Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I'm still alive - general update

Just not around much, I guess.

I did actually lose my job, so in a way I have a lot more free time. If anyone knows of cool bookkeeping jobs at progressive companies in Minneapolis, let me know :)

Still broken up with my ex, and not dealing with it very well. I probably won't date for a while (I don't know if I ever want to "date" - I want to fall in love with someone who I'm friends with, but most of my friends are already married, or exes!!!)

She's already exploring dating. hasn't really "hooked up" with anyone yet, but I freak out every time she goes out for coffee. It's not so great....

I know this isn't all quaker and spiritual, but as I think I mentioned before, I'm not so sure about cutting out "normal life" from the spiritual. Spirit is an essential part of everything, isn't it? but right now I can't intellectualize it much, but I think that's okay too.

I went to a class last night at the Jack Pine Community Center, a free class about Empire, and, I guess, the US as empire. It was interesting, and annoying in many ways. The guy who initiated it wants it to be sort of collectively run and not hierarchical, but doesnt' seem to have the skills to implement that (or let it happen) very well. It turned out to be a situation where he would present something, an outline, whatever, and then spend a few minutes saying "if that's okay with you all, I don't want to run everything here,...." and just get a bunch of blank stares. Some of this I think is that it was mostly college students, most of whom probably haven't worked collectively, so they weren't sure how to jump in, but also, this guy seemed to have a vision but no, well, clerking skills (I don't have any either, though I'm thinking more and more it's time to work on that..)

I ended up feeling like he managed to dominate most of the time, without providing leadership. Now, he seems like a pretty nice guy, but it really got me thinking about how we're not culturally conditioned to function in an egalitarian setting where we lead without taking over (rather perhaps, we often take over without leading...)

In addition to which, he used a lot of big words, which is perhaps normal for an academic, but then would often make a point of "translating" them, in addition to occasionally oversimplifying (at one point he mentioned writing his dissertation and explained that that was like a big book report - well, actually, it isn't, but whatever...) what bothered me most about this was that it seemed like he looked at the only black man in the room every time he did this. (also one of the few people who didn't mention what college they went to during introductions.)

So now I'm pondering intellectual elitism too, which I find to be a huge problem for Friends. Not that I think we should "play dumb" - but there are ways to lean towards broad communication rather than muddling things as much as possible with big words.

I dunno.

This clearly wasnt' seasoned, oops



Plain Foolish said...

I'm sorry. Losing your job and a relationship at the same time is awful. I hope new opportunities come along soon.

As for intellectual elitism, I confess that I *hate* to reveal the name of the university I first attended. It has a national reputation, and folks tend to assume a great many things about me based on that reputation that simply aren't true. Were I in the class, I strongly suspect that I would find some other way to introduce myself, because I usually do.

Earlier this summer, someone directly asked me, and the aftermath was distinctly annoying. On the other hand, as I recently commented on another blog, having someone assume that all Appalachians are stupid has a tendency to tempt me to reveal both my Appalachian upbringing and my Ivy League education. Stupid temper, meh.

On the other hand, when I first meet people, or go to a job, you can bet that I'll be using the East Coast accent I learned to speak with, clipped and precise, rather than the softer sound of home. Friends of mine have said that they love to hear me tell stories from back home, when I fall into that way of speaking, but I know there aren't a lot of folks wanting to hire a "hillbilly", even one with a degree. The one time I've spoken in Meeting, it came out in East Coast English, so I don't know what the result would have been had it come out the other way.

Liz Opp said...


Transitions suck, don't they? Especially when others seem to be going through the transition "faster" or "more easily" or whatever...

About looking into that clerking thing: you do know there's an upcoming workshop at meeting on clerking, right? (wink)

Got lots to do all of a sudden, so I better keep moving. Hope joy finds you again soon.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

zach said...

Three cheers for not cutting the personal out...

Your story reminds me of something I heard about lately -- some (business?) class on leadership that a friend of mine was in, or heard about, where on the first day the professor came in, sat in front of the class, and just sat there without doing anything for a very, very long time (45 min?). People began to get absolutely furious. Eventually he started talking, and said his point was to illustrate how people react to people they regard as leaders but who fail to provide the leadership they expect.