Friday, January 30, 2009

Grading the 2009 Columbus Blue Jackets Job Fair

Two months ago I received an e-mail from the Columbus Blue Jackets organization letting me know about their annual job fair. The message said that many different companies would be in attendance and they'd be looking for folks to fill positions such as IT support, sales, marketing, teaching, and internships. Since my job search has not gleaned much lately, I decided to buy my tickets then and there. They even threw in a ticket to the Blue Jackets game that night when you purchased your ticket for the fair so that was another reason to go.

Ever since then I've been patiently waiting for the fair. Today, my wait ended. But was it worth it?

I'm going to grade the job fair in five categories on a scale from 0-5 with 5 being the best.

3.5 out of 5

The set up for the fair itself was nicely spaced and took up the entire oval surrounding the hockey rink in Nationwide Arena. This allowed for good traffic flow.

Yet the mark down comes from the lack of helpful arena staff. Some folks received a map of the layout and where the companied were stationed. Others did not. Some folks got a list of what positions the companies were looking to fill. Others did not. I'll give you one guess as to who didn't get either of those!

2 out of 5

Of the 30 companies in attendance, 15 of them were either looking to fill unpaid internships OR were only handing out informational pamphlets about the company itself.

WHAT? Who is looking to support their family by getting an unpaid internship?

My favorite moment of lunacy came when I began talking with a representative at the Cardinal Health booth. We shook hands, exchanged names, and I asked her what positions her company was looking to fill. She proceeded to hand me information on how to fill out an online job search profile on their website. When my profile is completed, available positions matching my qualifications would be e-mailed to me.

WHAT? If I needed to go online to find a job with your company, why did I pay 30 bucks to come here? Better still, if that is all the help you are, what are you doing here?

4 out of 5

The only reason this number is not a 2 is the excellent play of the Columbus Blue Jackets in their game that took place three hours after the fair. They won their game 1-0 over the Ottawa Senators in a very physical, fast paced contest. Great goal tending by Steve Mason tonight. Very entertaining. It was my first NHL live game and I highly recommend going to see one.

3 out of 5

This number would have been alot higher if the companies who were only looking to fill internships hadn't bothered to show up. If college students want to find internships in their chosen field of study, let their college/university help them find it. Or, they can do what I did, go out and make your own opportunities by giving companies a call or going online.

2.5 out of 5

I stayed up until 3am making sure I had 15 updated business cards and 35 pristinely printed resumes on 20 and 24-pound paper stock. I only handed out 5 resumes and not a single business card. I spent 30 bucks in tickets, 15 bucks in parking, and 20 bucks for dinner (including 3 beers) and basically got a little buzz before watching a good hockey game.

The only saving grace besides the hockey game was getting to talk with the folks from Dale Carnegie. I had seen their company listed in the line-up and briefly looked them up online before the fair but I was pleasantly surprised at what they had to offer. I had a nice conversation with a very helpful and cheerful lady named Candice who seemed like she was genuinely interested in what I could do for her company. I'm very much looking forward to hearing back from the lady in charge of their corporate trainers (which is the positions I'm interested in learning more about).

15 out of 25

If this was grade school, the 2009 Columbus Blue Jackets Job Fair would have received a 60% on its report card.

The only bright spots were the Blue Jackets themselves and three to five conversations I had with local business representatives.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where the Fighting is

This is in response to yesterday's post concerning Covenant School beating Dallas Academy 100-0 in girls' basketball. While he disagrees with me in one respect, I enjoyed reading Mark Davis' opinion on the matter. I hope you do as well.

Here it is.

Mark Davis appears as a special contributor in the Dallas Morning News and can be heard on his local morning radio show weekdays 8:30 to 11 a.m. on WBAP-AM, News/Talk 820 in Dallas.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Coach Fired...for Winning?

The reason remains unclear but the girls' basketball team at Covenant School, a Christian high school near Dallas, Texas, is without a head coach.

On January 13th, Covenant beat the girls of Dallas Academy in a 100-point shutout. Yes, you read that right, the final score of the game was 100-0. Covenant led 59-0 at the half.

This story ,written by the Associated Press, says that Covenant school administrators apologized to Dallas Academy requesting that the game be forfeited. They expressed shame and embarrassment that their head coach, Micah Grimes, who run-up the score in a game that was far out of reach before the first half had ended.

The apology, in part, said,

"It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened. This clearly does not reflect a Christlike and honorable approach to competition".

Grimes, after having read the school's apology which was published in the Dallas Morning News as well as Covenant School's website, responded on the newspaper's online edition just yesterday:

"In response to the statement posted on The Covenant School Web site, I do not agree with the apology or the notion that the Covenant School girls basketball team should feel embarrassed or ashamed. We played the game as it was meant to be played. My values and my beliefs would not allow me to run up the score on any opponent, and it will not allow me to apologize for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honor and integrity".

Today, Covenant School released Grimes from his duties as coach of the girls' team.

Very few details about the game itself have been made public thus far save for a 2-minute news story about how the Dallas Academy girls' team is taking their new found infamy.

That being said, if Coach Grimes was fired because of the way his team performed, then that truly is a shame! If Coach Grimes was fired because he publicly disagreed with his administrators, that too is tragic!

Since when has learning how to lose been a bad thing? Why must we shield our kids from defeat? Is it not through defeat that we learn our greatest lessons? After all it was Amos Bronson Alcott who said,

"Success is sweet and sweeter if long delayed and gotten through many struggles and defeats."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow also said,

"Noble souls, through dust and heat, rise from disaster and defeat the stronger."

Now don't get me wrong, there are steps a coach can and should take to lessen the blow on an over-matched squad. Replace your starters with your third string players for example. How about making ten passes before taking a shot. But, because we don't know what exactly happened in this game, how do we know Grimes didn't try to take it easy on Dallas Academy? Covenant was attempting three-pointers during the fourth quarter of the game but that is up for interpretation.

Even if he didn't go easy them, Grimes was hired to win basketball games not schedule basketball games. I don't think a 100-0 game is reason enough to fire anyone, especially considering the lessons the girls' team at Dallas Academy has taken from this experience, but if someone must get canned then let it be the athletic directors of both schools. They are the ones responsible for scheduling games and this one shouldn't have been scheduled in the first place.

And what of 'Christlike competition'? Is it Christlike to take obviously bad shots, miss shots on purpose, or post no defensive effort at all just to make it easier for David to get a morale boast over Goliath? Give me a break! What next, change the English vernacular of 'winners and losers' to 'winners and non-winners'?

What I find more disgusting than the unemployment of a winning coach, is the treatment of the story from the Associated Press. The AP goes to great lengths to paint Micah Grimes as cruel Bobby Knight wannabe running it up on a poor, defenseless, small, upstart Christian school where only 20 of its students are female. And don't you just feel sorry for the girls' team when you hear that the team only has 8 girls on it, some of whom have never played the game of basketball before.

Well, that Micah Grimes gets what he deserves then doesn't he? That savage! He's picking on GIRLS! Why, they don't even know how to play! Burn him! Burn him at the stake!

What the AP doesn't tell you is that the athletic director from Dallas Academy is rescheduling the rest of his team's season as to avoid any more underwhelming outcomes (The reason the AP USSR omits the information is so the reader continues to feel sorry for the young, helpless girls upon which this Grimes fiend is preying).

Really? Maybe it would have been nice if he had considered that before putting Covenant School on the schedule in the first place?

If someone is to lose his/her job it should be because he/she did not deliver on the job description. At last I knew, the job of a coach is to win games and put butts in the seats. Can't say I agree with the letting go of a coach who prepares his team well enough that the third string smokes a team 100-0.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

America's Cancer

The other day, while filling out an online job application, I came across a check box that I'd never seen before. This box appeared at the very end of the application after all the obligatory identification and, more importantly, skills, work history, and educational information had been given. The line next to the box said something on the order of,

"If you feel you qualify as a diversity status candidate, check this box".
With my culturally dissenting opinion concerning the state of racism in America in mind, I clicked the box filling it in. I know what the human resource specialists meant when they included the word, "diversity", but I felt justified in my decision. Those HR folks will probably be a little miffed if or when they discover I'm a white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant male.

The same application also set aside a special place for me to declare my ethnicity. While the box took great pains to spell out that the applicant's information would in no way be factored into a hiring decision I knew it to be a rouse.

Due to the fear of political correct noncompliance, corporations must now prove the makeup of their workforce shows no favor one race over another. Yet this fear has blossomed into lunacy with the advent of the quota. It is the consequence of this fear that white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant males such as myself are an unwanted...make that less sought-after...hire.

For the purpose of self-preservation, I chose: "declined to identify". It is hard enough in this economy to find a good job that will translate into a great career, I don't need to be disqualified from consideration simply because I'm in the racial and/or gender majority.

Unfortunately, that is how the race card is played in America today. Federally funded colleges and universities, for example, aren't allowed to accept new students on the basis of academics alone but must make certain waivers for students of a particular race or ethnic group.
The University of Michigan gave 20 points out of a possible 150 to applicants if they were African-American. The U.S. Supreme Court struck this down, but still upheld that race should play a factor in the admissions process. ~ Whitney Blake,
While I understand what the U of M and the Supreme Court are trying to accomplish, making concessions for something that is not within the bounds of human control does nothing but feed the cancer that has gripped America for decades: entitlement.

How is the race of an applicant going to make him/her a better or worse employee? How is race going to make one a better or worse student?

We as a nation need to make a collective statement that we no longer put up with racism. That our efforts to bring about equality in America are resolute. Our determination unwavering. We will not judge someone by the color of their skin but by the content of their character as one celebrated civil rights leader once said. Let us throw off the spirit of hatred. Make it known that bigotry has no place among the hearts and minds of the children of liberty.

Yet how do we do this? We can start by learning three things.

  1. There is no such thing as reverse racism. Racism is racism no matter in what direction it is hurled.
  2. If born here or a naturalized citizen, you are an American first. I'm an American of European descent, not a European-American.
  3. When we lift one race over another, we affirm their perceived affliction. This practice negates all of the hard work done to bring about true equality.

In 12 days, I'll be attending a career fair in Columbus. When I walk up to a corporate display and begin talking to the human resources specialist, I hope he/she will see me as a highly skilled, multi-talented, and university-educated prospective employee; not as someone who can't help them fill their "diversity quota".

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