Below is the article from the Detroit Free Press regarding John Rich’s new song “Shuttin Detroit Down” – it has the song and interview attached as a youtube file.

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | January 15, 2009

Networking: Do your Friends and Family REALLY KNOW what you do?

As most of you know, I’m in an active job search.

Editors NOTE: The only real difference between an ACTIVE Job Search and a PASSIVE Job Search is if you’re ‘burning’ or ‘earning’.

Well, I have a group of wonderful friends, and I can say that in the last 3 weeks I have been given at least a dozen solid job leads through my group of intimate friends. When I use the term intimate friends, I’m talking about the people you tend to know from somewhere other than WORK and you spend a good deal of time with. In my case it has been through our Daycare families and our Soccer families.

Last week, I spent an hour on the phone with one of these friends, because being well intentioned, he/she picked up the phone and started pounding their network for me. Well what this individual ended up with was a list of questions for me, about 12 questions to be precise.

Well what the situation was is that we often forget that we and the people in our ‘work’ network often understand the subtle differences between roles within a larger functional area, often our friends work in a different field and don’t know these subtle differentiations.

One great example was that they told a someone in their network that their friend (me) was an IT Guy. The friend said something to the effect that it was like saying I was a human – what the person really needed was what was my specialty – was I a Network Guy, PC Guy, Security Guy, Developer, Project Manager, Program Manager, Application Development Guy, Database Guy, etc.

So, next time someone who doesn’t have your expertise asks you what you do for a living, you might want to be a touch more specific, especially if it’s in the context of someone offering to ‘network’ for you.

I have always been a BIG proponent that your non-work friend and contacts add significant value because they run in different circles than your work friends, so if you are fortunate enough to have these individuals willing to work for you, then make sure to arm them appropriately.

For some reason I have found that I tend to have a lot of “SALES” type guys that I hang around with which is good because they tend to be great networkers. We also have a token Plumber and token Electrician in our circle of friends – those two individuals are mandatory- LOL.

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | January 14, 2009

Lagniappe: Motus Digital Video

Ok, this is going to come off as a commercial, but I thought it was a cool video, so I’m sharing.

Howie is the former Owner/CEO of a company I worked for and now is the CEO at Motus. He sent this out to his contacts as kind of an intro into what Motus does, so I guess it is a commercial.

PS – I was NEVER in a ‘beverage establishment’ with Howie when he DIDN’T pick up the tab, so if nothing else, I guess we can say he pre-paid for the advertising time.

Find the video here –

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | January 13, 2009

Networking: Schaumburg Networking Happy Hour

I’m going to try to get my old Schaumburg “Happy Hour” back together since I’m now back in town.

Here is the invite as posted on


As some of the longer tenured individuals here may remember, I used to coordinate a Happy Hour in Schaumburg once a month. Since I’m back from “LONG ISLAND” now, I thought I would try to get it going again.

To keep it simple, I’ll starting where we left off.
We do not make reservations, we just show up at the Bar in Rennaissance and make new friends and visit old. VERY INFORMAL!

Date: January 28th, Wednesday
Time: 6:00 PM until ….
Where The Lounge in the Rennaissance Hotel in Schaumburg
Rennaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center
1551 N. Thoreau Dr.
Schaumburg, Illinois 60173 USA
Phone: 1-847-303-4100
Fax: 1-847-303-4199
Sales: 1-847-303-4115
Sales fax: 1-847-303-4149

As always, I advise people to bring Business and Contact Cards.
No Set agenda, just an opportunity to share a beverage with everyone.

If you want more info or to let me know you plan to attend (though an RSVP is NOT neccessary, I like to know who will be there so I can look them up) please email me at

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | January 9, 2009

Lagniappe: You Must Watch This – “Are You Going to Finish Strong”

This was on the LinkedIn Power Forum – the Video is incredibly uplifting, especially at this time when so many things seem to be conspiring against us.

Click Here

So after you watch this, please answer the questions, “Are You Going to Finish Strong?”

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | January 8, 2009

Jobsearch: Gearing up for the Interviews

Finally got a couple of interviews lined up.

I’m ready to go. One is on the phone, which though I understand is a neccessary evil, I’m still not a big fan of.

The other is in person at a restaurant, which is cool. I actually prefer meeting someone at a restaurant over going into the office. I used to do it a LOT when I was hiring. The first face-to-face is nice to have the distractions eliminated, and get to really talk about business issues. I also find the interviewer is much more likely to give you the ‘real’ scoop on a position when they aren’t in the office. Understanding the politics and needs is critical if your taking a leadership role or any role that will require you to make strategic and tactical decisions, and since the chances of the wall having ears are so much less, I think the interview gets to be more of a conversation about what you can do for a company than a recitation of your resume.

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | January 8, 2009

Jobsearch: Applying for a Federal Gov’t Job (RANT)

After much discussion with my spouse, I decided that I should go ahead and apply for a couple of the Government jobs that are being discussed on all the Radio stations.

What a trip this was (and waste of time probably). The process for applying for a single job was somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 hours.

The real kicker is that is you want to apply for a more senior level position you also need to fill out these sections for the Senior Executive Service or some such nonsense.

As well as the amount of electronic bits and bites, the amount of paper that it requires is crazy. The process is ‘hinted’ at throughout, with reprimands all the way through that any missing document or information will result in your disqualification from consideration, but the instructions are so detailed and complicated that I am stunned anyone ever actually gets through the process.

Oh wait, I bet if someone was ‘connected’ they probably could get ‘walked’ through the process.

Ok, Rant over.

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | December 14, 2008

Lagniappe: Writing a Shapeshifter for School

My final project in English was to create a “shapeshifter” – A shapeshifter is a literary form in which an author takes someone elses work (novel, short story, etc.) and reworks it from a different perspective or to take a piece of the story and expand it.

For my project, I choose the story “To Hell with Dying” by Alice Walker and did the story from the perspective of the character Mr. Sweet as he was brought back from his death bed by the author/narrator, who was a little girl at the time.

I call this “To Hell with Living – The story of Mr. Sweet Little”

“To Hell with Dying Man, these children want Mr. Sweet” is what the man is saying somewhere off in the distance. I want to reply, “No, to Hell with Living man. I’m tired and I don’t want to come back,” but the slight weight of what must be a child lay upon my chest. The weight of this child, a beautiful little girl, shouldn’t be able to compare with the weight of my memories, or the weight of my pain, but in some ways it’s heavier. I can’t disappoint this child for she might just be my future, she might just be the thing that saves me.

I slowly open my eyes to see there is a boy here as well. He picks up my guitar, my most treasured possession, and starts to fumble with the strings. The sound that comes from it could hardly be called music, but to my ears, it is the sound of angels singing. Maybe the boy or the girl will one day carry on my song.

How I got here, it’s a long tale, but one that I can remember like it was yesterday, maybe it was. I once was a boy, much like the child with the guitar. The world lay before me. Some people say I was smart, some say I was funny, I just remember that I had a drive to be something special, someone that was important.

Back in my day, school was something you went to with a chalkboard, and maybe a book to read. You had better listen in class or the strap was sure to come out. This didn’t bother me, because I loved to learn. I was going to be a doctor, I was going to make everyone healthy and happy. Maybe I’d be a lawyer, but I did know I was going to solve all the problems in the world.

As I grew older, I realized that not everything would come easy. There are a lot of people in this world who don’t want you to be successful, people who don’t want to give away what they got.

As a teenager, I found the guitar, it ain’t the same one the boy is plucking away at, but it was one that was similar. I wanted to play the blues, and finally it was something that people said was ok for me to do, the problem was that I couldn’t ever get it right. My music didn’t move people the way the blues is supposed to. An old man told me that you can’t play the blues until you live the blues.

So it was on a dark cold night in the dead of winter that I jumped that train, some people call it “The City of New Orleans”, but I know the truth, it was just another train, their ain’t no real romance in that train. The freight car was loud, I was scared, and as it moved further north, the air got colder.

With 10 dollars in my pocket and a guitar on my back, I found my way through the Chicago bar scene. There was a lot of southern folk in this part of the city and some of the most melancholy blues you could ever hear. I got by sleeping in a tenement and occasionally doing dishes and odd jobs for the bar owners.

That was when I met Jo Lee. Jo Lee was the most striking girl any man could ever set eyes on. The mocha skin offsetting her big brown eyes made me stop breathing when I saw her. Jo Lee was the daughter of a man who owned several of the night clubs. I met her when I was running packages to and from his house.

Jo Lee inspired me to play my guitar for her, she eventually talked her dad into letting me play early in the day at the clubs before they got crowded. Sometimes there would be just a few old drunks, and Jo Lee sitting in the bar as I played my guitar. I always remember one of the drunks telling me, “boy you pretty good, but you gotta get hurt, before you’ll be real good.” If only I had known then.

One day, I found out Jo Lee was pregnant, I assumed the baby was mine, but others were shooting off rumors that Jo Lee had more than one ‘favorite’ blues player. I never got to find out, cause her old man up and shipped her off to Detroit. I finally learned what the blues was about. My music got much better, but so did the booze.

After six months of playing blues and drinking myself to sleep, I met Mary. Mary was a good woman and she reminded me in some ways of Jo Lee. Mary always thought she could fix me, because she knew that I was broken. She convinced me that I should move back south with her and we could start a farm and a family.

The farm and the family thing never quite worked out the way Mary hoped. We had a boy, but he was useless. I figure that’s my fault. It’s hard to learn how to be a good man when your papa is always drinking, fishing, and then drinking some more. Mary tried to fix him to, every chance she got.

A couple years ago Mary died. The boy is gone, I don’t know when or if I’ll ever see him again. Probably just as well, not sure there is much this old man can offer him. I don’t have any more money, I shore ain’t a good role model, and I sure know that boy will never settle down.

Back to now, “to hell with living,” that’s what I want to say to the man. He don’t know the pain that comes from knowing you never became who you wanted to be, he don’t know what it’s like to raise a bad child, he don’t know what it’s like to not know if a child is yours, and he sure don’t know the blues. He loves his wife and could never understand how I loved the one I couldn’t have, and married the one that deserved better than me. He’s a hard working man with love and caring to go around, he has beautiful children, responsible children. They are gonna be something special someday – like I thought I was. They gonna do it – while I just dreamed it.

The girl is tickling me now, damn it if I can’t help but laugh. I can feel the love in this girl, I can feel the love in this family. It’s time to come back to life, maybe I’ll give up the booze.

When I’m feeling better, I’m gonna go down to the man and ask him about farming. I need to learn how to do it right. One day, I’ll plant that crop and I’ll tend it better than any man ever has. I’ll show this little girl and little boy how you’re supposed to be when you’re an adult.

I’ll bring that old guitar down to their house. I’ll play for them, but not the blues, they don’t need to sing the blues, they need to sing of joy and hope. They need to learn to play the guitar.

The kids will be able to go fishing with me. There are still things this old man can teach them. I can teach them to bait a hook, I can teach them where the big fish hide. I can teach them where to get the night crawlers and how to catch crickets.

I can help the man and his wife around their house, maybe they can let me watch the kids for them when I prove I’m fit and capable. Maybe I can become part of this family, maybe I can start over.

Someday, I’ll go find Jo Lee. I want to ask her that question about my child, ask her if it is my child. Maybe, I can be a part of his life. Maybe he became a doctor, or maybe it’s a beautiful girl like the one at my feet.
I’ll also find my boy, maybe I can make him understand it’s never too late to change. Maybe I can make him understand that he doesn’t want to be an old man, drunk and melancholy, relying on other people’s charity.

Then I can write some new songs. Not songs of loss and despair, but songs of joy, hope, love and religion. Songs of working hard and taking pride in who and what you are. Maybe someday kids will sing them with me.

The sad part is that I know deep down inside that I ain’t gonna change. I come back to the girl because I’m really a coward. I’m scared to finally let go. I brought this pain on myself, through my actions, and I should live with it every second of my life. The only thing I can do at this point is try to not inflict my pain on any more people.

So I come back to the world of the living. I’m full of promise and dreams, but unfortunately, I’m also full of reality and I know that when I can, I’ll look for that bottle. I know that this will happen over and over again, but I can look at the girl and hope. I can hope that I give her a little joy. I hope that one day I can leave her something of value.

As the blues has taught me, life is about pain and hope, fear and truth. It’s about hearing the music, not listening to the music. It’s about being true to you, but mostly it’s about living.

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | December 5, 2008

Lagniappe: Stream of Consciousness Post

Haven’t posted in a while; surprise, surprise.

Been doing a lot of writing though. Being without work left me a chance to focus on my school work. I am trying to move my degree timeline from December 2009 to May 2009.

I continue to be amazed at how time consuming and hard Job Hunting is. I guess it has to do with the fact that we ‘know’ how to do our jobs, so a 50 hour week for a company or client isn’t as hard as searching for a job.

Started Polishing off the book idea again yesterday, pulled up my outline, reviewed it, made some changes. Re-read the first chapter – decided that I’m now smarter than I was 3 years ago when I last worked on it.

Finished a English paper on The Identity of Self in a Romantic Relationship based on the short stories The Story of an Hour, Hills Like White Elephants, and How to Talk to a Hunter – I think it’s pretty good, we’ll see what the instructor thinks.

Spent a few days in Louisiana and can honestly say that as I get older, my family means even more to me. My relationship with my siblings only gets better with age. Maybe we’ve all gotten old enough to realize that most of our ‘issues’ are trivial.

My mom looks good and healthy, she is turning 29 in December, I think it’s the 41rst time she’s turned 29.

Went to the Zoo in Baton Rouge – nice to see it coming back – I hadn’t been there since Senior Skip Day (1986). We saw the animals, and we played “RedLight.” The simple things mean more than the complex things, my mom told me “One day those kids are going to remember playing “Redlight” at the zoo” – even the adults got involved. It was one of those moments were the world and time stood still for me.

I’m thinking I’m going to ask my wife to buy “us” a brick at the under construction Elephant walk at the Baton Rouge Zoo for Christmas. Maybe it’s being at home, but I think leaving a legacy is starting to pass up the “gadget of the year” as highest on my priority list.

Have the Application to become a High School Referee filled out, need to send it in. Figured while I’m out it would be a “little bit” of income, but a whole lot of exercise.

Ditto on becoming a substitute teacher.

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | November 14, 2008

Lagniappe: Ever wondered what the TV ratings really mean?

For an assignment in school, I had to take the TV ratings guidelines and evaluate a prime-time show against the guidelines to determine if the rating were accurate.

If you care to know what the TV-14 or TV-PG really means, please look here (TV Ratings Guidelines).

The biggest note I had was how the sub-category letters change in meaning, so a TV-PG “L” (infrequent coarse language) doesn’t mean the same thing as a TV-14 “L” (strong coarse language).

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