I know. I never blog. I never write. I didn’t mean to leave off blogging on a cliff hanger again.

Where am I now?

First the good news – I’m certifiable!

OK. You already knew that, but I got my I.T. Network Design and Administration certificate from Seattle Central Community College back in June.

Still working on being Microsoft (& A+) certifiable and looking for an entry level I.T. job, though; while working evenings and weekends as a market research interviewer. Back to the future there. Market research interviewing has been my survival job for several decades, much like restaurant jobs for normal people.

Spring term, my final term, was crazy, but in a good way. Classes, an internship in the I.T. department of a medium size non-profit, work, and the rest of the time studying. Crazy, the way going to school is meant to be (at least for those of us who don’t come from wealthy families).

Considerably less crazy then 6 terms of:

  • begging for funding from a different program each term and not knowing if you’re really going until 2 weeks into classes. . .
  • waiting for money or a voucher to cover books up to one month into the term. . .
  • and at the very end, not knowing if I’d find a survival job before my unemployment extension was set to run out a few weeks before the end of the term .
Textbooks? We don’t need no stinkin’ textbooks! This stuff is easy…

Is this any way to run a Worker Retraining program? It still doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

It’s no wonder when I ran into one of my former classmates a couple months ago he looked like a werewolf.

Fortunately, I didn’t have much time to look in a mirror back in those days. . .

Certifiable and [I.T.] employable? I’m still trying to figure that one out.

OK. Time to get some pointers. Since I work evenings and weekends at my market research job, a morning job club at a coffee house with with a lot of I.T. folks my age sounds like a good idea. Right?

Mmmm. . . All looking suspiciously at me with my new I.T. Certificate (and maybe my not so grey hair, thanks to Clairol…Oh, wait,  and I went blonder as well…). I.T. workers who’ve been in the field a long time and now unemployed a long time. Some going for the same entry level help desk jobs as me. . .

Yet Microsoft said in the Seattle Times last week they need visas for more skilled workers from overseas because they can’t find skilled workers here.

Faced with 6,000 job openings and Congress at loggerheads over whether to admit more skilled workers from overseas, Microsoft on Thursday offered a twofer solution — charging employers millions of dollars for the right to hire more foreigners and using the money for training to eventually fill those jobs with Americans.


What gives?

Mind you, I’m not opposed to immigration, and I support the need for better technology education in K-12, which Microsoft also proposes. I still don’t understand how we both have so many of us looking for jobs in I.T., both seasoned workers and those of us with new training, and claims for a need to bring in more I.T. workers to the area.

We’ll see.

Microsoft makes it’s own, unique problems, though; by the way they treat their workers.  Especially their “stack ranking,” which Forbes magazine calls a “terrible management technique,” creating what Vanity Fair refers to as a “Cannibalistic Culture.”

How does stack ranking work? According to the Vanity Fair article:

“Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees,” Eichenwald writes. “If you were on a team of 10 people, you walked in the first day knowing that, no matter how good everyone was, 2 people were going to get a great review, 7 were going to get mediocre reviews, and 1 was going to get a terrible review,” says a former software developer. “It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.”


Forbes commentary on the Vanity Fair article:


I guess if you’re going to run through talented people like that, you might run out of people in Seattle and it might just help to hire people from, say, India, and then send them home when you’ve used them up. . .

Or am I being to0 cynical?


OK. maybe too much Warren Zevon for me. . .or not enough!