Saturday, May 28, 2011

Heroes Unaware

By Mark A. Wright, HMC(SS)

I first saw him on a park bench
I've seen him every day
Sitting in a shady grove
Where my children come to play
Sometimes he feeds the birds and squirrels
Or whittles little toys
Sometimes he just sits and smiles
At the laughing girls and boys
And I never paid him any mind
'Till one day just this year
I noticed that he wore a frown
And on his cheek ... a tear.

Well I asked him why he seemed so down
He looked up, began to say
I lost half my friends 60 years ago today
He told me of the terror
As he fought to reach dry land
By the time the beachhead was secure
Half his friends lay in the sand

That was just in one long day
He fought on for 4 years more
And the 60 years from then to now
Have not dimmed His sights of war

He said they have reunions
Just to keep in touch and share
And for each comrade who has gone on
They leave an empty chair

Well, His park bench has been empty now
About 6 months or so
And if I'd never took the time
Then I never would've known
That sitting on that simple bench
With bread crumbs and little toys
Was a man who gave his all
To guarantee my daily joys

So give thanks to all the men and women
Who're still here or have gone before
And made the highest sacrifice
In both Peace time and in War
Because they bought our freedom
Paid their own blood, sweat, and tears
Then endured the heartache of those empty chairs
For all these years

So please do not ignore them
Or speed by without a care
'Cause you never know
When you might pass by
A hero, unaware

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The End of The World as We Know It

Well if you are reading this after 6 pm eastern time May 21, 2011 you must be among the 97% of humanity that did not get raptured. That’s rapture, as in being carried away. Not rupture, as in conflict or the tearing apart of tissue. According to the modern day Prophet Harold Camping, if you did not get raptured, you probably are ruptured and suffering through the first wave of Apocalyptic events. But, I’m betting that old Harold missed it again. (He had previously predicted that the end of the world would come sometime in September 1994. That was Barry Switzer’s first year coaching the Dallas Cowboys, so I actually gave the prophecy some credence.) At any rate, when September 1994 came and went and the world kept turning, Harold reminded us that he had said he might be wrong in his calculation.

This time around he says that he nailed it. May 21, 2011 6 pm eastern time. It’s over. Take that all you Mayan calendar freaks who claim the world will end December 21, 2012. (But if the world doesn’t end today, at least Harold has a fallback position. He can say that he failed to include the numerological value of the ancient Mayan word for bullshit in his calculation. Easy mistake to make. Same thing happened to Jim Jones).

I just find it fascinating that a significant number of grown people actually believe this stuff. I suppose it’s the ultimate escape. When drugs and alcohol and sex and money and reality TV and high stakes poker don’t work for you, I guess all that’s left is to go large and bet on the end of the world as we know it. If you’re right, you get to wave at the rest of us chumps bobbing up and down in a lake of fire. If you’re wrong, you just say God decided to give the world one more chance to vote for Sarah Palin and get rid of that Lady Gaga person.

At any rate, I’m not worried much about today or December 21, 2012. Even Jesus said that only God the Father knows when the End of the Age will come. So I’m sticking with Him on this one.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Interview With Purpose...Keep Your Options Open

"Every single moment of your life you must choose from a number of alternatives. What you choose determines where you will end up." - Shall Sinha

Now the final point on “Interview With Purpose”. Thus far we’ve covered these six questions:

_1. Can the company successfully compete in its market?
_2. What is the company “culture”?
_3. What are the expected outcomes? How is success measured for this position?
_4. Will I have access to the resources required to be successful in this role?
_5. Do my skills and experience truly qualify me for this position?
_6. Would I hire myself for this position?

The final question is probably the most important and tends to get the least amount of attention:

_7. What are my other options?

This is a real challenge for people who are highly motivated to take a new position, especially if they are really unhappy in their current job or unemployed. Everyone has their reasons for seeking a new job. If you are desperate (perhaps unemployed and running out of money) and have few options, you do what you have to do. I get that. I’m not addressing that situation.

What I’m talking about here is the person who may be unhappy and frustrated in their current job. They start looking around (or get a call from some headhunter) and suddenly they find themselves in the interview process for what would appear to be a much better position. And if they have done their homework and the answers to the first six "Interview With Purposes" questions are very positive, this may be exactly the right job. Sometimes the term “no brainer” really does apply.

But most often there are unanswered questions or concerns about any new job opportunity. The big mistake people make is when they focus too much on how the new opportunity compares to their current job. Career decisions deserve more than a “Ben Franklin” T-chart, pro’s vs. con’s analysis. Take a deep breath and step away from the “either or” decision. Most of the time it’s really an either or, or, or, or….decision. And candidly, I would urge people not to take a new job if ANY of the answers to the first six questions are NEGATIVE. All of the answers don’t have to be clearly and strongly positive, but if you have a negative one why would you take the job. What are your odds of success? It’s a worn out phrase, but don’t jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. There are other options. They are out there….you just have to be patient and keep looking. (And stay plugged into a good, trustworthy Headhunter.)

With that we wrap up the Interview With Purpose series. I urge you to go back and read each entry. I hear the consequences of poor career choices every day as I speak with candidates who took the wrong job and employers who hired the wrong person. Often I hear words to the effect that they knew it wasn’t a perfect match, but there were more positives than negatives, so it was worth the risks. There are always risks, even when the decision appears to be one of those “no brainers”. Change is uncomfortable and it’s easy to fall into the trap of “better the devil I know that the one I don’t know”. It’s ok to be nervous about changing jobs. But if there are no major negatives and no better options, take the plunge and go for it. However, unless you just need a paycheck, never take a job knowing that you are walking into a bad situation, you’re not a good fit for the position and you’ve not thoroughly considered other options. As crazy as it sounds, people do it every day.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Political Correctness- KIA

The last installment of the “Interview With Purpose” series will have to wait. It has been a great week for America. Bin Laden sleeps with the fishes. We sent a message to the rest of the world that we do not forget, we do not give up and that we will deliver justice no matter how long it takes or whatever it cost. Chalk one up for the good guys. Seal Team Six kicked ass. And, no matter how you lean politically, we have to give it up to President Obama for giving the order. Well done.

But, it is now clear that our Seal Team Six training failed in one very critical area: Political Correctness. “For God and Country; Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo…E-KIA”(meaning enemy killed in action.) Those were the words used by the leader of the Seal Team Six strike force as he reported the mission’s successful outcome to the President. How insensitive. Atheists are angered by the reference to God. Native Americans, Apaches in particular, are pissed off that Geronimo’s name will now be forever associated with this most wanted Al-Qaida terrorist. And probably someone, somewhere whose initials include the letter “E” is now on suicide watch.

The atheists are always upset about something, so I’m not surprised that they are having a hissy fit over this. But the Indians? (My bad… I meant to say Native Americans). It’s a free country so they have every right to be offended if they choose to be offended. I just don’t think they have a good reason. At this point it’s unclear to me whether Geronimo was the code name for Bin Laden, for the entire operation itself or just code for a successful outcome. I’ve heard that the operation was actually called “Jackpot” and that Bin Laden was Santa Claus. I don’t know and I really don’t care. Perhaps I would care if I was a Native American, or an Apache or my name was Geronimo (or Jerome…Geronimo is Spanish for Jerome…at this point let’s not leave anyone out).

My father served in the 101st Airborne back in WWII. Many of those paratroopers shouted Geronimo when they jumped out of the plane. Apparently it was a fitting tribute to Geronimo who once upon a time supposedly jumped from a high cliff to avoid capture, survived the fall and escaped. This became a scene in the 1939 film titled “Geronimo”. It stuck with those young men and teenagers who later became paratroopers. Some of the paratroopers even wore Mohawks and their faces were painted black (now I just offended another tribe plus an entire race). The Germans called them “Teufel”, Devils (now you can add Wiccans and Satan worshippers to the list of those offended by this rant). And those American “Devils” killed Germans by the bushel (hope I didn't cross a line there with Germans or farmers). These days the 101st would have a lot of explaining to do. And so would Victor Daniels, aka Chief Thundercloud, the Cherokee who played Geronimo in the movie. What was he thinking?

Next time Seal Team Six is trying to come up with code words, they have my permission to use Redneck, Texan, Headhunter, Bogey Golfer, Red Raider, Old Fart or just Click.

(Now I’m waiting for PETA to start bitching about the Seal Team Six attack dog with the titanium teeth implants. I love that dog.)