INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Friday, July 26, 2002

Pro-Bono?

Boy, I'm in for it now! I've taken on my wife as a client. No fee,of course--just the hope of helping her generate some much-needed loot into the family coffers. Nothing much is happening at my end of the table anymore, so its pro-bono time for Old Dad. I guess you can't call it pro-bono, though, if it's on behalf of your spouse.

Anyway, our overly tech-centered economy in these parts just keeps on taking a severe ass-kicking. About a fourth of Jill''s clients have lost their jobs, and many of them have had to put their therapy on hold.

The other problem is that Jill is so friggin' competent that her clients get better and don't need to see her anymore. I guess that's the Catch-22 of solution-oriented family and marriage counseling--as opposed to the old-fashioned analysis model where it just goes on and on and never ends.

So, my enterprising wife is putting together a six-session workshop on effective parenting and taking it to market. Good for her! She knows her shit and is a dynamite presenter.

Trouble is, as I looked over her shoulder at the brochure she was putting together, I noticed that she had selected "Effective Parenting" as a title. That's when the light bulb went off in my head.

"You need a consultant," I proclaimed. "You can't call it that! Would you be interested in a workshop on time management that was called "Time Management?"

"No. I see your point."

With that, my latest client was on board--at an unbeatable price. We sat down and did a lengthy clearing process to help her arrive at a suitable title--something that does what any effective title has to do--speak to the primary underlying concern of the target audience, and suggest that what you're offering provides a solution.

"Parents of young children all think that they're not good enough, that they don't know enough, and that they're too stressed out. And they're terrified that their kids won't turn out right because they, the parents, fucked up." Jill observed.

So, after talking--and sometimes shouting--it through, we agreed on the following: "How Imperfect Parents Raise Self-Reliant Kids: Practical Steps For Meeting the Challenge and Managing the Stress." I earned a kiss for my efforts. Money ain't everything!

I must say, it was exilerating to be able to have an uncensored exchange with "the client." What a thrill to be able to tell your client, "you're full of shit!" and "shut the fuck up and let me think."

I know this workshop is going to be dynamite! Parents of young children these days seem to be more anxious and guilt-ridden than ever--far more than when our kids were little. These folks need help, and Jill's just the ticket. I hope I can do her justice in getting a vigorous exposure.

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