Rolling along

Well, let’s see…what’s new to report?   I have a meeting tomorrow about doing something with a podcast.  At this point, I’m not sure what exactly, but the guy who called me – a PR pro locally whom I’ve dealt with in the past – did say there was a money involved.   That’s better than…well, anything I have on the plate now so I’m going to roll with it.

My former boss with his cable company project keeps dancing around a start date.  I still think that will happen, but I’m getting another of God’s many lessons about rolling along with patience.

I fear I’m going have to make a living piecemeal which I suppose will be okay…at least until tax time. We’ll roll with whatever comes.

I did apply for a couple of positions today with my former company.   They’d be corporate jobs doing compliance type stuff, but I do know the home team and I am a detail oriented guy.   I’m at least a bit intrigued to see if they’ll respond.  I’d think nearly 30 years with the outfit would grant me a second glance.  It would be weird going back, but rolling with the devil you know has a certain appeal.

Outside of that, I’m pushing forward to have Dewey “altered.”  I was hoping to latch on (probably a poor choice of words) with a “free” or at least “low-cost” spay/neuter outfit.  So far, those organizations aren’t responding.  They have long waitlists, even for the unemployed.  I checked prices with my veterinarian and one down the street.  The down the street folks are far cheaper.  I think I’ll schedule Dewey for snippage next week.

In the meanwhile, we’ll keep rolling along.   This is how Dewey rolls in the car lately:

dewey rolls- Michael Main

Posted by Michael Main

Perdition

I’m obviously not having any luck convincing folks in other industries that I’d be a great addition to their teams, so today I started the process of possibly getting back into radio.

I’ve been wrestling with that prospect for a while.

perdition

I’ve always thought of stumbling blocks in life as opportunities – chances to take a different path, try new stuff…start over.   When I got sacked by iHeartMedia I really wanted to find something different, but the job offers aren’t exactly washing over me in a lather.

An old friend – who now happens to be a member of Congress – contacted me last week.   He wanted to check and see what I’ve been doing.   When I gave him an honest assessment…that I walk dogs a lot,  he said he had recently spoken with a boss of mine from many years ago and that boss wanted me to call.  He owns some radio stations and knows everyone in the industry.

My initial reaction was, “but, I don’t want to do radio.”  My reality check reaction was, “Would you rather be speaking into a microphone saying, ‘Do you want fries with that?'”    So,  I called.   He’s a busy guy.   I spoke to his “service.”  We’ll see.

Oddly enough,  as I was looking up information on that former boss last night (it always pays to be prepared) I saw an ad for a job with a NewsTalk station in San Antonio.   This is really the only station I’d want to work at as a reporter/anchor/whatever other than the one which decided I was no longer needed.  It was a bit providential.   We’ll see.   I’ve learned not to get my hopes up.

 

And…no.

So my hopes for an interview for the “dream job” were quickly dashed.  I’m really beginning to feel old.  I’m trying not to dwell on it, but I would think I should, at least, get a call, a follow-up…something more than a polite, “we’ve decided to pursue other candidates” email.

I’ll admit being bummed. I checked all the boxes for that gig…except I’m not in my 20’s…or 40’s.   If this keeps up much longer I won’t be in my 50’s.

Enough depressing stuff.  Let’s talk Donald Trump.  Okay, that’s depressing too.

Did you read the transcript of the Washington Post’s Editorial Board meeting with Trump?

I’m a Republican.  I’m a Conservative.   I’m also a guy who is facing a crisis.   This man is going to be the GOP nominee?   I’m not sure he’s even literate, much less intelligent. Oh. My. God.

Oh. My. God.

panic - michael main

Oh. My. God.

I think I may have found a way to make a living.   I’m going to develop an app to make everyone talk like Trump.

“Hey, ya know,  we can be…will be…could…hey, did you see my wall?   A building I’m building is going to have walls, great walls.   People and, ya know, the media, they won’t see the real walls…but I’ll see them and they’ll be great.   Did I mention that I’m really loved?   People…well, not the media…but some people really lov…hey!  Squirrel!”

 

Posted by Michael Main

On Hold, Might As Well Type Something

I’m “on hold”  in a web chat with the Tech Support folks who host this domain, so I’ll type some stuff off the top of my head.

I just finished applying for another job.  I wish I could rush down to this company’s headquarters and barge in with my resume, but once again it’s an online application only.   This would be my dream job, handling social media, blogging and other community affairs for the firm which is a rock steady rock star in San Antonio and South Texas.   I’ll pray hard for at least an interview.

This guy needs a job.

Michael Main

Hmmm… the “wait time” for my web chat has not changed since I initiated it…30 minutes.   Must be lunchtime…everywhere.

It was an interesting week with Dewey.    We had a lot of rain and he’s not really versed in being tossed out back in the rain to “do his business.”   He’d often refuse to go outside or perform his duties.    This meant grabbing a leash between rain showers and escorting him out front to make certain there were no in-house accidents.

The rain also meant a lot of pent-up energy…which he took out on Abby.

Dog frenzy -rainy day - Michael Main

 

The Dewey blur.  Rainy days and the kids had to play inside.   Despite the rains, we still managed to log more than 60 miles last week.

In the end, we survived, which I’m not sure is the case in tech support land since time has stopped, still a 30-minute wait and I’ve gotten no response.

I won’t make you wait with me.  You’re free to go…preferably outside.

 

Posted by Michael Main

 

Insert Title Here

It’s a depressing Tuesday.    Sorry, that’s how I feel.   Since I’m the only one reading this, I guess I can whine a bit.  Attended the funeral for a former co-worker yesterday.   He was a legend in San Antonio and the radio industry.   I was pleased to see a number of folks I used to work with, although only a handful are actually still working.

radiofolks

It was a bit disillusioning to see so few, if anyone, from the corporate offices of iHeartMedia.   The former CEO of the company was there…that was about it.

 

I suppose part of my lack of enthusiasm today is due to the rain.   I tried to get in a walk with the dogs this morning but determined we were going to be soaking wet if we kept it up.   I might try again later this morning.

I went through my usual Tuesday routine of applying for jobs.   I’m not optimistic.   I’ve also determined my unemployment benefits have run out, so I’m going to start applying for anything and everything.   It’s depressing.

I think I’ll not dwell on it today.   I’ll instead focus on being lazy.    I’ve got a couple of helpers to show me how.

yinyangdogs

Don’t We Dewey

 

I received sad news this past weekend that one of my former colleagues at WOAI radio died.   I worked with Bob Guthrie for more than two decades.  He was a phenomenal newsman, a true gentleman and a giant in the industry.   Bob was a renaissance man.  He was well-versed and conversant in almost any subject you could name from aircraft to guns to classical music and Scotch.

We embraced and sometimes  endured a lot of changes at the radio station and the industry together. Often we were on the same page and sometimes I was dragging him along with the tide, but he was always the consummate pro.   I’ll remember him fondly.

Bob’s funeral is next week.   It will likely be a reunion of sorts because Bob worked for more than 50 years at WOAI. This will be the third radio colleague service I’ve attended in recent months.   There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

On a lighter note – about 10 pounds total –  the new dog is a done deal.   Originally named Carter, he’s now Dewey – a name I selected since he was abandoned at a library.  He’s fitting in nicely and, despite his small stature, is proving to have no problems keeping pace with Abby on our now twice daily walks.   Yesterday we put in 11 miles.

We did have a few minor communication problems regarding direction.


whichway

This morning we logged about 7.5 miles during which Abby instructed Dewey in the proper way to intimidate deer.

deweydeer

 

Just to be consistent, here’s the usual update: I’m still plugging away on the job front.   Today I actually applied for a position as a “Career Counselor.”   The irony of that is not lost on me.

 

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

 

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.

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

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

Oh Deer, Michael’s Job Journey

Getting a deer to pose for a still life portrait is tough.
Deer - Salado Creek

Okay, I’ve been playing around with a photo editor and some recent shots I took while walking along the Salado Creek Greenway.   Abby and I have logged about 40 miles so far this week with a goal of 50.

We  don’t walk alone, we’re accompanied by a lot of deer.

 

 

Deer Greenway
The deer make the morning walks interesting and amusing.   They’re entertaining to observe, but I’ve also had to harness Abby so she stops trying to chase them.

Salado Creek Greenway Deer - Michael Main

My job search seems a bit restrained as well.   I fear as the holidays approach, hiring managers will put off their decisions.

Enhanced Salado Creek Greenway image - Michael Main

I suppose I’ll keep trying to amuse myself during this process, although I wish I had the option of  putting my expectations through a photo editor too.

 

Posted by Michael Main

Honesty in the job search

Having experienced the joys of instant job hunt rejection as a result of the wonderful world of online applications and algorithm-based evaluations, I’m taking a new approach – blunt honesty.

It’s obvious in some cases that no human eye ever gazes upon my resume because of something I can’t control – I didn’t graduate from college.  The maniacal microprocessors see that one certitude and immediately dismiss me.  No human contact required.

There is an explanation.  I attended college.   I attended college for five years.    I was young and idealistic, I attended college with this silly idea that I wanted to be educated.   I took classes that interested me. I took  classes in journalism, English, French,  mass communication, psychology, sociology, urban studies, anthropology, philosophy and many more.  I left college lacking only a few hours for a degree, but I left college with a well-rounded education.

I had another priority at the time – eating.

No employer ever asked me about my education.   My work spoke for itself and I worked continually until last December.

In recent weeks, I’ve come to regret my decision.  While I don’t think a degree would make me a better employee,  I’d have a better chance of being actually employed.

Were anyone besides me reading this I’m sure I’d hear two suggestions:  Go back to school, or lie.

Lying isn’t an option.  I am not good at lying.  At this point, if I were good at it I’d probably put it on my resume.

Going back to school is something I’ve thought about although it would simply be so that I could say I have a degree.  That would be frustrating. There are some other issues, the pesky eating thing being one.

In truth, although I’ve been unemployed for 10 months,  I have only recently begun looking for work on a regular basis.  It’s still a little early to take a vow of poverty and become a college student.

I read an article the other day suggesting applying online for jobs is a complete waste of time.  The author accurately described my experience of  being dissed by artificial intelligence and suggested stalking (my word) the person responsible for hiring.  The article recommended finding that person’s physical address and sending them an actual letter along with a resume.  No email.

I’m going to consider that route.

I’m also incorporating a more personal appeal in my cover letters and resumes.  I’m trying to explain the situation with my college education.

Maybe I still have a sliver of that youthful idealism, but perhaps my honesty will open some human eyes to my true potential.

 

flower growing through rocks by Michael Main

Posted by Michael Main

From Job Hunt to Job Prey

I got my hopes up a bit in the job search yesterday.   I suddenly received a couple of emails and a phone call about what I thought were jobs.   Turns out I was overly optimistic.

After listening to a torturous spiel from the woman who called promising her firm regularly lands people with jobs in every imaginable Fortune 500 company,  I finally got her to admit that her outfit would want me to pay them to make me the next CEO of IBM.   I somewhat undiplomatically told her that I’m clinging to what is perhaps a wildly insane goal that someone will pay me.

The emails were a bit less deflating.   The first was from a company where I applied for a Digital Marketing position.   Unfortunately, the email told me I was perfect for something called a Field Service Technician.  This is apparently a job installing, troubleshooting and repairing a type of oil field equipment.    As near as I can determine I have absolutely zero skills in that area.    I don’t do car repairs, home repairs or any other type of repairs because I’m really not handy.  My unhandiness is legendary.    My wife, Amy, has long chanted the refrain, “If you try to fix it, I will divorce you.”   It’s a mantra she adopted very early into our marriage after seeing the twisted results of my dismal display of skills.

The second email started off really well.   This company is impressed with my resume which I found amazing because I never sent it to them.  I’ve now learned that once you apply for any job on CareerBuilder.com your information is strewn like chum into the murky waters of “opportunity specialists.”   It was, however, a really polite and flattering email.  Today the same firm followed up with another email encouraging me to hurry because they only have a few current openings…for insurance salesmen.

I haven’t done sales except for a brief stint as a telephone solicitor in high school.   I’m not sure what would qualify me for that job other than I’m breathing.   However, as long as I am still breathing I’m not going to rule it out.

I’m also not going to dive in right away.   I have time to tread water a while longer in my job search.

However, I might change my tune as the career chase tide of uncertainty rises.

Lifeboat sign - Michael Main

Make it work Monday

Monday.

That word doesn’t carry quite as much dread for me as it does a lot of folks.   I’ve never really felt the semi-universal trepidation about Mondays even when I was working.   Now that I’m perfecting the art of sloth, the only worriment I have about the start of the week is remembering that it is the start of the week.  The days tend to smudge together a bit  in my personal realm of idleness.

I did apply for four jobs today.  Two of the applications are essentially curriculum vitae projectiles shot into the open blue sky, but my attitude is, “What the heck?  I might as well toss my name up there.  What’s the worst that can happen?

Tossing Child - Lakeside, OH - Michael Main

When I was working, I’d usually arrive at the office by 1:30 in the morning – radio keeps weird hours.  I always found it  perversely satisfying  as I was driving home from work for the day that most folks were only starting their workdays.

I realize I was  playing a mental game to rationalize going to work at 1 a.m., but it was comforting.

In any case,  this morning I applied for jobs, Abby and I walked six miles and we spent some time enjoying the gorgeous weather at the dog park.

McAllister Dog Park - Michael Main

No telling what else I can accomplish today, even if it is Monday.

 

Posted by Michael Main