Unemployed Pirate

I have decided that I am an unemployed pirate. It is an interesting job. Well, it’s not really a job, if I’m unemployed. I suppose I’m an unemployed chef, as well, because I made fish sticks for lunch.

Unemployed Pirate
Ye Host, The Unemployed Pirate

Jimmy Buffet said, “Yes, I am a pirate … 200 years too late”, and I know the feeling. I want to be a pirate. However, the hours aren’t that good, there’s apparently lots of work, and you might get killed or imprisoned.

It seems much simpler (and safer) to just take a cruise, demand drinks and food from the cheerful staff, and say, “Thank ye, matey!” when your order is delivered. I’m pretty sure most pirate ships didn’t have room service.

Still, it seems like putting “Pirate” on a resume (or a business card) would stand out as a desired position, and then you would also have the advantage of writing off all your vacation cruises as job training. Tax piracy is still piracy, right?

So, take a GPS on your next cruise. There’s probably one built into your phone. Track your coordinates as you travel from port to port. Now, you’re a navigator. Sure, you probably need to know how to read paper charts and use a sextant, but that’s just if you forget to charge your phone.

Tell your mate to go get you a drink. If you get a drink, you’re the Captain. If you’re told to get your own damn drink, you’re probably just the First Mate. Just don’t ever both wear T-shirts with your “ranks.” It’s very non-pirate.

Yes, I am a pirate. I’m simply unemployed, and I would like a pirate job with decent hours, a medical plan more extensive than just an eye patch and a hook, room and board, and a good chance of advancement. I’d also like a retirement plan a bit more extravagant than a stud earring. Oh, and little chance for arrest.

How much is it worth?

Everyone has food memories from their childhood. Some even have happy food memories.
If you’re like me, and you’re living in the city where you grew up, you may still be able to relive your childhood memories. The only time you can’t is when the place closes. (I really miss Kip’s Big Boy, but I have Frisch’s Big Boy when I visit my grandkids in Ohio.)
I think food memories are hardest on people exiled from their childhood homes (sometimes by choice) where the food is still available, you just can’t get there from here. This is especially true if you are from a cultural background that reveres food.
The Spousal Unit is from Brooklyn and she is Brooklyn Italian. She is … opinionated about food. If you want to get her going, just call “pasta” “noodles” or tell her if she needs pizza, Dominos can be here in a half-hour, and if she really needs an Italian food fix, there’s always the Olive Garden.
Never mention Olive Garden – except to her sisters, who inexplicably like it.
This week, in earth-shaking news, DaVinci Pizzeria, the Spousal Unit’s favorite pizzeria in Brooklyn (and therefore in the world) started shipping their pizza. Shipping, as in having FedEx deliver pizza to anywhere they can reach in two days that is willing to pay the rather pricey shipping charges. (Frozen food requires two-day shipping, which is not cheap.) You can order online, which takes some of the fun out of calling for pizza, but it works. 
DaVinci has Sicilian pizza, which is not pizza. It’s a very thick crust, and you don’t get slices, you get squares. It reminds me of Chicago deep-dish pizza, but I don’t say that out loud, because I want to live.
So, while my wife was reveling in the pizza of her childhood arriving on her doorstep, a lot of other people are complaining directly to the pizzeria on their Facebook page about how much it costs.
These were my (slightly-edited) thoughts which I posted, but their page is wisely moderated, so we’ll see if they think it’s worth posting – it’s a defense of small business and a plea to just mind your own beeswax if you think someone has their priorities out of whack:
To everyone complaining about shipping costs, I feel your pain. As the husband of a Brooklyn expatriate, I have had 19+ years of “You don’t understand! You can’t get that here! I NEED IT.”
 
I’ve only been to DaVinci Pizza once – we were visiting my wife’s family and friends in the area, so we went for lunch. My wife was taking photos of all the food with her cell phone. One of the staff asked if she wanted a picture of the two of us. She said, “Why would I want that? I just need photos of the food.”
 
Any food shipped to Texas from New York is insanely expensive – but it’s mostly the shipping costs, with the possible exception of Junior’s Cheesecake – and they’re relatively famous, so they have volume in their favor. Pastosa Ravioli will ship, but the shipping costs more than the pasta. We tried to order cookies for my wife’s Aunt in Florida once, and decided we just didn’t love her that much. 
 
My only salvation is Jimmy’s Food Store  in East Dallas who has owners that import some critical Italian necessities (as in the aforementioned Pastosa Ravioli.) So, if you’re in Dallas, go to Jimmy’s. Tell them Kevin sent you. 
 
Here’s the issue that Mom and Pop businesses run into – the stores don’t set the shipping rates. They either absorb them which kills their profit or pass them on which annoys their potential customers. Sure, you can ship more slowly, but the food won’t arrive edible. I did think $80+ shipping to get $100 of pizza to Dallas was a bit insane, but it’s cheaper than us flying to Brooklyn and having my wife discover all the other stuff she needs to take home. (It’s also cheaper than a two-day UberEats delivery with the pie in the back of a random driver’s car.) 
 
So, I had really, really good Sicilian pizza last night and a calzone for lunch today, and my wife is happy (Happy wife, well, happy wife.) However, I know my late mom-in-law will put in a good word for me on Judgement Day because I got her favorite child (well, except for her Shih-Tzu) a real Brooklyn Sicilian pizza and I ate a proper calzone.
I didn’t really have much of a choice – I saw the announcement that they were shipping, and I told my wife, so it’s my fault, anyway. My only fear was adding up the costs, and wondering what would happen if it arrived and it sucked.
It didn’t suck.
It may be too expensive for some. However, if it brings someone’s childhood back, even for a moment, that’s worth it.

Kick ‘em when they’re down

A job search is a very painful process when you’re an old, white guy who has spent the last 19 years inside the same company (especially when the company is often an industry punching bag.) So, I should be used to rejection letters by now. I usually don’t mind rejection letters that much, since at least it’s closure, and it’s a chance to think, “I didn’t want to work there, anyway.” With today’s automated application systems, much of the time, your application and resume just go into the bit bucket and you never hear anything at all.

However, some rejection letters are really unnecessarily detailed. Like today’s.

I got an email from a corporate recruiter last week, thanking me for my application (I actually thought I was a reasonable fit for the job), and asking me for some times for us to discuss the position. (I was lucky I saw it, since it was in my spam folder, but I check my spam all the time because I can’t afford to lose a lead.)

It got my hopes up. I should know better by now, but hope spring eternal.

So, I replied, and heard nothing. It’s not a mega corporation, so I thought, “His mail went in my spam folder, maybe mine went in his.” So, I replied again.

This morning, I got a reply.

I reviewed your resume with the manager and compare to the job description and requirements we decided to not move forward.  This system email was sent in error.

Ouch.

So, rejected before the screening call. A new low.

I’m not really sure why this hurt more than the others. I’ve gone through three levels of interviews in before getting rejected twice, but this one really hurts.

I think it’s the implicit “we were wasting our time reviewing your resume.” After all, the erroneous system email was the bright, cheery note that asked me for available times to chat.

So, their applicant system failed twice. First, it told them they might give a shit about me, and then it told me they might actually give a shit about me.

They don’t give a shit about me.

For any other recruiters who may be reviewing my resume, I really don’t need two reasons why I was rejected for your company. Just one is plenty, and is one more than the apparent industry standard of zero. Also, if your system is sending emails in error, an apology would be nice. You’ve wasted my time now.

I sent a “thank you for letting me know” note, but I really wanted to say, “If you would like someone to come review your recruiting system to determine why it’s sending emails to obviously unqualified candidates, please just let me know.”

Also, I wanted to say, “If your system email is a bright, cheery, personalized email from your internal recruiter, but the core system can’t accurately match candidates to positions, you’re customizing the wrong part of the system.”

The search continues.

Permanent Layoff

I was selected as a member of IBM’s Resource Action, Class of March 2017. So, after almost nineteen years at IBM, I am back on the job market, and immediately available.

I consider myself an experienced technical leader with a proven track record in first-line management, technical sales and support and development roles.

I’m most accustomed to customer-facing assignments providing pre-sales systems architecture guidance, technical education and technical support.

Any pointers are welcome.

My Failed Bid For Pope

I was cleaning up my domain list the other day (aka Why am I still paying for this?) and I found popexriva.com. I had forgotten it was there, actually.

My problem is that I will come up with something that is hysterically funny to me, pay the small fee for a domain, write up the basics, and then forget about it until the rather large renewal fee is extracted from my bank account. So, it’s time to clean house.

When Pope Benedict stepped down, I decided to run for Pope, so I put up a website. I’ve preserved the contents here, since I’m not going to pay the renewal fees. I may put it back if the office opens up again.

Pope Xriva I

REJECTED. White smoke from the Sistine Chapel and no missed calls on my mobile. I’ve been passed over again. However, it’s somewhat political, so my new campaign starts as soon as our new Holy Father appears.

I have tossed my hat in the ring for Pope. I actually don’t have a pointy hat, but I do have a number of baseball caps. I will have better hats once elected.

I have added a personal statement and my qualifications.

I do hope this isn’t breaking any Cardinal rules.

Personal Statement
I realize that there is not really an official application for Pope, since the College of Cardinals is guided by the Holy Spirit to choose the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

However, since the only people they see in the locked room while deliberating and voting are the other Cardinals, one of them invariably gets elected. Hopefully, if one of them is idly surfing the web during a particularly boring presentation, he will find this site and think, “Hey! A new guy!”

While I don’t have any real experience leading the one true Church, I have been a team lead for years and have heard the Lord’s name invoked on a fairly regular basis. Hopefully, this will be enough.

I’m in my mid-fifties. I’m not going to retire any time soon. I like most Italian food. My wife wants to visit Rome. (Oops. That may be a deal-breaker. I suppose divorcing her wouldn’t help.)

My fervent hope is to be the first overweight Irish-German-American-Texan Pope.

Qualifications
  • Baptized
  • Confirmed
  • Former Altar Boy
  • Wedding Officiant (Universal Life Church Minister)
  • Only divorced once
  • Team lead of technical team, so used to personnel issues
  • World Traveler
  • Not looking to retire within eight years
  • Hear the Lord’s name invoked on a regular basis at work

Endorsements

  • If I can get some red Prada shoes – New York, New York
  • Anything to get him out of the house – Dallas, Texas
  • Anything to get him out of the office – Coppell, Texas

Explorations

From June 1, 2001, originally. That was after a plane flight across the Atlantic. It still seems appropriate after sailing across the Pond – since sailing is a much more civilized way to travel than flying.

I crossed the ocean
And it crossed me.

Where am I?
I know the planet is Earth,
Since that’s what we call it.
I know the time
(As much as anyone could know)
But I’m still lost and floating
Home seems an eternity away.

Long ago, the brave crossed oceans,
To conquer and explore.
But today it doesn’t take courage,
Just an expense account,
And another meeting to attend.

Travel is no longer an adventure
(If ever it was before.)
This is just routine, almost tedium,
At five hundred miles per hour.

The oceans pass underneath,
And continents appear.
I’m in a crowded metal tube,
Trying to find a reason for it all.

I left my house to cross the globe,
But the website is still up,
And email downloads still.
Am I really gone?