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Here’s Your Life, Now What Are You Going to Do With It?

April 10, 2009


Is a gift really a gift if you don’t share it with someone? And what do I have to share?

This question has been bouncing around in my head for a while. It all started a few weeks ago. As most of you know, I’m currently job searching. And the first rule of job searching is that you must network. Oh networking. It’s a buzz word that makes me cringe sometimes, but I know it really is important. My days consist of slowly and steadily composing a symphony of keyboard taps and cell phone rings and inbox beeps, with the ticking of the clock acting as the metronome to keep me on track, and make me a little panicky.

After all my efforts, I’m always so surprised at how willing people are to help me.  Seriously, I’m never not surprised when someone offers to help by recommending me to their colleagues for interviews or putting in a good word for me with their supervisors. I love that people are so willing to share their contacts. I’m very thankful to everyone who has been so generous and helpful thus far. Perhaps, for some people, it’s pointless to have contacts (more precious than gold) unless you can share them with people.

Another example — last night, I was in down in the Subway, where many of the great New York moments happen. There was a little old man down there too. A violinist. He was actually a very talented musician. Rare.  I was happy to have some nice, classical music to listen to. When you’re waiting for the late-night Q-train to Brooklyn, you might be waiting a long time. But after a song or two, he decided that playing wasn’t enough– he wanted to teach instead. So he started offering his violin to people, ‘just to try, just to try.’  A couple of people, clearly caught of guard, obliged him, and he delighted in showing them how to hold their left wrist straight and gently hold the bow in their right fingers. When they pulled the bow across a couple of strings for the first time, he clapped his hands and praised their efforts, as if they’d been practicing for weeks.

I couldn’t help but smile, after a while, at his earnestness. Some of you may read this and assume he was just a little crazy. But I think  he has it all figured out. After all, what’s a gift, unless you can share it? But what do I have to share?

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