So before the US holiday I wanted to check in with you all. How are you doing? How is ShovelBums and everything working for you?

R. Joe Brandon

Hey all,

I hope you are all doing well in these challenging times. My father-in-law was buried yesterday because of complications from Covid. On the bright side my brother, who briefly did fieldwork, but after suffering a stroke a few years back had to move into a nursing facility has appeared to recover from his bout of Covid. Oh, and I let the family get a new kitten. I was the hold out on the approval process, even though I love cats, I have always been very particular that my cats have to find me. Well this one showed up at a friend's house on a bitter night and we went to see it, and I told the kids to have low expectations. The kitten was very sweet alert and inquisitive and let everyone hold her and was fine with it. Then it was my time and the damn little thing started purring as soon as she was in my arms. She is Vanta black with a hint of pewter on the tips of her fur that you can only see in some light. We named her Minerva "Mini" Sarafina. Mini is pretty awesome, which is a bright spot in these days. But she completely upped the ante last night when she watched, riveted, the entire pivotal ~3-minute scene of 2001 A Space Odyssey of the Dawn of Man encountering the monolith (yeah, I know it probably isn't lithic, but that's how they describe it ;-). I'll be posting a video of that on Facebook one of these days. It absolutely made my week. 

So I am writing to check in with you all, both employees, employers and those in-between. I recently had a good client of mine reach out to me. They run a reputable company, do interesting work, and pay fair wages. They had posted on ShovelBums this fall and had a disappointing response and wrote to me to ask if I had any idea why. Their ads tick off all the boxes and to the best of my knowledge because of the energy sector still cranking along and our field being an early adopter of social distancing before social distancing was cool the little feedback I had been getting was that things were chugging along decently. ShovelBums job postings in September and November are the highest they have been in a few years, and October was close. So it seems things are going well. But if not. I would like to know to get a pulse on what is happening. So give me some feedback at RJoe@... or on Facebook at:

And of course, as always, if you want to be treated as a professional, act like one. So don't go on a bashing binge griping about things ;-)

I hope you are all well. And for those of you in the US, have a safe, and small, Thanksgiving. Take a chance to, nicely, educate your own social networks on more of the facts around the pilgrims and that first century in America...without getting on a soapbox. Be gentle, remember most people have grown up believing the equivalent of the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving as pretty solid facts. So when a lifetime of facts are disrupted, walk carefully, go slowly and you might make some progress in educating people.

Keep yourselves safe, and keep distant my friends!


R. Joe