athelind: (Default)
Your Obedient Serpent ramps around cheerfully. Hooray, morning! It's a beautiful day!

As everyone else is stumbling around adjusting to the time change, I'm up, alert, and peppy.

I had to get up gawdawful early yesterday -- 6 AM on the day of the time shift, during a period when my evening-shift work schedule has had me snoozing past the hour or 8 AM (unusually late for me, incidentally). 7:30 DPT is sleeping in compared to yesterday morning, so I'm not continually blurring around thinking, "It's 'really' (N-1) AM in 'real' time."

In fact, I'm obnoxiously awake and alert. My "morning person" tendencies have kicked in, and I know how popular those are with everyone else.

(I am, perhaps, the only person on the planet who likes Daylight Saving Time. Given that most people seem more evening-oriented than Your Obedient Serpent, I've never quite grokked why they object to having more daylight during their more active period.)

Part of this may also be due to the sudden emergence of Clear Weather, and the sun shining in through the big glass door to the back yard. I wonder how much of my recent Slow Starting has been due to the gray, overcast weather that's been hanging around unusually late in the year? Normally, I love clouds and rain, but regular readers know that there have been Other Factors that have certainly colored my emotional reflexes.

The combination of Relief and Accomplishment of putting the CSET and the big Interview Event for Oakland teaching Fellows behind me probably helps, as well. I Can Now Move On and focus on Other Avenues.

And, of course, having a cold all last week that is now almost gone adds the frisson of "I feel better!!" to the proceedings.

... of course, since I work until 9:30 PM tonight, we'll have to see how long this lasts.


athelind: (Default)
Does anyone have any suggestions for a five-minute teaching sample that doesn't involve toys and models for me to fumble and drop? I'm not that coordinated on a GOOD day, and nothing about this event points to "a good day".

Please note the clock in the icon, and be aware that I have two minutes LESS than that to make this presentation.


athelind: (Default)
Sometimes, the more something is explained, the less sense it makes. With sufficient explanation, a supposedly-simple task will be revealed to be impossible.


athelind: (Default)
Next month, I have an all-day Interview event with the Oakland Teaching Fellows. As part of the process, I have to prepare and present a five-minute "teaching sample": I have to present a topic, explain it, and take questions, all in five minutes' time.

While I'm applying for a position as a science teacher, the sample can be on any topic.

The OTF program is an attempt to bolster Oakland's educational system by opening doors for people other than education majors and specialists. I qualify because I have no education-related training or credentials.

This, however, leads me to a little stumbling block in this process:

I've got no clue what I'm doing.

Searches on "five-minute lesson plans" have gotten me a bunch of filler, mostly just topic suggestions with no attempt to suggest presentation. I can come up with topics. I'm just not sure how to slam together a High-Speed Concept Delivery System.

The best idea I've stumbled across was using a Slinky to demonstrate different kinds of seismic waves (always topical for California schools) -- and I think half the appeal of that is that I know I can get a Slinky from work.

I know I have a few teachers out there. Any suggestions?


athelind: (Default)
… I have an icon for "pointless, repetitive, soul-destroying work", but not one for "vital, productive, fulfilling work".


athelind: (Eye of the Sky God)
Fasten your seatbelts, kids; this post starts talking about current Pop Culture, then veers into politics, philosophy, personal development, and metaprogramming.

It all started when I was doing something I normally avoid: reading comments on an internet blog. Unmoderated comment boards are usually overflowing with ill-considered, insulting, infuriating nonsense that can completely ruin an article I may have otherwise enjoyed.

In this case, however, the opposite occurred.

The io9 Blog's review of James Cameron's Avatar is the same blah-blah-blah-Mighty-Whitey-IN-SPACE critique that I've heard over and over. Nothing new here. The comments, on the other claw, are full of feedback from non-whites and non-Americans that undercut that as a being a white-Americans-are-the-center-of-the-universe interpretation that's at least as insulting, if not moreso.

I think my favorite comment thus far is this one:
All stories are about someone leaving a group or joining a group, it's just that some of these groups are a racial group. Outsider Luke Skywalker joins the rebels and becomes their number one gun. That's a heroic journey story, but if Luke was the only human and all the rest of the rebels were aliens suddenly it becomes a white guilt story? I don't buy it.


And now, Mood Whiplash. This shook some things out in my head, and I think they're worth sharing:

I've been sorting through the cognitive baggage cluttering my mind lately, and you know what? I think that "White Guilt" is a particularly toxic meme. To be more specific, there's a pervasive idea that any action that may have "White Guilt" as a motivating force is automatically invalid, or just more cultural imperialism. This is bullshit. It is an invitation to inaction.

Your Obedient Serpent, when he's not a dragon, is a middle-aged Anglo-American, raised in a middle-class suburb, who's seriously considering an opportunity to teach middle school science in a "high-need", inner-city environment. The very idea of standing in front of a classroom is a massive paradigm shift for him, and coming to this decision has involved jumping over a lot of mental hurdles.

You know what? True Confession Time: One of them was "Mighty Whitey".

"What right do you have to come swooping in with your degree and your laptop and your melanin deficiency, to try and "save" these kids? That's no different than England coking along to "civilize" India!"

Sounds really stupid when you verbalize it, doesn't it?

But people keep saying this, over and over: these stories are bad, they're unprincipled, they're just new and different ways for the privileged to lord it over everyone else. And if these stories are morally suspect, and your life-choices parallel them, why, then, those must be bad choices, right?

Once again: it sounds really stupid when you verbalize it. Stupid and arrogant. The only thing more arrogant than casting yourself as The Great Savior is to walk away from helping people because you're afraid people will think that's what you're doing.

That's part of the point: there are a lot of unexamined assumptions that mass media promulgates on an entirely sub-verbal level. It's good to examine them, it's good to scrutinize them -- but it's an iterative process. What unexamined assumptions are the critiques carrying with them?

One of the big ones, in this case, is the assumption that any real person's real life is simplistic enough to use fiction as a valid model. This isn't the first time I've fallen into that trap, and I'm sure it won't be the last -- but at least now I'm aware that trap is out there.

Or in here.


athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
I'm as settled in at [livejournal.com profile] thoughtsdriftby's place as I'm going to get, I think. The closet is repaired, most of my clothes are put away, I've got mail set up on the laptop and my Job Hunting File Folder in Dropbox.

I haven't quite had the burst of Job Hunting Energy that I realize I was magically expecting, nor have I gained the Key Insight Into What I've Been Doing Wrong All This Time, but I'm Working On It. I'm going to try to pick up an AutoCAD class at the local community college, which should make my skill set more attractive to a wider range of employers. They also have a program for a Land Surveyor's certificate that I should look into; there's a good chance of a lot of overlap between that and my ESSP coursework, so I might be able to get certified with just a couple of classes.

Emotionally, everyone seems to think I'm doing remarkably well; I'm not happy by any stretch of the imagination, but I've moved past miserable, for the most part. This hasn't broken me.

It still doesn't feel quite real sometimes, though.


athelind: (Default)
I am officially moved out, and mostly moved in, for now. My extensive wardrobe managed to pull down the hanger rods in [livejournal.com profile] thoughtsdriftby's guest closet, so tomorrow, we get to do Home Improvement kinda stuff.

I need a good Ubuntu-compatible wireless card for the desktop; at this point, I think it's gonna be easier to go through the list on the Ubuntu site and order one online than it will be to try to remember or print enough of the list to see if I can pick one off the shelf at Fry's.

For the time being, though, the laptop's my primary computer. I need to get my email accounts set up on this thing, ASAP.

I did NOT get moved out before [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's return from the airport; traffic and rain and procrastination all played their parts. I'm glad I got to welcome her home, though.

(And, sugarplum, I'm sorry I left such a mess in my wake!)

Tonight and tomorrow, a bit more settling in, home projects, and setting up email on this thing. Monday, the job hunt begins in earnest -- the last thing in my mail before I unhooked everything were a couple of very promising job leads from my sister's S.O.!


athelind: (Default)
A statement like that might seem to need qualifiers, but really, it doesn't.

I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

About very nearly anything.


athelind: (Default)

Fed Official Sees High Unemployment For Years

-- Associated Press, via NPR

You know, this actually makes me feel better about the job market in the near future.

Remember the Clinton Boom? (I know it's hard, but it really wasn't that long ago!)

Most "official government reports" of that period just foresaw the good times rollin' along. The few who saw the boom as part of a boom-and-bust cycle were dismissed as Chicken Littles. Same with the housing bubble that ranged through both the Clinton and Bush years.

In the same way, the government officials who currently insist that Recovery Is Just Around The Corner sound impossibly optimistic, seeing unicorns and rainbows in every little upward jig of an isolated economic indicator. Not only don't they convince us, they don't even sound like they've convinced themselves.

Official statements like this one sound so much more plausible. They're rooted in the "common sense" observations every one of us makes every day. They're logical extrapolations of the future from current conditions.

Just like those glorious predictions of the Infinite Boom.1

Because, you see, deep down, nobody really believes in change. They don't believe that things will ever be different. They find it hard to believe, in their hearts, that things ever were different, even if they experienced it themselves.2 My parenthetical comment above, about the Clinton Boom? 'Fess up: it's getting harder and harder to remember those times as genuinely prosperous, isn't it? Instead, it's just the top of a downward slope, not so much "better" as "where 'worse' started".

Don't read too much into this post, really. It's just an early-morning knee-jerk reaction to a headline article. Semantically, it boils down to, "hey, the government says this, so it must be wrong."

I suppose that's as good as any other method of economic prediction.


1Somewhere along the line, as Boom shifted into Decline and from there to Bust, the treatment of the "Technological Singularity" in speculative fiction shifted from "The Rapture of the Nerds" to the geek equivalent of Left Behind. See Accelerando, by Charlie Stross, for a good example of the latter.

2This is, of course, the root of Global Warming Denial.


athelind: (Default)
You know, I've been leaving my current position at the comic-and-game shop off of my resume, on the assumption that it's somehow "too trivial" and "doesn't look good" for a prospective science professional.

On the other claw, it adds two vitally important things to my resume:

  • Evidence that I am, in fact, currently employed; and
  • A position that I've held for more than a year -- the only one I've held for more than a few months, since getting my degree in 2003.*


I think I have far too much ego invested in the wrong places. I've been more concerned with presenting myself as a ⟨jonlovitz⟩Scientist⟨/jonlovitz⟩ than as a worker--and I have no idea if that's for the "benefit" of prospective employers, or to sustain my own precarious illusions.

So what looks better? A resume that says "I work in a comic book shop", or one that says "I haven't worked at all since 2007"?

Or have I already answered my own question?


*Aside from my time at AppleOne, which I treat as a single job instead of listing each contract/position individually.
athelind: (Default)
After spending yesterday talking and laughing (and drinking) with family members, some of whom I haven't seen in twenty years, I'm feeling more positive about everything. The car? A setback and an annoyance. The job hunt? I've got prospects and directions I've never even tried before, because I didn't think I could do them.

I've spent far too much of my life not trying stuff because I didn't think I could do it. The only things I've ever done right were the times I dove right in despite that.

Joining the Coast Guard. Running off to Texas to move in with my Internet girlfriend. Going to a brand-new school that had only opened four years previously.

In the words of Virgil (and Scrooge McDuck), Audaces fortuna iuvat!


The secret, you see, is to
KEEP

SMILING!

athelind: (Default)
We're moving at the end of the year, an event which has, heretofore, thrown a wrench into the jobquest, simply because of the need to revise and reprint resumes and so on. That's not going to happen this year.



[Poll #1478509]


Note that I use the same letterhead on my resume and my cover letters.

Note also that I'm augmenting my usual "email shotgun" approach with personal visits and hand-carried resumes, which is why business cards may or may not be useful.

athelind: (Default)
I just realized that I kind of left folks hanging after this post, so here's an update:




  • The Grape came back from the shop, a week ago Wednesday. The bumper is refurbished, the headlight replaced, and all is well. The hood kinda rattles a little when I idle, so I should probably give the body shop a call about that.
  • If you're in Silicon Valley, I highly recommend Kuykendall's Auto Body for body work. They were fast, efficient, and the car looks great.
  • Poppa spent two nights in the hospital as they ran a battery of tests. They offered to let him go home, but previous experience has shown that the same tests that get ordered immediately in the hospital will take a couple of months to clear insurance red tape if they're done on an outpatient basis. He's fine; the doctors gave him a relatively clean bill of health (the only anomalies were things they already knew about, and sum up to, "Dude, you're two weeks shy of turning 80!"). The surprise party is a go; my folks are already up there.
  • After getting the car back on Wednesday, last Thursday was spent with an early-morning doctor's appointment and a mid-afternoon dentist appointment. My cholesterol and related blood numbers are back in the target range, and I've lost a bit of weight, so I'm getting my health back on track.
  • Last Friday, I went ahead with the Santa Cruz Resume Run. I hit three places in Santa Cruz, and everyone was cordial. One civil engineering firm said that they'd actually been talking about getting a GIS guy in, in part to scan and convert old plans and records over to modern formats (something I've done in the past) -- of course, with the current state of the economy, they're not hiring at the moment, but they'll give me a call when they are.
  • I was thinking about heading out today and hitting some firms in San Jose and Santa Clara, but then I remembered what day it was. As amusing as it would be to say "Trick or Treat!" when I hand out resumes, I know people often dress up for Halloween in a lot of work places -- and sometimes even have active parties. The whole point of these hand-carry runs is to make personal contact; I don't want the memory of my First Impression getting lost 'midst costumed confusion. I'll spend the day emailing resumes and getting a better assortment of targets to visit before work on Monday.



athelind: (Default)
I'm a cartographer using the Internet to try to find work.

For years, I've said that the difference between sending out resumes and shouting into an empty cave is that a cave will at least give you the courtesy of an echo.

I've just been misinterpreting the signals! You don't just get an absence of response: it's like a mirror! You send out "MAPS", and what do you get back?


athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
"Man in the Wilderness"
Styx
lyrics by Tommy Shaw




Lyrics... )


...and kids today think they invented emo...

athelind: (Default)


(There should be an embedded graph, above. If you don't see it, here's a link. If you do, please let me know in the comments, because it's not showing up in either FireFox or Epiphany.)

But wait, it gets worse:

According to official statistics, the unemployment rate in the United States is now 9.8 percent. But those statistics understate the severity of the jobs crisis. The official statistics do not include the 875,000 Americans who have given up looking for work, even though they want jobs. When these "marginally attached" workers and part-time workers are added to the officially unemployed, the result, according to another, broader governement measure of unemployment known as "U-6," is shocking. The United States has an unemployment rate of 17 percent.

And even this may understate the depth of the problem. By adding the 3.4 million Americans who want a job but have not looked for one in over a year, businessman, philanthropist and Obama advisor Leo Hindery Jr. infers an actual unemployment rate of 18.8 percent. In other words, nearly one in five Americans is unemployed or underemployed.


I know, this isn't really news. A lot of people have mentioned the current economic situation in comments on my recent Jobquest! posts.* I'm just posting it here for future reference.


*Please note: this is not "reassuring", thank you very much; it just adds to the stress.
athelind: (Default)
I have to say, I'm pleased by this speech, and this slogan.



Goodness knows, I'm trying to find myself a mop. Where do they hide the damned things?


athelind: (Default)
Wanna Real Job Wanna Real Job Wanna Real Job


athelind: (Default)
Desired Title.

My "Desired Title" is "Lord Chief Justice, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Master of the Buckhounds, Lord High Auditor, Coroner, Archbishop of Titipu, Groom of the Back Stairs, and Lord High Everything Else", but I'll settle for "Lead Cartographer: Mars Terraforming Fleet".

I mean, what the frak? Who cares what they're called? Is someone looking for a "Hydrographic Technician" going to blow off my posted resume because I have "GIS Specilaist" listed?

One of these sites basically hijacked my resume submission to somewhere else, and then demanded that I fill in their extra blanks before I could change the (really obnoxiously obvious) password they sent me; I'm tempted to put some sarcastic title there just to blow off steam.


(They also have a "delete resume" button, which I'm tempted to hit. Am I gonna get anything but spam from http://hotresumes.com?)
Update: I hit it.
athelind: (Default)
I don't do a lot of this, but I'm feeling introspective today:

I've found far too many jobs that require a Master's degree; now I really wish I'd stuck around Monterey Bay and gone to Moss Landing Marine Labs to get it.

People look at my capstone paper on Elkhorn Slough, and express surprise that it's not a Master's Thesis; sitting right there at the mouth of the Slough, I could have turned it into one in two years easily, or three at the outside -- so, figure 2005-2006, and wham, more employable out the gate.

And that would have been a lot more productive than flailing around half-assed for six years on a hunt for an entry-level position.

Of course, if I'm gonna start doing Shoulda-Woulda-Coulda, if I'd stayed in the Coast Guard and gone to Marine Science Technician school, I could have retired in 2005, to start a whole new life with a government pension backing me up.

In this timeline, however, I'm looking for entry-level work at 45.

Oh, just to add you-know to you-know: NOAA's recruiting for officers. I meet the requirements perfectly, and exceed them in places, save one: "Be able to complete 20 years of active duty before turning 62."

I know I checked NOAA out right after graduation, when I was 39. Gods as my witnesses, the age cap then was 38. Not "complete 20 by 58", but 38, flat-out.

I would have turned 42 in 2006, incidentally. Why is that year the watershed date (pun inevitable) in all these what-if scenarios?



athelind: (Default)
Okay, I've been blowing off most of the new "social networking" sites and applications, because, well, I don't "socialize" online under my mundane name. On the other claw, common wisdom holds that "networking skills" are the single biggest asset in job hunting, and frankly, mine are in red ink. There are advantages to having a "mundane" social presence on The Intertubes, and it's long past time that I start exploiting them.

So, Loyal Friends and Readers, do you have any opinions on the matter?

[Poll #1466978]

Please elaborate on your answers in the comments.


athelind: (Default)
Does anyone have a suggestion for good places to find jobs in oceanography, cartography, or environmental earth systems science?

(I struck out "environmental" because if you use that as a keyword on a site like Monster, all you'll find are jobs sucking asbestos and changing HVAC filters. Not quite my field.)

I'm fed up with limiting myself to the Bay Area; nothing's here. I need to cast wider nets, if you'll forgive a fisheries metaphor.

I interned for NASA, for Pete's sake. This shouldn't be so hard. The last time I really got serious about job-hunting, I found the perfect job in a matter of WEEKS. I'd be WORKING there NOW if the project in question hadn't been put on hold for... hm... 14 months, so far.


athelind: (Default)
I've created a Craigslist account, and I'm thinking of posting my resume there.

Does anyone have any suggestions to avoid a deluge of spam?

Thanks.


athelind: (Default)
The interview went very well, I think. The job sounds fascinating -- exactly the kind of thing I've hoped to get into.

When I told them I didn't know more than the basics of AutoCAD or Illustrator, the response was, "are you willing to learn more?"

OH HELL YES I AM.

It looks like knowing esoteric stuff like hyperspectral image analysis may trump a lack of familiarity with more common stuff.

I should hear from them by the end of the week.

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