Monday, September 18, 2017

National Unity

I was reading this.

And thought this:
We are obviously a divided country.
From the beginning, we were headed to The Civil War.
Then we faced Fascism and Communism (I know, I know).
And that helped unify us.

We need a common enemy to unify around.
We have one.
Unfortunately a large segment of our society is defending that enemy.
I bet if we faced space alien invaders, that same segment would defend them also.
"We must understand why they fled their planet and want to take ours."

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Great Depression

This morning, we were talking in Sunday School about the Church and whether it had dropped the ball on charity thatallowed the state to encroach.
Mustang had posited that LBJ was the worst president, but I think that FDR did the most damage of any president to this country and yet he is still is considered one of the greats!

"He saw us through the Great Depression AND World War Two."

It's quite obvious that his policies extended the Great Depression and arguable that he maneuvered us INTO World War Two.

The Christian Church had for years provided charitable activity to the population, but the depression was such a monster that the reserves of the church (the wealth of it's members) was strained.

Was this the intent of the FDR administration?
To enslave the populace by tying their welfare to the state by weakening the ability of the Church to respond?

Normal economic cycles could be absorbed by society,  but was this long harsh economic downturn exacerbated intentionally?
Did Obama do the same?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Work Life

Tonight is my last night on the job.

So, a month ago, while looking for another position, I got a number of offers.
Not all of them appealing due to travel or shift.
I had thought that I'd like to get back to engineering and leave management behind. I really enjoy programming and working with equipment improvements, designing devices, etc.
So I was interviewing (which I've come to enjoy) with a number  of entities and it came down to two positions, one an hour away and the other half an hour.
I did a phone interview with the one an hour away and the first 25 minutes of it was grilling me about my employment history.
I've been through a lot of jobs, mostly due to closures, but three times I've been terminated.
I firmly believe that as traumatic as each was, except the last, God used each to get me out of a place I wouldn't leave to bless me with a better job and more pay.
And when asked why I was terminated, I answered so that I could get a better job, and obviously my next employers were happy to have me.
Only the last five minutes were about technical questions.
I hung up thinking it was a wash, the interviewer had seemed hostile.

I had also interviewed for a position that was a second shift position, but I was assured that it would be temporary as the day shift guy was going on a long medical and would probably not return.
I interviewed well. The manager kept mentioning that he wished "Pete" could have made it. I volunteered to take a call from Pete at his convenience.
A phone interview was scheduled for the next day at 1 pm.
At 1 pm I made it a point to be in the parking lot of the company, and when Pete called I mentioned that. He met me at the door. I had an offer that afternoon for a contract at a certain hourly rate which was more than I had ever made before or heard of anyone making.
After six months though, I would go salary, direct hire. and the money would drop to a more "reasonable" rate.
Insurance was to start immediately. (Scherie's meds are expensive).
I took it.
The next day I was called about the other job and was offered it. I declined as I had already accepted this job. My word and all.

The first day on the job, I discovered that the guy on day shift was someone I had tried to hire at my last job! And he had no intention of going on medical.
This caused me some consternation.
I was then called concerning a position in Detroit, another Maintenance Manager gig with PLC and robotic responsibilities.
Sounded good to me and I interviewed.
When the recruiter sent me the job description, he sent one for a controls engineer position at the same company.
While I was interviewing, I brought that up and mentioned that if I didn't meet their criteria for one, I might for the other. I then mentioned they might want me to do both, as I have in the past.
They said they were thinking the same thing.
I was told I interviewed well, when can I start?
I said I had to give two weeks notice as it was only fair and they agreed.

It was a while before I heard back from them and I began to get concerned. Then the recruiter called and told me that they had increased the salary offer by quite a bit.
To get health insurance by October first, I would have to hire by September first.
I took a physical and drug screen and waited. When the results came in and I was approved to start (last Friday) I called the recruiter who had gotten me this current gig and told him I was quitting. I mentioned that in three weeks, I still did not have insurance.
A number of people at work were through the same recruiter, had the same problems and promises had been made that were not fulfilled.
He hung up on me.
I went in to work and was given an envelope. It was an offer to go direct immediately at $3,000 less than the recruiter had promised. The same thing had also happened to the other contract employees I was working with! Not a lot of happiness.

On the flip side, my boss said he was sorry to see me go, as were the techs I was supporting. It turns out, that they were now willing to accommodate my going day shift if I stayed.
I just discovered this on my last evening here.

So that's what's going on with me lately.
If you're even still here listening to my long boring story.

What's really funny is that my last boss, the guy who fired me before quitting himself, offered a "connection" on LinkedIn, the business equivalent of Facebook.
I accepted. Why not?
Shortly after, I got a message from him saying that he was sorry the way everything had gone down, and he had a friend who was looking for someone with my skillset and would I be interested?
Life is weird sometimes.

A couple days ago, I was at my laptop on the shop floor when the manager who originally interviewed me walked by escorting a familiar face.

It was a guy I had worked for years ago, inept at his job while at the same time pursuing an affair with another manager. Both married.
We called him Surfer Bob because of his long curly blonde hair. Also because he had a surfer attitude to his work.
I complained to the the plant manager a number of times about his lack of support for the work I was doing, never supplying technicians to assist me in rewiring cells, drilling/tapping holes etc. and I attributed it to his pursuit of the quality manager.
The situation would improve for a few days and then deteriorate.
I would be working late, thinking I was the only one in the plant, turn off the lights and then hear her giggling as he shushed her.
I had finally caught up on all the "conquest" work (80 hour weeks) we had gained from our failing competitors (this was 2009) and was scheduled for a two week rotating layoff to be shared with the other engineer.
It was then that I found out that the Plant Manager and the HR Manager were leaving the company, the same day I was going on layoff.
And Bob's lover was promoted to acting Plant Manager.
I was never called back. I wonder why.
Explain that to an interviewer when they ask why you left a company. :)

So, the next day it was remarked that I had said hello to Bob, how did I know him? What did I think of him?
I kept my lips pursed.
It was noted.

Some people think that there is a purpose for everyplace you get put and that God has His hand in it.
I think that is only true a part of the time and the rest is random.
But lately, I'm beginning to change my mind.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Scary Stuff

I didn't think they cared.
Of course, I knew God cared.
He sent me an eclipse.
I shared it with everyone.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Management and Leadership

man·age·ment ˈmanijmənt/ noun
  1. 1.
    the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.
    "the management of elk herds"
  2. 2.
    archaic trickery; deceit.

(I wasn't going to consider the 2nd, but I realize that some see the second definition of "management" as a tool to accomplish the first ☺)

lead·er·ship lēdərˌSHip/  noun
  1. the action of leading a group of people or an organization.

    synonyms: guidance, direction, control, management, superintendence, supervision; 

I've noticed that a lot of managers I've dealt with equate the terms Management and Leadership, treating the two as if they were interchangeable.

I maintain that you can manage or control things other than people (elk herds?) and know nothing about leadership.
You might even manage groups of people without a knowledge of how to lead them. See that second definition involving deceit.

Management is pretty much an analysis of the goal and finding the resources to get to the goal.

Goal: Get a team of people to a conference in Chicago.
       1. Find address and time.
       2. Call Travelocity and find rooms and airline tickets.
       3. Email/Fedex results to team members.
Management can often be paid for in cash.

Leadership on the other hand is getting people to make your agenda, their agenda. Getting them to buy in to your vision.

Leadership cannot be paid for in cash. It is purchased with example, loyalty, support, information and trust (a synonym for faith).

Good management can get a return of up to 100%.
Good leadership will get more than that.

So what makes a good leader?
I once was a young airman who was in charge of the barracks upkeep.
The guys (and I) did the cleaning routines and I oversaw that it was done right. One day I got notice of a surprise inspection and I snuck out of class to double check the barracks. Of course, if you do it right, you don't have to double back, but that's a different topic.
I was met at the entry by the Colonel conducting the inspection, and he invited me to join him.

He could have asked why I wasn't in class (lesson 1).
We walked through the barracks and he commented favorably 
(lesson 2).
We came to the bathroom and he stopped at a urinal.
He said that the drain of the urinal needed better cleaning. 
(lesson 3).
I replied that we had tried scrubbing and chemicals.
He then pulled a pocketknife, opened it and scraped the crud, showed it to me on the blade and then proceeded to wash his hands and knife in the sink. (lesson 4).
Obviously, if he could do it, I was expected to.

He had given me an example (at personal expense), respected my position as a subordinate (no screaming, yelling), given me information (good and bad) I needed to do my job, and trusted me to make the changes needed to accomplish his goal at the same time making his goal, my goal.

I still remember the names of many of the supervisors and managers I've worked for over the years. The good and the bad.
At my dad's funeral, a number of men who had worked for him over the years came to the funeral, much to my surprise. They each spoke of his support for them and what a great guy he had been to work for.

As employees, we spend the majority of our waking hours at our place of employment. 
A good leader can be the difference between loathing the job and, if not looking forward to it, at least not hating it.
Retention of good employees being important to an operation in order to keep the expertise and continuity of process in house, it's critical that a manager also lead well.
If your employees are an investment of salary and benefits, good leadership is the key to getting a greater return on investment.
A good leader can get a team to put out 110%.

So what makes a good leader? What can make a team respect you, follow you and accomplish the goals you set?
A great leader once gave one of the best techniques that can have an impact on your ability to lead:
Treat others as you yourself would like to be treated.

Words to live by.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Want to get rid of relics of slavery and the confederacy?
Ban the Party of Slavery!

Ban the Democratic Party!

In other related news, Pitchpull has pointed out to me that Google reports that Lincoln belonged to the National Union Party, not the newly formed Republican Party.

At least Wiki got it right.