Archive for the 'Personal' Category

Don’t Forget About Your PT

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

With the focus being work, looking for deals and purchasing ammunition, and watching the rapid disintegration of the American project in front of our very eyes, it’s easy to forget basic things.

Don’t forget PT.  I know it has been easy for me to forget it.  I suffered today on the trail because of lack of diligence.

Wirecutter’s New (Old) Place

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 2 weeks ago

From Wirecutter.

As you know I’ve had some ongoing issues with my blog and I had called my hosting service to get them fixed. Obviously that didn’t happen, the entire site crashed. I’ve been on the phone for hours with tech support trying to get it figured out and I’ll probably do the same today. GoDaddy screwed it up royally when they migrated it back to linux which I had requested they do because of ongoing problems.

What I’m going to do starting tomorrow sometime is start posting on my original blog as a fill-in until they get it squared away once and for all.

The formatting and design of the fill-in blog will be a little different at first until I get some time to revise it but the content will be what you’re used to. Right now it’s mostly photos, but once I start posting on it  tomorrow, you’ll find the same stuff you find on Knuckledraggin.

While the blogs have the same name, the URL is different so please bookmark it.

Happy Easter 2020!

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 3 weeks ago

To my readers, happy Easter!  He is Risen!  The difficulties facing America today are nothing compared to the joy and significance of the resurrection of King Jesus, the living Christ, the ruler of the world and the only potentate, without who’s approval no king moves or decrees (Isaiah 46:10).  It was always intended by God to be, still is today, and always will be in the future, the most significant event in history, despite the juvenile attempts to rid the study of history of the terms B.C. and A.D.

Personal Tags:

Uncle’s Wife Passes

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 1 week ago

I was shocked to see this post over at Say Uncle.  I’m so very sorry to him, and words cannot possibly convey my heartfelt sympathy or the pain and grief he is bearing right now.

I’m sorry for your loss.

Wirecutter’s Loss

BY Herschel Smith
11 months, 2 weeks ago

Kenny lost his beloved dog.  I know this loss.  The hole in my heart from losing my Heidi-girl is still there.  We were best friends.

Drop him a note and give him your condolences.

Light Posting For The Next Few Days

BY Herschel Smith
1 year ago

It’s been a season of loss for me.  First, my job at the end of 2018.  Then my beloved dog of ten years, on New Year’s eve.

Today I lost my precious father, who passed away at 5:15 pm.  But the great thing is that he knew the Lord, so I will see him in heaven.  I will be posting, but it will be light.  I must focus on other things.  As always, talk to each other in the comments.

Encouraging Home Schooling

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 4 months ago

John Lovell and his wife are home schoolers.  For a period of time all four of my children went to private Christian schools, but of course that becomes expensive, as much at the time as sending a child to college locally.  It becomes cost-prohibitive.

Home schooling is a great option, especially since public schools are centers for communist indoctrination now.  When time permits (it’s tight right now), I’ll give you a complete run-down of an experience I had in our brief time in public school with one of my children, and the utter stupidity and ignorance of one of the science teachers.

It wasn’t long after that we decided to home school for the final years.  Not only are public schools centers of communist indoctrination, they’re homes for idiots.

Oh, John, take a brush to that hair at least once a day like I do. You have a lot, I have little left. Care for it while you can.

He Is Risen!

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 6 months ago

He is risen indeed!

Personal Tags:

Followup To “Dealing With Loss”

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 6 months ago

I sincerely appreciate all of the comments and notes I’ve gotten in response to that post.  It means more to me than you know, and it has convinced me that although some of you don’t comment on the blog (arghh …), it’s worth it to spend the effort writing.

I think I’ve responded to all of the email sent, if not, please forward your email again because I’ve just overlooked it.  I should have stipulated one thing.  It’s one thing to find work anywhere (unlimited relocation or travel).  It’s another thing entirely to look for work locally.

Most of our family is in the area, and all of our grandchildren are.  I do still have one job possibility out of state (and I mean, way out of state) that is open.  I need to let that run to completion.  There are two other possibilities within the area that need to run to completion as well, one of which is contracting.  The other one would be a true Godsend if it works out (contracting, for a longer period of time, assuming that the company wins the bid).

I’m sure God will take care of us, but we’re going through a time of testing.

Dealing With Loss

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 6 months ago

I’ve avoided writing this post.  I knew it would be painful, but I’ve just now been able to formulate what I wanted to say.  At least, sort of.  I need to say just enough, but I can’t say too much.

I’ve had a hard four months.  At the end of November, 2018, I was hit with a reduction in force (RIF) where I worked, which of course, means I was laid off.  I’ve always hidden my employer from my writing, never even once mentioning my company.

This is what I did with Duke Energy.  I’m a nuclear engineer, at least I was, and a very specialized one at that.  My major was in mechanical engineering, but I haven’t done that since my days at a plant early in my career.  I have a number of observations to make that hopefully will help you as you ponder these things, and then some prayer requests to make for myself.

Dealing With Loss of Work

I recommend that you do this – today.  Write down a list of, say, 25 people in your life, mostly professional, upon whom you can rely for recommendations for work, offers for work, assistance, general counsel, and continued support by simple things like phone calls, text messages and emails to see how you’re doing and tell you they’re praying for you and thinking about you, perhaps that they even miss you.

Now, sit and think about that list for a while, QA the list, remove names if you must, add more as replacements.  Here’s the thing.  Of that list of 25 names, probably 24 shouldn’t even be on the list.  You don’t know that when this happens, and it’s surprising and even embarrassing that your list was so badly built.  But a few other names appear on the list that you never would have considered had this not happened.  You learn a lot about your trusted and valued colleagues.  Some of them don’t turn out to be so valued after all.

I’m a poster child for getting so specialized that you can’t do anything else.  Don’t let this happen to you.  I recommend that you think hard about your work, and decide where you want to be in five years.  Do what it takes to make it happen.  Burnish your CV, expand your capabilities, prepare for the worst, and be ready to make a change.  I’m living proof for those who don’t that there will be pain and suffering for the lack of vision and planning.

I’ll deal with trying to find new work in a moment, but first I wanted to mention a few other things.  I have been thrown into a situation where I don’t know where my next paycheck is going to come from.  I was given a severance package, but that will eventually run out.  It may all work out for the better nonetheless.

I cannot say too much, but my director and I had begun to clash on a number of different issues that I consider to be of ethical import.  I was ripe for layoff anyway, given that I’m 59 years old, white and male.  Those same things would appear to prevent me from being hired today by virtually everywhere I apply.

This was all made worse by the fact that I simply will not be unethical in my work.  I will not tell unjustified lies (Rahab’s lie was just, most are not), I will not violate my ethical obligations as a registered professional engineer, and I certainly will not communicate material false information to the federal regulator.  My clashes with my upper management chain were becoming burdensome.

The first couple of seasons of the TV series “Alone” saw some of the contestants “fighting their demons,” as they all said.  Aloneness does that to you, they said.  I never really understood that before, but I do now.  I’ve had my demons to fight.  I’ve had to deal with the fact that I allowed myself to become so specialized in what I do.  I’ve had to deal with the fact that I didn’t burnish my CV with advanced degrees.  While it’s good for me that I have a PE license, there was a time when I had begun to study for other certifications that would have been helpful to me.  For instance, I had begun a serious course of study to become a CHP (Certified Health Physicist), and had begun to think about studying to become a CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist).

I stopped.  I simply gave up.  You can call it laziness, and maybe it was, but life does happen.  You get busy with work, with all the overtime that entails in a professional job, you have duties at church, your children require your attention, and you deploy a son to war.  When you deploy a son to war, you stand at the doorway of your home at 0300 hours because you can’t sleep, waiting and watching for that Marine Corps officer and Navy Chaplain to show up.

I’ve had to deal with the fact that I put my wife in this position, and I swore in front of God and man that I would provide for her.  Those demons run through your mind and do serious mental damage.  But if that all wasn’t enough, there was other loss to deal with.

Dealing with Loss of my Heidi-Girl

On New Year’s Eve of 2018, when we were cleaning to get ready for visitors, I noticed an unusual amount of blood in the walls of one particular room downstairs.  Heidi was dripping with blood.  In fact, she was spewing blood when she would sneeze, only to begin the hemorrhaging over again.  Heidi, for those who may remember, was my 90-pound Doberman “lap dog.”  I had noticed that she had begun to withdraw from me over the past couple of months, was tired, and eventually the last several days she had stopped eating.

I immediately put her in the truck to take to the Vet.  I covered the back seat with a sheet, including the bench cover I had for her in the truck.  By the time I got to the Vet, the entire sheet was covered in blood.  I’ve never seen so much blood in all of my life.  She had grown a very large tumor in her mouth that had forced its way into her sinus cavity, and when it finally broke through, the bleeding was intense and unending.

When I put her into the truck I somehow knew she wouldn’t be coming home, and that’s one of the hardest drives I’ve ever made.  The Vet told me that she had lived a long life for a Doberman (10+ years), and that he’s seen dogs with this come back with half of their snout removed.  If I chose chemotherapy or radiation for her, she would have to be sedated every time, and she wouldn’t understand why.  He wouldn’t do that to his dogs.

On that awful day, we put her down.  I lost one of the best friends I’ve ever had.  I’ve hiked with her, camped with her, she’s protected me, we’ve played thousands of hours together, loved on each other, and walked enough miles to have travelled America coast to coast.  When camping we slept together, as we did when she got bitten by a Copperhead.  And in an instant, I lost her.

I didn’t love the company I worked for.  But I truly loved my Heidi-girl, more than you can imagine.  When I love a dog, she’s part of my family.  As I type this, there are tears in my eyes.  I miss her so much, and never so much as when I walk my wife’s dog, or go hiking and see other people with their companion dogs.  Oh, I miss her so much.  So very much.

Looking for New Work

It’s an awful experience to look for new work.  The job boards are ridiculous.  LinkedIn is only mildly useful.  When HR or recruiters call themselves “talent search” professionals, they’re lying, and they know it.  It only takes you a few weeks to figure that out too.

First of all, no one is interested in hiring a 59 year old, white male.  No one.  I’m either over-qualified for jobs, or under-qualified for jobs, or exactly-qualified.  In the first and third cases they have an excuse.  In the second case, there’s always someone more attractive than a 59 year old, white male.  My brother, who is a lawyer, tells me that many of the postings over the job boards are fake, intended only to enable meeting EEOC requirements.  To HR, you’re just a bean-count.

They hide the contact information for the hiring managers, and it takes moving heaven and earth to find it if you ever do.  HR has set up a fire wall around the hiring managers.  At some point in the past, HR told companies  that “You’re too stupid for this, you need us to do this for you.  You don’t know how, and we’re ‘talent search’ folks who can move mountains and walk on water.”  And then everyone simply accepted what they said.  Presto.  That’s job security for “talent search” people.

They aren’t looking for talent, no matter what they say.  They’re looking for process knowledge.  Being smart, or a hard worker, isn’t enough.  You need to have “Fifteen years of experience with AutoCAD, the same with design of variable air volume systems in commercial buildings, in-depth knowledge of the codes and standards of such-and-such state and county, and 10+ years experience with the specialized computer software so-and-so.”  In other words, no one wants to invest any resources in startup or training.  They all want plug-and-play workers, as if you’re a circuit board that will work; the previous one failed.  Is it any wonder millennial workers have no sense of commitment or loyalty to companies any more?

I’ve completed some 66 applications, a couple of which may actually amount to something, Lord willing.  I don’t know.  I just don’t know where I stand with any of this any more.  I do know that stasis if a killer.  Staying mired in the demon-fighting mode is death.  It destroys the joy of life, and I cannot do that any more.

The Future

I don’t know what the future holds.  If something comes of the couple of irons I have in the fire, then so be it.  I’d like that to happen.  If it doesn’t, eventually I’ll have to find an hourly job doing something (selling guns at the counter, working in hardware, doing lawn service).  I cannot continue to be a drain on our bank account while my wife is the only one putting money into it.

One bright thing that has made me happy over the last several days is that I placed a call to a very nice lady about my qualifications to sit for the CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist) examination, and they will allow me to take it.  I’ve started studying for it, reading through a 1000-page book, with another one like it just behind this one.  It will be a long haul, and I figure that my preparation time will amount to somewhere around 600 -800 hours.  I won’t take it until next year.

I am not asking for sympathy.  I’m not asking for anything, really, except that you learn from my mistakes and ensure that you don’t make them.  But I do covet your prayers for my examination preparation, and if you think about it, that God would bless my efforts at finding meaningful and fruitful labor.

I’d also ask that you be patient with my blogging.  There will come a time in my preparation that my writing will be less essay and more quick-links, with me relying on commenters to fill in the gaps.

I appreciate your being understanding about this.


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