If I'm ever sued, this site will go up for sale for the amount of damages sought, along with posting any documents I receive. If you think you can copyright a letter you send to me, go for it.
I'm still learning about blog design and I've found a problem when viewing this blog. It does not behave properly in small browser windows and if your display resolution is less than 1280 pixels wide and/or you are viewing the blog in a window less than 980 pixels blog wide, the right side bar is pushed below any visible post. I've searched the web and looked at the code for hours but can't find the problem. My next step, when I get the time, is to recreate the blog with a new template. Advice is appreciated.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Reflections & Ruminations

“As you grow old, you lose interest in sex, your friends drift away and your children often ignore you. There are other advantages of course, but these are the outstanding ones.”

Richard Needham, British politician

"As Dr. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema has shown, the tendency to engage in rumination exposes a huge gender difference in the handling of emotional experience. Simply put, women are predisposed to rumination, largely because they value relationships and thus devote a great deal of time and mental energy to processing the often-ambiguous content of them.

And there they get lost, obsessing about issues without taking action. Men, in general, take the opposite tack. They are given to launching themselves into action without thinking their problems through well enough. As a result, the solutions they attempt are not always directly or efficiently focused on their problems."

I no longer think I'm immortal! That realization, based on two "near death" experiences in five years came as a great disappointment to me because I was well into my fifties before I ever stopped long enough to take an honest self-inventory. I suspect that a major factor in not considering how I've lived my life was the thought that I'd find myself thoroughly lacking, a question that I'm still pondering without a true answer at this time.

I don't know how much longer I'll live. My mother died at 68 and my father when he was 87. Realistically, you'd have to give great odds for me to bet that I'd live as long as my mother did and I don't think it's possible I'll ever make 80. The only thing in my favor is medical technology but I have to seriously question the value of a few more years given the cost (around $225,000 in my case) and pain involved. There is a positive, I made a new friend - the Delauden Pump! I don't believe I could have stayed sane (if I ever was) had we not been introduced.

Much to my surprise and to the amazement of others, I've made an almost complete recovery. I will never forget finally waking up and being told "I had to gut you like a fish. We had to hang 12 units of blood and I didn't think I'd get you off the table." Sir, your bedside manner may be lacking but I will NEVER question your ability as a surgeon. 

It was a long tough road and I thought about giving up on many occasions. Thanks to the encouragement and often unwelcome criticism of acquaintances, family and friends I survived and have even thrived to some extent. Around the first of this year, I really thought I was going to resume my old life  but, obviously, that wasn't meant to be. Call it God, a higher power, Karma, Kismet or whatever, I find myself with a new purpose.

I was told to quietly go away and not make waves but I felt, rather than knew, that I wasn't being treated according to Hoyle and that my situation, while perhaps somewhat out of the ordinary, was not unusual given that:

FirstGroup plc is now the world's leading transport company with annualised revenues of some £6 billion. We employ over 137,000 staff throughout the UK and North America and transport more than 2.5 billion passengers a year.

I understand that there are cultural and legal differences between the UK and US but, at least in my mind, the idea of basic fairness is the same. I don't know how an employee in the UK would have been dealt with and it doesn't really matter: I am an American and First Group as a corporation has offended me. If I'm able to bring any public awareness, regardless of how slight,  to what I consider a cavalier treatment of First Transit employees, I will have succeeded. I live in twenty-first century America and not sixteenth century England or France.

One benefit I've come to realize is that I've always been a excellent researcher and with the maturity of the Internet, it's much easier than when I first started many years ago. The disadvantage is too much information and I'm realistic enough to know that I can't possibly understand all the ramifications of the applicable laws, rules and regulations in the short period I've devoted so far. Perhaps my ignorance is actually a blessing in that I literally interpret what I read and don't have the knowledge to use caution in my approach to righting what I consider a grievous wrong.

Thankfully, the First Amendment has not eroded to the point where I can't publicly voice my opinion and given the vast differences in our resources (£6 billion yearly versus somewhat less :-) I am willing to get my point across in any way that adheres to the rule of law. My effectiveness is difficult to judge at this point but I'm certain I'll learn more as time passes and I explore other legal avenues of making myself heard.

First Group is a public company and it's first concern is to it's stock (I believe it's share in the UK) holders. Although I disagree with my treatment based on many years of working for companies that actually valued their employees, I can, to some extent, follow their logic. For many years I believed that I had more "value" as an engineer than I would have as say, a bus driver. What a stupid, elitest attitude! I certainly believe that I generated more revenue for the company in my previous life but I lost no value when I started driving a bus. 

Perhaps the attitude that a bus driver is just a cog than needs to be replaced when broken can be justified for business reasons but what I really don't understand is the attitude of ATU Local 1001. It's only necessary to look at fairly recent events to understand the necessity of the  labor movement and laws like the National Labor Relations Act. Forward a few more years and it's also easy to understand why the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act was passed. It seems that it's always a difficult balancing act to try and prevenAlign Leftt abuse between companies and their employees or between a union and it's members. It's a two-way street, employees are as likely to be the abuser as the abused. History has also shown that a union often becomes a entity that acts for the benefit of a very few at the expense of the majority. Easily understood given the vast amounts of money at stake. "Locks keep out only the honest" - Jewish Proverb.

I contend that there is no question in my case, I was an excellent employee. Where was my union?

I am still baffled by the way I was rebuffed and when I find something incomprehensible, I try to apply Occam's razor.

More to follow.

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