by baldilocks

I had a lot of trouble concentrating today, as anyone who follows my Facebook and Twitter feeds already knows. I got up at around two this morning, having “slept” for a few hours—more of a fitful opening and closing of my eyes.

The problem? I have been applying for jobs like crazy for the past few months and the only feedback I received was an “Unfortunately” letter from Trader Joe’s. You’d think that it would be easy to get a job in the present environment—especially for a veteran who can write, think a little bit, and pass a drug test, but it isn’t. I haven’t been looking for a jackpot; just something I can use to keep from scratching, scraping, and begging my readers to help me with. By the way, fans of baldilocks are some of the most wonderful and generous people in existence.

So, as I said, I expressed my frustrations on my accounts and received an avalanche of great ideas, leads, links and at least one solid opportunity.

I’ve kept some information to myself and to personal friends, but I want to let it out here and now. The only reason I’ve remained in California since the loss of my house in December 2014, is to be near my church. Otherwise I’d be in New Mexico near my parents and most of the rest of my family. I love my people dearly (here’s a gratuitous link to one of the writers among that number), but God comes first and when I put Him first, He provides. I’m human and my faith wavers, but it does not fail because I’ve asked Him to help me with it. It’s an ongoing endeavor.

I love to write; here, at baldilocks, and wherever. One of my wonderful friends even gave me an opportunity—a different one than the one mentioned above–to get a well-compensated position as a technical writer. However, it’s necessary to consider that job in the context of why I remained in California. Would I have time for my church? What about time to write in-depth pieces for DaTechGuy and for baldilocks? Unlikely. No doubt, I will have more difficult decisions to make, should the job be offered.

But today, I have faith, just enough for today. Tomorrow, will be time enough for tomorrow’s faith. And so on.

(Thank to FW, CF, and JVS)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

It goes without saying that the recruitment sector is driven by demand. From one year to the next, there are patterns and changes regarding numbers of jobs and types of jobs available. As one job type becomes obsolete, new jobs appear, and technology has played a big part in these changes. Many traditional jobs are no longer required because the tasks that the role covered are now automated or dealt with in a different way. For example, customer service advisers have in parts been replaced by technology like online chat, and jobs that involved manual tasks processing bank transactions have also been affected by technology.

 

So, what this means is that there is more requirement for roles that support technology. Therefore, people with technology skills have a greater opportunity to capitalize on the fact that there is a shortage of people to fill all of the current jobs in the technology sector. Relevant skills are a must, and because technology is always adapting, it’s hard to keep up to date.

 

According to Forbes, the top paying tech jobs in 2017 are:

 

  1. Vice President Sales
  2. Senior Director of Engineering
  3. Senior Director of Product Development
  4. Regional Sales Director
  5. Vice President of Engineering
  6. Enterprise Sales Executive
  7. Vice President of Product Development
  8. Sales Director
  9. Vice President of Marketing
  10. Vice President of Business Development

 

While it is great to work a job with a big paycheck, it is even better to work a job you love and get paid well for it. If the jobs listed above sound redundant to you, there are loads more that pay well, and that are pretty cool.

 

One of the coolest jobs around has got to be developing video games. For many gamers, it is absolutely the ultimate, dream job. However, this sector is challenging to get into due to the competition surrounding it.

 

There are also design based jobs that sit under the technology sector, such as designing online learning; gamification is an example of this. More and more businesses are looking to have their training conducted online to save the resources used for face-to-face training. Online learning is becoming massively popular and not just for businesses. People can learn pretty much anything online these days – from video tutorials on how to fix a leaking tap to practicing for your driving theory test. Check this site out to see how online learning is helping people to pass their theory test.

 

Technology is going to create many more jobs in the future, and if you are thinking of re-training or you’re picking a course to study, it may be worthwhile thinking about roles in the technology sector that appeal to you. Qualifications in a technology related subject are in high demand, and it could give you opportunities that you might not find in other sectors.

 

From web developing to cyber security, have a look at some of the great technology jobs that are currently available to see if your dream job is out there.

Vietnam acknowledged Ho Chi Minh’s birthday in an oddly low-key way during my visit even in his boyhood home in Hue.

The media myths surrounding the Vietnam War continue to shape U.S. policy in Asia and throughout the world.

As I recently wandered through Vietnam, particularly the area near the DMZ, or the demilitarized zone that separated North and South Vietnam, I couldn’t help but think how media narratives had changed the course of the war and Vietnam’s history. Here are some important facts that must be understood.

First, the 1968 Tet Offensive was a huge military defeat for the Communists.

Second, CBS anchor Walter Cronkite had little to do with the decisions to wind down U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Third, the “napalm girl”—a memorable photograph during the war–had nothing to do with U.S. forces.

Finally, after more than 40 years of Communist rule, the people of Vietnam are not better off.

Vietnam veteran James Willbanks, a noted military historian, provides an interesting analysis of the Tet Offensive, particularly in Hue, the former royal capital of Vietnam.

Tet, the lunar New Year began on Jan. 31, 1968, when Communist forces attacked multiple locales, including Hue, which was geographically situated in South Vietnam but close to the border with North Vietnam. By the time the battle of Hue ended a month later, more than 40 percent of the buildings were damaged and more than 100,000 people were homeless. More important, the North Vietnamese had lost the battle but had executed nearly 3,000 people with ties to the South Vietnamese government. For more background, see http://www.historynet.com/tet-what-really-happened-at-hue.htm

All told, the Tet Offensive was a massive failure for the Communists. The change from guerrilla tactics to frontal assaults against the U.S. and South Vietnamese military, resulted in only minimal gains. Moreover, the Communists lost nearly a quarter of its battle-ready troops.

What happened, however, was an onslaught of news reports and photos that showed, among other things, the U.S. embassy in Saigon under assault. It made little difference that the Marines had successfully fought back, and the U.S. military recaptured all the territory and more.

The Communists were described as despondent because of the failure of Tet. But the PR started to roll in that the Communists had effectively taken the battle to the Americans and the South Vietnamese Army. Then the so-called “Cronkite moment” happened. CBS anchor Cronkite said during a news broadcast on February 27, 1968, that “we have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders, both in Vietnam and Washington, to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds.” He added, “We are mired in a stalemate that could only be ended by negotiation, not victory.”

As my friend and colleague, W. Joseph Campbell, notes in his excellent book, “Getting It Wrong,” Cronkite had little influence on Johnson’s thinking. “In the days and weeks after the Cronkite program, Johnson was adamant in defending his Vietnam policy. On multiple occasions during that time, the president in effect brushed aside Cronkite’s downbeat assessment and sought to rally support for the war effort. At a time when Cronkite’s views should have been most potent, the president remained openly and tenaciously hawkish on the war.” For more, see https://mediamythalert.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/after-cronkite-moment-lbj-doubled-down-on-viet-policy/

But the Communists had won the PR battle–often based on media myths–as Americans turned against the war, and LBJ’s confidantes followed the public’s view.

Campbell also makes short shrift of the claim that the U.S. military was responsible for the “napalm girl” attack. Associated Press photographer Nick Ut took one of the most memorable photographs of the Vietnam War — the image of a 9-year-old girl screaming in terror as she fled from a misdirected napalm attack. The AP said the famous photo, taken June 8, 1972, “communicated the horrors of the Vietnam War in a way words could never describe, helping to end one of the most divisive wars in American history.”

The famous “napalm girl” photo did not involve the U.S. military.

But the plane was from the South Vietnam military and flown by a South Vietnamese pilot.

By referring to “American planes” in an article, The New York Times insinuated that U.S. forces were responsible for the napalm attack that preceded Ut’s photograph, Campbell writes. He tried to get DaTimes to correct the information but got nowhere. For more, see https://mediamythalert.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/40-years-on-the-napalm-girl-photo-and-its-associated-errors/

Some excellent reporting occurred during the Vietnam War, but what seems to stick in the American psyche about Tet, Cronkite and the napalm photo are mostly wrong—media myths like many we see today.

Finally, Vietnam is a mess. When your currency is valued at 22,000 dong to the dollar, you’ve got problems. People openly complain about the lack of full-time jobs except in the government. In 2011, Nguyen Phu Trong was appointed secretary general of the Communist Party. He served as the party’s chief ideologue before. That doesn’t bode well for solving the problems of the country.

A personal note: As the only American on board a trip to the DMZ, I tried to counter the propaganda of the guide, a committed Communist, about the information she was providing. But the other members of the tour–Brits, Canadians, French and Vietnamese–had already embraced the myths even though most of them were in their 20s and 30s.

Moreover, I had a wonderful time seeing the historic sites of Hue and Hoi An, a lovely town south of Danang, in central Vietnam. I met many courteous and friendly people during my visit. The attitude toward me as an American was mostly curiosity and certainly not condemnation. I stopped by a Catholic church—the religion that remains that of an estimated 20 percent of the population–and the members greeted me with enthusiasm. I wish the people, not the government, well.

Two years ago in July after over 50 years I left St. Anthony Di Padua Parish in Fitchburg Massachusetts for a different parish.  This was not lightly done, my parents were married there, I and all my brothers and sisters were baptized there, we all went to the parish school, we all received our first communion there, I was married there, my sons went to the school and I am a charter member of the Knights of Columbus council there and I retain that membership along with membership of the Madonna Della Cava society at that parish.

Last night I attended a meeting of the Madonna Della Cava society to plan this years festival and at the meeting found out that hot on the heels of the news that our Parish School was dropping grades 4-8 and replacing them with preschool, St. Anthony’s was about to get their 4th pastor since 2014.  In short, the turmoil that caused me to leave the parish continues unabated.

I wrote about the causes of these nonsensical self inflicted wounds in June of 2015 but rather than rehash the past it it time to answer the only question on the floor that matters:  What can be done to end it?

I have heard various secular suggestions about fundraising and attempt to attract people and while I have no objection to these plans nor would I discourage any of them I think we are forgetting that the root of of why people join a church.

It’s not secular, there are plenty of secular clubs with active social calendars and many private schools with excellent programs to educate the young.

No the solution is spiritual, it’s a matter of faith, people join a parish to deepen their faith and grow close to Christ and send their kids to a Catholic school to increase their faith and provide a moral center.  St. Anthony’s wants to attract faithful Catholics back to the parish they need a solution based on faith because the battle that is being lost in the parish is a spiritual one and unless that spiritual enemy is checked they are lost.  What’s needed is a spiritual plan of action!

Fortunately Jesus provides one in scripture:

When they came to the crowd a man approached, knelt down before him, and said, “Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water.  I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.”

Jesus said in reply, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him here to me.”  Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured.

Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?”

He said to them, Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.  But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.” (Emphasis Mine)

Matthew 17:14-21

So prayer and fasting is the answer, but what prayer and what fasting?

Lucky for us Catholics there is an obvious choice for a prayer to counter the works of the Devil, the Rosary.  Furthermore there is an obvious decade to offer provided to us by St. John Paul II the 3rd Luminous mystery The Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven.  For what is the function of a Catholic Church or a Catholic School but to proclaim the Kingdom to those who attend?

As for fasting there is another obvious choice provided via one of the parish patriots the Madonna Della Cava.  There is a traditional devotion usually done at age 13 where one make a vow to abstain from meat on Wednesday’s for life in honor of the Madonna Della Cava.  It’s been practiced in my family dating back to at least the 19th century.  My mother took the vow at age 13 (1937) and kept it through her life, Both of my sons took the vow at 13 and while I was decades late to join I am in my 13th year of this weekly fast from meat in honor of La Madonna Della Cava.

So for those looking to do something about the state of affairs at St. Anthony’s Parish I humbly offer the following suggestions in the form of a Vow to Our Lady.

  1.  A perpetual vow to pray the 3rd Luminous mystery daily (this would be in addition to any such prayers already made).
  2.  A perpetual vow to abstain from meat on Wednesdays in honor of La Madonna Della Cava.

Both of these vows should be made for the intention of St. Anthony’s Parish that God may bless it and preserve it.

These would be individual vows for parishioners to make, they could be declared publicly or made privately as for a public collective effort I would suggest that at the end of every mass celebrated at the Parish the following prayer be offered:

Oh God of mercy, as we reach out to those seeking you, send your Holy Spirit on this parish to renew us in faith.  Help us to spread the good news of the Gospel by loving words and caring deeds so that those who have drifted away may be drawn to your church and follow the way of your son Jesus, who is the Way the Truth and the Light.  We make our prayer through Jesus our Lord.  Amen.

A Catholic Church and a Catholic School should be all about the power of faith in God and the necessity of prayer to him.   I submit and suggest this is an excellent opportunity to actively follow the path Christ himself as suggested and have faith in that path.

We just have to have the will to do so.