Sunday, September 29, 2019

Remembrance of my last good job

It’s interesting to walk past a building you worked in for four years 20 years ago, and where your career had its cardiac arrest one morning, Dec. 13, 2001.

The building is rather plain, compared to the original building across the street, Washington Ave, in Minneapolis, where now Voya (was ING, was ReliaStar) is still flashy.

I was thinking today, however, that no one really has a handle on what happened to the IT job market, as in the mainframe world it disintegrated into a gig economy.  It seemed that the field now belongs to the prodigies, who learned new ways of thinking early enough in life.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

CBD might make you fail an employer's required drug test

Recently there have been news reports of people fired, especially from law-enforcement jobs, for positive THC drug tests when they took CBD over the counter for back pain.
Quest Diagnostic, for example, has a writeup on the problem.   

Cannabidiol is not illegal by itself and does not have significant mind-altering properties.  But sometimes CBD’s may contain trace amounts of THC that cause positive drug tests.
I can recall having to take a urine drug test before starting my job at USLICO in January 1990, which eventually became Reliastar / ING / Voya .  The company soon dropped the requirement.
Supposedly you don’t get a positive test from being in a room or bar where other people are smoking pot, although it is a precautionary measure I used to be concerned about.

Update:  Sept. 25:

NBC Washington reports on Federal employees and especially employees with security clearances failing random drug tests over CBD and getting fired. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

"You Can't Be Anything You Want To Be", according to Bernard

I think I’ve used this creator on my Movies blog, but I wanted to share a video by Bernard, Chubbyemu, about career. He says “You Can’t Be Whatever You Want to Be”.

The speaker says he is 26 and has two degrees, and has a relatively good life (as an apparent “Asian American” in tech).  He grew up near Chicago (as did Tim Pool).  He says he was bad in English, getting an F on a paper on a criticism of feminism in a Victorian novel. He says he was good in math in science.

The video goes on to give another anecdote about a law school graduate failing bar exams, and then settles in on the idea of not being spread to thin.

That’s good advice, generally, as “we” need to be schooling people in the jobs that need to be done, the trades – except that they could go away with automation.

I have a personal issue with this.  In my background, I was moderately good at a lot of academic things and wound up with 32 years of stability employed in mostly mainframe IT when that was the dominant computing culture.   I really did not make the transition well, and I can see the mistakes I made in retrospect.  I might have become a classical pianist or composer – say had I been born a few decades later and had the tech advantage.

Other speakers tell it differently.  Martin Goldberg (“Economic Invincibility”) is big on versatility but talks about learning employable skills rather than college for most people.  Tim Pool talks about learning in the streets.  John Fish talks about reading and study habits (and sells audiobooks and other items good for students) but is spending his gap year working in tech and, so far, teaching coding classes online. John’s other passion is running track.  (I had a grad student friend at KU who was big on track;  another was big on baseball.)  Jack Andraka has built a research career over his undergraduate years at Stanford and now finishing it with a Master’s, research which some biotech companies are paying for.  Unlike some others, he doesn’t really need a YouTube channel.  His other passion was competitive kayaking.

Magnus Carlsen’s one big passion (besides working as a male model at one time) is chess.
Taylor Wilson will save our power grids.
But Bernard’s channel has some interesting advice, too.  Don’t live on junk food, another video explains what happened to a teen who did, and still gives a personal take on fat-shaming, much constructively than Milo.    

I seem to remember that Tony Orlando and Dawn used to preach, "you can be more than you are." 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The CompTIA Security+ certificate experience, according to Martin

Economic Invincibility (Martin Goldberg) shares his experience getting the CompTIA Security+ certificate for work.  He discusses the workbook and test. 

He discusses the workbook and exam (75-82 questions), which includes 30 “performance questions”.  

 It takes about two months to prepare, he says.
I did come away from watching this video with the feeling that my own job search experience after the beginning of 2002 might have gone differently than it did.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

California AB 5: uber/lyft drivers, truckers, freelance writers

California is all set to pass a law, AB 5 which would force many employers to classify contractors as employees if they meet certaing guidelines.  California made an exception for newspaper delivery carriers for one year with AB 170.  Here is the USA Today story.  
Some of the biggest groups of workers who might benefit would be ride-hailing drivers, for Uber and Lyft.  The standards for remaining a contractor and not getting employee benefits would be:  having your own business as a separate platform, having discretion over how you do the job, and doing something out of the employer’s normal course of business. The last provision seems to ensnare Uber and Lyft and probably trucking companies. But there is the issue that the drivers use and insure their own personal cars.  That sounds like a problem.
Consumers in California could find ride-hailing more expensive and closer to cab costs.
Freelance writers pose another problem.  There was a suggestion that if you contributed 35 or more paid pieces to a publication, even all online, you become their employee. 
 It is common for IT contractors to be W-2 "employees" of staffing companies who give them benefits, and that has been common since the 1970s. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

"Professionalism" is no longer a virtue in the new workplace

“How less professionalism will get you ahead in the workplace in the future”, by Aaron Hurst on the Big Think.

I became a “professional amateur” after my Dec 2001 big layoff (at age 58), and I would get asked “what is your profession” and they wanted me to sell insurance (since I had done the IT for it). Hurst says that AI will change everything. 

Friday, September 06, 2019

John Fish conducts "learn to code" (so to speak) livestream class from his new setup in Montreal

John Fish gives a two-hour class in coding Python from his new studio in Montreal, (Learn) Code with Us, in a livestream on Friday Aug. 30 that attracted over 800 students.

The title of the video brushes up against a supposed ban of the meme "Learn to Code" on Twitter since the phrase is thought to harass laid-off mainstream journalists. The phrase might have been meaningful right after Y2K two decades ago as older mainframe programmers needed to learn the style of terse scripting languages coded from the command prompt (or terminal mode) on the Internet. And do you learn it for Windows?  Linux? (more or less Apple).  
This is done on a Mac Pro (it looks like), so this could be useful to me soon as I prepare to set up a new Mac studio for my music.  If John knows much about music software, that would be a great idea for another class.

One issue for the Mac (I think I’ve covered it here before) is the controversy over why it doesn’t offer touch screen on the monitor, but requires some kind of interface like Wacam. 

There are supposed to be major announcements from Apple and Avid on their software next week from a conference in Amsterdam (Netherlands).

John seems to publish his videos on Saturdays, so I don’t know if there will be more classes (like what I just suggested), or coverage of workplace issues like bilingualism in Quebec. 

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Tips for using the Apple "Genius Bar"

Here’s a little article with tips about how to make sure your appointment with the Genius Bar at an Apple store really works, in Business Insider, by Lisa Eadicicco. 

One of the testiest problems is your iCloud password, which I have had trouble with, and which can be tricky to get reset. My iCloud PW seems to be the same as the Macbook.

Another issue is having the device backep up beforehand.
I find with Sibelius that if I change something (like an sib file) or add something, it doesn’t back up on Carbonite until the next time I log on to the Apple.  It is always one day behind.