Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2003 > End-Of-Year 2003 Edition

End-Of-Year 2003 Edition

first interview

Let me quote myself from the last issue:

This coming Monday I am going to my first job interview in over eight years. I am looking forward to it: I get to vie for a job at the place which (next to the bank) had employed me the longest and with which I am very familiar.

The position is a six-month part-time job at Ball State's Bracken Library doing work for its IT department. There's programming in it, but from the description the job will involve talking to library folk to work out what it is they want out of their project. The programming and testing come after that. I know I can do this, and the interview is my chance to explain why I know.

That Monday is past: The interview is done.

It was a cool but wet day when I drove to Ball State in my brand-new suit. I chose to park in the parking garage nearest the library, even though it now charges you several vital organs now for parking on the top level. If it were a drier day, I would have parked on the street in front of the Methodist church, as I usually do, and walked.

I had a little trouble finding the Library Information Technical Services (LITS) office. I was told it was beside the elevator on the third floor. Here's the problem: There are two computer-related offices on the third floor, each beside an elevator; I knew only about the one on third floor east (3E); the actual office was on third floor west (3W). I don't go to 3W much anymore, so I didn't know the old music listening room had been converted. So, after inquiring in the 3E office, I went to the 3W one.

LITS is like my old workplace only in that everyone dresses informally, the office is littered with out-of-date equipment and it never seems to have enough room. But the office is a lot bigger and is not in the basement (though it was at first). Better, the service is so important to the library that its head is an assistant dean, answerable to the Dean Of Libraries himself.

It was this assistant dean, Brad Faust, who talked with me about the job and all the fun projects that I get to do if I should get it. Most of the projects are web services driven by databases: Here, that means VB, ASP, IIS, MS Access and other Microsoft stuff that I have done at my old workplace, so I should have no problem adapting. I said as much during the work-down-the-list question session.

I was given a more complete description of the position. Perhaps the following from that should have been added to the public posting. But then it might have made the job more attractive, and my attempt to secure it harder:

Pursue personal research and actively contribute to the intellectual and professional life of the University Libraries and Ball State University.

If you are a programmer, or even a technician, "personal research" is a necessity in any case if you want to keep your skills up-to-date.

second interview

On Thursday night I returned from Muncie to find an invitation to an interview on answering machine. This was from the Eye Center Group headquartered in Muncie. I scheduled an interview for the next afternoon.

This is evidently the computer technician job from that blind ad I answered sometime before Thanksgiving. I had misgivings about answering it for fear that it was the bank posting the ad. But I did: And my fears proved false.

The Eye Center Group is a network of ophthalmologists based in Muncie but with subcenters in many county seats in east central Indiana. The computer technician position is just like my old job, but in a much nicer environment. A much simpler one, too: The nine networks are identical, their workstations the same make (Dell), and with the operating system for both workstation and server.

My interviewer is the Group's MIS, one of a two-person network operation. The fellow seemed a nice guy. It was a short talk, but that was because it was introductory. If I am acceptable to him, there will be a second interview after the holidays, presumably with the doctors who run the Group.

the end of the year

I would lie if I said I would miss this year. There has been nothing good at all about it. I was diagnosed as diabetic and forced to change both my routine and my diet. Then I lost my job. Well, that was not all bad: After I got over the dread, I've gotten more exercise and less easy access to food. I'm now down to 200 pounds. I used to be obese, but now I'm just overweight.

Fairmount is doing okay, but the area around it. The big reassessment may mean higher property taxes but no additional revenue for cash-strapped schools, cities and counties. We here didn't know for a long long time because the assessor took a long long time. Now the big bitching among county officials is exploding into an expensive lawsuit filed by (zounds!) the assessor. The county council took a clerk away, and he didn't like it!

The state of Indiana is in worse shape because it was overreliant on manufacturing jobs that have fled to Mexico and China. Well, at least Indiana isn't as distressed as a certain town east of Ohio. ;-)

And the Son of Linguini Spine hid behind flag-waving and paeans to freedom to clean up his father's mess in Iraq. On the plus side (and it's not much of a plus), a less than ½% fatality rate since the start of the Iraqi war is not all that bad; the yearly car-crash fatality rate in this country is three times greater. I say "not much of a plus" because it becomes very bad indeed when it's your kid that gets blown up by one of Saddam's goons.

Copyright © 2003 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 31 December 2003.