Father’s Day: Mixed Emotions

Taken from Urlesque.com

It’s currently 12:28 AM, and I realize that it’s officially Father’s Day.  I want to recognize all of the fathers around the world who are making positive impacts in their children(s)’ lives.  There are many times where fathers get the brunt of a lot of criticism of not being there for their children, and overall not present.

I’m happy to say that I know a couple of my friends who are good fathers to their children; and I hope that they will remain good parents.  I have always believed that it takes more than one parent to raise a child.  The presence of a father figure is essential.  Now myself, I don’t have any kids as of yet, so I can’t really celebrate Father’s Day in its entirety.  As a matter of fact, I won’t be celebrating it much at all.

My Father’s Day will consists of these thoughts:  1. Where is my biological father? 2. Why couldn’t my step-father be the father figure that I desperately needed?

I’ve never gotten the chance to meet my biological father.  No letter, no phone call, no nothing.  Does it hurt?  Every time I think about it.  Why couldn’t he acknowledge me for being one of his own? I would always talk to my mother and ask why I never saw my biological father.  Even with the answers given to me, I feel that it’s absolutely no excuse to not see the son you help birthed into this world.  I don’t care if you decide to leave my mother relationship-wise:  at least show me that you care.  Unfortunately, he did not as he has not made any attempt to contact me.  I strongly feel as this point in my life even if I did meet him, I would never acknowledge him for more than just a man who brought me into this world, that’s all.  I would have some very hurtful things to say.

I watched the movie Taken the other day for the first time.  There were many different messages I took away from the movie.  The main message that I interpreted from the movie is that no matter how far (emotionally and physically) you are from your children, be there for them when they need you the most.  Bryan Mills, played by Liam Neeson, was there for his daughter, no matter if she was in a different household, or even if she was trapped in Paris, France.  That’s the type of love I never received.

To all of fathers out there:  be there for your children if it allows you to.  You know what, forget that:  be there no matter what. I know that when I have children, I will do everything in my power to lead my children in the right direction.  It’s a damn shame that many fathers don’t care to be there.  To the fathers that are doing good, I applaud you.  Happy Father’s Day.

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To College Graduates Looking For Jobs: Stay Optimistic

I recently graduated with my B.S. Degree in Information Systems Security back in March of this year, and what a relief it was.  It was the end of long reports, long study sessions, and lab assignments.  For people who I knew during my tenure at college, it was about that time for them to look for that new job.

Somewhere during the final couple of months, or even after graduation, a fresh new graduate is filling out applications and sending out resumes in hopes to find a job within their field of study.  Unfortunately, due to the conditions of the current economic market, more and more college graduates are unable to find jobs in their acclimated field due to less hiring by companies and older, experienced workers vying for those same positions.

According to articles such as this one from USA today, employers are set to hire a higher percentage of college graduates than in 2009.  However, with the current unemployment rate at 9.7% according to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fight for jobs is still going to be tough for most graduates, especially those without experience.

I personally know a couple a couple of graduates who graduated last year who went to graduate school because they could not obtain a job.  This makes me ponder the question:  Are college/universities doing enough to ensure students are prepared, or are students not making the best of their opportunities?  This question might need to be addressed in another blog post sometime in the future.

One thing that I will say right now to all college graduates currently looking for a job: Do not stress over the “statistics”, still go out and apply for jobs. What I mean by this is just because the news and the media are telling you that job opportunities might be slim pickings, do not hide in a ball and worry to death.  Still get out there and apply for the jobs you feel you are capable of obtaining.

In personal relation to this topic at hand, I will say that I am currently working in the field in Information Technology.  Back in 2007, I obtained my A.A. Degree in Network Information Systems.  Within less than two weeks of finishing school, I had a job within my field of study.  Yes, I understand that economic and job conditions have drastically changed since then, but some of the things that helped me back then can still apply to students graduating now.

Be Unique

With the increasing amount of people aiming for the same jobs as yourself, you must stay on top of the latest skills within your field.  For example, if your major is in Medicine, what are the current medical practices most needed?  If you are in the Information Technology field, what are current sought after technical skills?  If you can obtain a certification solidifying a needed skill, go for the test (and pass of course).  This tidbit of accolade could give you that needed push above the already stacked competition.

Remember: Stand out, don’t stand still.

Networking, Networking, and more Networking

I really don’t think I can stress this enough.  If you have sub-par social skills, I suggest you pick up some books, read some videos,  or socialize more often.  I know a lot of people within my field that were able to get their first jobs due to the people who already worked at the company of interest.  Some ways that you can build your professional network,

  • Conventions/Conferences pertaining to your field (NOTE:  make sure to develop/distribute business cards with your contact info.)
  • Job Fairs
  • Internet (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Professional Organizations

Readable Resumes Returns Reliable Results

Please make sure your resume is legible and easy to comprehend.  I can’t tell you how many people I know have lost job opportunities due to an unreadable resume.  Proofread your resume…two and three times over.  Include keywords that pertain to the job that you’re targeting.

Hiring managers don’t have much time to waste.  Trust me:  badly composed resume = lost opportunity.

The one thing I definitely want to get across is that you must go out and seize the opportunity, or you’ll most likely be left in the dust.  Do not wait for a job to land in you lap regardless of your college achievements.  Most importantly, do not panic, stay optimistic.

My Evasion(s) From Reality

Evasion – physical or mental escape; an act or instance of escaping, avoiding, or shirking something

Let’s face it:  life can get very difficult.  Things such as school, family, work and its environment, and death and really affect one’s mindset on the way they view life.  All of these things have recently affected me one way or another.  Instead of laying in a puddle of my own misery, there are things that help me overcome what we know as reality.  Here are my top three things I use as temporary evasion from reality:

1. Music

I honestly don’t know where I would be if it was not for the calming relaxation that music gives me.  I have a collection of music for any type of mood that I’m in at the time; ranging from happy to sad to depressed.  Once I put those headphones on, my mind takes a temporary trip from it all to embellish in a life without worries; a life without fear; a life without pain.  To listen to an artist and interpret the message that is being conveyed makes you feel that he/she has been down the same path before.  Music has honestly helped me relieve some stress from everyday life.  Music is more powerful that many people might think because you, as the audience, have the power to mold that song’s message into something that relates to you.

2. Writing

Writing has been my metier for as long as I can remember.  Whether it was that one paragraph assignment back in elementary school, or that fifteen-page essay in college, I just love to write my thoughts out on a piece of paper.  I will honestly say that I am not the type of individual who consistently speaks his mind regarding something.  However, when I write my thoughts down, I believe that my words will have equal significance as verbal communication.  I know that blogging as not the same as writing on a physical piece of paper, but this also helps me get out messages that I’m trying to deliver to an audience of people.

3. Gym

Going to the gym and working out serves me well, especially when I feel angry or tense.  Instead of directing my anger towards someone who doesn’t deserve it, why not just do some physical exercises to relieve some ailing feelings.  The gym serves me well in lowering my stress level and building up muscle.  That’s killing two birds with one stone.

In a physical sense, you’re in the same place as your problems.  On the other hand, your mind is in its own mental paradise for a temporary period of time.  It’s true that life can throw us a curveball, but you can’t make it past home plate with a nervous approach.  Sometimes we need to step back and walk for a little.  Once we re-approach our situation, our swing towards life’s problems will be more sound, and success will point us in the right direction.  I believe we all have evasions or escapes; use it to your advantage.

Realizing and Reaching Your Potential

Potential – a latent excellence or ability that may or may not be developed; possibility; potentiality

In life, we all strive to be successful in one way or another.  The path that we might take to become successful might be different from another person with your same aspiration(s).  No matter what anyone might tell you, we all have the potential to do something that can make an impact in our direct lives or in someone else’s life.  The question is:  Do YOU realize the amount of potential you have to complete something you strive for?

Throughout my life, I have seen many people who I have felt had the potential to do something astounding fall short.  With each situation, there have been different factors that have led to unreached potential such as negative external influences, lack of guidance, lack of confidence, or just overall laziness.  A lack of motivation I have seen time and time again; a person might feel complacent in their current lifestyle.  It’s frustrating for me to see the potential in someone, but that same person not even realize what they can accomplish.

For a very long time, I never realized my potential.  I was an individual that believed that I would not accomplish any big goals, or even touch an abundance of people’s lives.  I think this all changed for me during my time in college, where I surrounded myself with people who believed in me.  Having positive people around you can surely make a difference in the way you think and act towards life.  As time went on, my confidence and overall belief in my abilities increased dramatically.  People around me saw that I could do something great. 

When I presented my Valedictory Address at my graduation, many people were touched by the words that came out of my mouth.  People who I had never talked to a day in my life were coming up to me and thanking me for giving them a ray a motivation, or even hope to their current situation (whatever that might be).  Where am I trying to get at with this?  Have positive influences around you, or more importantly, BE a positive influence to someone in order for them to understand the ability they have.  If one of your friends, family members, co-workers, or neighbors you’re close with feel that they cannot get over the hump, give them motivation.  Just a little push of some sort can be the deciding factor of someone you know realizing their potential.

If You Have A Younger Sibling, Please Guide Them

Within my short time on this earth, I have seen a lot of things that have made me enraged and angry inside.  One of the things that I have seen (more and more rapidly) is the misguided youth.  When I talk about youth, in this case, I am talking about young adolescents, teenagers, and young adults.  What do I mean by misguided?  I’m talking about not knowing the basic and simple mannerisms; not obtaining and completing a grade-school education; not caring for anyone else or anything but themselves (selfishness).  These are a few examples of some of the misguided youth.

I’ll provide a specific example from my personal life.  I have a younger brother who I love and care for more than anything in the world.  As my brother became older, I realized the importance of sharing with him my life experiences and becoming a “tutor”.  I’m not doing this to prove myself to anyone, or to win some sort of sympathy.  I do it because I feel that it’s needed.  I feel that this is what an older brother is supposed to do, no matter the situation.  Even with my younger brother not being in the same household as his father, I hope help my brother realize some of the mistakes that I made when I was in school (specifically high school), and to not fall in the same traps.

My brother is set to go to high school in the upcoming fall, but I see things that he has done in middle school that make me wonder if I am actually doing the best that I can.  For example, my brother has missed more than 40 days of school this school year alone.  His constant reasoning?  To play video games online with other people he doesn’t know in real life.  Along with that comes to lying and cover ups to deny any wrongdoing.  So what’s the main point here?  Lack of focus in school = sub-par or poor grades = failing.  And when I mean failing, I don’t mean just an unsatisfactory grade on a report card.  I’m talking about failing at achieving academic success, failing at realizing your potential.  This is something that I will not tolerate, even if I’m only his brother.

I have friends who also have younger siblings.  Seeing some of them grow up and make some of the same destructive decisions of their older counterparts shows a lack of guidance.  It shows that we, as older siblings, are not doing all we can to steer our younger siblings in the positive direction.  It shows how careless when can be to our own family, our own blood.  Don’t give me the excuse that it’s the parents’ sole job to raise them and lead them without help of others.  That is total and complete nonsense. 

I’m not here to place blame on a particular group, or a particular person.  I just want you to understand that we need to show our younger people that there’s a guiding light at the end of the dark tunnel, not the fact that the tunnel is completely dark without a way out.  I want you to be able to actually be apart of your brother’s/sister’s/cousin’s life to be the helping hand, not the cold shoulder.  If you have a younger sibling, please be their positive guide.