My world passed through ridiculous long ago. Now it is in a realm of nonsense. Companies do well, and their stocks drop. Do good hard work, and wonder if I’ll get paid. Apply diligently for jobs, and listen to the void. I admit to frustration, realize others are frustrated too, and yet I will persist.
It’s time to pay the mortgage again – within the grace period. I’ve been paying my bills by selling DNDN (Dendreon – a cancer vaccine company) at prices I consider to be a small fraction of the company’s worth. Each earnings announcement is an opportunity for good news, an increase in the share price, and a reason to delay my sale until the good news hits. Back in August they missed earnings by 20% and the stock dropped 80%. Since then they continue to increase earnings. The rest of the market is recovering. Surely DNDN’s valuation will return to the vicinity of those previous levels with each month’s good news. May 7th Dendreon reported results again. They hit their revenue numbers. They continue to grow. The treatments continue to work. The stock dropped 20% further. There are plenty of rationalizations, but to me, it doesn’t make any sense. It should eventually, maybe after I’ve sold all of my shares. Sigh.
Fortunately, I have skills and energy. I’ve been busy:
- working on two books (Scotland and Modern Self-Publishing),
- completing a photo series (Twelve Months at Double Bluff, the fifth of five such series on Whidbey),
- arranging and teaching three sets of classes (Modern Self-Publishing, Designing Your Book Using Photography and Art, and a weekend Self-Publishing Seminar),
- conducting talks (Twelve Months In Nature – A lazy man’s way to go beyond the day hike.),
- managing sales (books and photos),
- developing a game (shh, a quiet collaboration),
- producing videos (the Two Guys series),
- and developing fresh ideas (Sea Stack Plastic Harvester, Hollyhock Incubator).
And then consulting showed up, and I’ve come to realize that I like it best. People and ideas are my passion and I am energized after each session. (Give me a call. We’ll probably have fun.)
Oh yeah, and each of us does charitable work too, right? So let’s remember being a site steward for Whidbey Camano Land Trust, and Board Secretary for New Road Map Foundation.
Okay, so maybe my energy level isn’t as high as it could be at the end of the week.
Unfortunately, all of that work has yet to pay the bills. Where’s the sense in that much effort producing so little reward? Many of those projects could pay the bills, and maybe someday they will, but the mortgage is already past due. (Thanks for grace periods.)
The good news is that there are jobs out there, so even if my entrepreneurial efforts don’t succeed perhaps a paycheck can make it all better. You can probably guess that my job search hasn’t been successful. (But if you want to help, here’s my resume.) A week or so ago I applied for another “rocket science” job, didn’t get it, and found out that there were 1,500 applicants. Even if I was more qualified than 1498 of them, and I don’t know if I was, coming in second is not good enough. It is a small comfort that I am not alone, but it can seem senseless to look for jobs every day with so little encouragement. I’m in my ninth month of daily looking and not yet finding.
At some point it seems to make more sense to do nothing. Sitting still for these months would have cost less, left me with more energy, been less stressful, and possibly had the same result.
The other evening I watched “My Man Godfrey“, a William Powell and Carole Lombard movie about wealth and poverty. It is a romantic comedy, but because it was filmed during the Great Depression (1936) it also acts as a societal commentary. Godfrey is homeless, except for a tin shack in the dump. He fell there from society’s heights, and then re-enters society by becoming a butler with style. They filmed it before they knew whether the Depression would ever end. I’ll paraphrase one quote; “They say prosperity is right around the corner. Which corner is that?” This was seven years after the crash and they still didn’t know where they were going. We know how it turned out, and hopefully the recovery doesn’t require a World War. I suspect the economy would’ve righted itself without the war. How close are we to turning the corner?
Picking good companies to invest in, doing good work which is nicely complimented, diligently applying for jobs at every level from secretary to director yet watching my net worth drastically dwindle is my recent frustrating history. It doesn’t make sense. And yet the optimist in me has not lost its voice.
The likelihood that everything will succeed is very small. The likelihood that everything will fail is very small. As I sell, my portfolio has a tougher time recovering, but the possibility exists. Come on MVIS and GIG. – you can do it and do it soon. The 10,000 Rule is working for me, I hope. My books and photos can sell themselves. If they do, then my work in the past pays me in the future. My classes are expanding. Consultations are becoming more common, especially as folks that have contacted me follow through. (Nudge.) Each of the other projects can surprise and there’s no way to know which to emphasize at the expense of the others. I’ll keep working on them all. The improving economy should be working for many folks eventually, including me. Young folks are getting job offers. Maybe my middle-aged friends and I will get such good news too. What’s most likely is that enough good things will happen, and that would be a sensible realm.
I definately want to hear more about your hollyhock incubator!!
In case you hadn’t seen the link (someday I’ll update the site):
Basically, it is a way for grad students to pursue their ideas while also finishing school. With a bit of luck, the proceeds could make it a self-sustaining venture that could be replicated anywhere. Innovative solutions, financial aid for students, all happening within months or a few years instead of across the decades of a professional career.
One incarnation is as a university collaboration including college credits. Another incarnation is as an independent venture capital firm that has a mission to independently fund the neighboring university. There are pluses and minuses for each: academic integration versus organizational freedom, college credits versus career and monetary compensation. I think the source of seed capital will decide the path.
(PS Someone pointed out that this is the sort of thing the Obama administration was interested in. I forwarded it to them. How knows? Maybe I’ll hear back and get to help organize this on a large scale. In the meantime, I keep checking my lottery tickets. It wouldn’t take a million, though more would be better, eh?)