Stuff about me
My name is Keith Michaud and this is “Letters From Away,” a blog written by a Mainer living outside the comfortable and sane confines of New England. The blog is intended for Mainers, whether they live in the Pine Tree State or beyond, and for anyone who has loved ’em, been baffled by ’em or both. Ayuh, I am “from away.” Worse still, I live on the Left Coast – in California. Enjoy! Or not. Your choice.
Search for stuff
Stuff on TwitterMy Tweets
Stuff by date
June 2020 S M T W T F S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Stuff by tagAcadia National Park Afghanistan aid Aroostook County Augusta Bangor Bangor Daily News Bar Harbor barista Baxter State Park brew caffeinated caffeine California coffee coffeehouse coffeehouse observation coffeehouse observations Coffeehouse Observer cup o’ joe donations DownEast.com DownEast Magazine earthquake Economy empresso Energy Environment espresso exotic java fishing Fort Kent Gov. John Baldacci Gov. Paul LePage Gulf of Mexico Haiti Haitian Haitians Iraq java jobless joblessness jobs joe L.L. Bean lobster Maine Maine Department of Environmental Protection Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Mainer Mainers Maine State Police medical marijuana moose Mount Katahdin National Weather Service New England oil spill pastries Port-au-Prince Portland Portland Press Herald Presque Isle relief Rockland snow Stockton tea turbines unemployment University of Maine University of Southern Maine wind energy wind farms wind power
Stuff I’ve posted
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- July 2015
- June 2015
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- November 2013
- February 2013
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- April 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
Stuff people write
- How Maine Became a Laboratory for the Future of Public Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Angus King Urges Interior Department To Reconsider Offshore Drilling Proposal | Mainepublic.org
- Maine Voices: Higher education, employers must work together for bright future | Portland Press Herald
- Stunning reversal: McDaniels turns down Colts’ job to stay with Patriots | The Associated Press via the Portland Press Herald
- Kennebec River water levels could stay high into next week | Bangor Daily News
Tag Archives: labor
Labor Day is set aside to honor the working men and women who built this country with their brains, their brawn, their ingenuity, and the sweat from their brow.
It is a time to recognize those workers and their accomplishments, grand and not so grand.
But I really don’t know how to feel about Labor Day.
The past few Labor Days have been different for me and many more Americans. There are 14.9 million Americans who are not working, who are not laborers. For the past 18 months I have been among the unemployed. Is Labor Day a holiday for those of us who have no work at which to labor?
Sadly and unfortunately, this day is not for them. The only thing a long weekend does for one of those 14.9 Americans is take away one more day for searching for a job.
I have written about my own personal struggle to find work since I was laid off 18 months ago – the frustration of few jobs and even fewer interviews, innumerable rejections, the agonizing struggle simply to pay the bills, the demoralization.
Those who know me have been kind and supportive. The reaction from others has been mixed. Some are going through the same struggles and have voiced support. Others take on a tone that much of my struggles are of my own doing.
I take comfort in the former because from the beginning of this journey I knew that I was not alone and that being laid off was not my fault. I ignore – mostly – the latter because they don’t know me and don’t know what I’ve done.
Like most American children of the time, there were chores at home and a first “job” mowing lawns. It wasn’t a big operation, mind you, just me and a lawnmower. No need for business cards.
A few years later – I must have been 16 or 17 at the time – I was hired to work at a local sawmill pulling green chain. Pulling green chain means pulling and sorting green lumber of all dimension and length as it is sent out of a sawmill on a chain conveyor system. Mind you, pulling green chain comes before the lumber has been dried in a kiln. The lumber contains a very high water content and is several times heavier than it will be once it has been dry kilned. It is hard work, trust me.
I was a carpenter’s assistant the summer before heading off to college. Once there, I sold athletic shoes part time and went to school full time.
The following year, I took on two more part-time jobs. I was working three part-time jobs and going to classes full time.
Later, after I had transferred to school in California, I worked part time busing tables for a time and at a fast-food restaurant. I also was a member of a firefighting crew for three summers rising from crew member/sawyer-swamper to crew leader by my third season. I also received a stipend for working as the editor of the campus newspaper.
In other words, I’m used to working.
There was about a month after graduation before I found my first professional journalism job – editor of a small weekly on California’s North Coast. For the next two decades I worked hard to do the best job possible and continued to advance my career.
Granted, it was a career in the newspaper business.
Unfortunately, newspaper executives failed to see soon enough the Internet for what it could be – a portal to vast profits and ever-expanding readership.
But that’s for another rant.
I continue to be hard working – from the beginning I made finding a job my job – and in the past 18 months have sent out hundreds of resume packages and filled out countless online applications. No one who has launched anonymous criticism of my past published commentary would have done more or done it better.
The problem, of course, is that my hard work is not being compensated. I am not receiving currency for my efforts. I am not receiving the satisfaction of a job well done and much appreciated.
I really don’t know how to feel about Labor Day.
But I know I will continue moving forward. Each day, another step forward; each day, a chance for a brighter future.
And by next Labor Day, I will be working again and looking forward to a three-day weekend to rest from the week’s labors. Next year Labor Day will be a holiday for me.
Fraser officials say
3-year pact critical
to survival of paper mill
MADAWASKA, Maine — The United Steelworkers union will take an immediate 8.5 percent wage cut in accepting a new three-year contract Monday that Fraser Papers Inc. management calls critical to keeping the town paper mill going.
About 65 percent of the 460 members of USW Locals 291, 365 and 1247 approved the three-year deal in voting Monday. They didn’t do it happily, said Duane Lugdon, Maine’s USW international representative.
“The members have been running in and out all day voting and expressing their dismay. They don’t consider this a fair deal but they recognize that the company has a gun to their heads,” Lugdon said Monday.
Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Nick Sambides Jr. of the Bangor Daily News.