Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

2/26/2016

Interview Questions

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Career Archive,Geek Work,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:11 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I’m prepared to answer these, are you?

So, I’m still looking for work, but at two weeks, I suppose that’s to be expected.
I’ve had a couple phone interviews and I’m waiting to have a couple more.  Generally, if I can get an interview with a technical manager, I can sell myself well enough to get a job I have the experience to actually do.  Often, I can sell myself well enough to land I job I don’t know how to do, yet.
In either case, the only way to do it is preparation.  Know the questions I’ll be asked and know my answers.

U.S. News and World Reports has a great slideshow of the ten most common interview questions, with some advice about answering them.  That’s a great place to start.
Glassdoor expands that list to fifty of the most common interview questions, and while I certainly would recommend reading those, having answers that are prepared without looking memorized is the real key here.
Monster.com takes that list even further, to 100 interview questions, and goes way beyond the common ones.  While it certainly can’t hurt to peruse them, I’d really focus on the short list.
If you need help preparing, check out How to Ace the 50 Most Common Interview Questions on Forbes.com.  There’s a brief video on that page that auto-plays, so be aware.  Frankly, I really respect Forbes and they give some great advice about how to answer questions in an interview.

In the end, it really comes down to preparation and practice.  Sadly, I’ve had a lot of practice on job interviews.  The important thing is to be honest and consider how what you say reflects on you and whether or not your prepared answers will show your true colors.  Also, practice with a friend who can give you honest feedback.  Or, barring that, record yourself so you can see what you look like while interviewing and hear how you sound in giving responses.  It may be enlightening!

If you’re out there looking for work like me, I wish you the best of luck!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you're wrong, admit it;
Whenever you're right, shut up."
   --Ogden Nash

2/19/2016

Job Search Log

Filed under: Career Archive,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Never trust a Network Admin with a screwdriver,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Sheep which is in the early afternoon or 2:48 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

So, I was laid off Tuesday.

I wasn’t surprised by it, for sure, since they’ve been laying off two and three people a week for the past six weeks or more.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, though.
A couple weeks ago, another sort of IT person, who’s here from the real parent company in China, was sent over to my location to gather up all the passwords and access I had.  Probably to make a copy of my laptop, too, but I kept that with me or locked up.  I know they were trying to be sneaky or subtle when they did it by distracting me with a phantom project, but, really, when someone is sent for the passwords, there’s really only one thing to think.  Then, when I asked why the theoretical project I was supposed to be working on hadn’t been implemented when it was first sent out for bid 18 months ago, I was told that it was due to lack of funding.  If there weren’t funds then, when the company was doing well, where were the funds going to come from now that so many people were being laid off?  I got the answer to that question on Tuesday morning, so I went in and packed up my desk, just in case.  You see, ever since I worked for a company that got liquidated, I’ve kept my personal belongings at work limited to what I can easily put into one, small box, which I keep under my desk.  Just in case.
Apparently, the fact that I went into my final interview with a 99% packed desk shocked the people firing me.  But, then again, they were always underestimating me at that job anyway.

So, regardless of all that, when I got home Tuesday afternoon, I applied for unemployment with the Texas Workforce Commission.  I was able to go on-line and sign up, which is an improvement over the last time I was out of work, when you had to call or go in person.  Sadly, I won’t be able to apply for a payment until the 28th, but I’ve started my job search.  Well, really, I’ve just intensified my job search as I’ve been looking for about a month.  And, while I’ve had a couple phone interviews and at least two really good prospects, I still need to keep the requisite job search log.  The Texas Workforce Commission has a downloadable form on their website, but, honestly, I kind of hate it.  So, instead, I made my own spreadsheet.  I’ve shared the blank one at the bottom of this post.
Some of the columns have drop-down choice boxes in them and the form has gotten kind of big to accommodate all the new fields they have on the original form.  It is, however, formatted to print all on one page for easy verification should it be requested.  And, yes, for those of you wondering, I verified with the Texas Workforce Commission helpline that a spreadsheet is just fine for recording your job search activity.

So, grab a copy of the form and good luck in your job search!

jobsearchlog-blank

2/12/2016

Get More from Your Commute

Filed under: Fun,Geek Work,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Our commutes don’t have to be dead time.

Who doesn’t have a commute any more?  Mine is relatively short now.  Less than 30 minutes, actually.  But, when I lived in Chicago, it was at least an hour each direction, whether I was behind the wheel driving or riding on a train or bus.  I used to read during the riding part of my commute, but, when I was driving, I would have loved Commute Kit.

Commute Kit is a website that gathers…
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2/5/2016

Tools for Job Searchers

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:36 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Not exactly a set of “fun” links, really.

I still work in Oil and Gas, albeit in IT, which means there are a lot of layoffs.  And, there are more coming.  Even though I’m in IT, and they need use like they need electricity, I could go at any minute.  So, in solidarity for those who have already lost their job and those who might still, I’ reposting several links to resources for job seekers.

First, for those who are still employed,…
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Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"I love deadlines. I especially love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."
   --Douglas Adams

1/29/2016

Makin’ Bacon

Filed under: By Bread Alone,Fun,Life Goals,Life, the Universe, and Everything,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, seriously, I’m talking about actual bacon not some silly double entendre.

Also?  If you don’t like bacon enough to read this, why do you even read my blog?  I mean, seriously, do you even get me?
I actually had a talk with one of my doctors about bacon and how if I had to die of something, I was okay if it was bacon.  She suggested that it would be healthier for me to pass it up occasionally.  I responded…
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1/28/2016

From the Holy Book of Documentation

Filed under: Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:42 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

1The DOCUMENTATION is my guide; I shall not wonder.
2It maketh me to understand the necessary concepts;
It leadeth me through the installation process.
3It reassureth me;
It leadeth me on the happy path for my desired objectives.
4Yea, though I work through the advanced configuration menus,
I will fear no failures, for thou art with me
Thy FAQ and thy troubleshooting they comfort me.
5Thou providest examples to me in the context of mine use cases.
Thou explainest my expected outcomes.
My results are perfect.
6Surely good performance and stability will persist throughout the system life
And it will run within the parameters of the DOCUMENTATION forever.”

-Abi Sutherland
Making Light Blog Post

I wish I could claim credit for it, but the author is mentioned and the source is linked.
It does, however, clearly outline the importance of having good documentation in a fun, memorable way.  Honestly, how more IT professionals don’t see the radical importance of documentation is beyond me.  Maybe it’s just because I’ve started so many jobs without documentation that would have made my life so, so much easier, but I always try to document everything at work.  I used to do it with text files that I’d leave everywhere.  Or with copious comments in Perl scripts or batch files.  Lately, I’ve been using a personal wiki to create my personal “job continuity” documentation to pass along to any replacement.  So far, it’s worked well.  And, I’ll definitely be adding this to the subtle, hidden parts of the documentation from now on.  It’s brilliant!

1/22/2016

5 Photo Exercises

Filed under: Art,Fun,Photography — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Did you get a new camera at Christmas?

If you did, maybe you’re still learning just how that camera works.  I know, when I got my first digital camera it took weeks of fiddling around to get comfortable with it.  Not only that, but, since I hadn’t really been a photographer in the first place, there was a lot I didn’t know.
I’ve upgraded since then, and even then, I’m sure my camera has features that I haven’t even tried.  And, I have…
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1/15/2016

Make a Planet

Filed under: Art,Fun,Ooo, shiny...,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I’ve got nothing this week, so I’m offering a world.

My wife and I have been sick the past week or so, which has left me with not a lot of mental bandwidth for my regular posts and writing.  Also, my attention span is short, but at least I find that I’m more easily amused.  One thing that amused me probably a little too much this week was Oskar Stålberg’s Polygonal Planet project.  It comes in two forms; downloadable, which you…
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1/8/2016

“Hey Siri!”

Filed under: Apple,Better Living Through Technology,Fun,Ooo, shiny... — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:00 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

Who’s afraid of artificial intelligence?

So, the week before Christmas, my wife and I finally upgraded our sad, old iPhone 4 and 4s to shiny, new iPhone 6s.  (That’s an iPhone 6 for her and me, not a single iPhone 6s, just to be clear!)  Ever since, we’ve been walking around shouting “Hey Siri!” at our respective phones.  It’s actually kind of funny.  And, I’m glad that I found Siri after I married my blushing bride, or I’m afraid I’d end…
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1/1/2016

Starting Your New Year

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Better Living Through Technology,Fun,Fun Work,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Sheep which is in the early afternoon or 2:00 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

So, here we are, the first day of a brand, new year!

Honestly, it’s a pretty arbitrary demarcation of time.  I mean, it doesn’t even really sync up with any significant natural phenomena, like a solstice or anything.  So, really, the whole idea of a “new year’s resolution” is pretty random.  What’s so special about the “new year” and why make resolutions about it?  Still, you know most of us do it, to some degree or another, even me.  This year, I’m…
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Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"You can't go back and have a brand new start, but anybody can start now and have a brand new end."

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