Friday, April 21, 2006

So I know how to fish, now what?

Everyone knows the "wise" saying, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." it suddenly struck me how inaccurate this really is. It is great to have job training. However, so many well-qualified people are unemployed for long periods of time. And so many other less-qualified people are successful. In fact, there is a more accurate saying, "It's not what you know, it's whom you know."

So going with the original saying, I think the person in question should provide the right fishing equipment to the man, teach him how to fish (although he may already know how), and then provide him an entry into the fishing field by offering him a fishing spot where he will definitely succeed in catching something. (And not just telling him suggested places, but actually brining him there and making sure that the others already there make room for him.) And lend him interest-free some money to live off of while he builds his fishing business.

Here are things people have done for us that are not helpful with regards to jobs: tell me to look at a website, tell me about some vague position they've heard about third-hand and suggest that I cold-call the person who they think might know something about it, tell me about a position that pays minimum wage and/or is 10 hours a week.

Here's what actually helped: lending us a significant sum of money so that we could actually make a dent in our debt, personally delivering my resume to the HR department at the company they work for, serving as a reference, calling to see how we're doing and if we need anything, speaking to potential investors on my husband's behalf regarding a business he would like to start.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Money and power

When I was younger, I wanted to be a teacher or a profession that helps people. My father discouraged this because they don't make a lot of money. (This is a topic for a whole other post...)

Later, I had the idea to make a lot of money in the corporate world as a way to take money from them and use it towards tzedakah -- as an alternate way of helping people.

We just saw the "Lexmas" episode of Smallville which, in my opinion, dealt with a big question: Why does it end up that people who make a lot of money and have power are almost always "bad guys"? Why are there so few people like Bono, who puts his fame and fortune to use as a way to help the world?

In the show, Lex chooses between giving up his family's money but having his wife die because she can't get the best medical care, or being a disgusting person who destroys other people in order to get as much power as possible. As a viewer, I felt Lex had a third option -- he could continue to make money but bring ethics into the picture and be a good person. But reality shows that his view plays out most of the time.

(Of course, the other problem is that people without money can't get even their basic medical or nutritional needs...)