Sometimes it’s Good to See the Janitor

I’m grateful for grace that keeps me sane. This afternoon my husband prayed that he and I would be able to get where we needed to go, and that it would work out okay. Simple prayer, but then I left for school. On the way to school, driving was simple versus road rage-enducing chaotic. I got a text from my step-mother that my father lost his job and I didn’t immediately panic. I put them on the prayer roll, and went to the elevator, since I could just offer faith and that was it.

On the way up to cross the breezeway between the portals in the parking garage, I was in an elevator with a janitor. Normally I see doctors, business people, and others who intimidate me. I’m from the middle class, not upper class, and I don’t roll in the same tax bracket as those who wear Burberry. The janitor was more my speed. When I went to the other elevator, the man inside was confused and had to figure out how to get back down. Finally, the guy who wanted to get back into the elevator at the bottom was another maintenance-type.

I was probably more grateful to see these men than anyone else that day. They were people who were humble, patient, and happy. They reminded me of the livery drivers who live in my complex, or the others who make their living helping others feel important.

Coming to this part of school is going to world of Bentley’s, of the city’s elite shopping, and people who probably spend more money on their clothes than I do on my rent. However, seeing the salt of the earth on the way to class helped me feel calm and relaxed. I don’t have to put on airs for anyone. My navy ensemble is quite casual, but it’s clean, and I’m clean and neat and that’s what matters. Whether I wear a Wall-E shirt, or weigh more than the typical Yuppie, or am working on a Masters degree in my 30’s, it’s still working out.


Attempting to Overcome Difficulties

I went back to school. While the first semester felt fairly easy, I should have known that was the calm before the storm. This semester has been thing after thing after thing. A recurring theme of this semester is that if it can happen, it will. There’s been death, friends facing incredible challenges, and illness between my husband and myself. It’s not an every day uphill battle, but there’s so much happening that it’s very difficult to finish homework and to get things done.

Considering that is how I left off on school, and ended up with academic issues that could affect whether I can continue going to school, missing any part of the course or being home isn’t an option anymore. I have to go to class and I have to do as well as humanly possible no matter what else is happening in life.

I have opportunities for learning how to code if only I can take them. Spring Break was the most wonderful time off, but should have been used for coding nonstop. I’ve been paying for it ever since.

Saturday will be a huge family history fair, locally. There’s been a lot of stress involved, and the main person in charge is in process of moving. Very few people around here who are of my religious background are into family history, although it’s a tenet of our religion. At least, if they’re into it, they need training to do more. That’s good that they want the training. Normally, I’d be glad and grateful and all happy about it. Because of my coughing, drainage so I just want to sleep circumstance (sick!) all that I can think about is… not that much. I can barely keep myself together, and even then not that much.

School feels like I’m digging a grave, and not getting out of it. I love genealogy and I know that I want to get this app done, but I am far behind and likely to fail at the present. My teacher’s trying to give me chances to do better, but I feel like I’m just slipping down the slope and there aren’t any hand-holds to catch.

Can I make it? Will I make it? I need to make it, even when I feel like life is running me over with a threshing machine.

Tired, but studying,


Ethics, God, and Fruit Juice

I am taking a Computer Ethics class at my university, and we’ve been talking a lot about varying philosophies. It’s actually pretty fascinating to read the philosophies. I see ethics as the gospel without prophets or Christ. It may sound like, “How in the world could there be the gospel without these central figures?”, but I’ve been learning that most people attempt/want to be good people. Sure, there are exceptions, but the laws are theoretically in place to deal with nefarious exceptions that are against the overall moral good.
Aristotle taught a lot of things that are extremely similar to our Church’s fundamentals, excepting that he was a bit of an elitist in addition to not including prophets or apostles or Christ. It may sound strange, but growing up with the concept of modern prophets, I didn’t know any different. I could easily see people outside the Church seeing prophets as a wacky concept, but that goes back to humility, faith in God and in His answers, and prayer.

The more I read and study regarding ethics, the happier that I am that there is a prophet, and that Christ lived and is God. That He is a Resurrected Being. Reading the philosophic arguments, it’s not exactly that they all don’t understand morality or goodness. There’s just no director. The scriptures are awesome, but they by themselves do not give authority for a person to enfranchise themselves as a pastor or teacher. Authority to act in God’s name can only be given from God to do so. Otherwise, there are a lot of well-meaning people who worship God the best that they know how, or live moral lives the best that they can do, but there is definitely something missing.
Something that I love about Joseph Smith, Jr. is that he was not looking to become a prophet. He didn’t ask for it, was not seeking for it, and he fulfilled his calling because of a love of God and love of fellow men. Imagining all of the complainers, all of the people who could easily try to micromanage his time, and similar things- apostasy is super easy when you think that you understand it all and don’t need further counsel and/or guidance (or direction.)
One of my heroes is Hyrum Smith. He was an older brother to Joseph, and yet he was humble and loyal. He was the Sam to Joseph’s Frodo.

The more that I read the philosophers, the more I see the holes. The arguments have blatant holes that need filling from the fullness of the gospel. When I was a missionary I taught the basis of prophets and apostles; it was simply normal stuff to me and I never really understood the “other side” from the point of view of the logic behind it.
Now that I’m learning it, I don’t see it all as bad or wrong. More like, they are doing their best, but they’re functioning in great degree without God, attempting to move in a very dim room without guidance. Kant was awesome until he met his Korihor (David H). Until someone showed Kant a path without relying on God, he had God in his sights. My other consideration was that Kant lived at a time when the gospel in greater fullness wasn’t yet on earth: 1724-1804. There was no one or nothing to authoritatively tell Kant, “Guess what? This is right. This part of what you believe is accurate. This part is confusion.” There was no guidance (prophets based on the true gospel of Jesus Christ) and obviously no missionaries.
For years I struggled with the concept of the Apostasy and why there needed to be a Restoration. The Restoration includes a lot of the best parts of the philosophic principles- agency, good will, the light of (they call it truth with a little “t”, we say Truth with a capital “T” denoting Christ), and from what I’ve been able to read in, Kant had more light and was about to learn further principles when his version of the devil stepped in. However, Kant didn’t have the guidance to know truth from error. I love that the gospel begs us to plead with God, whatever format that pleading is- though the simplest format is prayer (basics of prayer being in Preach My Gospel) in search of knowledge. We assume properly that God wants to speak to us.

Because I grew up with prayer, it is such a foreign concept that anyone would not want to pray to God, or that someone would think that they aren’t allowed to pray whenever they want to. It’s just bizarre that God would stop talking to people at the end of the book of Revelations (especially considering that the book of Revelations wasn’t chronologically the last book of the Bible- the translators compiled them largest to smallest, and the phrase about adding to or taking away from the Revelations ONLY refers to that particular book of section.) SO MANY THINGS that awe me because they are so plainly obvious but aren’t obvious to others.

Culture and gospel aren’t the same thing, but the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness really is novel. I kind of want to tell my teacher, “Guess what? There IS an answer for what happens after you die. There IS an answer for ultimate truth. There IS an answer for anything that you’re looking for in the scriptures and through prayer, church attendance, temple attendance, Priesthood blessings, or similar methods and modes.” Sometimes the gospel and receiving answers take more work than not. Occasionally things are as clear as broth or as easy to chew through as baby food. But, often, it takes a little more work and a little more patience to get answers. It’s the witness of the Holy Ghost that binds with the soul.

My ethics class is fun, perhaps entertaining. However, I see it like drinking 30% fruit juice when I grew up drinking 100%. The taste is different, and 100% tastes better. I prefer 100% over sugar water substitutes any day.

Best to all,


Basic Resume Types and Content Categories

  • Two Most Common Types of Resumes:
    • CV (Curriculum Vitae)
      • Every position, place, education: the whole she-bang
      • Your life story abbreviated to categories (see below)
    • 5-Year Abbreviated Resume
      • Only list experience from the last five years.
      • Include experience relevant to position, or positions whose duties would overlap skill sets
  • What is typically on any resume
    • Name (Legal Name, no nicknames)
    • Contact info:
      • Address
      • Phone Number
        • Cell phone number (pertinent in 2014 whatever model you have.)
        • Home phone if separate and applicable.
      • Email Address (Professional email address- you can use gmail or yahoo, msn, or an sbcglobal or similar address. Beware Netscape, hotmail, or pre-2000 technology.)
    • Objective: Optional. More useful incorporated into cover letter, but can be used on the resume.
    • Skills: If your skills are more recent than your most recent experience, or you are changing careers, this is a good way of highlighting and including capabilities that otherwise may not show up. If you include software under Skills, try to keep current on recent editions.
    • Experience: Applicable work history or cv.
    • Education: Highest degree, followed by undergrad. Only include high school if that is the highest level attained. Include further professional training either here or under Professional Memberships, wherever it would best apply. Also include any college-based extracurricular activities here that may apply such as Phi Beta Kappa for history, or IEEE Student Member, or SAAS Example University Chapter President
    • Military Service (if applicable): See example resume and do not include specific classified information. You can, however, provide Security clearance level. (Secret, Top Secret, etc.)
    • Professional Memberships: National Association of X, American Association of X, X Union, and include any board or officer positions held with or by you in those groups, accomplishments, etc.
    • Volunteer Work: Extra-Curricular stuff that takes up more than 5 hours/week, but does not have to include anything that would violate EEO anti-discrimination (Equal Employment Opportunity: Race, creed, gender, etc. etc.) standards. Missions are okay to put on resumes, but I do not include typical, weekly Church calling services on a resume as those are part of everyday Church and not a full-time commitment (no matter how busy it gets).
    • Awards, Publications, Professional Blogs or Websites
    • If you notice, just by writing this material out in a basic format, [if you print this out or copy it into MS Word] I have already gone over a page. That is allowed if the information is important and/or pertinent. Do not just go one to three lines over to add an additional page. Unless it is a full and necessary paragraph of text, see if the resume will fit legibly on a single page (unless it is a cv, in which case, it is expected to run longer than a page).

Simple Formatting Tips

Layout matters. Make sure that the resume is easy to read, and clean.

  • Resume should be organized, with simply-written, active verbs.
  • Do you organize your words visually? i.e. With appropriate spacing, legible font size, reasonable style, proper punctuation, avoiding jargon potentially unfamiliar to the recruiter.
  • Do you use bullets or levels of words to lead the reader or for very easy scanning? You may only have two seconds once the pre-weeded resumes are removed. A person who really wants the job will go to the trouble of using their resources to make a clear presentation.
  • Do not make a recruiter dig for anything. It should be obvious where your name, address, email, and phone are first. Then your experience, education, military, volunteer work, or other applicable skills should be easy to search. Treat your resume like a search engine. If you wouldn’t be able to tell something quickly and easily, neither can the HR person.

Resumes and Hiring

  • When you go to an interview, always make sure to send a thank you card IMMEDIATELY afterward. That can make the difference between a hire and a “Next.”
  • Bring two or three clean, nice resumes with you on nice paper. Don’t expect or ask the interviewer to print it out for you.
  • Bring references with you, including phone numbers, email addresses, titles and current companies (or retired) and addresses. Make sure to ask your references if you can use them as references before you ever put their names down. It is bad manners to automatically assume someone will give you a good reference whether or not you knew them well at the previous experience.
  • Quick Vocab: Opportunity is somewhere you would like to work; experience is where you have worked.
  • ACTIVE verbs mean you worked. PASSIVE verbs do not help. If it takes more than two verbs together to say something, reconsider the phrasing on the resume. “Could have been” is not the same as “Assisted/Activated/Implemented.”
  • DO make sure to comb the website and review the social media of the company for which you are applying. You should know the basics of the company, and be ready to be confident about where you are applying.
  • Do not apply for jobs that will bore you unless necessary. If you are really under-paid, under-challenged, or completely unhappy with your work, you will start looking for another position before a year is out.
  • Working less than a year at a position looks flaky unless it is an internship or summer jobs. Post-college jobs should be kept at least a year unless there are extenuating circumstances.
  • Lay-off’s or firings are not the end of a career. Due to the economy, many people have given up job searches and being unemployed longer has less stigma than it did during the early 2000s. The new Head Hunter is the Temp Job Recruiter. Sign up with at least three companies simultaneously, and more if possible. Many permanent jobs come from initially temping with a company versus direct-hires.

Resume Do’s and Do Not Do’s in Plain English

This advice comes from being the former file clerk for a global consulting firm in their HR department and previously working for an immigration attorney. I have reviewed hundreds of resumes of the people who get hired. No, I won’t share anyone’s specific details. That’s illegal. I also don’t give legal advice, and won’t pretend to do so here. I own my own business, and sorry- no, I’m not hiring currently. I’m not going to stomp on you, however. What owning my own business means is that I don’t have a conflict of interest in sharing some resume tips. I’m doing my thing, and I want people to get hired and to do good work especially if you’re long-term unemployed.

Here are some things to consider when preparing the all-important resume for something (even if it’s just trying to submit a resume to fill the quota in order to get next week’s unemployment check.)

  • Resumes are the College 101 Class in the Human Resource Department:
    • They are meant to weed out people who won’t work before they ever review the people who do qualify. Often, computers do the weeding before a recruiter reviews the ones who pass through.
    • Treat resumes like paper/electronic first dates, without the picture involved, and where all that you can share about yourself is what you have actually or intend to (in some cases and pertaining only to education) accomplish.
  • DO USE the SAME or extremely similar wording (close synonyms allowed) on your resume or cover letter as whatever is in the ad.
    • Companies spend a lot of time and money on making sure that their ads are properly legal. Companies have been sued before over what is in an ad, so they will automatically disregard and dismiss resumes that do not include their ad’s “buzz words.”
    • Some job ads use highly specific wording due to their being part of immigration cases based on specificity of skills, expertise/experience that does not currently exist in the US. The demand requires someone with a certain job skill set. Although there will be ads for the job, and every applicant has to be interviewed, someone already has the job. Don’t despair. This is another reason for being very careful with the ad’s “buzz words” and ALWAYS applying for multiple jobs even while waiting to hear back on anything.
  • DO NOT have any spelling or grammatical errors.
    • Do not assume that Spell Check or that Grammar Check is your friend. Find at least five people who use big words correctly and ask them if they can check your resume for you.
  • DO be honest. Dishonesty is a one-stop ticket to getting fired, especially if you have falsified any credential, accomplishment, etc.
    • You should be willing to have anything and everything on your resume verified via background and social media/Internet search checks.
  • DO NOT EVER share your Social Security Number or Alien Residence Number unless it is required as part of a W-9.
  • DO NOT ever pay to get into a job. A job that solicits your money in advance of hiring you is a scam.
  • Be careful of working in a place where you are paid in cash without a payroll or accountant, and where you are responsible for your own taxes unless you are the owner of the business.
  • DO NOT overshare.
    • Humans are not perfect. That means that you do not need to tell them about your most spiritual experience in your religion or about how your kid scraped his knee in Little League. They need to know whether or not you can get to the job, do the job, and whether or not you will fit in with their existing company members.
    • You can choose whether or not to put on your social media information. Were I to be in the actively-seeking job market, I would not include it on my resume. Know that HR Departments regularly check Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., especially before hiring people.
    • Everything on a resume has to be checked before hiring occurs, including social media. If you give an employer your username, you’re asking for any little thing to be looked up and researched (So, You ate a doughnut Christmas morning 2009. Are you really “friends” with a friend of Stalker 1234?) Social media bleeds information. Even craft stores and Subway shops require background checks.
  • DO NOT include a picture of yourself on your resume. That is what an interview is for unless you are an actor, dancer, etc. Then you need a professional headshot. Otherwise, no. Social media searches will likely take care of giving you a picture to match on interview day. Social media can also be your friend if it is professional and not ludicrous, crass, or incriminating. Weed your feed before you apply, even if your Google search results appear over-whelming.
  • DO NOT automatically include references on your resume unless required. See Tips page for more info.
  • Special Cases: Be willing to do what it takes (and work to do what it takes) to remove (expunge) past penal (court, law) issues. Arrests matter, no matter where or when. Having issues like this does not completely bar a person from employment, but it does put you down the list.