The ‘Pretty Years’

OK, so I should be job-hunting instead of catching up on my reading while I wait to take mom to a dental appointment that I spent two days on the phone trying to wrangle with a low-cost clinic. But I caught this BusinessWeek article on 12 Signs Arrogance is Running Your Company, and it gave me pause on those dozen points.

I won’t rehash the article. But I will say that the “Not Invented Here” syndrome is epidemic. Whether it’s a department or a division or even throughout a company, it’s amazing how my industry scoffs at what “everyone else” is doing. Yet we all steal from each other, ultimately. No one holds a patent on ideas; it’s just not a good idea if it comes out of, say, my mouth. But if someone else nearby makes it work, well, then that changes everything.

A couple of weeks ago, my beloved colleagues and I went to a Greek restaurant for lunch. The server was probably in her mid-50s. She told us about her son who studied here in the States for a degree in architecture. But he had to go back to Greece to join the army.

We all know how bad things are in Greece. Well, from 30,000 feet, we “know.” But the country is poor and getting poorer. Nobody’s working. Incomes are at rock-bottom. Ireland’s “Celtic Tiger” is going to look like a cakewalk in comparison to what’s unfolding over there.

Our server said that she worked so hard her whole life, to put her son through school. And she’s still working her fingers to the bone because neither one of them has gotten anywhere.

What she said, though, will stick with me for life. “I wasted my ‘pretty years.'”

She was beautiful, I think. She had to be a real stunner in her day. Gorgeous milky-white skin and pale blue eyes in striking contrast to her dark hair. She was sweet and courteous and sounded like she was singing an aria as she conversed with my friend who’s also fluent in Greek.

I was texting with a friend this morning who is on the lookout for her next opportunity, too. And I passed that phrase along, that these are our own pretty years. And anyone who does anything to age us even faster than Mother Nature intended has no place in our lives.

I read another article that I’m too lazy to find right now, that unemployment doesn’t mean people lose their “oomph.” (I’m sure it was also in BusinessWeek.) I think that’s true. I think we lose our oomph long before the pink slip arrives. The challenge is to get it back before you get a pitchfork to your ass as you’re being steered toward the door. Of course, for me, the real challenge is to not run out of money before the next job appears. I’ll generate oomph on command then. 😉

Stay pretty, my friends. Exhaustion, frustration and disappointment are reversible. Frown lines — ex-Botox, and even that is only temporary — are with you forever. And frankly, I’d like to live a long and healthy life, and being happy is the only way I’m going to see that wish come true.

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