Sunday, April 28, 2013

SO POPULAR!

I'm slightly bored and, well, when that happens... actually, nothing usually happens. I just sit in my room and watch youtube or read. So, in doing that, I epitomize the saying, "if you're bored then you're boring." Hooray.

But, that's not why I'm here this evening (though I feel like I should explore that last point a bit at some point). NO! I'm here to give you some delicious AWD links! Some oldies and some goodies to be sure. Seven links to what google says are my most popular entries. I mean, some of the lesser viewed ones are good too, but if you're doing nothing, these are mildly to very entertaining. 

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

6) Danger! Battery Corrosion! (With terrible video enhancements!)
5) Heaven

I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them. For now, I will bid you adieu while I work on my potentially damning/relationship ruining diatribe on Easton's street parking situation.

Friday, April 19, 2013

What to do when you can't do anything

Yesterday turned, very quickly, on its head. A friend of mine ran away from his life with the intent to end it all. I can't say that I didn't see this coming; he had been diagnosed as clinically depressed years ago. The unfortunate part of his suffering is that though he was on medication for many of the past years, he never received any help. The pills helped him maintain the semblance of a normal human being, but really he had been a shell for quite some time before that. His life had been a veritable train wreck that seemed to never end. Now, I know that there were good times. Years even. But despite all his amazing qualities, he has no sense of self-worth.

How do you inspire that in someone? Someone who has been told all his life that he is not special. That has been shown that he is not loved. That he is not worth a goddamn thing. I had tried, countless times, to convince him that he was important. The few friends that he had did as well. But to know this man was to be eternally frustrated by his unwillingness to see himself as a person that deserved happiness. If you know or have ever known someone like this, then there is a good chance your friendship hangs by a thread or is non-existent at this point. It is wearing. You burn out. How can you not? Unless you are family, quitting IS an option. Giving up for YOUR sanity is a choice you may have to make.

Now, some may say that if a person like this is in your life, you can never give up on them. And I agree with this - to a point. How many times can you be pushed away, ignored, or shut out before you say, "I have given all I can and more. They are an adult and must make their own way." In the question of love (when is enough, enough?) there is only a 50% chance that answer is "never". Any thing that lands on the other side of that is someone's breaking point. And if you are broken and beaten down by your love of someone, there comes a time where you have to ask yourself, not what this person means to you, but what do you mean to this person?
Is it a selfish question? Yes. Undoubtedly. But we ask it. Our sense of love and self-worth comes from our perception of how we perceive others perceive us. Nothing in our culture exemplifies this more than the entire internet. We need the "likes".

My friend's fan base was not extensive. He ostracized everyone. One by one he shut us out. His silence spoke volumes and hurt more than an ear-piercing scream. He felt that his problems were a burden and in that refusal to accept help, he became just that. A stubborn man that didn't care that he was surrounded by people that love him and that were trying so hard to help him. So, what can you do when you can't do anything?

I'm not looking for advice here. It's 2am and I'm filled with rage and sadness for my friend. All I can do is lay awake here and hope that he will finally get the help and care that he very much deserves. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Heaven

So, a few weeks ago, I got my hair cut after letting it grow for nearly a year. It was pretty long, by my "standards" and while I loved my oddly curling locks, the time had come to give them the chop. A day or so later, whilst in the shower, I began singing "In heaven, there is no beer," having heard the song at a bar the night before. As I washed my newly shortened hair, I changed the lyrics to, "In heaven, there is no hair... that's why we cut it here." Silly, to be sure, but it got me thinking. 

The following are my thinks that I thought.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Remembering to remember

I remember what it was like to write poetry. I remember the words forming into verses. How they poured out of me onto the paper. The meaning behind them thinly veiled, if it was at all. I remember the love that went to those poems. Those lines of sometimes rhyming romance and passion. Not just for girls, surely they were in the majority, but for life and nature and friendship. I know I was a foolhardy romantic with my head in the clouds. Even then, I knew. But I didn't care. I was writing from my heart. Writing because it carried me off to someplace that was made of dreams that came true. That could come true. Pages and pages and pages. Words heaped upon words for love. Of love. From my heart of hearts.

I remember drawing. Always drawing or doodling. Perhaps a product of an easily distracted mind. Or an easily bored one. I knew I wasn't very talented because I had friends that were and still are quite adept with pencil and ink, but I liked what I drew because it was my vision. I remember a lot of trees. Landscapes. Paths to the horizon. I remember pastels and the explosions of color that would sweep across the page, hands and fingers blackened from mashing the colors together. Such joy came from those days. Sitting outside, just watching the clouds roll by. Unencumbered by the weight of life down below. Drifting and changing with no one to tell them what form to take or where to go. I've seen many sunrises, but only remember a handful. The sunsets, however, those were always my favorite. The colors and light are always unexpected and breathtaking. Watching the sun paint its path to sleep is a magnificent thing. If the night sky reminds us of how little we are, and the morning light reminds us of a day full of possibilities, then the setting sun tells us to reflect on the glorious beauty that this life holds. Even now, my mind is drifting to those wondrous and wistful places where I have seen such dazzling displays.

I remember these things and I look at my hands. When is the last time I wrote a poem? When is the last time I had to scrub colors off my finger tips? Long ago and far away, it seems. It is easy to say, "Just start again. It will come back." But how do you begin again? I mean, really begin? I have tried. Instantly, a fury of self criticism assail my efforts. Because I want it to be like it used to be. I want to not have that part of me so broken and neglected. It can never be the same. I know that. I have to accept that it will never be the same. Until I can get past that without the fear of the past slapping my hands, it will stay rotting in the corner of my mind, waiting for the door to open and taste the free air. Ah, to be free of those shackles. Would that I could shed them as easily as I put them on. Steeling myself against the all-too-painful exposure of emotions that those things bring has hurt me and others more than I could have ever imagined. How is it that guarding myself, my heart, has become more painful than being exposed? Then it hits me. These things are not to be guarded. Why, then, can I not open that door?

I remember these things. So that's something, I suppose.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

How (ro)bots are killing the unemployed

This is just my opinion. My experience and thoughts on the matter of how millions of qualified workers are unable to get the millions of jobs that are available out there. For me, this is the cold, hard, motherboard truth. I have been unemployed for 20 months. I have applied to hundreds of jobs that I felt I was qualified, well qualified and even marginally qualified to perform over these months. But for all my efforts, I have been on THREE interviews and received (maybe) a dozen "thanks for playing" emails. Hours upon hours have been spent at my computer filling out applications that each take a minimum of thirty to forty minutes to complete before submitting them to... to whom? Who gets these incredibly lengthy applications? Who even SEES my (very well designed) resume?

The answer?

Probably no one.

Once you wipe the sweat from your brow and nervously check the "I'm not lying about this" box and then, with a little more confidence, the "here goes everything" button, your life's work history gets sucked into a black hole of key words and over-scrutinization of purported skills sets. Your resume, my resume, is junked within seconds of submission and you get no say in the matter. No defense. You and I are reduced to numbers in a propitiatory algorithm designed to see you as DATA... and nothing more. There is no personality. Oh wait! There's that personality test I took for STAPLES to see if I could handle working in the copy/print area! Forget that I have over five years of working for a leading MFP manufacturer. THAT, apparently counts for nothing. I didn't even have a chance. I didn't get a call. I only got a confirmation email. But I digress.

I became acutely aware of this black hole last year when I tried to apply for a job at a temp agency. The job was working FOR the agency in an counseling type position. I submitted my resume online and then, after a day, went directly to the office with my printed resume, hoping to TALK to someone about the position. I think the kids are calling it "follow-up". The office was empty with the exception of two employees (that I could see). After waiting for a few minutes, one of the women finally came up to me and asked what she could do for me.

"Hi! My name is Steven Schmid. I applied for the counselor job here the other day and wanted to come in and introduce myself. Give you a hard copy of my resume and maybe talk to someone a little more about the position."

(Not introducing herself) "Oh, did you apply online?"

"Well, yes, but I thought..."

(Interrupting) "You have to submit your resume and fill out the application online."

"Oh, I know. I did. I just wanted to drop off some hard copies of my resume for you..."

"We don't accept paper resumes here. All applications go through headquarters and then they send us qualified applicants."

"..."

"SO, you'll just have to wait to hear back from someone. Okay?"

"...Okay."

"Okay. Thanks! Bye!"

I walked out of the building stunned. A temp agency that doesn't accept paper resumes? Also, I'm fantastically qualified for this position. Had I been able to TALK to SOMEONE about my four years of experience at The William T. Cahill Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services in college, all the teaching classes I've taken and the amazing references I have to kick the crap out of this job and help other people find work, I would not be writing this entry right now.

But, I am. The faith that corporations and businesses put into outsourcing the work that human resources SHOULD BE DOING is nauseating. People are no longer deciding if you are qualified, or even COULD be qualified with minor training. Bots take a buzz saw to your data and look at the words, not the work, and certainly not the person who has done the work. Now, don't misunderstand, I've played the keyword game. I follow the rule of putting in words and phrases from the job description. Words and phrases from the company's website. Words and phrases that clearly explain, exemplify and freaking sound the trumpets as to what, exactly, I have done and can do for a business. The bots don't like it. Not. One. Bit. What more do you want from me? I cannot continue, personally, to fill out dozens upon dozens of applications that tell me to attach my resume AND THEN TELL ME TO PARSE OUT EVERY LITTLE DETAIL IN SEPARATE TEXT BOXES. Obviously, this is where the bots come in. The fact that you attached your resume means nothing to the bot (or maybe it does, who knows?) because the resume is only there in the SMAAAAAALL chance that the bot approves (based on the obscenely high criteria of meeting 100% of the the job description) your application and it is THEN, MAYBE, sent to a real, live, human bean.

Gone are the days of monster.com, where employers actually GOT your resume. I, honestly, would prefer a person skimming my resume at this point as opposed to the reality of the system these days. I know I am not alone in my frustration. The good, hard-working people of this country deserve better than to be picked apart by a program that will never know your dedication, your drive, your ambition and your character. There are millions that could care LESS about which President will create more jobs BECAUSE WE CAN'T GET TO THE ONES THAT ARE AVAILABLE NOW!

Society has become too reliant on programs to do our jobs for us. In this OH-so important area, it's time to cut back. If we want to put America back to work, then businesses need to put work into finding the people FOR the work and stop relying on what a computer tells you. Now, you may counter with, "Well, isn't that what the computer is doing? Finding the best and brightest?" No. It's searching for words. Words, words, words. How can I ever prove myself against the next person if my resume never sees the light of day as a printer slowly spits ink onto some crappy all-purpose copy paper? If you don't accept paper resumes, how can you know who is TRULY interested as opposed to someone just blindly schlepping out applications on their lunch break AT THEIR OFFICE? You can't. And it's not going to change. It won't change because the chain has become too short and far too strong to cut.

So, good luck, out there in unemployment land! Don't worry too much about that personality quiz you just took for Dunkin' Donuts...

It's only your life.