Please Don’t Do Any of These!

Last Saturday I was at a local convienence store and a van pulled in next to me. There was a young woman driving and in the back seat there was a young girl about 3 or 4 years old in a car seat. The woman left the car running and the little girl in the seat. As soon as she entered the store the girl unbuckled herself and climbed into the front seat. I looked on in amazement. This was a disaster waiting to happen. What would have happened if the little girl would have tried to imitate mommy and pulled the shift lever down into reverse. Since the gas pumps were right in back less than 25 feet away the car would have crashed into the pumps and God only knows what tragedy would have occured. When the woman came out, I started to say something but my wife stopped me. She said she knew her and realized that nothing either of us could have said would have made a difference.
Why do people do that?

I live in the country on a state highway that is very busy during both AM and PM commutes. My house is right at the end of a long straightaway. A few weeks ago during dinner a motorcyclist crashed into the ditch right in front of our house. His bike went into the road and he landed in our yard on his back. I did not see it but I heard reving, scraping and crashing noises. Noone could really figure out what happened but speeding definately was involved. His dad and son came a few days after to survey the scene. He said that his son will propably live but has lost a lung and has other serious injuries.
This was just the most recent accident in the area of many over the last few years. Most could be avoided just by slowing down to near the speed limit.
Why do people do that?

It used to be that if you saw a car weaving back and forth drugs or drinking was probably the cause. Not any more. Now it is texting! Almost daily I see people on the phone while they change speeds, weave back and forth,turn without looking or using signals. Woe to the person that tries to point out this behave to the offender. I have even seen a driver pass a stopped school bus while on the phone. All these situations are just a tragedy waiting to happen. Many times careful and alert drivers have to take steps to avoid these people. AND THEY ARE NOT ALL YOUNG PEOPLE!
Why do people do these things?

Driving is a privilige. Yes we all get distracted but to do it regularly especially when it breaks the law and think nothing of it.
Why do people do that?
Why do they put themselves, their loved ones and others in danger just for their wants and desires?

Please don’t do these things and tell your loved ones to be careful also

Have a great (and SAFE) day

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Saying Goodbye to a Great Friend

Tonight I said goodbye to a dear friend.
I met Ed Lakata in 1985 while attending FMCC in Johnstown NY. We were in all the engineering, science and math courses together.
What a character he was.!! In school he was brilliant, such a great student and always willing to help others. Outside of class he was an accomplished musician playing the guitar and several other stringed instruments along with the piano. Ed has always played in a band and was one of the most entertaining people I have ever met. He loved to laugh and make others do the same thing. Ed always made me feel better just being around him. He went on to become not only an engineer but helped others as teacher.
Over the years there where so many great memories with Ed. We went on road trips to check out universities to transfer and had many group drive-in movie parties. I fondly remember a trip to Six Flags that over 20 of us went to. So much fun! I met my wife at a party Ed hosted at his parent’s house back in 1987. The following year we got married and Ed was my best man. He hosted the best ever bachelor party for me, what a great time! When it came time for the big day, Ed played piano while his lovely wife Cindy sang “We’ve Only Just Begun”.

Ed loved to be the jokester and had his own Pee Wee Herman doll. To break the tension and help distract her while Cindy was in labor, Ed pulled out Pee Wee and started his ‘Schtick’. It didn’t have the desired result but that was Ed, always on the go, always making light of the situation. So many loved him for the person he was.

Ed always made me feel important. Over the years with family, jobs and life in general we weren’t as close as before but when I would see him he would not just say,”Hi Don” but ” Hey Don Young, How are you?” If there was anyone else around he would let them know he was the best man at my wedding even after 20 years or more. I had such a high opinion of Ed. I saw him as 1/3 Einstein, 1/3 Eric Clapton and 1/3 Pee Wee Herman. He was truly one of a kind! I know he is going to be jammin’ with Hendrix, Elvis and all the others.

Edward Lakata…. I’m gonna miss you!

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Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and 1000 pieces of ‘advice’ for your Job Search

With that title what would you expect this post to deal with? Hidden, secret tips on how to best find a job in today’s ‘testy’ market? How to use the major social media to find your dream job?

Well not really.. but kinda sorta..

How is that for being vague? Well that is my point….kinda..

I use Linkedin daily to network, look for jobs and update my skills. There is a lot of information there. Most of it is valid and useful but some of it is just plain outdated, does not apply and even downright harmful for your career. I see people complain about their inability to find work yet they do not follow even the most tried and true things shared to help them. They treat Linkedin like Facebook. Now don’t get me wrong, Facebook could be useful to find a job but only if used in a professional manner. Me? I am one of the few that does not have a Facebook account. Maybe someday but right now I am focusing on other things.

I do have a Twitter account. I’m not there daily and I don’t have many followers but I try and keep up with things. I mostly use it for networking, job search and online learning. If you wish to check it out @donyoung48. I am still learning how best to use twitter in my job search.

Any tips?

The last topic I want to cover is dealing with repeated rejection. Nobody enjoys being told no. I know that I don’t. But on a daily basis I get that response. Sometimes it is direct as in a rejection letter. Other times it is a case of them just never telling you either yes or no. Recently I interviewed for a local position. After serveral follow-ups, I spoke to the VP on the phone. It was a Friday and he told me he was speaking to the owner that PM and that they would be contacting me soon. Well I had a hopeful weekend but Monday I received a rejection letter in the mail. Oh Well..:-( Yes I was disappointed but looking at it carefully I saw it was dated on the previous Thursday. If they already decided when I called, why didn’t he tell me. I guess that’s how some people are.

Well I am back to interviewing and have two coming up. I have to prep and give them my best.

I also wish you the best inyour job search. Hang in there and you can do it.

Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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What Did I Do Wrong?, What is Wrong with Me? and other things we ask ourselves.

When things don’t go as expected do you ever ask yourself, ” What did I do wrong?”  or”What is wrong with me?”

I DO!

I have been in the job search for over 8 months now. I have read dozens of articles on how to improve your resume, cover letter, thank you letter, etc. I have done the same with how to interview on the phone, in person, in front of groups, etc…. I belong to many groups on LinkedIn in both my field and job search groups. I have asked many questions many times and took a book full of notes. I have done my best to put into practice everything I have learned. Along the way I have found out that much of the advice is contradictory or at the very least does not apply to my situation. So I try to customize everything and go with what seems to work the best for me.

I work with several recruiters from many of the staffing firms and some independent ones. Along the way I have had some good interviews but nothing to write home about (or even blog about). But last month something happened to me that I just have to share and get off my chest. I was contacted by a recruiter for a position that I didn’t see posted during my daily searches. That’s okay because I know that they have access to jobs that aren’t posted which is a good thing for us job seekers. When he sent me the job description to review, I thought I wasn’t really qualified for it but I figured maybe he saw something that I didn’t so I told him to go ahead and submit me for it.

Well  the next day he called and said they wanted a phone interview. Cool! Now it was with a huge multi-national corporation which shall remain nameless here except to say that they got their start in upstate New York and still have a huge presence here. I had the interview which took about 25 minutes and I thought it went well. When I got a call back from the recruiter 2 hours later, he wanted a little more information. Then later that afternoon he called again and said they wanted me. Cool again! They want to have me come in for an interview.

NO!   They want to hire me and start ASAP! With just a phone interview? Are you serious?

Well after the shock wore off I started all the paperwork, forms, checks and tests that are needed to start job nowadays. All this took a little more than a week which was no big deal. I had a  contracting job making more money per hour than ever and a good chance to go permanent after 12 months. My money worries were soon to be over.

OR SO I THOUGHT!

Well it started okay but went down hill very quickly. It was a supervisor’s position managing craft employees. There was a lot to learn and I thought all was going well. After a 1 1/2 weeks I was called out of a meeting and told I was being terminated but no reason why. He said he couldn’t discuss it due to liability reasons and told me to call my contracting company. After making the call I still did not know why I was being fired. A few minutes after that I was escorted off the property and started the long ride home.

What do I tell my wife? I had let everyone know that I was finally working and now….. Shock, anger, frustration, disbelief and lots of other things bounced around my head on the 53 miles drive back. My wife wasn’t home so I went to speak with my pastor who helped be a lot just by letting me vent. It was a busy day for him (Good Friday) so i then went home and had a very difficult talk with my wife.

Well ever since then many things have been going through my mind. I was trying to do the right thing and it backfired big time. Did I do or say something wrong? Nope. No one said it was me, my skill set or my behavior. Maybe I just didn’t fit in. Whatever the reason , the result is I am still out of work and the federal government just took 10.7% away from my benefits because they can’t come to a budget deal.

So what is wrong with me? Why won’t anyone see what I have to offer and give me a real chance. I have to think that there is nothing wrong with me. The right opportunity just hasn’t come along yet. I hope it does soon because although God has given me lots of patience in my life it is the money that I am running low on very quickly. In the mean time I will keep doing what I believe is the best way to find that elusive job.

Thanks for listening and………….

Have an great day!

Posted in General, Job Search, Just rambling on, and on..., Self Improvement, Venting | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Staying Positive and Dealing with Stress during your Job Search

I have seen this topic on several online discussion groups I belong to so I thought I would take a few minutes and add my two cents.

Staying positive during any stressful time in life is difficult. There are so many stressful aspects of being out of work. Not having enough money is probably at the top of the list. Many people live paycheck to paycheck so when the paychecks stop, there are a lot of expenses that just go unpaid. There is just so much you can do to cut back. Living a spartan lifestyle while working and then losing that job is something that is hard to deal with. Unemployment benefits are usually only 1/2 of a worker’s regular income up to a maximum that differs state by state. One problem with collecting those benefits is that if you pick up anything on the side it has to be reported. This negates the added income so it ends up being a waste of time. This discourages people from even looking for anything unless the pay makes it truly worthwhile.

Another thing stressful about being out of work is the strain it puts on family members. The do without the smallest of extras that are usually no big deal. I know my wife tries to all she can to make up the difference so she works extra hours at her 2nd job.  It bothers me that she has to work this hard and I feel like I am contributing nothing.

This leads to my last area and probably the hardest to deal with. Many people, especially men have a much lower self-worth when they are out of work. If you define yourself by the work that you do then this is especially problematic. I know myself that I am prone to a pity party of one if I am not careful.

So what do you do about it? Well I read about the usual stuff and sometimes feel that little of it applies to me. So I have learned to find what works for me and then develop the discipline to do it regularly.

Make time to do what you enjoy everyday. Regardless what people say, there isn’t enough things to do during a job search that it takes up all your day. Once you get organized the job search takes from 1-5 hours daily. So take some time to go for a walk. I live out in the country with woods in back of my house. A walk up the trail is fresh air, good exercise, peaceful and very relaxing. It clears my head, helps me to think and I can enjoy the beauty of nature regardless of the season. Doesn’t get any better than that.

Listening to music or watching a good movie is  priceless. My favorites are classic rock, older country with some jazzy soul for good measure. My movies are comedies and action films. Can anyone be sad, mad or bad when they are laughing?

I have found that it is a bad thing to isolate yourself when unemployed. Seek out friends and family and do the things that you normally would. Life doesn’t have to change just because you lost your job.

Listen to or watch positive, inspiring and motivational people. Some of my favorites are Zig Ziglar, Les Brown and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Their time-honored wisdom and enthusiasm really is catchy. Remember what Zig said,
“People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Helping people. It takes your mind off you and your troubles when you do something for others. A wise man once said,” Service to others is the rent we pay for taking up space here on earth. Let us NEVER fall behind on our rent”.

These are just a few suggestions. Find what works for you and stick with it. Being unemployed  is just temporary.  Don’t let it define you. Let how you handle it define you.

Have a great day

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What am I Thankful For? How about you?

I am glad it will be Thanksgiving in just a few days. Things have been rough lately and I need a reminder that there is much that I should be thankful for. It isn’t easy for someone to stay in a positive, optimistic mood when things don’t go their way. Chronic pain, family members in failing health, job loss, teenagers and so much more, pile on the stress and make it difficult to be thankful what you do have.

How about you? Do you feel that way sometimes too? Does it happen too often for your own good? Well maybe a ‘I’m thankful for’ list from yours truly will help get you going in the right direction.

I’m thankful for family. That seems to be an easy one but still important. I’m thankful for my wife who works too many hours at both jobs to help make ends meet. She always seems to be there for me no matter what.

My children,  all who have either graduated from, currently attending or will go to college. In our house it wasn’t “Are you going to college?” but ” Which college are you going to?” Very grateful that they are successful, well-adjusted and healthy for the most part. That’s all a parent could ask for.

I am thankful for my faith. Many times it isn’t as strong as it should be but that is my fault. But I have had so many ‘near misses’ in my life that you could never convince me that there is no supreme being watching over me. It is great to know that there is always someone who listens and will help me when I need it, although many times it seems like there is a big difference between what I think I need and what I really need.

I am thankful for the lessons that I have learned in life. Most of them have been the hard way. The  more I think about it, the more I realize that is the best way. Hard lessons learned are not soon forgotten. Also the ability to laugh and make others laugh. After all, you can’t be mad, sad, or bad if you are laughing now can you?

My parents taught me a lot that I am thankful for.  My dad, who passed away 4 years ago next week, taught me a love of outdoors in hunting and fishing which I have passed on to my sons. He also had 2 rules, Don’t lie to me! and Don’t steal! I have also passed them onto my sons. I know that if you wake up my youngest, who is 17, out of a sound sleep and ask him right away what is the worst thing he could do and his answer would be,” Lie to my dad”. Darn good kid!

I am also thankful for the opportunities I have been given. I have worked with many fine people over my life and had several distinct careers. Not too many people can say they worked as nurses, teachers and technicians among other positions. I wouldn’t have given up that variety in my career for all the stability in the world. The experiences have been priceless.

I am also thankful for the bad things. Why? Well some people can’t feel the pain that I complain about. Some people don’t have families that love them even with all they annoyances that come with them. Some people don’t have the education and skills to keep looking for and obtaining employment.  And others are out of work for so long that they give up.

Yes there is so much to be thankful for this holiday season. Just being able to write this blog and share it with others is such a good thing. All my opportunities to help others in whatever way I can is so precious to me. Hopefully reading this will cause a few of you to reflect and remember what you are thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to all …………..and

Have a great day!

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Veteran’s Day; Not Just a Memorial but a Call to Action!

On November 11, 1918, the war to end all wars ended. But sadly WW I did not end all wars, if anything it thrust the United States onto the world stage. Since then we have had several wars both declared and undeclared.

Veteran’s Day has been celebrated for the last 94 years. For the last generation or so the ‘official’ holiday has been the 2nd monday in november. This gives many people and most school children a  3 day weekend. Several holidays are changed to the same thing. Also for the last several years each of these holidays have been for known by special sales for most merchants. Now many businesses need all the help they can get but I feel that the true meaning of these holidays are missed by many people.

Returning vets from WW II were welcomed home and celebrated. They were looked at as heroes and they started the baby boomer generation of which I am part of. Since then the returning vets have had mixed reaction depending on the conflict they served in. As a school child during the Vietnam War, I remember little except for the weekly death toll in the local paper and the current events time in social studies. My cousin served in the Marines over there but when he came back he wasn’t the same person, never received the help that he needed and ended up living a hard but relatively short life.

So my question to everyone is;

Are we doing all we should to help our veterans and their families? The answer is a resounding, NO! The VA centers are overworked and poorly funded and under staffed. Many are not receiving the medical, psychological and emotional care and counselling that they need. Returning vets have an unemployment rate of over 25% in some areas. But what can be done about it?

Well today’s government leaders seem to be short on putting their money where their mouth is. Back in the day, most leaders were veterans themselves. From Herbert Hoover to George H.W. Bush all presidents served in some capacity, most in WWI or WWII. Since then, none have. How can you command a military you have never been a part of?

We still have millions of veterans from WWII to the first Gulf War. Do we think about them other than on Veteran’s Day? If you are a veteran from 1942-1991, God bless you.  Your countless contributions to our society has helped made this country and its people great. May you get the help and support that you and your family needs. If you know a vet, give them a call whether it is just to chat or to help them out in some way.

Our latest veterans have fared better on some fronts and worse on others as compared to previous generations. If you are one of those, again may God Bless you. Please ask for help if you need it whether it be benefits, care or a job that you are entitled to or just someone to talk to. Keep squawking until people listen. If you are a family member of a current service member please know that you are not alone. It is of course true that family members do not have the same trial and risks as the service members but the suffer nevertheless.  Spouses raise their families alone usually on less money. House and car repairs and other troubles come up, they are on their own. Children wonder how long will it take for daddy or mommy to come home. And mom and dad constantly worry that their son or daughter will not return all and if they do come back, what kinds of terrible hurts will they have on the inside and out that may never heal?

Thanking a vet for their service is great but much more is needed. Whether it be financial, educational, emotional or any other way, our veterans and their families need and deserve our help. Shouldn’t we do all we can to make sure they get it?

If we do, then all of us will surely…….

HAVE A GREAT DAY!

 

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