Employment

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SDR
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Employment

Postby SDR » Thu 08 Jul, 2010 05:02 pm

So, today at work, I was pulled in to speak with my boss and the finance executive. I just knew I was going to be laid off, and thank goodness I was wrong. Instead, my hours have been cut by 60%. As has my pay. So I'm like 60% laid off and 40% employed. Or some such.

Anyway, prayers would be appreciated, as would the $270 to pay off my wife's ticket. HA!

Seriously though, I'm working on my resume, and if anyone knows any place looking for the most awesome of awesome software developers, let me know. I can fake it.

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Postby steelem » Thu 08 Jul, 2010 05:35 pm

Ugh...that sucks! Well, 60% sucks.

Do you have to stay in Utah, or is it worth asking my hubby if he knows of anything in Arizona?
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Postby SDR » Thu 08 Jul, 2010 06:06 pm

steelem wrote:Ugh...that sucks! Well, 60% sucks.

Do you have to stay in Utah, or is it worth asking my hubby if he knows of anything in Arizona?


I would prefer to stay in Utah, but for the right amount, I could move anywhere. $250,000 plus a company car would be nice. ;)

Maybe I'll have to look around Texas while I'm there on vacation over the next couple of weeks.

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Postby jxn » Fri 09 Jul, 2010 11:59 am

Still mostly lurking...

The company I work for is almost always hiring developers. We do all of our hiring on-line. Just check out the career link on verio.com.

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Postby AdamOndi » Mon 12 Jul, 2010 06:40 am

Wow. That really sucks, SDR. I will keep an ear open for software developer positions here in San Antonio. What languages do you develop in? I know that Rackspace (which is headquartered here) is almost always looking for developers.
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Postby KMD » Mon 12 Jul, 2010 12:19 pm

What is your skill set SDR?
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Postby SDR » Thu 15 Jul, 2010 11:27 pm

Thanks to all for your comments thus far. I'm on vacation in TX and this is the first chance I've had to login since we left Monday. I'll post more later, including answers to questions asked.

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Postby SDR » Sat 24 Jul, 2010 01:05 pm

Okay, I'm back. Well, I was back yesterday, delayed by a half day due to my oldest son being kicked. In the face. By a horse. He'll be okay, nothing is broken, though in a lot of pain. And now that I've caught up on sleep and such, back to "Employment"! :)

My new work schedule starts Monday. After Monday & one other day (probably Tuesday) this next week, I'll have all the time I want to watch TV. Or other stuff.

In any case, I'm actually rather looking forward to this. We've figured out our budget and between my new salary & Sandee's salary, we're within $30 of having a balanced budget. No extra money, but it beats wondering how things will get paid. So I'm looking it as extra (unpaid) vacation at the moment.

When I got the news, they said the plan was for the reduction in pay to be temporary, from the time I got back from vacation (hence why we still took the vacation even though the "smart" thing would have been to stay home and bank the money; I'm glad we went) through the end of August. So as bad news goes, this news could have been far worse. That being said, they didn't plan to get to the point this step was necessary, so I'm not going to count on them being able to bring me back full time on September 1.

For now, I'm going to continue exploring whatever options might exist out there, and I have some ideas for projects I think have some potential I plan to spend some time on. They might not replace my income, but maybe they'll augment it.

My mini-resume: I've been programming professionally since 1989 (1988 if you count time spent as a teaching assistant for a Fortran 77 programming class for engineers & scientists). I have about 21 years experience with C, 20 with C++, and 5 or 6 with C#. I've also written production software in Fortran, Pascal, Modula 2, BASIC (classic line number BASIC, not visual basic), VBScript, batch files, & bash shell scripts. Some Java, though I'd not call myself proficient with it. I've also played with a number of other languages, most notably PHP & (somewhat less) Python. Oh, and PPL (the PCBoard Programming Language), a scripting language for PCBoard BBS software that I was the primary developer of back in the mid 90's. Not that there is a lot of use for it today.

Primarily I've been writing desktop & server/service types of applications. I've done a tiny bit of web development, but not much.

As for operating systems, the last 10 years have been primarily Win32 based, though I've done some DOS & Unix/Linux/etc work.

More than anything, I consider myself a programmer / developer. No matter what language or environment, I can get the job done. Unfortunately, most HR departments want someone with 100 years of experience with the exact platform they are currently using.

I hope this answers the questions asked. Thanks for the comments & questions so far.

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Postby SDR » Thu 29 Jul, 2010 01:38 pm

Had an interview this morning. It was for a lead / management position, and that's not my strength. I know this from the 18 months I spent doing it on my current job before resigning the position. Fortunately, I knew what the position was going in and thus knew what to expect. More than anything, I took the interview to get a practice interview in (as it's been a while since I had to jump through these hoops), and on the off chance they might like me so much they'd make room for me. It seemed to go well from the technical perspective, but he really needs an experienced lead.

I have a telephone interview this afternoon. Another local company (actually just a couple of blocks from my current employer), but their process is:

1. Circle numbers from 1 to 5 on a self assessment form.

2. If they like what they see from #1, telephone interview.

3. If they like what they hear from #2, in person interview.

I'm not sure if I want this job either, but I won't know unless I go through the process. Besides, my current employer gives me a two day work week. It's going to be hard for anyone else to compete with that.

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Postby KareNin » Thu 29 Jul, 2010 08:53 pm

:lol:
Have a nice day, unless you already have other plans.

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Postby SDR » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 10:08 pm

I had that phone interview last Thursday. I did not think it went well at all. I'd guess about 10% to 20% of the questions had to do with technologies I had no personal experience with, and half of the remaining questions I stammered out answers to. Yeah, not well at all.

I received an email yesterday letting me know they wanted to bring me in for a marathon of 5 or 6 interviews lasting 45 to 60 minutes each. I guess he's waiting on a vacationing HR person to get back some time this week to schedule the interviews.

In the meantime, he's waiting on some examples of my programming, which is a tiny problem in that my recent projects are the property of my employer. So I need to write something to give him an idea of what I am capable of.

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Postby Momma Snider » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 10:09 pm

Good luck!

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Postby KMD » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 07:13 am

An example of your programming? OK, is that usual for job applications in the tech world now, because that is a new one on me!
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Postby Eric's Fat Brother » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 08:46 am

I always get code samples from anyone I am interviewing. I think it's pretty standard for a programming job.
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Postby SDR » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 12:07 pm

It is becoming more common than it once was. Relatively few companies have ever asked me for one in advance of an interview, but more than one has had me write code on the spot. Sometimes informal whiteboard pseudo-code, other times they've sat me down in front of a computer and given me an hour or so to work out some problem.

When I was responsible for hiring, that last part is what I'd do. I had a relatively simple problem statement that I liked from back in my TA days at BYU that I'd give people, along with computer (but not network) access and up to an hour to do it. I felt I could tell quite a bit about someone based on how they approached solving a throw away problem like that.

Another thing I was always looking for was a love of programming. Namely, did the person write any software before receiving their education and / or do they work on projects for fun in their spare time. In my experience, people who answer yes are generally better than those who answer no, regardless of education background. I might be biased, though, since I never finished my bachelor degree. :)

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Postby WiseNLucky » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 01:32 pm

SDR wrote:Another thing I was always looking for was a love of programming. Namely, did the person write any software before receiving their education and / or do they work on projects for fun in their spare time. In my experience, people who answer yes are generally better than those who answer no, regardless of education background. I might be biased, though, since I never finished my bachelor degree. :)


I loved programming back in college in the 1980s. I think it's because it felt like doing a logic puzzle, and I like those. I did programming, like you said, for fun (other than class homework). In my case, though, the languages I learned were Basic (on a TRS-80) and Cobol (on the university mainframe).

I got fairly good at it; my professor would bring me students' code that didn't work when he couldn't figure out why. One time, the program spelled out "one" instead of including the number "1" and I suggested that might be the problem. The prof said that it couldn't be the problem because the software guide allowed that substitution. I said "what the heck" and changed "one" to "1" and the program ran flawlessly. My prof got to write (no email then) the editors of the software guide to tell them they had an error.

What was the problem statement you routinely gave interviewees? Man I'm going to wish I still wrote programs so I could try to solve it.
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Postby SDR » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 05:57 pm

WiseNLucky wrote:I loved programming back in college in the 1980s. I think it's because it felt like doing a logic puzzle, and I like those. I did programming, like you said, for fun (other than class homework). In my case, though, the languages I learned were Basic (on a TRS-80) and Cobol (on the university mainframe).


That's how I feel (re logic puzzles). My first languages were BASIC (Commodore Pet at school and later on a Timex Sinclair 1000 I was given for Christmas one year and 'finally' on the Commodore 64 I worked and saved up for) and 6502 family assembly language (for when BASIC was just too slow on the C=64). My first language in college was FORTRAN, and later a whole bunch of others (as described in previous posts).

The way I got into FORTRAN was kinda funny (I think). I had registered for the first CS class (Pascal) but read that calculus was a prereq, and I didn't think I was ready for calculus. I asked an advisor how serious that prereq was and was told "very". I now know I didn't need *any* calculus for that class, but I was just a stupid freshman at the time. He recommended the FORTRAN for scientists & engineers class, and boy am I glad he did (despite the fact that I didn't need it for my major). That professor was awesome and got me to think about programming in ways I had not previously. There were other good professors, but they weren't teaching programming; they were teaching other concepts but the programming was generally just a means to an end. I don't think I'd have been nearly as good a programmer without that FORTRAN class.

WiseNLucky wrote:I got fairly good at it; my professor would bring me students' code that didn't work when he couldn't figure out why. One time, the program spelled out "one" instead of including the number "1" and I suggested that might be the problem. The prof said that it couldn't be the problem because the software guide allowed that substitution. I said "what the heck" and changed "one" to "1" and the program ran flawlessly. My prof got to write (no email then) the editors of the software guide to tell them they had an error.


That's funny! I found a bug in the FORTRAN compiler used by the above referenced class. It was hard to convince my professor at the time, as I was just a lowly student and it was not uncommon to hear students blame the compiler when their code didn't work. I was finally able to convince him of the bug and he reported it. I think. Don't know if it was mail or email. :)

WiseNLucky wrote:What was the problem statement you routinely gave interviewees? Man I'm going to wish I still wrote programs so I could try to solve it.


An Armstrong number is an N-digit positive number that is equal to the sum of its digits raised to the N-th power. For example, 153 (a 3 digit number) is an Armstrong number because 1^3 + 5^3 + 3^3 = 1 + 125 + 27 = 153.

Write a program that generates a list of all Armstrong numbers less than 1000.

Note: all one digit numbers are Armstrong numbers by definition (as x^1 is always equal to x).


My TA (when I was a student) and I had a bit of a contest trying to write the shortest possible version of that program. I could get close to his solution, but he was always a little ahead of me. When I couldn't win that contest, I decided to write the most efficient version of the program that I could, and came up with an interesting solution that beat the pants and shirt and hat and shoes and socks and underwear off the intuitive solution to the problem.

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Postby KMD » Thu 05 Aug, 2010 08:12 am

I must just be behind the times then. I came into this company as a college hire, and all college hires had to take a test that resembled the math/logic part of the SAT. But that was after the interview and the offer, but kind of before you really got started working. Since then, I've stayed in the same company, but moved around to different contracts, and the interview process when it's internal is a little less rigorous. I'm sure they just ask my current manager "So, does she know what she's doing?" and my manager says "Yup"* and it's all a done deal.

*OK, so in my mind this is how it goes. In reality I'm sure there's a lot more business-y sounding talk going on. Then again, a lot of my managers were from the South, and very laid back, and a couple I am quite sure could have answered with a Yup. But hopefully then there was more explanation after that.
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Postby AdamOndi » Thu 05 Aug, 2010 11:29 am

KMD wrote:I must just be behind the times then. I came into this company as a college hire, and all college hires had to take a test that resembled the math/logic part of the SAT. But that was after the interview and the offer, but kind of before you really got started working. Since then, I've stayed in the same company, but moved around to different contracts, and the interview process when it's internal is a little less rigorous. I'm sure they just ask my current manager "So, does she know what she's doing?" and my manager says "Yup"* and it's all a done deal.

*OK, so in my mind this is how it goes. In reality I'm sure there's a lot more business-y sounding talk going on. Then again, a lot of my managers were from the South, and very laid back, and a couple I am quite sure could have answered with a Yup. But hopefully then there was more explanation after that.


KMD, I think you would be surprised to see just how much it really is like that with internal positions. Often, if the managers know each other, it really is just a matter of asking if the prospect is competent or not. Or, rather, asking if the manager would recommend the prospect. Internal hiring managers also usually have access to past performance reviews to get a better sense of how that prospect is going to do in a new position.
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Re: Employment

Postby SDR » Fri 17 Dec, 2010 01:54 pm

I called into work to find out if we were being paid today or Monday. Normally it would fall on Friday when payday (18th) is on a Saturday, but given that the company can't afford to pay me full time, I don't want to assume. I was told that today was pay day, so I indicated that I'd be coming in so I can deposit my check. You see, they're doing paper checks at the moment instead of direct deposit. I think it is because they aren't sure how much money they'll have far enough in advance to submit direct deposit (though fortunately I've always been paid what I'm owed on time {knock on wood}).

In any case, my boss told me he'd talk to me when I got there, which leads me to assume that maybe this will be my last pay check. Always the pessimist I am. I asked if he needed something (hoping to get any bad news out of the way as soon as possible), and he said that I'll be going from two to four days a week after Christmas!

I don't have all the details yet (hence why I haven't posted anything to Twitter or Facebook as I don't know *exactly* how good this news is yet). Hopefully my hourly rate remains the same and I'm getting an effective 100% raise over what I have been making.

This is good news in and of itself (assuming they don't cut my hourly rate in half {or worse} which I do not expect). It is extra good news because we've really been stressing about our financial future at home. We've continued to make ends meet just fine, but Sandee has been having a rough go of it at work with a new principal that seems to be looking for every little thing he can to hold against her. Combine that with no job interviews for me since late October and extreme insecurity about how long my 40% job would continue and, yeah, you get stress and high anxiety at casa de Robison.

More details to follow (hopefully all good), but just had to tell some people, and I thought you guys first.


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