Wednesday, September 19, 2012

They want your SSN.....again...

How they do try...

I received this email today that instantly went to my junk email folder but the scary thing is that for a split second I believed it was actually from the Social Security Administration.

It's definitely a fake especially the part about "Don't miss out on your Social Security Number benefits"

Yeah, wouldn't want to miss out on that...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fun with an I.T. Job Search

Like a lot of folks in I.T. I've been pounding the pavement looking for a steady paycheck for awhile now.  So just like all the other millions of job seekers out there I have profiles on all the job boards, apply to daily listings and have a list of recruiters as long as my arm. 

Of course with the wheat always comes the chaff.  In this case it comes in the form of what I like to call "the resume stacker".  Resume stackers are recruiters usually from employment firms who gain clients by first shot gunning a potential opening (note the word 'potential')to a group of candidates gleaned from sites like and CareerBuilder.  They utilize tools like resume scrapers to grab keywords so the job they're pushing usually has nothing to do with your skills. 

Hey, the more the merrier right? At least someone thinks I'm qualified!

Except that's not what's going on.  These "stackers" are just trying to collect resumes that they will in turn use to woo a client that may or may not have a real opening.  In the meantime the "stacker" will put the potential candidate through all the machinations of a job application but offer little to no communication afterward. 
Now I'm not saying ALL recruiters are bad, on the contrary some are genuinely interested in helping you but the guys who resume stack have a much higher profile and are the ones you're most likely to run into.

My skills lie primarily in the arena of Windows System administration and server support in smaller organizations.  So opportunities in that context are always of interest to me.  So why is that I get UNIX/AIX administration, Software coding and RF Microwave engineer?

It's the scraper again.  It's indiscriminate and completely autonomous.  The Unix jobs? because somewhere in my resume I may have had to reboot a Linux box once.  The software coding? because I used a scripting tool for Windows Administration once.  The RF Microwave engineer?  I have no idea, maybe the scraper thinks Wi-Fi is done with Microwaves. 

I get a lot of these, mostly from out of state firms that might as well be telemarketers.  They usually have strange names like Masood and Kailash.  Not only have they completely missed the target with jobs I'm not remotely qualified for but when you look at the pay rate you know they have no clue about what the local market will bear for the ones that do match.
For example, I recently had one of these stackers send me a listing for a technical support position.  Aside from technical requirements I didn't meet the position was priced way above market rates.  A high hourly wage is a hook designed to snag your resume.  Don't fall for it, remember what they say about a deal that seems too good to be true.  Remember it's not about you it's about the guy who sent the email. 

After awhile I get annoyed with these guys filling up my inbox with broken promises so I try to get rid of them.   Experience has taught me that these pitchmen will never do anything for me anyway so why not blow off a little steam.  Who knows? Maybe it'll make them switch to a more honorable profession like used car sales.

What follows is an email transcript from one of my interactions with a particularly pesky "stacker" who likes to fill my inbox with garbage.  Names and contact info have been removed to protect the stupid...
Incidental commentary is highlighted in yellow and black.
Ok Here’s my info..
I doubt you’ll be representing me to anybody....

Job details:
Job Title: Technical Support Engineer 
(AKA the I.T. Catchall because they don't know either)
Duration: 5 Months
Location: Tempe AZ
Rate 31 / hr. on w2 
(This is about $6/hr over the top end of the market, never happen here)
Job Description:


Resolve customer reported issues while working closely with the Engineering, SE and other cross functional teams and provide feedback to the Engineering for improving the product quality and reliability
Ensure that the work performed meets the quality within acceptable time schedules and meets the customer commitments while working with the Technical Support team members and management, Engineering and other cross functional teams
Ensure that customers are treated with highest degree of respect and drive operational excellence through quality closures and proper escalation of issues
Work closely with ...blah blah blah....
Willing to work evenings and/or weekends
blah blah blah.... calmness and composure.

Answers needed by the client ::

1. What do you know about this company’s products and services?
Nothing, don’t care

2. Tell me about your previous work experience providing technical support?
I like to abuse the caller

3. What are your strengths and weaknesses when interacting with customers?
Strength, know how to turn off phone ringer, weakness, forgetting to turn it off...

4. Do you consider yourself a team player and why?
F*** teams, just a way to become chief scapegoat for morons...

5. Tell me about a time that you helped resolve a particularly difficult customer issue.
I went to their desk and made them cry

6. Technical Support is a fast paced environment – you will be constantly busy and may often work concurrent transactions. Explain/share how your previous experience has prepared you for this type of work pace.
Your emergency is not my emergency so shut up..

7. Candidates must be able to successfully answer technical questions regarding SQL, MAC OS, MS Exchange
Yeah, aside from being an a**hole I’m also incompetent in these areas

That should do nicely, you should have a crystal clear picture of my qualifications for the position..

Thanks & Regards

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Touch of Madness Over Windows 8

Article first published as A Touch of Madness Over Windows 8 on Technorati.

A touch of madness over Windows 8

Change never comes without cost and it's usually exacted by chipping away at our comfort zone.   Like some tortured victim of Stockholm syndrome we'll  irrationally rise up against any threat to our routines.
So the coming release of Windows 8 might as well be a new red scare to many tech industry bigwigs and pundits. 

It began  with a dire prediction about the fallout of Windows 8 from game industry mogul Gabe Newell of Valve:" I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I thinkwe’ll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs, who will exit the market."

It continued with rumblings from industry pundits over changes to the way we'll be interacting with the Windows 8 interface.  From removal of the startbutton to optimizations for touch sensitive devices that irritatedindustry press it seems  those "in the know" are of mixedopinion at best.

It doesn't matter.

Think of all the convoluted keyboard shortcuts and permutations of pointing devices and it becomes obvious that we've hated our interaction with computers for years.  If the experience was ideal we wouldn't be trying to minimize it with ergonomic gimmickry.

Chances are pretty good that most of you have a Smartphone, tablet or both and you've become accustomed to getting your stuff with a tap or a swipe.   For many it's preferable.  So is it any surprise that Microsoft thinks you want to do the same on your desktop? 

If Microsoft is guilty of anything, it's of being a bit early to the party.  If touch interfaces weren't popular Apple would never have bothered with the IPAD and Microsoft wouldn't be getting into tablets in a big way with Windows RT and Surface. 

The way you work with your PC today will be very different from how you use it just 10 years from now.  That may sound like futurist prophesying but consumer preferences eventually permeate the workplace.
 Consumers have voted for touch with their wallets, just take a look at IPAD sales for proof.  They will come to expect it in all their digital interactions even if it involves a little pain at first.

That means touch on your desktop is in your future and you'll learn to like it, even if you don't know it yet.