Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

Decorating the warrior graves predates history.  With a Presidential decree in 1966, Memorial Day became the official day of memorial for fallen soldiers.

The US Memorial Day tradition dates to the Civil War with several claims as the first Decoration Day or Memorial Day. Confederate women decorated the graves of dead soldiers as early as 1861. By 1865, many cities decorated Civil War graves.

After spending the morning to decorate graves, many Americans use the day to barbecue with friends and family or take the day at the beach. Memorial Day traditional activities include flag football, Frisbee and pie eating contests. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spaceship Earth

Buckminster Fuller’s philosophy about life on earth greatly influences any holistic minded person who questions society’s current yet artificial dilemmas in energy, economy and environment. 

Within the dynamics of a vehicle with finite resources, the caretakers of Spaceship Earth, need to be more vocal, informational and passionate as the push by the resource pirates disregards the well-being of our spaceship for personal gain.

Food Resource

Particular arguments in the media include Monsanto’s push to genetically control and alter our food resource. If Monsanto/pirates gain ultimate control of food as a resource, everyone would be beholden to them for survival. Genetic alterations have made seed from the food plants inert, virtually unable to produce the next generation. It appears that the conglomerate controls a number of source seed plants giving them the advantage in agriculture commodity markets around the world.

Problems with the Monsanto paradigm includes false scarcity of resources created for increase profit margins, lack of regional diversity in plant based products and reduced vitamin and mineral content in the plant material processed into food stuffs.

Energy Resource

In all science fiction of the early 20th century, energy pirates were obsolete by the 21st century. Clearly the literary community underestimated the ruthless nature of big energy business. Most authors would agree that solar, wind, water and gravity based energy sources should serve humanity with small stipends given to maintenance companies who maintain the mechanics of energy converters. Alas fiction outweighed the science and the powerbase opposed to the conversion.

Big Oil’s Mess

Any media fan will agree that when big oil is in the news, the story is one of two: price gouging or environmental disaster. With the dirty business of oil drilling, processing and consumer demand, there is no silver lining. The question is only how black is the story.

Recent oil disasters have destroyed the environment of coastlines, sea life and eco-tourism. While the public focus began to inquire about ocean rigs and safety issues, big oil happily attacked the heart of North America developing a plan to pump oil over the Ogalala Aquifer.

The Ogalala Aquifer is a shallow water source that provides water to eight states many of which produce food for the country and the world. This aquifer is the reason why the mid-west is also known as a breadbasket of the world. The water resource is primary to life whereas the oil resource is primary to business profit.

Relying on history of safety in oil business, any reasonable person would conclude protection of the water resource far exceeds any business paradigm or profit plan. Particular to the Keystone Pipeline, it appears that the oil barons who approve the plan aren’t even interested in the most profit for their companies but that environmental disaster is key to their ultimate goal because it would be more profitable to build local refineries near the oil source in Canada rather than build a pipeline thousands of miles and refine it in the technologically obsolete refineries in Texas. Double fail for big oil. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hiring Qualified Candidates

It occurred to me in the midst of reading a pile of resumes that writing a proper resume is a rare skill. Resumes are an easy way for employers to narrow the pool of candidates.

We’ve all heard stories of an employer placing an ad for an open position and receiving hundreds of resumes. This is true. What is also true is that there are few applicants that have all the requirements to make it to the top of the pile for a call to interview.

Case in point: 

The marketing person placed several ads for an open position at the company. I was charged with narrowing the candidates and conducting first interviews.

Out of over 500 resumes submitted for one position, I narrowed the pile down to 10. It was a simple process. 

Of all the resumes submitted more than half were incomplete. The ad specifically asked for a resume and a cover letter. There were more resumes without cover letters but there were a few cover letters without resumes attached.

One of the items listed in the ad was the request for salary expectation. The department budget allowed for a certain range for the position. Anyone listing too high likely wouldn’t take the position, so interviewing would be wasting their time and mine. Anyone listing too low likely had too little experience. Again, interviewing would be a waste of time since several years of experience was a requirement.

The cover letter demonstrated the applicants’ communication skill level. All positions at this company interact with customers, vendors and co-workers. Verbal communication and documentation of conversations in notes, orders or email is required.

Each resume is a snap shot of the applicant’s experience. It also demonstrates how they organize information. Resumes should be clear and easy to read. Those that were poorly organized were set aside. 

While some employers require each skill in their ad, I was looking for overall ability with a teachable attitude. The applicants with at least most of the required skills and interesting additional skills caught my attention. If there were other skills listed I knew they weren’t just using the ad to write their resume.

Contact information the resume and the cover letter needed to match. If the phone number and email were available I knew the applicant was eager to be contacted. I did see some resumes with no contact information.

I was a little nervous about narrowing to 10. Ten applicants could take most of the day to interview. But there were applicants who didn’t answer the phone or respond to the message. So the list was reduced to five.

Two out of five nixed themselves because they didn’t show up to the interview.

After the interviews, I had three qualified candidates. Each was given a second interview with the CEO. He liked them all but only one followed up. She got the job.

The steps for selecting appropriate candidates were as follows:

1)      Resume with cover letter (252)
2)      Salary expectation in cover letter (157)
3)      Structured cover letter with proper grammar and correct spelling (30)
4)      Clearly organized resume (23)
5)      Appeared to have the experience necessary (17)
6)      Contact information on the letter and resume (10)
7)      Answered the phone or returned the call for an interview within a day (5)
8)      Showed up on time with their resume in hand (3)
9)      Followed up after the interview (1)
 10) Started the job on Monday.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A to Z Reflection

The most pleasant thing happened on the way through the A to Z Blog Challenge, new writing friends offered critique and support for my writing. Any time a writer takes time to read my work I’m just thrilled. I know how limited time is especially in the middle of a project.

My theme of historical characters helped to create an enthusiastic level of comments. I simply love when I can offer a tidbit with the reader saying to themselves (or commenting) I didn’t know that!

Other blog participants did a wonderful job at keeping up the challenge. I enjoyed each entry I read.
Thank you for the opportunity to become introduced to some many wonderful writers.