Archive for March, 2013

Avodah/Work: You shall enjoy the fruit of your labors; you shall be happy and you shall prosper. (Psalm 128:2)

Now that my husband and I are settled in Washington, DC, I have been doing some serious job hunting. For me, this does not mean sending out 100 resumes a day to every job opening for which I have the minimum qualifications. Rather, I search for jobs that resonate with me. Positions that might afford me the opportunity to give back to the community using some of the experience and skills I have developed over the years. I search for opportunities where I might learn new skills as well. I look for places that need help building–a new department, a new position, a new program. Needless to say, I do not apply for many jobs.

When I do send my resume and cover letter, I am optimistic that I will hear back but rarely do. On those infrequent occasions when I get a call and better yet, an interview, I am so hopeful, so filled with joy and expectation. Will this be the opportunity I have been waiting for?

I am not good at putting on masks – I don’t wear makeup, no longer color my hair – what you see is what you get. I have worked long enough and in so many different types of jobs that it would take a lot to shock or surprise me. Yet, I am beginning to wonder if my interviewers do not believe what I say, are not sure my confidence is real. I am wondering if I need to say clearly, “Yes, I have had an abundance of conflict and tribulation in my life. I choose not to dwell on it. I choose to learn from it and move on.”  Perhaps I should shine a brighter light on myself and talk about the many accolades I have received, the praise I have been given. I wonder if adding these statements in my cover letters might get me a few more phone calls.

Actually, I am thinking my next cover letter will simply be my favorite poem with a small note stating, This is all I ask as this is all I need:

To Be of Use

By Marge Piercy from The Art of Blessing the Day. ©1999.  Alfred A. Knopf.

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

Isn’t that all any of us want?

Happy Reading!

Kathy B.

Avodah/Work is an important part of life. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work…” (Exodus 20:9). Here are some great books to get that point across to your children:

When I Grow Up. Written by Al Yankovic. Illustrated by Wes Hargis. HarperCollins Publishers. ©2011. Yes, the “Weird” All Yankovic of those crazy satires of popular music has written a delightfully funny children’s book about the age old question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Using his trademark rhyming and hysterical scenarios, A.Y. goes from the ridiculous – snail trainer, giraffe milker, gorilla masseuse (my personal favorite!) – to the realistic –butcher, barber, teacher. The joy will be in discovering your own crazy and weird jobs to rhyme along. (Ages 4-8)

Chicken Man. Written and illustrated by Michelle Edwards. NewSouth Books, ©2009. Rody lives on a kibbutz in Israel.  He is a person who loves his work – in the chicken house.  When others see how happy he is there, they want to work in the chicken house as well.  Since life on the kibbutz involves rotating jobs, Rody agrees to try new things. But the chickens love Rody best of all, so they make the decision where he will work. (ages 5-9)

Sky Boys. Written by Deborah Hopkinson. Illustrated by James E. Ransome. Schwartz & Wade Books. © 2006. The Empire State Building is 1,250 feet high and was built in one year and forty five days, during the Great Depression in 1931. This is a tribute to the monumental effort that went into constructing a building that is still a landmark of New York City. (Ages 6-10)

Crunch. Written by Leslie Connor. HarperCollins Publishers. ©2010. There is a serious gas shortage – a “Crunch” – and the Marriss family is in a real bind. The parents are stuck up north waiting for gas to refill the truck so they can get home from their 20th anniversary trip. The five children – ages 5-18 – are home taking care of each other, the family farm and the family bike shop. Of course, this week EVERYONE needs a bike or their old bike repaired. To top off their stress, there appears to be a bike parts thief loose in the neighborhood. What else could go wrong?

©2013 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and forwordsbooks.com all rights reserved.

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