Thursday, February 27, 2014

More than just Facebook

Learning to be bored

As I previously mentioned, work for me right now is finding a job.  Two days a week, sometimes three days, I watch my two year old while my wife goes to work.  Nap time is my "break" and Nap time use to be "Facebook" time.  On my "breaks", like during snack and Dora the Explorer time, I would be checking Facebook or applying to a job.  Now without Facebook and since I have applied to almost every job on LinkedIn that I may want or find remotely intriguing, I have to learn to be bored.  Today, I choose to write about being bored and how I do it ----> normally I am just a couch potato watching HGTV or DYI although I do tape "The Tonight Show" now that Jimmy Fallon is hosting.

I have learned that being bored, is, OKAY ----> In fact, I like my hour of downtime.  Would I rather be working and making money?  Absolutely but for the time being, my job is house Dad, blogger to my one fan and DYI network addict!


Positive Rejection

Finding the Silver Lining in No!

Being without work sucks, I am not going to sugarcoat ----> The last three months have been frustrating but with each rejection I become more positive that the next interview will be the perfect fit for both myself and the company.  Recently, I was given a "we do not think this is challenging enough but we like you and want to look within the company for a different opportunity for you" ----> Positively rejected?

I sent a text to a good friend, a mentor of sorts, a fraternity brother who I look up to and try to emulate in my daily life with the statement I received...Is that a good thing?
"Fuck Ya!"  was the response I received.  
 I responded to the company with positive disappointment, thanking them for the opportunity and requesting when I should follow up regarding the next opportunity after they speak with the person in charge.  I questioned, for a few moments, the sincerity of the rejection, was this just the way they reject people?  I, then felt the need to remain positive and keep plugging away as the company showed nothing but respect to me throughout the process and nothing about their tone changed even in their rejection message.  As a result, I wait, like those who survived the sinking of the Titanic, in the cold world of unemployment for someone on a boat to come and scoop me up, put a blanket around me and tell me, "I'm glad you are here"


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Inspired by Accident

Time on my Side

Last week, I took a train ride from the western suburbs to the city of Chicago for an interview.  During my ride, I found myself looking at updates of my connections on LinkedIn when I came across an article about the new president of Seton Hall University.   The story was commented on someone I went to college with briefly, Christine.  I clicked on her profile to see what she was doing for a career and I found she had written a book called, "Willing my Way Back."

I really do not read many books, I do not own a tablet and while I enjoy reading historical novels, I never finish anything because I get bored way too easily.  I was interested in finding out what Christine endured that she had to "Will her way Back" so I searched for the book on the play store of my phone.

I began to read the book and in the first few pages learned that several years back, Christine went into the hospital with a migraine and a few days later was heading into surgery to  remove a brain tumor.I went to college with Christine and while she is a couple years older than me, we interacted at Fraternity/Sorority functions and FBNC related events. I spent quite a bit of time with the other members of my fraternity and as a result, knew Christine.  As the President of the sorority, Christine's leadership and outside the box thinking projected to her chapter.  My learning, that after many years of not knowing she had any  issues, potentially endured and survived a brain tumor peeked my the book.  After reading several pages, google books yelled at me that my preview was over so I purchased the book and continued reading it until I arrived in city.

Christine told her story how she went from a migraine, to a brain tumor diagnosis, into surgery, to an actual finding of a blood clot, to not being able to follow conversations or do daily things again, simple things, that she learned as a child, like how to bathe.  The story intertwines emails written by his sister to her family with updates about her condition and their replies as she does not have a full memory of the events. I got about 1/2 way through the book on the way  to my interview.  

I attended my interview and then on the way back home on the express train, decided to continue to read the story.  I did not expect to finish it on that train ride but an accident between a train and a car caused a 30 minute train ride to become a 1.5 hour train ride (thankfully the stupid lady who went too far on the tracks and her dog were okay, her car...not so much!.  As a result, I finished her book.

Thankfully, Christine has fully recovered and has been fully healthy for over a decade.  Her inspirational story reminded me that life is WAY TOO SHORT and WAY TOO UNPREDICTABLE.  She inspired me to look forward in life and not backward, she inspired me to keep  plugging away and apply to more jobs so that more opportunity could present itself.  After finishing her story, I reached out to her and told her the story of how I found her story, how it inspired me and I requested her permission to share it with my audience (all 1 of you). She sent me the below reply:

"Of course, you are welcome to write about it on your blog.  I didn’t know you had one; I’ll have to check it out.  Hope the interview was a huge success!"
Sweet - 2 readers!

I realized that while I was reading her story that had I not gone off Facebook and spent more time networking and trying to connect with people on a more professional basis, I would not have found Christine's story.   There are things I miss about Facebook, like making fun of people or complaining in a social form in more than 140 characters but I definitely have a ton of extra time, time I can use to read a book, 75 pages on my phone or 1000 pages on my phone.  If anything, Christine taught me that you can do anything if you work hard enough to reach your goal, overcome your fears and  inspire others by example!

So check out Christine Emmerich's book, "Willing my Way Back" - it is a quick, short read and one that should inspire you to achieve even the simplest of tasks in life.


The Group Interview & The future of Facebook

I've become an expert on many things in a short period of time and interviewing is one of them.  I can now basically predict the questions I'll be asked.  While this makes the process more challenging because I have to keep it fresh, it also makes it more interesting.  One of my last interviews was a group interview where a panel of potential bosses fired questions at me like a firing squad.  About 1/2 way through the interview I had decided that this group of people was really a great team and someone I would like to work for in the future. Teamwork is important and  this seems to be the message that Facebook is trying to jettison going forward with their purchase of message at WhatsApp.  Text Messaging is the current wave of the future and my prediction is that Facebook will use their new found 19 billion dollar company to eventually allow users to post Facebook statuses as text message.  They current allow you to text your status to other people but not the other way, this type of two way communication will help Facebook compete with up in coming apps like Snap Chat.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wish Me Luck

Interviewing without Facebook Support

Since I have lost my job on November 15th, I would post updates on interviews or job offers received.  It was a way of keeping people up to date and a way to look for moral support.  Unlike, Stepbrothers,John C Reilly isn't sitting directly behind me and without Facebook, I don't have this moral support of multiple people outside my family.  (Sarcasm alert) My wife, her family, my parents are very supportive but not as uplifting as multiple likes on Facebook.
"Interview went well today ---->Praying for an offer!" = 64 likes!  Now that feels GREAT!
 So, I ask for prayers today as I try to sell myself to the hiring managers at a downtown office.  I need this job for my family, for my sanity and for the sanity of those around me.  Like my blog and share it with others.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Forum to Complain

Facebook - Biatch fest!

One of the nice things about social media is that you can use it as a forum for anything you want.  It is more difficult to complain about your day on Twitter as a complaint in 140 characters is just more of a blurp and not a session.  Facebook provides you with multiple lines and multiple forums to air your dirty laundry or just complain.  It is used when someone dies, it is used when someone fires you or when someone doesn't do what you want (although if it is work related, it's best to not say what you actually feel).

Today, I am certain I would be making some shameful comment on Facebook but since I am not on Facebook, I cannot so that complaint will just have to wait until I sit on my therapist's couch tomorrow night.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014


The Symptoms

As a former smoker, withdrawal is nothing new to me. When I finally quit smoking after almost twenty years, the first three days were not only painful but also annoying. I hated it and having a smoke would have been the easy way out. I made it through those first three days after which, two almost three years later, I am healthier and happier than ever. My withdrawal from "The book" was a little more difficult. Like I said in my initial post, I did reactivate after a few days to check on the status of my alumni status of fraternity and while I did complain multiple times about how dumb the idea actually was, I survived. This time, my addiction is much more involved as it had nothing do with the future of my daughter or my health, it has to do with my involvement in society and the happenings of others. How in the world would I know who went to the mall today to pick up a new tie if I am not on Facebook? Most people who are not on Facebook do so because they don't care or have a fear of losing their privacy. Others join Facebook but never actually go on it and the last third of people not on Facebook either are trying to avoid the 1.3 billion people trend My friend Brian) or do not understand how to use a computer (my mom).

What is Conversation?

While my withdrawal symptoms much different then when I left tobacco, I can say that I think I miss Facebook more than I miss smoking.  Facebook doesn't leave a stench on my clothes and make others worry about their health but it does leave me without knowing what is going on within other people's lives.  I feel out of touch with others, with their opinions on sports and the happenings of their lives.   In a way, quitting smoking made me a better person, I smelled better, I could continue conversations without the need to leave the room to smoke and my daughter is healthier because of that decision.  Leaving Facebook, could make me a better conversationalist; potentially a better husband and father as I'll pay more attention to the two people in my life that need the most attention, no offense to my 500 Facebook friends.  Do I worry that I am missing out on the next great news? I am sure at times I do subconsciously, but if someone really wants to include me in the news, they have other ways of communicating with me; like Twitter!

Monday, February 17, 2014

You Quit "The Book"? Catching up!

Catching Up

Yesterday, I saw multiple people who use to be friends on Facebook. Apparently, my absence has not made their hearts grow fonder as they did not realize I was even gone. It may have been a family thing, but the Adamo's all said, "So you quit "The Book" huh?" It was a moment in catch up that was interesting and got me thinking. How often have you been on Facebook or any social media site, some provides a status update and then, they tell you about their post when you see them in person. I, for one, did this all the time; much to the dismay of my friends I am certain. Yesterday was different, I got to share that I am still out of work, that my daughter is crazy and that I love my wife very much. I received updates on upcoming weddings, I actually met the bride who was someone I knew as a Facebook commentator only, got updates on the "firm" as Bobby calls it. I learned that the due date is in May and got an excellent update on Issac. It was fantastic to catch up, something we would have only done by examining each others Newsfeeds. All parties got a giggle that I quit social media (sort of) and started a new blog.

Am I more interesting now? I doubt it but I am certain I have more personal, annoying stories to tell when I finally see people who I see maybe once or twice a year. Fun times at the old St. Eugene Gym!

On a side note, I am very sore today, my hands are swollen and - ah forget it, that's a FB update, not a blog entry.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Facebook Official

When news breaks there is a saying called, "Facebook Official" that resonates with pregnancy's, births and even death (to a certain extent) except without Facebook, this news does not break quite as easily or quite as often. I learned of a birth via text when I asked for a fraternity members phone number, "OMG, I cannot believe I forgot to tell you, the baby was born on Saturday!" I am certain it was on Facebook, not positive but I am certain it was.

A family member passed away this week and in the conversation with my best friend, Mike, I said, "Did you hear that Allan's Dad passed away?" He replied, "Yeah, sad, I sent him a message on Facebook." I am certain he found out about it on Facebook as well. It is social media but it makes us a little less social and a little more reliant on "Facebook Official" rather than personal.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Life Without Social: 60+ days of Facebook Rehab

I resisted social media for several years until I was told about Facebook back in 2007. I did not know of it because I did not pay attention to it, the internet was never something that I cared about outside of online gambling and ESPN. It was that day in Milwaukee where I discovered a soon to be an addiction of my life. I learned two things that rainy Saturday afternoon, 1) Brother Pete told me about some strange website called “Facebook” and 2) Brother Pete was worse at golf that even me! When I arrived home from my trip, I joined and my wife soon followed my lead. That choice began a spiral of out of control social media that took over my daily life, took over my marriage and made me much less interesting that I was prior to Facebook (debatable and not confirmed by any source other than me).

I am still a big fan of the space as I am a stockholder in the company and I will continue to be one for a long, long time. I write this as someone decided to have a life cleanse of Facebook, forced to live life without social media, without knowing when my “friends” were on the potty and with the interaction of my wife and child. Yes, I still have Twitter but I find Twitter to be a place where news happens fast --- You don’t need CNN if you have Twitter and follow the CNN handle just like you don’t need to watch the NFL draft because you have Twitter. I am thinking that maybe after my 60 days without Facebook, I'll try to live without Twitter as well, or I'll rejoin Facebook and quit Twitter - not sure.

My Facebook blackout began on January 6th, 2014. In an effort for full disclosure, I did rejoin for a few moments a week ago to follow up with up with my fraternity about the closing of our undergraduate chapter. After posting my contact information, I quickly deactivated my account. During those five or six minutes, I had two people contact me…”Why are you not on Facebook?” I responded, “Life Cleanse” and then deactivated my account.

The deactivation process is amusing as it shows captions of “friends” telling me how they will miss me. “Don’t go Dan!” Alex says. “You won’t know my daily update on my potty habits,” says Chris! Some have noticed, while others were surprised. The other day I contacted a former co-worker who serves as a professional reference via text to tell him that he may get a call regarding my background in the near future. His response,”I didn’t know what was going on since you defriended me on Facebook!” No, I responded, “I defriended Facebook, not just you!”
My own sister sent me a text message, “OMG why are you not on Facebook? What is going on? Are you okay? Cousin Cindy is trying to get a hold of you and cannot…she’s worried. I replied, “Life Cleanse! Have her text me, give her my phone number!”

That interaction got me thinking, when we all became part of this life that social media ran our lives and we forgot how a phone worked. Even sending a text message, at times, is the preferred way to communicate within most families. I always call my parents because it takes my Mom about an hour to send a text message consisting of the words, “Dinner at 6?” My Dad doesn’t answer the phone and doesn’t understand his fancy Galaxy S3. The last time I saw him, I took his phone and showed him the 5 or 6 text messages that I sent him. I laughed and he responds, “Don’t put it on Facebook!” I respond, “I’m not on Facebook, life cleanse, whatever that means!”

I have found that life without Facebook is difficult when it comes to doing things I did on a daily basis, like commenting on articles on websites like ESPN. I cannot be a contributor as Disney wants me to log into Facebook in order to comment and as soon as I log in, I am again, a member of Facebook – reactivated into the life that I am trying to “cleanse” myself. You are a genius Mr. Zuckerberg and I will continue to keep your stock as it grows into the next great technology company but why do you have to force me to log into your website to comment on ESPN or that Mickey Mouse’s fault?

My wife told me I had a Facebook problem a LONG TIME AGO and I did not think it was much of a problem. I probably knew there was a problem either ignored or did not care. I posted so much that several people have either defriended me because I was “flooding their newsfeed” or have blocked me so I no longer show up in their newsfeed I was mostly found annoying during football games, "10 posts", My friend Mike found it funny to post on my wall the number of posts on my wall for that day, ”20 posts in a matter of 3 hours – I think you need to go to Facebook Rehab!” My wife, Laura, finds being without Facebook much easier that I did or still do, I’m not sure…”You don’t need it, she says as she plays a word on one of our multiple words with Friends games, another company Zynga that started becoming popular because of…well…FACEBOOK!

I am finding that living is different without Facebook, it really did become part of my daily existence. I have noticed I spend more time on Twitter now that ever so I really did replace my Facebook addiction with a new media addiction but one thing at a time. I have noticed that my wife handled it a little better than I especially at first but now I am constantly shown pictures from Pinterest, rather than Facebook - so I guess she is replacing her need for it as well. I feel less connected to the world.

Our lives as a nation have become entrenched in social media, even advertisers are finding Facebook to be the forum of choice so much so that "Social Media Coordinator" is a recent job submit of mine. Seriously, this is a perfect position for me, a social media addict ----> "Must be comfortable with the content and functionality of major social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram" - It is like the company wrote a profile about ME!

While my thoughts are completely random, this is really how Facebook has made our lives…”Heading to the mall, need to buy a new pair of shoes, maybe some gloves”…or “Say a prayer for me as I try to find another job!” Facebook certainly can be a place of heartwarming or encouragement but most of the time, we find ourselves just posting about a TV show, “OMG Scandal is the best TV show EVER!” or in some cases, just complaining about the choices of our coaches.

I have lots of continual thoughts and will certainly share more as the month goes on.