Archive for April, 2015

So you think your life is “interesting”? Part 5

It wasn’t a surprise back in February when I received my “60-Day Advance Notice of Layoff” (aka “WARN” notice). Disappointing, yes; a surprise, no. But, what was a surprise was that, in the following 50 days or so, I was not able to find anyone who wanted to talk about hiring me. Granted, I wasn’t as aggressive as two co-workers who sent out somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 applications (each). Even though we work at a huge company, the idea that there are that many positions that anyone would “fit” just doesn’t work for me (yes, both individuals did move to other jobs within the company; and one absolutely hates her new spot and is actively looking for another). So, my dozen or so applications, as well contacts with several managers I have come to know over the years (lots of sympathy…) didn’t bear fruit.

What also happened in the past two months was the realization, or resignation, that nothing was in my control. I found myself just putting things in GOD’s hands. If He wanted me to stay at the same company I’d been with for 29 years, a job would find me. If He wanted me to walk, there would be no job. I felt that He and I were on the same page – maybe a first in my life!

Yesterday, my countdown clock let me know that I had eight days left. I figured it was about time I got serious looking outside the company. Just over a week left on the payroll, it was high time to get into the internet and search, search, search. I mean, I just can’t live each day for itself without any thought about the future. I have to plan – I have no choice: it’s how I’m wired. How people that don’t plan get to sleep at night, I’ll never know. I’m kinda like a toggle switch, the kind you might have on a light, the kind that gives a good, solid click when you turn the light on, or off. So, now I’m into full-blown job hunting mode.

Of course, that would be about the time I get a phone call from my boss telling me I’ve been extended 30 days. The lay-off status is still in effect; but what was a 60-day notice has essentially had another month added. It is, as my wife put it, “temporary.”

So much for understanding what GOD wants me to do!

I don’t think the company can shorten the extension; but I am under the impression that the extension can be, well, extended. My life is back on hold, and it could stay that way for awhile.

Do I gain anything with this latest development? Yeah, I gain a month to continue looking for a job inside the company (any job searches outside the company have to be done outside of my scheduled working hours). I gain another month on the payroll, so another month of medical insurance and one less month of dipping into my 401(k).

But, the waiting! Not the waiting for something to magically fall into my lap: I do believe in miracles, but I learned long ago not to rely on them. It’s the waiting to get on with my life. I am stuck in limbo. I was ready to go fishing yesterday; today, I’m back to cutting bait (there are other analogies, but that’s the nicest one; if not the most graphic).

RFRA & My Wedding Ring

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/mullarkey/2015/04/rfra-my-wedding-ring

“Aggressive shows of grievance are meant to deflect discernment, not advance it.”

Pretty well sums up, not the end of history, but the end of civilization (i.e., civility).

Clearly demonstrates a vague causative relationship

I have noticed recent posters on the walls in the building that I work in that talk about workplace violence: “Going to work shouldn’t be like going into a storm.” I have worked for the same company for 29 years, and in this building for the past six, and I have never witnessed anything close to violence. Occasionally, someone will drive a little too fast in the parking lot; but the speed bumps installed last year (or, “traffic calming devices,” as I saw posted in some neighborhood) have greatly reduced those in a hurry to get on with their lives.

Thinking that these “manage workplace violence” posters have been put up in every company building, and not just the one I work in, I guess violence is a company-wide problem. Perhaps, if I wasn’t getting laid-off, I would care. But, I really did think I was a tad more observant….

After all these years however, I never thought this huge company had a sense of humor. I’ve seen some management decisions I thought were ludicrous (most recently, moving about 4,000 jobs out of state in the name of “geographical diversity”; when it is patently obvious that management wants to bust the unions and get rid of older – more expensive – workers). And the way that management is accomplishing this surplusing of “redundant” workers is a comedy of errors. One salaried job family, split roughly in half at two locations (“geographical diversity” at its finest) was ranked to determine the pecking order of who went out the door, and who stayed. The workers at one location were extremely well informed by their supervisor – never any surprises. The workers at the other location were told nothing – absolutely nothing. They didn’t even know all of us were being ranked together.

So, when the 60-day notices were to be distributed, we all knew they were coming; management never told the guys up north. The thing is, they could have been laid off, and one of us could have “bumped” one of them. In fact, two of the group I am in did go north.

However, this morning, as I was getting a cup of coffee in the canteen/kitchen, I happened to notice a safety bulletin taped to the refrigerator door. It had to do with a new company policy on what types of clothing could be worn. Since underwear was specifically mentioned, I am not sure how the company intends to enforce the new policy, but I would be willing to stick around and find out.

My “take away” – that’s one of the latest buzzwords bandied about, along the same lines as “reach out,” and “organizationally agnostic” (I love that one) – was the phrase, “clearly demonstrates a vague causative relationship.” I don’t understand how underwear can clearly demonstrate much of anything, since it would extremely un-PC to notice or say anything about the effect of underwear on someone’s feelings (which is all being PC is about).

Sitting at my desk, scratching my head, I had to resort to the web to try to decipher this phrase.

Under, “vagueness,” Wikipedia offered this: “When used by the merely clueless, vague words make an article confusing and possibly cause readers to misinterpret or even miss important information altogether.” I knew I was on the right track. First, I was reassured, even validated, that the definition of “vague” hadn’t been redefined by the Texters (the millenials that have adapted English to fit their smart phones and thumbs) or the Supreme Court (see my post on “tangible object” back in March). Second, maybe by getting hung up on what a “vague causative relationship” could be, I missed the intent of the safety bulletin?

I’d like to say that I was sufficiently concerned about whatever safety issue was being addressed (however poorly) that I went back to the kitchen to re-read the bulletin. But, as you know, I am only fourteen days away from being out on the street, and I don’t much care what the people who remain in these cubicles wear to work.

Speaking of which, while I don’t consider underwear life-threatening, it is hard to find any literature that says sitting is not detrimental, or maybe even healthy. But, the company has made no efforts at all to encourage, or force, workers to get off their (spreading) derrieres. IMHO (in my humble opinion – a buzzword that is now passé), there definitely is a clear demonstration between lack of activity, sitting too much, eating too much, lower quality of life, and increased morbidity, increased health care costs (or, should I be thanking Obama for that?). To me, there is no vague causative relationship between my current lifestyle and my quality of life.

No, I did not want to get into a discussion of how anybody could put “clear” and vague” in the same sentence, simply because Wikipedia did such a fine job of explaining the logical fallacy (“when used by the merely clueless…”).

Now if we could just ban “yoga pants” (esp for those who should be wearing a tent).

So, you think your life is “interesting”? – Part 4

Hit another milestone today: received my “Revalidation of Advance Notification of Layoff.” By law, this must be delivered to the surplused – “displaced” – worker fourteen days before his last day as an “active” employee. What this really means is that, if the company does nothing at all, I am out the door in two weeks. However, the company can, in fact, deliver an extension anytime up to the eleventh hour. So, I am still between the devil and the deep blue sea for another 15 days, 8 hours and 30 minutes (give or take). Put another way, I am expected to be moving toward the door for the next two weeks and then, at the last minute, I could be extended (i.e., retained as an “active” employee). Pretty much a “it’s almost definite,” or “definite maybe, possibly.” Even being laid-off is not in the same category as death and taxes.

The daughter, and her little, precious angel have left. Both my wife and I cried. But, in bed that night, I told my wife that I didn’t think our daughter’s “new life” was going to last long. I would have said that anyway, but after hearing how things went at the airport earlier that day….

The daughter got almost everything packed up. Almost. ‘Course, she had the safety-valve of saying, “Mom, could you mail this stuff to me?” And, “Mom, could we drive to Tacoma to pick up the son’s birth certificate?” Sure, a thousand things to do that day (the wife is 24 weeks pregnant. With twins), and instead of having the birth certificate mailed to the address on record (where we live), and thus saving a two hour drive (round trip) to the department of vital statistics, the daughter chose the option to pick it up. On the way to the airport? Did I mention that the grandson is two months and two weeks old? And the grandson’s mother still doesn’t have a birth certificate? Really? How do people live like that?

The wife drove the daughter and the grandson to the airport, where Meathead was waiting. Now, I can appreciate (more than most) how confusing some airports can be – I have lost count (literally) of the number of airports I have transited in my life. But some, like Seattle’s “Seatac” airport I could navigate blindfolded in the dark. Even my wife knows how to get around. The daughter, who has been thru that airport on the order of a dozen times, got lost. Following the wife.

Seatac has a parking garage that is connected to the terminal building by a number of “sky bridges” (what other kind of bridge is there?). You get out of your car, get on an elevator (it doesn’t matter what floor you have parked on, it doesn’t matter what your airline is), go to the fourth floor, and via any sky bridge, cross the access road to the main terminal building. At that point, you have to choose to go upstairs to ticketing (departures) or downstairs to baggage (arrivals). My wife goes to the elevator because she is pushing the stroller, and our daughter takes the escalator downstairs. Meathead follows. Fortunately, wife is looking at daughter and gets daughter’s attention before visual is lost.

They rendezvous at the United ticket counter, where there are self-service kiosks.   I have used them, and if you are computer savvy, they’re pretty slick. How a 20-something can’t figure it out is beyond me; but, there’s the daughter, poking at the touch screen…and poking…and poking. Wife flags down an attendant and whispers, “They need help.” So, with expert help, daughter is well on her way to checking in, and waves off attendant. Poke…poke…poke. Finally, done.

Meathead just stands there with his thumb up his ass. So, he’s not a world traveler. I get it. But, is he the least bit interested in helping? Or learning? Daughter and boyfriend make Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels look like Einstein and Oppenheimer.

Oh wait, there’s bags to check. Poke…poke…poke. Attendant returns. More hand-holding. More poking.

There’s a plane change in Chicago. No offense to Chicago, but that airport is idiot proof if you’re just transiting. However, daughter and boyfriend have only one hour…. Did get a phone call (surprise) that the intrepid troupe did arrive in D.C. (another surprise).

BTW, I have to mail the application form for a copy of the birth certificate to the government. And write a check for twenty bucks. Any bets on whether or not the grandson gets his vaccinations? You know, the ones due at six weeks.

What Jesus Really Said About Sins of the Flesh – Crisis Magazine

Bravo:

What Jesus Really Said About Sins of the Flesh – Crisis Magazine.

Our First Response is Usually Wrong

Abraham Lincoln is given credit for having said: “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction I had nowhere else to go.” A great place to start, as is also conveyed in:

Our First Response is Usually Wrong.