Head East, Old Man

It seems sort of odd to be talking about a vacation when I haven’t worked for more than a year.   However,  Amy and I are about to fly east.

flying east michael main

We’ll be taking a trip to Florida to visit with Amy’s parents.   It’s always a good time.

In advance of the trip, I’m busy applying for more jobs.   I’ll have limited computer access while there, so I figure I might as well get as much done now.    Our renter is planning to move out next month, so this is likely our last chance to get away and have a built-in housesitter/dogsitter.

The weather in Florida is not expected to be much different than it is here.   I plan to get in some hikes, although I won’t have my trusty canine companion.   We have been logging about 45 miles a week lately, so she can probably use the time off.    Today we hiked from home to Comanche Lookout Park.   Abby enjoyed the views, so did I as we gazed southeast towards downtown San Antonio.

abby looking east michael main

 

Oh well, back to job hunting and trip planning.

Probing My Annals

What do you say?  How about I don’t start off this post by grousing about my search for employment and my hopes for the future?  I thought you’d say that…”that” being “nothing” since I still have exclusive eyeball rights to my wistful meanderings here.

Instead, I’m going to dwell a bit in the past.

A week or so back I became curious about my paternal grandfather’s military service and that led to a brief foray into the ancestral black hole that is family tree research.    I dallied for a bit with sites like Ancestry.com and Archives.com.    Both of which are excellent, although I’m not in  a position to pay for the ongoing services.  I opted to spend a few days with each and then cancel my “trial” subscriptions.

It was an entertaining tangent.   I discovered some interesting facts.  For example, although my brothers and I are all six feet tall or taller, we were apparently descended from hobbits.

wode clan

 

That’s my paternal grandmother second from the left on the front row.  As I recall, she didn’t get much taller.

I have a cousin who’s done a lot more research on the family line than I will ever attempt.   I discovered after hitting several roadblocks tracing the Main family name that she hit the same walls, so my search for my heritage on my paternal grandfather’s side grinds to a halt with his parents.   His mother’s side goes a long way back,  however.

I didn’t find anything too nefarious, although in 1934 my great-grandmother on my mother’s side was murdered, along with my great-aunt.

jw woodard gladys boggesss mm

I had heard mention of this as a child, but it was not really spoken about by family members.

Other than that, census records indicate a few slave owners, some civil war veterans and other types of things you expect to discover when wading through family history as it coincides with the nation’s past, but nothing too exciting.

I did confirm that my roots are primarily Irish and German – which, I suppose, explains why I drank.

 

Posted by Michael Main

 

Eyeballing the Future

Well, here we are in February and I’m still doing this weekly whining about job hunting.   I had another person tell me this week to ignore online applications and instead reach out to/confront/stalk the people who are actually looking for someone to work in their departments.   That’s easier said than done, but I must admit I’m running out of options.    I need to get my name in front of actual eyeballs instead of algorithms.

eyeball michael main

 

I do have a meeting this week with my former boss about his cable/broadband company project.  It looks like I’ll be proceeding with that, most likely in March.   However, the more I examine his needs the less I feel the task could morph into something larger or longterm.   It will help occupy my time and pay me some money, presumably.   That detail hasn’t been formalized.

In the interim, Abby and I have been walking and enjoying the warmer weather over the past week or two.   Things are starting to green up and members of the wildlife community are poking their heads out a bit more.

duck michael main
We covered 44 miles walking last week and about 20 so far this week.   The exercise, and my renewed focus on diet, has had the upside of substantial weight loss – I’m knocking on the door of 70 pounds.   I think I’ll set a goal of losing 100, which would put me near my college weight.

The new grandgirl is doing well.   There were some very scary concerns about funky blood test result that came back in the standard newborn screenings, but the kids seem to believe that it was an anomaly.

I’d like a more definitive answer, but I’ve come down from my initial completely manic panic mode.

panic - michael main

 

The Divine Miss Em

Miss Emily has arrived.

emily

Emily Judith arrived one week ago today.   All is well with both her and her Mom.  She is my third grandchild and has the distinct advantage of living only a few hours away, so I’ll likely see her in person a bit more often than the other two.  They still get a lot of one on one via Facetime, but the personal hugs are still too few and far between.

gks Michael Main

While in Houston visiting Emily, I was contacted by my former boss about his cable TV project.   We’re going to move forward with that in the next month or two.   I’m still looking for full-time work.   Still applying.   Still being still and listening for God to show me the right direction.  I’m trying to be patient…but still…

Posted by Michael Main

The Waiting Main

The waiting game is nearly over.

abby rests - Michael Main

No, I’m still waiting for a job…not going to dwell on that today, because tomorrow the waiting will likely be over for our newest grandchild.    Miss Emily is due to tumble into our reality.   Since she’s refusing to turn around, she’ll likely be delivered via Caesarian.   That’s a little scary, but it does mean we can plan ahead.

I’ll be driving Amy to Houston so she can help with the newborn for a week or so.   I’ll get a chance to meet the grandgirl and then drive back since I’ll only be in the way in a house with a post-surgical new mom and a new baby.   I suspect I’ll be getting to know the route between here and Houston quite well in the days,weeks, months and  years ahead.

The job hunt?  Meh.

The other day I applied for a communications job with a company where I’d love to work.  A nice person in the H.R. office sent me an email requesting I send her a resume in an email in addition to their online application.   Having a human being respond to me was actually exciting.  At least I provoked an acknowledgement.  Yes,  my gauge of success is now quite low.

I’m refusing to get depressed.

I trust God will eventually show me how to stop waiting and take flight.

flight - michael main

 

Posted by Michael Main

Ah Nuts Michael Main

I’m going nuts.

nuttyMichaelMain

It’s exasperating applying for jobs and not getting them or even getting a phone call, much less an actual interview.   However, I keep plugging away and I will be pursuing the project with my former boss mentioned here earlier.   Hopefully, that will start to flesh out in the coming weeks; at least, it’ll give me something to do.

I have applied for a couple of positions with companies and non-profits that work with animals.   I’m excited about the idea of a career that would also play to my passions, albeit at this point in the job search my enthusiasm is tempered a bit.

Since my closest companion, besides my wife, is my dog Abby, and I’m a daily visitor to dog parks as well as a supporter of various animal rescue organizations, working in support of animals seems like a good fit.

I suppose there’s the potential that Abby might get jealous…I guess I’ll have to watch my back.

fideauxwatchingMichaelMain

I’m also applying at various other companies and organizations hoping to parlay my media experience into a gig.  My previous goal of finding a way to work with the state in helping children has thus far proved fruitless, but I’m still reaching out.   I know that prized job is within my grasp.

reaching Michael Main

 

Posted by Michael Main

 

The Old & New

Out with the old…

The old and new - Michael Main

2016 is starting much like 2015. I’m still jobless, albeit a bit more panicked, but I’m still hopeful. The job prospect I mentioned previously with a former boss has turned into more of a “project” than a full-time gig. I am still going to pursue it – I certainly have the time – it could develop into something more as his company grows and it will be a new challenge. A few shekels coming in wouldn’t hurt either.

I’m still applying for various positions and still trying to steer clear of media jobs to some extent.

I’ve vowed to be a bit more aggressive in 2016 and I’m confident that I’ll find the right position where my talents can be utilized in a worthwhile manner.

In the interim, Abby and I are still walking, exploring trails and dog parks.

I may be looking for work,  but Abby is on the lookout for other adventures.

abby bw-color

One adventure that is near is our latest grandchild.   Miss Emily is going to domino into our reality any day now.Ms Em

So, while there are still some question marks surrounding 2016,  I have faith and certainty that we’ll be blessed many times over.

Prayers and Possibilities

It’s been almost exactly one year since I was unceremoniously ejected from my longtime job.   I suppose I went through all the normal stages of anger, denial…anger and anger.

The fact that the company’s severance package mandated I be paid for every year of my employment has made it a nice comfy year of unemployment, but I am ready to try to something new.    As I’ve groaned about previously, I haven’t had a great deal of success.

Today, however,  I’m feeling a small tinge of optimism.

 

Shortly before embarking on my usual exercise in futility of applying for jobs online, my phone rang.   It was a former boss whom I last spoke with a day or two after I was broomed from my previous job.   He wants to talk about a potential opportunity.

I don’t know what it would involve.   I don’t know if it’s  a full-time gig.   I don’t know much, but my phone rang and these days I score that as a win.

We’re meeting for coffee on Friday.

Let us pray.

prayer - Michael Main

Posted by Michael Main

If It’s Tuesday…

This must be…well, Tuesday.

We’ve been doing some shopping lately.   Christmas gifts, a big-ticket item for my future granddaughter, and some sorely needed furniture.    Isn’t this what all unemployed people do?

I’ve actually been saving money for the past months, so these purchases don’t sting too much.   I’ve still got a few others on the list which may fall victim to economic fears as the new year approaches with no job prospects in sight.

I have, however, cracked the code of the state’s job database which I whined about previously not allowing me to apply for various positions.   I’ve learned to run my work experience against the listed job requirements and then modify my experience, interest, skills in the database to match.

Okay, maybe it’s lying, but it, at least, allows me then to send a resume and let a human (hopefully) judge my potential instead of being ruled out by a mechanized mind.

In other news, the walking continues.    I’ve shed about 50 pounds in the past several months.   Abby is still on the prowl for deer.   The other morning, I noticed a deer with very unusual markings.

I was reminded of a favorite Far Side cartoon.

hal

 

Posted by Michael Main

Boogers and trees

Abby and I completed our mission Saturday to walk the one section of the North Salado Creek Greenway that we hadn’t yet traveled.   It wasn’t too exciting.   We did see this tree.

boogertree

I must have watched too many cartoons because all I could think is that it looks like it’s flicking a booger.

Yes, if you’re looking for profundity…well,  I ain’t no Thoreau.

 

Posted by Michael Main

Just another bitch about job hunting

I’m getting close to going all Unibomber when it comes to technology.   Don’t get me wrong, I’m a geek.  I’ve been a tech guy since the days of 300 baud modems, but I’ve about had it with the “labor-saving” ways of online job applications.

One website I use to look for work is  Work in Texas (clever huh?).  It’s the site the state requires  job seekers  to use if they’re collecting unemployment benefits, which I’m now opting to do.   It matches you to various jobs and allows you to search for all sorts of positions including those with state agencies.

I’ve been seriously trying to land a position with the state where I might work with child placement, child support,  foster parents and the like.   After 35+ years reporting on the seedier segments of society I thought I might try to find a job where I could possibly help people.

However, the algorithms that match me to jobs also disqualify me from applying for positions where I don’t have experience…even if no experience is required!    The digital diva decides  I don’t meet the requirements listed in the posting.  The problem is some of those requirements are things like, “at least 3 years of college” or “some high school.”   Well,  I have 5 years of college and a high school diploma, but the algorithms don’t  see an exact match to “3” or “some,” so it says, “You are  not qualified” and the website won’t let me apply.  It also rejects me from applying for jobs below my stated salary preference.   I’ve tried changing preferences, adding in numerous keywords and even falsifying a few skill sets, but so far I’ve yet to bust through the electronic guardian’s defenses.

The result is this artificially intelligent gatekeeping on the website designed to help job seekers is blocking me from seeking jobs.

I feel like I’m screaming at the sky.

screaming beach - michael main

Posted by Michael Main

Futures, Churches and Casino Cash

We are fresh back from our Thanksgiving trip.

It was  a good time with family and we were able to help celebrate my in-laws 60th wedding anniversary.

My in-laws have a wonderful legacy of family.  The future is well represented.

60th

I should add the trip was even more enjoyable because Amy and I managed to snag a few shekels at a casino as we were saying goodbye to Oklahoma.

Casino win - Michael Main

It’s been a long time since we’ve been to Oklahoma.   I noticed a lot of changes.   Foremost, it’s much quicker getting there these days with speed limits above 55 miles an hour.   We made the trip in a little more than 8 hours.   It was longer on the way back, but there was rain and…well, a casino stop.

While in Oklahoma, I managed to get in some hikes and long walks before the weather turned wet.  There wasn’t as much fall foliage, but there were some nice spots.

path oklahoma

 

geese - Michael Main

One change I noticed on our drive into the state were the churches.   Small towns once  pockmarked with various churches boasting of their affiliations with Baptists, Protestants, Methodists and the like now have houses of worship with nebulous names like Fusion church, Life church, Faith church, Frontline church.  I suppose it’s an attempt to appeal to younger folks.   My brother-in-law, who pastors a church in Ohio, says he’s heard of an inner city  church that’s changing names to “Dat Church.

I’m out of touch with the times.  I find it odd that ignoring the past is a strategy to embrace the future.

 

Posted by Michael Main

Eyes on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving week.   We’ll be doing a little traveling and leaving our house and Abby in the care of our renter.  She may give me the evil eye for that decision.

Abby Main - Michael Main

Roadtripping along I-35 over Thanksgiving is always an adventure, but I’m trying to stay optimistic.

I’m hoping a proper attitude will  open my eyes to a sense of wonderment.

outside - Michael Main

If nothing else,  I’ll be thankful for a minimal number of eye-popping traffic jams.

Posted by Michael Main