Tag Archives: Christian women

Why is America so Fascinated with Susan Boyle?

By now everyone on earth has heard the Susan Boyle story. She is the 47 year old single unemployed woman with the voice of an angel. We met her at her audition for the British show You’ve Got Talent”. We she told her story the audience hooted and the judges rolled their eyes, but when she sang everyone was transfixed. Her video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk

has received over 20 million hits. Her voice is incredible but every time her story is told they somehow feel the need to use words like homely, plain or frump to describe her. It’s as if it impossible to imagine a plain woman with such a gift. Her looks have been the topic of everything from the network news to The View, but what does this say about us? Is America so shallow that only the beautiful should be expected to have talent? Judging from what is heard this week the answer is yes. How many beautiful singers with marginal voices can you name? I’m sure a number of names come to mind. They have the package, but not the pipes and that does not even matter. I applaud Ms. Boyle who put her dreams on hold to take care of her aged mother, but she never stopped singing or dreaming and today she is caught up in an incredible, unbelievable dream that has come true for plain ole Susan.

Pick Me: 20 things that Happened to Me On My Way to the Perfect Job

I wrote this article about 7 years ago. I was looking for a job and I finally found one,  but in light of the record unemployment level maybe it can inspire someone who is looking for the perfect job or in 2009 a job!

Looking for a job these days is an adventure. You never know what you will find or where you will find it. Conventional methods don’t work anymore; you have to be creative and tenacious. Because the job market is tougher than ever you must develop thick skin and not take rejection personally, which is easier said than done. To keep my sanity in this process I started writing down my experiences. My hope is that you will read them and be encouraged and in some cases amused. Here are 20 things that happened to me on my way to the perfect job.

1. THE ABSENT INTERVIEWER. I arrived for an interview and the interviewer was not there. The secretary asked me with a straight face, “Did she know you were coming?” I wanted to say, “No I just showed up on my own in my best interview suit to look at you.” Instead, I replied, “Yes she knew I was coming; she scheduled the time.” The secretary gave me the cynical smile of the employed as she appeared to be thinking, “What a loser.” Finally, after I had waited for about 45 minutes, the interviewer arrived and said, “I am sorry. I am running late; we are going to have to cut this short.” All, I could do was smile.

2. SECURITY BREACH. I showed up for an interview and could not get into the building in these post 9/11 days of heightened security, employers are serious about protecting their employees. So I wandered around the entire building trying to find a guard or a phone so that I could make my 10 o’clock appointment. l began to perspire and realized that my deodorant would soon begin to fail me. Finally, like a lighthouse in a storm, I spot a deliveryman who let me in. Once in the office, the receptionist asked me if I had any problems finding the place. I said no, but told her I had a hard time getting in the building. She said “Oh we have a code, somebody should have given it to you.” You think!

3. THE BIG PAYBACK. I arrived at an interview and the interviewer asked me if I remembered him. I said no and he informed me that I interviewed him for a job 2 years ago that he did not get. At this point, I know this is an exercise in futility. Do I stay or do I go? I elected to stay in the interest of professionalism, but you know what they say about payback.

4. ID, EGO, AND THE INTERVIEWER. One interviewer could not stop talking about himself. I mean, this guy put the “e” in ego. He told me where he went to school, how long he has been with the company, every promotion he has gotten, how everyone is jealous of him, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. After a seeming eternity of him droning on and on, he asked me to tell him something about myself. As soon as I start talking, this reminds him of another story. Finally, I realized that he did not want to interview me, he just wanted some company.

5. JUDGE JONI. I was offered a job and the contact person said she would call back in a few days. I did not hear from her and I had given my notice at my job. About a week later, a Vice president calls and tells me the person who interviewed me was fired and told me the name of my new boss. The next week, the new boss calls and asks me to come in to meet him. I go and am interviewed for the job that I already accepted. I eventually took the job, and later the boss said the “post interview” was for him to decide if he still wanted to hire me. I informed him of a little something called “detrimental reliance”. I relied on their promise to my detriment, and if they had rescinded we would have been having our next dialogue in court. Who said that year of law school was a complete waste. Not I!

6. THE HUMAN RESOURCE. At a local brokerage firm, I interviewed with a Human Resources representative. The following day I wrote her the requisite thank you email and asked her a question in that email. She did not respond. I sent her another email the following week; again, no response. I called and left her a voice mail…still, no response. At this point I knew I wasn’t being considered for the position but I was annoyed that my messages were being ignored. I sent one last email and made reference to the two previous emails and the voice mail. See my mistake was that I believed that the Human Resources Department was truly a resource to humans. I now know that is not the case. She finally responded and said she had been too busy to answer any of my inquiries. I was so sorry I bothered her.

7. REPLIES WITH NO RESUME WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. If I don’t send you a resume, you will not even consider me for most jobs. Yet, one interviewer clearly had not read my resume prior to my interview. Now as a serious job seeker, when I get an interview I immediately go to the company’s website and get all the information that I can on the company. I prepare because this is an important meeting. Nothing is as disheartening as finding that an interviewer has not even read your resume. It really showed me that my time was not valued and made me wonder just how much they valued the position.

8. THE SWITCHBOARD. On one of my excursions, the interviewer kept taking phone calls during the interview. It is understandable that an interviewer might have to take one or two calls during an interview, but I think five is a little excessive. Some were obviously business-related, but at least two were personal and he kept saying, “I’m interviewing; I’ll have to call you back!” Every time he hung up he would say, “Now where were we?” I would just smile and continue where I left off. When he received the fifth call, I excused myself because I realized I was wasting my time.

9. PLEASE WASTE MY TIME. I received a call from a person I had already interviewed with who informed me that there was one other person she wanted me to meet. The twist was that the interview would be at a local coffee shop. Because first impressions are lasting impressions, I arrived about 5 minutes early on the day of the interview because I did not want to keep the interviewer waiting. Thirty minutes later, I found myself still happy for the opportunity and smiling at every man who walked through the door, I was scared someone might think I was a bit too friendly, but I wanted to be a cheerful interviewee. Finally, one of the coffee shop workers asked me if I was waiting for an interview. I said yes and told her my name she told me there was a phone call for me. The interviewer was on the phone saying he was tied up in traffic. He casually said that it would take him another thirty minutes to get there and decided that we should reschedule. If you believe that he ever rescheduled, I’ve got some swampland I would like to sell you.

10. THE CREATIVE CALL BACK. Did you get your rejection letter yet? A Human Resources representative called one day to ask me if I had received a rejection letter from her company. Even as thick as my skin has become, I felt that calling to twist the knife in my back was a little over the top. It’s like saying, “We really, really don’t want you.” I told her that I had not received it and she told me to ignore it when I got it. They wanted me to interview for another position. Note to Interviewer: don’t send the letters out until you are absolutely certain that you are done with the candidate. I do however, have to give them points for even sending a letter; most companies cease communication and subscribe to the philosophy that you’ll figure it out.

11. THE SILENT PARTNER. The two party interview. There are two people seated at the conference table. The person that made the initial contact and that person’s boss. The interview begins and the boss asks all the questions. The other person just writes feverishly. It seems like he is trying to take shorthand (like a court reporter) and record every single word. At one point he asks one question. And that is “can you repeat that”. I feel like I am in court, and to some degree I am. (If an interviewer does not talk is he really in the room?) In reality they are the judge and the jury and that makes me the victim. The interview is finally over, and I leave the boss and the mute and wonder what will be the verdict.

12. COOKIE CUTTER QUESTIONS. What do you want to be doing 5 to 10 years from now? Where do you want to be? This is a perfect question for somebody 21 or even 31, but put a different spin on the 40 something applicant. Where do I want to be not here! I re-phrased the question and told the interviewer where I wanted to be in the next 3 years. It is ok to tailor some of the questions specifically to the applicant, it is LEGAL.

13. HEADHUNTERS…WHAT ARE THEY GOOD FOR…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. A couple of months ago I answered an online ad and got a call from a headhunter. She invited me to come down and discuss the position. I go downtown on the train in the midst of a mini-snowstorm. I get there and she says there really isn’t a job yet. They posted the ad to see what kind of applicants were out there but now that we have met you we can put your resume on file. So now I know this was just a fishing expedition and I am just another guppie caught in the net. I have got two words for headhunters—USE LESS.

14. PRESTO CHANGO. Job title changes before my very eyes. I submitted a resume for marketing director and I get called in for the interview. I sit for 30 minutes waiting and the interviewer comes out and says the previous interview ran long. I go into the conference room and she proceeds to talk to me about a coordinator position. She does not miss a beat, finally I stop her and say I came here for the director position, and she smiles and says oh yes that one is open too but we feel you might fit better in our coordinator spot. The puzzling thing is she reviewed my resume and called me in for the director position I don’t have to wonder what changed. It is clear as black and white.

15. BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL. How much did you make at your last job? This is a question that used to be asked on the second interview, but now it is being asked on the first interview. This could be a true deal breaker. When I answer I usually get one of the following responses. You have got to be kidding, the why would you leave look or the you are a big fat liar look. This question can change the course of an interview. The interesting thing is I sometimes found myself sounding like the blue light special at Kmart when I put myself on sale. Yes I was making such and such but you can get me for the low, low price of such and such. This is truly a tough market.

16. OPERATION FORMER EMPLOYER. They ask you a lot of questions about your former employer. This is the fact-finding mission. Early on in the interview you realize you were invited in so they could pump you for information regarding your former employer. You are being interviewed alright but it is not for a job!

17. CLUELESS…A NEW REALITY SHOW. You meet the person that the company is looking to replace and he is clueless. I am sitting in the receptionist area waiting to be interviewed. This amicable looking guy walks by and starts a conversation with the receptionist. He smiles at me and asks me if I am there for an interview. He tells me that he is the copy director at that moment the HR rep comes and escorts me to a conference room and it dawns on me that I am there to interview for that guy’s job. As a person I feel sorry for the poor smuck, but as a person who has been unemployed for months I want this job. As Big Papa said to my mom 50 years ago it is a cold world.

18. THE MYSTERIOUS INTERNAL CANDIDATE. I submitted a resume to this company one Monday morning. Later that morning they responded that I looked like I would be the perfect fit for their position. They wanted to fill the spot quickly so could I come the next day because all the decision-makers would be there. I went the following day interviewed with 3 people. There was initially such a sense of urgency. The interviews went well. Over the next 4 weeks I exchanged emails with the contact person. Each one reassuring me that I was one of the top candidates. Finally, she had me meet the last bigwig at the coffee shop (see #9). He does not show. I contact her the next week to reschedule. Finally, on the fourth week she tells me they have a internal candidate who just surfaced and they are going with her. I don’t know where this person was hiding over the past 4 weeks since most companies look inside before they look outside, but not this time. What’s a candidate to do? That’s easy you just keep looking.

19. CATCH-22. Interview suit is too tight. When you are home for an extensive period of time you start snacking a little too much. You don’t realize the damage you have done until you have to squeeze into the dreaded INTERVIEW SUIT. On my last interview I managed to do my greatest contortionist moves and wiggle my way into it, but I knew I couldn’t laugh or sneeze or I would explode and trust me that would not be a pretty sight. I walked in with confidence and prayed that the seams would at least last through our introductions. Note to self: the treadmill is not a hanger.

20. DIVINE INTERVENTION. Mommy you need a job. Every morning we pray before the kids go to school and before my husband goes to work. One day I asked the kids to ask God for one thing. My six year old daughter Alicia said, “God, please give my Mommy a job. Amen to that but I would only add give Mommy the perfect job.

 

 

 

“95% of My Salary is Better than Nothing”

 

Today a dear friend of mine told me her company was implementing a 5% salary cut to all of the employees. They informed the workers of this via email. It was not discussion it was a simple edict. When I asked her what did she think she said “95% is better than nothing.” She said some of her co-workers were ranting and sullen, but the reality is you can take the pay cut or you can leave. These are tough economic times and companies are forced to make tough decisions, but in any situation there is always room for companies to exploit the situation. Not every company is hurting, but they see this as an opportunity to do something they have wanted to do for a long time and that is take it to the workers. It is one thing for a CEO to take a pay cut. He will likely still be comfortable, but a cafeteria worker will truly miss that 5%.  In some cases companies have made some unwise decisions that have nothing to do with this current situation, but this is the opportunity of a lifetime to blame all economic ills on this current downturn. It is simply not fair, but I have to agree with my friend “95% of my salary is better than nothing”. I just wonder when the economy gets better will they give the 5% back?  I already know the answer, but everyone needs a dream.

Detroit Church Praying for an Auto industry Bailout

When black people started moving from the South in the 1940’s and 1950’s many of them settled in Detroit. The auto industry was booming and the steady work offered them the opportunity to grab the American dream. Generation after generation would find their way into one of the Big Three auto companies, but now we see Detroit is another dying urban area. The jobs are either gone or face the real possibility of being gone in the very near future. Last week we saw the leaders of the Big Three auto companies literally begging Congress for some relief. Today in Detroit the church is trying a different approach and that is the request for some divine intervention. With sport-utility vehicles at the altar and auto workers in the pews, one of Detroit’s largest churches on Sunday offered up prayers for Congress to bail out the struggling auto industry. “We have never seen as midnight an hour as we face this week,” the Rev. Charles Ellis told several thousand congregants at a rousing service at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple. “This week, lives are hanging above an abyss of uncertainty as both houses of Congress decide whether to extend a helping hand.” The Reverend went on to say ,”It’s all about hope. You can’t dictate how people will think, how they will respond, how they will vote,” Ellis said after the service. “But you can look to God. We believe he can change the minds and hearts of men and women in power, and that’s what we tried to do today.” One of the parishioners Michelle McDade, 50, who attended the service, said her late father had worked at GM for 30 years and her mother was now living on his pension. “I pray in good times and in bad times, but I pray these days because it’s something that directly affects our lives. “Politicians forgot autoworkers for ages. You can’t just forget them. We’re also part of the country.” That pretty much says it all the autoworkers are just as American as the Wall Street bankers, and hopefully relief will be forthcoming for them too.

 

 

A New Twist on Thanksgiving

Yesterday our church provided dinner to three shelters and an inner city church. We called the event Thanksgiving Takeout-we took the food to the people. The members of our church cooked all the food and brought it to the church for distribution. We did the event on Saturday instead of Thanksgiving because so many churches and organizations offer meals on the holiday, but people are hungry everyday.  At one of the shelters the women were so happy to see us and we all saw ourselves in them. In this difficult economic environment so many people are a couple of paychecks away from being in a shelter. So this holiday season don’t spend so much time lamenting about what you can’t get or reflecting on how good it used to be. Think of doing something for someone other than a family member. We are looking forward to a new president but he can’t do it all, but if all of us commit to help someone this season we will not only help them, we will also be blessed by the experience.

An Interesting Thanksgiving Blessing

Every year after we bless the food we go around the table and say what we are grateful for this year. Today my teenage son said something very interesting and somewhat troubling. He said one of the things he was grateful for is the fact that we are not in bankruptcy.  Fortunately, we are not in that situation and we proceeded to explain that to him, but his thoughts probably are reflective of so many children. Since September all we have heard is bad economic news. Times are so bad it makes me think of the character in The Wiz who said “don’t go bringing me no bad news”. These are difficult days and we as adults have to face this serious issue with serious solutions, but we have to be mindful of our children. No child should have to worry about bankruptcy. Sadly, this is a reality for so many families this year. My hope is the new administration will have some solutions as we go into a new year. We know our children hear the same news that we do but it is our job to offer them reassurance in these difficult days.

What Kind of First Lady will Michelle Obama Be?

When you are the first anything everything you do is scrutinized. Barack Obama will be the first African American president and Mrs. Michelle Obama will be the first African-American first lady. Everyone has an opinion on what she should do. I recently read an article on cnn.com written by Leslie Morgan Steiner,  in her piece she was suggesting that Mrs. Obama be an outspoken advocate. She should not follow the lead of the Bush women by silently supporting their husbands.  Steiner said “But here’s the beauty of Michelle Obama’s position: She wasn’t elected and she can’t be impeached. Therefore Michelle can be audacious and outspoken about inequities facing women and minorities in America. We live in a country with a crippling rate of teen pregnancy, the highest in the western industrialized world; our African-American women experience family violence at rates 35% higher than white women; and gender-based pay disparity costs women $2 million over a lifetime. Barbara Bush’s advice is particularly dangerous for Michelle Obama, given that African-American women have long been silenced by the “angry black woman” stereotype — despite good reasons to be angry, such as the facts that African-American infants die at twice the national average, and 40 percent of African-American women report suffering coercive sexual attacks by age 18. American women of all ethnicities need Michelle Obama to speak out about these problems and many others.” Steiner, who is white makes some interesting points, but I believe Michelle Obama will find her spot in the White House and she will speak out when she deems it is time. Mrs. Obama is not cut out of the radical Angela Davis mold, nor is she a meek and fragile lily, she is an accomplished woman who knows her husband is the one that was elected to implement change.

Chris Matthews’ Hardball Mocks Palin’s Faith

I am no fan of Sarah Palin. I think things she said about Barack Obama were vile, cruel and in some cases dangerous, but one thing that I do not think should be attacked is her faith. Today on Hardball Matthews mocked the fact that Sarah Palin is outspoken about her relationship with God. In a recent Fox interview she said that she will go through any open door that God opens for her. Matthews found this kind of thinking laughable. He had Kelly O’Donnell the correspondent assigned to the McCain camp as one of his guest. When she spoke about Palin’s faith you could hear Matthews audibly sighing. The beauty of our country is our freedom to worship as we please and the freedom to talk about it. Even if he does not agree with her religious belief he at least should respect them.  This same disdain for Palin’s religious experiences has also been mocked by Keith Olbermann on his show, Countdown.  Throughout the campaign I have watched both shows faithfully and agreed with some of the viewpoints they have espoused, but while I can accept them questioning her ability to be a heartbeat from the presidency, they have no right to question or mock her religious beliefs.  

Newsflash: God is Not a Republican or a Democrat

“There are millions of people around this world praying to their god—whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah—that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their God is bigger than you, if that happens,” said Arnold Conrad, the former pastor of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Davenport. (cnn.com)

These are the words of a minister who gave the invocation at a McCain rally in Davenport Iowa yesterday. Of course the McCain crew denounced the remarks, but they are out there now. As this campaign becomes more and more divisive each day the McCain gang contiually tries to spotlight Obama’s otherness. We have ministers making statements not based on fact, but based on the “exoticness” of Barack Obama. This is another way of making Barack Obama less American. As a Christian I find it offensive when someone is so dismissive of other religions. To reduce God to weapon in the Republican arsenal is disturbing. This is just part of the ramped up rhetoric of the McCain gang. Neither party has exclusive ownership of God the reality is He is bigger than this election.

Preachers Can’t Say Vote for Obama, but They Can Say This

This is a historic time in our nation’s history. We will have an opportunity on November 4th to vote for a black man for president, but preachers can not tell their parishioners who to vote for in this election.  A friend of mine told me a joke her preacher shared with the members yesterday.

JOKE: This couple owned a parrot and every morning when the wife would come down the stairs the parrot would say “you are ugly.” She told her husband that he needed to talk to the parrot. So the husband told the parrot to stop saying it. The next day the wife came down and the parrot called her ugly again.  the husband told the parrot to knock it off or he was going to get rid of him. The next day the woman came down and looked at the parrot and the parrot looked at the wife and said “you know.”

So all the preacher needs to say is “you know.”