Sued51's Blog

{November 13, 2012}   Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Sometimes we find messages in what we read, and our interpretations of the messages coax us to action, help us find courage, or sometimes make us reckless. Even if we scoff aloud at superstitions, being human means that there’s a tiny part of you that wonders…

This morning I was reading a poetry anthology. Though I’m taking these lines from Lee Robinson‘s “Rules of Evidence” out of context, they spoke to me as I tried to decide what to blog about today:
What you want to say most

is inadmissible.

Say it anyway.

Say it again.

What they tell you is irrelevant

can’t be denied and will

eventually be heard.

I have a poem I wrote recently that I wanted to post here, but I felt unsure. I put it on my Facebook page, but I was nervous about putting it here because my blog is connected to my LinkedIn page. What would people think?

I almost never write rhyming poems, but I wrote this one to express myself, amuse myself, and get some frustrations out of my system. I wrote it because after talking to a lot of unemployed people — I HAD to. It would not be denied.


There are plenty of jobs employers say,

But if you haven’t done IT,

then go away.

We expect you to hit the ground at a run:

Tell us specifically,

what have you done?

You say you can proofread…Well, not OUR stuff!

You have a BA? Well, that’s nothing but fluff.

You must speak our jargon to earn our trust;

Key words on your resume —

An absolute must!

If not, our computer will spit you out,

And into the trash bin –

without a doubt.

You’re young — no experience? You can work for free;

MAYBE we’ll hire you later – we’ll see.

You’re older? We doubt you can learn new things;

And we don’t want the headaches your age may bring.

You haven’t been working? You need not apply;

Don’t bother us with your reasons why.

Will we give you training? Not on our dime…

We’ll just keep looking, take our time.

For those who score an interview,

Only a perfect fit will do.

{October 2, 2012}   Drudgery – Perks = Low Morale

It doesn’t matter what field you are in, older workers can talk truthfully about the “good ol’ days.” Once upon a time employers wanted to encourage loyalty and wanted their workers to feel like family. In return, workers felt emotionally invested in their employers’ business and “whistled” while they worked. It was symbiotic — win-win. Legendary blessings called “pensions” rewarded workers for their loyalty and investment in their jobs. At that time, beautiful mythical beasts called “perks” were prevalent in the workplace: aka employee appreciation days, softball games and cookouts, discounts on company products or “field trips” like being able to work outside the office for a day at a company conference or event. Workers felt proud to wear those company t-shirts.

Did employers truly understand how important those treats were for their workers’ productivity? They seemed to, but maybe they didn’t; all that faded into history with the Recession. Employers don’t want to keep the old horses around anymore; they eat too much without providing enough present value. Heaven forbid they should care about them as anything other than a breathing copy machine or computer. What is the true value of morale? Does anyone really think the bean counters can truly figure that out?

Those who are employed now keep their heads down and try to do their jobs quietly, while they live in fear of making a mistake lest they be tossed out with the trash. Do they bring energy, a spirit of teamwork, a desire to volunteer for something outside their jobs’ parameters out of a feeling of goodwill towards their employer? Not likely. And I know this because…? I listen to the conversations in the cafeteria accompanied by furtive glances; I hear the swearing and sighing over the cubicle walls. My husband says the time wheel will turn back toward the worker; these cycles or eras in time do pass.

Is there stirring and creaking happening now? Some employers are desperately unsuccessful at finding workers with the skill sets they need. Do I have any pity? It doesn’t seem to occur to them that some of these jobs are excruciatingly mindnumbingly boring and without “perks” and appreciation, no one has any desire to do them. Money is not enough. If you are going to be miserable, isn’t it better to be miserable with less stress?

I know it isn’t healthy to live in the past or in a dreamland or a fairy tale world, but I can’t help but hope that employers will have an epiphany and the workers will be woken from their nightmare soon. I hope the Occupy movement helps turn the wheel in the right direction…back to a hopeful future.

{December 8, 2010}   Hitting Home

I just read a fabulous article in the AARP bulletin, Farewell to a Dreadful Decade.  It was so well-written that I wish I had written it (the ultimate compliment for a writer), though if I had, I would have heard that I was being too negative or being too much of a downer.

My first reaction after reading it was that this talented writer, Jim Toedtman, should never have been out of work.  But, despite his age, he has bounced back and I am grateful for knowing that and grateful for still being able to read what he has written.

Thank goodness for friends that believe in us.

For me, the word “fair” invokes thoughts of old-fashioned fun and farm animals, as well as guilty pleasures like fried dough and cotton candy.  Though at my age, I’m a little leery of the rides, I like the happy, relaxed atmosphere.

I got tired of  just dropping resumes into the black hole called the Internet, and I decided to attend a job fair; it was not the fun I had hoped (not that I seriously thought it would be).  No trained animals, but lots of people wandering around in suits, who had been trained to shake hands, smile, and show as much energy and optimism as they could.  Their treats for their performance were pens and cookies (from Panera Bread).  The carnies just didn’t have the same energy; they really looked like they would rather not be there.

I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I had surmised that I would see a lot of young people, fresh out of college, but if anything, I would say the scale tipped more toward the balding and gray-haired.  Although many of the jobs were entry-level, the people attending were not.  I overheard men with grim smiles asking, “Any engineering positions”?  Out of fifteen employers, one was an institution looking for students; one was a collection agency looking for employees to call delinquent debtors (I wasn’t very nice to them…shame on me, but I couldn’t stop myself); three were agencies dealing with mentally challenged adults; and one was the U.S. Secret Service, whose jobs were mostly in Washington, DC.  A representative from Fed Ex was there, looking for seasonal drivers; I had a moment of hope–no special license required–but only the experienced need apply.  Any administrative jobs?  No.

I found myself following a woman older than myself, listening to her ask, “Any administrative jobs”?  No.  She saved me the trouble of asking the same question, and throwing away resumes.

I walked out no more depressed than when I came in; I was curious and didn’t have high expectations.  My husband hoped that at the very least, I would feel less alone, and I will say that the conversations with the other job seekers were the best part.  All I could think about afterwards was writing this blog…that they shouldn’t call them fairs, not only because they are nowhere near as fun, but because the pursuit of jobs in this economy is very far from being so (in the equitable sense of the word).

Some of my cribbage friends had a saying about me…”Every silver lining has a cloud…”  I was always afraid to believe in my good fortune, even playing cribbage.

Since I have been unemployed, it has been hard to SEE my good fortune, other than to appreciate the people and pets in my life.  But after finishing my brochure the other day I felt a strange positive feeling—could it be hope?  A sense of accomplishment?

I felt proud of being able to make my brochure and have people say, “It’s eye-catching and well done.”  I thought, if I hadn’t lost my job, I wouldn’t have learned to use Microsoft Publisher, AND I wouldn’t be learning how to make a web site, AND I wouldn’t have this blog…

None of it may not be bringing in money (yet!) but I’m proud of what I am learning and proud of the growing I am doing.  I think I’ve turned a corner—the cloud may not have a silver lining, but I’m beginning to see a glint of something shining.

{February 10, 2010}   If Only I Could Time Travel…

Today as I cleaned the house I found myself thinking about pioneer women and wondering, how did they know when they had a good and productive day?  Did their endless chores make them feel good about themselves?  For the most part, they didn’t make money outside the home (and sometimes their husbands didn’t either, until after the harvest).  They had an endless number of tasks to do, but I’m sure they didn’t have time to make lists and cross things off in order to get a sense of accomplishment.

My whole adult life my sense of accomplishment has been based on working to make money.  I’ve always had a lot of hobbies, but I’ve never felt I needed them for other than personal satisfaction and fun.  As an unemployed person in 2010, I am struggling with the days that go by without my making money.  I try to keep my eye on the future and the long-term, but it isn’t easy.  I actually feel better if I go out and find a penny on the ground or pick up returnable cans because it makes me feel like my condition has changed, even a little bit, from yesterday.

I feel like if I could time travel, I could go back and relearn my life’s purpose and how to value each day.  I need to learn the lesson now, but today’s way of life is not an effective teacher for me.  If only this lesson were a fact I could memorize or a book I could read.

I really think time travel might work, but I don’t have that option.  So I guess I have to make gratefulness lists and, to quote John Legend, “wait for the world to change.”

When I had a job, I loved the computer. It brought me emails from friends; news from the world outside my cubicle; and sometimes at lunch I would play a game. It seemed like I never had enough time to spend with it.

Then I became unemployed. I had to use it to cull through online job ads, try to find job opportunities, and to network and try make things happen. I no longer feel like the first thing I want to do when I get out of bed is turn it on. It no longer brings the wonderful emails from my friends; nobody wants to have to ask how the job search is going. It has become the watched pot that never boils–a reminder of all the projects I need to do. All it brings are job opportunities selling insurance.

My husband feels like I spend too much time with it, but it sits there and wants more. It whispers, “You need to do more.” I try to go to the other room to get away, but I get drawn back to keep checking my emails. Sometimes I just have to turn it off in order to break its hold.

I know it should simply be a tool, an electronic assistant, but somehow I have allowed it to become the object of my hopes and the deliverer of my nightmares. Wait, is that an animated face l see, laughing gleefully?

I guess it is time to leave the house.

In my employed days, I remember my 80-year-old mother telling me how busy she was with doctor’s appointments and senior citizen events, and in my own head thinking, “How busy can you be?  You’re not working!”  I would never say it, but I would very uncharitably, think it.  Now I am unemployed, with what appears to others as plenty of time to spare, and I feel like, “I AM SOOO BUSY!”  My mother says, “I talked to you more when you were working!”  What’s that about?!

I can’t believe how long it takes to check the multitude of job sites for appropriate jobs to apply to, let alone fill out the online applications and write specific cover letters (if there is something to apply for).  I check multiple email accounts, check my Google alerts (anything to put on LinkedIn News or anything worth reading?), check my discussion groups on LinkedIn and read and respond to any interesting discussions, follow-up on emails, call the temp agencies, and finally write my blog.  At the end of it all, I feel like I got nothing accomplished.

Yet…in between, I did the laundry, changed the sheets on the bed, worked on a marketing brochure, played with my kittens, filled out some forms, filed some paperwork for taxes, put away some Christmas decorations, and visited with my father.  If I hadn’t sat down to write this blog, I might have thought it was a wasted day.  Reflection is the most important activity of all; it keeps us hoping, and plugging along.  Helps us get up the next day ready to conquer the world!

et cetera
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