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July 11th, 2012

[im-pur-muh-nuhnt] — n Synonyms: fleeting, temporary, ephemeral, evanescent (dictionary.com)

Throughout my life, I’ve been reminded, in gentle and harsh ways, of the impermanence of space and time as we pass through it in our life journeys – possessions, friends, family, school, jobs, homes, and even scientific knowledge. [I still fondly regard Pluto as a planet of our solar system. There are nine planets. Even the little metal plates on the lawn at Griffith Park agree with me.]

I could relay thousands of bytes worth of my own stories and experience with impermanence but many of my friends already know about them. Instead, I’ll provide two examples of embracing change (welcoming impermanence) that I’ve adopted this past year.

First, in living spaces. I have surprised even myself in how quickly I have adapted to new living arrangements every few months. I’ve maintained a nomadic lifestyle this past year, at first while backpacking across Eurasia and then when I was back in the U.S. for work. I’ve moved from the Culver City area to Long Beach to Pasadena, traveling to Phoenix, AZ every month for work. I’ve had a couch or floor to sleep on through the graciousness of friends which has allowed me to save money to build my motor home – yet another impermanent living space. Once the motor home, I’m looking forward to having the flexibility of sleeping anywhere I can park and watch the stars (through the escape hatch being built above the bed area) and waking up to see the sunrise from different views in L.A. Anyone know of a good place to park for the night with an uninhibited view of the downtown L.A. skyline?

Second, in work. Why have I not been willing to settle down into an apartment or home in L.A.? Mostly because I haven’t found the place where I’d want to work. In the past, I found my living space first and then looked for work that would allow me to commute from there. My outlook on work this past year has changed such that I’ve become a bit of a “job snob”, only willing to accept work at small or medium-sized companies that more directly build things that benefit the environment or society, like a socially responsible organization. I’m not willing to sacrifice my values simply to support a lifestyle that centers around creating a stockpile of personal possessions that are of little use to other people. I’m willing to stay in an impermanent living environment in order to keep my work options flexible. I don’t feel like I’m alone in this thinking and the willingness to move for the right job. Actually, a good friend of mine is actually banking his career on the belief that there are people out there looking for the perfect job and who just need a way to find it. His company is currently matching technical job-seekers so, unfortunately, I still have to do my own searching for the right socially-responsible company that could use a project manager in non-software companies. Although I’m encouraged that more companies are understanding the desire of employees to “do good”, it is still very hard to find a company that sells itself on these merits. I’ve found that the only way I can find out how much a company supports volunteering, or how efficient a non-profit is in being good, is by getting into that job interview and asking the persons who work there direct questions like, “Do you have Green IT initiatives and what are they? If the product you are creating is not directly helping the environment, how are you replacing the resources that you are using?” I have not always received candid or even understanding responses to questions like these at a job interview. Do you know of a company that sells itself based on its ability to give to society or the environment well?

  1. Jeremy Leader
    July 11th, 2012 at 23:08 | #1

    One larger company that I’ve heard emphasizes community and environmental involvement is REI; they’re a co-op, owned by their membership, and they’ve also been highly rated on some of those “good places to work” surveys. http://www.rei.com/stewardship.html

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