Category: Random Thoughts

Random Thought – Who has time to blog?

I’ve noticed that I really haven’t had time to add anything to my blog lately. It seems the last time was back in February- about the same time I got a job.

Blogs are interesting in that they can cover myriad subjects (and for those who graduated from high school with a 3.o or better average, that’s how it’s supposed to be written, not “a myriad of subjects”… I don’t know why but them’s are the rules  ; ) ). Off-subject: I really hate going to online forums where the people participating, who are adults, most likely over 40, and can’t spell or bother to even right -click on a word when it’s underlined with presumably the incorrect spelling. That’s just lazy.

To be honest, I like to blog about design, whether good or bad, and sometimes about other things that may not seem design related, but in most cases are in some odd way. My blog about LinkedIn, though some considered it just your everyday rant, was in some ways a social commentary about that site and Social Media/Social Networking sites in general, and well, how they are designed.

I commented on how I have this huge “network” and how it really did nothing to help in my job seeking activities when I was out of work. I’d send resumés and “in” messages to recruiters who were in my first degree of contacts, with zero response back. The job I have now I never applied for, sent my resumé to, “in” mailed anyone — it just happened. To be honest, I attribute it fully to God.

Not that I’m saying linkedIn is all bad. I do get emails once in a while from people I haven’t talked to in a while, and see what past co-workers and or friends and colleagues are up to lately. So, in that sense linkedIn is pretty cool. As a job finding, getting in the door tool, mmm, not so much from my experience.  And as I said in my last post regarding linkedIn and social networking in general, I’d like to be proven wrong.

We have all this technology at our fingertips designed to make our lives easier and more productive. Before “social media”, people used to network by attending meetings, user groups, industry gatherings, etc. And from those in the past, I was able to get job offers all the time. But then people got to know me face to face, see my work, watch me present at times, and the rest all kind of fell into place.

But now with that layer removed, I don’t know how technology in this sense really helps. And I don’t think anyone else, if they really thought about it really truly knows. Also, I may just be writing to a blog that no one really reads, and in a sense just talking to my own self.

That took me on and off about 20 minutes to make this post, in between meetings and work. So, I guess there is some time here and there to blog. Did I talk about design? Kind of. Not so much the visual design of social networking sites like LinkedIn, but this was more about the actual user experience design, and I think there’s a lot more that can be done to make a site like that use the technology more efficiently so it becomes a tool for professionals to find that perfect and or illusive job, especially in today’s economy and job market.

Your comments are more than welcome on this of course. And I do dare anyone to prove otherwise that LinkedIn really doesn’t help open the doors to that perfect job.

25 minutes…

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God is Good

I just wanted to let you know how good God is. It’s amazing when we pray for Him to open doors, and close any that He doesn’t want us to go through. For the last number of months I’ve been praying that, and there have been jobs that seemed perfect but I never got a chance to even interview at, or made it so far then He shut that door (Disney), and others that seemed like a good fit as well, but again the doors were shut. It seemed like it would be a while before any other doors would even open.

What’s amazing though is how blatant He can be, especially when we ask Him so we know what He wants. Back in November I had gotten a call from 3 different recruiters for a contract job at HP, doing product design (which I love, but never did as a career) – namely interfaces for their new web connected printers. After that, things pretty much died down, and I thought that I wouldn’t hear anything since the 1st recruiter said they were going to move and hire pretty quickly.

Being that I didn’t think it would be a door God would open, I sent an email off this past Monday to a recruiter at Disney about a job I applied for. Shortly after, I prayed about if He wanted that door open or not, and if so to either keep it open or shut it. Within minutes I got an email saying I wasn’t selected. A few minutes after that I got a call from the recruiter for the HP job, and they wanted to do a phone interview with me the next day (Tuesday this week). The interview happened, and it went okay, but I felt like it wasn’t great.

Yesterday I emailed an old friend about a job he had told me about, which he recommended me for, and shortly found out that the job had been filled as well. It would have been a very cool job as well, using the talents God had blessed me with over the past 30 years (video, multimedia, audio production, interactive development).

Within minutes of receiving that email, I got a call from the recruiter for the HP job. They expressed to her that they really wanted me (!!!!!). So now I’m just waiting for all the paperwork and hopefully will be starting soon.

God is good!!

I hope each of you have a blessed day, and know that God will always bless us with what He feels is best for each of us. We just have to trust in Him, always, even when we feel He’s busy doing other stuff. In this case He was busy getting everything ready for this opportunity, knowing my heart and something I’ve been wanting to try for a very long time.

Be Blessed each of you.

Greg

Random Thought — On the Job Hunt (still)

As I’ve been busy lately working on my daughter’s EP album (can we still call a CD or collection of songs an album?), I’ve been trying to keep my chin up and stay focused as well on the job search. We all know how the economy affected a lot of people’s jobs, and it seems for every job posting out there, there are probably a few hundred or more people applying to each one.

That in itself makes job hunting tough, and add that as time goes on and the days, weeks and months of being jobless, one starts to lose steam, and in some cases become less selective. Even though I know applying for jobs I’m overqualified for will never get a response back from an employer, it seems the one’s I am very qualified for result in the same response — either zero or “Thanks for applying, however…”. So, I pretty much apply now for anything that suits my fancy — well, almost everything.

Which brings me to job boards and those listings. First, I don’t quite get why when applying for a job, and employer a) never responds back or b) waits months and months before they do.

Second, job listings and job boards. There are a LOT of job boards, which seem to be listing the same jobs. But, what gets me is how effective those boards really are. We all know of Dice, Monster (I have never gotten a response back from any job on Monster in the past umpteen years), Careerbuilder, and even, yep, Craigslist. To be fair, I’ve recently been getting a number of calls from recruiters from seeing my resumé on either Dice or Careerbuilder.

Which brings me to job postings and how serious is Craigslist as a job finding tool. Every so often, I go there to look for freelance work as I’m on the job hunt. Out of every freelance gig I’ve responded to, I get zip back. Okay, so much for that as a “fill in the spare time” resource. I remember when my phone was ringing off the hook to do freelance work.

Then I decided to check out the “real” jobs on Craigslist. According to their site, Craigslist has more page views than Careerbuilder or Monster. That means more people are looking at and most likely responding to ads on their site, which in turn one would think employers would put there ads there vs. the bigger more “professional” job boards.

As I perused the jobs on Craigslist, I was kind of shocked at what employers were listing as job requirements and the compensation they were willing to pay. For the most part, the majority of jobs I looked at required senior experience (good), tons of responsibility (okay), full time, client interaction, and so on. Then at the bottom of the ads are listed the salary. In most cases it was either $30-40k per year (what?), or $15 an hour (WHAT???). As an example I give you this ad, found here: http://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/ofc/1521822417.html

a 6 year old company in Escondido, is in need of a production coordinator. The production coordinator (PC) will manage the entire audio production process for christianaudio.

There are four main parts to this position:

Production Management
manage key processes such as casting, quality control, reviewing manuscripts, checking pronunciations, and working with tight schedules to meet deadlines

Vendor management
manage key vendor relationships with narrators, QC reviewers, print publishers, and others.

Graphics and Printing Process Management
printing support, reviewing and proofing packaging material…

Data Management
Coordinate and manage distribution of data to trading partners, distributors, retailers, and web service providers

Post Production Process
getting books out to reviewers, copyright filings, and other finishing activities

Hours: Full-time (40) (a split / Part-time roll will be considered)

Necessary traits and abilities

Self-starter, friendly, process / detail oriented, task-driven, with strong follow-up skills, MS Excel, Word, Gmail, ability to multitask, point person handling the flow of various files and information, professional phone skills, deals well with deadlines.

Secondary needs
some graphics ability with Photoshop, Illustrator, and basic imaging programs

  • Location: Escondido, CA
  • Compensation: starting at $13. After satisfactory 90 day review raise to $15

Wow. $13 an hour. Where do I sign up? $13 an hour comes out to $27,040 a year if you work a full 40 a week. Being an hourly job, you actually only log 37.5 a week. After taxes, $13 an hour comes out to slightly less than unemployment. In fairness to the company, I did ask what kind of person they were looking for, and pointed out for the job requirements listed, the salary seemed extremely low.

In response, they did say they were looking for someone who is either a high school student or full time college student, and they want someone they can keep an eye on all day, who they expect will need a lot of hands on management. That explains the pay scale, but not the requirements. In any case, I do wish them the best in finding that right person (or persons).

It seems there are a lot of jobs like that on Craigslist — lots of requirements, minimal pay. Meanwhile, I’ll keep checking the job boards every now and then. Maybe that perfect job will pop up soon, I’ll get interviewed, hired, and be able to call myself part of the workforce once again.

Random Thoughts — The Wireless Mobile Web

We’ve been pretty much accustomed to having web access the past number of  years now on laptops, tablet PC’s or home computers thanks to WiFi, and even more so since the introduction of Apple’s iPhone.

Since the iPhone came out, and gave people true web access from anywhere without having to carry multiple devices, letting us view the web the way it was designed (anyone who had a Blackberry device and tried web surfing pre-iPhone knows what I’m talking about), it now seems all the phone makers have followed suit with their smartphones, hoping to be the ultimate iPhone killer.

This post is not so much about the iPhone, or other smartphones, but something I wrote about nearly 8 years ago. While at Stellcom, I was pretty hot about where we’d be in less than 10 years with technology and devices we could carry in our pockets that would let us surf the web, see movie previews as we drove past a theatre, and even buy tickets. This was before the advent of 3G. There wasn’t a 3G network, and we were still pretty much in what was the first generation phone or data network – eg it was very slow for any data transfers.

So, I present to you a white paper I wrote on what I called the wireless video world, though I do talk about how wireless devices would allow us to do so much more. I focused on video because I was really into video production and streaming, knowing someday soon people would be able to watch real time video on handheld wireless devices (FloTV anyone?).

Qualcomm hadn’t even begun to work on it yet, but a small company in San Diego called Packet Video had, though what they offered could be considered at the time something similar to the very early days of Apple’s QuickTIme — 5 frames per second video sent in packets to one’s handheld device. Note that only some phones allowed this as well as some early handheld devices, tethered via WiFi. The Blackberry could not – it was merely a portable email device when it first hit the streets.

So, I give to you the white paper I wrote. Keep in mind this was written about 8 years ago. Though my writing has improved over the years (whose doesn’t?), you should get the gist of what I was getting at at the time. I don’t consider myself any kind of futurist or Svengali of Technology. At the time I was just a senior designer, but I  wanted to take my best guess as where technology should be heading.  I think I came pretty close, but I’ll let you decide.

Although the paper was in it’s second draft (I never got to finish it), I challenge you to look at what I predict in it, and then look at what we have available today, less than 10 years later.

Wireless_Video_World(v2)

Random Thought — Waiting on God

For the last few weeks I’ll admit I’ve been feeling pretty down. After having lost my job back in August due to a layoff, and the company my wife worked for went out of business a little over a year ago, things as they were before my layoff were tight.

Having been involved in web design since the “pioneer days” of the early 90’s, plus having had a background previously in animation, multimedia development, and video production and even some experience in video game production, I thought it would be a very short period from the layoff to a soft landing in a new job. Not to mention I thought I was trusting God completely this time vs. a layoff I had 9 years ago that nearly lasted a year.

Since then, I’ve learned to become more faithful to Him, and trust that He has something great in store for me. When you have your friends, family and own wife speaking this, and that they feel He’s going to open a number of doors for me, then one’s spirit is raised, we bring on a very positive attitude, and feel almost invincible…ahhh. Yes, and there’s the problem.

God doesn’t want us to feel invincible. Why? Because we are not. He is. We aren’t. He wants us to need Him. That’s why He made us. Yes, He wants us to experience joy (note: He doesn’t promise us happiness though). And He wants us to have a servant’s heart, plus the attitude of honoring Him in whatever job He blesses us with.

Yes, I know He’ll bless me with the opportunity of a few doors opening which each one, no matter which I choose,  I can bless Him back with. He wants us to succeed and prosper (Jeremiah 29:11). But being human, we start to worry, esp. when weeks become months. I’m learning that the perfect job for me, that He wants to bless me with so I can bless Him, doesn’t happen in the snap of a finger (though that would be nice).

He has to prepare it, move people around, give them new jobs, relocate them, make sure they’re taken care of too in order to make room for me to come into that new job. Our Pastor (Miles McPherson of the Rock Church in San Diego — awesome Pastor…) is constantly telling us that God has a specific plan and purpose for each of us. I know that, but wish He’d hurry up already. But what can seem like a long time for me is indeed hurrying up for Him.

So,  first off if my last couple posts came across negative, I humbly apologize. I know the market is tough, there are only so many jobs, and recruiters have a very tough time wading through the hundreds if not thousands of resumés coming in their doors. I believe LinkedIn has the possibility of being a good tool, and I hope that as I apply for the jobs I can see myself in, they will look at my profile and recommendations from past employers and colleagues.

But what I want and desire in a job may not be what the Lord wants and desires for me, and I’m okay with that. Because He knows me far better than I could ever hope to know myself. I just ask and desire to serve Him however He wants to use me next.

Hopefully this post will encourage any of you who are finding tough times right now, aren’t getting the jobs you want, or are feeling like you can’t provide the way you want to. I know. I’ve been there, and God blessed me with an awesome job for the past 8 years. But now He needs me somewhere else (and maybe not even here in sunny San Diego…), and I know it’s going to be more awesome than my last job.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Amen to that.

Random Thought — The LinkedIn Thing Again

In my last post I spoke about LinkedIn, how one can get lots of “connections” and how one’s network can grow exponentially from people you’re connected to. In it I asked “How Good is LinkedIn”, and went on to mention that although my list of connections, or first level (or degree) network of 184 people, which “links” me to 2,521,000 people, thus supposedly making my “network” that much bigger.

Since then, I have received a few emails from good friends/past colleagues who said LinkedIn could serve me well, and they did make an effort or recommendation for different jobs to me (none of which I was suited for), but nevertheless, my “network” was doing it’s job. I even followed the advice of one good friend, and still nothing.

As much as I truly appreciate the efforts of some past colleagues who are really great people, I still don’t quite get LinkedIn, and here’s why. Before the intraweb thing, back in the day my dad (and probably most of yours too), networks were done by meeting people at professional gatherings, charity events, or at the local bar (or pub).

People exchanged business cards, good talk, and pretty much had a good example of who the other person was, especially at those fundraisers or charity events where everyone had a drink in one hand and talked business, family, sports, etc.  Then people would decide whether that other person was worth adding to their network, and in most cases kept a long business, and sometimes personal, relationship or friendship with that person and or people. That’s pretty much how things worked back in the day.

So, if someone lost their job back then, they could call their friends, who knew them well, then they’d call some of their buddies, and someone would vouch for them, and so on. Next thing you know that someone had a job — unless the economy sucked completely. Like now, though I think things are starting to turn around slowly.

In other words, networks worked. I feel that I must be missing something here in regards to LinkedIn. It says I have a huge network. I post in the updates section, that all of my first degree connections can see (and anyone that sees my profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/gregschumsky)that I’m looking for a job.

Also, there are people in my first degree connections that are recruiters for some companies I’d really like to work for, who happen to be hiring, which I believe I mentioned in my last post. When I email them or attempt to contact them through LinkedIn, shouldn’t they make some sort of effort to get back to me within a reasonable amount of time, since I passed the secret handshake test?

So, again, I ask those of you who think Linkedin is all that, or maybe I’m expecting too much, then show me what I’m doing wrong.  Meanwhile I’ll keep adding connections, because there’s really nothing better to do for now, and maybe one may hold the key to my new job.

Random Thought — How Good is LinkedIn?

Earlier in another post,  I mentioned I’ve been on the job hunt the last 3 months or so due to a big layoff at work. Never saw it coming, but to be honest, I was job hunting before that, after having been doing the same thing for 8 years. But I was happy at my job, loved my co-workers, my bosses were always good to work for, and it was a nice environment, though I was ready for something more challenging in my professional career.

So, I’ve been a part of LinkedIn now for the last 3 years — maybe longer. I really don’t know. Not a fan of FaceBook or mySpace since they’re really not “professional” social networking sites. But here’s the thing — I have now 176 connections on LinkedIn. That gives me a network of 2,479,200+ other professionals. WOW.

Yet, not any one of my 176 connections, i.e. people who have either asked me to join their network, or have joined mine on my request have had ANY effect on my job search. Not even people in my connections who work for companies I’ve applied to and I’ve sent “inMail”‘s to (LinkedIn’s email system…), have replied back. Hmmm, and I know I shower each morning so it can’t be me…or can it?

I’ve been working for a very long time, over half of my lifespan so far on this planet. I have a very diverse background in business, creative, management, customer service, teamwork and so on. I know how to get a job done on time and budget. I don’t screw around. I hit the ground running, and when there’s a hole that needs to be filled, I’ll jump in and fill it.

LinkedIn has what one would consider a cool feature — Recommendations. You can ask past employers, colleagues or clients to give you a recommendation, and that shows up on your LinkedIn profile, so when someone sees your profile either by snooping around, or at your behest,  they can kind of gauge what kind of person or employee you are.

So, I really want to know what the purpose of LinkedIn really is. So far I’m gathering it’s not for any of us looking for a new job. That would be too easy. Is it just another Facebook pretending to be a professional networking site, which by the way, I’ve heard a lot of success stories of people getting new jobs through the latter…

How many people in my network are willing to help me find a new job, or those who are hiring (or are part of the hiring team) actually care, esp. those in my network I’ve reached out to? So far my guess is zero. To be honest, if it were the other way around, I would be willing to take a look at someone’s work and resumé, and if they were a possible fit or not I’d at least let them know- not ignore them.

So to me, so far LinkedIn is no more helpful than sending tons of resume’s out via email or company websites. I’m just as anonymous it seems either way. I really don’t want to think this is true. Until someone in my network helps me in my job search or at least responds back to jobs I’ve applied to at their companies, then I dare anyone to prove me wrong.  And you all know who you are.

 

 

Random Thought — Why do employers take so long to hire?

I’ve been out of work for about 3 and a half months, give or take. Statistically, that’s not so bad considering it can be up to a year for a lot of people in today’s economy to find a new job, not that they’re not looking. For the last 3 months or so, I’ve been scouring job boards, company sites, Craigslist for full-time and freelance gigs, and have sent approximately 350 resume’s and cover letters to potential employers. I think my resumé is pretty good, and I have customized versions for the different jobs I’ve been applying for, making sure key words are there for the job, and cover letters are each tailored to the job I’m interested in.

Yes, I realize there’s a TON of competition out there these days, esp. on places like Craigslist. I have had some recent luck to a point by at least getting more calls from headhunters who find my resumé on my website (http://www.gregschumsky.com) or LinkedIn (I still wonder if LinkedIn is a HUGE waste of time or if it really works for the whole networking thing…haven’t had any luck from any of my 139 or so 1st degree connections). So we’ll see what happens next.

But the subject here is about how it seems employers are taking their own sweet time to get back to people who have applied for those coveted jobs. Example: The fiancée of a friend of ours had applied for a position at UCSD back in FEBRUARY of this year (2009). He hadn’t heard anything for a few months — not a “thanks for applying, but…” or a “We’d like to interview”. Then he finally got an interview with them. Months passed before he was finally offered the job earlier this month. WHAT???

So, I wonder why employers take so long. Is it because they are swamped with resumé’s? Maybe. Do they actually think the top candidates they really want are still available months later and haven’t found another job? I mean, really, do they actually think that?

I’ll give you another example. My last employer kind of did the same thing, only didn’t wait months before they hired someone. In actuality, they moved pretty quickly, or I’d say within reason. Unfortunately, they even lost out on getting the best man or woman for the job, because their window of opportunity passed right in front of them and that candidate got an offer from someone else.

Each time that happened my bosses were pretty disappointed — either that the person of interest took another job because they needed it and didn’t (or couldn’t) wait around for us to make a decision, or in the process and how slowly it took their bosses to get the paperwork through in order to make an offer.

There were some really great jobs I applied for months ago I haven’t heard hide nor hair from since. Not a “sorry we’re not interested” (even though my resumé and background matched their requirements and then some), or “we’re reviewing”.

In any case, I feel that any employer should be more professional, courteous, timely and communicative when looking for someone to fill that next open position. It’s only fair to both the employer and candidates.

And that’s my current random thought.

 

Music to Design By — Muse

Yes, two posts in the same day- amazing. Back when I was studying architecture (yes, I studied architecture in college thank you very much), we used to listen to a very soothing music program that played at night on the local PBS station called Hearts of Space. Those of you who have listened to it know that it does help set one’s mind in the design mood.

However, being a fan of mid-century modern, and thus the styles of the time whether that be architecture, graphic design, advertising, clothing — nice suits, polo shirts with slacks; pretty much what we wear now in the office except on casual Friday’s; and even the music, I do have a favorite band I’ve been listening to lately. If you haven’t heard of Muse, then I suggest you listen to at least one of their songs — I recommend “Super Massive Black Hole” as a starter.

Though modern for today, there is a lot going on in their sound that is reminiscent of the early 70’s bands. They kind of remind me of groups like Sweet,though other people say they kind of sound more like Radiohead (mid-80’s band). In either case, their music is pretty cool, so if you get the chance I’d recommend checking them out on iTunes. Though they’re not 60’s sounding, they do make me think of cool mid-century modern (and up to mid-70’s design) like sputnik lights, fiberglass chairs, ball or egg chairs, and so on.

God is the Greatest Designer — Ever…

God is a great designer
God is a great designer

Being that this is a blog about design, I thought it only fair to give credit to one of the greatest designers in all the universe – God the Almighty. For years people have been talking about intelligent design vs. random design. I think the photo above pretty much sums up the fact that there is indeed intelligent design, and that no matter how good an artist or designer is, they could never come up with the beauty God designs and delights us with each day. We are blessed to live where we do in order to get such great displays of color at the end of each day, and from our front porch no less.

Think about it, most designers do everything they can to mimic nature — designers try to mimic the smooth flowing lines of insects (the VW Bug is the perfect example), fish, water mammals, etc. Nature in all it’s splendor is perfect design, and we as designers will always try to mimic it one way or another. All the stuff I’ve discussed in past posts all has something to do with the perfection of nature, and the way God designed us.  There’s a reason the number 3 is prevalent in everything we design, why color theory exists, and why clean and simple works in almost all perfect designs.

So, here’s to our Almighty Father in Heaven. May we always be inspired by his perfect designs.