Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Favorite Graduation Speech

It's that time of year, and I've shared this commencement speech a few places, but not on the blog.

I adore Tim Minchin, and this speech articulates a few things I've agreed with for years. Now that I'm in a philosophy class, I keep thinking of a few statements from this address.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Job Search

In the span of four days, I applied for twelve jobs. Two returned 'thanks, but no thanks' (otherwise known as TNTs) in the matter of hours from my application. That pretty much tells me they use keyword software to look for whatever terms the successful candidate must have. I'm of the mind that automatically disqualify that way, they're missing candidates that might be more well rounded.

However, there are three that I'm in the process of doing the dance, one with an interview Thursday morning. The recruiter asked me how much I made at my most recent job, or what was the minimum I would accept for this role. I named my minimum and her tone changed, she became very chipper.

I'm realistic. I only have a year's experience in the field. My minimum is low for the corporate sector, but not that low. I also don't have the usual expenses most applicants have, in that my student loans are still in deferment while I am in school, and we don't have a mortgage or rent to pay.

Why not lowball to get a job and build my resume, especially when my lowball is still a 20% increase over what I left behind?

Friday, May 09, 2014

Employment Searches and Linked In

Officially, I was hired for a part time job today, but the wheels were set in motion a couple of weeks ago for me to return to doing Instructional Design. It is completely flexible, and I will complete a lot of my work from home at the same hourly rate I'd been earning before. One of my coworkers (who does all the hiring paperwork) is a little miffed that they didn't carve out a place for me to work on site, but such is life.

However, I still have to fulfill my obligations to search for a job to receive unemployment for the past two weeks. In the state of Florida, that either means that I must make five contacts or I can pay one visit to the job services office. As I've been reading and working towards writing some 30 pages for school this week, I opted to take the time to go check in to the job services office, a place I have not been since 2011, prior to earning my masters degree and working in my profession.

So, I check in and am assigned a computer. Once I log into the same Employ Florida Marketplace that I've done dozens of times at home, I enter in "Instructional Designer" and several other search criteria. It brings up a part time librarian job at a local university. Then add that the work schedule would prevent me from attending classes, and it's off the table.

The second job looks promising. Everything looks good, except the lifting 50 pounds regularly. Still, I figure what the heck, I'll apply, even though I can't meet the requirement. Employ Florida takes me directly to the employer's website, where I can log in via LinkedIn, rather than type in my resume. Considering that I use LinkedIn to full advantage and have my CV information up to date, I like this option. Unfortunately, clicking on the link does nothing. A little troubleshooting and I see a narrow red bar along the page, just above the red bar that's part of the employer's website. The new one informs me 'error, retry entry.' After several tries, I give up and figure I can apply from home.

A third job is equally promising, without the lifting requirement. Even better, the employer listed the job as a 'blind' meaning the name of the company is hidden, a week after they'd posted it with their name prominently displayed. The job descriptions are identical, which tips their hand. The blind lists the salary, which is higher than what I'd made previously. Okay, not bad-the days I'd have to be on campus would be tricky, but I'll cross that bridge if I get to it.

It also offers the 'apply with LinkedIn option', which I again try to do unsuccessfully. Now, the troubleshooting part of my training comes into play, and I note several things. I call over one of the career counselors, show him what was happening and ask 'Do you have social media blocked?', which of course they do. Including LinkedIn. Whoops.

I get that it is a form of social media, but it is one geared towards seeking employment!

So, I came home and was able to apply for both jobs in less than 20 minutes.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Thai Red Curry Coconut Chicken

Last week, I threw together a Thai dinner because we both felt like having Thai food. In the past year, I've gotten a really good handle on the cuisine's flavor profiles, and decided to try to do something with some chicken breasts we had.

This was a fairly quick one pot meal, and I'm going to make it again in the crock pot tomorrow. Here's the thing: Ed asked me to make it again a couple of days later, as he and Chef both LOVED it. So I picked up some more chicken breasts to create this once more.

Originally, I simmered it on medium heat for about 45 minutes to an hour, then shredded the chicken. If you'd rather chop the chicken into bite sized pieces and do it that way, that would work well, too. I opted to shred to infuse the flavor more.

2 pounds chicken (it probably would work well with pork or shrimp, too)
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 cup sweet chili sauce
1 can chunk pineapple in juice. (If you don't want pineapple, just use 1 cup pineapple juice)
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 onion, chopped
1 can coconut milk
Ed told me to leave the pineapple chunks out this time, but the pineapple juice is there for two reasons: is essential to the flavor and serves as a meat tenderizer.

Start by sauteing the chicken in the sesame oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Turn pieces over when they become opaque. Then add all the ingredients except the coconut milk. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until you can shred the chicken easily. Add the coconut milk and simmer for another five minutes.

Serve over rice. For us, that means some basmati or jasmine rice.

The ultimate compliment is that Ed said he'd order it and pay for it in a restaurant. While there are many meals I make that the family enjoys, that just steps it up a level. I suspect this will quickly be one of their most requested dinners.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

End of Semester, Colds, and Lack of Motivation

The personal pressure to post every day was pretty much wiped out with the cruise. It's probably a good thing, because I've got ideas for things to post, once I have time.

For now though, there's the massive writing project hanging over my head. It probably would have been done Wednesday night, but the generous menfolk of this house decided to share it with me. It has zapped my energy, and my ability to think in prose. So, here I am, Saturday night, and I still have a bunch of writing to do. At least the literature review chapter should be done by tomorrow night. I can get the others banged out on Monday. For instance, my intro chapter was written last year, I just need to tweak it, and the methods completely changed, but that can be fixed as well.

It's probably just as well I wasn't working, though I find that when I have a cold and I go to work, I just plug away at things and don't think about it too much. Not sure if that would have happened with this one, though.

Next week should be quiet, then the school and work things begin again.