January 26, 2015

Just Getting Something Off My Chest

Just Getting Something Off My Chest
Something has really been bothering me since Saturday and I want to get it off my chest. I'm not going to go into as detailed on the specifics as I'd like to, but enough to be able to express myself.

First off, I know I don't have many friends. A few good acquaintances here and there and I'm definitely closer to some more than others, but generally not true friends. I've probably spent far too much of my life pushing people away or just trying to protect myself. Maybe I wasn't meant to have close friends.....I don't mean that in a self-pitying fashion, just that this usually isn't an issue for me....it isn't a hole I've been trying to fill.

Regardless, I am keenly aware that I don't easily form close relationships and maybe because of this I value my friendships maybe more than I should.

Years ago I did manage to become friends with someone I would never have expected to. In some ways I really felt this friends was a kindred spirit and I ended up visiting him more than I did my own flesh & blood family. We had our own inside jokes, shared a lot of ourselves, and basically were (what I thought of as) close friends despite living more than 1/2 way across the country from each other.

When he had a family tragedy I did whatever I could to be there for him, which was difficult financially for me and stung my family a bit because my parents had a similar event not three weeks prior. Didn't matter, it was the right thing to do.

I don't know when things started to go South, but eventually my friend started lying about me and to me. I told him several times how badly this made me feel, which I'm not sure he ever understood. Eventually I had to make a conscious decision to forgive him, and anyone who knows me knows I'm not the forgiving type. I honestly think I did forgive, which was probably a first for me, but I know I hadn't forgotten. Instead I just stopped doing what I was doing before and removed myself from the activities that were at the crux of everything.....problem solved, right?

We didn't even make it a year before there was more lying. My friend made a big show of force that he was being supportive while all the time he was doing the exact opposite of what he'd told me. While I didn't really care about the underlying "thing" I did care that I was being lied to. That hurt more than some dumb shit I'd never have known otherwise if he hadn't brought it up to me in that lie. Of course I confronted my friend and ended up hurting his feelings. It ends up he'd been drinking and what he heard me say wasn't what I'd said, but that didn't matter. I apologized for hurting his feelings, but didn't invalidate my own.

My buddy then shut me out and ended up trying to twist things so that I was the "bad guy" in everything. He wouldn't even consider the possibility that he might have done something wrong or offensive to me. It was all my fault and he formally ended the friendship.

That was over two years ago and I've run into him since then and tried to be civil, but the extent that I've been snubbed/ignored is quite painful to experience first-hand. I think about all this far more often than I should. I don't know if this is because of a defect of character on my part or some deep-seated desire to re-kindle what was obviously not a healthy relationship.

Trying to bring this whole thing full-circle.....Saturday I came across some of my old friend's writing that...well, just plain hurt. He was writing about a fictional character, explaining why some other characters haven't gotten rid of him:
"We all have friends with a certain degree of jerk-factor. At least I do. ;).......or simply because he's a friend and you don't quit friends."

Well, the characters in your fictional world might not quit friends, but you certainly do.

January 25, 2015

Michael Moore & American Sniper

Used without permission from http://mackaycartoons.net
Image courtesy of http://mackaycartoons.net
Carolyn took me to go see American Sniper yesterday and as much as I would like to talk about it, I cannot.

Great film, for the most part felt "right" to me, based on my experiences.  Now I'm no sniper and I'm definitely no SEAL, but I have served and have had to point a loaded gun at another human being knowing full well I might have to take that other person's life.

It isn't something to relish or brag about, just something that had to be done and I was the one who had to do it.

American Sniper hit me far harder than I had expected, which is why I won't divulge anymore about the film. I think people should experience it in their own way, unless that way is to chatter during, or even after, the film. Those people can go fuck themselves. Nothing like being pulled out of the moment by a couple of jackasses.

Speaking of jackasses that can go fuck themselves. A couple of "celebrities" have tried to get their name spoken by normal people by saying truly fucked up things. No doubt you've heard of Michael Moore's calling snipers, in general, "cowards". I'm sure that he simply wasn't man enough to say he thought Chris Kyle was a coward directly.

First of all, and this is 110% MY OPINION, Michael Moore is dead wrong. For anyone with any amount of education and compassion for their fellow man, absent a mental defect, taking another person's life is extremely difficult. Normally the enemy needs to be demonized and the soldier conditioned to be able to pull the trigger. We shoot at vaguely man-sized & shaped targets for a reason....at a distance, like common engagements, there isn't as much of a difference.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure the physical act of taking another's life can be easy. Trigger pull on any firearm isn't a difficult obstacle to overcome. The adrenaline in the heat of the moment is a boon for this act. The real difficulty, and one I thank God I haven't had to deal with personally, is what happens afterwards. That is when the true measure of courage occurs.

I think American Sniper showed this aspect well.

There are two things that deeply disturb me about Michael Moore's "cowardly" tweet and both are huge "WTFO" moments for me. First off, if anyone would know what a cowards is I would expect it to be Michael Moore. Here is a man who obviously thinks that no-one should have a gun, but employees armed bodyguards. I'll just leave it at that.

Secondly, we know that Michael Moore is so far in left field his middle name should simply be "7". I wouldn't expect such a level of "racism", for the lack of a better word, from that end of the spectrum. Racist? Yes...well, something-ist. The whole basis for Michael Moore's cowardly statement is information handed down to him by his father concerning an uncle that was killed a decade before he was born. Now I don't know what theater of operations this occurred in, but let's look at his original statement:

My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren't heroes. And invaders r worse

wow....so his uncle was killed by a sniper on American soil? Wasn't his uncle an invader? Ok, done with that aside...let's make a substitution:

My uncle killed by german in WW2. We were taught germans were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Germans aren't heroes. And invaders r worse

that sounds racist to me.....not enough?

My uncle killed by nip in WW2. We were taught nips were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Nips aren't heroes. And invaders r worse

Now THAT sounds racist as fuck. Yes, the emphasis was mine and I didn't like doing that, but I think it was important to make a point, largely with being that Michael Moore is a bigot of some type. Honestly, I'm not even sure he saw the film. Has he not ever heard of a ROE, or does he honestly think that our military, specifically our snipers, shoot people indiscriminately as a matter of course?

Does he not realize that his uncle, in a very real sense, represent the exact people he's calling a coward? 

January 13, 2015

Just Some More HR/Job Rant...Nothing to See Here

Just Some More HR/Job Rant...Nothing to See Here
This week I got a bot of good news and a bit of bad news.

1st the bad....I found out that my application wasn't even reviewed for a position I should be qualified for because the "test" I took as part of my application indicated I wasn't experienced enough. Sounds fair, right? Well the problem was that the test itself was so biased that the only people who would be "experienced enough" are those that already have the job!

Say you need someone to work your HRIS (Human Resources Information System). Now any company of a decent size will end up having their own customized HRIS. When looking for an employee you should be searching for someone with HR experience and database experience. Limiting your search to those with HR experience and knowledge of your specific HR database by name only limits the pool of qualified applicants. Tightening the reins even more to say you need someone with experience with your particular configuration of the HRIS limits the application pool to current employees.

In previous work I used what was essentially an HRIS. Of course we ended up calling it by the database name. When visiting another company using the same database you'd never know it because the database was customized in a completely different fashion. I was like comparing a Windows program to the Mac equivalent. Parts of it kind of looked the same, but functioned differently and some functions in one weren't available in the other. Heck one company I worked for used the same database application for two completely different functions and 99% of the employees had no clue they were the same database.

Now I'm writing about HRIS & databases, but you can easily substitute a number of different systems, programs, paperwork, etc.

It seems a lot of employers just don't "get" that they are limiting their options to their own detriment. Instead of looking for folks with.....I don't know.....compliance experience, looking for those that have "experience processing Form 354H requests" (with Form 354 being the general government form and the Form 354H being the variant used by your office) is overkill.


As to the good news, I found out that the Society for Human Resource Management finally pulled their head out and completely revamped their certification system to something actually appropriate and applicable to those working in the field (I know that these are judgments on my part). Instead of having to have 2 years of Exempt-Level Experience with a Bachelor's Degree to even sit for the exam.....the exam that employers want for "entry level" experience.

Heck, you can actually work in HR and earn this certification without a degree! Since I run into so many folks that don't have the education and just "fell in" to an HR position, whereas my degree and experience isn't getting me squat......well it's nice that this option is there. I also like that if you don't have a degree you at least need some HR education....or at least working on it.

The first testing cycle for this new/revamped certification is this summer, so I have to save up and pony up the cash for the exam fee.

Edit: I do see a potential issue that means I'll have to test maybe in the winter cycle....damn.

December 24, 2014

Happy Chrismahanukwanzika!

December 13, 2014

Too much Arm-Chair QBing Going on Lately

Too much Arm-Chair QBing Going on Lately
Now I generally try to avoid some current hot-button issues because, well face it, people are assholes that cannot distinguish fact from fiction and cannot tolerate views dissimilar from their own for any reason. Everything is binary and unless you back them 110% you are wrong.

Now I assume that any given news story has some bias and I'm probably not given the appropriate facts. Usually when I'm being binary is comes down to actual facts because I over-simplify and equate facts to the truth. Please don't get me started on conditional truths or things people assume as facts because it is true for them. I'll just over-simplify and lump people believing what they want as part of their own personal bias.