Monday, November 24, 2008

Follow Every Lead

I don’t know who taught me this axiom – follow every lead – but I am all over it these days.

I have to be. I started a new business this summer. I do wonder, of course, about my potential for success. While I refuse to believe that current conditions will gage my success, news agencies and economic gurus report with urgency that the U.S. is heading toward another great depression, or worse.

Just a few months ago I was not thinking about engaging in an entrepreneurial undertaking. I had a job; I’ve always had a job. And although I did not like my last “regular” job - it zapped my spirit – I have always had the next thing to go to. So I was not prepared for the layoff and quite honestly I thought that I would be the one to give two weeks’ notice, well before the Dean handed me the letter that said my position would be eliminated.

I am a trained historian with a PhD in the history of immigration, gender studies, and Asian American history. In graduate school I adapted, utilized, and otherwise made up techniques to keep my dissertation organized. Unbeknownst to me at the time, these new-found skills prepared me in part for what I am beginning to think will be my new career as a professional organizer.

In the 1990s I was a doctoral student gathering data on the history and the lives of Japanese women who married American GIs in the post WW2 occupation of Japan. My research included interviewing dozens of people, and pouring over legal, congressional, and National Archive records, biographies, and histories of Japan and the United States. The data moved from books, to index cards, to boxes. As it turned out – there were lots of boxes, one for each chapter. I became the uber-organized doctoral student. Little did I know these survival skills would give me some of the bonafides I might need to prove that I can organize the office of a campus professor like nobody’s business.

In many ways, a career as a Professional Organizer isn't so far off. I have been organizing all of my life. It is inborn, innate. It is what I do. I see a mess, I clean it up. If a friend complains her chaotic a garage, I hope her next breath is to invite me to help her make it work for her! Reorganizing jam-packed kitchen drawers and cupboards is just great fun! My family and friends are uncluttered beneficiaries of my desire for order.

So I am now the proud owner of my new business. I call it A Clear Path: Professional Organizing for Home, Office, Life. And everyone thinks it is a good name. To build this business, I follow every lead. Get a DBA? Done. City business license? Done. Join a professional organization? Wait, a professional organization for people who clean clutter? Done. Website, business cards, marketing tchotchkies , social networking… done, done, done. And now a blog.

I believe that I can be as successful as I want. I really, really believe this.

Next time… Marketing the business, or finding a real job

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