Feature: We Are All Star Stuff

Feature: We Are All Star Stuff

Feature: We Are All Star Stuff

We live in an era that sets limits. The conventional wisdom is that we are constrained by our background and upbringing, our access to opportunities, our exposure to biases, our bosses and employers. Our reality, in essence, is defined by our boundaries.

Recent research into the origins of the universe, however, convincingly demonstrates that exactly the opposite is true. We are, all of us, composed of elements created at the beginning of time. Our bodies and minds are filled with the particles of that first great explosion that launched the cosmos. We are, as the great astronomer Carl Sagen once noted, the stuff of stars.

How does that apply to someone way down here on planet Earth? What does that actually mean for a person who’s in transition? How can that help us find a better job and advance our careers?

First, this discovery is proof positive that the conventional wisdom is wrong. In a very real sense, each of us is filled with the unlimited power and promise of the universe. Second, we need not be bound by the constraints of our life or, even, by our intelligence quotient, emotional quotient or any other human device for measuring limitations. Our only dimensions are those set by our own self exploration–the distance we’ve traveled in getting to know the immeasurable expanse of ourselves.

That journey is what a career is all about. We spend a third or more of our lives at work. That’s a significant portion of our existence and too precious to be spent on absolute drudgery, climbing corporate ladders or simply trying to make financial ends meet. We owe ourselves more than such paltry gains from all of the time we devote to our careers. Said another way, we must stop looking through the wrong end of the telescope. We must change our perspective and see the vast potential of our career.

Our work is a quest to discover the unending reaches of our star stuff. To find and experience the special gift of creation with which we are endowed. If that explanation seems a bit far-fetched to you–a tad too metaphysical for this cynical, scientific age in which we live–consider these points of evidence:

  • The United States of America was founded on exactly such a principle. Our founding fathers and mothers didn’t bequeath us a legacy of Dead ends, Denials and Despair. They said we are all endowed with certain inalienable rights. That among these rights are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. These rights exist in the workplace as well as the marketplace. They define our social and our occupational experience. In fact, they integrate the two: Our career is an essential aspect of our Life. If we exercise our Liberty and choose the right occupation and employers, it will enable us to find work that is so engaging and challenging we must draw on our star stuff to perform it. And when we do, we launch ourselves off in the pursuit of Happiness.
  • The human species is also uniquely equipped to conduct this search for our roots in the cosmos. In addition to our five senses, we have the extraordinary capacity to perceive our primordial gift. Unlike any other creature on the planet, we can actually intuit the faint full echo of the unbound self with which we were endowed at the moment of the universe’s creation. We describe this message as our “calling.” It is the insensate, but very real signal deep within us that whispers what we are meant to do with our work. This sensation is what remains within us of the Big Bang millions of years ago. It is the signature of our star stuff. And, we are only fulfilled when we comprehend it.
  • When we acknowledge our calling–when we focus on the essential elements with which we have been created–we set our careers on a course to the vast, unending greatness that exists within each and everyone one of us. When we then guide our careers to follow that course–when we are continuously employed in positions that enable us to plumb those depths–we exercise our inalienable rights and reach for the best we can be. That is the essence of a successful job search and a fulfilling career. To throw off the self-imposed and self-accepted limitations of this era and take every opportunity to realize more of the star stuff within us.

    Thanks for reading,


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    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    The president of the Center for Work-Life Policy published a new book called Off-Ramps and On-Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success. Based on her research, 93% of “off-ramped” women–those who have left the workforce to care for children–are trying to get back “on track.” Almost three-quarters of that group (74%) do eventually find career-related work, but only 40% describe their reemployment as satisfying. So, if you’re contemplating such an off and on again journey, what should you do? First, when you leave the workplace, don’t leave your coworkers behind. Use the Internet to stay in touch with former colleagues and to keep abreast of who’s doing what in your field. You can do it at night when the kids are in bed or during some other chink of time in your day, but make it a habit and stick to it. Second, when you leave your profession, don’t leave your talent behind. Here, again, the Internet can help. Take an online course in your field and visit the Web-site of your professional association to stay on top of the latest news and developments. This preparation between the ramps will speed up your return when you decide to go back to your career and, in all likelihood, make that return much more satisfying.

    Money Magazine released a startling set of statistics that deserve our attention as the summer vacation season begins. According to the magazine, the average American earns 14 days of vacation, but takes only 11. Germans use 25 of their 26 days off, the British use 21 of their 24 vacation days and the French … well, the French use all but 3 of the 36 days they are provided. In addition, according to an AP-Ipsos poll released last week, even when Americans go on holiday, they’re never far from the office. Two-out-ten work while on vacation, two out-of-ten check messages and actually call in to the office, and four-out-of-ten check their e-mail every day. This behavior doesn’t strengthen our position at work; it actually undermines it. Dissing a vacation interferes with the rest and recuperation we all need from today’s hectic workplace, and that, in turn, puts our physical health and our subsequent performance on-the-job at risk. Americans now spend over $1 billion a year on pain relievers, and at least some of that distress is caused by our inability to take a break. The culprit, of course is often our boss who can’t seem to get by if we’re not there to hold their hand. Almost as frequently, however, we’re the ones who are at fault. We’re afraid to admit that the office will survive without us or worse, we’ve lost the skill of relaxation. As you make your summer plans, therefore, prepare your coworkers and boss for your total and complete absence during your vacation and practice the strange but seductive sensation of turning off your cell phone, Blackberry and laptop. The peace and quiet will do you good.

    Workforce Magazine released the results of its survey of employers’ relocations plans for 2007. It found that nine-out-of-ten companies plan to move as many workers this year as they did last. In 2006, the top destination overall was the Midwest, but for companies with more than 5,000 employees, it was the Northeast. Why should you care? Because at least some of the workers currently employed by those “companies in transition” will decide to stay behind in the old location, and that will generate employment opportunities in the locales to which the companies are moving. So, keep an eye out for incoming employers in your area. Check with your local newspaper, the mayor’s office and the Chamber of Commerce. Once you’ve got a list of prospects, don’t wait for them to arrive. Get in touch with their HR Departments and present your qualifications before their moving vans arrive. Some won’t be able to think ahead and will simply put your resume on file; others, however, will be delighted to be able to fill an opening without having to go through a recruiting process in a new and unfamiliar location.

    WEDDLE’s announced the availability of its special primer on the secrets of conducting a successful job search using the Internet. There are literally hundreds of techniques for finding a new or better job online, but many are inefficient and ineffective. How can you make sure you use the best of the Web?

  • First, you have to figure out which techniques work best.
  • And second, you have to know how to put them to work for you.
  • WEDDLE’s WIZNotes: Finding a Job on the Web provides exactly that information and helps you chart a course to success on the Internet! It’s a complete online job search campaign in a book. It covers everything you need–from using job agents and uncovering interview questions in advance to finding new and former contacts through online networking–to put the Internet to work for you. The book is short and to the point. It’s written for busy people who don’t have time to waste, but want to know–and use–the secrets to success in an online job search. To learn more and order WIZNotes: Finding a Job on the Web, please click on the appropriate link to your left or call 317.916.9424. Order today!

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Spotlite & from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories

    There are 40,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to a successful job search online, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the sites that will work best for you. WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide identifies 350 of the top sites worldwide and provides the information you need to determine which job boards will connect you with the openings that might just be your dream job. For example:



    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes–All

    Distribution of jobs: India, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Vietnam

    Number of jobs: 100,00

    Salary levels of jobs: Not Reported

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: Indefinitely

    Restrictions on who can post: None

    Other services for job seekers: Discussion forum for e-networking, Assessment instruments, Career information, Links to other sites with job search/career resources

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes