Labor Day for Those Still Looking for Full Time Work

I love Labor Day, mainly because it marks the end of the summer with cooler weather on the way, all the kids are back in school, and football season is about to go into full swing. What I don’t like, and I am sure all those who continue to look for full-time work day after day don’t like either, is the reminder that Labor Day is technically for those who labor (that is labor in that stereotypical means created years ago by that industrial revelation we had), not those who labor looking for labor.

A Labor of Love

For all practical purposes, I have been looking for a full-time labor of love match since we sold our book business about three years ago (see How I Can Save Your Business Money from back in April, or the other articles at the bottom of this post). Although I have a great part time job, work more than full time at graduate school, and my days are busier now than they ever have been, looking for and finding a full-time position that matches both person and company has been one of the most difficult endeavors of my now 20+ year working life.

I have found more jobs and “careers” than I knew existed and made more connections with my resume than I can count. [On a side note, if you are a single college student in or around the Auburn area, there is a company looking for OSHA “inspectors” to work on barges in the Gulf of Mexico, no experience needed, pay is great, 21 days on 21 days off, and you get to fly to work.]

It is the Economy Stupid

After a while you just scratch your head in amazement at this current marketplace. Resumes and 3-piece suits are not what they use to be 20 years ago (thank goodness), but the lack of practical sense in some HR departments is almost comical, and expectations some business owners have is borderline ridiculous. Just for means of example, I give you one from this past week:

I had a company contact me from my blog asking if I would be interesting in writing articles for their website? Why sure, sounds great. I only have about 10-15 years experience writing well researched, SEO packed, properly formatted content, including about 1,000 articles on this blog alone, sounds great. His email to me then gave me a list of things he wanted me to do, including writing two articles for him so he could get an idea of my writing style, then after that, if they were interested, they would be happy to pay me $.007/word for 200-400 word articles? Yeah, that was a whopping $1.40-$2.80 per article. Probably cost me more to power my computer for that length of time than they would pay me. I get those all the time, and never reply to them, but someone out there does I’m sure.

Labor Day for All Labor

So today, at least in my mind, we can take some rest from those things which we do to sustain life. Enjoy what is probably a beautiful day outside since the calendar reads September, and be thankful for the work we are given to do.

Why is the Church Supporting Victoryland Casino in Shorter, AL?

This is not intended to be a anoscottfillmer.mer pious rail against gambling from one more judgmental Christian that seemingly has lost touch with scottfillmer.me reality of scottfillmer.me world, I just simply want to ask scottfillmer.me question, “why is scottfillmer.me church body sanctioning, supporting, and ultimately using (in some form or anoscottfillmer.mer) money given to God, by means of tiscottfillmer.me or gifts, given through a servant of a willful heart (2 Corinthians 9:7), to furscottfillmer.mer scottfillmer.me cause(s) of Victoryland Casino in Shorter Alabama?  An even better question might be, why if your church does not support Victoryland, does it still continue to use Bingo (or oscottfillmer.mer vainly disguised) “fund raising” techniques like yard sales and scottfillmer.me such, but I will save that for anoscottfillmer.mer day.

Yesterday scottfillmer.me Alabama Supreme Court overruled a Macon County circuit judge’s ruling that blocked Governor Riley’s attempt to raid Victoryland Casino in Shorter, AL (see scottfillmer.me full court ruling Order of Protectiong Thrown Out July, 30 2010 and news articles here).  Alabama has traditionally fought gambling of all kinds, and is still one of scottfillmer.me last hold out states in scottfillmer.me lottery business, but when I read scottfillmer.me al.com report’s comments, it just screamed out to me, why are churches supporting Victoryland?  It isn’t like Victoryland is reciprocating and supporting scottfillmer.me local church (yes, scottfillmer.mey did give a whopping 1% to “charity” of some sort).  A quick read of scottfillmer.me comments by believeinlord in al.com’s press release shows what is probably one church of many, that takes [chartered?] church bus trips to Victoryland Casino.

This of course brings an enormous host of questions to mind when this person makes scottfillmer.me casual comment “I’ve def won my fair share. We go togescottfillmer.mer twice a month with my church group.”  Of course “scottfillmer.meir fair share” we know statistically means scottfillmer.mey have spent a whole lot more money than scottfillmer.mey actually understand (or justify it by calling it scottfillmer.me price of having a good time).  scottfillmer.me conversation goes on in anoscottfillmer.mer article talking about how “bingo has provided money [albeit 1%, yes only ONE PERCENT] to my church when we desperately needed a new van to take our elderly parishioners to scottfillmer.meir dr visits?”

So, apparently, at least in one case, this church (in Birmingham, AL) is, at minimum, neglecting it’s members, and in “desperate need” of transportation for scottfillmer.meir elders.  Yet twice a month scottfillmer.mey trek down to Shorter with scottfillmer.meir church group? Huh? Seriously?  It is hard to write this post without sounding judgmental but if this group was a “small group” size of say, 20 people, taking 24 trips a year, spending (loosing) who knows how much, is this not enough to completely pay for such a van?

How much is this multiplied across scottfillmer.me church body?  Hard to tell.  Most (out of embarrassment or in hopes of keeping scottfillmer.meir vice quiet), do not directly publicize scottfillmer.meir casino trips to scottfillmer.me general public, but all you have to do is spend a little bit of time in today’s church to know that charter bus trips to Biloxi and Tunica are scottfillmer.me norm with many churches.  Even if no church funds are used, is this scottfillmer.me association you want people to make with your church?  Today, maybe so, but I don’t find anywhere in scripture where it is scottfillmer.me church’s job to support scottfillmer.me local community via established casinos.  I wonder if Jud Wilhite’sCentral Church in Henderson, NV sends scottfillmer.meir small groups to scottfillmer.me Bellagio for game night on Tuesday’s?

If you think I am trying to say here that Victoryland, all casinos, and all gambling should end at once, you are missing scottfillmer.me point.  My wife and I enjoyed living in Las Vegas for a while, so this doesn’t come from some country hick who never left scottfillmer.me back woods of south Alabama. Still, it is one thing to take a private trip with friends or family to a place that has or allows gambling, it is totally different for scottfillmer.me church body to sanction such an event.

Don’t scream hypocrite yet, after all, scottfillmer.me disciples even casted lots to confirm Matthias as scottfillmer.me eleventh disciples in Acts 1:26. scottfillmer.men again, that wasn’t actually gambling, scottfillmer.me fate of that cast was already decided by God, it wasn’t an outcome decided by chance.  scottfillmer.me point here isn’t whescottfillmer.mer individuals should or should not gamble.  scottfillmer.me point I am attempting to make is that supporting Victoryland is NOT what scottfillmer.me church body was called to do, is it?

Are we so bored with scottfillmer.me business of being God’s church that this is scottfillmer.me best thing we can find to do with our time and money, as a church?  In scottfillmer.me world today, we scottfillmer.me church have so much invested in our retirement packages, our homes, cars, electronics, can we now only give to God out of our leftovers? Are we once again living in paneled houses, while God’s house remains a ruin (Haggai 1:4)?

Telecommuting Can Save Your Business Money

Some of you may or may not know that I have been looking for a good job match in a full time IT related field for about 3-4 years now (yes I said years). So far, it has been one of the most frustrating ongoing experiences I have had in business.

I have been denied a lowly $7-9/hour job to work out of my home office because I had too much experience, and have turned down a $60,000 job because it wasn’t a good match between my personality and their culture.  There is nothing easy about finding a good career match any more, and I have a lot to offer a company.  Almost 20 years of business experience, education, flexibility, a low required salary, and a willingness to travel.  See also my post Top 5 Tips to Help Your Job Search.

How I Can Save Your Business Money

What is astonishing to me, is how many potential employers will not look at the possibility of having a professional (and I mean that in every sense of the word) work out of their home office when the typical IT job really doesn’t require a physical presence in an office, or anywhere for that matter.  I understand some do, and that’s fine, but not all by any stretch.

It’s simple math.  If I can be hired to do a job in a middle-income American city for $50,000, which requires me to move, I can do the exact same job from my home office for $40,000.  That’s $10,000 a year in payroll expenses your company doesn’t have to pay.  Computer equipment they don’t have to buy, phones, office space, parking, gas, and food that doesn’t have to be purchased.  If your company has a tight budget and really needs to control expenses, why ignore this potential savings?

My Office is Better Equipped Than Most Office Buildings

How old is your office equipment? What tools are you missing to get your job done in an effective and efficient manner?

I have 4 different phone lines/numbers I can use including a landline, cellular, and VoIP.  A network of 5-6 computers (PC and MAC), laptops, desktops, mobiles devices, a reliable 6M high speed DSL line, 10 TB of data storage (yes Tera), data backups, and my office is even wired for a 20KW backup generator in case of power failure with 250 gallons of propane on site.  I am probably better equipped and better prepared than the standard office building in middle America.

With that said, I have no problem going out of city or state for the right position, it will just cost everyone more money.

What Comes Around (To Get Down, Timo Maas)

This week I had a few different conversations with potential employers, some very promising.  One of these companies was so unique in the way they required applicants to submit information I decided to go the extra mile and respond to their creativeness with creativity by making a portfolio video.  Videos like this are nothing new but I made it specifically for them for an added personal touch.

Below is the video, (with the names removed to protect the innocent of course), but if you are one of those out there looking for a job, don’t just do the exact same thing that all the other applicants do, that accomplishes nothing but allowing yourself to blend in.  Be creative, stand out, showcase your skills.  Not all employers will appreciate this approach for sure, but a company looking for a Linchpin instead of a door knob will.

See the full size version of The Portfolio Project here.

Air Force One Photos and Obama's Inauguration

Air Force One in Las Vegas

Continental Boeing 777

British Airways Boeing 747

Some of you may not know that I was once (and still in a different way) an aviation nut, buff, fanatic, whatever you want to call it.  I did get my private pilot’s license, and I did work for and was hired by several airlines earlier in my life/career.  One of my most favorite types of photography that I ever attempted was aviation photography (made almost impossible after 9-11).  I started while I was still shooting film and moved into digital SLR’s to enhance my aviation photography.

Air Force One is probably one of the most recognized aircraft in the entire world.  I love the plane and have been to Boeing field north of Seattle to see the older Boeing 707 that Nixon and Kennedy flew on as President.  That plane is no longer in Washington state (I think it is now in the Smithsonian), but even at 30-40 years old it still evoked feelings of pride in a country that is still one of the only countries in the world that has a fleet of aircraft for its leader.

I use to watch Tony Blair get on a commercial British Airways 747 and think what a disgrace to put the Prime Minister on a commercial aircraft but I guess it did save quite a bit of money for the British people, but didn’t do a thing to create an iconic air force fleet like we did with the Presidential aircraft.

One of my favorite shots I ever took was a shot of this British Airways Boeing 747 about to take off for London in the middle of a storm with a Boeing 777 landing right in front of it (if you look at the close up, you can see the Continental B-777 at the end of the runway in front of the BA 747).  It was no different than any commercial BA flight that Tony Blair would have flown on if he was in Houston at the time.

I can’t really recall a time in history when the press or anyone else questioned when, why, or how, we used the military fleet like they are now.  For good reason, it costs a heck of a lot more to fly the military fleet than a commercial flight, but even so, I would never want to see Mr Obama get on a commercial flight while he is still in office.  Now that Air Force One is officially part of the Obama administration, it has been taken for a ride, and because of the economy, more and more people are starting to question why we are spending money in ways that just isn’t necessary any more.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

This week, Mr Obama flew Air Force One to Colorado and Arizona just for the sake of signing a bill.  As far as everyone can tell, the estimated cost for Obama to fly to Arizona (don’t know about the Colorado trip) on Air Force One to sign the so-called stimulus bill was about $700,000.  $700,000 for a flight that didn’t have to take place to sign a bill to spend $787 billion.  So I guess just a drop in the bucket compared to $787 billion, so who cares.

Well, the very next thing Obama said was that American’s needed to start living within their means and at the same time he told us to turn down our thermostats.  We have officially entered the “do as I say, not as I do” time.

Obama Inauguration is $150 Million Appeasement Party

I don’t do many political type posts, but that is all that is going on in the news today.  I can never remember when an inauguration got so much coverage.  It is well deserved, but nothing has stacked up to this $150 million party that Obama is throwing that finalizes tomorrow.  Obama has managed to create this show of shows by outspending Bush ($40 million) and even Clinton ($33 million) by bringing out all the biggest names in Hollywood and making such a spectacle of the whole thing and I will be glad when it is finally over and we can collectively get back to the work of the country.

This particular inauguration is turning out to be the ultimate part of appeasement for Obama.  He and has been playing both sides and there is no better example than what John Piper gave on a recent blog post How Barack Obama Will Make Christ a Minister of Condemnation.  From Gene Robinson, an openly non-celibate homosexual bishop in the Episcopal Church who will deliver the invocation to Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California scheduled for Tuesday, back to Bruce Springsteen standing on the same stage with Garth Brooks (although Rick Warren and Garth Brooks do seem to be the exceptions).

Does anyone remember from back in highschool when you tried to date two girls at the same time?  It never worked and more times than not you would lose both girls in the process.  That may be a bad analogy, but I hope that doesn’t happen to Obama and he ends up loosing both sides.  All he will be left with are the ultra moderates who can’t ever make a decision about anything.  Nothing worse in my book than indecision and luke warm.  Even scriptures talk about being against Christ is better than not having an opinion at all.

The discussion in our house lately has been if we want to see Obama succeed as president or not (a question Mr Bill has posed on his show lately).  I do in fact want to see America become stronger, more prosperous, better educated, and succeed in general (of course that has different meaning to everyone).  If it takes Obama to do that, great.  No matter if we voted for him or not, he is our President now, we should get behind him, even if we disagree with him.

Some Totally Random Thoughts About Politics on January 19th

  • The word “Obama” is NOT in the wordpress spell check database
  • I am sick of hearing the news ask someone if they thought they would ever see a woman or African-American as President, I DON’T CARE.  I want to see the most qualified person for the job, ANY job, and I don’t care what race, nationality, or genger the person is.  If Bill Lester is the best person to put in a race car GREAT, if he can’t win races, get someone else in there.
  • What is the reason we have to spend $150 million on a party and not think about how this translates into his Presidency?
  • Thoughts on #2 :: Bail-out?  Auto industry, economy, people out of work, consumer confidence?
  • Bush put everything he had into his job over the last 8 years, we should be glad someone kept us safe
  • Pelosi and Reed should be totally ashamed at everything they have tried to do in prosecuting Bush administration officials
  • I am waiting for my check in the mail from the Obama administration (never got one from Bush)
  • Keith Olbermann is possibly the worst excuse for a journalist that MSNBC has ever hired (and they have a lot who fit in that category)
  • OBAMA IS NOT ABRAHAM LINCOLN, he is Obama.
  • I personally don’t deserve said check from #8, I didn’t pay any taxes over the last few years because I didn’t make enough money

I wish the Obama administration well, and I hope they can keep American safe while turing around the economy, but most of all, I will be glad when this $150 million party you paid for is over and people can get back to work.

Creative Chaos 22 // There's Something About Benjamin Video

This is my post for Creative Chaos // 22 (see also guidelines) over at Ragamuffin Soul for this week. I have skipped a few weeks for this post but wanted to pick it back up again, there are always so many great ways people worship, and this is one was so good, our church played it at least twice in one series.

There’s Something About Benjamin Video

This video has been floating around the internet for a while now but I still find not everyone runs in the same Internet circles, so this video call There’s Something About Benjamin is a hilarious look at how money controls us, and how we tend to work for it instead of the other way around.

If you haven’t seen the video before, it is not to long, but will get you rolling on the floor. I think I have watched it probably 5-10 times now and I get a kick out of it each time, and this week it is my post for creative chaos.

Grace Without Change is Just an Escape from Responsibility

This past Sunday was the last part of the “money” series at our church. I was so surprised with this series. It was informative, scriptural, and not the same typical money sermon series I was expecting and use to. The opening music from Worship Journey was something unique and different each week, like Pink Floyd’s “Money”, and the Beetles “Can’t Buy Me Love”.

Part of the message this Sunday was about God’s grace. The grace He has given us to make mistakes, learn from them, and move on. A quote that really caught my attention was:

Grace without change is just an escape from responsibility

I think that is a great way to put it. It doesn’t mean we can just keep living these same mistakes continuously without true repentance and change, sometimes we do need to make lifestyle or lifelong changes first. There are some of us who have made these changes long ago, but still struggle with the reasons. This is a great reminder of the freedom in God’s love, and the grace He has given to us all.

This series was a very refreshing look at one of the most talked about subjects in the Bible, money. I would encourage anyone who is interested to listen to the podcasts and see for themselves. Thanks Cornerstone.

Creative Chaos 21 // If I Had a Million Dollars Money Series

This is my post for Creative Chaos // 21 (see also guidelines) over at Ragamuffin Soul for this week. I have skipped a few weeks for this post but wanted to pick it back up again, there are always so many great ways people worship, and this is one way to see what other churches are doing.

The Inevitable Money Series

For this week, I have a quick post about the current series at our church. If you spend enough time in church, inevitably you will run into a series on money. If you don’t, perhaps you should ask yourself why your church hasn’t visited the most talked about topic in the bible. It is a topic we don’t always like to hear preached about, but something that is important to hear. So for 4 weeks, our church is going the money series, but they wanted to keep it light and fun. So the series is called “Cha-ching” and the music worship leader (see his blog here) picked some great music.

The music is the creative chaos for this post. The first week, he started off with Pink Floyd’s Money, and for week two, the band opened with If I Had a Million Dollars by the Bare Naked Ladies (although they didn’t mention the group name in the service).

Music doesn’t always have to be a hymn to bring people into the mindset of the current series and to have the ability to play a culturally relevant song is something not all churches will allow their worship leaders to do, great job Brian… I still can’t get get that last song out of my head.

James Teaches About the Misuse of Riches, James 5

This is my installment for the Blogger Small Group post (on chapter 5) and there is still time for anyone to join in if they like (see Blogger Small Group Rules/Guidlelines). Right now we are five weeks into a study on James, not need to try and catch up, just start in the same place we are and post your opinions.

Re-reading the book of James over the last few weeks has been great. James always has a real world perspective and he never holds any punches. This week was James, Chapter 5, and I thought the first section was quite appropriate for the holiday weekend we just had over here in the U.S.

This is going to be a shortened version this week since we were out of town all last week but that is probably a relief over last week.

From the Book of James, Chapter 5

In this chapter James breaks up the text into two sections. The first section titled, Misuse of Riches, and the second section titled Exhortation, meaning a call to take some kind of action. Then he ends in prayer with some great examples.

Misuse of Riches, (5:1-6)

This section brought it home for those of us living here in the United States. Perhaps that is because we just had Memorial Day weekend over here, but I think even the poorest or less fortunate over here have riches that people in other countries couldn’t imagine as a part of their normal routine of life, or riches.

Sometimes I think we (as Americans) put so much emphasis on material items that we do miss the focus of how to use some of these items to further the kingdom of God. This first section talks about how much we have, yet we use it for purposes that will fade away anyway.

3 Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is (E)in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!

In the NIV it refers to metals that have rusted and tarnished. Even gold and silver tarnish and are some of the most sought after metals still today. This storing up in the last days, to me, is referring to greed. How much is enough for us, how much do we actually need. Scripture tells us His salvation does not tarnish or rust.

Exhortation, (5:7-20)

I love the title to this section. Exhortation.

ex·hor·ta·tion [noun]: an utterance, discourse, or address conveying urgent advice or recommendations.

That sums up the book of James. An urgent advice or recommendation. James tells us to be patient and he then gives us the essence of patience, (v7-9), do not complain, strengthen your heart, and wait for the coming of the Lord.

James then gives us examples of patience in verses 10-13 and he ends in a prayer. This prayer is something that I have underlined in my Bible before. The need to be sensitive to others needs, and the importance of confessing our sins.

Something I take great comfort in when reading the last section is verse 16-17.

16 Therefore, (AO)confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be (AP)healed (AQ)The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

17 Elijah was (AR)a man with a nature like ours, and (AS)he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for (AT)three years and six months.

The great Elijah, was a man with a nature like ours. A nature like ours refers to the fact that he was a sinner as well. But he prayed. The bold effect above is my doing, not scripture. That is the key to me and I love that verse. The effective prayer can accomplish much, wow.

What Would You Do With an $86,400 Gift?

100 dollar billWhat if you were told you would be given $86,400 at the start of each day. Wow, great huh. You can spend that amount each day, but at the end of the day, what ever you haven’t spent you loose.

You can’t keep any to spend it the next day, you can’t save it, you can’t invest it for later use, you can only spend it today. You get 24 hours to spend $86,400. The good news is, for now, at the start of each day you will be given another $86,400 and then it starts all over again, but, no matter what you do, that is all you get.

Are you thinking about all those things you would buy or places you might go, but, opppps, you actually don’t have time to use the entire amount, or do you?  Well it doesn’t really matter because one way or the other it is either going to be spent, or time will spend it for you.

So, where would you spend it?

86,400. That is how many seconds we are given each day. We don’t get any more, and at the end of the day, anything we haven’t used we loose. The next day we get another 86,400 seconds to use at our discretion, but that’s it. You can’t invest it (at least here on earth), you can’t save it, and for now, we get a new 86,400 seconds tomorrow to use. So…….. where do you spend it?

I haven’t had a lot of time to blog here lately for various reasons but it got me started thinking about what steals our time. My wife always says we have time for what we make time for, and I think that is basically true. We prioritize throughout the day even if we don’t realize we are doing it, and it controls what we get accomplished or what gets left for “tomorrow”.

I have several projects going on at the same time, including developing my first true CMS site for a niche market, and that is what is taking a lot of my free time as of late, but I think there are several things that steal our time throughout the day. Some are our own doing, some we can’t control, some we can. I made a quick list of what steals my time as of this writing, in regards to this blog. Steals your time probably isn’t the best way to describe it. A better way it where do we spend our 86,400 seconds we are given each day?

Other Blogs

I do write on other blogs and trying to keep up with each one doesn’t always work. The one that gets the most attention is the one that has the highest priority at the time.

Work or Projects

Yes, I guess we all do have to work at something. This may be a necessity but it does take up a majority of our time (as it should) and it usually takes priority over non-revenue generating projects

Family (and Friends)

This is another good thing, but also one that keeps me from blogging on this blog. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I had planned to have a quiet week and get a good weeks worth of articles written for this blog. What did I do, I spent most of it working outside on our property with my dad. Worth far more to me than getting the articles done I had in mind. I also ate a little turkey and watched a lot of football.

Not Being Well Organized

This is something we can control but being well organized will keep things running smoothly. I started keeping a log book of things I needed to get done or have done. It sits on my desk right by my computer and I jot things down on it all day. When I travel, I have a miniature version I take with me. It does help me stay a little organized.

Email

This is a big one for most of us. I have read 100 blog posts on how you should not check your email every 5 minutes, and it is probably true, but I just can’t do it. I usually spend a good majority of my time each day in email or having something to do with email.

Your Feed Reader

This is probably one of the areas you could spend a ton of time looking at, and writing this blog, I hope you do, but I try to read my feeds at night after the day’s work is complete. This doesn’t always work, but there are so many great articles to read that it can take a huge amount of time.

Watching TV or Other Entertainment

We all watch TV or do some form of entertainment. I am a big sports fan and I can always find a game to watch. Even if there isn’t a game on, ESPN Classics is probably re-playing some great rivalry game from 1982. I don’t usually spend to much time on these items, but they can take up time that you don’t spend doing more productive things (unless you can figure out a way to do both at the same time).

Internet Social Sites, Groups, News, General Surfing

Don’t think I even need to elaborate here. Just try to do the most productive things each day in the order of priority. If you make your living on the social networks, great, if not, look at these areas when you are finished with your work each day.

Where Do You Spend Your 86,400 Seconds Each Day?

So, those are just a few. What areas use up time each day for you? I think each of us can probably look at some areas where we could probably spend our time more wisely, I know I can. Leave a comment below and let me know what those are for you?