My neighbor is installing solar panels on his house and in my newly minted role as a jobless former manager; I was home to gasp the other day, while observing a man with no safety harness climb the steep rise of his roof.
We live on a stone-lined country road that serves as a cut through between two towns. Most homes are set back in the woods, in retreat type settings, although our house and this neighbor’s are nearer to the street. While we are in close proximity to each other, our place was built in such a way that there is little of his residence that we can see from inside of ours. But when I turn from the computer, which is situated in a wall cupboard in our family room (think a little bit like Harry Potter under the stairs), I am afforded a view of things that I never used to see during the week. This includes the roof of this neighbor’s “tower” as we call it, which is an addition he added several years back. Place the word “tower” next to “no safety harness” and you can understand why I was nervous. Eventually though, scaffolding went up and things looked a little more secure over there. Consequently, I turned back to the subject at hand, which was the outplacement homework assignment, relegated to the back of my mind by the warmth of our false spring day last week. The more I tried to concentrate though, the more I found myself peering over my shoulder to view the progress of the panels.
What a clever idea in these miserable economic times—to use an existing resource to create inexpensive, clean power. I wondered if our own house would be a candidate for solar panels, suspecting that his south facing roof is a better match then our west side location. Yes, I needed to focus on my inventory of talents, but a surely a quick Google search wouldn’t hurt. Needless to say, it confirmed that the direction of our roof and the added disadvantage of the giant pines surrounding our lot are insurmountable obstacles to any solar heat in our future. Once again, I endeavored to pull myself away from the progress next door and to ponder my task.
Ah yes, the list. The specific assignment was to write my accomplishments in a “forward thinking” manner--highlighting successes I want to exploit in the future, and excluding activities that I don’t want to pursue. So when I could distract myself from the action on the roof, I read old performance reviews, culling evidence of my abilities. Trust me, after 23 years, there is plenty of which to be proud. However, most of it is related to a career that I’m not convinced I want to pursue anymore. Of course there are transferable skills. But as a seasoned recruiter I am realistic enough to face the fact that typically it’s the resume with the most applicable background that generates the interview. With this in mind, I spent a lot of time that afternoon, tapping my pencil, shifting in my chair, drinking tea, and gazing at the power grid being installed next door. By sunset, it looked like half the frame was laid. With a sigh, I put down my partial list, now bordered in blue inked curlicues (Note to self: transferable skills do not include artistic talent.) and took one last look at the roof next door.
Perhaps I’m intrigued with my neighbor’s project because previously, aside from the usual moaning at long rainy spells, I have taken sunshine for granted. Yet my neighbor has decided to transform this daily warmth into electricity. His panels will alter the sun beyond its straightforward benefit and into a useful commodity.
It dawned on me that it is not unlike what I am trying to do—to harness my existing talents and channel them imaginatively. If I figure this out, I will better utilize my abilities, and with any luck develop them to insure a more rewarding outcome. In some way, I too am in the process of creating an alternative energy resource.
In the words of the late George Harrison: “Here comes the sun.”