Sunday, June 19, 2011

Less Bummed Out

Thanks, Mariel.

FWIW, Michelle volunteered on the day Mariel's class was working on their Fathers Day projects.

She noticed that several of the students addressed their cards to either "Uncle" so-and-so or just plain didn't have ANYONE to give their presents to.

I feel badly for those kids.

I'm glad Mariel was able to achieve such a canny resemblance to HER old man.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bummed Out

Just sayin'...

With any luck, a week of puppeteering at Vacation Bible School will cheer me up.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Is Calvin Klein My New BFF?

Something that I do during my increasingly regular bouts of unemployment is to scour the & offerings. The days of actually showing up at a plant and asking to fill out an employment application are, it seems, just about over.

Given my thirty-plus years in manufacturing quality control, I naturally tend to do keyword searches for "quality" jobs. If a job looks like it's close enough for reasonable commute I'll click the link and send my resume.

One such clickage was apparently to a technical placement firm which was pimping a Quality Inspector gig.

I received an email from a recruiter back on April 25th asking me to call him to arrange an interview time.

We had a couple phone interviews one on a Friday and another one on the following Monday. Then the phone lines went dead for about six weeks.

Then, in the early part of June, my recruiter buddy called back.

His client, a major cosmetics company, was interested in interviewing me for the position. That the pay rate would be one dollar more per hour than I was making at the dishrack factory really sparked my interest, let me tell you.

The recruitment dude told me he'd follow-up with all the details that Monday morning. He sent an email, which I will quote herein (emphasis added):

This is to confirm your interview for (6/7/2011) at 11:00 AM with Coty...

As you know this is a 2nd Shift Quality Inspector Role. It will be vital to sell your experience and skills with all that you meet. They will be interested in your previous quality experience. When asked questions do your best to avoid the yes/no answer … have examples prepared and are comfortable discussing these examples. If you see anything that you have questions with don’t hesitate to ask or do a little research online...

Craig… they are really looking for a positive influence to their team and someone who possesses a “Can Do Attitude”. They will not be interested in someone who might be able to do the job and/or pick it up in a couple of weeks …. They need someone who can walk in and make an impact day one. You have the skills and experience to obtain this position, so utilize the opportunity and tell why you are the man for the job.

One the interview day, I met with their quality engineer and was shortly joined by one of their quality technicians. I gave the interview of my life, taking great care to emphasize my extensive background in ensuring product conformance.

I scored bonus points for being familiar with MIL-STD-105 sampling plans. The engineer handed me an AQL slide ruler and asked me to tell him the proper sampling size and accept/reject criteria for a 10,000 piece lot sampled to a Level I, 1.0% AQL.

Now, I had never used a slide ruler for this calculation, but rather referenced the MIL-STD tables directly. Oh, well, in for a penny, in for a pound.

Grappling with the ruler I determined that a 10,000 piece lot would require an eighty piece sample using a Level 1 plan. After he showed me how to line up the 1.0% AQL section I correctly reported that you would accept the lot if up to two defects were found and would reject on three or more.


He and the QI were duly impressed and, having been given a tour of their clean, air-conditioned plant was led back to reception and told, "we'll be in touch."

The recruiter-guy called me that afternoon to sound out how I felt I had done.

"Did you knock it out of the park?" he asked.

I did my best to play up my experience and also managed to impress them with my knowledge of sampling plans. So, yes, I felt I had knocked it sufficiently so as to be "out of the park."

The weekend following my interview, my ghetto TracFone suddenly stopped working. No biggie, since I generally use it only to make emergency calls and I usually keep it turned off and plugged into the charger.

Then it occurred to me.

My wife had given the recruiter-dude my cell phone number because I was away from the house on the morning he called to set up the interview. Now, I never give this number out as my primary contact point, but this fellow had called there a couple time subsequently.

Since It was now a week or so after my interview, I decided to pop out a quick email to the job pimp.

Number one: I advised him that my cell phone was out of order and he should call me at my home phone if there is anything further to report.

Number two: "Is there anything further to report?" I asked.

Sure enough the phone rang the following day and it was the man, himself.

"Yeah, Craig. I left you a voice mail and wondered why I hadn't heard back from you."

"Well, my cell phone is kaput, so I never got it. Any word from Coty?"

"Yes. Well. They're going to go with another candidate because they feel you are over-qualified for the job!"

(You saw that one coming a mile away, didn't you?)

The whole idea was to sell them on my past experience because "[t]hey will not be interested in someone who might be able to do the job and/or pick it up in a couple of weeks... they need someone who can walk in and make an impact day one."



My new scent is now Calvin Klein's REJECTION FOR MEN and it smells like failure.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

I'm Ready For My Closeup, Mr.DeMille

One of the big summertime activities here in Fayetteville, NC is VBS Season.

What's VBS?

Why, Vaction Bible School, of course!

Every year the churches host week-long "day camps" for their neighborhood children. I have participated a wee bit in past campaigns.

One year I played guitar for the music sessions.

One year I took a role in a skit.

But THIS year?

I am going to be a puppeteer!

And not just any puppet, mind you.

I am to be Scraps, the raccoon - the mascot of the "Shake It Up Cafe!"

I got the script and the raccon puppet a couple weeks ago, so I could practice. I'm giving Scraps a really bogus Buddy Hackett type voice. Here's a sample of the dialog:

Chef: Do you know anything about cooking?

Scraps: Ha! I'm an expert!

Chef: An expert, huh? Well, let's try a little test. What's in a PB&J?

Scraps: Potato butter and jelly, preferably on sourdough.

Chef: Potato butter?

Scrap: I'm allergic to peanuts.

Mariel, unsurprisingly, is simply nuts for li'l Scraps.

She's been helping me run my lines, by dressing up and ad libbing her own parts, as pictured below.

But since this is an all-volunteer church activity, there is always a "seat-of-your-pants" element to the organization and execution of it.

Turns out the fellow who had initially volunteered to play Scraps' mentor, Chef Basil, has had to back out for business reasons. A replacement has not yet been confirmed, so I don't know who will be Abbott to my Costello.

The skits require a cafe setting with a puppet stage built into it. Also, there are DVD and CD segments to be incorporated into the skits. It's turning into a "My Little Pony Live!" production, methinks.

I intend to come up with a way to cue the DVD and CD players as well as mike up our stage area. It'll take some doing, but I think we can pull it off.