Monday, April 25, 2011

Being a bachelor definitely helped me prepare for fatherhood

Last Wednesday, my wife went on a trip to the capital city for a rally.

6:04 am - my wife shakes me awake

6:06 - after blinking the last remnants of sleep away, I get up and go to the bathroom.

6:19 - after making my rounds of e-mail, text messages, IMs, & games on my iPhone and getting dressed, I go downstairs and I see that my wife is already gone. I sit with the girls while they watch Disney/Nick.

7:05 - I ask the girls what they want for breakfast. They both said cereal.

7:07 - after washing two bowls and filling them with their cereal, I realize that there's not enough milk to do one bowl. My wife forgot to tell me that we needed milk. I use soymilk on their cereals instead (they like soymilk anyway).

7:07 - they are served and I contemplate washing a bowl so I could have a cereal too. I decide to wait and use one of their bowl. Just didn't feel like washing another. ;)

7:21 - the older daughter is done and the younger chimes in with "I done!" so I ask the older if she wants the remains of her sister's cereal. She nods with wide eyes. I take her bowl and return to the kitchen.

7:22 - after rinsing off the bowl, I fill it with my cereal. I pour in my milk...and it wasn't even close to being adequate. I remember seeing a small carton of chocolate milk in the fridge. Why not? I pour that into the center and the pre-existing milk doesn't turn color at the visible edge.

7:23 - I always start at the edge of my cereal and work my way in...the constant digging into my cereal has made the milk look more brownish-dusty. No real flavor of chocolate yet.

7:24 - I finally reach the chocolate-y part of the cereal and it's quite interesting to experience. Not bad at all. Just more..."fun" eat.

7:45 - I brush my teeth and shepherd the girls off to their schools.

8:56 - I'm still tasting the chocolate milk...the cereal taste is long forgotten. Made me smile.

See? Now that I am a family man, drawing on my bachelor days helped me cope with the shortages creatively. ;)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

If you thought job hunting was hard, try being a deaf person! (pt 2)

The 3rd manager? She was HJIC's secretary before she got the job. That surprised everyone because she had never been anything more than a secretary in any job anywhere. Everyone *knew* how she got the job. I stayed quiet because she had been nice to me when she was the secretary and I had helped her with some stuff in the past. None of that mattered because she got very mean to me and did everything she could to get me to quit.

Once I had to go to the bathroom badly (and I do mean BADLY) and when I finally came out, the Bitch (HJIC's former secretary) caught me on my way to the desk and she claimed that I was gone for 30 minutes. "Impossible," I said, "since I lose the feeling in my legs after 20 minutes." The Bitch then let me go and called a supervisor (not mine) over and while standing just 6 feet away from my desk, in the center of the department...they started discussing openly for anyone to hear...about my bathroom habits. I found out about that later and I was told they were overheard in saying, "How can he sit in that office chair for hours on end and not lose any feeling in his legs?" among other things. EXCUSE ME?!?

I was so mad and embarrassed by that. I was given an opportunity to retaliate when I had to write my argument for why I deserved a raise during my annual job review. I had done the job consistently with high remarks year in, year out. So, I wrote up a nasty review on the Bitch and I basically outed her as being HJIC's companion during business trips that had nothing to do with her job duties.

I was called into HR and I met with two ladies - one of them was the same woman who was impressed with me at the job interview. They asked me subtly why I wrote the letter and I said, "You know why she got the job." They giggled at that and I instantly knew why they laughed. Everyone's suspicion about how the Bitch got her job was correct. They thanked me for my time and I thought that was that.

The firestorm that resulted from the review (in which I got "bad reviews" and received a tiny raise of 1.5% instead of the usual 3%) motivated me to look into taking jobs within the government center so I could get away from that. The same woman, who was impressed with me at the job interview and working in HR at the time (and still was), let me know about a job opening. She knew I had all the qualifications and I immediately applied. Few days later, HJIC called me into the office and basically patted me on the head about the job and shoved me out the door. What did he say? Something along the lines of "This job is not for you, but thank you for your interest. You may go now." I was boiling mad after that.

When HJIC ordered a security door installed which became a major inconvenience for everyone because we all had to use our ID to get in each and every time, I observed something about HJIC and the security door. He had grown weary of that and started using the "back door" tactic by going through a conference room instead of dealing with the security door. I retaliated against HJIC by locking the door opening into the hall from the conference room, effectively locking him out and forcing him to go through the security door because HJIC's new secretary had hearing issues and couldn't hear him knocking on the door. If he forgot his ID, he would have to ask someone to let him in. Soon, he was checking the door to make sure it wasn't locked before leaving...I'd wait a while and...lock the door. He never caught on as to who was locking him out, let alone catch me in the act. ;)

The screaming supervisor finally retired 1.5 years after the 1st manager had retired. The Bitch had since moved on to an easier job where she didn't have to deal with HJIC as much (and me since I was starting to catch onto how the management style worked and started using them against her effectively), she didn't have to work as hard at her new job. The 4th manager, for whom I had warm regards for because she was my supervisor during my first month there before I was promoted, was a horse of a different color. Literally.

I applied for the supervisor's job since I was the only one who knew how to do the job, inside and out. The Horse refused to interview me and put someone else in the seat who had ZERO experience instead. I was initially bothered by that, but I figured that maybe I didn't meet the qualification of being 4 years on the job. The new supervisor was devoutly Christian and he struggled mightily to reconcile what was going on - being told by the Horse and HJIC to do things that weren't helpful to me career-wise and he tried to buffer that by taking some of the heat himself. How did I know that? He told me. He couldn't handle it anymore after a year and became an appraiser.

I applied again for the seat and the Horse again refused to interview me and picked a guy who had been working for 3.5 years instead. I screamed "discrimination" and threatened go to HR and HJIC cut me off by saying the county government had this obscure rule about the so-called "short list rule" where if there were less than 5 people applying for the same job, the manager had the discretion of bypassing the interview process and picking someone. He even claimed that the guy had been here for 4 years and met the qualification. I e-mailed HR anyway and they confirmed the rule and HJIC went after me for that. I just sat there and pretended to listen while HJIC angrily spoke to me. He finally stopped talking and left.

I tried to reason with the Horse to no avail and I ended up saying, "So you want me to train (the Golden Boy) just like I did with (the Christian)?" The Horse actually said, "You didn't train (the Christian)." "Oh, really? How did (the Christian) learn how to do his job then?" She shrugged at that. I said, "Fine. Good luck with (the Golden Boy)." and walked out of her office without giving her a chance to respond.

I refused to help the Golden Boy learn how to do "his" job and he started to fall further and further behind on his job. He even started coming into work and start working 30 minutes before his shift would start and staying 30 minutes after his shift ended just to try to keep up. The Horse KNEW why he was failing miserably and she was being stubborn about it. The Golden Boy finally quit after 11 months. I applied again and guess what? No interview. Picked a woman who had zero experience and had been with the county just 4 years. 4 years and 2 months to be exact.

A co-worker approached me at my desk with my new supervisor right beside her and asked me if I would help my new supervisor because the Horse didn't know how to help. I said, "You already know that I can't help." The new supervisor nodded and went to her desk...and did something unexpected. She e-mailed me and told me she learned from the same co-worker about everything and all the crap I had endured. All this in a very understanding manner and she ended the e-mail with "I will understand if you still do not want to help me learn. I wouldn't help me either if I had to go through all of that too."

The same co-worker, who told the new supervisor everything, shortly after found herself in a very messy situation and started telling the Horse everything in hopes of extracting herself out of that. The new supervisor pulled me aside and let me know the co-worker was basically selling me (and others) out. I was hurt by that because the co-worker was my "work wife" and we had shared things with each other closely and intimately. I thanked her and I promptly fed the co-worker disinformation. When the Horse realized the pipeline into the drones' mentality had been compromised, she cut the co-worker off and refused to help her out of the messy situation. I refused to do anything for the co-worker as well. That almost destroyed the co-worker.

I ended up being friends with the new supervisor and the co-worker finally mended the fence with everyone at work (except the Horse). Not long after that, I got my dream job. I loved it and I flew so high at my new job that I soared. I had found my paradise.

Monday, April 18, 2011

If you thought job hunting was hard, try being a deaf person! (pt 1)

Editor's note: I apologize! I had planned on finishing the post yesterday but I was asked at last minute to open the center for a meeting and I just forgot. Also...since the post itself is so long, I had to break it into two parts. Sorry!

Other than communication issues (lipreading and/or speech comprehension), I'd like to share with you how easy it is for a smart, well-educated, and deaf man like me to find jobs.

I graduated from an university with Bachelor's degree in communications. The program I majored in is considered to be more advanced than most programs in other universities - you have to do a thesis and pass it in order to graduate. That doesn't happen until you get to Master's.

With a newly minted degree in hand, I went to job fairs for 2 years. Never missed one. Never got a call or a nibble from anyone at the job fairs. Just postcards/letters with the usual "We have your resume on file and we will contact you" bullshit. That practice has now been discontinued with so disgruntled applicants suing companies for whatever reasons. In fact, I haven't seen anything like this in almost 7 years now.

At one of the job fairs, I handed my resume to a woman at a booth for a local newspaper. She looked over it and seemed okay with it until she spoke to me. When she realized that I am deaf, she said "You do know that we use telephones at work? How could you handle that?" I explained to her that people could call a TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) operator and then they could talk to me as if the operator isn't there. She was shocked by that and I walked away with disgust and contempt clearly written on my face for her. I stopped going to job fairs after that.

About 3 years after graduation, someone at an advocacy company leaked to me about a job opening at a local county government center. I ran over to there and my typing skills impressed the woman who was doing the interviews. She was reluctant to hire me because I was so overqualified. I told her that I was willing to start on the bottom and if I have the skills to move up, surely I would be moved up. That did it for her - she hired me on the spot and I started working the following week.

The day after I started, the manager caught me in a hall that wasn't close to where I was and pulled me aside. She said, "What are you doing here?" and I *knew* exactly what she meant by that...she wasn't asking me why I was out there. I explained about doing the job fairs for 2 years without any result and how I had just gotten married (got married in 2000, almost one month before I started working), and I was desperate for anything. She pondered that for a second and said, "Thank you for your honesty." One month later, she put me at a desk that was in charge of records and I never left that desk for 6 years despite all kinds of discrimination I endured.

I can hear you go, "What kind of discrimination did you face?" Truth be told, the manager, who put me in that desk, never discriminated against me and refused to allow any sort of that to happen. She had 100% faith in my ability to do the job despite having to work with a supervisor who was so universally disliked by all that nobody wanted to work with her...let alone be willingly promoted to that desk.

Naturally, the supervisor got very angry with me during the first week at that desk. The manager was genuinely surprised by how calmly I took the supervisor's rants in stride. I didn't mind the supervisor so much. What got worse was when the manager abruptly retired (she refused to tell me why but it became obvious after...) and the HJIC (Head Jerk In Charge) put in a young woman who used the "rah-rah" style of management. That's exactly when everything went to hell.

The supervisor got even worse with me after the 1st manager have told me they heard her scream at me, even when I was just a desk away. She would scream my name as I walked away to get something (per her request or job request). She hated how I would get up and go, even when I didn't stop to talk with others. Once she came down hard on me for a simple error of omission and that burned me. Guess what? She made a similar mistake the same day and I told her so. She promptly reported me to the Cheerleader. (Eye roll)

When my wife and I were expecting our first baby, the Cheerleader came to me and encouraged me to change from the old PTO (Personal Time Off) system to the new one "because it's easier for you to build up your vac time versus splitting up the sick time and the vac time...and you'd have to re-accrue the vac time all over again if you used them up." Sounded like a good idea, so I signed the paper.

After my daughter was born, I discovered that I lost all the sick time and the new PTO system caps the hours at 360 (the old system had no cap on sick time and the new one doesn't allow sick time). I spoke with the Cheerleader about that and she said I agreed to use up all the hours before the maternity leave time kicks in. That wasn't in the agreement I signed. Her response? "Oh, that was covered in the policy book." Bleep. You're probably thinking, "What about the maternity leave that was supposed to be guaranteed by law?" The paper I signed stated that I agreed to that. I hated her after that and she quit after being on the job for 6 months.

(Part two to be continued tomorrow)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lightning rod for controversy

Last week, I posted about how outdated some concepts are in terms of creating a resume. While writing up that post, I had an "Eureka!" moment and decided to create another post about job hunting.

On February 4th, ABC News did a segment that flew under the radar for most of the hearing viewers unassociated with the deaf/hard of hearing community. Why? Two reasons: ABC News has been doing the "What would you do?" segments for a while and the shock value has worn off...and the other? That segment really didn't apply to them.

Please click on this link for ABC New's show, explaining in text what you are about to see.

Then click on the link for behind the scenes on YouTube, showing you how that particular segment is set up before the taping and the airing.

Link for the lightning rod on the segment itself, watch all the way to about 5 minute mark. Better captioning of the same show can be found here

I will post next week about my experiences in job hunts. I noticed that not a single person offered the two young women any job. I also asked at the end of last week's post if anyone would hire me...

Monday, April 4, 2011

10 Resume Rules: Fact or Fiction?

Not long ago, I went to see a Department of Rehabilation Services (DORS) counselor about going back to school and get my Master's, possibly even PhD. She said, "Why?" DORS/VR (Vocational Rehabilitation in most states) help deaf people like me with the schools financially. I graduated several years ago with a Bachelor's degree.

I explained that the economy has tanked and it is the "seller's market" in terms of employment (meaning there are more people looking for jobs than there are empty offices, hence low demand for hiring). I felt that by getting my Master's, I'd look more attractive to potential employers. She asked me to bring my resume in. I asked, "Why?"

She was caught off-guard by that and after regaining her composure, she explained that she wanted to see what kind of job history I have and how attractive I am to employers. I pulled out my flashdrive and told her to print out my resume, again catching her off-guard.

After printing out my resume, she immediately broke 6 of the 10 resume rules.

  1. Your resume should not have to fit into one page

  2. Always use a cover letter

  3. Your resume doesn't need an objective

  4. Gaps in your employment history will not cost you

  5. Any embellishment on your resume, even a tiny one, is not okay

  6. Organize your resume in reverse chronological order

  7. Put educational background at the bottom

  8. Your resume does not need references

  9. Use buzzwords

  10. You do not need to print your resume out on fancy paper

(This was taken from Jeanine Skowronski's article on Yahoo! Finance - go to the link for full explanation)

What rules were broken? The counselor thought I had to fit three pages of my work history into one page, she felt I should put in an objective, she wanted me to throw out gaps of work history, she wanted to change one of my job titles to make it sound "better", she told me I need to put in references (how with 3 pages crammed into one?), and she suggested that I put the resume on fancy paper.

I tried to tell her that the one page resume was a thing of the past and she refused to believe me. Fine. I told her that I cannot change the job title - "What if a prospective employer calls and finds out I embellished a little?" and she was sure that wouldn't be a problem.

I decided that was enough of that and I tried again to discuss the school plan with her, but she kept hemming and hawing on getting involved. I tried to nail her down, but she wouldn't give me a definite answer. That told me she wasn't enthusiastic about helping me financially.

So, here I am...four page-long (just included the director of a center) resume, resume on & (always getting calls from companies that need warm bodies to telemarket - no thanks!), working part-time as a tutor, working without pay as a director for a center, getting ready to start playing softball as player/manager, and doing my parental duties. Anyone want to hire a deaf person? :)

Speaking of which...I'll post next week about something that was on TV last February which became a lightning rod for controversy.