Create Your Own Job Security Blog

Father of The Grooms: A Collaborative Book, Screenplay and Movie Project


F collegiata Catania


You can receive chapters of Father of the Grooms as it is written and a chance to collaborate in the four-year project of writing the screenplay and producing the movie. This is an opportunity for you to help make the next Godfather-type movie at all levels of participation. I will need help in writing an authentic book, and you can be a part of it by supplying your experiences, stories, and knowledge about the places and events that I describe.

The novel describes how a Louisiana father whose sons have yet to have grandchildren makes them agree to go to Sicily where they will meet their new brides. They will be hosted by their Mafia relatives and married off to two beautiful, and for their own reasons, willing ladies. The week before they leave, two major members of the Mafia family in Sicily are arrested. They are told to come anyway. The father his wife, the two sons, their sister and gay uncle make the trip and are shown the family’s vineyards, estates and the sights of their never-before-seen native land. Their activities are shadowed by the FBI and Italian authorities. They arrive on Monday, and the wedding is on Thursday. The brothers get cold feet and want out, and ask their uncle to help. He hatches a plot with the transplanted Irish priest who is to perform the ceremony to have the girls call off the wedding. The plot fails, and the wedding is still on. If they do not go through with it, none of them will leave Sicily alive. The day arrives, they are brought to the church, but in the final resolution of the novel they manage to escape in a manner that does not put them under a death threat.

This will be a panoramic novel that will mainly feature Sicily, but will have significant segments in Louisiana, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Rome and Iraq. I will be making a trip to Sicily in May to gather materials and shortly after will began the book. Participants will receive the first publication copies of the book when it is printed in addition to the chapters as they are written. Depending on your level of skill and interest, there may be opportunities to assist in the movie’s production or appear in the film.

Credits will be given in the book and movie for those who participated. Provided that the script is funded and produced, there may be a small cash payment to those who participate in the movie’s production.

Kickstarter and Go Fund Me appeals were launched on April 25. You may view the Kickstarter appeal which has an associated video on the project at: I will continually update both Kickstarter and Go Fund Me as work develops on the book, screenplay and movie. The Kickstarter project will last 60 days which will allow me to give sponsors a report on my trip to Sicily in mid-May.

Book Chapters of Father of the Groom and completed book when published.

Writing Father of the Groom will take place over the next year at the rate of approximately one chapter per month that will be sent to your e-mail address. The book, when published, will be mailed to your shipping address.


Increase Your Wealth and Happiness by Tapping Multiple Sources of Income

Kaolin Mine II

Although I am a Professional Geologists who worked for the minerals extraction industries, I also do many other things. 

Generating multiple income streams through starting several small-scale businesses can help you keep your income level more nearly constant in this rapidly changing economy. As a writer some of my efforts are along the theme of write once and sell often, which is what happens with my books. I am also a Professional Geologist and consulting work comes to me occasionally, and this is also welcome. I started a new business last year, Hovey’s Knives of China, which provides additional income opportunities plus provides a needed physical and intellectual challenge to an older guy who lost his wife a decade past, and is not interested in another relationship. In addition I hunt and often record my hunting efforts by making YouTube videos.

My most recent of 18 books is Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife. One of my promotional efforts was a two-hour seminar that I gave at the Salvation Army Center in Augusta, Georgia, on March 15, 2019. I prepared a Power Point presentation for the seminar and filmed the live presentation. After doing the seminar, I changed the focus of the presentation to Increase Your Wealth and Happiness by Tapping Multiple Sources of Income, added additional Power Point slides and recorded the new presentation. I then made a video version of the Power Point slides and edited it to produce the present video.

This video is much more effective than the live presentation because the slides are fully visible, the Audacity sound editing program allowed me to shorten the pauses in delivery cut out some verbal stumbles and I was able to modulate the sound level. The production steps are A. Do the Power Point slides. B. Make a separate sound recording. C. Edit the sound with Audacity or some other program. D. Using a video-making program load both the Power Point video (without sound) and a MP3 file from the edited sound recording into the video program. E. Adjust the sound level of the recorded track. F.  Synchronize the sound with the slides by expanding or reducing the run time of the slides. G. Publish the video on YouTube or other platform.

With 30 slides, some with photos, and each having different run times to match the audio recording, this is the most complex video of this type that I have done. Now that I have learned the quirks of the various programs, the next such presentation will go quicker. I made a lot of initially puzzling stumbles during production, but managed to figure out a way that would work. As with much computer stuff, multiple approaches may be used to achieve approximately the same result. I ultimately discovered which ones would work for me.

The video is on the Hovey Smith YouTube Channel at: The run time of the video is nearly a half-hour which closely corresponds with the run time of my live presentation, even though it contains additional material.

Although the video is good as a stand-alone product, if you are interested in implementing the content also get the book which is available in either soft-cover or as an e-book from and other e-book sources worldwide. If you implement the steps I recommend, you can significantly increase your income at your present job, by going to another company with an offer to create a new useful position for that company using your unique skill sets.  I did when I created the new position of Information Scientist for an international mining company.

Individuals that I cite in the video started companies on their kitchen tables that have sold for billions of dollars. Maybe your goals are not that high, but you would like some supplemental income. You can design a business that you can work as you need, or are able, to spike your income.  This can be done as well by teens or senior citizens. It is valuable to teens for getting them started to thinking about individual entrepreneurship (which the 4-H program advocates) or for seniors who need interesting productive work to keep them physically and mentally occupied.

The nation has a very large prison population. This information also needs to be available to inmates who have the time to really thrash through the business-creation concepts that are applicable to them when they are released. It is difficult for convicted felons to find employment. Starting their own businesses can be a way for them to create immediate income once they are released, offer supplemental income while they are searching for employment and ultimately can provide them with a lifetime business that can sustain them and their families for the remainder of their lives. These are skills that need to be taught to this population. If you have connections with this population donate a copy of this book to the prison library, and tell their resource officer about this video. As a society we need to have this population quickly, and productively, reintroduced back into society as self-supporting individuals. If anyone wishes to contact me about this aspect of what I do you may use the contact form below.

Create Your Own Job Security

Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.



Crystallography as a Way to Discover the “Unknown Unknowns” Regarding any Process or Question

Dana Textbook of Mineralogy (2)

Crystallography with its rigid rules of form and symmetry provides a way to consider undiscovered facts and properties of complex problems.

Crystallography is a course that is dreaded by Geology students worldwide because it requires the mastery of solid geometry and considerations of three-dimensional forms that have planes and axes of symmetry which meet at varying angles and may also be inclined. It is comforting to know at the outset that there are only 32 crystal classes what may be expressed in a wide variety of regular and distorted forms. All crystalline matter including diamonds, salt and metals can be classified into one of these forms.

This is hardly new science. The basic concept that any given mineral had a distinctive crystalline form was recognized in the Greek and Roman classical period. Galena, the common ore of lead, fascinated people because when it was broken it was reduced to smaller and ever smaller crystals which kept their distinctive cubic shape. The same was found to be true of salt, calcite, fluorite and other minerals that were commonly encountered when mining metallic and non-metallic ores.  By the 1700s, minerals were being named and described and the science of crystallography emerged, with a lot of pioneering work done in German Universities.  In 1898 Edward S. Dana of Yale published the first edition of Dana’s Textbook of Mineralogy. Because it was in English and used frequent references to old mining districts in the U.S., the early editions are particularly important.  My personal favorite is the Fourth Edition published in 1932 which includes information obtained from the X-ray studies of minerals which for the first time definitively illustrated why crystal forms existed as they were seen. Current editions of Dana’s textbook are still in print and are recommended to anyone interested in crystallography or gems and minerals.

Crystallographic Shapes as Applied to Complex Problems.

When faced with any possible action it is possible to believe that there may be an infinite number of possible impacts and effects. Because of the huge number of possibilities it is easy to ignore even some of the more obvious in the drive to push forward to get the product released or the concept put into action. Using crystallographic forms enables a person to regularly consider a large number of possibilities that can also allow space for the later inclusion of things that are not presently known. These forms are gateways to multi-dimensional thinking that can regularly incorporate considerations of space, time and environmental impact and may be expanded, in the manner of fractals, to cover any number of present and future possibilities while building on the same structure.

Nature is always a good teacher, if we humans take the time to investigate its properties and what billions of years of trial and error have produced. In fact, the R&D work has already been done, it is up to man to recognize it, adapt it and use it to its best advantage.

The Crystal Classes

  • Isometric (Cubic ex. Salt) This system has two axes of equal length that meet at right angles.
  • Tetragonal (ex. Rutile)Two equal horizontal axes and one that is non-equal.
  • Hexagonal (ex. Quartz) One center axis (usually the longest) and three horizontal axes of equal length.
  • Orthorhombic (ex.  Chrysolite)  Three axes at right angles to each other all of different lengths.
  • Monoclinic ( ex. Feldspar ) Three axes of unequal length with two intersecting at 90 degrees and the third being inclined.
  • Triclinic (ex. Axinite ) Three axes of different length with all inclined to each other.

In picking a crystal model to best reflect the question being considered the most significant impact of whatever is being considered can be considered the long axis of the crystal, which the lesser influencing factors can be considered the shorter axes. Inclined axes provide a way to illustrate that one property of the subject influences one of the other properties more than another.


Just to discuss the potential utility of the Isometric and Hexagonal Classes. The cube has six sides. Using what I will call the Hovey Investigation Cube, these sides are used to respectively examine the following:

  • What would be the results if the system, plan or invention was not adopted?
  • What are the consequences over time?
  • What are the environmental consequences?
  • What are the volumetric consequences?
  • What are the financial considerations?
  • What are the results if the plan was adopted?

With a cube each of these considerations is given equal weight. If two or more questions are only partly answered and more work is needed another and they somehow react, say environment and time, another cube is constructed that joins those two planes on their intersecting edge. If three questions interact then another cube is done that joins on a corner. In the unusual event that only one factor remains to be investigated a cube would be joined on a face of the cube.

If the questions were much more specifically stated then another form in the cubic crystallographic system could be selected, say an 8, 12, 24 or 48 sided form could be chosen and the different areas allowed to the crystal faces signifying the degree of that components’ impact on the final result. An outcome with a large impact would have a larger face on the crystal-form appearance of the concept immediately indicating its supposed significance. Perhaps there were at the time only 14 known consequences which would have to fit, under this system, on a 24-sided solid form. This allows for those unused crystal faces to be utilized for the “unknown unknowns” and emphasize that there were a large number of unknown possible consequences. This is in sharp contrast to linear thinking which goes event-result-consequence.

In the Hexagonal crystal class a fully formed quartz crystal has a long central axis, the C axis, and three intersecting A axes yielding a six-sided crystal with a hexagonal pyramid at the top and bottom. This would be useful in visualizing a concept where the central idea, say river flooding could be divided into six components which in turn had two individual impacts. This would allow 18 different aspects of river flooding to be illustrated in one figure. Again, any blank faces could be left to illustrate the impact of potential unknown consequences. If more results were to be considered the number of faces on the crystal could be doubled which would also double the number of faces on the terminal pyramids.

To an investigator any blank faces on his crystal model would be considered bothersome which will encourage independent thought on other perhaps previously not considered factors to complete his crystal model. Using such a model also forces the investigator to decide in this presentation which factors have higher values than others. While Nature loves symmetry, real world actions are often not symmetrical with some events related to the same cause outweighing others, and are shown as such by the relative sizes of the crystal model’s faces.

Once the models have been put into the system and possible consequences identified, Machine Learning and model computing will allow the construction of such models which, in the manner of fractals, can be extended to encompass any size system. To my present knowledge no one has taken this significant step. The preparation and presentation of such systems aided by Machine Learning is an untapped source of potential Theses and Dissertations.

This system of modeling complex systems using crystallography can assist in making the best choices when making decisions where there are complex interactions. Problems that might be investigated using this method include:

  • Political policy decisions
  • Sea level rise
  • Water allocation
  • Medicine
  • Social questions
  • Inventions
  • New product development
  • Scientific discoveries
  • Artistic expression
  • Macro and micro finance
  • Air quality
  • Global warming
  • Earthquake risks
  • Weapons development
  • Resource extraction

These are some applications that come immediately to mind, but doubtless there are many more.  Inquiries like this are but one potential example of the results that might be obtained from completing the career or job selecting exercise discussed in my book, “Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife.” Many when they think of businesses they consider only a store selling something. While this is business, it is far from being the only type of business that a person who is gifted in another direction might take on and do well at.

New knowledge and new approaches have more value than comes from personal satisfaction, provided that they can be publicized and acted on. Knowledge without action will have little or no consequences. The world will not beat a path to the door of the inventor of a better intellectual mousetrap, regardless of what the popular saying says.

For information about my book go to my website: The book may also be ordered from, from e-book retailers worldwide, from your local bookstore or using the order form below.

Create Your Own Job Security

Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.


From Creation to Realization: A Case Study

Frog who would stop winter

I consulted with a client who had a large number of business ideas, but did not have the equipment or skills to properly present them to potential backers.

The client being discussed will remain anonymous, but his experiences are not unusual among disadvantaged populations. His circumstances were briefly that he is in his late 20s, has a disability income, shares a living space and spends much of his free time in the public library where he is an avid reader. He started, but did not complete, being certified as a fitness trainer, and is now overweight without the slim, fit image of your typical fitness expert on TV.

Somehow he has largely by-passed the digital world and is presently stuck in an antilog universe. He would like to own a sophisticated smart phone capable of manipulating digital images that he perceives would be useful in advertising his products and services, but operates the public computers at the library only infrequently and hesitantly.

I found his business ideas to be reasonable, to fill an unmet need in the community, possible to upscale on a local and national basis, but except for a sketch and name of a possible website, completely unrealized. His approach thus far had been to solicit money to finance his project, and he had secured a $10,000 loan, but had not managed to obtain other backers. He had contacted an angel investor and sent in a proposal, but he felt that he never got past the gatekeeper. He came to me discouraged and disappointed. He had not given up, but was uncertain as to which way to go. One of the possibilities that he mentioned was writing a book, but he thought that would be four years away.

I gave him two types of recommendations. The first was two truisms that I developed in my book, “Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business in Midlife.”

  • Creative ideas without realization have little value in the marketplace.
  • Communication in print, visual and auditory media is vital for a business’ success.

This is accurate, if blunt, advice to give to a creative person who has already tried his best available approaches and failed. To make such statements and say nothing else would be to invite depression, reinforce a negative self-image and prevent him from progressing on his own.  The fact that he came to me in the first place indicates that he is still seeking to improve his odds towards owning a successful business. What I am obligated to do is to tell him some positive things that he can do to improve his presentations to the point that serious backers would consider them.

His action plan: Part I. Skill Enhancement.

  1. The client has some catching up to do to become conversant and be able to use computers, smart phones and other equipment to allow him to communicate easily on the web and develop a following. Computer literacy programs are available at local libraries. The Salvation Army thrift stores will sometimes receive workable computers with word processing programs already on them that people have replaced in their home or work environments. Or he may have a relative or friend with an older computer that they will give him. These are typically stripped of personal files, but the operating files and sometimes antivirus programs are still operational. Such units are available at far less costs than if purchased new. Obviously, a computer literate friend or salesperson at the store needs to guide him in the selection of a good instrument. Once he has his own laptop he can began to express his creative concepts on paper, outline them, approach organizations like Kickstarter and Go Fund Me for participation, advertise his services and otherwise communicate his message to the world.  An additional possible problem for the client is to find a place where he can safely store his computer. Libraries may also sometimes have lockers to enable their clients to store items overnight.
  2. It is necessary for any modern business to be able to produce visual files to represent their products or services. The least expensive access to a workable video and image producing system is the present generation of video cameras by Sony, Cannon and others. Desirable features in such a camera are does it have a rechargeable battery and charger with it? Does it have a USB port that is compatible with your computer? Does it have a zoom lens capability? Does it also have the provision to take still, as well as moving pictures? Almost all current cameras will have these capabilities. Make sure that your camera and video equipment are of the same generation. Another accessory that is needed along with the camera is a tripod to enable stable images to be recorded.
  3. Do whatever is necessary to complete certifications in the field/s represented by the new business – particularly, if this is some sort of therapy.

His Action Plan: Part 2. Demonstration of Concept.

  1. If offering a service, as the client proposed for one of his business ideas, he need to be able to show that he has successfully applied it in real-world situations. I suggested that he work as a volunteer and become friends with others with similar interests. This can result in picking up paying clients, having experiences that can be document and perhaps even developing novel techniques and practices that can set the client apart from his competition.
  2. For new products, get them designed and a prototyped along with a copyrighted name and trademark. He might also begin the patent application process. If the concept is to bundle already existing products, assemble the items that are to be offered for a reasonable “show and tell” in person or on video. If this is a new, unpatented product, keep this video private and only have it seen by those that have been approached.
  3. A million books are published each year and my client mentioned writing one. Start now and modify it as new material becomes available. The only thing that is absolutely sure about book writing is that books that are never started will never be finished.
  4. If he is interested in aspects of becoming a personal therapist or trainer it would be helpful if he were in better shape himself. Getting himself into condition could, in-fact, help him sell his own programs.

Once these steps have been taken the client will be in a much better position to present his business concepts to potential investors or clients and might well try a Kickstarter or Go Fund Me campaign to judge the potential value of this venture. A successful Kickstarter program will considerably enhance the new business’ prospect of attracting independent investors.

Much more information is available on business topics in my most recent book, Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife. In this book I advocate starting a series of businesses throughout one’s life to raise immediate cash as needed and plan for medium and long-term goals. The ideal result will be to help you discover your business of passion that will carry you through the remainder of your working life. Create Your Own Job Security is available from in either softcover or an e-book, from other on-line book retailers and from your local bookstore or ordered using the PayPal button below.  I also offer individual or on-site consultations which may be arranged using the contact form below.

Create Your Own Job Security

Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.





Create Your Own Job Seminar/Workshop Video

This video was done on March 15, 2018, at the Salvation Army Center in Augusta, Georgia, as a spin-off activity of my book Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife, and is an example of one sort of on-site training that I offer. The presentation would be followed by one-on-one counseling to individuals who might wish to investigate how to develop another job with their present company, with another company or start their own businesses.

Muddling Mondays


Exhibition Hall Frankfurt, Germany

You have returned to work on Monday after making a presentation at a trade show and a 4-to- 12 hour flight back home. 

After making a presentation at a trade show or other event and a long flight back home the body, mind and spirit are going to take time to recover, whether it is convenient for you or not. Your objective on returning back to work is to muddle through the day without making any major mistakes, or in more direct language, without fucking up too badly.

At work: Avoid immediate commitments

  • Retire to the quietest place you can find
  • Sort through your materials that you collected on your trip
  • Locate any reports that you may have started at the event
  • Review your card contact lists
  • Promise a written report on Wednesday
  • Triple check anything you that you must send out and have someone else look over it
  • Start immediate treatment of any bugs that you might have picked up
  • Delegate ordinary duties to others as much as possible
  • Organize receipts for your expense report

On the home front

  • If fortunate enough to have a spouse, ask here to get your clothes ready for your next trip
  • Do what you absolutely must in the way of mowing lawn, shoveling snow or taking care of other seasonal yard tasks
  • Make appointments to see about non-working appliances
  • Give your children and spouse something from your trip
  • Try to resume intimate relations with your significant other on Tuesday or later in the week
  • Pay attention to your pets
  • Try to do a little with your kids
  • Bill paying which would usually be done on the weekend should be put off until Wednesday
  • Grab a half-hour of quiet relaxation when you can
  • Resume standard weekly family activities

The general focus on your Muddling Mondays is to get through the day as well as you can manage under the circumstances. Fatigue makes morons of us all. If you try to push yourself to work while you are physically and mentally exhausted and your body is also trying to fight off the latest infectious diseases, the odds of your making some regrettable mistake are very high. These will not be your best days, and your task is not to make them your worst.

Psychologically it is very easy in this condition to engage in potentially hurtful lash-out outbursts that might be triggered by any number of unforeseeable events. Under such conditions of fatigue and stress you are not the same person. Should you have one of these unexpected events, immediately apologize and make amends – regardless if this was at your spouse, boss, employee, pet or taxi driver.  A day’s rest at home, particularly after a long international flight that might be 12-30 hours long will not be completely restorative, but certainly will result in better job performance once you return to work. If such a trip is planned, budget for a recovery day or days before you get back into the full swing of everyday home and business life.

Age, experience and repeated activities can ease these fatigue factors somewhat. First class seating can do much towards reducing your bodily discomforts, but that extra cost is often not in the budget. A neck brace can also help you catch some sleep from time to time. Alcohol will increase your bathroom trips and generally does not do too much as a sleep aid. Provide yourself with what creature comforts that your seating will allow, and if these trips become frequent you may develop a pre-trip preparation scheme that will make your flight more pleasant.  One unusual feature offered at some oriental airports is a foot massage that I can recommend. Other airports have sleep pods where you can get some sleep during long layovers.

Many such tips are contained in my newest business book, Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife. In the book I advocate that a person start many businesses as and when they are needed to raise immediate cash and plan for medium and long-term goals. Such activities are focused on discovering a “business of passion” that can sustain you throughout the remainder of your life doing work that you love to do. The book may be purchased in either softcover or e-book format at and many other sources or by using the PayPal button below. I will also post a video later today of the presentation that I did that prompted this series.

Create Your Own Job Security

Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.


Presentation Fridays

Augusta Flyer

(click above to see flyer for the event)

Days that involve travel to an event followed by a presentation are often the most stressful.

It is helpful if you can arrive the evening before a presentation to give you, and your body, a chance to unwind prior to the event and eliminate the stress that some transportation delay will disrupt your schedule. Regardless of what you might feel about the material that you are to present, unforeseeable events like accidents, flat tires, flights diverted to alternate airports, airline schedule changes and bad weather can prevent your timely arrival. In addition, there is the possibility that luggage might be lost or that your pre-shipped materials might be delayed in customs.

Home issues

Besides packing for the trip, there are always home issues to be taken care of before you leave. Your spouse will want contact information, the kids will need to know when you will return and often something will need to be done about your pets. Handle as many of these items the night before and reschedule any visits from the cable guy. Another thing that you will need to be sure that you packed up is your medications, if you are taking some for chronic conditions. A tooth brush or razor can be replaced, but it is not convenient to get medications after you leave home.

Have back up materials

A thumb drives containing your Power Point presentation along with at least a few copies of your hand-out materials can go in your carry-on luggage to prevent a catastrophic failure. If necessary, more copies can be made on site. Access to cloud storage might also be possible, but it is always reassuring to have something literally in your pocket.

Luggage and check-in hassles

If things are cut too close, you might be in the position that your just-in-time arrival has you delivered at the lecture hall minutes before you are go appear, and you did not have time to check in at your hotel. You have your materials to get ready as well as your luggage to do something with in the meantime. Most venues will have a check-in facility for coats that can also hold your luggage for a few hours. Draft anyone willing, explain what is going on and have them assist you with your luggage and set-up. In the meantime call the conference organizers and let them know you are on your way. Your presentation might be delayed or perhaps the time swapped with another presenter so that the day’s events are kept on schedule, even though your presentation might not be in the order listed in the program.

Collect yourself

Rushing breathless and sweating onto a stage and fumbling around trying to organize your materials is not likely to give a good impression. Relax make a joke about the weather or airlines or anything appropriate while you get yourself and your materials together. This will elicit some sympathy from your audience and buy you some time. The statement, “And now we may began,” will elicit a laugh from the audience and put you more at ease when you start on your presentation.  Any of this is better than trying to ad-lib something on the fly.

Presenting sick

Attending international events brings you into contact with populations from all over the world who are bringing their infectious agents with them. Major events might have 30,000 attendees and during midwinter’s flu season it seems that everyone you come into contact with has something. Take your flu shots, keep up with any meds that your own physician has given you and take some cough drops and any over the counter medications that you find effective in controlling digestive problems. In extreme cases you might have to cancel or substitute a video for your in-person appearance.

Videoing your presentation

In major conferences it is customary that at least the major presentations will be videoed. If you are presenting to a smaller group it takes a little time to set up an inexpensive video camera and have it record your performance. It is best to place your camera off to one side so that it can capture your image as well as the slides being shown on the screen. Ideally there would be someone who could also zoom in and out on occasion to better show your slides as you discuss them. You can record sound separately so that you also have an audio record that you can use along with the video. Do not place your camera near the projector or other noise sources unless you plan to overdub the sound. Making a video allows you not only to capture your performance but also to add other materials like photographs, written text, a summary of the event or other things that the viewer might find useful.

Tearing down

If you are one of a number of presenters you will have only a few minutes to tear down, pack up and exit the room before the next speaker. Thought needs to be given to make sure you leave with all of the equipment that you brought. For this reason it is best not to bring elaborate displays that take time to remove. It is disrespectful to take some of the next presenter’s time while you are cleaning up your stuff. There may be a group of listeners around you after the presentation, if so, inform them that you need to pack up and leave the stage area and will be happy to speak to them in the hall or at some other location after the event. In the meantime, gather your things and go.

Post event happenings

After securing your materials back in your vehicle or hotel room, you can return to the conference, perhaps attend someone else’s talk and generally mingle with other participants. Take the opportunity to unwind, generally observe what is going on and perhaps even plan what hospitality events that you are going to cover. This is also an appropriate time to link up with those with similar interests from other companies for supper if there is not a scheduled banquet.

Your report

If you are an early riser and managed not to have been overserved the evening before, the morning after your presentation is ideal for cataloging the events of the day. You will have collected business cards and you need to capture the information related to that stack of cards before you mix them up with those you will collect on subsequent days. Your report should include the following:

  • Presentation







General review and comments

  • People met

Record reasons cards given

Potential value of the relationship



  • Other significant papers and presentations
  • Logistical and travel considerations
  • Costs
  • Evaluation of the event

The evaluation of the event is the part of the report that is most often omitted. If the event that you participated in is THE annual trade show for your industry and you were assigned to go, it is fair to comment if you were the correct person to send and perhaps suggest others who might be more interested or adept in going than you found yourself to be. If you have done an honest and workmanship like job on your report, then your evaluation will carry more weight and be taken seriously. This report is in addition to your regular work load and the more rapidly it can be done, including doing much of it at the event, the quicker you can get it behind you and get back to your regular work.

Piling on

Your return home on Sunday after a week-end event leaves you with unpacking, clean-up and reordering your life after being absent for the weekend. More enlightened companies will allow you a day to catch up on personal stuff after attending a major trade show, but many expect you back at your desk the next morning. If so, jet lagged, fighting off some foreign bug and with a sore head you pile into your car and where you may face a Muddling Monday, which will be the next article in this series.

I cover many practical business matters in Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife. In this book I advocate starting businesses as and when needed to raise immediate cash, work towards getting a better job and longer term goals which may require college degrees or relocations. This book is available in softcover or e-book format at and other e-book sources as well as from your local bookstore or may be ordered using the Pay Pal button below.

Create Your Own Job Security

Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.











Pick Up Tuesdays

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Most creative people who are not endowed with the “neatness gene” live a messy existence. Pick Up Tuesdays budgets one day a week to restore a degree of order to their environments.

To the frequent dismay of those whose motto is, “Everything has its place and everything is in its’ place,” many creative people had rather create than clean up after themselves. Their desks are often messy, their houses are cluttered and their workshops often have half-finished projects on the workbench.

Pick Up Tuesday designates one day a week where time is allocated to taking care of those 15-minute tasks that have often gone undone for perhaps a month or more. Tuesday is selected because Mondays often bring unexpected work from events that transpired over the weekend and Wednesday through Friday allows sufficient time to receive new tasks and hopefully complete them.

Setting Up Your Pick Up Tuesday

The reason that these things have gone undone is because something more interesting or important had to be accomplished first. When there is a million-dollar contract on the line, who cares if your tools from the last job have not been put away? The new task is just piled on top of the debris of the old and work continues. Right?

Now is the time to designate an hour in the morning to clearing away, filing or throwing out the wreckage that remains from the last pieces of various jobs that litter your environment. The significant thing is to schedule time every Tuesday dedicated to this task. Maybe you need to keep a running list on your bulletin board and cross off things as you do them.

After you have successfully worked for a full hour, give yourself a small reward. Return to your regular work and continue to mid-afternoon. Then, say from 3:30-4:30, you dedicate another hour to clearing out more junk and getting ready for the rest of the week’s work. On your first Pick Up Tuesday you have spent two productive hours that will pay off in that things will be easier to find on your desk, you will be better prepared for the remainder of the week and maybe even uncovered something of value in that pile of papers or material.

Key Points

  • Set aside two hours every week to clear out materials from previous jobs.
  • Break your Pick Up periods into two segments.
  • Don’t walk by something that needs to be put away without attending to it.
  • Reward yourself after each segment.

General Comments

Every job should have a start, completion period and end at which time anything related to that project is cleared out. True. Commonly the put-away period is only partially completed. Project left-overs can hang around for weeks or months after they no longer have any useful function. This is like trash that should have been thrown out, but somehow never was. These bits of accumulated “stuffs” need to be periodically and regularly rooted out of your environment.

Physical clutter reinforces mental clutter in that when a thing is seen it automatically provokes a mental response. These go like, “What is it? What did I use it for? Is it any good now? Why do I still have it? Do I have any more use for it?” When this mental brainwork is taking place your mind is distracted from what should have been your primary task at the moment. If you ignore all of this and plow ahead anyway, it would have been better if your mental stimulations were from something connected with what you were tasking your mind to do; rather than extraneous matters.

Fighting the Packrat Syndrome

The nagging feeling that you might need this someday needs to be counterbalanced with the reality that you can’t keep everything. For guys it is particularly satisfying when that screw that saved or that piece of scrap wood is repurposed to fix something or to make something useful. Yes, go ahead and throw it into your screw jar or put it in your parts bin, but get it off your workbench.  I use my waste paper, boxes and other combustibles to start fires on my burn pile. For a person who works out of his own house, this is a possibility.

In an office setting, there is always the file cabinet for storing work-related documents that might be useful  at some later date, like the notes from a conversation that later became  a contract. Then when the document gets back from legal, you can check to make sure what was agreed upon is actually in the document.

Finding the Mental Groove

We humans respond to different environmental stimuli. Some receive their greatest creative stimulation with when surrounded by nearly ear-splitting volumes of music. Others, like me, want no, or few, outside distractions.  There are also those who are more creative in particular places or when fondling a particular object or looking at something visual. A destructive crutch is alcohol and/or drugs which can lead one down the path that they can only be creative when half or completely stoned.  While it is true that the use of stimulants can cause people to lose their inhibitions, it is also true that this pathway has led many down the path to absolute ruin and early death. The road to rock-and-roll fame might rightly be said to have been paved with the corpses of performers.

While some will maintain that a tidy workplace is the sigh of a tidy mind, as your First Grade Teacher told you, it is equally a sign of the workplace of a person who is likely not doing very much. A bit of disorder, and at times seeming chaos, may be a normal part of a persons’ creative modus operandi. That is fine and acceptable for a time, but cleaning up the leftover mess is necessary to ease the arrival of the next outburst of the creativity.

Many such tips are contained in my newest business book, Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife. In the book I advocate that a person start many businesses as and when they are needed to raise immediate cash and plan for medium and long-term goals. Such activities are focused on discovering a “business of passion” that can sustain you throughout the remainder of your life doing work that you love to do. The book may be purchased in either softcover or e-book format at and many other sources or ordered using the PayPal box below.

Create Your Own Job Security

Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.






Writing Fiction while Sitting By the Bogwood Fire


One of thousands of abandoned croft houses in Ireland.

One of many thousands of abandoned stone croft houses that still dot the landscape which millions of Irish left to try for new lives elsewhere in the world.

Bogwood.n. Darkly colored wood that may be 10s of thousands of years old recovered from marshes and bogs in typically northern latitudes that is dried and used for fuel in areas where other wood is scarce or absent.

 Just as the captive Jews sat by the rivers of Babylon and dreamed of Zion, so the Irish displaced by eviction and starvation in their own land kept their fires in the United States, Australia, Africa, New Zealand, India and China. Scattered in countries of the expanding British Empire, those descended kept ingrained cultural ties with Ireland, even though it might be generations before any of them might return. Like any assimilating population their ties were stronger with the first generation of immigrants and weakened as time and family connections with cultures from other countries were made. As the hand-me-down cultural heritage was weakened, radio, movies, TV and videos brought new exposures of Irish culture to those who had never experienced it first or even second hand, but now will self-identify to be of Irish descent which may be five or more generations past.

Can a person be homesick for a land they have never seen? Travel agents will tell you that this is an unquestioned fact. There is no compelling reason to visit Ireland, vs. Spain, Egypt or Bulgaria, or any other place with more historic sites, gentler climates, better food options, etc.  Yet, many thousands return to Ireland each year to see a storied land that they have thus far only experienced through the creative activities of others. If you cannot go, how can you experience a country without ever having been there? The answer is through writing fiction.

Writing Fiction

Writing fiction is putting mental mind-travel adventures featuring characters of your own creation which you vividly picture in your mind and transfer onto paper. If you cannot visualize a scene and have it play out frame by frame in your mind, you can’t put it down on paper in a convincing manner. Writers and film directors know exactly how they want their next scene to come down before the cameras start rolling.

Can you visualize a set on stage and have your characters move on it? If you can the next step is to write your fiction where you describe the settings you have researched, the characters and allow them, through dialogue, to tell their stories and get the book started. You do not need to know who all the characters are when you start or where they are all going. Give your characters full and exciting lives and their actions and world events can help you set and tell the story of their lives.

People are complicated. They can and have experienced many different events throughout their lives including wars, natural disasters, loves won and loves lost, children, disabilities and ultimately death. These events woven through your characters’ lives can’t help but produce a gripping novel. Whereas a short story may only recount a single incident, the space allowed in a novel allows you to cover an entire lifetime including their interactions with historical and fictional individuals who might be friends at the start, but turn out to be bitter foes in the end.

Watching the bogwood fire burn thought me thinking of the millions who had done the same. Their lives at times gave off brilliant shoots of flame, and at other times more smoke, but beneath was a bed of red-hot coals that radiated warmth into the room and seemingly across the centuries. Put this fire in its hearth in any of the thousands of ruined stone cottages that dot rural Ireland. Read of the times, see photos of the landscape and let your mind’s eye tour the landscape, smell the wet earth, take in a hint of the sea and rotting kelp and let your characters tell their tales by the light of the sparking fire. This how generations of Irish spent the dark winter days when there was no money to buy oil for their lamps and it was too early to go to bed.

Where would I start a story? Perhaps 10,000 years ago with the tree was in full leaf and woolly mammoths walked among them. Maybe I would start during Medieval Times when Viking raids threatened the entire coast each spring. Perhaps there is a tale to be told during “the troubles” that culminated with the Easter Uprising and the formation of an Independent Republic of Ireland. Or I could start it today with the uncertainty of a hard or soft Brexit and its potential impact.

There is ample material to be mined here to keep writers of Irish fiction busy for the rest of their lives, and I have not even touched on magic, superstition and fantasy. It all begins with time. Pick your time, select your characters, give them purpose and let them drive the story through trials, tribulations and conflict towards some ultimate, perhaps not fully realized, success.  This is Ireland after all. All will turn out well, but likely not as quickly or easily as might be imagined – and that is what makes a good story.

One of the best examples of this sort of expansive Irish fiction is the 1992 movie, Far and Away, which was co-written by Director Ron Howard and Bob Dolman and stared Tom Cruise and Nichole Kidman. The movie follows the life of a young Irishman who after a botched attempt to murder his landlord escapes to America with his landlord’s daughter where he and her go through a vividly shown tableau of late 19th Century life to restart their lives by participating in the Oklahoma land rush of 1889. In this case the screenplay was produced without the benefit of a prior book, but Howard and Dolman visualized each step of the process before the first foot of film was shot.

To an imaginative mind a single event, seemingly trivial on its own, can create a novel which might expand into an entire universe of activities as occurred in the unlikely events related by Walt Disney’s animated mouse which grew into an international company with not only movie properties, but theme parks, TV networks and media publications of all sorts.

What Does It Take?

A professional writer can produce a book-length manuscript in about three months. This is working at it every day with only a few breaks during the writing period. Writers are generally not worth living with during this period, or at least I am not. The creative period is followed by the even more daunting tasks of rewriting, reorganizing and polishing follows which might consume another month. Then the manuscript goes through the submittal, editing and publication process that might drag on for a year or more. Manuscripts by new authors have an uphill climb to be noticed in the publication world.  Authors brought to near desperation that this book in which they have invested so much effort might never be published, often decide to self-publish it. It becomes another of the million books  published that year to a lack-luster reception. Is that the end of the book and their writing careers? It could be.

A Following

Even before a potential publisher picks up your book, one thing that they will want to know is how big is your following? Do you have a presence on social media? How many people care what you do? Have you published in the past? Are you for whatever reason, well known? If the answer to these questions is, “Yes.” Then your book might have a chance at being read and perhaps passed on for further consideration. A writer can develop his own following and even serially publish his book in chapter form to gather readers and ultimately buyers of his works. This was done by many writers in the 19th Century whose new books might be serialized in newspapers all over the English-speaking world. The Sherlock Homes’ mysteries, Dickens’ many stories, Mark Twain’s works, etc. were often first published in this manner. You can do the same with a dedicated blog about your writing project and your book. By the time it is ready to be published you will have already received pre-publication orders from your fans. This is; however, a long-term process, that will take months and perhaps years to bring off the first time. The second time, and subsequent, times will be easier as you will have already established a fan base.

Are you meant to be a full or part-time fiction writer? That is a question that only you can answer and time will prove. You might not have the physical attributes to be an athlete. Perhaps you cannot draw, sculpt or paint. But, if you can imagine and paint vivid scenes with words on paper, there might be a book writer in there somewhere. If you do not try, you will never find out.

Have you been writing mini-stories or plays since childhood? Many writers have. Do you enjoy stories told by others and even have invented some of your own? Very often writers are also adept storytellers. Have you participated in impromptu stage performances? If so, this is a good indication. Have others told you that this or that was a good piece of writing and you saved it? That might be worth looking back over, even if it was done many decades ago. If you have been checking off all of these things as you have read them, you have the creative capabilities to produce fictional works.

Learning the skills can be done through taking on-line courses, reading books on techniques and ultimately, sitting down and putting words on paper. You must get over all of the mental and physical hurtles of delayed starts and the “I cant’s” that prevent you from doing anything. Many writers find it convenient to outline the plot and characters on paper and this gives them the skeleton of the novel to flesh out and a way to conveniently keep track of their progress. This is also helpful if elements of the novel are not written in chronological order, as might occur if you are on location where a significant part of the action in your book takes place and you want to capture that portion while you have all of the resources and reference materials at hand.

It makes no difference where in the story line you start. The thing is to start and then flail through it until it is done. Do this and you can write your novel. Go to it. Now.

This, and many more, tips on starting your own business are contained in my most recent business book, Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife. This book will help you formulate different business opportunities, sort them out into short, medium and long term activities and implement them. It also provides the nuts-and-bolts information on topics like how to name your business, secure copyrights, trademarks and become registered in your state. This book is available from, other e-booksellers and from your local bookstore. You may also order a copy by using the PayPal button below. I also do individual consulting by telephone and e-mail. Arrangements for a consult may be made by using the contact form.


Create Your Own Job Security

Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.



Starting Another Business While Working for Someone Else

Hovey at school

Ethical ways to start another company or create a new job while working for someone else.

 “When you take the King’s shilling, you are the King’s man.” Is a quote from Old English that still resonates today. When you are employed by a company you are expected to abide by company policies and to the best of your ability promote the company’s interests. This practice is enforceable not only by company policies, but also in many circumstances by law. You may be prosecuted for the theft of real or intellectual property. You will, as a condition of your employment, often have signed a non-disclosure agreement where you agree not to disclose a company’s trade secrets, patent information, etc.

Given this constraint, how does a person ethically seek to start his own company while being employed by another?   I strongly advocate this policy in my new business book, “Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife.”  Not only this, but I maintain that you should actually start and run it quietly in the background while you are working for others in order to have income for you and your family should your job be abruptly terminated.

In the gig economy it is assumed when you are hired to fill a short-term position, and that you will be continually looking for another job either within that company or for your next job somewhere else.  You might even start your own company. Everyone’s options are seemingly open. Just as your company might hire or fire you without notice, you ethically have the right to do the same.

Corporate Jobholder

There are two distinct approaches to starting your own business while working, depending on the job that you hold. If you are a member of a cooperation where you were first hired, say as a junior Tech person and worked up through middle management, you would likely have been with the company for five years or more; but for whatever reason seem to be stuck with no obvious way up within the company organization – or none you want to take. In this case, the concept of starting your own entrepreneurial enterprise is looking more attractive.  You should:

  • Look for new business opportunities in another business or service area.
  • Do all your searching, contacts, interviews, etc. on your own equipment. Keep all this information on your private phone and computer. Separate your employer’s business and your own as much as possible. Pen and paper provide one of the most secure ways of recording your own thoughts as suggested by my booklet, Ideas for New Businesses, which provides inspiration for and a way  of privately recording business concepts on long-distance flights. Keep track of these ideas, especially those that are not appropriate for the company for which you are working.  One of these might become your next business.
  • Volunteer and participate in company workshops, on committees from other parts of the production process and in joint ventures with other companies. Broadening your outlook and experiences not only enhances your personal knowledge base, but also makes you a more obviously valuable employee who is worth promoting. Keep track of such participations and any awards that you might have earned.

Gig Economy Worker

While some companies would try to eek every potential advantage our of a gig worker’s employment, and assert that they have every right to do so, temporary employment is by any standard, just that.  If your “Temporary Employment” has now lasted five years or more, then it is time to think about filing a complaint with your state Labor Relations Board and see if you are not due additional benefits, such as health insurance, from the company that hired you.  Unions and sometime Temp Agencies can help you in filing such a claim or correcting the situation.

  • Your greatest asset in working for a variety of companies perhaps doing radically different jobs is your power of observation and adaptation. Look at jobs all around you. Could you do that job better? Is what that gal is doing really appealing to you? Can you form your own company around any of these things that you are seeing others do?
  • Again, make sure that you keep your own business concepts and job searches remain your property by doing them on your own phone/computer on your own time.
  • Although applicable to both types of employment situations, gig workers are even freer to ask about forthcoming projects that they might participate in, permanent positions in the company and opportunities abroad.
  • Cultivate friendships with those within the company. It is entirely possible that this year’s co-worker might be next year’s boss or they might provide useful tips about future business possibilities that you can exploit.

Being in the Stew of Life

Somehow your next best business opportunity will come from something that you have experienced. Be on the lookout for that opportunity and be ready to act on it when it arrives. Then see what, if anything, can be derived from your present work experience to enable you to find out more about your new potential business without breaking ethical business rules, doing anything illegal or violating your contract. If there are extra company trainings or education, take advantage of it. You might even be able to sound out details of your business plan while taking company-supported educational programs.

A lot of this is going to have to be balanced around family activities and responsibilities. Work on your business as you can and when you can. It might be that commute time can provided your daily business hour. If so, plan for it and work on it while you ride or fly. Each day try to do something towards advancing your business. If you persist through the daily distractions of life, you can accomplish your intermediate objectives and ultimately run your own business.

These and many more tips are in my most recent business book, “Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business at Midlife,” which is available from and many other sources as either a softcover or e-book or by using the PayPal button below.  You can also find more information on my blog and over 20 YouTube business videos on the Hovey Smith YouTube Channel.  Individual consultation can also be arranged using the contact form below.

Create Your Own Job Security

Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.