Sorry, Just Won’t Do It

I read an amazing bit of journalism this morning, an at-length piece on what they call The Inland Empire, about the proliferation– to tune of almost *15 million sq. ft./year* of warehouse space in California’s Moreno Valley. The nut was the pollution caused by massive volume of trucks in and around the area, which is also ‘at the end of the tailpipe’ of what gets blown out of LA across the Valley.

Respiratory problems of the people involved is significant, as is bribery of officials who continue to allow building of warehouses, which are a transmission point for goods arriving from Asia, to all points pretty much west of Chicago. One committee member (Mr. Co) is accused of taking the largest bribe in FBI sting history, $2.36 million. That he’s been out and about over a year since his arrest leads many to believe he’s been wearing a wire, so I wasn’t listening that much to those delineated as ‘bad actors’ in story proclaiming their innocence– time enough for that later.

I wanted to comment about the great journalistic effort, might have considered reposting, because while the pollution and negatives mentioned don’t affect me in Charlotte, NC, I reposted as much of Glenn Greenwalds Snowden/gov’t surveillance stuff as I could, because important stuff should be brought to light wherever its found. I didn’t post a comment, because Facebook login meant they get to look at not only MY information, but my entire Friends list.

I don’t do much on FB, in spite of many HS acquaintences contacting me in this year before reunion. I *HATE* the idea I can’t make a comment without putting a bunch of other names on the line. I’m writing as an individual– what right do I have to say, “check out/use the info from anyone else I know”?

Maybe its a useless consideration on my part, because theres no telling how many others are simply pushing the button and allowing my name on some list so they can post elsewhere. But for those I know, I’ll do what little I can to protect you. And yes, I will always appreciate good journalism.

Glenn S.

Gorgeous Fall Day, Bro Left Game Before Big Ending

Having gone to neighborhood pocket park with good rims down the street to shoot some hoops after a disappointing first half of Panthers game, its a little two-faced to fault my brother for leaving Panther-Bank of America Stadium before the really good stuff happened at the game yesterday. I haven’t researched how crowds reacted elsewhere in NFL during a day that involved several amazing rallies, but I have noted Charlotteans early departures from games; to me it seems a basic un-goodness to bail on events, even when the home team isn’t covering themselves in glory. (Stinking out the joint in a driving rain, ya got a case…)

My real regret for the day was denying two young– maybe 11-12– black men the chance to shoot with me and swap some sports talk. A lot of times, if people have their own ball (they did) they use basket at other end, but they’d given theirs to two younger kids, the obvious assumption being we’d just use mine. It was a dumb case of bad social grace that I decided splitting shots in the limited time I’d allowed myself wouldn’t quite work for me. Forget about any gimpy knee, my lack of real schedule could’ve allowed for extra time to get my ya-yas and still be a good guy, sharing time and opinions, because those guys had opinions about LeBron and upcoming NBA season, and I’ll usually yak with anybody about sports.

I promise I’ll do better the next time, just like I’ll do good about buying a bicycle tube after getting half a necessary repair job done by pulling a major piece of steel out a two-week unfixed flat Saturday morning.

Putting those three events in perspective, not expecting a miracle finish from the Panthers wasn’t the most negative thing. The *best* was tight end Greg Olsen’s telling the post-game sideline reporter that catching a game-winning 2nd TD against his former team (Bears) didn’t mean nearly as much as having his 2-year old son TJ– who recently had a 4th heart procedure– on the field during pre-game warmups. You can never go wrong feeling good about stuff like that.

That’s What LinkedIn Should Be For

Getting a private, positive response yesterday as a direct result of an online discussion (Global Executive Assistants) validates what I’ve believed LinkedIn was supposed to be about. While there are still too many ‘PLEASE read my blog!’ type messages on writing sites I utilize, articulating my objections about what should-shouldn’t be included on CV-resumes got a specific unfairness off my chest as strongly as I wanted. Based on comments from others and that indicator of attention I needed, it hit a righteous chord.

Given that *everyone* says recruiters only give resumes a scant 6-8 seconds attention, and resumes aren’t supposed to go past 12-15 years at the max, my point was 6.5 years of retail work that paid bills-put food on the table-gas in the car-allowed for occasional road trip vacations during The Great Recession was apparently DQing me from consideration for executive assistant level positions handled prior to 2007. That contract work, which was my case from 1995-2000 after leaving regional sales rep positions, of less than six months shouldn’t be included– even if it involved learning a significant skill– was a deal-killer many applicants recognize. Most recruiters, and even a *computer generated notation* for one application I labored on, still pick at EVERY TIME GAP, making for a Catch-22 situation.

Having illuminated that frustrating situation won’t change 99% of recruiters methodology. When I first changed from being a ‘windshield warrior’ to getting results driving a desk in 1995, it was mandatory that you do alllll the paperwork with an agency (it still screws up applications to put ‘multiple agencies’ under Employer, because who remembers origin of each assignment ?) and test on software before anyone would talk to you. Now, even after going through online on-boarding process for a major temp-placement operation, the recruiter stonewalled an office visit 3x in one phone call because “there’s no sense WASTING your time or mine” to determine how jobs that barely made it– no description or dates, just the position– onto a page might make me a better candidate. *I* sure wouldn’t think its a waste, not when most EA ads involve ‘Exceptional verbal- written communications skills’ in the description, something barely scratched on Page 1 that is a HUGE strength of mine, much higher order than being current on learnable software.

I’m going with the positives though. I’ve followed that particular lady for a while, and now I’ve done something that attracted her personal interest; a guy whose house I’ve played several Hold ‘em poker tournaments at is a recruiter and he’s also looking at my material. That recruiter who said “all we have” is a survey situation for a Republican project and a tele-marketing deal up-selling dating site users to full membership, wow, his whole office must be starving. Guess he should have some extra time to read deeper into resumes then, right?

Glenn S.

A Month of Unemployment is Good for the Soul

At some soon-future time I’ll add pictures from this past weekend in the VA mountains around Meadows of Dan, elevation 3100′ and a full 12 degrees cooler than the swelter brother Steve and I returned to in Charlotte.

A buddy of his gave us tickets to 13th annual FloydFest, and beyond an optimally sunny Saturday afternoon filled with nothing but A-1 tunes, there was a generous sprinkling of sweet/curvaceous ladies whose ‘thong & something gauzy’ garbs simplicity was in tune with a 100% genuine aura of Good Will. On Sunday we hiked about three miles worth of the Blue Ridge, saw a trio of deer and a 30′ free-stack fireplace from a Works Program camp when they built the Parkway. I even attempted fishing in his front yard pond.

Putting my idyllic and mentally relaxing time– especially two evenings of good friends and food-drink aplenty– in what seems a realistic perspective, it felt GREAT to have a whole weekend off to completely enjoy all that transpired. While its changed my economics on a weekly basis, whenever I finally get unemployment, the $232/week will be about $50 less than that MSER outfit paid me for 35 hrs. of my life. That’s just part of current facts, as is 14 weeks max of UI, down from 26 last year. I got away from a situation where flunky management and money were so difficult to deal with, to being able to invest days and keyboard time in search for situations where my professional skills, detailed in LinkedIn profile, should eventually become my next Real Job.

After 30 days, I’m not stroking myself to say I’m not missing that previous set-up at all.

The personal-professional writing I’ve diverted prime time hours of my day into isn’t difficult to measure at all; I’ve got the discipline that puts writing in Number 1 position, without denying that finding a recruiter who cares about finding me a contract situation where I can prove/improve my administrative-organizational abilities is a strong 1-A. ┬áIt doesn’t make me a slacker that I choose timing for bike rides that have strengthened left leg-knee vs. the cumulative daily grind of walking and selling for maybe 7 hours; I’m in solidly better shape, tanned and feeling physically confident. The difference between guy hiking a music festival and the Blue Ridge is appreciated by the drudge who wondered if he was athletically dead when his jump shot went away with knee integrity and just working.

When, as will always happen, I had a period of disappointment over a phone call or series of leads going nowhere this month, I gave thanks it was a relatively new stress. “I don’t have kids in school, a mortgage, or even a car payment,” is simpler economics than dramatic negatives and choices many people have faced for lots longer times in this country. Israel and Hamas and civilian deaths at over 1200, with constant deadly fears EVERY DAY OF THEIR LIVES, isn’t in any balance I really have to be concerned about. (I’ll cop to ‘7 Habits of Highly Successful People’ on that– look to the 5% of things you CAN affect in your life vs. worry)

I just passed my first month of unemployment. I know its a numbers game, yet just like with the fundraising company I worked for before moving to Charlotte 19 years ago, its my job to track down those whom I need to speak with. I’m projecting myself online in relevant discussion groups, I’m feeling as strong as I have in maybe a year or more, and I have *two* recruiters who know enough about my resume-me to count. I’ve even got the first 12,600 words for next book cranking.

Looking forward to what August brings, including getting at least 3 readings/book events for ‘CARDS & CONSEQUENCES: Return of Marlena the Magnificent’. Goals baby, make it happen!

Glenn S.

The Dad Project

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Having finally gotten the picture from cell phone to here: The Dad Project is a pegboard homage, using many of his hand tools obviously. The top section is suspended by hook-eyelet from a simple bar resting on nails; the middle also rests on nails. Of course, the blue level, as two of my brothers astutely noticed; his father’s hammer actually,a beautiful saw, that 3-section 19″ piece of folding measure he used as much as anything, a coil of oooooold electrical cord. Lower left is picture of Dad showing 3 nephews how to make pens; upper left is a shadowy little square that’s the mantlepiece in front room in Tampa, the last thing he ever did.

I pulled 3 pieces of wood fairly randomly from his scrap barrel in the garage at the time of his funeral, Groundhog Day, 2013, and decided I’d put together something like that memorable portion of his Work Area– thats what we always called it. This is exactly what I wanted it to look like.

Well, except for the saw thing; its there now though. With a sanding block, too.
Glenn Shorkey, second son of Waldo & Ernel.

Personal Memorial Day 2014

I celebrated Memorial Day a week later than most, because I arrived in Charlotte 19 years ago on June 1, leaving upstate NY after a final NYC holiday weekend. Tercel packed to the gills and my trusty Miyata 12 spd. on the back, I emerged from the Holland Tunnel into a thundering hail storm, made a bad decision getting off 81 before Ronoake, and took part of Tues. cutting across southern Virginia futilely trying to catch *something* to get me to Charlotte.

Anyway, 19 years, and here’s how I’ll always remember my terrific nephew and Blackhawk helicopter pilot Lt. Curtiss Shorkey from that day before: he wouldn’t give me a hug goodbye, and I 100% understood, ‘cuz I get teary thinking about how bad my leaving made him feel. At 38 I had plenty of previous exits, but that five year old I loved the best (I maintain a favorite is granted aunts and uncles, whatever the rationale) touched me that deep from really early on. He is genuinely liked by everyone I’ve ever met, a straight-shooter you KNOW would do the Right Thing in any imaginable situation. If I ever get married, he’s the guy I want standing next to me, even if its just because that uniform *always* makes for a better picture.
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I spent a quite satisfying final week of the month knocking out sales goals with Jack, and as they say in Charlotte, from Thurs. on “we was gettin’ us some gravy,” to go with a Nautica bonus we’d already qualified for. Ended up $10,000 over budget, but the bonus is on total, so we sopped us up a mess of gravy. I’m always willing to help the economy when there’s a bit of extra cash, and I guess it’s definitely time for a new basketball, even if that wonderous ‘J’ of mine is no more…

Besides putting head down and producing, I’m reasonably pleased with having put WRITING in front of alternatives several times this week and invested ‘extra’ hours in developing my second book. That I sell a copy a day of my FIRST book, ‘CARDS & CONSEQUENCES: Return of Marlena the Magnificent’ is part of the deal, but doing that creative process again engenders a lot of hopeful enthusiasm.

I’ve regarded situation at MSER (Major SouthEastern Retailer) as ‘cash cow’ and BPBPJ (bill paying, benefit providing job), but having physical copies that people are willing to give me $18-20 for, that counts for a lot in the Bigger Picture. Like they always tell musicians and actors, “don’t quit your day job,” and while I continue searching for more appropriate uses for my organizational talents, putting some meat on the bones for Book #2 was a good use of Memorial Week-19th anniversary. I enjoyed an outstanding dinner at Miro Spanish Grille with b-day girl/manager Anne on Sat., couldn’t have asked for a more empowering finale than to know I will get to take it off my taxes too. I’ve got my personal days off arranged for later this month so I can fulfill commitment I made to So. Carolina HOBY organization about getting a childrens read-along book project to completion, and on Memorial Day, when we admire commitment just a little more, I’ll try doing all I can.

With thanks to my own uncles and Dad for their past service: Donnie (Air Force), Howard (Marines), Dad and Harold (Navy). While I always remember Curt, I know my cousin Frank Ball has a son in the Navy he’s exceptionally proud of too, so kudos there. I had opportunity to give a military person a 10% discount the other day, and I believe we should all take every small thing we can do and affirm that we know and give thanks for what they do for us. I saw a short note while scrolling on FB the other day: If you don’t support our military before and after a war, you don’t support the military, you support war. ‘Nuff said.

Oh, except that the working title for next book is, 3rd Time, Lots Less Nice.

Glenn S.

Book, Birthday, Belk and Beyond

As a soon to be published ‘real’ author, I’m obviously excited about holding my first book and feeling the solid proof of accomplishment. Not that I’m lacking pride regarding all the bylines I’ve accumulated over the years, or that knocking out-articulating in writing a blog for others to agree or perhaps just say hmmm… about doesn’t float my boat, BUT…

I don’t believe I’m the only one that feels this way, but a book somehow marks your passage in life as a writer. No matter how many times I mentioned I was a writer, one of the first two inevitable questions was, “Have you written a book?” With kudos to the Grantland Rice’s or Jim Murray’s who cranked out more sports articles than there are drunken, nearly naked sophomores on a Spring Break beach, ‘CARDS & CONSEQUENCES: Return of Marlena the Magnificent’ means I’m definitely not a wanna-be. It’s not ‘War and Peace’,’Sister Carrie’, or ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ literature, but its as I envisioned it when I began, and whenever somebody takes it to the register, I’ll get a confirmation I did something worth while.
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Mom’s surprise 80th birthday at the beginning of the month (actually a week earlier, which was the surprise) was one of those moments every son I know wants to tell people about, because in a very real way it DOES prove you’re a Good Person and you love your Mom a lot more than they can ever put in a Hallmark card.

Two other brothers from Charlotte and I (the NY guy was already there) arrived in Tampa after 1:30 a.m., woke her up, let her go back to bed, then had a houseful of people to greet her when youngest bro Dave returned with her from a seashell exhibit in St. Pete later in the afternoon. When they pulled up in front of the house, I heard Mom say, “Oh, now I get it,” because Dave had been telling her all week the guy next door was going to have a party, and had asked about people parking on her property. She cried and hugged people all the way to the door, and if it seemed a little silly at times that we were congratulated for doing something so special when I kind of assumed anyone would WANT to do that for their Mom, in my heart I know she’ll remember it until she really doesn’t remember anything.
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As for the MSER where we peasants will generally be getting back to 35 hr. work weeks after *three full months* of budget-straining skinny checks ($460 for two weeks can keep a single guy with no mortgage, kids in school, or car payment going, but anything extra, sheeee-it!), it only took ONE very helpful recruiter to listen to me explain my resume and say, “I’ll rewrite it a little so you can see what a recruiter is looking for,” to restore my confidence about getting out of retail in the near future.

Having achieved that career event of ‘first book published’ and gotten nearly 20,000 words into the next, I’m looking forward to the marketing challenge of selling those 65 units I self-published, doing a book signing at Maggiano’s, having a friend say, “You were right, reading this DOES go great with a couple glasses of chardonnay.” Getting to break-even (only 150 copies) is a legit mark, as is 1,000 units, and maybe a royalty check bigger than my BPBPJ (bill paying, benefit providing job). It all seems more possible now, and if my NCAA bracket picking brings a return on my $20 investment, I’ll take that as another positive.

Friends and people from work keep saying, “Good luck with your book, and I’ll be able to say, ‘I knew him before…'” and that sounds REAL damn good to me.

Glenn S.