21 May 2014

Over Ambitious

My mouth tastes like blood. I nearly pass out multiple times. For some, this would be an ideal reason to quit, and to stick to what they're good at. But for me, the shock at my bodily deterioration reaffirms my determination to reorganize and reallocate my time and energy to fortify my weakened frame. I will admit to over ambition at this starting line. I tried to pick up at pursuing a what in my prime I would consider easy, a simple ride up a hill, a ride which I could have devoured for breakfast at the top of my game. Legs ached and throat was dry and so I even turned for a more modest slope. But soon my throat cried for drink and I let gravity pull me back to level ground. Before I could reach a source of water to quiet my pleading gullet, my vision began to darken, the adrenaline was retreating and an oxygen deprived haze settled on my mind. I tried to sit at the street light corner but the light to cross said walk, and so I did. I found a place where to tie my bike, and sat to clear my head. The shadow on my mind departed and a blinding light moved in its place. This is not defeat, but a vision of truth, a clear view of my current state to break my unrealistic expectations. Blinded, breathless, shaking, I stumble towards the doors, I stumble towards recovery.

Yep it is time for me to start exercising regularly again. It's time to do spring cleaning on my life. Over the past week, the online job hunt hasn't gone so well. I did get contacted back for a job that it turns out I was really in no way qualified for. Unfortunately that was just a method of filtering to make sure that I was an actual human and not a robot submitting resumes. They didn't really want a phone interview as their initial (robot sent) email indicated. I also saw a short youtube video this week about the economic situation in manhattan kansas. In the video they mentioned an engineer that has been unsuccessfully searching for a job for eleven months. I understand that this individual faces his own particular set of issues when looking for a job, like the bogus "Overqualified" problem, and probably the lack of demand specifically for nuclear engineers in the area, but if he can't get a job, where does that leave me, especially when it comes to trying to find a job online? I'll keep looking and trying to submit resume's but I have a feeling that not much is going to happen till I actually can walk to the places of employment and meet people face to face. There is so much screwed up with this economy. Don't get me started.


13 May 2014

Plans are coming together

Well, I've refined my resume and sent it off to a few promising companies. I've also found a few online services that I may be able to apply to in order to earn a few extra bucks. We've decided to live in housing graciously offered to us by my sister. Now it is the waiting game. This is the worst part about job hunting, you have no way to actually measure your progress. That and HR managers have no obligation to send you a "no thank you" letter just to make sure you aren't holding out hopes that you will get hired. The only closure you get is that your resume and application will be held on file for only 30 days. The other problem is that I still won't be in manhattan for almost another month. No employer wants to really consider having to wait for a month for their new employee. If I could telecommute that would be an entirely different story, I would start today. But it seems that Rural Kansas is sadly dry on the whole telecommuting businesses.

Since I am on the topic of finding jobs, and will be for the next month or so (probably), I applied to the local Target in manhattan. Immediately after I finished the application I knew I wasn't ever going to be considered for the job. I think I may have mentally noted this last time I was on the job hunt, but I don't know if I ever expressed it in a public fashion. I have filled out some of these big company applications before and I've noticed that they are horribly flawed. At the same time I've noticed the flawed nature of the applications, I have also realized why the service in some of these large companies is typically so terrible. First, these companies don't want actual people working for them. If you answer the questionnaire honestly and admit that you have any sort of "flaw" in their eyes, or that you don't match up with their ideal paradigm, then you probably will not even be considered. Second, they don't want people, they want tax credits, so if you've been unemployed for six months, or been on welfare, then they will definitely hire you, till they lose the tax credit, then it is out the door for you again.

Now I am not implying that if you have been on welfare that you are a terrible worker. Frankly, I feel sorry for you if you have had to be on welfare. I am sick of the fact that our economy is so broken that it is absolutely requisite to have some form of public welfare just to keep people alive. I'm sorry for the fact that it sometimes happens that a person will be hired on just to benefit a company through a tax break rather than because of their actual talent. That sounds frustrating. But back to the application.

Because the company's interests, and limitations are the way they are, this is generally what happens. They hire on two types of people, people willing to lie on the questionnaire, and people who are stuck in the revolving door of unemployment/employment. In other words, they hire people of unknown quality and people who are perpetually being frustrated. Don't get me wrong, I hate making generalizations, and these companies do occasionally actually get a gem of a worker who is happy and helpful at the workplace. But why then have an application process anyway?

It seems like it would be more efficient to just keep a running queue of interviewees during the whole shift as long as there is an opening. In fact, I feel that the open positions would be filled faster and more effectively that way. It would also seriously limit the ability of the corporation to simply keep the revolving door of unemployment swinging, because it would take much more of the company's time to screen for that, rather than the potential employees time. On top of all of this, it would bring back the much needed human element to the job market world. I am sick of interacting with computers, sifting through scams, and getting roadblocked--and having my time stolen--by automatic filtering applications, in order to get a job.

I still don't know how to articulate this rant well. But that pretty much sums it up. On a more lighthearted note. I do find some job postings to be absolutely hilarious. I found one the other day for a porn film on craigslist, I wasn't aware that such industries would be so open and forward as posting their "now hiring" on something as public as craigslist. And I also found another one which is incredibly sketchy today, some businessman asking for a female college student to come to his office a couple hours each week to give him a massage... no experience required, just a headshot. That one probably should be flagged for probably being deceiving. It doesn't really sound like a back massage the way he put it. Of all the ridiculous things on the internet.

Till next week,

03 May 2014

The Job Market and Laptop Repair

This post will be a rather boring and un-enlightening week in review. As you already know from my last post, my wife and I are moving to Kansas in about a month. This means that I need to find a job in a rather odd time of the hiring season. Most jobs open up around graduation time, basically this month. And so, while there is a plethora of jobs being advertised right now, most of them will be displeased to hear that I won't be around till next month. It is just one more drawback on top of an already heaping pile of drawbacks (lack of a bachelors degree, lack of experience in fields I want to work in, and the virtual disappearance of entry level jobs that pay anything close to a livable wage).

In one bright bit of news, a friend of the family dropped by for a short visit last week and mentioned that we should call ahead to the local church leadership in the area and try to get help from ward and stake employment specialists. It sounded like a fantastic idea, so I spent most of last week trying to get into contact with someone who can help me. It was difficult, it seems they recently changed the employment specialist in one of the wards, and the branch's employment specialist lives in the wrong town. And so with hope I called up the last ward and found out that indeed they are willing to help.

This employment specialist has done an okay job, other than the fact that she seems to disapprove of my job seeking standards. I don't feel they are unreasonable though. Simply put, I don't want to work in a call center because I already know I would be terrible. I don't want to be a salesman pushing a product that I don't 100% believe in. I need to have a job that I can pay rent, utilities, food, gas, and student loans on. Lastly, I want to be able to support both my wife and myself so that my wife can start working on her own business. In other words, I need to be earning about as much as I am earning now. Yet this employment specialist keeps riding me about how I need to be willing to take a janitorial position that won't support me, and keeps saying that my wife needs to be a secretary or take some other full time job.

I don't think that it is part of her calling to be judgmental of my employment lifestyle choices. I can understand that it can be frustrating, especially in this economy to meet my demands, which I find to be frankly ridiculous. I'm not asking to have a lifestyle of new cars or ultimate leisure, I don't take part in expensive past times, I am simply asking that I can pay rent, utilities, and food so that my family can live on one income. A janitorial position paying $10.68/hr doesn't cut it in that area.

On the positive side, I do have to hand it to her, she did locate a company that has several open positions that I would be perfect for, and which may actually pay me a livable wage. These positions have not been posted on any of the other job aggregating sites. So this weekend, it is time to draw up several resumes, and start to schmooze up to the HR Manager.

In other news, I have an old game that I've been wanting to play, but when I install it on my newer laptop, it gives it a bad case of the recurring Blue Screen of Death. I've played it on my older laptop before and so I know it would work. But the old laptop has been having problems with overheating lately. I figured, what the heck. It is out of warranty, I might as well just try to fix the problem myself. So I looked up a guide on dismantling my old laptop and went to work. I was surprised at how intensive the process was actually going to be. To get to the cooling element, you have to dismantle the entire laptop from the keyboard down. With each plug I pulled, each ribbon cable I disconnected, and with each screw I pulled out I silently prayed in my head that I wouldn't break something important.

Then I finally had it all apart and I looked at the fan and aluminum heat dispersion fins, It wasn't nearly as clogged up with dust as I had expected, so I decided it must be the thermal paste that has worn out. I went to Radio Shack and picked up a small tube of the paste, looked up some guides online of how to apply the paste, and began to take the heat transfer plate off the board. It wasn't pretty, the old paste was gunky, put on poorly, and hardly there. The GPU only had a half torn poorly applied thermal pad on it, and that was the piece that was getting particularly hot in my old laptop. I checked to see if Thermal paste would be okay for a GPU and found that while it is alright to use it, there can be absolutely no excess past that squishes onto the board around the GPU Die. That may only apply to actual Graphics Cards, but I heeded the warning nonetheless. I carefully spread the thermal paste on both the CPU and GPU, secured the thermal transfer plate, and began to button everything back up.

Just before hitting the power button I turned to my wife and said "If this thing even starts up I'll be happy. If I get even a few degrees better cooling, I'll be ecstatic." Sure enough, everything turned back on and worked properly (other than the microphone and the caps-lock light. The plug with the wires to these two parts broke while trying to remove it, something that several people complained about in the comments to the dismantling guide. I tried to manually reinsert the wires, but I think I got them crossed because I couldn't remember which way they went.). It will take a while for the thermal paste to cure and get optimal performance. But I'm already seeing 10-20 F difference. Hooray for the power to do things yourself.


23 April 2014

Improbable State Change...

I took my last final of the BYU winter semester 2014 yesterday. Freedom is sweet and terrifying. I have not graduated. I do not have a bachelors degree. I am changing colleges to hopefully pursue a different program. There is one catch, I am moving two states away from my current position to a town that is two hours travel away from my nearest relatives or friends (as far as I know). I have checked the MIT living wage calculator for the area and at minimum to support my wife and myself I need to be making about $13.15 an hour in order to survive. If we are planning on having kids (which we hope to do sometime), then the sum I need to make is closer to $16.30. And none of these figures are taking into account the student loans we will be paying back. We don't really have much in the way of savings and the move is planned for next month. This means I have to find a relatively well paying job or other forms of income, 2 states away in a very short time, in an area where I don't have a network previously setup. So I'm back to blogging again to document this crazy transition in my life.

So, what do the prospects look like? In this economy. Meh. There are very few jobs offering wages in the range I need, and the ones that do, require 2+ years repairing complex electronics, or working in the O.R. at a hospital, oh yeah, and a degree. I would much rather not extend the student loan debt we already have. Starting out your professional life tens of thousands of dollars in debt never seemed like a good idea to me. It is a pretty bad social program which pretty much equates to slavery.

Speaking of slavery. It occurred to my co-workers and I a few weeks ago that we seem to remember being taught in school that back in yon early days of the republic, a person could elect to go into indentured servitude for 7 years, at the end of which he would receive a piece of land on which to build a house. We compared this to today and the fact that in our society the average worker slaves away at their job and even then can barely pay off their mortgage and student loans in 30 years. hmmm..... 7 years, 30 years, 7 years, 30 years.... Am I the only one who sees a problem with this.

I guess I'll be back next time with hilarious job descriptions.

~The Floyd