Welcome to “Turducken Kidding Me – A Social Solopreneur’s Journey”

Hello and welcome!  Just a quick sticky post to explain what this blog is all about and why you should keep coming back to read more.  This blog has gone through many iterations, concurrent with changes in my personal and professional life, but it’s always been about me, plain and simple.  Even though posts are “me-centric,” I can just about guarantee you’ll still get something out of reading each . . . that is, if you are willing and able to take the time to do so.  You would have to be a certain kind of person to take on such a daunting task though.  Besides being an avid reader, you’d have to enjoy reading about my thoughts on “big” topics, like: philosophy, psychology, sociology,  and “smaller” topics, like: entrepreneurship, entertainment, and technology.   This blog is really a chronological account of my journey while pursuing my particular interests within each of those topics as a “social solopreneur.”

So, what’s the “Turducken” thing all about?  Most people would agree social entrepreneurship isn’t about shareholder value so much as stakeholder value, which is a polite way of saying, “It’s not about money.”  However, people might not agree on the true “currency” of social entrepreneurship.  To me, there are three currencies all wrapped in one, and since they’re all fulfilling, they act more like food than currency.  They are: 1) humanism, 2) aestheticism, and 3) utilitarianism.  They make up the “Turducken” to which the title of this blog refers.  We obviously must believe in human ability to even begin an endeavor, otherwise . . . why bother?  We follow this up with audaciousness in believing we can create an ideal order out of chaos.  And we apply a bit of practical logic and realistic hope to “seal the deal.”  Thing is, I’ve found social entrepreneurship  to be exasperatingly counterintuitive.

Why?  Well, first off, because entrepreneurs’ journeys tend to be largely solitary, and mine in particular, for one reason or another, aligns with that trend.  And second off, because social entrepreneurs, like myself, tend to “kill” themselves trying to engineer contentment for others.  It’s all very reminiscent of our individual pursuits for enlightenment; once attained, few people really want to hear about the enlightenment of others, and more important, those who are enlightened don’t really feel the need to express this fact nor the details of how they got to where they are.  And yet, the way our current system is set up, you’d be a fool not to try and “capitalize” on your achievement.  Essentially, social solopreneurship is proving a vexing, “contradictorily oxymoronic catch-22” – crazy if you do, crazy if you don’t.  I am crazy enough to keep going and this blog is meant to capture every up and down along the way.

The Four Disagreements (Part 1 of 4) – “Jim’s BIG Life of little Means”

Introduction

Welcome to the first in a series of four posts in which I will overview the reasons why I gave up a career in the US Air Force after 10 years to become a devout conscientious objector and pacifist.  I’ll do this by indirectly examining four widespread and faulty assumptions about existence as we know it, which I have deemed the “Four Disagreements,” and which I believe are driving all of the needless conflict, both violent AND nonviolent, in the world at large.  I said, “indirectly examine” because I’m going to first introduce each “Disagreement” by juxtaposing them against particular veterans I’ve met, each of who embody one of the Four Disagreements, before going on to look at each Disagreement more critically.  But ultimately, it’s what you do with the information herein that has the greatest impact on the world.  If you have any desire to minimize conflict in the world, you should read on…

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What’s My Final Disillusionment Worth to You?

INTRODUCTION

I suck at blogging.  I don’t blog so much as journal and no one wants to read someone else’s journal.  It’s not a comfortable experience for anyone, especially readers.  Essentially, despite there being nuggets of useful insight in my posts, no one wants to have to dig for them, especially not when it involves sifting through the “dirt” of my life.  Good bloggers focus on insights and the value said insights bring others, maybe citing personal experience once or twice, if at all.  You want to know upfront and in a sensationally marginalized way (intriguing titles, bulleted text, and colorful memes), why my insights should be your insights, without me saying why they became my insights in the first place.  I get it . . . in fact, I’ve always gotten that.  I just refuse to play by the “rules” because I think they’re silly and I know I’m not . . . or . . . I used to know that.

“I refuse to pander to a society that lives and dies by marginalized sensationalisms, the kind that end up on t-shirts.” — Me

Over the last few years, I’ve been “stepping out of line,” “turning tail,” and “heading against the stream” in a myriad of ways and its all due to my gradually grasping the full scope of my personal belief system.  I’ve allowed myself to continually be engulfed by the principles within my belief system, to let them shape me and guide my life choices.  The process compelled me to get out of a bad relationship, quit a very secure career, and focus on social entrepreneurship.  Lots of people are sure to find my beliefs, tactics, and choices odd, to say the least, so I figured it best to paint myself in a more romantic light than “odd.”  But now, my beliefs have forced me to face what I consider my final disillusionment and it’s leaving me feeling rather ambivalent about who I am.  In other words, I’m beginning to “go against my own grain,” “climb out of my own box,” and/or “piss in my own wind.”

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Why I’m the Most Unemployable Dude in America

INTRODUCTION

Normally, I would start out a post like this by saying, “You may have noticed I’ve been quiet for the last couple of months,” as if I had the entire internet captivated with my situation, eagerly awaiting an update.  It’s not that I actually have delusions of grandeur; I know my mother is the only person who regularly reads this blog.  Nahhhh, I’m simply practicing an age old survival tactic – “fake it ’till you make it.”  It’s that approach to life that has proven useful in countless of scenarios throughout history, from lasting marriages to justifying war.

But for purposes of this post, that mentality is vital when it comes to obtaining gainful employment, something which I have not been able to do since leaving the US Air Force in September of 2015, not for lack of trying.  I’ve applied to upwards of 100 positions at close to 75 different companies . . . to no avail.  And although writing this post is undoubtedly a self-fulfilling prophecy, I’d like to explain why I believe I’m the most unemployable dude in America.  Spoiler alert, I committed career suicide for the sake of peace when I “quit” the US Air Force, but the details are worth considering.

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What I’m Keeping in Mind this Leap Year Day

INTRODUCTION

Do you know what today could have been for me?  It could have been my last day in the US Air Force . . . that is, if I hadn’t fought to separate early.  My enlistment contract was set to expire on February 29th, 2016, but I was released on September 24th, 2015 with a “General (Under Honorable Conditions) Discharge.”  If you don’t know the story, basically, I tried to get out as a conscientious objector, but was denied by the greater Air Force.  However, with my insistence, my immediate leadership made certain I would spend the past 5 months as a civilian.  I’m taking this day to reflect on whether I made the right decision.  Am I in a better place?  Do I have any regrets?  Let’s find out.

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The First of Many “Inked for Peace” Experiences, I Hope . . .

Although the circumstances were quite personal, I recently had the opportunity to take my first international business trip.  In case you don’t know, I started a nonprofit called, “Inked for Peace” on a shoestring budget.  The organization’s very first request for a FREE peace-inspiring tattoo came from a young woman in Auckland, New Zealand named Vicky-Leigh.  I couldn’t think of a better way to show my commitment to the vibrant Inked for Peace community, and my support for Vicky-Leigh in particular, than by hopping on a plane and being there to witness her getting tattooed.

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A 23 1/2 hour journey in total, but well worth it!

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Mr. Penn, Sometimes I Wonder … (An Open Letter)

Greetings, Mr. Penn,

My name is Damian Niolet and I’m a 10 year Air Force veteran turned devout conscientious objector with views similar to your own. Needless to say, I’ve gone through dramatic changes in perspective over the last few years, but looking back even further, I sometimes wonder about alternate outcomes, where I would be now if “this” or “that” had happened. Before I get into that, let me tell you a story.

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