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Category: Job Search

Returning to writing and riding

Returning to writing and riding

I finally feel like I have enough energy to start writing and riding for fun again. Kasane’s rehab took the majority of my energy last year. On top of that, things at my old position became…less than optimal. While I enjoyed everyone I worked with, the last reorganization ended up in my position changing from what I loved to something intensely frustrating. I did what I could from within the position to work with it, but there are times when you can’t correct the context then you have to remove yourself from it. So I did.

I started a new job in November writing about OpenStack at Red Hat. It has been such an eye-opener finally being in a business culture that fits my own outlook. (Yay for Open Culture!) I’m working on a team of talented, intensely geeky writers (my people!). The technology is fun, if somewhat daunting to learn. Drinking from the firehose metaphor is very appropriate.

After being in my position three weeks, I was asked if I like to travel. Yup, sure do. They sent me to a team meeting in Israel! I still have to write up that trip. It was amazing. Best of all, I got to meet our team members that I’ll be working with face to face instead of just on the usual video conferences.

It’s been a topsy-turvy year, but ultimately it ended up fantastic because of Kasane’s recovery and return to work and my new job.

I’ve been feeling pretty blessed this year after so many months of worry and stress, both equine and professional.

Resume help

Resume help

I’m helping a friend with a resume tonight so I’ve been reading through links on the latest and greatest in writing resumes. Most of the techniques I’ve used are still valid. The format needs to be updated but the general items that are included are the same.

It’s interesting that the idea of a professional “landing page” is now popular. A landing page used to be what you ended up on after clicking through on a banner ad. I suppose I’d rather see the term professional site or page instead of “landing page.”

When we were creating my friend’s resume, we used a bunch of different articles and sites for inspiration and information on current trends in resume writing.

Here are the links I found to help her tackle writing a resume:

Resumes for people with substantial experience

What if you are at the opposite end of spectrum and have a resume that is packed with many years of experience? If you have a resume that is too dense, will a hiring manager even read it?

Here are some suggestions for these situations:

Newer trends also seem to be suggesting using Helvetica instead of old standbys like Times New Roman. The Bloomberg article on fonts and resumes is an interesting read.

Some good news

Some good news

I have spent the past several days calling every freelancing contact I have and sending my resume out to every position I’m qualified for. I’m averaging 3+ submissions per day so far and have had some luck.

I had a phone interview yesterday that went pretty well. I have a face to face interview scheduled. We will see how that goes. My skillset matches the job description, but it’s for a very large company. I have always worked at startup or smaller companies. It might be an interesting experience.

It’s kind of depressing to only have one interview after sending out 20+ resumes. I have a good resume too, but I’ll rework it a little just in case.

At the last Society for Technical Communicators meeting I went to, the members were asked how many were either out of work or looking for jobs. Half of the people raised their hands. That spoke volumes about the current economy and job market.

Bu-bye Mr Job

Bu-bye Mr Job

I became a statistic yesterday. Supposedly the unemployment numbers had been improving — pushed down to 9.4% instead of 9.5% according to NPR a few mornings ago. There will be a few new unemployment claims this week, since a few of my coworkers and I lost our positions.

None of this was a reflection on my performance. It was a financial decision to reduce costs. With two tech writers, one can be let go. I had less seniority, so there you go.

For me, it wasn’t unexpected. Dreaded, but a shock to the system? No. I’ve been looking for a new job since early July because some of the undercurrents at my position were very similar to other layoffs I’d been through. Nothing was said, nothing was mentioned, but subtle things happened that pointed towards getting my resume polished and out there.

The job search is one of the reasons my posts on here have been few and far between.

This is a learning opportunity, right? Character building in the face of a down economy and job market! At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Actually, what I’m telling myself is that this is the perfect opportunity to visualize obtaining a new position (with a salary the same or better than I was making) before my funds run out.

Need a freelance writer? I’m available full time, starting yesterday.

Why did Ceffyl disappear again?

Why did Ceffyl disappear again?

Ceffyl has been stressed:

  • Three sick cats: two have recovered from a UTI, third might have one (or she has a behavioral issue).
  • My mare, Isis, was diagnosed with EPM (serious neurological disease) and just finished the first month of treatment. All of this started in May. If you know me, then you know this is my kid and anything that happens to her gets me Seriously Upset.
  • Unsure about my job.

I’ve had plenty of times when my horses and cats were sick. Ambush is my second diabetic cat. Isis has insulin resistance (equine metabolic disorder) which is rather like a pre-diabetic condition in a horse. She was diagnosed about five years ago, so I’m used to dealing with her special requirements. EPM is a whole second level…

However, when you’ve just spent half of your savings on your horse and cats, and suddenly the income source (with which savings can be replenished) might be gone…It’s nerve wracking.

I love my job: fun technology, gaming nights on Wednesdays, and a bunch of great people. What’s not to like? Of course, there is no official news and nothing that says I’m in danger. However, the under currents have a similar feel to other times when I’ve been laid off.

My concern about the job is not an extension of my emotional reaction to Isis’ EPM or the cats’ illnesses/misbehaving. There are specific reasons I’m concerned and they are not related to my job performance.

I know, theoretically, that there is nothing I can do about being laid off and I shouldn’t worry about it. It will either happen or it won’t.

I am being proactive, both at work and outside of work. At work, I’m making suggestions to help sales and reduce costs. Long hours, being seen, and all that. Outside of work, I’m getting my freelancing going again, I’m out networking, and I’m sending off resumes. I’ve applied for 15+ positions over the past three weeks. (Of these, two have sent rejection letters and the rest have been silent.) I’ve drummed up business leads for freelancing through networking, but no real paid gigs.

From what I’ve read on the tech writing lists, it’s very hard getting an interview much less landing a position. Employers have their pick of candidates. As a candidate, I have to be extra aggressive to make sure and contact people about my resume if I don’t hear back. I haven’t done that. Maybe I’m only half-heartedly searching because I don’t want to admit that there might be Something Bad coming.

Any way you slice it, I’m wired and stressed. I’ve used some of my stress management techniques and am carefully trying to pick my way through to juggle everything and build savings.

The barn has been my sanity and also a mixed blessing. Everything is right in the world when I’m with Isis–and then I think about Isis’ battle with EPM. Watching Isis walk around dragging her back foot has been hard — but her movement has also gotten better. She’s not dragging it as much as she was. She’s able to step underneath herself cleanly, where as in June she could barely step to the side. (Next Tuesday her blood will be tested for EPM again — and we will know if one month treatment is enough or if another month of Oh-My-God-Expensive-Stuff is needed.)

Ten weeks since I’ve ridden Isis and counting. (Although we’re getting ready to break Kasane, so I’ll be riding before Isis has fully recovered.)

Thanks for listening to the rambling vent. I could use a break but I don’t have the funds to do it. Everything is focused on freelancing, job hunting, and Isis. There comes a point when you just have to write everything out.