Vacation vignette

Recently, I returned from a quick trip home. Fact is I don’t consider where I currently reside as “home”, home is about a thousand miles away and I hope to live there again, soon.
I had a wonderful time visiting with my son and his family. We took his children swimming at my hotel pool, which was a joy for me. I just don’t get to spend nearly enough time with them and the kids are growing up way too fast.
Leaving and returning to where I do live is always bittersweet. I tend to be a bit melancholy when heading back this way. For the first time in years, I flew out of the bigger airport, rather than the smaller one a wee bit south. I hadn’t been to this airport in quite awhile and I was dreading the lines, the people, the shuffling.
As the traffic I had encountered during my stay had been ridiculous, I left my hotel with plenty of time to return the rental car, check-in, check my baggage, and perhaps find something for breakfast. As expected, I was way early for my flight. I prefer to be inside the airport on the other side of security to wait for my plane, rather than be trying to race through security and risk missing my flight, so this worked for me.
I found a restaurant that looked interesting and decided to give it a try. The hostess seated me at a two top in a long row of tables. She placed me next to a gentleman who was reading a James Patterson novel that I have long since finished, but I am not one of those people who interrupts anybody randomly. He was finishing his meal as I was ordering mine, so I assumed he would be leaving before my food ever arrived.
I was wrong. He was sticking around, reading his book and drinking coffee, lots of coffee. This turned out well. We struck up a conversation. Here we were in an international airport, chatting about mundane things like weather, when the topic of ‘where are you headed?’ came about. Low and behold, technically, this guy is a neighbor. He lives just on the other side of the lake from us. Go figure! Sitting in an international airport and I ‘meet’ someone who lives a stones throw from me. Fact is definitely stranger than fiction.

Rocking round the way…

Love me some Joe Walsh! They are inducting him into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame this summer! Wish I could go….

Alas, that is not in the cards, but I did my own version of rocking around the way over the weekend. I made more actual progress in my search for a meaningful next step in my career trajectory in a five minute geekdom conversation while with my son.

Interestingly enough, I was whining about Windows 10. I was given some really good pointers to try. I was way too paranoid to make changes to this system while on the road, but I put those suggestions to test as soon as I was comfortable. Holy cow! What a difference. That’s one of the reasons why I like rocking around the way!! Thank you!!!

I provided my analysis below, if you are interested.

My Windows 10 machine is a dog. Right before I left, I was trying to figure out how I could improve performance. Seems pretty easy to identify the root cause:


My conclusion – the only way to speed up the performance on my system is to upgrade the hard drive to solid state. I was depressed. The cost to perform such an upgrade is prohibitive and I am unemployed!! Idea abandoned, but not forgotten.

Fast forward to an entirely interpersonal encounter that provided me the opportunity to whine about my need to upgrade my write speed. I was provided with 3 steps to try that would reduce the system overhead. (I was kicking myself for not thinking of that!)

Today, I applied those suggestions! Below are the results:


I owe someone at least a steak dinner! Thank you!

The beauty of this interaction is that it was an entirely organic interpersonal learning. It is so refreshing!

Toying with the title

Here’s the scoop. What I have done, successfully, over the years is management consulting. Here’s the rub. That isn’t a title that gets hired.
I think the challenge is to spin my skills into ‘value-add’ statements that are so enticing that the reader can’t help but want to talk.
Bottom line, I am a horrible resume writer. I have paid real money to have it written for me, more than once, to no avail.
I hate Candidate Tracking Systems. They only work if you the role is completely repetitive and leaves absolutely no room for decision-making or creativity.
A productive member to a new team is so much more than the skills that pass through the algorithm. Plus! The tracking system is only as good as the recruiter using it.
Recruiters have a rough job. At the core level, they are sales people. They have been hired to find ‘x’ any ‘y’ will pay them. For years, I called the company that actually paid my ‘my pimp’. Why? I never heard from them, unless something was wrong. Communicating with the ‘people’ who were actually performing the activities that got everyone paid was outside of the company’s scope.
This arrangement actually worked for me as I am rather autonomous and driven by a good set of core values. I believe in an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. So it works.

I am a catch. I apply my core values to everything I do.
I need to find the place that appreciates those core values, too.
Maybe I will spend part of my day dissecting my current marketing document (that is all a resume is) and flipping it, focusing on what I deliver as a management consultant.

How do you say….

what you really did?
This whole write, re-write, write again thing is driving me bonkers! I have a variety of folders and sub-folders to keep track of my resume efforts.
Next steps: I think what I really need to do is continue converting my calendar notes into my freeform prose elsewhere on this site.
Maybe I should add something about managerial consulting as that seems to be more descriptive of what I truly did/do? All of these other things are just part of the role. Hmmmm.

Mature workers workshop

I spent the bulk of yesterday taking advantage of yet another workshop at the local WorkSource office. What an amazing resource to have at my fingertips!

I was impressed with the presenter. He definitely has been there and done that at least once in his life. This experience gives him the ability to deftly address any of the random items that might come up from the group. It was a good, lively discussion and I learned a lot.

One of the best things that is coming out of these encounters is the opportunity to practice my soft skills. It is fun to practice my active listening skills and figure out how to communicate with such a variety of individuals. It doesn’t hurt that I received a couple of compliments. My favorite was for having the ‘intestinal fortitude’ to have successfully navigated working with the perceived ‘children’ at my previous position.

Facts are facts. It is a challenge to overcome the age barrier in the new digital environment. Learning how to scale that challenge is something I am going to continue pursuing, probably for the rest of my life.

Taking advantage of the resources

Holy frijoles! Friday I went to another WorkSource training. The instructor wasn’t nearly as good as the LinkedIn lady, but the material was sound.

O*Net – I had forgotten about O*Net. I was first introduced to O*Net when Avaya imploded. I can’t say its visuals have improved immensely over the last fifteen years, but at least you don’t have to telnet into the site anymore.

Career Coach – this one was new to me. Essentially, it is a really cool tool that is buried on the WorkSource site. During the class, we did a quick walkthrough of the information, but for this tool to be really helpful, the job-seeker needs to spend a little of their own time walking through the activities. I really like the tool and it will be interesting to compare my ‘thoughtful’ responses to my ‘quick-hit’ results.

The last link we reviewed was the WorkSource homepage. It was interesting to hear how many folks in the room hadn’t spent much time there.

That didn’t go so well…

Debrief, retrospective, whatever, this post is a follow-up to yesterday’s interview.
It happened. It didn’t go so well.
It is always a good exercise to interview, when you have the opportunity.

To be fair, I am not sure I really wanted that job. I did my homework. I knew a lot about the interviewer before this was even scheduled. Remember that the IT world is actually very, very small. A little tidbit to tuck away for future reference the next time you really want to tell your employer to ‘take this job and shove it‘.

I have a tendency to be verbose. I knew the interviewer prefers straight, direct, concise answers. Fine. I know how to edit myself, too, when needed.
I went into this interview with a freaking checklist of questions for him. That is how this whole thing works.
You – Mr. Interviewer are looking for something.
I – Ms. Interviewee have reviewed the information and believe I have something to offer.
Assumption: the fact we are even having this conversation assumes some level of interest on both sides of the equation.

This encounter was established by this erroneous assumption about Mr. Interviewer who knew what he was looking for and I (Ms. Interviewee) had enough of his checklist to fit the bill. I went in not really caring too much about getting the job. It really didn’t fit my minimum criterium. I do not know why we wasted our time. It was evident from the onset of our conversation that this gentleman was not really interested in learning about me and what problems I could solve for him. If I had been more perceptive, I would have picked up on this situation sooner.

It wasn’t really the questions, so much as the lack of information exchange that made this whole thing very awkward. No one will ever accuse this interviewer of being ‘warm and fuzzy’ and probably the reason he likes concise is because he is one of those managers who has been doing the same thing for so long, he can’t see outside of his ‘checklist’.

I know I upset him when I changed the pace and tenor of the conversation. He made it absolutely clear that he would be leading this discussion, thank you very much. I knew right then and there that I was done. But it was really good experience.

Haven’t been the same…

Today’s post is about preparing for a phone interview I have this morning. (I have a love/hate relationship with phone interviews.)
The situation is: I need a job.

  • This one is something I could do.
  • The pay is reasonable.

Now do I want to do it?
I view this initial interview as a conversation. This is a two-way street.
The interviewer is attempting to ascertain if I will be able to do what it is he envisions needs to be done to help his organization succeed.
Got it.
In my opinion, we have already completed this checkbox item, or else we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
I have asked for the Job Description – I really believe that anyone doing any kind of a search for someone should have taken the time to define what they really need and not just a gut level awareness that they need something. The response was so generic, that it gives me cause to pause, but reading the list provided me a little insight into the hiring manager’s style and gave me a hint about what has annoyed him in previous interviews.
I need to communicate with him that I am flexible and comfortable with change.
I need to get him to define his terms. What does he consider a ‘scrum meeting’?
I need to know how they treat contractors.

Ultimately, I decided to do the interview. It is scheduled. It will be a good opportunity for me to exercise my skills. This means, I was able to get beyond the gate-keeper in the process. My biggest challenge has been getting the youngsters to understand me as my non-traditional experience doesn’t fit well into the new millenia checklists that have been developed over the last few years. I don’t think it is ageism as much as it is inexperience.

since you had your little crash…’ The first lyrics I heard from the album that quickly became my favorite. It is one of those songs that I still remember where I was and exactly what I was doing when I heard it for the very, first time.
Note to self: write a post on the entire album, it might be a fun little trip down memory lane.


Blame it all on my roots

This little march down memory lane has been refreshing. I have remembered a few things I had forgotten.

  1. I like using song lyrics as section headers – this started with my grad school papers eons ago.
  2. I have been in iterative design and development for a long, long time – kind of nice to find more legacy artifacts.
  3. Pictures, pictures, pictures! Oh my goodness these are spread throughout my hard drive.
  4. A lot of things changed during my tenure at my latest gig. It is more than a little unsettling to put it all together.
  5. I think in dates. Give me a date and possibly an experience or question and I can tell you everything I was doing that day. This is scary!