Showing posts with label assignment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label assignment. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Dreams with APA References

          The assignment for my Philosophy class was to write my opinion on a dream job - which I already established in this post is NOT in accounting - though I may consider applying for said position with the Hallmark Corporation - though I think there would be other positions that would be of better interest.

          After reading over my assignment, I decided I hadn't completed the expected requirements and so am posting this to my blog instead.

What is a Dream Job?

            "The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive" - Albert Einstein (Doyle, 2018)

            The words "Dream" and "Job" together feel like such an oxymoron.  A job is something I would have in order to pay my bills and put food on the table.  I have had many jobs.  None have fulfilled any dreams for me. A Dream would be to give service, to share my thoughts and talents.  If I were to get paid for doing what I love, that would be an added bonus.

            I'm not saying that the dream job cannot happen.  There are many people who define "dream job" to mean a large variety of things from a handsome paycheck (Oteify, 2016) to having friends and sincerely looking forward to Mondays (Martin, 2014) I know that  no one career is going to fulfill all of my desires - which I realize does not sound at all optimistic.  We all have hurdles to jump - the first is in landing the job.

            I have been in a number of dead-end jobs to avoid the hurdle of interviewing and competing with others.  Oft times it feels like an endless game.  More people have worked at their careers than the success stories of those jobs that just seem land in their laps. Yet there have been a few success stories about being at the right place at the right time.

            Vanna White was only 25 when she applied for Wheel of Fortune.  I am certain that she had not dreamed that it would 30+ year career.  There may be girls today that would like to grow up and get paid for turning letters and wear different fashions every night.  But who was Vanna White's role model?  Who would have even dreamt up what she does?  

I really like these two quotes she gives:

            “It's not the most intellectual job in the world, but I do have to know the letters.”

            “Think about it: I get to give away someone else's money and make people happy—how's that for a job?”

            I think looking like Vanna White at age 61 would be a dream (Vanna, 2017)

            Carroll Spinney (2017) was approached by Jim Henson to work on Sesame Street - which may have just started out as a job for him but after suicidal thoughts and a broken marriage, Sesame Street eventually became his purpose in life (LaMattina, 2014).  A 45-year career he would have never thought to dream about.

            I think growing up on Sesame Street would have been a dream job.  Acting, playing, educating and getting paid for it.  I don't know how much money each made, but to me, that is not the most important part.  If I am not happy in a job, no amount of money is going to change that.  It is the least important of my priorities.

            My top priority would be location - which has nothing to do with the job itself.  But I do not wish to drive more than 20 minutes to get to my job.  I do not wish to live in the city and get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on my way to work or the return home.  Horn honking and uptight drivers do not set well with me.  I want to be pleasant and focused when I am at work or home and not waste time in heavy traffic.

not in my part of Oregon, worse in Portland

            The final assessment for my last mod was finding a company with a well-known trademark and write an analysis on my recommendation of the company.  I think I was supposed to include comparing different years of finances.  I ended up doing my report on the Hallmark Corporation and convinced myself that it is a company that I would like to work for. 

          I wondered what kind of a grade I would receive as I did not make a financial comparison. Their company does not have finances available to the public because they do not have investors.  I would like to work for this corporation as they are a family oriented company with ethics.  That, to me, is much more important than a paycheck. 

            I do not wish to open my own franchise but would like to work at headquarters sharing my opinion.  That would be a dream job if they were located closer to the Pacific coast and not in Kansas City Missouri where it will be too hot for me 5 months of the year. But then again, if we were to move to Kansas City - and I'm not saying it will be in our future - we'd be closer to Roland's other two daughters and possibly get to know them.  But then again, moving to Kansas City will also put us closer to their mother which may be worse than any natural element causing the temperatures to rise.

APA References

Caroll Spinney. (2017). Retrieved from IMDB:
Hallmark Corporation. (2018). Hallmark Deferred Compensation Plan. Retrieved from Hallmark             Corporation: http://www.empower-  
LaMattina, D. (Director). (2014). I Am Big Bird [Motion Picture].
Martin, E. (2014, October 10). 5 Signs You've Found Your Dream Job. Retrieved from Business   Insider:
Oteify, R. (2016, December 9). What does a ‘dream job’ mean to you? Retrieved from getthat:              1.1942493
Vanna White. (2017, April 27). Retrieved from Biography:

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Holding Hands

            Modern Technology in some aspects has made our lives easier, but at the same time has seemed to create more challenges - particularly when there is a glitch or breakage.  Last week I had both my laptop and pc on my desk.  I could seem to receive the internet on my pc so long as my laptop was near - like an insecure child unwilling to go through with it on its own.  Oh, brother. 

            I've been using Internet Explorer on the PC as chrome seems to provide a tremendous amount of pop-ups (even though the blocker is set to BLOCK)  which is extremely annoying when taking an exam.  But lately I've been having issues with explorer as well.  I don't know why, but I have never liked Firefox.  And I can't open Yahoo in the PC at all.  

            I've been listening to the lectures on laptop just so I can set in a more comfortable chair than I can with PC.  My Management Instructor is quite knowledgeable of the subject, but he is soooooo monotone that I have a hard time keeping up.  Those voice patterns we call Siri and Alexa on our machines - they seriously put in more emotion into what they are saying (machines, mind you) than does my management instructor.  He does not sound robotic exactly.  His delivery  isn't even that exciting.

            I did not choose to attend the luncheon or games yesterday.  Often when I have two classes I have still made the effort to show up for either one or the other,  but somehow felt more pressed for devoting more time as I have two discussions, two assignments and two assessments for the week.    I would like to turn them in ASAP.  Once again I am shaking my head at the very idea of procrastination. 

            My goal for last week, this week and the next two are:

            1) to look up all my references on Monday so that I will have them available for discussion and possibly management assignment.

            2) snooze lecture on Tuesday morning - the subject really isn't that bad; it's his deliverance - or lack thereof.

            3) write the discussion posts and post them to the appropriate class

            4) sign into lecture of second class after it starts because I tried signing in early last week and as it turns out he is in another class and I ended up getting cut off.  Review takes about twenty minutes anyway.

            5) work on assignments for both classes.  Review.  Review.

            6) Review and correct if necessary and turn in either Wednesday night or Thursday morning

            7) take assessments.  But do not use chrome on PC.  check Yahoo emails on Laptop, take quizzes on laptop or use Firefox for PC. 

            So now I am done.  Except for the daily checkpoints (which can only be done per day) I am done for the week.  Hallelujah!  Frees up my Friday and Saturday for myself or house or community . . . away from the computer if I would like.

            I have had blog post ideas, but they have gotten lost in the shuffle of my mind.  I've also managed to squeeze in a few word puzzles during my breaks from the computer.  Currently I'm not reading anything leisurely.  The most interesting reading material I wish to look at lately has been whatever my sister posts to facebook.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Year to Finals

            It is really a sad thing to have finals right after a two week vacation.  Instead of having just one assessment or assignment - all of it is expected from here on.  Every week will be the same.  That is fine for the times I have just one class, but it seems quite challenging this particular week when I have two and have not bounced back with my mind.
            Theoretically I should be working on my assignments or posting a comment to a fellow student on discussion, but I first need to clear out my brain.  Perhaps if I brainstorm here I will have  a better understanding about what to write for my class assignment.
            We're supposed to set goals on improving our self-management.  Yesterday's daily check point had us watch a video on sleep hygiene.  Now there's my inspiration.  I haven't been sleeping well.  I KNOW I need to sleep  better to control my emotional intelligence.  I slept much better as a single person than one who is expected to share a bed.  Forget my disability to find comfort on a flat surface.  Roland and I have never been able to agree on room temperature.   If he's comfortable, I am too hot.  If I am comfortable, he is too cold.

            The air doesn't seem like it will push through the vents unless the thermostat is above 72.  There's another brilliant error design that came with our home.  The thermostat is set between the back door and kitchen and so never does get an accurate temperature of the entire house.  Duh.  Of course we never have the finances to fix or change anything.

            So last night we used a space heater that plugs directly into the wall and is not on the floor. 
The instructions are quite simple and say that the temperature goes from 60 to 90.  Who in their right mind is going to set it to 90 degrees?  I think 75 is too hot.  At the advice of a column I will reference for my assignment, on suggestion for better sleep is to keep the room cool.  I think 65 may have been a bit too cool - especially for Roland.  He was pleased to see me this morning as I usually wander into the living room during the night;  the air quality in the living room has been the right temperature for me - but the couch is a beast to sleep on.
              I don't know that either one of us really slept any better than we have been.  I usually wake between 1:30 and 2:00 because I'm hot.  My bladder woke me up at 2:30 - ah, the drawbacks of cool verses warmth.  My pipes don't leak in the warmth, but when I'm cold I've suddenly got water bursting through me.  Where does it even come from.  It's not as though I am sipping on Big Gulps during my sleep

 I've also noticed that electric heat seems drier than natural gas.  We don't even have a natural gas option in this house.  I wonder if that is what has contributed to my stomach rash.  It doesn't make sense to me, but is the only thing I can think of that is different from my normal routine - or what started out as routine anyway.
            Still searching for answers.  I do need to eat better, and that will help me sleep.  But I still need to find that perfect t temperature for both of us.

            I hadn't made the connection of exposure to light.  The article discussed getting out in the natural daylight.  There haven't been many hours of light for several days at a time.  It's been overcast, foggy, dim, kind of depressing.  The daylight effects the moods of almost all people.  All the sudden it has made sense to me.  I don't know if this post does, but I plan on posting it anyway.  Take a shower, say a prayer, get on with my day.  Hopefully I will become more alert than I am at present.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Making Profit With Real Estate: Resell and Flipping

          Last week I created a post about writing my assignment in first person wondering if I might get discredited for doing so.  Also, I thought it rather challenging to come up with 750+ words (I think I ended up with 753) Not only did I receive full credit but a comment from my instructor said that he had been entertained.  That was a bonus as it had not been my intent to entertain.  Perhaps I'll touch more upon it following the comments for this week's assignment which may take more than one post as I have several examples and well over 750 words.  I had actually started out with eight different examples, but felt it best to revise my assignment in order to keep it to less than 1,000 words. 

          So here is a rough outline accompanied by mostly personal examples - though I did start out by mentioning the A&E's former television series called "Sell This House" and ended with the mention of HGTV's "Property Bros" and  "Fixer Upper".  There are many many ways to use real estate for investment purposes.  Here are some:

 Resell and Flipping

                 Today's American Dream seems more than just owning property, but to make money from property investments.  Purchasing houses at a low market rate, fixing them and flipping them appears to have become a hot investment commodity.  There are some who have the knack for it and some who don't.  I DON'T HAVE THE KNACK.

1.       Realtor's get a commission on what they sell. Some realtor's won't even bother with the type of housing that Roland has often listed - but he has worked with many investors who are willing to flip the property.  They will purchase the "fixer upper" for less than 100,000 and end up selling it for almost three times the amount - depending on the neighborhood, the timing of the market and so forth.  They end up with more money in their pockets than did Roland.  Thus Roland decided to hop on the bandwagon of real estate investments.  Fortunately he had partnered with someone for each, but still . . . I didn't enjoy it overall.

2.       I remember four properties having been purchased for "Flip" purposes.  The first and third are the ones I remember best.  Both in Midvale.  The first was a shared driveway and hidden location.  I think the hardest part about the property was the land itself.  Lots of overgrowth in the way of weeds and trees, etc.  Roland decided that it would be a family project and we would spend weekends going out to clear the land.  What was he thinking?  None of us are landscapers.

          I remember clearing out items in house number 2.  I liked the house itself and had considered living there, but we couldn't afford it.  Jenna was just a baby and the outside deck included about a million steps.  I was afraid of each of us trying to walk on it during the winter months.  I didn't particularly like the area where the house was located.  I never even saw house number 4 (his partner did everything and spent too much money;  it was our last "flip"

          House number 3 provides the most horrible memories.  I refer to it as the Nightmare on Oak Street.  Unlike the first house in Utah that was hidden from the average driver's view, the house on Oak Street could be seen from a high traffic area.  There was always interference from the city.  I could not take Jenna as I was afraid of her falling into a hole or something. 

          I think it was listed as a one bedroom house.  There was a garage that Roland had wanted to convert into another bedroom but after it was gutted, a wind blew down the outside wall and created a more costly expense.  This is the house that we had been working on when I posted  this story.

          My next three posts are Property Management, real estate and what I like to call "Gravy Investments" -  which I will explain. And possibly I'll reminisce my first assignment but not post the assignment itself.  Though my instructor says he was entertained, I reread and was bored with it.  So if this subject doesn't interest you, you may just want to wait until next week before continuing with reading this blog.  But hey, thank you for tuning in.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Just Names on the Payroll

          I still like the feel of a book in my hands rather than having to constantly refer to the screen and "turn" the page by pressing next or arrow.  When the library had the book sale back in October and November, I found an accounting book that was in great condition - but it was from 1979.  I picked it up anyway. 

          Thus far I have taken two accounting classes and am now on my third and so far my outdated book has been compatible to my first two courses.  I obviously hadn't taken payroll or taxes into account.  Guess what my accounting focus is on for this class?

          The government laws are constantly changing.  This tax is taken out for this purpose, that tax for another.  We no longer have just FICA and SSN - now there is IRCA created in in 1986, FMLA created in 1993, PRWORA created in 1996, the list goes on and on.  I don't know that I'm expected to memorize every initial and reasons for the organization for this week - but I'm certain I'll need to understand them all before I get a job doing payroll.  DANG!

          I'm trying not to take these laws personally and actually have a better understanding of WHY I had taken that history class.  Our last discussion post was on the topic " Equality vs. Equity".  I wrote the following:

        "When I first saw the topic Equality vs. Equity, I was confused as I was looking at equity to mean: "the value of the shares issued by a company" rather than " the quality of being fair and impartial"  Sadly, it was the antonyms that further helped me to understand.

        "Several thoughts have entered my mind since Saturday when I started reviewing for this upcoming discussion, including topics such as the education system, the school's meal program, or a continuation of my "soapbox" from last week's discussion [a post about Political Freedom in which I questioned the words “All Men are Created Equal” written at the time of slavery - thus not applying to ALL men] , but I have since decided on a topic that I picked up from 60 Minutes last a night.

        "According to Community Tool Box, about 18% of the American population has some kind of disability.  In 1990 a law was passed which enforces businesses to comply with stipulations enforcing guidelines for wheelchair access (CTB, 2016)

        "The 60-minute feature took Anderson Cooper to different business locations that don't seem to meet the guidelines here. Many of these businesses were being sued because they were not actually up to code of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

        "For those with disabilities, I think that the act is more of equity than equality.  There are just some differences that will [never make us equal]. We need to embrace those differences and not discriminate or bully. I think equity is better than equality especially if we constantly fight in the name of "equality" if we are looking to be cookie cutter images of one another. I like what makes me unique.

        "We can share our talents and learn from one another.  Equity is a good thing - but can also be taken advantage of."

60 minutes (2016, December 4). What's a "drive-by lawsuit"? (A. Cooper, Interviewer)

Section 4. Ensuring Access for People with Disabilities. (2016). Retrieved from Community Tool Box: "

          I now have two chapters to read for my accounting class, and really am trying to read with an open mind.  This morning I believed I would be wading through a lot of jibberish that I wouldn't fully understand and would put me to sleep. By noon it seemed to be doing the opposite- stirring up emotions which I know I should not allow to rise to the surface, and yet they have.  Instead of taking a nap, I am riled. I am livid, even sad.  All these "governing rules" or stipulations is what has been flushing our economy down the toilet.  Well in part anyway.  Or at least that is my opinion.

         It has been suggested that employers use a payroll system – someone outside the company who specializes in cutting checks.  I think it would be a lot easier to work for one of those companies cutting paychecks for people that you don't know rather than follow all the "governing rules" on your employees'' paychecks knowing that skimming just one or two dollars from every tax or deduction it will take food off his table.  It would be much easier to do payroll when the names are just names and there is no personal attachment.
          Roland has always been able to separate personal from business.  I can’t even separate my class discussion or material without personality.  How the heck would I ever be able to do a job?  It’s funny how often I have stressed out over assignments or classes and have ended up doing well – as if all that emotion had been unnecessary and wasted.  I hope that is the case now.
        I’ve had an option of reviewing videos in addition to the manual of each course thus far.  This course doesn’t have any cool videos – or even lame ones for that matter.  I have no choice but resort to the book, the power point outline of the book and my instructor’s lecture – which is a bit more helpful than trying to analyze the text myself, but still . . . I want a video that will teach me and make me smile.  As of now, I’m really not doing a whole lot of smiling. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016


It has been a major struggle for me to post discussions or write the assignments for my management class.  As I've already mentioned, I lack the passion, and yet I feel there is strength in what I'm learning if I but apply. I've noticed that I've made some huge grammatical errors to past posts . . . I'm not even going to try to correct them - at least not right now.  My apologies to those of you who have struggled through.  Hey, but thanks for being interested enough to continue.

We (students in any class of an online university) don't have verbal discussions in our classes as we don't all live in the same state or time zone . . . we have written discussion.  All my other credited classes required at least 150 words for our initial post and 50-75 words in comments made to other students.  This class requires more than 150 words - and references - and they have to be cited.  I actually lost points that first week because I hadn't cited. 

          My first discussion topic was on the span of control.  

Span of Control means the number of employees that can be managed efficiently and effectively by a manager. There are two types of span of control:
  1. Narrow span of control: In a narrow span of control, a single manager or supervisor oversees only a few employees. This normally results in a tall organization – and organization with many levels of authority.
  2. Wide span of control: In a wide span of control, a single manager oversees a large number of employees. This normally results in a flat organizational structure – one with very few levels of authority.

We had to answer three questions. 

  1. You are a manager who works directly with employees that are new to the company. Do you want to have a narrow span of control or a wide span of control? Why?
  2. You are an experienced employee who has worked for a company for many years. Do you want to report to a manager who has a wide span of control or a narrow span of control? Why?
  3. You manage a team of employees. The owner of your company has asked you to report how many sales were generated by social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You have no time to do the report - one of your employees must do it. Tell us how you would use the delegation steps to decide which employee should create the report for your owner

 This was my first post:

I would hope that all of my employees would be able to work well together and follow instructions to get the job done well and on time. I would want to have a narrow span of control.  I know that there are some people who catch on quickly, while others may not.  I would like to show to my employees how to do something and be able to trust them to discipline themselves and get the work done.  I am happy to help when they haven't quite grasped something and would hope they would come to me if they do not understand something.  I don't wish to watch over them constantly.  I have obligations as well.  I personally would rather manage just a few employees than many.

Being an employee isn't any different than being a manager although I would prefer that the manager could walk away and let me do my thing without standing over me every single minute.  So I guess I would want the span to be wide. I am a good worker. If my boss has given me a specific assignment and deadline, I can get the job done and will ask if I need assistance.  Just as I would not want an employee to fear me, I do not fear my boss.

There are many people who have facebook accounts, however, not all users are wise.  I would choose someone on my team who has used the social media wisely and who is most resourceful and tell him/her  that I have a deadline to meet and I need him/her to get the word out and will see that he/she gets full credit for the work which has been done.  We all have talents and can utilize each talent for the benefit of the company. We must pull our resources together and work as a team just as the elements, string and tail each plays a vital role in kite flying.

My assignment for that week was on Organizational Structure.  The subject was on a company I had never heard of before: One Smooth Stone, which is a theater business and sounds like a good company to work for.  They are performers who entertain at sells conventions and motivational meetings and so forth.  My attitude toward the subject of attending said convention or seminar is briefly mentioned here.

I received full credit for my assignment.  I did not do so well at the assessment.  That first  week had convinced me that I'd be doomed in the class as I expected that each week would be harder for me with this less than wonderful attitude I have.  But I'm happy to say that I showed improvement by the second week.

The second week my post needed to be on the functions of management.  I posted the following:

The four functions of management are planning, organizing, leading and controlling.  I'm happy to see in this video (Hartzell, 2013) points out that management is needed in more than just sales.  Management is needed when conducting classes or raising funds for charity (SW project, 2015) This helps me focus better to understand management is not just about job and income - it involves so many aspects of our lives.

 I believe my weakest function is with controlling - following up to see if everyone else has followed through.  I think that because I have done my part, everyone else has, which is not always the case.  I don't know that I've had great examples to follow within the workplace.  But I do have a great example of management at home - only it's my husband who does the follow-up to find that our sons have not cleaned their rooms, or finished with their duties in the kitchen or what have you.  I need to become more observant.  I think I'm pretty good at planning, however.

 I really can't think of any outstanding managers that I have worked under.  Two of my  "managers"  were let go, probably because they lacked in management skills.  One quit because of confrontations which I don't understand.  I remember telling one of my "replacement" managers that I thought it was really important for us to have a meeting in order for us to communicate and all be on the same page.  She did have her meeting, but I wasn't invited.  I didn't see that her management skills were any better than the one she replaced.  Morale had actually gone done, as I recall.

 This video (Hartzell, 2013) also points out that we don't see half of the functions that our managers do.  Planning and Organizing take place behind closed doors - or in small groups.     I used management skills in church groups and in the community functions. For example,  I will be involved in a meeting on Thursday night in which ideas will be discussed and reviews will be made for saving the libraries in this area from closing.

Our assignment was on the difference between management and leadership.  Our topic was on the CEO of Southwest airlines, Gary Kelly, which I briefly mentioned here.

Our third week (this week) was on managerial decision making process:

I have checked into more videos and research by typing in "the six steps of decision making" although the steps are not always introduced in the same manner, I think it's the same principle, but the emphasis seems to be made more about one step or break into more steps or combine into fewer steps;  I've also noticed a different order.

Brian Perryman (2014) for example, gives eight steps with evaluation at number 6.  Carrie Olson (2015) gives us six steps.  Her evaluation  also appears as number six, while easy presentation 1 (2012) also includes eight steps places evaluation at number 4.

Regardless of what order or how many steps, decision making needs to be thought out.  Identify the problem or situation at hand, gather information and establish criteria (Olson 2015).  A good manager will analyze and choose options.  Unfortunately, it is not a step I see too often.  I don't think "ultimatums" are good choice options.

I have had managers that haven't even been able to identify the problem.  I often wondered how they had been put in the position of manager, to begin with.
There will be some instances when a manager will have to make what appears to be an "instant decision" but just as the "four functions of management" that we discussed last week, we don't always see what goes on behind closed doors.  A good manager has already observed and analyzed situations and environment of  employees are working.  Thus what may appear instantaneous to the employees involved had already gone through a procedure of steps by the manager.

Allow me to give an example from my own work situation.  There was an employee who wasn't pulling his share of the work.  He was a bit crude with his language and did not show respect to his co-workers but the customers loved him.  He evidently had some kind of charisma that only they could see.  He wasn't the top seller, but always in the top two or three.  Management had taken that all into consideration.  It had been weighing on her mind for a couple of months.  She had actually taken the employee aside - I don't know what words were said, but I know he was let go after a while.  Though it appeared to some that her decision had been abrupt,  it really wasn't.
Active listening requires listening from both management and employee  (Denton, 1992). This employee just wasn't willing to listen.

And here is a comment made in response to a class member's post about:

I agree with you that managers don't always follow the six step process.  I have had a few managers who did not even identify or evaluate the problem -  unfortunately not every manager gets to have the training that we will be learning in various classes.

I've also been in situations where the manager (I'll call her Ruth) had interviewed for a position opening at a retail store.  She had called to tell me that I had been chosen, only to call me one hour later to rag on the owner (I'll call him Mac) of the store.  Mac had given Ruth explicit instructions to interview candidates and then decided to hire someone that hadn't even gone through the same procedures as those that had been interviewed.  Ruth was actually more upset about the events that took place than I was. 

I wouldn't have had a problem working for or with Ruth.  I did have a problem with Mac and his interference.   Ruth had used the steps of management assigned.  I don't think Mac took any steps and was oblivious to the problem.  I don't know what became of Ruth, as I did not get the job nor was in a position in which I could just pop in and ask.  I think it's important that an employee has respect for his or her manager.  Equally, I think it's just as important, maybe even more for a manager (or owner) to respect employees.  I think that taking the time to take the proper steps in decision making makes a huge difference in showing respect.

 To avoid an even longer (and possibly boring) post, I will finish up on Monday.  My final thought shouldn't be posted to this blog before I post it to my discussion wall.  Both say roughly the same thing, though what I have saved for my blog gives a bit more detail than what I will post to my discussion.  And at last . . . including a topic that I'm actually passionate about.  Yeah!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Maybe it's me . . . Missing the Boat

To "miss the boat" is to miss the point of or fail to understand: 

               Several years ago I was working for an employment agency in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The agency had sent me on a temporary assignment to state's Department of Family and Child Services (DCFS) -  a department seemingly to be more dysfunctional than many of its clients.  I was told the assignment would be for only a couple of months - but I was there for almost two years and off and on for almost the next five.

                As I recall, I made a suggestion of sending out letters to newly adoptive parents or potential adoptive parents - I can't remember the reason - but in my mind it seemed like it would be a start for whatever it was the department was trying to accomplish.  I was asked to write the letter and send it to the chair of the department who actually worked in a different building (I think there were three locations for the DCFS workers who were supposed to function as one, but that didn't happen) to meet his approval.

                I printed the letter on the stationary with the departments letter head - the same stationary I had used in the one-two years I was assigned.  I explained to the chair why I was sending the letter and what I was trying to accomplish.  And did it meet his approval?  His feedback was less than productive.  His response was to the letterhead itself. (As if I really had control over that - I wasn't even a state employee!) The letterhead on stationary bore the name of Governor Norman Bangerter who had served as governor from 1985 to 1993.  I don't recall what year it was.  1994? 1995?  Mike Leavitt was the governor from 1993 to 2003. 

                It's true that I hadn't bothered reading the letterhead at anytime  I had ever sent anything out.  I had no reason to.  The stationary had always been handed to me along with a list of instructions on what was to be done with it. It didn't even occur to me that I might be using old stationary.  Apparently, it was never updated.  Again, that was not my fault.  I had no control over the stupid letterhead.

                I remember feeling annoyed by his response - totally missing the boat on the content of the letter. The words that needed to be sent out - regardless of the stationary! I took this matter to the secretary who laughed at the error that had been made for well over a year and a half.  In this post I said it had been two mayors.  Perhaps the mayor's name had appeared on the letterhead as well. I don't remember.  All I remember was feeling frustration as the issue at hand was not addressed.  And okay, I was a little bit amused by the error of the department.

                Recently there has been a similar situation which triggered this situation.  But first let me back up a bit to set the stage.   As I mentioned in this post, online schooling  hasn't appealed to me. I would like to get a part time job just so we have a bit of extra income. However, jobs seem hard to come by in this particular area where I live.  I've applied to be a cashier at several places, but the idea of being on my feet all day does not appeal to me.  I'd rather have a desk job.  So I have decided to go back to school (online) to get my degree in accounting.

                Roland signed me up to start classes on June 27 - even though I said I wanted to wait until after school started for Jenna.  Nevertheless,  I was told that my classes would start June 27 - which they did - without me.  A glitch in the system put me two days behind. 

                The courses run for only for weeks.  Each week the student is expected to participate in discussion, turn in an assignment and fulfill an assessment (which is usually a quiz or sometimes another assignment) Thus there is much reading material and/or video required.  I am a visual person.  I like someone to show me what keys to punch and explain why.  It takes me a lot longer to process words from a manual than just one week.  So the classes do move quickly.   Thus far I seem to be doing well, but still frustrated with the reading part.

                So I'm taking this required Philosophy class because knowledge in one's major is not enough (in my case knowing how to do bookkeeping or spreadsheets) is not enough.  A student (potential employee) needs soft skills to be part of a team (employer, co-workers) and so we have to learn all of that - which is a good thing and probably should be addressed at every college.  Employees need to learn how to work with one another and maintain professionalism in the workplace.

                There is no video.  There is this article given as a reading assignment. I think it reads almost like Dr. Seuss (except without the humor) I have not even made it to stage 4 and my brain hurts.  What the heck are Richard Paul and Linda Elder even talking about? There have been many times during my adult life that I have asked my brother, Corey, to read something for me and then explain it to me in English.  I emailed him the website and pleaded that if he had the time, would he please read and explain.  He did.  Corey has helped me out of binds a countless number of times.  I feel like I owe him more than just gratitude.

                The instructor does a live lecture each week and then makes the video available to whatever students couldn't/didn't attend and also a refresher for those of us who did go live but still need to stop and rewind.  As I had a ton of questions, I tuned in for the live lecture and asked and answered some of the questions.  The session was very helpful.  Corey called right after the session and gave me even more insight - which I really so appreciate so much.

                Corey found the article dry and hard to get through, but he was able to explain it to me. We were both able to give examples of TV or movie characters or real live examples that we know. That's how I wanted to do my assignment - by giving the examples that helped me to better understand what the each stage represents.  I was hoping to find just one movie or program to base my characters on, but ended up using examples from many sources. I picked examples of what I thought each stage represents for stages 1 to 3 but somehow felt stuck finding an example for number 4. 

                There were tears in my eyes over the frustration I felt in not being able to convey what I wanted in a formal assignment.  I know that my posts are often too wordy and I fly off the handle and move on to non-related subjects, but my writing on this blog is informal.  I still didn't know if my understanding was accurate.

                Roland, who tends to have a great understanding of many things, asked if he could assist.  I told him that his explanations are often more confusing than what I am trying to understand - which I think is why I was so excited about his comparing underwear to primer (which I mentioned in my last post)  as it seemed such a simple explanation.  I told him what it is that I was trying to accomplish and he made suggestions on how I could better format the paper or correct the grammar (he likes to change as he goes; I wait until the entire document is finished to do a spell check) and not to put the assignment in first person (which normally I don't, but was asked to include my belief about which stage I think I'm in and why - meaning it would be in first person) and giving me critique that yes, was necessary - but I had planned on correcting all of that after my thoughts came out. I was looking for critique with the content and not the format itself.  That is what made me think of the first story that I shared.   I have felt like a failure at communication for so much of my life.

                I ended up going a different direction altogether.  I still don't know about the accuracy of my understanding, but I did the best I could with my own comprehension.  I am waiting for my assignment to be graded.  Perhaps I will share the results.

                Meanwhile, I have finished submitting everything that needs to be graded on for this week.   Instead of waiting until Monday (which starts my second week of class) I decided to pry into week 2 to see if there was anything I could try and process in my mind to perhaps make myself more prepared than with this week (in case it was/is as confusing as the "Critical Thinking" article) One of the suggested examples given for the discussion was to assess this test or one like it.   

                I didn't realize the detail involved.  341 questions! Glad I got that early start! The great thing about having taken the suggested emotional test was seeing the growth and change that have taken place in my own personal life.  The website did not give me the end results, nor do I plan on joining the site or pay for the results.  Just knowing what my answers would have been less than two years ago  as opposed to what they are now is a revelation to me.  I have grown more than I had thought and have become a better and happier person and continue to strive upon improving myself.   I'm certainly a lot more relaxed. I like who I am.