Friday, February 22, 2008

No pictures

This year’s ski vacation has come and gone. Flew by, actually, like snow flakes driven horizontally in a howling wind.

Come to think of it, that analogy pretty well sums up the vacation.

It snowed every single day we were there. We almost never saw the sun, even between snow showers. And pictures of mountain slopes covered in white, taken during a snow storm or even on a gray, cloudy day, just don’t have a lot of appeal.

“Oh, look! There’s John skiing down the slope. Wait... or is that Carol? I can’t tell what color his/her jacket is because everything looks gray!”

Then on the day before we were to leave we had a real storm with heavy snow falling for 24 hours straight. The only highway through Berthoud Pass back to Denver was closed with no estimate of reopen time. We made arrangements to stay where we were for an extra night, cancelled the hotel reservations in Denver, cancelled our annual Macaroni Grill dinner, worried about everyone else in our party making early flights out of Denver on Saturday morning. And we waited.

A few of us went to the mountain and skied in the falling snow. Carol and I didn’t, because Carol was sick with some kind of intestinal bug that had kept her up most of Thursday night during the blizzard calling for Ralph in the bathroom. (Ralph never answered.)

Late Friday the pass opened. We drove two vehicles in convoy over the icy, snow packed roads to Denver (after making NEW hotel reservations!) to deliver three couples to a location close to the airport. Then I drove back over the pass to Carol, arriving about midnight. Yes, it was snowing hard in the pass again!

But all’s well that ends well, and by Saturday morning Carol was well enough to travel. We packed up the car and headed back for Texas. Shortly after arrival I had to mow the yard to knock down the weeds and thistles that had sprung up in the warm, wet weather Victoria had been having. What a contrast!

We played golf the following Sunday. In shorts.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Two posts in two days! WOW!

I can't resist a good pun. My daughters know this.

Below is the front and the inside of a birthday card from younger daughter Elizabeth.

Carol and I got a good guffaw out of this:



Note: If you find yourself gagging, just close your eyes and breathe deeply -- it will pass.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

NOT a “romantic” ramble.

Rather, more of an HR ramble. Yeah, I know – as my daughters used to say when they were teenagers, “BOR-R-R-ing!) But, that’s what you get today.

Ever been to a college career fair? No? Well, let me tell you about them.

Four weeks ago I drove (along with two other managers from my plant) to College Station, TX to the Texas A&M College of Engineering career fair. One of those managers is an A&M alumnus, better known as an “Aggie.” But I’ll skip the Aggie jokes for now.

We set up in the basketball arena on the ground floor – actually at court level. Our “booth” was ten feet wide with an 8-foot high curtain across the back and two 3-foot high curtains extending out from that back wall towards the wide aisle. We had a skirted table and two chairs.

We hung a banner with our company name printed on it across the back near the top of the curtain, pushed the table over to one side (running parallel to the side of the booth), and set up our displays and handouts on the table.

The best part of our display was a 32-inch flat-panel TV running a PowerPoint slide show of pictures of our plant, our product, local cultural and sports activities, pictures of local wildlife, and so on. (I didn’t want it to just be all work-oriented. I wanted to “sell” quality-of-life and recreation opportunities as well.) The next-best part was actual laboratory glassware (sealed) containing our feedstock (oil), our byproducts (liquids), and our main, solid product. The TV would catch people’s eye, and they’d step closer to see the samples.

The object of all this was to get resumes from students who wanted internships, co-op positions, or full time employment (after graduation). We’re trying to hire engineers. I was out of the office for two days.

The following week I drove all the way to Stillwater, OK, to the Oklahoma State University career fair. One of our managers is an OSU grad. It took a full day of driving to get there, a full day at the career fair, and a full day to drive home. I was out of the office for three days.

Then two weeks ago I drove to Winter Park, CO, for our annual family ski trip. That’ll be the subject of another post. I was out of the office all week.

And finally last week I left on Tuesday morning to drive 9½ hours to Lubbock to attend the Texas Tech University engineering career fair (all day Wednesday), and drove back on Thursday. I was out of the office for three days.

My point? During the last four weeks I have only been in the office a total of 7 days. And this time is especially busy for several reasons (which may be the subject of another future post.) So those seven days I’ve spent at the office have been 10-12 hour days, not my normal 8½-9 hour ones. Yesterday was a full 12 hours, including hosting a candidate for a management job for interviews, plant tour, and so on.

The good news is: I now have a stack of over 100 student’s and recent-graduates’ resumes to sort through for more interviews or possible job offers. The bad news is: I have to find time to sort through them. Then I have to follow up and communicate with most of those folks who are waiting for some word. Few people realize how time-consuming the recruiting process is if you want to do it professionally and with an individualized approach.

So no, I haven’t been writing or blogging. In fact, I haven’t had much of a life (other than the ski trip!) for a while.

Yeah, that‘s a sorry excuse for bad blogging. But right now it’s the only excuse I’ve got.