September 22, 2003

Making A List

I'm feeling better now, and making a list of the folks I think might be able to help me at some point in this process. You're probably on it. It reminds me of an exercise I was once assigned in a graduate course at UPenn. The professor asked us all to take out a blank piece of paper, and then, seeing the look on our faces, she reassured us that this was not to be a quiz. "Imagine that you are in some kind of trouble: you've been injured, or your car has died, or you've been thrown in jail. I want you to spend the next few minutes writing down the names of the people you would contact in those and similar situations." We all sat there imagining ourselves in dire circumstances and writing down the names of our "go to" people. When it seemed that we were mostly done, the prof said, "Now turn your paper over." And then when we all expectantly looked at the still-blank side of our paper, she said, "Some people's list looks like this."

I try to carry the feeling of gratitude that exercise inspired with me wherever I go. I am so fortunate to have people in my life who care about me and would be there for me no matter what. I'm adding new people to my list as I think of them, even if I'm not sure yet exactly how I'll be asking them to help. It helps me remember that although it is most definitely MY jobsearch, I'm not in it alone. I think I'll be looking at this list long after I've started my new job.

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