awfulhorrid: (Train)
I'm doing a lot of job search activities right now. On the high end, I'm searching various locations for database or programming jobs and other things that are suited to my well-documented skill set. I'm not finding many of those. (Or more accurately I'm finding ones that would involve a two-hour one way commute or for which I only have half of the required skill set or that match in only a very remote sort of way ... my PBX training is more than 10 years past, but I've gotten two inquiries about PBX administration for a system with which I've never worked.) On the other end, I'm applying at bookstores, PetSmart, and other retail locations that I think I could tolerate for more than a week without going insane.

One thing I've notice with a lot of these companies is they have a need that's obviously not being filled, but they don't have the job listed anywhere. I speak of course of someone to set up their job application process. I've run into website with the usual lazy-ass programmers using the "This page only supports X browser and Y Operating System" ... where X is some flavor of Internet Explorer and Y is a Windows XP or greater. (I'll admit that I'm not a Java programmer, so that's probably not the job for me, but it does sound like they need a real programmer at that point.) Some of the onlilne applications have just been plain clunky. They work, but they could really use a bit of editing and someone to improve their interface.

Then today I started on one that has a PDF application form ... which you fill out and drop off at their physical location. Now I can understand that they might not have dedicated HR to review applications submitted electronically and making applicants drop off the form in person might weed out some of the lazier people right away, so I'm not complaining about that so much. What I will complain about is that this isn't actually a PDF form, but just a static document. Good Gods people, use the tools that you have! If you're going to put out a form, then make it a frickin' FORM!

"Hey, while I'm applying, do you need someone to make your application process into something useful or do you like trying to decipher people's handwriting?"

OK, I'm heading out into the garage to try to make some more things to sell ...
awfulhorrid: (Worship the Coffee)
So I'm rewritting an application leftover from the previous consultant. I know I've talked about this before, but this one is really bad.

Bad Programmer, No Coffee! )
awfulhorrid: (Default)
Is there something about having an MBA that makes you incapable of following simple instructions like "Include in Final Table? Only Mark 'X' if Yes" This is not my wording and admitedly not what I would have used, but the Excel worksheet should have a simple boolean value in that column of data: either an X or a null value. So why do I find question marks, random 'No' entries (not for every record, of course), "No Name?", and in a few records on one worksheet, what seems to be sentence fragments.

Now I get to clean up the data and make random determinations as to if these records should actually be included in the final import or not. Whee ...
awfulhorrid: (Bella on Computer)
I have no details on the project, but one of the departments here at my client site sent me this email on Friday:

"Can you do or do you know any good .NET 4.5 web developers for a e-commerce web portal with SQL Server backend database?"

I have SQL Server background, but not in a web environment. While I could probably still do the job, I have too many other projects on my list to take on a new one, particularly one with new to me elements.

If anyone's interested, please let me know and I'll put you in contact with the right people. (Which would probably be subcontracting through the same company for which I am.)

Oops!

Apr. 10th, 2008 12:28 pm
awfulhorrid: (Grinning Skull)
Well I was making pretty good progress today until I used the wrong function and instead of inserting a block of data into a workbook page I deleted and replaced the entire thing. Oops, indeed. Luckily I have a not terribly old backup and most of the work of the last week has been planning or working in a different file. Yes, I have to recreate a lot of the tedious bits that I did yesterday, but at least I know what and where to rebuild and I won't have to spend as much time on it.

I also have a nice new backup in no less than two places.
awfulhorrid: (Gotthold)
The roads this morning are probably the best they've been in the last two weeks. So why were people being so monumentally stupid this morning? When I left the house, my GPS listed an ETA of 08:02 ... now I know there's no way that's going to happen, but usually that means I'll get here by at least 08:15.

Then I hit line after line of cars at a dead stop for ... well, no particular reason that I could see. I saw no accidents, the roads were clear of snow or ice, there didn't seem to be any snipers, nor demons pulling people from their cars. There were no zombies attacking commuters, but that's probably because they would have obtained no substinance from the brains of most of these drivers.

By the time I hit Round Lake, the ETA was reading 08:23. Of course, that might have held up if there were no more drivers sitting around staring into space or picking their noses or whatever they were doing other than frickin' driving! Ahem. Sorry.

Final result: 08:41. (That's an hour and twenty minutes ... not the absolute worse commute time I've had here, but really frustrating for a "normal day" commute.)
awfulhorrid: (Big Woof)
So last night before dinner we both decided that if the snow was as bad as they were predicting we were just going to just say "screw it" and stay home today. We then did our best snow dance in the kitchen much to the combined amusement / horror of the cats(*).

Bah! I say, Bah!

While there was a few scant inches of snow on the driveway, the roads weren't nearly bad enough to justify staying home this morning. My commute took about the usual time; road conditions lowered maxium speed, but with lighter traffic the average speed was actually much higher than usual. I did slid one time, but it was when I was turning into the driveway here at the client site ... hardly anything to get excited about.

Still, I think I will be leaving early today. It's best to be safe, you know?


(* - Bella in particular was really unsure of this whole dancing thing, especially since I had scooped her up so that she could participate. She didn't flee in terror from the subsequent bouncing and singing, but she couldn't quite decide if she liked it or not.)
awfulhorrid: (WoW Warcraft Mailbox strip club)
... and hopefully without Matthias as well!

I just walked across the department where my cubical is located ... I seem to be the only one in this part of the building right now. I can hear some faint noises from someone far down the building in the department behind me, but those could just be really big rats or something.

That's it; I'm finishing the project I need to finish today and I'm heading out!
awfulhorrid: (Gotthold)
I am working on a project to convert the prior programmer's horrible Excel "database" spaghetti code application into something that can actually be updated and maintained. Of course the end users, being accountants, want both the results and the interface to remain in an Excel workbook. Yeah, yeah, I can do that ...

Warning: Geeky programming stuff ahead!

Enter the Stupidity For A New Age ... )

... and then I shot 'em.
awfulhorrid: (Default)
Well, I've been there about two weeks now, so I've got a better idea of how things are going. You know the questions ... was this a mistake? After being out of programming / database administration for so long are my skills attropied and useless now? Can I put up with the daily commute of about an hour each way in moderate Chicago traffic? Can I really adjust to wearing dressing up like an office monkey and wearing a tie every single day????

In short: is this the job for me?

Oh heck yeah!

The commute isn't that bad. I actually had it worse when I lived in Chicago and only had to drive 10 miles or so. The traffic was often worse there and it took me about the same about of time.

I'm finding that while I do have to occassionally pause and ask myself "... mm ... what was the exact structure of that funcation again?" I haven't lost my abilities. Anyway, that's not mattering much right now since my first job is to dig through what the last guy did and get familiar with the existing applications before something breaks. (I note that they were smart enough to hire someone in anticipation of this situation instead of waiting until it was a problem. That alone makes me happy with the company!)

And after two years of a "grease monkey" type of uniform, wearing a nice clean shirt and tie in an air-conditioned office really isn't that difficult. A friend told me the other day that I looked really nice. Since she's someone who I particularly like appealing to, I really appreciated that!

This past week is the first time I've worked a 40 hour week in almost two years. I came home on Friday smiling. I wasn't in pain. I could walk on Saturday with no difficulty. Hell, I was home on Saturday! I had more energy after this week than I did after most 20 hour weeks in the last two years.

Ok, dinner's ready. I'll post more about this later. I should describe a bit about the company and the corporate campus. Let's just say I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was plesantly surprised.
awfulhorrid: (Cat Furniture)
I haven't posted an update in a while. Like most people my recent life can be summed up in a short sentence: things have been happening recently; some good, some bad. The bad things are mostly health related and I will not bore anyone here in my general post with the details, suffice to say that the problems will either get better or eventually they will no longer be a problem.

So, then there's the good news ... apparently the way for me to get really good solid IT job offers was to quit my previous job at Envirotest and accept a part-time consulting gig covering Milwaukee area clients for a firm from Madison. I had my first client visit on Monday, things went well and I was happy and looking forward to more nice, easy visits just like that one ... so of course I got a full time offer on Tuesday.

At first I was reluctant -- I haven' t worked full time in a long time and the part-time gig certainly paid well enough for me to afford to be somewhat lazy ... but the full time gig not only paid somewhat better, but it's very firmly back in my field of database development. (Data migration, parsing, and reporting to be specific.) I resisted the first time, but when they called back again a few hours later, I told them I'd think about it and by Wednesday, I let them know I was interested and would accept the job.

So naturally I got three more leads and/or follow-ups from other jobs after that. Where were all these offers several weeks ago? Sheesh.

Anyway, I'm going to be busy during the week for about two months, then it cuts back to 4 days a week so I can be a little lazy again. It's projected to go past the end of the year, which in the language of most contract positions means probably at least a year or so. The only downside? I'll have to wear a tie again, but considering I've been dressing in a uniform for work for the last two years and I'll be making ... er ... about 4 times as much per hour ... I think I can tolerate that.

Of course after checking my wardrobe, it looks like I need to go do a little shopping ...
awfulhorrid: (Default)
Appropriate to the day, one of the first vehicles I drove at work today was a 1975 Cadillac Fleetwood Hearse. Even stranger, I drove this particular car about two weeks ago at the Burlington station when the current owner was considering buying it from the previous owner. I knew right away it was the same car, I mean how many of these things can there be around here? The new owner -- the owner of a magic shop here in Kenosha -- was very pleased to find the car passed the required tests. Of course the best part was the looks from the other customers in the next booth; I swear I think they thought we were doing it just because today was Halloween.

Other work related comments:

I'm so glad that the car from the monestary passed. I'm not even remotely Catholic, but I really didn't want to have to tell a nun (in full kit ... er ... whatever the heck you call that getup) that her car failed the test!

Finally, why is it that the owners of the crappiest cars wait until the very last day they can to have their cars tested then complain when they have to wait a while in line ... because everyone ahead of them also have crappy cars. No, it's not actually true -- most of the vehicles today were just fine, but I really had some "interesting" ones today; interesting in that step on the gas and listen to the engine do a bad samba sort of way, of course ...

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