Thank Goodness For Minimalist Living Right Now

Minimalist living has been my way of living for a few years now.

It has helped me in a number of ways.

I have managed to live on a single income while raising a teenage son and we have a good life.

I have no consumer debt. I do not have a cell phone.

I have made it a habit to think before I spend money. Do I really need the item I am considering purchasing?

But now more than ever minimalist living is going to need to help.

As some may have read I do not have a job right now.

It is not a fun place to be mentally.

That being said, I do believe that everything does happen for a reason.

I have an education degree and am a good communicator and a quick learner. I have things to offer.

I have been doing everything I should be doing over the past two days to keep my spirits up and to try and find employment.

But now more than ever I will need to be frugal and resourceful.

I cannot imagine going through this and having a huge mortgage payment and credit card bills that need to be paid.

My heart does go out to people who are in that situation.

Let me ask you this question: How would you handle losing your job?

How stressful would it be for you? Do you have some money put aside for just such a situation?

How long do you think it would take you to find a new job?

Not having a job is stressful but it certainly does give a person time(lots of time!) to think about what is really important.

For me I need to pay rent and feed my son. Nothing else matters.

So minimalist living is keeping me going. If I start to feel a bit anxious about not having a job I remember to breathe and keep calm.

There are jobs out there. I just need to make it known that I am looking which I have started to do.

And I also remind myself that things could always be worse. There are people out there that are dealing with situations that are a lot worse than mine.

I am going to post my resume right here to this blog. Any suggestions to make it better are appreciated. The initial cover letter is generic in nature as I am planning on handing some out in the next few days. Something like 90% of jobs are filled without being advertised.

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Here is my resume. Please give me some feedback. I really want to get a job ASAP. Thank you.

October 8, 2014
Mark Lowe
18C Empire Street
Bridgewater, NS
B4V 2L3
markty-1970@hotmail.com

Please find enclosed my CV in application for ( ).

You will find that the nature of my education, combined with my training and work experience has prepared me for a position with your company.

I am passionate about helping people to succeed and enjoy working with many different types of people.

Co-workers have mentioned that I possess leadership qualities and am an excellent team player.

I enjoy public speaking, training and resolving problems through the development and implementation of creative measures. I am a fast learner, with a keen eye for detail.

I am able to take on the responsibility of a position immediately, and have the enthusiasm and determination to ensure that I make a success of it.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this application and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future to discuss how I would be an asset with your organization.

Regards,

Mark Lowe

Mark Kenneth Lowe
18C Empire Street, Bridgewater, NS
markty-1970@hotmail.com

OBJECTIVE

To obtain a position where I can maximize my interpersonal skills, utilize my educational background, implement program and policy development, and provide quality customer service with a forward thinking organization.

SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS

Results-oriented, high-energy, hands-on professional, with a successful record of accomplishments with a variety of organizations. Superior interpersonal skills gleaned from self-employment. Training and education background with a Bachelor of Education degree.

Major strengths include:
• strong leadership and management skills, excellent communication skills, strong team player; public speaking, training skills
• trouble shooting and problem solving, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in regulated environments
• Supervisory skills including hiring, termination, scheduling, training, payroll and other
administrative tasks. Experience with licensing and registration and Motor Vehicle Act legislation in regards to driver licensing as Former owner of Young Drivers of Canada Driving School

PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS
As owner of the Young Drivers of Canada Driving School in Truro and Amherst NS from 1998-2008.

Trained and assisted employees with proper instruction techniques. Achieved business growth from 100 annual students in 1998 to 500 annual students in 2008.

Provided daily operational support and review for all staff of educational accountability as it relates to government regulatory requirements in a driving school environment.
Managed budget review process.

Provided excellent customer service, intervention/problem resolution, lesson planning, scheduling, Quality Control, Payroll, and Special Course implementation.
Participated in management team process to develop vision and mission statements.

Management Philosophy

It is no longer enough for employees to simply “embrace” change: continuous improvement must become a way of doing business, where people actively seek improvements, and where systems and processes support and drive initiative. Trust is the key. The work environment must be such that people work without fear, within a culture that encourages pride in both personal and organizational accomplishments.

CAREER HISTORY:

Operator – Michelin North America, Bridgewater, NS. 2011-2014

Responsible for operation of wire descaling and wire draw machinery. Trouble shooting and problem solving problems with machinery. Communication with team workers regarding changes in wire. Communication with management regarding issues/production levels. Recognized for maintaining above average production levels.
Relief Shift Process Leader – Michelin North America, NS

The SPL is the go to person on shift for all issues regarding the production process in all departments. They are also responsible for reporting of all incidents, coordinating workforce personnel during unplanned absences, creation of shift production reports. The SPL is responsible for the resolution and prioritizing of product flow between departments.

Teacher – South Shore Regional School Board 2008-2010

Responsible for instructing students, record keeping, lesson planning, preparing and attending parent/ teacher conferences, coaching various sports teams, attending staff meeting and teacher professional development conferences.

Owner /Operator — Young Drivers of Canada Driving School 1998-2007

Responsible for day to day operation of running a small business. Management of 5 staff members. Provided both classroom and in-car instruction to new and experienced drivers. Communicating with government officials regarding regulatory changes.

EDUCATION & TRAINING:

Bachelor of Education, Nova Scotia Teachers College, 1993
Major: Social Studies – Junior High

Driver Training Instructor Training: Young Drivers of Canada, 1995

Business and Management Training: Young Drivers of Canada, 1998

References Available Upon Request

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Simplify Life

Simplify Life

Simplify Life

Why is it important to simplify life?

In my opinion a lot of people in the western world especially have just too much going on.

They work a lot of hours to try and keep the bills paid. They then may work some type of a part time job for some extra money. Then they have different activities that they are involved in for either themselves or their children.

Life is just too damn busy it seems for a lot of people.

Now don’t get me wrong. If your financial situation is a bit dire because of some poor decision making, then maybe you do need to work some overtime or a part time job for some extra money.

But where does it stop? Why have we gone from spending time with our loved ones to spending time on Facebook?

How much stress does all this busyness cause I wonder?

Does your family have a chance to have sit down meals together and actually talk about the day?

When is the last time you went for a walk with your partner or played with your kids without having your smartphone interrupting you?

And we have not yet even mentioned the extra stuff that may be taking up too much space in your house or apartment.

These are just some of the reasons that you may want to simplify life.

What items in your house are truly necessary? If there was a fire what would you really want to try and save?

The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Life

One way to simplify life would be to try and identify what is absolutely essential and eliminate everything else.

This may sound extreme to some but once you get started you may find that it actually liberating to let go of things.

And the other thing to do is to stop buying things you do not need.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how organized are you? Hmmm, maybe we should ask your partner about that!

If you are always looking for you bank card, keys or important papers perhaps it is time to reevaluate how you are living.

Make a to do list of a few items you would like to accomplish.
Get ready the night before. Have a specific place for important papers. You may not achieve uber-organized status but it’s a start.

In order to simplify life you need to look after yourself first.

A lot of us want to help others. This leads to always saying yes when asked to take on a new task or lead a new group. It is okay to say no sometimes. Simply let people know that you have too much on your plate right now to take on anything else.

We need to also remember that clutter can also be very mental. There are a lot of people that sleep with their smartphone. How many times a day do you update or check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest? Maybe you could simplify life by weaning yourself off of social networking sites. How much productivity is lost at workplaces because of this behavior?

When we talk about the need to simplify life we do not have to get rid of absolutely everything and everyone. We do not have to live in a cave or tiny house(unless you WANT to!).

In order to simplify life you just have to figure out what is important to you and make that a priority.

Simplifying life doesn’t need to be complicated. Learning to create a quieter, more balanced space in your life can help immensely, and reduce stress. Taking little steps is the best way to make it happen. Eliminating clutter, getting organized, simplifying your relationships, and learning to take the time to slow down and appreciate the little things can help to keep you sane. You can start today.

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Why Losing My Job Will Be The Best Thing To Happen To Me

“Life Is 10% What Happens To You And 90% How You Respond To It”

Let me set the table for you on this entire scenario.

I am 43, almost 44 years old. I have a Bachelors of Education degree and over the years have had various term teaching positions and have been a substitute teacher.

From 1995-2007 I worked for and then owned/operated a nationally franchised defensive driving school. Young Drivers of Canada.

Teaching people how to drive defensively. That was a rewarding career at the time. My ex wife continues to thrive with that business.

In 2009 I had had enough of the education system here in Nova Scotia. I enjoy teaching. I love working with youth. But when students can tell a teacher to “F off” and there are no real repercussions…well I had had enough.

In 2011 I applied for and got a job at a local manufacturing plant. In this small town of 8 thousand, it employs about 1000 people. It has been here for 40 years. My dad worked there for 30 years. These are considered to be “good paying jobs with a pension(employee contributed) and decent benefits”.

Get this. I liked it. I was a production worker in a manufacturing facility job. Hot as hell and even dirtier. And it was shift work which I didn’t even mind.

I had a great supervisor who was firm but fair. I did not dread going to work. I worked with mostly good people.

Less than 2 years into it I was asked if I might be interested in being a relief Shift Process Leader. This person is the go to person for most issues in the plant. Hell yes! Big bump in pay, more responsibility, and you are not actually running machines when you are in this role.

Life was good.

But. There is nothing but conflict. Hourly paid workers do nothing but bitch and complain about each other and the decisions that management make.

High level management seems unable and unwilling to make the actual changes that would result in some level of employee job satisfaction. Machinery that keeps breaking down and is “cobbled together” to get it running. Over and over and over again. More and more duties piled on the workers for the same pay.

All the shop cleaning that used to contracted out is now the responsibility of the workers. And more.

Graphs to color in to track data that is supposed “drive progress”. In the almost 4 years I was there I saw nothing change from any data that was gathered. Nothing improved.

So over the past 8 months or so my patience with how things were being done was growing thin. I was working directly with a fellow crew member who is the poster child for workplace bullying. I brought this up with my new supervisor. It was swept away of course. Another example of management not wanting to deal with a real issue. Yes this is documented.

So now over the last month I have been accused of having quality problems with the product I was responsible for producing. I am not denying the fact that I may have make some mistakes. I was stressed to the breaking point. Requests to change crews fell on deaf ears.

And now all of a sudden I am out of a job. Just like that.

And I could not be more relieved. A weight has been lifted.

Here’s the thing. You cannot continue to sell your soul for a paycheck.

It eats away at you. It wears you down.

I actually do want to make a difference in the world. I want to help children, people and the planet. I do not want my legacy to be that I was a robot for a company that does not give a shit for its employees.

In my opinion it is a volatile workplace. Gone are the days where a supervisor and coworkers have your back and are supportive and helpful. Now it is every man for himself. Backstabbing and conflict is commonplace.

Companies want workers who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. Heaven forbid you are a critical thinker and question what management is doing. Management does not like that. Maybe that is why they wanted me to be a relief SPL. I then had to spew out the company rhetoric. Which I had a hard time doing. I didn’t believe in it myself. I call bullshit when I see it.

I think I created a self fulfilling prophecy. I was looking for something else and here I am now, REALLY looking for something else.

It is an interesting place to be. I do have 17 year old who lives with me full time. So that is a concern. But how many times have you heard of someone losing or leaving a job that they absolutely were not happy with only to reinvent themselves and come back better for the experience.

I know that this is what was meant to happen.

Everything happens for a reason. So true.

I know that I will come back better, stronger, faster, smarter and more successful than ever.

And you can too. If anyone out there is dealing with a job loss you will bounce back. Screw the economy. That is an excuse we use to not get out there and be successful. You will reinvent yourself. You will be a better person as a result of this happening. This will not define us. I was not my job. It was always seen as a means to an end. In July 2016 I was going to be reevaluating things anyway.

This will be the best thing to happen to me. I know things and I know this.

I did a search for dealing with a job loss and this site is proving to be very helpful.

helpguide.org

Great tips and lots of links.

Please share this post and share your thoughts in the comments.

“Live Simply”

 

 

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Isn’t Reality Better Than Virtual Reality?

I wonder where we are headed as a society. And as a race. I know that the world is different today than it was 30 years ago.

The reasons why it is different are for people with bigger brains than me to debate.

We could have discussions about the “world economy”, and that would lead to a discussion about how the companies that set up shop in North America decided to leave and set up in lower cost nations.

But I digress. I am good at doing that.

I came across this photo on Techcrunch.

FOVE Virtual Reality headset

FOVE Virtual Reality headset

It is some sort of virtual reality headset. I did not read the article as I have no particular interest.

But the photo scared the shit out of me.

How many people are familiar with the book Johnny Got His Gun?

Here is the Wikipedia description:

Johnny Got His Gun is an anti-war novel written in 1938 by American novelist and screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and published September 1939 by J. B. Lippincott. The novel won one of the early National Book Awards: the Most Original Book of 1939.

Well how does this relate to the above photo?

The book was made into a movie in 1971.

Here is the synopsis of the book and movie.

Joe Bonham (Bottoms), a young American soldier hit by an artillery shell during World War I, lies in a hospital bed. He is a quadruple amputee who has also lost his eyes, ears, mouth and nose. He remains conscious and able to reason, but his wounds render him a prisoner in his own body. As he drifts between reality and fantasy, he remembers his old life with his family and girlfriend (Kathy Fields). He also forms a bond, of sorts, with a young nurse (Diane Varsi) who senses his plight.

At the end of the film, Joe tries to communicate to his doctors, via Morse code, and wishes for the Army to either put him in a glass coffin in a freak show as a demonstration of the horrors of war, or kill him. In the end, however, he realizes that the Army will grant neither wish, and will leave him in a state of living death.

In the film’s climax, his nurse attempts to euthanize him by clamping his breathing tube, but her supervisor stops her before Joe can succumb. This does not occur in the novel. The film ends with Joe weakly chanting “S.O.S. Help me.”

Hmmm. He drifts between reality and fantasy. Sounds a bit like the virtual reality world some of us seemingly want to enter via virtual reality headsets or machines or whatever they are.

I am all for a little escapism. I get the need to tune out for a while. But is a virtual reality headset the way to go?

Where does it end?

Now I am going to show you a photo from the actual film. He is a quadruple amputee, with no eyes, ears or mouth.

Johnny Got His Gun

Johnny Got His Gun

Look at the apparatus he is wearing on his face. It IS the virtual reality headset!!

I can’t make this stuff up.

Hell, the person in the techcrunch photo looks dead

This is what we are becoming. Mouthless, earless, eyeless beings. Hell we are already on our way with all the “smart” phones we are using.

Why can’t we just enjoy real life? Enjoying nature. Playing with our kids. Having an actual conversation with another person.

The future scares me.

“Oh please God wake me.”

A lot of you may be more familiar with the 1988 Metallica video One, which uses clips from the film. A very good song and incredibly powerful video.

Please, share your thoughts in the comments.

“Live Simply”

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Prime Minister Stephen Haper Is The Problem

Only Stephen Harper Stands in the Way of An Effective Government

An eye opening read about the state of federal politics here in Canada. One of the greatest countries on earth but we sure have a lot of work to do.

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What Is The Meaning Of Life?

For the past little while, I will say maybe a year, I have been wondering what is the meaning of life?

I have always been a bit of a thinker. Wondering about my existence, why am I here, what is the point of life, etc.

But last year one of my mom’s brothers was diagnosed with cancer and given less than a year to live. Turns out they were right as he passed away this past spring.

Here was a guy that lived a good life. He was a very devout Christian, he volunteered, he and my aunt rented out rooms to university students and actually looked out for them and remained close with many of them after they had graduated.

He was just a good man.

And in the end none of that mattered.

So what is the meaning of life?

I do not consider myself to be a good man. I have done bad things in my life. I have lied. I have stolen. I have cheated. I have made self destructive decisions. Some of these things have ruined really good relationships.

I cannot answer why I made these decisions. Anything I say would be an excuse really.

I have often thought to myself that I would not be able to make a good decision if my life depended on it.

And maybe that became a self fulfilling prophecy.

I have kind of used it as an excuse for making bad decisions.

Now that is messed up.

What Lies Are We Sold?

I have always wondered if what we are “sold” by the powers that be is something of a lie. You know, go to school, get good grades, go to more school, get a job, buy a house, buy a car, buy a bunch of stuff, try to pay for it all and oh yeah save millions for your retirement. I wonder how many people are actually happy with that particular plan.

Is THAT the meaning of life? Work, struggle to get by, then die. If it is, just tell me.

There is this awesome show that I LOVE. It is a documentary about space and the cosmos and our beginnings and the universe.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

It is nothing short of incredible.

The host is a real astro-physicist. Neil deGrasse Tyson is amazing. He speaks so calmly and explains things so well. I could listen to him all day.

Why do I bring this up? We share a lot of our DNA with EVERYTHING on the planet. Everything. We are all connected.

But it also seems that us being here, human life or life in general, is a fluke.

In a few years we will all be gone. I mean dead. I am not saying this to be morbid. It is just a fact. I will cease to exist. I will no longer be a person. It is a bit weird to think about. I am okay with it, but it is still strange. At least it is to me.

Am I the only one who wonders about this stuff?

So what is the point of this existence?

Yes, life is a journey. But maybe I do not know what my journey is even about.

I work in a factory processing wire that goes into tires. Sure it pays “okay”. Just enough for me to pay the bills.

Is that my meaning? My purpose? If I got hit by a bus tomorrow, would the factory shut down because I am not there?

Nope. They wouldn’t even stop for a minute. All about progress and production.

(No, I am not going to jump in front of a bus!)

There has got to be more.

Now because of some of the bad shit that I have done over the years, I am not sure that there is enough time left for me to have redemption.

Maybe, but I am not really sure.

If anyone that I have wronged happens to come across this post, please understand that I do have regret for the things that I have done.

I think about those decisions daily.

Some of you will wonder if I am happy. Do I have any joy? I don’t know.

I work. I sleep. I do try to remain active in so far as I get out for walks, and the beach and some biking and hiking. But I don’t do anything with anyone else. I have no circle of people that I hang out with. 43 year old single men who are somewhat introverted do not just go out and start socializing. That is a bit creepy.

This is my normal. And I am okay with this aspect of my life. What choice do I have?

Look, this post is the ramblings of a dim witted, stocky, bald man. I had to get this out.

What is the meaning of life?

You tell me.

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‘Purple Rain’ at 30: Why It’s the Musical That Defined the ’80s

Originally posted on Variety:

When it premiered on July 27, 1984, the rock drama “Purple Rain” announced the arrival of a major movie star in Prince Rogers Nelson, a flamboyant 26-year-old musician better known by the royal mononym Prince. Already a multi-platinum recording artist, Prince’s feature debut grossed a whopping $70 million in the U.S., while its Grammy winning soundtrack spent six consecutive months atop the Billboard charts. On the 30th anniversary of its release, here’s why “Purple Rain” remains the crowning musical film of our time.

The Album
Included in The Library of Congress’s National Registry of recordings deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important,” this era-defining collection of hits sounds as fresh today as it did three decades ago. From the joyful exuberance of “Let’s Go Crazy” to the bittersweet sorrow of the classic title track, the film’s music became the soundtrack of a generation.

The Kid
While most newcomers may have chosen…

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