Thursday, October 13, 2016

Abortion and the 2016 US Presidential Race

I've been trying to pay more attention this week to what conservative women are saying. I've been really trying to understand why they still might vote for Trump. A few keep throwing out the "well, look what Bill did” and “she bullied his victims" statements. I could write a book on why I think the situations are different, but I can't prove a negative. But the other statement I keep seeing is related to abortion. I know there's no need for me to refer those women to the fact-checkers regarding Clinton’s position on late-term abortions, because I believe at these women's core, they simply view abortion as "murder". I believe they sincerely feel this way. I don't agree with them, but that is irrelevant. Nothing I can say will change their view about this. Nothing anyone can say will change their minds about abortion until they or someone they deeply love is in a situation where abortion is their DIFFICULT but LEGAL choice.

But think about this...think about this, please, especially if you are one of the pro-lifers who does not even approve of choice for victims of rape. Abortion became legal in 1973, while Richard Nixon was President. Since then we have had 4 additional Republican presidents and 3 Democrat. Abortion is still LEGAL. That is not going to change, regardless of who wins this election. At least not anytime soon. What might change is the nation's attitude towards women. We've made a lot of progress, but I know that women, along with African Americans and other minorities in our country, still face an uphill battle. We have challenges that white men simply do not face. And if we allow our progress to be hindered, rape culture is not going to improve. It's going to get worse. A lot of other things are going to be simply awful as well, but if abortion is your "make or break" issue, please take a little time to think about which president is more likely to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

 Do you think it's the misogynist who feels entitled to take whatever he wants, whenever he wants? Or is the woman who has spent her life fighting for women and children, and sacrificing to gain the political experience necessary to run our country? Is it the bully who thinks it is okay to grab a kiss, or anything else, from a woman without her consent? Or is it the woman who completely understands how it feels to be violated by a man? (To clarify, the only thing I think we know for sure about Bill's ‘abuse’ of women is that he cheated on Hillary - no other charges have ever been proven, and he certainly has not been caught on tape bragging about his power over women. But I believe that women, and men, whose partners have cheated, feel extremely violated.) Do you want the man who has changed his position on abortion, who has cheated on and divorced previous wives to marry the “other woman”, who for that matter has changed which political agenda he has backed financially depending on how he thought HE could benefit at the time, or do you want the woman who has learned how to work for a better world, even when it meant forgiving her greatest hurts and negotiating with her greatest adversaries?

 It's an easy choice for me, but I understand it's not for everyone. I just, I BEG, that if you are making this decision based on your position about abortion, that you take some time to really think about your other issues. I plan to keep observing your posts and comments in the next few weeks, so maybe another blog post will emerge…don’t count on it, though, since this is my first in literally YEARS!

One more thing, for any guys thinking about arguing with me about this post…you just shouldn’t. And to the great many men I’ve seen posting their enthusiastic support and empathy for women, a tremendous thank you!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Giving myself a new title, Social Media Consultant

In an effort to be productive during my unemployment, I've taken a variety of online courses. This actually isn't a "new" activity for me - just a more frequent and concentrated effort since I have time on my hands. In my early career, I helped develop one of the first online courses offered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I just love saying that, even if it proves how old I am. And since then, in my telecom career, I've utilized a wide variety of online training methods, both as a student and as a trainer. These days, online courses are part of the training experience for most employees, and internet users everywhere are soaking up all kinds of information from all kinds of sources, formally (through MOOCs and other online university offers) and informally (such as through youtube "how to" videos).

As I finished up my latest "diploma" (in social media marketing, by the way) from, I wondered whether to include the accomplishment on my resume. I'm still wondering, actually. I didn't hesitate to list my Quiz Achievement Badge from for the MOOC, "Introduction to Sustainability". The latter was a serious college level course experience. The former was easy, at least for me, and some of the material was considerably out of date. I even questioned the authority of the primary presenter on some points.

There is certainly an obvious quality difference between the courses at alison and the courses affliated with recognized and prominent universities, but maybe my hesitation is also because I haven't given myself enough credit for my "expertise" in social media…which also has me thinking about folks who call themselves "experts". I've been using social media for about as long as there has been such a thing. I've even used it to promote my own "business" as a writer. But I hesitate to call myself an "expert". "Social Media" is such a broad term - how can anyone really know it all? I spend way too much time on facebook every single day, but I know that I don't know everything about facebook. Even if I thought I did, they would change something tomorrow that I might or might not notice or bother to learn.

However, I am pretty skilled at learning things quickly and then teaching them to other people. Again, I hesitate to call myself an "expert" in training or teaching - I have very little formal education in education. I do seem to have an instinct for it, and I have a ton of practical experience. I might not be comfortable calling myself a Social Media Expert, but I am 100% comfortable that I am plenty good enough to point the beginner in the right direction to get started.

So….here it goes…I'm declaring myself a Social Media Consultant! In addition to completing the alison diploma, I've reviewed a ton of training videos on youtube, followed other "experts" on facebook, subscribed to related groups on linkedin, created relevant google alerts, and outlined several workshop proposals. I've learned a lot, but I've also confirmed how much I actually already knew. I'm looking forward to announcing my first hands-on course in the New Year….stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Behind. Again.

Blogging is not as easy as it might seem.

I had a post ready that started something like this:

Unemployed and not all that thankful
Sunday, November 24, 2013

I complained a bit. So I didn't post that entry.

A few days later I tried to jazz it up with observations about how tough my life has been, as if you didn't get that from the draft blog title. I even tried to give a bit of blog-love to some other down-in-the-dumps but about-to-make-it-better folks on the intrawebs:

(yeah, that's not really a word yet)

ARE YOU SERIOUS? I ACCIDENTLY DELETED THAT LINK? For Pete's sake. (I think that's supposed to be nicer than saying "for God's sake". I think….but with so many conflicting opinions about the new Pope, I'm not entirely sure.)

And now I've totally forgotten the point.

If that has never happened to you, then you might not have ever tried to blog once a week.

Monday, November 25, 2013

My First Job(s)

Linkedin has been running a series of articles recently with various business leaders sharing the story of their first job. It has me thinking about my early jobs, and my early "career" positions, which the placement agency advised me to leave off my resume, not only in order to fit within the 2 page maximum recommended by almost everyone, but also because those positions "date" me.

My very first job was cleaning house on Saturdays for my grandmother, DauDau. I asked her for the job, my first and only experience in landing a position created just for me. I don't remember how young I was when I started, but I know I earned a dollar each Saturday that first year, and I received a dollar raise on my birthday every following year. I think I was making about $10 when I finally gave up the job in high school. I was crushed when DauDau confessed to me years later that I was never very good at the job. I know I liked dusting - removing all of the framed photos and odds and ends from the book shelf, spraying the Pledge, wiping everything down and then carefully arranging everything back in its place. You wouldn't know it looking at my desk these days, but I think I was developing an appreciation for order in my first job.

As a teen, I had various odd jobs, including baby-sitting and cleaning houses, especially for young moms in our church, and during summers, I worked in the fields with my sisters and cousins, hoeing weeds from peanuts and peppers for my uncle. I didn't necessarily need a paying job to understand hard work, however. We grew up with horses, so my regular "chores" included shoveling poop and hauling hay bales and 50 pound feed bags. The summer after my junior year, after an impressive showing with my high school newspaper at the NC Scholastic Press Association convention, I landed a "real job" writing features for our local weekly newspaper. This was huge for me. I was an introvert by nature, and this job forced me, at least a little, out of my shell. I had to schedule and conduct interviews, with grown-ups, in order to follow my dream of getting paid to write. And now that I think about it, I was wrong in the last paragraph, because this was my second (but I am pretty sure my last) experience landing a non-pre-existing position.

It is a shame, really, that we do not talk more about our first jobs when we seek new opportunities later in life. That's where our character is truly formed. That's when we really learn how to serve others in exchange not only for money but for recognition and an increase in self-esteem. My character was influenced by those experiences, just are surely as my skills were sharpened in my later years. And I'm not done yet - I'm not too old to keep learning, "dated" or not!