The Unofficially Official Frequently Asked Questions About The December 13th Event Entry

The Unofficially Official Frequently Asked Questions About The December 13th Event Entry

Yes, I am shamelessly stealing from my post from last year’s event.

Why? Because most of it is the same, but needed a few tweaks and updates.

Honestly, I thought we’d been pretty clear and up front with everything to date, but questions keep coming in onesie-twosie fashion, and so I thought I’d save us all some time and create a little FAQ doc to provide answers to some of them in a public manner.  That way, just in case you’ve been wondering or were confused about the same things as these folks were…tah-dah, the veil of mystery has parted…

What’s with all this touchy-feely “goodwill towards men” stuff?
Shut up. We’re trying to be decent people. Contrary to popular belief, we’re not jerks all of the time. This went really well last year, and we’re geeked to do it again this year.

FINE…okay, so why not Toys for Tots or something like that?
We tried. Go read.  They thought it was awesome to not return our calls and emails, so we thought it would be awesome to work directly with Michigan military folks and their families.

Is this a recognized 501c3 charity that you’re working with?
No. It’s not even a charity group. It’s something that we’re doing because it’s the right thing to do and it directly benefits and impacts people from right here in Michigan that are risking their asses so that I have the free time to do stuff like write FAQs for events in breweries. And their families.

So…no tax write-off then?
No, no tax write-off then. Just like we don’t get paid to run this group, and we don’t get kickbacks when people find jobs, and we don’t take a cut from the bars, and we don’t charge you to show up at our events, this isn’t about money. This is about doing it because it’s the right thing to do.

Jeez…I was just asking. Okay, so who are we helping?
Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines from right here in Michigan that are currently parked somewhere other than here.  In fact, this time we’ve got a troop of 25 National Guard folks from right here in Michigan that just got “boots on ground” a few weeks ago. Yes, they’re “overseas”. No, we’re not giving you Google Maps of their location. Yes, we will have more specific information on-hand at the event itself, but not here on the open internet. And again, “and their families”. Have you read our post about this yet? No? GO READ: http://www.ITinTheD.com/2689/support-michigan-military-families/ If you’re interested in specific people that we dealth with last year, you should start here: http://www.ITinTheD.com/category/meet-the-troops/

Can I bring cash?
Of course you can bring cash.

Can I bring a check?
Yes, you can bring a check.

Can the check be made payable to ITintheD.com?
No, the check cannot be made payable to ITintheD.com. We keep telling you that we don’t want your money…so then why, for the love of God, would we have a facility setup by which we could take your money? Make it out to “cash”, make it out to “Russ Dotson”, or make it out to Bob, Jeff or Dave and we’ll just sign it over to him.

How do I know that this money is going where you say it’s going?
Seriously…Don’t Be That Guy. We’ve turned down tens of thousands of dollars from recruiters staying true to ourselves and this group’s core. We’re not setting up a pyramid scheme to fleece you out of $20.

Plus, fun fact – we have proof from last year’s event, you doubting, cynical fools!

Here’s one from Mike – http://www.ITinTheD.com/3565/update-from-december-event/ – who, guess what? Will be at our event on the 13th.

Know what else?  The Taliban blew our $!%^ up.  http://www.ITinTheD.com/3614/okay-taliban-now-its-personal/  There are even photos.  That we can’t share online.  Show up, play nice, and you might get to see ‘em.

Mundy LeonBut they didn’t get it all!  Know how we know? Because here’s the update from package #2 arriving: http://www.ITinTheD.com/3681/package-number-2/

…and what’s that? Package #3 showed up, too?  Amazing: http://www.ITinTheD.com/3716/troops-update-3/

Doubt us at your own peril.

Can I bring stuff?
Yes, you can bring stuff.

What kind of stuff can I bring?
When you come to Rochester Mills on the 13th, please bring one/some/all/whatever of the following items with you so that we can do something really thoughtful and kind this holiday season.  We’ve asked, and these are things that are actually in high demand and would be of the most benefit to someone over in Afghanistan:

  • Candy/gum/jerky.  Nothing chocolate because…duh…it melts in transit.
  • SMALL (read that again: “SMALL”) containers of baby wipes (it’s dusty)
  • iTunes gift cards
  • Tooth brushes and/or SMALL (again – “SMALL) containers of toothpaste
  • Crossword puzzle books – the little ones.  You know, the size that would fit in the pockets of cargo pants.
  • Ear buds.  Apparently they break, get destroyed and clogged up constantly.  Also…hard to find in Afghanistan.
  • Computer headphones…you know, like the kind you’d use for Skype chats with a microphone.  Apparently friggin’ impossible to find over there.

Now, if you’re feeling particularly generous, and you’ve got an extra old (functional…) iPod, Shuffle, or something along those lines laying around…that would be huge.  Again, they tend to break, get destroyed, and get all clogged up with sand constantly.  Also again…fairly hard to find in Afghanistan.

If none of that’s jumping right out at you, why not pick up aVisa gift card or a gift certificate to a local restaurant so that the families of these guys can get a break and go out to dinner?  Got a connection to a local spa or hair place?  Nag the ever living hell out of them and let’s do something nice for the ones still state-side that basically get turned into single parents while their significant other is off protecting our collective ass.  The burden on those that remain here is a huge one, folks.  The life of a military family yes, is the one that they’ve chosen…but that’s all the more reason that we should do something to help when and where we can.  Honestly, we’ve heard that the guys would really, really appreciate doing something for their wives/families…it would mean a lot to them.

If all else fails…bring some cash.  It’s not a write-off, and it doesn’t have to be a ton.  Whatever’s collected will get turned into the above-mentioned items and distributed.

DO NOT BRING anything gift-wrapped, wrapped in any way/shape/form, taped up in a box, or anything like that.  Just don’t.  It’s all got to be looked at and checked over before it heads over to them anyway.  Why?  Because some people are dbags, and think it’s funny to screw with our troops overseas.  Not saying that YOU would do that, but some people suck.

There.  Enough guilt-tripping, ranting and explaining.  We’ve laid out what we’re gonna do, and so that’s what we’re gonna do.  It’s not mandatory, it’s not something we’re going to light you up about if you don’t/can’t/aren’t interested in doing, it’s just something that we’re going to do, and we hope you see the value in doing it as well.

Can I bring stuff that’s not on that list?
Well…you can…but drop us a note first and ask. There’s a good reason. You’re probably thinking that it might be a good idea to bring playing cards…they get dozens and dozens of decks of cards on a daily basis. You might think they’d want to call home, and so you want to pick up calling cards. Their calls are free if and when phones are available, they don’t need calling cards. So…not that it’s not appreciated, but we’d like to stick to being “us” and doing this right, and that means getting them things that we know they actually need. But again, feel free to ask if you’d like.

Seriously. You want me to give you an iPod?
No, we don’t want you to give anyone an iPod. Read it again. Yes, there are people that are donating old iPods that they have laying around. This isn’t a competition, and you don’t have to keep up with the Jones’. You don’t even have to bring anything if you don’t want to or can’t. We get it, it’s not for everyone.

Yeah…but then you’re gonna write “Don’t Be That Guy – The Grinch” about me, aren’t you?
No, we really won’t. It’s still just a casual networking event, there just happens to be something else going on as well. We’re not keeping scorecards.

I can’t make it, but I want to donate. How do I do that?
Send us an email at contact@ITinTheD.com. A few folks have volunteered to be pickup/dropoff locations, and we’ll get you in touch appropriately.

Who’s going to be there?
The usual cast of characters. Some recruiters, some people looking for gigs, some people just looking to meet other people in the industry…really, this is just one of our casual networking events…with a little something extra going on.

Rumor has it there might be people in uniform there. True?
It is a safe assumption that for an event like this, yes, there will probably be a few folks floating around in uniform.

Sweet! Navy people?
Yes. And others.

Awesome! Can I ask if they’re a Navy SEAL?
Don’t Be That Guy. Or Girl.

What about the ribbons? Can I ask about the ribbons and medals and stuff?
Well…sure, you can ask…but don’t be too surprised if you don’t understand the answers they give.

You know how when your computer-clueless relatives ask you what you do, and you just sorta say “computer stuff” or “web stuff” because it’s not worth getting into a comparitive analysis discussion of why you’re a developer and not a SysAdmin, or the difference between working the help desk and being a systems architect? Same thing.

Besides…look, these are people that are defending our country. They are not trained monkeys. Of COURSE stop by to say hello and of COURSE you can talk to them about their experience…bearing in mind that they aren’t really coming down there to give interviews. I would imagine that some, if not all of them have been to Iraq and/or Afghanistan, and they might not appreciate intimate questions about their experiences in those places. They’re not there to discuss the global politics of the situations they’ve been in. They’re certainly not coming to get into any debates. Calm, mellow conversations and questions? I’m quite sure they’ll be more than happy to answer and participate. They are, after all, “people” first and foremost.

They’re people that are taking the time out of their own busy schedules and lives to be at our event to (pardon the pun) “Show the flag” as it were. They really appreciate that we’re taking the time to do this…let’s not make them regret it.

Fiiiiiiine…I’ll be good. Can I buy them a drink?
Absolutely, yes! So long as they want it. Let’s try not to propagate any Drunken Sailor stereotypes. The crack made to Russ was that we should make signs reading “The uninformed shall not overserve the uniformed.”

See you on December 13th: http://www.ITinTheD.com/event/december-2012/

David Phillips is the geek that’s been pushed into management roles over the span of his career. He’s been a helpdesk jockey, a team lead, a systems architect and even a Vice President over the course of his more than 20 years in information technology for a variety of industries. He’s been profiled by CNN’s Money Magazine for his work with the group, as well as being a regular speaker for the Michigan Shifting Gears program, winning 2013’s “Outstanding Contributor for the Transformation of Careers and Lives”.

3 COMMENTS

  1. seems like all the gifts were for the troops except the gift cards for the families to use. is there any spot for gifts for the kids of the troops?

    • Hi Mark – let me take these one by one.

      1. Yes, the majority of what we did was for the troops when it comes to “stuff”. The materials donated were easier to ship overseas than to try and coordinate with families.

      2. We also dealt with fewer people last year. We’re dealing with 25 individuals this year, which means you’re talking about a logistical nightmare when it comes to trying to coordinate the needs of 25 families – some with one kid, some with more, some with none – and trying to figure out the distribution channel that would go along with that and handle things in an equitable and decent nature.

      I’ll do some thinking though, and see if there’s a way that we could enable such a suggestion to be effectively implemented.

  2. I have learned what the deal is with Toys for Tots. Apparently they are all run by volunteers and they don’t start working/retunrnng calls until waaay closer to the holidays. They don’t heve have space to store stuff throughout the year – only during the holiday season. It’s just they way the organization is… I WISH they would state that on their website so that people don’t have an impression that they are just unresponsive and don’t care.

Leave a Reply