Patchwork History, Part 1.


Seattle skyline from the westbound Bainbridge Ferry.
Seattle skyline from the westbound Bainbridge Ferry.


Seattle was my home from June of 2000 until February of 2006. The photograph shows the city skyline from one of the ferries that ply Puget Sound. It was a gorgeous late-summer day that began foggy and turned into pure art.


I moved to the Pacific North-West to settle after winning my right to live in the US. My Permanent Resident Alien status came about as a kind of serendipity – I won it in a lottery. Yes, believe it or not, the US State Department runs a yearly lottery for folks who want to immigrate, but can’t find a sponsor, an employer or a spouse to vouch for them. How random is that?


When all the hoo-ha about quitting my job and giving all my stuff away was over, I found myself at San Francisco airport with a couple of bags, the clothes on my back, and a question in my head: What the hell was I going to do now?


First thing, move to Seattle – which I knew and loved – and figure it out from there. Which is what I did.


Eggs Turn Into Omelets


One has to break a few eggs to make an omelet.
One has to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

My new career, the one I plan to document here, is to be a salesman.


Never before have I been in sales; never sold anything, never sold to anyone, never been in a position where I needed to convince someone to give me money in exchange for something.


That last point isn’t quite true, because a job is selling one’s labor for money. But the sale only needs to be made once, at the job interview. Sales is about attending that job interview over and over, convincing people of your worth each time. I’m beginning to understand why really good sales people are rare – it’s that endless energy you need to keep fronting up and making the argument for their money.


There are a few reasons, but I can see myself doing that now. The energy is no problem, I have that. I also have a product that I can sell without reservation. Now it’s about finding people to whom I can present my sales pitch. In essence, that’s my vocation from now on; finding people, and pitching.


Why the broken egg picture? It’s a metaphor, but a slightly obscure one. What I plan to do is to take the raw ingredients of a career and turn them into something tasty, like an omelet. The parts – energy, enthusiasm, a little insight and some chutzpah – is made greater by carefully tending them. Omelets are better than eggs and milk.

Finding a New Groove

Sarasota Bay Marina. Tuna Tower.
Sarasota Bay Marina. Tuna Tower.

Today in Sarasota was a pretty Sunday. Spring – in February! – feels like it’s right here.


Sunday morning’s ritual is for me to pick up my friend, another Tim, and find ourselves a good place for coffee. You would be surprised how few choices there are in a town of this size. We’ve made valiant efforts at discovering that splendid combination of good coffee, outdoor seating and decent people-watching. Many places don’t open until nine o’clock on Sunday; some are havens for bums; some have unpleasant atmospheres and something called Starbucks is just all-around awful.


But we persisted, and have found three places that have all the right attributes in varying degrees. Today was a day for sitting by the bay at O’Leary’s: the warm breeze from the south, lack of people and quiet made it a sweet morning.


And it was sweet for a more subtle reason, a more personal reason. Today I saw the first glimpse of how I might be able to follow the path I’ve (tentatively) chosen to walk up. I noted in myself the motivation to meet the people I want to meet, the people who might become my customers. And in a further good sign, my recruiting of Tim into my plan might be showing a small result, in that he talked to his housekeeper about getting together.


Small, yes. But for now, that’s just fine.