Triple X

This is where I am coming from. Nearly 20% of the total compensation budget is spent on indirect compensation. Specifically, this means major health benefits. Extreme due diligence is required. This expense is a blend of company funds and participant contributions.  The only path forward is eXtreme eXcellence and deliberate due diligence from all parties involved – the carrier, the broker and the employer.

One word can describe the recent results achieved – Sloppy. This is after last year’s equivalent experience.  Errors were made that impacted participants. This is unacceptable. Strike Two.
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Choices & Consequences 

Remember the cola taste wars back in day? They were all a variety of which one tastes better or can you taste the difference. Then along came diet this & that with bottled water eventually winning the largest beverage market share. 

So far as carbonated & caffeinated beverage market, Mountain Dew carved out its own niche. Sponsoring the NASCAR 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr must have positively influenced market share. 

Myself? I’ve settled into water from my well and Starbucks Pike roast for my own fluid & caffeinated thirst quenchers. Having a soda is rare, but not unheard of. 

So where is this going? Good question. The other day, well it was Fathers Day, My son and I stopped at the local convenience store. I offered to get him a beverage of his choice – a one liter bottle of Diet Pepsi. Easy enough, right. There are only two known types of Pepsi, right? Wrong!  

There are now four types of Pepsi – regular – diet – sugar free – natural sugar. Something for everyone. And thats okay. 

In HR, how often is the effort made to reasonably accomodate a variety of tastes?  Or is everything an either/or with no range in between?  Duality is always a false forced choice. 

It is more important to add at least a third choice. Say good, better & best. 

Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence.  William Blake. 


Business Library Cleansing 

Are you more of book collector, a consumer or connesiour?  Either way, I’ll bet you have a pile of books that you are going to get to someday or another.  This past weekend, I emptied out most of my business bookshelf.  The books were donated to Goodwill and I hope that they all find good homes.   Pretty much every book that you see has been read.  Most exactly once.  Some exactly never.  

They are all good books, were good reads, and written by good authors.  Not every book took that one way trip. Some were saved, usually for sentimental reasons.  

I’ve been looking down this path for awhile. See on Reading More in 2017 over on my Maine Forest Cafe blog. 

This picture was first posted on my occasional Instagram.  One of the first respondents challenged me to describe effective v ineffective business books. Intriguing inspiration.  But I’ve never been in the habit of writing critically acclaimed book reviews.  (There are some, very few, that I have endorsed.) 

Some books teach us what to do, others guide or influence, and some should never have been written in the first place.   That’s as good as it gets.  Business books tell us what to do and what the results will be.  A fairly declarative intent.  Only you will know for sure when you get to the last & final page. 

But what about the why?  The why is always the business bottom line.  A shallow why of numbing numbers. Better books teach us the why of the people. Empathy comes from better reading. 

This was more of genre redirection. Not to mention the first phase in decluttering my study.  The next genre of sustained interest will be the humanities. Is that even a genre?  Maybe the old, new and to become – The Classics.  

The far right of my bookshelf, beyond view, is three shelves of the Havard Five Foot Shelf of Books

The Five-Foot Shelf, with its introductions, notes, guides to reading, and exhaustive indexes, may claim to constitute a reading course unparalleled in comprehensiveness and authority.— Notes on the Lectures by William Allan Neilson

What is on your reading list?  Do you have piles of unrealized intentions cluttering and clogging precious physical and intellectual space?  How many books are on your someday stack? 

This genre redirection starts with a reading Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.  Early in the first several pages, he mentions that the road trip that he and friends are in is a Chautauqua. This looks like a worth entry portal into this genre redirection.  

Now, about all that all that other visual clutter…..


On Writing 

The mysterious art of writing is either dying or enjoying a renaissance. But this is not the long hand writing you may have done in high school, especially if you graduated in the 1970s. Long hand writing is dead. Long live the electric typewriter, computer keyboard, WordPerfect & now paperless smart devices. 

Anyone with a smart device and WordPress account can now be a writer.  Having the tools does not make a good writer.  Any more than a table saw & a hammer makes a good carpenter.  But there are some models worth following & practicing that may hone your skills. 

One model is presented by Laurie Ruettimann in her blog titled How to Write a Great HR Blog.  Laurie is a well known & respected HR Blogger, author & thought leader. The term HR can be substituted by your passion. 

In my case, on my other blog – the Maine Forest Cafe – you may find me infrequently writing on traveling, our RV, or other superficial brain dumps influenced by the Post of the Day

Back in the day, I taught business writing at the Air Force Senior NCO Academy. The five paragraph model is similar to Laurie’s excellently presented expert advice. 

That template is as follows. 

Paragraph 1. Introductory sentence that hooks the reader.  TPOTPIT = The purpose of this paper is to make you think of something. Hook – why you should read it.  The three main points will be this, that and something else. Transition. 

Paragraphs 2 – 4 are the three main points. Topic sentence. How it relates to the hook. Cite a source that agrees with your purpose. Clarify statement that states your own original (or thinly plagiarize thought). Transition.  

Paragraph 5 Summarize the main points.  Relate the main points to your purpose. And end with the answering the hook.

Back in the days, you had two pages, 500 words and the Times New Roman font at 10.  Computer savvy and verbose writers would condense/tighten the font and tinker with the line spacing.  Points were given for crafty manipulation of available technology. 

The more successful students would accept peer reviews and advise.   Then I had to grade it.  Over the course of several years, and limited library resources, I pretty much read most available topics from similar perspectives. Not only that, could detect plagiarized sources.  This eventually stalled me on my own writing 

The challenge that lies ahead is to escape from the 140 character twitter blast, the me too shared facebook post.  Take the time to read, think and state what is on your mind.  Overtime, and with sustained practice, you too can become a successful blogger.

What are you waiting for?


2017.001 Legislative Alert

By law, if you are unemployed and want to claim unemployment insurance benefits, the you must be actively involved in seeking replacement employment. This is the law of the land, makes absolute sense, and is an essential element in claiming unemployment insurance benefits. This law of the land has proven to be effective for decades. 

But now, there is LD 962. An Act Regarding Unemployment Compensation for Workers Involved in Certain Seasonal Occupations

SUMMARY. This bill amends the unemployment compensation laws to provide that an individual who works in the construction industry, has worked for at least 20 weeks in the 12 months prior to making a claim for benefits and has a date to return to work for a previous employer is not required to engage in work search efforts. It also provides that an individual who works in the logging industry is not required to engage in work search efforts from April 1st to June 1st.

LD 692 is on the LCRED agenda for its first hearing on Monday, March 27, 2017

This is a bad idea and erodes the core intent of uneployment insurance – LOOK FOR REPLACMENT EMPLOYMENT. 

Maine’s economy, like most other states, has sectors of seasonal employment. To carve out one or two sectors, and during a period of low unemployment, may have the unintended effect of disrupting continued overall economic growth. 

This bill deserves an Ought Not To Pass. 

Please contact the LCRED committee and your legislat0rs.  

The End of an Error

May 27, 2014

Interstate 295, 95 speed limits increasing

The Maine Department of Transportation increased the speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph on I-295 north of Tukey’s Bridge in Portland to mile marker 51 in Gardiner, which is most of the highway.

Crashes rise along with speed limit on I-295 north of Portland

The number of traffic accidents on Interstate 295 between Falmouth and Gardiner jumped nearly 32 percent in 2015 compared with 2013, the last year before the speed limit was increased to 70 mph.

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An Authentic Job Report

This is mighty Zeus Ocean Storm, our beloved ten-year old yellow Labrador Retriever. His job is to strike adorable poses for my cameras. This one was taken pre-sunrise one Saturday morning.  The camera of choice was this iPad.  Side lighting provided a nice blend of contrasts from darkness to shadows to the blown out highlights between his eye.  This picture extends across the full dynamic range from absolute darkness to absolute light.

The various job reports target selected data, with no one report extending the full dynamic range from abolute unemployment, through fulltime employment, and end with reporting over employment.

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Sitting to think of what to write will only set your ass on fire, give you headache, twist your face to look stupid, instead, walk around with a blank mind and something from somewhere will fill it up.

Michael Bassey Johnson
Capture fleeting thoughts to avoid the excuse of I’ll remember that & we never do.   There was one great inspiration yesterday. I even remember where the now lost thought occurred.  Maybe if/when I go there today, I should look around for a moment to see if I can find it.  

Later – well I looked for it, wasn’t there anymore. I did better at taking notes from the random scream of consciousness.  Time to see what leaks out of the fingers, to the keyboard and released to the wild wild yonder.  


Are you tired yet?  Seems like your head hit the pillow and the alarm jangles you out of peaceful repose?  Or was the night spent with the demons of yesterday, today and tomorrow?

Sleep. Popular guidance ranges from recommending 6-7-8 hours per night.  That’s up to a third of each and every day.  Another way to look at it, 122 days per year.  For every 40 years of life, ten are spent asleep.

Any less, then you may not be okay to drive.  Depending on your level of grumpiness, you may not be okay to be around other people.  But, if you are reading this, then there is a reasonable sound chance that you are in Human Resources. IF not in HR, then you still are a human resource. People avoidance is not a recommendation for professional success.

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I’m tired of the hatred.  

You had such promise.  

My life will be better without your vile filled intrusion. 


Confession- after last weekend’s guided Birds & Brew tour….I posted some great eagle pictures and a quickly cobbled together video.  It was worth sharing.  Here’s one now.