love and value this life, and despite those pesky economic cloud patterns over my head, I have no desire to give it up just yet.
|Before I was the winehiker, I was a
So while I may be very close to losing my house, I am not going to give up on the things I love to enjoy most, namely, hiking, wine tasting, eating delicious, healthy foods and making other people happy. Well those, yes, and baseball and jazz music and my bicycle and the Great Outdoors and a cold beer on a warm summer afternoon and, most importantly, the people who help make my world go round ‘n’ round.
I’m dreadfully sorry that I’ve neglected you.
But you know? Things are beginning to look up. Indeed, having walked the trail with the Senior Travel Editor, I have reason to believe there’s going to be an article featuring California Wine Hikes in the October issue of Sunset Magazine. Next month, I plan to host an inspiring day of team development for a company that’ll be holding a local conference for its far-flung employees. (You guessed it: there’ll be hiking and wine!)
And, I’ve got a deal in the works with zozi.com coming up tomorrow (Monday).
|A satellite view of the San Francisco Bay Area, California.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Wait — you don’t know what a zozi is? Here, check out their site. And if you’re in the greater San Francisco Bay region, I recommend subscribing (for free!) to their weekly deals — especially if you like saving money on fun stuff. Or, sign up if you’re struggling to run a small business like I am and want to raise its visibility.
Or, if you dare to suspend your disbelief just a little longer: stay tuned to this blog!
That’s right, because in my next post (yes, there shall be a next post!) — i.e., once zozi has gone live with it — I’ll be sharing the link to my zozi deal.
Yep, that’s tomorrow morning!
And if you sign up with zozi (like, say, now, for instance), you’ll then have an opportunity to join me for a winehiking tour, complete with a gourmet picnic lunch and a wine tasting, for 51% off my normal price, only through the zozi.com website, where you’ll be able to find out more about it.**
This earth-shattering 51%-off deal, that is!
Well, I hope it sounds like a sizably seismic deal to you, dear reader. (Think “gourmet lunch.” And wine too! Yeah!!)
The good deal for me? Well heck, I get to enjoy walking the wine trail with you! (It’ll be mercifully easy! Plus I promise not to crack your suspension.)
Because hey, brothers and sisters – I’ve really been missing your fine selves. And, tell ya true: I appreciate your support.
*Still, it’s better than wearing a barrel! Perhaps.
**Deals on zozi.com run for one week only – which is to say, my 51% off a Wine Tasting, Gourmet Lunch and Hiking Tour ($85 Value) deal will expire at midnight Sunday, July 25th, 2010.