Showing posts with label Jobs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jobs. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


Being on-call has been part of the job for as long as I can remember... first carrying pagers then alpha-numeric pagers then Nextels then Blackberries. However, I'm not sure I would have any interest in a recent job posting that included this:

"Be available as needed to rectify IT emergencies. Must answer all forms of communication immediately."

Friday, June 3, 2016

Packet Pushers: From Engineer to Manager

The guys from Packet Pushers have @AmyEngineer on to talk about going from a technical role to a management position.

Some funny (paraphrased) quotes/thoughts:
You can't just wait for a maintenance window and patch people. 
It's hard to google error messages for people. 
Work-arounds can be tough.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Technology Good for Jobs

So we aren't all going to be replaced by robots...
"Their conclusion is unremittingly cheerful: rather than destroying jobs, technology has been a “great job-creating machine”. Findings by Deloitte such as a fourfold rise in bar staff since the 1950s or a surge in the number of hairdressers this century suggest to the authors that technology has increased spending power, therefore creating new demand and new jobs.
In the case of Ashley Madison, robots are just supplementing the number of women.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Job Search Site Feature

One of the most annoying things about the job search boards is seeing the same jobs over and over. If I built a Monster or CareerBuilder, I would allow the user to flip a toggle on each individual job posting so that it would be excluded from the query next time.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dream Job II

They never called for this job, so here is my backup.

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Friends

This week my friends have included:

Two XP machines suddenly lost their minds. A little Recovery Console magic got them going again:
"Use this command to write the new Windows boot sector code on the system partition. In the command syntax, drive name is the drive letter where the boot sector will be written. This command fixes damage in the Windows boot sector. This command overrides the default setting, which writes to the system boot partition. The fixboot command is supported only on x86-based computers."
netstat -a
A computer that should be a good machine would take an incredibly long time to open Excel, Word, and Reader files. If you were in the application and did a File | Open everything was quick. Netstat allowed me see that the computer was trying to connect to a server that had been retired. It was just spinning its wheels until it timed out. I ended up adding the old server name to DNS and pointing it to the new server.

Hiren's BootCD
A great general purpose boot disc with lots of tools, but I used it for NTPWEdit 0.3 to reset a customer's password on an XP box. Download here.

Microsoft Program Install and Uninstall Fixit troubleshooter
A client had tried re-installing a tool on his laptop, but it wouldn't complete successfully. It kept throwing an "Error 1706. No valid source could be found for product VeriFire Tools. The Windows Installer cannot continue."  I ran the Fixit troubleshooter from here to clean-up the broken installs. (I had to run it four times as the software showed up four times and each one needed to be removed.)

Lots of other good stuff recently, too... playing with Server 2012, Exchange 2010, a Juniper firewall, a MondoPad, Trend cloud anti-virus, etc.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Least Favorite Software

Are there certain software tools you hate? I hate Taleo. It may be great for HR professionals and hiring managers, but as someone looking for a job and encountering it frequently, it leaves me frustrated.

First, when you create a scrolling frame inside a web page, you start at minus one.

Then the errors start.

Error - job title too long. (You asked, I told you. 25 characters? That's it?)

Error - certification not valid. (So you have a predefined list of certifications? Therefor any certification I have that isn't on your list, I cannot add at all. Oh, you have one that is close, but not exactly the same. Should I pick that? If I do, can I attest that I have answered all the questions accurately?)

For the field that is often promoting diversity, they sure aren't building the ability to support it into their tools.

Maybe I want a job writing this software, because those people must have great job security as it is impossible that they've ever had to use their own system to apply for a job. I exaggerate but UI is really bad.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Simple Tools

When I do finally get back to work, I'll want to get one of these giant wall calendars. It is decidedly low-tech, but I loved being able to see the year all at once. I would track:

- month-ends (when we were on a 4-4-5 fiscal calendar), so I could make sure we didn't try to schedule downtime/maintenance during that critical period
- holidays for each of the plants (US, China, Mexico)
- vacations for my staff
- off-site training for my staff

You can use dry erase markers, but I prefer using permanent Sharpies. (You already knew I was a fan of Sharpies for the ham shack.) If something was in flux, I would make a note on a Post-It that I could move around until the date was finalized. Bright colors are a must!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Underemployed and Overqualified

When you put it that way, maybe I will just start saying I am employment-challenged. Some choice quotes:
“There’s no such thing as overqualified, only ‘I can find a job I prefer more’.”

First of all the word “overqualified” should be stricken from the dictionary. Overqualified implies a person with one set of skills is inherently too awesome to do a job which relies on a different (subjectively lesser) set of skills. If you’ve got your head in the clouds it makes sense. If you’ve lived in the real world you know it’s utterly untrue. 
“Overqualified” is an idea which should be killed with fire. It’s a failure of reasoning that crawled from the gaping maws of pinheads who should know better. Nitwits that tend to confuse “someone who can make more money doing something else” with “radioactive”. They also confuse “we treat employees like scum and they crawl on their hands and knees to escape us” with “all those employees that ran screaming from our little hellhole were overqualified”.
So, I'm still looking for a job and I have in my mind what that job should look like. I've struggled with the whole idea of being overqualified - part of the problem is ego (which is basically what the Adaptive Curmudgen is talking about), but on the flip side, I have been passed over for a job because the employer thought I was overqualified and would bolt for greener pastures. They came to that decision after three face-to-face interviews and having at least a couple of unsolicited references provided on my behalf. (Speaking of opposites, there are a lot of jobs where I am underqualified despite twenty years of experience, two masters degrees, and several certifications as I'm not as hands-on as I once was.)

I find there is much less stress when I think in terms of what will make me happy regardless of being under or overqualified:

- staying in Knoxville
- interesting work
- being surrounded by nice people
- not a sweat shop
- opportunity for growth and development
- a good salary and benefits

My desire to stay in Knoxville is the biggest hurdle in finding the right job. Fingers crossed that I will find the job here for which I am qualified and will give me a chance at being happy.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Software substitution

Bill Gates talks about the future of jobs and how technology may reduce the number of jobs for people with only a basic skill set. He calls it "software substitution."
"When people say we should raise the minimum wage. I worry about what that does to job creation ... potentially damping demand in the part of the labor spectrum that I’m most worried about."
Raising the minimum wage will simply accelerate the payback period for buying that robot or automated software tool. Image trying to lower the minimum wage in the future to make hiring people more attractive coupled with any amount of inflation - good luck unringing that bell.

Friday, March 14, 2014


So I've been doing a little consulting to keep me a float, I'd like to grow the business. Maybe a movie would help.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Technical Interview Tomorrow

So I was doing a little refresher...

[Application] All
[Presentation] People
[Session] Should
[Transport] Try
[Network] New
[Data Link] Dr
[Physical] Pepper

I've been asked about the OSI model more times than I care to think about. However, I don't ever recall using it at work. Maybe some people do.

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Job Playbook

This is one of those mostly just for me type posts. For a couple of the jobs I have been interested in, part of my preparation includes thinking about what I would do in the first 30 - 90 days. Of course it would vary by job, but these are some of the things I might want to do:

  • Create or review the service portfolio/catalog - especially understanding the relationships between systems
  • Review projects - recently completed, underway, and proposed
  • Spend one-on-one time with the IT staff - review their background, link their roles to services and projects
  • Meet with key stakeholders in the lines of business/departments
  • Meet with key suppliers/partners and review contracts
  • Review any recent customer satisfaction survey data or conduct a survey
  • Review expense and capital budgets including YTD/previous year actuals
  • Review current IT policies and procedures
  • Review recent audit findings (governance, controls, security)
  • Complete a basic maturity assessment
With all that information, I would really want to focus on the differences. For example, do the stakeholders and IT team members both see the same problem areas? Do they agree on where IT is most effective? Are the projects aligned with the needs as expressed by the stakeholders? Is the money spent going toward the things that are most important? Are we training people before we start bringing in technologies?

I'd also take a look at the service catalog to see if there are opportunities for consolidation/integration. Are there services we should move in-house or be better off buying?

Ultimately, this analysis would lead to the strategic plan that would set goals for the coming years. It would, more than likely, result in changes to the day-to-day operations.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Job Market

My recent experience has been similar...

KevinFarzad ENTRY-LEVEL JOB OPENING: Minimum 4 years experience required. Must speak 6 languages, be an astronaut, and have the cure for cancer.
Thu, Oct 17 19:01:38 from web
retweeted by bbrannan

Monday, August 26, 2013


So, a funny thing happened to me recently. They came and told me I didn't have a job anymore. I said a few goodbyes and packed my stuff up and left. I hesitated to say anything here, but I figure I should since you might think this would mean more time for blogging, but it's not really turned out that way. I seem to be blogging less. Looking for a job is a full time job. And when I take a break, blogging is not high on my list. I suspect it will ebb and flow.

I'm not ready to hit the panic button today, but I'm taking some cost cutting measures - no more lawn service, reducing my cable bill, stopped contributing to my daughter's college fund, stopped making additional payments toward my mortgage principle, etc. I didn't spend a lot on gas, but that should go down a little since I will be at the house. Also, my lunch expense should go way down since I used to eat out almost every weekday. Discretionary spending will grind to a halt. For example, the family routine of stopping at Starbucks on the way to church every Sunday has stopped. I probably won't run as many races (at $25-30 per) and when I do I'm going to register early to get the discounts.

You might also think this would be a good time to work on my Extra. I thought about that, but I've decided to look at some IT certifications. My recent background is general IT management in manufacturing. Given the change in/decline of manufacturing, I'd be open to working in other industries and for smaller companies. I think my first step will be getting the ITIL Foundation certification. If I want to be more technical, it looks like the CCENT is just one test and the CCNA is two. (I have an old, old MCSE and an even older Novell cert, but nothing from Cisco.) There is also a CompTIA Green IT cert that might be interesting.

Since my parents and my wife's parents are in Knoxville, I'm focusing here for now. I'd really hate to move away. I've been looking around and applied for a couple of positions, but no interviews yet. (I'm not to this point yet, but maybe next week.)

I should add that it has been very humbling to reach out to old friends, co-workers, and classmates and receive so many words of encouragement and offers of help.

Thanks for letting me vent a little. And to reuse a line from a comment I made on another blog... posting will be more or less frequent than usual. So, sorry in advance if I don't get back to you right away.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Online Job Application Systems

Whoever designs these new online job application systems should have to complete the process 100 times before they subject others to it.

I find them incredibly annoying. One size does not fit all. You would not ask the same interviews questions of a CEO and a clerk, yet doing so in a web form is okay. And things like giving you a small text box (about 100 characters) to "Describe your duties" seems dumb to me. Twitter gives you more characters! And don't get me started about duplicating the information in a resume in these same web forms.