Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Random thoughts

I skipped church tonight. I know, I shouldn't do that. But, you see, I did something to my knee at work, and couldn't hardly walk, and with all of the motrin (excuse me, non-branded ibuprofen) I took, my asthma started acting funny. I try to avoid going out in public when I can't really breathe or walk straight. Call me crazy.

Going forward, I've been home alone now for about 2 hours. I don't really do alone very well. I like to think that I can handle it, but I really do like to be around people. It's just that it needs to be the right people. I think that's where so many of us falter. We seek numbers of people without going for depths of relationships. Anyway, just a thought.

Employment

Just a quick note to those of you who are in charge at your places of employment:

Figure out how you want to run the place! If you work with a structured level of management, don't bicker about who needs to do what in front of the people at the next level down, and don't take out on your underlings the fact that you aren't getting your way with the next level up. You don't like being treated that way, neither would you accept that behavior from the people that work for you, so don't treat your workers that way!!!!

This is my rant for the day from the box place. If you want to know what it's like to work there in front-line management, just repeat that 10 times a day, every day. I go to work, do what the boss tells me to do, then get yelled at by one of the other bosses for doing what I was told. This is not just me, but several people at my level. This leads to low morale, bad attitudes, and people working at the bare minimum of their job requirements. What do you think this does to profitability? How about turnover? Customer service? In too many of corporate cultures, all we really care about is money. The stages I've seen in the last two years have been that our people aren't putting out enough to keep our profits over $1 billion a quarter, we should yell and scream at them, threaten their jobs. Then we went to our profits still being only $1billion a quarter (we're a transportation company, maybe fuel prices are hurting...), so we cut jobs (nobody got laid off, but we just didn't replace turnover). Now, we're still not lining the upper level management's stock bonuses, but now we're concerned about people? We are now trying to figure out how to retain the same people that were told six months ago that could all be replaced?

I know that businesses exist to make a profit. But that's not their only function in society, and banking money for shareholders shouldn't be the first priority. The people that work for the company ought to be the first recipients of what the company profits, and then the shareholders. And other than supergenius scientists or the original inventor of a product, no CEO is worth a seven-digit salary when their company doesn't pay living wages or has outsourced American jobs overseas. It's ridiculous that we uphold some of these great turn-around CEOs who basically put people out of work so that they can raise stock prices. What is so great about the first person who figured out that people in India can answer customer service call for 10% of the cost of Americans? We aren't in an economic crisis because of bad loans or housing issues or too much or too little government spending but because we have given our jobs overseas to boost our stock portfolios. We have lauded companies with double-digit returns that have put people out of work. Now, we're left with lower-paying, lower-benefit jobs in America, and the bite is spreading. Eventually, we'll be left with fast-food and Wal-mart jobs, and we won't be able to afford to eat or shop where we work. The only people left with financial means will be our beloved government officials. Sound great, doesn't it?

Situations...

Well, life continues to be an amalgam of chaos and peace around the house here. On the one hand, our June deadline of finding a full-time job or additional part-time job for me is bearing down pretty hard, without any definite answers. There are a lot of possibilities, but it's very hard these days to find a job where you can just walk in and start. Moving through this, though, is a sense of peace that God will provide.

This is something that we're really struggling with. First of all, we all like to talk about knowing God is our provider, but our budgets and lives are based around making sure we have enough employment to cover our bills. To be still and trust goes against our 'common sense' and leads to the belief that someone in our situation should just 'go out and get a job.' Or, since I already have one, I should go get another one. Trouble is, I've been looking, but I haven't found anything on third shift, which is the only available time for me. And if you haven't priced daycares lately, don't ask about sending Ann to work. It's not feasible. The only daycares that are affordable are the ones that tend to leave kids in hot vans in the summertime. So, we're still praying and asking God for direction.

Meanwhile, we have been approached by a few churches about working with them in various roles. A couple of them could provide a full-time living, one couldn't provide anything but the opportunity to preach when their pastor is out, and others are just beginning their process. We don't know yet what will happen. Any of the full-time situations will require a move, selling our house, with its unfinished repaint and restoration from it foreclosure, in a market with lots of houses available. I've looked at some job possibilities in financial services, but I just don't know if I'm cut out to sell insurance. First, I've never successfully sold anything in my life, and second, I would have to start part-time, which would be fine, if the best part of the day wasn't sucked up in a hot, sweaty, UPS hub. By the time I got home, showered, and back out, I wouldn't see very many people, and I don't know how well that would work.

So, we're left here, waiting and praying, and praying, and waiting, and, to be honest, not sleeping very well. Some nights I'm fine, not stressed, but most are pretty rough. It's easy to get through the days when I'm busy, but when the lights go out, it gets hard.

If you would pray for us, please do. We know that there are solutions, but we just don't know what they are.

Peace in a time of Pandemic

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