IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Posts Tagged ‘Work’

I don’t understand unemployment.

Posted by IT Pilgrim on October 30, 2008

I don’t understand unemployment.

Maybe I am dumb, or naive, but somehow, I don’t understand the concept of being un-employed. Perhaps my disbelief at least partially stems from never having had a problem with getting a job. Perhaps it stems from having a different sort of pride. I recently ran into an ex-coworker who got laid off from a so called gold collar job. One of those jobs that pays so much, you stay no matter how much you hate it, just because it is so hard to get paid that much anywhere else. I left that job just before he did, and this was almost a year and a half ago. He’s still on unemployment. What?! What the heck man? I asked him, and he said, he hasn’t been able to get the same kind of job. I just about went nuts on the guy. You can’t get any job, I asked. No, he said, I can’t get a job like that one. This is one of the things I see fairly often, and it drives me nuts. The reason it drives me nuts, is because I am willing to work myself practically to death, doing 2 or 3 jobs if I have too, and here this guy sits on his butt because he is too proud to work fast food or retail?

Do people not take pride in their work ethic anymore? People say the job market is so tough. Well, I’m sorry (not really sorry) but I beg to differ. It may be tough to compete for those fancy, cushy jobs, but there are others out there. Can’t get a job in your field? Well, there’s a now hiring sign at that fast food joint down the road. I just don’t get it. How can people have so little pride? Maybe the problem is really too much pride. I think I am starting to believe that we have done ourselves a disservice with the implementation of welfare and unemployment. People should have to work for what they get, or maybe, contributions should be voluntary. I am totally OK with not ever getting benefits.

Grant you, I will concede that there are situations and events beyond a person’s control. What I am talking about is the blatant laziness of our society. I am tired of paying for other people to be lazy. And that friend of mine … I am on the fence as to whether report him or not. ON the second thought, that will just trigger movement of bureaucracy, and cost me more money anyway. Sigh, I guess I’ll just settle for having given him a piece of my mind.

Photo by Amen-Ra via Flickr

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Calling all other non-degree-rs out there

Posted by IT Pilgrim on October 29, 2008

Calling all other non-degree-rs out there …

I think its time to call to order an unofficial and hereto-for ignored community out there. The non-degree-rs.

Whenever people meet in a professional setting, they always have to exchange college information, where they went, when, like it is what defines them as a person. I have always found that sad, and am still amused at the shock I get when I say I never went. More and more though, I am seeing my own kind out there, the few, the proud.

So here comes my wakeup call … your degree, where you went, your graduate school time, that does not a rockstar make. Ladies and Gentlemen, you want to be the company rockstar? You want to be the name that companies fight over and throw money at? Your degree will never do it for you. In fact, it can be a hindrance. You see, while you were at the local college kegger, the non-degree-rs were working. Often work two or three times as hard to prove that they were more than capable of doing the job you were bidding your time for. Usually starting off as minimum wage workers, we push and claw and teach ourselves to make our own path to the top.

It is not some piece of paper that makes a rockstar. Far from it. Rather, it is the attitude, the work ethic, the tireless drive of a self-made man or woman. That’s the real American dream. I personally, spent evey waking hour cramming my head with any technical book I could get my hands on. That tireless drive to constantly learn more, faster than your competition, to always be improving your skills, to trade sleep for knowledge. That is what make the rockstar. I am far from alone in this. I survive job cuts that few others do, by always having some new skill to throw out, by proving I can take over new jobs that others balk at. Its that breadth of experience, from doing all the crappy jobs that the people with their degrees couldn’t be bothered to do that makes the difference.

So when I see loads of people going back to college because they have trouble finding a job, I cant help but be confused. Why? Perhaps, that, really is the difference, the willingness to reach, to grab whatever it is you want. I can’t say how often I’ve gotten jobs, that on paper, one would never think I was qualified for. What that has taught me is that a job description is kind of like a keyword search, an attempt to grab anyone or anything that might be even remotely related. so what’s the point of this ramble you might ask? The point really, is that piece of paper can define you, if you let it, but so can the lack of it. Sometimes shear audacity and drive conquer all.

And as to what you can do with that degree, see below:

Photo by davekellam via Flickr

Posted in Career | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

A Career Girl’s Guide to Not Crying at Work

Posted by IT Pilgrim on July 14, 2008

Every girl who’s spent a significant time in Corporate America knows that the worst possible offense you can commit is to cry at work. Sometimes though …when the planets all align in a certain way, when no one gets you that day … its near on impossible. So here we go, my little guide to not crying at work.

Always look on the upside- Tactic 1
Now, I don’t mean this anything like it sounds. I am not about to sit here and feed anyone some crap about every cloud has a silver lining, or every dog has his day or whatever, ’cause that’s crap. Sometimes, the cards are stacked against you, or your tired, or you don’t feel good, or your boss just told you how much he thinks you suck. Whatever.

My point is this … Look up. I know how dumb that sounds, but it is near-on physiologically impossible to cry when you look up. My warning here though, if you are already at that point where your eyes are a little leaky, they will still leak that one or two tears contained within. However, no new tears will form as long as you are looking up. Its not too subtle when used but I have found that most people look down when they are sad or upset to that level. Looking down makes it worse.

Ever seen a scared or sad dog? Head down to the ground, tail between its legs? Pick its head up, hold out their tail, and their mood changes along with their body position. Newsflash! We are the same. Change your posture, look at the ceiling and the tears will stop!

Change Your Thoughts- Tactic 2
This tactic takes longer, its not a good one if you are already holding your breath to keep from sniffling. This one takes some time, but the main idea is simple, you have to change what you are thinking about. Try to pick something that you are passionate about but not something that will make you angry. There is a trick however, the human mind associates smells and sounds more strongly with emotions that it does words, so try something like a beautiful rose, and be sure to try to call up the smell of it. Whatever you do, don’t replay the ugliness in your mind, that will bring it all right back.

Change Your Environment- Tactic 3
Now, I know as well as anyone a typical scenario. A co-worker says something horrendous about you, or to you while you and your group are sitting around the conference table. You’re tired, you don’t feel good, for some reason it hits you particularly hard today. You are stuck in the corner and cant get out.

Well, you have two options, retaliation or change. This one takes a little preparation, but carry a small bottle of cream, or essential oils, or even just a rose petal in your day planner. Pull it out, take a quick sniff and look up at the ceiling. This is a combo tactic here. Think about nothing but the smell.

If you are not prepared, sometimes I find it works to just think about how the room smells. Analyze the different smells within it. This works best if you managed to sit next to the guy who wears cologne, not the stinky dude, and every group has one.

Get Away- Tactic 4
Sometimes, the only thing you can do is get away. Go somewhere, hide, run away, anything. Just change the scenery. Sneak off to the bathroom, then out of the building. Just find the nearest outside or mall or anything that changes the view for a while. Sometimes as little as 2 minutes is enough.

Well, that is my quick guide to not crying at work. Not only for girls, guys, this can work for you too. I found out that looking up does it for kids. Next time you are around crying kids, get them to look up, its priceless until they figure it out and refuse. Someone please let me know if this was at all helpful, I would appreciate it.

Photo by maxedapurature via Flickr.

Posted in Career, Life in IT | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Have You Ever Given Up a Good Job For Money?

Posted by IT Pilgrim on July 3, 2008

Lunch Money

Have you ever given up an otherwise good job for something as silly as a little more money? Well, if I go by this article then I think I did. I had all but the flexible work arrangement. Here’s a bit of an excerpt:

No. 1: Offer attractive benefits. Salary is a key consideration for members of this group, but so are benefits.

No. 2: Promote work/life balance. Nearly 73% of Gen-Yers surveyed said they are concerned about being able to balance a career with personal obligations.

No. 3: Narrow the rungs of the corporate ladder. Millennials are willing to work hard, but when it comes to moving up the ranks, they want to do so quickly.

No. 4: Ensure managers are engaged and accessible. In the survey, Millennials described their “dream boss” as being understanding, caring, flexible and open-minded, as well as someone who is authoritative but respects, values and appreciates his employees.

No. 5: Foster “face time.” Even though Gen-Yers grew up with cell phones, e-mail and the Internet, two-thirds of survey respondents selected in-person conversations with their co-workers as their preferred communication method.

Wow, now I kind of feel like an idiot. I read this, and realized that I had it all, well most of it. I was one of those silly companies that equates Butts-in-Seats with work ethic, but other than that, what more could you ask for? I had the understanding, family oriented enviroment, the narrow rungs on the ladder, I had most of what a person could want.

As a line straddler between Gens X and Y, I am not as confirmed a social networker as most, especially since my family never got into the technology thing, but also because I am right on the line of too old to have completely grown up with it. I had the right manager though, at around 10 years older, I guess this personage would have been a Gen X’er. I think I somehow managed to forget how rare a manger is who not only understands, and can do the work is, but is also all the things described in that article.

I guess there’s no use in crying over spilled milk. Maybe I can go back, but it seems kind of backwards. What’s that expression … You never know what you have until you lose it.

Posted in Career, Life in IT | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Karōshi

Posted by IT Pilgrim on June 23, 2008


Karōshi (過労死 karōshi?), which can be translated quite literally from Japanese as “death from overwork”, is occupational sudden death. The major medical causes of karōshi deaths are heart attack and stroke due to stress.

Overwork is a topic that doesn’t seem to be an acknowledged problem here in the US. It’s a fine line between working hard and overworking. Where that line is really depends on what you do, and how long it takes you to get to work as well as what else you do outside of work. Statistically speaking, we are one of the most heavily working countries in the world. We have some of the least vacation, and a lot of us don’t use or don’t have any at all. Now, if you are one of those people who has multiple jobs , you are always dancing a fine line between work and sleep. So how do you know if you have crossed the line?

Photo by Tambako the Jaguar

Posted in Life in IT | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »