Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Studious Nation

Some of you following these blogs will recognize this blend of coffee shops and philosophy, not my invention, more like from Paris, post WWI, a matrix for existentialism, experiments in modern art, other pioneering. France became like a Mecca for a lost generation, or something like that.

Nowadays, we're looking at lots of job changing, career switching, people eager for new training, to get with some new program, perhaps with overseas dimensions, definitely socially responsible in many cases. But sometimes the skills needed are pretty high, like doctor level, other manager types, with a need for internships, apprenticeships, guild certifications of various kinds.

Portland is known for its many world class cooking schools, with chefs in the making building strong resumes based on real experience. As a result, we have many good restaurants in this town, more than many other cities of a similar size. You can't learn to be a great chef just by watching Julia Child on Youtube, although that's certainly a fun component. You need hands on experience, likewise with other jobs. It's not all about staring at your laptop, a kind of navel gazing in some circles.

That being said, there are many walks of life in which intensive reading, like book learning, goes with the territory. In those cases, coffee shops with free wifi come in handy, especially if there're other food options.

Coffee shop managers have their own relevant skill set, which includes finding a right balance between customer turnover and/or outlay for offerings, versus getting those steady students who maybe get lost in Safari (an O'Reilly campus), yet help bring the right buzz and conversation into focus, plus you need wall art, LCD ads, maybe a full bar if doing like Nirel's gig ala Schroedinger's Cat.