Farm Tractors

27 October 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

       This year I had Thanksgiving Dinner with my siblings who live 5 hours from here in Southwestern Ontario. This is the 1st Thanksgiving back home in probably 4 decades. Bear in mind Thanksgiving has been traditionally celebrated locally with my kids and today with the blended family. This year was been the first time too many family members were working and Thanksgiving was cancelled hence an opportunity to celebrate with my other family.

 

The dinner was hosted by my sister and 2 of her daughters. Needless to say it was a feast for an army. My brother in law and my sister owned the largest Tow Truck Company in Southwestern Ontario. They have some 36 trucks at their disposal for various assignments ranging from car accidents, truck roll overs, transportation of boats and small planes, right siding silos, etc. My brother in law built his first tow truck at the age of 14 before he had his driver’s license obviously he has the business in his blood. His real love is the mechanics of the trucks including creating and building new trucks. He did hold the honour of building the first North American truck with the longest boom to pick up to 80 tons. He designed the truck and built the boom from metal used in space flights.

 

Believe or not he is semi-retired but still tinkering with mechanics. A decade or more ago he started a new hobby of collecting old Farm Tractors and Farm Machinery. His love is not restoring the tractor to its original look but to make sure they run like they were new. Today is owns over 200 tractors of every size model, colour, brand imaginable dating back to late 1800. He evens has a restored Steam Engine that he uses at shows and fairs with a thrashing machine.

He also has an equal number of farm machinery like combines, ploughs, seeders, discs, harrows and more. He has built from old parts miniature replica tractors and wagons for kids to ride. During our visit I would ask questions about some of these tractors and his best explanation would be, listen to this and he would start the tractor. All 200 tractors can start on the first try. This is where he is the most proud, listening to this machines start like they were brand new. His kids have now catalogued all these tractors with pictures, where and when they built, serial numbers, the horsepower and other pertinent information on the unit.

 

What an accomplishment! What a treasure! Good for you Brother in law.

 

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Professional Courtesy

26 October 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

        It is time to vent. This week alone, I have had 2 incidents whereby Human Resources Managers contact me asking for information on my services. I have returned their calls a number of times and I am still waiting to hear back from them. If you found what you were looking for that is OK but at least have the decency to call me back and tell me so. Why would you call and then not return the call. This kind of behavior tells me from the start what kind of an organization this is and my guard goes up. If you can’t finish what you started then I wonder what type of Business relationship we would have. You called me then I courteously returned your call, why not return my call?

       I have been doing a fair amount of recruiting as of late thus I have advertised for certain positions and interested candidates have forwarded their resumes. I have contacted some of these applicants within 48 hours from receiving their resumes in some cases I have left 3 phone messages. I don’t get a call back. Why is this? You again wanting something and I called you but you don’t return the call. This I find is very frustrating to say the least.

In my practice I often hear from job applicants that companies never get back to them especially after having gone for one, two and even three interviews. I always get back to those that I have interviewed even if it means telling them that I am pursuing it with other candidates. I practice this because I am a Professional and it is these small details that make the difference.

I feel better now. Thanks for letting me vent.

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Being a Dad

22 October 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

         The other day while driving I was listening to the radio when the Announcers got into a conversation about what they remembered as youngsters about their Dads. This conversation was prompted by seeing their Dads at Thanksgiving. This got me to thinking about my days as a Dad raising 3 Daughters. As Dads we all have done good, bad and funny things. Here are a few of my crazier moments as a Dad.

 

This one time my second daughter invited a new boyfriend for a Saturday dinner to meet the Family. His name was Clint. He was a high school football player standing 6” 4’ tall and as lean as stud ( horse term ). A Father’s nightmare he was. My then wife made a meatball dinner. As the food was passed around, Clint was filling his plate like it was a platter. He may have been a growing boy but I was afraid that there would be no leftovers for me so as he started wolfing down his meatballs I very wisely made the comment “ Not bad for road kill “ My daughter was naturally upset with me but it sure curbed his appetite and I did have leftovers after all.

 

I use to be infamous for asking new boyfriends things like: Do you have a job?, How much money do you have in the bank?,  What career have you chosen?,  Is your car paid for?, Have you ever been in jail?, Why are you here today?, and more. I have been accused by my girls that I saw new boyfriends as an opportunity for free labour. I thought the boyfriends would welcome the opportunity to flex their muscles for my daughters besides what better way is there to get to know these young men and determine what kind of workers they are. The ones I had most fun with were the nerdy ones because they hated getting their hands dirty. It sure took a lot of them before my girls found the right one. Apparently some did not want to come back to the house. I wonder why? I am sure it is not because of something Dad did or said.

 

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Kids are taking over

21 October 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

        Recently I attended a local Conference where a speaker addressed the subject of Social Media and Social Networks. In the past I have been known to bash Technology but I guess I was living in a cave not wanting to truly understand what was happening. I blamed Technology for the speed of change and in my opinion we were sacrificing proven efficiencies for the sake of change. This speaker made it very clear that the blame is on the users not the Technology itself. He also made it known that the influencers and controllers of this Technology is not Business or the mature adult market but rather the new immerging force was the 10 to 30 age group. How can such a young group be taking over the world and influencing what they want and need? As this speaker pointed out, this is the first time in history where such a young group has taken over and influencing the futures they want. What makes this phenomenon even scarier is, in the past, age groups in certain nations would dictate trends but today this small age group is far more powerful because there numbers span the whole world. Therefore changes are being influenced instantaneously and globally.

 

The age of immediacy is here now which means what they want today has to be there tomorrow not 5-10 years down the road. They are in a time where they understand each other regardless of Global location. They cannot relate to anything that has happened before their time in other words parents, role models, managers, teachers, etc. have little effect in directing their futures. One observation made, was this age group are now heading up the Family unit and taking over from the parents. Another scary observation is the apparent fact that kids are reaching puberty at an earlier age. Their knowledge base is broader at 16 than previous generations at 20-24. This group is capable of making Business a success overnight or create so much turmoil that the Business could fail thru social media and social networking. The example given was McDonald Restaurants who targets young people as their primary market. A while back McDonald was caught putting an additive in their hamburgers which was a disgusting green or purple color. Social media went wild on this to the point that overnight kids stopped going to McDonalds and business dropped worldwide hence the very quick introduction of healthier menus to regain market share. In the past an incident like this would take a month to reach the whole world and some would never hear about it. Today it is instant therefore more devastating than ever before.

One solution offered for this phenomenon is use this young knowledge base and be part of the changes. I remember my life mentors telling me that life was like a racing train and if you wanted to succeed you had to jump, grab and hang on to this train. Now it seems like this train is being driven by this young age group and we as adults have to jump, grab and hang on to their train.

Will this new eye opener change my views, probably not as fast as I should but with better insight now, I should be able to adapt to change a little easier? Thought I’d share.

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Employment Insurance

20 October 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

          I had a friend drop by to say hello and catch up on things. To my surprise he shared a story that floored me. I had heard Employment Insurance had made some changes but I am not well versed on all the details mainly because Self-Employed people are not entitled to such benefits. Apparently my friend worked for 14 months after having been on E.I. for a short time and unfortunately suffered a medical illness that prompted some absence. Doctor and Specialist appointments caused these absences including 2 leave of absences of 5 days each. His employer concluded he was unable to perform his duties on a regular basis therefore fired him. He applied for E.I. assistance and was turned down because he was fired and not laid off therefore his contributions for those 14 months were not taken into account hence his claim is added to his former claim. This reduces his claim to mere months rather than going back to a full year if he needed it. It is not the right time to take away such benefits in an Economic Depression. The average worker has suffered enough. It is just not right.

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