Friday, November 30, 2012

Networking


Networking is talking with people and sharing about yourself.  It is listening to others and connecting them to other people that you know.

I spent months recently introducing myself to new people and conducting informational interviews where I talked to people about their careers.

I am not against networking.  It doesn't come naturally but I have actually learned to like it.  But it has not worked for me like it has been advertised.  My current job is something I attained because I answered an ad I found on Craig's List.  It was a traditional way into a place of work.

It is sort of sad how much time I spent updating my resume and LinkedIn profile, attending job fairs, and meetings, requesting interviews and talking to people.  Yet there never was a solid offer to introduce me to someone who could use my services.

I don't know what to say about this.  I don't think I am bitter.  Perhaps a bit surprised and disappointed.  I wonder what the reason for all of this goose chasing was.  I would like to find a great fit in a work setting where I am just the right solution for someone.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Have you considered your soul?


Your soul is of great importance to me.  Our life here, our body, has only so many years.  After that though, our spirit lives on.  Eternally.  Somewhere.  There are only two places for go according to the Bible.  Heaven or hell.

Hell is described as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Where there is burning and darkness.  And it is eternal.  It is where people go to pay for their own sins.  Their lying, steeling, coveting, and lusting.  They rejected Christ's perfect sacrifice and choose to be there.

Heaven is described as a place where God is present.  Where there is no sorrow and no tears.  Where there is always light.  Those that are there have received Jesus, the Son of God, as their own personal Savior.  They believe in Him as the only Way to the Father.

Consider your soul today.  You may not find it important, yet, but it is important to me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Time in southeast Wisconsin


In the late 90's I found my way down to southeast Wisconsin.  At first I stayed at a friends house but after a few months I got an apartment in Brookfield.  There are a lot of good shops and stores in the Milwaukee suburbs.  People are well dressed and the cars they drive are nice.  I liked what was there but I never felt like a full participant.  It is very easy for me to drift into areas of affluence and comfort but to actually be one of those people…uhm…not sure if that has happened yet.

After my room mate moved out of the area, I found another place to stay.  This time it was actually in Milwaukee.  I was in an upper room of a tiny brick house.  I was there for over a year.  The owner was quite a bit older than I and he was winding down his career.  His interest was strongly tied to his faith.  So I went along to several of his meetings where the Bible was proclaimed.

In some ways I like urban areas.  There are more things to do.  I would go to the IMAX theater, ride my bike, and discover parks.  There were always places to shop and places to eat.  It wasn't a bad experience.

Yet, I could not get connected like I needed too.  My roommate and a high school friend would ask when I was going to move into a better job.  It was an accusatory question.  They never provided introductions or a place to apply.  If these were the best friends I had, I wasn't feeling very good about myself.  Their words felt like rejection rather than words of encouragement.

Without any openings or possibilities, it seemed to me like the doors were closing.  So I moved back to the Fox Valley to be closer to family.  Inside of me there is really nothing that wants to go back to Milwaukee or the suburbs of southeast Wisconsin.  To me it is a closed, hard place that I did not find overly welcoming or inviting.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Keeping the wild in the wild


It saddens me when people want to remove all danger that is found outside.  I for one am glad there are dangers out there.  Like wolves in the state.  I would even go further and say that I hope one day we have mountain lions here.  Personally, the wild needs to have some wild to it.  Otherwise, things are just too safe and too predictable.  There is nothing to be on guard about.  Nothing to challenge man as top of the food chain.  Believe me.  I don't want a close and personal experience with a wolf, lion, or bear but I am glad that they are out there.  We need to keep some wild in the wilderness.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Be careful about your heros


Sometimes I catch myself admiring people and characters that are the total opposite of Christ.  For instance, in some of the films I have watched, the hero is fornicating, killing, and twisting things for his own advantage throughout the film.  At one point, I finally woke up.  Why am I admiring this man?  He is the opposite of what a Christian is suppose to be.  I became more discerning and began to do a better job of selecting my films.  Maybe you too need to be careful about your heros.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Not a fan of endorsements at LinkedIn


I am not liking endorsements of skills at LinkedIn.  Endorsements make it appear like the non-endorsed skills are not really skills that I have.  All of a sudden, a number of my listed skills are under suspicion as they don't have a thumbs up from someone.  What happens if I gained that skill on my own time?  What if the person(s) I worked with are not on LinkedIn or we are not connected for whatever reason?  Personally, I wish LinkedIn had never started this practice.

There is someone who endorsed me for one of my skills that I never worked with.  We meet at a networking event but he would never have seen me exhibit this particular skill.

As for now, I am not endorsing anyone's skills at LinkedIn because I see it as a cheapening of ones profile.  I don't want to play this game of constantly updating things on social media.  LinkedIn is trying to keep people busy at their website.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012


There is much to be thankful for.  I am thankful for heaven.  A place where God is present.  My mansion and rooms are being made specifically for me.  Where there is no sin, no night, no tears.  I am deeply thankful to Jesus for paying my way to be with Him for all eternity.

I am also thankful for my wife, Brenda, who is helpful, supportive, and patient.

I am grateful for health, safety, food, shelter, clothing, and friendships.

It was wonderful taking a drive to North Carolina and another to Tennessee this year.  Viewing nature and creation as I drove through was outstanding.  I am glad the cars are paid for and running well.

My church family is another item I am thankful for.  They are helpful and loving.  My pastor is faithful in bringing the Word to us each week.  My other family has been giving and caring.

I am thankful for my dog, my home, my computer, my music, and my books.  These are wonderful additions to my life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My favorite comedians


I have recently gotten around to finding some funny men on YouTube.  These guys are good.  You should check them out.

Tim Hawkins and Jim Gaffigan and Tripp Crosby.

But I also like stalwart Jerry Seinfeld.  Clips of his program can be found on YouTube and I still laugh out loud when I watch them.

When I was a teen I liked movies with Steve Martin and Woody Allen.  Back in the day I also liked David Letterman and the gang over at Saturday Night Live.

I love laughing.  But I need to have fairly clean jokes.  I realize that humor has some edge to it.  But I am immediately tuning out anything that is crass or has filthy language.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our divided country


It has become very apparent to me that we are living in a dangerously divided country.  To a point where it is getting scary.  The differences between one side and the other politically are vast.  Both sides have dug in.  They each know their lines and will repeat them ad nauseam.

It is important that we open our eyes to see what is really going on.  Things are at a point where we could loose all civility and goodwill.  I think it is important that we start to act in a forgiving manner.  We need to believe the best in the other person.  If nothing else, keep away from conversations that will bring up differences.

There are more important things than politics, who has what job, and the sign in ones yard.  Things like relationships, family, friends, personal growth, and faith.  Let's live for those things.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wild life seen while hunting


This past weekend I took part in the gun-deer hunt here in Wisconsin.  I sat in my stand both Saturday and Sunday.  We had above average temperatures, right around 50 degrees, which made it okay to be outside.

While sitting there, I observed a number of animals.  I saw blue jays, red-bellied woodpeckers, crows, geese, black-capped chickadees, mourning doves, turkey, and grouse.  There were also white-tailed deer and squirrels.  Insects are alive, so I will mention ants, spiders, lady-bugs, and flying things.

It is amazing how these animals allowed me to sit there and observe them.  Not all animals run and hide when you are near.  Most of these creatures were in constant flux.  They never were completely still.  They were always searching, sniffing, and scrounging.  It was nice to see this amount of wild life.  I just wish I had seen a buck.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Our shrinking lives


As probably many of you are experiencing, we are seeing our lives shrink.  We are pulling back, delaying, cutting, and doing without.  It is sad to see this happen especially when it involves an area that I care a great deal about.

One example of this is I had to recently call to cancel some automatic giving we were doing.  It wasn't much.  Actually it was quite small.  I liked giving to this fund because it felt like a way to care for a very basic need in the community.  It was also something no one would know about.  We also passed on giving to our community pond this summer.  It was the first time we missed chipping in a few bucks for lawn mowing expenses.

We are no longer quietly giving our little contribution.  Our lives are shrinking and I find that quite sad.  I would rather see the good things that I have started continue.  I want my giving and my care for the community to grow.

Our lives are shrinking in other ways than just giving.  Small things that we have done year after year have been put off.  This is the first year we did not go to the nursery to buy some trees for the property we've owned for seven years.  We also did not get to take a trip to Door County this summer to walk the quant little towns and enjoy Lake Michigan.  I like little traditions like that because they help define who we are and what we value.

When people's lives shrink it affects more than just themselves.  It affects the people around them that depend on those small contributions.  Then those people also pull back on their activities and spending.  What we end up having is a smaller and smaller economy.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Limelight NOT the universal dream


There is a classic rock song called Limelight, by a band called Rush.  Part of the lyrics say "Living in the limelight.  The universal dream."  It is a great tune and is often listed as the bands best hit.  Though the song is fun to listen to, and even sign along with, I can't say that my wish is to live in the limelight.  I understand why the band wrote it that way and considering that they are on the stage and probably have a strong desire to be upfront and visible it probably seems that way to them.  I on the other hand wish to live on the edge, behind the scenes, and out of the limelight.  When I was a teen, I worked at a restaurant and the customers would walk right past me as they went down the line selecting their dessert, silverware, and drink.  I could feel their eyes on me and it was very uncomfortable.  I didn't like being their entertainment.  That is just one example of how I cringe when I am in the Limelight.

I maybe the only one in the universe who does not want to live in the limelight.  However I have found that my best work is done when others are not watching me and I am able to work on my own.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Open letter to President Obama


Mr. Obama.  Congratulations on winning your second term as president of the United States.  It is a great victory for you and it must feel satisfying to have won the campaign.  In your first term, I admired that you pulled our military out of places we had no business being and that you oversaw the mission in Pakistan that stopped Osama bin Laden for good.  Your ability to speak has allowed you to go far.

I hope you are not unaware that many in this country do not agree with your view for America.  By voting for the other guy we were trying to say that we do not want to run up our indebtedness to other nations, we do not want the federal government to expand, and we do not want life to be cheapened.  We were voting for a prosperous future where we choose our own medical help.

You are in my prayers Mr. President because as a Christian I am instructed to pray for those in leadership.  Part of my prayers are that you will have a change of heart and will lead in a different direction.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Every man needs to push against the wild


A few weekends ago, I took the chainsaw out and cut up several tree limbs that had fallen and were on the edge of my property.  I was really getting into it.  Cutting, transporting, and stacking.  I liked getting a lot of work done in a short time.  It was great to have such a powerful tool in my hand.  The experience made me think how every man needs to push against the wild.  We men need to be working past the edge of civilization for our own good.  It is a way to get rid of excess energy and pour out our aggravations.  Instead of causing pain to someone we can do some benefit.  We need to use our hands to cut trees, break trail, and put things in order.  There is a big payoff to being out there.  We see that we can accomplish things and add value with the muscles we have.  I think our bodies were made for some heavy work.

So guys, get out there.  Cut up some wood and see if you don't feel better.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why do people use drugs she asked


In my sunday school class, one of the kids asked about why people use drugs.  I was caught a little off guard but my short answer was that people want to feel good.  Which is accurate.  Personally, I think it is better to be honest with kids as they will find out soon enough anyway.  But upon thinking of this question I came up with a better answer.

People are looking for something big in their lives.  They want to experience something grand and venture into the mysterious.  Without God in their lives, they have to find a substitute.  They end up settling for all sorts of things, including addictive, destructive, and dangerous drugs.

We need something big in our lives.  Something powerful and eternal.  We were designed to worship and be in awe of Someone who is so much more than we are.  When that need is not getting filled legitimately, we fill it with junk that never satisfies.  People use drugs because they are missing God in their lives.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Phone étiquette


I have been doing a lot of phone calling lately.  This has been to Sam and Sally Public mostly.  It surprises me how poorly people answer the phone.  Answering the phone with a short "hello" in a tone of suspicion is not the way one should start a conversation.  Instead, say "hello, this is so and so speaking".  Have a brightness to your words and smile through the phone.  Answer the call with gladness that someone has taken an interest in you.  Welcome the conversation and put the shields down.

If you don't have time to take a phone call, don't answer the phone.  It doesn't make any sense that people picked up the phone only to say they don't have time to talk.  If you don't have time to talk, let the phone ring and let it go to voice mail.

Set up your answering machine message properly.  State your name and ask callers to leave their name, phone number, and message.  Anyone can do this.  The outgoing message helps to confirm that the caller dialed the right number.

People need to get better at their phone speaking skills.  With a little effort, I think they can do it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

LinkedIn vs. Resume


LinkedIn is superior to a resume.  It would be my wish to never write, update, or keep a resume ever again.  Hopefully, we will get to the point were we can drop this ancient document for good.

LinkedIn is dynamic, changing, and updating.  A resume is stagnant and confining.  LinkedIn is electronic.  A resume is on paper.  LinkedIn has a color picture.  Resumes generally do not have pictures.  LinkedIn has room for groups, lists of books read, and skills.  Resumes don't usually include these interesting tidbits.  LinkedIn is easy to update.  Resumes can be updated but editing seems like a lot of effort.  LinkedIn is fun.  Resume's are things you must deal with.  LinkedIn is interactive as you can post a status and read and like other people's posts.  A resume is sent to the human resource department where it is promptly sent into a black hole never to be heard or seen again.

Personally, I would rather point people to my LinkedIn profile so that they can get a more complete and accurate image of who I am.  For any business owners out there, I hope you will stop requiring people to send resumes and instead request the url of the person's LinkedIn profile.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why I am a Christian


The final answer to this question is, I am a sinner.  Sin can put a person in hell for all eternity.  Being put there would be a just punishment for breaking God's laws.  Without the righteous sacrifice that Jesus made for me, I would be in hell and deservedly so.  Without Him, I would have no hope.  I am a Christian because I need to be forgiven.  Jesus actually became sin on my behalf.  I have accepted Him as Lord and Savior because that is His rightful position.  As a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, I am yielding to Him to have His way in my life.  My hope is to mimic Him and conform to His image.  But, yes, ultimately I am a Christian because I am a sinner and I see that I have sinned against a Holy God and I need His forgiveness.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What would you do if you had one day to live?


I was asked this question recently.  My answer was less dramatic than you may have expected.  I said that I would probably not go to work that day.  That was it.  But it made sense.  Really, what can you do in one day?  Not much.  That is why it is important to do our living while we are living.  We can't expect to wrap it all up nicely with a bow when we have a few months to live, or a few days, or are stretched out on our death bed.  Life isn't like that.  I've heard it said that men die like they live.  In other words, if a man is loving and caring, that is how he will go out of this world.  If he is selfish and churlish, that is how he will exit this life.  We are remarkably consistent.  One day to live is not much time.  It would be enough time for a few good-byes, to put a few things in order, and to leave some instructions.  But to do something of significance, we need more than one day.

Monday, November 5, 2012

No military experience and why


Over the last few months, I have filled out quite a number of applications.  When it came to military experience, I always put NA or none.  Here is why I don't have any military experience.

I never liked the idea of losing my freedom.  Even if it meant I could possibly play with some cool weapons or heroically defend my country.  GI stands for government issued.  When you enter the military you really are considered their property.  My independence is not something I could give up.  Even for a short few years.

Yelling is something I've never liked.  From what I've heard and seen in movies there is a lot of yelling in the military.  I would rather discuss things and come to an agreement before taking actions.  Screaming may get people to jump but I find it disturbing and unsettling.

Uniforms are not my style.  I like to be an individual.  Part of that is getting to select what I am going to wear.  I don't want to look like everyone else.  Uniforms to me have always meant conformity and I don't like to conform.

Having the benefit of years, I can see how entering the military could be a benefit.  A commitment of four years is really a short time.  There is comradery, the opportunity to travel, and an experience that can be related for many years.  People will appreciate what you have done.

I don't have any regrets about not entering the military.  I just now can see how the military could work for someone.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Shaving


Recently I went to Walgreens to purchase my shaving supplies.  I went with the house brand disposables and am now regretting it.  I was trying to spend less but I had bought the disposable Schick brand in the past and like them.  I have not had the Walgreens disposables for long now but they have cut my chin and neck and I have thrown two out already.  When I used the Schick brand I could go well over a month, maybe longer than two months, before tossing it.  They have a solid feel to them that I felt said "quality".

Clark Howard has mentioned more than once that he can go a year on a disposable razor.  That is pretty amazing.  Maybe he uses Schick but he can not be using Walgreens.

I use a shaving brush and soap to foam up my face.  I find this to be the most economical set up.  It is also suppose to get the hairs on my face to stand straight for shaving.  I haven't used a Barbasol can in years.  I've heard there are some bad chemicals in there.

It would be my preference to shave every other day as it is nice to have a little more beard to cut off.  Now that I am back into an office routine, I feel compelled to shave each morning.  I do this right after taking a shower.

In a past work experience I had a full beard for at least two years.  It surprised me that facial hair was allowed in that office.  I would have expected them to have required no facial hair.  Where I am now, I don't think anyone is wearing a beard.

I am pretty happy with shaving each morning.  I actually like the experience.  It makes me feel put together.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Missing my community


I knew once I got back into a work routine that there would be an emotional vacuum.  It is just inevitable that not seeing people I've worked with over the last ten months would cause a sense of loss.  So here is a big thank you to those at Job Seekers Network at the Fox Valley Technical College, Career Changers Network, and RU support group.  You all meant a lot to me.  Everyone has made a contribution to my life and helped in this process.  My intention is to give back to you someday, somehow.  Know that you are missed and I have good thoughts toward you all.  Thanks too to the instructors and facilitators, viz., Chris, Bobbie, Samantha, and Dennis.  All of you provided great content.