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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Looking for a Job

Every week I go through the motions of looking of for a job. I look on Craigslist, find a half dozen or so jobs that look like possibilities and I send them a copy of my resume. This time I thought I would try and make my cover letters a little more interesting than the usual blather.

Note #1

Clarity in code and communication is of primary importance. I enjoy working with code. I like to think I can communicate with most people.

Once upon a time I had a friend in Houston who had a Weimaraner (dog). Nice dog, but he could be very tough/dense/stubborn. My friend literally had to hit him with a 2 by 4 to get his attention. (Anyway, that's what he told me. I don't recall ever seeing him hit the dog.) Anything less was just something to be ignored. There are people like that, and generally speaking you aren't allowed to hit them with 2 by 4's. These people can be very difficult to communicate with. Fortunately, they are few and far between.

Ordinary people are a joy to work with by comparison.

Note #2

Designing and writing software requires a couple of special skills. One is to be able to construct a model of the program in your mind. The second is to be able to translate various components of this imaginary model into code that will perform required function. These two skills go hand in hand. One needs to understand how computers work (at least at some level) in order to figure out how to make them do what you want.

That is enough if you are working by yourself, but if you are part of a group effort, you need to be able to communicate with your fellows, and communicate effectively. Simply telling people in some cases is sufficient. Others need to have it repeated several times. Other people do better with written information, and some people do better with pictures.

On Line Applications

Some companies want you to apply on-line. Some of these applications are pretty straight forward, but some of them are getting to be onerous. Some places will parse your resume and figure out everything they need to know from that. Some places use tagged fields, so you can useGoogle's Autofill feature to fill them in.

But some of them ask you to fill in your employment history, your educational background, and your references. All my history is in my resume, that's why I wrote it. You want me to enter all my data in your data base for you? I don't think so. I'm sorry, that's a bit much, especially since I probably won't make the first cut anyway. (Pergiel? What kind of name is that? Next! (Okay, I'm being facetious here.))

And references? I will be happy to give you some references, but only after we have talked and you are considering hiring me. Then I will give you references. Not before.

Then there are passwords. Everybody wants you to pick a password for their site. I have one password I use for all these. I picked it out over a year ago and it has worked very well. Until today. OHSU won't allow passwords with double letters. What is the matter with these people? We really need someone to set some kind of standards for this kind of thing. Something that will log you into the net and automatically identify yourself to all these stupid sites that think they are something special. It's getting to be ridiculous.

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