Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Thing That Matters Most

(This article was recommended by Patricia Drain…and written by Charmaine Hammond.)

Written by: Charmaine Hammond

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams.

There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, “Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday.” Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

“Jack, did you hear me?”

“Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It’s been so long since I thought of him. I’m sorry, but I honestly thought he’d died years ago,” Jack said.

“Well, he didn’t forget you. Every time I saw him, he’d ask how you were doing. He’d reminisce about the many days you spent over ‘his side of the fence’, as he put it”, Mom told him.

“I loved that old house he lived in”, Jack said.

“You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man’s influence in your life,” she said.

“He’s the one who taught me carpentry,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in this business if it weren’t for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important…Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral,” Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser’s funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture…Jack stopped suddenly.

“What’s wrong, Jack?” his Mom asked.

“The box is gone,” he said.

“What box?” Mom asked.

“There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he’d ever tell me was ‘the thing I value most’,” Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

“Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack said. “I’d better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.”

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. “Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days,” the note read.

Early the next day, Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. “Mr. Harold Belser” it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack’s hands shook as he read the note inside.

“Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It’s the thing I valued most in my life.” A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

“Jack, thanks for your time! – Harold Belser.”

“The thing he valued most was….my time.”

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. “Why?” Janet, his assistant, asked.

“I need some time to spend with my son,” he said.

“Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!”

“Life is not measure by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

If you read this, then I am sure you feel like I did. Take some time today to tell the people around you they matter!

Monday, May 9, 2011

College Graduates Are Turning to Temp Agencies For Their First Big Break

College Graduates Are Turning To Temp Agencies For Their First Big Break

Written by Regan Kohler

The optimists are saying the recession is losing the race. The numbers are looking especially good for college graduates, if reports are to be believed, with employers likely to hire 19 percent more new graduates this year.

This prediction comes from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, who conducted a survey in April that concluded this is the first year since 2007 there is a “double-digit increase” in spring hiring.

Still, conflicting reports say graduates are facing a tough market in 2011, made more competitive by the fact that the older population is returning to work. Graduates are being encouraged to visit temp agencies as a jump-off point for their job searches.
The Seamless Workforce references a Michigan State University Collegiate Employment Research Institute study, where blogger Anna McMenamin found that 76 percent of employers who didn’t hire new graduates in 2010 were highly unlikely to hire any this year, either.

McMenamin, who reports on workforce trends for The Seamless Workforce’s blog, points to the staffing industry as a valuable resource for new graduates, saying this industry has grown while others are experiencing downfall in new jobs.
“With the possibility that temporary employment could become the new norm in the workforce, it is an avenue that can’t be overlooked by today’s young workers,” McMenamin said.

Graduates flocked to temp agencies throughout the recession, according to a survey released by Adecco Staffing US. Nineteen percent of these graduates, dubbed Generation R (recession graduates coming out of college between 2006 and 2010), were seeking temporary employment not long after leaving school.

William E. Burns, of the Marietta Times, discourages graduates from “mindlessly” applying to job postings on sites like CareerBuilder, saying instead that working for a temp agency will increase the chances of eventually finding a permanent job by building your resume, giving you an advantage over an unemployed applicant with the same degree.

Burns said temp agencies could be especially valuable to those holding freshly inked degrees in engineering and technical fields.

Tyler Coates, however, mentions in his blog that temp agencies have been a source for graduates with humanities degrees. After discovering his English major was useless in the face of those carrying business degrees, Coates visited 11 temp agencies.
He feels they were generally unsuccessful in finding him a permanent job, though he still recommends that graduates to go this route.

No matter the economic climate, it seems college graduates have at least one longstanding option when it comes to job seeking.

(This article was originally published on www.staffingtalk.com.)