Monday, October 29, 2012

Moving On



It's been awhile since my last post and a lot has happened in my life.  The biggest being my breakup with a girl I had been dating for a year. At first I thought I was over it, but have realized that you don't just get over a relationship to a person you care about in a month. I think I was blinded by my desire to be okay with it that I didn't let myself be hurt. I've come to realize that it is okay to be hurt and more importantly, to let yourself hurt. It's part of being able to move on.

The old me would be over analyzing the relationship and thinking about what could have been. Thankfully I think I have matured in that I am looking back at the year I spent with Jessie in a positive way. We had a great relationship and so many great times together. However, I think in both our minds we were not meant to spend a life together. I don't think you realize these things until you take a step back and really analyze the relationship as a whole.

Every relationship is a learning experience.  I can say with confidence that I've learned something from each of my 3 serious relationships in different ways. I feel like I've grown as a person and have no regrets. I am so thankful for my friends and families support through this time. I'm a person who likes/needs to talk about my feelings and everyone in my life has been understanding and supportive. You all are awesome.

I don't know what awaits me in the future, and while the thought can be daunting, I find myself excited for this new chapter in my life. I will always remember the great times I spent with Jessie and the impact she made on my life. I know she will do great things and we will always be a part of each other's history.

Like my good friend Sarah said, " this is the one time in your life you can do whatever you want". It really is true. The world awaits and this is the time to concentrate on myself and what I want to do. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Goodbye Arfa



This is the toughest blog I've ever had to write.  My dog Arfa passed away yesterday at the age of 12 and I'm feeling a type of sadness I've never felt before. I've lost grandparents whom I loved dearly, but for some reason this hits a different nerve. The thing is, I've known this was eventually going to happen for a few months now. Arfa was diagnosed with a tumor back in May and I knew she had at most 6 months to live. However, when I got the call last Friday from my family that she had taken a turn for the worse and we were going to put her down, it was like a ton of bricks crashing down on me. I guess nothing prepares you for losing an immediate family member which Arfa was and always will be.

Instead of going into the pain I'm feeling right now I want to celebrate Arfa's life and relive the good times which were so many.  I still remember the day over 12 years ago when she came home. She was a small little puppy you could practically fit in a purse. From an early age she always was kind of rebellious. She would dig holes in the yard and scratch the garage. One time she even ate the gingerbread cookies that my grandma had sent us! But, you couldn't ever get mad at her when she looked up at you with those sweet innocent eyes.  Any dog owner knows what I mean.

Arfa loved walks more than anything in the world. We could just show say the word "walk" and she'd start spinning around in circles and jumping around.  It always made me so happy watching Arfa so happy. My dad would take her on epic journey's lasting several hours and Arfa would always keep up. I would often take her down to my spot on the river where we would just sit together and watch the river flow by.  Arfa was always very curious about everything.  She would go up to everyone and everything and examine them closely. I think if she could talk she'd have a lot to say. 

Everyone loved Arfa. Everywhere she went we would get stopped and people would want to pet her. On our last walk on Sunday one little girl asked if she could hug Arfa. She greeted any new people that she saw with a sniff and multiple licks and sometimes in her younger days would jump and try to play. Arfa always wanted to play. My dad and I would often chase her around in the backyard. We never could catch her even in her older days.

My whole family had different relationships with Arfa. My own was a very special bond and not just because I gave her extra food(sorry Mom). We'd go on adventures along the river, wrestle in the backyard, chill out and watch TV. Thankfully she couldn't talk because she also was witness to my rebellious high school years when I may have thrown a party or too when my parents were gone. Thanks for keeping our secret Arf!

I think Arfa and I got along so well because we both are very simple beings that enjoy the little things in life and like to explore. We're " Free Birds" and like to go on our own path which sometimes can lead to trouble but always makes life more interesting.

Arfa always showed my family and I unconditional love. It didn't matter what you did or how bad your day was, Arfa would always be there with her tongue out and that little grin on her face.  She would always race to the car and greet me when I got home and watch me as I left. She would lie next to me by the fire in the winter and in her spot underneath the bushes in the summer.

I'll never forget how she always pawed on the back door when she wanted to come in, then would come in and go right back out. It drove my family crazy, but right now I would love nothing more than for her to do it again. I'll never forget how she would bury her head in the snow and the look on her face when she brought it up. I'll never forget her love of belly rubs and the way her eyes would light up when she knew she was about to go for a walk.  She was just so appreciative of everything.

Arfa may have passed away but her legend will always live on. She will always be a part of me and own a piece of my heart. No matter how many dogs I have there will never be another Arfa. I take solace in the fact that Arfa lived a great life and knew she was loved. RIP Arfa. Gone but never forgotten. Legend Forever.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Finding Love when it is unexpected



I'm a sentimental and sappy guy and always will be.  I can't help it, it is just who I am.  Last night I was watching The Vow with my girlfriend after we had moved her out of her apartment in DC. Watching that movie after a day of packing up her entire life into a UHaul van really got the emotions going.  I don't think it really hit me until yesterday that she was really leaving.

It's a weird feeling for me because I have always been completely fine with being alone. I've lived 6 of the last 7 years in a one bedroom apartment, and my idea of a perfect day is being alone on my kayak sipping a beer and listening to Bruce Hornsby. But last night I was getting practically teary eyed thinking of her not being just a quick drive away. Sure, Delaware isn't far, but it's going to be a big change.

The thing about it is, I was never looking for this. Anyone who has known me the last few years knows I might be the last person that would want to be in a relationship. Sure, I've always been sentimental and loved romance, but I was scared to death of it in reality. Then one hot August day I decided to put myself out there and go to a kayak Meet Up event on the Potomac. I almost flaked out because kayaking is more of an individual event for me, but decided to go because I'm addicted to meeting strangers. Seriously, I love talking to new people more than my own friends.

My girlfriend happened to be there so we met on the river which is pretty much the best place ever I could meet a girl. Over the last 9 months we've had an amazing time getting to know each other and falling for each other. We've done everything from kayaking, to concerts and restaurants, to playing tennis, to partying, to watching Game of Thrones and Friday Night Lights. We've been there to support one another through all the ups and downs of life. She's my rock and hope I'm hers as well.

I guess the point of this blog is that you really never know when you are going to meet someone special. It's cliche but finding love really is unexpected. You just have to live your life and be happy. Eventually you'll meet someone to love life and be happy with.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Why are people on the internet so angry?



Remember in high school those kids that hated anything that was great. That would never say anything to anyone's face but always had a thing to say behind someone's back? The greatest birthday present of all came when blogging became popular. Now these people who love to hate stuff can spew it out loud online! Why are they so angry?

The worst thing a person can be is dishonest. That's why it always makes me kind of sad(not mad) when I hear what people comment on the Internet. The other day I was on Boston Barstool Sports who always post incredible attractive women as their smokeshow of the day(solid blog idea). All the comments were about how she was too fat on the hips or this or that. The reality is most of those dudes probably haven't gotten laid in their lives and woud probably stalk that girl via text if they talked to them.

I just have never understood why people hate so much stuff. It's one thing if you live in a 3rd world country but we have these normal people hating stuff left and right. Do they not realize who they are what reality is? It just confuses me. Why not be positive and realize if a person has something that the masses read they are doing somethign right and that they are hating on this because they actually like it. Any blogger out there should  know that when you get bad comments it means you made it. 

There is so much hate in life and I don't understand it. Maybe they aren't going to the Potomac River enough or watching enough Wonder Years. I'm not sure. Why can't we all just chill and get along. We need to realize there are some people out there we'll never get along with and just not associate with them. Just chill out, listen to Bob Seger and appreciate life.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Importance of Hiring People with Disabilities



“Hiring people with disabilities is not a them/us issue, it is a we issue”

-Kathy Martinez, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy

On Tuesday, April 10, I attended the CACI Learning Series on Hiring People with Disabilities with several other member of the Recruiting and Workforce Planning team. Our very own Denyse Gordon hosted the event and did a great job. The guest speakers for the event included CACI Executive Vice President Gil Guarino and Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez.

Assistant Secretary Martinez has an impressive background. She was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the third Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 25, 2009. As head of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Martinez advises the Secretary of Labor and works with all DOL agencies to lead a comprehensive and coordinated national policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities.

Martinez’s accolades are plentiful, from being executive director of the World Institute on Disability to being appointed a member of the National Council on Disability by former president George W. Bush. Martinez has an amazing personal story of how she came was able to achieve such a high position in the federal government.

First off, Martinez was born legally blind. Growing up, people told her that she had only three career choices: to become a counselor, work at a call center, or serve as a typist. However, she did not accept that for herself. “Many people would think it’s okay if I just collected disability benefits, but I wanted more,” Martinez said. With this attitude, Martinez was able to put herself through college and became involved in the disability rights and independent living movements in the 1970s. She has been working primarily as a disability rights advocate ever since.

At the CACI event, Martinez made some great points on why hiring people with disabilities is so important, including:

· Twenty-four percent of families have persons with disabilities in their household.


· Hiring people with disabilities impacts market share. People with disabilities are the third largest market in the U.S. One way to tap into this market is to employ these candidates at CACI.


· People are working later in life today and can acquire disabilities with age. It’s important that companies seek out this talent.


· People with disabilities bring fresh ideas and different ways of solving problems.


· People with disabilities able to adapt to circumstances and can help a company’s strategic plan.

This Learning Series had a huge impact on me. Two of the biggest things that stuck out to me during the interview were when Martinez quoted Olympian Scott Hamilton, who said, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” That is so true. Attitude is everything: we have to change our attitude and stereotypes of persons with disabilities or nothing will ever change.

Also, I thought it was interesting when Martinez talked about the word “accommodations” when discussing people with disabilities. She said this term can come off as rude and make people nervous, so she prefers calling tools employees need to function in the workplace “productivity tools.” These are something both people with disabilities and people without disabilities need. It is these types of small culture changes that can make a huge impact on assimilating people with disabilities into the workplace.

CACI does a great job of hiring people with disabilities and I am proud to be with an organization that has a vested interest in employing them. It’s important that we all make the effort to bring more persons with disabilities to the CACI team. I look forward to CACI being a model company for this excellent initiative for years to come.

For more information on how you can help, please go to www.whatcanyoudo.org.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One bad email can ruin your career



I've worked in the HR/Recruiting arena for over 4 years now.  If there is one thing I know for sure it is that the cliche "don't burn bridges" is never more applicable than in the employment sector. One bad email or bad comment can leave a permanent black mark on your career forever. 

Think about it. Every time you apply to another job the employer is going to ask for your former manager's name. While not every one's holds grudges, in my experience even the slightest slip up can mean the difference between getting a job and not getting one.

It costs thousands of dollars to hire someone. When you factor in the costs to advertise the position, the salary for the recruiter sourcing for candidates for the position, the candidates salary, training, benefits, sick leave, etc. Managers aren't going to take any chances when bringing someone on because there is just too much to lose with a bad hire. With all the qualified applicants out of jobs right now, it is more important than ever to make sure you always maintain a professional attitude at all times.

So what constitutes a bad email? Let's just say using sarcasm and curse words to reflect your opinion on a company is not a good thing( people really do this.) Also, don't be pushy. I get emails often(which I won't put in writing) that demand me to find them a job.  Do you think I want to help those guys now? Sorry, but the world doesn't revolve around you.

I don't think the average person realizes that every action they take has consequences when it comes to jobs. Even though you may think you are some recruiter's buddy that doesn't mean you can talk to them like you were talking to your boy at a sports bar.  You have to always remember that the recruiter is answering to someone who trusts that recruiter to bring him a reliable and professional candidate. We have hundreds of people to choose from, so unless you're some kind of Steve Jobs reincarnate you better realize that everyone is replaceable.

Next time you are pissed off at your boss or at work in general just get off your chair and go for a walk outside. Seriously, the worst thing you can do is write an email when you are mad.  That is a permanent mark on you and something that can't be taken back. Most Employee Relations cases use email solely as their evidence to hire or fire someone. Live to fight another day and realize that even though a person may be a jerk it doesn't do any good dropping to their level. I've found the best way to shut people up is be extra nice. Jerks don't know how to handle that.

You may think all this is obvious, but trust me I see it everyday. At a time when finding a job is harder than ever don't make it harder on yourself by sending angry email.