Friday, February 11

The World According to Bill

The big positive that's come from being unemployed has been meeting a lot of people outside my formerly-insular life in high tech. Since I've been targeting a completely different field for my Next Twenty Years, my eyes have been opened to a whole world of people I never knew existed!

As an example (until January 27th) I'd never been inside a Cici's Pizza restaurant. I went there with a group of fellow job seekers, during the week when I attended a (moderately intense) Job Search Seminar led by the world-renowned (well, he should be) Bill Vidovic.
I found out about the TWC Seminar by attending a session at JFS, which I found out about during one of the Career Connections Networking Group's meetings, which I heard about via the official outplacement. Yeah, I know .. not exactly intuitive.
Cici's is a pizza buffet and their claim to fame is that they are Cheap (with a capital C). How cheap? All the pizza you can eat for $3.99 (plus tax). I didn't mind their spicy vegetarian pizza or their spinach pizza, but decided to pass on the others. Their side salad was truly uninspiring (compared to Fresh Choice or even Souper Salad), but at least it had some crunchy mini-carrots! I've been told by several people (including Judy-Bob) that Cici's is a mecca for soccer moms across Texas. Hmm .. will have to check them out after a game sometime!

.. anyway, back to The Seminar: Bill's been leading that Job Search Seminar every other week for many years. He's heard it all and seen it all, and his insights were more direct and useful than several months of outplacement. Not to say that some people got something from the outplacement, but (personally) I do better when the subject matter is concentrated, versus doled out over a multi-month schedule. The crowning achievement of the seminar was a tape of myself being interviewed! I'll convert that to DVD and make it available for $19.95 Real Soon Now.

The Job Search Seminar was comprised of 18 people, from all walks of life (everything from a warehouseman to a PCB designer to an attorney). One of the participants is training for a marathon in June and is raising money for the American Stroke Association (sadly, they're not listed on the Charity Watch website, so I'm not sure how well they're managed). Regardless, here's some data points:
• Every 45 seconds, someone in America has a stroke;
• In 3.1 minutes, someone will die of a stroke;
• About 4.7 million stroke survivors are alive today;
• In 1996, females accounted for 61.4% of stroke deaths;
• Per the NHLBI, 28% of annual stroke victims are under age 65.

Monday update: the folks at Charity Watch (aka the American Institute of Philanthropy) returned my email, and said: "The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. AIP rates AHA a B-".
Alas, it's now time to take Bill's advice and send a hand-written thank-you note. I wonder if he'll be surprised?

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