Category: Unemployment


It has been forever since I did a “state of the union” post. So I thought I would cover several topics.
 
 
Employment
I managed to get a real job starting later this month. For the last few months, I have been working at a tutoring center teaching math and a little science. If you have read my blog before you know I don’t like kids or teaching so it was not fun. But, it was a minor amount of income. With my new job coming up, I will be moving (next week) to Alabama. I know, the South. The good thing is that it’s a good job and related to my chemistry background. The other thing is they are paying for everything. I’m even getting temporary housing for a while so I can be in the area to find a permanent place to live.
 
 
moving
 
 
Food
Since I had not been working full-time, I had not been making new recipes. I didn’t want to waste money on food I may not like. Once I get settled in my new place, I will start that up again. I know I have some followers that are only here for the cooking adventures. In general, I have been eating healthily so my weight has been around the same. I’ll pay more attention to exercise later.
 
 
TV/Reviews
Reviews are the one thing I have not slacked on. This year I have improved on my Twitter usage. I have been getting a lot more favorites and retweets from people on or associated with the shows I review. Somehow I need to turn that into new followers. Also I am a lot smarter with the media attached to my posts. I’ve backed off YouTube since there are so many copyright issues involved with that. I’m going to start doing more memes and attaching my website to more of my pictures. It should help with my promotion. I expect to soon upgrade my phone (I still have a flip phone) so maybe I can use all these apps out there to make the blog better.
 
 
That’s it for the update. My blog anniversary is coming up soon, so more stats on the blog there.

I was thinking about trying some short podcasts of the reality shows I review instead of written blog posts and posting them through YouTube. I’m not sure the logistics behind that yet. I don’t know if people are more willing to listen to things than read. I would probably add pics of the show I’m talking about in the podcast/video. I wouldn’t be in the video because I don’t like that. I will do some checking to see how easy that would be. Always trying to think of new interesting things to do on my blog.
 
I had a record week with the uncensored Dating Naked picture of Jessie Nizewitz (girl suing the show for not completely blurring her). My highest day was 11,886 views in one day which is crazy. I know I’ll never beat that so it is a little disappointing. I just keep finding ways to increase my traffic. Fortunately for me, unfortunately for my blog, my job interviews had been picking up. I’ve had at least 5 phone interviews and 2 on-site interviews in the last month. So, I have been too busy to do other things. I had the on-sites in the last 2 weeks. That was filled with delays, flight cancellations, and being stuck at airports in random cities. All good though but lots of waiting for phone calls.

I have been waiting forever it seems to watch Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Thanks to Netflix having Beckett on Film I was able to. I did like it. I think I could write my own story/post mirrored after it about unemployment. I may do that since I have all the time in the world to do it. I watched some of the other plays on the disc and decided to put the rest of the set on my DVD queue.
 
I thought about in my spare time writing other things like reality or TV show ideas. Maybe even some stories but I’m really not a reader so I don’t know how that would work out. Not that I can’t read, I just don’t enjoy it.

I got my Ph.D. today in 2008, which seems like a long time ago. I’m only 75% convinced it was a good idea. I think things would have better if I didn’t graduate right before a recession. For the majority of the time since then I have been employed at the level I should be. Today, I had a phone interview and an on-site interview scheduled for next week so things are still progressing. It would be great if one of those turns into a real job but who knows.
 
 
On an unrelated note, I watched this week’s episode of Catfish last night. It was all about a girl, Sammie, who was semi-stalking barely famous actresses/singers on Twitter. She was making up other profiles, promoting their independent movies, and speaking with the women directly online. The main woman, Tracie, said Sammie was so good at promoting of her work that she considered hiring her. That all went downhill when Sammie introduced Tracie to her best friend. Reese. They all talked online. One day Sammie said Reese was in the hospital (Tracie knew Reese had cancer) and later died. A funny thing happened when Reese favorited an RIP tweet. Yep, after she died she still had access to a Twitter account. That was removed and soon after all the past tweets from Reese and Sammie disappeared from Twitter. Other things occurred like funeral videos and creepy poems. With some checking, Tracie confirmed that Reese did not exist. Tracie contacted the show to find out what happened to Sammie and if she was still around under a new name. It was a complex episode. I suggest you watch it.
 
 
I was thinking about how I need fans. People should be writing poems and such for me just because. I’m not famous so I don’t know how I can accomplish this. Maybe when I get my next real job I will have time to seek semi-fame.

Future Fame

It’s been a while since I did a “State of the Union” address about myself. I just decided now to do one with no real planning. See topics below:
 
 
Under/Unemployment
 
I am still underemployed with my contract end date rapidly approaching. I decided not to do a website countdown this time. No real good prospects either. I briefly thought about starting a business but quickly realized that I don’t have any skills or talents that would sustain a good business. I even got a book from the library that talked about online business and eMagazines. I got through chapter 1. So it looks like I will have to wait for someone to employ me in some way.
 
 
Diet/Exercise/Weight Control
 
I was using MyFitnessPal to help myself lose weight and in total I lost 31 lbs. I am still in that weight range. I decided to stop using MyFitnessPal daily to track all my food. I had 539 day log-in streak by time I stopped. I thought I can do all this without the food logging. I think I have been without for a couple weeks now. Exercise has completely fallen off. I had hurt my knee a couple of times exercising so I don’t see the point of that anymore. The weather is getting warmer so I’ll probably use the pool nearby to swim for exercise. All my exercise experience has made me anti-exercise. I have enough to worry about with the job stuff than to deal with exercise and going out of my way to be healthy. I’ve completely changed my eating habits so I’m not concerned about gaining all the weight back.
 
 
Food
 
I have started eating fruits or vegs with every meal to increase my potassium and fiber (along with vitamins and minerals). The thing I eat a lot now is avocado ranch dressing. I make it with whatever ranch dressing I have and an avocado. I have it basically every week. It is nice because my ranch dressing, which I used a ton of, lasts much longer. I even bought a pineapple corer (I think that is what it’s called) so I can eat fresh pineapple rings instead of buying dried ones so often. I haven’t been baking or trying as many new foods lately because of the general cost of that type of thing. The only thing I overspend on is food (and candy). But, I figure food is good for you and you have to eat anyway.
 
 
TV/Movies/Entertainment
 
I am surprised how nice it is not to have cable. I don’t miss much since I found other ways to obtain video. I downloaded AdBlock Edge for Firefox and not only does it block ads on Facebook but also commercials on videos from YouTube and TV websites like FOX and VH1. It is amazing.
 
Netflix is always #1. At the moment, I’m looking for new shows to watch. Revenge has just gone away for their summer break. That show is just great and confusing. I have a few things I plan to check out in the next week or so: Scandal, Once Upon A Time, and Vikings. Everyone says Scandal is good so I need to at least see a few episodes. I am still completely connected to the Dan LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio/The Ticket (Miami). As I say, I care nothing about most organized sports. I rather play or be at a game than follow who is who. However, this show is so funny and is full of interesting topics (lots of racial discussions, which I love). It’s slightly annoying because they are all about basketball right now and I think that is one of the most boring sports. It is like NASCAR but with people. People going back and forth on what might as well be a track for who knows how long.
 
Anyway, I saw Jezebel this weekend and was disappointed. Even though, Bette Davis and Henry Fonda were in it, I just can’t watch Civil War era movies set in the South. It is too annoying for me to see all that mess.
 
 
Organization
 
I am slowly going through my stuff and throwing things away. I finished with my clothes and got 2.5 large (yard sized) bags full to give away to Goodwill (if they take them). I want to go through everything now just to downsize in case I move again.
 
 
Well I think that is everything. I am months behind on looking at other blogs but that is on my list to start doing that again. I’m surprisingly busy even though I feel like I don’t do much. As of now I have 129 followers and 15,505 hits. I’m still surprised people subscribe to my blog. With more promotion maybe I can have thousands of followers without being famous though. I don’t want people camped outside my apartment trying to take pictures of me. I don’t like having my picture taken so there would be a problem.

I just got back from a job fair in Dallas, Texas the other day. I gave out some resumes and had 2 (screening) interviews on site. Because I had been planning and preparing for that I am so behind on my reviews and diatribes. I plan to catch up on that in the very near future. Still no new job but the place I’m at has found resources to move me back to full-time (still at a reduced salary). So that is semi-good news. I assume at some point I’ll get a real full-time job.
 
To make up for my lack of blog writing and reading, I put together a video of a couple things I saw at the Dallas World Aquarium. I like aquariums. I was very annoyed at all the kids running around interfering with my picture taking. This aquarium was decent. It was a zoo/aquarium so it had lots of birds (don’t like those) and a panther (big cats!).
 

What a day I had today (Monday).  I was told that I had a doctor’s appointment at 7am for a fasting blood test with a urine test.  I know you all wanted to know that but it is important to the story.  The night before, I finished dinner at around 7:30pm.  My plan was to drink a lot of water before bed so when I wake up I can just get up and go to the doctor.  What really happened was I woke up several times in the middle of the night and then drank more water.  So, I didn’t sleep much.  Once I got up and left for the doctor’s office I thought I was on track.  I went to the office door, it’s locked.  I wait 10 min, still locked.  I decide to go home at 7:10am to check the doctor’s office website to make sure I didn’t get the day wrong.  I didn’t.  I got the time wrong.  My appointment was at 7:30am.  I made the appointment over the phone and wrote it down on my calendar while still on the phone and the woman said 7am.  Of course before I did this, I had to go to the bathroom.  I take my water bottle, go back, and get in there at 7:40am.  I wait about 5 min.  I have to reschedule because I have a phone interview at 8am that I didn’t want to be late for.  Rescheduled for 9:50am (still fasting).  I realize it is about 7:50am.  Since, it is school time I wasn’t sure if I could get home in enough time to get the call.  So I waited in the car in the parking lot of the doctor’s office for the interview.

It was cold in the car, but I figured I didn’t want to drive and miss it.  I do the interview, I don’t think they read my resume really so not much stock in it.  I probably could have canceled that.  After the interview, I went home waiting, drinking more water, and not eating.  I ended up at the doctor’s office on time, but another problem, I’m not a normal human.  I say that because people seem to have a hard time taking my blood out.  It usually takes 2 people to stick me with needles at least once in each arm.  They just say it’s not coming out very fast.  I’m not sure if that is my issue or theirs.  It’s not good for me though.  Every time I go there it’s more and more of an ordeal.  This time it was actually burning.  I may be some kind of alien creature with resistant blood.  That would be cool.  My arm was sore hours after I left there.  It’s about 12 hours later now and I just have one large spot that is still sore.  I think it’s crazy.  I have to go back to the doctor in a week for the results so I think I’ll have to complain or something.  If this spot is still sore tomorrow I’m going to call and ask them what I’m supposed to do about it.  I was tired, but not so much now.

As an aside, when I wake up I watch Mike & Mike on ESPN2.  Today, they were in St. Louis I think for the World Series (end of the season baseball game for the non-Americans).  Some cheerleaders came out, no idea why because there are none in baseball.  These girls had “SLU” on their tops.  I immediately thought, “do they have SLUT written on their shirts?!” LOL.  It was entertaining for the morning.

I was watching my typical ESPN Radio Line up the last couple of days and you always get athletes plugging some event in which they are involved. Those people are already rich and so do they really need an extra $1 million a year? Why can’t companies sponsor me as a normal person? Isn’t the way that YouTube videos go viral enough for them to put a million or maybe even $500k on me to circulate information? Since I have reduced working hours, I could even travel around for them. They don’t need to give me a first class ticket.

 

There are several products that I use daily that I could promote. Not sure if I should name names but if you have a big company and will to pay normal people feel free to contact me. FYI billion dollar alcohol companies, I’m not a drinker so I can’t be an endorser. Unless you want to hire me as a chemist, then I can do it because I can analyze anything. Really, I can.

As I was being driven to the airport back from another on-site interview, I thought about how there were good and bad parts to this process that non-PhDs may not know about.  I often think of this when my Facebook “friends” post about their job interviews.  First, let me outline the general steps to the Ph.D. / graduate level hiring process.

  1. Phone screening with HR/Recruiter.
  2. Phone interview with Hiring Manager.
  3. On-site interview.

The level of stress only seems to increase as you get down the line.  You would think that as you got closer to getting that job things would feel better but not so.  My degree is in chemistry so I will be looking at it from the science side of things.  I’m sure there are differences between other fields and career stages.  I am still at the beginning of my career so my problem is everyone wants experience which is difficult to get when you are not that far removed from schooling.

 

Step 1:  HR and Recruiters

99.9% of the time, they are not scientists so there is only so much they can ask you as far as prescreening questions.  I think they usually write down your answers to questions the Hiring Manager gave them.  I had one call when the person said they were typing my responses so if there was a time they said nothing it wasn’t because I said something wrong.  This is also the time you get the “What is your biggest strength/weakness?” type questions.  After this you wait days, weeks, maybe a month to hear you are moving on to the next round.  You are one step closer to being America’s Top Model (I don’t even know if that show is still on).

 

Step 2:  Hiring Manager

Now this person is the potential boss or a high level co-worker who knows exactly what they are looking for in the position.  You don’t so that’s part of the fun/stress I suppose.  Sometimes it’s a group of people on the phone call so you get a range of voices coming at you with questions.  You hope it is done in an orderly fashion but sometimes it’s not.  Questions at this stage can be much more or only slightly more technical than the phone screening.  It really just depends.  The worst thing is getting someone that you can barely understand.  If you didn’t know, the majority of graduate chemistry programs in the United States have lots more non-Americans in them than Americans, therefore, most of the people out there with a Masters or Doctorate are not American.  I have known people from in these programs that have perfect English and you know every word they say face-to-face.  But getting those people on the phone is completely different.  And in this situation, let’s add that it may be speaker phone.  Asking for people to repeat themselves over and over again just gets tiresome for you and them.  Adding to this could be the person’s ability to work the equipment they are using so volumes are low or high.  Once you get through this stage you probably have more of a feeling what they are looking for.  Their questions may focus in on a specific project or area you worked.  That or that person did something similar to that and they just wanted to talk about it.  At the end of this, you may have to wait even longer to hear anything.  I would say weeks not days.  I usually ask them for a timeline before the call is ended so when that passes you can email whoever to find out the status.

 

Step 3: On-site Interview

If you are lucky enough to beat out hundreds of people to get to this point you know you are in good shape.  I would guess companies bring in the top 5 people at this stage.  For me this is the best and worst part of the whole experience.  Best part for me is the travel.  The majority of the time the company pays for your flight, hotel, meals, and sometimes rents you a car.  It can be tricky to arrange travel.  I imagine if you live in Hawaii it could be very expensive.  The hotels you get are so nice because they want to kind of impress you with the company and how they treat you is definitely part of it.  I’ve been to some really nice places.  Many of the states I have been to are because I was there for an interview, work, or school activities which I marked on the map below.

US Map - Interview Locations

The worst part is the full day of an interview.  Most often they fly you in the night before your actual interview.  I’ve had interviews that were only a few hours and then you are left to do what you want.  Others are a 9am to 3 or 5pm series of interviews with several people in the company.  At some point at the graduate level you are expected to give a 30-45 min presentation on your research experience particularly related to what they do or the job description.  I don’t really mind the presentation as much because I worry about the questions I will get either at the end (or during) my presentation. To illustrate the range of questions I get let’s take this scenario.  You have spent the last 4-5 years of your life studying apples.  You know several ways to use apples and the various parts of apples (skin, core, seeds, etc.).  You gave the best presentation ever and you ask for questions.

 

Expect to get questions like:

  • What country do apples come from?  I wonder how popular apples are in other countries.
  • Do you work with apple sauce?  I really like that.
  • Does the US grow more apples or oranges?
  • Could you genetically modify apples to make them white on the outside and red on the inside?
  • What is your favorite type of apple?

 

The presentation can be at any time of the day.  I prefer early so people can ask you questions about it when they meet you later on instead of them saying:  I don’t know if you are going to talk about this later but…  One-on-one meetings can be conversational or they show you a problem written on a piece of paper that they want you to work out.  Depending on the amount of time you are there, you may be taken out for lunch and/or dinner.  Then you have to find things to talk about with one or more strangers.  I like to talk about general things and ask about the area (housing, food, etc.).  Being an introvert as I am it takes some work on my part to get through this type of day.  To be constantly talking for 8 hours unless you are a teacher can be difficult.  The whole day is to decide if you can fit into the company culture and do the job.  By the end of the day I usually have a headache.  If you are lucky you get an extra night in the hotel to recover, if not you go directly to the airport.

Since I’m still in the process, I’m not trying to give advice on how to handle it all.  I just have had lots of experience with it and thought I would give insight to the people outside on what it is like in case they wondered.

In my underemployment, I spend my days listening to ESPN Radio.  I’m not really an organized sports fan but I enjoy the debate and humor in these shows.  I was listening to SVP & Russillo and they played this sound.  It is an Alabama fan calling into another show to respond to Danny Kanell’s take on her team at the moment.  Today, they had Danny on their show to talk about it so I thought I should find the audio and share it on the blog.  I’m lukewarm on Danny Kanell.  He has a jock type attitude but be did play football so it fits.  If you are not from the United States let me take a second to explain to you the stereotypes about the state of Alabama which is in the southern part of the country.

1. The South is seen as not as educated or rich as the rest of  the USA.

2.  They are referred to has hillbillies or rednecks which is generally seen as being racist, close-minded, and violent.

3.  If you ever saw films like Deliverance, you know the setting.  People sitting on their porches in the middle of the woods wearing overalls, no shoes, and questionable family trees with little branches.

I know every country has their own group of people who have an accent that is thought of as not sophisticated.  Well, the southern accent is ours.  Think about all this as you listen to the audio.

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