Resume Fodder & Resume Reality

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It has been my experience over the years that one’s resume is often no more than a list of jobs that one has endured year to date, mine included. Resumes do a decent job of painting a picture without any real details. The proof is in the pudding, it rears it’s ugly head when a person is put to task, when one is asked to prove their knowledge of the process, and to be able to work alone, unattended by a trainer or supervisor. We all know that after all the streamlined bullet points that most of our resume is just sugar coated bullshit. I said most people. Now you’re asking, but where are you going with all of this? Fair enough of a question, I actually have someplace I’m taking y’all. I’m taking y’all to work, my work specifically, where one of my tasks is to train new employees in our department how we do things, our culture, and how to do everything we do in the safest manner possible.

This act of training is very natural for me, it has always been easy for me to teach, from people who don’t have a clue to those who come with a little or allot of experience. So, I have worked at the same place now for almost exactly two years, I have been sent to schools as well as trained by other mechanics. As a mechanic we have a daunting task, we are responsible for the maintenance and repairs on a very broad spectrum, from building (facilities) maintenance to equipment maintenance, and everything little thing in between. I’m forbidden from mentioning the company I work for, but to give your imagination a run for its money, here are a few facts.

It all started in 1962 as a small grocery store in small town by a man with an unfilled vision, and is today the biggest retail chain in the world. From hitting the $1 billion mark for the first time in 1979, it generated more than 482 billion dollars in revenue in 2016. This is more than the total revenue of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and Facebook combined! Just so you know, these are the top five most valuable brands in the world. Quite remarkable! In fact, this store brand has more revenue than the total GDP of countries like Poland, Belgium, Thailand, UAE, South Africa, Singapore, Portugal, Qatar, New Zealand, Croatia, Iceland, and Mauritius. Speaking of countries, if this store was a country, it would be the 25th largest economy in the world. A country with only the stores employees alone would also be more populated than 88 countries in the world. Want more?

Wait, did someone mention employees? Well, this store has many, many of them. With more employees than McDonald’s (1.9 million), it is the biggest private employer in the world. In fact, only two organizations have more employees than this store, the US Army and the Chinese Army. You know you are big when you are competing neck and neck with the biggest armies in the world. Which is why it should be no surprise to see that it employs more people than HP, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, General Motors, Starbucks, Ford, Walt Disney, Amazon, Costco, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook AND American Airlines COMBINED. Phew! All of these companies: ~2,199,000 employees. This store: ~2,300,000 employees.

You might be wondering how is all of this even possible. Well, the answer lies in the fact that Americans spend more than 36 million dollars every single hour at this store. That’s 864 million dollars in just one day. Additionally, more than 200 million customers shop every single week in its various stores. In other words, more people shop at this store every week than the entire population of Germany, United Kingdom, and France combined. Of course, this means that it makes some serious profits. How much, you might ask? No less than $21,000 every single minute. This store can literally buy 30 iPhone 6S every minute, burn them and still be in profit. Most of y’all have probably figured it out by now who I work for, but I’m still not saying. However, I don’t actually work in a store, I work in the logistics part, not the retail part. I work in one of thousands of the distribution warehouses that receive and distribute groceries to only a handful, 70 or so stores, in the logistical web of stores seen world wide. Many of the details I listed above were in our latest issue of our monthly magazine. I can’t actually give them full on credit without giving away the name of the company.

Ok, now back to my role. Fortunately for me, I learned my department and it’s role very fast. Fortunately for me, I came into this mechanic’s position bringing years of mechanical experience and knowledge, the results of not having a resume full of fluff, fodder, or bullshit. And if the truth must be told, being a jack of most trades has served me well here because there are many days I have to dip into my resources of experiences to solve problems. But wait, there’s more. It was all a trap, almost like being given a lengthy rope to see if I could hang myself. Actually, becoming the trainer did come with extra money hourly and a little prestige since I’m not just another drone mechanic, I actually have a purpose and people depend on me to do my job to a higher standard. Plus, I really do like and appreciate all the daily challenges. Plus, training keeps my own skills sharp and many times I learn a little more. I never know who I will train or what their personal skillset actually contains. I’m not part of the interview process, but my words speak loudly when I have to do the person’s training review close to the end of a person’s initial 90 day period. Fortunately for me, my words, in a company this size, have merit and do determine if a person will continue in the new career he or she has chosen. A fortunate aspect of who I am and how my personality works is that I can spot bullshit a mile away and read a person in a way that interpretation is not necessarily needed. Luckily for me, the human brain has done most of the work for me because one is either mechanically inclined or one is not mechanically inclined. There is no in between and there is no fudging any of that. Remember, I NEVER see the resume that was used nor was I part of the interview process which got a person hired, I get the person cold. I suppose one could say it’s like a blind date, if it goes well for him or her, we get to move forward.

I will discuss, briefly, the latest candidate, and then let y’all get back to your lives. Sam is 32, the mother of 3 girls, recently divorced, muscle car enthusiast, and out in the workforce for the very first time ever in her life. She came in the shop this past weekend looking like an 80’s Guess Jeans poster girl and my first impression was that I’m screwed, not getting screwed by her, but the girly girly smells real nice types don’t usually like to get grease under their nails. My initial impressions were squashed real fast and I must admit I was more than a little shocked. Task one with Sam was to identify why a fully automatic shrink wrap machine was inoperable. I noticed when we arrived at the machine that it had stopped abruptly in a strange position, generally meaning something broke or seized. By the time I mentioned we need to get out the 16 foot ladder (weighing in at 135 lbs, in my opinion weighing more than her by 15 to 20 lbs) she already had it set up and was climbing to the top. She proceeded to request I hand her a flashlight, a 9/16″ open end wrench, and the 6″ crescent wrench. I’m, okay Sam. After a few minutes of silence except for a little grunting, she explained she had identified the problem, the shaft from the main drive motor which drives the rotation gearbox has either has broken into three pieces. I was also informed that we need to go back to the shop for additional tools and the parts to complete the repair. Due diligence states I have to do my own assessment and inspection, which by the look on her face, was insulting. Not my intention, just protocol.

Needless to say, I merely had to show her access procedures, where to find stuff, how to use our hand held computer, and that it was time for break. By the end of our three day weekend (42 hours) I found myself to not only be amazed but also very respectful to the fact that no matter how the package is wrapped that there is always a surprise inside. We did have time to talk, she explained she’s from a family with 8 boys and she was the baby. She had gotten pregnant in high school and married shortly after graduation to the father. She ended her dream of going to college to become a better mechanic because she liked being a wife and mother. Her ex and her were into restoring and building hot rods, an expensive hobby which is one reason they divorced, the other reason was in an argument about money (which she was not earning) that resulted in him punching her in the mouth in front of their 3 children. In her eyes they were now done.

Anyway, after getting to know Sam I realized she was going to make our team better, and even though there is 11 more weeks of training, I don’t see any problems. Wait, unless of course she doesn’t like the cold, because then she’s screwed because we spend allot of time in the -30 degree freezers. But we will find out that next weekend.

I Wonder Why I Rush To Wake Up

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Really, I do wonder why I’m in a rush to wake up in the morning. Lately, not so much though. This morning brought the grim reminder that the mail I picked up last night still remained on the dining room table unopened, it waits for me, taunting me, because I know that one of them is for interruption of service, one is to have inform me they wish to accelerate my auto loan, and the last one demanding payment or my auto insurance is at risk of being terminated. Which, in the end is why those three sat on the table all night, haunting my dreams, and not resting as well as I hoped. All I can think as I open each one is “don’t let me be right”. But, of course, I know this dance all too well for me to be wrong, not even once. After some time on the phone, making partial payments, and making promises I don’t even know if I can keep, I sit here wondering just what in the fuck can make all of this worse. My phone rings, startled the shit out of me, it was one of the companies I was trying to get back on with, the position opportunity has closed since the current employee has decided to stay. Well, fuck me very much!

As this day progresses I have been applying to more jobs, fishing for bites but not even a single nibble. Sure, I have the job I do and it will pay the bills, but the hours/ days of the week suck some serious hind tit. Yes, I’m complaining and yes I know that my bills are based upon the responsibilities I agreed to fulfill. But Peter is dead and Paul still has his hand out. Well, I know, as overwhelmed as I may fucking be with life right now that one day things will get back on track. Probably not today, but one day. It’s hard though, every direction I turn its all negative. Luckily for me I have a fantastic first mate who solemnly swears that she will not abandon ship as long as her captain is still bailing water. Which is fucking great because my dingy is sinking at a very steady rate. Anyway, just needed to vent, bitch, and complain a bit. Now I need to get back to the horrible task of unfucking all of this mess I call my life.

Welcome To The Jungle!

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Never before, not since the Air Force at least, have I been part of such a large, intricate, and instrumental machine. Once again being reduced down to being nothing more than a four digit number to an employer. That’s not a complaint, it’s a statement of fact. After my first real “work week” I would like to report how much I really am enjoying my new employment, but that just might be stretching the truth a fucking bit more than need be. But, and this is a fucking giant but, the money is decent, and that is the only thing I can really say I like about it. The hours suck, 3p to 3a Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The environment is very cold and dry, 26-32 degrees fahrenheit @ 15% humidity. I have developed chapped lips for the first time in my life, ever. Yes, I did choose the job, yes I knew the fucking conditions before signing up, and yes I knew I wouldn’t like it before it ever started. However, in defense of this very critical decision, I was doing it to fix my immediate cashflow situation, meaning there was zero flow. And, it gives me time during the regular work week to find an actual job that I can live around.

I have quickly realized that I’m too old and too out of shape to be competing with a bunch of 20 something year olds. I have found the cold working environment only aggravates my fucking knee. On the flip side, o don’t notice the pain until I’m in bed thawing out in the morning. This very well could be one of the biggest dumb ass moves I have ever made the choice to do. So, yes, I can and will accept my desperate decision making, only because I know it is temporary and the more temporary the better. I have received a handful of messages asking where I work and I’m still not sure I can legally say since I have and will make more than one negative comments. Let’s just say I work for a very, very large distribution center for a very, very large retailer, but only in the supply of the grocery store portion. For the best example, if you are at the grocery store side, look at everything that is cool, cold, or frozen, from fresh vegetables to your favorite cut of meat, and I’m part of the machine that keeps the bins full, the freezers full, and a fresh mountain of veggies at your fingertips. Yes, that is done by people like me, nationwide. Ok, enough clues.

Anyway, just know this simple fucking fact, I am still looking for a job. Y’all can take that shit straight to the bank. Don’t worry, I will keep y’all up to speed, the tides will hopefully turn very, very soon.

Tempting The Past With The Future

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Do you remember the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”?  This goes back to the days when people used to go out to the hen house and gather the eggs that the chickens had laid.  The idea was that if you put all your eggs in one basket and then drop the basket, or the bottom drops out, you lose all the eggs and all your work, and the work of the chickens will have been in vain.  But if you put your eggs into more than one basket, then if you drop one basket you still another basket with some eggs left in it. This cliché is used in life to remind us that that we need to have more than one plan, that we need to have contingency plans (plan B) just in case plan A fails.  Because if you have only one plan and it fails, then you are left with egg on your face and nowhere to go.

So why am I talking about an age old cliché? Earlier today I was sitting outside of a previous place of employment and while I was waiting I posted a question in my Facebook status which asked if I should be wary or skeptical about inquiring about a job which, back in February 2014, laid me off. Basically that was the question or statement. Since then, of course, I have inquired. Where did this impromptu visit stem from. Well, last night after dinner I was looking through job postings on Indeed and Monster and to my surprise I see the job posting. Now, I had been watching this company lately because I had seen other engineering positions post, but nothing related to production, that is until last night. I applied for the position through Indeed and really got to thinking, I need to make an appearance to show my face. Most of don’t remember names, but we almost always remember a face. So, I decided to hand carry a copy of my resume and show my face, hopefully to someone I knew since there have been many personnel changes over the last eighteen months. I was relieved to walk through the door and a dear friend had made all the cuts and survived all the changes. She filled me in on pretty much everything I was asking and so much more. We talked for about fifteen minutes when another familiar face came in. He looked very surprised to see me and also thankful to see me.

We talked. We had an informational talk in my opinion. I know, you want to know, was I hired? No, I was not hired. Why? Because the position doesn’t actually open until the end of the first week of August. But, I do have day to meet with the owner and his son at the end of next week. Yes, with bills stacking up the time seems like years not days or weeks. I had prepared for this answer actually with the full intent that I would carry on looking for work and not putting all my eggs into one basket in hopes that they hire me back. Only thing I have going in my favor at this time is I was the number one application and I gave face time to express my intent and interest. Maybe I was a bit eager or being naive instead of gun shy. I’m not a patient man, I’m not a person who likes to sit around answers or results. But, not working, all I have is time. Anyway, I just wanted to give a quicky update as I promised I would do. I keep my fingers crossed that something will break soon.

Re-defining Defined Lines In Life

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There are times that I can see the road ahead of me clearly. There are time that same road seems to disappear. Its not the road to success nor is it the road to happiness, just a road I follow for the course of my life. I try not to take detours or go off roading but there are times that the obstacles won’t budge, so I have to go around. I could let the obstacles define me but I don’t, I just find a way around. Sometimes these detours take a considerable amount of time and when that becomes the case I try very hard to get back to my known road, my course, because one day I will find my destination. Hopefully death isn’t the destination, but then again life is the journey and all journeys must end eventually I would guess.

I find myself needing to re-define the important things in life from time to time. This ranges from how to budget better to be better at having the bills on time, to not wanting to be that person who has no money left in the banking account three days before the next pay-day. Patience isn’t exactly my strongest personality trait so, at times, I tend to get frustrated with the speed others move. I was off work for a long time in my opinion, eight and a half months is most of year in my eyes. During which I had to creatively disperse funds from our savings to live day to day. One day that too had yielded its last bit of money. We all know what happens when you stop paying bills right? The collection offices start calling, demanding payments, and accepting no alternate arrangements. It is hard to satisfy the needs to many when I was more worried about where the money was coming from to buy ramen noodles that week. It put allot of stress on the relationship of my wife and I as well. Looking back, I remember conversations we had, where I may not have had the answer she was looking for. As she remained working I often felt guilty when she would call me to inform me that a bill collector had called her at work and what am I going to do about it because this madness has to stop. Agreed, it has to stop. In the beginning, when I was first laid off, we already had a plan in motion to have my knee operated on once again because it had deteriorated so badly. While I was working I had great health coverage and we decided to pull the trigger to get the ball rolling. I had my evaluations done and I was set, I had my appointment date set and everything. I had over 140 hours of vacation and my employer was willing to let me be off for a minimum of two weeks for recovery. Then, one morning I went into work and was blindsided, I just got laid off. Well, fuck everything I knew for the last 5 1/2 years because that went straight down the ol’ toilet. Plans for knee surgery in three weeks just flew out the fucking window, to say the very least because those plans just ended.

To say this new development put a wrench in the fan is an understatement from hell. Immediately many things had too change. We had already led a rather meager life in my opinion. We didn’t eat out, ever, we didn’t really have any bills except for 2 loans, our cell phones, and of course utilities. Now, we didn’t live a bare bones life, but I made sure that I was putting money back for a rainy day, a vacation, knee surgery, graduation, college, or whatever. I made things tight, nobody saw the money I was socking away so nobody missed the money I was socking away. Little did I know that the balance I was seeing over time was an optical illusion. It was not nearly enough money to even just scrape by, which we were used to, but scraping this way was more of a challenge. I forecasted that we would be good for at least 18 months of regular living, living like we had been living with our expenses we already had. I was way off. I made a very simple, yet important mistake, I didn’t take into account some major expenses like paying the additional monthly money to have the health/dental/vision insurance switched to my wife’s company coverage and their rates were quadruple what I was paying. Then there was prescription costs, not just the co-pays, but paying full price on them until my wife’s insurance kicked in, for my son alone it was over $1500.00 a month. I didn’t include the expense of feeding five adults each week, gas for vehicles, nor my wife and my smoking habit. All of that eats money and it eats that shit fast. When my current job started our checking account was operating on fumes, it had been for two months already. One can only make so many trips to the pawn shop for a quick loan, especially when I knew I would not be returning to get them out of hock.

But, here we sit just shy of two months of my new job and I am still trying to beat off bill collectors with a stick because we have been playing catch the fuck up since my first check. Now lets toss Christmas into the mix. To say it will be meager would not do it justice. By having older kids, I think they understand, they may not like it, but they haven’t given us any grief. We sat down, we explained, we all expressed our concerns, and I thought it was over-with. I had went to my room for some quiet time, some me time, time to not be around people, I was disappointed, I didn’t even want to be around me. My son knocked on the door, asking gently if he could talk to me. I was in there, in the dark, laying sideways on my bed, too lazy to take my shoes off so my legs just dangled. He and his sister had got together, along with the boyfriend, and collected money for me and my wife to go have a date together, just the two of us, no worries, just go see a movie and have dinner, their treat. I was touched. We did go out, just her and I, we saw a movie that she had been saying she wanted to see, then we went to eat. We had a nice time, we didn’t talk about money a single time, and we were almost at a loss to have something to talk about, it was a bit sad if you ask me. When we were done neither of us was in a real celebratory mood so we went to go look at the area Christmas lights on our way home. It’s hard to be festive or to remain festive since we both know that this will be a very quiet Christmas for us. We both are looking forward to the coming year as anything has to be better than how 2014 turned out.

I guess my message is this, no matter how prepared for a disaster you assume that you are, you aren’t. There were probably thousands of ways to do things different but my goal was to keep my “credit” in tact as well as possible, late payments seem to hurt more than missed payments for some reason. I’m sure the kinks will get worked out soon enough, too bad its not today tho. I still wish that all of y’all have a very Merry Christmas (or whatever y’all do or don’t celebrate) and that the new years brings you one step closer to your dreams. I would like to give a quick shout out to Patty and Dr. Rexi who have made me smile and think in my times when I didn’t want to smile and think, and for that I can offer nothing more than my sincere thanks and gratitude. There have been other friends that have been there as well, I have not forgot y’all either. Y’all behave yourself at this time of year. If I don’t get back to writing another post by the end of the year just know we are well and we wish for all of y’all to be well as well.

Posted From Scorpion Sting’s Motorola Droid Maxx!

The Time Has Come To Go To Work

As y’all have been reading, I have been on the hunt for employment, which up until now, has been dismally disappointing. I said up until now, the wait is over, tomorrow I start my new job. I owe a great deal of thanks to someone I’m not going to mention because I thanked him in private. In all reality, he had just mentioned to his friend, and fellow blogger, to take a look at my blog when he got a chance. Anyway, one thing led to another in conversation and I was informed that he just might have a job for a guy like me. Come to find out, he was working only a short distance from where I live. We met in person a few times over the last couple of weeks, I took the preemployment drug test today, and I start first thing in the morning. I’m super excited about the new job and looking forward to a new career. I will get into more on the new job later as time progresses.

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What does this mean for this blog. It means nothing to tell you the truth. Why? Some of y’all may have thought I update here via my computer, which is false since I don’t even own a computer, but I do own a 7″ tablet and a Droid Maxx which suites all of my needs perfectly. However, in regards to internet, 97% of the time I’m at home on the WiFi network so there’s no problem. Once I begin working is when I will have to monitor my usage. But, have no fear, I will do updates in the mornings and in the evenings, probably won’t see anything during the day. However, I will still check notifications and emails when time permits. No more sitting around all day doing as I please screwing around on my phone. Y’all will see, it will be all good.

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While I’m here, I figured I could do as I ask y’all to do, and share a couple of pictures of how my blog is seen on my two devices, the top being on my phone and the bottom being on my tablet. See, even I am willing to play my silly little games. Don’t worry, I’m not abandoning my blog or y’all, in fact it ought to get better, new times equals new things to post and share.

The Tides Of Misfortune Have Turned

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When I was laid off back in February of this year it really stressed me out. I had probably one if the biggest “oh fuck” moments I think I ever had. I was in shock really, immediately my reaction was that I couldn’t go home with this information, I didn’t want to face my wife with my new employment status, it seemed to be an impossible feat with me imagining a very bad outcome. Panic set in, my palms began to sweat, I felt as if someone just pulled the plug on my only life support. My wife and I only talked about those fears last night after dinner, more than eight months later. According to my wife, she could see that I was “down”, not myself anymore, and she thought it was time to have a heart to heart conversation, just the two of us. For the most part, what I have talked about here on this blog has been a close mirror to the amount I have spoke with her. Why? I think I feared being judged by the one person it would hurt the most from, my wife. But, we talked, allot, for many hours, about many things, to include still looking for a job, our savings, paying the bills, money, and the fact that I needed to stretch $111.64 for groceries for the next two weeks. Yea, you read that right. Looking at the checking account is depressing for me, we bleed money, yet we are just paying bills, putting gas in the vehicles, and buying groceries.

Its odd, but looking for a job exhausts my energy each day, collectively I spend 10 hours a day in my efforts, usually for nothing to show for it. At this point I was at my end already, in fact last week I started, in person and online, putting in applications at local fast food places, restaurants, and even at Walmart. Desperation has set in, now I didn’t care to be picky, just pay me whatever to do whatever. Desperation sucks a big dick. In the darkness I was experiencing I received a phone call which the person inquired a reasonable amount of information from me. It led to a very informal impromptu meeting. It was an interview without being an interview. He gave me a great deal to think about, this was something very unexpected by me, and I spent the better part of this weekend dwelling on if that was it or would I get a call. It was a nerve racking weekend. I had to come here, repeatedly, to post to blow off steam, to relax my brain, and to get my mind on other less stressful things. On Sunday I made it unintentionally hard on my dad as we did a drive to Van, dropped a trailer full of stuff off and then turned right around to come back. I drove half assed oblivious to everything, including cars, the shitty weather, and of course the conversation he tried to strike up here and there. I was there physically but my mind was looking for a job, wondering about money, and who was paying for the gas. I’m worried, I can’t help it.

This morning I woke up after a shitty nights sleep and said fuck it, I’m taking the day off. I don’t want to screw with jobs or people today, I’m tired and I really don’t care. But, and this is an enormous but, while out running errands with my daughter, I got a call while I waited for her to get done with her college counseling interview. Her first semester “how are things going” type of interview. The phone call was an invitation to come have a second talk with the person I spoke with last week. This time it was to be a more serious talk. So, when we were done running errands, I took my daughter home, and headed for the meeting. The short story is I was very happy with the meeting, and later this week I will tell y’all why. I like to let the eggs actually hatch before counting them. Tonight, my wife will talk again, after we eat what I hope will be one of our last ramen noodle dinners. Ever been torn between excitement and fear? Its a sucky emotion as well. Its like being dead, watching your life go on but you are not participating, which I haven’t really, or at least I don’t think so. I will miss being Mr Mom I think, but having a great job will better suit me, and it will definitely help financially.

Anxiety is a bitch as well, but I have a feeling the next couple of days will fly by. I read a post on a fellow bloggers blog this morning about failure, how we treat failure, and how we are judged first by our failures before anything else. It made me remember that without failure we cannot know our success and that more often than not we don’t see the positives of having to start over sometimes. This morning I woke up feeling lifeless and only a spectator, this afternoon I see hope in my own recovery. At least now I can see beyond my own toe tag.

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