Star Wars

The Way Is Lit By A Firefly by Josh Trudell

Everyone needs a little career help sometimes.

What do I do about the boss who is driving me crazy? The co-worker constantly talking about minutia? The old guy who does it that way because that’s who we’ve always done it?

Well, if you’re Forbes, you listen to Han Solo.

This was a funny little piece, although logistically flawed to anyone who has spent quality time in the Star Wars universe – Han shooting Greedo was a footnote to the saga, not the reason the war started.

It's good career advice, though, at a time when I've felt the need for some. I’ve been going through a grind the last few weeks – between work, freelancing and school assignments, I’ve been trying to keep my head down and push through the pile.

It’s difficult to keep the inspiration light going when it seems the pile never ends. However, there are some words of wisdom to be had from one of the best characters ever to wear a pretty flowered bonnet on television.

I’m speaking, of course, of Captain Malcolm Reynolds of the starship "Firefly*. Capt. Reynolds and Capt. Solo have a passing character resemblance, but Reynolds is Solo without the Rebel Alliance – a smuggler just trying to get by.

While I'm not planning on starting an interstellar smuggling career (not from lack of trying), Captain Mal had many words of wisdom during the show’s short run. Here are a few particularly inspiring passages.

“I start fightin’ a war, I guarantee you’ll see something new.”

From the 2005 movie “Serenity” (a follow-up movie to the TV series), this always strikes me when I think of people who have been laid off and are forced to come up with a new plan. A character is questioning what side of him he is showing her. It always impresses me when people fight back from bad spots and find a new and even better place.

“We are just too pretty for God to let us die. Look at this chiseled jaw!”

In the middle of a firefight in the first episode of Firefly, Mal keeps his head and sense of humor. It’s a funny moment, but a good example of people keeping calm under pressure. That kind of light moment can do a lot to improve a working environment.

“You don't know me, son, so let me explain this to you once. If I ever kill you, you'll be awake, you'll be facing me, and you'll be armed.”

Here, Mal is talking to one of his passengers, a city-raised doctor who is somewhat terrified of the rough-and-ready Reynolds. Finding a workplace where people are treated fairly – even if they are being laid off – is something to treasure. It can also describe the difference between a good workplace and one poisoned by office gossip.

“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.” This is something I keep in mind every time I get tired of juggling multiple projects and want to go veg out in front of the tv. This battle to get a new business off the ground, take classes, pick up freelance work and deal with the vagaries of a full-time job will be worth it.

It will. Why? Because you can’t stop the signal.**

*Firefly was a television show that was on Fox for less time that it takes to read this sentence. Go find the DVDs and watch them. Now.

**”Can’t Stop the Signal” was the battlecry of an army of Firefly fans, called Browncoats, who successfully petitioned Universal for the movie “Serenity” after “Firefly” was canceled.