Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Moving On

I have decided, after a lot of thought and a bit of sadness at the same time, to discontinue this blog, effective October 11th. What you read here will be the last post...sounds like a movie title..."The Last Post." Whatever, it's time for me to move on.

Reasons? Not really that important but the main ones are:

1. Not enough interest to make it worthwhile, considering the fact I normally get less than 40 page views a day, and that's been about the same for the past year.
2. My little piece of the world and what I have to write about is really not that important, especially when we see so many other blogs online today. No need for me to continue to clutter that all up.
3. I ain't getting any younger...and want to spend more time doing "other" things...mainly with my cameras. In that regard, pop on over to jmichaelphotos to see what I'm doing. I invite you to bookmark it and come back any time.

So...this is it. No big deal really. As I wrote above, there are far better thoughts to read online than what I might write. My photos, on the other hand, are competitive. Another plug for the link above.

In closing, remember to always think, act and move forward with the heart of a Sapper. We ARE the Engineers!

Friday, September 30, 2011

To Blog or not to Blog

I have published just over 800 posts here since I began this blog several years ago. That amounts to an average of three posts per week. I get near 50 page views a day on average, and that's been pretty consistent for a long time.

When I began this blog it was my intent to have a place where I could offer opinion and comment about the Army, as well as some of my views on lots of topics. It gave me a place where I could write things in between issues of Army Engineer magazine, for which which I am editor. For example, in the magazine I have an "Editor's Independent View" page.

It's my opinion that given the number of other blogs and online information people read everyday, which has increased dramatically since I began this blog, it seems likely that my little piece of the world may not be all that important.

I'm thus going to ponder whether or not to discontinue the blog. Note I write "ponder." I do not allow comments on this blog due to having been "spammed" in the past. But, if you have a comment about my perhaps ending this blog, I invite you to email me at ae.editor@gmail.com.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Morning Routine

For years I have walked briskly every day except Sunday, when it's not raining or snowing too hard. My route through our neighborhood is 2 miles and it's the same every day, but I sometimes reverse direction. Before we moved here I ran every day except Saturday and Sunday, usually 3 miles in length, and I did so generally before sunrise because I had to go to a regular job. When I was on active duty in the Army I ran the same days a week, but 4 miles or more in length...and I did so either with close friends or in a unit formation. In short, I developed the morning routine I have now a long time ago.

What I have now that's different from before is a more peaceful experience. I guess age has something to do with that, but I also have to credit my increasing religious faith as well.  I can, for example, listen to various sorts of music on my iPhone and gain inspiration at the same time from reading bible passages on its screen while walking. It may seem to those I greet along the way that I am "alone" but I am clearly not.

My attitude improves as I walk, because I have to admit I usually walk out of the house a bit hazy, not yet fully aware of the pluses and minuses of the day ahead, so it may take a mile before my outlook improves. The same barking dogs (caged or tied up in yards) greet my passing, and there are the same neighbors out and about also walking. We say "Good morning" to each other and maybe add a few other tidbits of wisdom such as, "Weather's looking good, eh?" On Saturdays I have to watch out for many more passing cars than normal because that's "yard sale" day, but only in the spring, summer and fall. People around here don't sell any of their household junk during the winter. Not sure why.

Some have written that routine daily exercise can become an addictive habit, and when you don't do it your body shouts out, "Why not!" For me it's more of a "guilt" thing if I miss a day walking (except for Sundays as I wrote earlier). In sum, my morning routine is a way for me to put things in perspective as I begin each day, and to realize I am indeed thankful for what I have been given.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Budget Proposal?

I read in Army Times that a Colorado lawmaker, and member of the House Armed Services Committee, has proposed transferring 100,000 active duty positions to the Army Reserve...as a "legitimate" (my quotes) way to reduce defense costs. I doubt this proposal will be adopted, but if it were to be, my first question would be, "In these hard economic times, where are civilian jobs going to come from for those individuals being placed in reserve (part-time) military duty positions?"

His proposal also suggests the Army "find" the 100,000 active duty positions to transfer into the reserve component, by returning home those now based in Europe and Korea. That suggestion alone pretty much sums up his total proposal as being not well thought out...in my opinion of course.

A link to the story is here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting out and finding a job

I have the greatest sympathy with the struggles of those having left military service so far this year, in finding a suitable job which takes into consideration the skills which they have developed. It's tough finding a job outside the military and there's no doubt it's not going to get much better...at least for the next year or so. So, what can one do who has decided to hang up their ACUs and move back into the "civilian" world, to give them a leg up in finding a job?

First advice is to not wait until you get out to start looking for a job. This implies deciding what it is you want to do and listing specific professional objectives in that regard. Most important, prepare a competitive job experience resume, without using military terminology. For example, rather than saying you were a great engineer squad leader in Afghanistan while involved in route clearance missions, write down that you supervised "X" many individuals under highly demanding circumstances, while at the same time creating a highly motivated and cohesive work group. Lastly, use correct grammar and spell check it several times.

Talk to others you know who have already left the military and learn from their experiences. Get out your address book and find as many people already employed somewhere, who you can start a network with. One of your friends might, for example, be able to put you in contact with someone looking to hire a person just like you.

Lastly, never say, "I'll do all this after I get out." Not only is that attitude not wise, it's going to put you at a great disadvantage in the job market when you consider just how many unemployed there already are right now.

Unfortunately there is not much good news in any of this, so some may decide to just re-enlist rather than get out. I have to say that being in the military does create a nice "blanket" of security in many respects, and when that blanket goes away, some people panic. Best I can advise is to keep a positive attitude, never give up, network with as many others as you can, and remember that your military job experience is most definitely in demand...you just have to market that in terms civilians will appreciate. Good luck!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Reno Race Tragedy Part 2

If you're interested, here's a link to one of the photographer's mentioned in my prior post, who was at the race when the tragic acident happened. It pretty much sums up what this business is all about...aviation racing and photography. It's worth a read.