athelind: (Default)

First Superman Comic Sells For Record $1 Million

I dread work this week; odds are far too high that at least one bozo will come in every night, all excited about this, and wanting to talk about comics and collectibles as "investments".

He won't want to buy things, per se. He'll want my advice. What should he look for? What should he buy? What's the best return on his money?

How can he make a quick buck?

Your Obedient Serpent is honestly sick to death of comic books, superheroes, and pop-culture ephemera, but he'd still rather deal with people who read and enjoy these things than someone who bumbles in asking questions so clueless they defy an answer, simply because he's heard about someone who made huge returns on stuff that he's always dismissed.

How can you make a quick buck in the comics market? You can't. It took seventy godsforsaken years of carefully babying a fragile bundle of crappy, high-acid paper, starring a character nobody in the industry thought would catch on, to get that ten-million-fold return on Action's 10¢ cover price, you idiot.

Resolved: I am going to do my damnedest to sell these sleazy fools every worthless piece of crap I've got in the store, every random Big Event Comic, and most especially, every High-End, Hard-Sided, Nitrogen-Filled Comic Preservation Device I can dig up.

Because that's the real answer to the question. How do you make a quick buck in comics? By selling crap to the gullible.

Barnum was right.

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

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)
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)

(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)
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
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?


athelind: (Default)
Last night, I had a trio of kids in the store looking at the boxed Introductory Set for D&D4. They wanted something that would keep them entertained for the whole summer.

I told them this would be a good introduction -- it's inexpensive, and the tiles and markers are sufficiently useful that experienced players have bought the set to get them. If they liked it, they could come back and pick up the full books.

One of them noted that they weren't sure if they wanted to get TOO into it, because they didn't want to turn into...

And he paused.

And I finished, "geeks who work in a game store?"

They bought two sets.

athelind: (Default)
Tomorrow, for the first time since returning to school and graduating with a Real Degree, [ profile] halfelf goes back to work, starting a new job that, gasp, actually relates to his education.

In honor of this, I thought I would offer some appropriate music:

Have fun, [ profile] halfelf, and remember -- from now on, every Monday is really a Monday.

athelind: (Default)
Today at work, I noticed a Star Wars action figure of a droid that came with a "data entry terminal" as an accessory. I don't remember which of the half-dozen movies this droid showed up in, but I do remember him clearly, standing in the background, tapping data into his terminal.

My first impression was that this was a classic example of Zeerust: why have a humanoid robot type data into a system, instead of just directly interfacing with the system?

Almost simultaneously, though, another thought struck me: Wow, that's one way to check the spread of viruses and malicious software.

Not quite so "quaint" from that perspective, is it?

A few other Perfectly Reasonably Explanations occurred to me later -- it's easier to establish some degree of uniformity in user interfaces than it is in underlying code, for instance. [ profile] quelonzia's iMac, my Ubuntu box, and that Windows PC that's over there all have mice and keyboards and monitors, but I'll be damned if we can get their supposedly-compatible file-sharing protocols to talk to each other. Spread that across a Galactic Empire dealing with the patchwork remnants of a Republic, and see if you don't wanna just put a droid at a keyboard.

athelind: (Default)
Hooray, working retail over the holidays! I'm working six days straight, from Friday right up to the Uncanny X-Mas on Thursday, and then I go right back in on Friday.

(The reason they call the 26th "Boxing Day" is because us register monkeys feel like we've been ten rounds with the Champ by the time we go home.)

Most of these have been closing shifts -- for the Joyful Open Late Holiday Hours, of course -- and by the time I've gone home each night, I've felt increasingly incoherent.

Part of the incoherence has been mild, almost subliminal sinus congestion.

Last night, it stopped being subliminal. I had a sinus blockage last night that timed with a HUGE low-pressure system to turn into an excruciating toothache. Wound up getting up at around 2:30, just as the low pressure zone, near as I can tell, hit its peak: as I was sitting in the bathroom holding my head in pain, the rain went from "drizzle" to "downpour".

I wound up out on the living room sofa in front of the TV, drinking a huge glass of water to loosen things up, force-blowing my nose to try to get the pressure shifted.

(The Secret Saturdays ain't bad, BTW. Not at 3AM, anyway.)

It finally subsided to the point that I could go back to bed, though it took a dose of Melatonin to actually get me to SLEEP.

Still not quite running on all cylinders. Thankfully, I have a "hammock" shift today, working 11-7. Someone else opens, someone else closes, I just blithely skip in, smile at the customers, and skip away when my shift ends.

Oh, and for the regulars: normal comic deliveries this week! Uncanny X-Mas Eve = New Comics Day!

Icon illustrates actual size of sinuses.
athelind: (Default)
Still working in the comic-and-game store.

Wednesday is New Comics Day, when all of the addicts subscribers come in for their fix the comics we hold for them.

Every Wednesday, it amuses me to wear a t-shirt bearing the logo of a short-lived but long-dead comic company.

Thus far, the only one to comment on it has been a bank teller, when I had to make a change run -- she immediately pegged that I worked at Legends, because of it. Otherwise... not a word.

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?"


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.
athelind: (Default)
I have an interview today at SRI International, up in Menlo Park, for a job as a GIS Technician.

Of the ten items listed under "Experience" in the job requirements:

  • I am solidly confident in my abilities in four.
  • I have brief, passing experience in four more ("I have opened and modified files in this software").
  • I have only theoretical experience in the remaining two ("I learned how to use the DOS version of software in this general category in the early '90s, and I have a book about more recent versions that I've flipped through.").

I am hoping that the quality of my in-depth experience ("Yes, I did that at NASA"), and my eagerness to get more experience in the other points, will overcome the more dubious qualifications I may have.

Wishes of luck are appreciated, but we're past the point of random fortune: skill and poise will see me through this.

athelind: (Default)
Okay, everyone's doing this one... and I suddenly realized it was directly applicable to my job hunt.

1. Go to
2. Put in Username: nycareers, Password: landmark.
3. Take their "Career Matchmaker" questions using the same username and password.
4. Post the top ten results

01. Arborist
02. Explosives Specialist
03. Ecologist
04. Land Surveyor
05. Oceanographer

06. Astronomer
07. Geologist
08. Hydrologist / Hydrogeologist
09. Environmental Consultant

10. Forensics Specialist

Like [ profile] halfelf, I seem to be in the right general area: 03, 04 , 05, 07, 08, and 09 are all jobs that fall well within the rather broad parameters of my "Earth Systems Science & Policy" degree, and #01 is still in that general area.

#02 suggests that I just don't get enough opportunities to blow sh*t up. I have to work on that.

EDIT: [ profile] returntonull suggests "Ecoterrorist". Time to check craigslist...

But wait, there's more! )
athelind: (Default)
I know I haven't mentioned much about my current job since I started a couple of months ago, but I'm working on maps of the local water and sewer systems that are being rebuilt.

Today, I'm adding features showing the areas for which we don't yet have solid data. I have files that show what the original pipes looked like, I have annotations that show what's been demolished, and I've got a file with multiple contradictory proposals for the new pipe system -- but I don't know what's actually there, or what will be there.

I've named the shape file "incognita".

I'm fighting off the temptation to label the regions "hic sunt dracones".
athelind: (Default)
I've fallen off the caffeine wagon again.

Yes, thanks to a 70-mile commute and a propensity to doze off at the keyboard -- and behind the wheel -- in the afternoons, I've succumbed to the siren lure of fresh, strong coffee in the morning, punctuated by the occasional cup of jasmine tea during the day.

For now, I'm still in the "WHEEEE! I'm alert and active and brimming with brilliant ideas!" stage, but any day now, it's gonna turn into the "God Damn It Where Are My ****ing Keys Why do You People HIDE Shit From Me? AAAARGH!" stage.


On the other claw, since I'm working, I've actually got an outlet for the drug-induced energy and focus.

And I don't get The Crave for it on the weekends, though I sleep pretty soundly.

On the gripping hand, I was disproportionately pissed when I got home earlier this week, and the phone and broadband were down, and oh LORD, you don't want to hear me when I get home to find that someone's parked in my usual parking place (every. day. this. week.) and I have to try to parallel-park my little no-power-steering Aspire.

For right now, though, I'm upbeat and happy and feel like singing and dancing pretty much all the time!

And boy, do I feel guilty about it....
athelind: (Default)
I have had a few people asking me for more details on the new job, or asking me how my first week went.

Folks, getting the job was an achievement and a cause for celebration.

Doing the job... is work.

Paychecks are nice.

Weekends are nice.

Work... is work.

Please see user icon.

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