Article 43



Wednesday, April 04, 2007

False Hopes

falsehope.jpg alt=False hopes - scientology and casinos

DO YOU KNOW someone IN YOUR LIFE who by CIRCUMSTANCE is, and has been, working TEMP JOBS with no HEALTH INSURANCE, no BENEFITS, and low pay. Someone who appears on the outside as one of those happy - always smiling - nothing bothers me - types?  And keeps working as hard as ever, while impending layoff draws near?

Is that GOOD?

Working as temp with no benefits, low pay, and little hope of being hired SUCKS. Loosing that temp job and being out on the street sucks WORSE. I walked that PATH for two years. And DIDN’T make believe everything is fine.

Is that BAD?


The Painted On Smile


This is Peter - a happy-go-lucky, super friendly and super helpful guy. He’s always sporting a big smile and whistling a happy tune, and seems to have limitless amounts of energy.

Even on the day he lost his career.


Q. Why are some people always smiling? It gets kind of annoying, but I don’t get how someone can be happy all the time.

A. They’re either deranged, high, or complete phonies.  No normal person is in a perpetual state of merriment.

A Look at False Happiness

Smile… You’ll make your brain wonder what your face is up to.

Have you ever seen a poster featuring that old saying “Smile, everyone will wonder what you’re up to?”

Where I grew up there was a version of that poster hanging in our laundry room that had Garfield on it, his big cat grin was always pretty humorous.

But no matter how I tried I couldn’t force myself to smile all the time. I felt like a moron trying to walk around with a grin on my face for no reason.

I was just talking to a friend at work and he said he was driving along behind woman and he caught sight of her face in her side view mirror, she was wearing a huge grin. Maybe she was listening to something funny on the radio, that would do it, then again maybe she was just applying that old “feel good” technique.

That’s actually what it is. Check it out - when you hear, see or think something funny your brain releases endorphins that cause you to feel pleasant and happy, the muscles that make you smile go to work and you end up looking happy.

It’s been found to work in reverse too. When you smile for no reason, your brain will release endorphins causing you to feel happy. So, you can smile because you’re happy, or smile to be happy, it works either way. But is it a good idea to pretend be happy all the time? I don’t think so.

Someone who tries to be happy all the time could end up being confused with their inner feelings and emotions. There’s no logic in smiling just so others “wonder what you’re up to.” Even if smiling makes us feel happy, there’s a time and a place.

There’s a fellow where I work who’s always sporting a dumb grin with his eyebrows raised as if he’s in a state of euphoria. He looks like a complete idiot. I don’t wonder what he’s up to, I wonder why the heck he walks around looking like a dope all day.

A positive attitude is one thing, a false expression of happiness is quite another. Think positively, be positive all you want, that’s great. But why sport a smile just to appear happy? Will it truly make you happy?

Humans have various emotions and facial expressions to match them. We can’t trick ourselves into being happy, we’ll only end up fooling ourselves and looking like demented twits to everyone we pass on the street. If we’re sad we need to feel sad, let the emotion run it’s course and get to the bottom of the sadness. If we’re angry we need to handle our anger, not try to mask it with a phony smile.

Where I grew up there was another poster, this one hanging on my father’s filing cabinet. It was, and still is, my favorite sentiment. It was a close-up of a majestic bald eagle, appearing rather stoic, with eyes half-massed, beak fixed and stern. The caption: “I Am Smiling.”

Be yourself, and feel the way you feel. Everyone will wonder why you’re not like everyone else.



A Painted On Smile
By Margaret Stretch

A blank canvas,
A palette with a couple shades of red,
A paintbrush paints on…
A painted on smile.

The teeth show,
And they never know
What goes on inside.
The smile works like a charm.

Sticks and stones,
They break your bones.
Words can make your smile
Or break it.

Throughout the trials and tribulations,
The palette is used more often.
The paintbrush has to be replaced.
The smile starts to transform into a frown.

How much paint have I used?
How many paintbrushes have been frayed?
How many smiles have worked?
How many people have I really fooled?

A blank canvas,
A palette with a couple of shades of red,
A paintbrush paints on…
A painted on smile.


Posted by Elvis on 04/04/07 •
Section Dealing with Layoff • Section Spiritual Diversions • Section Personal
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Corporate Policy Of Indifference

Last week I got a call from a former colleague at AT&T.

She just got layed off as a manager. 

We bantered about old times, and how nowadays love and compassion seems to have MOVED AWAY from just about everything. Concerning layoffs - the contrast between the way we were treated 15 years ago and now is striking.

Back then AT&T hired an outside psychology company to counsel BOTH those GETTING LAYED OFF, and those staying - to DEAL WITH the STRESS OF UNEMPLOYMENT and related loss. Then they had resume writing experts show us how to make a good one. Head hunters visited our office. Money for retraining was offered right away.  A rep from the state came and explained their programs. Together, AT&T and The State Of Florida paid for my Novell CNE and a bunch of other computer classes.  Financial counselors espoused us with their wisdom. And on, and on, and on. The support was unending.

60 DAYS after notification, we were officially unemployed. The support still didn’t stop. AT&T set up rooms in their local buildings and gave us former employees free access to them for another six months.  Each had PCs with word processors and printers, telephones, and fax machines. We were encouraged to use them to conduct our job search.

TODAY, as soon as you’re notified, you’re (thrown) ESCORTED OUT OF THE BUILDING.

And left to die.

Posted by Elvis on 10/11/06 •
Section Telecom Underclass • Section Personal
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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving - Not For Me

Whoever said depression is the ultimate selfishness may be right. 

On this Thanksgiving day I’m too wrapped up in MY OWN FEARS to think of anyone or anything else, and even snapped at PATCHES (my cat) when she asked for her usual nightly can of fresh food;

“The food from this morning is only half gone. Finish it. That stuff’s 40 cents a can.  I can’t afford to throw out any of it just cause it’s been in the bowl a few hours.  Even if it is Thanksgiving.”

It’s times like this one realizes how important FAMILY like brothers, sisters and a wife and kids are.  Distant relatives, INSINCERE FRIENDS or religious dogma that Jesus will save us all, doesn’t cut it when your hopes, dreams and heart are barraged more each day from a cold, cruel world - that’s wearing you down and turning life to dull shades of gray.  Being held would be wonderful right now.

Christmas is coming. I used to buy a new bicycle for a poor kid this time every year. Instead, getting LAYED OFF YESTERDAY from another day-laborer assignment, with LESS HOPE OF FINDING A REAL JOB than I had this time last year, and increasing fears of getting sick with no medical insurance, or ending up homeless from financial collapse - I can use someone giving me something for a change.

All I want for Christmas is a job, and my real heart back.

Or if that’s too much - just to be held.

Posted by Elvis on 11/24/05 •
Section Personal
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Friday, November 18, 2005

Loyalty Confusion Part 2

I heard on the news this morning that studies say employees treated well are more LOYAL, and the companies they work for make more money, have less customer turnover, and have better customer service than employees NOT TREATED WELL.  Why then are companies OUTSOURCING more and MORE with temps and contractors whose INCREASING NUMBERS SIT SIDE BY SIDE with employees like I do? 

My mom says a study she saw on the news says older, experienced people make the best workers.  So why is AGE BIAS an issue?

Some answers may be DISTURBING.  When companies do bad - which they may purposely do - executives often vote themselves GOLDEN PARACHUTES, FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY, UNLOAD PENSION and other obligations, then start off fresh as new companies with no obligations and with the same management that let the other businesses die.  Why does US Government not discourage it?

Posted by Elvis on 11/18/05 •
Section Dealing with Layoff • Section Personal
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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Fear and Loathing of a Temp

There’s something uniquely special about childhood friends and the eternal spots they own in our hearts like family.  We hold them dear, and remember them fondly all through our lives, and even if we don’t see them in years - when we do - it’s like the last time was yesterday.

One of those friends I grew up with (who still has a good telecom job,) went to the doctor the other day with a stomach ache - and found out it’s cancer.  He’s in the hospital now getting his first chemotherapy shot.

Chemotherapy kills everything - bad cells, good cells, and all the cells in between - likely impacting the person’s life dramatically and permanently for the worse - even if it gets all the cancer.  This guy used to jog three miles a day, now he expects to barely walk three blocks as a result of the destructive treatment. His company paid medical insurance is picking up the hospital bill, and his company paid log-term disability insurance will be sending him weekly paychecks while home recovering for at least six months.

Anyone with any feeling would feel sorry for anybody they know enduring chemotherapy.  Instead, this selfish, scared individual’s first thoughts were for himself - if/when a similar situation occurs - and the financial impact of the medical bills, total loss of income from being too sick for too long to work or seek employment, and paying back hospitals and doctors for the rest of my life, with NO RETIREMENT TO LOOK FORWARD TO.

Not having a DECENT JOB, medical insurance, or sick pay is BAD ENOUGH for a working-class person - but having a HEART TURN TO STONE by giving into fear, anger and pressures of stress - then loosing love and compassion for others as a result - is far worse.

I hate what I’ve become.

Posted by Elvis on 09/11/05 •
Section Telecom Underclass • Section Personal
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In memory of the layed off workers of AT&T

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