Daily Archives: June 10, 2010

What? Your job is to help people find jobs?!

Here’s a little irony for you … well, quite a bit of irony, actually.

I’ve been looking for work for the past 15 months. After 22 years in the newspaper business, I was laid off. Over the course of that 22 years I have been a reporter, columnist, copy editor, assistant news editor, opinion page editor, assistant city editor, website staff writer, and blogger. I’ve been trying to find work, usually via online job boards and websites, networking via friends, LinkedIn and Facebook, and by simply keeping my ear to the ground.

I’ve been pretty open about the experience. At least, with my family, friends, and those of you who have visited “Letters From Away.” I’ve written about the frustration of the job search and the various pitfalls that have occurred in the past 15 months.

But I wasn’t very open with the other tenants of my apartment building. I don’t know any of them very well and I felt uncomfortable opening up about that sort of thing. And apparently some of them have not caught onto my blog, if you can believe that.

Anyway, I was walking down to the basement garage on Saturday when a guy who lives in one of the downstairs apartments came out.

“So, where are you working now?”

“I’m not,” I replied.


“Yeah, today makes 15 months since I was laid off,” I informed him. A mix of surprise and shock flashed over his face.

“Listen, I think I can help. …”

I’ve been living in the same apartment building since late 2006 and out of work since March 5, 2009, and I had no idea that my neighbor worked for a county agency that helps people get back to work. One of the programs for which I may be eligible is a six-month, 50 percent salary grant where an employer would be reimbursed for 50 percent of a worker’s salary for six months.

That does a couple of things, of course. It gets workers into jobs, it gives the employer a worker and a chance to see what the employee can do to prove himself or herself in a job and it gives a little time for the economy a little time to come around so that at the end of the six months the employee has a better chance to be held on permanently.

 I’m not exactly sure what else the neighbor or the agency can do to help me, but I have an appointment to talk with the guy tomorrow.

I was born in the friendliest town in Maine

It’s always nice to be considered the “friendliest” person on the block. It may be even more compelling to be from the friendliest town in a state.

Well, I’m not from that town, but I was born there. I was born in a hospital that was on a hill overlooking the river that served as the U.S.-Canada border as it flowed through Fort Kent, Maine, one of two cities in the Pine Tree State to claim the title of “The Friendliest Town in Maine.” The other is Wells, on the coast.

At least, that’s according to the DownEast.com trivia question today.

What two towns both lay claim to the title “The Friendliest Town in Maine?”


Fort Kent and Wells

Fort Kent is the city in which my parents went to high school, as I recall, and pretty much was the center of my early years. I recall driving from Portage to Fort Kent to visit relatives and friends and for family functions, to shop, and for medical care – dentist, doctor, and optometrist.

And while our family visited Wells when I was a child and we had a very lovely stay, I do have relatives living in Fort Kent to this day and I most certainly have to give Fort Kent the edge when it comes to friendliness.

Well, perhaps not the agents at the border crossing. They’re not always that friendly.

NOAA begins to survey bottom of Cobscook Bay | Bangor Daily News

NOAA begins to survey bottom of Cobscook Bay – Bangor Daily News.

Federal prisoner captured in midcoast Maine | Bangor Daily News

Federal prisoner captured in midcoast Maine – Bangor Daily News.

Maine’s statewide election results

Maine’s statewide election results

Portland museum welcomes surprise gift of $3 million | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Portland museum welcomes surprise gift of $3 million | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Westbrook schools recognized for energy efficiency | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Westbrook schools recognized for energy efficiency. | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Dine Out for the Gulf Coast

From June 10-12, 2010, participating restaurants throughout the United States will set aside a portion of profits to help those directly affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and to support the long-term restoration of the treasured coast.

Click here to learn more.