Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pepper Potts, Mark (54), and a world map of peace

Iron Man [Pepper greets Tony when he comes home from Afghanistan]
Tony Stark: Hmmm. Your eyes are red. Tears for your long lost boss?
Pepper Potts: Tears of joy. I hate job hunting.
Tony Stark: Yeah, well, vacation's over.

Job hunting is such fun. There's always a mixture of anticipation (the whole future is awash with possibility) and dread (loss of familiarity and security).

But, the prospects are looking decidedly better this week, so I'm feeling in a fairly 'up' mood that things are starting to move. I had good talks with several senior people who could give sound advice. Several short-term possibilities emerged with my current company, along with some solid interest from groups outside and some intriguing calls from the recruiters. It looks like I can stay in Europe through spring (I wouldn't want to miss another winter in the Netherlands), bridging me out across some important deadlines.

More details later, but I'm headed back to the US for interviews next week.

Oh, and if you haven't seen it, the Iron Man movie is great! I really enjoy Robert Downy Jr. in almost anything, but he shines here.

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image I was reading the Daily Independent "Traveller" section on Saturday, an article about three friends who went on a hike together in the Pays Basque, when I came across this passage:

On his world tour, Mark, 54, has lived with bushmen and swum with sharks. He is 6ft 6in tall, absurdly handsome, and a former ER doctor from Maryland (Indiana Jones meets Dr Kildare). He now – successfully – invests in and nurtures small companies with promising medical ideas. After six years in France (apart from the world tour), he is now the most urbanely European of Americans, and the most directly American of Europeans.

This is the sort of role model that throws me into a existential funk. Are there really people like this? How on earth did they become who they are? Did they come by success easily? And where along life's journey did they take the turns that I missed?

Actually, to answer the first question, I have known physicians who branched out as their careers matured. One, in particular, was a technically inclined clinical entrepreneur who took vacations searching for downed WW II planes in Borneo and worked with NASA testing heart monitors in the Arctic. He was always generous with time and advice: wonderful to spend time with, but impossible to emulate.

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And, finally, this statistical map from Intelligent Life. The world's peaceful areas are in the light blue, while you can still be tagged throughout the darker blue areas. The fine print reveals that this is the world map of Blackberry coverage: true vacation peace lies far from the reach of the networks...

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2 comments:

Textual Healer said...

Pepper Potts - an icon that we don't know about in Europe? (but one we are clearly missing out on). What a great name.
Good luck with job hunting - unfortunatley we can't all be renaissance men. I know people who run fams are Directors of NGOs and still find time to write books don't know how they do it.

Dave Hampton said...

They must not take time off on weekends...
There was an apocryphal story making the rounds in Seattle a few years ago about a superstar Microsoft programmer who seemed incredibly productive. Nobody could figure out how to keep up. It turned out that he was outsourcing most of his work to a programming group in India: sending his work assignment over in the evening and picking it up in the morning before going to work. The more work he took on, the more money he was making.