Sunday, May 31, 2015

Getting Hired by the Numbers

I have been out of work for the past 4 1/2 months, and actively seeking new employment the whole time.  It has been a job in and of itself, and has required that I keep detailed notes of all of my activities so that I can keep everything straight.

Those notes enable a good recap of all that I have done with my time.  The following is the breakdown:

  • 76 total opportunities to which I've applied or conveyed interest to a recruiter
  • 20 interviews with recruiters (via phone, Skype, or in person)
  • 15 interviews with internal HR resources
  • 17 interviews conducted via phone 
  • 30 interviews conducted on-site
  • 83 total interviews
  • 12 different locations visited
  • 7 different states visited
It has been said that the process of finding a job is a job in and of itself.  It sure feels that way in my case.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday Song Share: Donovan - Atlantis

This is exactly what 60's music is all about.  

Hail Atlantis!

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Boss Card

Nothing can kill the creative, productive, and positive morale momentum of a team as when the leader consistently plays "the boss card."  You know the drill - the team is facing a decision, and the person in the leadership role chooses to ignore the team member's insights, and/or fails to solicit the feedback of the group and makes the call completely on their own.

Why?  Assuming that the team leader played a role in putting their team together, it is incumbent that those who are brought on are brought on not only for what they can do, but also for what they know and what they perceive.  That's part of building a good team.  Hence, if a team is not good counsel, that means there was likely a miss in hiring, and that reflects back on the leader.

The people that were hired were brought in for a reason.  Trust them, and you!  Thus, I'd argue that the boss card needs to be played infrequently, and with care.

As a leader, there are indeed times when the card needs to be played.  Ultimately, the leader is tasked with driving the business, and will be held accountable for its performance.  Since these decisions do need to be owned, sometimes a leader's perspective and experience are not resident elsewhere on the team and need to trump the collective.  

So, leaders, do reserve the right and play the boss card when necessary.  But do so infrequently and with care.  A good way to do so is calling out to the team that you know it is being done, and actively soliciting their support.  

A wise man that I know used to tell his team when he made the decision to play the card that, "all votes are equal, but some votes are more equal than others." And he was admired and respected for it.  

That's how it should work.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Amazing Minnesota Twins

Despite an auspicious start, the Minnesota Twins have put up a record that rivals baseball's elite.  They're currently a gaudy 28-18, which translates to a .609 win percentage.  That puts them tied for best in the American League.  They're also tied for first place in the AL Central with the upstart Kansas City Royals.

They also just swept the vaunted Boston Red Sox.

All of this is just so incredible.  Before the season, this team appeared to have the talent that would lead them to 100 losses; a watershed mark of a really poor baseball team.  They were young in the field, worse at the plate, had horrible starting pitching, and even worse relief help.  

Good thing the boys have decided not to listen to the baseball experts.

The team is finding a way to win games.  Their individual offensive statistics (with some marked exceptions) are mediocre, but they're finding ways to score and score often.  Likewise, both their starting and relief pitching has been a sight to behold.

It has been a long while since the Twins played this well.  And, you know, it may not last.  But for the time being, heading into June, we've got ourselves a first place team.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Unemployment and Doubt

I have been unemployed now for nearly 4 1/2 months, and while I have been doing a lot of interviewing of late, the length of time that I've been kept from "regular work" has raised a level of doubt in me.  Offers have been slow in coming, and for the first time ever in my life it is making me question my skill set and how my age is being perceived.  

I've been buoyed by the consulting work that I'm doing and by a couple of verbal offers that have recently been received, but overall I can't help but feel that something is just "off."

I submit that feeling this doubt is natural, given the path that I've been treading.  Likewise, I know that showing any kind of doubt to a prospective employer will kill things before they even get started.  Hence, I'm actively out there looking for personal engagements that help reinforce the positive things that I know I can offer an organization.

I'm ready to go and get on with the next chapter of my life.  I only wish others were as ready as I am.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

For those that paid the ultimate sacrifice, there are no words that we can use to express our thanks.  For those they left behind, there again are no words that can be used to properly console their grief.

Today, let us say a silent prayer to all of those who have been touched by war.  Their sacrifices have afforded us many blessings, and it is absolutely the least we can do.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Camp Traditions Wild Rice Soup

I'm up at my cabin, and two days ago it was bitter cold.  The wind was out of the Northwest at a 20+MPH clip, temps were in the 30's, and snow spat at me while I was fishing.  Don't believe me?  Here is the temp at 4:00 as I was driving to a movie:

On days like these, especially when just coming off the freezing lake, getting something warm to eat can make life a heck of a lot better.  For me, that was some Wild Rice soup by my friends over at Camp Traditions.

This soup, in a packet, just needs water and some TLC over the stove and it is ready to go.  It's rich, hearty, and warm.  However, it lends itself well to getting doctored up, and in my case I added some leftover ham, and it was out of the park good.

It makes 8 big servings, and I've been eating on it for two days, and let me tell you that it gets better with every reheating.  

A good friend owns this company, but I'd be touting this product beyond that relationship.  It is seriously the best thing you'll have at your hunting or fishing camp (and it will give everything a run for your money at home, too).

Buy some at your local sporting goods big box store, or you can order the best soup directly online.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why the Left Kowtows to Islam

Robert Tacinski recently penned a fantastic analysis on why the Left continually bends over backwards to support Islam.  The entire article is worth the read, and I have a link to it here.  I encourage you to check it out.

Here is one of his better points:

The point is that the left doesn’t kowtow to Islam because they actually love Islam, but rather because they hate our own culture. They have been steeped in a narrative about how American and Western culture is racist and “imperialist,” and they’ve been trained to see anyone with a dark complexion and a non-Western origin as the victim of our crimes. When they see criticism of Islam, or deliberate attempts to defy Islam, they filter it through that narrative. They see it as: there go those bigoted right-wing Christians, demeaning dark-skinned foreigners again. So they reflexively oppose it.

I really wish there was another viable reason, but I see none.  Scary.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Who's In Your Corner?

Between Mrs. YDP's cancer last fall and my current unemployment, we've been under a lot of stress lately.  OK, a lot of stress.  In times like these - where the chips really are down and things are at their toughest - that's when those that are truly in your corner raise their hands and come to your rescue.  They drop everything, bend over backward, and truly are concerned about your welfare.

Likewise, another group bubbles up.  This group actively moves away and tend to fall off the radar screen.  They don't tend to check in, and if engagement occurs, it is usually of the superfluous kind.  Nothing too deep, nothing too close to the emotion of what is happening.

These massive life changes are tough.  Really, really tough.  But they are oh so good at clearly identifying who is firmly in your corner - fixing your cuts, offering insights, and continually rooting you on - and who's merely in the crowd, watching. 

And those that identify themselves as being in your corner, and what you mean to them, well, they make all the pain worth it in some weird sort of way.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Recap from the Cabin

The annual guy's fishing trip was held this last weekend.  While the weather didn't cooperate, and we were missing 3 of 4, we still had a good time.  Here is some evidence:

This picture really captures how we run.  Captain JT has us moving out, and we're typically well above 40 MPH, which is petty fast for a boat, especially in 40 degree weather

Here is how things looked from my spot on the bow of the boat at the same time

While the weather was less than perfect, we did have a pretty good bite, and caught our share - more than enough for our annual fish fry

As usual, the food, drink, and BS were all in ample abundance.

Yesterday I was to fly out to Cincinnati for an interview, and I drove two hours to Fargo to do so.  We boarded the plane, but were held on the ground for nearly an hour as Minneapolis (where my connection was) was suffering from stormy weather.  It finally got the point where it was pretty clear that I'd miss my connection and be stuck in Minneapolis for the night, much less miss all of my half-day interview.  Hence, I hopped off the plane and drove back to the cabin.

My interview has been rescheduled for the Tuesday after Memorial Day, which will cost me a day on the cabin at that end.  But I get one back with today.

Unfortunately, this is what it looks like:

Oh well.  Regardless of the weather, there's never a bad day at the cabin...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Real O'Neils - Real Offensive

Interesting how Catholics are treated in this new ABC show:

Unlike the pigs that attempted the murders down in Texas, my offense at this will not lead to violence.  Instead, I pray for the people behind this filth (sorry, the Virgin Mary on the toilet can't be defined as anything else).  

I'd ask when the show comes out about this Muslim family in which there is a statue of Muhammad on the toilet, but I think we all know the answer to that question.

Stay edgy and brave, ABC 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Missing My Bride

Things are crazy right now, as interviewing is as hot as it has ever been.  I've been either prepping, travelling, or meeting a ton, with a lot more to come in the short term.  Likewise, I've been doing some consulting work in Minneapolis a couple of days per week.  Lop on a turkey hunting and fishing trip, and I just flat have not been home.

All of it is important.  Perhaps the most important has been the consulting, as the value that I'm adding to that company has been great for my ego and keeps the voice in my head that questions my value a little more quiet.  But it has meant I've not been home much, nor will I be in the next couple of weeks.

While progress is getting made, I miss my life, and I really miss my wife.  I'm hopeful that things can come together soon and we can move on to the next chapter in our lives.

Together.  As it should be.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bible Solves Murder

A couple of months ago, a 90 year-old country bachelor in Carver County, Minnesota was murdered and his house ransacked in what appeared to be a burglary gone very, very bad.  Authorities were stumped, and no good leads in the brutal murder existed.

One of the items taken in the burglary was a bible.  And when the murderer moved out of his apartment, he left that bible behind.  A cleaner found it, opened it, and found two $1,000 savings bonds inside, both with the victim's name on them.  The cleaner conducted an internet search of the name, looking to return the bonds to their rightful owner, and found that the owner was brutally murdered.  Thus, she called the cops, the cops found the person that previously rented the apartment, and the arrest was made.

For more on this story, check out the StarTribune.

There are a lot of different ways in which I could conclude this, but I'll leave it up to you, gentle reader, to put the capstone on it as you see fit.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Birthday Songs for My Brother

As we do every year, I've given my brother a listing of songs that are in heavy rotation for me in celebration of his birthday.  Some are old, some new, but all are sounding really good to me right now.  Here's the mix for 2015:

Crime - Real Estate: Airy and light, it is indicative of a sound that is really popular right now.
Driving Towards the Daylight - Joe Bonamassa: Joe is the standard bearer for blues artists right now.  His playing is virtuoso, and his vocals surprisingly good for such a great ax man.  
Free So Free - Ivy: Another new artist.  Not that dissimilar to the track from Real Estate above.
Have Love, Will Travel - The Sonics: It is hard to believe that this track is damn near 50 years old.  It sound a lot like some of the music that is being made right now.  This sounds completely relevant right now.  Just awesome.
I Remember - The Greyhounds: I'm a sucker for blue-eyed soul, and this track has it in spades.
I'm Afraid of Americans - David Bowie: This is not the original, but a remix, and one in which the remixed version is darn near better than the original.
Is this How You Feel - The Preatures: Their whole last album is outstanding, and this is the best track from it.
JM - Strand of Oaks: I should not like this song; it's typically not one that resonates with me.  I don't know why I do, but I adore this song.
Love TKO - Michael McDonald:  Speaking of blue eyed soul...
Modern Blue - Roseanne Cash: Like her dad, the older she gets, the better her music gets.
Pharrell Mashup - Poplamoose: Quirky and original.  Try not to tap your foot
Shitlist - L7: Been into girl groups a lot lately, and this is indicative of what I've been listening to
Something from Nothing - Foo Fighters: I could listen to this song over and over and over again.  Impeccable song construction, a bridge that absolutely makes the song, and lyrics that fit the tune like a glove.  
Unclouded Day - Johnny Cash: Played at Dad's funeral, I can't listen to this song without getting  a lump in my throat
Watch Over Us - The Lone Bellow: Speaking of crying, that's exactly what I did when these guys played this song in concert.
West Coast - Lana Del Ray: LDR is sometimes tough to get, but when she nails a song, she really nails it.  This is the best track from her latest.
Where Are We Runnin'? - Lenny Kravitz: Old Lenny for motivation for that last couple of miles on the bike.

Happy birthday, Kev.  I love you.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Recap

Mom came out to Green Bay for the weekend, and we were able to celebrate Mother's Day with her.  Activities included golf (she shot 97 with two 8s, whereas I shot 92), Mrs. YDP's birthday dinner, Mother's Day brunch, and other activities.  

I am so fortunate to have had, and to continue to have this amazing woman in my life.  Thank you, Mom, for all that you do, and for the person that you are.  I love you so. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Rush, the Left, and Islam

I don't care what you think of Rush Limbaugh. You need to listen to this point.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Saturday Song Share: Coldplay - Amsterdam

In honor of her birthday, here's one from my wife's favorite bands:

Friday, May 8, 2015

Happy Birthday, Mrs. YDP

Today marks the birthday of my lovely wife.

In the past year she's defeated cancer, and has taken on my job loss with confidence and grace.  She's far better than I deserve.

While we wait for our lives to turn in a new direction, and as a lot of things remain up in the air, I want to wish her the happiest of birthdays.  I know that a year from now, things will be lots, lots better.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Really Looking at the Sky

I spent a lot time alone out of doors last weekend, and as such was afforded the time to look at the sky.  Not just gaze it, or glance at it and move on, but really focus on it.  The resulting interaction spawned some insights, from the nature of how clouds build and dissipate to the amount of flight traffic in this seemingly remote locale.  It also took me back to time as a child, where lying on the grass and pondering the sky and all that it held was a viable use of time.

What struck me in all of this was how much I noticed by just taking the time and merely looking up.  While I looked at the sky every day, I saw very, very little.  However, by taking time and not just looking, but noticing, I was presented with a wealth of insight.  Insight that was always readily available to me, if I had just bothered to take the time.

In our organizations, we're surrounded by the familiar - the same people, projects, processes, and performance.  But in that organizational "sky" is a lot of really good and really insightful information.  It could come in the form of a teammate's communication style, or the insight provided by a customer's complaint, or in the way meetings start, or in a million other things.  

But insights are all around us, just as the sky is.

We just need to take some time every once and a while and really look.  What's out there for us to know might surprise us.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Apologies for Updates

To my loyal readers,

I apologize for the lack of updates in the past couple of days.  Things have been hot and heaving regarding my job search, and in between preparing for interviews, travelling to and from interviews, and the interviews themselves, there has been scant time to write.  Likewise, I've been doing some consulting work four hours away a couple of times per week, and in between the work there and the driving back and forth, it has been hectic.

Yeah, I've got a lot of excuses - whatever.  You don't stop here to read excuses, and I don't like writing about them.  Hence, I'll be more diligent on a go forward basis in terms of carving out time and putting my spin on things, as always.

Thanks for sticking with me.  You guys are the best.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Saturday Song Share: U2 - Every Breaking Wave

Nearly 40 years later, and this band is still damned relevant:

Friday, May 1, 2015

Black Lives Matter, Part 2

In yesterday's StarTribune, a study was published which showed infant death rates in Minnesota by maternal ethnicity.  Here are the amount of infant deaths per 1,000 live births for the period 2006 - 2010:

  • Asian - 9.1
  • Hispanic 4.9
  • White 4.3
  • Native American 9.1
  • Total 5.1
  • Black 9.8
Black babies die at two times the rate of all other babies born in Minnesota.  Two times.  Yet, despite this fact, and despite these preventable deaths, there will be no rallies, no protests, and no hastags.

Black lives matter, huh?  Prove it.