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[P]
Displaced-Geek-HOWTO ?

By Signal 11 in Culture
Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 10:33:07 AM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

This sunday I start work after four months of unemployment. I finally gave up trying to find a job in my field, and will be doing overnight stock at a K-Mart in the area (for you non-USians, K-Mart is a superstore chain in the US). This february, I was making $40k/yr doing web design. Now, I'll be working in the middle of the night putting stuff on shelves.


If this story reads like a diary entry, you're probably right. But it's also a story I've heard from a lot of other displaced geeks. As the economy continues to contract, the tech sector has led the downfall. Most of us who have been let go have been desperately seeking any job that we are qualified for, those of us who still have a job in our field have hunkered down. In short, we're again facing the systemic failures of capitalism that Maynard Keynes tried to thwart, with only limited result - we're in a recession.

As with many people in my position, I tried for a long time to secure employment in a tech job, but there are too few of them, and competition too fierce, to give me much hope - there was one web design job advertised in this week's paper. A couple others surfaced on tech job sites like monster.com and techies.com. It's slim pickings right now, even if you have years experience doing the entry-level work of technical support. I've thrown the sunday paper away and started calling companies directly, following the advice of my mom who claims that "most jobs are never advertised". Unfortunately, 'unadvertised' appears to mean "No" on the phone too right now.

In the interim, I have sought alternatives - I need a job, any job, right now. I'm living with my parents at the moment, with a sizeable debt accumilating. I can't attend college and get a government grant, as that requires registration for the draft - something I am morally opposed to. I've considered fudging my values though, because my situation is just that desperate. In either event, financial aid in the near future isn't a realistic possibility. I've also sought out career counselling for moving into a different career. My personality type makes me well-suited to a variety of - get this - zero demand jobs. People always joked "Signal 11" was a zero, well, by my bank account - they're right. :/

My options are running out, my bank and my parents both hate me, and my fellow techies are dropping like flies. You could say I'm alittle disillusioned at the moment. What options are left? What alternatives are there?

This is a question I ask broadly, not just for myself, but any displaced geek right now, so if you have advice of any sort, please post it. Thank you.

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Displaced-Geek-HOWTO ? | 172 comments (171 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
You need credentials (4.28 / 7) (#1)
by Blarney on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:43:26 PM EST

It seems to me that you didn't get a college degree - am I wrong in assuming this? You have no magic piece of paper declaring you to be able to do something. Who will get hired as a C coder, you or some guy with a math or comp. sci. degree? Probably the one with the degree. If you can't pay for college you need to get some other sort of credential in something. You might want to look into getting a Commercial Drivers License, or apprenticing to be an electrical worker or a plumber - these are credentials also. Or you could continue to work menial degrading dumb jobs, go to community college part-time, and abandon your ideas about not registering for the draft and try to get student loans anyhow. Besides, failure to register IS a crime as well as having other sad effects, so you can always say that you only did it because you were forced to.

It's sad but true that you need credentials - a college degree being a good thing. You won't be living well for the next few years. I hope you aren't supporting a family, because you won't be able to. I know that college may seem like a sorry useless experience, merely signifying that you are upper-class and can afford to blow many years of income - but it is a required experience for anybody who wants to work as a professional as opposed to a disposable laborer. You need to make getting some sort of magic piece of paper the most important thing in your life for the next 4-10 years - college degree, professional certification (no phony computer certs like MCSE either). Good luck.

Also, the debts are an important thing. If you are going deeper into debt each month, you have to figure out why and you have to stop it. It seems to me that living with parents should be cheaper then living anywhere else - if this isn't so, then you have major family problems and I suggest that you explain to your parents that YOU are a major retirement investment of theirs and a college educated, high earning YOU is going to do a hell of a lot better job taking care of them in their feeble old age then an indebted, penniless son, then go find the cheapest place to stay that you can. Builds character!

I hope someday to hear about your adventures in higher education.

morally opposed? (4.00 / 10) (#2)
by Defect on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:43:52 PM EST

You're "morally opposed" to signing up for the draft? Are you aware of the draft situation right now? Or perhaps better put, the lack thereof?

You have become an overnight stockboy and you're worried about morals?

I think your priorities are a little out of order, sir. If you feel college is the answer, then don't be a fool about it. I personally don't think it's the answer, but that's just my opinion.

You've asked these questions before, signal. Maybe you're thinking too much and not doing enough. It's not like you're going to die, just go somewhere and do something.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
Morals and money (4.00 / 3) (#47)
by Signal 11 on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 06:52:10 AM EST

To me, not living up to my values is a sin, although not in the religious sense. I am flexible on many things, but not my values... it's what holds me together. I'm sorry, but as shakespear said - "to this above all, to thine own self be true". I can't place employment above my ideals...


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
What do your values say about ... (4.66 / 3) (#117)
by sonovel on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 09:55:16 PM EST

What do your values say about respecting your parents?

If they say that you are supposed to treat them with respect, do you think you are living up to your values by leaching off of them?

Cry me an effing river.

About 5 Billion people would love to be you and would use your opportinites to better themselves.


You want to go to school? Work nights and go during the day. Display your brilliance with 4.0s and get scholarships after paying some dues.

You don't want to go to school? Quit whining about the difficulty in finding a job without that piece of paper.

Morally opposed to the draft? Then deal gracefully with the cost you pay for your civil disobedience.





[ Parent ]
Web design is easy (3.27 / 11) (#3)
by czth on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:44:12 PM EST

This type of thread has been seen a lot in the past, most particularly on the Other site, but maybe with a new recession, it's time for a new discussion.

First, good for you in deciding to at least do something and not wait around until someone offers you a gold-plated web design job (because, frankly, that'll never happen; the honeymoon is over).

Web designers are just too numerous; there are too many hack schools that teach one-year (or less?) courses that purport to make you a "web designer" and too many employers that can't tell the difference between hacks and hackers, buzzword-wielding yahoos and the truly skilled.

Even apart from that, web design is an easy field to become skilled in. I'd bet that any good programmer either has either already picked up web design skills, or could in about a week. I did, and I've never used them for work. Hackers tend to (according to the Jargon file, anyway) be fairly good at expressing themselves (at least in writing), have a wide range of interests (sources for inspiration), and not afraid to explore, all of which helps. I see the requirements for a web designer as being some graphical skills (Photoshop or the like), artistic ability (even if just recognizing what looks good) coupled with good UI design, and some elementary programming and server knowledge. There's basically nothing to it. Blunt, but true.

So, I advise you pick up more diverse skills; if you like programming, learn C/C++, Perl/PHP if you don't know them already; at least with the K-Mart job you'll be completely free outside of work hours. Or develop one of your hobbies, and try for something completely different; e.g. I personally would give photography a shot. Best of luck.

* I'm using "hacker" as per the Jargon file definition, of course. Yes, for those of you that ask, it is my guide in all matter of life and doctrine (er, not, but it's a fun read).

re: Web design is easy (3.87 / 8) (#18)
by /dev/niall on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 05:26:15 PM EST

Hackers tend to (according to the Jargon file, anyway) be fairly good at expressing themselves ...

Heh. Heh heh. Hehahahahahahaha!

I see the requirements for a web designer as being some graphical skills (Photoshop or the like), artistic ability (even if just recognizing what looks good) coupled with good UI design, and some elementary programming and server knowledge. There's basically nothing to it. Blunt, but true.

I hope, for the sake of users everywhere, you never design a user interface, be it on the web or otherwise. It is a horribly difficult task, further complicated by the fact that you often have to ignore what users tell you and watch what they actually do.

"Web designer" is one of those new job titles that doesn't have an accepted definition. I assume someone calling themselves a "web designer" is someone with a little artistic talent, design skills (photoshop), decent knowledge of HTML, semi-capable in a scripting language or three, and can get apache/IIS up and running. I *do not* assume they can design a usable interface, application frameworks, database schemas, or architect complicated setups. There's nothing much to this, which is why folks with this sort of generic experience are having such a hard time finding work right now.

Designing a user interface is seperate from designing graphics. I've *never* met anyone who excels at both. UI experts tend to be anal pedantic bastards, and creative graphic designers are anything but. ;)

I have no idea where I'm going with this, so I'm going to shut up now. Sig11, my advice to you is to make use of this time to expand your skillset. Knock off the generalizing and get some heavy experience in specific areas. Web design != HTML. Be one with the DOM. Read up on XML/XSLT. Lather up with SOAP. For chrissakes get up to speed with Java. And keep looking. Best of luck!
--
"compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot
[ Parent ]

lol (4.50 / 4) (#29)
by spacejack on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 08:34:57 PM EST

The text on your web page is too small. The "menu" at the top left is useless (it just refreshes the page??). Worse, you can't tell that it's a menu until you click on it because the cursor shows up as a text curor rather than the finger. Furthermore, it's broken because if you don't want to select the only item on the menu ("home"?), you can't get rid of it, by clicking elsewhere or anything.

Personally, I think czth was right on the money. I think people like you make web design hard.

[ Parent ]
lol~! (3.33 / 3) (#31)
by core10k on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 09:52:43 PM EST

I just went to kst.com and you're sooo right... (god, the shit that passes as a web page these days.), and do an excellent job of invalidating his argument.

First time I've ever seen an Ad Homineum attack was right on the money.



[ Parent ]
Bzzzt (1.78 / 14) (#42)
by Spendocrat on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 02:55:32 AM EST

Wrong.

Please play again.

[ Parent ]

Bzzzt (1.00 / 12) (#43)
by Spendocrat on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 02:55:44 AM EST

Wrong.

Please play again.

[ Parent ]

er... (1.00 / 1) (#37)
by /dev/niall on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 12:06:44 AM EST

Page is a work in progress. Besides, I am *not* a web designer. Never claimed to be. Thanks for playing!
--
"compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot
[ Parent ]
oops (4.00 / 2) (#38)
by /dev/niall on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 12:19:25 AM EST

Hit enter at the wrong moment. Like I was saying, I'm not a web designer and kst.com is actually just a testbed for various things at one time or another. I thought I had selected to not have my sig displayed (ie. I didn't realize it was being stamped on every post) If you had hit it several days ago you might have seen this, this, or maybe even this or god knows what else. It's a dumping ground for testing code, nothing more.

Personally, I think czth was right on the money.

I don't. You've said nothing to convince me otherwise.

I think people like you make web design hard.

Eh? You don't even know me. You're judging me as a person based on what happened to be on a crap webserver today? lol.
--
"compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot
[ Parent ]

Draft... (4.55 / 9) (#4)
by delmoi on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:49:32 PM EST

I need a job, any job, right now. I'm living with my parents at the moment, with a sizeable debt accumilating. I can't attend college and get a government grant, as that requires registration for the draft - something I am morally opposed to.

Um living in the United States requires registration for the draft.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
No draft, sorry. (2.66 / 3) (#7)
by mjs on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:59:31 PM EST

Um living in the United States requires registration for the draft.

Actually, it doesn't. You don't have to register when you turn 18, but if you chose not to then you are not eligable for most college financial aide.

[ Parent ]

Actually, you DO (4.33 / 6) (#11)
by maveness on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:11:35 PM EST

Unless you are excluded as described at this site, you must register -- even if you plan to be a conscientious objector. Furthermore, men who do not register can be prosecuted and, if convicted, fined up to $250,000 and/or serve up to five years in prison.

Now, whether this is LIKELY to happen to you or not (prosecution) is another question. But don't kid yourself that what you're doing is legal.

*********
Latest fortune cookie: "The current year will bring you much happiness." As if.
[ Parent ]

Legality (5.00 / 2) (#22)
by ucblockhead on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 06:44:08 PM EST

As you say, it is illegal not to register. However, no one has ever been prosecuted for it since registration started in the early eighties.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
No, you're wrong. (5.00 / 5) (#12)
by Electric Angst on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:11:42 PM EST

Check it out.
--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
yes, officially (5.00 / 1) (#34)
by Delirium on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 11:50:23 PM EST

Technically that's correct, but this has never actually been used in a single prosecution. Apparently the government is unwilling to test the constitutionality of mandatory peacetime draft registration by actually taking someone to court, so the only way it's "enforced" is by refusing government educational subsidies to those who haven't registered.

[ Parent ]
Morally Opposed? (4.40 / 10) (#5)
by Bad Harmony on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:53:03 PM EST

What's this "morally opposed" stuff?

If you are a citizen of the United States, you have rights and responsibilities. Draft registration and possible military service are one of the responsibilities. If you are truly opposed to military service on ethical/religious grounds, you can apply for conscientious objector status.

If you really need a job, you can always enlist in the armed forces :-).

5440' or Fight!

Opposition to draft (3.00 / 3) (#25)
by sasha on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:01:47 PM EST

What's this "morally opposed" stuff?

I'm pretty sure that that's a euphemism for any number of things, including but not limited to opposition to American foreign policy I'm sure.

If you are a citizen of the United States, you have rights and responsibilities.

I don't think this thesis is sufficient as to convince someone like Signal 11 of your righteousness.

I might also point out that the Selective Service System requires permanent and non-permanent residents of the US to register as well as citizens. Supposedly, that's structured so they can be relied upon in case of apocalyptic national emergency, but I'm skeptical.

If you are truly opposed to military service on ethical/religious grounds, you can apply for conscientious objector status.

I'm sure he is, but getting such a status is not as easy as it's made out to be. If you have some deeply-rooted religious rationale for your opposition against war, you might be able to pull it off. However, merely telling them that you're fundamentally opposed to war, not to mention any number of other things pertaining to it, is not sufficient I think.

I'm also not sure about the practical value of conscientious objector status. As I pointed out in another comment, it seems like a token feature of the SSS rather than something that would be respected if the draft was re-instated. Seems like garbage - either military service is mandatory or it's not.

If you really need a job, you can always enlist in the armed forces. :-)

Although one can find many non-combat jobs in the armed forces, including in the technical field, the idea is that you are prepared to serve in war as a soldier of war - an instrument of it. I don't think people who oppose the draft want to subject themselves to that either.


--- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.
[ Parent ]

Just register (4.71 / 7) (#6)
by roystgnr on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 03:57:44 PM EST

If you're not registered, they can't try to draft you. And if they don't try to draft you, you can't make an ass of yourself pointing out that the government has been ignoring the 14th Amendment for nearly a century now.

Of course, I wouldn't expect to win such a case - I seem to remember reading a Supreme Court decision circa WWI claiming that the draft wasn't involuntary servitude, but I don't recall what half-assed justification they used.

Besides, if you're not drafted you make out like a bandit. You're being given the opportunity to take out interest free (until after you get out of school, anyway) loans for years. If you have even a hundred bucks of credit card debt you could pay off it's a wonderful deal.

Justification = Constitution (5.00 / 1) (#20)
by fremen on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 05:49:38 PM EST

Of course, I wouldn't expect to win such a case - I seem to remember reading a Supreme Court decision circa WWI claiming that the draft wasn't involuntary servitude, but I don't recall what half-assed justification they used.

That justification is from the Constitution. Article I, Section 8 says:

Clause 12: [The Congress shall have Power] To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;

Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;



[ Parent ]
Amendments amend the Constitution (none / 0) (#36)
by roystgnr on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 12:05:57 AM EST

Otherwise there'd be little point to the endeavour. If there is a contradiction between the body of the Constitution and one of the amendments, or between one amendment and a later amendment, then the latest supposedly triumphs.

Besides, this isn't much of a contradiction. The federal government is currently doing all of these things without imposing a draft.

[ Parent ]

You mean 13th? (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by DesiredUsername on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 10:03:50 AM EST

Here's the Straight Dope

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Yes, the 13th, of course (none / 0) (#116)
by roystgnr on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 09:55:02 PM EST

Damn, I knew I should have checked before posting.

That's a very interesting link, thank you. I think it's more interesting for what it doesn't say than what it does, though.

"The amendment was meant to prohibit slavery and has never been successfully applied to military service." There's not much I can say to this, since it proceeds from a fundamental axiom I have problems with: the idea that the Constitution (or laws in general) should be interpreted based on authorial "intentions", and not on the actual meaning of their words. I suppose it's a necessary outlook, to prevent words like "speech" from being reduced to the most literal reading possible. But I don't like the necessity. And of course, with the Bill of Rights we have loads of supporting documentation regarding authorial intentions. Were later amendments submitted for ratification with footnotes attached?

But what else does straightdope.com say? The 2nd through 4th paragraphs talk about sections of the constitution that predate and should be superceded by the amendments. The 5th paragraph says that this defense was used with "mixed success" in Vietnam (and contradicts the 1st paragraph), never winning a court case but possibly persuading the government to drop some.

What it does not say is why the 13th Amendment does not apply to the draft. Even the "oh, that isn't really what they meant" reasoning is unreferenced. "Involuntary servitude shall not exist in any place subject to United States jurisdiction" isn't such a broad statement to begin with.

[ Parent ]

If you are morally opposed your countries rules... (4.10 / 10) (#8)
by CaptainZornchugger on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:04:06 PM EST

Than it is appropriate and fair of them to deny you from participating in either their educational system or their economy unless you are willing to abide by their rules, 'moral opposition' be damned.

I'm sure as hell opposed to what our military does. As a result, I may donate to groups that lobby to change it. I will not ignore/refuse to abide by my countries rules. That's not activism, that's childishness; using your beliefs as an excuse not to do things you don't want to do.


Look at that chord structure. There's sadness in that chord structure.
RE: Denial (1.66 / 3) (#69)
by Signal 11 on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 02:19:44 PM EST

Than it is appropriate and fair of them to deny you from participating in either their educational system or their economy unless you are willing to abide by their rules, 'moral opposition' be damned.

And shall this absolutist response apply to any and all rules, even the one that says "no spitting on the sidewalk" ?


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Yes. (5.00 / 3) (#81)
by CaptainZornchugger on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:39:33 PM EST

If there is a fine for spitting on the sidewalk, and you have spit on the sidewalk, and refuse to pay the fine even though you have the money because you are 'morally opposed' to the rule, then you should certainly not expect to be allowed to rejoin society until you are reformed. That's the way the law has worked since Hammurabi, and it's not changing for you.

What you are doing is even worse; it is analogous to perpetually spitting on the sidewalk, and refusing to stop, because you are 'morally opposed' to not spitting on the sidewalk. It's absurd, it is not the least bit conducive to change, and it's childish. However, it's a very conveinent loophole to allow you to blame someone besides yourself for your problems.


Look at that chord structure. There's sadness in that chord structure.
[ Parent ]
and if i'm morally opposed to sitting in the back (none / 0) (#92)
by tralfamadore on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 04:13:13 PM EST

of the bus, what then chumpy? enjoy your blind following of laws, simpleton.

[ Parent ]
I intend to, oh ye with 4D vision(tralfamadore) (4.33 / 3) (#95)
by CaptainZornchugger on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 04:26:35 PM EST

I also shall enjoy my substantial income, and the fact that I shall never be stocking shelves at Kmart. Likewise, I hope siggy, and you whoever you are, enjoy whatever egostistical rush you derive from 'fighting the man'.

I will note that choosing to remain poor so that you may avoid following rules you don't like is substantially different than raging against a system that doesn't so much as give you an opportunity to work within it. To compare refusal to register for the draft to the civil disobedience displayed by Rosa Parks and the like reaches untold heights in self-pitying nonsense.


Look at that chord structure. There's sadness in that chord structure.
[ Parent ]
Hmmm... (none / 0) (#137)
by Signal 11 on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 10:55:35 PM EST

Right. Rosa Parks... tired and irritable after a long day, refuses to stand up... kicks off civil rights movement. This is somehow 'significantly different' from what thousands of other people do daily... except nobody notices.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
She didn't kick off the civil rights movement. (5.00 / 1) (#139)
by la princesa on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 02:19:03 AM EST

For pity's sake, read a history book or two. The civil rights movement had a long and pretty productive history long before ms. parks turned up. That isn't to dismiss the catalytic effects of her behavior, but she certainly wasn't the sole impetus for change in the civil rights movement, just one step of several.

[ Parent ]
Educational System (5.00 / 2) (#80)
by PresJPolk on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:30:36 PM EST

They're not denying him access to the educational system. They're just refusing to give him a handout.

Not defending the registration system here, just clarifying it. Me, I'd get rid of both - the handouts *and* the database.

[ Parent ]
I understand that. (none / 0) (#83)
by CaptainZornchugger on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:41:16 PM EST

My point is that they would be justified in denying him access to the educational system, which makes his whining about not receiving a handout even more absurd.


Look at that chord structure. There's sadness in that chord structure.
[ Parent ]
Not Whining (none / 0) (#88)
by PresJPolk on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:49:21 PM EST

I don't think he was whining. He was just explaining why going into student loan debt up to his eyeballs isn't an option, I think.

The people riding him for his choice are discussing it much more than he did in the article itself.

[ Parent ]
You refuse to learn, you face the consequences. (4.73 / 15) (#9)
by Electric Angst on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:06:32 PM EST

You aren't going to get a college education because you are morally opposed to the draft. That's some fine bullshit right there. If you were actually morally opposed, you would be able to receive consciencious objector status, and still get your government loans. (Even if that didn't work, putting aside issues of societal responsibility, there are always private loans.)

College is remarkably important, not only for the aid it provides you in finding a job, but in the other knowledge you gain, which is critical to becoming a capable, helpful member of our society.

I have a feeling this will just be the first of many rants like this. There were a whole 'lot of guys who decided that they were 31337 enough to skip school and make that mad tech money. If one was really cruel, one could search the old Slashdot archives for the "we don't need college" posts, and create one big, web-enhanced "I told you so."

(Sorry if this comes off too harsh. The first part was more directed at you, the second was more my feelings of vindication after a few years of arguing with the anti-college crowd on the 'net.)


--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The
Yes and no. (2.66 / 3) (#24)
by sasha on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 06:53:50 PM EST

I agree in spirit with you about the necessity of going to university and in general seeking education. Philosophically, I concur with your reasoning - it is sound.

I am not convinced of two things. One that Signal 11, with or without his eloquence, would be able to get himself qualified for conscientious objector status unless he has some really deep theological rationale. It's difficult to present the case that you think war just sucks, and don't want to be part of it. Does this status mean anything actually if a draft is formally reinstated? It seems like it's there as a token option more than something realistic. Either military service is compulsory or it is not.

I am also pretty sure that not registering with the Selective Service System might put your name on a variety of blacklists, which may prevent you from getting private loans as well as government loans.

I honestly don't know; I am not trying to make a contention to your claim. Please feel free to clarify for me any of these issues.


--- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.
[ Parent ]

skipping school (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by alprazolam on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 02:39:19 PM EST

Another possibility that the all knowing 11 hasn't considered is using some of his Kmart money to take classes at a community college or even a state school if there's one around. He probably can't stand to lower himself to the level of "minorities". I wonder if he's going to have to deal with non whites working at Kmart. I bet he finds it frightening.

[ Parent ]
just because (4.00 / 2) (#74)
by Ender Ryan on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 02:57:00 PM EST

Just because YOU have (or are getting) a college degree doesn't mean it is the answer for everyone, or even possible.

Personally, I am in the very unfortunate situation where I have no parents to live with, as they are both dead. I was lucky enough to get a programming job a few years ago and it has worked out well. It pays my bills and I have a couple years experience. Now that I'm making enough money to afford living expenses and school, I will probably continue my education somewhat, depending on whether or not I feel like it, thankfully I have that option. I'm not kidding myself into thinking I'm too "1337" or anything though.

In Siggy's case, however, you are probably correct. He is living with his parents and has no real excuse for not going to school. "Morally opposed to the draft" just sounds like a nonsense excuse to me.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

college (none / 0) (#156)
by gregholmes on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 04:49:29 PM EST

College is remarkably important, not only for the aid it provides you in finding a job, but in the other knowledge you gain, which is critical to becoming a capable, helpful member of our society.

Hmm. I live in a college town - "capable, helpful member of our society" is not automatically what comes to mind when considering the student-infested portions of town ;).

Sorry if this comes off too harsh. The first part was more directed at you, the second was more my feelings of vindication after a few years of arguing with the anti-college crowd on the 'net

Don't feel too vindicated :) Judging by the available data (salary surveys, word of mouth, observation, etc.) I'm not suffering any loss from not having a degree. I certainly have nothing against degrees (still might get one, someday) but I wonder if some of the pro-degree rants come from those trying to justify to themselves the years of time and the student loans. I don't mean that to be harsh either, I just wonder where some of it comes from (I'm not refering just to your comment here).

Of course I can only speak for myself. Maybe interviewers preferred "I joined the military right out of high school" to "um, I just didn't feel like college". So YMMV. It's just that the pro-college rants I'm reading here don't square with my experience.



[ Parent ]
About registering (3.71 / 7) (#10)
by forgotten gentleman on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:08:55 PM EST

Apparently most people are pushing for the "register" path. If you want to justify this morally, imagine that it sometimes takes working within an immoral system to do moral work.

Hardware (3.33 / 3) (#13)
by Kasreyn on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:21:45 PM EST

The entire tech industry is falling off, but in my experience software jobs are taking a far harder hit than hardware jobs (technicians) and tech support (aka Hell Desk). It's definitely a step down (in terms of prestige) from software development, but doing computer repair or running networking lines will at least keep you in the industry and look o.k. on the resume.

So, even if the jobs in your desired field (software dev) aren't available, you may be able to find a hardware job so you don't have to sink down to minimum wage shit-jobs. And I'm not making fun, I've worked jobs like that all too much myself... on the rare occasions I've gotten a computer job it has always been in hardware, the software development jobs are nowhere to be found... not that I'm any sort of Real Programmer. ;-)

Best of luck to you, and anyone else hit hard by this downturn... Just remember, the tech sector may never again reach that peak, so branching out and learning more skills will keep you employed.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
i like the design of your homepage (3.00 / 4) (#14)
by sye on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:25:55 PM EST

i like the design of your personal homepage . i don't think you'll be working at K-Mart for long. Get a linux server. get into Oracle, Java, web application design and development. Pretty soon, you'll get your hands full with interesting work. check out Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing an excellent source to dive deeper into open source web application development with database intensive contents.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
commentary - For a better sye@K5
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in

voted comment 2 (none / 0) (#23)
by snowlion on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 06:52:31 PM EST

Here's why:

ACS isn't going to help out much here. ArsDigita is going down the drain. Here's their current job listing; pretty depressing to see wht's going on there. I was at a lecture Phil G was giving when he went to access his ArsDigita account- and was locked out.

The ACS spirit is long gone.

No glory days 4 j00!


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
If you can setup ArsDigita on your own system... (none / 0) (#52)
by sye on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 09:44:44 AM EST

Hello, Signall 11, I have work for you!

More specifically, if you can set up ArsDigita Community System on your own system, we can negotiate a deal to transfer your knowledge of setting up ACS 4.6 to my site .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
commentary - For a better sye@K5
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in
[ Parent ]

Quibble (none / 0) (#159)
by Thaeus on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 12:23:10 AM EST

In Siggy's CSS he has font-weight set to bold on his various A:hovers, and set to normal elsewhere. That causes parts of the page to re-render when the pointer's above a link, and worse yet, in one case the link itself stretched out too far and moved to another line, keeping me from clicking it at all.

Just a minor quibble.


----
This is a test sig. Wow.
----


[ Parent ]
Ok... (2.70 / 10) (#15)
by Zeram on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:26:16 PM EST

I know I'm going to come off sound like a dick but oh well. Just a few months ago I got a tech sector job. I have NO previous experience and only my A+, MCP (NT4.0 server), and years of experience fixing stuff for friends, and doing consultant work under the table. I'm a consultant, and part of one of only two groups of consultants that my client didn't fire (the web design team being the other). The DBA's got the axe, the Win2K team is out the door, and the deployment slugs are history. I do second level support fixing outlook all day and babysitting webserver on saturdays.

You were out of work for four months? Big deal. I was out of work for six months. six long months that caused the break up of me and my (at the time) live-in girlfriend. six long mothns that saw my unemployment check as the only thing keeping a roof over my head, my girlfriends head, and my mothers head. Six long months... I had no more unemployment available and if I hadn't gotten a job, I would not have had a place to live. So excuse me if I sound a little unsympatetic, but mommy and daddy are a little upset? you have a zero balance? Your only suited to non-stressful (zero demand) jobs?WAH! Get over it, and yourself. Life is sucks, get a helmet.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
Bitter? (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by Signal 11 on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 06:55:49 AM EST

Just because you're bitter about your situation doesn't mean you have to yell at me because mine's not "as bad". This is not a contest. If you have something to offer those in your position (compassion would be a nice start), then please do so - but if you're going to be poisonous, do us all a favor and get lost.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
I am a little bitter (3.33 / 3) (#51)
by Zeram on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 07:55:19 AM EST

but only because you make your situation out to sound so horrible, when in reality you have an easier time of things than most people caught up in the tech sector slow down. I relate my own story as a way of proving that, even if only ancedotally.

Now is just one of those times when you have to suck it up and take one for the team. I had to do it about a year ago in the guise, of removing my facial piercings, and geting my hair cut so I could interview for a real job, that just sort of landed in my lap. I am extremely sympatheic in that. Giving up on long cherished ideals is not fun or easy. But sometimes it has to happen. I except that, I can commiserate, and I can be very supportive. But don't try and pretend that you have it so awfully bad, because in the end there is always, and I do mean always some out there who has it worse.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
RE: facts (none / 0) (#67)
by Signal 11 on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 02:12:25 PM EST

...but only because you make your situation out to sound so horrible, when in reality you have an easier time of things than most people caught up in the tech sector slow down.

I did not misrepresent the situation.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Big difference (4.00 / 1) (#96)
by Zeram on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 04:26:46 PM EST

There is a different between misrepresenting the situation and saying oh poor pitful me. I'm not saying that you are exagerating the nature of the situation, just it's impact on you (by all accounts a subjective matter). Sure things look bleak to you, but you need to deal. You do not have it that bad. If you have to work a K-Mart for a month or two, big deal. It'll hopfully teach you to respect that cushy tech job that you had/that you are searching for. As I said, if you are that opposed to signing up for the draft, I respect that. But there comes a time in just about everyones life when they have to choose between pragmatism and idealism. I once heard a great quote and I wish I could remember where it is from, it went like this: "If your not a rebel by the time your 18 you have no balls, if your not a sell-out by the time your 25 you have no brains."
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
The original quote (none / 0) (#172)
by webwench on Sun Feb 03, 2002 at 11:48:12 AM EST

"If you're not a liberal in your twenties, you have no heart; if you're not a conservative in your thirties, you have no brain."

You can also replace 'liberal' with 'democrat', 'conservative' with 'republican', if you are so inclined.

Personally, I'm not; neither party represents what it should represent -- they represent the same things, under different names.



[ Parent ]

If you want to work in IT, you need a degree (5.00 / 10) (#16)
by mjs on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 04:37:12 PM EST

I have no degree and I've been an IT professional for over 20 years. I started as a programmer trainee, worked my way up to team leader, and then jumped ship to IT management. While true that I expect my current 5-year gig to end fairly soon, I believe that in this geographical area I will be able to find either another management position or possibly go back to programming. Not having a degree has not been -- up to now -- a major problem.

ON THE OTHER HAND, the times they are 'a changin'. If I want to go back to programming I'm going to have to concentrate on those companies still using Cobol or RPG on IBM midrange systems (AS/400, etc.) because that's where my expertise lies. Yeah, I know C and Java et. al. BUT to get those jobs I'm competing with fresh-faced college grads with no family and no life -- and I'll lose every time. Heck, at this point I'd probably lose even if I had a PhD, but that's another story and the kids would never believe it anyway. (Growing old sucks: I ain't there yet but I can hear its call.)

You can find a job programming without getting a degree first -- but business isn't a technocracy and you'll pay the price for not jumping through the same hoops everyone else did. You'll have a tougher time finding jobs and when you do you won't be offered quite as much (in truth, that's often why you'll get the job, because you're cheaper.) You won't get the same career opportunities as your degreed peers and when you hit that 'somewhere over thirty' wall this industry has built you'd darn well better have a backup plan ready to go.

If you want a career in IT then you need a degree. It doesn't actually have to be a CS degree (many technical degrees appear to be equally acceptable: math, astronomy, physics, etc.) but you need something just to compete with everyone else who has one.

Where do you live? This recession shows signs of being somewhat regional: you might have better luck somewhere else. Or you could just hang at K-mart and wait out the worst of it -- but you should still take classes, just to keep the skills in practice. Trust me, walking in to a company with a story about how you kept current via self-study in your bedroom between stock shifts is going to impress absolutely no one. Get the classes, even if they're no credit. And stay out of debt! Debt sucks, debt reduces and then eliminates your alternatives. Pay cash or do without.

Good luck!

That's funny (3.66 / 3) (#68)
by Shajenko on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 02:15:38 PM EST

BUT to get those jobs I'm competing with fresh-faced college grads with no family and no life -- and I'll lose every time.

My experience has told me otherwise. I've got a Master's degree in Computer Science that I received this May. I've been looking for any sort of IT job since several months before that, and I can't even get a call back from any company I've applied with.

It's rare that I even see any openings require anything less than 5 years of experience, and most of them do not list any sort of degree requirement. Most of those that do state that equivalent work experience is accepted.

I'm just hoping this recession will lighten enough so that I can get even an entry-level job with horrible pay and hours, since even that seems like it's out of reach right now.



[ Parent ]
Masters Degree probably your problem. (5.00 / 2) (#109)
by RocketJeff on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:22:27 PM EST

A Masters Degree in CS is great - if you want to get your PhD and be a professor. It sucks if you're trying to find an entry-level job.

Since you have your MS you deserve more money then someone with a BS but companies would rather pay the BS guy less... In addition, there is a perception (true or not) that someone with a masters straight out of college (no work experience) would rather do R&D rather then work at a 'real' (boring) job and you'll be quitting once you find that position.

[ Parent ]

College (4.33 / 3) (#19)
by /dev/niall on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 05:28:50 PM EST

Dunno what it's like where you live, but in Mass. a part-time job at UPS will give you tuition reimbursement, a decent salary, and health care. Gotta work at night though, and it's ball-breaking work if you work in a hub.
--
"compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot
My own biased thoughts on the matter (4.66 / 9) (#21)
by DranoK 420 on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 06:42:37 PM EST

OK, first off, none of this is intended at Signal 11. I'm not sure if I've flamed you before, but, if I have remember that I respect you. Remember that these comments are in no way directed AT you, but merely for the sake of discussion.

I think my old age is making me less hostile.. =( Jeeze, I gotta work on stopping the dislcaimers.

Anyhow -- here's the thing. In March of 1999 I dropped out of college. I hated it anyhow and wanted to go on to the wonderful world of making money. Heh -- yeah right. I got into some serious debt, but was promoted in December of 1999 to a System's Administrator position. Still couldn't pay off my debts, and by February of 2000 I knew I had to leave my cozy home in Montana to make some real money in California.

And here's where the story starts: When I was hired there were 4 other IT people responsible for UNIX/network side issues. As we started to hunker down and the work became harder (not more time spent in the office, just more complicated problems) these other 4 people slowly dropped off and quit.

Ya know? I liked every last one of them. However, 3 of them had degrees, 1 had a cert, and none of them were competant. I mean, they could do little things but could not maintain the entire system. Even the smallest things were big to them and it took them hours to do something that should take minutes. I'm not dissing degrees or anything, just these people.

Basically, my company had no way to know who was competant/not competant and as such they wasted a ton of money people who couldn't do the job.

Today we are three times as large as we were just one year ago, and I am the only UNIX/network admin. I, in essence, perform the job it took 5 people total to do a year and a half ago.

The moral of this story? The problem isn't your education or lack thereof -- the problem is companies have no real way to tell if someone is good or not, so managers resort to degrees since at least that's something.

Luckily, if I ever leave my job I have tons of people to vouch for me and a good reputation. And, a 180% salary incrase over the past 2 years, as well as taking over the duties of 4 other people makes me "worth something"

On the job experience is King -- it's achieving that experience that's a pain.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


The problem (4.10 / 10) (#26)
by sasha on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:08:03 PM EST

The fundamental problem is that you are not eligible for anything except simple technical work (of which there is a shortage atm) unless you have proper credentials, including a university degree. Nobody firm is going to take you seriously, especially in the wake of this 'economic downturn', without some kind of formal education - even if you have lots of practical experience. That is far more true now than before.

The only way out is university, on top of being an excellent intellectual investment that I would've thought someone of your calibre would've pursued anyhow.

It's the "I'm too 31337 for school - I'm going to open dot-com and make millions" people that will drive the IT industry, among other things, into apocalyptic doom.


--- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.

the problem? (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by gregholmes on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:18:24 PM EST

The fundamental problem is that you are not eligible for anything except simple technical work (of which there is a shortage atm) unless you have proper credentials, including a university degree.

Erm, no, the fundamental problem may be that he is "not eligible for anything except simple technical work" period. Has nothing to do with a degree, necessarily, just (perceived) demand for (perceived) skills.

Nobody firm is going to take you seriously, especially in the wake of this 'economic downturn', without some kind of formal education - even if you have lots of practical experience.

Umm ... then how did I land a significantly higher paying job a couple of months ago, still with no degree? Might have involved lots of practical experience, as well as a broad skill set.

I'm not simply trying to be argumentative here (well, OK, that's part of the fun) but it is easy to draw the wrong conclusions from this situation. I'm not sure sinking lots of dough into some theoretical future payoff from a degree is the smartest move, here.

Your location, your ability to explain and present your skill set, the skill set itself, and other factors might be much more practically modified than your educational status.



[ Parent ]
ummm... yeah, right (none / 0) (#79)
by Ender Ryan on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:26:43 PM EST

You should really read the post below(above? depends on sorting order) yours.

You are certainly correct that there are WAY too many "I'm too 1337 for college" types, but not ALL people who have not received a degreee from a university fit into that category.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

Communialize, Work on Projects, Experience Suckage (5.00 / 6) (#27)
by snowlion on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:08:51 PM EST

Here's one for laughs: Remember the shortage of programmers?

I'm in the same boat, Signal 11. My employment is running out. I've applied to zillions of jobs, everything is full. I have a few advantages; I've saved a lot of money in my four years of industry work, and have a girlfriend and daughter. (They sound like disadvantages, but really, they are not. Long story.)

Here's what I believe is important right now:

  • Get a Day Job
  • Continue to Work on Projects
  • Communalize

Get a Day Job- you've already done. I'm in a weird situation where if I work, I make LESS money than my unemployment, and endanger my career status, yadda yadda yadda. (My girlfriend is working right now, I'm a stay at home dad.) Just before my unemployment runs out in March, I'll be looking for a "normal" job, or a low tech support/hardware job. We'll see; I may be taking K-Mart as well. Hey, I worked in a lumber yard field for two years; K-Mart will be much better, believe me.

Continue to work on projects that you enjoy. If you don't, you will die. Mark Twain said that people are happiest when they do something that they are really skilled at, and that observation has proved itself true to me. Also, it will keep your skills sharp as you look for a job. But that's only secondary. (Goes without saying.)

Finally, communalize. I don't mean join a hippy commune, but find someone to live with; It's much cheaper. It can be a roommate, (sort of lame), or a girlfriend (much better). Two can't live cheaply as 1, but they CAN live as cheaply as 1.5. It also helps to have people around.

If you can form a hippy tech commune, all the better. I know of several composed of old college friends, and they have all turned out very well. (3 in particular come to mind, that I have visited frequently, but I know of many more.) The savings are incredible.

Watch your money, count the pennies. Count the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves. ALWAYS SAVE. ALWAYS SAVE. ALWAYS SAVE. A dollar saved is an extra dollar that you have, and a dollar less it costs you to live.

This will be a GREAT focusing time for you. Your time at K-mart can be used wisely. How? By concentrating your attention. Concentrate your attention while on the job, and it will suit you well while you program at night.

Take care, Lion.


--
Map Your Thoughts
tech jobs (5.00 / 5) (#33)
by Delirium on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 11:46:42 PM EST

Here's one for laughs: Remember the shortage of programmers?

There's still a shortage, but not merely of "programmers;" the shortage now is more one of "highly qualified programmers." If you have, for example, 10 years experience in embedded systems programming, you're likely to be in high demand at the moment. Hell, even CS professors are in extremely high demand at the moment. The only thing that really isn't in the computer field is entry-to-middle-level programmers...

[ Parent ]

re: tech jobs (5.00 / 6) (#53)
by RocketJeff on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 09:47:45 AM EST

There's still a shortage, but not merely of "programmers;" the shortage now is more one of "highly qualified programmers."

The problem is that a lot of the "programmers" out there aren't programmers. Someone who uses Frontpage (or Dreamweaver/etc) isn't a programmer - they're a user (unless you consider the people who do simple Excel macros to be programmers too).

'Real' programmers should have a basic understand of the concepts that will make them productive once they learn any language - from VB to C++ to APL. Unfortunately, most of these new 'programmers' only understand how to operate the tools they were trained on.

[ Parent ]

Skills (4.50 / 2) (#63)
by zephiros on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 12:29:28 PM EST

The problem is that a lot of the "programmers" out there aren't programmers. Someone who uses Frontpage (or Dreamweaver/etc) isn't a programmer - they're a user (unless you consider the people who do simple Excel macros to be programmers too).

In the past few months, I've interviewed: a Networking Expert who didn't know how many layers were in the OSI model, a Senior OO Perl Developer who didn't know what the bless keyword did, and a Unix Adminstrator who had never seen chmod used to manipulate sticky bits.

That's not to say everyone looking for work is incompetent, but the chaff/wheat ratio is pretty poor at the moment.
 
Kuro5hin is full of mostly freaks and hostile lunatics - KTB
[ Parent ]

Embedded Programmers (5.00 / 3) (#102)
by tzanger on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 04:58:01 PM EST

If you have, for example, 10 years experience in embedded systems programming, you're likely to be in high demand at the moment.

Okay I haven't got 10 years "in the industry" but I do have 6 at one company doing industrial product development and research and development, and a couple at another before that, with easily 10 years of electronics and programming (C and asm, 8/16/32-bit systems) leading up to those jobs. I make good money now, but I crave more, broader design and less corporate bullshit. I already do contract work for this design contractor but it's still not enough. Since I've got a wife and 3 kids, my time is valuable so I would rather have one all-consuming day job to satisfy my design urges than a day job and six contract jobs. Where do you suggest I look?

Monster.ca (my main search, but the others pale in comparison) doesn't offer too much (they seem to find the "wanted: web developer with 10 years experience" jobs and the "PHD with M.Everything and 90 years' experience needed for breaking research work" jobs. I want work designing hardware and software (hell the entire goddamned system, packaging, everything) in some blend of power electronics and the communications field. (did I mention I also have 5 years of current WAN [TCP/IP over xDSL, 802.11b, DS1/DS3 and "voice" (dialup)] design, deployment and maintenance experience?) I can't seem to find something to satisfy my itch. Maybe I'm too picky though, and such a thing doesn't exist. Contracting has crossed my mind several times but I need to have a good savings base before I put my family's well-being on the line. It's all too easy to have dry months in the contracting world.

Embedded is where all the fun is. I enjoy bringing something home to my 5 year old son and showing him "See this? This is what I built. He doesn't care that he doesn't know what it is or how it works; he likes the physical "realness" of the thing and that I made it to make his world better. Software-only holds no value to me. Hardware-only is closer, but the successful blend of the two, combined with a package what makes it all work and the user say "I want it" is what I want to do. Don't bother locking me up in a design lab, either. I first need to be out with the sales force, in the face of customers in order to hear what they want, cut through the marketing bullshit and be in the spec design process. Then lock me away and create magic. :-)

Any ideas?



[ Parent ]
Call me if you find that! (none / 0) (#162)
by JonesBoy on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 10:33:41 AM EST

Hey, if they are two positions, give me a call too! It seems like all of the good embedded programming/hw design jobs went to asia. American educations and low salaries.... how can anyone blame them....

Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
unpaid development (4.66 / 3) (#28)
by Arkady on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 07:46:57 PM EST

As several folks have pointed out below, one good thing to do while you're unemployed is to keep working. As long as you have no job, you probably have way more time than money, but at least you've probably already _got_ the tools of your trade, right?

A few months ago, some other un(and under)-employed folks who hang out at the same bar I do on Tuesdays were talking about this, and we decided to start a software development company, the idea being that we may as well work for ourselves, as long as we're not getting paid anyway.

I;m planning on submitting the article about this when we have scheduled our first Real World meeting, to invite any other underemployed programmers to get involved as well, but you sound so down about it I figured I'd mention it here to demonstrate that there are alternatives.

The project's site is at 5Sight.net, and we'd be happy to have your help. ;-)

I know we don't see eye-to-eye on everything, Siggy, but I do think we agree on the old Marxist assertion that the workers should control the means of production. Well, as programmers, as long as we have home computers and Net connections, we control the means of our production.

-robin

(By the way, the worker-owned ISP I work for has voted to give at-cost DSL connections to active members of the new development group ... ;-)


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.


RE: Development (3.66 / 3) (#46)
by Signal 11 on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 06:50:07 AM EST

First, thank you robin for writing about your project, I'll look into it. I don't know if you remember, but I spoke to you on IRC a long time ago about what it would take to get into journalism. I know we've had our differences, but I still respect you both professionally and personally. I kept the log of our conversation, and once I can get my immediate financial crisis under control, I was going to pick up a copy of Elements of Style and another book you recommended (Sorry, at a friend's house now) and peruse it. The slashdot 'problem' was a long time ago... I'd hope people won't continue to judge me for it so long after the event. I just don't take it (online forums) seriously anymore, beyond culling new and interesting ideas.

Now, about your post - I agree that we should control the means of production. However, today's system of bureauacracy and whatnot makes the facts somewhat more sobering. For that kind of ideal to take hold in this country would require either a depression (not recession), or some other impedus to get a grass roots movement going in this country again. That's just my $0.02. Secondly, I have been fighting with my depression and disillusionment of the system, which has made any kind of progress in my personal life difficult. When you have been unemployed as long as I have, a variety of psychological problems develop which are not easily cured - not the least being emotional stress and financial difficulty. My girlfriend and I are (somewhat) strained in our relationship now due to the financial situation that us, and most of our friends, are in right now - it is very draining.

Honestly, I wish I could spend more time on it... but I think it's time for a career switch, I'm just not happy with computers in general anymore - not as a hobby or career. The recession and unemployment for me has dramatically shifted my values around, and perhaps for the better in the long run.

Sorry to bore you with personal details; your advice is well taken. Thanks.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Losing the faith.... (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by warpeightbot on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:03:15 PM EST

Honestly, I wish I could spend more time on it... but I think it's time for a career switch, I'm just not happy with computers in general anymore - not as a hobby or career. The recession and unemployment for me has dramatically shifted my values around, and perhaps for the better in the long run.
I almost did that myself; I was >< that far from going down and getting a job driving a tour bus... fortunately I got a phone call after 5 on the friday before the week I had committed that I was going to hang it up and go drive buses, and I snagged something. Doesn't pay a lot, but I'm loving it... and *somebody* is buying a buttload of Linux boxen, because we're building them and shipping them.... mostly onesies and twosies, but the volume adds up....

Hang in there, Siggy.... you just never know. Do what you have to do to keep a roof over your head... but try to keep your chops up on the box, because I think eventually it will pay off.

Sign me,
Been there, done that.

[ Parent ]

I'm just curious here. (4.00 / 4) (#84)
by Faulty Dreamer on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:44:03 PM EST

If you are "losing the faith", and don't enjoy computers as work or as a hobby, then what, exactly, is the point of this entire article? I thought you were bitching because you couldn't find a tech sector job. Now you're bitching because you don't want a tech sector job. Um, which is it?

Either way I have to say your reasoning sounds very convoluted. You say you can't do this and can't do that as if society has somehow thrown up special "SIGNAL 11 SHANT PASS HERE" roadblocks in front of you. But, honestly, it just sounds like you don't WANT to do any of the things you could do to help yourself out.

I know, I probably sound harsh, but as I said elsewhere, life is giving you a wake up call. Are you going to be smart enough to answer the phone?

--------
Faulty Dreams - Barking at the moon 24/7...

If you think I'm an asshole, it's only because you haven't realized what a fucking idiot I am. - Faulty Dreamer
[ Parent ]

hey Siggy (5.00 / 2) (#86)
by Ender Ryan on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:44:29 PM EST

I understand exactly how you feel. I normally try to avoid posting any kind of personaly information on places like this, but I have dealt with pretty severe depression for a long time as well. It can really do some fucked up things to your values and ambitions.

But, as far as thinking you need a career switch, you may be really jumping the gun. Yes, yes, this has been bothering you for a long time now, but it's really probably all in your head. What you really probably need is to just jump into working on a project of your own, or someone else's. Or simply just jump into learning something related, but new, such as game programming or maybe programming peer-to-peer clients or something, whatever you think would be fun. Of course, right now you are probably thinking that none of this type of stuff is fun and cool anymore, so in that case just jump into something you used to think would be really fun and cool.

This will help you in multiple ways.
1. it will help pull you out of your depression
2. it will get you back into what you really like to do, but have just forgotten
3. it will build your confidence, even if it's really slow going you will feel much better about actually doing something
4. your newly found confidence will help you find work again

Also, you really need to make a point of not letting your financial situation interfere with your relationships, as that simply makes things worse.

Good luck Siggy, I honestly wish you well in pulling yourself out of this rut you are in.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

very interesting! (5.00 / 3) (#89)
by Ender Ryan on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:54:06 PM EST

I like the idea of your development company, I would consider trying to get involved if I was not involved with a similar project already.

I am not releasing any details of the project I am working on at this time, and probably won't till we get something ready, but we are going a very similar route.

Something about eliminating the baggage of any "business persons" in a company is just rather... Well, there's no words I can think of as to how that makes me feel.

Luckily for me, my boss in my day job, while still being a businessman to an extent, also plays a very integral part in creating the product our company develops. I actually enjoy working for him, most of the time.. ; ) I always feel terribly bad for people who work for corporate masters who suck all the fun out of everything they do.

Here's to developers working for themselves!

Cheers!


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

shake out (2.73 / 15) (#30)
by tarsand on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 09:51:22 PM EST

It's nice to see that all the barely-qualified, over-paid monkies are being taken out of the system, it's much more pleasant trying to get serious tech-related work done without the peons thinking they know more than you.


"Oh, no, I agree with tarsand!" -- trhurler
Arrogance. (2.75 / 8) (#49)
by Signal 11 on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 07:03:29 AM EST

Just wait until you lose your job, buddy. I will have no sympathy for you at all. Just because people aren't as "good" as you, or are "barely-qualified, over-paid monkies" doesn't mean they can be shit on. A lot of them, like me, do it because they are (or were) passionate about it. Not many of us are here to engage in the intellectual equivalent of dick measuring, and it's just plain arrogant to step on their dreams like that. Try to have some friggin' compassion - we're all human beings. I think we deserve not being dragged through the mud because we don't have the credentials - yet. Why not try to help people not as fortunate as yourself? Have you given them your old manuals to peruse, or sat down with the new guy to show him how something is done, instead of leaving him to the wolves? How about covering part of someone's so they could take evening classes? Try talking to some of those random "peons"... you might find yourself liking some of them. It feels good to help people - and it feels good when someone takes time to notice you. People notice little things like that, and it's a good way to start a friendship. Arrogance doesn't make you feel good in the long run, all it does is make you lonely and isolated.




--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Arrogance != wrong. (3.60 / 5) (#61)
by ghjm on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 11:18:37 AM EST

While I agree that you should always treat people with respect and compassion, there really has been a problem recently with people being hired into jobs way beyond their competences. It can be extremely frustrating to be capable of performing all the work that's demanded of you, yet unable to proceed with most of your projects because before you can go do them you have to overcome the objections of people who clearly don't have a clue what you (or they) are talking about.

If the current market correction succeeds in shaking out the woefully unqualified--or at least teaching them how to listen a bit better--then it will be an overall good thing for everyone, including them. All learning processes are painful.

-Graham

[ Parent ]
Hrm. (2.66 / 3) (#72)
by Electric Angst on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 02:31:39 PM EST

Try to have some friggin' compassion - we're all human beings. I think we deserve not being dragged through the mud because we don't have the credentials - yet. Why not try to help people not as fortunate as yourself?

Why don't you Try to get over yourself and your bullshit cowardice about the draft. (If you were honest about your convictions, you really wouldn't be afraid about not qualifying for consciencious objector.) Thus getting yourself into college, thus getting yourself educated, and thusly removing this convenient excuse you have for why you aren't being seen as qualified for the jobs you're applying for.


--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
bloorg (none / 0) (#115)
by tarsand on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 09:54:23 PM EST

I like many of people that don't have my credentials and take great pleasure in helping them along -- that I have no problem with. I'm talking about those who got into it just for money, do as little as possible and give me shit when I shoot down their ideas after consiteration, instead of asking why, and how it could be improved. I didn't mean you were one of these people specifically, you might be, might not be -- I have no way to tell. My comment was just a general. I know some of the good guys get tossed along with the rest.


"Oh, no, I agree with tarsand!" -- trhurler
[ Parent ]
I have lost my job (none / 0) (#166)
by /dev/trash on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 09:07:27 PM EST

It sucks. It sucks bad. People ask the same question. So are ya gonna look or just collect unemployment. Well ummmmm, I have been looking. I've tapped all my contacts. I tell everyone I know that I'm looking. I search the papers. I search the web. I get nice little form letters saying that my skills don't match their needs. I had a resume professionally done. It hasn't helped. Same professional hints at cold calling companies. I am sure that would make him feel like he's helping but in such a small place in Pennsylvania, I can't see this working. Besides, and I know I'll hear "ya never know", I can't create a job.

Am I worried? Hell yeah. Am I hurting? Not right now. I'm single and live at home ( I was a week away from buying a house before layoff) and I have two major bills. Student loan ( which is paid ahead at last count 6 months, I'm a frugal bastard too) and now my COBRA health insurance. I get almost the same Unemployment Comp as I did working because while working I had 16% taken out for my 401(k). ( Again flame me for living at home, I have a break [rare in real life] and I am using it, believe me, when I'm 80 years old and I have an RN and not a nurse's aid helping me pee I'll not care that I lived at home a lil longer than most).
But I am scared. I worry that I'll not get a comparable paying job. The temp agency is looking like a plan right now. Reese Brother's only if I am in dire need.

Wanna see my resume? If I have enough requests, I'll post it.

I'm also taking the down time to learn new things. Got two Java books yesterday ( thank you accrued vacation pay) and have embarked on that. I have the Camel which I reference from time to time. The biggest thing I have to tackle is my self-doubt, was I laid off cuz I suck at coding, because I was not motivated enough. Why am I not even getting an interview, is it the economy or is it because I was not a very good student, or because I truly don't have the right skill set ( ergo the Java books).

It sucks. But life goes on.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]

Parents wanting to know if her missing son is dead (4.00 / 1) (#167)
by Holloway on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 11:13:06 PM EST

The biggest thing I have to tackle is my self-doubt, was I laid off cuz I suck at coding, because I was not motivated enough.
Have you asked?

Being in limbo ain't no fun. Most of my ex's were kind enough to explain exactly why I was dog awful, and I'm glad they did.


== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

[ Parent ]

Well a hearty FU to you too! (1.00 / 1) (#147)
by Cheerio Boy on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 10:40:02 PM EST


As a ten-year IT vet I can only say that you are a compelete ASS!

Yes, I'm aware I'm most likely feeding a Troll here but I will not let this type of statement pass without a reply.

While I can see this from your point of view and while I do not know the exact skills of Signal 11 I do know that what you just said was a complete insult to _anyone_ in the tech business that is currently out of work.

Sorry! Not gonna let you get away with that attitude!

A person's skills regardless - they do not need YOU insulting them while they're trying to get a job. I personally have been out of work for 7 months with exactly ONE interview. ONE...INTERVIEW!

You want to call those of us currently out of work losers or something equivalent - go right ahead. Just be able to explain your stance to my 4 year old who isn't getting enough to eat or my wife who cries herself to sleep at night working too many hours for too little money to pay the bills.

I personally find you disgusting. The only thing that keeps me from hoping you become out of work like me is the fact that you too might have people that depend on you and, truthfully, I don't want anyone to be where me and my family are right now.



[ Parent ]
cry me a river (none / 0) (#150)
by tarsand on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:31:30 AM EST

It's too bad you're out of work but hey, welcome to the reality for most of the world's population, who at best have to worry about having enough food.

I will never be out of work, it's very simple - I'm not overspecialised, and I've got skills in many areas be it programming, computer hardware, mechanics, chemical engineering, carpentry, electronics... and I'm not afraid of getting dirty if need be. People like me too, that tends to help. If everything failed tomorrow, if industry disappeared, I'd still have a way of making a living.

I know what it's like however, there were periods of time while I was growing up where we subsisted on things we grew in the garden, since I grew up in quite a poor area. Though, the very fact I had to endure such a small hardship such as that was what made me realise you have to be very broad-based in your skills.



"Oh, no, I agree with tarsand!" -- trhurler
[ Parent ]
I understand but it's still insulting... (none / 0) (#157)
by Cheerio Boy on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 06:11:18 PM EST

It's too bad you're out of work but hey, welcome to the reality for most of the world's population, who at best have to worry about having enough food.

Point taken but that doesn't give you an excuse to be rude about it. While I can not claim total poverty while growing up I can say that there were far too many times in my lifetime that my sister and I did not have anything to eat or where my mother or father didn't eat so we could. Along the way I had to deal with people that showed the attitude you seem to profess - "Well, if they'd get a better job or work harder they'd have enough food." "Quit whining and get a job." "What? You think we have to play fair with you just because you work here?" They never helped the situation and still don't now. Being in a good position is never an excuse to insult others. Never.

I will never be out of work, it's very simple - I'm not overspecialised, and I've got skills in many areas be it programming, computer hardware, mechanics, chemical engineering, carpentry, electronics... and I'm not afraid of getting dirty if need be. People like me too, that tends to help. If everything failed tomorrow, if industry disappeared, I'd still have a way of making a living.

Well congratulations - you've made yourself a successful survivor. Some people out there though never were able to take the chance to become anything other than they are. "You really want to do computers like your old man huh?"*wink* I personally would have been much happier doing one of the old-world craft jobs like woodworking, which I'm quite skilled at for a novice, or bookmaking, or even music. My parents couldn't afford to give me those opportunities so I did the only thing I was good at that they could afford - I went into computers. I followed my dad to work on several occasions - I even learned BASIC on an IBM green-screen portable complete with tape drive. Thus I followed a long trek into the computer field. This is the first time I've been out of work since and many people are the same way despite their level and diversity of skills.

I know what it's like however, there were periods of time while I was growing up where we subsisted on things we grew in the garden, since I grew up in quite a poor area. Though, the very fact I had to endure such a small hardship such as that was what made me realise you have to be very broad-based in your skills.

As I said I can't claim total poverty but it was hard growing up without some of the basics at times.

The point I'm trying to make here is that while you have managed to plan for this situation others did/could not and are now stuck. On top of all that many also have problems that were there but they didn't see because they were too busy working. These people, myself included, have enough on their backs without having to listen to how "clueless" they are from a technical standpoint.


Cheerio Boy


[ Parent ]
well... read on (none / 0) (#158)
by tarsand on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:04:16 PM EST

Fair enough. I'm not saying "work harder" or trying to imply anyone's lazy, I'm saying "work smarter". I know the circumstances where even the most hardworking people can fall into hard times and sympathise, which is why I support social programmes and universal health care and the likes. I didn't diversify because there was money, perhaps I was just lucky, or just know how to spot opportunity, and definately because of quality public post-secondary education. In any case... read my response to Signal 11's response and you might understand the context in which I meant the original comment.

As a final thought, a previous comment stated you worry about your 4 year-old having enough to eat -- why do you have an internet connection if there's not enough food? Interesting indeed.



"Oh, no, I agree with tarsand!" -- trhurler
[ Parent ]
I did read your response... (none / 0) (#160)
by Cheerio Boy on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 12:24:20 AM EST

Fair enough. I'm not saying "work harder" or trying to imply anyone's lazy, I'm saying "work smarter". I know the circumstances where even the most hardworking people can fall into hard times and sympathise, which is why I support social programmes and universal health care and the likes.

Point taken - I'll accept it and drop it there.

I didn't diversify because there was money, perhaps I was just lucky, or just know how to spot opportunity, and definately because of quality public post-secondary education. In any case... read my response to Signal 11's response and you might understand the context in which I meant the original comment.

I did read your post but I still felt that you didn't understand why what you said was so upsetting. I see now that you do so as I said I'm willing to let it go.

As a final thought, a previous comment stated you worry about your 4 year-old having enough to eat -- why do you have an internet connection if there's not enough food? Interesting indeed.

You have a valid argument but my internet connection is for two things and is partially provided by my financial backer for the business he and I are putting together.

1. It allows me to research several of the problems we're having with the network and site setup and eventually maybe will be VPN'd into the network so that I can do some of my work at home and spend more of my time with my family. That's important to me.

2. My wife is taking over over a paper newsletter on Autism - a subject we're both supporting because my daughter is also mildly autistic. Caused IMHO partially by my genetics and the mercury base in the MMR shots she received earlier in life. The connection allows my wife to take online payments for the newsletter, research articles, and receive files for entry into the newsletter.

I can see your point and if it gets any worse, the Goddess willing it won't, the connection will be the first to go. I get partially paid for it but it is still a financial drain. There has been talk of putting a dial-in box in the NOC but we're not sure if we want that. If that happens it would certainly help.

Cheerio Boy

[ Parent ]
makes sense (NT) (none / 0) (#161)
by tarsand on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 09:32:04 AM EST




"Oh, no, I agree with tarsand!" -- trhurler
[ Parent ]
Glad to see (1.00 / 1) (#32)
by anthrem on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 11:39:04 PM EST

Signal 11 is still alive.

Disclaimer: I am a Buddhist. I am a Social Worker. Filter all written above throught that.
RE: Siggy Alive? (none / 0) (#50)
by Signal 11 on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 07:04:54 AM EST

Ha. Yeah.

* Singing "They've come to kill the rooster, ooooh yeaaaaah, and he ain't gonna diiiieeeeee!!"


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

irony of alice n' chains quote (5.00 / 1) (#118)
by rampy on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 10:35:53 PM EST

signall 11 said " * Singing "They've come to kill the rooster, ooooh yeaaaaah, and he ain't gonna diiiieeeeee!!" "

There's a certain irony in using that quote sig-man

Considering the song is about Jerry Cantrell's (the guitar player) father's time/experience in Vietnam (and just to bring the conjecture complete lets just presume he was drafted...)

*shrug*

Regarding the college thing vs. ethics and the whole nine...

Hey I'm a non-conformist too (and so are all of my friends) and I dislike that in order to be gainfully employed (or more gainfully) I need a piece of paper that said I jumped through hoops for four years. But, I'm glad I did, on several levels. I like to joke that the hardest part of school for me was parking. But it was a challenge balancing limited budget, school work, work-work, and an active social life. I can't tell you what's right for you, but after H.S. I worked at a pharmacy full time for 5 bucks and change an hour for a year. I was going nowhere, slowly. I made the decision to go to college, cuz quite frankly, it beat stocking shelves, but it turned out to be both an extremely fun and formative time in my life. I'll spare you the details, except for this one kegger where...

Rampy
www.randomdrivel.com -- Fish, plankton, sea-greens, and protein from the sea!
[ Parent ]
Go to College (5.00 / 3) (#35)
by Delirium on Thu Nov 15, 2001 at 11:54:33 PM EST

I'd say go to college. A lot of people see college as merely a "piece of paper," and even if so, it's a useful piece of paper. I personally see it as quite useful; nowhere else will you be exposed to the broad range of knowledge that is necessary to be well-rounded in a wide variety of fields.

Many computer-type people complain about how college CS programs don't train people well for programming jobs, but that's not really the point - you can learn to code C++ yourself without college, as they correctly point out. College is there to teach you everything else, and in CS it's mainly for the theoretical background. But even if you see no use in any of that, and see college as a bunch of useless bullshit you just have to get through to get a diploma, and even if companies were to agree, there's still a point to it - it shows you can deal with bullshit and get through it successfully anyway. Which is itself a rather important skill in many corporate environments.

I've been noticing something. (5.00 / 4) (#39)
by kwsNI on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 12:37:49 AM EST

Is it just me, or does there seem to be a large amount of people here who just hate the whole system? I mean, I keep hearing about how bad corporations are, how bad universities are, how bad the government is, etc... By and far though, I've realized that these people are either unable to play by the rules of society without making temporary sacrifices of their current lifestyles or they are really clueless.

The second type a really starting to bother me. The whole "But I'm extremely smart, I don't need to go to college. I'm smarter than them, I wouldn't learn anything, there's too much BS..." What they don't get is that that is the point. Companies don't care about what you learn in college. Half the people I know with engineering degrees in one field are working in a totally different field now. I'm about to receive a job working on oil rigs and I'm a computer engineering major. The thing is though, I've shown those companies that I can work within the system, that I can follow directions, that I can learn, that I can work in groups. The same thing goes for a lot of the things that people here seem to despise. The fact is, people can't expect the world to reward them unless they decide to start playing by the rules that the world sets. Maybe it's stupid, maybe there could be better ways, but it's the way things are.

kwsNI
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
[ Parent ]

at least some system (5.00 / 4) (#40)
by Delirium on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 02:18:51 AM EST

I wouldn't even go so far as to say that there's a single monolithic system within which everything works. The thing college shows is that you can work within at least some system. And not necessarily a particularly stringent one at that; with the thousands of colleges in the U.S. you can probably find a system that meshes at least somewhat with your personality and desires. But if you can't work within any system at all, not even say a 2-year community college, well then that might worry a corporation that wants to hire you to do a job, not to try to revolutionize their entire organization.

[ Parent ]
what college shows (5.00 / 8) (#44)
by streetlawyer on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 04:34:07 AM EST

What college shows is that you've grown up, that you've had some time to discover who you are, and that you're not going to subject your colleagues and employers to the difficult process of your working out your personality problems and developing as an adult. Growing up requires free time. Even forty-year-old women of my acquaintance, who have brought up a couple of children, change markedly as people after going back to uni. as mature students.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
that's not the only indication (5.00 / 3) (#59)
by /dev/niall on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 11:05:37 AM EST

I certainly don't assume because someone has made it through college they're going to be mature (in any sense of the word). And I've met plenty of folks who _haven't_ made it through college who have left me with very favorable first impressions as to their maturity. But I've never made it thru school, so perhaps I'm not seeing something in them (or myself). Besides, the only people I can judge in this manner are folks I've interviewed for a job at one time or another.

[ Parent ]
Also (4.50 / 4) (#71)
by ucblockhead on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 02:24:32 PM EST

A college degree also shows that you can meet a nontrivial goal.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
And (none / 0) (#91)
by itsbruce on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 04:01:10 PM EST

Apply your intellect in a sustained effort, not like the gadflies you see all over the net.


--It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.


[ Parent ]
I'm in the same boat myself. (3.50 / 2) (#41)
by HereticMessiah on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 02:30:00 AM EST

I lost my job a while ago too. I've been looking, but it's hard. I will be going back to college in a year (to go into the 3rd year of my degree) after I pass a Maths exam that's outstanding.

In the mean time, I'm going to be finding somebody to replace my flatmate who's moving back home - I can't afford the 500IRP this flat costs by myself. Some of my friends have been telling me to claim whatever dole money I'm supposedly due, but I don't want to until I'm sure I have to - it's a matter of personal pride.

Seriously though, think about going back to college. After all, the piece of paper can't do you any harm and all the suits love the pretty colours ;-)

--
Disagree with me? Post a reply.
Think my post's poor or trolling? Rate me down.

About the Draft (4.33 / 6) (#45)
by Signal 11 on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 06:34:00 AM EST

A lot of people have missed my original reason for writing this article, and are focusing on my refusal to register for the draft. Let me clarify some issues for you all. Moderators, please vote this up, as it will help stem the tide of posts about this. Thank you.

Firstly, I am morally opposed to violence and war. This is a strong conviction, based out of my past, and having grown up under violent circumstances. I am agnostic presently, and can make no theological case. I can make a legitimate claim to not involving myself in the war for 'moral' reasons, but religion does not factor into that. Additionally, I have lost every fight in my life, save two - I simply cannot attack someone and even have difficulty defending myself. Simply put: I suck as a soldier. Likely, the government would not believe me and fail to grant me 'conscientious objector' status, but they'd find out rather quickly that I am physically incapable of using a firearm offensively due to my strong beliefs. However, none of this matters: I am disqualified from the draft because I have poor vision and asthma.

'What if...'

If I was drafted, I could try to claim conscientious objector status. This may or may not work, depending on the political climate. Also, I could flee the country as many people did during the 60's - specifically to Canada. Again, this option would depend on the global political situation at the time. The last option, and the most dangerous, would be to permanently disfigure myself, such as by cutting my toe off, thereby physically barring me from entry into the military. Currently, only 13.5 million people are registered for the draft. A very rough estimate of mine is that about 40 million are eligible, after you remove females from eligibility and break down by age group. This means there is a sizeable social problem involved in prosecuting draft dodgers, that our legal system is unequipped to handle. All of this means that my risks realistically are minimal - I might have a problem only if I draw attention to myself and the government desires an excuse to rid themselves of a malefactor.

Why register? (the risks)

Not registering for the draft seems pointless and dangerous - there's no way they could force me into service based simply on my physical characteristics, and I am exposing myself to criminal and civil liability, as well as disqualifying myself from student loans, social security benefits, and a plethora of other government aid. I am disqualified from any kind of security clearance for government work, which adversely impacts some of my job possibilities. Lastly, background checks will reveal this to any prospective employer, as I am required by law to provide my SSN, and the information is publicly available. It also removes any possibility of political work of any kind, as it would be a liability to any organization I was influential in.

Why not register? (the benefits)

I have only two reasons for not registering - I feel it is sexually discriminatory, being the overriding reason. Quite simply, the mere fact that I am a male should not be grounds for forced labor, in a profession where I am placed at grave risk, without my consent. Today, only our worst criminals in jail are subjected to this kind of slavery. I believe in equality of the sexes, of the races, and of all people. If such responsibility is to be placed on me, I want priveledges for that responsibility, at the very least. I do not expect my government to hold to the same high standards that I hold myself to, but I would expect some compensation regardless of the belief system being used! When the draft was originally created, it was done so under the rationale that it was exchanged for the right to vote - that was our priveledge, our responsibility was thus to our country. Women now have the right to vote, but without a commesurate responsibility to their country. While some people are right now screaming at the top of their lungs that women are not fit for combat roles, I would reply in two ways: One, violence is learned, it is not an inherent trait in the sexes. Aggression may be, but violence is taught. Women have equal psychological and physical potentials for violence, they simply have been raised under a different ruleset. Based on my understanding of the human body, both sexes are capable of using the tools of warfare, the argument that women are not physically capable of it is flawed and out-dated. That is an opinion. Two, a large percentage of jobs required in the military are non-combat - cooks, medical, mechanics, and most of the navy (sorry). That is a fact - I'm certain accomodations could be made. I understand this is a highly politically incorrect position to take, and one likely to draw massive criticism and negative feelings onto me, however, equality is equality - I will not play "Animal Farm" with my morality. I will also not allow morally corrupt ideologies such as feminism dictate what my role in society will be. We are a society of individuals, and a society that believes in equality and the right to express oneself and direct one's own affairs in the most reasonable way possible. This belief is incompatible with the current law. I believe there are laws higher than those of man, and this be one of them.

My other reason, which is of less concern, is my moral objection to the draft because I am opposed to fighting wars at someone else's beheast. Were my family in danger, or my community, or there was a threat to the safety of my country - ie, we were defending ourselves, I might reconsider my position and join the military. I am not an absolutist in my beliefs. However, I will not hand over my liberties, most importantly amongst them my physical liberty, simply because more bodies are needed to further some political or economic motive. Conclusion

My protest is one purely of principals - I could not realistically be drafted, nor expected to fight in a war. I do believe, however, that I can set an example for other men, in the hopes of combating this social injustice. I hope this helps clear things up, and hopefully steer the discussion back on course. Thank you.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Who's missing who's point? (4.30 / 10) (#58)
by kwsNI on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 10:46:27 AM EST

You claim that others are missing the point of your article because you won't register for the draft - yet you miss their point completely.

You're life has fallen apart. You're living at home, you're parents aren't happy with you, your creditors aren't happy with you and you're working one of the most menial jobs available. Yet here you are bitching that you can't better yourself because you've chosen to break the law because you're morally opposed to it. If you have a problem with the draft - fine. But you have to realize that in breaking the law, you take your chances of running into the exact problems you're in. Get over it.

I'm sick of people assuming that they're above the law because they claim to have morals. It's the same arguement hate groups use to hurt and murder others.

What you blow off as off-topic is really the main part of the topic. You give way too much credit to your individuality - going so far as to put your beliefs over the laws of your country. You reject an accept rule of society - yet you expect that same society to reward you handsomely. LIFE DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY!!!

kwsNI
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
[ Parent ]

Brain, please? (1.25 / 12) (#134)
by Signal 11 on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 10:35:04 PM EST

Um, dude... grow a brain.

My financial situation is not a result of this.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Your clarification (4.66 / 3) (#62)
by epepke on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 11:32:45 AM EST

This does clarify your position on the draft. I agree somewhat--the draft is sexist. I also disapprove of a peacetime draft, that is one when the country is not at war (a real, declared war). Since we haven't been at war since the 1940's, the draft has been wrong. Nevertheless, I did register.

I was also in a position similar to yours a couple of years ago. It was not fun. I had somewhat better an excuse for being broke, as my wife had just divorced me (never, ever believe it when a woman claims that money doesn't matter). Also, I had to act as nurse for my mother, who was recovering from breast cancer. Still, I have some considerable empathy.

However...

Civil disobedience has a cost. It may even destroy your life. If you are willing to pay the cost, go for it. If not, it's going to get paid anyway.

I get a sense, which is possibly shared by others, that you haven't paid your dues and maybe aren't too serious about paying them now. You have lived up until now during an unprecedented period of prosperity. This prosperity was bought by what Frank Zappa called the Very Big Stupid, that which eats the future, and IT people carry a lot of the blame for this. Guess what! We're now in the future that has been eaten, and things are going to be tough for a while. Moral principles are cheap when you have money. They're expensive when you don't. Either pay the price or give it up, but either way stop kvetching that your own decisions have effects.

You want to go to college? I think it's a great idea. Find a state university. Work at meaningless and unpleasant jobs to pay your way. Go room with a bunch of guys you can't get along with. Eat Ramen noodles and not much else. Don't get any sleep. Get all your furniture from the dumpster. In other words, pay your dues.

The days of golden parachutes, teflon slides, and unlimited Crisco are over. Bourgeois luxuries such as moral outrage, interesting and meaningful work, and huge salaries are much harder to get. Make your choices, and live with them.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
RE: Civil disobedience, cost (3.50 / 2) (#66)
by Signal 11 on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 02:09:27 PM EST

Civil disobedience has a cost. It may even destroy your life. If you are willing to pay the cost, go for it. If not, it's going to get paid anyway.

Yes, I am. The purpose of a democracy is to make great people. It's to free us to be individuals. Ideally, this would occur without fear of reprisal or judgement. Sadly, it is not. I cannot in good faith sign up for something I do not believe in. I've been taught since a young kid about the ideals of this country. I am sorry I took my teachers so seriously - they forgot to tell me the price of living up to those ideals. Our founding fathers paid for it - with their lives. Most of the signers of the declaration of independence were either executed by the British later, or died broke.

Moral principles are cheap when you have money. They're expensive when you don't. Either pay the price or give it up, but either way stop kvetching that your own decisions have effects.

My moral principles aren't at issue here, my financial situation is. The situation is never so grim as to have me give up what I believe in - and if that means tough times, so be it. Rather I be remembered for what I believed in, than what I did for a living. I'm simply asking for advice today. I'm simply saying "I don't have all the answers." I'm 22 years old, I know I'm not the most experienced kid out there... but I'm hoping other people are, and they'll tell me how to get back to work (real work, mind you). If not... I guess I wait.




--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

YOU FUCKING LYING, SNIVELLING, COWARD! (4.13 / 15) (#75)
by Electric Angst on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:01:34 PM EST

That's it. This has just gone on too far. When you're being so horribly self-righteous, you should at least attempt to have your demented perception based on a single fact or two. The "Founding Fathers" factoid you mention is nothing but an urban legend. The rest of your statement is an attempt to make yourself feel better about being a coward.

Conscientious objector status is easy to get. Very easy. There is no religious requirement, just a strong and consistant moral code that would dissallow the murder of other human beings in war. Hell, I could probably qualify for it, given my moral stance. I wouldn't, though, because I believe even more strongly that one must make sacrafices for the society in which one exists. The society that made it possible for you to earn $40k a year despite not having a college education.

Yes, the draft is flawed. It is sexist (although drafting of the entire young population would not be advisable, given that during a time of war domestic labor is as needed as troops abroad.) Holding it during peacetime is questionable. Still, the proper way to improve it (or get rid of it, should that be your aim) is through the democratic system that our founding fathers set up for us. Your claims of "standing by your beliefs" would be easier to believe if you put forth effort to eliminate this aspect of our government you claim to disagree with so strongly rather taking the easy, and criminal, way out.

I've heard too much of your shit now, and it disgusts me. You are proving yourself to be a lazy, uneducated coward and you are doing much better than you deserve.


--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
Holy Jumping Jesus... (3.00 / 3) (#103)
by beergut on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:05:50 PM EST

I can't be-fucking-lieve it. I agree with EA. I feel so... dirty.

But anyway, register for the fucking draft. If they do draft you, maybe you'll learn in the service to not be such a pussy.

"I suck as a soldier! I can't use a weapon!"

Think, McFly, about the training you'd receive as a soldier - to not suck, and to use a weapon!

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

is this recent? (5.00 / 1) (#119)
by Delirium on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 11:16:38 PM EST

Conscientious objector status is easy to get. Very easy. There is no religious requirement, just a strong and consistant moral code that would dissallow the murder of other human beings in war.

Is this a recent change? I know quite a few people who attempted to get conscientious objector status years ago, and several even had a history of involvement with secular humanist anti-war organizations prior to the outbreak of the Vietnam War, but they were turned down for lack of a religiously-based anti-killing belief.

[ Parent ]

Yep. (4.50 / 2) (#120)
by Electric Angst on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 01:01:49 AM EST

As I understand it (and from the Pagans I know who received that status) it is not that hard. Just like how college will no longer get you a deferrment for more than one semester, the draft is different now...
--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
Coward? (2.66 / 3) (#136)
by Signal 11 on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 10:49:00 PM EST

Yes, I am. I like to stay alive, please degrade my personal character for it.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
Most Armed Forces folks don't see combat. (5.00 / 1) (#140)
by la princesa on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 02:32:37 AM EST

And that's presuming you were to get roped in by a draft, which is bloody unlikely, despite this whole war on terrorism thing. Yes, it's silly to draft the boys and not the girls, but even in wartime, most of any army is not cannon fodder. It would be kind of hard to win if the biggest chunk of one's army was sposed to die. There'd be no-one left to maintain control of conquered lands, among other problems. But I digress. Don't be a pansy. If wussiness is your major reason for not registering, that's just sad.

[ Parent ]
Hmmm (none / 0) (#165)
by Signal 11 on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 06:41:44 PM EST

You know what, I don't give a shit. Call me a wussy, call me a pansy... call me whatever you want... but my life is mine to live on my own terms. No person, group, government, or the whole of humanity can be justified in controlling my actions and restricting my freedoms.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
Bullshit. (5.00 / 2) (#142)
by Electric Angst on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 06:37:25 AM EST

Okay, if you honestly think that signing up for the draft right now is going to get you seeing combat, then you've got other problems that I don't want to get into.

You're not a coward because of not wanting to face combat. You're a coward because you are coming up with an excuse to keep yourself away from having to face a challenge, having to work hard to advance yourself. (aka College.) You're just using this draft thing as an excuse for your laziness and fear of having to struggle. I've seen excuses like this before. Hell, I've used exuses like this. It's laziness, it's procrastination, and most of all, it's cowardice. Thing aren't supposed to be easy, and until you overcome your fear and accept that you're going to have to do some hard work, you're going to remain in this shitty situation.


--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
EA the armchair headshrinker (none / 0) (#152)
by trhurler on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 01:00:55 PM EST

Don't get me wrong; you could be right. However, there's a reason why even professionals usually can't actually discern someone's motivation unless he admits to it somewhere along the way...

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
You fucking bonehead. (none / 0) (#164)
by Signal 11 on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 06:39:48 PM EST

excuse to keep yourself away from having to face a challenge, having to work hard to advance yourself. (aka College.)

Yes. I'm going to make my life significantly more difficult by having to pay my own way instead of getting government subsidies. I'm going to go to college on my own terms, and I'm going to stand up for my morals, and accept the consequences.

Yes, I am a coward. I do what I say, and I live by my word... for this, I am condemned. No, the real reason you don't like me is because my standards and morals are different from yours, and you think of me less for it!


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

We're trying (3.75 / 4) (#82)
by epepke on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:39:34 PM EST

Yes, I am.

OK. You're living the cost now. So what's the problem?

I cannot in good faith sign up for something I do not believe in.

Then don't. But remember, there are a lot of people who don't believe in income taxes, either. Try not signing up for that and see where it gets you.

I've been taught since a young kid about the ideals of this country. I am sorry I took my teachers so seriously - they forgot to tell me the price of living up to those ideals.

Well, that was a mistake. Teachers lie, and when they don't lie, they sugar-coat. They especially lie about American history. For somewhat better information, see Made in America by Bill Bryson. It's mostly about the development of the English language, but it has some interesting stuff on history, too.

My moral principles aren't at issue here, my financial situation is.

Well, then there's no problem. Just register for the draft and get some student loans. Oh, wait, you don't want to do that. Well, I guess moral principles are the issue. At least you said in your original posting that you were desperate enough to go back on your values.

Rather I be remembered for what I believed in, than what I did for a living.

Hardly anybody is ever remembered for anything, except maybe by their children, and then it's seldom for what they believed in. Fortunately, they're not putting people in jail for evading the draft these days. However, if they did, you would be remembered, if at all, as some loser who got put in jail. Look at what happens when hackers who haven't even done anything destructive get put in jail. People cheer.

I'm simply asking for advice today. I'm simply saying "I don't have all the answers." I'm 22 years old, I know I'm not the most experienced kid out there... but I'm hoping other people are, and they'll tell me how to get back to work (real work, mind you).

We're trying to tell you, but you're blocking it.

Look at the history of the Baby Boomers. It's probably a bit too recent to have been fed to you in high school. In the 1960's, they were mostly protesting the draft. In the 1970's, they discovered money and cocaine. In the 1980's, they realized that an easy way to get more money for more cocaine was to dismantle the industrial structure of the United States. Now, well, they're running the government with its War on Drugs.

Now, I'm sure that you're not as vapid and banal as the Boomer culture, but that's only because there aren't enough of your generation. The thing called "life" does things to people.

Don't think I disrespect your idealism. I myself worked for 13 years as a research scientist in a totally unclassified academic research program, most of the time for a lot less than $40K per year, because I thought I was doing good. I put up not only with the low pay (and being told by people that I was making sooo much money), the terrible academic politics, and all the rest of it, until the research program self-destructed. Do you want to know just how much that idealism was worth then? Absolutely nothing! A woman who had called me her true love seven years decided all of a sudden that the wealthy psychiatrist she had just met was a better deal. And if you think it isn't fun to live with your parents at 22, just try it at 38. OK, so now after experiencing a horrible situation, I'm doing work that is profoundly dull but pays two and one-half times as much. I recall the days of doing science fondly, but I also know the special thrill of a nice paycheck.

You can keep your idealism for a few more years by going to college. After that, life tends to beat it out of people. For those who keep it, it becomes a cancer, turning them bitter and unempathetic. Most, however, find a reasonable compromise. I know you don't believe me, but you'll find out, one way or the other.

All of this sucks, but that's the point. People have been trying to make the world not suck for as long as there have been people. They have had some effect, but it's been a very slow process. You aren't the first, but you won't be the last, either.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
As much as I hate "me toos". (3.00 / 2) (#94)
by Faulty Dreamer on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 04:24:08 PM EST

You can keep your idealism for a few more years by going to college. After that, life tends to beat it out of people. For those who keep it, it becomes a cancer, turning them bitter and unempathetic. Most, however, find a reasonable compromise. I know you don't believe me, but you'll find out, one way or the other.

I just have to say that this is probably the most important statement in this entire thread. At some point, you learn that the moral high road you dreamt up for yourself as a child is not an easy one to follow. And, if you decide to follow anyway, you will turn you bitter and twisted. Signal 11, you are finding this out right now. Your choices are pretty obvious to the rest of us. Compromise, and get somewhere, or don't compromise and live your life as a stock boy at K-Mart, bitter about the fact that you once "had it all".

I know compromise is an ugly word to some people, but it's really not that bad. You have to weigh the good and the bad effects of a decision, and sometimes you just have to swallow a tiny bit of bad in order to gain the most good. Life is like that. Trying to make it an all or nothing proposition is pretty much garaunteed to get you nothing, but realizing that there are shades of grey at least allows you some options other than the "right" and the "wrong" that you are trying to break this into.

Your moral principles are very, very much at the heart of this issue. If you keep refusing to admit that, you aren't even making an attempt at bettering yourself. In fact, you are only accelerating your spiral of depression.

--------
Faulty Dreams - Barking at the moon 24/7...

If you think I'm an asshole, it's only because you haven't realized what a fucking idiot I am. - Faulty Dreamer
[ Parent ]

No, no! (4.50 / 2) (#122)
by Wolfkin on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 01:57:48 AM EST

I just have to say that this is probably the most important statement in this entire thread. At some point, you learn that the moral high road you dreamt up for yourself as a child is not an easy one to follow. And, if you decide to follow anyway, you will turn you bitter and twisted. Signal 11, you are finding this out right now. Your choices are pretty obvious to the rest of us. Compromise, and get somewhere, or don't compromise and live your life as a stock boy at K-Mart, bitter about the fact that you once "had it all".

No, no, no!

This isn't at all obvious. Setbacks happen, but giving up your ideals and principles is not the way to handle it.

It's important to make good money, of course, but it isn't necessary to do that immediately. A job at K-mart is fine, if you are doing something else that will lift you out of that. It's more important to keep your principles than to make 40K a year, every year. I say this as someone who left a 28K a year factory job (which I thought was really good money, at the time; more than I had ever made before) to look for a job in IT. I had no degree, no money, and a little Linux knowledge when I did that, and it took three years for me to climb back to that salary level, and 2 more years to double it, but in the meantime, I was doing other things I believed in, like starting a webhost and helping start a gold sales and payment system (other libertarians will understand why I thought this was a cool idea).

Your principles are your guide; they set the boundaries of your personal possibility space. Don't hesitate to give some of them up, if you find that they aren't true, but don't throw them away so that you can get a temporary advantage, like a better job. You can make money doing almost anything -- it's up to you to decide what you can do that is most worthwhile, and then figure out how to make money doing that.

Randall Randall



[ Parent ]
Compromise (none / 0) (#130)
by epepke on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 06:11:05 PM EST

This isn't at all obvious. Setbacks happen, but giving up your ideals and principles is not the way to handle it.

Both of us said compromise, not give up. Also, an ideal isn't quite the same thing as a principle.

Perhaps I was a bit strong when I wrote that life has a tendency to beat out ideals. What I should have wrote and will write now is that life has a tendency to beat out idealism, that is, a naively adolescent, overly perfectionistic view of what a stand on principles means. This is certainly the kind of thing that signal11 needs to overcome.

People who don't give it up do become bitter. More specifically, the idealism becomes cynicism, not the fun kind or the protective kind, but the nasty kind. Most people compromise, that is, they reach a reasonable accomodation between their ideals and reality. That does not mean giving up ideals.

For example, I still have the ideals that computers should be a boon to humanity, that programs should have no defects, that user interfaces should be as close to invisible as possible, and all systems should work together seamlessly, and many "real-world" metaphors like making a window look like a VCR are incredibly stupid. Nevertheless, I realize that the computer is often viewed per se rather than an enabler, programs with defects produce more revenue for software houses, and that bloated user interfaces impress corporate purchasers, who tend to be idiots that like bright lights, and incompatibility is a prime source of product branding.

So what do I do? I compromise. I write internal software for a large hotel ownership company. We do not sell our software, so there is no need for us to build in defects or impress purchasing managers. I write for the people who use the software, which no software house really does any more. I no longer naivelely believe that the best piece of software wins in the marketplace because it's the best.

Is this an ideal? Sort of, but not literally. Ideally, good software would win in the marketplace, but it doesn't. It is a principle, but it is tempered by my experience with reality.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Re: Compromise (none / 0) (#132)
by Wolfkin on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 07:17:27 PM EST

Perhaps I was a bit strong when I wrote that life has a tendency to beat out ideals. What I should have wrote and will write now is that life has a tendency to beat out idealism, that is, a naively adolescent, overly perfectionistic view of what a stand on principles means. This is certainly the kind of thing that signal11 needs to overcome.

I would agree that life has a tendency to beat out *some* ideals. I see this as a problem with those particular ideals, not necessarily idealism.

Dictionary.com gives four definitions for ideal:

  1. A conception of something in its absolute perfection.
  2. One that is regarded as a standard or model of perfection or excellence.
  3. An ultimate object of endeavor; a goal.
  4. An honorable or worthy principle or aim.

I think you were and are using the first definition, while I've been using the third and fourth. In fact, I think that's the only reason we appear to disagree. :)

So what do I do? I compromise. I write internal software for a large hotel ownership company. We do not sell our software, so there is no need for us to build in defects or impress purchasing managers. I write for the people who use the software, which no software house really does any more. I no longer naivelely believe that the best piece of software wins in the marketplace because it's the best.

Whether or not you choose to believe that the "best ... software" wins in the marketplace depends only partly on your experience. If you believed strongly enough in the ideal, you might instead have questioned whether the software you'd been calling "best" really was better than what won in the marketplace. Another possibility (my own belief, as a matter of fact) is that the marketplace for software isn't a free market (i.e., free of force), and so the rules for free markets don't necessarily apply. If, in a truly free market, what I thought of as "bad softare" still won, I might reconsider what I meant by "best" and "bad".

Anyway, signal11 needs to figure out what he wants to do, then find a way to make money doing it, IMHO.

Randall Randall.



[ Parent ]
The best (none / 0) (#133)
by epepke on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 08:06:34 PM EST

Whether or not you choose to believe that the "best ... software" wins in the marketplace depends only partly on your experience. If you believed strongly enough in the ideal, you might instead have questioned whether the software you'd been calling "best" really was better than what won in the marketplace.

This is an ironic comment, as your process of "questioning" is what I'd call an accomodation or compromise. The "ideal" is not that the best software wins, but that certain things (ease of use, responsiveness, reliability, absence of defects, appropriate models) contribute to good software. So, you're suggesting giving up or toning down an ideal, but that is not consistent with "believ[ing] strongly enough in the ideal." This is pretty much my whole point.

Another possibility (my own belief, as a matter of fact) is that the marketplace for software isn't a free market (i.e., free of force), and so the rules for free markets don't necessarily apply.

This would make a very good discussion, but it's a bit off-topic, and we're getting pretty low in the hierarchy. So, I'll just write something fairly short. I think you are correct that it isn't a free market. However, I have been around for a couple of decades, and I remember when the market was more free than it is. It is during the time when it was more free that the transition to what I view as mediocre software was most pronounced.

For example, twenty years ago I would never have predicted the dominance of word processors which, on 500 MHz machines are less responsive than then-current word processors on 2 MHz machines. If I watch the screen while typing on Microsoft Word, I experience actual nausea of a kind that I can remember only from using a teletype on a Data General Nova, with its tenth-of-a-second-delay between pressing a key and hearing the thunk.

This, to me, is contrary to an ideal, which I may state as "don't needlessly irritate the user." Now, of course I realize that irritating the user is now considered of little importance at best and a marketing ploy to get the next version sold at worst. I don't like it, but I accept that this is the mindset. When I can get away with it, I still stick to the ideal. However, I am no longer so naive as to believe that lack of responsiveness, while it may cause some users to want to put their fists through the screen, reduces sales.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Security Clearance (none / 0) (#112)
by br284 on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 06:26:00 PM EST

What exactly have you done that will prevent you from getting a security clearance? If it's not the draft, what is it? Do you have a felony conviction or something?

-Chris

[ Parent ]
How not to get a security clearance. (5.00 / 1) (#124)
by claudius on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 08:53:14 AM EST

In addition to not registering for Selective Service, there are many ways to disqualify for a security clearance. I doubt from what I've read, however, that Signal 11 has done the leg-work and knows firsthand that he really is as disqualified as he says he is. (This assumes that he's willing to register for selective service)--chances are good that he's never bothered to apply for a job requiring a clearance or have a clearance application form processed.

Many of the following are not necessarily disqualifying, as I know from firsthand experience, however they do send up red flags to a clearance investigator and they represent issues that will need to be resolved before a clearance is granted: (1) Felony convictions. (2) Extensive history of drug use. (A few episodes of experimentation with weed will not do it). (3) Significant ownership of companies and/or property in foreign countries, especially sensitive countries. (4) Marriage or communal living with someone who is a citizen of a sensitive country. (5) Membership (current or otherwise) in the Communist Party. (6) Extensive time spent living in sensitive countries, and/or close and continuing contact with associates from these countries. (7) Substantial, unmanageable personal debt (including credit card debt). (8) Lying on a prior security clearance form. (9) Membership or support of organizations whose intent is to overthrow the U.S. government. (10) Having had one's security clearance revoked in the past for some reason. (11) Friends and associates who are unwilling to answer in the affirmative to the question, "Would you trust X with matters of national security?" (12) Not bothering to register for Selective Service. It is the law, afterall. (13) Lack of fingers--they fingerprint you when they process your form.


[ Parent ]
Er... (none / 0) (#135)
by Signal 11 on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 10:41:48 PM EST

Having been friends with someone who works in the Navy and works on their computer networks, and having asked him about said security clearances (he had a job which would have been contract work on-base setting up internet terminals)...

I did know that. And no, I really was serious about not registering - I won't.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Sexism (2.50 / 2) (#128)
by maveness on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 02:53:31 PM EST

Yes, the current requirements for registration are sexist. And a draft -- WERE ONE IN PLACE -- that only drew upon registered males would also be sexist. Since registration itself carries NO penalty (and some benefits, as described), why not register?

Then, if and when there is an actual draft you'll have a bunch of choices. 1) Become a conscientious objector and serve in some non-combatant capacity or do your time in civil disobedience; 2) become a test-case for the ACLU based on sex descrimination; or 3) flee the country. NONE of these approaches requires that you get down off your moral high-horse. In fact, each of them would probably be more principled than the mish-mosh of reasons you're currently giving.

And to be consistent, since physical prowess is hardly necessary for many military roles these days, I wouldn't count on your eyesight and your asthma to save you from the draft. And I'll believe your self-mutilation ploy when I see it!

Furthermore, personally, it burns my ass to hear anyone call feminism "a morally corrupt ideology" when without the feminist movement you would likely never have grown up with such strong opinions about equality of the sexes and the ability of men and women to do essentially the same jobs in modern society. Get some historical perspective, for heaven's sake!

Just out of curiosity -- what would actually it take to convince you that "there was a threat to the safety of [your] country"? Five thousand civilian deaths? Ten thousand? Storm troopers on your hometown streets?

*********
Latest fortune cookie: "The current year will bring you much happiness." As if.
[ Parent ]

History of feminism (5.00 / 2) (#131)
by epepke on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 06:38:07 PM EST

Furthermore, personally, it burns my ass to hear anyone call feminism "a morally corrupt ideology" when without the feminist movement you would likely never have grown up with such strong opinions about equality of the sexes and the ability of men and women to do essentially the same jobs in modern society. Get some historical perspective, for heaven's sake!

Hmmm... I actually spent several years tracing the history of feminism, and it would not be hyperbole to say that my knowledge was encyclopedic. (I say "was," because I managed to answer all my questions and then moved on to other things.) I notice that Ken Arromdee is on this board; he is probably the only one around who remembers me from those days.

I would not call feminism a "morally corrupt ideology," because

  1. I don't call things "morally corrupt" and don't even think the phrase means anything, and
  2. Feminism is far too incoherent and multifaceted to be referred to as an "ideology."

As for the rest, though, you could get better results with Anusol. Saying that without feminism he wouldn't have the idea of equality of the sexes is a bit like saying that without the U.S. there would be no free speech or without Christianity everyone would be engaging in human sacrifice. At best, it is an idealistic, heroistic gloss over what is a far more complex situation.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Life without feminism... (4.00 / 1) (#153)
by maveness on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 01:12:40 PM EST

I would happily engage with you in a debate about this.

Without the feminist movement of the early part of the 20th Century, women's suffrage would have been a much longer time coming (if it ever did). And without the vote, any "idea" of equality of the sexes would have had a hard time achieving any reality.

Without the feminism of the 60s and 70s, employment discrimination against women would likely still be substantially in place today. (And I'll just slide right over abortion rights... since that discussion tends to prompt more heat than light.)

I am willing to bet that Signal 11's mom would agree with me. Both of us lived through the 60s and can personally testify to the doors that have opened -- and become normalized -- since that time. I would also bet that, if asked, she would agree with me as to the basic origin of his opinion on equality of the sexes.

Sure, a lot of things get called feminism, and there are plenty of different strains of it. (Just as there are plenty of different versions of, say, Islam, Christianity, capitalism, etc.). Still, I think there is definitely a majority subset that one can refer to as "mainstream feminism." And that's what I had in mind.

Show me a country without a feminist movement and I'll show you a country where women are definitively second class citizens (politically, economically, and socially).

*********
Latest fortune cookie: "The current year will bring you much happiness." As if.
[ Parent ]

Two versions of feminism (none / 0) (#155)
by simon farnz on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 03:55:41 PM EST

The trouble Siggy has IMNSHO is that there are two types of feminism in the world today: what I would call true feminists (whose goals and objectives I support), and man-haters.

The difference: feminists accept that women are different, but insists on their rights to be treated fairly and to be taken seriously. In practice, this means equal rights for women, otherwise some men will refuse to take them seriously. This group is mature enough to put the past behind them, and concentrate on improving the future.

The man-haters OTOH want revenge for the injustices perpetrated in the past, and tend to act in the same way as men used to, but with different justifications. Siggy tends to see this group claiming the feminist name, and (wrongly) tars the whole group with their bad behaviour.
--
If guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns
[ Parent ]

Man-haters (none / 0) (#163)
by spcmanspiff on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 12:24:42 PM EST

The man-haters OTOH want revenge for the injustices perpetrated in the past, and tend to act in the same way as men used to, but with different justifications.
Or maybe they're just more militant about injustices perpetrated in the present?

I think they get a bad rap for being justifiably very pissed off.

Revenge? I don't agree with women who are out for revenge, but I don't think most 'man-haters' are after revenge ... I think they're after (sorely needed!) change, and without being confrontational, change is a slow thing to come by.

And by being confrontational, these women are "acting in the same way as men used to", eh? Power to 'em.


[ Parent ]

wow (none / 0) (#146)
by davidmacq21 on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 06:45:48 PM EST

What a fucking dumbass. You are in your position out of choice. You sound like a coward not a CO. Feminism isn't keeping women from being in combat. Some of us men don't want women to be drafted or to be in combat. They aren't because they aren't as good at it, not that they won't shoot someone like your sorry ass. I have a college degree and I am unemployed I have 0 sympathy for you. Maybe you can eat your principals when you get hungry. :)

[ Parent ]
Concientious Objector status (3.00 / 1) (#54)
by ragabr on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 09:52:12 AM EST

is really easy to get, basically you just have to tell them. The only catch is that while you don't have to serve in the military you will have to serve in a support position, like a hospital, to make it up to Uncle Sam.

-------
And my tongue would be made of chocolate. Mmmmm. Chocolate.
-rusty
Concientious Objector (4.00 / 2) (#60)
by ucblockhead on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 11:11:35 AM EST

They often put you in a situation that is dangerous to seperate the objectors of concience from the objectors of cowardice. For instance, they might give you medical training and make you a medic. You then go everywhere the grunt soldiers do, but unarmed.

In my mind, Siggy has two rational choices: If he is an objector of concience, he should go down to the registration board, or whatever, and try to get CO status, and refuse to register otherwise. He'll be no worse off then he is now (the government does not prosecute failure to register) and in all likelihood, he'll be able to get those student loans, etc, etc, without compromising principles.

If he simply fears the draft (and I both presume and hope this is not the case), he'd be better off doing what most others do, which is register, and then "forget" to tell Uncle Sam next time he moves, and plan to run to Canada when a war happens. That way, he can at least get on with life now. The chances of a real draft occuring in the next ten years is near zero anyway.


-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

medic (none / 0) (#138)
by PresJPolk on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 11:10:11 PM EST

By pointing out that objectors are still put into positions that aid a war effort, you imply how narrow a definition the objections have.

Seems to me this objection is only designed to handle people who object to killing with their own actions, not to people who object to aiding in a war itself.

[ Parent ]
Here's a question (4.66 / 9) (#55)
by DesiredUsername on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 09:55:57 AM EST

Debt? How can you have debt? You have no house, you have no college loans to repay, you have no dependents. You made 40k/yr for several years. And you could only survive for 4 months beyond that?

"Disillusioned" is *exactly* the right word for what you are right now.

Play 囲碁
Plastic (5.00 / 1) (#126)
by NDPTAL85 on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 11:01:23 AM EST

Ever hear of credit cards and overdrawn checking accounts?

[ Parent ]
How much experience do you have ? (4.00 / 4) (#57)
by Builder on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 10:12:08 AM EST

Stupid question here... A year ago you were earning 40K a year building websites. What were you doing two years ago?

I'm genuinely curious. How long have you been in the computer field and what kind of work and at what level were you working during that time ?


--
Be nice to your daemons
See resume :) (none / 0) (#70)
by Signal 11 on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 02:20:29 PM EST

look here. ~ Siggy


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
Advanced Word??? (4.00 / 2) (#76)
by czth on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:02:34 PM EST

JHC on a pogo stick... "Advanced" skills in Microsoft Word? Excuse me but... Ahahahahaahahahaha!

[ Parent ]
Some free advice (5.00 / 2) (#110)
by libertine on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:39:59 PM EST

Since it is free, take it or leave it at its value to yourself.

You have maybe 2 years of professional experience, no certs, no degree, nothing even mentionioning professional convention attendance, and nothing to show that you have been improving your worth to an employer by crawling up the promotional tree. Take this from someone who has done hiring interviews at a few companies. At the point you are at right now, you could not even describe yourself as "journeylevel" in most of the skills you placed on your resume. It sounds harsh and it is, but it is also true.

Right now, the market is REALLY tight everywhere. The last job I applied for had over 100 applicants. I got the first interview, but turned down the job. It was guaranteed to burn me out in a year. Elsewhere that I have looked, there are people demanding Masters degrees in CS to do desktop support work. Even the local city government requires a 4 year degree for an entry level network admin job that I could do in my sleep. Times are changing, and if you do not have a degree, then find something else to do with your time until those times swing back.

However, I could afford to turn that job down. I have other skills to fall back on, and I have a partner that is willing to help support us as a couple. I also saved my money. You don't seem to have those options. You don't have many marketable skills, you don't have management experience, and you are apparently wearing on your parents' nerves. Look at what you do have- no close ties to where you live, a desire to make cash to pay off debts, more than half a brain, and probably your own car. Find somewhere else in the country to work that DOES want someone at your skill level. Or, take a pencil, draw a 100 mile circle around where you live, and find out what IS needed by employers, then go do that. Lastly, since you DO work nights, get a percentage based payroll agency to handle your 1099 paperwork and market yourself as a "fill-in" web developer and admin- scare up some daytime work and eventually quit K-mart. Alternatively, suck up at K-mart and get some kind of job with them that will allow you to travel around the country- figure out how to get to someplace else with a bigger demand for tech people than Minnesotta. Shit, if you are such a pacifist, hang out with the Friends' Society and join one of their peace corps style projects building wireless access to some village in the middle of the jungle somewhere- they only care if you can do the work, not if you have a degree (like the actual Peace Corps requires). Go teach English in Japan or Russia. There are things to do if you LOOK.

As for the college thing, you are going to have to give that up. Forget about it as even a remote possibility while you are alive. Your ethics forbid you from even signing up for the draft, much less declaring yourself as a CO. If that is blocking your access to a certifiable higher education (because you can get an excellent education on your own, it is called a library card at the local U, and a copy of the book lists and syllabi for the courses that interest you, and beer/bribes/gourmet dinners for the profs/teachers' assistants), then give up the idea of ever having a degree. Get used to justifying yourself and your time to every interviewer who thinks that having a degree has some primary importance to how you will contribute to their company. Think about what that will mean after about 50 interviews 10 years down the road, when you may have a family depending upon you to put food on the table (talk to your dad or grandad or uncle about that). Fact is, most people who don't hold degrees or low paying service-sector jobs end up working for themselves. Some can become quite successful and wealthy, but you have to work twice as hard and have twice the people skills to make up for not having that sheepskin. Balance that against your ethics very carefully.


"Live for lust. Lust for life."
[ Parent ]

in the meantime... (4.00 / 2) (#64)
by drivers on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 01:24:17 PM EST

Find out how you can make do on less money, get out of debt, and best use your energy to get what you want out of life: Your Money or Your Life

It was pretty popular during the last recession when a lot of people decided to get out of the rat race.

Displaced geek howto????? (4.35 / 31) (#65)
by Bob Abooey on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 01:35:51 PM EST

Uh.. what?

Who the hell voted this crap up anyways? What the hell does this guys job status and living quarters have to do with a "displaced geek howto"???? What is this, Ann Landers? Jesus H Christ at the liquor store, this would be tripe if it were posted as a diary entry, let alone in the culture section. Speaking of which, how does this deal with "culture"? How many people, qualified or not, have lost there jobs in the US this year? The economy sucks right now, God Damn, welcome to the real fucking world you simpleminded toad, what fucking planet are you from anyways?

Here's a clue pal, the world doesn't owe you squat. Just because you fancy yourself a "geek" doesn't mean jack shit in the grand scheme of the Universe. If you want something then you have to go get it, get an education, work for free as a volunteer to get experience and network with people in the field. Do the same shit that any successful person does, work hard and make yourself valuable to the company you work for. Do things that they didn't ask you to do, get to work early and stay late. Be polite to your coworkers. And when things start to get difficult in your life post a whiney little pissant story to some weblog and twist it into some geek related bullshit so people will vote it up.

Now pull your head out of your ass and grow up.


-------
I say, why you say that for? - Bob Dylan

Why I voted +1 (4.00 / 5) (#90)
by epepke on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:58:43 PM EST

I thought it would be a good idea if the community jumped on him, possibly knocking some sense into him. Yes, it's a long-shot.

Also, I've become tired of the acceptance of many in the IT field of mediocrity, vapidity, banality, and dumbth in general. I have only been reading kuro5hin since the beginning of September, and there hasn't been much other than September 11 postings. I wanted to see if there were any real hackers here, not just opportunists who have grown up believing that the world exists to wipe their butt.

Now I've seen that, and my heart is gladdened.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Develop Skills (4.00 / 1) (#85)
by PresJPolk on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:44:07 PM EST

There may be companies that won't hire you without some unrelated certification (hint: nobody needs to learn Scheme to be a competent programmer or sysadmin), others just want to know what you can do for them.

Also, the lack of a degree might be a competitive advantage. It sets up less of an expectation of higher salary.

College education can be a nice thing, but it's not *everything* for *everyone*. It's especially not worthwhile for someone who plain can't afford it.

Suggestions... (4.00 / 1) (#87)
by razzmataz on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 03:47:41 PM EST

Go back to college.

Network with people there. Especially faculty.

Join a professional organization, like IEEE or ACM. Network with people from there...

You could always get a job with UPS.
-- I love the smell of fdisk in the morning...

Bypass a draft in three easy steps (4.33 / 3) (#93)
by thenick on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 04:14:32 PM EST

Easy solution to your problem:

1. Register for the draft.

2. Enter college with the student loans obtained after registering for the draft.

3. I believe the draft only applies to males aged 18 to 25, so as long as you stay in college, you will not be eligible for the draft.

This way, you are sidestepping the system using the government's rules.


"Doing stuff is overrated. Like Hitler, he did a lot, but don't we all wish he would have stayed home and gotten stoned?" -Dex
That doesn't work anymore... (4.50 / 2) (#98)
by Electric Angst on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 04:34:24 PM EST

With the current version of the draft, college will only get you deferred 'till the end of the current semester (or one year, if you're a senior).
--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
Political realities (5.00 / 5) (#101)
by ucblockhead on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 04:57:42 PM EST

The truth of the matter is that "The Draft" is mostly a theoretical thing. Currently, the military does not want it (many blame the failure in Vietnam on it) and the political climate is such that (even with the "War on Terrorism") it is exceedingly unlikely that the public would stand for it.

Honestly, "fear of being drafted" is a pretty silly reason to not register these days. Short of a conventional war with China, there isn't going to be a draft.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Yep... (4.50 / 4) (#104)
by Electric Angst on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:07:25 PM EST

I was just countering some mis-information. I agree the draft will probably never exist again. (Just like you'll never see Americans rationing, the corporations just wouldn't stand for it.) Conventional war with China is less probable than getting invaded by Canada. (Have you noticed, though, that the only real threat the missle defence shield would protect us from is a Chinese nuclear strike? They're the only ones with ICBMs, yet a small enough arsenal that having 10% of their attack connect wouldn't be enough to destroy us.)
--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
And if there were a big war... (5.00 / 2) (#111)
by libertine on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:48:32 PM EST

If there were a shit-serious big conventional war, the current draft wouldn't mean much anyways, since anybody capable of carrying a gun would be drafted, college time or not. Congress can and does change the rules any time they feel the need to do so. And chopping off a toe wouldn't make much of a difference- the MEPS would just note that in your record, and you will be put in a mobile unit rather than infantry. Big whoop.

Anyways, a real asthmatic would fail out of boot camp from having to go through the CS gas chamber. One hospitalization from that, and they would drop his ass. You have to go through the chamber every year, and most of the services wouldn't want to train someone who might croak from that event. There are plenty of other ways that they could put your life at risk rather than have you die over some stupid annual training incident, and lose that investment.


"Live for lust. Lust for life."
[ Parent ]

clarification (none / 0) (#127)
by jbridge21 on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 12:05:54 PM EST

What exactly is the "CS gas chamber" you speak of?

[ Parent ]
NBC training (5.00 / 1) (#129)
by libertine on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 03:50:56 PM EST

Nuclear-Biological-Chemical Warfare Training....have to go through it every year. Part of that training is learning real-world applications of your protective equipment, such as gas masks and protective suits. You learn how well your gas mask works by the following- you put mask on, go into chamber full of really strong riot control gas (CS gas), and then after 60 seconds, take mask off, breathe for 30 seconds, and stumble out.

This is in addition to having to memorize material on what constitutes symptoms of various agents and how to survive most attacks. Part of the training is looking at films of the Kurds that Hussein gassed about 15 years ago. That is the only filmed Sarin gas attack that I know of.


"Live for lust. Lust for life."
[ Parent ]

The Truth[tm], by trhurler (4.86 / 23) (#97)
by trhurler on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 04:30:33 PM EST

Ok, first off, I tend to agree with Mr. Abooey. This is pretty much crap. The difference is, I'm willing to tell you why and what you can do about it. The problems:
  • You list a whole bunch of "skills" on your resume, but the truth is, you've done nothing but tech support and web pages. Anyone reading resumes has a bullshit detector going, because people bullshit on resumes. Yours, with lots of claimed skills and a bunch of nearly unskilled jobs, would set off such a detector in mere nanoseconds.
  • You are a whiny bitch. Nobody respects this. EA's attack regarding the draft is misplaced, as obviously unless you've got mental problems, you're not seriously scared of actually being drafted, but there's a problem here nonetheless: if you insist on making your life harder to serve principles which in fact aren't going to change anything, you cannot then complain when your life is harder than it would otherwise be and expect anyone to care.
  • You have no education. This is a "recession," and in those, people without "education" who cannot demonstrate truly mad skeelz are "fucked." You should have seen this coming, but instead, you just went along doing whatever was fun and profitable instead of preparing for the future.
Now then, what to do about it:
  • Get a job with someone like UPS, who will help pay for college, give you hours that will let you go to school, and pay enough that you might actually survive for awhile on it.
  • Get your ass in school. Find every way to make school cheap that you can; start at a community college, do work study in your off hours, and so on. You'll have no free time. That's too bad; it makes up for all the time you should have been preparing yourself and acquiring education and real skills and instead rode the gravy train. You will be poor. That's also too bad; it isn't going to be any better working as a stock boy - I promise.
  • Third, quit fucking whining. If you make your choices, live with them. You do not have control over the whole world, and sometimes it does things that aren't right - but when you make a choice knowing what the world may do and then it does so, YOU MADE A CHOICE.
  • Fourth, actually do something useful while you're in school. Learn things that companies will want to pay for. Not the phenomena of the moment, like web site design - the basics that make learning that stuff easy and stupid, so that you can always be on the trend of the moment if you need to be. This will mean that in what little free time you might have had, you'll be busting your ass on independent projects. Don't expect too much to come of them, but don't ever just say "I'm only doing this to learn," because then you won't do them. If it seems hard, see above.
Do that, in in four or five years, you might actually be employable to do something you actually give a shit about even when there's not a boom on. Don't do that, and I have no sympathy. Degrees are shit, and I'm the first to admit it, but just like the draft, you know what the impact of a degree is; if you ignore it just because it is shit, you cannot then whine that the scorpion stung you. That's what they do.

You don't seem stupid or incompetent - just whiny and a bit too expectant that the world will conform to your wishes. It won't. Learn to cope.

Oh, and some resume advice: first off, if you want to be taken seriously for real technical work, quit calling yourself a web designer. That's the first clue to most technical people that what they're reading is the resume of a luser. Eliminate irrelevant crap. Nobody wants a Unix guru who actually would condescend to using Access, because they know from experience that such people are either desperate or else incompetent, or both. Decide what you want to do, or if you can't, create multiple resumes targetted at different jobs. Are you a network guy? A security guy? A programmer? A webpage monkey? Reading your resume, nobody would know, and nobody will believe you know all that stuff, even if you do, unless you've got 15 years of experience - and you don't.

Have a day.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

About resumes (4.50 / 4) (#100)
by Carnage4Life on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 04:56:18 PM EST

That was really good advice you gave him, better than he deserves IMHO. Web page jockeys with no college degree that think the world owes them a living are a dime a dozen. This market has screwed people with abilities, experience and college degrees yet Signal 11 somehow thinks he's special.Anyway...

Oh, and some resume advice: first off, if you want to be taken seriously for real technical work, quit calling yourself a web designer. That's the first clue to most technical people that what they're reading is the resume of a luser.

I've been thinking the same thing for years, anyone whose claim to fame was being able to knock out CGI scripts and DHTML was on a fast trip to the unemployment line when the economy went south.

Reading your resume, nobody would know, and nobody will believe you know all that stuff, even if you do, unless you've got 15 years of experience - and you don't.

I've been wondering the same thing about my resume. It's beginning to look like there are a bit too many technologies on there for it to be true even though it is. What do you suggest? Do I leave it as is or should I begin to trim some stuff from it?

[ Parent ]
Well, (4.66 / 3) (#105)
by trhurler on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:07:25 PM EST

I'm not as inclined to say much about yours, as it looks more like the resume of someone who might have actually done all that stuff(and do remember, the truth is not what matters; what matters is whether or not your resume sets off the bullshit detector or not. For all I know, Sigmeister actually knows all that crap on his resume, but if I had never heard of him and read it, I'd throw it in a trashcan, whereas I'd probably want to interview you - the difference mainly being that you have the experience, education, and so on to show where all those skills might have come from.) Of course, the popular mistake with resumes is to assume that since appearance, and not truth, is what gets you in the door, it is therefore ok to lie. This will end in tears:)

However, one thing to remember is that if you don't want a job doing X, don't put X on your resume unless you absolutely have to have it there just to pad things out - and in your case, you obviously do not. As an example, I could do a C++ programming job - but no prospective employer will find out unless I get awfully hard up for a job.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Unwanted Jobs (none / 0) (#108)
by Carnage4Life on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:17:14 PM EST

However, one thing to remember is that if you don't want a job doing X, don't put X on your resume unless you absolutely have to have it there just to pad things out - and in your case, you obviously do not. As an example, I could do a C++ programming job - but no prospective employer will find out unless I get awfully hard up for a job.

Yeah, I know that feeling. I got an email once from a recruiter about a job at Enron involving SmallTalk and I couldn't delete the email fast enough. Not that SmallTalk is bad mind you but using Squeak has permanently soured that language for me. Using ODBC from C or C++ is the same way, shitty documentation and functions that take 10 parameters, half of which are macros of typedefed values.

PS: My article on C# and Java is done and should be on K5 on Sunday after seeing your responses to previous articles involving programming languages I'm interested in your opinions.

[ Parent ]
Don't take out related skillz, though (none / 0) (#168)
by macavity on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 09:19:16 AM EST

> However, one thing to remember is that if you
> don't want a job doing X, don't put X on your
> resume unless you absolutely have to have it
> there just to pad things out
>
Not always. If I'm reviewing CVs for a C coder, for example, and I see some experience in Perl or Shell scripting, it indicates that this person has a broader understanding of programming than a C specialist - which generally (not always) makes them more desirable as an employee.

Likewise, if I'm hiring for a Linux admin, I'm more likely to hire someone with 2 years' Linux admin experience AND 5 years Solaris admin experience than someone with just the former.

I certainly agree though that totally unrelated stuff should be C-k'd.

I'd say leave it in if you're able to explain in an interview why it makes you more suited to the post; otherwise nuke it.



[ Parent ]
resume nitpick (none / 0) (#141)
by bobsquatch on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 04:43:25 AM EST

Your link to "Microsoft Corporation" actually goes to gatech.edu. Might wanna fix that...

[ Parent ]
RE: resume nitpick (none / 0) (#144)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 02:44:19 PM EST

Your link to "Microsoft Corporation" actually goes to gatech.edu. Might wanna fix that...

Thanks, I don't know how I missed that.

[ Parent ]
Dude... (none / 0) (#149)
by nutate on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:19:30 AM EST

Just look at your GPA, your recognitions, and your experience. Your resume is not BS. Plus, with the stuff you've written for k5 and /., it seems like some employers would know you by name already. :)

[ Parent ]

A little harsh (4.60 / 5) (#106)
by farmgeek on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:10:51 PM EST

but still true.

Also, please reformat your resume, it's a little hard to read. See if you can find a copy of Power Resumes or another such book. If your resume is not readable and grabbing to the people reading it, it will immediately go into the trash bin.

Also, try to keep from making your resume a laundry list of stuff you've done. Think of the types of jobs that you are looking for, and make a resume specifically for that type of job. If I'm looking for someone with great page design skills, I could care less about the tech support job they had. Put it on there to fill the timeline, but only list stuff that would be relevent to the targeted job.

[ Parent ]
Good advice (4.60 / 5) (#107)
by epepke on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 05:16:35 PM EST

Fourth, actually do something useful while you're in school. Learn things that companies will want to pay for. Not the phenomena of the moment, like web site design - the basics that make learning that stuff easy and stupid, so that you can always be on the trend of the moment if you need to be. This will mean that in what little free time you might have had, you'll be busting your ass on independent projects. Don't expect too much to come of them, but don't ever just say "I'm only doing this to learn," because then you won't do them. If it seems hard, see above.

Excellent advice. This is why college is a good idea. People complain that they never learn anything they can actually use in college. In a sense, they're right. What college teaches is the basis that you can use to see everything else with a trivial amount of effort.

Also good advice on the independent projects. I got my first job in IT because I took a mini-course in graphics and decided on my own to write some code to graph some 2-D fields as 3-D line plots. It impressed someone else in the class. I got my second job because I had written an interpreter for fun. Fun is very important.

Fortunately, nowadays there are lots of open-source projects to have fun doing.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
For once, I agree. (4.80 / 5) (#113)
by nutate on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 06:28:22 PM EST

I don't think I would ever agree with trhurler except under extreme circumstances. These are such circumstances. Signal11, you're going to have to seriously change your direction in life if you are going to get out of your self-proclaimed disillusionment. I've had some shitty stuff happen to me that forced me to leave university in the middle of my senior year. Yet I am employeed, even in this tough environment. I plan on returning and finishing what I started.

You, though, really have to get yourself together (start singing the U2 song if you must). You really are going to have to get past this too moral to conscientiously object thing and register with the SSS. You're moral argument, if it is sound will get you in as a conscientious objector, and you won't have to participate in any of the violence you oppose. You gotta get into school.

Second, your resume is a little off. 'Unix' is a broad term, change that to the variants that you have used. Some lines in your resume are just crazy:

"Researched and resolved complex issues using a variety of creative approaches."

You did what?

So... you are in a tough situation. So are many of my friends. Some of them are getting themselves together. Some are living with or off of their parents. The choice is theirs and yours. Anyway, you have to do something or you will be living with your parents until you have to take care of them, instead of the other way around.

trhurler offered some seriously good advice, and it is harsh, but, that's the way it is.

Good luck.

</agreement.with user="trhurler">

maybe if i had phrased this all in e-prime it would've sounded better...

[ Parent ]

Hate to say it (4.50 / 2) (#121)
by M0dUluS on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 01:37:11 AM EST

but trhurler is spot on in this advice. Especially about the resume.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
My comments... (3.00 / 1) (#143)
by Electric Angst on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 06:37:54 AM EST

See here for a better explanation.
--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
RE: Access (none / 0) (#154)
by spcmanspiff on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 01:44:59 PM EST

Nobody wants a Unix guru who actually would condescend to using Access, because they know from experience that such people are either desperate or else incompetent, or both.
*sigh*

Don't remind me -- I've stooped to using Access for a contract job here and have been pulling my hair out for the past two months over its many stupidities.... not to mention the fact that I don't even have time anymore to come home to harcore C++ stuff like I want to be doing.

On the other hand, it's for an environmental nonprofit, so I've avoided selling out and working for some evil corporation, and that's a big plus. And I'm free, free, free! after my contract is up (gonna take the time learn to ski, methinks), and if I can get a good rep as a consultant maybe I can do it with 'hardcore C++ stuff' as well (for more $$, too)...

Still, moral of the story: Access sucks. I'm not sure it's going to go on my resume or not yet. (Technical stuff aside, I'm doing all my own time/project management and completely independent, so those are good resume points. Only reason it's being considered for resume. Access sucks.) :)



[ Parent ]

re: the truth (none / 0) (#171)
by hrics on Mon Jan 21, 2002 at 12:15:22 PM EST

im afraid i have to agree. im probably at the same level or slightly above signal 11, having been in the right place at the right time i landed a job for a .com a couple of years ago after having worked in tech support for some time. got some entry level admin skills, and came out when the company folded thinking i deserved the same high paying job with a 'real' company. it took me a long time to realize and about 6 months of unemployment that i was back where i started, needing to finish college. so now im back doing tech support and starting school soon. the difference here is that i learned a lot when i WAS working more in the field and that will hopefully provide some edge in the future...

[ Parent ]
strategy - what can you most easily change (5.00 / 1) (#99)
by gregholmes on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 04:48:14 PM EST

Yes, I'll be obnoxious and semi-regurgitate in a top-level comment.

Many are recommending college, and a degree certainly couldn't hurt. However, your location, your ability to explain and present your skill set, the skill set itself, and other factors might be much more practically modified than your educational status, at least right now.

Also, I'm sure you don't present yourself in interviews as you do here, but attitude matters, and can color your presentation. Wouldn't you rather work with positive, pragmatic people who are eager to solve problems, learn from challenging situations, etc? That sort of talk may make your eyes roll, but it is something to think about in moments of self-scrutiny.

I recommend one book - Knock 'em Dead, by some author whose name I can't remember. Outstanding resource for job hunting and career development in general. Find an older copy in a library if you must - the '97 edition has never done me wrong. If the title makes your eyes roll, see paragraph above.

And best of luck to you.



Some quick cash (3.00 / 2) (#114)
by finial on Fri Nov 16, 2001 at 09:46:47 PM EST

I think I've found where you can make some quick cash and it's a line of work I think you'd be ideally suited for. You could get a couple of hundred per appearance, I'm sure. Check it out.

Signal11 is far too lucky. (5.00 / 6) (#123)
by la princesa on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 02:57:05 AM EST

Firstly, he got some 40k/year job slinging web pages with practically no experience. Then, upon losing it and whinging about that fact at k5, lots of people step up to give him truly useful and thought-out advice on how to get another IT job. All I can say is that when people who don't even like you offer excellent advice on how to acquire gainful IT-type employment, you should probably take it instead of hand-waving about 'morals' that neither stand up to scrutiny nor keep you fed and housed. I think war is quite pointless, but were I male, I'd do the conscientious objector thing to attend university and if that didn't work, I'd work part-time and save up for the tuition (which actually is how I've ended up paying for school.) The work, then attend method means 6-8 years for a degree usually, but in the interim, one can pick up campus-based IT work and continue getting experience. A degree isn't everything, but if one's IT skills are shaky, even taking a couple of extra years to get the thing helps prop up the experience one does have. Interestingly, if timed right, the off/on method of getting a degree can help one ride out economic downturns.

In other words, take the advice trhurler and Electric Angst and others have given you and head to your local junior/community college or public university. They're cheap and the credits transfer nicely to a private university if that is your ultimate degree goal. UPS has part-time shifts tailored to students (before classes and after classes, basically) that start at 8.50/hr. If you really want to crawl out of the hole you're in, a handful of k5 posts of all things have totally provided you with the information you'd need to do so. Don't blow it off. Just give it a shot. Effort never hurt anyone.

National Guard (4.00 / 2) (#125)
by claudius on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 09:28:07 AM EST

A possible partial solution I have not seen mentioned would be to join the National Guard. In the National Guard your duties will not involve combat save for the most grave of circumstances, you earn money towards college, and most of what you do will be useful to society in some way. (Train for the unlikely event of the U.S. being invaded, provide extra security at airports, help out disaster victims, help prevent mass looting and burning of cities during riots, etc). You can receive valuable job training while on the job and still have time for classes while not. And, at the very least, National Guard experience looks better on a resume than "K-Mart stocker" or "unemployed".

Don't miss the example of our President, who joined the Air Guard in large part to avoid being sent to Vietnam. My former roommate (who was enlisted in the Army National Guard) used to quip that the National Guard was a great place for pacifists like him who like to play soldier. It may well be your cup of tea.

Re: National Guard (5.00 / 1) (#151)
by RocketJeff on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 12:13:38 PM EST

The National Guard has, and will be, called up to provide combat troops. During Desert Storm National Guard units were activated and sent to replace many active Army/Air Force units in Europe that were sent to fight. And, even though it wasn't common, there were a couple units activated back during Vietnam.

In addition there are National Guard brigades that are the 'round-out' brigade for active Army divisions. IIRC, the 24th Division in Georga is one of several that has a National Guard brigade to round out it's total strength. If there was a need for the 24th, it's National Guard segment would be called.

Army Reserve units actually stands a better chance of getting called up, however. Since it's hard to train combat units with 1 weekend/month & 2 weeks/year the Army transfered a lot of their service support units to the Reserve to increase the number of active-duty combat soldiers. For example, most (all?) water purification units are in the Reserves. Yes, that hidious Pauly Shore movie was right in that respect...

[ Parent ]

Draft (none / 0) (#145)
by davidmacq21 on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 05:20:02 PM EST

There won't be any draft. I am pretty sure they learned it was bad in Vietnam. We have an all volunteer military and it works well. Notice in the current conflict they aren't even using regular troops. WW3 would have to occur before a draft was even considered. I went through ROTC and got a comission, but soon gave it up. The military isn't much fun. I also work in the tech industry or did, much like you. Another thing to consider about the draft is the conscientious objector status. Basically this means if you are drafted you say you have a problem with killing anyone and they will put you in a support role so you won't have to kill anyone. The reason I mention all this is that going back to school might be a very good idea. When there are no jobs, quit working and use the time to train. I am currently working on CCNA.

Any job is a good job but don't forget the future. (5.00 / 1) (#148)
by Cheerio Boy on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 11:12:27 PM EST


First, congrats on breaking down and getting a job outside of the tech field - it shows that you are a survivor. I commend you on it - I personally have not been able re-structure my internals enough yet to let me do that. I've been a tech person for ten years - it's hard to let that go. However my application will be in at Radio Shack or anywhere else it can be sometime this week because that's what's needed to survive.

Second, just because the economy sucks right now does not mean that it will always suck. You have to plan for that. There will be a future tomorrow regardless of what the world tries to do to it - you just have to figure out where you'll be in it. That's the easy part - the hard part is making steps to get there.

For instance, I've been out of work for several months now but in that time I've found a backer to start a company that sells goods on and off-line. We're working on finding merchant partners and customers in the market we're selling in. On top of that I personally have started making items as a hobby that I've managed to sell to other people as pieces of art.

Just from what I've see you write online I know that you're an imaginative person. You, like many of us, have that spark of creativity that many of the population of this planet do not have. You can, and have, made things work for you otherwise you would have spent even less time in the tech field than you already have. You have more than a few skills in this business. Right now you have the same golden opportunity that myself and others have if you can grab onto it and hold on.

Just IMHO what you need to do is this:

1. Find something that you enjoy doing and find out what it will take you to do that. Don't accept impossible as an answer - there's always a way to get from point A to point B. Most people just don't see it.

2. Take this time to find some way to improve any and all of your skils. No matter what skill you have it will almost certainly prove useful in the future. Add any skills to get you from point A to point B. There's no difference between the Einsteins and the Torvalds of the world and you or me except that they never gave up on anything they wanted to do. Period.

3. Don't stop in the middle. If you stop you'll never get started again.


Right now is the time to start on dreams and ideas because you have very little to lose. A couple of bills? Credit rating? They may mean a lot to you now but they are transitory. Your dreams, in the end, are not. You lose one it often takes many many revolutions of this annoying little blue ball we live on to get it back if you ever get a chance at it again.

I'll probably get massively flamed for all this but I wrote this in the hopes I could help someone else out there avoid some of the pain and dispair I've been feeling recently.

I wish you well and all the success in the world.



Resume / CV (none / 0) (#169)
by craigtubby on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 04:40:52 AM EST

Had a look at your website, looks nice, then had a look at you Resume/CV. I really hope you are not using it to apply for jobs? If a printed version of that landed on my desk, it would fall straight into the "file for reference" pile, or "bin" if you want. Why? Well first off I see is your techical profile, which when it comes down to it is just a list, it doesn't tell me anything I want to hear, like what, where and when, It gets slightly better later on, but include the "Skills" with the jobs. Then I get to your experiene area (Hmmm Job History - probably the bit I am most interested in), and the first thing I see is Web Master/Web Designer - does that mean you can't decide? Then a 3 line synopsis ... does that mean you couldn't be bothered? Then I check your dates ... 2000 - present, fine, 1999 - 2000, fine, 2000 - present .... what? 1998 - present ... Now I am thinking, Help Desk Analyst, who does web design on the side, do I really want someone who is likely to work on other projects? If your going to do work "outside", put it down as outside interests, not as part of your job history. Orangelist, now that looks interesting, End of Novemeber 2000, lets have a look at it? Whoa, its not there, its a "empty" domain - hold on it's past Novemeber 2001 - so your CV is at least a year out of date. Do I need to go on? Really? No I didn't think so.

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *

Oh Well (none / 0) (#170)
by craigtubby on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 04:42:27 AM EST

Please Ignore me, I ddon't even prewview my posts *doh*

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *
[ Parent ]

Displaced-Geek-HOWTO ? | 172 comments (171 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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