Thursday, March 31, 2005


i’ve seen geraldo’s talk show once or twice. he has these people on the show who were once skinny nerds that people picked on in high school. they are tell a sad sap story about being teased and how they used those moments for bodybuilding motivation. in a shocking surprise, the bully of our skinny nerd, shows up and is called out onto stage. what happens then? the bully says that they don’t remember this person… they picked on tons of kids and did plenty of harmful things to all the nerds. the bullies forget, the nerds don’t.

i was neither bully nor nerd in high school, i was a crack-slipper-thru-er. my coolness status was a notch below “able to spend lunch with us”, in reference to the “popular” crowd that is. i’d catch some high fives, or “hey what’s, up guy” from the popular kids around campus, but no partying with them on the weekends or even study sessions.

i am reminded of one particular class, my homeroom in 8th grade, i was 13 years old. 12 years ago to this day i can recall the seat i sat in, who sat in front of and beside me. to my left was a popular skateboard druggie punk rock kid. directly in front of me was a short quiet band playing ap student.

teased is an understatement. the boy to my left was known by everyone in the class, and girls liked him. i wanted to be cool with him so i could share in his infinite wealth of popularity. he didn’t pay attention in class, that isn’t something that “cool” kids did/do. instead he chose to jab his pen into the back of the short quiet boy who sat in front of me. i participated in the poking of our small shy boy with my pen. i had a handful of classes before with the poked boy, i knew him and he knew me.

i remember one day i poked him rather hard, leaving pen marks on his clothing wasn’t abnormal. simultaneously the popular kid to my left gave the boy a super huge weggie (grab the underpants and pull up). when i say super i mean the elastic portion of the tighty whiteys had come apart and were now hooked over his shoulder. i laughed.

eventually yearbooks were distributed and that class had come to an end. i handed my yearbook to the boy i teased and asked him to sign my year book.

i realized not that i had been a complete polar opposite of myself. i have no proof but i’m very sure that the boy went home and cried on more than one occasion. what power took over me to want to torment someone who i knew and had nothing against. why did i do such a thing? i bullied the kid, and i remember everything…

he wrote in my yearbook, “probably would have been nicer in another class”.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

the word of the day is J-O-B

i’ve held many different jobs. when i turned 15 ½ i was available to attain a working permit, and did so by instruction of my mother. i then acquired my first job. here’s a rundown of positions held, my writer's ‘platform’ if you will:

casa de las campanas - waiter
kenny rogers roasters – drive thru/front counter
poway animal hospital – kennel aid
togos – sandwich maker
uci library security – security monitor then promoted to supervisor
manpower – data entry temp
papa johns – deliver (that’s right pizza delivery)
happy carwash – vaccumer/detailer
ikon office solutions – csr (customer service representative)
cupertino community services – staff member
solar turbines (3 diff summer internships) – (engineering intern)
carlton forge works - quality engineer

each of these jobs had a process that i underwent in order to get hired. my best bud’s family owned the carwash –not a lot of job hunting there. introduced me to the quality engineering position… that felt like hunting an elephant with a bb gun.

a friend of mine (not really a friend, i stalk her blog) sent me a short message inquiring how the heck i got a job in la. i decided to write her an email, telling all the experiences and job hunting knowledge that i’ve collected.

after looking at about 2 paragraphs of my corny advice i realized two rather embarrassing facts. fact 1.) i’ve never met or spoken to this girl, and if i were her, i’d deem me (myself) a psycho. fact 2.) after 2 paragraphs i wasn’t near finished. i’m full of filler i suppose. so what to do? post the response to my blog and let anyone else see my $0.02 on the subject of job hunting. the following is what i’ve gathered and contained regarding the job (career) hunt.

the positions at casa de las campanas, kenny rogers roasters, poway animal medical hospital, togos, happy car wash, ikon office solutions, solar turbines, and cupertino community services were all found thru someone who worked at those companies. hooks ups, you’d call it if you were a child in the 90’s.

manpower, uci library security, papa johns, and carlton forge works were jobs that i got all by my big boy self. percentage wise that tells you that 66% of the jobs i’ve gotten were via networking (no new news here folks)

first thing you have to have is a resume. hundreds of web sites will tell you how to make resumes, some may even charge you for this vital information. basically a resume is what you’ve done… on one piece of paper. not a lot of room and quite a lot of information. when writing one from scratch you mind always goes blank, try to avoid this.

i keep every resume i’ve written. in a nerd/geek fashion (i’m thankful that it’s finally the new ‘in’ thing to be) i’ve got versions 1.0 up thru 9.8. that’s right, i’m on version 9.8 of the resume. keep them, it’s not a lot of disk space and a good reference for refreshing your brain what you did at previous jobs.

things to do on your resume:
write what you were responsible for, and how it affected the company positively. ie… discovered a new rubber compound that is now used in every running shoe produced gaining 5.6billion dollars/year for the company, as opposed to discovered new rubber compound. you get the jist of this right? the result. that is the gold touch, and most often left out of a resume.

don’t put the year you graduated college or the date for that matter. this way they may just think that you have a bit more ‘out of college’ time which means more world experience. it’s a small thing but hey, it all counts and adds up real quick.

use bullets. nobody likes to read, especially resumes. and don’t use terms that they won’t understand if you’re changing industries. it just becomes jibberish to them, break it down easy, like spoon feeding. acronyms have to be spelled out such as: d.s.q.r. (designated supplier quality representative).

always have your hobbies and interests somewhere. languages spoken, places traveled to. a lawyer friend of mine told me that she’s had more interviewers interested in the places she’s traveled to than the letters behind her name. if you have ever touched a golf ball say you’re a golfer. corporate america loves golf and they’ll love you too if you have it on the resume.

keep track of your applications. i keep an excel spreadsheet with a line for each job i apply to:
date, company, location, position, resume version, where i found the posting, contact info, contact name (if there is one), comments (usually something quick about the company, interesting job duties, etc…)

cover letters…
always always, always… hmmm yea, always have a cover letter. i’ve talked to many different booth attendants at numerous career fairs. each one i talk to, i ask them what they think about cover letters vs simply a resume sans coverletter. my outcome has been about 50/50. some say that the cover letter tells you everything, others just toss it and get to the nitty gritty resume bullets. i can’t say one industry prefers one way or the other. my undocumented research has led me to the conclusion that the importance of a cover letter is determined by the stars or changing ocean tides, but not by industry or position.

as for the actual cover letter, i’ve written tons of ‘tool’ cover letters. search the vast internet and you’ll see that everyone has some do’s and don’ts with cover letters. my advice, don’t listen to any of this.

a cover letter is the (hi, i’m ___ and this is who i am). if you follow a format for this, then you’re not following that. if you follow a format you are a ‘tool’, and will most likely be tossed aside. be creative. tell a story. give personal definitions of what you believe a –insert your dream job title- does. people who read the cover letter aren’t reading for content as much as they are reading for tone and personality. let your personality show thru this letter.

personalize the cover letter to the company you are applying to. write it generically with “i see myself fitting in at your company” and then wherever you see the words “your company” you replace it with the company you’re actually applying to. do this with the position as well. this may take a bit of time but it’s well worth it, do the math.

scan the cover letter. read the first sentence of each paragraph only. when combined this should give a very general feel of the entire cover letter. this is what someone may do when skimming your cover letter the first time.

your goal with the cover letters is to have the reader finish it and feel as though they just briefly met you.

applying to a big company:
big companies are different. they have enough money to be lazy. they have a website that posts all open jobs, they require a login id, password, and sometimes a profile. after you fill that in they have you upload a resume. sounds hunky dory doesn’t it? wrong. these suck.

once your resume is in the company’s database with a hundred billion other resumes, a resume scan is performed by the software.

example: if the job you’re looking for is “project engineer – electrical systems”, and a few of the requirements are “c++, java, visual basic”.

first you write up a nice little resume, modify your cover letter, make sure it’s perfect and precise. then you create a login, get a password, and search the jobs on this big company website. once you find the job you want, you hit submit. the illusion is that your resume goes to the hiring manager and he/she chooses to call you or not. no way jose.

their software actually scans the database of a billion resumes for key words that pertain to that specific job. if you don’t have the words ‘electrical systems, c++, java, visual basic’ in your resume, you’re resume will most likely be skipped over. a handful of resumes is chosen by the software, then sent to the hiring manager. he looks over the electronically chosen few a bit. all of a sudden his employee john comes over to his desk and tells our hiring manager that bob smith, john’s buddy from college, is looking for a job. john and places good ol’ bob’s resume on the hiring manager’s desk and guess who gets called into an interview along with the computer’s electronically plucked cream of the crop?

this brings me to networking. it’s not easy, it’s work (net-work, ha). i can’t count how many times i’ve completely forgot that i knew someone in the field of work that i was looking for. you have to be job minded 24/7, everyone you meet, everywhere you go. this isn’t so easy, but having gone 16-18 years thru school you’ve met quite a few people.

if you don’t network by word of mouth then write it down. i’ve written network trees and discovered that i knew people in almost every industry. start with your immediate family, write their names down and the friend of theirs that you know. these people are 2 degrees away from you, you can work with that. write their jobs/industries/hook ups next to their names. then write your close friends names down. next to each friend jot down the people who they know that you know. make sure you’re jotting down who has what job. before you know it, you’ve got a networking map. but what do you do with one of these?

start emailing people. tell them you’re looking for a job in their same industry and you want pointers/suggestions, send em a resume and ask them what they think of it since they’re experts in the field you’re pursuing. ask them where they’ve worked and what they do now. with luck they’ll come to the epiphany on their own that they could get you hired at their work, and submit a resume to their boss or a hiring manager. if not, they may give good advice. if all that fails, then hell… you gave it a good ol’ college try.

if you get an interview then you’re sitting pretty. my interview tips are easy:
smile a ton, breath deeply when you get a chance to (avoids making you nervous), make eye contact (almost stare them down), and think of questions you can ask them before hand.

the more questions the better… if an interviewer asks you “do you have any questions?” and you don’t have any, then you failed me. you’ve also failed yourself, your parents, your friends, your grade school teacher, your puppy dog, and your goldfish. never be without a question. questions during interviews are water in the desert, you’ll die quick if you don’t have some at all times.

there’s one last issue that i’ve thought about over and over and have just started understanding. “so what do you want to do?” is a question often asked by people you meet and talk about while job hunting.

the people who ask this question are usually in a nice cooshy job and haven’t job hunted for years. they expect you to have a pin point answer. “i want to be the strategy and marketing junior associate for either nokia or samsung” this is what they want to hear. but this is not what you are really thinking. you’re thinking “hell, i’ll try any job as of now, just get me a desk, a computer, and a salary”

job hunting to me is just like girlfriend hunting. dreaming up the ideal girlfriend and then pursuing that dreamed up woman is idiotic, she may not even exist. looking around at what’s available and where you could fit in is much more realistic. and yes, someday “it’ll just happen”, you’ll be at a job you love and enjoy, or at least can tolerate until you retire or die. see, just like boy-girl relationships.

people with stable relationships and people with stable jobs forget what it’s like to be a hunter. the problem is that people with steady jobs are the ones hiring. the trick here is to pretend that you have one ideal job, your life’s calling, and sell that to whoever has that exact same job opening.

that’s pretty much all i got. sure i’ve saved a few tricks up my sleeve for a rainy day, but this is 99% of what i’ve learned in the act of finding a job. “finding a job is a full time job” –my father says. the irony is that i myself, am unemployed.

Monday, March 21, 2005

just realized

today i spent the entire day with no phone calls. i also did not speak to anyone in person, face to face. i received 2 emails, one with hopes to sell me perscription drugs cheaper, and the other offering help to drive traffic up to my website. i did however, chat with people online. definition of a sunday i suppose. i spent 1 hr walking.

watching the movie swingers always brings me up. brings me down that it's from 1996.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

”come and talk to me! i really wanna meet you”

meeting girls is not my forte, (did i say forte?) ok i suck at meeting girls/women/female humans. all of them. i’m not alone in this area of expertise, almost all normal men share the same disability as i do.

let’s paint a typical scenario:
your run of the mill cute (single) girl is out buying a book. one isle over we see our man…that guy that you know, one of your regular ol’ friends. the one that’s such a good guy but when it comes to anything female he falls flat on his face, in the mud, in front of a stadium full of people. he’s the guy who you sometimes wonder about, will he ever get a girlfriend? back to the painting of a mental picture, he sees the cute girl and realizes that she’s cute. he walks over to her with the intention to say something which will spark conversation. within 30 seconds he’s totally goofed it up and she’s just chiseled into her mind that this guy will never get her phone number. we all know (as people at home watching this) in actuality, he’d be a much better boyfriend than her previous 3,but he just doesn’t know how to talk to women.

this is not an uncommon scenario, i’ve witnessed it many times. i can even say that i am guilty of being in such an awkward situation a few times. (when i muster up the cucarachas to actually approach a complete stranger). so what do men with no knowledge of how to meet women do? the recent movie hitch had one remedy, but hiring will smith to consult you on how to win over women isn’t really feasible for most men.

i asked 4 different women for my research. the first woman was single, the second had just started dating a guy, the third is 1 year and a few months into her relationship, and the fourth is counting 5 years consecutive with the same boy. i asked each women what she would think/feel in the same scenario.

the scenario i presented was as follows:
“so imagine that you meet a boy, you are a single girl for this hypothetical example. he’s smooth, but he’s not a player. you grow comfortable with him quickly, and he is sincere. you date a few times and during a date at his home or in his car you come across a few “how to meet women” tapes/books/dvd’s. how do you feel about this? what do you think?

the 3 girls with men said that they’d feel awkward upon stumbling onto his collection of “how to meet women” books. the one with the 5 year relationship’s first words were “i’d run”. the single girl looked a bit surprised and then said it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

my polls aren’t sufficient for any ground breaking discoveries. i can conclude that people in relationships very quickly forget how hard it is to be single, and how grueling the process of finding a significant other is. i also want to tell all men who have any self help books on the meeting of women subject to burn the books as soon as they do meet a woman of interest.
i’m also certain that anyone who reads this will first wonder how i came up with such a scenario, and then ask me if i own any self help books that guide me to the meeting of women. however i explain myself, i’m certain nobody will believe me. i do not have any “how to meet women” books/tapes/cd’s/dvd’s/ebooks/pamphlets/napkins with notes/ or mp3 files. the facts point to this post being my validation to purchase such self-help materials. i’m a super loser with the women, i don’t have a girl that i’m currently dating, and frankly… i sit at home and think of these things such as this to write about in my idle spare time.

i feel like i should read some of these books, post what i’m told to do. then try the techniques and document the results. but then again, failure at that would be a really big slap in the face, i don’t know if i’m ready for life to give me another one of those.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

death and taxes

i’ve just completed my taxes. i filed. i should be getting money back. yippie skippie jump for joy oh lucky me! our gracious government takes too much money from me throughout the year and then gives just a bit of it back in april. my parent’s used to take the money i made, and give it back to me in small increments, so i couldn’t go spending all my money in one place. or so i assumed, instead they were training me for the real world.

however, making money is not the only time that i pay taxes… anytime i purchase anything, that’s right folks, when i buy anything, i also pay taxes. is this absurd? i foresee that in the future there will most likely be an ‘idle’ tax. idle tax? what does that mean you ask? i am predicting a tax that takes money from your idle account. i can see it all now, 6% tax if your bank account doesn’t have a transaction within a week. deposit or withdrawal, doesn’t matter… as long as you spend or make money you’re paying taxes. it’s when you’re idle that the government isn’t making money off of you, obviously they haven’t realized this loophole in the system.

there is automatically one concept that comes to mind when i ponder the world of taxes… death. death is different than taxes. death is just as certain per the famous saying, however it’s not something that one can schedule and prepare for by april of every year. death comes at expected times, as well as unexpected times. death brings times of reflection, it plops your life into perspective, and surfaces memories. taxes only piss you off and make you groan like you just stubbed your toe.

thinking about death sparks the question of my own death. i wonder, will anyone remember me when i die? possibly my ghost will linger for a few days, or even a week. hopefully i’ll be important enough to be in someone’s mind… 100 years post-my death, will anything about me or my existence be remembered?

i’m guessing that if anything is remembered about me it would be my name. 100 years after i’m put into the ground there’s a possibility that my name would be the only thing remembered… most likely because my name is what will be on the tombstone or plastic container that contains my ashes. ironically i had no part in the decision of my name. the work of my parents yielded the name i carry, and they were the ones who worked to get me into this world to begin with. that doesn’t sound like making a mark on this world to me.

should i become famous? famous people that have died left their mark, history books remembered and wrote about these people, and then i had to learn about them in a dry history class from an upset single-parent teacher. is that what i aspire to be?

it’s never been a dream of mine to become a topic on the chapter 3 history test, so the question is: what do i do with my life? answer: whatever the hell i want!

that’s right. i’ve unveiled the epiphany that i could be a drug-addict-homeless-bum getting loaded every night and sleep on the streets with a milk crate for a chair. nobody will know the difference 100 years from now. on the converse, i could devote all of my waking hours making money, kissing upper management’s arse, climbing the corporate ladder, and squashing the little guys in order to attain ‘a bigger piece of the pie’. still, who will care to find out what it is that i did 100 years ago? it appears that the only person on this planet that it matters to is me. the scenario of the bum the work-aholic have one commonality, neither would satisfy me.

the problem is that i can’t figure out what it is that i do want to do… someone asked me the other day, a very simple question. “have you met anyone who has a job that you’d just love to have?” –i’m still at a loss for the answer to this question. maybe i should become a tax collector.