Okay, let’s catch up on some more current events in “the Land of the Jobless” now that exactly three weeks have passed today since I was let go with the “added bonus” of being told that my work over the past five years didn’t amount to much better than crap.

Let’s see, where to begin?

So far, the family has done a pretty amazing job of making what money we have stretch farther.  Unemployment money (at much less than half of my last salary) should start kicking in next week, and maybe then I can start really digging in to find some retraining on newer, more in-demand programming languages

We have grown much closer as a family, and that’s a huge plus.

I’ve expanded my job search beyond programming to try and take advantage of my journalism and managing editor’s experience combined with my technical experience to send out applications and resumes as a technical writer.  Just yesterday, I sent out an online application to a local credit union’s corporate office not far at all from my home for a job as a media/public relations manager/supervisor.  I could handle that.

I’m checking out ALL of my options.

Yesterday morning, my wife and I went to a breakfast “business networking” meeting that’s organized on a twice-weekly basis by one of our church friends, and it turned into a very positive experience.  The topic was self-promotion, and the speakers provided some excellent tips — have courage, seek to serve others more than yourself, make people feel important, express gratitude, look presentable, have passion and drive, show positive energy, keep commitments, provide your full attention, be genuine without fear, and know who you are and what you represent.

Amen to all of that!

The last part of these meetings gives the attendees a chance to stand up and “sell themselves” to everyone in the room for 20 seconds.

“Hi, I’m John Miller.  I am either between jobs as a computer programmer or re-launching a career as a writer, whichever comes first.  Maybe some of you have heard of a ‘mommyblog’ at dooce.com?  Well, I consider myself right now to be a ‘daddyblogger,’ and we’ll see how that goes for now.  You can check out my blog at …” and, well, you know where you are at this moment.

After I finished giving my 20-second pitch, one of the biggest responses I got as I was walking back to my seat and, later, when everyone stood around the room and got to know each other better had to do with my voice.  “What a voice!” one of the speakers commented just after I’d finished speaking.  “You have such a commanding voice!  Have you considered doing voiceover work?  Let me hear you say this: ‘Beef it’s the real thing!'”

“Beef!  It’s the real thing!”

“See, there ya go!  You’ve got the voice for it!”

You see, I have a voice that was meant to travel far distances with very little effort, and it’s lllllooooooowwwww!  It was my voice that helped me to earn a living when I was 18 years old and worked for a relatively brief time as an afternoon drive-time disc jockey.  It was my voice that would boom off of the walls of buildings maybe 200 yards away as I was helping to coach Little League football back in my mid-20s.  I’ve got THAT kind of voice.

So, hey, why not see if my voice can open up a door for me again as well?  I sent off a query to a local talent agency with a good reputation yesterday, all because of a lead I got from the meeting my wife and I attended.

Networking!  Networking!!  Networking!!!

In the last week or so, I’ve started getting “thanks, but no thanks” emails as a result of my programming job search.  I’m expanding that search to places far from Utah, just to see what happens.  This is a wild ride, but I’m a survivor.  Whatever door gets opened, I’ll look into it and I’ll know when it’s the right one.  I have faith.

Yesterday was a good day, though.  Going to the networking meeting was a nice lift.  I got an email later in the evening letting me know that a nationally syndicated liberal radio talk show host who appears at times on the Fox News Channel is now following me (and hopefully my blog) on Twitter.  That gave me a bit of a “wow moment.”  It also got my imagination going … what if the day ever came that I was invited to appear on the Sean Hannity Show like this person has as a part of the “Great American Panel!”  HHHHHHHAAAA!!!!!  Man, that would be rich!  Yep, Sean Hannity and me, tossing that cute little football of his around in the studio!  I’d have to hold off a bit on my velocity as I tossed it back to ol’ Sean!  Absolutely … RICH!

But here was the best part of all in my day yesterday.  I got home with my daughter from a church prayer meeting toward her bedtime last night, and I got to congratulate my oldest son Curtis on his being accepted to the University of Utah Honors College!  Sssssooooo cool!

Ya see this photo off to the side here?  That’s a rather poor photo of a photo taken May 13, 1995.  Ya see the guy on the left?  That’s me, with much shorter hair than I have now (I’ll cut it short again if and when I get called for a job interview), no beard (I was playing it safe for job interviews then too) and a bit of a double chin.

The guy on the right … that’s Dr. Richard Bowen, president of Idaho State University from 1985-2005, handing me a degree in computer software engineering technology.  I ended up with a 3.90 GPA in a very demanding program.  Not bad for having changed careers, going from a journalist to a programmer.

The guy in the middle … that’s my son Curtis.  I walked across ISU’s Holt Arena and across the stage with him that day to receive my degree.  I wanted it to serve as a unique symbol: that my father’s hard, physical labor in the mines that ended up killing him before I was even born would live on through his descendants — his son and his first grandson.  I’ve tried to live up to my end of the deal in this reach for the “American dream.”  And now, my 20-year-old son — John Miller’s grandson — is doing the same.

Here’s a wish that the American dream is a bit more attainable in Curtis’ very near future … in everyone’s future.  Lord knows Curtis is doing all he can.  I’m proud of my young man.  His grandfather would have been proud of him too.


One thought on “Following up

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