Friday, August 28, 2009

I Got "RIF'd" Today

Well, we all knew another "Reduction In Force" was coming. I survived the first two, but today was my turn. Out of the 41 of us left on-site, they released THIRTY-FOUR, an 83% staff reduction.
My employer, a very large American Aerospace company, is the Prime Contractor providing integration, management, and technical services at a local site that does Real Neat Stuff(tm). Yes, I'm not "naming names" because technically, I'm still employed by them for the next 75 days or so, and I don't want to violate any terms of my employment which might result in me being 'terminated' rather than 'laid off'. It will take 10 days~two weeks for the paperwork from our client to catch up with The Mothership, and then I'll get my official "60 Day Notice". During this time I use a special charge number, and keep getting paid with my regular benefits. If I fail to find another assignment within the company (not very likely) during this time, I'll be 'separated without prejudice', and get a severance package.
Our client went into Chapter 11 at the end of June, and has been shedding contracts and people every month like clockwork. They (my management, not the clients) tried to keep most of my team together, but it's a business decision out of their hands, and the time finally came to let us go, or in the correct parlance, "Returned" to my division of the parent company.
It was really sad; the guys were all 'stiff upper lip', the ladies were all teary-eyed, and the Head Engineer was visibly upset about having to release us. "We just decimated the best team on Earth" was his comment.
And I have to say, that out of all the jobs I've had in my career, and I've had some pretty amazing adventures, this one was hands-down the best. I had the honor of working with the absolute best group of people I've ever known, and got to do things I only dreamed about as a little kid growing up in the cornfields of Illinois.
So, as one of my co-workers put it, "Sometimes the sound of one door closing is the same as another one opening", and it's time to reflect on what I want to do with the rest of my working career, since I can "retire" in about 5 years.
I have several options open to me, one of which is going back to my previous employer. I left there on very good terms (you're going WHERE? WOW!), and one of the other Engineers I worked with has pretty much told me to contact them if I decide I'd like to go back.
I can also go to another local company that does pretty much what I was doing, but they're a start-up, and I got burned a couple of times working at start-ups during The Great Internet Bubble, so I'm a bit gun-shy about start-ups.
Anywhoo....I've now got the luxury of 60+ days to get myself and all my stuff moved in with my girlfriend, so I'm going to use the time to my advantage, and get regrouped and settled in.
Sure was a fun place to work, though!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Coming American Dictatorship

Just read this on Backwoods Home Magazine, and it really gave me pause.
It's a good discussion about the Tenth Amendment Movement, and how they're trying to restore the balance of power between the States and the Feds. Excellent reading, and I highly recommend it.
Besides, Dear Old Dad always said FDR was a commie, and this gives good examples of why my father thought that way.

Teddy's Dead....YAWN

Nothing to see here....move along....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Birthday Musings

Ah, another year older, but NO deeper in debt!
Considering I'll probably be getting laid-off next week, I'm just glad I own my Jeep free-and-clear, my credit card balance is coming down at a pretty good clip, and I'll be moving in with my girlfriend in the next month or so. The rest of us left at the job site my employer sub-contracts to expect to be released and "sent back" to the Mothership next week. Since my employer doesn't have ANYTHING in this area that I can transfer into, I'll either be going back to my former employer (ALWAYS leave on good terms!) who's actually asked if I might like to come back, or go to a "competitor" of ours. I have a couple of other irons-in-the-fire, but I think I'll take some time off before I decide what to do. My current employer gives a "60 Day Notice" where you basically get paid to stay at home and find another job, while you collect your 40-hour paycheck, and keep your full benefits.
And I'm grateful for all the good friends I've made through the years, my reasonably good health, a son in College I'm extremely proud of, and the fact that I live in the greatest country on Earth!
Off with the girlfriend tonight for an early dinner at The Macaroni Grill, and then a quiet evening at home.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Heroes.......

In reflecting back on what I wrote about the Steve Canyon DVD's, I see that I looked up to these men as heroes.
I've always had heroes. Little boys need heroes so that when we grow up into men, we know how to act.
My list, in no particular order, except for number one!
My Dad
Ben Franklin
Winston Churchill
The Mercury Seven
The Crews of Apollo 11 and Apollo 13
Chuck Yeager
Bob Hoover
Scott Crossfield
Ronald Reagan
Curtis LeMay
Jeff Cooper
Jimmy Stewart
John Wayne
Dan Gurney
Mario Andretti
My high-school English teacher, Mr. Burke
My electronics mentors Pete Gavankar, Kent Earle, and Bob Pease
And many, many others who, just by their being and example, taught me important things that have stayed with me throughout my life.
Some of these men were flamboyant, some were simple. All lived their lives with strength, courage, commitment, and honor. I know they had their faults, because people do, but it's never stopped me froam admiring them.
Like RADM Tarrant said at the end of "The Bridges at Toko-Ri"
"Where do we find such men?"
God knows we sure could use a bunch of them now.......

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Steve Canyon on DVD



Guess I'm showing my age, but this was one of my all-time favorite TV shows when I was just a little sprout. I also waited in anticipation for "Science Fiction Theater", and Col. McCauley's "Men Into Space", but I'll always remember certain Steve Canyon episodes, like "The Gift", and the all-time highest-rated episode "Operation Intercept".
Well, Volumes 1 and 2 arrived today, and I'm having fun reliving those nights of my childhood!
I think the appeal these shows had for me, other than the guys were doing Really Neat Stuff(tm), was that the actors portrayed my idea of how Real Men lived their lives. They were cool under pressure, had high morals and standards, always did the right thing, and won out over adversity and evil. In short, they were role models, and I aspired to be like them. My Dad was in the SeaBees during WWII, and taught me great respect for our men and women in the military. He didn't talk much about his time in the service, but he had a box full of ribbons and medals that my sister has now. When I was little, he bought me my own copy of The Bluejacket's Manual, as he thought it would serve me as well as it did him. I've long since mislaid my copy, but hopefully some of what I read at that early age has stayed with me. My Dad pretty much lead by example, just like the guys in the TV series did, and that's probably another reason I connected with them.
If you're interested, cruise on over to "Steve Canyon on DVD", and enjoy! These are fully-remastered DVD's, made from the original 35mm films, and are extremely good quality, and fully authorized by the Milton Caniff estate.
Hmmm....pass the popcorn, please?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009