Happy New Year (and goodbye 2013)

Good Bye 2013As you can see from the image accompanying this post, I am not particularly sad to see 2013 in the rear view mirror. Mostly that’s due to three months of being unemployed. But with 2013 behind us it is time to look forward. New Year’s Day is a great day for an optimist, and I am still that.

First, the Jim Lynch Theory of Time Relativity: Many people notice as they age that the years seem to go by more quickly as each one passes. I believe that I have figured out why that is. Follow along. When you are one year old a year takes an entire lifetime. When you’re ten a year only takes one tenth of a lifetime. A little over a month ago I turned 58. For me, a year only takes one 58th of a lifetime! Tempus Fugit!

Tampa Bay Times Forum #GOP2012It seems as if so little time has gone by since I posted about volunteering to work at the 2012 GOP Convention in Tampa, while in reality we are closer to the 2014 mid-terms than we are to that event. As an optimist I’d like to say I’m looking forward to these elections, but there is a part of me that harbors two fears: 1) Are there enough voters left in America who understand the issues and the consequences and will get out and vote accordingly? 2) Are there enough good, solid, conservative candidates running who will communicate effectively and then stand by their principles once elected. I pray that the answer to both questions is, “yes”.

People of all ideologies are fed up with Washington, and rightly so. But change, if it is to happen, will only occur if people understand the importance of our republican (small “R”) form of government. As we enter 2014 let’s stop brushing off the actions of our elected officials as something “they” did in DC, or our state capital and insist to our representatives, the media, our neighbors, and our friends that the people we’ve put in office were elected by us, work for us, and answer to us.

Politics aside, there are many reasons to be optimistic on the first day of a new year. 2014 has no history at this moment. It will be what we, as individuals, make of it. I can only encourage you to make the most of it that you possibly can. But I, an individual created and blessed by God, can pray and work and strive to make this year a great one in my life. I remember hearing long ago that I can only control two things in my life – my attitude and my actions. Everything. EVERYTHING else is beyond my control. But man, what I can do with those two things.

I hope that you have a great, happy, and blessed new year. Take what you’ve been given and make the most of it.

Happy New Year!

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

It’s back to work I go!

After ninety days as an unemployment statistic I am back at work! In fact, I started with orientation on Tuesday. After being off yesterday my regular training starts today.

LEGOLAND EntranceI will be working in the call center for Merlin Entertainments at LEGOLAND® Florida. Our center, as I understand it so far, takes calls for all of the Merlin venues in the US.

I have a few observations regarding my time between jobs.

  • Most of all I have to say that looking for work is harder than working. One simple fact is that there are more people applying for the positions I was interested in then there are openings. I am very upbeat regarding my skills, work ethic, and qualifications for any position for which I applied. To submit the dozens of applications and inquiries that I did and not even get a response was very eye opening. I had to remind myself that many qualified people were also applying for these jobs.
  • Being unemployed is not a vacation. When I wasn’t scouring the internet for available positions I was building my contacts and networking. When I wasn’t doing something job hunt related I felt like I should be. It’s hard to relax when you are thinking that there may be a job out there that you could be missing by not finding it soon enough.
  • I wrote that being unemployed was going to make me a full-time blogger. Well, it didn’t. I couldn’t concentrate or focus on blog topics. I found it difficult to write or research, or even read what others were writing, mostly for the reasons mentioned above. I dreamed that having all that free time would allow me to post several times a day, but every time I tried to start, the job search demon came out to play with my mind.
  • My first job was working at the plant nursery of a family friend when I was about ten. We weeded, planted saplings, and tried to tell elephant and knock-knock jokes to the immigrant workers using a mix of English, pidgin Spanish, and hand gestures. I think they were laughing at our efforts, and not the jokes. In the nearly 50 years since that time I have rarely been out of work. I held jobs while I was in High School and College. I had a new job lined up before leaving an old one. I would estimate that I have been without a job less than twelve months since leaving college in 1977 until now. And that includes a stretch of seven months when I stayed home on purpose and the current three-month period. That’s around 10,000 days working even if you subtract days off, vacations, and unemployment!

    I take pride in my work ethic. I’ve rarely missed days (when I was employed) for any reason. That’s a hard habit to break. Sure, the first couple of days are great. You can sleep in (I still woke up around six), get projects done around the house (until guilt pulls you back to one more job search), and take some time to relax (see previous comment). In short, after the first week I was stir crazy. I can only hope that retirement, without the specter of, “I should be doing something,” will be more enjoyable.

One of the most exciting things about my new venture is that LEGOLAND was one of my top three employer choices.

I’ve followed the progress of the park since they announced in January of 2010 that they were coming to the former Cypress Gardens – twenty-two months before they opened. And while my job will involve all of the Merlin attractions in the US (did you know they run Madame Tussauds, Sea Life Aquariums, and three “Eyes” – you’ve seen the London Eye, I’m sure) I will go to work every day surrounded by millions of LEGO bricks. What kid, even a 58-year-old one, wouldn’t love that?

Writing this has been easier than any attempt of made in the last three months. I’d love to write more, but…I’VE GOT TO GET READY FOR WORK!!!

God Speed George Roper

The conservative blogosphere lost a truly good friend yesterday with the passing of George (GM) Roper. His wife and daughter posted this on his Facebook page.

To all of George’s Facebook friends:

This is a post by his daughter, Jennifer, and wife, Norma. We are sorry to have to say it this way and we are sure that some of you deserve a call, but we are unable.

George passed away this morning, shortly after 6 AM. We are devastated by the loss, but know that it was his time to go home to God.

Memorial services will be held at Kreidler Funeral Home in McAllen, Texas on Saturday, November 30th at 11:00 AM.

George had been battling leukemia in recent months after beating lung cancer previously (he was a non-smoker).

I never had the opportunity to meet George in person, but I did have many occasions to correspond with him by email or online. It was always a pleasure. I found him to be kind, helpful, and insightful with a great love for his family and his country.

My prayers go out to his family and his many online friends. God Speed.

Full Time Blogger

For the first time in almost seven years I’ve gone from Monday to Friday, and while I’m not sick, it’s not a holiday, and I’m not taking a vacation, I haven’t gone to work all week. I guess that means that, until something changes, I’m a full time blogger.

Over the past several months, since the last election actually, I’ve gotten out of the habit of blogging regularly. Not because I’ve become any less passionate about the greatness of our country and the unlimited potential of our experiment. I have grown weary of the people, our fellow citizens, who have descended into a mindset of “What are you going to give me?” And to be honest, there is a part of me that questions whether there are enough people left who care about our country or if we’ve reached a critical mass of looters.

It’s not merely the economic looters, those wanting the government to provide their every need. What bothers me more are the social looters; those who feel entitled to offend but never be offended, to dictate to others but never be held accountable for their own actions. Are we too far gone?

Yes, this is rambling. I’ve got a lot on my mind. Perhaps I can put some more coherent thoughts down soon. After all, I am a full time blogger now.

Please, like bRight & Early on Facebook!

Does this pink slip make me look old?

If you’ve read this blog for any part of the eight years I’ve been doing this you probably don’t remember very many posts related to my day job. It’s not that I’m ashamed of what I do, or that I feel that my blogging would have a negative impact on my career. Truth be told, while I enjoy my job and I’ve never really had a day where getting out the door was a chore, most people would be bored to tears to find out about my typical day. Here’s the short version. Emails, phone calls, enter who’s not coming to work today, grant or deny time off, lather, rinse, repeat. The exciting part is the daily discussion of what we’re going to do for lunch. Not the stuff of great and interesting blog posts.

Well, that’s about to change.

pinkslipI’m about to be a statistic. The company that I’ve worked for since 2002 is moving our work (there are six of us in my department) off shore. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not bitter. From a business standpoint I understand what they’re doing. I think it’s a mistake, and I think they’ll be less than pleased with the results, but I do understand how it will impact the bottom line.

I’m not even all that concerned. I’ve always been a “the glass is half full and there’s another bottle in the fridge” kind of guy. Still, looking for work when I was looking at retirement in less than ten years isn’t the most exciting prospect. I do have a bit of a wish list that I posted on my Job Hunt Facebook page.

There are a few things that are on my job wish list. For seven of the eleven years I’ve been with ICT/Sykes it’s been a 30 minute commute each way. I really hope to find something closer, or at the very least no further than that.

Money. I’d like to find something that pays in the neighborhood of what I’m making now. The “good” news is that what I’m making now makes that a relatively easy hurdle to clear.

Secure. I know there are no guarantees with any company, especially in the current business and political climate. Still, it would be nice to find something that can sustain me until 2021. Is eight years really too much to ask?

Fun. I know, I’m supposed to be looking for work, but this is a wish list after all. Maybe enjoyable would be a better word. Just something where I don’t need a stick of dynamite to get myself out the door in the morning.

So, if any of you reading this are in the Polk County, Florida area, and you are looking for a great worker, I would love to hear from you. Everyone else – I’ll let you know how it’s going.

Independence Day 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Birthday America

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Help Day by Day

Things have changed greatly in the eight or so years that I’ve been blogging. The tools we use, from our blogging platform to the way we measure and interact with visitors, are all much different now. Group efforts have largely surpassed the lone blogger, pioneers have reached a national audience or faded from the stage. A large number of well known writers in the infancy of the blogosphere have moved on to other projects and places in their lives.

Not all things have changed. One enduring part of the conservative portion of the blogosphere is our daily dose of Chris Muir’s Day by Day. Even on days when I don’t write anything (and lately that’s been more days than it should) I open this site so I can read the latest from the fictional lives of Sam, Zed, Jan, Damon, and the rest.

Chris’s efforts are 100% reader supported. Every year he holds one fund raiser to sustain his work. In years past the goal has been reached early, and usually surpassed previous years. This year things are going a little slower. In order to reach his goal Chris has extended this years fund-raiser. I urge you to visit Day by Day and contribute what you can to keep this wonderful part of our daily lives going. Please visit soon and push this years totals over the top.