ALC Consulting

October 16, 2009

A Radical Suggestion

Filed under: LIfe Balance,Passions,vision — Anne Cloward @ 8:03 am
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Several weeks ago, while teaching at the library, I made a radical suggestion to the job seekers. I am going to repeat it to my readers here now.

Remember when you were a little kid while watching TV on a sunny day and your mother would come in and turn off the set?

The conversation would go something like this:

“It’s a lovely day outside. Why are you sitting here watching TV?”

You would give all sorts of excuses, but the bottom line was that you were mesmerized watching the images dance across the screen.

Well, it’s many years later, and you are still sitting there watching the images on the screen. Now they are bigger, flashier and louder, but you are still sitting there passively. I am not going to debate the value of the programs you watch, but I am going to suggest that the activity of watching TV all day is harmful to your mental health. I even worked for one of the big three networks at one time, and learned that the industry was all about ratings and numbers of eyeballs that were watching. The more you watched, they more they could sell to you. Quality of programming was second to earning money for the network. They do not care about you as a person, only as a person who has a wallet with money in it.

Eleven years ago, I moved from one city to another and was only able to bring as many personal belongings with me as I could fit into a 8′ x12″ trailer (that’s all my car could safely carry). There was no room for a TV, and besides all of them in the house belonged to other people who lived with me. So I decided to see if I could live without it, and it was much easier than I thought it would be to give it up. When I moved from Minnesota to Oregon, I moved in with my son, who had also chosen to live without TV. Our household is really a lot more peaceful because of it.

What does that have to do with you and your job search? Right now all of the news coming across the ether is negative. Unemployment is up. This is a “jobless recovery,” foreclosures are up, and conditions are the worst they have been in years. It’s as though we are addicted to the next awful headline that comes down the pike and pretty soon we can be wallowing in it. We can throw ourselves and feel as though we can justify it, one big pity party. It won’t help you get a job, but you can enjoy your misery for a while and feel connected to everyone else who is out of work.

The challenge is to get out there in the sunshine and interact with the world, and not let all that negative energy engulf you. There is not much you can do about the national picture, or even the global one. Right now you are struggling to keep yourself going, to continue your job search in spite of all of the odds that you are told that are against your finding one.

So don’t listen to the news. You need to take a break and fill your environment with more pleasant thoughts. It is up to you to decide what you want to have occupy yourself instead. Whatever gets you going and keeps you finding joy is what I vote for. . For a while there will be an empty hole in you and you keep feeling something is missing. You start to wake up, and sometimes it takes getting used to.

How about trying to find creative ways to meet new people, market yourself, go out into the community and help others?

The national news is not about you, so don’t buy into the group think. Go out into the sunshine and discover the world. You just might find a whole new world to explore and enjoy.


October 4, 2009

Enjoying Life

Filed under: LIfe Balance,Passions,Professionalism — Anne Cloward @ 11:49 pm
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My sons bought tickets several weeks ago to see an award winning flamenco guitarist named Jesse Cook. I had heard several of his albums before, but had never really listened to him. My mistake, for sure. I had no idea what an accomplished artist he is how enjoyable the evening would be.

Last night changed my mind. After struggling to find a parking spot (I declare that can be as difficult a task as it was in St Paul), and walking two blocks on bumpy sidewalks, we made it to the theater, which has seen better days. Inside, though, there was nothing but excitement. Ardent fans assured me I was in for a treat. As the band quickly entered, they picked up their instruments and began to play. Within 30 seconds, I knew something special was happening. Those in the know were already cheering. Jesse’s pictures all look like this, which is misleading, because most of the time he is performing, he is smiling and enjoying himself.

For the next two hours, they played to a most appreciative crowd. They were having fun, lots of it. We bought CDs, grateful they had them there for us. After the show was over, the band members started to pack up their gear, but they were stopped by ardent fans (including me and my son) who wanted to express appreciation and have them sign their CDs. Brief conversations followed, as they got ready to go on to their next stop. They are just regular guys with extraordinary talent doing what they do best, giving of their talents to an appreciative audience.

For more information on this remarkable artist, go to his website,

What has this to do with a job search?

  • Jesse knew at a young age what he wanted to do with his life. He got training and learning his craft. He still does. This tour is in support of his 7th album, which has just been released.
  • He surrounds himself with equally as talented and passionate artists who go out on stage and give all they have to their customers.
  • What do you do with such passion in your life? How can you create that kind of joy for yourself and others in your work?

March 1, 2009

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I used to hate that question, since it usually came from someone who had really no interest in the answer. And since I was a baby boomer, I always gave the acceptable answer.

“A Teacher (with a capital T),” I would reply. I guess that was the truth. I did become a teacher, and it was a good career choice for me.

My second choice would be a writer, though in my heart, that’s what I really wanted to be. And I have made a living at being a writer for long time.

But I am posing this question in terms of contracting. What is it that you have a passion for? But, secondly, What is it that you do incredibly well that you can make money doing? That’s what a good contractor does, knows what he or she wants to do and does well and works at that. I want to share a few examples of people who have figured out what their passion is and have developed their talents well enough to make a life doing it.

large_bruceI am currently listening to Bruce Springsteen on my PC. I recently watched an interview he gave, reflecting on his life and career. The man, at the age of 59 looks fabulous! And when he performs onstage, the energy is there. The guy has been making music his way for over 40 years, not a bad gig.

kay_newNow for a lesser known, but equally passionate person, is my fabulous friend, Kay. Adams. In the 80s when I was dealing with stuff, I instinctively resumed keeping a journal. In my attempt to get beyond the “Dear Diary” stage of journal writing, I picked up a copy of her Journal to the Self. Over 20 years later, this well marked book still holds a revered place on my bookshelf and I return to it again. It is one of The books I love to read. Check out her website at

One last quote: “In an internet poll on, Kathleen Adams was listed (with Anais Nin and Anne Frank) as one of the three most significant influences on contemporary journal keeping.”

And I get to hang out with her next week!

janet-book-coverJanet Kay Jensen, was a successful speech pathologist and supervised graduate students at Utah State University, one of the premier schools in that field. Despite that success, she decided she wanted to be a published author, and took a leave of absence to pursue this passion. Go to her website: to see how well she has done.

My buddy, Scott had an interested in family history and organizing it, and creating a tool that helps people organize their family pictures. It’s a simple and powerful application. He started working on it several years ago, and gave a huge sigh of relief when he got let go after 19 years at Intel. The fruits of his labor are on display at

I am not giving shameless plugs here, but trying to show how people within my circle of family and friends have given thought to the question and come up with their own answers.

I am amazed at the number of mature job seekers out there, who give their history, and then come up with “What I really want to do is . . .” and then reveal a dream that has absolutely nothing to do with what they have been doing for the past 20 years. I always wonder how did they get so far away from their dream.

There are some good sites out there with talent inventories, and personality tests at career sites that could help. Most of these are free; you do not need to pay for them. If you are working with your local workforce agency, they can administer them to you. It may give you an idea of what your real talents are and what would be a good fit for you. I found this great URL for evaluating such tests.

Maybe it isn’t too late to dig in to find the answer to that question.

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