Monday, January 31, 2011

Classic Post: And Why Can't I?

This is a post I originally wrote 0n June 17, 2008. I have probably seen these truth played time and again since I first posted it.

Cliff Note:I am writing this post from a computer at the Wadsworth Library. I had this thought while driving to the library to return some books and thought it would be a good thought to blog on. I wanted to post it before the muse took it back.

Sometimes I think the four words that cause the largest percentage of emotional abuse are"you can't do that." Sometimes I wonder why those words are spoken. I speak as one who has had a lifelong affliction of insecurity.

I am not talking of a high school dropout wanting to perform brain surgery or anything like that. What I'm talking about are those who want to hold others back from achieving dreams. I wonder how much greatness has been stifled by those four words?

I have been encouraged by several who read my blogs. Most have been fellow bloggers, others just readers. A couple of these(and you know who you are) want to start blogging.

My Whattville blog has been a result of encouragement from David McMahon ofauthorblog fame. He posts a short poem every day and I try to comment with a rhyme. If he likes my comment, he will email me with a very encouraging comment. I'm sure he sends encouragement out to others every day too.

I was reminded of someone who was an encourager and a close friend of my wife's family this past week. Harv Kassebaum was one who found good in everything. His family was my wife's next door neighbors while she was growing up. He was also an English professor at Cuyahoga Community College. This past week, my blog was visited by Kathy from California. This was as a result of a Google search. She choose to read my post because of the name of my blog. She listened to WIXY/1260 when she was growing up in northeast Ohio. Kathy commented on an article I posted the day after I went to Harv's calling hours right before his memorial service. She used the comment section to tell how Harv encouraged her to write poetry. Harv was not one who would tell others "you cant do that." He always encouraged people to do their best then showed them how.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Certain Lazy Blogger Returns....

Thank you for your patience while I've been away from this site. And thank you for checking in to see if I still write here!

I was told by one of my teacher friends that my blog was being used in his classroom as an example of nonfiction. He also told me that his students informed him that I have a lot of hair.

I had thought of putting up a classic post this evening, and I will be doing some of that in the not too distant future. I am going to go with the idea behind the post I was thinking of repeating:

Most readers here know my love-hate relationship with Walmart. If it weren't for my blogging activity, and my Evil Big Box Store designation, I would probably have not unemployed as long as I was last year, as one of the store managers is a friend of mine.

Not as many know that one of my favorite places to go for a few items is the Rittman IGA. The store was closed between November, 2006 and June, 2007. The current owners are very active in keeping the store the way they perceive that customers want it.

Anyway, I was in both stores today. The long time readers here know I like to conclude the transaction by saying, "Thank you for working at______!" The cashiers at IGA try to beat me to the punch, or they will follow my comment by saying, "No, thank you for SHOPPING at IGA."
The folks at Walmart sometimes are dumbfounded and those who know me say things like, "I like that!" and "You come back here often, okay." I'm sure I am a topic of discussion in a few break rooms on occasion.

If only more of the cashiers would take the time to thank you for shopping at their store.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I ask questions.......

...And I've been getting some very interesting responses.

Many of you follow me on Facebook, and you know I post a question everyday, called the Question of the Day. It was born from some musing I had about Velveeta, which was followed by 2 weeks worth of food questions.

Some questions have good responses, where others have been duds. One time the question was hijacked by some middle aged ladies when they mentioned running naked through town.

This week, the questions have become political.

Now I have my own thoughts about politics. I lean slightly to the right and am very much a 3rd party advocate. And I think the government should be for the people and not special interest groups. Also after looking at the current and former president, I feel we need to have people more experienced in federal government occupying the Oval Office.

Anyway, back to the Facebook questions, which I usually post then get out of the way. Like I said they have had political tones this week and have been answered by people representing views from both sides of the aisle. Nice and lively, to say the least, but also encouraging thought.

Because of some of the answers I was given earlier in the week, I asked this question yesterday: "Do you think Fox News is fair and balanced?" I have gotten 125 responses to that one so far and that is more than double the previous record.

Now as a talk show host, I would stink big time, but I guess I do well at the Facebook version of Meet the Press.

Cliff Note: I will be posting about my high school classmates at a future date.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

2010 in Review: Part 2, Getting a job

Before this period of unemployment, the longest I was without a job was 3 weeks. That was in 1988 when I was fired as a car salesman. I had a wife and three young children to feed and I felt my world crashing down around me. In 2010, I took it much more calmly, at least until I started getting the "thanks but no thanks" letters.

As I had mentioned in my previous post, I had gotten quite a bit of support from many friends, including some of my high school classmates. More about that in a future post. The one friend who gave me some support and also much needed advice is a distant relative with a very cool name, Cliff Feightner. Cliff has both IT and management experience. He took a look at my resume and gave me some pointers to either aim it in one direction or another, since one couldn't tell if I was looking for a job in retail or manufacturing.

When the opportunity for InfoCision came up, I sent emails to several friends asking for advice and prayer. One friend, Scott, was very excited for me, as InfoCision is one of the top companies to work for in this area. Cliff did some research on my behalf and gave me pros and cons.

The day of the interview, I was all shined up, wearing a tie for the first time in years. I took a copy of myt resume in with me and also filled out an application. The interview went very well and I was told that I would hear from them within a week. The next morning, I was asked to come back and take a drug test, which I did the following day. I was then given the date when I would start training.

October 11, I woke up very nervous, as it was the first day on a new full time job in over 18 years. It's been somewhat nerve wracking the past 3 months, but I do like this job.

InfoCision is a company which has call centers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The corporate office is in Akron Ohio. We call for many clients, non profit and for profit businesses. The company offers quite a bit of benefits. These include a 401k, medical and dental, on site fitness center, and on site doctor. At this time, I hope to advance in the company and stay there until time to retire. From the time I got the first call, I felt that this job would be a good fit for my skills, and management at InfoCision is working with me to ensure I am in a position that best utilizes them.

Next: My high school friends, in a class of their own.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

2010 in Review: Part 1, Beginning the Year Unemployed

2010 began with the classic good news-bad news scenario. Good news was I no longer had to drive 46 miles one way, early in the morning to go to work. The bad news was I was without a job.

About 10:30 am on December 31, 2009, I was summoned to the outgoing company president's office. In front of three other members of management staff, he notified me that I had disqualified myself from my position, handed me some paperwork, and told I would be paid through the end of the day. After removing my personal effects and turning in my keys, my 17-1/2 years with that company was over. I took my last 46 mile drive home from work.

Kathy took the news way harder than I did. I assured her that I would be back to work in no time. That evening, I got online and put in a couple of applications. I also started working on my resume. I messed up with my password when I applied for unemployment benefits and had to apply for my first week over the phone. When I finally got through, I was on hold for 55 minutes.

The fact remained that I was now in search for a job and 54 years old. There were times when I was the oldest in the room when applying for a job. I even had one person tell me, not anyone who would be doing any hiring, that the "white stuff on top of my head" may prevent me from getting a job.

The job search itself was different than the last time I had to actively look for employment. Whereas I was going around with my resume in hand, most of the job openings required you apply for online. I did have some job interviews, most were followed up with a letter, card, or email thanking me for my interest, but it was decided another candidate was more qualified for the job.

In the meantime, we had to eat. I got to know where the food pantries were located and who gave out what. I even ate lunch at the Salvation Army one day when I was job hunting. Food wasn't bad.

With the economy the way it was, and still is, there were few programs with any money available for training. One program I qualified for was truck driver school. I would have been on the road in a few weeks, but two reasons kept me from proceeding: no money and a wife with severe and disabling anxiety issues.

I signed up for several online job search services, and always got the same results. Most of the jobs available were either part time or minimum wage. When I applied for them I got the same results, either no response, besides the auto responder, or a notification that I was not qualified.

One somewhat humorous thing about the online application process was how I got the job I currently have. My father in law, who would rather see all computers "thrown in the creek", told me about a website his sister told him about. He told me to go to "jobbuilder.com". My father in law can give me incorrect information and send me in the right direction quite often, and this was no exception. Didn't take me long before I found careerbuilder.com. Like I said, I found my new job, at InfoCision Management through that website.

Cliff Note: If you are in search of a job, or even a career change, and you live in Ohio, western Pennsylvania, or the Huntington, West Virginia area, check out the opportunities at InfoCision. If you get an interview, tell them Cliff Feightner from Akron Commercial Test recommended you.

More about my new job on my next post.