6 ways picking up cans while walking dog are like Biden’s Cabinet choices

This was Lt. (Capt. now) Shorkey’s graduation 8 years ago, but a full family gathering this Thanksgiving won’t happen. I always say having a military guy in your picture can’t hurt.

Having thought about it for a while, the actual action required for doing some small part in helping clean my environment meant bringing a glove and bag on walks counted the most. Thankfully there are no Marco Rubio’s around to critique the methodology of crushing them to fit more in the bag, how soon they might be placed in a donation bin, or that shoveling leaves out of the gutter around drains could’ve been considered instead.

Seeing discarded cans day after day, wondering why someone felt leaving garbage around instead of putting them in a barrel was okay, was it relevant to my success as a content creation-writer? Did it improve my client relations ability, or add anything solid to my professional-economic bottom line? Highly doubtful, and if people two blocks away didn’t care what they saw, why should I as a citizen do anything about it?

NIMBY – Not In My Back Yard (If its not there, its not my problem) wouldn’t be a new attitude in the current Bigger Picture socially. Still, in a smaller way than a President-elect can do to change how this country does things, every person doing ‘positives’ – like mail in ballots – makes a difference.

Writing a thought leadership piece won’t create the dancing in the streets joy trump’s loss, in combination with two effective vaccines success did, but hell yeah, I can pick up cans while getting the dog his constitutional.

Day One was pre-Thanksgiving, pitch perfect

Tuesday, right after the GSA final certification, Biden presented ‘his people,’ the ones he’s willing to sink or swim with, picked for their qualifications vs. financial donations. That he followed up his presentation of trust in their CREDIBILITY by allowing them to talk about what the roles they expected to play actually meant to them, what a thinking, positive process in comparison to the aggressive negativity of trump. https://www.nationalreview.com/news/biden-cabinet-clinton-administration/

Everyone will have opinions about Biden’s early selections, and filling out his administration more completely is going to be a process. That the stock market crested over 30,000 – and trump was willing to take credit for it – is a fact far from campaign rhetoric about coming disaster. Even if he considered it a conspiracy against him, like the vaccine announcements post-election, take a look at what steady on the wheel looks like ‘Merica.

30,000 still isn’t The Economy, just a fact far from campaign rhetoric about coming disaster.

Diversity

Picking up different brands or sizes of beer cans, soda cans, or Red Bulls isn’t really diversity, more like ‘low hanging fruit.’ As noted in all articles about Biden’s first batch of nominations, his people cover the cultural spectrum and are dedicated public servants with loads of experience.

Several are from families with unique backgrounds: UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield is a 35-year veteran of the State Department; Anthony Blinken‘s (Secretary of State) father was a Holocaust survivor who only knew three words of English – God bless America – when he was picked up by troops at the end of WWII. With due respect to Jean Haspel moving up to CIA Director under trump, Avril Haines is the first Woman to lead the intelligence community as DNI (Director National Intelligence), and since everyone is counting, a Latina.

Repurposed, not Recycled

Its absolutely true that aluminum cans save 90% of the energy necessary to make new ones. Mining bauxite is destructive to the environment and requires twice the energy as making new plastic. Whatever else you put into recycling bins doesn’t pay for itself – only cans do.

Many of the people Biden chose are long time workers within the Federal system, people he’s known and worked successfully with, are relevant expert resources that deserved to be utilized. Janet Yellen (Treasury) has significant weight as former head of the Federal Reserve, and sound economics are going to be a priority when the national debt ($23.3 trillion as of February, 2020) ballooned hugely this year because of needs brought on by the COVID crisis.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry (2013-2017), a decorated Vietnam veteran and later anti-war activist and Presidential candidate (2004) might be a “rich white guy” to the max, but as the leader for a newly created Climate position, no one else has the gravatis with world leaders that will benefit US interests.

Recycled doesn’t make them ‘cronies,’ tired warhorses, or the grifter-level payoffs to unqualified contributors and loyalists trump stacked his administation with. Some impune it as what Obama should have, or Clinton would have hads, but repurposing proven assets seems a reasonable resurrection.

Not about bottles, chip bags (or progressives)

While the dog (CharlieToo) appreciates the opportunity to sniff things outside his own yard, he’s a little impatient waiting for can collection and stomping them flat so more fit along the way. Some nerve on that. I admit that I’m not cleaning up other stuff – glass quart beer bottles, chip bags, empty blunt wrappers, McDonalds cups, a soggy shirt – just doing my little part along the way.

There is opportunity for others, no doubt, pitching in cans with “think global, act local” still works. Don’t sweat Biden and ‘progressives,’ consider the anticipation of U.S. rejoining the world community.

Saw my first naysayer about Biden’s choices on TV – and for sake of accuracy, a young Black Woman – is already outraged that MORE PROGRESSIVES weren’t included. C’MON PEOPLE! He picked a *diverse* and VERY experienced group. Bernie’s role is essentially holding the Senate, although his and Warren’s input should be considerable. It’s doubtful Jim Clyburn of South Carolina expects a role in the Administration, and HE is someone who should get whatever he wants in a theoretical Christmas stocking.

Look at Biden’s picks, and yes, many are people he’s worked with even before the Obama years, and he trusts them – has anyone used that word around the current White House administration? What tells more about Biden is *not* how beholden he’ll be to some groups that think DEMANDING specific picks they 100% agree with is the price for their voting. That’s not governing, that’s paying off, and luckily Joe’s plans are still the opposite of putting people with the same last name as him in top roles, right?

This first batch, which shows he’s going to make sure he’s got people who know the job and *just maybe* can make it through any confirmation hearings without Repubs trying to blow them up, is 100% legitimate. There were *never* going to be ‘progressives’ any closer to White House than that barrier around it, so have faith all ye who want to start popping off about getting what you think is Totally Righteous as payback.

No, I’m not cleaning up the whole neighborhood’s crap, just cans, although I did shovel out four drains worth of pine needles and leaves before expected rain started last night. People should hang loose on the idea of how ‘progress’ has to look or be labeled.

Fundamentally better than ‘before’

Yeah, the dog agrees with me about better all the way around. He’s excited about walks every time – you can see the change in his eyes when he thinks its time to go – saying “walkies” makes the ears go up. Compared to trump et al being stupid-slack about COVID and just being lumps in the White House living area-administration, his bouncing off the front door to show his energy levels is easy to smile about.

It’s useless at this point to recall how ugly the administration’s hoof-prints are environmentally, those bigger and badder swamp monsters who were, with unfailing consistency, former industry schlockmasters and destroyers who pulverized every arena possible.

They’ll never be concerned about picking up cans or filtering the micro-plastics out of what survives in our oceans, not when global warming has laid bare the usual hurdles, turned Artic drilling leases into a turkey shoot, still trying to hustle rigs into existence even during the last days of trump’s environmental slash and burn antics.

Honestly, I haven’t got the range to deter those SOBs, but while gathering up even that 12-pack of Bud Light cans is a move in the right direction, having John Kerry involved puts a sense of gravatis to a newly created role for the renewed U.S. leadership in this all-important time.

No tweets about it

I’m working under the radar for sure on cans. I heard trump blathering away about election fraud Sunday morning while heading out for a walk, and beyond not carrying a phone every time and place, I’m not on his radar either way. He won’t be sending any attaboys! for not masking up while I walk or pick up. Having a writers imagination, I can figure out what stupid and outrageous bloviating he might have done on FOX (without promoting it further myself).

I’ll stick with the sense of calm I got from Biden’s broadcast the day before Thanksgiving, Day Two of picking up cans. One continuous message, sanely presented, and no need to respond per se, just nod in agreement.

But I am picking up those cans, and yes, I was grateful for how well Thanksgiving went, even met new great-nephew Trace (Stephen Paul, III). As Joe cautioned, we all kept contact under control, he even gave minor thanks for whatever sacrifices we might make by not traveling to see loved ones, his acknowledging the difficulty of not putting our elders at risk in any way with the usual hugging of everyone.

More obvious changes over time

Like those runoffs in GA for control of the Senate, it won’t matter how many votes are enough until the final tallies are done. Because some ‘kids’ will leave another 12-pack of Modelo or Bud Light cans scattered for periodic pickup, there’s not going to be an obvious change around here. I’m NOT an ‘enabler’ because I pick up cans, and on a bottom line, elections have consequences. This country is looking forward to great changes for AMERICA, not just one tribe of any specific kind.

The January 6th runoffs will not be any less wild a political mess than we’ve witnessed with trump et al’s denial of what is Big Picture of who is in and who’s OUT, which is obvious at the national level. That said, January 20th could become a incredible kind of day on a wide front, including climate change and the environment.

It’s about two good causes

I’ll bury the lead a little, but after picking them up, I’m also turning bags of cans in at Fire Station #3 on the other side of street and over two blocks from my house. My first goal is 100 cans to help their cause, filling a rolling cage to donate for burn victims.

A couple years ago I did spaghetti-meatball dinners for two fire stations for three months, so I hit all the shifts. It was extra thanks because I got another Christmas with my Dad when they got him packed up and taken to a hospital in 2011. Anything you do three times usually makes more of an impact than one-offs, but not it the case of saving someone’s Dad. https://cdtalententerprises.com/2018/11/25/yes-america-its-that-simple/

We can do more than pick up cans, and wearing masks to show we care about others, that’s a minimum ask from all.

Bernie for Labor Secretary? I’d have said Hell yeah! but the Reality is, he’s much more valuable in the Senate, same as Warren.

It’s not more “Wait your turn progressives” or “We OWE you coalition people” time – voting was because saving the *country* was important, right? Biden and Kamala are aware of the coalititon that made the difference, and dammit! if you want immediate gratification by being two of the first eight posts, that’s a bit immature on process or Reality. Read the bios of those people – they are clearly THAT GOOD.

FYI -Just because I’m picking up cans doesn’t mean you should leave your old masks lying around neither.

Glenn Shorkey – Creative eDitorial Talent Enterprises 

http://www.linkedin.com/in/glennshorkey
https://cdtalententerprises.com/about
(704) 502-9947

Sports content without fans, Dem’s video convention successful, and “$1B Peace of Mind”

Take de-stressing where you can. Al fresco dining for that easy lunch hour work from home encourages.

As a content creation-sports journalist-leadership thought writer on the cusp of a very significant September, and thankfully determining I didn’t have a torn ligament in my ankle from a bicycle crash earlier in the month, I’m putting out a certain “Bring it!” attitude for what’s coming politically this Fall.

I got out to shoot hoops five times and walked twice this week – while totally not watching any of the trump family gathering – and when the ankle gets a little puffy, a little something in the OJ seems to help with that.

The usual bromide is, “If you’ve got your health, you’ve got everything,” and in-place safety and masking aside, full recovery from what could have been a much worse outcome is part of my enthusiasm for the turn into Fall. https://cdtalententerprises.com/2020/08/18/bike-accident-low-grade-depression-match-us-mess/ After nailing a 70,000 word rewrite of my favorite all-time book project after a breach at site wiped out everything at the beginning of the month, I’m good to go on all fronts.

The shoulder took heavy abuse when I went down, but three weeks later the J is going up painless in hoops, and I’m sleeping on my right side again.

For those who find a sense of normalcy with the ability to watch soccer, baseball, hoops, and hockey, there’s nothing wrong with getting some joy from all the extra television most are watching. To say they don’t need us isn’t accurate, but…

When SSDD (same stuff, different day) became real sports on TV again, it didn’t take a sportswriter designation to appreciate the difference playoffs would mean. Social slogans on the back of NBA players and piped in crowd noise are legitimate ‘production values.’

That SPORTS! stopped on a dime when ALL the players in their bubbles made it a social point, that was a media event that wasn’t ignored by most of the USA.

Sports on TV an appreciated difference

Credit to Bayern Munich for its 6th UEFA title vs. Paris-St. Germaine, and for the Portland Timbers 2-1 ‘MLS is Back’ tournament win, which then morphed into a continuation of their season (18 more games.) Baseball, sure, but that’s later. There will be a Kentucky Derby winner this coming Saturday, 19 contestants.

Hockey has been particularly fierce for me, though some 10:45 starts out of Edmonton are killers. On balance, NHL content has benefited the most from bubble presentations, with jazzy video stuff, knowledgable studio personnel, and NO lack of effort on the ice.

ISLANDERS! are the word, up 3-1 against the Flyers in playoffs, which are actually proceeding exactly as usual. Well, as long as their playoffs often run, September is usually when they get ready for training camp. Gotta go with the explosive STARS out west, but boy! do the Vegas Golden Knights have team size. Goalie Robin Lehner is listed at 6’4″, 240, and with the equipment on, he’s a space eater. There weren’t any Lightening games in Tampa when I lived there in early ’80s, just the Suc-aneers, but hey, as one of band drummers, my cousin got us in (shout to Skip!) Back then it was Doug Williams, but I’ll have to ask him about Mr. GOAT-with-six-Super-Bowl-Rings Brady being there now…

In NBA action the LAKERS crushed Portland 4-1, and no smart $$$ is betting against LeBron in a short season. Even if he might be distracted with social ideas, like turning stadiums into polling stations (way good idea, and official now), LeBron’s the King. The Celtics took Raptors in first game of their series, and Kwai Leonard is doing the same good things in Clip-Land he did in pulling off a championship for Toronto last year.

The Effort from everyone is clear: It counts a little extra to play well when the world is watching .

USPS gets its own section

The USPS gets its own section, and people aren’t worried about anyone ‘going postal’ as much as the possibility of postal service GOING. Its significant that the USPS has a 90% approval rating, which hits any business definition as an INSTITUTION worth keeping. Really, who spreads actual CONTENT better? They handle 1.3 billion Christmas cards and packages every year, so another 80 million ballots over 30 days shouldn’t be crucial, but the furor over disenfranchisement is real.

Black leaders have noted that, while they’ve experienced such interference for a long time, when it came to veterans meds, Social Security checks, and of course, ballots, THEN it got attention. So be it – the question of how logistics expert DeJoy screwed things up so dramatically so quickly, that would involve a sound bite with bite.

Yes, I watched something besides sports and the Obamas this week, including one specific Representtive – Ro Khanna of CA 17th – grind on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy about those 671 disassembled, high-speed mail sorters we’d heard about, before eventually getting a somewhat desirable resolution, even though it came with a potentially high price tag.

“Just for the peace of mind it would bring, would it be possible with a billion dollars?” Rep. Khanna asked.

“You can’t get me the billion dollars, but if you could, yes, I’d put the machines back,” an exasperated Mr. DeJoy finally caved. Getting that stated billion dollar peace of mind, props to Mr. Khanna for not letting a possible slow down in delivering ballots just drop from sight. Even semi-officially holding this particular miscreant’s feet to the fire, that’s transparent TV content to cheer a little about hearing.

BLM speaks loudly about NOW

Seeing Jacob Blake shot seven times in the back – let alone in front of his family – wasn’t ‘content,’ somehow it was more a heinous refresher people needed after Facebook repeatedly stated how weary a statistical part of society was becoming of the BLM struggle. With the national – even international – response so strong about George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police, NOW seems the time and place to consider long time operational flaws in law enforcement.

“We” of any stripe are watching LOTS of things in the current churn, and the election countdown has started for real, but that’s not taking a side. In high school, I (naturally) ran the last part of the cross country course – when I could absolutely see where the finish line was, while circling the soccer fields in Central Park – its easy to keep a better speed and focus. I enjoyed picking off people at the end.

I can see the ballot box choice clearly from here. I’m charged up physically, mentally, involved as an individual and in union with others, doing what needs doing. Should I have to mention without automatic weapons (or even paintball, which could become gas versions at some point)?

What’s the Point?

Leaving this point of COVID-19 semi-stall better than when I came in, that’s become a legitimate personal standard

Team Rubicon might be a difference maker. I have my health, I’ve put a solid achievement on the board, https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/216172684/write/847519167 and with immediate goals, like ‘Watty’s’ submission and a 22,000 word running start on second book ‘With Platinum Fury Focus,’ I know what professional content creation will mean.

ATTITUDE – The social science people look at how we process and react to things, and often the Pollyanna-ish “all is well,” or even verbalizing a more personally stressful version, doesn’t allow for just being holy shit mad about things that are going on . My opinion from a year ago https://cdtalententerprises.com/2019/08/12/renew-mojo-preseason-nfl-golf-sat-bbq-pool-breaks/ about giving your mojo some breaks, still stands.

Walking beside a gently flowing stream work well on the chilling front.

This past week of healing, on days I didn’t stress test my shoulder and ankle with hoops, I walked the greenway. All is very good there, and as noted, I lacked any political negatives on my mind. I’m healthy, motivated – still without that stimulus check I heard about in April – but more fortunate than many that there’s no threat of eviction on my horizon.

I’m actually impressed with a contact from Team Rubicon, a veteran-focused, real immediate, disaster relief organization, whose operational code is summed up in GSD – Get Shit Done. They also take on Grey Shirts who are kick ass civilians, and I’d like to think I have that finishing kick to a career that touched on doing better for parts of the world. Pursuing an actual part of ‘build better’ in US? I’ll let you know.

In tune with the times?

When I originally got in touch with Team Rubicon in early 2019, I was considering a good-paying (with benefits) gig for a CBD manufacturer in Charlotte. I liked everything about their mission focus, but at the same time, the fact I had zero military background seemed a legitimate self-disqualifer.

But here at the end of August, 2020 after five months in the house, just as I nailed down the last five thousand words of editing an re-chapterizing my book on wattpad, just as the last of the huge hematoma-infection I took care of with REAL medication – Bacitrycin – that worked great immediately; after hearing Barack Obama speak in as intimate a way and setting as anyone could have delivered the content of a great speech, without the usual covention hoo-ha, I got three communications in one week from TR.

There are openings as their coverage has grown, splitting off into Charlotte and Rock Hill. The specific Communications – Operations role I was interested in seems to have been filled professionally – all the information I asked for in followup Saturday, including my official number, was readily available. “The new guy” in command structure has let it be known that for specific roles, “We’ll train you up, if you want to step up and see about having the goods.”

I’ve got plenty of communications chops, and thanks to that good-looking site, I’ve actually COMMITTED by signing up for a specialist class in early October, and doing a background check. This sure feels like the time to put a mission-specific shoulder behind the wheel in a solid American way. I WILL VOTE! and I will be Better on the other side of this.

Really folks, relax when you can. I’ll put the sports question – definitely hockey – up tomorrow. A couple series could be ending quickly.

Practical communication makes a point – for politics, pierogis, poker, and pooches

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While his destroying three sleeping pads by tearing them apart and distributing the insides like this was uncool, getting into my salad bowl required direct messaging.

Perhaps I’m working the P’s a little hard, but historically its one of the things (along with Q’s) we’re supposed to pay attention to.

The point is, whether you’re a communications specialist, content creation writer, blogger, or pet owner, its legitimate to be aware of how any messages are coming through for the intended parties.

While his pushing a bowl around the kitchen like Snoopy, or positioning himself near the front door for immediate petting works for CharlieToo, the swat with a folded newspaper was a simple, hopefully received and understood message I sent yesterday.

Yes, that set off some loud “messaging” with my brother, but I didn’t need to hear about a beagle’s acute sense of smell (again). I’d left the room for thirty seconds to get a beverage, and returned to find several spinach leaves outside the bowl, left well away from the edge of the kitchen table. My message to both was I wasn’t allowing such behavior with my food, and if the bro needed to get discipline classes for his dog, I could still handle some baseline corrections right then.

Poker night and commitment

Having decided to restart Hold ’em poker nights with two subsets of friends, notices were sent to twenty guys about the timing, BYOB and chili situation, cost ($20 to start, re-buys, and chip-up), and directions embedded. All information, starting three weeks before the event, was sent by e-mail and followed up with by text several times.

Two days after the stated deadline for confirmation, there were only four “can’t make it” responses, which is when my ‘no-go’ decision was made.

One ‘yes’ indicated he’d pick up an outlier (who had bailed), one said (at pierogi dinner Friday) he’d come, but I’d already decided to wait and try again next month. One was upset he’d driven by the house – and left three phone messages – without knowing it was canceled, although he hadn’t confirmed when we worked two nights on the prep and pierogi dinner.

While statistically that’s *about* a 30% response, the reality is most similar events will die without a predetermined level of positive commitment. This was easy to track, doing so with blog results is what makes it a business.

Pierogi pickups, oompah! band, and networking

For the first two hours of our group’s second hugely successful pierogi dinner, I worked the take out table. Unfortunately, once I’d gotten through a first pan of those slathered in butter Polish delicacies filled with cheese and potato, and fried onions aplenty, there was a period when the product didn’t come regularly enough to diminish the line of customers.

Although I sent messages with group members who came by, only drips and drabs came though for about half an hour – and somehow it wasn’t a problem

The great part of communications came with the realization that the 15 people standing in line understood I’d done what I could. Every single one was happy when the pans started flowing regularly and they got hot, tasty containers of food – including sauerkraut, garlic bread, kielbasa – and some had never tried a pierogi before!

Did giving the last klochy cookie to one little girl, just before another tray appeared, work out righteously? Yep, it showed we cared, as did giving a piece of kielbasa to anyone who wanted to munch it waiting in line.

Doing my usual “schmoozing” around the tables a little later, it was great to learn that everyone appreciated the evening at all levels – not a single cross word, even though some had waited in a line around the cafeteria before getting served and seated.

When asked, “Did everyone get enough to eat?” smiles and “Great job, you guys!” and testimonials about how many of our (St. Gabriel Men’s Club) other community feedings they’d attended were gratifyingly glowing. Okay, “free beverages” and dancing to a lederhosen-garbed oompah band might have a little to do with that glow, but a $36 family price works wonders, too.

The best communication for me though? The very last couple I talked with went 20191214_200810exceptionally well. She was a physical therapist, so we discussed my two year old knee replacement, and her husband had done a little knocking around for two years before establishing himself as a management efficiency expert with restaurants. When I gave him my card, and explained some of what CDTalent Enterprises did writing-wise, he asked if I’d tried using a particular agency and recruiter, who had kept him busy during his knock around days.

THAT is the essence of networking, finding a commonality and helping each other with additional contacts. If you’re still worried about just talking to someone at a gathering, networking doesn’t have to be in a suit with your name plastered on a lapel.

POLITICS

For what its worth, Trump’s impeachment trial starts today, and IMHO, a *lot* more people will be dissatisfied with how that’s handled than how my lack of pierogies Friday night affected them. While I heard one of our guys pontificating that, “He’s going to be re-elected, you guys are wrong, case closed!” I’ve learned that its impossible to get a reasonable message through to some people, and walking away from situations is the best way to handle negative communications.

Unfortunately, the option of swatting them with a folded newspaper probably won’t get the intended message through.

“Real Writers” still best option, AI or 1 million chimps on computers creativity aside

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Artificial intelligence and computers can do amazing things based on previous analysis, but can they imagine a perfect David without that?

After being fed a trillion-gazillion bytes of previous human blood, sweat, and tears involved in artwork or literature, Artificial Intelligence is becoming/has begun to be judged capable of original production.  Professionally speaking, that sounds more reasonable than a million (or 10 million?) chimpanzees on keyboards knocking out even a couple verses of Bill Shakespeare-worthy prose by accident.

At the current time, I’m a way better writing alternative.

Without going deeply into whether its a good idea or not, the AI future has been coming almost 70 years,  and the chimps haven’t produced anything noteworthy.  Having read on LinkedIn about AI “knowing” how to make hiring decisions though, that’s a belief I can’t get on board with.

Having a “presence” – something that might push a magic button for a potential employer of my talents – and result in a tah dah! moment HAS to be better, because its worked that way before. Many sites still don’t recognize MSOffice includes Word, or journalism as somehow lacking “media and communications.”

Case in point, the recently concluded series SUITS.

Could the Zen of Harvey Specter and Mike Ross coming together on the basis of – well, a busted drug deal – and Mike’s statistical memory out-dueling Harvey’s ego on trivia happen with AI? I think not.

Far above the vast area between accidental genius and synthesized, analytical material becoming heart-breaking romance, discovering the answer to someone’s pain about any number of factors is what INTERVIEWING is about, and where writers of all stripes wear the sales hat.

Sports writing is easier than CBD content creation

Of course there are the numbers, the stats, the win-loss conclusion and opinions of the result, but sports have their own voice, and quotes are usually the most compelling part. If we have or haven’t seen the event, can you appreciate how a journalist presents it, accurately and colorfully?

That’s part of what interviewing does for “client voice.” Putting them together, with the proliferation of websites and blogs that require on-going production, is what long-form informational blogging has become.  Although not as direct as words from a winning coach, corporate voice is THE voice.

From high school journalism on, the need to set the hook with readers in the first paragraph was considered paramount. Now its the click value of the headline, because people scan vs. read.

Relative to value, while Charlotte pays above the national rates (as reported by Indeed, Glassdoor, Payscale), its often a case of job title-category being a determinant.

Copy writers at $26.38/hr, content writers,  and writers generally are close to $50k (Payscale says $47k is 10% above national avg., Glassdoor pegs avg. @ $55k), while content creation, including editors and social media types, are in the middle-upper teens per hour. Indeed puts these North Carolina rates at 15% below national averages.

Obviously there are ranges.  ‘Freelancers’ is a relative term ($22.46/hr., Payscale), tutors average $23/hr. (I usually bill at $30) and technical writers lead the overall pack at $32/hour. While descriptions for all have terms in common (white papers, blogs, SEO), writers seem to involve more interfacing with other creatives. Content creation is often  list-cicles or amalgamated research and rehashing as a group effort, with the focus on Google positioning.

*Everyone* wants copy/blogs/thought leadership that “meets and exceeds customer expectations.”

Technical Writing

“Thought Leadership” style has become a strong part of long-form informational blogging, and contrasting two previous projects with a recent sketchy client description highlights the importance of interviewing.

According to a Thumbtack lead, the client had an ESL (English Second Language) situation, and to his credit, knew he needed some expertise to make a business proposal sound right.

In hearing the project was “between 2,000-10,000 words” represented an awful lot of territory to offer overall pricing. Informing the client my blogs are often 1200-1500 words, so 10,000 was a lot, is a concrete example of both parties knowing what a project entails. Whether this business plan was going to include enough budget for technical writing was also a consideration.

jensenprocedOn the other hand, writing procedures for Parts Ordering and Returns was for “guys in the pits” using industrial laundry equipment (driers, folders, belted delivery systems, timing), not front office people. The primary point was well-defined, especially how plucking a part off a machine and reading the number was actually the third best option when ordering.

Two pages of specific information only took 945 words, and fact it included addressing issue of returns, so extra junk didn’t clog up the back dock area, was gravy.

Interviews as sales calls

Because client-facing verbal understanding is at the core of all successful work interactions, my mantra is that the Q&A to be most effective is always about determining those factors most important to clients, not an interrogation. Good information makes for better decisions.

During several other career stages, interviews were more accurately sales calls, where I was providing the information aspect, and how other people reacted was a measurable outcome.  “Interviewing” with the lawyer of someone whose property had a billboard I represented was another slice of interpretation – most would consider that “negotiation” though.

In scholastic fundraising, there was essentially 40 minutes to build rapport, present information and possibilities, (hopefully) get the green lights and signature that meant putting it on a calendar.  Most interviews focused on “fixing” a sponsor’s group problem in tough economic times.

That (fix some pain) remains the central theme for all kind of ‘gigs’ now, and Writers understand that every RFP (request for proposal) type of content we send should  be intended as a statement of what we bring to the table.

Without denigrating ‘foreign competition’ on the content front – because getting ideas across in writing is not bound by location or time zones – language differences when I’m just trying to make a point with outsourced service operations are multiplied in complexity when clarifying a corporate tone or voice.

ESL clients require extra attention, and grammatically and professionally, it still seems like some corporate material has been put through a Google translator called “English” that comes off as stilted in “American.” That might be where AI can makes inroads.

Trump’s ‘Do us a favor though’ is a memorable line, but (obviously) not great writing

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It’s a wall at Charlotte Ballet instead of Lady Liberty, how many consider that okay, not worth calling wrong?

  • “Four score and seven years ago…” Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address
  • “I have a dream…” Dr. Martin Luther King at the Lincoln Memorial
  • “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
  • “One small step for (a) man…” Neil Armstrong, just about to walk on the moon
  • “Play it again, Sam” and “Here’s looking at you, kid.” Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca
  • “You must be talkin’ to me, I’m the only one here.” Robert DeNiro as Travis Bick in Taxi Driver.
  • “Charlie, here comes the deuce, and when you speak of me, speak well.” Kevin Costner as Crash Davis in Bull Durham.

In the history of lines from movies, literature, sports, and politics, there are always going to be ones you remember clearly, but its safe to say Trump’s is one you’re going to hear ad nauseum the next couple months.

Just a suggestion, but juuuust maybe he should have gotten more pro forma help with some president-to-president talking points vs. freelancing.

I can almost guarantee a couple million tee shirts will immortalize it, and if you’re going to watch any of the impeachment hearings, using it in a drinking game is begging for trouble.

Content creation, and then there’s the Constitution

“I do” started a life together, “I did” should be a final affirmation” captured the idea of pre-need for a funeral home client, and there’s no problem tapping the Easy Apply button to send my LinkedIn profile to represent me, but that’s neither a one-liner or Shakespeare.

No matter what kind of a deadline I’m facing though, there would never be a moment that I’d consider rewriting (and bastardizing) the Statue of Liberty’s, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” with acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli’s, “who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”

As a content creation professional, writing something that hits exactly the right chord still gives me a thrill. Michael Anthony Hall gives himself a little punch in the arm after writing a bite me! essay for the group in Breakfast Club – sort of like that.

  • “Ask not what your country can do for you…” John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address
  • “You can’t handle the truth!” Jack Nicholson as Col. Jessup, A Few Good Men
  • “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Muhammed Ali
  • “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” Al Pacino getting directions, The Godfather
  • “Thou shalt not…” (I guess) Moses gets the writing credit.
  • “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” (Wily Coyote?)

As for Trump and the Constitution, I’m recalling what I believe was a Dodge commercial from the early 70’s. It featured the arch-typical Southern sheriff, standing next to the drivers open window: “You in-a heap of trouble boy.”

Yep. The Constitution was written in long hand a loooong time ago, and yet the Founding Fathers managed to include a process called impeachment for *exactly* what came through in that call to the president of the Ukraine.  We may not be at another  Lindsey Graham moment yet, but that’s not a one-liner either.

 

This being a political blog aside, today is better than Recession or Kurds situation

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During the Recession, you didn’t sweat talking politics over the grill, we were all worried about the same things, and Trumpies hadn’t been invented.

Back in the early, terrible years of the Recession, I had several opportunities to have a cigar and some scotch with one of my brothers, the high caliber banking guy, while the Thanksgiving turkey was deep frying. He was an excellent person to bounce all the information I’d read and heard off, and I really felt smarter in other conversations after those talks.

If you weren’t trying to learn more then, all you could do was cower in fear that the Economics Gods didn’t body slam you any worse. Between a job I disliked and Trumpies though, I admit the below-my- abilities job was easier to deal with.

There wasn’t any difficulty about the facts of what we were going through then, and those who had jobs were mostly just a little happier than those on – or over – the hairy edge. Neither side was about Good or Bad, we were all struggling. There was an expectation that our government had its hand on the tiller, and nobody was seriously being dissed or crushed just because of their economic situation or heritage.

Sure, people abandoned pricey homes and took lifestyle hits while reducing ten days in an exotic locale to “stay-cations,” taking kids out of private schools with $20,000 a year tabs, holding on to cars “until things get settled a little better,” and not automatically going out to dinner three times a week.

Things aren’t anything like that now

Yes, the world seems stuck on the politics of things in 2019, and if the choices are “Love him or hate him,” LOTS of people – including me – are on the latter side of that with Trump.

Take an analogy of the high school bully-cretin who knocked the books out of your hands every time he saw you. Bet you didn’t think, “But he’s a helluva player when he’s on the court!”

Hell no. The aggravation and humiliation of having to pick up your stuff while others mogged along, maybe kicking your books, trying to get to their class in another wing of the school an over-arching consideration. You probably said, “Yeah, 23 points a game, but he’s still a d**khead” to your buddy.

You might keep your mouth shut after a buzzer-beater against an arch-rival, but day to day, he was a blot on almost any happiness you could imagine being in the same school could bring. No sense telling the cute girl in biology class your opinion, her friend was dating the guy, and Cutie was probably jealous of that.

What has that got to do with any concerns we have about education, immigration, the national debt, torquing the relatively naive President of the Ukraine, or shafting Kurdish allies in Syria in the most obvious and life-threatening way?

Expectations of what America stands for

Unlike back in those dark economic times, you didn’t stop caring about how the people down the street were doing. You didn’t walk away from them, muttering about their character because they rooted for the “wrong” team. It was legitimate to think they weren’t too smart to be a Browns fan, yet poking fun at stuff like that wasn’t taken to the Nth degree of thinking thugs from ICE should haul them away.

The question of “What happens after…?” is just as real today as during the Recession years. Yes, impeachment proceedings are going to tear this country up, but like we *knew* back then, the Biblical “This too shall pass” was something to believe in. As I told an Italian lady I tutored, this is still shy of the heart-breaking nastiness that Vietnam was for Americans, mostly because LOTS of (young) people died in those times.

When *every*single*person* that came into the current Administration was placed in a role that gave them the ability to sink an institution they HATED – and it seems many are face-first in the public trough – that sucks though. I often use DeVos – whose “expertise” for Education ends with her $1 million donation to Trump campaign – with her desire to kill public education funds, and Pruitt, the grifter from Oklahoma who opened the sewage gates wide on the environment, as examples. It was depressing to think the next day meant another humiliation, having their books (figuratively) slapped out of their hands, for that piece of America under their boots.

So now there appears to be light in the tunnel that ISN’T another damn train. While not the final word on things many, many, many don’t like – including former allies around the world who think badly of US actions – “we” don’t have to just take it. Walking the other way instead of trying to discuss ANY situation with a Trumpie doesn’t bring any real sense of calm, just that we can see *something* is finally being done that might change this long sled ride towards the bottom of the American soul.

Mostly I write about business, although some of the sports pieces have a lesson to them. Am I doing better than during Recession? Well, yeah, but how much of any piece of anything else in 2019 am I happier about, that seems a valid criteria to judge life on.

Hmmm… That knee replacement (God bless the ACA) at end of 2017 changed life pretty dramatically, I don’t have to skip across the street to avoid getting run over. It’s (finally, after 50 days) raining in Charlotte today, nothing wrong with that. I have a meeting about a next ‘gig,’ using my God-given ability as a “content creation person,” at about twice the $$$ I was making in retail back then is good, as is not being homeless in this rain.

And yes, knowing some real angst is is on the horizon for Trump and his enablers in Congress  – and even the schlubs for voted for him and think he’s doing a great job will have to stay quiet – is okay by me.

A cigar and some scotch at Thanksgiving, I’m looking forward to that. Doubt that we’ll be talking politics much though, and there’s nothing wrong with leaving that behind. That brother’s knowledge was superior about negative economics then, but knowing at least *something* is working towards Better Days, 2020 seems like sunshine in America time.

Recruiter read ‘tech writing’ experience as intended, but wrong on client needs

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I recently had three very different chances to interface with recruiters regarding the same possibility, in this case, for technical writers. While  that’s generically “a club in my bag,” it didn’t get much play until I added a resume on DICE site.

So, Basic point: Know which sites work best for your skill set and goals as freelancer/copywriting resource.

Two people, who supposedly know how certain skills may fit with work orders, told me Monster and Careerbuilder were places they found most of their placements and possibilities. I’ve never liked those chronologically-oriented sites, and there have been plenty of possibilities on LinkedIn and FlexJobs, including top of my list consideration, remote options. 

KEYWORDS – BIG DIFFERENCE

It’s worth noting that early searching for ‘Writer’ roles on LinkedIn often produced more Underwriter and Service writer possibilities than creative positions. Putting ‘content creation’ and ‘writing’ vs. writer in the keyword box, that went from barely a handful to nearly 100, and often included marketing and editorial managers. Knowing more than one way to look for things is a legitimate piece of any search effort.

Another phrase that bears examining is ACHIEVEMENT as part of Administrative/Executive Associate submissions, but I’ll save that for another day.

It’s been proven throughout this pandemic, when working remotely quickly became a negotiable factor. There are frequent online opportunities to contribute from a laptop – good content can be created any time or place.

I’ve held certain opinions about recruiters, but the constancy of online searching  leads to the continued  opinion about whether current “talent gaps” could be mitigated if finders of people for positions did a better job of interviewing.

Admitting first contact appointment-getters – with fairly heavy, difficult to understand accents – threw me a little is true. Repeatedly asking callers to slow down, and yes, thinking scams often flourish with confusion, being on guard is a legitimate state. We’re all aware that “others” are constantly phishing for data.

I admit being less nice to him, but fixing my attitude about different groups of people contacting me out of the blue with “I saw your resume…” came through just in time. 

Key in recruiters getting what they need

One caller was totally from left field, because he was trying to work with an online resume from 2015 (Careerbuilder). Trying to steer him to more current information like LinkedIn seemed futile. Trying to explain a 2015 post-Recession in retail resume, which  represented nothing  I was trying to accomplish now – just, no. Thinking I could turn that option into even a 3-month contract wasn’t a reality.

Talking with Recruiter #2, the ‘take over’ local (Charlotte) person I’d scheduled a call with, left me far far less confident about success, compared to the CBD company I connected with through LinkedIn right after New Years. Maybe he was describing a totally different job, which it turns out he was, compared to Recruiter #3.  I found out a month later #2 was actually right on about a situation that sounded far above my comfort level regarding previous technical expertise.

There’s a definite difference in needing-to-be-done-a-certain-way design, info for multiple layers of starting-from-scratch technically sound, subject matter expertise  writing vs. something closer to compilation and interpretation of content and “editorial values,” and again, I’m not a coder. Continue reading “Recruiter read ‘tech writing’ experience as intended, but wrong on client needs”

What do Andy Neumann, Trump, you, and Sweltering Charlotteans Have in Common?

Year One, the year Panthers went to the Super Bowl. We'd waited out an ice storm before starting our string of successful oyster roasts, The HedgeHog concept: making $$$ is fine, the community event rocks, and the box burning is an official ending.
Year One, the year Panthers went to the Super Bowl. We’d waited out an ice storm before starting what’s become a string of successful oyster roasts with 2500 oysters – this year its 7000. The HedgeHog concept: Making $$$ is fine, the community event rocks, and the box burning is an official ending.

Answer: Most of those didn’t blow up a $47 billion IPO valuation, get tagged with “nonsensical” about real estate economics, or get kicked to the ”CEO No-longer” curb. Yeah, it sounds a bit snarky, but the razz-berries started early on WeWorks IPO.

The old expression – just ask Biden -“Three on a match” was a tribute to South African Boer (Dutch) farmers accuracy as snipers at the beginning of the last century. It might be elementally bad luck for the last one when English soldiers tried lighting three cigarettes to conserve scarce matches. Neumann walked into that analogy last week, covered in Silly String.

Investors have been memorably slapped silly with Theranos (diabetic testing, aloof and combative executive) and Lyft (yet to make a profit, plenty of corporate drama) as essentially empty bags, and Neumann’s WeWork’s IPO represented, well, “creative content” way beyond my pay grade. With regular mentions in the press about tequila-fueled days, pot smoking on the corporate jet, self-dealing over a corporate trademark, and then submitting shoddy SEC paperwork – that never offered a timeline for the company to turn a profit – failing economic sniff tests made him a stupendous third, bigly.

Personally, from a series of sweaty 4-on-4s at regular Monday night hoops, through about 35 minutes of shooting in 91 degree Charlotte humidity on Saturday, last week involved a lot of real physical heat. It’s just a fact here, 78 days of 90-plus this year (34 is the average), with expectations for more of the same coming. Sunday it was 96 – so while semi-lazy by only doing a pair of videos for proposals – and ballin’-out with a couple cold ones, watching local Panthers play excellent at all levels again, Slye blasted one 55-yards! – here’s betting it was a qualitatively better day than those other guys had.

Neumann and Trump – the Prez, obviously, with an official House impeachment investigation – is experiencing HEAT at a whooooole ‘nother level.

Neumann, who has burned through many SoftBank BILLIONS with WeWork’s concept of premium office rental space – obviously never read or considered leadership thoughts from Jim Collins iconic management book, ‘GOOD TO GREAT.’ Top three reasons that seems true, in no particular order: (not) Facing the brutal facts (of economics), “(not) Getting the right people (lots of relatives though!) on the bus, in the right places,” and ultimately, not deciding on a HedgeHog Concept to work from.

Before finally taking the HedgeHog Concept – doing one thing particularly well, being the best at it – to be the heart of a leadership thought, the bus analogy held a lot of early consideration in my weekend blog writing. There’s no doubt such references will be used soon though, since who’s on, still in, driving, or under any buses in the next week or so in that other “nonsensical” (political) world is going to be worth watching. “Right this way Mr. Guliani; Yessir Mr. Secretary, that seat is definitely meant for you.”

IT WAS EASY TO SEE, RIGHT NOW, IN BLACK AND WHITE

‘Good to Great’ is only 210 pages long (plus appendixes) and Collins labeling of traits and consistencies that statistically created Greatness are often esoteric – which as a management theory staple, such books rarely flow – always makes it incredibly readable. My CDTalent Enterprises business features content creation and community-level projects, and the Hedgehog definition hits a legitimate chord:

To simplify a complex world into a single organizing idea, a basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything.

Content creation is way not the same as “sound bite” or Tweets, and right now my tone is set for “Leadership Thought.” Those two video projects last weekend – one involves marketing of the legal community – and Leadership Thought (LT) is an arena where ongoing experience in creating a ‘voice’ counts. Although I’ve done that ghosting route before, it could still be a next challenge for wordsmithing.

A Unifying Concept

HedgeHog-wise, CDTalent Enterprises’ unifying concept includes a half-dozen topics I have specific expertise about (including CBD), and proposals for articles is an easily achieved expansion – it already earned a three hour schedule block on Tuesday. That concept allows for nailing down an 8,000 words (with synopsis) book proposal before Thanksgiving, which I have a running start on.

The difference between not actually wishing someone dead, but being glad about the opportunity to read their obituary, is a Mark Twain-ism worth stealing.

Trump’s week was warmly spotlighted politically by Speaker Pelosi on Tuesday, even if  his blowing off a major environmental session at the UN gained a hairy eyeball look from 16-year old super-activist Greta Thurnberg of Sweden.  He wasn’t the guy *I* would want to take handshake pictures with, and his address at the United Nations wasn’t actually newsworthy.

Really, after announcing an impeachment inquiry at what approximated a national level by Pelosi, and setting real, fast-moving Congressional goals, I still wonder how much of the country ie.- FOXers -would know whether Trump spent time at the UN or played golf.

The Twain theory of obit reading seems in line with postmortem sympathy for a crispy ‘baked’ (nyuk nyuk) Adam Neumann, and Trump’s people are really not looking forward to “some grilling time” after vacation. Having three proposals generate additional interest would still make this coming week ‘hot’ on content as business front, but bet on fact us sweltering Charlotteans are waiting to smell what Congress might be cooking over the next couple weeks.

Hey, that’s a good hook for my Oyster Roast on October 19th!

Content creation, client needs are close to dating – better info turns into ‘righter’ decisions

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Typical selfie in bathroom mirror doesn’t move the needle much.

Certainly, online dating and sending RFP-level material to potential clients is a legitimate analogy. Wanting a good professional or emotional connection, one that satisfies a recognized need, works best when everyone is honestly trying on the information front.

Three specific examples of “finding the other”  involves a high, low, and medium set of informational points, and how it affects the successful matching up of elements desired by both parties.

On the low end would be a personal ad lacking any imagination or effort – one picture (the bathroom selfie), minimal written, or “If you want to know more, ask” slackery. That’s an unsatisfying combination from among hundreds of other possibilities, and its headed for the Out Bin almost as a reflex, right?

Content creation types understand that every CV or cover letter sent involves a judgment of our writing skills.

On a lovely, cool Monday morning, I declare that The Super High end of information is represented by 2 1/2 pages of printed who, what, why, how? relative to one recent company’s Content Marketing position. A statement of their corporate positioning, an introduction to expectations of a new team member, responsibilities, necessary skill set, personal qualities (hmmm…humility?), and finished up with bullet points about extras in the compensation situation you’d probably want to know about.

Almost without question – whether pursuing dates or a potential client – you’d invest more effort in something A-B-C, 1-2-3 clear about extra details to start. From the content creator side, responding to that well-defined description with an equally well-defined reason to investigate further is fundamentally right.

The best middle ground is a ‘date’ that shows up as a 100% as advertised stud or stud-ette.  Great attitude, desired attributes sharp and obvious, articulate enough during the meet-greet time over coffee or a cold beverage raising expectations of a possible match. If all is in tune a couple hours later – post-concert and a snack perhaps – its much easier to discuss what Next might look like.

What needs to be done when the bell is rung

Many of us like to think we’re the middle group professionally, that it’s just a matter of getting in front of a decision maker. Perhaps we lack an attribute or two software-wise,  or depth of expertise required, but if there’s not an organic height requirement, face-to-face will win the day.

Uhh-huh.

That would be amazingly naive of the one picture profile to think, and just as unproductive for a content creator candidate to ignore the relative clues in a well-written description of  how to impress that ‘date’ appropriately. 

That Super High end information provider is a remote location possibility vs. office situation, as definite a positive as a bright smile from across the room. The role responsibilities call for a versatile style across several channels (bingo!), engaging with subject matter experts (sales career and all previous freelance writing featured interviewing as a strength), and some esoteric pieces, like “the gumption to wrestle with a problem until a thought-through solution is achieved,” and “…abiding love for processing a lot of input, (then) fishing out the interesting and relevant bits.”

Immediate, verifiable info regarding  candidate

That meeting my date Saturday provided immediate, verifiable intell regarding an All That candidate doesn’t happen often. She was interesting, attractive, way better than just fit, a look-you-in-the-eye type with a compelling story about spirituality (including tarot, the hook in my books) that kept conversation flowing, and OMG! who wanted to go ‘dutch’ from the get-go.

Having seen the up-close reality of the option, it would be terrific if there was more to discuss in the near future. Hold onto that thought, because that real meeting of the people v. minds included almost two weeks of texting, and both of us had multiple pictures and profile writing.  Elementally, the dating system worked, and leaving out that information makes it sound like luck.

Never let it be thought you only did the least that could be done. Quality communications don’t need to be all-revealing bikini shots of one’s career, just promote the belief that we as responders might be that terrific person you’ll want to discuss a future relationship with.

All positive responses constitute a successful ‘first date’ for a content creation person.