Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fake Football Universe Revival

Hello there everyone.

I was just browsing through some of my old posts and spotted this one that covered a week in my college football "Alternaverse". Back then, I was rocking a Playstation 2 and playing NCAA Football 2007. My teams at the time were the USC Trojans, Colorado Buffaloes, and San Jose State Spartans. I didn't post anything after that but I had fun writing up the little blurbs on my teams' games and it's fun to read them now. Just as a little exercise in writing and time suckage, I'd like to revive this process. I've since upgraded the game system to an Xbox 360 and the game to NCAA Football 2013, but the spirit is still the same. EA Sports has done away with the player discipline portion (not sure what year that happened) so there won't be any infractions for me to embellish in my write-ups. Maybe I'll pick a random player from each team and write up a whole fake back story along the lines of, say, Manti Te'o? We'll see.

My two current teams in the game are my hometown Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Texas State Bobcats. Whenever I get a new version of the football game I will always start with the Cornhuskers. After I've dominated for a few years (I've already won two National Championships) I will usually have my "coach" of the Huskers take a position with a different team. But I'm still at Nebraska for now. So, my two coaches are the faux Bo Pelini (not to be confused with this faux Pelini) with the Huskers and a young whippersnapper by the name of Nate Johnson at Texas State. I find it both satisfying and frustrating to play with more than one team. You get more variety in opponents, talent, and bowl games by playing with more than one team. Especially if you have two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum like Nebraska and Texas State. But it also takes you twice as long to go through a season if you're playing with two.

The pull of a powerhouse team (aside from favorite team allegiance) is that you know you will always get top-tier talent and will almost always be in competition for a national title. But that can also get boring if your team is so good that it wins it all year after year. That's great when the real-life team is winning like that, but it gets boring in a video game. Hence the attraction of a team near the bottom. You get the challenge of trying to win with a team that is not nearly as talented. Recruiting is much harder and it usually takes at least one season to even get ranked in the top 25 and three-to-four more to be in contention for a national title. And this is even if you go undefeated and win your toilet bowl game. Usually, if your team is coming from a lesser conference and you perform well for a few years, you will be invited to join a better conference. This helps a lot in the quest for the National Championship. But it also increases the level of your competition.

In the previous "Alternaverse" the team I brought up from obscurity was San Jose State. It took quite a few years but eventually I was able to get marquee recruits and win multiple national titles. Patience and lots of time wasted are the keys to success.

I don't know how long I'll actually run this little fake football recap but I hope to have some fun with it. If you've read any of my blog you know that I am not consistent. At all. In fact, I am only consistent in not being consistent. I'm gonna shoot low and promise at least three write-ups. We shall see. In the meantime, watch this video of a dude and his dog talking about bacon.



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Finis Est Principo

Do you remember all of that whining I was doing about having to go to job interviews and working with a recruiter and being rejected by most of the places I interviewed at and waiting impatiently to hear back from the one place that hadn't rejected me yet?

Well, I heard back from that place.

And they offered me a job.

.

.

.

.

Hooray!

Now, as my faithful readers, you probably want to know the nitty-gritty on the whole process. I've been purposefully vague on here (if you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook you've probably seen me check-in at a few places for interviews) because I wanted to wait until I finally had a job. There was probably no good reason for that. Maybe just to build suspense for you, my faithful readers! No, not really.

Anywho...

I actually interviewed at a business a few months before I finished school. That place is Five Nines, a local managed IT services company. I interviewed there twice (first interview was 10/23/2012 and the second was 11/2/2012) with an understanding that I would be done with school in December and able to start at the beginning of the year. When that time rolled around I was told that there weren't any openings at that time in their help desk area. Bummer.

My next interview was January 28 (two days before my birthday, yay!) at the University of Nebraska Foundation for a help desk position. The interview went well and I thought it would be fun to work there. The interviewer told me that it could be a fairly lengthy wait before the second interview so I knew it would be a while before I found out. I didn't even get a second interview. I got the rejection email on February 26.

On to interview number two (of 2013, anyway). This time I met with some folks at MacPractice, a company down in the Haymarket here in Lincoln who provide practice management software for doctor's offices and support for that software. This particular position would have been in their call center providing support for the various users of their software. This interview also went pretty well but I didn't know if I necessarily wanted to work at a place like this. I've already worked in a high volume call center and didn't know if I wanted to spend more time in that kind of environment. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for being busy and having to deal with a lot of things at work. That's what work is. But, I just wasn't necessarily liking the environment or the vibe from that particular place. I'm sure it's a fine place to work, just not for me. So, I wasn't too broken up about their rejection email that arrived on February 12.

#3. This interview was with Olsson Associates on February 20. I was really impressed with them. There were four people in on the interview with me but I didn't really feel intimidated by them. I felt that I really presented myself well and had a good rapport with the interviewers. This was the company that I had the phone interview with, which was on February 27.

Are you guys with me still?

On April 2nd I got a call from Olsson Associates and they offered me a position with their company. I was slightly shocked, very relieved, and super excited to get that call! It had been such a long time that I figured they weren't going to offer the job to me and were just taking their time before they called and told me they'd chosen someone else. But, I wasn't doing too good of a job remembering (even with Wanda reminding me every so often) that this was how the job search process goes. It takes time. It's frustrating. It can be demoralizing. But you just have to keep trying. I'd also like to point out that the situation I found myself in after graduating was infinitely better than what scores of other graduates find themselves in. How, you ask?

1. I still had the same job at AdventSource that I had held while I was a student. They let me stay there while I hunted for a permanent position and were always flexible when I needed to leave for an interview. I will be eternally grateful to them for the opportunity to work and learn while I was in school.

2. My wife has a great job that she loves. We weren't in a situation where I was the only source of income. None of this school stuff would have been possible without my loving wife, Wanda. Thanks babe!

3. It only took me about three months of full job hunt mode to get a job. Some people search for much longer than this and still can't find any work. I know that I am lucky and need to be grateful for what I already have and the opportunities that are before me. Now I just need to make the most of them.

I start my new job as a Computer Systems Technician next Monday, the 22nd of April. 8:00 AM sharp!

Thanks for reading, everyone.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Another Week, Another Interview

Note: I'm purposely not saying what companies I've interviewed with and I know that it's probably getting hard to keep all of my vague references straight. Bear with me. After I've finally landed a job I'll account for my job search experience in greater detail.

Another note: Do you think it's wise to keep under wraps the names of companies you have dealt with when interviewing? I don't know what kind of repercussions can come from detailing the process but I suppose as long as you're not slinging mud it's probably okay. Regardless, I don't intend to reveal the companies until after I've gotten a position. For some reason it just feels better that way.

--------

I still haven't heard back from the company I had the phone interview with. I'm finding job searching to a be a depressing endeavor. I'm really trying to temper my expectations for any job, even if an interview goes well because it seems that a rejection is the likeliest of outcomes.

I just got off the phone with a recruiter at a local tech company and I've got an interview set up for next Tuesday. So far, that's 4 initial interviews I've landed myself and 0 for the IT staffing agency I'm working with. I'll let you all know how it goes.

In the meantime, I'm still hoping to hear back from the previous company.

**crosses fingers....again....**

Monday, March 4, 2013

And Then There Was One

I just got off the phone with the representative from the IT staffing agency that I've been working with. If you remember, I was waiting to hear back from them regarding a potential job interview. No such luck. The company decided to interview some other candidates but not me. Oh well. Now I'm just waiting to hear back from the company that I had the phone interview with last week. In the meantime, I need to check out some job postings.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hold That Phone

About that phone interview that I had yesterday: it was a bit exhausting.

It was supposed to last about an hour and it clocked in at about 15 minutes over that (some of that overage can be attributed to my rambling tendencies); it felt like a mash-up of all of the worst kinds of interview questions. This was an evaluation interview so the interviewer was following a specific set of questions and was typing my responses into her computer. I wasn't allowed to ask for any explanation or clarification of the questions. I was only allowed to ask for the question to be repeated. I won't go into specifics right now, but there were lots of questions followed either by "can you give an example of [particular trait and/or situation]?" or, "can you rate yourself [regarding trait] on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being high?" At one point, one of the earlier questions was repeated and I'm guessing it was probably to see if I would change my answer or be tripped up by it. I think I did okay but I know that I could have answered some of the questions better and that I rambled on a bit too much on a lot of them. I kicked myself about that after it was over and I hope that I didn't sink my chances with that company. I was told that I'd hear something from them next week so here's to hoping that it's to offer me a job and not to turn me down.

*crosses fingers*

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Now Get On With Your Life!

So, as usual, it's been a long long time since I've posted anything on here. Always with those "I'm gonna try to post more!" BS lines. If you, my constant and faithful readers, haven't figured out by now that I am a sporadic blogger, you may never figure it out.

Now for an update:

I graduated (again) but don't get too excited, it's just another bachelor's degree. As I've mentioned previously, I've been studying computers and IT stuffydoodles. I finished up in mid-December and after a nice holiday I started searching for jobs. So far I've had three interviews and a meeting with a recruiter for an IT staffing agency who is basically pimping me out to various companies in hopes of landing me either a full-time permanent position or contract position. All three of the interviews I've landed myself so kudos to me! I'm waiting on one position from the staffing agency but so far have not heard anything about getting an interview. I felt that all three of my interviews went well. I came out of each feeling very confident. Of those three, I have received two rejection emails. One of the positions I'm glad that I wasn't chosen because I don't think I would have liked working there. It was in a call center and as I walked in and waited for the interview to start, bad vibes/memories of my previous work in a call center came to mind. So no tears over that one. The other position I got rejected for felt like it would have been a great job. I thought I nailed the interview and it sounded like it would have been a really cool place to work at. Of course they make it sound great in the interview, but it still seemed like it would have been a quality entry-level position. The third interview was just last week and I'm very excited about it (but not too excited, lest I get another rejection). I actually have a second interview with them today, this time over the phone. This one, if the phone interview goes well and I still get rejected, will hurt a bit. Such is life, eh? I'll try to post an update on my job hunt soon. I know you're all just dying to find out!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Final Countdown Has Begun...Again

Hey all you faithful readers out there! If you've ever read a thing or two on my blog you know that I'm prone to Grand Canyon-esque lapses between my posts. And it's been 44 days since my last activity here. But I've actually got a few semi-good reasons for that this time. In addition to my elephantine laziness, of course.

I've been directing my occasional posting efforts to an up-and-coming sports blog that I recently joined as a contributor. The site's NoCoastBias.com (NCB) and you can find my bio page and blog posts here and here. My writing there focuses mostly on the NFL and making fun of myself. So, it'll be fairly similar to what I post here! You should definitely check out the site. Not just because of me (although that is a good reason to go in the first place!) but because the site's founder, Derek Hernandez, has put together an impressive list of writers and contributors and we're churning out new content every day. Speaking of new content, I'm proud to say that my good friend Andy Soto joined the site as well and has written some great articles. Andy's got a wealth of sports knowledge in his handsome noggin and if you're a Chiefs fan you're in for a treat (though Andy may begin writing some depressing articles if the Chiefs keep losing).

Also, as the title of this piece suggests, the final countdown has begun! Again. A little background for you:

Do you guys remember MySpace? That social networking site that a lot of people (myself included) though would outlast Facebook and keep giving us glittery profile backgrounds and embedded content forever! Well, we were wrong! Anyway, back about a month before I graduated from college the first time, I added the song The Final Countdown by Europe as my profile song. In case you haven't heard it or want to hear it again, here's the video:


God, isn't that freaking awesome? Did you ever wish that you could have lived through the eighties? To be fair, I was born in '84, so I was a little kid during some of the prime rocking eighties time. If only my birth could have been dialed back a few years then maybe I could have gone to a Phil Collins concert while he was still cool and not pumping out Disney tunes. What am I saying? Phil is the best. I love Phil Collins. Did you know he was in the movie Hook? As a kid who had ample time to both wear out my dad's No Jacket Required tape AND watch lots of VHS movies, I thought that was the coolest thing ever to see him in that movie. Anyway, what was my point with all of this eighties stuff? Oh yes, the countdown. Well, I'm counting down to my second college graduation. I can't decide if that's a sad thing or not. I suppose if it results in me getting some better opportunities than I had before (and more money is always nice) and if I enjoy my work more than I did before then it won't be sad. It'll be worth the time that I put into it. That's what I (and my very patient wife) are hoping for. And since I'm counting down to graduation, that means I have to actually pass my classes this semester! And that means actually doing homework and going to class! Terrible things, I know. But necessary.

So even though I still find many ways to waste my time, I do have TWO WHOLE reasons for why you haven't been seeing much of me here lately. I hope to remedy that a bit. I've enjoyed writing about sports at NCB but I've missed writing about whatever the hell is running through my head at any moment and there's no reason that I can't do both. If you're looking for hard statistical analysis and rock-solid predictions about the NFL on NCB you probably don't want to read my articles. Check out Andy's stuff or any of the other crew members who post on the NFL. But if you want to read something goofy, self-deprecating, and loosely tied to the NFL, then I'm your man.