Ghosts In The Machine

My apologies for taking so long to write a post. I’ve been entirely unmotivated to do so.

To those of you that I asked to let me know when I get slack on posting on my blog, you’re fired.  I’m still here, still alive and I’ve done my best not to completely fuck up my life anymore.  Quite the opposite.  Things are actually going pretty well and moving forward.  Moving slowly, but forward.  Kind of like the Veterans Administration, except they move slowly and sideways, but I’ll get to that.

First, it’s been a while but I wanted to introduce you to the recent giveaway book winners.  Yep, that is plural, even though I only had one giveaway.  The winner of my giveaway of Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor, Meg Hammil of Akron, Ohio was kind enough to send me a pic of her with her prize.



The second giveaway winner is, well . . . me.  No, I did not give myself a book.  Jeff over at Jeff and Jill Went Up The Hill was kind enough to let a computer program choose me at random to win my very own copy of The Big Book of Parenting Tweets put together by our good friend Kate Hall of Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine.  So thank you very much to both Jeff and Kate!

Doing a very poor imitation of “Jeff in the Electric Forest” with my book.


Since you didn’t win because we all know who did, be sure and pick up your own copy using one of the links above.  You won’t be sorry and I wasted far too much time trying to get those Amazon links to center in the post, so I give up and it’s time to move on.


I haven’t entirely been unmotivated.  I’ve been struck with the “that would make a great blog post” itch on several occasions, but having been busy or otherwise occupied at the time, all of those itches failed to get scratched and then the idea was lost and forgotten and I’ll be damned if I have any idea what they were.  You’d think I would carry around a notepad to jot this shit down, or actually put the notepad app on the iPhone to use, but no, I just let that shit fly away.

Instead I’ve returned to doing the stuff that I was doing before I flipped my life upside down a couple of months ago. Thanks to the Congressman, I’ve returned to work at the hospital where I was, doing the same thing I was doing before and with the same people.  That’s the good part.

The bad part is that they have only allowed me to work 3 days a week and I have to spend the other 2 applying for any and all jobs that I can find, which I’ll take at this point because they’ll only give me 24 goddamn hours of work a week.  I’ve also got to attend resume writing classes and interview skills classes.

It’s all part of the program, ya see.  The program I got back into in order to hold me over until I can get hired permanently at the hospital, which is currently slated for August, but the people of the program don’t care about that.  What they care about is that I blew the whistle on them to a Congressman that didn’t appreciate their bullshit and now they had to take me back in.

So they let me back in.  Also, they are pissed about it, so they are going to go out of their way to make it as miserable for me as possible.

Fuck ’em.  Two can play at that game.

On the upside of that, I’ve actually learned a few things about resume writing from the classes.  For example, forget every fucking thing they ever taught you in high school about writing a resume.  It’s all different now.

  • Objective – Remember that introductory sentence or two full of bullshit that you were supposed to put at the top?  Not anymore.  Leave that shit off.
  • Two pages or less rule – This still applies, however now they claim that all the most important stuff should be in the first 1/3 of the front page, so learn brevity or work with a microscopic font, it doesn’t matter, because . . .
  • Nobody is actually going to read the fucking thing.  It would seem that our resumes are now run through some kind of software that searches the resume for “keywords”.  The computer then searches through the resume looking for certain words to pop up that are pre-determined by whoever is looking for new employees.  The resumes are then separated by the computer into “possible hires” and “rejections”.
  • Should your resume hit the “rejection” pile because you used the word “sorted” rather than “organized”, it is then either deleted or shredded, because guess what kids, no response at all is the new “we’re sorry, but you just don’t have the qualifications we are looking for.”  You must be as polite as possible.  The hiring entity, however, can be as rude as fucking possible and you just have to put up with that shit.
  • Assuming the computer puts you in the “possible hires” pile, it is then passed to some idiot who isn’t going to look past the top 1/3 of the page and decide to hire you based on your name, email address and the last two jobs you had.  That said, make sure you don’t use your address on a resume.
  • Do not put references or the words “references available upon request” on your resume.  They have finally figured out that you always list your drinking buddies to pose as your former boss, so they don’t bother to waste their time anymore.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is that your resume should absolutely, positively be 125% bullshit.  I don’t care if you are applying to do the laundry at a brothel, your resume had better make you look like Steve Jobs rode the short bus and licked the windows.  Don’t forget to use the keywords “biologicals” and “protein stain” on that particular resume.

To keep this post from ending right here, let’s pretend you won the lottery and the machines have chosen you as a prospective employee.  You are now faced with the interview.  For the most part, the rules haven’t changed for the interview.  Dress nicely, don’t be a dick and try not to scratch your balls.  They have pretty much decided whether or not to hire you before you ever show up for the interview, so short of masturbating in their office or them noticing that the last 2/3rd’s of your resume are the lyrics to Right Here, Right Now by Jesus Jones, your fate was pre-determined.

At the end of the day, all that matters is that you look good on paper . . . to a computer.  The Terminator movies were not as far off as we may have thought.  The machines seem to be running the show.

I currently have about 17 resumes, each tailored with the appropriate keywords for different types of jobs.  I could also give two shits about any of them because I still have my sights set on the job waiting for me in August.  I have not discounted the possibility that I may not get it, but those chances are getting slimmer and slimmer by the day.  I’ll survive and be able to get a job elsewhere if necessary.  I just have to be smarter than the machines and pray to God nobody ever Googles my name or I’m fucked.

I think I’ll just use a pseudonym on my resume instead.

It’s good to be back.  I’m feeling good and doing well and a million thanks to everyone that has been keeping up with me.  I’ll be around here a little more often as things return to a little bit better than normal.  I’ve missed everyone and really got a kick out of all the reports from BlogU on my Facebook feed.  That is a goal I have for next year.  I want to meet all those awesome bloggers.

In the meantime, I’ll keep chugging along doing what I gotta do.

I’ve become addicted to a game on my phone too, so if anyone is playing SimCity Buildit and has a Game Center or fake Facebook account to play it with, I really need expansion parts.

Oh, and cheese.

And bread rolls.


and probably a new 12-step program.

To the creators of this game . . .


The Human Resources Vortex


It’s been a while.  A long, long while and I have no valid excuse.

I haven’t been absent.  Just haven’t been writing.  You all have seen me on Facebook, so you know I’ve been around.  I’ve been reading your stuff too.  I just haven’t commented on your blogs because, well, frankly I haven’t even bothered to turn on the computer much at home and trying to post a comment on a blog from the phone can be a maddening effort.

It’s not your fault.

I’ve been tense, and while I’ve said that writing helps ease that tension sometimes, the things I have had to say or post have just been angry or rampant bitching and I’m sure you don’t want to hear that.

I do, however, think you ought to know why I’ve been absent from here.

For those of you who might be new here and don’t know of my recent background, I’ve spent the last 6 months in a program for Veterans that help me find decent work while they allow me to work in the VA Hospital here and make an hourly rate so I don’t starve while I’m looking.

Sounds like a pretty good idea, right?

In theory, it is, and largely, it has worked.

But like any government program, it is flawed and overwhelmed with idiocy.

It has worked because I have job offers within the hospital.  GOOD job offers with fast and impressive growth potential.  Federal government positions that pay well and put me in positions of ever-increasing responsibility with raises to match.  Federal government benefits and I’ll even start off with 4 weeks of paid vacation a year because my service in the US Marine Corps will count toward my time in service with the government.

I have no less than 4 positions that are ready and waiting for me to start in them.

“So why so tense, E?”

I’ll tell you why.

Because everything has to go through Human Resources.


For those of you who aren’t familiar with HR at a Veterans Hospital, let me break it down for you.  This is a group of people who decide who is qualified for what jobs and whether or not to send the applications and resumes to the people actually looking for the help to review them.

That might be a little confusing, so let me try to clear that up for you. . . .

Let’s say Dr. Foot needs a Medical Technician to help him.  Cleaning up after patients leave, taking vital signs, updating patient records, assisting in procedures, etc.  Dr. Foot then creates the job posting and sends it to HR to post on  When you send in your applications and resumes, they don’t go to Dr. Foot, they go to HR.  If you’re lucky, within a couple of weeks, someone in HR will get off their ass and maybe review your application.  Then, maybe, a couple weeks after that, they will send your application to Dr. Foot (known as a referral) if and only if, the unqualified pencil pusher at HR has decided if you are qualified to even be referred to Dr. Foot, because HR has its own standards upon which to base your qualification.  Such as:

  • Number of years in military service and type of discharge.
  • Whether or not you are a disabled veteran.
  • HOW disabled are you? (This one gets better, hang on.)
  • When did you serve in the military? (This one does too.)
  • Are you mentally unstable and require psychiatric care? (At least I have a check mark in one category.)

So again, why am I tense?  I served a complete contract with the US Marines, left with an Honorable Discharge, served in between the first and second “Desert” campaigns and I am not disabled.  I was also a Paramedic and an EMT Instructor for 5 years, so I should be a prime candidate to work in the VA Hospital.

Also, I’m bat-shit crazy, so cherry on top.

The discharge is good, but I’m not disabled, and that is a problem.  If I was at least 30% disabled, they’d invent a fucking job for me.  I wouldn’t even have to be qualified to actually perform the job, but I’m not disabled, so I get slid down the list.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against taking care of our disabled vets.  I support it completely and I’m glad that there is something available to them, but let’s do this with some common fucking sense here.  You have a job that requires heavy lifting, continuous walking and pushing of heavy carts around the building and a guy that needs a nap and a tank of oxygen after he carries his lunch across the cafeteria is going to get preference for that job.

That’s good for the disabled vet.  That’s bad for the supervisor that actually needs to get the job done and total bullshit to the guy that needs the job and can actually DO it.  It’s a hospital.  Shit needs to get done or people DIE.

Now we’ll rub a little more salt in the wound because I apparently did not serve during the right time.  When I was in the Marines, there was no technically recognized campaign going on.  Like I said, I served between Desert Storm and Desert Shield, but my military service doesn’t count because there wasn’t anyone getting shot at (that the public knows about) at the time I was in the Marines.

I was actually turned away from an interview for a wage-grade position with Housekeeping because I wasn’t in the military during a time of war.

Human Resources decided I wasn’t qualified to push a fucking broom, folks. . . .

. . . but the guy that runs supply is standing on his desk to get me into the position with him which is 4 pay grades higher and has a much bigger promotional potential.

. . . and Dr. Foot personally told me to send in my application because she was posting the job because she specifically wanted me to get it, which is 5 pay grades higher.

. . . ALL THREE of my bosses at the place I’m currently working via the program are trying to get a position created FOR ME, because I put that place together from scratch beginning on the day that new building opened its doors and nobody knows it like I do.

Human Resources is the place applicants go to die.  It is the choke point of the hospital.

Just to give you an idea, here is how the application with Dr. Foot is going. . . .

  • She posted and told me about the job on February 9th
  • I submitted my application, resume and all required paperwork on February 9th
  • The posting closed (stopped accepting applications) on February 27th
  • As of today, March 24th, the status of my application is “Received”

Which means that the job was requested two months ago.  I applied for the job two months ago.  The person that asked that I apply for the job hasn’t seen ONE application come her way yet, and my application is still sitting in HR being all “received” but as of yet, still completely untouched, looked at or even acknowledged.

For all I know, it’s someone’s goddamn coffee cup coaster.

You have people that need work, and you have people that need important work done . . . and in between you have Human Resources, unqualified to be on either end, deciding who is qualified.

So, having gone through the process backwards and starting with the people that need the help, I’ve opened the proper doors, but it’s going slow.

Very slow.

Federal Government slow.  Like the kinda slow when they owe you money and not the other way around

I’ve harassed every department chief I can find.  I’ve got people pulling favors for favors for favors.

I have contacted my Congressman, and he is interested in what I have to say and I had a response from him within 24hours.  Unfortunately, that is moving at Federal Government slow as well.

In the meantime, I am in this program designed to help me . . . until Friday, because then I have been in the program for 6 months and that is all the time they will give me.  Because every other person I have been in this program with has been extended to 9 months, a year and in one case, 18 months, to accommodate for the time required to wait on Human Resources, for some reason they are determined that I will get no extension and I will be out at 6 months.  Period.  End of story.  Good fucking luck, Marine.

They have straight up lied to me.  Told me shit I wanted to hear just to get me out of their office only to claim they never said it the next time I walk in.  They tell me they can’t give me an extension . . . while I’m standing next to a guy that is in his 9th month.  My boss has stood in their office and pleaded that he “NEED him.  We are going to be lost without him” and nothing.  The counselor insists that I should already be gone and that he is “hiding me” from his bosses as a favor to me, and then insists that I spend two days a week at their office . . . where I pass his bosses 15 times a day in the hallway.

I’m sorry, but can you smell the bullshit too?

What do I know?  I’m apparently not qualified to push a broom.

I’ve been busting my ass for six months to get into this job and I’m stuck behind bureaucratic bullshit and endless, nonsensical paperwork and people who keep changing stupid rules to other, newer, improved stupid rules that don’t make any sense and are devoid of any logic.

I’m tired.  I’m angry.  I’m frustrated.  I’m worried.

I just want to work and help take care of my fellow veterans.  Somebody needs to be.

I have 3 more days and I go back to broke and unemployed.

At least I know what to put on my cardboard sign I’ll be holding at the end of the exit ramp.


Now you know why I’m so tense, and why I’ve been so absent.

My day will come, and I’ll be back around.   Bear with me, Friends.

I love all ya’ll.

I’d like to ask everyone a favor, in particular my fellow male bloggers and in more particular still . . . the Daddy Bloggers out there.  I want to introduce you to my good friend that I even know in real life.  He’s tentatively taking a step into the blogging world, and God knows I’m all for encouraging more male bloggers, especially when they’re this damn funny.  So if you would, please go check him out and give him some feedback on his very first blog post EVER on his brand new blog, Big Wood Peddler.

Show him some love, ya’ll!!!


I’m mostly not dead much


It would seem that a faithful Twitter follower called me out last night as to why I might have vanished over the last couple of days.

// know, at least she was sweet about it. Continue reading “I’m mostly not dead much”

“Doesn’t play well with others” and why it should be allowed on my resume’

This will no longer be necessary.
This will no longer be necessary.

For those of you that have been following along the last few weeks, I’m happy to announce that as of tomorrow I will no longer be an unemployment statistic.  Thanks to the tremendous help of the VA, I’ll start working at the hospital for a while and the VA will help me get training, schooling, certifications or whatever else I may need to help me find a permanent position in a field I am interested in.  In other words, it’s time to stop bouncing between shitty, hourly wage jobs that never take me anywhere like I’ve done up to this point.  Well, except for one job and that is the one that actually made me qualified as the “V” in the VA. Read the rest . . .