Latest Entries »

I hear this all the time on the various message boards that I read through every week: 

  • People are not hiring these days.
  • Every time I apply for a job I get turned down but not told why.
  • I am too old and don’t see the value in going back to school to get more knowledge and get more work.
  • I am tired of having to deal with rejection.
  • All the jobs seem to be going to the younger people.

These are all false. 

Stop whining and start whining. 

Yes, I will admit that it is tougher than it used to be. The days of the IT booms are over. Too bad, so sad, write a letter and get over it. There is no more get rich quick things happening. Well, there are a few, but not as many as there were.

Finding a job these days is NO different than it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago, etc, there are simply less jobs and more people, but the concept is the same. 

  • Have the skills needed to fill a position
  • Find a position to fill
  • Apply
  • Impress
  • Interview
  • Get the job
  • Prove value

 From here on in it is simply a ‘lather, rinse and repeat’ methodology for life.

Skills

The first one, having the skills, requires that you make a commitment. You have to know what you want to do, what makes you passionate about a role and a job, and then know what you need to do to get from where you are now to where you want to be, and then go do it. You also have to keep your eyes open to the fact that as you grow and get educated things can change so you need to be able to change too.

Deal with it. Life moves fast today anyou will be required to also. You may start out to get a degree that qualifies you to be an IT architect in a specific field that is hot when you first begin, but after two years a completely new field opens up and you suddenly see an opportunity. Do you just muddle along, wait until you are done with your degree and apply?

<The tune to Jeopardy plays here>

The answer is ‘what is the word NO’ Alex.

You apply for that job NOW, show that you are actively working towards gaining your degree in the field that will help them achieve their goals in this new area, and explain how you can help them achieve their required needs because you understand what it takes to be flexible, know how to identify new opportunities, learn fast, stay agile, and most of all, make changes when you need to. Show how, while you may not have a 100% fit for the jobs stated requirements, that you are showing the constant ability to learn and adapt, and that you can assure them that what you may not know today you can research and learn quickly. After all, in today’s markets, no one can say that they know everything and the one true attribute of a successful person is the ability to know what they don’t know today and learn it for tomorrow.

Find some jobs

Finding a position to fill is easy. Search, search, search, and then search some more. Talk, ask, email. Every company has a job available, a need to fill, a want that needs to be overcome. Some companies are open about them, some are not.

As George Carlin used to say…

Your job? Find them

Find the opportunities. Don’t let them come looking for you. By the time a job is posted to the Internet chances are that the company has already interviewed a few people and are now looking outside their sources to get it filled. Now you are in a battle against all the others out there that also need work. The key is to not wait for a position to show itself. Go looking to find them. Send out resumes to companies that are not necessarily posting job openings right now. Create your own job opening. Send a letter to an HR department or even find some names in the department where you would be interested in working and send a letter asking about something specific to their industry and how they are addressing it. Ask them if they feel that the processes they are using now are gaining them the true value that they feel they need or should be getting, and then give some hints on how you think you may be able to do things to help change. In other words, sell yourself. Show that you can think on your own, that you have some foresight, that you understand how to identify possible opportunities for change and then that you have given some thought as to how to effect that change.

Apply yourself

The next step is to apply for some jobs. It sounds easy, and it is. You just go out, fill in applications, and leave a copy of your resume right?

<The tune to Jeopardy plays here>

The answer is ‘what is the word WRONG’ Alex.

The process does not stop there. You do NOT leave that office without having the opportunity to do one thing. You have to at a minimum get an opportunity to shake the hand of the person requiring the application; be that the posting officer in HR or the CIO of the company that needs a position filled. Just like a sales person never leaves without getting a contact to hand their card to, an applicant (IE: personal sales representative) never leaves without getting to know the person they will need to talk to at some point in the future. This leads you to an opportunity to accomplish the next step.

Impress the heck out of someone

This one is a bit of a tough area because it takes some work.

Awwww

The work is called ‘due diligence’ and is the part of every business transaction there is. Whether you are applying for a job at a company, or looking to buy a company, it is your responsibility to KNOW about the company. If you ever go in for a job interview and have not: 

  • Looked up the company on Linked In
  • Looked up the backgrounds of the companies upper management on Linked In
  • Reviewed a company’s financials at a very high level using government mandated financial reports
  • Looked up a companies stated goals and objectives for the next year
  • Looked into who a company’s competition is and what they are doing differently

Then you do not know the company well enough to talk intelligently to anyone that works there about why YOU should be hired, what you can provide then to solve a problem, create an opportunity, save them money, or be effective in any way.

Just like a company goes through a process every year with existing employees and asks ‘what have you done for me lately’, they also want to know form all potential new hires ‘what can you do for me today, tomorrow, and next week’. In fact, I would be willing to ask them if there is something that they could need some help with right now. Give them a freebie. If you have done some investigative work ahead of time and know that one of their competitors is going in direction ‘A’ and they have chosen direction ‘B’ instead, ask them if they have considered possible conflicts or some specific needs to do that. Maybe if you come up with direction ‘C’ as a possibility and it ends up being the answer you could end up being a hero. Even if they don’t use it, chances are that they may remember that you had discussed it with them.

Get recognized

Ah, so they called for the interview. Be prepared again and do more research because I can guarantee you that the questions are going to get harder now. Do not JUST let them interview you either. Be ready and willing to ask them questions. Ask them questions about how they expect you to be able to handle specific situations, or if they have standardized methodologies to approach solving problems that they find, and if so why did they select that method over method ‘X’, ‘Y’, or ‘Z’. Remember, an interview is a two way street. It’s a first or second date between you and the employer where you are both trying to assess the attitude, intelligence and mindset of the other side. Do NOT be shocked if, after YOU ask some prudent questions and get answers that YOU may find that YOU don’t really like the position, people or company that YOU applied for. You want a really interesting interview result? Ask some very prudent questions and then, if you really don’t like the answers, stand up, shake the hands of everyone in the room, and explain that you don’t feel that they would be a good fit for your opportunity and wish them luck in finding someone that feels that they would be a good employer fit for them. Yes, I am suggesting that YOU consider cutting an interview short if you really don’t feel that the employer is a good fit for YOU. You might find out that it severely changes the state of the interview and that you may actually end up showing some greater value along the way and being asked to stick around and continue.

Work work work work work

Ok, so you got the job now. Now what? Do it. The interview process was not an acting job; it was supposed to be a true reflection of who you are, how you think, how you act, and what value you can provide, so keep doing it. Be ready, willing and able to ask the tough questions in meetings. Be willing to play devil’s advocate when things need to get done. Be willing to contribute in the hairy situations, take that step forward before everyone else takes that step back. Stand out in a crowd. Be open and honest but also logical and reasonable. Be willing to listen, accept, discuss, compromise, push when needed and be pushed when needed. Be flexible but firm, and willing to accept change that comes and propose change that needs to be proposed, even if it may be unpopular. I could write an entire book here on employee attitude but I don’t have the time. Just get things done that are critical to a company’s long term survival and you will become a well-liked person in an industry.

You are worth how much?

Honestly, expect to get paid what you are worth. Over the long term, even a fun job can get boring and to be frank and honest, money is money. Compensation is compensation, and no matter how nice you play with management, always understand that when push comes to shove, money makes the world go around. Cost of living raises, but if the work done by you is effective and as good as you think, you should expect to be compensated accordingly, and if the company is not willing to do that then consider what needs to be done. Am I saying that you HAVE to leave? No. Maybe you are at a point where you are happy now just being there doing your job, and as long as your employer is there too then I guess its ok. But consider the fact that things in all industries change fast, and that if you are ABLE to just ride along now and not have to work hard, keep learning, keep changing, continue to solve new problems or adding new value, then maybe something is happening. Maybe the company is losing its focus in the market and you might find that you are no longer working for an industry leader. Maybe YOU are losing focus and getting bored with a specific market segment and need to identify a new business path to keep you fresh and effective. Maybe the market you are in has slowed down and is being overcome by a newer technology and your current employer does not see it coming. Either way, there are ways to judge how much you should be making, use them, There is nothing more depressing than looking back at your pay history and seeing a flat line that just clears the national average. Work equals pay, be sure you are getting paid for what your work is worth. Otherwise, why work?

WordPress… Hmmmm

So, MS cheaped out and decided that they don’t want to be int he blog market anymore?

Let’s see how WordPress does… I THINK I tried it here before, but that was a while ago. It looks different so maybe I will just keep this and see. I have a few different blogs around. This one was more for ranting. Hmmm Wonder what’s on my mind today.

Nah… better not…

Here I sit, in NYC wonderful Laguardia airport, at 7:16pm, still awaiting my 6pm flight back to Buffalo. The departure times continues to climb like a good day on the DOW and I assume that I will be seeing it climb higher and higher. Oh, I have HAVE to mention this part for completeness..
 
1) My flight TO Laguardia was delayed by 1.5 hours also. Why? Because my plane was late LEAVING laguardia.
 
2) I am making this blog entry form the airport on wireless that I HAD TO PAY FOR because not only can the airline NOT run flights right they also feel the need to force me to pay for Internet access so I can be productive because of their obvious incompetence.
 
3) Every time the gate agent makes an announcement they ONLY do it while ANOTHER announcement is going on for one of the other gates close to here and she speaks English like I speak Japanese.
 
The airline? US-Air. But it really does not matter, they all suck.
 
I think I am going to start up a website so people can track their flights and associated delays publicly…
 
 

Banned Books Part Two

 
This is kind of interesting as it references a story that I wrote about a while ago. The blog entry is here:
 
The new, continuation of the story is on CNN here:
 
 
These idiots on the school board actually did it. They suspended this teacher for using a BOOK. They suspended her for doing her JOB.
 
I think we need to stop this. I think someone needs to stand up and scream out loud how idiotic these school board members are.
 
I am sick and tired of these sanctimonious jerks preaching their crap about how they are protecting the youth of today by keeping them away form bad language and self expression.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Use this CNN article as reference..
 
 
Quote from article:
 
"Ahri’s parents make $2 to $3 a day, with about half of that going toward their daily rent. With the increased cost of living, what’s left just isn’t enough to send Ahri to school and to feed him and his two brothers, 3-year-old Mohammed and 7-month-old Eka Jaya."
 
But have a look in the photo and see that the mother is carrying a NEW child! They bring a new child into their crappy life and now decide to cast off the older one? Under the guise of wanting him to have a better life.
 
"I just want him to get a proper education. I hope that one day he’ll do something useful for this country and help his brothers, because we are living in poverty."
 
Ah, yeah, you are too abandoning him. Why did you choose not NOT have the new one instead of throwing away the oldest one?
 
Keep in mind folks that this is not some heart string tugging story about a family that fell on hard times. One whose bread winning father took ill because of some bad chemicals he was exposed to while working for the evil empire. They were in poverty a week ago, in poverty a year ago, in poverty for the last 5 years, and Will most likely be in poverty for the near future, and yet they STILL decided to have ANOTHER child.
 
I feel for Ahri, I really do, and I hope that he grows from this and gets a chance to make something of himself. I do hope that he now has better opportunities and I hope that his general life condition gets better. But the problem is that should be make something of himself the parents will still feel, probably even more so, that they did the right thing. I hope he understands that if he makes something of himself that it was HIM and not his parents that did it. That it was all his achievement and not anything that the parents did.
 
The third world (actually everywhere) needs to learn a basic rule of survival. Don’t give birth to what you can’t care for. Kids are not like letting a field go fallow for a season… you don’t grow them to eat them, you don’t just let them happen because it’s natural.
 
 
 
 
Use the following news story as reference:
 
 
After all these years you mean to tell me that we STILL have organized freaks banning books?
 
We still tell our teachers what they can and cannot use in their classrooms?
 
Take a look at this website and see what has been banned in the past.
 
It’s the year 2008 people, lets grow a brain and realize that people have a right to write what they want and everyone has a right to read what they want.
 
I am starting to be embarrassed to be a human. We have lost our minds I think, but worst of all we have not learned anything from our history. Our schools allow teachers to teach that one of the problems with communist and socialist governments is that they censor the words of people but then they turn right around and DO IT themselves.
 
 
 
Use this article as reference:
 
 
I found the following parts of the article a bit odd:
 
"They were among many of Microsoft’s 800 Ph.D.-level researchers from around the world who attended the event to show off projects they are working on."
 
800 Ph.D level people honestly think they can create an interface that will help those that cannot read? I am not so sure about this. Why? Because they can read! I really think this is a gap that cannot be effectively filled by someone at this level. Can a Ph.D level person even imagine, let alone understand what the world looks like to someone that cannot read? It is REALLY more than just ignoring the words simply because most of these people already understand the concepts of what the computer will do for them and cognitively they KNOW there are words there.
 
Even further more:
 
"Anandan said part of the challenge in developing the new interface is to overcome the barrier of using reading and writing to interact with the computer. What it largely comes down to is coming up with better icons, he added."

Really? That’s IT? That will fix the whole problem? Just get better pictures?

In all fairness he DOES come back latter to say that there are cultural issues with icons, that not every one in every culture sees one picture in the same way, and this is true and could. It could probably be fixed the same way the textual interface is, through localization and culturalization resources.

But here is MY issue with this entire process. WHY do it at all?

Making the computer usable for someone that cannot read is only half the battle. The fact that they can’t read is going to impact WHAT THEY CAN DO with the device in the first place. Come one people. The Internet is largely words to begin with. Information is mostly words. Sure there are pictures and videos but if your  only need to access the Internet is to get to YouTube then just skip it and buy them all TVs.

Why not put the effort into teaching them to read instead? Not just teaching them to read but instilling them with the WANT to learn how to read in the first place so when they learn they see the benefit and teach their children to read.

Some would say that by dumbing down the computer that you open the world to those less fortunate. BUT, lets look at it the other way. By dumbing down the computer you open them to a world that is not ready for them, and they are not ready for it either. Once they get online how do they communicate with anyone? If they are illiterate how do they communicate with others? Via IM or E-mail? They can’t READ or WRITE.. that’s what being illiterate means! So they are going to be able to surf (presumably off of a predefined listing of web sites because they can’t read to use a search engine in the first place and are not able to understand letters to type in search terms needed to find things) and then when they get there, then what? Oooooo look at the picture of the animal.

Maybe I am being harsh and one sided but I really am a ‘give the man a fish’ kind of guy. Sorry, I just am. We have these same issues here in the US to be honest. News papers are written at or around the 7th – 8th grade level and why? because most US citizens need it there. BS I say! Maybe if they were challenged to read better, nay felt stupid for not being able to read better, they would… wait for it… wait fir it… they would LEARN to read BETTER!

Off my soap box now…

Back to the regularly scheduled hilarity of the world.

 

Good ? jobs with no degree.

 
Use this article on MSN careers for reference…
 
 
Just a few off the list that utterly surprise me to no end…
 
NOTE: I want to make a note here that this list is titled ‘Great Pay…’ and someone actually considers making $53k a year GREAT! It’s not BAD fbut it is by NO means GREAT.
 
9. First-line supervisor/manager of police and detective: $64,430
 
 What? No criminal Justice degree?
 
10. Nuclear power reactor operator: $64,090
 
 Um, you are working an a Nuclear power plant and you DON’T need a degree? I am not sure about you but this is one area where I don’t think just having on the job training cuts it.
 
12. First-line, non-retail supervisors/manager: $59,300
 
 Um, DUH.
 
13. Nuclear technician: $59,200
 
 Here is another one. Whats with letting uneducated people mess with radioactive stuff?
 
15. Real estate broker: $58,720
 
 No degree required, you just need to be good at hocking land. I have a bridge for sale if you are interested. See how easy it is?
 
19. Radiation therapist: $57,700
 
 Um, one more… I think I see a pattern.. I guess we don’t want to waste an education on the hazardous stuff.
 
20. Nuclear medicine technologist: $56,450
 
 See, I told you…
 
 

RIAA = Idiot

Washington Post news article for reference:
 
 
Quote from article:
 
"Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.
 
The industry’s lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings."
 
Anyone who read my paper on Fair Use for my CSM220 class knows I am no fan of the RIAA at all, and I in fact predicted this would happen back in September. Of course the RIAA itself, one of the worlds most nebulous organizations, has made things even more confusing by making this statement:
 
"The industry’s own Web site says that making a personal copy of a CD that you bought legitimately may not be a legal right, but it "won’t usually raise concerns," as long as you don’t give away the music or lend it to anyone."
 
So RIAA, is it illegal or not?!?
 
Can I make a backup copy of the CD that I paid my cash for?
 
Can I transfer those songs to my MP3 player and listen to them there?
 
I put forth to you, the readership, to follow my listed chain of events for yourself and decide at what point the law was broken.
 

Example #1 – I plan on having a party so I go to the music store and purchase a few new CDs that I know no one has in their collection yet. In preparation for the party I move my stereo system to the outside of my house along with the speakers. During the party I play the music that I have purchased. No one else at the party purchased the music yet they all clearly benefit from my sharing it with them.

Example #2 – I now use the same exact CDs and move them to my car. The next day I drive to work and listen to them as I drive down the street with my windows rolled down. Everyone around me can hear the music. I have once again openly shared the music with people that have not purchased it.

Example #3 – When I get back home I put the CD into my computer and rip the music to my hard drive. I do this so that I can archive he original CD away to prevent loss from damage. I then upload the files from my computer to my MP3 player so I can use them as I go to the gym. While I am at the gym listening to the music my wife is also listening to the music from my computer, marking this event as not only dual use but also dual use by different owners.

Example #4 – When I get back from the gym I include the ripped tracks in my sharing area on my P2P file sharing program and make them available for all to download.

At what point have I broken the law here? I say #4 but the RIAA seems to be saying #3.

Actually, in another different case it seems that the the Performing Rights Society has taken it a step further an seems to be trying to make #1 against the law as well. take a read here Kwik-Fit sued over staff radios .

So, it looks like all and all the free flowing powers that be in the entertainment world are trying to treat us all like garbage just because they think they can. Just because they can afford lots of lawyers. Just because they feel that we will sit there and take it. Just because THEY have clung far too long to a flawed business model and are now starting to feel the effects. Just because they CAN and no one is stopping them.

You know, I hear tons of people complain about a lot of different technology. I hear people complain about cameras on public streets being a privacy issue. I hear people bitch about RFID Tags and how they can be used by the government to track what we read, eat and wear. I hear people scream about how the government wants libraries to start tracking the lending patterns of certain books and I hear people cry rivers over web sites that use cookies.

People, we are being screwed by the RIAA. This is NOT a government authority. They are not linked to the Illuminati. They are not affiliated with the FBI. They are an association created for the sole purpose of acting on the collective behalf of the various recording companies. In fact these recording companies PAY money to belong to this group.

They want you to THINK that they have the FBI in their hip pocket. In reality they are nothing more than a band of thugs charging protection money to businessmen.

They want you to THINK that they can snap their fingers and make you suffer.

Wake up… some of the record companies are even starting to see the light. Word has it that EMI is considering pulling out of the RIAA (Report: EMI looking to slash funding for RIAA, IFPI).

Hmmm, I wonder what the record labels would think of an organized boycott. What message do you think it would send if NO ONE bought any music on ONE ENTIRE DAY during the 2008 Christmas season?

It’s over

Well it’s done.
 
My first year of school.
 
I am now the proud owner of an Associates Degree in business from AIU Online.
 
I am posting this here as I watch my new copy of 28 Weeks latter and contemplating my next move, or rather the start of my next move. On January 7th I begin my Bachelors Degree in Information Technology with a concentration in Programming. I am actually very excited as this is obviously a subject that I am highly passionate about and one that I am sure I can not only learn much from but also participate very well in.
 
Looking back over the last months I was trying to think of just  few of the best memories I had and started to take a good look at what I truly learned. Learning is important to me and even though I had no degree prior to this one that does not mean that I had not learned anything or stayed stagnant and uneducated. In fact I thrived over the last few years as a self-educator. I made learning my focus an never turned down an opportunity to add something new to my repituare of knowledge. I took many jobs that I used as my education in Optical Theory, Business Management, Marketing, IT, Programming, Customer Service, etc… Each of them added a special bit of knowledge. These were my classroom. Over the last months I used an actual school as my classroom and it felt kind of good.
 
There is something about being part of a learning group. A group of people that are on the same course and want to learn. Sure in every group there are those that don’t want to be there, or those that are there wanting it to be easy, but I can deal with them and they don’t bother me (too much :) ). Class does something that life does not do. It gets in your face and MAKES you keep on track. It MAKES you not slack off and it MAKES you maintain focus. This is something that life actually has against you. Life has distractions that can pull you this way and that, that can force you to see things in ways that may look important but in the long term really aren’t.
 
I am not saying that school is for everyone by any means. Hell, it was not for me for the longest time. But I think it is something that everyone should at least give a chance from time to time. You may never know that you are ready for it until you try it. Kind like eating Brussel sprouts :)
 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.