Siren’s Gate

Siren’s Gate is a collaborative art project, the beginning vision of which began as I drove home past a high school football field, lined with vinyl signs. The sun shone through the fence, through the vinyl. It waved in the light breeze, giving the impression of scales. From there the vision grew.

There will at least 5 themed pieces, in increasing sizes, hopefully to be displayed at Burning Flipside 2020, the Sacred and the Propane. There is room for all kinds of media and many skillsets! Blinky! Propane, copper! Fabric, found art, flames. I have two pieces in mind, but they need fleshing out, and we will need at least 3 additional pieces to bring the project to fruition. They may be developed over the course of a few events, and I may bring the starter art to FreezerBurn, what with an also compatible theme.

I plan on having a design charrette in the coming weeks to garner collaborators, ideas, and support. Come on out and throw some spitballs at the wall with me. Watch this space for details.

How I Helped Start a Job Club

Having recently joined the ranks of the unemployed,  a daunting position at my age (and, let’s be real, any age when it comes so suddenly upon us), I found myself at unexpected loose ends.  Fortunately, I was somewhat prepared, as I had already been considering a shift in employment in the nearer-rather-than-distant future.  I had the rudiments of a decent resume in place. I had been making contacts with other companies. I had (a framework of) a plan. Unfortunately, I was now working from a position of unemployment, rather than employment. It doesn’t look great and it doesn’t feel good, either.

Not one to wallow, (not for long, anyway), I started figuring out what to do next. I immediately applied for unemployment benefits, started polishing the resume, and mentioned my availability to a number of friends, cohorts, and former employers.  I had gotten the news of my new status on a Friday at 3:00 pm (who does that to a person!?) and by Tuesday afternoon benefits were approved, retirement was reinvested, my car was paid off, and I was ready for The Next Big Thing.

I started doing what I needed to do to find employment, but am glad it wasn’t immediate; I wanted it to be good. I didn’t want to settle (at least not immediately) for anything less than a place where I would be fairly compensated for making a difference, for doing what I loved, and for feeling like I was both supporting and supported. In addition, I knew I had an event to produce (my volunteer gig!) in a few weeks, after which I had already planned a search.

That said, maintaining unemployment benefits requires a number of “job search activities” a week. Some weeks, especially since I am hoping to change career paths, it is hard to find a decent number of jobs that I want, that I am qualified for, and that offer a sustainable level of compensation. However, there are a number of activities that count, including job fairs, job search classes at the workforce commission offices, attending a “Job Club” and others.  The concept of a Job Club fascinated me, so I looked around and didn’t find much on offer locally, at least not with that search term.

I was already associated with a group of “Burning Professionals” (started by friend M7, if I recall) that has periodic, though irregular, happy hour meet ups. We also have a Facebook group that has served as a means for everything from recommendations for car repairs to networking, from professional head shots to helping each other with our resumes. However, in person, it has been mainly a happy hour meet up.

At the most recent one, a number of us who attended were looking for work, (coming off sabbatical, looking for a change in direction, moving from freelance or looking for more freelance gigs, or laid off like me).  While there, a number of us brainstormed the idea of meeting specifically to enhance our job search. When one of my friends called a couple of weeks later, wanting to get together to brainstorm and hold each other accountable, the idea of forming a job club for ourselves and those others from the happy hour/ the larger Facebook group took hold.

We held our first meeting on June 26th, welcoming about 10 people, and a tiny meet up on July 3.  We’re still in the nascent phase, and working on where this is going, but I hereby announce the formation of the Central Texas Burning Professionals Job Club.  We may store info here, I may start another website for it, or we may just form a google group or Facebook group for document management, announcements, etc.  The next meeting is slated to be held on July  10th, location dependent on RSVPs.

Hope to see you there.