Notes For Creators

creative soul surfing

How to start the flow of good: Help Given

We’re all familiar with Help Wanted, posted when a person or organization desires to hire someone.

Here I’ll be suggesting the Great Path to a career, or to anything you want:

Help Given.

It’s the secret to an abundantly good life.

Years ago I knew a prodigiously talented man who couldn’t keep a job for more than a year, often only a matter of months. His MO was this: he’d be hired in some capacity and within a short time he’d figure out ways to improve what he was doing. It would save the company money or time (same thing) or effort (same thing again) or improve their service (not the same thing).

He would immediately begin agitating for more money, something befitting the contribution he’d made. He was smart and could do the math, so he would agitate for a substantial increase in wages but less than what he felt his contribution had been to the company.

This seems fair, no? 

Most organizations — and most people — are incremental. To jump a person up substantially all at once is not within our human nature. It’s why the ambitious of yore always had to take the throne, conquer the prinicipality — or today, strike out on their own.

We want to slide you up the scale. We ask that you prove yourself on a longer-term basis.

To be slid up the scale was an insult to this most personable man.

This is how he reacted to insult. He became insulting. He ceased not only his contributions, but also sought to work at the level at which he felt he was being paid. This meant he decreased his work effort. He’d argue he wasn’t being paid for such and such. Instead of a lubricant, he became the grit in the machinery.

It’s surprising it took up to a year sometimes for him to be fired.

Now consider this: Help Given

The most successful will always tell you to give more than you are paid for, to give all. This is true, absolutely true. I suggest going beyond this. If you are seeking employment — or a different kind of employment — go out and Give Help, for free!

It is a universal principle that all that you give wholeheartedly will be returned to you many fold.

It very well may come back to you through sources that notice your giving nature — or it may not! It doesn’t matter, Give Help and you’ll be able to bypass Help Wanted.

One example from my own little life

When I was a lowly proofreader in my early days in Manhattan, I was temping at a job at Solomon Brothers. Inevitably there would be downtime, during which the other proofreaders would take out their books and read.

I started roaming over to the fun graphics department next door. This was pre-computer age (can you imagine!), and everything they did looked like advanced kindergarten to me. They got to cut and paste, assemble and create.

There wasn’t a niftier place in the universe at the time. These people were creators! There was one slim, dressed-in-black guy who slung around jazz-era lingo like it had just burst on the scene: Did you dig what that cat was sayin’?

Yes there was a cutie there — who eventually married someone from the Howard Stern show — but, here’s the important thing, I jumped right in. I offered to help. This cool group of creatives let me hang out and do the stuff they considered boring.

It wasn’t too many months before I was hired right into that department. And irony of ironies, I started moving up the management chain from there as computerization came in.  Using the same principle — Give Help — I leapt in, learning software, creating templates, training others, taking on projects . . . . 

Interns do this. We should all do this, at every stage of life. When you Give Help you start the divine flow — it just so happens it’s a current that always comes back and takes you where you want to go.