Thursday, 24 November 2011

Please Stop Ruining My Christmas With All Your Complaints

If you’re like me you have been reading a slew of Facebook statuses and Tweets by angry Jesus enthusiasts and Atheists complaining about the presence and/or lack of Christ in Christmas.

First of all, I write Xmas because my phone is awful for tweeting, Facebooking and texting. (Damn you LG Bliss!!!! You cost as much as an iphone two years ago.) You can’t have your religious holiday recognized nationally in a country that promotes multiculturalism without having its message slightly diluted. You win some, you lose some. I don’t want my tweets to be scrutinized because of an omission or addition of the name of a religious figure. I just want my followers to know what kind of party I’m getting sloshed at.

Side Note: This isn’t even limited to Christmas. I just want to point out to all of my Christian friends that adding a picture of Jesus and a prayer to it does not make the chain letter any less irritating. Also, if Jesus is testing me by asking me to copy and repost your Facebook status, he clearly doesn’t think much of either of us. Remember when he use to ask you to do difficult things like kill your first born…or he’d just have a whale eat you? If this is what he’s resorted to, the end of days is near.

A lot of Catholics are a little defensive, because they feel that modern society is attacking them by exploiting and sensationalizing everything they do wrong. I would just like to point out that…this is exactly true.

The reason people don’t like you is that you’ve changed your opinion on issues throughout history, but still insist you are the authority on what is right and wrong. Remember when you didn’t like inter-racial marriage…or science… and currently Spongebob (until he meets the right girl)? People remember that stuff. From an outsider’s view, your constant flip-flopping kind of makes it look like you follow Wikipedia rules. If enough people agree, it becomes a fact. You want to save people’s souls? Get enough Catholics to clap their hands and believe that Jesus loves everyone despite their religious beliefs. It worked for Tinkerbelle.

You keep quoting “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” as your reasoning behind eliminating the word X-mas… Two things:

1. Some historians who follow the life of Christ don’t even believe this was the day he was born.

2. Jesus is not the only deity born on this day…he’s not even the first.

This leads me to believe that if we didn’t celebrate Christmas on December 25th, we’d find something else to celebrate. Now that your stockings are hung by the fire I started with the shattered remains of your soapbox, and your high-horse is safely tied to a tree outside, I turn my attention to the other people who ruin this season for me.

You are equally as irritating. As much as you hate to admit it, the North American population is predominantly Christian. Also, people have freedom of religion, which means if I want to put a Christmas tree up in the airport, a menorah in my government office, or just hang a crucified Jesus around my neck, I’m pretty much free to do so. Stop complaining every time someone wishes you a Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. If you’re not Catholic YOU wish people Happy Holidays.

Side Note:  If you’re Christian and reading this, allow me to put this into context for you. Going to an Atheist’s place of employment and wishing them a Merry Christmas is the equivalent of someone getting gay-married and adopting children on your front lawn. The way you celebrate the holidays shouldn’t affect the way they celebrate them, but some people just can’t let things go.  

So for the rest of the season, keep your opinions to yourself. I like Christmas because you get stuff, and people look at you less condescendingly when you’re drunk on a Wednesday afternoon. It doesn’t bother me if you tell me Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, whatever the Kwanza greeting is, or you just feel like telling me right where to go. I’m still going to enjoy myself the same way I do every year…by running up my credit card bill and drinking to forget about it.

To all my Christian Friends – Merry Xmas

To all my Atheist Friends – Happy Holidays…and Jesus loves you. 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Scott Keenan's Guide to Gift Giving

I’m going to start this post by admitting that as an incredibly selfish person, I don’t have this mastered at all. As the Christmas season approaches I thought I would share some tips and tricks that I have picked up in hopes that I can get some help from the tens of people who read this blog. I always try to pick a gift that has some thought put into it, because those gifts are generally less expensive. This is difficult as I’m not really a very thoughtful person. Also, you don’t want to get something too thoughtful, because some sentimental people tend to cry…I don’t deal well with that.

Don’t waste your time thinking about what the child wants. They’d be happy with a couple boxes to build a fort out of. Until a child is 5 or 6 the gift is really for the parents. You might think this gives you a free ride on gift-giving for a few years. Have you even been to a baby shower? When it’s time to open the gifts, the women stop eating and form a “shame-train.” First the gift is opened in front of everyone, and the expecting mother hands it around for everyone to “get a closer look at” or “judge.” At a baby shower it’s easy to fly under the radar with a gift card or a combination jumpers/baby-blanket package, but at Christmas, you have to step up your game.


Books – Don’t buy ones the kids will read by themselves. The parents will tire of them quickly. Buy something that a 6 year old would read, so the parents can read it to them. It’ll definitely get read (provided the parents do that kind of stuff) and at the very least it will be more entertaining for the adults.

Brand-name baby clothes – Nothing says “I have a gay uncle” like a vintage tee and jeans with a lot of distressing.

New age toys for children - They are incredibly over-priced, but have a pretentious explanation to accompany them about how they’re made from all-natural products, or painted with colors that engage the baby and make it smarter so it can grow up to be a genius with ADHD.

Once the children hit a certain age, apparently you have to start thinking about what they like? When they were 3 or 4 you could go into a toy store and tell them you need a gift for a three year old boy and the clerk was all kinds of helpful. When you say seven year old girl they start asking you questions. “What is she into?” After a few minutes of awkward staring you realize this was not a rhetorical question the clerk was asking while he thought about it. “You work at the toy store…you tell me.” Then he gives me attitude like I’m that guy who left his kid in the car with the windows up. Kids this age are weird. All of the toys in their category kind of look stupid and cheap, or they’re out of my price range. Apparently they’ll like a piece of cardboard that has their favorite cartoon character’s face on it…but who knows who that is? A few weeks before Christmas is too late to admit that you don’t.


Classic toys for children – Even if the kid never touches it, the toy will have some camp value that will engage the adults a little bit. Kites, Dominos, etc.


The Elderly
They already have everything. Chances are they also have a storage shed full of the crap you bought them last year. Unless you are absolutely sure they need or want something specific or you can afford to send them on a trip, buy something disposable.

Suggestions: Cards, pictures, lottery tickets etc.

My dad never knows what he wants so every year he gets a combination of leather mittens and/or some kind of flashlight. I pretend it’s thoughtful. He pretends he likes it. We both win. Mothers are obligated to enjoy any piece of garbage you give them. I’ve been looking through her cupboards and replacing low quality cooking tools with higher-end, Paderno-style goods for the past few years. My favorite part is the stuff she doesn’t end up using is given to someone after a few months….last year that someone was me :D Now I’m in the process of finding other things that look like perfectly legitimate presents that could eventually find their way to my house.

My friends that I buy gifts for get incredibly thoughtful gifts. Of course by thoughtful, I mean cheap. Nothing says “thanks for hanging out with me this year” like a crappy Christmas tree ornament with an elaborate story attached to it. They also happen to be my favorite gifts to receive from friends.

If you have friends who thought “Hey, you know what would be a really good idea? Let’s also force our friends to get wedding presents for our New Year’s Eve wedding on top of all of their holiday purchases.” I have some wedding gift ideas below.

… Nope

My rule used to be that because I don’t plan on ever having a wedding where I force people to bring presents, I don’t buy them for other people. I make an exception to this rule when there’s an open bar, because I know I can make my money back. Buy strictly gift cards or something from the registry. If you are thinking of ignoring the registry so you can get them something personal….don’t. You’re the reason people end up with four toasters. You could do something slightly sentimental to COMPLETELY make up for the lack of mentioning them in a blog post ... Congrats Jess and Jimmy.

Ok people, this is the extent of my knowledge. There is just over a month to Christmas and I clearly have no idea what I’m doing. Post comments below or find me on Twitter or Facebook and send me your suggestions. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Top Five Ways to Procrastinate but Still Feel Good About It. By Scott Keenan

Procrastination does not have to make you feel like you’re a failure. As an Olympian of putting things off, I've found several ways to procrastinate that defy the actual definition of the word. The key to not feeling like you’re wasting time is to find something that creates the illusion of progress without actually helping you get whatever it is you’re trying to do, done.

1. Cleaning
This always needs to be done, no matter how much of it you’ve done recently. If you run out of space in your house, there’s always the car, the lawn, and small closed-in spaces you wouldn’t normally clean. No time to get any work I would get paid for done today. I need my house to be spotless!

2. Planning
This is genius. You make a list of all of the things you have to do. Then you prioritize them in the order you’re going to complete them. Depending on how many things you have…this could take forever. Especially if you think really hard about each one, and then make sub-lists of all the steps involved in each item of the original list. There’s no limit to the amount of planning that can be done before the actual execution of something. For example: Are you applying for jobs? First, identify all of the jobs you are going to apply for and make a list of them. Then list them in order of which ones you want the most. Then list them in chronological order from the one that closes first to last. Do you know how long that takes? ALL AFTERNOON!!...if you do it the way I do.

3. Baking
You know what would save sooo much time? Already having meals prepared and divided into portions. 

Step 1: push everything you needed to do today aside. You’ve got to spend all afternoon making something so you will have more time to do all those important things. 

Step 2: Pick something you’ve never made before. Make sure it’s some kind of 3 part jigsaw puzzle of a recipe where you have to make one thing, then make another thing, then put the first thing in the second thing  and fold it into the shape of a swan or equally complicated ornithological creature, and bake it….TWICE! To take up additional time, you could put all of the ingredients into small Pyrex bowls first, like they do on cooking shows. Then if a camera crew stops in, you are all ready for your cooking show, which is super productive because of all the money you’d make from it. 

Step 3: Tweet about how you spent all day cooking.

4. Saving Money
First thing every morning you should check your bank account online. Get really angry about some of the purchases that you didn’t authorize, stomp your foot….scratch your head….yeah you bought those….never mind. Then think about all the money that has to come out of your account this month and make sure there is enough to cover everything. Then look at how much you spent on stupid stuff like coffee and restaurants. You don’t have anything to show for all that money now. Think of ways to avoid doing that in the future, like taking your own coffee to places…or baking. Look at how much you spent on groceries. Did you feed a team of athletes last week? Start looking at flyers to find out what’s on sale this week. Make a list of all the things you need to buy and all the places you need to go to get them. Sound familiar? That’s right…you’re planning again. Spend some time thinking of the most effective way to go to all the places you need to go to get all of the things that will help you save money. There is no distance too far to travel to save 50 cents on a tube of toothpaste.

5. Increasing Your Klout Score
If you’re ever going to be taken seriously by the internet, you need a pretty decent Klout score. For those of you who don’t know, is a site that tells you how cool you are on a scale of 1 to 100. Seriously though, it is supposed to tell you how much influence you have based on your social network followers and their engagement with your posts. You can tell it’s super legit because it gives you more points for visiting their site more frequently. Also, people can give you K+’s if you influence them. I’m sure there is a super complicated formula that measures how high your klout score should increase per K+. Once you get super popular and move to a bigger city, there are all kinds of “perks” for having a high klout score like free sandwiches and coffee. To increase your score you need to engage with other people with high klout scores. First you need to identify the people you know with high scores. Then you need to talk to them (Online though…if you call the on the phone it doesn’t count…unless you post that you talked to them on their Facebook wall and then they agree by commenting and/or liking your post). Also, engaging with people who have low scores really doesn’t do anything for you, so don’t waste your time “Liking” your mom’s post about supper….even if it's homemade spaghetti, which I haven't had in a while (just saying). Then you have to read the news and post interesting articles that will generate discussion or that other people will “Like” or share or retweet.  In turn, you should comment, “Like” and retweet other people’s posts, because they will remember that you helped them and may help you back. It’s pretty much a vicious circle of time-wasting that results in other people also wasting their time.

The most effective methods of procrastination involve doing all of these things in succession or some sort of circular pattern that brings you back to the original form of procrastination. Of course, eventually you need to get actual things done, but using these methods will make you feel less crappy about not doing them than spending the afternoon playing Angry Birds.  

Thursday, 3 November 2011

How is Your Online Recruitment Strategy Working for You? By Scott Keenan

Do you recruit online? Welcome to the bandwagon. Everyone recruits online so you can go ahead and stop feeling special about how technologically advanced you are because you were able to maneuver… no one even goes there anymore. If you’re having trouble attracting qualified candidates, it could be due to the ineffectiveness of your recruitment strategy and not that you’re a horrible employer.

Most companies will post their job ads on the company website and a few other choice job sites and call it good. This is certainly effective for attracting the attention of active candidates, but neglects a much larger pool of qualified candidates.

Some Definitions:
Active Candidates – These people are currently looking for jobs. They can be unemployed or working in a position they’re unhappy with. They habitually check online job sites, newspapers, etc., for new job ads.

Passive Candidates – These people are not actively looking for work, but could still be swayed to apply if something caught their eye.

Step 1: Make it Easy
The first step is to create the ad itself. Break it down into parts and be specific about what you’re looking for. Clearly note your “Must Haves,” your “Nice to Haves” and your job description in separate paragraphs (bullets would be even better). No one wants to read a short novel about a position they’re not currently working in, nor do they want to go through line by line and decipher what is essential for the position, and what are just assets. Being clear about what someone “Must” have in order to be considered will allow the applicants to self-screen.  This means your administrative assistant will not have to go through quite as many resumes for candidates who clearly do not qualify for the position, and s/he might stop having daydreams where s/he cuts your brakes. Also, candidates will not waste their time applying with no chance of employment. If you have a pay range for the position, put it in the advertisement. This eliminates the additional time you spend reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates who wouldn’t work for the salary you’re offering.

Job applications are time consuming by nature. Try not to make it worse. Some companies require you to fill out an extensive profile on their website, and then submit a resume and cover letter anyway. Why would you WANT to make applying for a job MORE of a pain in the ass? Further, if I filled out a profile on your website when I was looking for work a few years ago and I heard nothing back, I will be reluctant to take the time to update it now. Unless you’re getting a large volume of applicants and can afford to lose candidates who aren’t interested in filling out another form and getting another password, lay off the online system.

Step 2: Make it Sexy
A colleague recently sent me a job ad simply because of how creative it was. It was forwarded to her by a former co-worker, who found it on a blog that discusses innovative graphic design. Did someone say free marketing? This company posted their job ad on their website and it made its way to me on its own, free of charge.

A new trend in job advertisements is a short description of the type of person the company is looking for. Listing suggested personality traits reduces the risk of hiring someone with no personality. If you have an amazing corporate culture and a positive work environment, why would you keep it a secret? Sprinkle some of your personality in your job ad. If it’s entertaining enough, it will get “Liked,” tweeted and reposted reaching exponentially more active and passive candidates than traditional job postings.

Want to make it easier to share your job ad? Work it into your social media strategy. Posting and tweeting capitalizes on all of your current clients and followers, who are already somewhat familiar with your services. It also makes it much easier for them to share it with their friends and clients increasing the number of views your ad gets.

Step 3: Make it Personal
My favorite response to a job application was an email I received letting me know that I would not be considered for the position. The Human Resources Coordinator took the time to read my resume and wished me luck on the job hunt and on moving forward with my CHRP designation. She took a PFO and turned it into an electronic hug. Do you know who wins in this scenario? That’s right, the company that just told me to go pound sand.

Obviously, it’s not feasible for most companies to go to this degree of personalization for each applicant, but it is certainly appreciated when the applicant is kept up to speed on the competition, even if it is just an automated email that says “your application has been received” and “the competition has been closed.” Not sending them anything is the equivalent to receiving an acknowledgement email that says “sucks to be you loser.”