Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

George Zimmerman meant well but we must be careful in our zeal to protect our communities.  Trayvon Martin was a better young man than most but sorting good kids from the bad ones has become difficult because most of them –Black, White and Brown- seems to admire the thug/hard element. 

I didn’t add “Yellow” to the list above because (as I stereotype) Asians youth in America still respect their elders and attempt to be obedient.  Oh, it is a matter of time before certain parts of American culture ruin them also. 

We have two or three generations of young people who don’t give a flip about how they carry themselves.  They will say or do anything in front of anyone and dare you to look at them sideways.  Zimmerman, with the warmth of his firearm, wanted to be that heroic figure in the neighborhood who stood for what was right; he wanted to be the man not afraid to stop the crime drama.  But, he stepped mistakenly to a decent guy. 

On some level, I feel like the guy on the block who senior citizens seek regarding community matters but I am much smarter than Zimmerman.  You must establish a vibe with the young folks and I have found that the holiday season is the best time.  During Christmas and the Fourth of July, my 40 something classmates come home to visit their parents and, of course, yell (like we do) at a brother from down the street.  It usually surprises the current young people to know that their uncles were once young and that some oldheads gave us words of wisdom—now it’s our turn. 

The seed gets planted when my old friends put their massive hands on their nephews’ shoulders and say, “listen to my homeboy and help him keep the block straight for moms.”  That nephew and his crew are the ones with the booming car music at 3 a.m.  We always want to diplomatically address these matters rather than seeing another person heading to expensive penal system.

We have so much unemployment in rural Georgia but a factory closing doesn’t mean you don’t have a job to do.  Most of my friends have worked continuously since high school.  I have seen guys laboring to keep their kids in Polo and Tommy gear but the kids grow up with a feeling of entitlement.  A year out of work might just be the year when dude saves his son from the streets or the year when moms’ house get the renovations it needed. 

On the job front, we are starting to see reports on employers who will only hire whose currently working.  Really?  In my community, we must do everything we can to weather these rough times.  The good news is that Black folks have perseverance encode on our DNA.  If we get rid of Polo, Tommy and other aspects of conspicuous consumption, we could live with less money.  Secondly, we must stop trying to keep up with the Jones because the Joneses are in debt up to their eyeballs. 

There is nothing wrong with a guy being a stay at home dad for a minute; I have been a stay at home son for more than a minute and yes the salary drama is stressing me out.  We are now the old guys who voluntarily read the Bible and I like Proverbs 20:29 “The glory of young men is their strength and the beauty of old men is the grey head.”  I find Psalm 71:18 to be equally cool “Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and they power to every one that is to come.”  While unemployed, you still have work that needs to be done.

Proverbs 22:6 states “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Well, my daddy had a strong commitment to our community and my neighborhood was created in the 1970s by men who were overworked and underpaid on someone else’s farms.  If those dead men paid for these houses with years of hard labor, we can’t let a few half-raised youth destroy the area to the degree that widows are in constant fear.  And the crazy thing is that homies who come home from prison are the main ones telling the youth that the wild path isn’t the right one.


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My homie Candy passed yesterday and I think he might have had a bigger influence on the community than most American presidents.  Candy started working at McDonald’s in high school and moved up to manager before making a lateral move to a kids pizza chain.  He hired a ton of local people and started them on a path to gainful employment. 

Bill Cosby wrote a book a few years ago called “Come On People” in which he said many of the pull-yourself up points I want to hear from President Obama and the First Lady.  Mark my words: after the Obamas leave the White House and spent some time with their girls, they are going to have a huge impact on domestic life by writing and speaking freely about how we are messing up and what it would take to “show improve.”  In his book, Cosby wrote that any legal work is good work and that we should notice that no one works at McDonald’s as a entry-level worker forever.  In time, people move up or they take their work skills to other employment.

I am friends with a balling sista I will call MC.  A mutual friend asked me to take her to dinner in D.C. because the friend wasn’t feeling well.  This attractive woman was from Mobile, Alabama, so hanging out with her was like home folks chilling rather than the elitism of her Madison Avenue professional life.  She told me that Duke and Columbia served their educational purposes but most of what she uses in business is rooted in what she learned at McDonald’s in high school. 

Working in fast food or in my case the watermelon fields teaches commitment, teamwork, focus, dedication and the value of a dollar.  Convenience stores did away with full service gas attendants but many hustling young men impressed future employers with their service and attention to details while pumping gas, washing windows and checking the oil.

I went to college with a guy whose father gave him a new BMW with the understanding that he must work to pay the insurance.  Hell, this cat did so well at the chicken place in the mall that he was a manager in his teens and he would likely be CEO today if he didn’t go into a different profession.

Candy’s daddy was like a giant at church and back in the day there was a song about my living shall not be  in vain.  Well, Candy touched a lot of people down here and long into the future his living will be missed.  I love it when President Obama talks about regular Americans doing their parts day-to-day because the key to our economic recovery begins with hardheaded folks learning to listen to their first bosses like Candy. 


my notes from the cosby book

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Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is on a mission to fix Washington and he is starting with campaign donations.  Schultz, who spends more on employee health benefits than coffee, is challenging his fellow CEOs to put money that normally goes to campaigns into job creation.

On this blog, we have been saying that for years.  In Georgia, the only congressional districts with a real contests next year will be the newly created district in North Georgia and the reconfigured 12th in the Augusta area.  I say the rest of the incumbents are safe and should spend time finding solutions rather than dialing for dollars.  Oh, when someone gives you dollars, you can best believe they will want something for it later. 

Congressional candidates should consider voluntarily limiting their warchests to say 200K because an outstanding legislator doesn’t need to scary off opponents with big money.  If and when I see them with big money, my first question is where did they get it. 

Schultz, like Donald Trump, is sounding the alarm on the fact that America does make things anymore and that is the reason for low job numbers.  The guy makes some great points.  He is to the Middle what the Tea Party is to the Right and that is a good thing.



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What are soft skills?  The front of the Albany (Georgia) Herald today has a story about state official Melvin Everson coming to Albany to emphasis soft skills in K-12 education.


Soft skills include punctuality, ability to learn, appropriate business attire and teamwork.  Really?  Reading that article was a long blink second for me.  My homeboy Richardson (Fort Valley State, Omega, teacher) talks about long blinks when realizing what the youth today don’t know or refuse to learn—it’s called good, old fashion common sense or home training.  You learn it from the community, church, sports, band or working (as we did) in the “fields.”

Because I could talk and dress, I got out of the watermelon fields in high school and behind the microphone at “WRSG…radio Sylvester.”  To be honest, I did say there was a 60% chance of precipitation during a downpour but I was trying.   A lady called and said, “genius…there is a 100 percent chance..look out the freaking window.”

Many Americans learned soft skills from watching Leave It To Beaver, Father Knows Best, Family Ties, The Cosby Show, Family Matters and Good Times.  James and Florida raised quality kids in a rough environment; they were a strong family. 

Guys learn it by listening to oldheads in the barbershop and I imagine girls do the same in hair salons.  Everson learned it at our Albany State University and in the U.S. Army.  During his candidacy for state labor commissioner, I told Melvin that he would have had my vote in the general election because he was a Golden Rams and gets it. 

Everson is a conservative and fully conscious of the budget constraints facing the state and national governments.  So, I want to help Everson and former congressman, now Governor Nathan Deal save some money (Deal is cool because he always supported peanuts and other south Georgia crops.)

Georgia should create a program called the “Chameleon Project.”  As we know, the chameleon is a little lizard that changes to camouflage itself in different settings.  Of course, today’s youth want to be hard and thuggish like some hip hop stars.   Newsflash: your hip hop heroes send their kids to prep school in the suburbs because only a nut wants to be in the hard life–ask prisoners.  As the late, great Bernie Mack said, “If you went to jail for someone else…you aren’t a punk…you are a new fool.”  The Mack man said he would have been jumping up and down in court with his hand up, “he kilt that boy, your honor..I tried to call you but I didn’t have your number.”   I digress. 

The Chameleon Project would show young people how to learn from everyone, how to switch attire to secure the cool mall job and how to speak clearly and properly.  Watching the right T.V. shows can improve soft skills.  If a person says “youknowwhatIsayin” constantly, I don’t.  The smooth tone on NPR radio would give a young person a vocal camouflage option.  Cuban immigrant and former CEO of Coca Cola Robert Goizueta taught himself English by watching the same movies over and over.  We know some people can turn it on and off like a faucet but if you can’t, default to the manner of speech that puts legal money in your pocket.

It is a shame that young people spend so much money on clothes (not made in America) but don’t have a dark suit to wear to their grandmother’s funeral.  FYI: cut the tag off the sleeve.  The unofficial hero on the Chameleon Project is Eddie Haskell from Leave It To Beaver.  Eddie was a cutup but he could pour on the charm when parents were around.  In the courtship and employment interview processes, we oldheads like to see a young man who can rock the classics….Blue Blazer…presses white button-down…khakis..penny loafs… prep tie.  I was crushing the sweethearts’ mommies with that gear in 82 and it was the same gear my father wore at A&T in 32.  That functional outfit could be put together in Wal-mart for under $100 bucks.  

That Eddie Haskell

I once worked in a job skill training program and the clients/students always said that this information should have been introduced to them ten years earlier–before certain paths were chosen.   So, Deal and Everson are on the right track because moving into management will require more than the basic technical skills.   I bet the youth in developing nations are as sharp as a razor and clean as a whistle; they have the eye of the Tiger.

Melvin, check this out, oldschool..holla at your boy.”  Translation: “Mr. Everson, look here, fellow alum..contact me for additional discussions regarding this matter.”

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What should the average American know about the job market and the government’s role in job creation?

Ted Sadler: Employment/recovery was the obvious first monthly topic for our new discussion series because so much pivots off jobs.  We should admit a painful fact: many of the jobs that America lost during the economic downturn won’t be coming back.  Companies are functioning leaner with more automation so the unemployed and underemployed should plan carefully.  We must work hard and work smart because the traditional 40 years with one employer and a solid pension is becoming the exception rather than the norm.  The government can’t guarantee a job that produces funds to meet your financial needs and wants.  As President Kennedy might have said, what you can do for your country is limit your obligations, training hard and pinch pennies until they scream. 

The government should provide quality schools for K-12 kids and educational options for adults while creating a business environment conducive to job creation.  We must keep a watchful eye on politicians and their relationships with special interest groups because at times it seems that the paychecks elected officials are most concerned with protecting are their own.  Candidate Obama was a master at straight talk and I need him to speak honestly about the possibility of emerging nations out hustling us with their “hungry for opportunities” workforce.  We better get on the ball.  Finally, I was alarmed by a CBS Sunday Morning cover story about 50 plus years old unemployed people.  Surprisingly, many employers pass on experience applicants because they are concerned with retirement while young workers are cheaper to employ.  Look here: the job market is a rough game and must be worked from every angle….half the process is crafty networking. If you find yourself unemployed, the time could be right to build your own house or spend precious time with young family members—raise them or the streets will.  

CBS Sunday Morning story


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Albany professor Aaron Johnson has a blog with good information about the economy.  Who knew in high school and college that we would all need to better focus on trends, economic indicators and job stimuli.  But hey, learning this stuff is more important than who is leading the NFL in rushing.  Thanks Aaron for taking the time to make academia’s functions practical.  

It’s the economy, stupid; pay attention.


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The new Kotex Commercials are genius because they poke fun at unrealistic marketing.  At some point in our political past, candidates begin hiring Madison Avenue ad-men to flex and bend the mindset of the electorate and they funded this media with money from lobbyists.

We should prep for another election year of ad blitzes with candidates in denim shirts trying to seem folksy or sitting around a pancake house listening to regular salt of the earth people. Oh yeah, the spots with the candidates surrounded by smiling children are obligatory because the children are the future. 

The last good time I was really impressed was an interview with the junior Senator from Illinois.  A reporter asked Obama what he was going to do to solve a complex old problem and BHO said, “I don’t know…there is no easy answer.”  Wow, that was refreshingly real.

So, I want to write a Kotex-style ad for a congressional candidate:

“Hi, I am running for congress and you likely never heard of me because I am not connected or rich nor did I attend a major college with legions of supporters.  I am just a regular guy seeking to improve America by keeping it agonizingly real.

The truth is we as a nation are growing soft and lazy.  We aren’t 10% the people our grandparents were. Many of our children are screwing up at school and don’t think about asking them to do chores.  As those weak kids become young adults, they weaken the workforce and America’s position in the global economy while the developing world blows pass us.  Ironically, the best and brightest among them are in danger in the military or walking across any American street.  That Orman lady is right: we go into debt to buy things to impress people who don’t care about us.  If you want to know the problem, you should look in a mirror. 

The limited role of government is to create a fair and level playing field—giving everyone a chance to compete and achieve.  If you don’t prosper, again mirror.  

I approve this message; I said it, meant it and I am here to represent it.


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As we consider the next steps in improving the community, the book Come On People by Dr. Bill Cosby and Dr. Alvin Poussaint is a must read. Here are my highlights from this firm and real book.


Come On People: Notes

p. 36             Although few acknowledge it-who would?- the doctrine of white supremacy has sunk deeply into the minds of too many Americans, black people included.  It has slithered its way into the psyches of poor black youth with low self-esteem, who equate academic success with whiteness.  And if success is “white” then are we saying that to “act black” is to fail?

p. 103 Dr. George McKenna Now when we underachieve, we compare ourselves to some other underachievers and celebrate being the best of the pitiful.  And that, ladies and gentleman, is a definition of insanity.  When you create an alternative reality and believe that where you are is normal, you’re insane.

We see a lot of alternative reality in Compton, kids who pride themselves on saying, “I will walk like this.  It won’t get me anywhere, but I’m a big man in a mall square and I will kill my fellow brothers over land I neither lease, own, rent or pay taxes on, and call in my turf.”

p. 108-109 We are all worried sick about the high school drop-out rate of greater than 50 percent in many of our cities- with higher rates for black males than females.  In Baltimore, for example, about 75 percent of black males do not graduate from high school.

As a result of such stupid decision, our jails overflow with your black male high school dropouts.  A year of college at a state school costs the state about ten thousand dollars; a year in jail costs about twenty-five thousand dollars.

p. 110 We have to copy the methods of successful schools in low-income black communities.  Positive examples exist in cities around the country.  It is not enough simply to add tougher courses or more homework.  Schools succeed best when the entire “school culture” is changed to support success instead of failure.

Education reformers report that the core components of effective schools are: a sense of purpose, clear standards, high expectations of all, a belief that all students can be educated, safe and orderly environments, strong partnership with parents and caregivers, and a commitment to solving problems.

p. 195 FACE THE FACTS HEAD-ON   Here are some unfortunate facts: Black youths are six times more likely to die from homicide than white youths and seven times more likely to commit a homicide.  During the last thirty years, close to 50 percent of the homicides in the United States have been committed by black people, mostly black men, and 94 percent of the victims of black killers were black.  Is this crazy or what?  Homicide, in fact, is the leading cause of death among black males between the ages of fifteen and twenty-nine and has been of decades.

p. 211 In 1954, the year of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, about ninety-eight thousand African-Americans were in prison.  Today, there are nearly ten times as many black people in prison.  According to the Sentencing Project, 32 percent of the black men born today will go to prison at some point on their lifetime.  In 2005, 4.7 percent of all black men were in prison, compared to 1.9 percent of Hispanic males and .7 percent of white males.

p. 218 Charles Ramsey, former chief of police in Washington D.C.    Let me just give you a picture of some of the issues that we’re confronted with.  First of all, let me start by saying that we’ve got more decent kids than we have bad kids.

The fact often gets overshadowed because we focus on the negative, and rightfully so, because we do have a serious problem out here.   But we have to continue to support those youngsters who are trying to do the right thing.  We also have the reality that we have a significant population of young people that is totally lost.

p. 224 TAKE ANY LEGITMATE JOB       Parents and caregivers, have you heard a kid say, “Well, I can either flip burgers or go out here and make real money selling drugs”?  When you hear that, do you stop that child and say, “Wait a minute, fool.  You don’t flip burgers for the rest of your life.  You flip them to become the manager of the place.  You flip burgers to move from manager to owner of the damn franchise”?

You have to say this to your kids more than once.  So do their teachers.  If the kids give you lip, ask them to identify a middle-aged, home-owning drug-dealing grandpa with a family that loves him.  That will keep them quiet-and busy.

Please remind your young people that there is no shame in hard work.  All work is honorable and makes a contribution to society whether that work is as a janitor or an astronaut.  An unpleasant job usually leads to a better job as young people develop working skills that are useful on any job, including the ability to work with others and be punctual.  The unemployment rate for black people is twice that of white people- this has to change.

The truth is that if we all showed more respect to blue-collar workers, there would be less rejection of so-called menial jobs by our youth.  If there was less rejection, kids would see that one job leads to another as the worker gains experience and basic workplace skills such as cooperating with others, taking orders, and keeping regular work hours.  By not giving up hope and persevering against the odds, many succeed.

p. 226 The high cost of childhood poverty is tragic.  It is estimated that children who grow up poor cost the country five hundred billion dollars a year.  Poor people do not contribute sufficiently to the economy, and the health and criminal costs that grow out of poverty are enormous.  Experts argue that we can counter poverty levels by extending the earned income tax credit to more low-income workers.   But don’t overlook the word earned.  If you don’t earn it, you don’t get it.  Our children are in great need, and we cannot afford to squander any opportunities.

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The student loan agency/firm/company/corporation Sallie Mae recently announced that they are bringing 2000 jobs back to the United States from the Philippines and India.  Public officials and policymakers need to take a hard look at quasi-governmental organizations that lead to the credit crisis but lobby Congress like private firms. 


The ultimate insult must have been some student loan borrower explaining that her payments are late because there is no work in her city but the person on the other end of the line is in Bangalore, India.  “Why haven’t I made a payment, are you kidding me.  Are you calling me from the other freaking side of the world to sweat me about a student loan that is partially a United State government loan—unbelievable?  I have not made a payment because you have my job.”


And why are we bailing out people who bought too much house but people with student loan debt will watch that load grow exponentially without relief.  The cute Wall Street products and devices that ruined our economy include the slippery slope of student loan deference and forbearance.  A bigger threat to American security than nutty terrorists is Raj with the headset taking American jobs and China holding our national debt.


“This is Raj..how may I help you.  No sir…begging your pardon…I did take your job nor food from your children’s mouths…..would you like to may a payment today.”

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Last night, 60 Minutes left me stunned with stories about a possible Israeli-Palestinian Apartheid state and a future pill that will slow the aging process.  But, the story that really hit hard detailed huge job cuts with DHL in Wilmington, Ohio; thousands of jobs gone from a small hardworking town.  I wake up to the news that Atlanta-based Home Depot is cutting 7,000 jobs, Caterpillar eliminates 20,000 jobs, Sprint/Nextel cuts 8,000 and John Deere is cutting 700 jobs.  Of course, South Georgia recently took a hit with closing of the Cooper Tire plant in Albany.


The mayor of Wilmington outlined the rippling consequences by pointing out that the local hospital functions with funds from the DHL employees’ health insurance coverage.  When those people start seeking indigent care, the double impact of revenue loss and free care increase will killed the hospital. 


When the America dream turns into a nightmare, it is rough to witness.  Back when we were in high school, Billy Joel’s “Allentown” served as a wakeup call with lines like, “For the promises our teachers made—if we worked hard, if we behaved.  Now are graduations hang on the wall, but they never really helped us at all.”


Each family needs a comprehensive “Economic Recovery Plan” that focuses on sound decisions, cutting waste and supportive actions.  What I really want to say to the teens in Georgia working families is don’t bring new drama into the household.  If your parents were on their feet in steel-toed shoes for years to provide for the family, don’t come home grinning about a pregnancy or call from police station—be strong for yours and reduce their burden.


Southerners are resilient by nature and conservatives should prepare to say “amen” when President Obama starts appealing to every American to consider “personal responsibility” during these hard economic times.  Former Morehouse College President Dr. Benjamin E. Mays once called a cut-up student into his office to inform the young man that he would be on the next bus home.  Dr. Mays basically said that we as a people had come from so far yet had some much farther to go…we could not afford to have he holding us back. 


In our community, we spend much energy and capital correcting and addressing the actions of certain members of the family.  Can you prune rotten branches from the family tree?  Tell you what: first deference should be toward hardworking people experiencing a rough patch due to job cuts and not…(I better stop right here).

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