This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


What is the scariest thing you can think of?  A dozen gang members breaking into your home?  Opening the wrong door and walking into the ebola room at the hospital?  Freddy Kruger in your dreams?  None of that scares me.  You know what really scares me?

Human Resources.

Frankly, I can't believe I made it this long without beeping on their radar.

So, without too much detail lest I implicate myself and changing the story just a little bit, I made a mistake, a violation of the rules.  It was a big one too, apparently.  No, I didn't curse out a customer, manager or co worker.  No I didn't tell the gay black jewish prostitute joke, well, not at work.  No I didn't sell secrets to the Chinese, they already have them.  Nor did I write a blog or article  unveiling information on future products or internal issues.  Nope, what I did pales those simple pedestrian violations of conduct.

What I did was copy and paste trouble shooting steps and emailed them to the customer having an issue.

I know, I know, how can you possibly read any further.  You must be thinking now I've sold my soul to Satan or Facebook, but now I'm repeating myself.  Yes, rather than orally read the steps over the phone to the customer I emailed them so he or she - see, covering myself here - could do them on his or her own.  And the person who provided me those troubleshooting steps somehow, well, they guessed, due to the email I received from the customer and forwarded to the person, apparently they knew of one line in one of the ten thousand documents we are required to know, that says we can't do that and because person is under 30, I would bet, did write me back telling me I wasn't suppose to do that, nope.  Did they write me back and CC my boss saying "don't bleepin ever bleepin copy and paste my bleepin trouble shooting steps again".  No, they notified HR.

Interesting side note, random sample of 7 other people I work with and 6 of 7 didn't know it either and 5 of the 7 had done it also.

fortunately, my manager has my back, I think.   Because when I read the article I pointed out besides doing something I wasn't suppose to do I also saw something I didn't do that I was suppose to do and she was kind enough to totally ignore that in the meeting, though he/she was kind enough to include it in the report to HR so now I have two violations instead of one.


But this doesn't really surprise me.  Fortunately I was able to keep my mouth shut of about a dozen other rules I've broken or bent and leads to the topic of the blog tonight.

Generational differences.

I grew up in an era where there were rules, but rules could be bent or broken in specific situations.  For example, you are passing a pond with NO SWIMMING signs.  As you pass, you hear a scream and a small child is struggling in the water.  So you dive in, swim out, and save the child.  You are a hero.

Problem is today, when you get back to shore, the police are waiting for you and place you under arrest.  The social services comes out and interviews the parents because obviously they are unfit parents of the child.  The hero is facing criminal charges for violating the NO SWIMMING signs, as well as federal charges for EPA violations.

The point is, people once exercised discretion, discrimination; understanding that every law has it's exceptions in certain circumstances.  That is why Harry Hoodlum coming to school with a switchblade in his pocket would be suspended but Billy Boy Scout with a Scout Knife in his pocket would not be suspended.  It's why if cops busted a couple of teens necking with a six pack they just poured out the six pack and sent you on your way.  Today, the boy scout gets suspended too, and the teens get busted and a record.

Zero Tolerance.  There are no exceptions to the rules.  Goose and gander suffer the same fate.  So I sit this weekend, wonder when HR comes back from the holidays, if anyone else was ever fired for this violation, then I too will be fired.  Because, if one person is fired and another is not, then the fired person can make some claim of discrimination.  Laws, lawsuits, and human resources.  Freddy Kruger with degrees.

But what is really behind this is thinking, or lack thereof.  See, when there are no choices, then people aren't required to think.  You have a few rules, and it leaves so much open for creativity, interpretation, flexibility.  Have lots of rules and no creativity, no interpretation, no flexibility.  Have too many rules and no one can know them all, no one can know for sure if they are violating a rule or not.

And the trouble with never learning how to think, never recognizing alternatives, consequences, and such.  It's like the coin flipping question.  You have an unbiased coin and are going to flip it 10 times.  The first 9 times it comes up heads.  What are the odds of heads on the last flip?

Most people answer 50/50, but that is wrong.  But that is how we are trained to think - each event is totally independent, no connection or connectiveness.  50/50 is wrong, things are connected.  The correct answer is .000098 probability or 100% probability, because for the latter, your assumption of unbiased is wrong.

So I wonder if the person that notified human resources realized the series of events he/she set in motion, did he/she even consider the person would be fired?  Did he/she even give a thought to a 57 year old man being made unemployed?  At the holidays?  No, bet it never crossed their mind and never will cross their mind, well, don't be the last one, I have their email.  They will know.

So what did I learn?  Well, if I survive this round, never use that department for help again.  Frankly, between you and me, if the 3 months I've sent over 1/2 a dozen requests and have yet to get a solution anyways.  Secondly, never again use my work email with customers.  Since it is only logical to assume that there are other rules out there I don't know, I need to eliminate sources for those errors.  This is the second time I had an email issue; about a month ago some woman didn't like the answer and after we exchanged some emails she got real nasty on a daily basis so I finally blocked her.  I did tell my manager about it.

Funny how he/she never mentioned the blind CC thing then.

And when you think that your life isn't right.
You know the day isn't always like night.
You've had your peace now it's time for you to fight.
Just give your best to your friends.

I'm just a clown that used to run around .
I used to have a million friends.
I used to start where ev'rybody ends .
So I just give my best to my friends.

And when you think that your life isn't right.
You know the day isn't always like night.
You've had your peace now it's time for you to fight.
Just give your best to your friends.

Bee Gees  pre disco