Sounding Off: Using perspective to refresh hope

Editor's note: This is the second of two parts.

On Sundays, I usually attend services at Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa. On a recent Sunday, I needed a musical spiritual uplifting.

I drove 30 minutes to Saddleback Church in Lake Forest to visit the Praise Tent for the desired musical spiritual renewal. The Praise Tent is the only place I know in Orange County where you can find a foot-stomping, hand-clapping and voice-raising, Holy Spirit-uplifting gospel music experience.

That Sunday, Pastor Rick Warren delivered a message about the "Decade of Destiny." The message outlined nine key activities for a successful plan to "getting to where you want to be":

• Determine your present position or condition;

• Describe what you want and don't want;

• Find a promise from God;

• Ask for God's help;

• Identify the barriers that interfere with reaching the desired goals;

• Create a step-by-step plan;

• Be patient and persistent;

• Enlist a team for support; and

• Pay the price.

For me, the message was a call to action to identify, plan, collaborate, validate and execute. It was time to get out of the box and start interacting with people face to face. It's tempting to stay in the box and do the journey alone, but I was moved and led to get out there. I joined my church writing team, attended a Project Management Institute - Orange County advanced topics seminar, became a member of its toast masters club, and volunteered for the PMI OC dinner events. I was committed to get it going!

The ninth step in "getting to where you want to be" calls for sacrifice and to "pay the price." I now realize that the high-end salaries with the 60- to 70-hour weeks are gone, and accepting the reality of the current economic challenges has given me peace of mind. Separating from my family to accept a job in another location of the country would create instability and anxiety. My wife and I discussed the possibility of commuting to chase the money, but leaving my family does not appeal to my better judgment. Despite messages from society that financial gain supersedes family, I am committed to family cohesion and stability. The price to pay is delayed gratification and the value received is an intact family.

I know it's an oxymoron in this land of instant gratification, but doing something to set you apart from the status quo is worth the sacrifice. Our country is in transition and it's the sign of the times for people in transition to find the genius within and build new businesses after working in corporate America. The United States is the place where the impossible can be realized through imagination, prayer, hard work and partnering with others. Made in the U.S. is a good thing, and the revival of the entrepreneurship, innovation and collaboration should be celebrated.

"Cognitive surplus" is the free time of the world's educated citizens producing the ability to participate, create and share. There is cognitive surplus in the in-transition pool — lots of available skilled resources to help businesses and communities.

A recent "60 Minutes" segment reported that nearly 20% of the unemployed in America have college degrees. It's hard to imagine that companies cannot leverage this wealth of cognitive surplus to improve the bottom line and lessen the workload of current full-time employees. There are a lot of smart people sitting on the bench, and that cannot be productive for this country.

The call for agility is paramount in the current economic condition, where the number of people in transition is extremely high for the U.S. "60 Minutes" also reported that, "If you add all of that together, the unemployed and the underemployed, it's not 9.5%, it's 17%; and in California it's 22%."

A different attitude and approach is required to add value to our communities, families and future job assignments. My next job may be as a barista at the local coffee joint, a bookstore librarian or attendant, or a server at a restaurant, and I will have an attitude of gratitude.

"Welcome, how may I serve you?"

Selling the invisible is challenging, but we are up to the challenge. Potential employers cannot see what you are made of based on the job descriptions listed in your resume. My vantage point is to rely on the Psalms or inspirational quotes for patience and persistence.

Bob Marley, my all-time childhood favorite, said, "When one door is closed, don't you know, another is open?"

Dale Carnegie said, "When fate hands you lemons, make lemonade."

And I would add have a bake sale. Stay focused, seek faith, find strength in numbers, and let us be transformed as we emerge from the status of "in-transition" to pioneers of the future.

DAVE CORNELIUS lives in Costa Mesa. He has been unemployed since May 2009, when he was laid off as a senior project manager in Citibank's information technology division.

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