Photos for January Stones and April PAD 2012 property of M J Dills (exception 1/16)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Notes from the Other Washington

I’m in the “Other Washington” and certainly no authority on anything, but I do listen to both sides of the aisle, regardless if I like what I’m hearing.

Following an electronic conversation with a friend who astonished me with his remarks, I’ve had to drag out my soap box, hobble upon it and make a statement or two.

To quote David Leonhardt of the NYTimes, “Liberals don’t like the stimulus because they wish it were bigger. Republicans don’t like it because it’s a Democratic program.”

Therein lie most of the problems of our new administration, where we’re practically witnessing a civil war in our congressional halls; it seems the GOP wants Obama to fail at any cost, as long as their constituents’ taxes don’t go up. And don’t let me get started on the race issue. (Read: The Breakthrough; Politics and Race in the Age of Obama by Gwen Ifill)

The stimulus bill has actually added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs, leading to a targeted total of 2.5 million jobs, and these estimates are considered to be conservative. Scott Brown can get a lot of press by making false statements in sound bites that later turn into LimbaughFacts or BeckTruths. But many independent studies have shown that Brown is maintaining the same lies that he campaigned on.

What has the stimulus bill done for you?
By appropriating money to state and local governments, your teachers, firefighters, police officers on all levels, health care workers, city and county laborers and many others kept their jobs. Without that stimulus money, many of them would have been in desperate straits and/or on the same payroll that nearly ten percent of the working population has found itself: unemployment. The well publicized Greater Prince William Community Health Center is good example.

Unemployment benefits have been extended across the board. I personally know people who are on their second and third extensions. Imagine my frustration. I can collect nothing. I’ve been advised to go to the local Department of Health and Welfare and tell them I am depressed (or crazy, which isn’t much of a stretch) so that I can receive aid. It won’t be long before that will be a fact.

I am weary of hearing negative feedback from people who tell me things will get worse before they get better. Where, exactly (and I mean that) are they getting their information?

Consumer spending has risen. The cause? Some $100 billion that essentially came from stimulus checks, with that exact intention and it IS working. The tax credit for corporate investment has had an enormous impact on the economy at every level. The predicted recession had the potential to become a depression and it did not.

Barack Obama was very wise to keep Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Chairman, above the protests of many senate liberals, as well as conservatives, who easily forgot it was Alan Greenspan who was responsible for the damaging effect of the lowering of the interest rates at a time that Bernanke was a well schooled student, as a member of the Reserve. Only time will tell how much power the Federal Reserve might continue to maintain but at this time they have reins under control that had been frayed, torn and in some cases, altogether invisible.

We can only hope (there’s that concept again) that there will be continued aid, with businesses-to-hire programs and further incentives like cash-for-clunkers.

Obama’s a big guy and he can deflect a lot of blows, but hammering him on the perceived lack of success of the stimulus bill? Find something else to criticize and then, please, back it up with facts.

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Great Job Hunt

Two months. It’s been two months since I’ve blogged. And a half, actually. What kind of a blogger am I? I’ve been job hunting and it’s an all consuming occupation. Every day, I accompany my coffee mug to the monitor and cruise through job listings, send emails, fill out online applications.

It’s humbling. And scary to be broke and over-qualified at the same time. Over-qualified is a term that‘s hackneyed and misunderstood. If I am qualified to do the work, that’s the priority in this dog-eat-dog mission. I understand there are some situations for which I am under-qualified. I do not have a degree; too busy raising children and establishing my own successful businesses. I’ve taken some great classes at community colleges and online courses. I find it interesting that a degree is so important these days. I am so not impressed by degrees in this day and age. I know doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professional people who are really book smart but don’t have the sense to drive sober, seek appropriate help or communicate with family and co-workers. I have taught myself a great deal just in the course of living, surviving and listening.

I’m not asking to do brain surgery nor am I interested; I’m not an engineer of any kind and would therefore not put myself in the stressful situation of impersonating one. Nor can I develop websites, write tech or care to even understand the meaning of JQuery, AJAX, LINQ, MS SQL server, ASP.NET, etc. However, there are many things I am capable of.

My daughter says their loss, every time I get passed over. One interviewer told me “you are a very viable candidate for this job. I’m going to check your references and I will get back to you.” That was a Thursday. As the weekend passed and none of my references received a phone call, I could see the writing on the wall. Which was a good thing, since I had to write to the company on Monday to get a progress report. They emailed me later that afternoon telling me I had been amongst the final three but they had moved forward with another candidate. Too busy to call? My personal fave is the spa interview, where I was vying for the position of office manager/retail clerk. She felt so bad about not hiring me, she sent me a gift certificate for a massage. Nice. That’s classy. God knows I need the massage. My neck and shoulders feel like forged steel.

I listened to President Obama deliver his State of the Union Address. He spoke of “men and women who wake up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from; who send out resumes week after week and hear nothing in response.” That’s me. I am in that dynamic. Then again, I wouldn’t want his job.

I never thought it would be so difficult to find A JOB. I have been working since I was 12 years old, when I was picking beans and raspberries in the Nishimura fields to make money for school clothes. My experience is varied and unique. Everything from owning a day care to a luxury villa. My mom asked me if I was above cleaning houses. Am I? No, of course not.

Domestic for hire. Will scrub toilets. Successful small business ownership; customer service management; marketing; purchasing; staff management and development. Freelance and team writer for various travel and tourism publications and websites. Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint; basic Spanish translation; community presentations, staff management, training and team-building, meeting facilitation, cash management, bookkeeping, vendor negotiations, contract management. Willing to iron and do windows.

Thanks for reading.