So I interviewed for a position in the financial district in SF. It wasn’t a “dream job” like KEI and hotornot.com, but it did seem pretty sweet, and I was excited about it. The position was for a system administrator working mostly with Unix and working with some Windows. I got the lead through a recruiter.

I interviewed there on Friday, and the interview went pretty well. He assigned me a quiz to complete at home and I really enjoyed it. It had one question where I had to run nmap against his network and use other tools to find out as much as I could about his network. I spent a good deal of time on Friday taking this quiz.

I evidently did pretty well on the quiz, because he assigned me the next task – installing Apache and Tomcat on his Ubuntu GNU/Linux server. I didn’t ace this one, but I did well enough…

He asked me to come in today for a second interview. From the sounds of things, I was very close to getting an offer. Well, I got a call yesterday from the recruiter, who told me that the CEO now didn’t want to pay the recruiter fees…after, AFTER they had already agreed to those fees.

So here I am, missing out on a job because some big-shot CEO somewhere decides that he’s going to change his mind. It wouldn’t have been so bad except for the time that I spent completing the assignments, and going to the interview. Ten hours of my time, and I can’t even be judged by my qualifications for the job.

Oh well – several months of CCNP studying, here I come! Last day here at GuardianEdge is tomorrow.

MetroNaps – allowing workers to take a nap in the middle of the work day, at a very reasonable price.

This really needs to become mainstream.

Just a few minutes ago, Google emailed me about a Technical Support Engineer position. Damn it all. It would be cool as hell to work for Google, but I am putting my foot down on this anti-tech-support thing of mine.

One interesting note – the woman that emailed me used Outlook for her email client.

Update: The woman who emailed me was nice enough to thank me for letting her know I wasn’t interested, and the reason why. So I will do her a favor and let my readers know that she asked me to let others know about this opportunity. I don’t have too many Northern California readers here, but if you’re interested just shoot me an email to stu@fourmajor.com.

My job search was rather fruitless. I applied for one job, and had contacts with people about many others who found my resume online.

I had interviews with three companies:
KEI: Kapor Enterprises Inc.
This company is owned by Mitch Kapor, one of the founders of the EFF. The company is for profit, but they do work for Mitch’s various non-profit foundations, as well as several other cool organizations like the Mozilla Foundation. They provide IT and HR services.

The position was for desktop support and system administration. Mostly Linux, some Windows. In San Francisco. I interviewed with them on the phone two Mondays ago, and he said he would get back to me in the middle of the week. The middle of the week came and went, and then the week came and went. So this week I’ve sent two follow-up emails and have not heard back.

HotOrNot.com
HotOrNot.com is a dating website that draws their visitors in by displaying non-nude pictures of people like you and me, and letting people rate them from one to ten.

This job would have been sweet. This is the only one I actually applied to. I would have been the sole system administrator responsible for about 90 web servers. Very relaxed hours. Very nice neighborhood that I could have walked to. Very small company.

I managed to get an interview, but unfortunately I did not get the position. I don’t hold anything against them though; I honestly wasn’t qualified. Also, they actually got back to me on the results of their hiring process. I wish them the best.

VMWare
VMWare makes virtualization software that lets you run multiple servers on one computer. They are located in Palo Alto.

The position was for Support Engineer I. The people that worked there were highly technical, and it would be a great environment for learning. I interviewed there this past Tuesday.

The interview went pretty well. I could have done much better with the Linux questions but I nailed the networking questions. I am not sure if they are going to offer me a position or not, but I’ve decided that if they do offer it I won’t take it. The office was super cool, and the people were super smart, and I think I would learn a lot, but ultimately I don’t want to go to Palo Alto every day and I don’t want to work in support any more.

So what have I learned from this process? I’ve learned that I probably could have nailed one of the two “dream jobs” (KEI and HotOrNot.com) if I had more technical experience. I also learned that there are lots and lots of jobs out there, but that I don’t want to settle for another job that I want to quit after a year. So the solution to this is to learn more, and get more certifications.

From experience, I cannot very well learn and have a full-time job at the same time. My second semester in school, when I did not have a job, I got three B’s and an A. My best semester. And it took me a long time to get my CCNA. The weekend that I crammed before the exam was the hardest I have ever studied. And I seriously burned myself out.

So if I am going to learn and improve my resume by getting more certifications, I am going to have to focus on that task alone. To accomplish this, I have decided that I am going to take 2-4 months and not work. I will just concentrate on getting my CCNP. This is my goal for these several months, and as an extra-credit assignment for myself, if I can fit in some learning about DNS, Apache, and scripting, that would be great.

But I know that the biggest risk with this plan is that I’ll not be motivated to study. So to lower this risk, I am going to treat my studying like a job. I will leave the apartment at 8 or 9 every weekday, and go to the library to study for 8 hours. And then I’ll come home and forget about studying. Also, I am very interested in the subject matter. The CCNP exams (there are four of them) cover in-depth routing protocols, remote access, multi-switch networks, and troubleshooting. If I were studying something I didn’t care about, it would be very difficult.

The next few months should be interesting. But I think I’ll enjoy them.

Tonight is my last night working night shift. Ever.

I have kind of an unofficial list of things I will never do for work, and now I am adding this to it. My current list:
1) I will not work in a restaurant.
2) I will not sell things.
3) I will not work weekends.
4) I will not work nights.
5) I will not travel more than one hour each way.

I hope to add as many of these to the list as possible with my next job:
1) I will not work in support, no matter how high level.
2) I will not work with Windows.
3) I will not be on call.
4) I will not work an overly strict schedule. So, I’ll need some freedom on start and end times.

I am guessing that I will only be able to add about two of those with my next job. And the ultimate goal here is to become valuable enough, with knowledge, experience, and certifications, where I can eventually accomplish the following as well:
1) I will not work more than 35 hours per week.
2) I will not accept less than 4 weeks of vacation per year.
3) I will not work for a for-profit company unless they share the profits very generously with the employees.

It is going to feel so great tomorrow night to want to go to sleep, and then just go to sleep. It’s also going to be great that, if I want, I can go out and have a couple of beers at midnight. Or I can stay up until 2am playing some Eve Online with Mark. Obviously this takes a bit of self discipline, because you can’t come in to work every day on 5 hours of sleep (even though that is what I do now).

The night shift did have its perks though. I rarely had to wake up to an alarm, and I got to work by myself with no interruptions. But I think I will be able to do without those things 🙂 Time to join the “normal people.” It was going to happen sooner or later.

…fighting against what my body is trying to tell me.
…having my hand on my knife as I walk to my car to go to work.
…being first at every stop light in the middle of downtown.
…having no one notice if I come in late.
…stepping out on the balcony and seeing people return to their cars from a night of clubbing.
…having my eyelids twitch.
…taking a nap in the break room during my lunch break.
…turning the lights on, and putting my shoes back on in the middle of the work day.
…having caffeine as a necessary substance for my job.
…needing to call people by 9am so I can catch them before they go home for dinner.
…having my superiors’ expectations lowered because they don’t think they can expect much from people that work my hours.
…having every new hire say things like, “Wow, what’s that like?” when I’m introduced as one of the European support techs.
…having our receptionist say, “Have a good night!” at 10am.
…having my senses feel numb by the time I go home.
…being used to staying up for over 24 hours straight.
…having to wake up early to spend quality time with my girlfriend (not that I mind at all, sweetie 🙂 ).

Comments like this are why I generally enjoy my job:

“Thank you for being there. Would not have recover the laptop data without you.”

Update: And then an hour or so later, I speak with someone who reminds me why I need a couple days off.

So I am on my first trip for GuardianEdge Technologies. They sent me to Jersey City, New Jersey.

To start the trip off, the woman sitting across the aisle found everything possible to bitch about. First her audio jack wasn’t working, so the flight attendant asked me to switch with her because I wasn’t going to watch the movie. At least I got offered a free cocktail or snack, but I didn’t really want it anyway.

As a side note, one thing I have noticed about being on a plane is that I get some of my best reading and thinking done on a plane.

When I went to go pick up my rental car, I found that it hadn’t been payed for yet…so that meant $400 out of pocket probably until the end of the month. I barely have it right now too after my trip to Reno.

And then I ordered room service because I was funungry. I got chicken teriyaki…honestly mostly for the rice. And I get a call saying they are out of rice. Who runs out of rice?

The food comes…no knife, the sauce is salty, and the soda is warm. Not impressed with this particular $180/night hotel so far. However, the room is nice and at least this one has already been paid for.

Here’s to hoping my trip will get better and I won’t have to work overtime Thursday and Friday.

Share with me a piece of virtual cheese.

Ah, one of my favorites – Asiago. They stopped selling it at my local grocery store of choice, so I guess it will be an extra luxury for me now since I will have to trek to the cheese store for it.

Anyway, we are celebrating because I just got past a major “roadblock” in a project at work. There is still a lot of work to do on this project, but the rest is just mindless. Now all I have to do is hit a few keys, read a book for a minute, and repeat a few hundred times. This is definitely better than banging my head against the beast that is Novell.

It is almost 6:30am, and I am still the only one in the office. I am sitting here wondering if we are even supposed to be open today. I double-checked our official days off in two places, and didn’t see President’s Day listed as a day off.

Well, I would still welcome going home at 8am or so if no one arrives. Not that I am expecting that to happen…just being hopeful. Kind of like when I would wake up in the morning for school and sit there glued to the TV seeing if we had off for snow. That is definitely a unique experience for some people…some places get so much snow that there is no way they are going to get off for it. Some places get no snow at all and have the same effect.

But Maryland…if a little snow was sticking to the road, we got off school. And man, that was great.

Update (8:09am): There is indeed work today. One guy (at least) had off, and a lot of people are working from our other office because of limited transit today.