Wednesday, February 29, 2012

One Application

During this career search that I am on, I have contacted a number of companies who were advertising positions that I thought looked attractive.  One area that could use improvement in this process is the application.  Some require you to print out their application, fill it in with ink, and mail it in.  Yes, you guessed it.  That was a government posting.  Others require that you set up a profile before applying.  Others request an email with your resume.  This is crazy.  I would like to see one, simply application used by every place of employment.  One and done.  I have all the information and could fill out an application once for everyone in the comfort of my own home.  Then I could attach it to an email or upload it to a company site.  The issue here is how silly it is to apply again and again in formate after formate when it is all pretty much the same information.  I hope to see this one day.  Employers, I hope that you demand it once I have created it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Listener's Audio Bible Devotional podcast review

The Listener's Audio Bible Devotional is a wonderful little podcast.  In your browser, you can find it here.  It is also free within the Stitcher app for your iPod Touch.  The narrator is Max McLean.  I don't know much about him but he has a rich, deep voice.  His heart seems to be into this as I never detect sarcasm, mockery, or scoffing.  Max will set up the daily Bible reading with a few comments and then he reads the verses for the day.  I find it amazing how refreshing hearing the Bible is.  The Word can stand on its own.  So often, we listen to teachers and pastors telling us what the Bible says, and that is good, but hearing the Word of God is powerful in and of itself.  This program is about a minute in length.  Max always ends his podcast with "Listen to the Bible.  It is great for the soul."  I would highly recommend adding this podcast to your rotation.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Land Dreams

For a long time I have wanted a lot of land.  Currently, I have a house on a little more than an acre which I am glad for and enjoy working.  However, man always seems to want more.  Here are a few of my land dreams.

Odd parcels.  I like odd pieces of property.  Whenever I see land unused close to a highway or a triangle of land where two roads meet, my imagination begins to fire.  I tell myself that if I had that property I would take down the old building or sign and plant trees.  Or I would place a garage on it.  Or I would erect a small, tasteful sign.  Something that would benefit others and make it more attractive for those driving by.

Five to twenty acres.  I would like to have slightly more acreage than I have now.  We can not hunt here and we can not raise animals.  I would like to build trails, plant trees, and add an out building.  This sort of work is very enjoyable for me and it is a very doable goal.

Huge wildlife preserve.  My ultimate goal is to have a vast track of land that I would turn into my own nature preserve.  I would keep it natural, bring in wildlife, dig ponds, and manage it for what it is without the aim of ever selling it for development.  I would make trails and camping areas so that people could come in to enjoy and study creation.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

Overly focused on costs

In the book "The One Minute Entrepreneur" by Ken Blanchard, there is an important concept that apply's to business but also to personal finance.  "If you focus only on managing costs, your business will never grow."  I think I have been guilty of being overly focused on costs.  It has been explained this way.  Family finances are divided by offense (generating and raising income) and defense (cutting costs).  By only thinking about trimming, cutting, and doing without, it results in a scarcity mentality.  As if what we have is all that we will have so eliminate all unnecessary things for survival and just work to make it.  It is much better to think about better ways to serve, opening a business, and being a great employee because that is focusing on growth and increasing revenue.  For some reason, I have been trained to think of what something costs and making my judgement there.  I instead need to think about possibilities and how things can be done and accomplished.  I need to make things happen.  It is a balance of fear verses faith.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spend money to save money - part 10

I enjoy spending money like most people do but I also like to see how far my money can go.  This next entry is more spending time to save money.  Go down to your local public library and sign up for a library card.  This card will allow you to take home books, magazines, and movies.  The number on the back of the card is your personal number and will allow you special access to sites like Reference USA.  Computer access is also free at the library.  Signing up for a card does not have a cost, however if you are late with returning items there can be a small fine.  By renting your reading and viewing material first, you can decide if it is worth spending money on to buy it for your home library.  Personally, I am not collecting books or DVDs like I once was.  These items often end up on a shelf never to be used again.  I am getting to be more content with reading or watching once and bringing it back.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Success and Solutions

At a career class I am taking, we were encouraged to come up with a tagline.  It is to be something that describes us and makes us unique.  It is suppose to give people something to think of when they think of us.  We are not suppose to leave it to others to form their opinions of us.  We are suppose to be like a marketer.  My tagline is Success and Solutions.  I like the sound of it, it is clean and neat, and I think it describes me.  I like answers, achievement, and progress.  I like to give a positive route someone can take to get them to where they need to be.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

LinkedIn Adviser

In the last few months I have learned quite a bit about the professional social media site LinkedIn.  It has been fun setting mine up, tweaking it, and improving.  I am now at 100% complete.  I have also been able to work with a few people in getting their profiles closer to what they need to be.  If you need help, assistance, or ideas with your LinkedIn profile, please contact me.  I would be glad to eyeball it and tell you my impressions.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Love Language

In the book by Dr. Gary Chapman called The 5 Love Languages he discusses the five ways people give and receive love.  The five are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.  I think my love language is quality time.  Being there does not have to be complicated.  It can just be being in the same room while reading or watching a program.  It can also mean accompanying me on a short trip to the store or to some place new.

In my last job, I found out very near the end of the hiring process that the position was going to be salary, not hourly.  When I hear salary, I understand it to be flexibility.  That is, when the work is done you can go on your way.  However, salary in the business world often time means putting in more than 40 hours a week just to show your devotion.  Personally, I think that is ridiculous.  So this last job was making more and more demands on my time.  It was recommended that I work in the evenings and Saturdays.  I had to go away a couple of times for training.  Though I appreciated the chance to see new places, the training was often not new and not impressive.  It took me away from home.  I like to be at home with my spouse as it is a way I express my love.  So this last job was not a fit with my love language.  It is my goal to find a position that pays full-time salary for part-time hours.  I really believe that is doable.  What I want really is flexibility and to be treated like the adult that I am.

I think I also express my love by acts of service.  I like to pitch in and do my part.  I like to have things arranged and completed so that no additional work is needed.

As far as receiving love, I think that quality time and acts of services are the ways I know someone cares for me.  It is really special when my wife puts something together in the crock pot for me to enjoy at dinner when she is away.

I also see myself giving and receiving love through the other love languages but I think I primarily give and receive love through quality time and acts of service.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I want to fly to new heights

In this time of career exploration and re-evaluation, I have come to several conclusions.  I would rather go home to be with the Lord than to simply go through my life putting in time doing work with no meaning or purpose.  I have done the traditional job, punching in and punching out, doing as I was instructed, and getting my paycheck every other Friday.  I have done that ad nauseum.  If that is all I am here for, if that is all I have to look forward to, than I would rather it was just over now.  It has been nice but what a drag to go on like that.  I want to grow, learn, build, and become something special.  I want to have control, flexibility, and some say over the work that I do.  I don't think that is too much to ask.  There seems to be something inside me that wants to come out and fly to new heights.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Term limits for teachers

One thing that I would like to see happen in our public schools is giving teachers a limited number of years that he or she can teach.  I think 3, 4, or 5 years as a teacher is enough.  To keep things fresh and bring in new perspectives, I think there should be an on going rotation of teachers.  Many people can teach and many have something to offer.  However, not everyone wants a career for life as a teacher.  Term limits would also force out those who are not at the standard that they should be.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

HP Tablet

This week, a new friend had the HP Touchpad with him.  I asked him if it was the iPad and he said that it was the tablet that HP had discontinued.  He snapped one up for under $200.  I was impressed.  The size was perfect, it was light but sturdy, he could zoom in and out, and wi-fi was fast.  I admit a strong liking for my MacBook laptop and iPod Touch.  Both are great products and I enjoy using them.  I look forward to some day purchasing an iPad 2.  I keep up on news at the Macworld website.  Having said all that, I wonder if I could do better with some of these cheaper and just as well non-Apple products.  Seeing the HP Touchpad gave me pause as I thought of what this friend had that he had purchased for so little.  I guess we all have hobbies and special interests that cost us money.  We pay premiums in areas that others would never consider.  I think that is how it is for me in my Macintosh world.  I pay a little more but I like the experience of exclusivity, elegance, and integration.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Life balance

When I was working from home and working as an Inside Support Specialist, I would work from 7 AM until 3:30 PM.  No commute, no one looking over my shoulder, no meetings.  However, I found that I was stagnating.  There were few opportunities to learn anything.  True, we would have a conference call where a manager or trainer would present new material but most of what they brought to us was irrelevant to what we did.  It was just something on their check list that they could say that they did.  I think I found out that even I can have too much time alone and I do learn from those around me more than I thought I did.  At the end of the day, I was done and free to do what I wanted.  It is funny that at that time I did not have much to do in the evenings.  Now that I have a lot of open time, as I am in transition, I have a number of things on my calendar and they all sort of happened at once.  I have a men's accountability group on Thursday nights and a Bible study at church every other Saturday.  Financial Peace University came to town for the first time and I have joined that so now my Tuesday nights are full from mid-February to early May.  I also am attending two career networking groups, both of which have some homework attached to them.  I joined a bird watching club at the local nature center.  My wife's work has also started a benefit that I am taking advantage of and that is a free pass to the city pool.  I find this all strange.  Before, I was under socialized and not getting much opportunity to do things in the community.  Now that I am looking for a good match in the work world and have lots of free time, I am doing all sorts of healthy things.  Why couldn't some of these things popped up when I was working from home?  I think it would have made me feel better about the life I had at that time.  Maybe I would have held on as I would have thought my life was in a better balance.  The life I am living now is the life I would choose to live if money were no object.  I would be active in the community and I would be active physically.  Also I would make steps to grow spiritually and personally.  The trick to continuing this is to find income without sacrificing time and energy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Reading on the couch

It is so pleasurable stretching out on the couch, opening a good book and reading.  To read is to nourish and feed the mind and the soul.  Reading in the morning is a way to ease into the day and reading in the evening is a way to reward yourself for a day well lived.  Getting some blankets to lie under and feeling their warmth is a comfort like none other.  I do not crave the harried life lived at a frenetic pace.  I want the contemplative life.  One of observation, good decisions, meditation, and prayer.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Charles Darwin is dead

Charles Darwin was born February 12, 1809 and died April 19, 1882.  His body is buried at Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom.  He wrote and spoke of a molecules-to-man theory.  Jesus Christ died by choice and rose to life after three days in a tomb and is now at the right hand of His Father ruling and reigning eternally.  His grave is empty.  His bones will never be found.

The Gospel of John reads:  In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

Who are you going to believe?  A limited man who is dead and buried or the unlimited Son of God who overcame the grave?  I choose to believe that we are here by God's sovereign act.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Walking out at church

I find it distracting and terribly rude when people leave in the middle of a service at church.  I understand that some people have to get to work or an appointment.  However, I think people should make every effort to worship on the weekends collectively and this should be a priority over other things on the schedule.  Besides, work and appointments can be done during the week.  If someone has an issue with what the pastor said, I think they should wait until the message has ended and talk to the pastor or someone in leadership.  It is possible that what you think is wrong or you miss-heard something and it turns out to be a non-issue.  In the day of internet, it is not difficult to find out what my pastor believes, his style, and his manner of speaking.  So if you haven't done your research before attending, I think that is on you.  So getting up and leaving in the middle of his message because of your lack of preparation is not an option.  Sit, pray, and be patient.  The pastor spends hours a week in preparation for his message by praying, reading, and writing.  He does not take his job lightly.  I would like to see people respect that.  If you are a repentent, believer in Jesus, for the sake of unity, please remain seated during the pastors message.  Use the restroom after it is all over.  If you really think you need to leave the church, no one is stopping you.  You are responsible before the Lord for your actions and choices.  Just quietly slip out the back after worship is complete.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Eat your vegetables

I eat my vegetables.  It seems like I eat more than most do.  Eating them is not something I complain about.  At lunch, I may have carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, pickles and/or cucumbers.  Sometimes I will have a salad.  I like salads with a lot of variety and crunch.  For dinner my favorite vegetable is green beans.  Usually there is a container on the shelf that was canned last summer that I will pop open and bring to a boil on the stove.  I will also have potatoes, peas, brocoli and corn for supper.  Sometimes, we will just slice tomatoes and put salt on them and eat them raw.  Nothing fancy but just plain good-for-you.  Vegetables have a good taste that is not found in other foods.  They are also filling and fairly cheap.  Vegetable grown in your own garden are especially lovely and easy to enjoy.  So if you want to fill up and not spend a lot, vegetables are a good choice.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chatting with my ISP

This morning I opened a chat window with my internet service provider.  Throughout our typing conversation I was polite and thankful.  The issue I was having was with billing.  I asked why my service rate had suddenly jump.  The woman replied that I had had a special promotion that recently came to an end.  I firmly said that I would like my old rate reapplied as it seemed reasonable to me.  I didn't think that raising my monthly payment by 30% was warranted as there was nothing new to the service I was receiving.   I asked politely and I made my case.  It was not until I implied that I could leave them that I was told that they didn't want to loose me as a customer and my old rate would be reinstated for the next 12 months.  Why do we have to get to the point of threatening before anything can get done?  Why can't we have an adult conversation and conclude like two thinking people as to what the best thing to do is?  It just seemed like they had to wait until I said the magic words before they could yield to my requests.  I don't understand this.  Why not deal with the person on the other end of the computer like they are a real person who has limited funds who expects costs to be maintained.  I don't like having to use threats and I don't like trickery either.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ringing in the ears

For the past couple of years I have experienced an ongoing ringing in the ears.  The medical term is tinnitus.  If I am remembering right, it started after taking a trip east.  We drove through the mountains of West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.  Being from flat Wisconsin, those places provide quite a bit of ascending and descending, as possible prelude to ringing of the ears.   I also remember having my ear buds in and playing my podcasts loud so that I could hear what was being said.  Shortly after that trip, I remember becoming conscience to the ringing.  I wonder if it has been there before than but I wasn't paying attention to it.  That is possible.  It maybe that it has just increased recently.  Over the last week or so, it seems to have picked up a level.  Now even while I am watching and listening to the television, the ringing will come through.  Sleep seems to be the only time I can shut it off completely.  It has me concerned as it may eventually become distracting or diminish my hearing ability if it hasn't already.  I have listened to loud music in the past and I have been around machinery that was loud.  However, I don't believe I have done either of these things especially long or loud but temporarily.  I have not used my ear buds in a while hoping that would lower the level of ringing.  I also wonder if using a Q-tip to clean my ear after showering was a cause of the problem.  Right now, I do not have a solution.  I usually listen to the radio and podcasts during the day.  Maybe I need to go over to almost no audio for a while just to experiment.  If I find a solution, I will definitely write about it.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Treasure hunting

Having a treasure hunt mentality I think would be a good frame of mind to have once in a while.  Being in tune to the possibility that there is something available out there for very little or even free that could be sold for much more could be very profitable.  It happens all the time and now and then there is a news article about it.  For instance, someone stumbles across a buried box that contains Roman coins worth millions of dollars.  It has been known to happen.  I have never been one to walk the beach with a metal detector and that is not really what I am referring to here.  There can be many things that are available out there that are undervalued.  Finding those things that can be brought to someone that will pay much more is sort of a treasure hunt.  People make their living off of purchasing land or cars and reselling them.  In some ways it is very basic and simple.  That appeals to me and I want to be open to it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

City pool

One thing I have added to my life this year is going to the city pool for exercise.  My wife is a city employee and a benefit that extends to any city employees immediate family is a free pass to the pool.  Well, I jumped on that.  I like water, swimming, and being warm.  I have gone a few times now and have sort of put together a routine.  I like to go when few children are present.  Most of the people there are older than I am and I am okay with that.  Older folks general stay in their lanes and talk among themselves.  What I do is change into my shorts and t-shirt and head to the gym.  I walk or jog on the treadmill for between 20 and 25 minutes.  Then I lift free weights for a while.  After that I change into my swimming trunks.  After showering I jump into the pool and do a few laps.  I like to mix up my swimming style.  When I am through there, I will get into the shower again, change, and go home.  I like the warm up that I experience by being in the pool and shower and I also like how I am toning my body.  So far, it has been a good time.  Hopefully, I will make some friends in the future.  I also hope to continue to have a far amount of flexibility in my schedule so that I can regularly work out at the city pool for free.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Winter

Winter is not my favorite season.  It is cold and dark which limits what I can do.  There is snow and ice that need to be cleared and scraped away.  The temperature drives me inside and my interest in being outside is severely limited.  Activities that are somewhat popular for this time of year are not ones that I engage in.  I do not snowmobile, ice fish, or ski.  Those things just do not have an appeal.  I have downhill skied in the past but have not gone for years.  So to me, it is a very limiting time of year, somewhat depressing, and a waiting game.  What I end up doing is spending more time on the computer, reading books, and watching more television.  At some point, I would like to be in a place that has shorter winters, where the hope of spring dawns sooner, and where I could get some relief from the painful cold.