Archives January, 2010

29 January
Chris Arends

It was a year ago today that I got on the plane leaving Grand Rapids a day earlier than I had planned.  It was the start of a new adventure. I was unemployed. While I didn’t think it would last a year, here I am with the chance to look back.

Most people see unemployment as the worst time of their life.  While I won’t say being unemployed is fun, it isn’t all bad. Here in a nutshell is what I did with my year.

Spent with my family, went on a trip to Colorado, visited NASA, the USS Texas, the Nebraska state capitol, San Jacinto, the Dr. Pepper Museum and saw Mammoth bones, I helped with homework, optimized making breakfast and lunches, started practicing leave no trace on the walk to school, rode 3300 miles including 2 centuries and a 50 miler with my oldest, showed my wife where I went to college, made new friends, learned new technologies, got a certification, researched some new companies, built a fence, refinished a window and a shelf, finished many a honeydo that I had put off, went camping 10 times, caught up with old friends, made a rain barrel, learned how to tie knots and lash poles, lost my airline status, learned to twitter, and blog and many other things I know I forgot. 

After all this if I haven’t figured out that the most important thing is spending time with my family, being healthy and learning new things then I have wasted a year. Not that I didn’t like my job, its just that sometimes we get too caught up making a living to live.

Second is trusting the right things to find a new job, do the right things for your family, that you are prepared to get through till you start working again and most importantly that you have something to offer that someone will pay for.

Looking back between now and then it has been quite an adventure. Over the year I have learned a lot of new things. Who my friends are and how to make new ones. What is really important in life and

26 January
Chris Arends

Many of you have heard of Leave No Trace which is  program that helps teach people how to minimize their impact when they are camping and using other recreational parks.  It is a great program that helps maintain our natural resources.

While most of us want to live in a cleaner world we rarely do anything about it except when we to organized clean ups of parks or neighborhoods.  What if we all just did a little bit every day? 

A few years ago I read about a cyclist who on every ride he picked up one piece of litter. The sad thing is he said it wasn’t much of a challenge to find something to pick up and put in his jersey.

While that may not seem like a big deal this person rode almost every day so over the course of a year he would pick up 2-300 pieces of trash.  What I have done as a goal for this year is to do the same.  While I ride only about 125 times a year if each of us when ever we go for a walk, take a jog or ride our bikes were to do that the numbers get pretty big pretty fast. Imagine how much cleaner our neighborhoods, parks and roads would be. It would also reduce the amount of money spent by our local governments which could be used for other services.

My challenge to all my friends who exercise outside is to pick up one piece of litter each time you work out. This way you can leave the world better than you found it.  Check out for more on leave no trace.

22 January
Chris Arends

I know it has been a while since I have posted but it has been crazy around here.  Good things on the job front.  Good things on the family front.

I am glad to have the time with my family. With any luck the luxury of being able to drop every thing and go for a ride or play football with the boys will be over soon. The last week has been filled up with visits from family, preparing for and having interviews, taking some training and all the other stuff we do in our lives.

When I do land my next job and am running back and forth between work, scouts, school and once in a while seeing my wife, I know I will look back at these days and be glad for the time when I could enjoy all that was going on around me.

Now its off to Boy Scout Camping. 

11 January
Chris Arends

I do have to admit that for Dallas the recent cold weather has been a bit extreme, but nothing like that my friends up north have been facing.  That being said there are some good things about cold weather.

First it confirms to my wife that I need to confine my job search to at least 300 miles south of the Mason-Dixon line. It also confirms why I moved to Texas.  I remember doing chores when the steam from your breath froze on your eye lashes (somewhere around 10 below) and fully understand that cars are easier to start when it is 105 degrees vs 5 below and the obvious advantage that you don’t have to shovel heat.

Second, it has been a good opportunity to use my cold weather cycling gear.  Instead of leaving it in the closet while I die of boredom on my trainer, it is getting good use helping me ride off all the Christmas goodies my wife made. While searching for a job having a positive attitude is important.  Having winter riding gear helps me avoid the suicidal tendencies of someone who has stared at the inside of their garage too much while going no where fast on their trainer.

Third, it makes my wife want to make soup.  For those of you who don’t know my wife is a great cook and has more recipes than the library of congress has books. The colder weather motivates her to try out her soup and stew recipes which usually go unused.  This lets her express her creativity in the kitchen and I get some good food which also means I need to ride more.

So for those of you in Dallas who are looking forward to the warmer weather this week I will be thankful for the fleeting blast of arctic air.

4 January
Chris Arends

Christmas is often called the season of waiting. Looking forward to friends and families, presents and the beginning of the New Year. 

For those of us looking for a job the season of waiting has additional meaning.  It is the season of waiting for managers to get back from their vacations and get back to work.  Now that the holiday parties and year end close efforts are over the people we need to talk to are back and looking at how they are going to make this year better than the last. 

Now is the time for those of us who have been waiting to make sure we are best candidate.  This includes adding new ideas and energy into who and how we pursue our next job. New training, new connections, new companies, new groups and new attitudes are how we are going to get the job we want.

Good luck to everyone in the New Year!