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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Purple Day

As some of you may have seen on my social networks, today was purple day for epilepsy awareness. March 26th every year has been designated as a day to wear purple to raise awareness for epilepsy.

I went to an interview of sorts today, and I wore my purple hoodie, with my only polo shirt that has any type of purple in it. Let me say, it definitely grabbed the attention of the person I was meeting with. She not only noticed that it was purple, but also noticed that it was an Epilepsy Foundation hoodie.

I posted about this event a few times over the past week or so, and some of my friends and family decided to wear purple for me today. One friend even wrote on my Facebook that she not only wore purple, but that she also talked to 3 people about epilepsy and about me... That's awesome.

These gestures may seem small - Wear something purple, say a few things to some people about epilepsy - but it makes a HUGE difference. And to those of you who helped support me and my cause today, you have no idea what it means to me. I obviously can only do so much by myself, and every extra person is a great help.

For anyone who may have shown your support that I didn't know about, thank you as well. I don't need to know that you showed your support, I appreciate the effort regardless. I hope that you were able to at least mention to someone why you were wearing purple, but if not that's fine too.

I hope that everyone who is reading this has learned something about epilepsy from me at some point, and/or have taught others about epilepsy. If anyone ever wants information of any sort about epilepsy, feel free to ask. I'm always glad to spread knowledge.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Interview

Some of you may have seen on my social networks that I went to the gym Friday. I went to the gym for a few reason:
  1. I go to the gym at the college that I attended, which is about 20 minutes away from my house. I got the membership there because I get an alumni discount, and it was about 3 minutes away from work before I got laid off. (Unfortunately, I renewed my membership 2 days prior to being laid off.)
  2. I was in the area, because I had an interview about 5-10 minutes away from campus.
  3. The interview left a VERY sour taste in my mouth.
I was EXTREMELY upset when I left that interview. Normally, if I leave an interview upset it's because I messed up (or I think in my mind that I messed up.) There was something that I said or did that I realized later was a bad choice, and I think that it had a negative effect on my interview. This was not this case this time.

Truly, I went into this interview not expecting much. After talking on the phone, it didn't seem like the job was a good fit, but it was my first scheduled interview since getting laid off so I figured I'd go anyway. Who knows, maybe I get a different vibe from an interview than I do from a phone conversation. 
I did get a different vibe, but my impression of the individual who interviewed me (and called me) was actually made worse, which I didn't think was possible.

As I said, I knew this wasn't an interview that I thought would go well. It was for an IT job - desktop support position - which is basically what I've been doing for the past 10 years or so, so that part was fine. The bad part came in when the person told me that they have one IT person, and this person works part time. This person was not going to be around anymore, so they wanted me to take his/her spot and work half-time as an IT person and half-time as a front desk type of person. Not really what I want to do, but I kinda need something right now.

So I get to the interview. First of all, this guy said about 20 times in the interview that he could not believe that my former company had 3 people in IT for the amount of employees they have. "We have one guy part time, and 50 employees, I don't see why they needed 3 people." Literally, I heard almost those exact words at least 10 times in less than an hour.

Then he starts asking me about the programming background that I have on my resume, to which I respond "it's a hobby of mine that I do on the side" and explain to him some of my programs.
so he says "how can this be of use to us?"
"Well, I do a lot of scripting as well, so I could possibly automate some of the repetitive tasks that are done by writing a script to do the task for you."
"Well how do I know that you aren't going to leave us for some start-up company, and become the next Zuckerberg?" I'm kind of upset, but remaining calm...
I'm not quite sure how I worded it, but I explained to him that although I have skills in programming, my skills are not quite good enough for most corporate uses, and that programming isn't really what I want to do all day.

So now, after already feeling like he's trying to make my skills sound useless, and make it sound like my workload is overestimated, he decides to take me on an office tour. Step one on the office tour, the office next to his - where he successfully introduces me by the wrong name. To make it worse, he introduced me as Jason.... Jason is my older brother. People used to call me Jason ALL THE TIME in high school, and it seems as if I've been living in my older brother's shadow my entire life. So, even though he likely had no idea, that REALLY hit the wrong chord. (I obviously corrected him.)

Begin 30 minute conversation with this person... about nothing. About how she is not an IT person, and cannot handle the "dangerous" tasks, and blah, blah, blah.

Tour continues. He's trying to introduce me to people, but most of them are not there for some reason, and some are out for a smoke break. As two of them come in from the smoke break, he stops one of them and talks to him about some drawing that he needs a copy of, and something that needs to be sent out... 15 minutes later, we're leaving this person's cubicle. Never even introduced me. Oh well. Just seems kind of disrespectful to waste so much of someone's time who is interviewing to work for your company.

Next stop - the print room. Where he starts questioning my abilities. He says "Well, we have <X machine> would you be able to work on that?" 
My response - "Well I haven't worked with that exact model, but I've worked with similar machines, so I'm sure I could handle most problems with it. And anything I can't handle immediately would only take a small amount of online research into the specifics of this model."
"Oh, so you couldn't handle this if it breaks down?"
"Yes, I could, at most it would take a few minutes of research to fix it."
Is it just me, or do all of his responses sound demeaning and condescending?

And last but not least - the server room... which is a closet... with 2 servers... and a box fan blowing on them for cooling. Yeah. That's about all I've got there. (Meanwhile, he continued the whole bit about questioning my abilities to handle their phone system and some other menial tasks.)

Now back to his office, where he can once again make it look like this place truly needs only 1/2 of an IT person, and he can tell me that he doesn't want to pay me like an IT person because I'll be doing front desk work 1/2 time.

So yeah, needless to say, I was pretty upset by the time I walked out of this place. I went to the gym partly because I felt like I was just thrown into a pit of high school bullies, and needed to blow off some steam. I will not be accepting THAT job, even if it is offered to me. 

And just as a closing remark: if you want someone to take your company and your interview seriously, try treating them with at least a tiny bit of respect.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bad News

This is not quite bad news for my apps, but bad news for me personally... Yesterday I was laid off from my day job.

They have been laying people off left and right for the past year or so, so I'm not 100% surprised, but it's still not easy. I got the news around 2:30 yesterday afternoon, and was able to say some goodbyes.

People have already been giving me job leads, and ideas for places to look for something new, and I am thankful for that. My boss (and his boss) both made it abundantly clear that it had nothing to do with my performance, or my attitude, or anything like that, it's just that the company is going through rough times and they needed to do some more cutbacks. They both said that it was a joy working with me, and that I did great work, and they wish there was another way. I had quite a few people offer to write me a letter of recommendation if I need one, so that again shows that people enjoyed having me there and liked my work.

For now, it's off to the unemployment website and job search websites until I find something new. I'm sure that I will do some work on my apps, and maybe work on some new ones, with my new found free time. But as stated previously, I will likely be spending a lot of time searching for jobs as well.