Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Struggle with Doubt

Today I was met with an invitation to provide a copy of my resume in hopes that I might have additional access to opportunities that have shown themselves. It was during a conversation that I was overheard, by wife that I was uncomfortable with the possibility the possible jobs may involve travel. True, through my tenure, I have experienced days and weeks on the road taking their toll physically and spiritually, rendering my current selection process to those careers opportunities allowing for a local corporate/company role. Selfish? In light of the fact I was only seeking non-travel positions, yes maybe. I was thinking more of self preservation. My wife, I believe, took it as a sign of pride. Another character trait I cannot afford at this time.

I previously had written "get over it" but the months are beginning to take a toll on my marriage. I perceived (no spoken words mind you) from this situation today, my understanding and supportive wife displaying signs of doubt. Doubt is probably one of the worst infectious enemies of the soul; Doubt, a status between unbelief and , involves certainty or undistrust or lack of sureness of an alleged fact, an action, a motive, or a decision ... . Doubt, was attempting to gain access to our relationship and throwing a temporary weight that I felt today. My intent, all along, was to provide the resume but, because I stated a distaste for possible travel, I introduced a character flaw that I am not proud of.

Doubt has a brother despair. I love my wife with all my heart. I love my family, both extended and blood. No man plans for such thoughts to enter his domain but, if they do, both man and family must always remember what Cezar Chavez once said:

My love for wife and family will endure. I will regain new strength from this temporary setback and grow. God looks on those who help themselves, and too throw down the enemy of doubt and despair.

I shall endure.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Faith; Life's Ultimate Ingredient

I sit here this morning knowing that I am entering the 4th quarter as an unemployed worker. This of itself is not extremely upsetting but with the new year approaching quickly and no funds to contribute with family celebration(s) does dampen the spirit. But daily I am reminded how others have faced the economic disaster and struggles heaved onto them I can only think, 'There but for the grace of God, go I'.

A friend, laid off at the same time, has lost his home and is in the middle of divorce. It sounds bad but I know because he was an ex-marine from Desert Storm, nothing could be worse. He has his health, the love of his daughter and faith of America to move forward through to economic recovery.

Faith; belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. Daily I am supported by my inspiring wife, friends and family, that faith will get anyone through any travesty. If we give in to doubt, the stepping stone to despair, we only invite in the conclusion, failure. No one has ever succeeded in life with such an anchor. It's through faith we scale life's walls that are temporarily obscuring our view.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Who's Watching the Lenders?

So this bailout was to have helped whom? Not us. As you have read, I have been out of a job (of 36+ years) for 9 months with only 2 nibbles (I cannot believe that I could work any harder to find work). So during the 1st several months we tried numerous contacts to the known lender M. Stanley to work with us in a pro-active role in obtaining a modified loan. Since they are not part of the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac bail out, MS feels no need to assist. Basically it "sorry to hear about your crisis but it's not open for discussion" per MS contacts.

What does it take? So whose watching these lenders sit back and suck up homes that foreclose? This is utterly madness. Ultimately this will cost lenders/banking institutions thousands of dollars more should the homes go into foreclosure. Why not take a supportive role in helping households achieve and maintain the "home owner status"? This will drive new customers to them in the long run as the LENDER WHO CARES. This is a WIN/WIN situation for all.

What watch dog is out there for us? Certainly not the government under Obama. He keeps giving away our money to these pompous individuals and leaving the unemployed sinking further into despair (which by the way I refuse to sink to). Someone has to help. There is more of us then them. I have written numerous letters to my Government Representatives and President and will continue to voice my opinion and distaste for actions they have supported.

We need to watch them and when the opportunity arises, take our monies away from them and find those institutions who cater to the citizens.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Who Watches Over Your Garden?

I've noticed, over the years, changes that have occurred in the way I view myself. It has become more evident even coming from a family many viewed as the 'Nelson Family'. But as time moved from adolescence to adult it became more apparent that I, like others in the family, whether they want to admit it or recognize it, were dysfunctional in a functioning dysfunctional family.

I am not letting anything out of the bag here. There is evidence in many of the siblings lives pointing to personal choices made based on perceptions we viewed or were subjected to from our parents. Even most recently, how our mother who recently experienced a stroke that has altered her personality (this information is based on many communiqu├ęs received and read from siblings over the last 6 months). Don't get me wrong, I, as with all my siblings love our parents with our whole hearts. They gave more spiritually and emotionally then most parents of our generation but, they also displayed manners that would be questionable if analyzed closely.

Many have seen noticed the subtle changes in our father over the years where he became more open to accepting a demonstrative actions (i.e. kissing on the cheek or hugging and whispering "I love you" in his ear). Mom, on the other hand, has demonstrated complete change in behavior and perception since her stroke earlier this year. Here is what I believe she is experiencing. She is rebelling. She is irritated and confused by how she is feeling, feelings that may have been repressed by a friend/husband that meant good but in his haste to be a provider and 'fix-it man' subjected her to his learned control behavior keeping her from doing things or experiencing things she otherwise would have done without him.

I mention all this because little did we know we were all pretty dysfunctional and some made poor decisions in relationships/marriages. But through love of God, faith, laughter (at our selves) and the insight to share, we are all managing to spring new stringers (the long stems that shoot out from the major stem of a flowering plant) which ultimately can be trimmed producing new leaves and flowers if they are not already. We are the gardeners that have to look to God for his help. Like a good father, our Father (God), knows more then our father. God is the manager of the nursery and assists, not helps, us in tending to our gardens. Given the right tools He helps us in managing the problems we face and most importantly the choices we make.

How will you tend to your garden? What choices will you make? Will you ignore signs that ultimately stagnate growth or will you take time to ask for help, find tools to make your garden grow? Who is your gardener?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why the Anxiety?

I just completed my first 3-person interview. Frankly, I was expecting a firing squad of questions. It was about 7 questions. I spent 3 days studying the company profile, memorizing specific company financial statistics and the latest broadcast news. None of this information was ever asked. So why the anxiety?

I continue to receive those email alerts from "those professional job sites" about what you should focus for interviews and frankly, they were about 90 degrees off.
The interviewers asked questions about experience and how I perceive myself professionally. Let's face it, if you don't know yourself by now then, yes, study and re-study by WRITING DOWN things about your previous positions like:

What's your best working quality?
What's your least quality? and how can you improve?
What makes or does not make you a Team Leader?
What was the most challenging part of your last position?

These are questions that you have to qualify without stumbling over yourself and should already reflect many parts the resume. I was comfortable. I had good eye contact with each individual in the group and I did not fidget during the question or answering. So why the anxiety?

My son pointed out, "Dad, own the room when you walk in. Take control. You start off the conversation as soon as possible with the introduction and relaxing cross-table talk until everyone's ready, then pause, and hand it back to them"

It worked. Now it's a waiting game.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


...a formal agreement establishing an association or alliance between nations or other groups to achieve a particular aim.

I have to honor myself before others. Why? (Rhetorical). Because, that would say they are more important then me regarding my needs vs. my wants.

I have an associate friend I said I would assist to advance his state-of-the-art internet tool in an effort to get much needed revenue and reference. Remuneration only provided on the actual sale of the product. No base salary relief. That's where I (and another) come in. Problem is, I do not consider myself a salesperson. I do not have the drive to adhere to some principle of getting my foot in a door. I am comfortable with 'soft' attempts where I plant a seed but, if the receiving individual shows no signs of interest, then I'm outta' there. Maybe that's why I wasn't very good at bartering at a garage sales. You either want it or you don't or you're willing to settle for just getting rid of the product. He fortunately has paid into this product dearly and is looking for help in the advancement.

My friend wants to continue to drive me a bit but I am more focused on my career search then his product. Makes sense, right? I'll give when I can and continue to be true to myself.

The alliance is to myself for now.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Take A Chill Pill!

I received my last severance check over 2 weeks ago. It reminded me of the guy who said, " I wondered why that Frisbee kept getting bigger and bigger. Then it hit me." Sure enough the reality of no further severance pay took a chilling reality check on my brain. I immediately went into panic mode. I suggested to Marie we immediately contact our friend in real estate and get the housed listed for leasing. We jumped through hoops to ensure the house was readied for inspection in less then 72 hours. I took pictures taken to provide for the listing. We were readied to post it. Not satisfied with just our personal agents suggestion, we invited another real estate agent to provide us additional input. Now we have 2 different perspectives on what to do, what to do~!
It was again a reality check that 6 months had quickly passed and no job in sight. Since we were planning on vacating the house, we decided to invest in a laptop as we had no idea where we would end up. The chance we wouldn't have access to a desktop worried us so, off to the local store for a personal investment.
By chance, we bumped into a previous friend of mine working at another local company as CFO. After exchanging polite conversation, it turned to my unemployment. He insisted and additionally pointed out that we were not alone. Relax, stay calm were his very focused recommendations and re-review our finances more carefully to really determine if we can make it about another 60-90 days. He felt that economy was beginning to show signs it would turn in 2010. He said, "Chill for now". Then the next words came as a surprise. He said, "Give me a call next week to set up a visit. I'd like to introduce you to a couple of people".
On our way out of the store, I and Marie took a chill pill.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hope for the Best

Well the tide turned this week. Yep, I had my very first interview with a local company. The opportunity was a grand one that may have lead from temporary to employee but it just wasn't meant to be. I spent about 72 hours cramming for a myriad of possible questions that could be asked. I toiled over numerous adequate answers and ended with studying/typing out many good answers but to no avail.

I was confident I did well. The interview ended with "we'll get back to you". We all linger in the purgatory "waiting for the telephone to ring". It's an arduous waiting game and when it rang it the message was delivered well. I didn't throw my hands up in the air. I didn't fall down on the floor and stamp my feet. I didn't go upstairs and curl up in a fetal position. I understood that someone had bested me. Hey, I know it happens. To possibly believe that NO ONE is better then yourself is just plain prideful.

There is some chance that I'll lose heart but I'll keep right on looking. I've great skills and an indomitable and persevering spirit. I've dealt with other minor disappointments as some of my life's circumstances are illustrative of that but, you don't look back on interruptions. Your compass should be pointing true.

I've moved on today. Its time for me to roll back the sleeves and see what else is out there (actually I never stopped) and find some additional every other day activities to improve my skill sets.

It's all in the attitude.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Feel Really Good About Myself

Yep. I picked up the news paper this morning to read that California's Unemployment jumped yet again but it didn't matter after reading 3 other articles, that made me feel better about judgements made or decision making. Now, I admit the articles had nothing to do with unemployment or career opportunity but I felt much better about myself after reading the.

In short;

1. I have continued issue with the morons who actually believe OUTDOOR SMOKING SHOULD BE BANNED because of health and trash. Yes, smoking is bad...yaduh, yaduh, yaduh. It's published and known since the 50's - duh. It's a personal decision regarding health, stay out of smokers personal decisions PERIOD. Frankly, the non-smoker seated nearest you would have to be VERY CLOSE and privy DAILY/hourly to smoke intake. Highly improbably. Oh and by the way California has one of the highest obesity rates.
So let's focus on the other reason for the ban that really bothers me; it produces trash. This is why I believe morons supporting this and implementing the regulations need to be slapped along side the head. Every consumer product produces trash! Here is a thought-ENFORCE THE LITTER LAWS.

2. A lawyer is looking to represent a "RAPIST-MURDERER" from a 2nd attempt at a lethal injection because ( note- 1st injection was a failure. The state could not locate a vein) , are you sitting down?, CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT.
Someone get me a 2x4 so I can slap this lawyer (or for that matter any person) who would support such moronic effort. Did the rapist-murderer inflict cruel/unusual punishment to HIS victims? It isn't like we should turn a check on this one. Sorry. Shakespeare was right "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers".

3. Lastly, a CRIMINALLY INSANE KILLER escaped from a county fair. Yep, can you believe it? Let me make it more unbelievable. He was on a, gulp~!, Field Trip. Some mental-institute decision maker thought it would be a wonderful idea to take him (and others) on a field trip. I don't even know how to comment on this.

So let me conclude. I may have made some poor judgements or decisions in my past or even most recently BUT, I sure am feeling good about myself today.

BTW: if you care to leave a comment just register to the right. Really it won't kill you (you're not a lawyer :>) )

Friday, September 18, 2009

Make The Time.

Sometimes during the career search process we forget about ourselves and others that share the unfortunate predicament with us. We forget that we still have responsibility to our self, family and home.

We cannot forget that health, both spiritual and physical, still need to be maintained. That our spouse or significant-other (SO) still has to be acknowledged because its "just not about us". They are a significant contributor to our daily regime of career hunting. They help in maintaining a level-head when our self-esteem gets sidelined infrequently. We too should share how we're feeling and what we're seeing in our search for the elusive livelihood but refrain from being negative. Try, really try, to find the silver lining. I know. It's rough when that telephone just won't ring. But as Nike expressed; JUST DO IT.

Make sure you find time to share with your spouse (SO). Communicate. Lean the conversation to them. Find out how they are feeling. What can you do to help contribute to beyond what you are already doing (ie- wash the car, rake, clean the house)? Share those home activities that you may have taken for granted. I have always been part of the home nucleus house-keeping. I know that its a mundane task but, I share in every aspect from my gloved hands in toilets to on my knees manually scrubbing floors. You still live there. It's just not about you.

The intimate part is difficult because we are so mentally burden the last thing we're thinking about is intimacy. Take breaks through the week and go for a walk with your spouse (SO). Surprise them. Find that period when you know you won't be interrupted and fill the bathtub with soapy bubbles. If the budget can afford it, a glass of wine to sit back and either soak together or give them the time to "just be". Timing is everything. You don't have to answer the phone every time it rings; that's what voicemail is for. Ask a neighbor-friend if they can pick the kids up or take the kids to 'practice'. We have a responsibility to our spouses to show our intimacy which means "you may have to give" even if you're not ready. Focus on their needs. It will comeback around most assuredly.

Find time for yourself too. I just picked up my 5th Recruiter. He was confident to point out that it's only about 15-20% of them that will locate a career for you. The rest is dependent on you networking. So how do I stay physically healthy if I need to network? Meet a friend(s) for a run, bike ride or if you still have the budget, a visit to the gym.
I maintain a weekly schedule for visiting the gym and am lucky enough that some friends and anonymous have paid for my cancelled membership 3 times. I am most blessed by their actions. This has provided me the haven for keeping fit and still networking, reaching out to several friends and acquaintances that have at least asked for my resume to pass along. It seems it's not what you know (although that will be a factor) but who you know.

I didn't specifically mention the children only because ours either no longer live with us or are at college but, that does lead me to the point children still need your attention. If you have young ones, drop your adult side occasionally during the week and be a child with them. Set some time to 'play'. You'll be surprised what energy they can bring to you.

I again woke-up this week feeling assured by my faith, things are getting better. Staying intimate with with my spouse and maintaining healthy body and spirit while ensuring that I respect my own personal needs but not overlooking the needs of others is my daily mantra.

It's in the attitude.

Monday, September 14, 2009

With Some Certainty - It Too Will Pass.

When I was laid off in April, I treated every day as though I were going to work. And I did. I was in a temporary career now looking for work. I didn't want to take any time off because it was important for my self esteem and family financials, that I procure work quickly.

I had promised myself to GET OVER IT (Great Eagle's song-lyrics). As with the death of someone close, everyone in some small or large way will go through 7 stages of grief. Yep, even with the loss of a job. Although the stages may be brief, even just a thought but, all do experience some form of each of these:






Some take longer than others. Fortunately, I had closure quickly. I wanted it quickly. I wanted to put my best foot forward and show the world that I'm not steppin'-off.

The closure doesn't make the financial situation any easier. The unemployment checks cover only about 80% of the mortgage and my wife Marie works but barely enough paycheck to cover all other expenses. She is a fitness trainer and feeling the economic crunch just as much as everyone else. And believe me, we are no where near an extravagant lifestyle BUT do have a very nice home, ergo, big mortgage. I say this because the biggest and hardest part is the financial bleakness that attempts to drag you down daily. I read somewhere the # 1 argument/altercation/issues among couples, or at least in the top 3 is FINANCE.

We on the other hand don't argue about finance but some times bury our heads in our hands. We discuss and try to figure the next phase of "What if". It can drive you buggy. Marie (my wife) is unbelievable. She has a plan A,B,C all of which are excellent plans. She must be left-brain but tremendous ability to use the right-brain. She can also find the silver lining in anything. No really! I recall (but, I may be exaggerating) as we were taking the dog for a walk, I had noticed someone did not pick up after their dog. I was beside myself (btw, I think I've lost an inch in height. You notice things like that when your beside yourself). I said " I couldn't believe that someone let their dog crap in someone else's driveway and not clean it up." Well, Marie of course, calmed me down and said "But Honey, think how the dog felt." I finished the walked.

You know, I dislike the end of summer days because frankly, I am a morning person. If the sun is up at 5:30am, I'm up. But recently the sunrise has occurred around 6:30a. I just haven't been jumping out of bed with any pep as I feel like I have been putting so much emphasis on procuring the job that I have forgotten to also enjoy my wife and family. I went down stairs, made coffee, kissed my wife when she came down and told her, with certainty, someones calling this week.

I mentioned in the previous blog the phone would ring. Didn't I? Well, it did, 2 times. I returned the calls to find out that 2 companies want to speak to me.

Okay, now it's time to get get my suit readied( and my head on straight).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Persevere. Because We Can.

It was the morning of April 9, 2009. I had only arrived a short time ago to work when a Director, from another department, requested in a low voice that I attend a meeting in the conference room in 10 minutes. That same Director too walked over to the youngest tenure of my staff inviting him to same meeting. Strange, I thought, that a meeting be called on the quarter hour, on a Thursday; certainly not a SOP for our work week.

I finished an email to a customer, sat back in my chair and pondered why this Director invited us to a meeting. A dark premonition crept into my imagination that many now a days have since seen and may continue to see for a while, LAYOFF. I took a deep breathe stood up and leaned over to one of my peers and said "I think there is a layoff today but it looks like there is only 2 of us involved from our department, think good thoughts."

With that, I turned and walked to the meeting where upon I was sitting in a room with about 20 other members from various departments I normally don't interface with in regards to daily business. In walked the VP Sales who welcomed and apologized for the news he was presenting.

There are those of you who have fallen prey to the economy and the "L" word that understand what followed next. I won't go into a diatribe of how poorly it was handled, how many had no indication it was coming and that Senior individuals responsible for this financial situation were not accountable but we all know the final outcome, reduction in workforce. Yes, those that actually produced were let go. A frightful and gut-wrenching episode still occurring with regularity through the U.S. After 36+ years with a "can-do" attitude for this company, I was identified as no longer needed and dismissed. We were provided supportive information regarding unemployment benefits, Cobra etc etc. and if anyone wanted to speak further they could take their personal case offline with the VP and General Consul.

At that I stood, turned, asked for my special packet, walked to my desk but was unable to retrieve any personal contact information collected over the years on my pc. Truly a life time of info accumulated over 3 decades. The PC had been locked out. We were given the rest of the day to clean out our desks.

I mention all of this because it was at that moment while looking at the PC I knew I had to leave with my head held high and a positive attitude. Many of my peers came to me with tears, regret and am sure thoughts of "there but by the grace of God go I". I thanked them all for their years of working together, friendship and that I would continue to keep in touch.

Scary, after 36 years things have changed in the outside world. I knew, but never with the realization, that I would have to actually look for a job, when I had no job. I had at times over the years thought what it might be like with other companies and had placed my resume in several websites in hopes that someone would see what I had contributed to and offer the "job of a life time". Now I am in the throes of painstakingly reaching out at every opportunity in hopes that I can be recognized.

I strive daily to keep a positive outlook while job-hunting. I have a wife that provides support daily giving me the silver-lining I need when things just aren't going right.
The world has changed, as I said, with creation of the "30 second sell yourself" resume. Phew~! All you need to be is a great journalist in order for someone to actually notice you. Some have the knack for this task and actually, from what I gather at looking at profiles posted all over the internet, jump from company to company in order to achieve that perfect profile. I'm not sure what happened to dedication, integrity and the love of the job. I suppose the world has changed.

I am, as of today, September 13, 2009, still applying for the opportunities presenting themselves daily and know, no feel, that at any second that phone will ring.

It will ring. I will persevere.