August 23, 2011
February 17, 2011
November 27, 2010
August 28, 2010
August 27, 2010
May 25, 2010
… and then they threw away the key. A couple of months ago I expressed my disappointment about Barack Obama’s announcement that he wants to approve more off-shore drilling in the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and before Alaska. Other people didn’t agree with me, because at that point the creation of jobs and stimulation of the economy seemed more important than environmental concerns, but I think this whole issue needs to be reevaluated.
Five weeks ago a platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, and since then we’ve been flooded with pictures of an environmental catastrophe, that is absolutely unprecedented. You think that Chernobyl was bad? Think again. By now the oil has replaced between a fifth and a quarter of the water in the Gulf, and there is no telling when, if ever, BP will be able to plug the hole. Indeed, one has to question the sincerity of BP’s efforts, since its own director mentioned that the “environmental impact will be very, very modest”, and reports have surfaced, according to which containers upon containers of oil dispersants are sitting in Louisiana, waiting in vain to be used.
The reason why Europe’s winters are so mild, compared to North America, is the Gulf Stream, a conveyor belt that brings warm water to the shores of Scandinavia, keeping its harbors ice-free and usually saving us from the -40◦C that are so common in Canada and northern US. Guess where the “Gulf Stream” got its name from?
I’m not an expert, I don’t know whether oil moves the same way as water does, but it doesn’t take nuclear science to see that the spilled oil can not be contained in the Gulf; eventually it will seep into the Atlantic. Already the breeding grounds for tunas and other commercially important species are either threatened or destroyed, once the oil starts spreading in the Atlantic, the word “disaster” will get a whole new meaning. Like salmon? Choose Pacific, because Atlantic fish farms will eventually be destroyed. Just because it’s a farm doesn’t mean that the fish don’t live in the sea. Similarly, lobster season may soon be a word from the past.
Just a few days before disaster struck, I read an article about protests against a big wind farm project off the coast of Cape Cod. Now I ask you, what’s the worst that can happen if the wind blows over a turbine?
I haven’t traveled much in the US, only to NY and Florida, and from there a short trip to the Bahamas. I thoroughly enjoyed the white sandy beaches in Florida and Bahamas, but I sincerely fear that they will soon become a thing from the distant memory. Just like tuna sandwich.
wind farm protests:
May 23, 2010
As the job market began to accelerate and add jobs to the economy my phone began to ring for job interviews, not all of the jobs were plumb jobs, the kind you write home about, but entry level jobs that are at least a way into a company and a step onto the corporate ladder for the climb up it. I may have taken one of them had I been offered one, just to keep a roof over my head, food on the table, and keep my car from getting repossessed , although it is questionable that some of those jobs would have accomplished that, until I could find a better job.
When it comes to many of the entry level jobs I interviewed for it left me beyond shocked at what Corporate America considers a living wage for its entry level workers and/or unskilled labor, some of it borders on modern day slavery, or at least as exploitive as those written about by Charles Dickens during the Industrial Revolution. But, it is not just the wage that is offered for some of the jobs; it is also the level of background checking that I found appalling for sustenance jobs that offer few skills to help the low level employee better themselves for the corporate ladder climb or in the marketplace in general. Answering phones and making phone calls for a business is vastly different than a high level security job, like an FBI agent, yet they are being treated equally in Corporate America with the amount of background checking. Thankfully I did not have to take a job that paid $7.25 to $12.00 an hour with anal checking background check, but it has opened my eyes to the plight of the unskilled worker and the gross exploitation by Corporate America of them, even within the United States. My experience with Corporate America in my job search has left me with the knowledge that it has an entitlement issue that is as a repugnant as those seen during the Industrial Revolution and the Plantation Economy of the pre-Civil War south, even with a wage it appears Corporate America believes they have the right to ownership of its employees.
Just as I had begun to believe I was never going to find a job and accept that my fate was going to have me crawling back to my parents begging to live with them, which is what I would have had to do given my parents really did not want to take me back in or really believed that the job market has been that austere, fate lead me to where I needed to go.
I do not remember sending this business my resume, but when I spent at least four to five hours a day searching for a job it is no wonder I do not remember where I send all of them off to, even with a job hunt folder. But one day a week and half ago, as I was doing my routine job hunting, the phone rang. I did not answer and let the machine get the call; no message was left, but I did get an e-mail from the same phone number. It was for a job interview with a software firm that I accepted for the Wednesday of the following week. That Wednesday came and I went in and interviewed for a job that I really had no idea exactly what it would be for other than a sales support analyst, which from reading other online job descriptions of the same job could mean just about anything, since none of them are the same, some are nothing more than an administrative assistant in a sales department, with others requiring wide ranging complex duties. I went in with the attitude that I am going to present myself with what I have and what I can offer the business and if it is meant to be, then I will get the job, if not, then keep looking.
As it turned out the business I was interviewing with is a small business owned by three men, one American and two Brits, who have a niche product for universities and need someone who has a wide range skills and talent that matched my skill set and interests perfectly. My jack of all trades approach to doing business with my interest and experience in teaching software use online and ongoing education of the product is exactly what they needed as they look to grow the business and add online training and education on to their business in order to remain competitive. Of course, there will be other duties, I will be an administrative assistant, a marketing assistant, sales, and data entry when necessary, but the position will allow me to use all of my skills, develop others, and be on the ground floor for creating departments that may include job creation, which will make me more valuable in the marketplace in the future, or I may stay on. My brother took a job as a mechanical engineer with a small business during Reagan’s recession and it grew from a tiny business, like the one I am in now, to employing 300 people. Alas, his job did not pay him that much when he came on, like what I am being offered now, but is more than what Corporate America is offering many. He says his salary did rise as he stayed on and the business grew. He expects the same for me. Alas, the job and owners seem to be a good fit. I start tomorrow after not working for fifteen and a half months.
May 15, 2010
May 9, 2010
It appears that the recovery is starting to really take hold. In April, employers added 290,000 employees to their payrolls and since the start of the year there have been a total of 573,000 jobs added to the economy.
“It clearly shows that this economic recovery can no longer be a jobless one,” said Bart van Ark, chief economist of The Conference Board, a leading research firm. “Companies apparently are finding they can’t squeeze out any more output without adding workers.”
The rise in the unemployment rate is actually a sign of improving perception of labor market conditions. The increase was due to an uptick in job seekers who had previously been discourage and dropped out of the job market. There was a jump of 805,000 workers returning to the labor force in April alone.
Surely this is all good news. It appears that the job market recovery is in its acceleration phase and if my phone ringing for job interviews over the last two weeks is an indicator, I am going to have agree. But I am going to have to point out that we still have a long way to go to a full recovery. In two years the US economy has shed 8.4 million jobs, not as bad as the number lost under Ronald Reagan, but it is still a significant number of people. It is going to take years to put everyone back to work and get the unemployment rate to full employment. It took Ronald Reagan six years to accomplish that, and if you want to be picky, the nation really was not at full recovery until Bush, Sr. was in office. I have this to say about President Obama, he will get re-elected in 2012 if he gets the unemployment rate down by putting the nation back to work. But, trends like this are going to have to continue for the rest of this year and over the next two years. A lot of people need jobs.
On a personal level I think the job market is picking up, my phone has been ringing for interviews and I am getting requests for them via my e-mail as well. The problem that I am encountering is that the competition to get a job is fierce. On two occasions I turned up at job interviews where there were a dozen people vying for a job. On one other occasion there were eight people there interviewing for one position. Finally, I went to a job interview that was an open house, by invitation only style, where forty people were there. One of the people flew in, courtesy of his son who works for Delta, from Seattle to interview with that business. People need jobs right now and they are willing to go to any length to get one. This upcoming week I do have a job interview scheduled for Tuesday with two strong follow ups. Personally I think I will be able to find a job as the job market continues its climb out of the abyss, but I am still very, very worried regardless. I am up against a lot of people and my unemployment benefits will run out at the end of June without another extension. I think Congress will give extensions again this year only because the unemployment rate is so very high. For myself if that does happen I will get the final tier of federal unemployment benefits of an additional six weeks, then I will have to apply for the final 20 weeks with the state. That will take me through the remainder of the year and with a job market finally adding jobs I think I will be able to find a job, but I think it may take the rest of the year to do it. I am more optimistic about the job market, but I am not optimistic enough to think I will find something by the end of June.