Help Wanted

We have a lot of turnover at our company and we are almost always trying to hire for at least one open position. It’s hard work and rough hours, but the pay is good and I do my best to treat everyone well and keep them motivated.

We have been running a classified ad in the daily newspaper for over a year. The ad runs every day and is always on the front page of the newspaper’s classified section. As far as I can tell, we have not gotten one single call from that ad, in all this time.

The calls that we do get are from the ad we put up on Craigslist. Isn’t that amazing? That in just a few years, Craigslist can become the best resource for help wanted? They have decimated the classified section in the daily paper – no one goes to the newspaper for jobs. It used to be a large section, especially on Sundays. Now they are down to just one or two printed pages. But Craigslist has all the listings now and the search feature really helps target what you want. Almost everyone in town has access to the internet – either at their place of employment, in their homes, at schools and in all the libraries. It really has changed the quality of our lives in many ways and affected the way we do business, too.

Gift Exchange

Coming from a large family, exchanging birthday and Christmas with every family member quickly got to be too expensive for most of us, so my sister proposed a gift exchange plan that we’re giving a try this year. She has put household names into a hat and drawn a match for each household. The gift giver has the option of buying a small gift for each person in that drawn household or buying one larger gift for the entire household to share and enjoy. she sent out an email this morning asking all of us to confirm our desire to participate in the gift exchange or we have the option of declaring amnesty and opting out. If we opt out then we won’t be receiving gifts from anyone in the family but we won’t have to buy any, either. But I decided we would participate so I confirmed with her and started thinking about ways to save money on the gifts.

It seems strange to be thinking about Christmas in August, but my sister wanted the different family members to have plenty of time to shop for bargains or possible craft or construct the gifts, so she will be drawing the names this weekend and letting us know our lot.

We have always enjoyed getting up early on Black Friday to start our Christmas shopping and we make a day of guerrilla shopping. I’m sure you know that Black Friday is what they call the day after Thanksgiving. It’s big doings at all the malls and retail stores, as they viciously compete for your Christmas shopping money with special sales and secret specials on that day.


Two of my brothers live in a beach town. They are roomies and are very close in age and interests, and I’m glad they have each other around to help out and look after one another. They are too far away for me to visit very often, and there’s not much in this town to attract either one of them to visit here unless it was a business conference or convention that they were required to attend, and that hasn’t happened in over 15 years, so I’m not holding my breath.

On the other hand, it was a business trip that took me to their town a few years ago, so I’m not faulting them. When I knew I would be arriving on a particular date, I sent my brother an email and told him which days I would be there and asked when he would like to get together for dinner and set our plans around that.

After a great seafood dinner in a little place overlooking the Atlantic, we decided to walk for a few blocks on the beach and appreciate the sunset while we chatted about family things and shared memories. That was really nice – quality time.

On the beach, a young man was working pretty hard on something very large, and as we got closer I could figure out that he was making a sand castle of sorts in the sand. This was not child’s sandcastle with plastic pails and gelatin molds. This was a serious sand sculpture and was very well done. Turns out he was doing this project as a way to make money. There was a little bucket and handprinted sign that asked for “donations” and almost everyone who walked by was dropping in a couple bucks to help him out. I suspect at the height of tourist season this venture is very lucrative.

Interesting in that the homeless and the beggars in my town pretend to play guitars on the downtown sidewalks and sing country songs that everyone recognizes, with a hat or guitar case on the ground for donations. Here at the beach, they make sandcastles.

Outsourcing HR

A good friend of mine has worked in Human Resources all her professional life. At the company where we worked together for a couple years, she was taking night time college courses to get her Master’s Degree in HR and the company was helping her with the tuition for the classes. She was so proud to finally graduate with her Master’s and I must say that it was quite an accomplishment, as she not only had a very demanding job at the company, with long hours there, but she was also mother to three children in school and wife of a musician who traveled quite a bit and because of his touring schedule he would leave her alone at home with the kids for weeks at a time.

We were all shocked and amazed when our company made the announcement that the Board of Directors had decided to eliminate the Human Resources department and outsource those tasks as part of our staff reduction and reorganization plans. My friend was laid off and we were all instructed on the new processes for HR support within our departments. After the initial shock of losing a friend and co-worker, I must say that the new processes are not bad.

My friend has found another position and is very happy with her new company as VP of HR, and our company is happy with the move to outsourcing their HR. So it was a win-win change for all.

Baby Boom

This month has been a baby boom in my little circle of family and friends. Interestingly, there were two births so far, and both have been girls. The last baby in my circle of family and friends was also a girl. There is an old wife’s tale that a boom in the birth of baby boys foretells an upcoming war and that a boom in the birth of baby girls foretells a period of peace. So I very much hope that is true and that this country and the rest of the world is due for a long period of peace and perhaps even prosperity.

My brother’s son and daughter-in-law just gave birth to a little girl. She was born over a month premature but seems to be doing OK. She only weighed a bit over 4 pounds at birth. that is really very tiny and I hope that she can gain weight and stay healthy enough to go home with her parents very soon. It is odd to think of my younger brother as a grandfather already. He is 10 years younger than me and yet he beat me to that milepost of grandfather-dom.

The other baby girl is was just born to a good friend of mine who immigrated here with his beautiful wife from Russia several years ago. This couple is very hardworking and serious about embracing America and our culture. They both adopted Americanized first names and they’ve named their new daughter Elizabeth. I did not know that Elizabeth was a name familiar to Russians, but there is a Russian spelling for this name and they plan to call her Liz. She was born right on time and is a healthy weight, although I have to admit that the announcement came in with her weight as kg and I had to find a metric conversion tool on the internet to figure out that her birthweight was just under 7 pounds.