New Job Happy Dance

It’s true: after being unemployed for almost six weeks, I have accepted a job offer!

I’ll be working in downtown Toledo, on the 12th floor of a corporate office building across from Promenade Park. I will also be making more than twice what I made in my previous job: an increase in salary of 114%, to be exact. Aaron and I will be on equal financial footing — actually, I’ll be making just a little more than he makes, to tell the truth.

The main thing, though, is that I’ll be working in the Information Services department, in Data Warehousing. The change of industry has to be the biggest benefit of this entire severance situation.

My start date is one week from today, at which time I get to report to Orientation at 8:30am. On Aaron’s birthday. Which he requested off from work. But it’s all good, since we’ll get to go to dinner together on his birthday. Yay!

So, when’s a good time for the Diana Got A Job Party that I promised you all…? I’m thinking Saturday the 17th, evening? Who’s in?

Second Interview Results

You know, I’m not entirely sure how that went.

I spoke briefly with my potential supervisor’s supervisor, and that seemed to go well. More of the same: Tell me about the Access tracking database, etc. Then I met with two senior team members, who asked me more technical questions: How many tables were in your database? How many columns in the main table? What kinds of reports did you create?

Then I got the SQL test.

First question: Write pseudocode to generate the first 10 numbers of the Fibonacci sequence: (0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34)

Took me a second to remember / deduce what the Fibonacci sequence was (add the two previous numbers to get the next number). Then I was all, OK, do while loop / for next loop, something like that. Counter variable going up to 10, sure. But I never figured out how to set variables for the previous two numbers, or to do the calculation mathematically. So, they got part of my logic behind it, but not a correct answer.

After that were a couple of query questions that should have been easy, but weren’t. After those were a bunch of definition questions, some of which I farted my way through (“What is normalization and when would you go for it?”) and some of which I skipped (“What is a transaction?”). All in all, I answered probably half the questions on the quiz, and got some of those mostly correct. Some of them I knew how to answer in the context of Access, but not SQL (“How do you define a one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many relationship between tables?”).

After the test, my potential supe came in and told me that the test is mainly to see where I stand programming-wise and what my problem-solving thought process is like. He stressed that in entry-level positions, they don’t have much to look at with regards to a body of work, so the test serves to give them an idea of where each applicant stands.

The Powers That Be will be convening by week’s end to decide who gets the job. I’ll keep you all updated.

P.S. – I wore my traditional Halloween dangly bat earrings to the interview. No one noticed. At least Jess noticed when I wore them to Eric and Jess’s reception on Saturday. 🙂

Interview Today: Results

Today’s interview — number two since the job hunt began in April — was for a large health care company whose corporate offices are located in downtown Toledo. (Let’s skip the company name and keep Google out of this, yes?) The position in question is in Data Warehousing, which deals with getting data into the warehouse and spitting that data back out in the form of reports.

I arrived a little early, located the building (again — I interviewed here a few years back), and went across the street to spend ten minutes at Promenade Park. Beautiful day, gentle breeze, very calming.

(By the way? On my way up into the parking garage before this, I saw a vanity license plate that made me laugh out loud: PWN3D. I *so* wished I would have had my camera on me.)

Once I went into the building, I was taken upstairs by an HR representative to fill out some standard paperwork: OKs for background checks, stuff like that. Then I was taken upstairs for my interview.

Things that went right:

  • My new interview pantsuit is *killer*. I looked perfectly professional (IMO), and didn’t feel fussy about my clothes or awkward about my bearing.
  • I successfully portrayed my ability to learn on the fly, to keep myself busy and productive, and to try to better myself and my department. A lot of this had to do with my resume, though.
  • I had plenty of relevant questions to ask.

Things that I could have done better:

  • Interview questions for which I was not prepared: “Why do you want to work for our company?” and “What did you like the least about your previous jobs?”
  • OMG I forgot to bring my references! Sheesh. The last time I used my fancy black folder was when I went to the job fair, so it was full to the brim of unstapled two-page resumes. It should have been full of the job description printout, a resume, and my references. No worries, though; I asked the HR rep if I could e-mail them to her later, and she in turn gave me not only her card, but an entire folder with info on benefits.

Overall, the interviewer (my potential supervisor) said he sees potential in me, and that appears to be my strongest quality. I honestly don’t know much about their software, but I know I can learn, and I can bring my design and layout experience to the table when it comes to actual reports.

There would be some awesome benefits to working here. The office has a fantastic view of Promenade Park, right on the river, and three of the building’s five elevators face the river. There would be no worries about having a place to walk during my lunches, either. As for more company-related bennies, I’d be eligible for software training, including Microsoft. They also seem to have a pretty decent health plan, so Aaron and I would need to compare policies and see whether I should spend the money on my own company’s insurance plan. (Insurance is covered in Aaron’s union dues, so the plan would have to kick a lot of ass for me to buy my own.)

I should be hearing back from my interviewer by late this week or early next week to see whether I get a second interview. I’ll keep you all updated!

Interview Today

Interview in downtown Toledo in two hours. Data Warehousing in the Health Care industry. Wish me luck! I’ll let you know how it goes.

Day Eleven of Unemployment

Or of being unemployed, anyway. Unemployment compensation comes later, if at all. (I might have a job before it has time to kick in. Hopefully.)

These couple of weeks have been an interesting ride so far. It’s quite a roller coaster, going from being energized and excited about finding a new job to being depressed and unmotivated and back again. I mean, I know that I’ll find a job; that’s not the issue. This issue is, how long do I keep applying for the jobs I really want and would really be excited about, and when will I lose the upbeat, positive, forward-thinking attitude and just start applying for anything that wouldn’t suck too much? How long will that downward spiral take, and will I jump off in time?

I’ve at least gotten some concrete “no” answers this week. The tally since April:

Total resumes submitted: 30
Number of employer rejections (or duplicate jobs from recruiters): 10
Number of jobs I’ve declined: 1
Number of positions about which I’ve never received a response, and have basically written off: 8
Number of recent job applications I’m still holding out hope for: 11
Number of interviews so far: 1

I need to slow down and actually use the battle plan I learned from my outplacement training. I need to update my Personal Marketing Plan and get it out to a many people as I can, and try to get an inside line on new jobs *before* they’re posted online. I have one such inside line in the works right now, and I’d have no problem taking this job if it pans out. I need insiders at other companies, though, and I need to work harder on that. Slower. More methodically. Not jumping at every opportunity like a drowning woman grasping at anything that floats by.

Focus. Calm determination. That’s what will get me a job.

And schmoozing. Don’t forget schmoozing.

*sigh*

More Stress Than I Realized

Being at home with Aaron for a week — and during *this* week in particular, biologically speaking — has made for some interesting dynamics.

Left to my own devices, I’ll sleep for at least 10 hours and stay awake for between 12 and 14 hours. This, as I have already learned in the past, is not good for my mood. I start to feel lazy and depressed, and become less productive, since my normally productive and creative afternoon hours are suddenly my sleepy morning hours. Rolling out of bed at the crack of noon needs to stop.

At least I’ve been making myself to-do lists to keep myself busy. Follow-ups, hitting job-search websites, and driving to BG for outplacement workshops have been on my agenda.

Still… after a decent amount of job rejection, or getting no response and counting that as rejection (and fielding website restructuring requests that feel like rejection, but shouldn’t), I’m starting to feel a little stressed. I hadn’t realized it until I had a little mini-breakdown today, for no good reason. I’m still chalking most of it up to hormones.

My diabolical plan is to add more structure to my days, and to get up earlier. Instead of going to aikido this evening, for instance, I’m going to attend tomorrow’s (and Thursday’s, and Saturday’s) 10am session. I’m also going to meditate daily, like I’d mentioned before that I wanted to do.

I need to not take everything so personally. I also need to eat better, exercise more, and get out of the house every day. Otherwise, I’ll sink into a funk from which I’ll never escape. And that’s not a good way to find a job.

Update, 12:45am: It’s amazing what a difference just ten minutes of meditation can make. That 8pm session of zazen, plus a solid and genuinely excited decision to attend aikido tomorrow morning, along with a shitload of job leads from one of Aaron’s friends, have all acted to calm me considerably.

Lights out in fifteen minutes.

Day Two of Unemployment

Day One was spent recuperating from the incredible Flaming Lips show in Cleveland on Sunday. Slept in, chilled out, and came up with a battle plan. Day Two saw the initiation of said battle plan.

I identified two major issues that I need to address: productivity in job-hunting and organization in general. One affects the other, but I can’t just go at them one at a time. I need a pleasant and clean workspace to feel happy and productive; but I can’t clean to the exclusion of all else, and THEN go find a job. So, I set myself up a list of priorities for cleaning my desk space, starting with my file cabinet, moving to the stack of stuff on the floor, then the stack on top of the file cabinet, then the pile on my actual desk, and so forth. (Anyone who saw my immaculate desk at work wouldn’t believe that my desk at home is such a disaster.)

As for job-hunting productivity, I launched up my long-neglected Palm Desktop application. It has a task list and calendar, which is mainly what I need. I’m basically doing like I did when I was coordinating the database project with James: set up a short but vital list of tasks to accomplish the following day, so I feel super productive when I finish those plus more.

I’m also logging everything I’m doing in an Excel log, so I can track my productivity. For example, today I searched through all my del.icio.us jobhunt bookmarks and found two jobs I’m going to apply for tomorrow. I also followed up with a potential employer and sent my Personal Marketing Plan (i.e. my list of skills and target employers) to a former colleague to look over.

Since I got all that accomplished during the day, I didn’t feel bad spending my evening playing Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD on the 360. 🙂

If I can keep this up, I’ll at least feel like I’m not squandering my time at home. Still, this super-extended vacation is going to be weird.

Future Planning

So, I’m starting to realize (with some help from my friends) that any job I take at this point is going to be entry-level. Not coffee-bitch entry-level, maybe, but college-grad entry-level. Basically, I’ll be pretending that the last five years never happened when I’m looking for potential jobs. Granted, I’ve learned a lot of valuable office and interpersonal skills since graduation six years ago, but I’ve only meagerly advanced my technical knowledge in my field.

Speaking of: what *is* my field, anyway? We had this discussion before, to a degree, where I bemoaned my lack of advanced skills in any given field. But even assuming that I’m getting a glorified intern job… I have a clean slate, assuming someplace will take me. I could go marketing, or IT, or something else.

I’m even contemplating taking evening classes, once I get myself a new steady job. Maybe get a certificate or an Associates at Owens in… IT? Marketing? Something that will get me where I want to be in my new company. It’ll depend on what kind of tuition reimbursement my new employer has, if any, and if I end up getting any on-the-job training in things I want to learn, like .NET or some other technology.

I still maintain that this is a delicate balance. I have to be receptive to whatever comes down the pike, and be prepared for just about any opportunity that presents itself. Winds of change, and all that.

It’s kind of like aikido: I could be thrown down and be totally unprepared, and get hurt. I could be thrown down and be excessively tense and resistant, and get hurt. Or I could take the energy that’s directed toward me and use it to my own advantage, being ready for what’s to come, take the fall rolling and come up on my feet.

I’m not terribly good at that physically yet; maybe the mental concept will come easier.

Geek Chic

I decided to take a different tack on the job hunt this evening, and look one-by-one at each business that’s located in the business development where I currently work. I’m a big fan of the location, being that a.) it’s a fifteen-minute drive from home, and b.) there’s a fantastic wooded walking path through the middle of the area. So, I sat down with a list of (most of) the businesses in the park, and went to all of their websites, and determined whether their industry is something I’d be interested in pursuing, and looked for job postings.

I found a few that sounded vaguely interesting, and a few that I’d already known about — but I found one business that finally sparked my interest enough to get the job-hunt juices flowing again. It’s a national firm, an IT services and solutions provider, and I’m only vaguely familiar with most of their offerings. All of it made the geek girl in me drool, though.

Only a computer nerd would look through a list of technology solutions and think, “Ooh, HP Storage Area Network. I’ve never heard of that! Sounds cool!” Lots of the names like Altiris and Veritas and Citrix, and lots of the buzzwords like Web Content Filtering and Business Continuity Planning, all sounded familiar to me, but not enough so that I’d even be able to talk for two minutes straight about a given one.

The only section of their services where I know I can shine is Web Development, including website design and development and website management services. That I can do. The other stuff… it harks back to a day when I went around with Kirkum and installed new network cards in pizza-box Macs. Or imaged computers in the labs. Or installed a right-angle adapter in my own legacy Mac so I could install an ethernet card.

At any rate, I got fired up enough (and undepressed enough) that I worked on my Personal Marketing Plan like the nice outsourcing lady told me to. I have a list of about a dozen companies that may or may not be hiring, but that it would be pretty cool to work for. You can all expect that, once I have my Marketing Plan done and ready for prime time, I’ll be sharing it with you and asking you, “Do you know anyone who works for…?”

Career Lottery

Snicked from talcotts, via khath, via clawfoot and crystalkirk:

1. Go to www.careercruising.com/
2. Put in Username: nycareers, Password: landmark.
3. Take their “Career Matchmaker” questions.
4. Post the top fifteen results.

My results after all three sets of questions:
1. Multimedia Developer
2. Video Game Developer
3. Business Systems Analyst
4. Website Designer
5. Animator
6. Cartoonist / Comic Illustrator
7. Computer Programmer
8. Web Developer
9. Film Editor
10. Market Research Analyst
11. Professor
12. Webmaster
13. Artist
14. Desktop Publisher
15. Graphic Designer
16. Technical Writer
17. Computer Animator

32. Photographer

I’ve actually considered most of these careers, except maybe Market Research Analyst or Business Systems Analyst. Some of these (like Computer Animator or Video Game Designer) I would have liked to have done, but require more or different training/schooling. Some (like Artist or Cartoonist) I’ve long since lost the skills to do. Many of the others are viable options, and I feel that the quiz gave surprisingly accurate results — especially considering how blasé I was with my answers, for the most part. I only ventured away from the neutral choice when I had a strong feeling for or against a particular job task.

All righty. Video Game Developer job, here I come…?

Right.