Showing posts with label job hunting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label job hunting. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Oldcastle is Oldfashioned


I'm going to single out Oldcastle, but they are by no means the worst offenders to incur my wrath.

I am talking about companies that torture the job-seeker/hunter/browser with endless questionnaires and tests, and topping it off by forcing the applicant to regurgitate the entire contents of his painstakingly crafted resume.

Dear Mr. Corporation. If you make applying for a job a fool's errand, you will employ fools.

I opted against Oldcastle because they want me to perform long thankless arduous work for free just to apply for a job. Make it easy, and I might grant you twenty-five seconds of my time. If you're lucky. Otherwise, I really don't see the point in applying for a job with a company run by fools.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

China

There are folks out there that think China is hunky-dory. I guess because they think General T'zo was a great military leader. Or they discovered green tea in the grocery store.

The reality is that China is a bad actor on the Internet, and here's just a recent example.

American companies that offshore jobs to China should pay a tax for each job they offshore, to reflect the hidden costs such as a more dangerous world, a more dangerous Internet, and a weakening of the U.S. economy. Some CEOs simply have no scruples, no sense of responsibility whatsoever to their country. It is too bad that they get rewarded by Wall Street for reducing the number of jobs in America. There needs to be some accounting for the costs of giving power, money, and jobs to a nation like China that has no ethics, abides by no law and respects only force. A thousand dollars per year per job sent overseas would be a good start on a new and just tax. Apple should be paying the U.S. debt down with all the billions of dollars in fines that they so richly deserve. Steve Jobs had the most ironic name in the history of American business. Apple should rebuild Detroit and other decayed American cities with all the wealth they gathered by short-changing the workers. If the elite do not take care of what is happening in this country and see to it that jobs are there for the workers, then in the not-so-distant future, the U.S. will cease to be a world power at all. There are too many people either unemployed or underemployed.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Job-Hunting Advice

Good jobs are hard to find, now more than ever. Some retirees just don't understand, because they enjoy the generous pensions of their generation. They keep thinking that 2014 is the same as 1984. Well, guess what, old-timers, times have changed. Jobs are a lot harder to get and keep today than they were in the past. Employers expect their workers to deal with multiple tasks at once, handle technologically complicated tasks, work frequent overtime, and do all this for less money and less benefits and less opportunity than you received in 1984 with your cushy job sitting in an office all day drinking coffee laced with vodka, talking about the football game and managing nothing more complicated than a typewriter and a secretary.

I can relate with today's young people and others who are struggling to find a good job, because I've been there myself, and I have some relevant advice that can get real results.
  1. Visit fiverr.com and pay $5 to have a pro refresh and revise your resume. They probably won't get it right, but they tend to have good ideas that you can then incorporate in your own revision.
  2. Dress up in a suit and go to events and places where you can network with others and potentially find employment. Sometimes visiting places in person can make a difference, and at any rate it serves as a useful experience and confidence-booster. Hunting for jobs on the Internet can be a waste of time, and most of the jobs one finds on the Internet are of the less desirable variety, with high turnover, low pay and low benefits. That's the reason one continues to see the same companies offering the same positions, week after week.
  3. Have business cards printed out at vistaprint.com or another site. I'm not being paid for a plug here, but I did use vistaprint myself, based on the recommendation of a business-savvy gay.
  4. If you don't have enough money to meet your bills, go ahead and drop your home internet and just use internet at Starbucks or the local library for free like other people seem to do. In the U.S., home internet service is overpriced and slow. I'd drop my internet too, if I weren't such a geek.
  5. While you're out there networking and socializing with a wide variety of different people, see whether you can strike a deal where you rent from another person in exchange for doing housework, cooking meals, running errands and answering phone calls. This arrangement is more common than you might think. Many elderly folks have a lot of disposable income but do not have a partner nor anyone that they can trust. That is a sad symptom of our disposable society where friends drop their friends on the silliest pretext, and families tend to be dysfunctional and split up as soon as the kids are out of the house. There are a lot of lonely people in the world, but some of them are willing to pay for a little help around the house. Being trustworthy and honest and having a nice personality means a LOT and is worth a LOT. Being gay-friendly is a plus, as is being plain old friendly to all kinds of people. I know someone who runs errands for an older man, cooks his meals, answers phone calls, performs yard work and cleans house. In exchange, he gets free room and board, car insurance, medical insurance, a car and a small monthly stipend. He also has enough time to work a separate part-time job on the side. I call that a good deal for both sides, don't you?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Project Runway and RuPaul's Drag Race

There are two television shows that are must-see TV for geeks like me--"RuPaul's Drag Race" and "Project Runway." I grew up without the slightest interest in clothes. I think I have improved a great deal. Shows that deal with fashion are highly educational for those who have little natural inclination toward fashion. I find my awareness of clothes has increased, and I am more likely to "dress up" than I ever was in the past. I told my partner the other day, "I want to look like Tim Gunn," the mentor on "Project Runway" that is one of my favorite television personalities. He seems to me dignified, intelligent, perceptive, and seems to have a warm and affectionate side as well.

Another area where I've made great strides is public speaking. I'm not a good charlatan. I need to know a subject well before I speak. I hate faking and I hate fakers. However, if I do know a subject well, then fear melts away, and I transform into a dragon. I did a speech on a disease not long ago in front of a group of nursing students. I had researched the disease well and rehearsed my speech about a dozen times. For me, preparation is essential. I like to feel that I am not wasting my time or anyone else's. The speech was well-received and some people told me that mine was the best of the lot.

Knowledge makes a big difference for me. I think that I would have made a good college professor if I had long ago chosen a different route, abandoning computer technology and pursuing instead a doctorate. Technology is a fickle field where only the last two years matter. I never expected that one day all my knowledge would be deemed obsolete and my aptitude not given a moment's consideration. There are zero opportunities, and no employer cares what one has learned or can learn. They would as soon hire workers from India or China or not hire in America at all and simply invest in overseas operations.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

College is a Waste of Time and Money

I am always surprised to hear about the enrollment statistics at local colleges. As college is deemed worthless by employers, why do so many people still enroll, incurring debt in the process? It is as though they and their parents assume that nothing has changed since 1940, and a college degree remains the stepladder into the middle class. The reality is quite different now. There are a lot of people with Bachelor's and even Master's degrees that cannot find anything other than minimum-wage jobs. In reality, there is more to be gained by working at McDonalds for four years than incurring debt for four years. At least at McDonalds, no debt will be incurred, and some amount of money will be earned. There is always the possibility of becoming a store manager as well. I think the real reason kids still go to college is that an expectation has been to baked into their minds by our culture. There remains this almost religious awe of getting a college degree. After all, that may be how their parents moved up the ladder, back in the day when the economy was working. Graduation into the world of highly educated unemployment or under-employment or menial labor will come as a rude shock.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Applying for a Job

I applied for a job the other day online. The questions the employer asked me made me uncomfortable. Their web site required me to enter my SSN, driver's license number and date of birth. Am I stupid because I entered these things? Will I become the victim of identity theft in the future? Will they be able to trace all my online activities, including this blog? Will all my data be shared in a central database, so that any future applications I make can be fact-checked against this one? Will my data be sold to other companies? These kinds of questions freak me out. I don't think it's fair, but then again, I'm the one needing the job, and the company probably has tons of people applying. Supply and demand is not in the job-seeker's favor. There is so much less need for people these days due to all the labor-saving wrought by technology.

I gave them all the information they wanted to know, because I want the job. Maybe that's a decision I will later regret, much like my decision in the 1990s to invest my IRA in stocks rather than bonds, because "everybody knew" that stocks outperformed bonds over the long haul. Little did I know that the 6 - 8% interest rates then normal would look enticing well before 2013.

Friday, June 7, 2013

An Interview

I was told during a phone interview today that I lack administrative experience. This was not volunteered feedback. I extracted it from the interviewer with a direct question: "Do you feel that there is anything that would disqualify me from this position?" Is that a gambit? Perhaps it is. I find directness helpful, because it cuts through the crap. I want useful feedback. If I don't get the job, give me a clue why. Otherwise the interview is of limited value. I am direct in all my questions. All I care about is whether my resume, cover letter, and presentation are okay. The rest has no meaning, because I can research to find the answers to everything else.

Administrating programs and procedures and protocols? Surely I have done that in my life. What the remark suggests however is that there are applicants that are better known to the decision-maker, applicants with what is thought to be "administrative experience," possibly people that are already vouched for by someone known to the interviewer. The selection of that other will be justified by their "administrative experience."

My pride is wounded by applying for humble jobs with modest demands and being told I haven't the right experience for them. What, am I incapable of learning any new skill? Am I fossil already? Do my degrees and experience mean nothing? The answer is yes, my college degrees mean nothing, their value is zero or even less than zero. My experience means nothing either. No one thinks anything about computer programming, no one holds it in any special regard at all. All that matters is who one knows. What one knows is of less importance.

I was told there were hundreds of applicants just for this one little job paying twelve dollar an hour, and I was one of only fifteen called for a phone interview. Should I be flattered by that? Maybe. I'm not though. I'd really prefer not to have wasted my energy upon hoping for a better life. Oh, I had such eagerness--was almost giddy. I felt alert and aware. Yet it seemed that nothing I said impressed the listener, that she had heard it all before and was rather bored and disinterested. Never once did she offer any positive feedback. How I wish I knew someone that was close to her! That would have made all the difference, I'm sure. I could not get through the firewall. I had a strong suspicion she had already made up her mind to choose someone else, and I don't really know why she called in the first place. Perhaps she thought I was female and turned against me upon finding I was not. That seems to me a very likely scenario, because I know how clannish women can be. Many women strongly prefer to work with other women. So what she said was probably a convenient excuse, a white lie. There is really nothing I could have said or done to eliminate such a strong bias.

I am a good listener. I can read into choice of words and tone of voice pretty well, and I felt my chance was over and done. A black wave of despair passed over me the minute I put the phone down. It is times like this that I fear death not at all.

Writing about the experience helps. I feel better here at this last paragraph than I did at the first. Once one confesses to despair, that is the essential lever to lift the heavy burden from consciousness. Do not feed the despair. Do not drink. One must confess. Confession is good for the soul. "Yes, I have this wild feeling that things are hopeless, yes I feel like a drowning rat. Yes I feel that my talents are being wasted." With confession, the despair becomes an interesting unusual thing, like a sombrero, and one's curiosity is piqued. Why am I wearing this sombrero? I don't usually wear a sombrero. I will take it off. The hat fit me half an hour ago, but I think I'm over it now. I have such a good life. Yes, life is good. I do not need to wear the sombrero.

What fits me better is stoicism. We live, we die. That is all. As long as there are still good moments, free of pain, that is all one should expect.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Elance is a Boil that Needs to be Lanced

I've been exploring Elance lately. What a time-waster that place is. I spent an hour this morning providing a one-page proofreading sample for somebody writing a novel. Based on the page they took from their novel, they can't write well and are wasting their time. Unfortunately, they wasted my time too. I spent an hour proofing the one page and composing a proposal on Elance only to have them cancel the whole project, most likely because I was quoting a fair price, and they had a Wal-Mart budget. I am sure they wanted me to work for $5 an hour--that is exactly what they had in mind. That teaches me never to do any work until I see the money and to never do any work on spec or in hopes of getting work. You work on spec or in hopes of getting more work, and your hopes are dashed, everytime, because somebody finds a cheaper source or changes their mind or has a brainstorm or whatever the case may be. The next time someone asks for a sample, I am going to ask for $100.

I don't like Elance, because they take a greedy Mafia-esque 9% cut, holding the money for a week or longer before transferring it, and charging for every little thing. Want to make bids on a different category? That will cost you. Just making bids in the first place involves a substantial amount of time examining the job and determining whether it is a good fit or not. Then you have to deal with 10 to 30 other bidders who also want the job. Elance is just another slimy monster stealing work from Americans and farming it over to the third world. I think Elance is a boil that needs to be lanced.Post a Comment
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Friday, May 4, 2012

Applicant Tests

I've taken tons of applicant tests and aced them and gotten nothing for all my time and effort. Finally I figured out why companies give applicants skills tests. The reason is not to assess skills, but to disqualify all applicants, because the boss man has a buddy in line for the job and does not want to hire anybody else. The skills tests cover his behind from a legal and political standpoint. He will claim to his superiors and colleagues that everybody else failed the tests except for his buddy. I've changed my policy on tests and refuse to take them anymore because they are just a giant waste of time and energy. It is a more efficient use of time to clip coupons.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

H1-B Visas

If you wonder why you can't get a job in the computer field, despite having (like me) a college degree and ample experience, the reason is that employers have exported jobs and careers, and companies like Infosys are even breaking immigration law to bring foreigners over to the U.S. to replace American workers.

With two college degrees (and 3.9 GPA) and ten years of experience, I cannot even get a job working help desk for $15 an hour in today's economy. Companies would rather hire Joe India or Joe Mexico for $9 an hour.

That is another reason why I am glad I did not bring any kids into this world. There are no jobs available for people my age, let alone younger people who probably have an even harder time finding work.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Passing My Piss-Test

There is a contradiction in a Republic when unreasonable search and seizure is being conducted against bodily fluids. Piss tests are something that no patriot who loves his country could ever support. They are demeaning and degrading and aimed only at workers, not at the rich and privileged owners and leaders who actually make the decisions that determine our national destiny.

If I am wrong, and urinalysis is right, then members of Congress and all CEO's should be piss-tested on a random basis for drugs and alcohol, and the results should be accessible on the web. Their jobs are far more important than ours and have far more impact on our nation's destiny. If checking urine is so important, then the urine of a CEO is more to the point than the urine of a Wal-Mart greeter. Have CEO's and Congress as a whole performed particularly well over the last twenty years? You tell me.

Sometime while I was ranting against the immorality of urinalysis tests, companies and government quietly decided to loosen their standards. I don't know when this happened and I don't know why. Old research indicated that marijuana could be detected in the urine for as long as 30 days after use, which seemed unfair, given that harder substances such as meth become undetectable much sooner. The "30 days" bit is an oft-repeated talking point. The reality, I have found, is rather different.

Recently, I was offered a job, contingent upon passing urinalysis. I researched NORML to learn more about the state of the art in regard to piss-tests. NORML is my go-to source for any questions regarding cannabis, and I regard it as the very best source on the Internet. Google should rank NORML as the #1 result for any search of "marijuana," but it doesn't. Instead, mainstream media sites with articles about pot busts are cited, followed by Wikipedia, a couple of other sites and then NORML around #7. I am not sure whether my Google results are the same as everyone else's, because Google is getting too smarty-pants, customizing their results for individual users.

Today, companies and government tend to have a cutoff point of 50 nanograms of THC metabolites per milliliter. Any amount in excess of 50 ng / ml triggers a "positive" result, with negative consequences for the poor soul being tested. However, recent research has found that this 50 ng / ml cutoff allows more leeway than previously thought and that people can pass piss-tests even if they have used marijuana two weeks prior. Marijuana remains the most easily detected substance, and the situation is still unfair. However, the "30 days" business only holds true for heavy daily users with high residual levels, the wake-and-bake crowd. A chronic daily user with a slow metabolism might test positive for as long as two months after the last use! However, an occasional, once-a-week user with a normal metabolism has little to fear after a dozen days of strict abstinence. I assume that this 50 ng / ml cutoff was established in order to eliminate the possibility of false positives, an occasional problem with urinalysis in the past.

For occasional users facing preemployment tests, there is an advantage to delaying the test as long as possible in order to increase the number of days of abstinence and reduce the metabolite concentration in the body. When an email is received with an invitation to test, there is typically a deadline to respond to the invitation. The moment the invitation is accepted, a piss-test "date" is made three days in advance. Thus, it is advantageous to wait until the very last day of that deadline before accepting the invitation. I wouldn't wait until the last hour, because the Internet may be down.

I considered substituting someone else's urine in the place of my own, but I was reluctant to blemish my record of having never cheated in all my life. I believe it is ethical to cheat on a piss-test, for the same reason that it is ethical for a nation to engage in espionage during wartime. Piss-tests are wrong, and thus any method that can circumvent them seems to me fair game. Anyone with the least amount of imagination could invent a dozen different ways to conceal and substitute another person's urine while maintaining a plausible temperature for the urine. Nevertheless, I just don't like the idea of cheating, even though I can't explain why. It is just a personal preference of mine. I prefer beating the test if possible through abstinence and background research of the testing technology. That is my way, because I'm a techie.

In the end, after researching NORML, I determined I would pass the test without any difficulty. I am an occasional user with a normal metabolism and do not drink. The test was scheduled exactly twelve days after my last use. According to the consensus of all my sources, the chance of my failing a piss-test with a 50 ng / ml cutoff was miniscule.

I did not bother with any vitamins or supplements and did not exercise any more than usual. I think that there is a lot of pseudoscientific hogwash about ways to defeat piss tests, with various vitamins and herbs promoted that have little or no actual effect but may make certain vendors rich.

I only did what NORML recommends--on the day of the test, I voided my bladder several times prior to my arrival at the clinic. This helps, because it is well-established and often repeated that the greatest concentration of metabolites is found in the first void of the day. Also, by drinking plenty of fluids, one dilutes the concentration of metabolites. The sample I provided contained only urine deposited in my bladder during a narrow 2-3 hour window. It had little or no color, because I had been drinking about double the usual amount of tea and water that day in preparation for the test.

I had no doubt whatsoever that I passed. The clinic never informed me, because their master is the employer, not me. However, the employer offered me a job, so there's my answer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Just Damn Unlucky

I could be among the middle class today; I was just damn unlucky. I've achieved perfect records in so many different arenas, but there's always that one misfortune or coincidence that deprives me of the cheese at the end of the maze.

I think it's fair to say I'm unlucky. I had the bright intuition to buy gold when gold was cheap, $300/oz., in fact I imagined my dead grandfather (he was keen on investments) whispering in my ear, "Buy gold with every spare dollar at your disposal, now," but after buying the gold, I double-guessed myself after reading magazine articles about the invulnerable, infallible, reliable then-soaring stock market, and I sold most of my gold on Ebay, typically for the starting price with no bidding. (As we know, Ebay sucks.)

I almost got accepted into nursing school with my academic record and great score (99) on the entrance exam, but there were two grades from twenty years ago that, I suspect, nixed my chances, along with my lack of prior medical experience. Everyone encouraged me to go back and take those old classes over again and volunteer at a local hospital, but you know what, that's a lot of sacrifice combined with the $30K price tag of nursing school, money that I don't have to spare. Used to be the government helped out poor nursing students, but all that money dried up after the wars, and it never was enough anyhow.

I guess I've got a lot of "almost-wons" to my credit. I almost got a decent job up in Vermont. Spent about a dozen hours filling out applications & questionnaires and responding to emails and conducting telephone and a webcam interview. Nothing. Not even an email saying sorry, we passed you by. I don't mind so much, though. I guess some jobseekers get bitter and bite back when they receive those "Sorry" emails. They shouldn't. Sorry is better than silence. Silence leaves one wondering if the game is still on.

Back in the day, I almost got accepted into graduate school, in fact I was accepted, and my generous parents offered to foot the bill in full, but my stupid morality got in the way. For one thing, I balked at the cost ($15k for living expenses and additional for tuition), knowing that my Mom hated her job and my Dad was retiring. It seemed to me I would be asking them to make a huge sacrifice, and that caused me to scrutinize the curriculum closely. I felt that most of what graduate school was teaching was crap. I perceived some, not all, of the same criticisms that Gore Vidal expresses far more eloquently in his essays and interviews. Probably I should have swallowed my reservations along with my pride and just held my nose and scored an easy Ph.D., because it would have been awfully easy for me. Then I'd have a relatively cushy academic job at some state school or technical school somewhere, much easier that the demanding programming jobs I worked after abandoning grad school.

What I did with computers, I don't think many people could do. It wasn't easy, even for people who live and breathe tech. There was a great deal of skull sweat and cold sweat trickling down the neck at 3 AM in the office as millions of dollars are contemplated at stake. I pulled it off though, all of it, somehow. That does give me satisfaction, even if no one remembers or cares at all (water under the bridge). Put in a situation of crisis, I performed, which means I'm a good soldier. But I suppose that's not valued anymore in today's economy, today's world.

I did have a taste for drama in the younger days, unlike today. I remember the head of the program at grad school calling me up on the phone to ask me why I hadn't paid the fees yet. I guess head count was down, student quality was poor, and I looked good enough on paper to justify a personal phone call.

I indicated I was not interested, that I had changed my mind, and she wanted to know all of the reasons why with as much detail as I could offer. I told her my opinions of the program, which pretty much dovetail with Gore Vidal's, although I had not yet read him on the subject. I had just formed my own opinion after lengthy reflection. She was infuriated and declared that I would never be permitted into the program while she was head, or dean, or whatever it is. She paused for about five seconds, expecting me to mend the rift I suppose, and when I didn't, she concluded that I was not interested in her program anymore, and asked me if that were so. I confirmed. We never spoke again. I imagine I was blackballed or put on some list at that particular university, but it didn't matter. She's probably retired or dead by now, but I don't have any plan on doing the grad school thing now. It's a bit late in the game for that, I think, and there's just no money to help with tuition or any other costs.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Thursday, September 22, 2011

College Degree is Worthless

I found this article about America's Lost Generation interesting but differ with their appraisal of a college degree's value.

College degrees are worthless. Companies demand not only a degree, but ten years of RECENT experience. Otherwise, you might as well not apply. You're just wasting your time.

A high I.Q. is irrelevant. Good grades are without value. Hard work is an object of scorn. Education means nothing.

Work is not permitted in the U.S. anymore. The jobs have been outsourced to China, India, Russia, and other of our "friends".

I see no reason at all to hope for a better future. All the signs are ominous, to anyone who is paying attention.

History does provide us with a road map, however, of just how horrible things will become.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Monday, August 22, 2011

What Does a College Education Get You?

Graduate from college, go back to college, graduate again, all with a 3.8+ GPA, and that will get you a job at McDonald's flipping burgers in this economy. Employers don't care about learnin' and don't even care about experience.

When I read in the Wall Street Journal that Silicon Valley companies are "starved for talent," I thought to myself: what liars. They are just bald-faced liars. They use that lie to justify going over to India, China, Russia and Brazil, which they wanted to do all along in order to get cheap labor. If the Silicon Valley companies were, indeed, "starved for talent," then they could easily hire homegrown talent, which is plentiful.

Starved for talent, my foot. The U.S. job market is saturated with highly educated, highly trained talent, ready to assume every conceivable role. Companies just don't want to hire Americans.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How to Report Phishing Scams

Any computer user with half a brain could sniff this phishing scam a mile away. If you think that you might have fallen for it, then you need to reconsider using email and even the Internet.

Dear Igor,
Our Company is known as a payment processor with services designed for international small businesses. Our Organization
have found your resume in Careerbuilder.com web-site reviewed it and sure that you to be a ideal applicant for this
job which we offer.
We are currently looking for a few qualified individuals for a vacant position "Check Assist Manager".

The general duties of this position is collecting payments [ wire transfers and bank cheques ] from our customers in
United States.
Every fund transfer will follow with detailed instructions.
If you don’t have bank account We will help you to open a new account.

Average income is $600-$800 per week.

Basic Requirements:

- US Citizenship
- Available 6-10 hour per week;
- Computer skills [MS Word] personal e-mail address
- Honesty, responsibility and promptness in operations
- Willingness to work from home
- not less than 21 years old
It is a part-time job which doesn't require leaving your main job


There are no any start-up or training fee

If you want to join our team please fill form on our web-site.

I looked at this for five seconds, then forwarded it to the following parties:

US CERT : phishing-report [at] us-cert.gov
CareerBuilder Phishing Scam Report: TSST [at] careerbuilder.com (Due to the fact this scam was conducted using CareerBuilder, CareerBuilder is interested in it.)

I considered the FBI, but the FBI only appears concerned with actual fraud cases. I would have had to have fallen victim. My desire to report is great, but not that great. The University of Minnesota maintains a useful page with info about reporting phishing scams.

I hope my action results in a black hat getting inconvenienced, at the very least, if not put behind bars. Scum of the earth, preying upon the unemployed, the mentally ill, the young and inexperienced and the elderly.

For more information on how to report and respond to a suspected scam:

http://www.fraudaid.com/solution_center/menu.htm

Internet Crime Complaints can be filed at: http://www.ic3.gov

Suspected scam email messages can be forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission at: spam@uce.gov
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Volunteerism?

In the eyes of employers, unless a skill was acquired on a job, it is not real. Recruiters don't really care what one has been studying or working on. This has many implications, one being that it is pointless to study any of the programming languages or contribute to any online project such as Mozilla. No matter how much one learns, all of the knowledge is considered to be imaginary. I have already learned a great deal about html and css, a bit of php, and even some javascript, but I have discovered that none of that matters, because employers won't hire anyone lacking on-the-job experience, which puts a damper on any desire to dabble in C, C++, .NET, Linux, or for that matter any other technology. It all seems pointless. Work, study and learn, and it doesn't even matter; so why work, study or learn at all? The time might be better spent reading books, watching documentaries, or playing games.

Another drawback with some compiled projects like Firefox is that they demand a faster system, and I can't justify even $300 to build a new rig, because the expected payoff would amount to nothing besides vanity. The various C-language projects I've studied are highly complicated time sinks, where just getting started can easily take days or weeks. As was the case when I built various web sites from the ground up, I suspect my efforts would remain unappreciated, unrewarded and unnoticed. Many people seem to have the impression that technology work is its own reward. Unfortunately, when individuals do work for free, whether as interns or volunteers, they feed into that notion and help to make it a reality.

I am learning not to to do anything for free. Just last year I refused the request of a pushy friend to fix her computer for free. I didn't regret it, even though I do enjoy doing such work. The fact of the matter is that I resent the implication that I should be some kind of geek slave. If that is so, then I would rather not do the work at all. Of course, her attitude towards me soured. I was no longer useful.

I was pleased to learn about her true nature. So much of what some people say is designed to manipulate others, and it is refreshing when another person's mask drops, allowing a glimpse of the real creature behind the mask. I would have paid a hundred dollars to divine her secret, but she let it slip for free, and I am grateful, as I always am when I discover the truth. It's never good to be deceived about others. It's best to be informed. The more information, the better.

This year, I quit working as an unpaid admin for a web site. The number of hours I put into that site, no one will ever know. Sometimes it was more than forty hours a week. I learned all about html, css, .htaccess, cron jobs, and even picked up php and javascript. Does any of that matter? No. Did it lead to a job? No. That's the reality of today's market.

For the first few weeks, I feared I would miss the prestige, power and creative outlet, but really I didn't miss it at all. Instead I am relieved to be cured of my addiction. I was addicted to work, and what's worse, I was addicted to performing free work, in effect being a slave. That's the worse kind of addiction I know, but it's a hazard to which geeks like me are prone to succumbing. I have an innate desire to be productive, to feel like I have accomplished something in my time on this earth. But it is important to be engaged in proper work, where one is compensated in some way, not necessarily money, but something.

It was a good move to quit the site. I am relieved not to be bothered. No one writes to an admin with praise or thoughtful comments, as beginners often imagine. Instead, complaints and work requests are the rule. All of the things that I worked on were, to an extent, appreciated by anonymous strangers, but the rewards were nonexistent. I received nothing in return, not friends, not helpful advice or comments, not thanks, and certainly not a job reference, and the expectation of the web site's users were that I was a geek-slave, as above, that didn't need any kind of compensation. That is an impression I aim to rectify in all my future dealings.

In reality, I have 10+ years experience coding html and css pages. According to recruiters, I have 0 years experience and am disqualified from all jobs that require html or css. It is like I am living in Soviet Russia, forbidden to work because of the system. If you need a job, then a job will be denied to you. If you don't need a job, then a job will be offered to you. That is the employment market today. Acquiring new skills is pointless. Training in new computer languages is pointless. Knowledge and ability are irrelevant. Around 2005 or so, the job market froze. Those who are in, stay in. Those who are out, stay out. Period. I don't see any way around that brick wall that has been erected in an arbitrary fashion. I'm just glad I have savings, unlike some. I suppose there are many people who are in more desperate straits.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

RazorHire

Razor hire[dot]com promotes itself by spamming job seekers. I have received unsolicited email from some idiot at Razorhire on a regular basis. Today I kill-filed razorhire.

Companies and web site owners need to think before spamming. It is not a prudent method of promoting a web site or a product. The most likely response of the recipient to unsolicited email from an unknown source will be hostile.

CameronCraig[dot]com is another spammy outfit that sends out deceptive emails trying to drum up traffic.

I don't want to be emailed by robots about other sites to look for jobs. If the site was not good enough for me to find it on my own, then it is a waste of my time.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Libya & U.S.

I remember reading about the situation in Libya where people were forbidden to work. That seemed strange to me, but upon reflection, it is similar to the situation here, where people can't find work, and employers won't hire those that don't already have a job. So you can't get a job unless you don't really need one. What are the unemployed supposed to do? Starve to death? There aren't many people who are willing to starve to death, as Khadaffy is learning. The lower a man is reduced, the less he has to lose. Freedom means nothing left to lose.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Top Four Interview Mistakes

There's nothing I hate more than working my tail off to score an interview, only to feel like I didn't perform to my utmost. All the work I put into my cover letter, resume, and in some cases questionnaire and I.Q. Test goes down the drain if the interview hits a road bump. Here are some lessons I've learned the hard way.
  1. Decide right away whether you are a morning person or an evening person. If you're not a morning person, then do NOT schedule an interview in the morning. I was so eager to please the HR rep that I agreed to a 10 AM interview. I was so excited the night before that I didn't sleep a wink. My wits weren't what they could have been. If I had only scheduled a 3 PM interview, I'd have been better off, and the interviewers more relaxed as well, because in general I've noticed that people tend to become more relaxed as the day wears on.
  2. The HR rear ends were taught in business school to always ask the interviewee whether he has any questions, on the theory that applicants are too scared to volunteer a question without being asked for one. I seldom have had any good questions, because I research the company beforehand and can adapt to just about any situation anyway. However, this looks bad in the HR rep's eyes. Here's a great question: Do you have any questions or concerns that you haven't mentioned yet? Here's another: Can you think of any reason that I wouldn't be a great candidate for this position? The goal is to shake out the pebble in their shoe, that lingering doubt or concern that they have observed, but not revealed. That secret doubt is your enemy, and it is best to bring it out into the open, where it can be addressed head on.
  3. Remember that most HR questions are complete B.S. designed to trick the interviewee into badmouthing former employers or sharing unflattering things about himself. Never utter anything that does not portray you in a positive light when viewed from any possible angle, because it will then be taken out of context and magnified tenfold. Strive to be cheerfully boring.
  4. Faulty memory is not a valid excuse. Always have a few canned anecdotes about your past experiences to share with the interviewer. These must all portray you in a positive light.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Ratio

The time that a serious job seeker spends applying for a single job compared to the amount of time an employer spends evaluating the applicant is 100:1. Employers are cherry-picking among applicants, wasting the time of 99% in order to get at the most desirable 1%. Few companies want to work with a resume anymore. Instead, a job seeker must become a volunteer data entry clerk, filling out an application that duplicates pretty much everything that is on the resume, so that the data becomes searchable.

One company requested that I fill out a lengthy questionnaire. I spent an entire day preparing that, and the result was so good that they decided to interview me over the phone. Preparation for an interview always costs me more time than the actual interview itself. I want to know as much as I can going into the interview. Whether that impresses anyone these days, I don't know. I think people automatically assume that one has a mobile device in his hand and is using it for crib notes.

A video interview followed, and I got the impression that I'm disqualified because I'm overqualified. Rather than nip that bud early in the process by using a technique known as "reading comprehension," they chose to read comic books in the office or whatever it is they do on a working day. The hiring manager had not read my application, had not read my resume, and had not even read the questionnaire, but waited until the second interview to evaluate the weight of my experience, which is heavy. The desired candidate, I gather, will be fifteen years younger, untested and unsure of how to handle the situation when the septic tank discharges into the air conditioning unit. That will be their problem, not mine. My problem is how to reduce the amount of time that companies demand that I waste. I'm not sure it is possible to avoid the questionnaires, I.Q. tests, and other time-wasting hurdles that one jumps through only to be smacked down at the end.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments
techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions