Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Top 10 Things I like about My Job

In my efforts to combat the negative tone of "this blasted economy" I probably shouldn't even contribute to the noise that is already out there. But, it's topical, I am feeling grateful, and actually, my job is pretty good. So here are the top 10 reasons I like my job:

1. Got one

2. It allows me tremendous freedom and I am not bound to a desk. Today was a "desk work" day at the freeschool, which means that I am free in the mornings to network, build business, research or surf the web for hours on end. Today, for example I ended up visiting the non-profit support center, dropped by the "movie cafe" to get advice on a movie screening we are hoping to set up, visited with an old I CAN member who dropped by, call a donor, go to the bank, etc, etc.

3. Good psychic rewards. Helping troubled kids is my job. Sounds so much better than "raping the rain forest" or "moving money around" or the ever-popular, "something with computers."

4. Actually, my job is to play around with kids! On its best days, I CAN, our freeschool, is like my own personal cafe, or Cheers. I brew a pot of coffee, kids I like come over to hang out, we play chess, go outside for soccer, play cards, laugh, write, read, hang out, clean up and go home. Cool.

5. My job as an English teacher supports my job at I CAN. That kind of sounds like I'm working so I can go to work, but I prefer to look at it like this: I help out at the English school, and
in exchange, I have the freedom to experiment, take chances, try new business ideas at I CAN. Without the fear of "having everything riding on it," I know that there is a minimum amount of financial support coming in every month from the English School.

6. I also get to work with cool adults. The members of our board are mostly successful businessmen, with a college professor and a prefectural representative as our top man. I have a mastermind at my beck and call, all willing to help I CAN (and me) succeed

7. I like where I live. Joetsu, in Niigata Japan, is very community oriented, and very supportive of non-profit groups. I visit regularly (see #1, above) the NPO support center often, just 5 minutes from my desk (and upstairs from the English school where I work). Whenever you want to start a project, Joetsu is just the right size of town to be not intimidating, yet you can get supporters interested in your vision easily.

8. I learn something everyday. Finances? Balance Sheets? Blogging? Membership Campaigning? Trust Games? Recreation Activities? Cooking Recipes? Communication Skills? Networking? Japanese Language? It's amazing when you count up the things I've learned since I've been here

9. I like my co-workers. Right now there is only me. It gives me peace and solitude and time to think, as well as freedom. I think I work best alone....However, I am under no illusions that we need to be staffed to be effective. I need to like MORE co-workers, too.

10. We get great support. From old friends and new, even from strangers. This job has taught me a lot about gratitude, because we rely on donations for about one-seventh of our income. I know the services we provide are needed and valuable, but because we are supported by our community, we can continue to serve.

Yup. Not a bad place at all. Swing on by?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

10 ways to fight off a cold

In the interest of fairness, and with flu epidemic scares on the news, and under the "I already knew that" column, I present the following Powerful 10:

10 Ways to Fight Off, Prevent, Cure a Cold or Flu

1. Go to sleep. Sleep more. Get more rest. Duh.

2. Eat your veggies. Mom's advice, and hard to take when you are exhausted and a trip to the drive thru could fill your gut simply enough. Suggestion: Make a huge batch of vegetable soup which will last you the duration of the cold. Just warm and serve!

3. Garlic cloves! When I feel a cold coming on, I roast a whole garlic root (many cloves together) in the oven or even toaster oven. Then, when the cloves are softened, I squeeze them out of their "shell" directly onto toast, or even directly into my mouth. Tastes good, and usually my cold is gone by the next day. Kisses not so pleasant for the receiver, but with a cold or flu, you shouldn't be kissing, anyway.

4. Hot Bath. Really hot and steamy, for as long as you can stand it, or as long as the water stays really hot. Upon exiting, dry quickly, put on sweats, go to sleep (see #1)

5. Take a sick day off from work (see #1)

6. Breathe!! Breathe deeply as you can, slowly and with consciousness. When I get sick, it is always because I haven't done the things we humans must do to survive: breathe, drink water, sleep, eat good food. Once these four are in balance, so usually is your health.

7. Drink! Water is best. Hot or Cold.

8. (for in-Japan cold sufferers) Drink a bottle of Zena, the energy drink, before bed right after your hot bath. I swear this and a garlic treatment will usually do the trick. Unfortunately, those tiny bottles of Zena are about 20 dollars a pop. Try to buy them in four-packs, or even a less expensive brand.

9. (for in Japan cold sufferers...or not) Tamago-zake. This is a raw egg broken into a glass of tall, hot Japanese Sake. This, too, has stopped a cold in its tracks more than once for me. Medically, it seems more like a folk remedy, but a tasty one at that.

10. Think healthy thoughts. Really. Once you say to yourself, "I feel like I'm getting sick," guess what happens? When I feel a sniffle or sore throat coming on, I tell myself, in a hot steaming shower, breathing deeply, "I am healthy! I am whole! I feel good!" Yes, it's possible to talk yourself out of a cold.

**No, not professional medical advice, and no intent is made as such. Just friendly advice. But you already knew that.