Monthly Archives: February 2011

DENIED: A Dog Adoption Story

Beagle

My children, husband and I decided a few weeks ago we were ready for a dog.  We wanted to adopt an older dog that needed a home, so we started looking online at the human society, rescue shelters, etc.  We saw a beagle online who “spoke” to us, so we called the rescue shelter.

The specific dog wasn’t available, but she recommended another beagle to us, two years old.  She brought him over to meet us, and to check out our home.  We played with him, bonded with him, and she took him back home.

We spent that night and the next day discussing with the kids how to take care of a dog, determining if we are ready for the responsiblity.  They agreed to each take a different task, such as feeding him, walking him, bathing him.  We planned out how to keep him in the yard, since beagles love to run.  My husband grew up with a beagle named Barney, and he chased after him through the neighborhood quite a few times.  So we were clear on how we would add a run to the backyard, keep him on the chain or leash at all times, and then possibly later, invest in a good electric fence.

The kids prayed for the beagle when they went to bed.  He had been rescued after being hit by a car, so he was still limping.  They prayed he would heal soon.

We called the rescue shelter and let them know we wanted to adopt the dog.   They told us he wasn’t quite healed yet so they weren’t sure they wanted to adopt him out.  Because of a recent experience my friend had in trying to adopt a dog, I thought to myself, “I’ll bet that they are actually rejecting us as dog owners.”  But we gave them the benefit of the doubt, and called back in a couple days.  Nope, they decided they didn’t want to adopt him out to a family without a fence.  Beagles love to run, they said, and they didn’t think the measures we had laid out to keep him safe were enough.

We live on a cul de sac in a quiet neighborhood.  Our house is about four houses, through backyards, from a fairly quiet section of a two lane suburban road.  We let our kids play in the street in front of our house.  I understand there is a risk in taking care of a dog in the suburbs.  However, the benefits of the dog having three children to love him (let alone mom and dad), I believe greatly outweigh the potential risk.  Instead, he continues to live in a rescue home with many other dogs.

We live in a society that attempts to eradicate risk, because of fear of what may happen.  This is an impossible task.  When we make decisions based on fear, we may reduce the risk of something negative happening, but we lose out on so many greater positives.  Our attempt to control everything around us creates a sterile, stifling environment.

Steve Boese wrote an insightful blog about our backlash against social media in the workplace because of our fears surrounding it.   How often does fear affect us, not just with our families, but within business?  The next time you make a decision about life, about work, or technology, stop and analyze if fear is involved in any aspect of your decision.  Clarify the areas which are affected by fear.  Get specific about what you’re afraid of, and determine if the negative future result you’re basing your decision on is actually a bona fide risk.  Face your fears head on, and make decisions with courage.

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An Open Letter: Choose Your Email Address Wisely, Job Applicant

Job Applicant Resumes

Dear Job Applicant:

Please choose your email address wisely.  If you are applying for a job, your email address will appear on your job application.  Your potential future employers will be contacting you on this email address.  Please follow these simple rules for a proper email address:

  • No sexual innuendos
  • No references to weed or other drugs
  • No swear words, or even misspellings of swear words
  • No words that disparage people groups

If only I was writing this blog out of a hypothetical fear that you might use  an inappropriate email address on your job application, but alas, I have first hand experience of reviewing applications in which each or all of the above rules are broken.

So do yourself a favor, applicant.  If, for some reason, you have a highly inappropriate email address, take advantage of the multitude of free email providers (gmail, yahoo, hotmail, and many more) and get a new one, at least for the length of your job search.

Sincerely,

A Friend

5 Easy Ways IT Can Help the Environment

  1. Slim Down Your Servers
    Those old, boxy servers you’re hanging on to are probably power hogs. Upgrade to newer servers and you’ll not only save on energy, you’ll also benefit from better performance.
  2. Virtualize
    Cut down on the number of servers through virtualization. If you have an application that needs its own server but doesn’t take up a lot of memory or CPU, it’s a perfect candidate for co-locating with another server on the same piece of hardware. With virtualization, you can run different OS’s on the same equipment, and as an added bonus, backup and restoration are very easy.
  3. Help HR Go Paperless
    Save trees and make HR happy by switching from paper job applications to a SaaS applicant tracking system, complete with web-based career site. Go even further and setup paperless new hire paperwork, such as the I-9 and W-4, through an online onboarding process. Digitize all those annoying health insurance enrollment papers by upgrading to an online benefit enrollment system. AutoZone documented their savings by going paperless in just the hiring process, and discovered they save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in paper, mailing and faxing costs (source).
  4. Don’t Trash, Donate
    Before you trash that old IT and telecom equipment, call your area non-profits. In our area, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore (resale outlet) will accept old computers, racks, etc. as donations, then turn around and sell them, or break them down and sell off reusable materials. You get a tax deduction, and the warm feeling of helping another organization, all while reducing waste.
  5. Embrace the Cloud
    Whether you go to the cloud by utilizing managed services such as Azure, or by taking advantage of the many robust web-based systems available, using online services reduces our combined environmental footprint. By leveraging web-based systems, resources are shared. Instead of one thousand companies each maintaining their own HRIS system, for example, they can each purchase licenses on an HRIS solution hosted by the vendor, maximizing server space and bandwidth. Another advantage is that good SaaS vendors are experts in their line of business, allowing IT to leverage best-practice systems without having to become experts themselves.

Use the WordPress Publicize Feature To Promote Social Media Sharing

If you have a WordPress blog, it’s a good idea to turn on a new feature they call “Publicize”. This new feature allows you to automatically push your blog posts to Facebook, Twitter, etc. It also, and I like this feature the best, will add “Share This” icons to each of your blog entries, including, “Tweet”, “Facebook”, “Email” and more, so that your readers can share your blog on their own social media sites with just a click or two.

Two Ways to Turn the Feature On:

1st Option: When you post a blog entry by clicking the “Publish” button, WordPress will prompt you with “Post published. View post | Want more traffic? Turn on the Publicize feature“.  Click on the “Turn on the Publicize feature” link.

2nd Option: I often post via Microsoft Word, so I couldn’t get the above link without having to un-post and then re-post a blog entry. I think that’s strange, so I found this shortcut – just cut and paste the following link into a new browser window, and replace [your blog here] with the name of your blog: http://%5Byour blog here].wordpress.com/wp-admin/options-general.php?page=sharing (you have to be logged into WordPress to use this feature).

Configuring the Publicize Feature

You’ll be prompted with a page entitled “Sharing Settings”.  The top section, “Publicize”, allows you to push your new blog entries automatically to your own Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and Messenger sites.  I already use TwitterFeed to do this, so I left this section alone.  (But if you’re interested, read this.)

WordPress Share Button Section

The Share Button section is what we really want.   The available Share Buttons are listed to the right of “Available Services.”  For each one you want (I recommend using them all), click on it, and drag it to the right of “Enabled Services.”  You have to click and drag for each button individually.  

 Screen shot after you drag the buttons you want to “Enabled Services”:

WordPress Share Button

You can re-order the buttons by clicking and dragging them.  I recommend putting Twitter & Facebook first, followed by Email.  Those seem to be the most popular options for readers.

At the bottom of the page click on the Save Changes button, and now all of your blog posts will have the ability to share your entry on Twitter, Facebook, et al with just a few clicks!

Screen shot of the buttons at the bottom of your blog posts:

Publicize Feature on WordPress