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theodinspire

Switching so many gears

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I've hit some pretty decent life milestones in the past year: I became a father and I finished my Master's in Computer Science. I've been able to get through with the wonderful support of my wife and my therapist and probably a lot of people who had to deal with me at some point.

 

However, spending the last two quarters at school and having an infant has definitely been at the cost of me keeping up with my physical needs: I'd run sporadically, and never very often; I'd stay up late while working on an assignment on top of whatever sleep deprivation I'd been getting with the wee bairn sleeping in the same room. I have seen this toll in the form of irritability and migraines in the past couple weeks. (I've otherwise been lucky in that I haven't noticed any noticeable shifts in body shape or composition.) But for my sake, and the sake of my family, I really need to get back in the saddle.

 

Also, so much also, now that I'm done with learning about computers, I really want to turn my attention towards my test for the rank of Scholar, which has three parts: a skills test (probably in sword, dagger and wrestling), a written exam (images are invoked of a small, dark, damp room illuminated of by a bare lightbulb swinging from the ceiling), and a prize play (three three-minute bouts against three scholars in which I must "hold my own"). And the prospect that this might three months away(!) is now really pressing on me.

 

giphy.gif

 

Also, now that I have student loans looming in the distance (six months of deferral), I need to find a position as a software engineer. I've had bad experience looking for work before and entering a quasi-new industry is spinning my head in circles. On one hand, I've managed to get three phone screens, but on the other, in order to keep up with expenses, my target salary might be too much? What the frell. (If you're in Chicago or Auckland and have positions hit me up.) But I can't really afford a gym membership or more sword equipment  until I get a new job, so really this needs to be top priority.

 

So, I know these are ~supposed~ to have the form of three diet/fitness related goals and one life goal, I might have to flip it a bit?

 

giphy.gif

 

Run three times a week.
I got to the end of the Zombies Run! 5k training before winter and fatherhood struck last year, and have made some progress in the first season of the main plot and I'd like to step it up a bit. I'm no longer at a 5k without walking shape, but I could prossibly get there soon? By the end of the challenge?

  • S: Get to a continuous run 5k by end of challenge
  • A: 3 per week
  • B: 2 per week
  • C: 1 per week
  • F: Don't run

 

Begin studying for the scholar exam.

There's a handout I should read. That might give some form to all this. So, for the first week: read that and reflect to reshape for the rest of the challenge.

  • Initial Step: Chart out skills to work on from character sheet.

 

Apply to jorbs
I've set a soft goal of two applications a week, with the failure condition being that I can't go to the two classes at my scuola on Saturdays if I do not meet it. But I should apply to more. Especially since I haven't heard anything from anyone last week.

  • S: 5 per week
  • A: 4 per week
  • B: 3 per week
  • C: 2 per week
  • D: 1 per week
  • F: None
  • BONUS: Land a great paying jorb

 

Re-establish minor self care items.

  • Wrist stretches
  • Meditation
  • Better sleep hygiene
  • Maybe pike practice

 

Any feedback would be great so that I might solidify these things.

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Uh oh. Rank up on the horizon. That'll light a fire under you for sure.

 

Anyway, life-based challenges are pretty awesome and I encourage them. I have a feeling that studying for the Scholar Exam will probably fill in a lot of elements of physical practice for you, and you'll have a couple of months to polish up your game once you understand the requirements.

 

Do you have any kind of strength-training planned at all? I'll admit, strength isn't something to die for if you're a combat athlete, but it's useful, and you don't want to be able to just run to the fight without being able to hit hard once you're there. Of course, technique is a big part of that too, so, IDK, maybe not so important. But still. It's a reflexive thing to ask.

 

In the meantime, though, hey! Welcome back. Congrats on becoming a father, and way to level up your life on a professional level as well. Those are totally Big Deals and that's awesome that you're there now. Now you have new challenges to overcome. How wonderful that life is not boring. :D

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21 hours ago, Kishi said:

Do you have any kind of strength-training planned at all? I'll admit, strength isn't something to die for if you're a combat athlete, but it's useful, and you don't want to be able to just run to the fight without being able to hit hard once you're there. Of course, technique is a big part of that too, so, IDK, maybe not so important. But still. It's a reflexive thing to ask.

 

 

I do not have any strength training goals set up, though "Nice Arms" and "Thunder Thighs" are things on my long term goal list. A gym membership is off the table until I find new employment, our condo is a bit small for any meaningful bodyweight routine, and anything else is a bit too awkward to make it habit.

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GAH, I have an on-site interview for next week and augh. I mean, on one hand 'yea' but on the other I was warned away from this company by a recruiter and the salary is probably gonna be a pittance

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4 hours ago, theodinspire said:

GAH, I have an on-site interview for next week and augh. I mean, on one hand 'yea' but on the other I was warned away from this company by a recruiter and the salary is probably gonna be a pittance

 

Do it for the practice, then turn 'em down.

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12 hours ago, sarakingdom said:

 

Do it for the practice, then turn 'em down.

 

What she said. If you're gonna give a bad interview, do it here.

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Also it never hurts to have an extra offer in the pocket if it goes well. "Well I have received an offer from another group, but I'm really excited by the work you're doing and think I'd be able to bring something special to your team" makes people sit up and take notice. And makes them open with a higher offer, if they do offer you the job.

On 7/5/2017 at 11:59 AM, theodinspire said:

I do not have any strength training goals set up, though "Nice Arms" and "Thunder Thighs" are things on my long term goal list. A gym membership is off the table until I find new employment, our condo is a bit small for any meaningful bodyweight routine, and anything else is a bit too awkward to make it habit.

 

Is there any park nearby?  A lot of folks in my region do body-weight training in parks (me included). Gets you outside, to breathe fresh air in a green space as you work out. Course, my city is more green space than city so it might not be as viable if you're somewhere where "park" amounts to "a single fenced-in tree on a 10ft x 20ft lawn" or something. 

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On 7/5/2017 at 8:27 PM, sarakingdom said:

 

Do it for the practice, then turn 'em down.

 

On 7/6/2017 at 9:16 AM, Kishi said:

 

What she said. If you're gonna give a bad interview, do it here.

 

Yep. I think I've mentioned that I kept going to all the interviews I could and botched over 15 before I got hired. Then I kept going and bombing a few more. (I even showed up to one in an Adidas track suit, like an Eastern European gangster; needless to say, I didn't get that one.) It's good practice, and you learn some valuable information about other companies that might be of use in the future. It's like dating all over again.

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Nice, glad things have been working out for you!

 

That said, a warning.

On 7/3/2017 at 6:27 PM, theodinspire said:

 

Apply to jorbs
I've set a soft goal of two applications a week, with the failure condition being that I can't go to the two classes at my scuola on Saturdays if I do not meet it. But I should apply to more. Especially since I haven't heard anything from anyone last week.

  • S: 5 per week
  • A: 4 per week
  • B: 3 per week
  • C: 2 per week
  • D: 1 per week
  • F: None
  • BONUS: Land a great paying jorb

 

 

This sounds like a great goal on paper.  And for a month or so, it's not terrible.  But overtime this is a TERRIBLE way to approach a job hunt.  It puts you in the mindset that you are only successful if you pump out applications, and that is NOT a good way to land a job you're going to want to stick around at.  You're better off approaching a job hunt by establishing a habit/schedule.  Spend the morning looking for jobs.  The afternoon digging into the ones you find interesting (is the company doing stuff you like/is interesting/is going to teach you stuff?, how are the reviews of the company?, is it an easy commute from your house and hobbies?, etc etc).  Then making resumes and what not the evening or the following day.

 

Also, people who say  "Job hunting is a full time job" are full of bullshit.  So ignore them.  Also go read the Ask A Manager blog.  It's really helpful with cover letters and interview tips.

 

Just throwing out advice from my stupidly extended unemployment stint.

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Okay, some updates are due, I guess.

 

I went for a run yesterday, even though it was threatening rain. (Actually, it did drizzle in the middle of it.) I got my 5k to 32 minutes, but that is by distance 1/3 walking after the first 1k. I may be in good shape for getting to a fully run 5k soon. 

 

No jobs applied to yet this week, but have that on-site interview tomorrow and a phone screen Thursday. 

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In a fit of ADHD hyperfocus (to the Finch's chagrin), I applied to four positions tonight. Because I'm seeking entry into the field (more or less), I'm banking on my generalist-ness at the moment, so cover letters are nearly identical with minor alterations to fit the position.

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Looks like a good start! You've got a base to build your running on and you've sent a bunch of resumes out. Hopefully that all turns out!

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Ran Wednesday and Today. I ran without walking the first mile on Wed, and the first two kilometers today, without getting terribly winded. I was also told by Zombies Run! that I did the first two kilometers today in 10 minutes, which makes me feel fast.

 

Did the code test for one of the Tuesday positions on Wednesday. Had my first on-site interview of this hunt on Wednesday. Met with an overly green and eager recruiter on Wednesday and applied to a position through him. Had a phone screen with a friend's company on Thursday. Did the coding challenge with the recruiter's application on Thursday night but though I hadn't passed since I was clueless on one of the questions and I recalled saying that I needed 100% to pass. Let the recruiter know this this morning. Heard back from that company and they want to do a phone screen next week. Got a message from the company I interviewed with on Wednesday with "good news" but not what that news was; she called just before five, when I was on the train (and I don't pick up the phone if I don't know the number because who talks on phones?), so I'll expect to hear back on Monday.

 

Still have not looked at my "character sheet" for what skills I need to practice.

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Sounds like a productive week!

 

On 7/14/2017 at 7:22 PM, theodinspire said:

. Did the coding challenge with the recruiter's application on Thursday night but though I hadn't passed since I was clueless on one of the questions and I recalled saying that I needed 100% to pass. Let the recruiter know this this morning. Heard back from that company and they want to do a phone screen next week.

 

Even if it wasn't 100% sounds like it was enough that they wanted to talk with you next week.

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5 minutes ago, Kishi said:

Woot! Congratulations! So what's the move from here?

 

Well, I haven't heard back from them regarding the extension at this point, so, I suppose tonight I'll draft up my terms/questions and send it to them tomorrow even though we are now past the deadline. 

 

However, I'm getting phone screens out the wazoo atm, so that's encouraging.

 

However, mood-wise, I've been drifting into melancholy. The major factor is that I've been off my buproprion (antidepressant) for a week because I kept leaving the new bottle at the office, and my sleep has been wack as I keep waking at 4 (probably related to the baby, though I don't recall waking up for his cries). I'm taking a mental health day today to deal with this, phone screens and (a previously-scheduled) appointment with my therapist.

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So, here's the Earth

 

I haven't accepted the offer yet, and I've been given an extension on it, though I asked for it Monday, followed up on Tuesday and only heard back today. :/ I'm gonna tell them that I can't take less than the regional average for the title, especially when their benefits package is so lame and I'm doing so well with other firms interviewing.

 

Another company that gave me a FizzBuzz last weekend sent me a real challenge though I'd probably use the word 'ordeal'. They want me to build and host a web app that connects with an API to get weather data, but also supports historic data and charts and cross browser-session history tracking. And I don't know how to do that. Things had been going so well, and now I'm struggling with the Google Maps api so that I can convert an address into lat and long for the api they told me to use. I've already emailed the (external) recruiter asking how much they expect me to finish so that I don't spend more time than is necessary on this. But since I sent that last night, I'm not gonna hear anything until Monday.

 

On the other hand, another company sent me an app making challenge for iOS and I nailed it, I believe. It's being reviewed currently.

 

I may need to dial back the job hunt, as I'm actually having trouble keeping up with the replies. Hoo doggy. 

 

I'm keeping up with my running. I'm running 2.5k kilometers before switching to run/walk.

 

I've got my character sheet. I keep failing too look at it because I'm so busy with so much coding (and some Dream Daddy).

 

However, this is really cool. The CSG had its annual (mostly) cutting party today. Meaning swinging sharp swords at things. I cut about five inches off of a rope that was hanging from the ceiling (the closer to the end of the rope the harder apparently). My first tatami mat cuts didn't go too well: I didn't slice through the mat with my descending cuts, probably because I wasn't following through with them enough, nor bending my knees enough or powering enough from the waist. However, my second mat, well, just see for yourself:

 

I also talked with the instructor: he's got to talk to the rapier instructor, but we'll probably have my Scholar test this autumn. I def gotta study now.

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1 hour ago, theodinspire said:

Put in my response to that job offer this morning. Nervous af

 

Stick to your guns, man. It's a commodities exchange: their money for your time. You know what that's worth; don't let them bilk you on this. Breathe in, breathe out, be peaceful with what happens.

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2 hours ago, Kishi said:

 

Stick to your guns, man. It's a commodities exchange: their money for your time. You know what that's worth; don't let them bilk you on this. Breathe in, breathe out, be peaceful with what happens.

^This

 

Especially if you were super low balled and the benefits suck.  Asking for the median/average salary is the least they can do.  I was unemployed with *nothing* in the pipeline, and I had to turn down an offer because the salary was 1) ridiculously below the average pay rate for my skill set and 2) their benefits were average at best, while trying to convince me that they were actually above average.  I turned them down (politely), but explained they were so below market rate it would set me back years.  I Waited.  I ended up getting a job that pays almost double what they offered AND has less responsibilities.

 

So, uh, yea.  If you can hold out, do it.

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9 minutes ago, Kishi said:

So! How'd it all turn out?

 

giphy.gif

 

Well, the one offer came back with a bit more money, but not quite enough to have some comfort after all the bills; so I turned it down.

 

I did not apply to anything last week because during the previous week I was overwhelmed by the amount of phone calls and whatnot I was getting, and so I spent that time working on the project I'm volunteering for. I managed to get that bit done; submitted a pull request which was accepted! So I'm now putting that on my résumé as professional experience. The calls have tapered off and most outstanding prospects have withered, so I'm getting back on the horse this week. But I did not go to sword class as I still had things to do (see below), so I've inadvertently kept my promise to myself regarding jobs and class.

 

I got feedback on that iOS app and I scored too low to continue, but after requesting the feedback notes, they readily sent them to me so that I can learn from it. Of the three things I saw as demerits, one I was (and kinda still am) clueless about, the second I didn't consider but now see that it makes clear sense to do and the third I would chalk up to style preferences (marked down for forcibly unwrapping optionals when I would not do so unless I had already checked that the value would not be `nil`. 

 

I had thrown in the towel on the web app application because I could not complete it. But they pushed back with 'do what you can this weekend'. I took ten hours on Saturday, and built the app with minimal functionality (i.e. only one third of that which they requested) and awful styling. I knew there were some problems with it when I submitted it—I left my Google API key exposed—but when I submitted what I had, I laid out the faults I saw, how I would fix them and what I would do next were I to continue the task. (I did not work on it on Sunday as we already had plans to go to Ren Faire, and I had/have some serious knitting to do for a church(?)* group.

 

I've also spent a significant portion of my down time at the office taking Lynda courses to build up some more applicable job skills. I've noticed a lot of positions that are available are oft full stack, and as such I've been working on building up my front end skills which I've left neglected. I'd eschewed web stuff since my laziness got the better of me as webmaster for an organization in undergrad, but having had to do some of it over the past couple of months for my own projects or for examples for companies, I'm going back and relearning what I can.

 

I have been keeping up with the running, though the Friday afternoon run has continued being the Saturday morning run. I managed to run three whole kilometers on Saturday before doing the alternating walk/run for another three. Yesterday, I felt pretty winded after the first kilometer, and my knee was feeling a little funny that I switched to a run one kilometer walk two hundred meters pattern.

 

Have had no time to study for my test.

 

*Church is a strong word? I'm a materialist-atheist-humanist as far as my beliefs go (materialism being the philosophy that everything including the human soul is a result of the interactions of its matter and the forces of the universe), but we as a family have been going to the local Quaker meeting. My wife has Friends in her ancestry and, given their habit of being on the right side of history (e.g. abolition) and the interesting times we live in now, it'd be nice to have a community to help bolster my desire to do justly. They're universalist enough to abide my beliefs and since there's no talking during meeting, there's no dogma to upset me.

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