Playing the job search game

“Why did you leave your last job?”

“It wasn’t the right fit. I didn’t see it coming.”

Kind of lame, but that’s the best I’ve got. Once I got over the shock, I sent my former employer a letter defending myself. Not that it mattered.

So, the job search began. Again.

I had a wonderful job in Michigan that lasted 24 years. Working in the newspaper industry pre-Internet, the company even gave us an annual written job pledge: As long as the newspaper published seven days a week, we had a job for life.

Then, of course, the World Wide Web changed everything, and the newspaper industry in general was slow to adjust. My newspaper downsized from publishing seven days a week to three, and my job as a copy editor was eliminated in 2009.

As the end drew near, the stress level in the newsroom rose dramatically. It took me months to recover.

Eventually, I did get another job – in a call center. I stayed 2.5 years, and met some wonderful people there. As an introvert, working a phone job forced me to improve my social skills. I wasn’t planning to turn that into a second career, but as a bridge, it served the purpose.

Eventually, I returned to newspaper work at a design center in Illinois, editing and laying out several company-owned newspapers in upstate New York from the design hub outside Chicago. Six months into that job, the company announced it was relocating. To Austin, Texas.

Our three sons and my parents all live in southern Michigan. We chose not to move with the company to Austin; it’s too far from family. So, I updated the resume again.

We landed in northern Ohio. Initially, I turned down the job here because it didn’t offer enough money for us to make an out-of-state move. But they pursued me. I made a counter-offer, and they accepted it. So, we came.

After 13 months, I was fired. I still don’t know what changed.

I never felt comfortable there. Looking back, that even affected my health. I’m a regular blood donor, and I was having trouble donating because my iron was too low. Too stressful, too much coffee.

After they let me go, my stress level went down. I haven’t had any problems donating blood since then. I have time now to do things that I want to do. I saw immediate benefits to leaving a suffocating atmosphere.

What’s next? I set up multiple online job searches. I have attended job-search workshops at the local community college, and had one-on-one counseling with two career services staffers at the college to work on my resume and learn how to tell my story.

I joined a networking group that connects job-seekers with employed people, many of whom “graduated” from seeker to contact. I continue to update my LinkedIn profile:

As a result, I’ve had several interviews, over the phone and in person. “Thank you very much for your interest in the position. Unfortunately another candidate was selected. We wish you all the best in your job search.”

To pass the time, I’ve increased my volunteer efforts. I assist with American Red Cross blood drives. I help with service projects through our church. I’ve continued a couple of volunteer programs with young people I did in Michigan and Illinois. These things get me out of the house and help me meet people – potential employers?

So, how do I pay the bills? I’m sure I could get a minimum-wage job at McDonald’s or Levin Furniture, but I’m not quite there yet.

I’m 55 years old.

I was fired from my most recent job.

I’m an introvert.

The entire job search process is not designed to connect job-seekers with fulfilling positions. HR people want to know why I’m NOT the right candidate. News flash: I’m flawed. Does that make me unemployable?

I need to put my best foot forward. I need to tell potential employers how great I am, how perfect I am for them and how I’m the answer to their need. I have to step outside my personality to do that, to be someone I’m not to try to get a job. No wonder studies show most people aren’t happy in their jobs.

I’m a behind-the-scenes person, seeking a behind-the-scenes job. Copy editors don’t get their name in lights. We make reporters, photographers and the publisher look good. But I have to put my name in lights to get a job that doesn’t require that.

When I figure this out, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, I’ll keep playing the game.

All I need is one hit. It’s coming.

Ohio’s Issue 3: Should marijuana production, sale be legalized?

FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2011, file photo, medical marijuana clone plants are shown at a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif. College students are most likely to try marijuana, inhalants and alcohol for the first time during the summer, not the school year, according to the report released Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which examined data from the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
(Associated Press file)

Television ads are already proliferating that support or oppose Issue 3, which “grants a monopoly for the commercial production and sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes.”

Ohio voters will say yay or nay on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Issue 3 would add an amendment to the Ohio Constitution. The full amendment would require 17 sheets of paper on my printer to print in full. Or, you can read it here:

The ballot initiative itself is a much shorter summary. The official ballot language can be found at this link:

A group called ResponsibleOhio supports the amendment. The group, according to its website, is “comprised of numerous businesswomen and men, medical professionals, and patient advocates who have come together to provide a responsible marijuana reform program for Ohio.”

Several groups oppose the amendment. One such group supports legalizing marijuana, but claims Issue 3 would create a monopoly of fewer than a dozen businesses that can grow the drug. It hopes to offer a different amendment in 2016 that would not limit who can grow marijuana.

According to ballotpedia, the measure, upon voter approval, would legalize the medical and personal use of marijuana for persons age 21 and older. The use of medical marijuana would require a doctor’s note. A recreational user would be permitted to possess one ounce or less of marijuana. Someone choosing to grow marijuana at home for personal use would be permitted to grow four flowering plants at a given time with a cultivation license (which would cost $50, according to ResponsibleOhio).

The amendment would provide for 10 site-specific Marijuana Growth, Cultivation and Extraction (MGCE) facilities, one each in the following counties: Butler, Clermont, Franklin, Hamilton, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Delaware, Stark and Summit.

One marijuana retail store would allowed for every 10,000 Ohioans. With Ohio’s population at 11,594,163 in 2014, the amendment would allow for a maximum of 1,159 stores. Retail sale of marijuana would not be allowed to take place within 1,000 feet of a church, school, library, playground or child care facility; but “after a certain date,” those facilities could not force an existing marijuana shop to close even if it is within 1,000 feet of those establishments.

The 10 initial commercial growing sites “will be operated by separate companies and have to compete with each other on price and quality, which is the exact opposite of a monopoly,” ResponsibleOhio claims on its website, However, the Ohio Ballot Board ruled last week that the “monopoly” wording on Issue 3 will remain.

FILE - In this June 30, 2015, file photo, the executive director of ResponsibleOhio, Ian James, tells media in Columbus, Ohio, about a campaign to legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes in the state. Ohio's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, Sept. 16, that part of the ballot wording describing a proposal to legalize marijuana in the state is misleading and ordered a state board to rewrite it. (AP Photo/Ann Sanner, File)
Ian James, the executive director of ResponsibleOhio, in June tells media in Columbus about a campaign to legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes in the state. (Associated Press)

“Similar to alcohol laws,” ResponsibleOhio says, “consumption of marijuana will not be permitted in public … It will be illegal to consume marijuana at schools, day care centers, correctional facilities, a motor vehicle, an aircraft and/or a motorboat.”

Opposition groups include the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, which says it’s impossible to distinguish among commercial, homegrown or illegal marijuana, making it difficult to enforce legal limits; the Associated General Contractors of Ohio, citing workplace safety concerns; and several statewide education groups.

“With more marijuana stores than McDonald’s in the state, our children could easily be exposed to marijuana just walking to school,” Kirk Hamilton, executive director of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, told

Legalizeohio2016 is a pro-marijuana group opposed to Issue 3. According to its website,, “Legalize Ohio 2016 is committed to the free market. The Cannabis Control Amendment (its proposal for next year’s ballot) provides the lowest possible barriers of entry into the legal cannabis market.”

The group adds this caveat: “Marijuana, like other drugs, is not for kids … However, we do not condone arresting adults who responsibly engage in these activities in order to dissuade our children from doing so … Our expectation and hope for young people is that they grow up to be responsible adults, and our obligation to them is to demonstrate what that means.”

Of course, production and sale of marijuana already are legal in four states, including Colorado, where voters approved the measure in 2012. Sale of recreational marijuana became legal there in 2014.

Tim Cullen, CEO of Colorado Harvest Co., told The Guardian that six years ago, when only medical marijuana was legal, “some of the stores looked more like college dorm rooms.” Today, he said, “our average customer is a business professional, and the vast majority are middle-aged folks with disposable income.”

Is this possible in Ohio? Is this a goal worth seeking?

There’s also debate on whether marijuana is a gateway drug to harder drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. Each side finds studies to support its view.

This isn’t a simple issue. Let’s get under the rhetoric and do our homework before we head to the ballot box.

Kim Davis: Personal beliefs vs. the Supreme Court

Surrounded by sheriff’s deputies, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, with her son Nathan Davis behind her, makes a statement to the media today at the front door of the county Judicial Center in Morehead, Ky. Timothy D. Easley/AP

Rowan County (Ky.) Clerk Kim Davis thrust herself into a hot-button issue with little room for compromise: Should personal religious beliefs trump Constitutional law?

Davis, a devout Christian, was jailed Sept. 3 for refusing to issue marriage licenses to two same-sex couples and two straight couples, even though, as an elected official, she now is required to do so.


Davis knows well the transforming power of faith in God. In her own statement regarding marriage, she says, in part:

“… I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God. I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience.”

Did she see this conflict coming? Davis, a Democrat, became a devout Christian four years ago, and won election as county clerk last year, with her term beginning in January of this year. She previously served as a deputy clerk for 27 years, so she’s intimately familiar with how the office operates.

Perhaps she didn’t see it coming. But when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage on June 26, her job description changed. Davis is not the only county clerk who opposes the ruling, but her public defiance brought headlines in her direction.

Good for her. Very few people have the guts to stand up for what they believe in these days. Davis is an excellent example of what happens when people do, especially on religious grounds.

Having made a stand, are there consequences? Yes, and she must accept them. She spent nearly a week in jail in defiance of a court order requiring her to issue the licenses. The judge released her because her deputies were issuing them.

Five of the six deputies in her office are willing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples (the exception is her son), and Davis has said she will not stand in their way – as long as her name is not on the licenses.

Davis returned to work today. One lesbian couple today sought a marriage license. One of her deputies issued it – without Davis’ name on it. The license was signed by a “notary public,” the (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal reported.

The couple said they aren’t concerned over its validity since Attorney General Jack Conway and others have said the forms are legitimate, the Courier-Journal reported.

Davis, an elected official, cannot be fired. Should she resign?

This isn’t a simple question. On the surface, if she is unable to fulfill the written job description, then she should find a line of work that supports her views.

Does that mean any person with religious convictions should avoid public office? I hope not. This country needs individuals willing to take a stand on tough issues. Saying anything goes, including in marriage, is one stand. Supporting limits is another stand. We need this debate – without the hatred. On both sides.

Look at gun control. Some say anything goes; others seek limits. Religious people aren’t the only ones seeking a solution.

Perhaps Davis should resign. There are other public offices she could pursue that would allow her to vote her conscience – by trying to change laws that she opposes. That is how democracy in the United States is supposed to work.