After the race parts company, I ended up doing some contract work for a person search site. This was probably around the height of the dot com boom in terms of how much money was floating around and companies were in no slow down of finding people to flood their ranks with the enormous competition to grow big and take advantage of this growing market. Sometimes though those decisions weren’t necessarily for the best as many didn’t screen candidates heavily enough.
One of the first jobs I worked where I was trying to build up my resume was a small chop-shop over in Mission Viejo editing simple HTML for an online document system. It was my first “real” job outside of college where I would get to sink my teeth into doing something semi-related with the five years of studying at UC Irvine. But it’s always funny trying to finagle what you learned into what you ought to be doing.
After graduating college, I was idealistic with big hopes and dreams. The problem when you’re a big dreamer with high hopes from life is that you easily can get all of that crushed by the harsh reality of moving out of the academic environment that has been so neatly organized for you into the more dynamic trenches of a regular job where college most likely hasn’t prepared you. So this story is a short one of what not to do in an interview right after college if you are like my former hopelessly romantic self.
Just saw an article about the detrimental effects of the open office that has become popularized in recent years. I’ve been dealing with open offices for some time now since roughly 2009 (I worked in one Japanese office). Here, I want to share my evaluation of them and where they belong (or not).
I often hear statistics such as how there’s this huge gap in terms of the talent pool for technology jobs in the states. The result is that companies have supposedly been forced to offshore to go for talent. Yet I question whether the actual talent pool is shallow or that the interview processes are skewed, which has caused numerous companies to be unable to hire the right talent.
Today was a very frustrating day for me as I learned that the job I was applying for ended up getting cancelled and that I was passed over. Now, normally this situation wouldn’t have been so sensitive to me except for the circumstances involving a particular recruiter and agency that I had been using. I want to delve into this experience as well as other issues I’ve had with tech recruiters in the past in the hope that other tech job seekers may find my dealings useful.
As someone who has worked in the technology industry for 15+ years, I’ve become somewhat of an expert on corporate politics. I’ve had numerous jobs in the states and abroad, learning over time various signs of toxic environments that have made me jump from spot-to-spot. My post here will hopefully help others in making a decision when too much is just too much and to start looking before they get the Note themselves.
One major problem in first world countries is how unstable numerous economies are. I believe that the post dot com collapse created huge ramifications in destabilizing the job market for better and worse. Gone are the days of pension plans, life time employment/job security and the ability to plan long term. Instead, the market has become extremely demand based and laws do not adequately protect individuals. Of course, it has empowered certain types of people with skill sets such as people in technology, but that aspect has been flimsy still. That said, new models of earning money are evolving and I want to delve into this aspect.
Today, officially marks (via LinkedIn at least :p) my 1 year 3 month period at Steelhouse. This makes it the 3rd longest company I’ve worked for. My next goal will be to hit the 2nd longest company mark, which would be in 8 months (again according to LinkedIn :p), beating out Hartford Life Insurance KK. I won’t obviously be able to do it this year. But that will come around March of next year (if my poor skills are correct).
On another trivial Keith Note, Steelhouse is the longest company I’ve worked for in America. Certainly, my current situation with my mom has forced me in some way to settle down. But at the same time, I wanted to settle down for a while at least with regards to jobs. I’m not someone who enjoys doing interviews. They really grate on my nerves since most ask you some silly technical question like the difference between an inner and outer join. Come on. My resume says 13 years of industry experience. Even if I don’t know the academic definition of an inner vs outer join, can you give me some credibility?
I think creating personal goals like this has helped too in making me settle down. It would be nice to see a company besides Nikko Citigroup go beyond the 2 year mark on my resume. Also, I’m very interested in seeing the company grow and expand. It’s fun seeing how a place has started and where it’s going. I can’t wait, for instance, to be able to work in the new building down the line. Our current spot is getting a bit cramped but to me moving into a bigger building is a huge thing. It signifies the concrete growth of a company. It’s kinda like when you place Starcraft and you upgrade the Hive each time.
I know the market has been volatile for a while. Part of it, imo, is the temptations offered by recruiters to snatch up talented engineers. But you really have to look at the big picture. Someone once told me that switching jobs just for a few thousand bucks isn’t worth it. He’s right I believe because there’s limits to that. You really want to grow inside a company and see yourself move up. And the only way to really do that is stick it out.
I think if more people attempt to stick it out at their companies the market can settle down a bit. At the same time, companies need to offer incentives back to employees to retain the top ones. The older, larger companies would provide things like college reimbursements, 401k matching plans, pension plans, stock options and career paths. Now, it feels as though people can’t grow, which is why people switch jobs.
But to make that happen you really need a collaborative effort both with companies and the employees. Of course, not every company can offer the same level of compensation. Yet the ones that have good prospects need to start thinking longer term. I mean, that’s how Google managed to grow in a period where other companies had faltered.
Either way, there really wasn’t much of a point to this post outside of some thoughts regarding my job, career and the work place in general. Gratz me.
I’ve been working out again recently, but I haven’t done a great job of losing weight. Part of it is my eating habits, which admittedly are pretty poor. But I’ve developed poor eating habits as a result of never having good guidance as a child and then later turning to fast food during my adolescence. And despite being quite aware of these conditions, it’s really close to impossible changing one’s habits, especially when one’s motivation diminishes on a daily basis.
Anyway, a thought occurred to me the other day how this relates to exercise. Next to my gym, there’s a Hometown Buffet. I remember spotting near the exit a flyer for LA Fitness. Now, think about this. A buffet next to a gym. Isn’t that ironic or even oxymoronic? And the fact that the gym places advertisements in the buffet is even more suspicious.
Of course, you can deduce that the gym is attempting to “help” the people at the buffet by providing a rather overt hint. Usually though, the people at the buffet are not the types that would go to the gym in the first place (until it’s absolutely the last straw). Still, if you think about it, the way human’s rationalize things like this most likely looks like, “Well, if I go to the gym, I can go back to the buffet guilt free.” Or something like that.
Of course, that’s not the reality in all of this.
But if you further expand this notion, you start to think of how all this is pretty fucked up. First, the thing is that people (at least in America) are for the most part hooked up into the whole fast food/poor eating situation because we’re trained from birth to eat this kind of food. Despite warnings from doctors, etc. we still consume food like this and as a result gain weight.
Those of us that manage to partly break this cycle attempt to remedy this situation through hitting the gym. And as we age, we have to put more effort since most of our metabolisms slow. By the time we finish our routine, we’re completely spent.
This whole cycle to me is just part of the whole productivity cycle that we’re locked into. We’re constantly occupied and too tired or lack the time to break out of it. And if you’re into conspiracy theories, this is exactly what George Carlin’s Owners want. To keep you in a pacified mode so that they continue to maintain a gigantic machine where only a select few control the important decisions in this world, while the rest of us slave away trying to just maintain ourselves.
Of course, the government would be involved in this. I mean, the FDA allows the fast food industry to keep shoveling down poor choices by the large corporations that constantly spend huge dollars lobbying and bribing the government. And it, for the most part, works in the government’s favor as the vast majority of us are rendered impotent, alienated and dispersed from halting this cycle.
Truthfully, on a totalistic scale, I don’t care…at least with regards to the vast majority of people out there. I’ve learned that people already have made and accepted their destiny in taking mini-bribes through their shallow, demeaning materialistic existence that transiently satisfies their lusts.
For myself, I do care because I’m not part of the so-called Owners and want a piece of that action. But that’s a different topic.