Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Rejected!

Just about two weeks ago, I interviewed for a job that I thought was a perfect fit for me. It involved several things that I'm passionate about: helping others, writing, editing, a little bit of technology, and even--if you can believe this--having fun.

When I initially came across the posting for this job, I thought I had found a match made in heaven and immediately applied. A couple days later, I had a phone interview with a recruiter in California. The next day, they asked me if I could come in for an interview in their metro Detroit office. Everything was falling into place!

I thought I killed it during the interview, which lasted a total of just over three hours. I spent two hours with the person who would be my manager at the local office; a half hour with a higher-up HR person from California; and another half hour doing some job shadowing, so I'd know exactly what the position involved.

There's no way I could've done any better during the interview. I'm sure of that. When I walked out of that office, I was as confident as I had ever been about a prospective job. Finally, it seemed, things were starting to go my way. I felt like my three-plus years of being without a full-time job might soon be over.

And then the waiting began.

During the tail end of my interview, I was told they were going to try to make a decision about the job "by the middle or end of next week." When that time came and went, I started to worry. But I was assured in a response to a follow-up email I sent to the interviewers that they would definitely notify me one way or the other.

So I waited some more.

When I hadn't heard anything about the job by the end of the day this past Friday, anxiety started to set in. I thought about the job a lot over the weekend. Then Monday (yesterday) came and went without any word. Ugh.

That brought us to today. Tuesday. And for some reason, I had a feeling today would be the day I heard back.

And it was.

At 1:29 this afternoon, I saw this email from the dreaded "no-reply@[company name]" email address land in my inbox:
Dean, 
Unfortunately, we have decided not to proceed with your candidacy for the current opening at [company name]. 
We received many qualified applicants and have decided to move ahead with another candidate who we feel is a better match for this particular position. 
Thanks again for your interest in [company name] and we wish you luck in your search. 
Regards, 
[company name]
I won't lie to you. I was devastated when I read that email. I felt like I had been kicked in the gut. Twice. I hadn't convinced myself that I was going to get the job, but I was cautiously optimistic. Especially since there were actually two of the same positions open. But I guess it wasn't meant to be.

I spent a good hour or so feeling sorry for myself earlier this afternoon, but since then I've decided this rejection was the company's loss--not mine. I know I would've kicked ass at the job. Who knows? Maybe they thought I was over-qualified. Or maybe they thought I was too old. (I'm pretty sure most of the people working for the company are young enough to be my kids.) Or maybe they had other reasons I haven't even thought of. Regardless, this is water under the bridge and I have to move on, even if it's not real easy to do so. No sense in crying over something I never even had, right?

Somewhere out there there's a job for me. I know it. The only question is whether or not I'll find it before my family ends up living in a cardboard box. (Relax, people. That's job-rejection humor.)

Thanks for letting me vent. Now, back to the online job postings! I'm going to try and turn this rejection into some sort of redirection. Whatever the hell that means.

"Rejection isn't failure. Failure is giving up. Everybody gets rejected. It's how you handle it that determines where you'll end up." --Richard Castle



Monday, February 6, 2017

We've Lost Our Sense of Wonder

I love trivia.

For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by little-known facts about all kinds of things. Back in the 1980s, a couple of friends and I would make regular trips to a local bar to play an electronic trivia game, and we won on a regular basis. I also won numerous prizes for answering trivia questions on something called Sports Phone, which was--are you ready for this, Millennials?--a phone number you paid to call to get up-to-the-minute sports news and scores.

And don't even get me started about my lifelong obsession with Jeopardy!, a game show my wife and I watch religiously every weeknight.

There's something so incredibly satisfying about knowing the answers to obscure questions like: Who was the last switch hitter to win the American League Most Valuable Player award? Answer: Vida Blue in 1971. (Yes, Blue was actually a pitcher, but pitchers still batted in the American League in 1971, so that’s a totally legit answer.)

For me, possessing little nuggets of information like that has always been something to be proud of. I'd come across them and tuck them safely away in my memory bank, where they'd reside until I needed to pull them out so I could challenge someone else's knowledge of all things trivial.

On the other hand, when someone asked me a bar bet-type question and I didn't know the answer? It would drive me crazy until I could actually verify the answer. Sometimes it took days for me to confirm the answer via a reputable source. Sometimes it even required a trip to this place called a library to do some research. 

But today's world is different. Technology has made it so easy to find anything out in just a few seconds. When we don't know the answer to something, we go to our computer, smart phone, or tablet, type in a few words, and boom! There's our answer.

*How old is that celebrity? 

*Who was the actor who played that obscure role in that movie from the '60s?

*What was that singer's biggest hit? 

*How many home runs home runs did so and so hit off of left-handed pitching?

Nothing is a mystery anymore. Bar trivia has been ruined forever.

And we've lost our sense of wonder.

Another example from the mid-1990s: I remember when a quiz having to do with lines from '80s pop/rock songs was going around via email. Email was pretty common at the time, but the Internet had yet to become something everybody had access to. People would email this quiz around, print it out, and pore over it for hours, trying to figure out which band or artist sang the song each line of lyrics was from.

People spent time wondering about that stupid quiz! They'd fold it up, carry it around with them, and ask other people about it, because they wanted to find out the answers. And they'd work hard to do so.

But those days are over for good. Today, whether the question you're seeking an answer to is silly or serious, the answer is right at your fingertips. And if you have access to Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, an Amazon Echo, or a Google Home, you don't even have to use your fingers. You can just ask your question out loud and get an answer. Technology is such a fabulous thing!

Or is it?

Maybe I'm just getting old, but sometimes I think it would be better if people today were left to wonder about more. Exercising our brains is a good thing, and taking some time to think about why the sky is blue (molecules in the air scatter blue light more than they scatter red light) or how many toilet paper tubes it would take to fill up the Empire State Building (8.5 billion) might be good for our brain health.

For better or worse, kids these days have access to everything kids from earlier generations had to wonder about. Whether they're curious about something that occurred in American history, how a certain product is made, or where babies come from, they only have to wonder as long as it takes to plug their question into a parent's--or, more likely, their own--device. Young boys with raging hormones don't even have to hunt down Playboy magazines to see what a woman's naked body looks like anymore because anything (and I mean anything) they could ever want to see is out there in cyberspace, readily available to them. Now where's the fun in that?!

There's a song that appeared on Sesame Street a few years back called "I Wonder." It's sung by Ernie and the lyrics go something like this:

How does a bunny hop, hop, hop?
And what makes popcorn pop, pop, pop?
Why does the rain fall drop by drop
And the lightning always come before the thunder?
I wonder.

Do you ever wonder as you walk along
What makes a tiny little ant so strong?
Does every bird have a different song?
Do you wonder why?
Well, so do I.

Somebody needs to loan Ernie their iPhone. I wouldn't want him to wonder too long.

By the way, "I Wonder" was co-written by Adam Schlesigner, bassist for the band Fountains of Wayne, which you probably know from its Grammy-nominated song “Stacy’s Mom,” which was also written by Schlesinger, who also wrote the title song for the movie That Thing You Do!, and whose cousin, Jon Bernthal, played Shane in AMC's TV series The Walking Dead.

You can Google it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Update on 2017 Scholarship Contest

Just a quick update to let folks know that I've been doing a lot of thinking about the feasibility of a 2017 My Life as 3D Scholarship Essay Contest. As you may or may not know, my wife and I started our essay contest back in 2015 as a way to help college students who have been affected by a sibling's addiction. We were thrilled to be able to award two scholarships in both 2015 ($1,700 total) and 2016 ($2,050 total).

In both of those years, my wife and I seeded the scholarship monies with $500 of our own, with the rest of the funds provided by generous donors. Unfortunately, I haven't worked full-time in more than three years now, and money is about as tight as it can be. Funding last year's contest was a challenge, but funding this year's contest is pretty much an impossibility.

As much as we'd love to do it, I think the scholarship contest is going to have to take a break this year. Sometimes you just have to be realistic, even if it hurts a little.

If anything changes--like if by some chance I win the lottery in the next few weeks (note: that probably won't happen since I don't buy lottery tickets)--I will update you. But for now it looks like we'll set our sights on getting the contest back on track in 2018.

Thanks for understanding.

Peace. And remember...

#SiblingsMatter

Friday, December 30, 2016

That's Just Life

If you know me, you know I'm a huge music fan. Because of that, there are a lot of music-related things hanging on the walls of my house.

One of those things is a handwritten lyric sheet from one of my favorite folk/roots/pop singer-songwriters, Josh Rouse. It's something I got for backing his Happiness Waltz album on the PledgeMusic crowdfunding site back in 2013. For my donation, I got to choose any Josh Rouse song and have him write out the lyrics for me.

The song I chose was "Life," which was written by Josh Rouse and Daniel Tashian and appears on Josh's 2005 album Nashville. I love this song and the lyrics are words that resonate with me every time I hear them:

Life

Life is good, sometimes it's bad
It has its ups, it has its downs
Just sing a song and feel all right
Cause that's just life

If you're lost, don't be sad
There are good times to be had
Just sing a song and let love shine
Cause that's just life
That's just life
That's just life, so darling don't cry

And when your hour, it is near
And your friends they all are here
To share their love and to be kind
That's just life

Oh and when you're gone, you won't be back
I'll remember those special times we had
I'll sing this song and feel all right
Cause that's just life
That's just life
That's just life, so darling don't cry

The sheet with those lyrics written on it is hanging on the wall in my dining room, and I walk by it every single day. Lately my own life has been more than a little topsy-turvy, full of its own ups and downs. So I frequently stop to read these Josh Rouse lyrics and try to remember...

That's just life.




Friday, December 16, 2016

Another Honor for My Blog

You never know what you'll come across while you're poking around the interwebs. I just came across another list of blogs. This one is "The 20 Best Recovery Blogs of 2016," published by the After Party Magazine site. It was posted in September and I had no idea I was on it. Top 20, yo!

Here's what they wrote about my blog:

"Another parent of an addict, this time a dad, My Life as 3D follows the regular musings of a father of a boy who began his recovery as an adolescent but has continued to struggle with depression, anxiety and many of the issues we face in sobriety (not to mention in adolescence). After psych wards, suicide attempts and every bit of toxic drama in between, My Life as 3D has morphed into a seven-year journey of been-there-done-that, becoming a solid resource for any parent whose child has gotten sober and gone on medication, but still struggles."

Once again I am humbled, honored, and grateful for the recognition.

Peace.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

80 Top Recovery Blogs of 2016

The other day I saw a post on Twitter that linked to the website of a treatment center in the U.K. The post was referencing Ocean Recovery's list of the "80 Top Recovery Blogs of 2016." Ocean Recovery is a "personalistic holistic treatment programme relating to stress and dependency disorders," and they compile this list of recovery blogs "because these blogs provide our clients with a powerful way of learning about addiction and life in recovery."


Since I know a lot of fellow recovery bloggers, I was curious to see whose blogs had made Ocean Recovery's list, so I slowly scrolled through it. Little did I know that I would find my blog--this blog--on the list. What a pleasant surprise!

I had no idea my blog was going to be included, but I was humbled and grateful that it was. Writing about addiction isn't always easy, and getting some recognition for doing it is always nice. I was also happy to see so many friends' blogs on the list, along with another blog I've contributed to over the years (Heroes in Recovery).

Ocean Recovery says that these recovery blogs "serve a similar purpose to attending AA or NA meetings"--I would add Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings as well--and that "many of these people publish their blogs simply as a way to help others who face similar problems with addiction." They certainly got that right, because that's exactly why I started my blog back in 2008.

If you get a chance, go check out the entire "80 Top Recovery Blogs of 2016" list on the Ocean Recovery site. The blogs are listed alphabetically, which means you'll find mine at #43. And all 80 of the blogs are great resources for anyone who's been affected by the disease of addiction, either first-hand or as the result of a loved one's struggle.

Thanks for the recognition, Ocean Recovery. And kudos to all my friends who were honored for their blogs, too. By telling our stories, we are helping break the stigma.

P.S. I didn't know until the other day that Ocean Recovery did a list of the Top Recovery Blogs last year, too, and I was on that list! In 2015 they listed 34 blogs alphabetically, and mine was #21. Who knew?


Monday, December 5, 2016

Help Support Detroit Youth Volume on December 10th

The first time I wrote about Detroit Youth Volume was last December 20th, when I made them the day's featured organization in the Causes and Effect blog I took the reins of for one month. Causes and Effect is a blog that features a different organization or cause each day. The person authoring the blog chooses the groups to write about and donates at least $10 to them.

On that day last December, I woke up and saw a story about Detroit Youth Volume (DYV) on the Detroit News website. The article explained that DYV teaches disadvantaged kids from the city of Detroit how to play violin using the Suzuki Method, while at the same time breaking down stereotypes. It also talked about an album the group was recording with some of Detroit's finest hip-hop talent; an album that would feature hip-hop beats mixed with standards like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." I was completely sold on DYV and made two donations that day: one to the organization itself and one to their Kickstarter campaign to fund their CD.

Over the past year, my wife and I have grown to love Detroit Youth Volume and its dedicated director Clara Hardie. We went to a recital for the kids in the program in April, attended their performance at Jack White's Third Man Records store in Detroit's Cass Corridor in May, and had a great time at their hip-hop album release party in August.

DYV performing at Third Man Records in May.
Everything about this organization fills our hearts and souls with good feelings. So much so that my wife and I have committed to making a small donation to them every month. We also drive a DYV student and her mother (who is blind) to violin class in downtown Detroit every Monday afternoon. The joy these simple acts bring us is immeasurable.

This Saturday, December 10th, Detroit Youth Volume is having a tea party/fundraiser/performance at Holding House, an artist-run workspace in southwest Detroit. It runs from noon until 4:00pm and will  feature tea and cookies, along with a sale of ceramics, prints, student violins, and music accessories. The violin/viola performance, featuring kids between the ages of 4 and 18, will take place at 1:00pm.

Proceeds from this event will go toward matching funds for the Knight Foundation Arts Challenge Grant DYV recently received. The organization will receive $50,000 to fund their project "Jazz Violin the Detroit Way," but only if they raise their own $50,000 first. That's a tall order, but DYV has a year to raise the money and they are bound and determined to make it happen.

My wife and I will be at Holding House on Saturday to support Detroit Youth Volume. If you live in the Detroit area, we urge you to do the same. I guarantee that seeing and hearing these young Detroiters play their instruments will bring a smile to your face. This is truly one of the greatest nonprofit programs in Detroit today, and the love and dedication of all the people involved in it is so inspirational.

There are a lot of amazing things going on in the city of Detroit these days, but not all of them have to do with new sports arenas, new office buildings, or new housing projects. Some of them are much smaller in scale but have a much bigger impact on the underprivileged youth of the city. Detroit Youth Volume is one such example.

Hope to see you Saturday!


Holding House is located at 3546 Michigan Avenue in Detroit. (See the map at the very bottom of this post.)

For more information on Detroit Youth Volume, visit their website:
http://www.detroityouthvolume.org

To donate to Detroit Youth Volume, go to this link:
http://www.detroityouthvolume.org/donate.html

For more information on Saturday's fundraising event, visit the Facebook event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/175516889578230/