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A Remembrance – Mark Merenda

March 14, 2017

“He was going to live forever, or die in the attempt.” – Joseph Heller, Catch-22

In many ways “Catch-22” was the cornerstone of my relationship with Mark Merenda. When we met in 1972 he embarked on a literary exercise to make me memorize sections of the novel’s dialogue, so we could recite them back and forth to each other. He was much better at it than I was, but eventually I became Orr to his Yossarian.

He was much more literate than I, and had the kind of memory  I could never hope to achieve. He was also brilliant, well read, opinionated, stubborn and a cad of the highest order – all of which made him my idol.

Mark Merenda circa 1972

Mark Merenda circa 1972

We met at our first jobs, at a small newspaper in Massachusetts where he was the sports editor and I covered one mid-size town. We became instant friends since we were among the only staffers who were not members of the  clan that ran the business. Like Heller’s Yossarian, it was us against them, and we were determined to keep our sanity by taking advantage of everything we could.

I lacked his self confidence, and  was never sure what he saw in me, but I accepted my role because he was everything I wanted to be. It worked out well for both of us, I got an education and he got a wing man. I could never really describe our relationship until many years later when the movie “Sideways” came out. We were a buddy movie before I knew what buddy movies were.

We had no business covering Boston’s professional sports teams, but as long as the Red Sox , Patriots, Bruins or Celtics would give us press passes and we did our jobs at the paper, we played the part of big-time sports media types. Mark was the writer, and I was the photographer, and we were both pretty good at our roles. He got to meet his idols and I got to get trampled by Dave Cowens, John Hannah, and almost beaned by Willie Randolf.  That’s the chance you take when you sit under the Celtics basket, along the sidelines of the New England Patriots, or in foul territory at Fenway Park.

Even Mark knew that his stories had more readers if there was great art alongside.

He was warm, dry and safe while I was often soaked and had a bad back from carrying camera equipment all over whatever field we had chosen to cover.

But I would not have traded the experience for anything, because it was really the post-event education that was the best part. After the game, we’d head over to  Cambridge where Mark and I set up shop in the bar, at either the Hyatt Regency or later the Charles Hotel. Both were target-rich environments for a young stud and his wing man. I was not very good at meeting women, but Mark was a pro and more often than not an hour or so after we arrived, he would glance in my direction and throw me the car keys so I could drive myself home in his MG.

I never asked how he got back home but I just marveled at  the show. The fact that he lived with a very nice young woman who had to put up with his behavior just made him seem more dangerous. I’m sure she knew, but was willing to put up with his behavior for the same reason I did. Every discussion with Mark was an education and just being in his presence made you feel better.

Mark could pretty much talk me into anything.. He would take me shopping in Boston, to Louis, the most expensive store in the city, and convince me that I ‘needed’ a $700 cashmere overcoat. It was a great coat, and I loved it, but I was almost afraid to wear it.

His brother, Guy, was trying to start a leather business so I ‘needed’ to buy a new briefcase. It’s still here in my office next to my desk.

No matter, it was just part of my role. The flip side was, what I have since learned, is what drew Mark to me: I could tell him what an ass-hole he was being. He knew, that I knew, that sometimes he was simply full of crap, and I would be brutally honest without messing up our friendship.

We grew to respect each other, covering news, and sports together learning skills that they don’t teach in journalism school.

We even started a magazine. It was mostly about sports and we were sure it was going to be our ticket to stardom, or at least untold riches. At least until our bosses at the newspaper decided it was a little too much like competition. Forty years later I still have a few copies and I know Mark did too, even though we only produced two editions.

The beginning of the end was like a scene from “Good Will Hunting,” when Robin Williams’s character misses what was, until 2004, the most famous event in Boston baseball history, because he “had to see about a girl.”

When my future wife,  had the audacity to claim Zelda Fitzgerald really deserved major credit for F. Scott’s work he refused to even debate the topic accusing her of “getting her facts from People Magazine.” To this day, she relishes the fact that history and research have proven her correct.

We got married three years later, after I had moved to Maine to manage a newsroom. I always thought Mark never forgave her for taking up the time he wanted. He never came to the wedding and I never expected that he would. I have no idea what he thought when he found out we divorced 5 years later.

I lost touch with him and his career and it wasn’t until 30 years later when I decided to become personal coach that we reconnected. Somehow I found out he was now in marketing, so I called to ask for help. He refused to accept any payment for developing my web pages and freely offered marketing advice.

We had both matured, and the youthful arrogance was tempered by life, and now he had hundreds of friends, clients and employee who depended on his wisdom  I never made it to Florida, as I had promised,  and we missed connecting on his trip to San Francisco where I now live.

We chatted off and on, and he even allowed me to do some freelance writing, when I restarted my writing career. I would send him sporadic texts when I visited my parents near Boston. Always making sure I stopped by our old haunts, so I could bore my new wife with stories from the good old days and text Mark a photo or two.

He would text back quotes from ‘Catch-22.’

 

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Testing for Emotional Intelligence – Again

May 10, 2016

Filed under: Coaching,Management,observations — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 11:51 am

I’ve written several posts on emotional intelligence, but many people are still confused by the concepts of self-awareness, self-efficacy, and  emotional recognition.

A recent client brought the issues into sharp focus. She is a young woman, who graduated from college four years ago and has had a number of short stints (a year or so) at just-above entry-level positions at Bay Area firms.

Her most recent, was a one-year contract job which concluded four months ago.

She had asked me for help in reviewing her resume and standard cover letter to figure out why she had not been able to find a new job.

She had been offered jobs, but felt they would not provide the salary she needed. She had recently concluded that, “The market has changed. If you’re not an engineer they just feel the supply of people for administrative positions, or social marketing is just so large they don’t have to pay anything.”

She insisted that she was not looking to make a fortune but just enough to support herself and maintain the apartment she rented after she was in her contract job for a few months.

She may be right about the job market, but having lived in the Bay Area for 20 years, I don’t think so.

The job of a good coach and career counselor is to help clients see things from a different perspective.

Could it be that my client was so emotionally unaware that she could not step back and look at the facts from a different point of view. This is the key to one aspect of emotional intelligence: understanding your own strengths and weaknesses.

I suggested she ask herself the following questions:

Why was she able to find positions, but unable to find long-term success?

Was she mistaken that she had a chance at a long-term position at the company when she rented a San Francisco apartment?

With unemployment in the Bay Area and in the nation, continuing to be very low why would there be a sudden flood of folks for the positions she sought?

Was it possible that firms offering her positions really didn’t want her to accept the jobs?

Would it be worth taking a lower salaried position in the hopes that, after a while, you could prove your worth and earn a raise?

These were not comfortable concepts for her to consider. Suggesting that maybe the problem was on her end and that she needed to make some  changes  was not an option.

Emotional intelligence is, in part, the ability to question your beliefs and consider that there is something you might need to change. Perhaps you are not the perfect employee, perhaps its not ‘office politics’ that stalled your career, perhaps there’s a good reason that contract position didn’t turn into a full-time job?

Whether you answer the questions honestly is a true test of your emotional intelligence.

 

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CWAA: No Interference Calls Here

February 7, 2016

Super Bowl 50 has turned San Francisco into a bit of a zoo, with crowds almost everywhere downtown. Businesses that are normally closed during the weekend have opened, and lost tourists stare at maps on every street corner.image

As season ticket holders, my wife and I were in town for the SF Ballet on Saturday.  During intermission the lady seated to my right introduced herself, telling me she was indeed another visitor to our city.

The New Mexico native explained that she was enjoying her Christmas present from her husband: a weekend in San Francisco. She chose the weekend and it wasn’t until she arrived that she found out why she had such a problem finding a hotel room.

She was good natured about it, saying they arrived Thursday night and had already been to the Symphony once and we’re going again after the ballet, and also went to a concert at the Jazz Society and we’re headed to the Palace of Fine Art before dinner at Greens, a favorite vegetarian restaurant at Fort Mason.

A rather dizzying pace, but she asked if we had any other suggestions so I told her about several neighborhoods worth visiting via public transportation and suggested Golden Gate Park Arboretum was a ‘must see’ for a little relaxation.

When I asked her about the crowds she replied, “there are none.”

I guess the Super Bowl fans are more interested in the fake Super Bowl City hawking NFL merchandise, than any local culture offered by our City by the Bay. I wonder how many visitors will return home and tell their friends what a great time they had ‘seeing’ San Francisco.

But, we can all agree, at least one visitor enjoyed the real deal.

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CWAA: A Tipping point

January 25, 2016

I recently had lunch at a small hometown restaurant. They served various vegan alternatives, grass fed beef, and all organic vegetables.

But the menu is not the point. When the check arrived I noticed there was no spot for a tip but that an 18% service charge had been added.Unknown

As a San Francisco resident I’m aware of the national debate over tipping in restaurants.

In an effort to equalize pay between front of the house waitstaff, and back of the house cooks and other employees, many  larger restaurants are experimenting with eliminating tips.

This was the first time I had seen it in practice at a smaller business.

In my younger days I spent many hours working as a cook, dishwasher and  bus boy and am painfully aware of the disparity in pay. While the waitstaff is the face of the restaurant, they are dependent on the kitchen for the quality of the meal, the dishwasher to make sure everything is cleaned and the busboys to ensure table turnover.

The dining experience is a combination of everything, so why should the waitstaff be the only folks to benefit.

Minimum wage laws have tried to bridge the gap and have led to the latest version of experimentation.

So, when the waitress returned to collect my payment I couldn’t help but do  little market research.

“How long have you been a no-tip restaurant?” I asked.

“Two or three months,”  she said. “And?” I asked waiting for a diatribe on how much less she was making and how she hated the new system.

She surprised me with “I love it,” and went to explain that every week they get a full financial statement from the owners, explaining gross receipts, tax and expenses and an explanation of what they were receiving as pay.

“My pay is much more predictable, and while it’s a bit less than I made before the switch, as long as business overall is good, we do fine.” She said the most of the other staffers felt the same way and that she thought the kitchen staff was much easier to deal with, now that they had a direct impact on their own pay.

She then added that the most important factor was the openness of the owners to list the overall gross receipts and expenses and explain how the pay was calculated. “I can see how that might be a problem at other locations, but here they are very open, and we all know what’s going on.”

I wish the results at other restaurants had been as clear cut. And, from a management standpoint I doubt every owner would be able to be that open. But this was a small business with a stake in the community and their philosophy seemed to fit the spirit of the no-tip effort.

Can we all agree that all restaurants should adopt this system.

American restaurants should take a page from their European counterparts and professionalize every aspect of the dining experience. We would no longer have to agonize over what tip amount was correct and the the overall restaurant experience would be enhanced.

If everyone from dishwasher to executive chef knew that their pay was contingent on keeping the customers happy and ensuring a return visit we’d all be a lot better off.

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CWAA: Malheur and the Anti-Federal Insurrection

January 6, 2016

Filed under: observations,Politics,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — admin @ 9:03 am
Harry Fuller, a friend of a friend,  who lives near the occupied Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon sent the following note yesterday.  I thought it was unique view of the whole mess. He’s an avid birder and very familiar with the site.
I can’t say I agree with all his comments, but we can all agree that the men occupying the Preserve do not represent the interests of most Americans.
Here’s Harry’s essay:

No change in the occupation of Malheur by self-styled militia, anti-federal activists.  So far no violence and apparently no property damage.  For birders this is a serious issue as it continues.  The watch tower where the armed men are on guard is a tower long used by nesting Great Horned Owls.  The owls should be nesting in the next few weeks.

Wildlife in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge

Wildlife in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge

The occupiers have vowed to begin working the land, whatever that means.  It certainly does not mean letting White Pelicans, Harrier, Black Tern, Short-eared Owls, White-faced Ibis and other locally nesting birds use the land without being disturbed…or even shot.

The long-term goal for this anti-federal movement is to take land away from the U.S. government and give it back to the states with the intention of eventually giving it to private individuals for profit.  Some private land owners do care and take care of wildlife.  Many do not.  Cattle ranchers, alfalfa and mint growers and energy companies are notorious for environmental carnage. Mint, cows and hay crops are major sources of ranch revenue in Harney County where this farce is playing out.  Great Gray Owls, of which I know something, cannot find enough mammals to eat in meadows trampled by sheep or cattle.  Many other species are also threatened by modern farm and ranch practices.   Monocultures of alfalfa, Douglas-fir or any other harvestable crop rarely provide rich habitat for birds and other animals.

President Theodore Roosevelt created the wildlife refuge system over a century ago because he wanted to be sure there would be animals to hunt.  There is no constitutional provision for refuges so Congress and a right-wing President could decide to give away or sell all the federal land holdings.  Or, more simply, they could simply cut the budgets of federal enforcement agencies so the U.S. becomes like so many African and Asian nations: big parks showing up on maps but with with inadequate patrols and lots of poaching of species doomed to extinction.  Not to mention to theft of trees, etc.

If the feds were to sell off their lands or cede them to the states, in some blue states there might be some effort to maintain open space and protect wildlife but in states like Nevada, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Texas the federal lands would almost immediately be turned into private preserves for making money any way possible.  To hell with the wolves, pronghorn and Sage Grouse.

Quickest way to destroy the refuge system: money.  Malheur NWR is over 170-thousand acres.  It cannot be maintained and patrolled by a couple men or a few volunteers.  It requires a real financial commitment.  At least equal to the cost of a couple of drones per year.  There are many in the Republican Party who would far rather have the drones than any wildlife refuge and all those pesky regulations that reduce somebody’s theoretical income from unrestricted exploitation of the land.

What began as the Sagebrush Rebellion has now become a centerpiece of rural western Republican dogma: get the feds out of our lives so we can ride ATVs, shoot deer and cut trees wherever we want.  Liberty uber alles.  A party that sees climate change as a myth and wolves as targets is not going to preserve refuges or even national park except as photos ops.  Now they would like to own one of the first condos on the edge of Grand Canyon?  Cheap at $2 million, free parking included.  Membership in golf club extra.Map-HLP-BAR

Most historians who pay attention to resource use consider the American national park system to be one of the great innovations of the 19th Century.  This anti-fed movement could theoretically make that all go away by ceding Yosemite and Grand Canyon back to local control.

One legal analyst today finally, directly drew the  link between this action at Malheur and the constant rhetoric from the NRA and pro-gun folks about the need to have armed militia to thwart supposed government tyranny. Well, these folks in this militia who hear from God what they are to do are there thwarting federal tyranny at Malheur in the name of all that is right and holy.  Give a gun to a nut and you have an armed nut.  This is libertarianism run amuck.  There is no sense from these people that there is a common interest in preserving the planet, the environment or other creatures.  They seem to worship private property as godliness.

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The Cognitive Prism and Emotional Intelligence

December 30, 2015

We all see things differently. Not literally – when the sun shines we pretty much all see it the same way – but emotionally.images

Our opinions, world view, emotional triggers are all a function of a complex cognitive prism that colors how we see the world.This prism is created both from our personality  and the events that shape our lives: the old nature vs. nurture debate that’s been going on for years.

I’ll let the psychologists figure out which is more dominant, but from a coaching standpoint, they combine to  help us create a view of the world that is unique.

What seems to make perfect logical sense to one person, is patently absurd to someone else. What seems like a logical assumption, which become the basis of a decision, seems obvious. In truth, it’s a coach’s job too help clients see that there might be some other interpretations.

Recognizing alternatives is one facet of emotional intelligence. Self realization helps us understand that there is a cognitive prism filtering every bit of information coming into our brain. Understanding the biases that are inherent in the prism, helps us understand why others disagree, and finally, taking steps to correct the distortions of the prism helps us grow.

In truth, many people don’t really want to make changes, but the real key is understanding that there may be a bias your view of the world. You can decide if adjustments are necessary.

Dealing with your our prism is key to your happiness, your interaction with others and every aspect of life – both at home and at work. This is emotional intelligence.

I was reminded of this prism a few days ago when I was working with a high school junior who was trying to figure out ‘the rest of his life’ during our 45-minute phone call. I was trying to help him decide where he should apply to college and what careers interested him.

Many young people have a wide range of interests and have a difficult time separating a career from a crush on a favorite teacher. The young man I was assisting had a range of interests that was even wider. He had always been a voracious reader and is familiar with topics ranging from history and religion to politics, economics and engineering.

For him, narrowing the list had become almost impossible, so he had decided to use income as his measuring stick. As he told me,”I really like history and enjoy reading everything I can find, but the only job I would probably ever get is teaching, and I know that doesn’t make that much money, so I think I’ll just consider that a hobby.”

He also ‘knew’ that engineers have the potential to make more money so it seemed logical that engineering was the best choice because at least his starting salary would be higher.

He could see no purpose in getting a liberal arts degree. Beyond the notion that an undergraduate degree limits your employment options,  he needed some facts to go with his assumptions.

I suggested that before our next call he do a bit of research.( If I just told him the answers he wouldn’t believe me anyway)

I gave him two weeks to answer the following questions:

What percentage of new employees in high tech had degrees in the social sciences?

What is the average lifetime earnings of a social science graduate?

What percentage of social science majors go on the get an advanced degree?

I am hoping that the answers will help readjust his prism and help him understand that some of the assumptions he was making were not based on reality.

If he still insists that an engineering degree is the only option, I certainly won’t try to talk him out of it, but he should  know all the facts before he makes his decision.

Next time you have a decision to make ask yourself what underlying assumption you might would to re-evaluate.

 

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 12/5/15 Edition

December 5, 2015

Can we all agree that it’s already clear that the shootings in San Bernardino will not move  Congress to take any action to control guns?

Can we all agree that it makes little difference to the victims that the FBI will investigate the shootings as terrorism?

Can we all agree that even modest changes, like those being proposed in California will have a tough time standing up to the NRA?

New York Daily News front page this week

New York Daily News front page this week

Can we all agree that no matter how many extra border checks we impose, as long as automatic weapons  and thousands of rounds of ammunition can be purchased legally, we will continue to have one resident murdered every 15 minutes in the US?

Can we all agree that, as Nicholas Kristof said in the New York Times, when it comes to gun control we’re not even trying?

Can we all agree that the sight of a Presidential candidate giving a speech from a gun range the day after a mass shooting is repugnant? What must be going through the minds of the victim’s families?

Can we all agree that it’s a bit startling to see the media being allowed to rummage through the  alleged murderer’s apartment just two days after the shooting?  Was it good journalism?

Can we all agree with the President that enough is enough?

Can we all agree that the addition of 211,000 new jobs is good news, despite what the GOP would have us believe?

Can we all agree that Lamar Smith’s antics as head of the House science committee would be amusing, if he wasn’t dealing with such a serious topic?

Can we all agree that the GOP would rather just embarrass the President than enact meaningful legislation that could help save the planet?

Can we all agree that despite all the speeches, it’s tough to figure out what’s really going on at the climate conference in Paris?

Can we all agree that some of the GOP speeches at the Republican Jewish Coalition were embarrassing? It might be Ben Carson’s swan song.

Can we all agree that allowing women into all combat roles was the logical conclusion to allowing them to serve in the military?

Can we all agree that the Secret Service is now officially a disaster?

Can we all agree that FIFA, soccer’s governing body, may be incapable of any meaningful reform?

Can we al agree that the NFL referees  have been just awful this year? There is no consistency, and phantom calls or clear rule misinterpretations are determining the outcome in too many games.

Rules for covering terrorism

Rules for covering terrorism

Can we all agree that it was surprising to see Congress actually pass a spending bill that will become law? They approved a $300 billion highway spending measure.

Can we all agree that with  a little over 8 weeks until the Iowa caucuses and the GOP race still being described as a free-for all, the party is officially in panic mode?

Can we all agree that Dr. and Mr. Zuckerburg’s decision to give away 99% of their Facebook stock  will probably anger their offspring years from now when they argue about the leftover $500 million?

Can we all agree that the prospect of “Yes, We Have no bananas,” on future breakfast tables is disquieting?

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The Monetary Value of Your Job

November 4, 2015

Filed under: Coaching,Health,Management,observations,Tech — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 12:46 pm

I had two clients this week who both needed some not so subtle reminders that the value of their jobs might be different from the monetary value of their paychecks.images

Both were young people who had been working at their first real jobs since they graduated from college last June and both had jobs in their chosen career field,  – but neither was happy.

Both were having a very difficult time putting a value on their work.

The first, a young man who was working for an established retailer was frustrated that his pay was not as much as many of his peers in hi-tech, and was concerned about why he wasn’t being promoted.

His work, he said, had become routine, and while he was busy, he felt his job had become routine. At the same time, his commute was about 20 minutes, and he was  living on his own.  He admitted that his supervisor was very open to discussion about additional responsibilities, although she was honest in saying that a promotion was unrealistic for at least another year.

He liked his co-workers, found the environment relaxing, and felt no fear that he was about to be downsized out of his job if the economy soured.

My other client, a young woman, hated her job, and while she was in her chosen field,  counseling, she felt the office was disorganized, there was constant turnover and her ability to help her clients as a case manager, was actually inhibited by her work environment.

She admitted that she was barely able to support herself and was not making much more than she was at a waitress job she had while she sent out resumes a year  ago.

The question to both of them was simple. What is the value of the externalities, apart from the actual work.

For the young man:

Was it worth and extra  $5,000 in salary knowing that he would be exposed to additional experiences, making him more valuable to his current or future employers?

Was is worth an extra $10,000 knowing that his job was secure even if the economy slowed?

And what of the value of a pleasant work enviroment, with an easy commute?

No, he didn’t have free meals, transportation, or  haircuts like his fellow classmates in Silicon Valley, but he wan’t working 80 hours a week in a high-stress environment either.

So maybe his salary was lower, but he was doing better than he thought.

The opposite was clearly true for the young woman. Everything about her job was subtracting value from her paycheck.

Since she was in social work the very least she could expect was that the job would provide ‘supervised hours’ she could apply to an advanced degree or certification, if she went back to school.

But even that benefit was denied her.

The reality was that she was making less than she thought and was getting no benefit from the job. She might as well have taken any other job, since it ws really just a way to support herself until she figured out her next step.

After our sessions my message to each of them was the same: When you assess your job you need to consider more than just a paycheck. Sometimes that adds to the value of your job, and sometimes you might be better off moving on, as quickly as possible.

Do the math, next time you get your paycheck, and see where you stand.

 

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Coming to America

September 24, 2015

Filed under: observations,Sharing economy — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 9:47 am

Took my car to be serviced this week, so I used BART to get back and forth to the dealership. I just needed a short ride from my home to the station and back. I used a cab inon e direction and Lyft in the other.

The result was two distinct views of America.

Note to self: It’s no longer good to ask a cab driver, “How’s business?” – my standard line, rather than just sitting in silence.

The cab driver, who was Indian and spoke with a typical accent, launched into what was probably a frequently repeated refrain about Uber and Lyft.

“Those drivers don’t make any money,” he told me. “After paying for their cars and insurance and gas they lose money, every day they drive.” he continued.

I asked how long he had been driving and he proudly said, 23 years, although he wasn’t sure how much longer he could continue. “Business used to be good, but now, sometimes I make less than $100 in a day,” he told me.

I asked if he had tried driving for one of the new competitors. “Why, I wouldn’t make any money.” Then he added, “The government will have to do something.”

My driver back to retrieve my car turned out to be a young Afghan immigrant who was a translator for the Army near Kabul. He’s been in the US for two years and has been driving his 1-year-old Prius for several ride-sharing services since last December.

He was able to come here with his wife and two children, but left his brother and mother behind. It took him five years to get a visa and he realizes how lucky he is, pointing out that another 10,000 translators may never be granted permission, despite assurances from the US government that they have priority status.

“They have stopped issuing any more visas,” he told me. “And since the Syrian refugee crises, the whole system has stopped.” He admitted that the rest of his family lives in fear because the Taliban know that he worked for the US Army, but, he says, his mother and brother probably will never get out. He speaks with them regularly via cellphone.

Despite that, he says that he is doing very well. His wife is taking English classes and he is studying to get his GED, although he has an IT degree from school in Afghanistan.

“I need to have something to show people. I have nothing from my home.” he says.

While he speaks with an accent, his English is near perfect and it was clear that getting a GED was just a formality. When he first came to this country he worked for a Fremont company testing file servers.

“They paid me $15/hour, but the job was boring, so I tried driving on my days off and found I could make $300/day in 6 hours, – so I quit.” he says. “Now I drive 4 hours a day and study and if I need extra money, I can work on the weekend and make $600 a day.”

Is it any wonder  so many people want to come to the US.

 

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Can We All Agree – 7/4/15 Edition

July 4, 2015

Can we all agree that John Adams had a pretty good idea when he suggested fireworks for our July Fourth Celebration?Unknown

Can we all agree that The President is having a great time now that his legacy has been assured?

Can we all agree that this week’s leap second was really enjoyable?

Can we all agree that, despite all the caveats by the economists, adding 223,000 new jobs is a big deal?

Can we all agree, that from a PR standpoint, Whole Foods admission that it overcharged NYC consumers for some items, was a great move?

Can we all agree that it would be nice to think that some of the  $18.7 billion BP will pay to settle charges connected with the 2010 oil spill, will actually make it to real people, but we’re doubtful?

Can we all agree that with Chris Christie joining the GOP race for President, the clown car, just got a LOT more crowded?

Can we ll agree that Jim Webb’s entrance on the Democratic side is beyond baffling?

Can we all agree that it may be a while before anyone knows whether the Supreme Court decision on how the EPA determines pollution rules makes any difference at all?

Can we all agree the Supreme Court ruling on redistricting would have been a disaster, if it had gone the other way?

Can we all agree that the President’s decision to expand overtime pay to working managers was long overdue?

Can we all agree that reports that USA products are competitive again may be the biggest economic news of the week?

Can we all agree that visiting the US embassy in Havana will be a pleasure, at last?

Can we all agree that the disaster that is Greece now has more to do with European politics than economics?

Can we all agree that the USA has more than enough motivation for tomorrow’s match against Japan?

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