For work I think. The whole job search thing is very dynamic now. Lots of project management positions for various amounts of time. Companies want people that have delivered in a variety of settings and they seem to like some of my work history around finance and global data center services. If I were an optimist, I would believe next week no matter what is my last week of being unemployed. I just have this feeling that a thing will happen then. It may be I go back to IBM GTS. I would not mind that. Working from home is a thing I’ve gotten used to. If I accept a more traditional position, I will most likely move from this place within the first month of work. I would want to get closer to Fremont or Union City BART.
I’m really amazed at the sheer number of positions I’m called about the last few weeks since I have been actively searching. If you’re interested and want to get a basic job service for free, forget the CareerBuilder, Linkedin Jobs, Monster. Even Dice. Consider using a site dedicated to bringing together all the job search enginers into one format that’s free to use. I prefer to use indeed and have only one or so job alert sent me via email every day. Its easy to just take the alerts from each place but why do that? You can keep your profile active on each but just use indeed. They even offer a resume/placement thing for free and I have been referred and taken interviews from their own job and resume service.
Secondarily, consider how you store your resume. For me, all my stuff ends up on Google Drive and I can reach the files via my smart phone, tablet, or my windows or chrome laptop. Don’t be caught without the resume handy. Use the cloud to your benefit.
Finally, consider what you want to accomplish with the search and remain positive. The job market for project managers is rich now. Lots of incoming stuff. But a person has to remain positive and not talk themselves out of something without understanding the whole thing. Communicating is part listening and understanding.
I have a good feeling that this time being unemployed will end soon for me. I’ll get a position where my particular abilities are needed or desired. I’ll have the work for the period of time I need it. The grand master plan will still be in effect.
Sometimes I hate the whole car thing. This morning upon waking up and deciding it was breakfast time, my car decided to simply not start. Called the towing company I use and its the starter. Had them get it started and then drove to my preferred mechanic. Mechanics are like attorneys I think. There are a whole bunch of them which are in it for the money only and they will decide to make you pay and then pay more. Then there are the ones like Jessie at Dhillon Auto Repair. I’ve known Jessie for years and he belies the whole idea that mechanics really are greedy and only want to find things wrong so they can charge more. Perhaps like attorneys in family law cases.
Once someone turns on the money tap, attorneys can smell the cash floating their way and pretty much know they have you. Mechanics of that ilk know it too. Its too bad we are based on exploitation. I’m glad to have Jessie doing the work.
Then there’s dogs. Lets face it. Dogs are the pets. Cats merely put up with you and really could care less whether you are there or not most times. You are just a bother to them and their secret mission. Dogs will be there for you and have no secret mission. Their only priority is you. They will stand by you through thick and thin, be your friend in good and bad times. Loyal and steadfast whether you fail or succeed in life.
I’m glad people are not like dogs because people would not make good dogs. I pretty much know what to expect people so I would prefer to not extend the olive branch of relationships to most of them. Its difficult to want to have friends and relationships seem even more daunting. One friend now discusses finding yet another wife to share his life with like there is some clock ticking which he has to abide by. I think religion has a great piece to play in this with people. People really believe all that unmitigated BS that organized religion doles out about how life is supposed to be organized. What the role of religion should be is to help people and not try to legislate their morality or tell people they can or cannot marry or have a relationship with a certain person. And that’s why I would always choose dogs over religion.
That’s the story for today.
I decided I wanted (not needed) a tablet. Choices are:
- Nexus 9 either the 16gb or 32gb version. Too expensive.
- Asus Zentab 8 S 32gb or 64gb model. Cannot mess with the OS/firmware.
- Samsung Tab S2. Too expensive.
- iPad Air 2 or Mini. Nope. Been there. They are boring.
That leaves me with the Nexus 7 32gb model from 2013. A 2 year old tablet is better than the other new ones? Yes it is. Why? Well, I can do strange things to it like run this command like “fastboot oem unlock”. Then I can install new factory images and hopefully have it through Android 6.0. I can use it to read and watch videos on. Its a delight for that. I’m not a gamer except for rather simple puzzle and word games. My application needs are simple too. I like consuming on it. News, video, music.
Finally, there is the cost. Lets be honest folks. I found a used Nexus 7 with 32gb of memory for $120. With shipping from ebay that’s $127. Wow! If it only lasts a year, I am not out that much. But the tablet hardware and how it handles the usual stuff a Nexus user wants to toss at it rules. We want to flash things, almost break things, flash recoveries, root a thing. Bring it to the edge of ruin and then rerun the factory image and have it returned to its default state and start again. This is why I buy Nexus gear. I want to mess with it and not worry about things like Knox or locked boot loaders or old firmware from questionable vendors.
Then there’s the cost. The cost is a big thing right now to me. I don’t want to spend $$$ on something I don’t need. I will spend $ on something I want.
Other News and Factoids
I have this rather upbeat feeling my month or so of not working is coming to a close soon. I feel very positive about a new position I will interview for on Tuesday. This will be a final interview for it and its like a carbon copy of what I did at IBM. A fixer and joiner and patcher of things. My soon-to-be boss has let me know that ability is one they really need to get this done. Its something I did over and over again figuring out how to get a thing done at IBM which seemed impossible.
My roommate and friend is approaching his last month at the house of Al. The house where no one wants to stay will see another person leave. The house that is broken in so many ways but now has good roomies will lose one. Such is the way of things. I will probably stay for awhile until something else happens there which I cannot tolerate. I can ride BART to work and back each day pretty easily. No tunnels or bridges or anything else. I can even walk after work if I want. I always wonder first about how I will walk when something new comes along. Its that important to me.
Now my time is done at Starbucks and I’ll drive back to the house of Al. A place that is not a place. Its like one of those watering holes where the animals stop on their way to the fabled mating grounds. They all know the current thing does not have to be perfect. Only needs to satisfy some percent of the need. Yeah to water. No to companionship. No to this or that. Its okay. Water is important.
That’s what the house of Al is like. A place to stop for a bit and gather the senses. Then find the next thing which is high value.
Lets be honest. We all want a device which bridges multiple devices. If we have a work system which is lightweight, has great battery life, can be effective in travel or @ home mode; this is goodness. I present to you my Toshiba Chromebook 2. Its my second chromebook and I combine it with a few things to get more out of it:
- Google Voice. I don’t know of another service that can do what this does for the price. Basically $0.00. It will make calls, receive calls, let me set voicemails. I can forward calls to other numbers. If I will be gone and only have my cell phone, I can have google voice send the calls there. I can set time off and have voicemails take over. I can set do not disturb times. Most of all, these days, on the chromebook with the Hangouts app and Google Voice, I can get and make calls right from the Toshiba to landlines and also chat using Hangouts and get SMS for my Google Voice. This makes it a great work solution for someone that may be on the road or traveling.
- Hangouts on the platforms. Google’s Hangouts is still a work in progress and there are things I don’t care for with it but the whole VOIP support thing is one thing I do care for. It can become my central world for calling, interviews, finding friends, chatting with my daughter, or being busy with online job searches. On my chromebook, the app takes on so many roles and can effectively be a communication standard. When you combine Hangouts with Google Voice, you get a taste of a centralized environment where you can always be reached (when you want to), never lose a message, find contact info.
- Advances in Google Docs and Sheets. I don’t use Slides that much but Google Docs and Sheets get used a lot. The advances are significant with being able to open Google Drive based documents. Having access to the same set of features and functions whether on my Chromebook or my Nexus 6 makes me productive. If there is one thing Google does on the ecosystem that I really appreciate, its the effortless access to my documents across the three different platforms I do use (Windows 10 laptop, Nexus 6 phone, Chromebook).
- Lightweight, fast, easy to use in travel. The chromebook really shines when I travel and want a quick update to the blog or my personal journals on Google Drive. It can be unlocked by my android phone. I can use common Linux tools with it. In travel mode, it takes care of me for all the stuff I like to do in a motel room at night.
I think the chromebook ecosystems are facing no significant danger from the so-called Cloudbooks with Windows 10 installed. I’ve used both. The Windows 10 thing is still a thick client install with all the antivirus, malware, registry, and other things. Its not conducive to a 10 minute web session when my old laptop takes a few minutes to actually get going.
Such are the things I consider when a Friday approaches. My chromebook rings like a phone and its Ed calling me back. My daughter pings me on hangouts. Potential work sources want a number to reach me at. Easy I think. Google Voice is the thing. The cost point is right too!
Hunting for jobs is work these days. I figure I put in about 4 hours per day networking, reading openings, applying. Usually the next day is spent on calls with recruiters on the activities of the prior day. I’ve now applied for almost 30 different jobs and have had a few bites. IBM supposedly will exit a hiring freeze 1 September as well and they want me back. Truth be told, I would prefer working at IBM but being faced with layoffs and restructurings in another 4 months may be a deal breaker. That is the reality though for searching in the 21st. Companies want contractors and then they think contractors are teh spawn of the devil. Why do they want us? I believe it gets down to a few reasons:
- We are easily hired and just as easily let go. Companies can decide to love us and give us work and then tell us to hit the road. No severance packages, no benefits besides unemployment (that helps a lot BTW!), and no education or job skills workshops for the recently severed.
- We can take care of a specific need or needs and we are cheaper in the long run than FTE positions. No benefits to pay, no long term retirement planning in place. We’re just hired to fulfill a thing or things. There is also no real loyalty to us. They simply don’t care and we are just a PO in the case of IBM. A set of random numbers on a piece of paper in a company that has over 250k employees worldwide.
- We are here today, gone tomorrow and companies like that. There is no incentive to train us, create work pools for new jobs for us. There is not a “buy in” and we are just labor that can be removed painlessly and then re-hired as the need arises. This creates a perfect storm of work place delivery but it has a dark side. We also learn how to get things done that cannot be replaced sometimes. Take my work at IBM. I learned how to “weasel word” things to get them done sooner than IBM bureaucrats wanted and to make my client happy. This accumulated wisdom is lost when we here one day and gone the next.
- Finally, the client has no real desire to extend us. There are thousands of us and we are cheap labor when compared with the entire hiring thing for a new FTE. We are brought on, deliver, exit and there is not really a mark left except maybe to the business or enterprise client that learns we are valued too. But an IBM does not really care about the client itself. They do care about the $$ and most importantly whether its “new money”.
After learning these things, its easier to hit the ground running on the job path for the 21st. You have no misconceptions about loyalty and no long-term expectations for benefits you will reap. Its a quick thing even if it lasts a year or longer. I have come to expect this as I go through the job of getting a job. What I really want for the Mike plan is a certain amount of work and for it to last a certain amount of time. This works well with the whole consulting/contracting thing.
So on I go looking, sending, reading. Sitting in a room in a house I would prefer to not live in with roommates which are neither here or there. They can all leave and perhaps I will second or third or last or something. Work in the 21st is like living in the 21st. Its ephemeral.
Not meant as a particularly symbolic idea but here is the basic thing for your review:
go forward. if you stand still you are going backwards as time passes
Now decide what it is that will ring your bell. It cannot be what rings my bell because our bells are different. I’ve decided to move forward there will still be lines on the etcha sketch but I have control over the lines I still see. Its taken me awhile to get the rest of the lines dimmed out and to find out which ones I control. Here is what I propose as my own going forward.
- Travel. Travel has become important to me and has been since I don’t know when. As the year goes on and 2016 enters, travel will become an instrumental and basic thing in my life.
- Work. Work is important for a few things for my way forward. It gives me the required money to do the first thing but it also gives me a thing to relate to, to deliver on, to collaborate on. Project Managers need projects. I need work to move forward.
- Play. Without work there is no play. I don’t think you can truly experience play unless you work first. They are not opposites at all. Just because you know work does not mean the absence is play. The absence of work is a lack of empowerment. Not play.
- Money. We all need money. Money collaborates with the above things to make life worthwhile. Its not the end but it can be. Its not the means but it may be. In other words, while you have heard that money cannot make you happy and its the root of all evil and all those other tales, its really not that way at all. We live in a global economy. Money is required but where we spend the money and how we spend it is instrumental. I can spend the same amount in KL Malaysia and get more. I can probably spend the same and get more in Thailand as well as in India.
You will notice a relationship is not on the list. Others may include a relationship with a significant other as a key ingredient. I don’t see it. I can hardly do the first group of things for myself. Having another person would cause suffering. I am not a good partner, a life friend, a lover. I am abidingly selfish and probably narcissistic. I probably don’t care about you and don’t write this for your edification.
I write this for my own. Its my expression of a life spent wondering. A life spent wielding a trowel both physically and intellectually. I want to know how things work but I study an incomplete record which is actually the past. We lose the past not because of some disease but how our very memories work to cement things. A friend once remarked to me,
when we get old; we start believing our own bullshit
And that’s the way it is.
I decided to move away from wordpress.com and start anew. I go through this every so often when faced with change or a desire to simply reboot my blog thing and use my own domain. I’ve had this domain for a long time and its been hosted everywhere from under a desk to Linode and now to DigitalOcean. I’ll challenge you to find the links. I’m not your link master.
But why you may ask? In this world of ever-changing and re-arranging blog creds, why even bother with a blog or doing a new one from an old presence with no old posts. Here are some answers for you.
- Blogging serves no real purpose. It simply is. You may do it with the most desirable and admirable of reasons but the truth is you are writing a message that many people don’t want to read. I wonder what are the stats for people that start a new blog and only write a single post. Its not dedication that keeps me going or makes me change. Its more like a desire to reflect and have some catharsis and enforce my views on you. If you want your own non-purpose go create your own blog.
- Blogging lets me admit things and I can deny comments that you may have or simply tell akismet its spam and away you go. Sound mean? Of course. This is my admission to things and not yours. Sure I’ve failed at things and rebooted things. Its all in the business of living. I divorced and I’m glad. I moved on to new job things so my about page does not describe in any painful detail what I did or why.
- Finally, I can write things that no one need read but it sums up my life story and perhaps one day it will serve some purpose or none at all. I have been doing this for 10 years and I have the wordpress exports to prove it. I did my thing on advogato before and either graduated or moved sideways to this thing some years ago.
There you have it. My blog is back here. Let no one at all read this or comment or create the usual spam about thousands of links or stupid and vapid comments and akismet is happy to monitor and send them to some almost procmail-ish place.
I decided to move things to my own install of wordpress on digitalocean. More to come. Maybe the old stuff. Maybe not. I get bored too quickly with the blogging these days and tend to whack the things out when I get there. Lets see how long this lasts.
The blog is a decidedly personal affair and has been for about 10 years now. I’ve marveled a few times how I managed to keep the vast majority of posts even though missing a month in 2009 when I lived in Chennai India. I lived there for almost 7 months then if you refer back to the chronology of this thing. They were good and particularly enlightening times for me that I would never replace with anything else. I managed a lot of travel then and went to Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and India. The blog kept my record of a lot of those travels. One can find my musings landing in Japan in 2010 and visiting Kyoto in 2011 after my friend Rajesh’s wedding in Chennai. I also spent about a week give or take in Singapore then. Its been 4 years since I have traveled like that and I miss it. I also went to Sydney in 2011 and I liked going there. The company association then was stupid and I regret showing up and accepting that work. In retrospect, I did what I had to do to get by and live in a house that was disintegrating.
Now I live in the house of Al and its better. I can blog as I wish. Spend money on vacations and only hear my ex-wife still bitch and complain about the 50% she got. Its amazing to me when I compare our 50%’s and look to see who got the most value. Its obvious to me that I did not but yet my 50% is better. I lost the house, got the older car, basically lost the kids except for a visit or two a week. Yet my musings tell me this is better.
Now its also football season and that means American football not other football or soccer or whatever. I don’t understand that other football and don’t watch it. I do watch all sorts of American football and enjoy the spectacle of the whole thing. I used to go to games and we did the tailgating thing, the beer thing, the winning and losing gracefully thing. Raiders fans have learned to lose gracefully I think but also winning is a prized ending. Winning is somewhat unusual so when it happens, the screams of “R A I D E R S” bounce through the BART station, the walkover, and perhaps even the cops refrain it when taking people off to jail that like to fight at the games.
So now the job has ended and I hunt around each day for things to do. Tomorrow I will do a pancake and sausage breakfast at McDonald’s for some reason. I’l read the news on my Nexus 6 phone and try to get punched up for job searching but the spirit is not there yet. I still hope that IBM takes me back. I miss it still incredibly.
The blog lives on and will go on to its 11th year. I’ll remember and perhaps write posts about the interactions of what I do and did. Archeology still vibrates in my soul and I armchair myself to reading new discoveries. Project management does not do that. Its too hard of a job. I worked with an architect and SME and admin and other team that I think appreciated what I brought to the job there at IBM. I enjoyed them immensely. Architects are the heavy lifters at IBM. They can do it all and I’ve worked with some that are truly inspiring.
Now on to the dinner for the night. Hot and Spicy noodles at home! Then perhaps a few beers and the old Lost in Space on Hulu. Its all good!
Another week really without work. I had hoped somehow to get an IBM contract and get back to things I am comfortable doing with teams that perhaps still need me. I’m not really sure if they do any longer and I feel that the weekends don’t signify what they used to. Now they are just continuations of weekdays of pixel pushing and keyboard mangling. I write things in google docs that perhaps makes a difference; but who really knows how we differentiate ourselves from the herd of disruptive open source consultants out there.
I also think about things which perhaps I never had time to think of before. When I am busy doing project management and making things happen; I don’t have time for:
- wondering how to make things happen
- caring about what it feels like to not make things happen
- wanting a change to making things happen again
These three states bug me. If I just had one thing, I could deal with it but going through a month without work where once these three things never bothered me is tough. I guess I could go out again and start looking for work but truth be told I don’t want to today. Its Friday after all and today I got the Chromecast ethernet dongle thing which hopefully means I can geek out at faster speeds casting from things. If it arrives today, I will most likely netflix and hulu plus myself into a state of oblivion with episodes of anime this and documentary that and TV series the other.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that while I enjoy working with certain people and may enjoy somewhat living with them in the same house; I definitely would not want them sharing my room or having them sharing a house with me only. I don’t get why one of the people will never leave the house yet the person hates it. I don’t particularly hate it here. I could live here as long as I want to live here without some kind of disruption going. There are things which bug me here. Our landlord never seems to be able to carry through on things for the house but for his things, no real problem. The house is an odd assortment of things almost failing, less than clean conditions making daily life difficult, and an assortment of roommates here now and gone which baffles me. I know I am so much less than perfect especially trying to match up the three things above; but some of the people that have come and gone here… I mean seriously?
Now I’ll pixel push and more some more bytes around and find things to occupy me until something real comes along. It could be this. It could be that. IBM could call me and invite me back. Unfortunately, its about money now like it always is. I’m unwilling to let me personal savings dwindle because the 2016 plan hinges on a certain amount being saved. We’ll see what happens after the day of pushing and writing and pulling.