what it’s like being a disabled veteran

First, let me start by saying that I absolutely do count my blessings. I consider myself fortunate indeed, and I do live quite “comfortably” (more on that later). I do not want anyone to think that I’m whining, or a victim, but sometimes, a girl’s just gotta rant…

I joined the Navy in August of 2005, was stationed at the ASW base in Point Loma in the spring of 2006, and had my first back spasm that fall. I was lying in bed for about 8 hours, not knowing what was wrong, not knowing how to make the pain stop, when I finally realized that I needed to get up and get help. As soon as I tried to get out of bed, pain like I’d never experienced. I screamed. I screamed and screamed. The window in my barracks room was open, and I was mortified that people could hear me, but something had to be done. Just as I was able to roll out of bed, my roommate came in and told me she was going to help get me to the NMT office for help. I gingerly walked down the stairs, across the street, and into the office, with her help (thank God my room was so close…). I was in tears, I couldn’t bend, twist, or stand up straight. I walked into the office and told them I was in pain and I didn’t know what was happening. One of the Petty Officers there pressed his hand into my back to see what was wrong and I had to clamp my own hands over my mouth to muffle my scream. They called an ambulance, and the EMTs put a backboard up against my back, strapped me on, and tilted me back. It was excruciating, but once I was lying down again, the pain subsided a little.

When we got to Balboa Hospital, the doctors gave me intravenous fluids, painkillers, and muscle relaxers. I was told that due to the severity of the spasm, and how long it had been happening, the muscles had separated from my spine. I had sprained my back. I was told I’d have to keep it strong to avoid re-injury, so I worked out three times a day, every day. 20 minutes on the elliptical in the late morning, weights, and stretching. Class PT, usually volleyball or mock PRTs in the early afternoon. Another 20 minutes on the elliptical after class in the evening, more weights, and more stretching. I was in the best shape of my life, then I went to the ship.

I reported to the USS Chancellorsville in the spring of 2007, we were in the yards, so there wasn’t a whole lot of typical work going on. I painted, sanded, did deck grinding, and lots of cleaning. We pulled out in the fall, and our underway schedule started. We went up to Canada in the winter, that was my first real underway, and it sucked. It was so cold, but I dealt with it, made the best of it. The following summer, we went on WESTPAC, my first, and while it was difficult (I genuinely considered not going because of the abuse I had been suffering at the hands of my division), I adjusted well, and I even got together with my now-fiancé at the very end (while we were in port! No hanky-pankys on the ship).

The winter was uneventful, but the next summer, we SURGEd, and that’s when the real problems started. The metal decks and steep stairwells started to wear on my knees, I was noticing pain and stiffness developing, but just dealt with it. That fall, we went back into the yards, but we had to take part in RAMs (Random Antiterrorism Measures). We were short on gun qualifications, and didn’t have enough topside rovers, I stood 11 hours of watch in one day, from 1130-1630, 1730-1830, 1930-2030, and 2130-0130. That was the day my knees finally gave out. By the end of my last watch, they were the size of melons, so swollen and stiff with fluid that I couldn’t bend them.

After the initial pain and swelling subsided, I started realizing that my chronic symptoms had become much, much worse. My knees creaked and cracked, they caught and slipped, I could no longer bend them and bear weight, I had to choose. Now, everyone knows that when lifting, you’re supposed to use your legs, but that was too painful, I started lifting with my back. Being pretty strong, and working out with the VBSS team, I was no stranger to manual labor, and I had no issue working with the boys doing the dirty work, but after a while, I began to notice that my back was causing me pain too. I would be stiff in the morning, and it was painful getting in and out of my rack, lifting and bending became harder, and my back spasms returned. I also developed sciatica, which caused shooting pain down my legs (mostly my right) and numbness in my feet. I lost all reflex in my right knee.

I expressed my concerns to Doc, but she was busy, tough, and an FMF Corpsman, she didn’t have the patience to deal with complaints like mine, so I dealt with it. We got a new Doc, and while he was a little more approachable, he was less competent, and wasn’t able to help me much. I developed dishydrosis in my hands and feet, and some kind of eczema on my legs, but nothing he gave me helped. He did give me Toradol injections when my back was really hurting, which was several times a week, sometimes more than once a day. He also gave me Mobic, which kind of helped.

I began to get depressed, I didn’t like being in pain all the time, it made me angry, and I would lash out at people, who would in turn call me a bitch and treat me like crap, only they didn’t know that I was only angry because I hurt. In 2010, it got to the point where I demanded to be seen by someone else. The only problem was, we were in the middle of the ocean doing RIMPAC, and the only option was going to the USS Ronald Reagan, but I took it. Doc told me that if I was as bad as I was saying I was, they might send me home, so I packed my stuff, and waited to be allowed to go. People started saying I was malingering, that I was just trying to get off of the ship, because I “packed too much.” It made me even angrier.

I went to the Reagan, told them what was going on, and found out that I wasn’t supposed to be getting Toradol and Mobic because they were both the same type of NSAID. So they took me off Toradol, the only thing that gave me relief for a few hours after a dose. I lost it. I started crying, I told the doctors that I needed better treatment, and I begged them for some real help. They sent me to one of the Chaplains, a rabbi, who was very kind and understanding, he wrote several e-mails to my command requesting that I be seen both by Balboa and Fleet Mental Health. I’m not religious, but he offered to pray for me, and I said yes. He prayed for me in his stateroom, and he asked YHWH to help me. I appreciated that beyond measure.

I was sent back to the ship, much to the hateful satisfaction of those who said I was “faking it,” but they had received the correspondence from the Reagan and my chain of command understood that I needed more help. I was referred to FMH and sent to Balboa for an MRI on my right knee. After a few weeks of seeing a psychiatrist (a nice Commander who happened to be from New Hampshire, which was a nice shared bond, seeing as I’m from Maine), I was doing better, I was on medication, and it was generally easier to deal with the pain when I could go home, sleep on a comfortable bed, and my wonderful boyfriend would rub my back until it didn’t hurt. I received the results of my MRI, and went for a LIMDU assessment, where I was told I would never be able to serve at sea again.

When I received my LIMDU orders, my LCPO was disappointed, now that I was leaving, it was clear that I was actually an asset to the division, and he needed me for PAR (I forget what the acronym stands for, but it was a big ASW review of maintenance, operations, and training). I told him I would stay, but that I needed to get out of the duty section, I simply couldn’t stand for hours at a time anymore, my back and my knees couldn’t take it. He said there was nothing he could do, so I said I was sorry, but that I had to leave.

So I reported to TPU (worst command ever, don’t go there, ever…) and eventually got placed in the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) where I served my LIMDU time. When my six months expired, I was still using a cane, in physical therapy, and wasn’t nearly “cured,” but I got stuck in a rather unfortunate loophole, one that did not work in my favor: if one is unable to finish an entire six month LIMDU period before their EAOS, they are not entitled to go on LIMDU (even if it’s a renewal). I asked if I could get a Med Board instead, but they told me I had to complete two consecutive LIMDU periods to get a Med Board. I ended up being honorably discharged, which requires being fit for full duty, and they made me sign my fit for full paperwork with a pen in one hand and my cane in the other. I was told the VA would take care of me.

I was discharged in August of 2011, I had filed my VA paperwork in July, and I didn’t receive a response until about eight months later. I still don’t have a rating on everything! The really fun part is that they are making me start all over again with my treatments. I had to go on the basic prescriptions for pain, depression, and my eczema thing (it hasn’t actually been diagnosed, no one knows what it is).

While I was in the Navy, I was also treated for cervical dysplasia, and had several colposcopies, I hadn’t had one in a couple of years and got one from my PCP, but the results were inconclusive, and now she won’t let me get one until September, and if it comes back normal, I can’t get another one for three years! My mother had cervical dysplasia, she missed a pap once, and the next time it came around, she had stage four cervical cancer and had to have a hysterectomy. I’m 27, I don’t have kids yet, I’m not even married  yet, my fertility is a very important thing to me right now, and I swear to God, if I get cancer because the damn VA didn’t want to pay for a pap every six months, I will sue the shit out of them.

I don’t agree with suing, I think we’re a sue-happy society and that people need to take personal accountability, but I can’t get health insurance because I have a pre existing condition. Even if I could, I couldn’t afford to pay the hundreds of dollars a month for private health care. The VA is all I have right now. The VA is all a lot of people have, and it sucks. There’s too many of us, and not enough funding for them. The VA makes monsters out of decent people because veterans can’t get the care they need. The VA doesn’t cover chiropractic work, which was one of the most effective treatments I had for my back while I was in the Navy, I’m also told acupuncture works wonders, but they don’t cover that either. Luckily, my fiancé received an e-stim at work, which is another therapy I’ve done, and that helps. I have a heating pad, my fiancé rubs my back when it’s sore or stiff, and he even bought me a hot tub last Christmas. Maybe I was “spoiled” by Navy medicine supplying everything, down to over-the-counter meds, but I feel like the VA doesn’t provide us with shit. I had to wait eight hours in the ER once, only to be given an IV with some painkillers and then discharged. I still haven’t been seen for my knee, my back, or my eczema, which has now spread to my arms. Dermatology won’t even see me until I go back and try hydrocortisone. Really? You think I haven’t tried that yet? I’ve had this since ’09-’10, you think I haven’t been there, done that?

I worry that my relationship may fall apart, I get angry, withdrawn, and it’s hard to want to be intimate with someone when you’re always in pain, or itching, or sad, or all of the above. To top it all off is the stress. I am always stressed about something, and I seriously feel like it’s killing me. Last night, I couldn’t shut my brain off about a school project, and I didn’t get to sleep until 7am, and was woken up by my dog at 10:30am. I’m not even tired now, and it’s 3am! I just can’t relax, I can’t be pain-free, I can’t be normal. “Normal,” for me, is pain. I get back spasms now, and I know they’re just as bad as they used to be, but they don’t register as hurting as much because I’m used to it! That is so messed up! My PCP in the Navy told me that I was the most jacked up 25 year old she’d ever seen, and that if I didn’t get 80% service connected disability from the VA, she’d be shocked. Well, I started at 60%, but they did upgrade me to 80% this year (with back pay), and I haven’t even been evaluated on the main issues yet.

This is the life of a disabled veteran, I guess: pain and stress, stress and pain…

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

USS Arizona

The USS Arizona.

It’s hard to imagine her standing proudly, towering above the waves. She rests so quietly now, just beneath the very water that once kept her afloat. The USS Arizona. Her name brings a slow solemnity over one’s heart, and to see her, an eery sense of calm. The chaos and destruction that brought her to her knees, dragging a thousand sailors and Marines down with her, smoking and burning. Now look at her.

Softly sitting beneath the calm waters of Pearl Harbor, she looks both proud and sad. Everything above her main deck is gone, her gun turrets stand empty, just out of the water, rusty, and a reminder that she was once the most powerful class of ship in the United States Navy. Buoys mark her bow and stern, the better for visitors to gauge the true size of this ocean monster, but they do little but offer a small piece of reference. A ship is more than its length. A ship is its crew, and this ship continues to weep and bleed for the men she lost. Looking out over the quiet water above her deck, it’s easy to spot the small droplets of oil, rising to the surface in an amorphous tumble, and spreading into little pools as they break the surface. It’s easy to watch the USS Arizona cry. It’s hard to look away. It’s hard not to weep for the men who undoubtedly fought their ship till the end, and will lay with her forever.

The USS Missouri stands behind her, two sisters, marking the beginning and the end of World War II. The Missouri watches over her older sister, her bow facing the Arizona. She is a reminder that we do not forget, that we will never leave our shipmates alone and in the dark, even in death.

So on this day, many will remember the USS Arizona, children will learn of her in school, and people will visit her in person, 4,500 of them, as there are each day. I feel privileged to have seen her while I was serving my country. I feel she has special meaning to those who have served in the Navy. Those are our brothers down there. As close as those who stand beside us on our own ships. It’s a beautiful sadness. The pain that we feel at their loss, but also the pride, that their sacrifice was not for nothing. We remember those who fought on the USS Arizona, and all over Pearl Harbor today, and we thank them for their service and sacrifice, for many, the ultimate sacrifice.

STG2(SW) Lena R. Parent, USN 2005-2011

I wanted to post something for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, especially since I’ve actually been to the Arizona.  I went there in 2009 for a friend’s re-enlistment onboard (well, in the memorial building).  I took a few pictures while we were there:

entrance to the museum

Memorial Plaque

list of names

list of names 2

flag at half-mast

forward gun turret

viewing area

oil on the water

oil on the water 2

oil on the water 3

oil on the water 4

sun shining on Arizona

I want to thank any active duty, retired, or veterans (like me) for their service, their sacrifice, and their fulfillment of duty.

i can’t deal anymore

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Yup. Six. That’s not even the worst part.

The shower was thrown by my Maid of Honor, who lives across the country, and she flew from Dallas to be there before flying home to her husband she almost never sees because she’s always traveling for work. Did I mention she rented out a rooftop venue and had it catered with a custom menu for us? Yeah. She did. Six people. Fuck my life.

I feel like the lame fat kid waiting for kids to show up to his birthday party and then spending it alone. Really? Our bridal shower? I understand maybe ditching a Cards Against Humanity night, or even a birthday thing, but our BRIDAL SHOWER? We only get one of those! Ever! I’m no-shit seriously considering canceling the wedding. Why throw a party costing tens of thousands of dollars so that people can be dicks and not show? We invited 110 people, the RSVP date is July 1, and we have 34 attendees. That’s pathetic. Pathetic.

I want to die. I’ve never considered suicide so seriously before now. The only reason I haven’t done it yet is because it would devastate my fiancé to have to put our dogs up for rescue, because he wouldn’t be able to care for them by himself, he works too much.

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Too dramatic, you say? What’s the big deal? It’s one party, everything will be fine? No. No it won’t. Because this has become the norm. This is what happens, and I know it’s because of me, because everyone loves my fiancé and they would never treat him like this. I’m a burden to the people in my life alive, and I’m a burden to my fiancé dead. Do you have any idea how that feels? Put aside whether or not you think it’s true, and imagine that you felt that way. Whether or not it’s true, rational, or ridiculous, that is exactly how I feel right now. I’ve been trying to sleep for four hours and can’t because I can’t stop thinking about how miserable I am and wondering if I would regret taking all of my sleeping pills at once with a bottle of vodka.

I can’t do this anymore, I just can’t. It’s not worth it. I don’t know why I think it’s worth it to keep trying. Even our officiant (a mutual friend) called and said he may not make it to the wedding. That’s how little people give a shit about me. I’m not asking for all of their attention, I haven’t deluded myself into believing that people are always going to be available whenever we have a party, but these invitations went out in April. APRIL! It’s not like they didn’t have time to plan! And even worse, I feel guilty for missing my friend’s birthday party tonight because I wanted to have dinner with my mother whom I see once a year and my sister-in-law whom I haven’t seen since 2012.

This sucks. I don’t even know what I’m going to do. I think I’ll take a Neurontin and hope I pass out…

if you’re going to treat me like shit, i don’t need you

I’m one of those people who really needs to be liked.  I go out of my way to make sure people feel comfortable, included, cared for, and appreciated.  To the point where I can’t enjoy my own parties, end up taking on extra work in groups, and spend entirely too much money on people I can’t even really count as friends.  This habit gets me way too stressed out, always ends up backfiring, and to be honest, I’m going to be 29 this year, I’m too old for this shit.

People who make fun of me for having a blog because it’s “stupid” should look at this: Interesting Facts about Blogs, it was written over two years ago, so I’m pretty sure the numbers are a little different, but there are some interesting factoids in here: “Most people read blogs more than once a day,” that surely doesn’t point to blogs being “stupid,” does it?  “Businesses that blog at least 20 times per month (4-5 week),  generate 5 times more traffic than those that blog fewer that 4 times per month,” point being: bloggers can make money.  Look at Jenna Marbles/Mourey, she started blogging in 2009 for Stoollala, and is now worth $2.5 MILLION.  To any dumb fuck that thinks blogs are stupid, tell her that.

The Huffington Post is a blog.  Gawker.  Lifehacker.  Fail Blog.  Business Insider.  Am I saying Always A Sailor is going to be like that?  Hell no!  This is my place to vent and sound off about stuff that I want to write about.  Does it matter that my number one post is about Navy tattoos?  No, I don’t mind that one bit.  The Navy and Tattoos was my 12th post, and you want to know why I wrote it?  It wasn’t so much to bitch about the chick who gets Navy tattoos and hasn’t “earned” them, it was mostly because I was trying to find information on military tattoos and had a ton of trouble figuring out their origins.  I thought that if I was looking for the information, maybe other people would want to know as well, so why not make a comprehensive list.  I thought about doing separate posts for all of the different branches, but let’s face it, no one has the diversity of tattoos that the Navy has, it’s just our thing.

I’m just done trying to defend myself, my use of hashtags on Instagram, the way I’ve decided to raise my dogs, (yes, you read that right, I have to defend the respectful treatment of my own dogs) and the fact that I’m a disabled veteran (I can’t tell you how many doctors, “shipmates,” and complete strangers have told me I’m faking.  Eat shit and die).  In order not to be a hypocrite, I’ll try not to judge others too harshly either (maybe I was a little over-the-top in my tattoo post, but whatever, it was three years ago, get over it).

I was just texting a friend about a get-together she’s having this weekend for her birthday (Happy Birthday, J!) and she said this:

I’m ready for my 20s to be over, I feel more classy because I’m older for some reason, like my age kind of makes me badass.

We talked about how we no longer feel it necessary to close bars, have ragers, and party like we will never party again.  Sometimes it’s cool to just hang out around the fire pit and talk about nothing, you know?  Everyone seems so obsessed with putting out this image of being a badass, and I don’t think you achieve it until you grow the hell up and get over all that crap.  Most of my friends and I are entering that “don’t give a fuck” portion of our lives where we’re old enough to realize life isn’t a goddamn competition, but still young enough that we can kick ass in anything we want to do.  I look at some of the people I served with, especially those that are out now (whether honorably or dishonorably), and I just think about how sad they are.  They still feel the need to treat others like crap to make themselves feel better.  I’m sorry your life wasn’t all you wanted it to be, but it’s life, that’s how it is!  One minute I’m considering asking someone my fiance and I served with to do a reading at our wedding, the next he’s being a narcissistic prick and I’m thinking “fuck you, buddy, I don’t want you around on the happiest day of my life…”

So, fuck it.  I’ve spent most of my life trying to make “the cool kids” like me.  Usually people stop after high school, but I joined the Navy, which is more like middle school, so I backtracked.  Now that I’ve been away from that crap for three years, am a graduate student, and am just so happy with my lot in life (except for the whole depression and handicapped things), that I simply don’t have time for the immature morons that insist on ruining it.  Social media seems to bring those things out in people too, they feel so powerful, sitting there behind their computer screens.  It’s disgusting.

So, now that I have trimmed some douche off of the wedding guest list, I can continue with my life, without these jerks anywhere near my radar…

depression

Depression and anxiety are cruel masters. One minute you can be fine, the next you want to die and you don’t know what hit you. The smallest problems are complete catastrophes. The dumbest things will make you cry. Things that should be no big deal will make you seethe with anger. You lash out, and then regret it, but you don’t know what to say, so you think maybe it would just be easier if everyone was mad at you, because then they would stay away. You still crave social interaction, though. So you throw a party, clean and cook all day, and no one comes. You try to be extra supportive and give your friends things to try to show them you care, and then realize the sad truth that it’s not reciprocated. You try to come up with a guest list for your wedding, and can only list a few people whom you really care about to come, you have to widen the criteria so the day isn’t depressing. Then only a third of those that were invited say they’re going to come. You know even fewer will actually show up. You become extremely judgmental of others because you’re extremely judgmental of yourself. You set these unachievable goals, and when the inevitable happens, you lay in bed or on the couch for a week doing nothing, because you feel like you are nothing. You question people’s affections, sabotage relationships, and hurt the people you love. You overeat, or you don’t eat, or you pull out your hair, or you hit things, or you cut yourself.

Living with mental illness is not only hard, it’s impossible. Please, don’t give up on us. We’re capable of so much more than we believe. We need you to believe for us.

the sgt bergdahl thing

usa

 

By now, I’m sure everyone has heard about the case of Sergeant Bergdahl and his release from captivity in Afghanistan.  Bowe Bergdahl was released last month in a prisoner exchange by which the United States released five detainees from Guantanamo Bay into Qatar, where they must stay for a minimum of one year, and are “subject to strict bans on militant incitement or fundraising that might pose a danger to the United States.”

Okay, granted, this raises some questions:

1.  What happened to the United States’ policy of not negotiating with terrorists?

The United States has a policy of not negotiating directly with terrorists.  We can, however, negotiate through an intermediary nation.  In this case, it was Qatar.  What the Obama Administration did is not new, nor is it “illegal,” nor is it treason.

2.  What’s the deal with Bergdahl’s dad?

If you’re asking this question, then you’ve probably read and seen photos of Robert Bergdahl, the father of Sgt. Bergdahl, who tells us he grew out his hair and beard and began learning Arabic and Pashto in an effort to bring his son home.  Right-wing media has been criticizing Mr. Bergdahl because his actions apparently make him a Taliban sympathizer, and a Muslim (why being a Muslim is a bad thing, I don’t get, but my guess is that stupid people think all Muslims are terrorists).

3.  Isn’t Bergdahl a deserter?

Officially, no.  In 2010, “the evidence was “incontrovertible” that Bergdahl indeed walked away from his unit, [however the Pentagon] did not accuse him of desertion.”  There is little information on this part of the story, but earlier in the article cited by the previous link, Bergdahl is described as feeling little conviction for his assignment in Afghanistan, saying “These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live.”

Here’s the issue.  Those of us at home have no idea what those guys over in the Middle East have to do.  We don’t see the end result of our demand for action and justice.  Likewise, the grunt on the ground isn’t going to see the big picture, it’s above his pay grade.  It is understandable that Bergdahl would have had some frustration, especially with the incidents he cited: “He said an Army vehicle had run over a girl, but “we don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks.””  I don’t care what your mission is, that’s horrible.

4.  Come on, he forgot how to speak English??

This one I’m also really skeptical of, to be completely honest.  However, I think Robert Bergdahl put it quite eloquently: “The complicated nature of this recovery will never really be comprehended.”  What I do know is that sassy attacks on the former POW, like the one from Sarah Palinaren’t helping.  None of us knows the first thing about what that man went through, even former POWs, because Bergdahl was the first and only American POW during this war.  It’s going to take a long time to figure out why he doesn’t seem to be capable of speaking/comprehending English, and in the meantime, the rest of us should probably just shut the fuck up about it.

 

I understand that we all have a right to our own opinions, and we have a right to voice those opinions, but I propose that everyone stop, learn, and think for a moment about what they’re doing and the things they’re saying.  So many people are simply spreading ignorance and hate when there is absolutely no basis in fact for such feelings.  I don’t give a damn what country you’re from, or what rights you have, you have a responsibility as a human being, with the capability of analytical, logical, ethical cognition, to think before you speak.  Think before you form an opinion.  Think before you make the entire country look even dumber than we already do.

the catch-22 of finding a job

I finished my bachelor’s degree in February (Bachelor of Science in Business Technical Management with a concentration in Human Resources), and I’m now in my second semester of grad school, pursuing an MBA with an emphasis in Project Management.  I’m due to graduate at the end of October 2015, and I’ve got to say, I’m incredibly worried.

I’ve been perusing job listings, seeing what’s out there, what I could do with what I have, looking at the job descriptions for the jobs I want and seeing if I have the right prerequisites; but there’s always one thing listed as “required” that I just don’t have: experience.

So everyone out there wants to hire someone with experience, but no one is willing to hire people without it in order to give them experience.  Basically, you’re telling me that I need to go get a job that I am grossly overqualified for, so that I can get some experience in the field, but still not in that particular position.  Obviously you all want someone with experience!  That’s a pretty “duh” question to ask: “would you rather take a risk on someone that’s unproven in this particular position, or hire someone who’s done it for years?”  Really??

I get it.  The employment situation still isn’t great, and companies can afford to be picky, but they’re really limiting themselves by not wanting to hire the hard-charging recent graduates who are chomping at the bit to prove themselves and show a company what they can really do.

So I can’t get a job until I gain experience, but I can’t get experience until someone will hire me.  Alrighty then…

There’s another problem, too.  I’ve applied to a handful of positions, and I haven’t heard back from HR on a single one.  At first, I just thought this was incredibly rude and I was angry, but for purely selfish reasons, and then I came across this piece by Dr. John Sullivan on TLNT.com: Why Aren’t Job Applicants Given Decent Feedback?  In the article, Dr. Sullivan poses a pretty good argument for why companies should be giving rejected applicants feedback, and it’s not just about manners.

Furthermore, I’m hearing more and more from old Navy friends that they can’t get jobs either.  What happened to hiring preference for veterans?  I thought we had all this great experience that everyone wanted!  There’s pretty decent tax breaks for hiring veterans as well, especially us disabled vets!  The White House has even released a Guide to Hiring Veterans, it answers all kinds of questions and goes over all of the incentives, so why are we also getting slammed with the “you need more experience” line?

Listen, Mr. Hiring Manager, we have experience.  We have experience coming out our ears.  We have experience doing things you’ve never even dreamed of.  We know how to get things done with limited resources and time.  We know how to treat our supervisors, especially those that are newly discharged.  My veteran friends are some of the most respectful people I know, so much so that it sometimes humbles the people they interact with.  We know how to work as a team, because that was drilled into us from day one in MEPS.  You succeed together, or you fail together (sometimes this can be a bad thing, check this out right here).  Veterans understand safety, following instructions, policy, procedure.  We learn fast because we have to, and many of us are incredibly smart.  Just because you don’t know what an SQR-19 is, or have any clue what it means that someone has worked on the CIWS, doesn’t mean that we don’t have experience doing some very relevant jobs to the position we’re applying for.

Stop looking for the perfect resume, it doesn’t meant the person who wrote it is the perfect candidate.

fuck ‘em

I’m so sick of people brushing me off. I’m sure it happens to everyone once in a while, but it’s really started to pile up and I just can’t take it anymore.

I don’t want or expect to be the center of anyone’s life. I don’t think I’m “special” and I don’t want people to treat me that way. I simply want to be afforded some common curtesy and respect. Is that really so much to ask from people who are supposed to be your friends? I’m sick of being taken for granted, if you don’t want to see or hang out with me, fine. Don’t. Don’t bother putting out this illusion that you like my company. Don’t ask to be invited to my goddamn wedding. Don’t offer to support me and then flake out. I’d really rather be left alone than be surrounded by people who obviously don’t think I’m worth their time. I go out of my way to do nice things for people, support them, and make sure that they know that I care and will be there when I need them. So why does it seem lately that I’m in a bunch of one-way relationships with people?? A one-way relationship isn’t a relationship, it’s me making a fool out of myself because for some reason, I like to make people feel valued, and they like to make me feel like crap.

I can’t wait to go back to work and start meeting new people, I really hope I can gain some new friendships and hopefully find people who don’t do this shit to me. I haven’t been this angry at anyone but myself in a long time. Except the anger is also towards myself for somehow giving people the impression that this is okay. I deactivated my Facebook account because I simply can’t deal with anything anymore. The fake people, “frienemies,” and the jerks who must think they’re so much better than I to think that they can discard me like trash. Fuck ‘em. I don’t need people like that in my life. It’s goddamn poisonous, and I’m tired of it.

the issue of all-or-none

flip-flops-bad-for-politicians-even-worse-for-your-feetI know I was supposed to be writing about other stuff, but this is something that’s been on my mind lately.  Feel free to continue waiting for school/Zoink/wedding posts ;)

Why have so many people gone to this whole black-or-white, all-or-none way of thinking??  I recently read a post about how a zoo is trying to breed a species of tiger (I can’t find the link now, thanks Facebook…) back into the wild, and some chick commented about how the “anti-zoo people” need to accept zoos because they do stuff like this.

Hold up.  You’re both wrong!

The chick is wrong because simply allowing zoos to keep animals in captivity for the sole purpose of human entertainment is pretty messed up, and the “anti-zoo people” are wrong because that’s not what all zoos do, they also rehabilitate and reintroduce animals into the ecosystem when they are/in danger of becoming extinct.

Like the Seaworld Thing: people want to shut down the whole operation because they keep whales captive and use them for entertainment.  Well yeah, but they also rescue and rehabilitate animals, and you know what pays for that?  Revenues from the amusement park patrons.

The issue of calling politicians “flip-floppers” bugs me too.  You know what?  Sometimes changing your mind, and thus your stance, is a good thing!  Someone who can “flip” between the Democratic and Republican parties is what we need more of in our government!  Who actually agrees with 100% of either party’s platforms??  Isn’t it more likely that the average American will have a mix of both?  (For example, I’m 100% down for marriage equality and making LGTBI people a protected class, but I also think we need more conservative fiscal and immigration policies, does having opinions from both sides of the track make me a bad person?  No!  It makes me freaking moderate!)  We don’t need political fanatics who lean so far left or right that they’re practically falling off the edge of reality!  We don’t need to have this all-or-none view of the world.

Too much gluten is bad.  Don’t eat gluten.  EVER.

Too many carbs are bad.  Don’t eat carbs.  EVER.

Too much alcohol is bad.  Don’t drink.  EVER.

Some GMOs are used so that we can spray more pesticides on food, therefore all GMOs are bad.  Don’t eat GMOs.  EVER.

You see where I’m going with this?  This kind of thinking is an excuse to, well, not think!  It’s trying to simplify very complicated issues, and instead of actually taking the time to think them through, weigh both sides, and make informed decisions, people just jump to the easiest ones they can come up with.  It’s like instant-gratification for decision-making.  The obsession with “now-now-now!” has even infiltrated our overall way of thinking about the world!  That’s scary!  Making shortcuts in your thinking and logic mean you’re making shortcuts in your decisions in everyday life!  People are taking shortcuts when it comes to diet, exercise, relationships, raising children, school, careers…  It’s everywhere!  I think this might be the crisis of culture that so many people see but don’t know how it happened.  I think this is the problem with the Information Age.  We have so much information at our fingertips, and no one wants to actually take the time to access it and form their own opinions.  It’s easier to let someone else do it.