Leap of faith
BOSTON — Der Sprung macht die Erfahrung nicht der Schritt.
Like you, my knees go all gooey every time I read that phrase.
I confess that it was not until about a month ago, while browsing my treasured copy of "Great German Playwrights: Volume 311," that I came across this phrase. But, as it has for so many, it instantly became a beacon in charting a path to betterment.
Now, I did recently meet a fellow - cryogenically suspended since the 1960s (groovy baby, yeah!), who was unfamiliar with the work of Heiner Mller, the German playwright. So, Austin, if you're reading, it means, roughly: "A leap, not a step, is what makes the expression possible."
For me, the next step is a leap, and it's a big one.
After almost 30 years as a journalist and 15 years covering business, I'm taking a leap to the real thing.
My wife, Andrea started a business two years ago that imports and sells antique Chinese furniture and artifacts. We had lived in Hong Kong and wanted to maintain our connection there as well as start a business. She runs the company, and I've been offered a full-time position.
The perks seem obvious - long hours, no steady paycheck, no paid vacation, no benefits, lots of heavy lifting, and the occasional smooch with the boss (Oh, behave!).
Who could refuse?
There will be challenges of course - such as dual business cards that say "The Smart One" next to her name.
And several weeks ago, during lunch at a restaurant, I suggested that we "block out some time this weekend to formalize our business relationship and division of responsibilities."
She responded: "We don't need to. I'll just tell you what to do, and you'll do it."
I tell you, we had a long laugh about that one, and then she told me to bring the car around to the front door.
But entrepreneurship is a buzz. It demands constant creativity, and it forces you to define your vision, then believe in it 24/7. No red tape (not that this newsroom suffers from bureaucratic inertia), just a direct line between what you think and what you do and what happens as a result.
And my wife and I enjoy working together, and we are hooked on China.
The Monitor's been a great place to work, and I've been here, off and on, almost 15 years. So it's difficult not to imagine coming back.
But I leave you in good hands.
My successor at Work & Money, Clay Collins, has terrific new ideas for the section.
In the meantime, my wife and I accept cash, checks, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.