Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

When it comes to job hunting advice, question everything you’re told

April 15, 2013

Punk pioneers Stiff Little Fingers‘ signature tune “Suspect Device” admonished “Don’t believe them / Question everything you’re told.” It’s sound advice for anyone looking for guidance in the job world.

The other day on /r/GetEmployed, a user asked how he should write his resume objective for a job as a sales clerk at Bass Pro Shops. He said that the prof for his Communications in the Business Environment class told him to have an objective on his resume.

I’m guessing the prof might also have advised to put “References available upon request” at the bottom of the resume, too, which is also bad advice. I’m also guessing that the prof hasn’t created a resume in the non-educational world ever.

The key here is that the original poster of the question (the OP) didn’t ask why an objective is important. He just accepted it as true without an understanding. This is a mistake. Whenever someone gives you advice, about anything, not just jobs, ask why. Ask specifically, “Why do you say I should put an objective on the resume?” or “Why do I have to wear a suit to the interview?” You need to understand why you are doing anything, and not just follow it blindly, so that you can make a decision on if you want to follow it or not. You will get conflicting opinions on everything in life, so understand the logic behind it.

I’m guessing that if the OP had gone back to his prof and asked why to have an objective, the prof’s answer would have been not much more substantive than “because that’s just what you do”. If he were to ask me why you should not have an objective, I’d explain “because it is a waste of space that says nothing except that you want the job that you’re applying for, instead of telling good information about you and why you’re good for the job”. Based on those two reasons, the OP can make his own decision.

Note: There is a time when objectives may make sense: when you’re handing out resumes blindly, like at a job fair or something, where it’s not clear what sort of job you’re looking for. Then it makes sense. But if you’re sending in a resume for a specific job, and your objective is “to get a job that is exactly like the one I’m applying for right now”, then leave it off.

Ask questions. Understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. Don’t follow anyone’s advice blindly, including mine.

The legacy of Mike Wallace, 1918-2012

April 8, 2012

I have such fondness for people who keep doing what they do up to the very end. Like his “60 Minutes” colleague, Andy Rooney, who passed away in November, Mike kept working until the end. He was 93.

You youngsters may not believe this, but there was a time when “investigative journalism” meant more than a Unit 5 Special Report on people being overcharged on their cable bills. “60 Minutes” did actual investigations and asked the hard questions, like Mike Wallace digging into the lies of the Vietnam War.

Watch the clip below and ask yourself who today in journalism has this nose for pressing to find the truth behind the lies.


In my day job, I work for a company that sells books to school libraries. One day I visited the offices of the third largest public school district in the US, Chicago Public Schools, as an IT guy to talk about how we could improve their purchasing flow and, of course, get some of their business. The purchasing process was very involved and there was documentation about everything CPS bought, so that nobody could accuse tax dollars of being misused or misappropriated.

The head of the purchasing department told us, “I know this is detailed, but we can’t have any questions about where the money goes. I have to be be ready for the day Mike Wallace shows up at my office with a camera crew.” Such was Wallace’s reputation as the standard bearer for public scrutiny.

Mike Wallace, holder of feet to the fire, I salute you, and wish for more like you.

Stand during phone interviews

March 7, 2012

Best advice I’ve ever heard about how to handle phone interviews is to stand during the call.

Standing will keep you more alert and focused on the interview. In phone interviews, it’s easy to forget that there’s someone else there even though you can’t see them.

Don’t walk around or pace, either. Keep focused on the task of selling yourself to the interviewer and listening and learning about the company.

Making Your Tech Conference Presentation, and Experience, Not Suck

November 11, 2011

Tech conferences are incredibly expensive, and not just in dollars. Even free conferences like BarCamps incur the expense of the attendee’s time. Taking time off from work or family is a hassle at the very least, and it’s time that isn’t billable. The draw of the conference boils down to those 45 minute sessions, and speaker and attendee alike should make the most of it.

Read the rest of the article at Software Quality Connection.

What kid-friendly web-email options are there?

June 27, 2011

Amy and I are talking about getting Quinn some email, mostly for us to send her little notes, but I’m sure that Grandma and aunt Cinda would love to send her mail, too.

My requirements are:

  • Whitelist of inbound mail addresses.  I want zero unsolicited email going to her, spam or otherwise.
  • Easy interface, meaning not something like Gmail, which I think would be a mess for her.
  • Address book so she doesn’t have to remember email addresses.
  • Would prefer a web interface, so that she can access it even away from home.

I’ve been leaning toward setting up an email account for her on and making some procmail rules to enforce the whitelist.  If I do that, is there a decent webmail front end I could put up?  Squirrelmail is hardly easy.

Update: I went with which gives me all I wanted for only a dollar a month.

How can I transfer stickers from my old laptop to new?

June 27, 2011

I bought a new MacBook Pro a few weeks ago, and I’d like to get the stickers from the back of the old one onto the new one. Most specifically, I really like that Google “My other computer is a data center” sticker (no disrespect to Milwaukee BarCamp or Pumping Station: One, of course).

Any suggestions as to how I could remove them intact from the old machine?  And affix them to the new?  If it matters, the new laptop has an aluminum case.

I’m also looking for stickers of Plankton, Mr. Krabs’ nemesis from SpongeBob SquarePants, since I named the laptop “plankton” in his honor.  I always name my machines something related to Quinn or what Quinn is into at the time I got the machine.