No Raises Anymore….

December 5, 2014

Loyalty Concept.When’s the last time you heard of a millennial friend or relative getting a raise or a promotion in their current job, excluding a new degree or new job? Almost never, right? Employers rarely give raises anymore, outside perhaps a standard cost-of-living adjustment. If we want a new opportunity, we’re told we need a new degree or certification. Most often, we have to switch jobs.Job hopping is often the only way for us to move ahead. I know friends who are waiting a backlog of managers or supervisors who (might) retire in 5-10 years. The choice is clear: wait out a long retirement or force their hand by getting a different job.

SOURCE: Millennials: Don’t Quit; Take a Break & Recommit – Red Letter Christians.

The main topic of this article was not about raises but about pastors and churches. But the comment above from a millennial got my attention. Job hopping did occur in my world but it was usually the exception rather than the rule for at least the first two-thirds of my career. To hear that today’s crop of workers deem it a necessity in order to get a raise kind of shocked me.

I know the statistics bear out the fact that people don’t get raises anymore. The middle class of which most of us relish to be in has been shrinking since the Reagan years of trickle down mentality. When employees became liabilities to be shed instead of assets to be pampered, raises basically disappeared. They say that the average person will change jobs every seven years now.

Of course there will still be those entrepreneurs who will manage to find just that right thing to bring to market at just the right time. More power to them but we must realize that they make up a very thin slice of today’s workforce. We hear the mantra that small business is the backbone of our nation but small businesses employ much less than half the nation’s workforce.  The vast majority, as in the past, are in jobs with major corporations and those corporations have deemed it unnecessary to give their workers a slice of their ever increasing profits.

Some consider it a chicken/egg thing but living through this corporate change it isn’t to me.  The logic goes something like this.  Corporations don’t give raises to their employees because the employees are not loyal to those who pay their salaries. My peak earning years were in the 1970s through the 1980s and I saw a definite change in corporate mentality over that period of time. For the first half of my work life I was a proud employee of AT&T. I, and most of my co-workers were very loyal to the company. We all had a pretty strong healthcare plan and received a slice of the profits we generated. In years when the corporation made lower profits we willingly got smaller raises.  We were loyal to our company.

Then came 1980 where very conservative Republican started his presidency by firing all members of a national union and it continued to get worse from there. Employee loyalty evaporated over that decade due to a basic change in corporate mentality and that change continues to today. Is it possible to get back any level of the trust lost during those decades? Probably not….. and that is  truly sad…..

Introverts or Extroverts…

December 4, 2014

BossesIn the US, it’s always seemed like the answer was “extrovert.” 

Being social is lauded and most people seem skeptical of all that skulking about that introverts do. There’s no doubt research has shown a number of advantages to being a people person….

What about more social areas of expertise, like leadership? It definitely gets more complex. Extroverts are better leaders of passive employees, introverts shine with proactive workers:

…although extroverted leadership enhances group performance when employees are passive, this effect reverses when employees are proactive, because extroverted leaders are less receptive to proactivity.

SOURCE:  Introverts or Extroverts: Here’s Which One Has It Better | TIME.

The extrovert vs introvert thing has frequently been a topic of conversation in our society. As the beginning of the quote above says the answer to which is better in the U.S. has always been extrovert but is it really. Being a basic introvert and NOT a type “A” male I have a different view of things.

For the sake of this post lets concentrate on the last part of the quote above. That is about introvert/extroverts in leadership positions.

I spent thirty years in the corporate world and was exposed to several bosses in both of these categories. I had bosses who would  look over my shoulder at everything I did to make sure it was done as they wanted it. I was only the “grunt” to do what they couldn’t physically do themselves. I had one boss who would demand elaborate memorandums about the project I was working on. When I submitted the document he proceeded to change every sentence in it! I was tortured by those kind of bosses much more than I care to discuss.

And then there were some bosses who would give me a task and then go away and let me solve it my own way. It is not that they didn’t want me to report on my progress but they didn’t get involved in the details. I don’t know about you but for me it was a pleasure to work for this group of bosses. Because it was a pleasure I took extra pains to make sure everything was right the first time. With the old bosses I would intentionally leave somethings undone so they would have something to complain about.

When I became a boss I had a very loyal group of enthusiastic workers who I let use “their” creativity to solve the problems at hand. We were a happy group who actually had fun doing our jobs. My job was to support them in any way that I could. Their job was to creatively solve the problems at hand. I was an introvert who was not into taking credit for others work. I gave credit where it was due.

One of the problems today is that there are too many bosses who demand loyalty instead of earning it and when you do give them any sense of loyalty they will take your work as a means for advancing their own careers. Let’s face it due to the prevalence of extrovert type A bosses in the U.S. going to work is a drudgery for too many of us. It is the primary reason too many workers are passive….

 

Beam Me Up Scottie….

December 3, 2014

2014-11-26_09-08-20Ferguson has been dominating the news lately. Especially after the grand jury decisions. This post is not going to be about that except to say that needlessly taking another life is as tragic as all those lives lost previous to that young man. I thoroughly support a police officers right to defend himself and that is what the grand jury decided.  The way to defend himself is the matter of this post.

The point is that there should be a logical alternative to using lethal force against someone who you feel threatened by. That is especially true for our police officers who keep us safe. Reaching for a lethal weapon should be the last alternative, not the first one.

It seems that since the first episode of Star Trek was shown more than forty years ago we have come pretty far toward actually implementing many of the technological advances dreamed up in the series.  No, we haven’t got a teleporter yet, that’s the one I am waiting for, but we have accomplished much in other technological advances. One thing that is totally doable today but is being held back by an obsession is the phaser. You know the one that Kirk almost always said to set on stun.

Since we seem to have appointed ourselves as the policemen of the world we should be inventing new technology toward doing that job right. Why do we need to kill someone who may be threatening physical abuse on us? Whey is it necessary to take a life in order to preserve our own? I kind of think the total reason for it comes from our obsession with guns. If we found killing another person was as tragic as surely God does we would leave our weapons on stun and only use the kill setting for imminent death situations.

No police officer, or anyone else for that matter should have to decide within a split second to take another life when there are logical alternatives available. If we were able to disable someone attacking us without extinguishing another living soul I”m sure most of us would take that option. A taser is a good starting point but is just not that accurate and must be used close up. How about a laser guided wireless taser? We can laser guide our bombs so why not a temporary disabling beam?  I know the NRA would fight it as taking away our constitutional right to a “real” gun but isn’t it about time we told them where to stuff all their opinions. We have needlessly killed enough young men, especially it seems those of color….

Beam me up Scottie, or at least put our weapons on stun…..

 

About Me & FaceBook….

December 2, 2014

2014-11-15_08-17-42After yesterday’s post about people resisting change and not adopting the latest technology I thought I would take the opposite route today. Today I am going to talk about Facebook by giving you a view of my personal habits there. How is that for yin/yang??

Unlike so many, I have not made it a life’s goal to grow my “friends” list to any gargantuan level.  Some I follow there have hundreds of “friends”, some even have thousands! I think mine is currently almost fifty and several of those are institutions not people. I know that is pathetic by most standards for that site.  Who has only fifty friends and some of them not even people??

Another thing about Facebook that I simply don’t get are all the games you can play. I admit up front that I am just not a game player and have never tried them or even know how to access them but I do get it seems daily someone wanting me to play this game or that with them. I do dabble occasionally with some free Euchre and Pinochle apps when I am thoroughly bored and am too lazy to do anything else.  It passes the time…

I do get onto Facebook at least a couple of times a day. I visit the Will Rogers page frequently there and a couple of others just to see what is going on. A local town council member is very active on Facebook so I count on him to keep me up on what is happening in our small town politics (thanks Anton).  A few family members and past friends also get a glance once in a while.

Facebook is a valuable medium as long as you don’t get obsessed with it. It seems most people complain about how busy and hectic their lives are but millions  spend way too much time in social media sites. You can’t seem to walk into any place where people congregate without seeing as least a few kids, and some not so kids, Facebooking. Yeah, I understand it is a verb now.  Maybe if they put down their cell phone once in a while life would seem considerably slower for them. Maybe their hectic lives wouldn’t seem so hectic. That is the opinion of this old but tech savvy senior citizen.  Since I stream my two most active blog sites to Facebook I guess I better check my Facebook page now to see the reactions to this post, I don’t want to lose any friends over my reckless words here …. :)

2014-11-15_07-37-53“Quite frankly, a lot of it has to do with the strength of the Apple brand and how much merchants and customers love how easy the experience is. I’m not saying it’s changing the landscape overnight. But this has never happened with other mobile wallets.”-Denée Carrington, analyst, Forrester Research

SOURCE: Apple Pay catches the attention of retail customers.

I have been personally reminded lately of just how adamantly some people resist change while others embrace it.  Some don’t accept even the simplest changes in their lives without serious complaints. The smallest changes can set them off.  And then there are others who are bored when nothing changes on a regular basis. They welcome change; they even embrace it.

Apple Pay will be one of those issues. It is a much simpler and more secure way of paying but it does require a change in how we do it. For that reason there will be some who rant against it. Apple Pay is just getting started down a long road of implementation. Only iPhone6 currently has the capability of using it so its coverage is somewhat limited right now. But as more and more people upgrade and more discover the ease of use of iPhones this payment method will move swiftly into the main stream.

I upgraded my iPhone last week. I had been using an iPhone 4 for three years now and was ready for the change. The new phone has some nice new features and some added capabilities for those of us who are deaf and the bigger screen is certainly welcomed for these old tired eyes. :)  One of the first things I did was to set up an Apple Pay account. Although I have not yet used it, it is ready to go.  I live in a small town with about the only retailer of any size being Walmart and since they are one of the ones who are currently resisting the change it might be a while before I use it on a daily basis.

The system Walmart and some others are promoting is better for the companies but not so much the customers so I kind of think  it will go the way of Betamax. For those of you who don’t know about Betamax look it up on Wiki. :)

Getting back to the title of this post, change is a serious topic for some of us. New technology by its very nature mandates constant change. Some, including me, consider that a good thing. There will always be that group of people who will continue to use their old flip phones if they even have a cell phone. Change is just so hard for them. That may also explain why some of us continue to support one political party who has abandoned anything helpful to us who are outside the 1% long ago. They hate change so they will stick with something even if it is more harmful than helpful. Change is hard stuff…

If Grace Is True…..

November 30, 2014

2014-11-30_07-48-26I didn’t consider this for many years. I actually thought my experiences rare. I was one of the chosen. I was special. Now I know the truth. God whispers his love in every ear. He isn’t interested in declaring his love to a select few. He doesn’t limit his presence to Vatican City, to the halls of seminaries, to the offices of preachers, or to church altars. God doesn’t restrict his communication to the Bible. He doesn’t confine his presence to any single denomination or religion. God speaks to all people, even when they’re not inclined to listen.

Gulley, Philip; Mulholland, James “If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person”. HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

These and many other words like them from Philip Gulley speak to my heart. I too have come to stubbornly recognized their truth.  God speaks to all people and no one group is his “favorite”. Like Mr. Gulley I was brought up to believe that all those other religions and even those versions of Christianity different from mine were all going to hell as we were the only ones who got it right. We were the chosen few that God selected to be with him for an eternity. All those others would leave this earth to an eternity of suffering and anguish.

It was kind of nice to think that at least we had it made and that our eternity was assured. But what about my good friend down the street who went to a different church than me? What about another friend who didn’t go to church at all! Would they suffer like nothing I could imagine? Why is God lacking mercy for them? These types of questions tormented me even as a youth.

Later in life I belonged to a Christian denomination that believed in a 100% literal Bible. To them God had absolutely nothing more to say about his relation to us. It was all in the Bible and nothing else could be added.  They seemed to be stifling God by saying that he does not speak to us today. That reminds me of the question a young child said in a recent post here. “Why does Jesus want us to talk to him when he says nothing in return?  The biblical inerrancy part troubled me even more. I read words in that document that seemed to say the opposite of what I was told was the absolute truth. When I started publicly voicing my questions I was figuratively shown the door. The clerical leader did not want me to poison his congregation with my heresy.

I have matured greatly as a believer in God since those years. I  see a God who loves us all and wants all of us to be with him. I finally see that no one has a lock on God and what he is…… We all have in wrong in one degree or another. No one can really know the unfathonable heart of God.  We are human, how can it be otherwise?

Louisville Slugger

November 29, 2014

2010 10178_edited-1

I am no way a sports fan but it is hard to ignore the size of the baseball bat in downtown Louisville KY.  We spent a pleasant weekend in that city in the Spring of 2010.

Shame On Us…….

November 28, 2014

2014-11-27_09-00-20“Now someone else has to choose between working and spending time with their family,” Fisher said. Kmart has said that it asks for volunteers to work on the holiday, but other workers, like Kekoa Wailehua from Hawaii, said that they have been explicitly told they cannot request off on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. The petition has almost 10,000 supporters.

SOURCE:  Why the poor can’t catch a break on Thanksgiving – The Week.

Shame on us vapid consumers for allowing this to happen. Why do we insist on others having to be away from their families on perhaps the most family oriented holiday of the year? Why is it so important to get that latest gadget at a slightly lower price maybe 12 hours earlier if it mean others have to give up that special day in order to serve you? Shame on us for allowing this to happen.

What if the corporations that forced their employees to come in on Thanksgiving found that no one came to their store? This condition is kind of like the drug epidemic that grips our nation. If the consumers would just stay away the problem would disappear. I hope at least the retailers are paying overtime pay for that day, but given the times that is unlikely. Shame on us for allowing this to happen.

I know I am just an old coot but I still remember when the vast majority of businesses were closed on Sunday. Sunday was meant for a day to be with your family and for some to attend church. Over the years one business after another gave up that day to make a few more bucks.  Shame on us for allowing this to happen.

Maybe it is just time to chuck the idea of family time together. Lord knows there is little time left for many of us, especially those forced to work two minimum wage jobs, during any given week. Shame on us for allowing this to happen.

Capitalism is a great engine to prosperity as long as it is taken in reasonable doses. When we allow it to take over our lives, especially our family lives, it needs to be reigned in. Why are those on the lower end of the economic scale forced to be away from their families on the one rare day that is meant for family?  Shame on us for allowing this to happen…..

 

Happy Thanksgiving….

November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

I want to give you the Thanksgiving Prayer that I think sums it all up.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Samuel F. Pugh


“O God, when I have food, 
help me to remember the hungry; 
When I have work, 
help me to remember the jobless; 
When I have a home, 
help me to remember those who have no home at all; 
When I am without pain, 
help me to remember those who suffer, 
And remembering, 
help me to destroy my complacency; 
bestir my compassion, 
and be concerned enough to help; 
By word and deed, 
those who cry out for what we take for granted. 
Amen.”

I would like to believe that we are all accountable for our actions. We should all learn that actions have consequences. It is something every father should teach every son and every mother teach every daughter. But there are also things in life that tell us otherwise.

Some of us Christians have the idea that since we are just miserable sinners God does not hold us accountable for their actions. We therefore believe that God doesn’t really mind whether we do what he says because he knows we are so weak and pitiful and therefore expects nothing from us, including accountability.

Some of us say our actions are a result of their genes. Our ancestors were less than honorable so we are too. 

Some of us say we are the way we are because our parents mistreated us or did not teach us how to live a fruitful and accountable life.  They gave us bad examples of how to be.

To ALL those ideas I say poppycock!!

God did not put us on this earth to be “poor miserable people”. She put us here to love Her and to love each other and that certainly includes being accountable for our actions. I have come to believe that the primary purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to teach us how to live our lives in a Godly manner. Yes, I admit that we don’t do a very good job of that and haven’t since our creation but that is not because God wants it that way. Jesus Christ came to earth to clearly tell us that and to show us a better way. It is sad to me to see so many Christians who discount that fact in favor of saying we are not accountable for our actions or maybe more appropriately inaction.

Sure we all have different life experiences that affect our current situations. For me it was an extreme narcissist mother who thought primarily of herself. Little including her own children mattered as much to her as her own personal circumstances. Even though my exposure to her was somewhat  limited due to her abandoning me at the age of nine, it had a definite affect on me and that was to go to the other end of the spectrum with my self image. So our parents might have not given us much to go on things about life but it is nothing that can’t be overcome within ourselves.

We are all accountable for our actions, or at least we should be…..