Diary of a Network Geek

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

10/16/2020

Questions for Job Hunters

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Career Archive,The Day Job — 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 a New Moon

Or, things I’d want to know before I seriously applied for, or took a new job.

The other day, a recruiter emailed me a super vague job description and we had a brief exchange about it. It was a little interesting, but, mostly, it was a mystery, because they just didn’t have a lot of details. Frankly, it sounded like the client wasn’t quite sure what they really wanted, except that they wanted to move all their IT support in-house instead of continuing to pay a managed service provider to maintain their systems. I made a post on r/ITCareerQuestions asking the question “What do you want to know before considering a job?”. I shared in that post these questions that I’d want answers to before being submitted for an open opportunity:

  • How many users? And how are they distributed at multiple locations? (IE. How many end users in what city and state?)
  • How many people are going to be hired, ultimately, to be in the IT Department? (I generally think one support person per seventy-five or fifty end users is a good ratio, if I can swing it. I always seem to support more than that, but it’s a goal!)
  • What servers are they running? What do they all do?
  • Where do those servers reside? (ie. On-prem or offsite data center or cloud)
  • Are they ALL virtual? On what? If VMware, what version? What OS are the virtual machines running?
  • What kind of physical host or hosts are the virtual machines on? Is it a cluster? Is there shared storage (ie a SAN)?
  • If there is more than one site, how are the sites connected?
  • How is email being handled now? On-prem Exchange? Hosted? Office 365?
  • What is the IT budget currently? How do they expect to see that expand?
  • Where is the main business headquarters? What’s the commute if I’m coming from [part of town where I live]?
  • How have they handled COVID-19?
  • What problem am I being hired to fix? Why are they looking for someone?
  • What does the compensation look like? What are the benefits? Is there a 401k and how much matching is there? What does the health insurance look like? Is there a bonus structure and how is that determined?

Hopefully, I wouldn’t have to ask them all of the recruiter, since the job description would normally include some of this information. Also, these questions assume that I wouldn’t be relocating across the country. So far, one Redditor came up with just one additional question that I’d want to know the answer to; How often are performance reviews done and what does that process look like?

So, dear readers, what about you? Anything you typically want to know about a job before applying?


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Hating people is like burning down your house to get rid of a rat."
   --Harry Emerson Fosdick

3/8/2016

Unemployment Payment Requested

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Career Archive,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:41 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

For the first time in almost fourteen years, I’ve requested a payment from unemployment.

I’ll be honest, it’s not a great feeling.  I’d really rather be working.  Not that I think I don’t deserve the payment or that I begrudge anyone else their benefits, either.  I paid into that system for more than twenty years, if you include both Illinois and Texas, and I am well within my rights to get my fair share back out of it.
But, I’d really rather be gainfully employed.

I have a friend who shakes his head in dismay at how eager I am to work hard.  I think that’s what he finds so incomprehensible; that I want to not just work, but work hard at what I do.
It’s not that I really enjoy long hours or wrestling with budgets or any of those things, though I have to admit I do love wrestling with technology and bending it to my will. I love getting things done.  Sure, most of what I do professionally can be undone with a couple of keystrokes, but, still crossing things off my to do list or watching the closed ticket count stack up gives me a sense of satisfaction.

I hate being out of work.
The last several times I’ve changed jobs, it’s mostly been under my control.  At least once, in the past fourteen years, I interviewed just before a project failed and I was out on my ear.  I was out of work for all of a week, not even enough time to actually request payment.  And, it could have been less, but I wanted a bit of a break before starting the next thing.
I honestly could barely relax at all that week.

So, here I’ve been out of work for three, full weeks and I’m done.
The Texas Workforce Commission requires that I perform at least three job-search-related activities per week to be eligible for unemployment benefits.
I do that much every week before 8:30AM on Monday.
I know I love work, but that bar seems pretty low to me.  Keep in mind, that doesn’t mean just applying for three jobs per week, but talking to a recruiter, or having a job interview, or going to a job fair, or even searching for new jobs on a job website all, apparently, count toward that requirement.  In my job search log, I only record actual job applications made or email or phone conversations with recruiters or potential employers.  I must seem like a real over-achiever to the Texas Workforce Commission staff.

Yes, I have the benefits coming.  And, yes, I feel perfectly justified in requesting them.  But, honestly, I’d rather be working.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are."
   --Clive James


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