Sunday Night Music: But It’s Who Let the Dogs Out

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04-08-21

eBay Sales: 2 figurines, book, MLP accessory, Super 8 film, candle, Poochie item, 2 plush, 1 paperweight

#MilWordy Update: 133,086 words (5,938 words/day to complete)

I most certainly did not plan on missing so many days.

I had my first vaccine shot on Monday and I have to say that I did have a side effect — fatigue. The first day it was most obvious, but the next two days, I just felt… off. Like my head was filmy and I wasn’t getting much done. I tried, mind you, but I couldn’t concentrate in the way that I prefer. And I ended up taking naps. More than I’d planned on.

I talked with a recruiter today, helping her brainstorm how to find someone to fill one of her openings. And it was nice to talk to someone and give them some help. I enjoy that sort of thing. It also made me think about job titles and the fact that you cannot just rely on a job title to tell you if someone is the right fit for a job.

For example: One of the titles I held was “Administrative Specialist Senior.” What the everloving hell does that mean in the real world? Not what you’re thinking and I’m sure of that. I know that because I get calls about becoming a secretary (I use the old term specifically here) all the time. Like, no Bosco, please read what my job duties were because they were not being an Administrative Assistant. That’s a different skill set. For one, Administrative Assistants have to have a much higher threshold for bullshit than my job did.

As an Administrative Specialist, I did everything from purchasing, to space planning, to writing procedures, to database work. I had the same title from the day I stopped being a receptionist and started being the assistant to the assistant and everyone else on the team, to the day I left the position as a space planner running a nationwide project to consolidate IT functions. I sort of wish that I was kidding, but I was also an hourly employee and, as it turns out, not paid nearly what I was worth.

Still, when I was talking to this recruiter, I mentioned that I knew folks who had started as Janitors in order to get a foot in the door and then, after a year of that, were looking for other work. Her actual reaction was “you’re kidding.” I was not and I am not. The problem is, once Janitor is on your resume, you have to fight to get recognized as another type of professional. I’m hoping that I just helped someone change their mindset about who they’re searching for when they do their database mining and reaching out to people.

Job hunting exposes just how limiting job titles and database searches are. If I put in a search for a space planner, for instance, I get jobs ranging from the planning of the park system for the county to move coordination in an office. Those are completely different skills, but they have the same name.

Also, I am perfectly capable of managing engineers to get their jobs done without having to be an engineer. Why? Because managing means that I help get obstacles out of people’s way. I sit down with them and figure out what’s going on in their schedule. I take the time to realize when someone is overworked. And I don’t have to be an engineer to take a look at a drawing and say something like — you know you can’t actually read the information in this note because it’s overlapping right? Or — where does this piece of the design actually meet up with the other piece of the design. Or — the customer wanted a door opener on this door here. It’s in the requirements document, let’s make sure it happens. In fact, as a manager, there might even be a layer between me and that requirements document. This is a long way of saying “I have a Psychology degree. I know how to talk to people and gather information.” and “I can manipulate as well as anyone else if I need to.”

However, a lot of my skills fall between the cracks. I know just enough to be dangerous in a lot of different topics. I am what is usually called a Polymath. However, people don’t recognize that I have that information when they look at my resume because while I am always learning, I don’t have a piece of paper to say that I know that information. This is probably something I need to figure out how to document or change, but that’s a problem for future me. I don’t want to get derailed right now.

So, in summary. Job Hunting is difficult because trying to determine what a job actually entails from the title or the description is often iffy. And Hiring is difficult because HR systems want something quick to sort through resumes before they get to managers, and if the applicant doesn’t check a particular box, they get booted before a the hiring manager ever gets to see them.

This is why networking is so important in the traditional realm. The people who know you can recommend you to people if they know you’re looking for a job. And if you don’t burn your bridges, you can reach out to your past teams and shake the tree a little bit.

This has been a PSA and kvetch system about the current methods of finding a job and hiring.

If you found this interesting, or you’d like to support my content, please consider buying me a coffee.

  • Goal: Finish 2 books & 12 short stories — 3 short story complete. 1 in edits.
  • Goal: Keep a journal, even if it’s only one line per day — This did not happen much more than the blog posts
  • Goal: Take a photo every day and make myself a book at the end of the year. — Last photo that wasn’t related to auction prep was on Monday.
  • Goal: Complete MilWordy. — I don’t think I’ve written a word since Sunday
  • Goal: Blog every day. — First day back at it.
  • Goal: Modified eBay goal: List $200-$300 per day. Got $0 worth of listings today.

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Sunday Night Music: Sixteen Tons

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04-03-21

eBay Sales: paperweight, plush fish

#MilWordy Update: 130,633 words (5,757 words/day to complete)

Spent most of the day just reading. It was very relaxing and I highly recommend it.

If you found this interesting, or you’d like to support my content, please consider buying me a coffee.

  • Goal: Finish 2 books & 12 short stories — 3 short story complete. 1 in edits.
  • Goal: Keep a journal, even if it’s only one line per day — Still doing it.
  • Goal: Take a photo every day and make myself a book at the end of the year. — Photo of a squirrel today
  • Goal: Complete MilWordy. — Drafted a gaming review,
  • Goal: Blog every day. — Seventh day in a row.
  • Goal: Modified eBay goal: List $200-$300 per day. Got $0 worth of listings today.

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04-02-21

eBay Sales: none

#MilWordy Update: 128,939 words (5,731 words/day to complete)

I spent most of the day organizing for the auction pick-up that’s scheduled for Sunday. This is the second time we’re doing one of these and I hope that we’ve learned something from the first adventure. We’re setting up in the garage for this one. That way we don’t have to worry about people being able to get up and down the steps of the house. It was a little tense with a few of our customers last time and I don’t want any repeats of that. Next month’s auction is dolls and teddy bears, so that’s going to be quite the adventure too.

My actual plan for the day was to start filming for the two YouTube channels I’m planning to create. This is still in a nebulous phase, but I’ve gotten the first couple of clips done. My toes have touched the water. And it is freezing and scary and does not have nearly enough chlorine in it. I will do my best to write something up about it though. I mean, content is content when it comes to blogging right? *nervous laughter* Right? *crickets* Okay, so long as you aren’t the mutant Spaceship Troopers crickets that live in the basement, you can stay.

Trigger Warning for Arachnophobia Scare:

TRIGGER SPACE

TRIGGER SPACE

TRIGGER SPACE

I will say though, that courage is getting into the shower without your glasses, looking down at the dark dot on the floor which could be anything, have your hindbrain scream that it’s a spider (which you are disturbed by greatly), and still not just jump out of the water. I stared down at the blurry thing for a long moment, urging water towards it. It did not move. I used the edge of the shower curtain to touch it. It did not move. I stood there, frozen to the spot. Water still cold until I could work up the courage to grab my razor. I was not touching the thing. Not until I knew what it was. I poked it with the razor. It was hard. It did not move. Turns out: it was a magnet that had fallen out of the shower curtain liner. It still took awhile for my heartrate to calm down. And any reading of Stoic philosophy was right out the window after that. Fuck stoic. I just didn’t want nightmares. (I have had spider visualizations laying in bed so realistic that they have made me get up and go to my computer just to get rid of them.)

I survived the experience. I have drained it of a little bit of its terror. (My heart is racing thinking about it again.)

If you found this interesting, or you’d like to support my content, please consider buying me a coffee.

  • Goal: Finish 2 books & 12 short stories — 3 short story complete. 1 in edits.
  • Goal: Keep a journal, even if it’s only one line per day — Even managed it last night.
  • Goal: Take a photo every day and make myself a book at the end of the year. — No photos today.
  • Goal: Complete MilWordy. — Wrote a gaming review (free link available on my articles page)
  • Goal: Blog every day. — Sixth day in a row.
  • Goal: Modified eBay goal: List $200-$300 per day. Got $0 worth of listings today.

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04-01-21

eBay Sales: none

#MilWordy Update: 128,589 words (5,695 words/day to complete)

I truly wanted to do something interesting and clever today, but I couldn’t think of anything. Maybe next year I’ll be clever enough to do a little “history of April Fool’s” or something. Or maybe a collection of good jokes. Several of the YouTubers I follow managed to put out something fun, but the jokes really depend on you being long-term watchers of the channel to make sense, so I can’t recommend them to the general public.

I’ve been watching the climbing national trials on YouTube recently. I’ll do a post on that this week, I think. I like watching certain niche sports and I would like more people to watch them with me. I gobble up the Olympics in great gulps, even when it drives my family crazy.

Today was sort of chaotic. We spent the morning doing errands at the bank and getting some important paperwork filled out. Then, I had a quick phone discussion with a recruiter. Lunch was at IHOP. Then, I swear I did things this afternoon. Mostly, I think they involved resumes and things like that, but I really can’t remember anything in particular. I think I did put in a bid on some typist type work. I would be fine with that actually. I’m fairly quick at typing and I manage fairly clean copy when I do that. So, we’ll see.

I also saw a few interesting positions to apply for. Though, part of me wants to save some of them for the Unemployment hoops you need to jump through every week. I’m still waiting to find out if I’m even eligible for the stuff and for how long.

The downsizing auction we’ve been running completed tonight, even though pick-up is on Easter. It didn’t have the greatest turn-out, but I think the themed auctions that I’m planning for the rest of the year will do better. And they’ll make a significant difference for us.

Well, I suppose that’s it. Nothing really interesting. But it did get done today! Step by step, mes amis.

If you found this interesting, or you’d like to support my content, please consider buying me a coffee.

  • Goal: Finish 2 books & 12 short stories — 3 short story complete. 1 in edits.
  • Goal: Keep a journal, even if it’s only one line per day — Doing better with this
  • Goal: Take a photo every day and make myself a book at the end of the year. — Got two photos of my new business cards on a pretty amethyst background
  • Goal: Complete MilWordy. — I got started on a book (#5 in a series I started ages ago and need to finish)
  • Goal: Blog every day. — Fifth day in a row.
  • Goal: Modified eBay goal: List $200-$300 per day. Got $40 worth of listings today.

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03-31-21

eBay Sales: 1 GS badge, 1 plush

#MilWordy Update: 125,846 words (5,676 words/day to complete)

To set the stage: I have been applying to freelance positions, especially copy-editing and proofreading. I have been doing this through a particular website and this website has rules and terms of service and escrow accounts for the safety of all concerned.

I received an offer for an interview off of this site. I was completely down for the job and very excited. The precise was that it was a series of horror short stories with queer themes that needed some final edits and a second set of eyes to catch copy issues. This is one hundred percent my cup of tea. I applied. Did a lovely cover letter (which I counted towards my MilWordy, thank you very much). And today, I got the invite for the interview. It was in Skype, which made a lot of sense too. My last job had a Zoom interview. It’s pretty much par for the course when you’re living in an area that’s not exactly in lock-down, but is still heavily encouraging people to stay home.

I got into the Skype meeting and was informed that the interview was going to be via text. A little unusual, but damn if it didn’t sound lovely. It would contribute to blind hiring. And I can only think that this is a good thing. Especially for a copy-editing job. You’d want to see someone’s day to day grammar and spelling. And it’s a bit of a cheat, but rather than doing full testing, chat sounds like a good option for seeing that.

There were a few misspellings in the chat from the rep’s side of the conversation. Part of me assumed that that was actually going to be a part of the testing portion in the end. Something along the lines of “now go back through this chat and point out all of the areas where there were misspellings or improper grammar.

And there was a well-known corporate logo on the top, from a top publisher. Which was also believable because they have been hiring and there are open positions on their website.

There were two lists of questions for the application/interview portion. Seemed automated as you typed “DONE” at the end, but that didn’t trigger any warning signs for me. (Can you see where we’re headed? Can you?) I came from an office which did structured interviews. We had a set of questions which were asked of each employee and they were graded by three different people. If I’m doing a quick blind hire for an immediate position fill for a part-timer? Sure, I’ll automate those questions so I don’t have to retype them every Gods Be Damned time.

Then, there was a pat on the head and “please check back in half-an-hour.” Presumably so the real humans could look at the responses that the chat-bot had elicited.

And half an hour later, we’re offering you the position. Part-time, per project. Here’s the hourly rate. Do you accept?

Since the rate they quoted was above my bottom line rate? Yes.

Then, they were going to send me a contract via email. (Funny that they hadn’t asked for my resume by this point, but it’s posted on the site they offered the interview from.) Also, I assumed that the contract would come through the website system as per the TOS of the system.

You’ll be in training next week. It’s paid training. Don’t worry.

You would think that this was a flag, but it’s really not. I have taken the week long compliance training gauntlet for every company I have ever worked for. As an independent contractor, taking the things are a pain, but sure as shinola, I am going to charge you for it.

Then, they were all about what programs and equipment they wanted me to have available. Well, no, I don’t have those proprietary systems. I’m sure there are people who do. Also, why did you specify a particular brand of printer? Seriously? Whatever. Maybe there’s a connection between the scanner and the data entry system you want me to use to track my time or something.

Then, came the swing that set off all of my alarm bells.

“Can you afford this equipment or would you like company assistance?”

Well obviously, I am not going to pay for a $5000 suite of equipment and software! I want the company to provide that shit.

Okay. We’re going to send you a check to pay for the software and a MacBook Pro. And we’ll set you up with a local retailer with whom we have a long-term relationship. Still, not a terrible thought, though a little weird. Everything’s been weird in the Corona Times. Maybe their original supplier has issues. Maybe they have a small business initiative to get a tax credit. Especially if the check is made out to the retailer and comes along with a pre-filled order form or something like that. The retailer is responsible for the IT portion of setting up all of the software and doing all of the patches for the OS. Cool. Cool. (And if you think companies *don’t* have long-term relationships with retailers in order to get a deal, you have been sleeping.)

The thing is, the company should pay the retailer directly. Like, call up and pay with a purchase order or a credit card. They should not send a check and then ask the employee to buy the stuff. That sounds a lot like the wire-transfer fraud that used to happen on eBay all the time. The one where they send you a check that’s for more than the stuff is worth. You send back the other portion. Then, the check turns out to be a fraud and you’re out of the money. So, I was side-eyeing it a bit. But I was still willing to roll with it.

The proper answer to “we’ll help you with the costs” is: here’s a company laptop with these highly specialized programs. You’re going to be required to sign for delivery and we’ll have complete access to everything that happens on the laptop in order to track your time and the use of the machine.

As someone who has had a company laptop, you just sign your life away in blood and move on. (Ask me about the walkie-talkie that could have seen my paycheck docked sometime. Seriously. I bought stock in the damned company the thing was so impressive.) Then, when you’ve finished the project, you return it. Certified mail or FedEx as the company pays for it. The IT team sign. You sign. Everyone agrees that everything is in order and life goes on.

Then, my new friend and employer says: “all I need from you is trust and diligence.”

Um, wait, what?

“Do you have your mobile banking app?”

Excuse me? No. No, I don’t. I also don’t have a contract yet. And I haven’t been asked to fill out a W-9. Or, you know, any of the paperwork that you need when you start with a company. Or, barring that, at least a contract that spells out that I am an independent contractor and will be getting X number of dollars an hour.

You know what this is? It’s a scam. It is a scam that is taking advantage of 1) freelancers 2) people who don’t have a job or 3) people who are new to the working world.

So, what did I do? When they pressed me to get an on-line banking account because “how else will I cash the check?”

Listen, ass-wipe, I will take the fucking check to the bank. Wait for it to clear. (That’s two weeks.) And then, when the bank verifies that you are not going to bounce the check and that it’s not a fraud, I will have the money. Free and clear in my checking account.

So I “removed myself from consideration”. I reported the client to the freelancing website for attempting to “pay me outside of the site” and thereby violating the terms of service. Then, I wrote an email to the major publisher that was supposed to be the hiring agent and let them know what was happening and asked that the information be passed on to their security team.

If you found this interesting, or you’d like to support my content, please consider buying me a coffee.

  • Goal: Finish 2 books & 12 short stories — 3 short story complete. 1 in edits.
  • Goal: Keep a journal, even if it’s only one line per day — And we were successful. It wasn’t a long entry, but it was an entry
  • Goal: Take a photo every day and make myself a book at the end of the year. — Got two photos of the cherry blossoms
  • Goal: Complete MilWordy. — My words today was mostly a blog post.
  • Goal: Blog every day. — Fourth day in a row.
  • Goal: Modified eBay goal: List $200-$300 per day. Got $220 worth of listings today.

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Books to Read – March 2021

The Removed – Brandon Hobson

The Burning God – R. F. Kuang

Dying with Her Cheer Pants On – Seanan McGuire

Seven of Infinities – Aliette de Bodard

Cemetery Boys – Aiden Thomas

Nourish – Heidi Schauster

The Four Tendencies – Gretchen Rubin

Make Time – Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky

Writing Killer Blurbs and Hooks – Adam L Croft

The Vine Witch – Luanne G. Smith

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03-30-21

eBay Sales: 2 books,

Bonanza Sales: remote control car

#MilWordy Update: 125,434 words (5,642 words/day to complete)

I fought my way through my taxes today. I cannot begin to explain the headache that creates. I suppose it could just be my sinuses, but it’s not centered there. It’s higher on my head and pressing out like my head is trying to explode. I might need to get my glasses updated to, I realize. It’s been over a year.

I am between positions at the moment, so I’ve been jumping in to writing profiles and updating my resume and portfolios. It’s draining in a way that looking for jobs and peering at submission guidelines when you’ve got a day job isn’t. It’s time to start shaking my network for opportunities. I am one day away from changing over my LinkedIn profile and updating my resume on all of the sites. I need to finish writing up my most recent position on my resume and proof it about three times to make sure there’s nothing glaringly wrong on it.

In general, it’s been a productive but exhausting day.

Well, I’m off to try to get some words which are not related to cover letters done. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

If you found this interesting, or you’d like to support my content, please consider buying me a coffee.

  • Goal: Finish 2 books & 12 short stories — 3 short story complete. 1 in edits.
  • Goal: Keep a journal, even if it’s only one line per day — Removing the barrier made a difference. I actually wrote two days worth of entries.
  • Goal: Take a photo every day and make myself a book at the end of the year. — Got two photos today. — My new business cards showed up.
  • Goal: Complete MilWordy. — My words today were mostly job proposals and an author profile.
  • Goal: Blog every day. — Third day in a row.
  • Goal: Modified eBay goal: List $200-$300 per day. Got $400 worth of listings today. That’s a big deal. I’m trying to get through my “death pile” so that I can justify going to an auction next week.

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Books Read in March 2021

Fiction

  • Old Man’s War – John Scalzi

Non Fiction

  • Hyperbole and a Half – Allie Brosh

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