Job Search – day 13 – Resume!

August 29, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Job Search 

Today I met with the outplacement folks and finished my resume.  It is now available to send out.  If you’d like a copy, just send me an e-mail at mark r smith at gmail dot com (remove the spaces).

I’m also working on a Marketing Plan for my search – a document that essentially summarizes who I am, what I can do, and what I’m looking for.
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Thanks to all who have provided well wishes, thoughts, prayers, etc.  Please keep it up.

Job Search – day 9

August 25, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Work 

Last Friday, I had an excellent meeting with my outplacement coach.  He and I seem to have highly compatible personalities and communication styles.  We talked about the choice between corporate IT and something more non-profit or church-based, and Things to Tell your Doctor Some people will start seeing the results after 20 minutes, while some will get the results after an hour.Undergone vigorous testingThe kamagra jelly has undergone loads of testing in different laboratories and proven to be safe. price for viagra 100mg For our part will try to be as objective as possible and establish the knowledge base necessary to address properly the arrival of these new levitra canada products. In order to get pregnant a order generic levitra check this web-site now male sperm can live for three to four days, so it is a good approach to have sex one or two days before you ovulate and same day of your ovulation. The next season, the Giants acquired veterans Joe Morgan and mlb baseball jerseys Reggie viagra prescription online Smith. came to the conclusion that I should target both tracks simultaneously for this search and see what happens.

Today I’m working on my resume.  It was reasonably close to what the outplacement folks like, but needs some work.

Job Search – day 6

August 21, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Work 

(This is about yesterday.)

On Wednesday, I headed up to the local church camp to talk to the chaplain about my job situation.  Lorelei is one of those “mother to everybody” people at camp and is trained in spiritual direction.  We talked about the options related to taking a church-based or non-profit job.  In the end, we circled around the ideas that:  1)  I shouldn’t make too radical a change in work assignments right away – an IT job in such an organization might be a good start, 2)  I’m not hearing a call to ministry at the moment, 3)  I’m not sure that working at a church-based or non-profit organization would pay well enough to avoid a major change in lifestyle all at once.  One note that surprised me was the idea that I am moving towards working with people more than in the past.  My recent work experience bears that out – I’ve been less interested in fighting with the computer and more interested in working with and through other people.  Hmmm.

In the afternoon I was able to do some networking with former camp staff colleagues from years ago because Family Camp was going on.  I talked with a bunch of old friends, and one in particular is in my local area and might be able to help.
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Finally, returning to a place where I get to be myself helped in the healing process after a job loss.

No solid conclusions yet, but I feel like I’m getting closer to figuring out what I want to do.

There’s a reason I don’t like Tuesdays …

August 19, 2008 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Life 

Today’s story includes the phrase “After Hazmat left …”

This morning I was sitting in front of my computer, looking into the trends in IT as part of the job search.  I felt a bit off, and my nose has been running, so I decided to take my temperature.

I went into the bathroom and got out the trusty 20+ year old oral thermometer.  Back to the computer, wait 5 minutes.  98.8 – a little high for me because I run about 98.0 usually.  I guess I’m slightly sick.

Back to the bathroom.  Take thermometer.  Wash off.  Rinse with rubbing alcohol.  Rinse off the alcohol.  Shake until the reading goes down …. BAM!

I hit the thermometer on the edge of the sink.  The entire mercury-containing bulb was gone.  I put the thermometer remains down and started looking for it.  I failed to find it, but did notice the little tiny round silver things in the sink.

So I called the township Health Department for instructions.  The head nurse is on the phone – she’ll call you back.  In the meantime I’ve looked online and seen all kinds of scary instructions.  I turned off the air conditioning.

Twenty minutes later I haven’t heard from the nurse.  I decided to call the police non-emergency line.  They transfer me to the fire dispatcher for the county.  He sends a truck.

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The deputy chief and I go upstairs and look.  Yup – mercury.  We have to wait for the Hazmat chief to arrive.  Now I’m outside and not even allowed back in to get a hat.

The Hazmat chief arrives about 10 minutes later (after resolving the confusion over my street and a similar sounding street), goes upstairs and looks, and decides that the amount is tiny.  He showed me how to use a flashlight to see the mercury – the little spheres light up like a Christmas tree in light.  He decided that most of the mercury went down the drain, which is fine (it’ll get treated).

He leaves, and I am left home with the air conditioning off (my choice) waiting, and the bedroom door closed.  The Hazmat chief promised to come back at 1:30 with a few guys to finish the cleanup.  I have lunch.

1:15 arrives and he’s back with his team.  Cats back into basement.  They head upstairs and use a laboratory vacuum pump to suck the little bits of mercury into a flask.  My comb had mercury on it, so it’s trash.  After doing that, he cleaned my sink for me and helped me roll up the rugs to be run through the wash (no mercury fell below counter level – this was just a precaution).

After Hazmat left, I completed an outplacement firm teleconference, and then cleaned the bathroom.  I got all of the remaining glass up (found one piece) and didn’t spot any more mercury.

I’m beginning to be afraid of Tuesdays.

Job Search – Day 4 – Your Assignment

August 18, 2008 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Work 

Today I went through the orientation seminar at the outplacement firm.  I have a one-on-one meeting with my coach/counselor on Friday morning.  In the mean time, I have a big discussion set up with someone who understands my non-work side – to talk about the possibility of getting my job to better match my values, interests, etc.  I also have a few teleconferences from the outplacement firm, and a lot of thinking to do.

Here’s where you can help.  I’d like my blog readers (either folks who know me well from outside of the blog, or long-time/high volume readers) to answer one question for me:

What profession/job do you see me working at in the future?

The answer could be vague, or it could be a description of something that doesn’t have a succinct name.  Or it could be a very specific title.  It might be something that is very close to what I was doing last Monday, or it could be far afield.  The only restriction is that it must be a job that you can see me wanting to do, as opposed to a job that you want me to do or feel I should do.
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Please answer without reading other comments first.  I want to hear your answer – not the answer that you heard someone else say that sounded good.  And please let me know who you are, or at least describe how you know me.  I’m going to take your thoughts into account knowing how much you know my work and non-work sides.  Folks who still work for my former employer – I want to hear your thoughts as well.

Please feel free to send your ideas to me via e-mail – there’s a link over on the left side of the blog that says “E-mail me”.  Comments work fine too.  A Facebook note or wall post will also work.  Tie your idea to a well-trained pigeon if that’ll work.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Job Search – day 3

August 15, 2008 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Web/Tech, Work 

Yesterday and today have been relatively idle days.

Yesterday, I took the advice of the severance release document and talked to an attorney about my situation and the document.  My church was able to refer me to three members who are attorneys and the one that I’m working with is doing the work pro bono.  We are waiting for the final release agreement to be mailed to me next week before deciding what course to take.

Also yesterday, the outplacement firm called.  I have an appointment with them for Monday morning for an orientation session.  Today I am gathering documents to get ready – resumes, performance appraisals, etc.

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I appreciate all of the notes of support that I’ve received so far.  I can see in my blog statistics that I have several different visitors from my former colleagues – please feel free to send an e-mail to the address in the left column.  This process is very difficult for me emotionally.  My self-confidence is taking the greatest beating right now.

Please continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Job Search – day 1

August 13, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Job Search 

Today is “hurry up and wait” day.

I live in NJ.  I was laid off from a PA employer.  That means that I have to use PA unemployment.  They very conveniently allow for Internet filing of claims – no more going to the office and standing in line.

There’s one problem.  My salary for the first 2 days of the week was higher than the maximum weekly benefit.  So I’m not eligible to file this week.  I have to start next Monday.

I also called the Outplacement firm that my company is providing for me.  I get 2 months of their services for free.  However, they don’t have my paperwork yet.  So I can’t start yet.  Their process starts with a Monday morning orientation meeting, so I’ll either start next Monday or the following week.
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As for my personal state – I’m better than yesterday but a long way from good.  The rollercoaster ride from the extreme high of Montreat to this in less than 2 weeks is VERY steep.  As a result of the unemployment and outplacement delays, I seem to have 2 free days this week.  I’m not sure how I’ll use them but I think I’ll treat one as vacation and the other as home project day.  I have a number of home projects to undertake.

I won’t be chronicalling all of my job search.  A fair amount will need to be confidential.  But I will be posting from time to time.

I have a call into the church to see if there is a church member who is a lawyer who would be willing to look at my severance agreement cheap (or free).  If you know of someone similar in the Trenton/Princeton/Central Jersey area who would be willing to help, please let me know.

No Job

August 12, 2008 by · 11 Comments
Filed under: Work 

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Post-Montreat Blues

August 7, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Religion 

Today I’m somewhat deep in the Post-Montreat Blues.  This is apparently a common affliction, caused by the collision between the mountaintop high (emotionally, not physically) from a Montreat conference and the mundane realities of “real life” back home.  In other words – while you came home feeling wonderful, ready to change the world, and quite possibly changed for life … the rest of the world didn’t change all that much while you were gone.  I’ve experienced the same with Camp Johnsonburg experiences – though the Montreat experience was at a much higher intensity.

I’m trying to figure out what’s next.

This week we had movie night at the youth group, and most (but not all) of the crowd that showed up was from the Montreat trip.  We looked at the pictures from Montreat from a few people and then watched Saved! the movie.  We got a very insightful question from one youth who wasn’t on the trip about increasing the presence of faith in daily life.  I really think that between the Broad St. Philly mission trip and this Montreat trip we have a LOT of momentum going into the fall for the youth group.  Big things could happen!

I’ve found some confidence and new connections when it comes to working with the youth – particularly in my preferred style of one-to-one.  Again – momentum.

For today, I miss the relaxed me from the trip.  Sunday night I forgot to take my blood pressure medication, and I didn’t feel the effects. My co-workers all remarked on Monday how incredibly relaxed I seemed to be.  In many ways, that’s the Real Me, and I wish I could have it all of the time.

I also really, really miss the daily contact with my friends from my church and with the new friends that I made on the trip.  Seeing them on Facebook (or not at all) just isn’t the same.  I know that if we’d been together more than a week the usual interpersonal frictions would develop, but that was a really nice week.  Tuesday evening helped.

I’m also feeling a bit emotionally adrift.  The Montreat Youth Conference experience produced in me (and probably in many or most) a safe space where I could drop, tear down, explode, or simply eliminate the wall between my emotions and the outside world.  I was able to letthe Real Me outside of my head to a degree not normally possible.
Unfortunately that wall is somewhat necessary for daily life, particularly at work.  Rebuilding that wall takes some time, and is leaving me a smidge off balance.
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Now I’m trying to figure out the implications for my life.  One thing that I see (and have seen in the past) is that my job (the combination of place/culture and function) is out of line with my faith and values.  Please note – this is NOT the same as saying “I need a new job”.  There are several possibilities for how to fix this, including possibilities where I remain where I am and possiblities where I move on.

Some have heard the first whispers (or more) of a call to the ministry as a result of this week.  I don’t believe that I’m one of them.  This is something that I’ve considered from time to time in my religious life (before and now) but I just don’t hear the call.  My 10th grade computerized career assessment aside, I’ve never in my memory been told by someone that I’d make a good minister.  I think my call to the faith lies elsewhere.

For now, though, I’m considering the possibilities.  I’m remembering a few key rules:

  1. Don’t make any life-changing decisions within a week (or longer) after such a mountaintop experience.  Regain equilibrium first.
  2. The rest of the world didn’t change overnight.  Maybe you did, but there weren’t big changes elsewhere.
  3. Big, Meaningful Change requires Big, Meaningful Thought.  And time.

That’s where I am.

If I met you on the trip, I miss you.  A lot.

Montreat Youth Conference, part 2

August 5, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Religion, Youth 

The Montreat trip was absolutely wonderful.  Amazing.  Transformational.  Fun.  There are so many reasons.

We started out by driving 9 hours to Greensboro.  Our youth director used to be the youth director at First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro, NC.  We stayed overnight in their youth room (VERY NICE, and with lots of comfy couches and other things to sleep on).  In the evening Saturday we were treated to dinner by our youth director’s in-laws at their beautiful home (not to mention entertained by the dog).

In the morning, we were treated to a tour of this VERY large church (new members have a class on how not to get lost) and breakfast.  We then attended worship.  I found lots of useful information on how they work with visitors that will be useful for my committee.

Then we went to lunch at Fincastle’s Diner and headed for Montreat.

In Montreat we stayed at First House, a private home owned by the Greensboro church that is rented out to groups staying in Montreat.  It was a nice house and suited our needs very well.

Sunday evening, the program began with a welcome session at Anderson Auditorium and Recreation outside.

The program continued with keynote in the morning, small group once or twice, and worship in the evening.  Friday night’s worship was capped by people with candles all the way around Lake Susan two deep – it was so pretty.

Then we drove home 12 hours.  Ooof.

The youth from my church could not possibly have been a better group, or worked together better.  They were ready to go on time every time (sometimes earlier).  They voluntarily pitched in and helped with chores, often before being asked.  They supported each other emotionally and clued in the adults later – leaving the adults free to handle the big stuff (or their own stuff).  Everybody got along well aside from the minor frictions caused by 14 people spending a lot of time together.  I could not ask for a better group.  These 10 youth are now permanently on my list of favorite people.

I feel the same way about my small group.  There were 26 participants (3 adults and 23 youth) plus our small group leader.  I liked everybody in the group.  Think about that.  26 other people, and not one of them was even the slightest bit bothersome or annoying.  This is amazing.  The conversations were deep and meaningful, the games were hysterical and fun (I “won” Big Booty), and I was truly impressed by what other people said.  I hope that I have made one or two or a few friends for life from that group.  I know that I truly love and care for all 26.  Our small group leader was a newbie – having just turned 21 (we couldn’t believe that – he is mature beyond his years) – and he hit the ball out of the park.

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  1. It was HOT most of the week.  The week redefined the concept of sweat for me.  However, I didn’t really mind.  It was cool enough in the evening to sleep and the small group room was air conditioned.
  2. The keynote team did a great job.  We’ll probably use at least one part for our confirmation class.  The concepts that they discussed were well reflected in small group and worship.
  3. The worship was especially meaningful for me (particularly Monday and Friday).  Michelle Thomas-Bush did a good job.
  4. Music was fun, and included some songs that I really enjoyed.  One in particular was very meaningful for me.  Jorge Gonzales was the music leader, and was joined for a lot of the week by Wallness from Haiti (who knew our youth director from when Wallness was a youth in Haiti).
  5. Recreation was well done.  I didn’t get involved in most of the “optional” recreational activities though I did enjoy watching them.  The first night recreation was where I met one of those “friends for life” that I mentioned above.
  6. The site is gorgeous.  Hilly to be sure (I seem to have lost 5 pounds, and moved some of my remaining weight away from my waist), but beautiful.
  7. Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream and Raspberry Sorbet make a great combination.  The boundary layer is to die for.
  8. When we went to Asheville NC on our free afternoon, I bought the first pair of sandals that I’ve ever owned in my adult life.  I am now fully qualified for youth ministry.  (There is no need to tell me not to wear socks with them – others have done that already.)
  9. I went swimming.  Unfortunately, I was rock-hopping at the time.  I went into the water and completely soaked myself.  I also completely soaked my backpack.  The electronics all survived, but I need a new Bible and a replacement for the hardcover book that was in the backpack.  I also had some nasty scrapes.  My youth were perfect in that they refused to let me walk back to the house alone – they insisted on accompanying me and carrying my backpack.
  10. My co-workers actually said I seemed relaxed when I got back to work yesterday.  No, really!
  11. You can’t imagine how fun it is to do energizers with a bunch of youth every day.  Adult silliness should be mandatory.
  12. One of the adults in my church group has the uncanny ability to sing harmony with any piece, even if she hasn’t heard it before.  It was beautiful.
  13. I had lots of deep one-on-one conversations with my youth.  This started the first night and I think it’s continuing now.  They impress me with how seriously they take their lives and how thoughtful they are of others.  There is unexpected depth here.
  14. Every group needs at least one unabashedly sunny morning person.
  15. See this post for the most strange and wonderful part of the week for me.
  16. The Jesus in Me loves the Jesus in You.  ‘Nuff said.

I’ve already written in another post about my personal transformation.  I’d like to add to that some confidence in doing youth ministry.  I’m now wondering how to make my job better aligned with my faith and personal ideas about life.  Or find one that is.  I don’t feel a call to ministry (though several others talked about this after this week).  I just feel like I’m not where I should be.

If you are a youth, or you work with youth, you should really consider going to a Montreat Youth Conference.  Groups can be as small as 2 or 3, or very large (I’ve heard of the neighborhood of 50).  Yes, it’s a little scary going to a new place and doing “Jesus stuff” for a week, but it’s really worth it.  My nervousness was wholly unnecessary.

I’d like to thank Rich, Mary Alice, Sara, Gingles, Michelle, Jorge, Wallness, Bill, Aimee, David, and so many others who made my week probably one of the top 10 experiences in my life.

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