The View From Here

musings by John The Irishman

Archive for the ‘blah-blah-blah…’ Category

Coolest. Job. Ever.

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At least for my adult life ~ I DID grow up working in a bar/bowling alley/restaurant surrounded by family & friends & sports, you know !  I have been in various management positions, designed specialized equipment & production lines, was the “go to guy” for the owner of a $50-million per year company, and some other cool stuff.  While my new position may not be for everyone ~ I LOVE it !

And what am I doing now, you may ask (or not) ?  Managing one of the largest Emergency Food Pantries in Greater Cleveland !  This job has all the elements (except $$$) that I wanted in an ideal job : not sitting behind a computer all day analyzing reports, working for a non-profit and actually helping people, dealing with the public, close to home, not “dressing” for work, etc… ~ there’s a lot more but enough said.  I also get to work with many, many community groups for fund-raising, networking, outreach and the like.

It all started with me answering a want ad 8 months ago for volunteers needed for a local agency that has a very large food pantry, and social workers that can provide assistance with obtaining food stamps, utilities help, foreclosure & rental remediation, legal aid, employment assistance and many other services.  We are basically “one stop shopping” for almost all of our client’s needs.  We have a very diverse, multi-cultural clientele, and with a population base of around 125,000 people for our specific agency, there’s a lot of need !

I started volunteering in the pantry in March, and quickly became a supervisor and ran things when the volunteer pantry manager was out.  When that gentleman left in September, I became “acting” manager, working there every day.  Heck, I was unemployed with no prospects so why not ?  Everybody’s gotta be somewhere !

In late September they decided to make it a part-time paid position, and after a normal interview process I was asked to join the staff !  That was awesome, because I loved what I had been doing, but never thought it would be a career.  I am basically now getting paid for what I was doing for free, so it feels more like I got a raise than the ecstatic feeling one gets with a new job.  I am in charge of other volunteers, procuring, storing  & distributing perishable and non-perishable foods, inventory control & warehousing, and everything else that a large pantry would typically require.  I am also required to maintain operations within OSHA and FDA Guidelines.

On a side note, I also help manage our 5 community Farmer’s Markets, and am heavily involved in our Community Garden project (1,200 2,400 square feet !) in conjunction with the City of Lakewood.  It’s all very exciting stuff to me, and there’s a lot more going on than I care to bore you with (if anyone is even still reading).  I feel this has been the culmination of my quitting my job over two years ago, stepping out in faith (  A strange series of events have led me here ~ well, not so strange ~ I see His hand all over it.  I am truly blessed…


Written by johntheirishman

Wednesday, 4 November, 2009 @ 16:56 at 16:56

Good Night, Roxie

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Our beloved Roxie was put down on Monday, July 27th;  In Lakewood, age 13 (going on 3).  I don’t want to get into the details, but her downhill slide took roughly a month.  She was very alert, still wagging her tail when I came over to her though clearly in serious discomfort.  She had not been eating regularly for weeks, and was getting very weak.  It killed us to put her down, but if you loved your pet like we loved Roxie you had to ~ her quality of life was just not there and we didn’t want to prolong her agony.

I cannot tell you everything she meant to us, me especially.  She was Slim’s dog for her first few years, but when I came into the picture 9 years ago we became companions very quickly.  We put up with all her anxieties : thunderstorms, strong winds, fireworks, fireplace noises, escaping through open windows ~ there are many more.  We accepted these things as the way she is, and adapted to her.  She was very smart : she knew that “dah” meant yes and “nyet” meant no, and she knew right from left, among many other things (though she was easily & regularly duped by our Beagle-mix, Terra).

Roxie was also very much my dog in the sense that we loved being out of doors.  She and I couldn’t wait for Spring, loved the Summer, and stayed outside as long as possible in the Fall.  She would lay in the snow when I would shovel and look down the hill at her domain, always in her “Great Sphinx” position.  She was my shadow, and always had to be near us ~ not always under foot, but always where we were.

I won’t go into everything that made her a special companion, but it was obvious to the myriad of people that knew her that she was not your ordinary dog.  She had no way of knowing how loved she was, but I think she had an idea.  She was a bright spot in our lives, and will truly be missed always…

Written by johntheirishman

Wednesday, 29 July, 2009 @ 14:38 at 14:38

One Year

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One year.  It has been one full year since I have had a job.  I am still on “the public teet” as Uncle Mike would say,  but I know that will eventually end.  I never imagined that I would be unemployed a year later ~ I have “always” had a job.

I got my first job at the age of 9 working for a family business ~ my Grandparent’s Bar/Bowling Alley/Restaurant, and continued to work there until I was around 19.  I also worked at my Dad’s retail business from around age 12 until I was 18, then I started getting “real” jobs.  I have never gone more than a few months without employment, so this is really strange for me.

I have done the usual job searching, including extensive “cold calling” to get my resume in front of HR executives, CEOs & Presidents, and department heads ~ nothing.  I have had interviews, and have been very close on a couple of occasions to getting offers, only to hear “nothing but crickets”.  I had one opportunity fall through in March that I STILL cannot believe I didn’t get !

Throughout this past year I have prayed, searched & meditated extensively to try and “figure this all out”.  The only conclusion I’ve really come to is that He knows where I’ll be, what I will be doing, and when I start ~ and that sometimes there isn’t always something for ME to figure out…

Written by johntheirishman

Friday, 5 June, 2009 @ 8:33 at 8:33

Posted in blah-blah-blah...

Signs of the Times

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While driving along the North Coast last Sunday, Slim and I both observed something : almost every political sign in front of the multi-million dollar homes of the “old money” and “nouveau riche” were in support of the McCain/Palin ticket.  Today, as I was driving through one of Cleveland’s “Trendy & Cool” neighborhoods, chock full of hipsters, gays & young apartment dwellers – the opposite.  The only signs to be found were Obama/Biden, and I thought about the interesting contrast, especially since the two areas are only separated by a short distance.

Speaking of, LeBron James and Jay-Z are throwing a free concert at Quicken Loans Arena in support of Obama/Biden.  As I passed through downtown, I  noticed a line of about 75 people outside of Consumer Credit Counseling – how sad I thought.  Driving through Lakewood past the O/B Headquarters I noticed several hundred people in line for the free tickets.  Upon further review, the people downtown were doing the same, so I guess it wasn’t as sad as I originally surmised.

O/B’s campaign team has been out in force, trying to register voters and rally support – something I have not seen much evidence of from Mc/P.  I have even been visited at home multiple times.  I am not personally voting for either candidate for my own reasons, but I think it’s fairly clear that Obama will be our next President…

Written by johntheirishman

Friday, 24 October, 2008 @ 12:34 at 12:34

Customer Service – Alive and Well !

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I journeyed to The Home Depot today in Rocky River, a CLE suburb that borders Lakewood on the West End.  I was just running in for a minute, but I had to use the little boy’s room first – when ya gotta go, ya gotta go.  What I witnessed was a classic moment in Big Box Store Customer Service.  It kind of helps one to understand why it takes so long to get phone help.

As I wandered back to the restrooms, I heard a guy on his cordless phone tell a customer “It was in this week’s ad ?  I’ll have to go look at it – please hold.”  He then preceeded to the restroom ahead of me (at least he washed his hands after), moseyed through the store with no sense of urgency whatsoever, and located the “ad rack” by the entrance.  He then – with the same lack of enthusiasm – meandering back to the Kitchen Department.  When he went to retrieve his phone from his pocket to address the customer’s question he dropped the phone, with the battery ejecting across the floor – dropped call !

Obviously I was shadowing him (from a distance – he didn’t know) to see how this played out, and it basically went exactly as I thought it would, except for the “dropped call” part.  Now I can better understand why it takes FOREVER to get telephone questions answered at these places – I really don’t think most employees care.  As stated, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go, but maybe they shouldn’t take the customer with them when they do…


Written by johntheirishman

Thursday, 26 June, 2008 @ 11:49 at 11:49

“I’ve Got Those Unemployment Blues…”

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OK – not really.  Oh, I’m unemployed right now, I just don’t have the blues about it.  I was actually going to start looking for another position in September, but once again “fate” played it’s hand.  My position was “eliminated by upper management” on Friday, June 6th.

I was employed by this company since April 2005 in Supply Chain Management and did not really enjoy my position, so I quit in July of 2007 – if you look in my archives I posted about it.  To make a long story short, they “hired” me back the next morning for a position in Facilities Management.  I actually gave them 6 weeks notice when I resigned, so I really never left the company.  I thought it was going to be a great situation but as stated earlier – I would be looking in the Fall.

This kind of thing has happened to me twice before, so it was old hat.  I was part of a large down-sizing in 1996 and again in 2004.  Ironically, if I would have still been employed by the company that let me go in 2004, I would have lost my job at the end of May as that company has closed.  Maybe I need to attract stronger companies !

My situation this time is a bit different than the previous ones too.  First off, the weather – then it was Winter, now it is Summer (almost) – YES !  I am also in a much better place financially as I had many more financial obligations and expenses than I do now.  As I have stated before in this forum, Slim and I try to live simple lives.  Society and marketing tries to tell people that they deserve the best, and of COURSE you can afford it.  Not falling “victim” to that logic helps a lot.

I’m not about to say that we’re on Easy Street, but we’re OK.  I will continue to cut coupons, shop for food bargains, hit the ethnic markets, and buy inexpensive cuts of meat that I can prepare using methods that make them fabulous !  We will curtail some spending, but for the most part we will not really have to change our lifestyle since we practiced these habits already.  I also have close to a month of my normal salary & benefits, and there is always unemployment benefits.

As for my job search – I’m not, really.  At this point in my life, I want to do something I will enjoy, not just collect a paycheck.  I am working around the house and yard, completing projects and keeping up The Estate.  I’m riding my bike more, working on my jump-shot & walking about town.  I am not planning to put the financial burden on Slim, just taking some time off to figure this all out.  God knows what He’s doing, and also what I’ll be doing – I just have to find what it is…



Written by johntheirishman

Wednesday, 18 June, 2008 @ 8:43 at 8:43

Posted in 1470, blah-blah-blah...


with 10 comments

When I first started blogging I wasn’t sure what I would write about, or if I would even stick with it. I wrote a lot of posts early on because it was someting new and different, and I wanted to get a running start on the whole thing. I didn’t know where it would go from those first posts just over a year ago – but I certainly do now. It was new, and now it isn’t.

Things like this have happened to me my entire life. You know, you start something and are “into it” for awhile and then something else comes along. In my 20’s and early 30’s it was playing sports : football, basketball, racquetball, golf, softball, mountain biking and others. In my mid-30’s life got busy so I dropped everything but an occasional game of hoops and my biking, and I started cooking, staying home and entertaining a lot more. Late 30’s/early 40’s less hoops, a bit less biking, a bit less entertaining (but still more than most). Now, I spend a lot of time on the house & yard, in the kitchen, and gardening.

I have also “dialed it down” – at least compared to how I was – always on the go. I enjoy shopping at ethnic markets and specialty stores instead of always at the “mega-grocery”, and I only go to stores when I absolutely “need” something – not just to shop or look around. I cannot tell you the last time I went to a mall – it has been well over a year. When I bike, it’s normally because I get that “urge” to go, not because I feel I “need” to get some biking in. Often evenings are just spent reading, pondering, and conversing – with a bit of wine and a fire. I do not like to feel rushed or obligated to anything.

So to summarize – I’m just in a “different place” right now. And in a few months I may be in “another place”. Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to stop by, to comment, to give their opinion. I’m not saying that this is a final post as I may blog again, even under a different blog name, and maybe not even as JTI. I am constantly evolving, and only God knows what the future holds – for any of us…

Written by johntheirishman

Sunday, 6 January, 2008 @ 9:32 at 9:32