About My Dad (and hoping you have similar memories)

Dad at nephew Curtiss’ graduation, 2012 (I think)

Saturday night after our super successful pierogi dinner (we served way over 500), I had a good talk about deceased parents with another Men’s Club member,  including minor stuff like learning how to read maps while being ‘shotgun’ on long road trips as kids, and an undeniable ‘good hair gene’ that means I have fewer silver foxes in my plentiful brown hair at 62 than most. Dad’s ‘good death’ after just two days in the hospital– versus a long, drawn out, painful, expensive, and wearying on family members decline—was six years ago tomorrow, so a few thoughts about Waldo Frederick Shorkey from Son #2:

  • He won a blue ribbon at the Florida State Fair for a terrific secretary (desk) one year, but lost out on the big prize overall to a jewelry box, the only time I can recall him voicing dissatisfaction about unfairness.
  • When I wrote a take-away piece for people attending their 50th anniversary in 2005, the first line was fact that Dad came down the driveway within five minutes of 5:00 every night, a consistency I’ve always told people was my ‘Leave it to Beaver’ life growing up.
  • That he served his country—as did three brothers—despite a noticeably thinner left leg as a result of childhood polio. He met Mom in Tampa while serving on a destroyer escort, and with only periodic visits, they corresponded for three years before she turned 21 and Grandpa Sevigny let her get married. I’m obviously glad that worked out.
  • I brought Mom flowers for my birthday last week, because she always appreciates them, and Dad put together arrangements for many, many years because he knew that.
  • While he rousted four boys early many times to shovel a path down 150 feet of driveway so he could get to work, when we finally got a snowblower, he always told us to shut it OFF! before trying to clear any blockage of the chute. I know at least three guys who lost parts of fingers because they apparently didn’t get (or heed) such obvious advice.
  • In reading some of the journals he kept while traveling after retirement (at 59!) its impossible not to recognize that whether it was a riverboat cruise in Europe, a chance conversation with someone who spoke English there and told he and Mom things of interest, or even the beef-barley soup a friend made–the first thing he was excited about eating in months after his stroke– his written reaction was always that “It was great!”
  • He was a genuinely positive guy, and truly thought highly of by everyone. That my brother Steve said the Belgian family he was an exchange student with always asked how Dad was doing first vs. even Steve’s family, when he visited over the years has to be some kind of proof.
  • He ate vegetables, which he really didn’t like, to be a good example to four boys.
  • Every time someone gives me an attaboy! about being a good son for getting Mom to church for 10:45 Mass, I know Dad would appreciate both parts of that.
  • When I’m thinking about something– like how to make a scene I’m writing work right-er, and I find myself tapping fingers on my left hand, I like to think it’s a signal from Dad, who was a lefty. His tapping the ring I now have on the steering wheel sticks with me.

I bounced the idea of providing a supply of a specific topical rub the company I’ll start work with momentarily (cbdMD) produces to an operation—Team Rubicon, made up of veterans and ‘kick-ass civilians’ doing disaster relief in the U.S. and abroad—because it relieves aches and pains from all that labor in a pretty amazing way. Helping make some small part of the world better seems like a decent way to be a little more like Dad.

And I believe I’ll have some beef barley soup for lunch today.

TSA, HHS, NASA, DOJ, CDC—and GJS—Waiting on Next Check

We made about 1,200 Polish cookies last night for Pierogi Dinner. Here’s hoping TSA and air traffic controllers take advantage of free dinner offer.

(FYI- GJS is me.)

For sure, many Americans will have personal feeling about Trump’s shutdown of government functions in pursuit of his vanity project wall. IMHO, you can’t broadcast to the nation that, “I’d be proud to wear the mantle…shut it down for border security…Won’t blame it on you,” and keep carping that the other side isn’t negotiating.

Whatever slick remarks I’ve EVER made about Federal employees, being held hostage to one person’s massive ego goes against the basic tenets of ‘serve and protect’ the people.

“Good enough for government work,” was a phrase my Dad never liked, for fairly obvious reasons.

The government paid him decently and on time; it put four boys through college, and he retired at 59, taking a ‘silver bullet’ combination of years of service– including Navy hitch– and age. Nobody EVER expected the U.S. government could be in the economic fix it seems to constantly battle now.

“No, but I know where you can get a bunch of $6,000 toilet seats,” was my brothers freestyle response to people he spoke with about his Army Audit job.

I got a job offer two weeks ago, right on the screws with doing what I truly wanted to (content creation vs. writing), decent bucks and benefits. I do NOT judge the value of benefits lightly. I’ve had a new knee for just over a year, and I’m thankful as hell for the ACA/Obamacare that made it possible.

On a very real Bottom Line, I’m still antsy waiting for the okay to come in and do paperwork because of a background check,  mostly because it’s a situation that I have no control over, and there’s always some holding of breath at times like that. There’s nothing negative to be found in such a check, but you can’t SPEND a job offer, y’know?

Having just turned 62, I guess I’m officially semi-old, but there is no tuition due for kids anywhere, no car payment, and certainly no mortgage. That’s a biggie for sure–I’ve lived with a brother in other half of his house for a couple years, and he *knows* I pay the rent off the top of whatever I bring in, and a share of the phone/cable is usually on time. Insurance and gas, yeah, I got that. Groceries, just mine. I’m not getting bounced if the next period for rent is a little late. All I’m concerned about is how soon the situation moves forward with that background check– its only been two weeks and I’m staying positive.

I read a piece on Facebook where some bozo threw down on ‘unnecessary individuals’ whose duties (Army mostly) they took up easily and did in far less than full time job as a Fed employee, and while that came across as a planted comment from one of those ‘bots (they ARE still screwing with us folks), some fat in Federal employment is neither here nor there about 800,00 hostages and the economic stress that puts on them AND this country.

I hope we comp a hundred dinners tonight. We’ll have done something positive. Getting the call for my paperwork, I certainly wouldn’t mind hearing about that today either. Or tomorrow, or even Monday.

Please, not later than that.

My church social-community group is having a Pierogi Dinner tomorrow, and we’ve reached out to appropriate people about giving free passes to TSA employees with ID and their families. We have always told people at successful Oyster Roasts, fish frys, and during 33 years of Christmas tree sales that the $$ raised stays in Charlotte, and we’re proud of that. Yes, the last couple years we’ve sent contributions (for the beverages we provide) to Eastern North Carolina and a small parish in Houston after huge flooding, because they know who truly needs a couple hundred bucks to survive a situation dumped on them. If we make less of a profit on this event, no problem, the piece we’re breaking off to give some families an evening out with good food and people is being applied in the strongest possible way.

Waiting like this isn’t the worst situation I’ve ever been in. During the Great Recession I survived in retail for seven years, and while the pay sucked, I still drew a check. I can’t imagine how many of my peers with kids in college and mortgages did it, I assume they stole from their future to pay bills during an extended period of hellish stagnation. That old bat in charge of Commerce Department saying without blinking that he can’t understand why furloughed Feds are going to food banks when they *should* be able to get loans against back pay that will (absolutely?) come after things are settled, has to get most of those 800,000 people as mad as it does me, and I technically don’t have a dog in this fight.

This situation is so obviously WRONG, because holding 800,000 people’s lives in the balance is only the tip of the economic iceberg. The whole mentality seems so skewed to screwing, with total tone-deafness to understanding the unreal stress this WORKING WITHOUT PAY brings. (Which butthead said they are *volunteering*?) All those people probably get the money later, but holy pierogies! Batman, there’s no good reason that all of us are suffering because ONE PERSON and some attending enablers are blaming “the other guys” for a political intransigence–nay, a HOSTAGE situation– over a singular point (the wall), that so many were famously and regularly told would be paid for by others.

I hope we comp a hundred dinners tonight. We’ll have done something positive. Getting the call for my paperwork, I certainly wouldn’t mind hearing about that today either. Or tomorrow, or even Monday.

Please, not later than that. My brother deserves a couple bucks from me soon, even if he KNOWS what I’m waiting for.

Following up is *Always* the Most Productive Element to Success


Having previously opined about how many, many job candidates could become better represented by recruiters if  job search firms explored how certain extra experiences might improve their view about a ‘skills gap’ better, let’s draw attention to “us.”

Specifically, more in line with what candidates see as strengths regarding listings, when a recruiter doesn’t know about that factor at all.

A central point is that candidates should, and BETTER, make all extra efforts to keep themselves proactively involved in job search opportunities. I haven’t heard about any great improvement regarding the 8-Second Rule, the time an average resume gets attention.

Having reworked my LinkedIn profile the last few weeks, I *know* it strongly and specifically highlights my abilities and experiences MUCH better now. It includes about a dozen high quality blogs and content creation examples, and features a more personal 1-1 reading style versus, well, just an electronic resume for many.

I listened to a guy—Tyron Guiliani, an Aussie—on a couple podcasts, and signed up for an hour phone session with him, specifically about creating a more productive site.

FREE is ME! was part of that decision to listen to Tyron as a coach, as was sticking around for three minutes, when the next online session was starting.

While declining to go further with what he described as “high four-figures coaching help” at the end of a terrific sixty minutes phone session, clarifying my expertise with a smooth, conversational, Story of Me on LinkedIn was suitably engraved.

I point everybody at that profile—I’m proud of it being both a good read and accurate in conveying my background. Here I am.

Starting the clock on Success

New Year’s Eve afternoon, right before heading out for a little fire pit action and brewskies in Charlotte’s South End, I clicked Fast Apply to send that good profile for a Content Specialist position. The next day, Happy New Year! for real, there’s an e-mail from a Marketing person, about setting up a time to talk.

Next day, instead of talk, there’s another e-mail from company stating I wasn’t going to be considered going forward. Say what?

Old school still works

Early the next morning,  I did some copy-paste of  their site material and hand-edited it, pointing out perceived flaws. I wrote (IMHO) a fine cover letter with bullet points, and suggestions about certain things I’d circled. Putting those five pages in a manila envelope, I drove it across town, getting to the front doorbell just as the HR person was leaving for lunch.

It’s 12:15, I tell her what the contents are, and that I’m sort of not taking fugedabowdit for a final answer.

I’m asking you this seriously— Do you know what you’re worth when you sit in front of a person with the potential  to determine your paycheck, yea or nay?

At 3:30 there’s an e-mail from the Director of Content—he’s impressed enough by my follow-up to give me an assignment for the weekend: 750-1000 words about a specific topic relating to the CBD industry. I nailed it with 900, plus numerous links.

Two minutes into a phone  interview Wednesday, he says, “We don’t need to do this– are you available tomorrow?” and Thursday, after a period of exchanging views about career experiences to date (he’s a 2014 grad, I had better stories) we got to the money question.

20200211_151948Take it seriously – Yea or nay, Do you know what you’re worth? when you sit in front of a person with the potential to determine your paycheck? Most of my career, probably not, but research shows the average salary for Content Specialist job titles in Charlotte is $56k, still about 6% less than the national average.

I got a job offer that’s going to reflect an economic value for my professional skills, and the reality of a barely two year-old company. That company is about to catch major momentum as a result of Senate bill (S.2667, The Hemp Farming Act of 2018) getting passed before the impasse with Trump’s wall. The company is well-financed, its dead-red on my expectations, and my content creation arena is a decent challenge.

That benefits thing vs. gigging

Oh yeah, and that benefits thing. I’ve enjoyed a physical renaissance since knee replacement and rehab last December-March (God bless the ACA), but there’s no problem having healthcare paid for by an employer.

Straight up, getting the 100% okay on the anniversary check-up of that left knee Tuesday, how it has fared is just soooo damned reassuring. (Yeah, this was a LEFT knee, the grotesque, pre-replacement 2017 version.) 

bad knee pre surg12-18cut

As a life-long athlete, the twelve years I was kind of a gimp has become ONE as a well-preserved sixty-one year old guy with a terrific, year-old knee. I’m immediately cooler, no more skipping across the street so I don’t get run over.

I’ve promised myself about joining a tennis league in 2020.

Fact: January 3rd I hand-delivered a letter to a company regarding a specific Content Creation situation I’d felt strongly enough to originally quick-click as a LinkedIn application just before New Years.

Fact 2: After some back-forth described in that letter, Diligence was rewarded on January 10th. From ground zero to within an acceptable background check of a greatly enhanced, much better compensated professional mission, results came directly from ACTIONS in doing the follow-up, right? Old school still works.

Glenn Shorkey – Creative eDitorial Talent Enterprises