Saturday, September 25, 2010

Malcolm Gladwell and Being Unemployed

I've been reading a ton of Malcolm Gladwell lately, and although a lot of people already know his work I thought I'd just throw in my two cents. I started with Blink, which I thought was really interesting. My main question is how does one develop the sort of expertise he's talking about so that one's snap decisions are accurate? I guess that's where he goes in Outliers but I haven't got to that one yet. I then read Tipping Point, and I think that when you combine the sorts of insights from that and Blink together, you have a really complex and perceptive way of viewing the world and your place in it. I think they both help develop a sense of awareness and cognizance about the world that is extremely useful in understanding everything from basic social interactions to larger world phenomena. Thinking through what those books suggest, I've been hyper-aware of the littlest things during interacting with other people. Noticing whether people look me in the eye or not when talking. Being aware of when I move my hand or arm in response to the person sitting across the table from me. It's all very interesting.
Next, on being unemployed. It's a very interesting sort of state, of suspended animation. I'm not totally unemployed; I'm substitute teaching every now and then, but not nearly often enough to live on. I understand that this is a great time for reflection, to analyze what is important to me, what kind of job I would love to do, etc. It's just a lot of pressure, feeling like it's make or break, that I need to find something soon or else. I'm not really sure what that "else" is, but it isn't good. I'm just perpetually surprised that I can't find good work, and that is interesting in and of itself. There's no reason why I should. The universe made no pact with me. I think I can be successful, that I have gifts and abilities and a desire to contribute to the world and make it better. I just don't know what it will take. We'll see.

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