Friday, December 3, 2010

Jobs, jobs, jobs

Jobs are on the top of a lot of peoples Christmas list right now. Perhaps I've reached the time of life when dispensing a little wisdom of the ages to those younger than me is allowable. If you are looking for a job maybe this will help in some way. I've walked the street of life over the years and came face to face with the possibility of long term unemployment and overcame it. I've paid my dues! We all approach this problem with our own set of circumstances and what works for one, may not work for the other but lets look at it from my perspective. This is how I attacked getting a job and continued to support my family.

When it came to a job I never let my pride get in the way: I've dug holes for outside toilets, sold Christmas trees, bagged groceries, peddled newspapers, washed cars, shoveled sidewalks, cut grass, picked apples, changed tires, poured cement, bailed hay, cleaned out barns and worked for less than minimum wage at several jobs at a time to earn enough to pay the bills.

I spent over 12 hours a day looking for work. Any time I wasn't sleeping or eating I was taking the bus, riding my bicycle or walking and knocking on doors asking for a job, any job. I felt that if I didn't have a job to support my family I couldn't afford to go hunting, fishing or sit down and watch sports on TV. Sunday was the exception but I even spent that looking over prospective opportunities and making plans to get there.

I always dressed well and clean, like I was looking for a job and appreciated and respected my prospective employer. I looked successful even without a job. I dressed to please the employer, not myself. My hair, when I had some, was clean and combed, I wore no jewelry except my wedding ring and a watch. Cell phones were not a problem then but if I was on an interview now I wouldn't have one in my pocket or turned on.

I used my best manners, the ones my folks taught me when I was being interviewed.

I always expressed my willingness to work any job, any hours, at any wage and accepted any job unconditionally. At least until I got a better one. It was always easier to get a good job when I was working and paying my bills no matter what my present job was.

During an interview I never complained about my previous jobs or bosses or disparaged any companies. I readily accepted responsibility for my own actions, bad or good.

No matter what type of job I had at the time I worked harder than anyone else. The only time I was taken aside by my bosses it was because I didn't take a break. I always asked for overtime.

I never let anything keep me from a job interview. I once walked over six miles in a driving snow storm for two and a half hours to get work. The employer didn't show up so I walked back home and returned the next day and got the part time job at a very low wage. there was lots of overtime and it paid the bills until I quit for a better job three weeks later. I found the better job through someone I met working there. There are hidden opportunities everywhere.

I wish you well in your job search. It's not an easy road, I know. Keep going, no matter what! We can all get discouraged from time to time but keep going anyway. Use your energy finding a job, not sitting and pouting about not having one and expecting someone else to step in and save you.

Those are some of the things I've learned. I hope they help. There are definitely jobs out there...................Joe

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Just another day in Michigan.

I am the first to admit that I do not have a huge speech vocabulary. I do, however have a vast vocabulary of understanding. In my writing and every day speech I probably work around a high school level. I've found that is where I am most comfortable. That's perfectly OK with me. I'm not out to make my mark as a word smith, public speaker or great orator of any measure. I'm simply an every day, almost invisible type of guy. But there are times when I feel I'm doing better in some ways than those that are way more educated than I am. Namely, those folks on TV and radio that give us the news. For the most part they are excellent in keeping me up to date on current events and weather. I am grateful for that and will continue to use them as well as the newspaper. I do have to take issue with their more than occasional misuse of superlative descriptive terms. RE: "Shocking, surging, jumping, leaping, shattering, terrible, incredible," you know, stuff like that.

This morning I listened as the local meteorologist described how a snow fall of 5 inches, "Shattered" the old record. What was the old record? "4.75 inches" In my limited vocabulary 1/4 inch of snow doesn't shatter anything. The other day gas prices were described as "surging" and "leaping" up in price. Although gas prices are extremely volatile, this particular increase was 2 cents, or less than one percent. A financial wizard was reporting on the huge increase in the price of gold one day. Gold is presently at around $1375 an ounce, not an insignificant piece of change by any means. But she described the increase of $1.60 as an "incredible, almost shocking" rise in value. I think you may be getting my point.

All I'm saying is that when someone is coming into my living room with the news of the day, I ask that they please do not try to sensationalise the trivial. Save it for the truly amazing stuff. Otherwise I am reminded of the kid that cried wolf all the time and when the wolf did come nobody paid attention. Give me the news straight, give me the facts and I can see for myself what is worthy of a scary or surprising term.

"There roads are covered with snow and ice today and hundreds of people are slipping and sliding all over the place almost making travel impossible." Hey! This is Michigan, what do you expect as far as the weather in December? We'll handle it! Where's the skis?.................Joe
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