Fogarassy arrived in New York with a useless but satisfying Comparative Literature degree from Indiana University. She landed her first job in a Park Avenue office based on her slim background. Midwestern common sense was a rarity in New York, she learned.
Her first job in the field of her choice was editing arts materials at Scholastic Magazines. The cut in pay from secretarial work was an eye opener. So was the assignment.
College courses called for a minimum of 5,000 words on an essay about the symbolism of color in a Tolstoy novel. A Scholastic column of text had to be distilled down to no more than 1.200 words on the entire history of art. The challenging transition cam to pay off many years later when the Information Highway revolutionized communication perhaps more significantly than had the Gutenberg Bible back in ca. 1450.
Fogarassy scaled the transition from early Scholastic days to the present Social media age by chasing the art of experience as an engine forboth personal and professional growth. She wrote, submitted and learned to absorb rejection. Rewarding work in the pragmatic world was an integral part of that learning curve.
Early in her career, she formed the On Paper cooperative with a group of like-minded artists in a variety of fields who undertook office work and met contract obligations by substituting seamlessly when one member was called away for a singing or acting opportunity. The arrangement worked well enough to land Fogarassy an opportune long-term engagement.
Robert Gersin Industrial Design provided an opportunity to learn the craft of writing project proposals from product placement ideas to packaging and point of sale presentation. A useful by-product of that experience was a lesson in just how difficult could be the most successful of New York’s business titans
The training in difficult personalities came in handy when Fogarassy became personal assistant to eminent child psychiatrist Margaret Mahler A common understanding of the complex Hungarian temperament enabled then to work together when others had failed to satisfy the world-renowned authority accustomed to deference. Their work on Mahler’s papers was punctuated with long periods of satisfying silence followed by gens of wisdom. “You know,” Mahler might say, “we all have defenses but some defenses are more attractive than others.”.
Work for the Trump Organization in the mid-1980’s was a lesson in business devoid of human touches. The Trump Tower was in its infancy when Fogarassy was hired to organize files still stored in cardboard boxes, The rudiments of the Trump empire were still forming..
The 26th floor of the Trump Tower revolved around the central office with strategically placed mirrors affording a view of all that transpired. The new filing cabinets with wobbly handles were opposite the main office and the work was frustrating.. Projects mushroomed and disappeared before they could be catalogued and the environment was unsettling.
The bad breath of stress pervaded as executives scuttled past, caught in the limbo between relief and impending doom. An unannounced pink slip had been dodged that morning but the next inevitability could be just one morning away. The gloom of downcast eyes belied the antiseptic glitz, roused to high alert when bellows rang out from the central office.
Once her first novel was published, Fogarassy began her long association as an independent contractor with two gigantic bureaucracies,. One was the US government through the Census Bureau and the other was the United Nations in numerous capacities.
The UN assignment came to her through a contact who saw her struggle with the US bureaucracy. “Hey, if you can handle the US, surely you can deal with the UN.”
No doubt about it, bureaucracies are cumbersome, particularly the largest ones like those of the US and UN. But in a democratic system where elected officials come and go, the career state employees provide the solid foundation for stability, continuity and institutional memory.
The US Census Bureau is Constitutionally mandated to count the US population every ten years. The Bureau relies on a workforce available for short-term work. Training and managing hundreds of thousands of temporary workers for the one-year period of counting people calls for a vast centralized system working year round to evaluate and distribute data while adapting to the changes impacting on the next count.
Over thirty years, Fogarassy worked with the Census as a door-to-door enumerator, a crew leader and an advocate. The simular challenges of working with such a bureaucracy have paid off in deve;oping the patien problem-solving required for dealing with a tech-united global world in transition.
The United Nations is the ultimate mechanism to manage a transition from the present to a global world. Unfortunately, its efficacy is undercut by mistrust and a bureaucracy that traps it to its founding 80 years ago.
.The UN was set up after the Second World War to prevent another such disastrous conflict. Championed by the US and backed by the victors of the War, it has remained a prisoner to the national priorities of the victorious five, the US, UK, France, Russia and China. That monopoly on power has stymied a rapidly changing world now numbering near-200 countries., many of them emerging economies due to UN Funds, Programmes, Agencies and Organization that receive little recognition in the current global world.
Within that complex structure that touches on every aspect of the global world from economic development to refugee relocation due to climate change resulting from industrialization, Fogarassy has served as a Press Officer , Organizer and writer at UN Headquarter in New York. Her fields of specialty centered on Human Rights and Internation Law.
Overseas, Fogarassy served in Somalia as Editor-in-Chief of a Weekly newsletter distributed around the worl to promote the formation of a government for the country that had fallen into anarchy. While that goal remains to be achieved some 30 years later, the road signs to success have been set out and need only to be actuated. .
Hard as it is to accept in a fast-paced technological world where everything is expected to happen with the push of a button, human endeavors are fraught with complications that can take decades and even centuries to resolve. An example is the case of case of Frank Wetzel who came to Fogarassy’s attention 30 years ago and is still on-going despite the fact that the victim died nearly 20 years ago.
Frank Wetzel wss a New Yorker with a shady past stemming from the Great Depression who got caught in a North Carolina intrigue involving the shooting death of two State Troopers. He was sentenced to life imprisonment despite overwhelming evidence that he was convicted by the emerging media of the 1950’s even before his arrest. He died in prison but interest in the circumstances of his case continues.
Fogarassy’s eclectic interests in the experience of life have ranged from enthusiastic Jury Duty service to Election campaigning. Among others, she served for a year and a half on a Grand Jury and delivered Soapbox Speeches for the 1992 Clinton presidential run. In that connection, she also worked for the International Democratic Committee and introduced UN associates to the joyous clamor of a US presidential convention.
Other civically oriented projects included promotional work for the New York Long Island Pine Barrens environmental organization, a citizens response to a Mayoral call by David Dinkins and a campaign to promote women’ participation in the male-dominated Manhattan shoe repair trade until the trade itself became all but obsolete.
On the entertainment. leisure and broadening of experience side, Fogarassy co-wrote screenplays, scripted a travelogue on China. wrote educational articles, calendar copy and fashion reviews in addition to self-help tips and guides on safety and design.
In a nutshell, Fogarassy’s broad experience in communication about life comes down to key guiding factors. The basic one is the intention to do good, to improve a challenging situation based on existing criteria. The second is developing the patience needed for a long-range perspective.
Ideas and projects are vital but selling them is equally important and much more demanding. Coercion, fraud and deception may work short-term, but enduring impact comes only through the painstaking, stunning insight exposed when humans interact.