MONDAY MOVIES: “Birdman”

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Sometimes work drives you crazy. In this case, literally.

I had the good fortune to see “Birdman” in limited release, where it soared this past weekend. I’ve been looking forward to it for awhile, and it didn’t disappoint.

At its core, “Birdman” is about putting your heart into your work and finding out what happens when you do. The main characters in the movie, for better or worse, live and breathe through the stages of Broadway. They are driven by forces that compel everyone: Insecurity, attention, and pride. And like the rest of us, they are imperfect and strive to be better.

It reminded me a little of Being John Malkovich and The Wrestler. These are movies that focus on what compels people to do what they do for a living and the madness that consumes them. There’s nothing here that you haven’t seen before, but it’s repackaged in an exhilarating way, and I recommend that you see it if you can.

WATCH “BIRDMAN” TRAILER

I don’t want to give much else away, but I think “Birdman” has a strong chance of being nominated for several Oscars, including Michael Keaton for Best Actor. The film is the perfect blend of reality and fantasy, and it’s a good reminder to yearn for an extraordinary life and to love the people who help you along the way.

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Being A Monk in the World

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(Courtesy: Amazon.com)

(Courtesy: Amazon.com)

I rarely pick up and read a book from cover to cover. I lose interest, I get sleepy when I read for more than five minutes… it just never works out. So it only makes sense that when I begin and finish a book, I feel like sharing it with everyone!

Yesterday I finished A Monk in the World: Cultivating a Spiritual Life by Wayne Teasdale. I was drawn to the book after NBA legend Phil Jackson recommended it as a book every spiritual person should read:

“To tap into the sacred in work as well as in life, it’s essential to create order out of chaos…And that takes discipline, a healthy balance between work and play, and nourishment of mind, body, and spirit within the context of community.”

As you know, Justin’s Jobs is about finding meaningful work that makes you happy and feeds your soul. In looking for wisdom about this mission, A Monk in the World proved to be a great resource.

“Work is holy, sacred, and uplifting when it springs from who we are, when it bears a relationship to our unfolding journey.” — Wayne Teasdale

The book touches on a lot of different subjects, but I was most drawn to his experience as a Catholic monk and his practice of bringing compassion and happiness to the world, no matter where you are.

We all have hectic lives… work, children, meetings, commitments. It’s tough to make time for ourselves, let alone relax and rest. Even when things are going well, we still need to take time to reflect and renew our mission to helping others and helping ourselves.

If you read A Monk in the World, then please share your thoughts about it… I’d like to know what you think!

(h/t Oprah.com)

3 Day Work Week? It Comes With Caveats

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How does a 3 day work week sound? That could be the case if a Mexican billionaire has his way, according to a recent CNN Money article.

Carlos Slim — worth some $83 billion — recently said that workers should have more time when they’re young to enjoy life rather than sitting in a cubicle all week long:

You should have more time for you during all of your life — not when you’re 65 and retired,” Slim told CNNMoney’s Christine Romans

 

However, the proposal comes with strings attached: 11-hour workdays and pushing the retirement age to 75.

But is that so bad? Many employees are already work long hours, definitely more than three days a week, so an 11-hour workday isn’t necessarily that daunting (especially if it’s for only three days each week).

As far as pushing ahead the retirement age, there’s mounting evidence that many people currently in the workforce won’t be retiring anytime soon, due to the Great Recession and other economic factors. If people — including yours truly — are planning to work through their “golden years”, then why not enjoy four days off each week? I think it could help employees avoid burnout — and, as Bell notes in the CNN Money article, you’re wiser as you get older, making you a valuable asset to an employer:

“It’s a society of knowledge and experience. You have better experience and knowledge when you are 60, 65 and 70,” Slim said.

It’s a radical idea, but it could help employees and employees find a greater level of happiness – and isn’t that what it’s all about?

(h/t CNN Money)

TUESDAY TUNES: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, The Rolling Stones

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First things first: Hello to all those who have visited Justin’s Jobs already today from across the world! I hope the following words are proper greetings, but please let me know if I lost something in translation:

Hello! (USA) | ¡Hola! (Brazil) | Kumusta! (Phillippines) | Ciao! (Italy)

You may already know today’s Tuesday Tune: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones. It’s one of the most famous songs in rock & roll, and it’s the final song on one of the greatest albums ever created, Let It Bleed. All of the lyrics are great, but it’s the chorus that really sells it:

You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well you just might find
You get what you need

Perhaps it’s fate, perhaps it’s the virtue of patience, perhaps it’s just timing — but I’ve found that some things just work out the way they’re supposed to if you believe that it’s what you need, not what you want. We all want the best for us and for others, but sometimes what we want and need are two different things. It’s not always easy to know the difference, and sometimes we don’t like the result — but it may just be the best thing for us.

 

“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (Lyrics courtesy AZ Lyrics)

I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she would meet her connection
At her feet was a footloose man
No, you can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need
I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she was gonna meet her connection
At her feet was a footloose man
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need
And I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, “We’re gonna vent our frustration
If we don’t we’re gonna blow a 50-amp fuse”
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need
I went down to the Chelsea drugstore
To get your prescription filled
I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy
And man, did he look pretty ill
We decided that we would have a soda
My favorite flavor, cherry red
I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy
Yeah, and he said one word to me, and that was “dead”
I said to him
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need
You get what you need–yeah, oh baby
I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need

MONDAY MOVIES: “St. Vincent”

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"St. Vincent" stars Bill Murray and Jaeden Lieberher (Courtesy: http://stvincentfilm.com/)

“St. Vincent” stars Bill Murray and Jaeden Lieberher (Courtesy: http://stvincentfilm.com/)

I had a great opportunity this past Saturday to see the movie “St. Vincent” on opening weekend. My wife and a friend and I saw it at the iconic Cinerama Dome on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Afterward, actress Melissa McCarthy and director Theodore Melfi held a Q&A session for the audience, moderated by McCarthy’s husband and actor Ben Falcone. As a cinephile, it was a great chance to watch an excellent movie and hear from the folks to made it happen.

As for the movie itself, you should see it if you have the chance. It’s all about finding the goodness in others, even when it’s hard to see. It’s about not judging a book by its cover. It’s about not giving up on people, even when they don’t (or can’t) help themselves. It’s about being open to new experiences and lessons. And most notably for me, it’s about realizing that we can’t choose our friends — the forces of the universe choose them for us; good friends accept our faults and we accept theirs, and we’re always there for each other.

(And on a side note: I predict Bill Murray will get an Oscar nod for Best Actor)

"St. Vincent" director Theodore Melfi , star Melissa McCarthy, and her husband Ben Falcone discuss the film at the Arclight Hollywood Cinerama Dome on Oct. 12, 2014.

“St. Vincent” director Theodore Melfi , star Melissa McCarthy, and her husband Ben Falcone discuss the film at the Arclight Hollywood Cinerama Dome on Oct. 12, 2014.

Wanna Quit Your Job? Pack A Parachute

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Hello again! Sorry that I haven’t written anything in a while… it’s been a busy several weeks. I’ll fill you in later on all the developments, but in the meantime, it’s good to be back.

I just noticed an article on Salon written by a man (David Sobel) who quit a job that he hated, only to transition to a hopeless wasteland where his ambition could find no home. The headline that caught my attention read: “I never should have followed my dreams”.

We’ve all heard the stories about people quitting their jobs in a blaze of glory, only to find success beyond their wildest imagination waiting around the corner. But I suspect that for most people, including Sobel, the thrill of quitting with zeal isn’t nearly as enjoyable or glamorous as imagined, and it could burn a bridge that may lead to another job down the road.

I don’t have any judgments about how or why Sobel quit… He hated his job and he wanted out, so he left. But it feels like there’s a giant canyon between quitting an unwanted job and ‘never should have followed my dreams’. So I share this as a teachable moment: Don’t quit without a parachute.

I use “parachute” in the context of Richard Bolles’ popular job-hunting book What Color Is Your Parachute? The book is all about finding your passion and then finding or creating a job that fits your desires. It’s an inspiring book because it forces you to figure out what you really want to do and then creatively make that your career. Without this research and planning, you may enter a hostile workforce or find yourself in another job that you don’t like.

There’s no reason why you can’t follow your dreams — in fact, you should! Just remember that you’re not alone in wanting to be more and do more, but if you’re hoping to make a career out of your passion, you’ll have to do a lot more than just quitting your job.

(h/t Salon)