Wherever I Go, There I Am: The Majors Occupational Environment Measure (OEM)

“And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shackOnceinalifetime
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile…
And you may ask yourself
Well…How did I get here?” – Talking Heads, 1981

I don’t know about you, but I tend to use song lyrics to frame various life situations. Although “Once in a Lifetime” by new wave band Talking Heads is three-and-a-half decades old, I think that most of us – at any age or of any generation – can, at one time or another, resonate with these existential ponderings.

As someone who has, actually, found herself “in another part of the world”, and who has done some deep work around figuring out how I got here, it’s become more and more clear that the saying, “Wherever I go, there I am” is at the core of the matter. For all of us.

Have you ever woken up an wondered if the life you’ve built is actually what you want? Do you feel that you’re not utillizing your true talents? Do you feel stuck in a dead-end job? Are you merely living to work vs. working to live? Are you not relating to your loved ones and co-workers as authentically as you’d like? Are you about to make a life transition, say, into university – but aren’t sure which academic path to take? Have you just graduated with a beautiful, shiny degree, but have no idea where to go from here?

“And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?…Am I wrong?
And you may say to yourself yourself
My God!…What have I done?!”

Choosing a career is one of the most important, and difficult, decisions a person can make. The Majors Occupational Environment Measure™ (MajorsOEM™) is designed to help individuals make this challenging decision. Individuals explore areas of preference and avoidance according to their work interests, tasks/activities and environmental settings.

The MajorsOEM™ provides you with a complete set of results (avoidance and preference) that are consistently reliable, valid in application and intuitively meaningful. It’s been proven to be very useful in career and vocational counseling for high school and college/university students. It has also met great success in career planning for adults, including mid-life career changers, corporate restructuring and retirement/leisure activities. It is an excellent choice for students, graduates, professionals, or individuals returning to the workforce.

If you feel that your life is the “same as it ever was” – but you’re finding that unsatisfying; or if you’re just starting out and need some guidance; or you generally just don’t know what you want to be when you grow up (even if you’re 50) – read more about the The MajorsOEM™  and feel free to contact us. Because YOU are unsuppressable.

Do you have your own story about things falling apart and your plans going awry (and what you did after that)- personally or in business? If you’d like share your story on our blog because you think it could help others and build connection, please feel free to contact Jennifer (also our Blog Editor) at jennifer.rojas@aureliuspress.com

Holidays vs Holy Days: Presence vs Presents

holy daysWe all know that the holiday season – while “merry and bright” – can be full of grand expectations. There should be peaceful, loving family gatherings where everyone gets along famously. There should be boyfriends and girlfriends and life partners who appear magically to fulfill us in every way. There should be only successful business ventures. Nobody should be lonely… you get the drift.

So, in the holiday spirit, and as we approach a brand new year, Gary shares some profound insights about expectations, acceptance and abundance in our most recent podcast. He discusses his own personal transformation surrounding the holidays, which has led to much greater enjoyment and peace during this time of year.

Gary’s story begins over 23 years ago, while still suffering post-divorce paralysis. His desire to get un-stuck merged with the meditation portion of the 11th step in a 12-Step program. The insight he gained was this: addiction is associated with expectations. He came to call the holiday season, “The Disneyland of Addiction” – a time of high emotionality and expectations where trying to satisfy feelings, similar to a child in the “terrible twos,” takes precedence over principle-based behavior. He realized that this high-emotionality-combined-with-high-expectations can lead to our suffering.

Consequently, Gary explains that holidays are about expectations, while holy days are about being responsible, living by one’s principles, and treating others in a compassionate, respectful manner. Said more simply, the goal of this shift in perspective is to “have my butt and my brain in the same place and time zone.”

Gary’s Buddhist practice comes into play in helping develop daily habits to stay present, aware, and “in” life, moment by moment. This leads to loving-kindness for self and others and puts the “holy” in holy days.

The switch to embracing the notion of holy days at this time of year has allowed Gary to remove himself from the trap of expectations. Life is simpler. Pain doesn’t necessarily go away, but suffering lessens. This leads to an increase in acceptance. This acceptance leads to the development of options and better decision-making – rather than being hung up on a given expectation.

Gary believes that when we hang onto expectations, a tightfistedness sets in that is very controlling and leads to misery (e.g., My cookies didn’t come out right… The kids better behave perfectly in their Christmas best clothing… My sister is being passive-aggressive… Doesn’t Aunt Jane remember I have peanut allergies?… He didn’t call me so my holiday is ruined… I’m surrounded by all these people, but I feel lonely…)

One not-so-obvious option during the seasonal “expectations vs. reality” stupor is to be prepared to still take care of oneself even when plans fail. To actually take that energy from the disappointment and move it into something constructive. And, if a plan does come to fruition, you can move that energy as well into something greater than can be built.

We certainly don’t need to dismiss our heritages and traditions during the holiday season. Our favourite foods, music, activities and cultural traditions should be enjoyed as there is much opportunity for warmth and closeness, and a sense of belonging. AND looking through the lens of holy days instead of holidays can also create abundance and expand the space in which the abundance can grow. Joy can result!

You can listen to Gary’s wisdom and insight on holy days in the podcast here.

We at Aurelius Press wish you much love, joy and abundance in the new year!

Do you have your own story about holiday expectations and transformations? If you’d like share your story on our blog because you think it could help others and build connection, please feel free to contact Jennifer (also our Blog Editor) at jennifer.rojas@aureliuspress.com

Character and Personality #5: Don’t pull that trigger!

pulltrigger Ever been attracted to someone who will save the day? You know, the White Knight that will save the situation? What about the flip side? Someone showing up in your life you absolutely can’t stand?

A leader must pay very close attention to feelings that accompany these situations. Are you aware both situations can have a great deal in common? They can have what I call large “blind spots” associated with them, blind spots into which organizations can fall and disappear.

There’s a curious component to these blind spots since they can have as much or more to do with the leader’s character as the exterior reality. The dynamics of these blind spots and how to deal with them fall under the category of projection. So what is projection? How can one deal with it?


Projection is shady. It creates false feelings of well-being around potentially disastrous decisions. At its core, projection deals with the desire to take a shortcut to avoid going to dark places, especially within.


Previous blogs mention we all have portions of our psyche that are quite strong and other parts that are weak. Over time, we tend to build our lives around the stronger components and gradually develop a fear of those weaker ones. The primary reasons for the fear are imagined and real instabilities from which we believe we may not recover. Simply put, our reputation, business, etc., are at stake. We are staring at uncertainty.

The attempted shortcut becomes trying to find someone, the Other, who will deal with those dark spaces for us. We become infatuated with the Other. The Other is taken hostage.

Conversely, the shortcut with the detested person is to simply get rid of him or her. This way the scary work can, again, be avoided.

In both cases, the leader stays myopic, loses vision, and is unable to see the consequences of decisions. A boss hiring someone to do the more difficult parts of the boss’s responsibilities (read: dirty work) is a good example of projection. It tears the team apart.

So Which is Which?

How does one know if the desired decision is wise and simple or blind and chaotic? In one word, “Options.” In two words, “Risk management.” In another two words, “Assumption analysis.” Let me explain:

Projection is sly and takes several forms. It is a narcotic that puts discernment to sleep. It is a demolition expert wiring explosives to all that has been built. It puts the trigger in the leader’s hand. It intensifies emotionality, making pulling the trigger feel oh so sweet. (“Just fire him! Just hire her! Start without a contract! Requirements gathering will slow us down! Cash flow! Everything will be okay.”)

Then it waits for the blind decision that irreversibly pulls the trigger and destroys healthy power, assets, and people.

By asking questions around options, risk management, and assumption analysis, the door to healthier decision-making opens. Vision returns. Now, all this means going into those dark spaces. It’s hard work, rewarding work. It’s also the simplest work. (There’s never enough time to do it right the first time, but there’s always time to fix it.) Keep in mind that, just like Hades in Greek mythology, that’s where the real gold – not the fool’s gold – is!

Gary Monti has over 30 years experience providing change- and project management services internationally. He works at the nexus between strategy, business case, project-, process-, and people management. Service modalities include consulting, teaching, mentoring, and speaking. Credentials include PMP number 14 (Project Management Institute®), Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certification, and accreditation in the Cynefin methodology. Gary can be reached at gary.monti@aureliuspress.com.

If you’d like to submit a Jungian-focused blog on working with different personality types (in professional or personal settings), please contact Jennifer Rojas, our Blog Editor, at jennifer.rojas@aureliuspress.com.

Wherever I Go, There I Am: Dealing With Violence

Random thoughts/rattlings from a place where a percentage of the population wants to kill you and has been killing and maiming people on the street almost daily for the past few months with knives, meat cleavers, screwdrivers, bullets, cars and scissors:

That split second in-between reaching for the door to go out of your apartment building, onto the street, and feeling the lovely, sunny autumn air on your face – a split second that would normally feel pleasant and hopeful for a person like me, who likes to be “out and about” – is now tainted by, “Wait. What shoes am I wearing? Can I run in these? Could I get away, or would I trip and fall down only to be bloodily devoured like a gazelle on the Serengeti Plain? OK, yeah, I’ve got the pepper spray handy, but what if that’s not enough? What if the blind hatred and rage behind a knife is even stronger?”

What if my choice of footwear today means the difference between life and being hacked into body parts like meat at the butcher?

The physical surroundings outside of my apartment are beautiful – lush, vibrant trees and flowers in an array of gorgeous colours.  The air smells fresh, but no longer welcoming. My brain finds it difficult to reconcile this beauty with what might be lurking behind it.

For an ENFP, who gets her energy from the outside world, these feelings are distressing particularly because the current outside world in my city seems surrealistically scary. Untrustworthy. Nonsensical. That the energy I’d love to soak in from “out there” is unhealthy at best and life-threateningly dangerous at worst.

Daily errands are accompanied by thoughts of, “Let me run out to take care of this quickly. Please let me get to where I’m going without being attacked. OK, I’ve done my task, now please let me get home without getting attacked.”

I need to go out to buy butter, sage and celery. A pleasant walk on a lovely day to collect some items for a holiday of gratitude instead becomes a cost-benefit analysis: “If I die today because I went out, would those items have been worth it? If it’s gonna happen, shouldn’t it be for more ‘important’ things? What would those literally ‘to-die-for’ grocery items actually be?”

If I got attacked and hurt or dead when I chose to go out for celery, sage and butter, would that make me a stupid, trivial ass who deserved it?

You can see how absurd the thought process becomes when one feels threatened. This internal commentary is the antithesis of my hard-wiring, which has always been to feel at ease in the world, with an openness that attracts all kinds of people in random settings wherever I go. Which has brought me beautiful, raw, gratifying human interactions the world over. For me, these human  interactions are the stuff of life.

Life in this place, at this moment, is a challenge to the essence and core of my being. This is what violence and fear can do. And I’m one of the lucky ones so far.

Do you have your own story about things falling apart and your plans going awry (and what you did after that)- personally or in business? Have you experienced living with violence at any level (domestic, professional, geographical)? If you’d like share your story on our blog because you think it could help others and build connection, please feel free to contact Jennifer (also our Blog Editor) at jennifer.rojas@aureliuspress.com

Suicide Survivors: Interview with Chris Pinkelman of TCN Behavioral Health Services, Inc.

TCN1We recently interviewed Chris Pinkelman, Associate Director of Clinical Services at TCN Behavioral Health Services, Inc., who works with colleges and universities to help at-risk students adapt and integrate into college life.

During this conversation – part of our suicide survivors podcast series – Chris explains that there are many stressors and risk factors for young adults who are leaving home to attend university, and who also live with mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety.

Green County, Ohio, has the most colleges and universities of any county in the state. Because of pharmaceutical advances, many at-risk young adults are now able to go away to university. However, these advances translate into more students coming onto campus without a support system. For instance, Chris highlights how some students may feel a sense of shame and not take their medication. Or they may have difficulty navigating the insurance procedures in order to fill their prescriptions.

As a community behavioural health organization, it was natural for TCN to make a connection with these universities. He describes how TCN would get calls for crisis interventions – e.g., students who stopped taking medications, a death by car accident, the death of a member of a sports team at home for vacation.

TCN knew it was important to be able to talk to staff and be available to students, but the organization didn’t initially have relationships with anyone on these campuses. They needed to connect with counseling and health centers in order to begin building relationships and increasing awareness.

Chris shared that one of the keys to success in providing a support system was the health care provider getting in with the schools and working with the residence assistance programs. Students working in the Health Care Coalition were tapped for creating videos, brochures, etc.

TCN, in conjunction with college and university assistance programs and staff, along with city, county and state services, was able to create a series of recommendations that can help parents and students prepare ahead of time to facilitate integration and lower risks.

TCN, as a suicide prevention coalition, feels it can make a big difference if campus professionals and students know that there is a resource as part of residence life, and included in orientation for freshman – e.g., the kinds of warning signs that could present themselves to indicate that a fellow classmate, dorm mate or roommate might need help.

Students and parents working ahead of time can help reduce the sense of shame that can occur with mental illness and addiction. This is especially important if the community lacks an understanding of the difficulties.

To hear more about this important program, listen to the full podcast here.

If you are feeling suicidal or need help for yourself or someone you know, please consult IASP’s Suicide Prevention Resources to find a crisis center anywhere in the world. In the US, call toll-free 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a free suicide prevention service or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

Are you a survivor of suicide or a professional who works in the suicide prevention field? If you’d like share your story on our blog because you think it could help others or build connection and awareness, please feel free to contact Jennifer Rojas (our Blog Editor and General Manager) at jennifer.rojas@aureliuspress.com

Suicide Survivors: Interview with Josh Rivedal, Jack-of-Many-Trades

iampossibleprojectcoverOne of the recent interviews in our suicide survivors podcast series features Josh Rivedal – author, actor, arts entrepreneur, and global speaker on suicide prevention, mental health, and diversity.

The conversation begins with Josh discussing how people want to avoid the topic of suicide like the plague. He lost both his paternal grandfather and then his father to suicide – and no one was allowed to talk about it in the house. He discusses the sense of shame that his father had about his grandfather’s suicide and how his father took his own life on the day his divorce from Josh’s mother was to be finalized.

In turn, as with other survivors, this increased the odds of Josh considering and completing suicide. Josh feels that knowledge of the facts would have helped him avoid his own eventual suicidal crisis.

Josh describes how he used work hard to avoid his problems, which resulted in a slow slide into clinical depression. This led to him considering suicide. His mother thankfully had the courage to ask him if he was considering suicide, and encouraged and helped him to find professional help.

Josh’s recovery process led him to the decision to speak out and help others get their stories out to the public, as part of a movement to prevent and recover from suicide.

After his father’s suicide, Josh created a one-man show entitled, “Kicking My Blue Genes In the Butt,” centering on his relationship with his father.  He shares the impact that the interaction with the audience has had – not only on attendees of the show, but on himself. He now speaks between 35-40 times a year to survival groups, colleges and high schools, and juvenile detention centers.

In 2014, Josh launched The i’Mpossible Project, designed to encourage others to tell their stories.

He is also now working with venture capital firms and entrepreneurs on learning how to re-frame failure, along with his work with LOSSTeams and postvention.

Josh advises that coming out of the isolation by helping others can give purpose to one’s life. He describes the significance of each of us telling our story, and the fact that we don’t have to be a professional writer or actor to do so. Here are just a few of the projects that Josh has worked on to help reduce the stigma of suicide and help others in their healing processes:

You can listen to the interview with Josh here.

If you are feeling suicidal or need help for yourself or someone you know, please consult IASP’s Suicide Prevention Resources to find a crisis center anywhere in the world. In the US, call toll-free 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a free suicide prevention service or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

Are you a survivor of suicide or a professional who works in the suicide prevention field? If you’d like share your story on our blog because you think it could help others or build connection and awareness, please feel free to contact Jennifer Rojas (our Blog Editor and General Manager) at jennifer.rojas@aureliuspress.com

Wherever I Go, There I Am (Part 1)


Aurelius Press is all about forging connection amongst people. This connection is based on “the story” – your story, our story, your client’s story. Thus, I’d like share a bit of my personal narrative here, which will help illuminate what ultimately brought me to Aurelius Press. While the details are unique to my specific experience, it is my hope that there are elements of my tale that many of you will find familiar to your own journey.

FIVE (5) years ago, I arrived in Israel with 3 suitcases, a lap top, a cat and the wrong husband.

I had, for the previous 5 years, been fighting a long, protracted and demoralizing immigration battle to bring my husband back to the United States. Not only was it a very challenging case, but the one official in charge of reading and deciding our case let it sit for two years before arbitrarily deciding he just didn’t want to read it. Which meant another legal action on my part – just to get the person to read and decide.

Of course (in retrospect), the decision was NO. Which ultimately led to a last ditch attempt to bring my husband and me together in the same place so we could finally begin our life as a married couple – 5 years after we were married. Israel allowed us to do that. So, after about a year of planning, I gave up a 10+ year job, my home, and my entire support network of loved ones.

I flooded even more financial (I’d already gone bankrupt) and emotional resources into making my marriage work, and arrived in a foreign land, knowing only the Hebrew I’d learned in grade school. With no work lined up. No people connections. But I was gonna make this work! I was going to show “them”! I’d already poured everything into this mission of getting my husband back, one way or another, one country or another. I was going to make it happen, against all odds.  I was going for broke. For love!

Turns out, once we had the opportunity to live together for more than 2 weeks at a time on vacation in a Central or South American country, it became very clear that we were not the right people for each other. Not only “not right” – but very, very WRONG. I’ll spare you the gory details, so let’s just say it involved a heady (and now right-there-glaringly-in-my face) mix of emotional abuse and manipulation, dishonesty, unbridgeable cultural gaps, disrespect and complete loss of self-esteem. Certainly, not love. Within 6 weeks of finally coming together on the same soil, we were done. DONE. After all that…

There followed many a plea from loved ones over Skype from 5,000 miles away to “Just get on the first plane and come home… Your job will take you back… You only went there because of him, so there’s no reason to stay…” You get the picture.  My immediate, superficial reaction was that I couldn’t go back because I was just too ashamed. Horrifically mortified. After all that time and effort, people expected a happy ending. People who were so supportive (even knowing we were wrong for each other), people who helped us financially… I couldn’t face them. I couldn’t bring myself to let them down with my epic failure.

And yet, there was something else (besides embarrassment) – something deeper – that made me stay to find out what would happen. I wasn’t sure what it was at the time, but now I get it. One of my friends and former colleagues, a wise man (and sometimes a wiseguy!), Gary Monti, lovingly and repeatedly asked me the question, “Who’s the one person who’s always present at every problem you have?”

And I ultimately had to accept the notion of an old quote that Gary likes to reference:

Wherever I go, there I am.

And thus began my “hero’s journey” – alone in a foreign country with no job, no car, not knowing enough of the language, no support system, savings dwindling, a broken marriage, trampled self-esteem, and racked with shame and disappointment.

Gotta start somewhere, right?

Stay tuned for what followed…

Do you have your own story about things falling apart and your plans going awry (and what you did after that)- personally or in business? If you’d like share your story on our blog because you think it could help others and build connection, please feel free to contact Jennifer (also our Blog Editor) at jennifer.rojas@aureliuspress.com