Monday, April 30, 2012

A Plain Man

In Genesis (a book of the Bible), there is a man named Jacob.  While living with his family, he was described as "a plain man, dwelling in tents."  In contrast, his brother was described as "a cunning hunter, a man of the field."  Although there are a number of qualities of Jacob that I wish not to have, I do feel a certain kindred with his being a man among the tests.  In other words, he was someone that stayed home and did not venture out much.  I like being at home.  It is a secure place.  A place of peace and rest.  My own things are there and I can have quiet or I can be entertained.  I do like to get outdoors sometimes and see new places.  But I always like coming home after the day is over or after the trip is complete.  I like to set everything down and put things away and reflect and recharge.  I see myself as one who needs his space but also likes to be around civilization.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Searching for online income

It has been my goal for a long time to find a way to make money online.  This blog has been going strong now for a number of months.  I use Amazon adverting and an affiliate link.  I enter every contest that I can.  I have offered various services at Craig's List.  So far, no income and no bites.  I am not sure what will open that door or start the adventure.  There seems to be some hurdle that I can't seem to overcome.  My guess is that I do not have anything unique enough or exciting enough for people to buy.  I am an entrepreneur wannabe.  Business owners are people I look up too.  I would love to have my own company because I would like to have ownership and be in a decision making role.  It would be fun to build something with my name on it.  Instead of the usual punch-in and punch-out role of an employee, I would rather come to work and work on something important.  At the end of my time working on the company, I would have an asset to sell.  As an employee, on your last day, they give you your last paycheck and forget about you.  There is nothing to sell.  I have been through that routine so many times and it is disheartening.  My acres of diamonds are somewhere.  I just need to see them.

Friday, April 27, 2012

My preferred mode of communication

My preferred mode of communication is email.  I like to be able to write out and see what I am saying before I press send.  There is a comfort in getting it right and accurate.  It is also a handy thing to be able to check the sent box to see what was said and when.  I would not necessarily consider myself a good writer but there does seem to be an ease and comfort when having fingers on the keyboard.  It just seems right.  Email is also immediate but it also depends on two people putting in a real effort.  One person sends over the ball and the other has to pick it up and send it back for there to be two-way communication.    I am a visual learner so seeing type on the screen is easier for me to comprehend.  If at all possible, please reply to emails I have sent to you.  It is somehow confirming.  If you need to tell me something verbally, that is fine, but please write out the important points and send an email as well so I can refer to it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Conformity

There is a lot of pressure to conform in our world, perhaps more than we realize.  We are told there are only a few choices when in fact there maybe many more choices out there.  I like to review what is available and contemplate what to do.  I would like to keep my identity and not be exactly like other people.  Others can make their own decisions, and I respect them enough to give them space and time to do so, but I would rather live my own life and I hope people can respect me enough to allow for that.  I have been burned by the group decision and I don't want to fall into that again for my detriment.  When the most popular or influential person gets to make the decision, it is not always the best for me.  In fact, latter I can regret going along with the group.  As a result, I may come across as "offish" or unrelenting.  Sometimes that serves me well and, honestly, sometimes it doesn't serve me well.  Often times, I am a late adapter because I want to see how this new thing plays out.  Are there consequences that weren't thought of at the onset?  I like to observe and see.  To sum it up, I want to be true to myself, my values, and my unique brand.  I don't want to be just like everyone else.  Being myself is what makes me unique and my difference brings my value.  Please allow for my individuality and try not to take offense.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Job Fair

Early this week I went to a job fair.  I arrived with about an hour and fifteen minutes left.  It had been hinted to me that there would be better opportunities to talk to employers if I went later verses coming in early.  It took a while to get there as it was in the next county.  So I had something invested.  I came dressed professionally, resume ready, and energy high.  There were about fifty, maybe sixty, companies represented.  Some I had not heard of before.  There were a few people there I knew from my career networking classes.  The ailes were not packed and many employers were available.  Right away, I filtered out the military, the colleges, and the heavy industrials.  There just isn't the appeal or practicalness to those type of places.  My passion does not run high for those industries.  I see myself as an office worker who works on computers mostly and with people some of the time.  Metals and manufacturing are not near or dear to my heart.  With those companies that remain, I would approach the table and the person standing behind it as non-confrontational as possible.  I would extend my hand, say my full name, and ask how their day was going.  My next questions would be something like, "What are your companies greatest challenges?"  I would listen and learn.  If I had seen job openings with the company, I would mention it and ask questions or try to show an interest.  Yet, I don't think that the human resources person standing in front of me had any clue.  I even had one tell me that her companies greatest challenge was to find talented people.  I could have come up with a sarcastic remark but thought it more wise to hold my tongue.  Sadly, I think these companies become too picky.  They want it all and are not willing to take a chance on anyone.  I left a few business cards and resume's.  I gathered some pens and brochures.  As of today, I have not had one person contact me.  Sometimes I wonder if anyone gets a job after going to a job fair.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My $100,000 dream

My $100,000 dream is that I could find a way to make an intellectual product that I could sell to people for one dollar.  This product would be something that I would create once but sell again and again.  Perhaps the product would be along the line of a song, a piece of art, an app, an ebook, or a nugget of wisdom.  Then I could repackage it and resell it again and again.  If I could find 100,000 people who would buy this in a year, I would have earned six figures.   Somehow, I think I could get by on that sort of money.  It doesn't seem that hard really but I know that people generally think that information should be free.  People want something they can handle or own.  I don't want this item to be physical because reproducing such a thing is more costly.  I would rather this item be of a digital sort so that reproduction would be at a cost of virtually nothing.  It is an intriguing thought to be able to do something like this.  In our internet era, it is a dream that is within reach.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Car wash

Now that the snow is all but certain to be done with, we took my wife's car over to the car wash on Sunday afternoon to do a little cleaning.  We do this in the bay so our cost was $2.75.  All in quarters.  I like to soap up first, then scrub the tires, and finally wash it all off.  There is usually just enough time to do all of this.  There was also some sap from the White Pine in our front yard that had dripped on her Buick.  That is not easy to remove.  After washing the car, we dried the windows and the inside of the doors.  After that, we filled up the gas tank and added air to one of the tires.  It is always amazing how a car seems to run so much better after cleaning it.  I may need to vacuum out the interior this week.  That is a job I usually enjoy as I can see my work and it betters me personally.  She also needs to replace her windshield wiper blades.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Relocation

Sometimes I think about relocating.  Now that our daughter is about to finish high school and move onto college, it would be easier.  I think I would be very willing to move in order to achieve my goal of worthwhile work.  It is true that we have invested in this community.  There are people here that we have talked at length with and have common experiences.  Those relationships would be difficult to leave.  However, the idea of new opportunities, a beautiful environment, and dynamic work might pull us over the edge and lead us to someplace different.  This is a wonderful little town we live in.  We have updated our home and have more plans to do so.  Selling and setting up elsewhere is not easy and it can be time consuming.  But I love the adventure.  I love building and growing in my life.  Sometimes an end of a season comes and it becomes time to write a new chapter.  We maybe at that point.  I am certainly open to it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Calm

In yesterdays post, I mentioned that green was my favorite color.  One reason for that is it gives off a calm and peaceful tone.  I feel a certain affinity with those characteristics.  I do not like to get all wound up or overly excited.  Sure, I can get excited and have been enthused at moments.  Like when Rodgers tosses the ball down the field to a wide open Jennings.  I enjoy the feeling of the moment but move on to what is expected next.  I like to breath deeply, take in the world around me, and keep my blood pressure low.  If you want calm and steady for your team, I would fit the bill.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Green

Green is my favorite color.  It somehow expresses who I am.  Green is natural and calm.  It is not uptight or rigid.  My eyes are green and my favorite shirts are green.  My favorite football team has green in their name and green jerseys.  Although I like the American west, the aridness of the region is not appealing.  Not much is growing.  I need to see trees, hills, and plants that are green.  I would like to think that I walk lightly on the earth and am someone "green" or environmentally conscience.  Red is too fast for me and blue is too corporate.  Green is of the earth and I think that is who I am.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rejection letter

It is not a pleasant moment when you open your mail box and see a rejection letter waiting to be opened.  All that work ends with being told that you are not the one.  Phone calls, filling out redundant applications, scheduling interviews, writing a cover letter.  Waiting.  Hoping.  Then the "you're not good enough" letter arrives and you have to release that possibility and move on.

After all this time of experiencing the rejection letter, I will mention this.  At lease the company had the decency of sending some form of communication so that you know where you are at.  Too few places even send a rejection letter, or postcard, or email.  Is it that difficult to do?  I would not think so.  Surprisingly, the places that do follow through on this responsibility are government entities.  To that, I say, "well done".  I am glad that the government can communicate with its citizens about an important matter of employment.  Please companies.  When you have posted a job and you have received well written cover letters and thorough resumes, be decent and let the person know that they are no longer considered a candidate.  Even better, let him or her know what they could have improved in their documents or interview.  We want to improve our chances of being chosen the next time.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Build a team that will win.

I use to work somewhere that at moments seemed pretty special.  There was energy across the sales floor. People were collaborating.  We were learning new things.  Our client was a technology company that had weathered the storms and had cash rolling in.  Money was in the air.  It turned out to be the hope of money was in the air.  At some point, people realized that the promises were only that, promises.  The money was going to the client and staying there.  Sure, there were little bonus's and payouts but those dollars were a tiny percentage of what we were handling.  The client was not the only problem in the equation.  The company we worked for was not building a team that would win.  They were looking to instill fear and manage toward mediocrity.  They did not want you to get too good otherwise they would have to pay out too much in bonus money.  It was frustrating to see the good people leave the program as they were intelligent and had given so much.  Over night someone could be gone and never acknowledged.  Then equally as maddening, new hires would come on the program that were clearly a liability to the program.  People that were without self-control and obvious health problems.  I never understood why a person would be hired when they had pre-existing health issues.  It was an insult to those of us who were already there.  When I look back on it, my emotions were justified.  There was something wrong.  It wasn't that I was unthankful or ungrateful.  It was a slap in the face to wave all this money around and never spend it on the people who helped bring it in.  It was a major downer to bring on people who were dysfunctional and unhealthy because clearly they would lower the average.  I do not want to go back.  I have grown beyond that experience.  Sadly, it is another example of keeping expectations very low and a set up not to emulate.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Community Blood Center

It has been many years since I worked at the Community Blood Center.  My role was as a Lab Assistant.  I was there for five years and it was a good experience.  As I look to a new opportunity, I was thinking back on why I liked working at CBC for all those years.  There was privacy for one thing, as I worked in the lab over night and had just a few hours of overlap with other employees.  In previous work, I had been deeply wounded emotionally by co-workers.  This gave me time to heal.  I liked having control over my environment with lots of space to myself.  It was a job with many routine tasks.  I like predicability and steadiness and I like knowing what I am doing.  Putting things away in order is natural for me and there was a lot of inventory control with this position.  I liked how I could make decisions over my time.  Usually, I would get there and push hard on getting the blood bags labeled which took a few hours.  Then I would take a lunch break.  After that I hit a few more tasks for a few hours.  All the while I could choose the radio station I wanted to hear or I could keep it quiet.  I liked scheduling my own day and not having to put up with other people's poor choices and habits.

The hours were tough and made visiting with family on weekends very difficult.  There was also a picky employee in the lab that went out of her way to make her co-workers lives miserable.  Eventually, I grew more and more in my desire to earn a bigger paycheck.  This happened to be a straight hourly job.  That provided stability, which is important to me.  However, I had the stable base and was looking to do more.  It was eventually time for me to leave and try something new.

I am looking for a position where I have privacy, where I know what I am doing, that has routine tasks, involves order and organizing AND pays well.  I do not think that my gifts have to come cheap.  There must be a place that I can work that also has high salary.  I am looking for happy work and that means enjoyment in what I do and it also includes being paid well.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Social

I am not the worlds most social guy.  It is not that I dislike people.  Even I have a social need.  However, if you are having an elective gathering, don't count on me being there.  I am not trying to be rude but I find a party to be emotionally draining.  I much prefer to spend my free hours with my family, at home, on the computer, or reading a book.  This is because I am introverted and I recharge my batteries by having downtime at home.  I do socialize in select areas.  I attend church on a regular basis.  I also attend a couple of career networking classes.  On Tuesdays, I am taking a financial management class in town.  There are also a few men's accountability groups I attend throughout the month.  I like to find people that I respect and trust because then I think the most can be done and the results can be the most favorable.  Whenever the extended family has a get-together, I make every effort to be in attendance.  This maybe Christmas, or a family reunion, a birthday, wedding, or funeral.  I like to get people's names and speak it back to them.  I try to exchange information that is beneficial.  It is always interesting to find out what people are up to because it can inspire and motivate me.  Overall, I don't think I am under social.  It is my goal to have quality friendships and to give back to the community as I can.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spiritual

The next area of life is Spiritual.  I believe we are more than just a physical body.  I think we have a spirit that will last for eternity.  I do not have all the answers, but I have found great hope and comfort in my Christianity.  It makes me feel good to attend church, to sign songs of praise, and to read my Bible.  The inner man has been minimized in our culture today which is materialistic and elevates man so highly.  Things will degrade and pass out of existence and mankind only knows so much and can only do so much.  The teaching I have received about creation and redemption through God's Son Jesus Christ has given me understanding and contentment.  I think the area of a man's soul has been undervalued.  It is my hope to see this area rise again to a much greater part of our community and individual conscience.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Physical

Physical is the next part of having a complete life.  Since childhood, I have enjoyed some form or another of outside activity.  That has been shooting baskets, biking, or playing football.  These days, my physical activity is more deliberate.  I am happy to be getting exercise 5 days a week.  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I run 2 to 3 miles.  My route is through our subdivision.  It is an enjoyable run with little traffic and certainly doable even for me.   My goal is to complete four 5k races this year.  I have already completed one and my time improved over the times I had last year.  On Tuesday and Thursday I go to the city pool.  There, I go to the weight room and lift free weights and then go on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes.  After that I swim for about 15 minutes.  All told, I am there about an hour.  It is nice to do something that is somewhat social while getting some exercise.  The other physical activity I do is working in the yard, mowing, trimming, and planting and I also will take a walk with the dog.  The other side of physical is eating and living right.  I could probably improve in what I eat by simply taking in less sweets.  Sugar is a weakness of mine and one that I am easily drawn too.  Otherwise, I have eliminated or minimized other poisons.   It has been my life long goal to be physically fit and healthy.  I want to live my life to its greatest potential with minimum pain and maximum functionality.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Intellectual

The next area of life is Intellectual or Personal Development.  One way I grow personally is by reading books.  My goal is to complete two non-fiction books per month.  I also challenge myself by attending seminars and classes.  Currently, I am about half way through Financial Peace University.  I also attend Brave Heart, a men's group at our church, every other Saturday.  There is another men's Bible study on each Thursday night that I attend which pushes me to speak and think.  Another way I grow personally is by reading blogs.  I read blogs written by Dan Miller, Jon Acuff, Seth Godin and several others.  A third way I grow personally is by listening to podcasts.  Some of the programs I hear are Writer's Almanac, No More Monday's show, and 48 Days.  One last area that I have experienced growth in is by trying new things.  I attempt to stretch myself by reaching into new areas that I have not explored before.  Avoiding failure and succeeding are not actually the point.  The objective is to try something new to see what it is like and to have the experience.  This maybe done by traveling, interacting with something in the environment, or introducing myself to someone I have not met before.  I enjoy personal development because I like to learn and become more of the person I was meant to become.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Financial

The third area of life is Financial.  This is an area I feel I have some success in.  The long and short of it is, I am able to hang onto money.  I have self-control and do not spend all that I have.  I do not barrow money and I have cut up my last credit card.  Cash, checking, and a debit card is how I pay for things.  My checkbook is balanced to the penny and has been for years now.  I have an emergency fund and retirement savings.  I have a budget and I track my spending with financial software on my MacBook.  I am not a gambler but I am an investor.  Once a year, I get a financial check-up and a free credit report.  My aim is to be in a position where I can give generously.  I have strong feelings about money.  I think there is a right way to handle money and I want others to do their best as I think I am doing my best.  My area of struggle is not with spending however.  It is with income.  The other side of the equation has been tough for me.  I would like to get my earnings up.  Way up.  Having the right career, in the right place, where I am able to truly get behind the work, is the place that I believe I will earn the most dollars.  Ultimately, I am dependent on the Lord, as He is my provider.  My interest in this area is strong.  So much so that I have considered it as a place I could have a profession.  So far, that has not happened.  I have not figured out a way to help people with their money and make money at the same time.  I was listening to Larry Burkett years ago and still tune into the ministry he started, Crown.  I also listen to Dave Ramsey and read his books.  Both of these men I trust a lot.  I am also taking Financial Peace University.  I believe handling money is a process.  We all need to be taking steps in the right direction even if we are not all there yet.  How we spend money is an outside indicator of our beliefs and values.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Family

The next area of life is Family.  I enjoy spending time with family.  Excitement to me is being home with my wife.  Things do not have to be crazy wild for me to feel satisfaction.  I like doing things together as husband and wife.  I like sharing about our daytime activity.  I like having meals together.  I like watching a program or reading a book in the same room.  This weekend is Easter.  On Saturday, we will get together with Brenda's side of the family.  On Sunday we will gather with my side of the family.  It will be a time of eating, talking, and taking pictures.  Nothing too complicated.  Also, not too long to take away the enjoyment.  At the end of the day, people go their own way and we go ours.  To have a successful life, I think it is important to invest time, energy, and interest into those right in your own home.  There are a few relationships that are not what they could or should be.  Yet, I am open.  It is my hope to live at peace with all men.  If people want to reach me, they can.  I think this part of the wheel of life is better than it was years ago and certainly the best for me as I enjoy being married.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Career

The first component to the wheel of life is career.  I think it is important to find one's calling.  I want to find out why I am here on earth.  Why has God placed me here?  What is it that makes me unique and special?  How can I maximize my contributions while in this world?  If you have read my blog for any time now, you know that I am an active job seeker.  So that means this area is getting attention but I am not in a position currently.  So that means I am not getting feedback on how to improve or in a place to apply my skills, abilities, and passions.  Yet, I think the work I am doing now with career research will pay in the future.  Getting this area right is so important because I believe that working in the right area, where I am a good fit, where I have passion, and where I have skills will make all the difference.  Monday's will not be dreaded and Fridays will be celebrated for the weeks accomplishments.  I do not believe that work means I have to be belittled, beaten down, underpaid, and all around miserable.  Work, improvement, and betterment are all important to me.  I expect to be respected, trusted, heard, and valued.  I would like to work for a company that is based in the heartland and debt-free.  It will be where faith is part of the culture and where Wall-Street is not in control.  I am looking for a place with flexibility in regard to time and earnings.  I want to be a responsible overseer of resources.  Finances, my Christian faith, and technology are ongoing interests of mine which I hope can be a part of where I land next.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Seven areas of life

Zig Ziglar has a wheel of life concept when it comes to setting goals and leading a successful life.  The seven areas of life are Career, Family, Financial, Intellectual, Physical, Spiritual, and Social.  I have seen many other authors refer to these areas as the basics in life.  Sometime these are in a pie chart and likened to a wheel.  If one area is over inflated and one is under inflated then the wheel is not round and it can lead to a bumpy, unbalanced life.  I think the seven areas of life are a good start.  I have been thinking about them and setting up some goals around them.  The thing I find frustrating is how to get good at all areas all at the same time.  In my past, my career or job has made it very difficult to do any physical work-out consistently.  Right now, I am an active job seeker.  So, I have more time to get to the city pool to use the elliptical machine and have a swim.  But my finances are suffering.  Yet, I am attending Financial Peace University so maybe my finances are being helped or maybe my intellectual (personal development) is being helped.  I am not sure where to place that one.  See what I mean?  Life is always in flux.  Sometimes an area maybe set aside for a while but we eventually get around to it again.  I would like to have a career where I am still able to work on the other six areas of life and feel balanced and whole.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Clear out the junk now

Over a life time we can accumulate a lot of things.  If we stay in one place, it is easy to store more and more stuff.  We find more space, build more storage racks, and we tell ourselves we really need to hang onto it because it may eventually prove useful.  Please be aware that someone will have to go through what you leave after you have moved on or passed on.  It really should not be their job.  It is yours.  Clear out the junk now while you have energy and time.  If something is meaningful to you, have a special moment and let someone know the history and value of it, and give it away to a person who can understand.  Maybe a picture of your parents or maybe a special book is worthy to hang onto until you can pass it along properly.  However, those stacks of magazines and piles of old Cool Whip containers have no value.  Get rid of them.  Lighten up now.  Trickle the junk into the trash while you have time because this is your responsibility not someone else's.  Leaving a trash pile for others to sift through is not a way to bless people.  It is a hassle, difficult, and time consuming.  Make the decisions now about your stuff because you are the best one to do so.