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How is your career going?

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Re: How is your career going?

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Congrats!
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Re: How is your career going?

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The Institute is closing from 12/23 - 1/4, so I'm facing a long enforced vacation. Without pay, of course. Fortunately I knew this was coming and saved enough cash to get by with no problem. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, maybe I'll try once again to get back into gaming. Or even clean the house. I haven't cleaned anything in months.
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Re: How is your career going?

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Body finally rebelled and put me out sick. Fortunately, the covid test was negative, but whatever I have has been untreated for a week. So I get to be out longer than I want, at probably the worst time in my career. I shouldn't worry, I guess. 80 hour weeks aren't going anywhere for another 6 months...
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Re: How is your career going?

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Grats Brian and good luck Jeff.

Kasey - hope something turns up for you soon... :(
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Re: How is your career going?

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Zenn7 wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 12:33 am Grats Brian and good luck Jeff.

Kasey - hope something turns up for you soon... :(
Ditto.
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Re: How is your career going?

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Jeff V wrote: Fri Dec 11, 2020 7:52 pm Got second interview scheduled for Wednesday with the hiring manager and my two would-be peers (same position at distribution centers in California and South Carolina). I have a good feeling that if I don't fuck it up, my chances are good.
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by Kasey Chang »

All right... FINALLY! Second round of interview scheduled for Thursday. This time I am pulling out all the stops: green screen behind me, and I'll even wear the nice shirt. This one won't pay much, but it's in the city and not even that far from me. But obviously, I'm cautiously optimistic. This is the first 2nd round I've made in the whole of 2020. Not joking.
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by Zenn7 »

hitbyambulance wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 3:06 am
Jeff V wrote: Fri Dec 11, 2020 7:52 pm Got second interview scheduled for Wednesday with the hiring manager and my two would-be peers (same position at distribution centers in California and South Carolina). I have a good feeling that if I don't fuck it up, my chances are good.
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by gbasden »

Jeff V wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 4:10 pm
Xmann wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 10:12 am

Meanwhile, I got another interview tomorrow. The company is Harbor Freight Tools, not as much fun as the weed company would have been, but probably more practical a company discount as a homeowner. The job requirements are extremely well aligned with my skills, but I'm suspecting the salary is going to be an issue.
Yeah...if their salaries are priced anything like their tools, good luck.
If the job is similar quality to their tools, good luck.
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by Jeff V »

gbasden wrote: Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:48 pm
Jeff V wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 4:10 pm
Xmann wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 10:12 am

Meanwhile, I got another interview tomorrow. The company is Harbor Freight Tools, not as much fun as the weed company would have been, but probably more practical a company discount as a homeowner. The job requirements are extremely well aligned with my skills, but I'm suspecting the salary is going to be an issue.
Yeah...if their salaries are priced anything like their tools, good luck.
If the job is similar quality to their tools, good luck.
The interview didn't leave me with any sense of impending victory. After talking about prior jobs for 20 minute, the would-be boss concluded, "well, this job is like nothing you've ever done before." Then he goes into a spiel that left me convinced they really want a facility project manager. Now, I've done that sort of work before, but not on such a large scale (almost 2 million sq ft distribution center). And after the build out is complete (occupancy slated for July 2021) the job going forward aligns very well with my experience.

But at the $$$ they are offering, it is unlikely they are going to find much. That sort of PM goes for 25-30% more than I was last making, not 20% less. So who knows, when they are done with their candidate screenings, they might still come back with renewed interest.

Afterward, I got a call from a training company where I took a couple of project management workshops about a dozen years ago. Dude who called was harvesting LinkedIn for potential business. He said I might be able to qualify for a federal grant that will pay all expenses, they have a webinar next week going over how to apply for it. The price is right, and I did enjoy the workshops. He claimed 96% success rate passing the PMP after completion of this program.
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Re: How is your career going?

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Depends on one needs a PMP cert or not, I guess. Some jobs let you by with a Scrum Master or Product Owner. There are like what? 3-4 different Scrum certifiers?
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by Jeff V »

Kasey Chang wrote: Wed Dec 16, 2020 6:39 pm Depends on one needs a PMP cert or not, I guess. Some jobs let you by with a Scrum Master or Product Owner. There are like what? 3-4 different Scrum certifiers?
I've never seen scrum masters in anything besides software project development. Infrastructure PMs would benefit more from a PMP I guess. With prior experience and training, it would be more reachable, but on the exam application I'd have to fudge the requirement of X-number of hours of PM experience over the last couple years.
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Re: How is your career going?

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Debating I should apply to the company that rejected me once already (applied in September for tech support, rejection arrived in December). This position is IT Support, i.e. provisioning PCs and equipment.
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by malchior »

Jeff V wrote: Wed Dec 16, 2020 8:21 pmI've never seen scrum masters in anything besides software project development.
I see it all the time. I ran several workstreams on a Cybersecurity transformation project for the last 3 years. I modified the process a little bit because the client was global. I ran a morning stand up in EST and late afternoon stand up / hand off to a team overseas. I had a plan of big tasks for the transformation effort for the year but down in the workstream tactically I ran work in something akin to sprints.
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by Kasey Chang »

I got ghosted by an interviewer today. :D

Turns out... she actually "forgot", at least she claimed to. She's rescheduled for 12/22.
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by RunningMn9 »

malchior wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:04 pm
Jeff V wrote: Wed Dec 16, 2020 8:21 pmI've never seen scrum masters in anything besides software project development.
I see it all the time. I ran several workstreams on a Cybersecurity transformation project for the last 3 years. I modified the process a little bit because the client was global. I ran a morning stand up in EST and late afternoon stand up / hand off to a team overseas. I had a plan of big tasks for the transformation effort for the year but down in the workstream tactically I ran work in something akin to sprints.
We can add Scrum/Agile to the list of things that annoy the crap out of me when it comes to my profession. With the right team, they can work, but man, with the wrong team they lead to epic disasters.
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by malchior »

RunningMn9 wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 11:14 pm
malchior wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:04 pm
Jeff V wrote: Wed Dec 16, 2020 8:21 pmI've never seen scrum masters in anything besides software project development.
I see it all the time. I ran several workstreams on a Cybersecurity transformation project for the last 3 years. I modified the process a little bit because the client was global. I ran a morning stand up in EST and late afternoon stand up / hand off to a team overseas. I had a plan of big tasks for the transformation effort for the year but down in the workstream tactically I ran work in something akin to sprints.
We can add Scrum/Agile to the list of things that annoy the crap out of me when it comes to my profession. With the right team, they can work, but man, with the wrong team they lead to epic disasters.
I've seen a lot of methodologies and this sentence can be true for any of them. Some teams are just epic disasters no matter what. :)
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Re: How is your career going?

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RunningMn9 wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 11:14 pmWe can add Scrum/Agile to the list of things that annoy the crap out of me when it comes to my profession. With the right team, they can work, but man, with the wrong team they lead to epic disasters.
My brother-in-law is a programmer and we've chatted about this before. In the decade+ he's been coding, he's never once actually seen Agile pulled off correctly. He's been told or asked to do it a number of times, but often by people who only know it's a popular buzzword that makes things faster, not because they're devoted to the concept.

I feel like Agile is a top-down mentality. If the upper management in a company are intent on meddling, you end up with anything but Agile.
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by malchior »

:csmile:
Paingod wrote: Fri Dec 18, 2020 8:41 am
RunningMn9 wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 11:14 pmWe can add Scrum/Agile to the list of things that annoy the crap out of me when it comes to my profession. With the right team, they can work, but man, with the wrong team they lead to epic disasters.
My brother-in-law is a programmer and we've chatted about this before. In the decade+ he's been coding, he's never once actually seen Agile pulled off correctly. He's been told or asked to do it a number of times, but often by people who only know it's a popular buzzword that makes things faster, not because they're devoted to the concept.

I feel like Agile is a top-down mentality. If the upper management in a company are intent on meddling, you end up with anything but Agile.
FWIW this is one of the advantages of management consulting in a technical field. I've seen dozens of the biggest environments. I've personally run Agile "implementations" that worked pretty ok even though it was Cyber transformation. As an aside, I measure ok as we delivered projects on time at high quality according to the client.

I have seen pure-play development environments that worked extremely well. For example, I spent a year supporting one of the biggest financial markets and their workflows were Scrum/Agile-based and ran like clockwork there. There are many, many success stories. And probably a lot of failure stories. The difference likely comes down to proper management in the first place. If the place has good leadership with a clear vision and good strategy implementation capabilities, then whatever methodology they choose will eventually work. If it is populated by "Peter principle" types who can't get anything really done and skitter from position to position dropping buzzwords then yeah it won't work.
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Re: How is your career going?

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Oh, I agree absolutely that most people who want to do Agile/SCRUM have no f***ing idea what they're talking about. They just see it as "something that can squeeze more productivity out of workers" and not willing to commit the resources to actually changing the culture to enable agile or the amount of setup and feedback it requires. To them, it's a buzzword.

And as a result of this "bad management" most programmers who are kinda forced into agile team hate it as it adds yet another management layer on top of their workload. But when done right as a part of project management it *can* achieve wonders.

--------

Just got wind of a possible apprenticeship that can get me at least a paid learning position here in San Francisco. It'll actually pay twice as good than the job I'm applying for, WITH benefits, but it's only for 6 months. *sigh* But if it can lead me into a full programming position that pays 80K or more a year I'll take it. I'm pretty sure I aced the HackerRank test they wanted me to do. Solved both within 30 minutes or so, which is pretty good for me, but then I used to write about solving this sort of problem on my blog. It'd be pretty embarrassing if I can't solve **** like that. I am not too sure I passed all the JavaScript syntax quiz, but I hope they are more interested in the HackerRank performance than the JavaScript syntax quiz. And supposedly it's for non-traditional folks who want to get (back) into programming like me, i.e. self-study or bootcamp folks. Already applied, but let's see what happens.

I already met a few of the "people" team via this career event I just attended at that company. I don't know if I have an inside track or not. Not holding out TOO much hope, but it'd be VERY exciting if they pick me. I wouldn't know for another two months. *sigh*
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by RunningMn9 »

malchior wrote: Fri Dec 18, 2020 9:25 amThe difference likely comes down to proper management in the first place. If the place has good leadership with a clear vision and good strategy implementation capabilities, then whatever methodology they choose will eventually work. If it is populated by "Peter principle" types who can't get anything really done and skitter from position to position dropping buzzwords then yeah it won't work.
My experience with Agile, Scrum, CMMI, and various other methodologies are all in the software development space. Conceptually, I think that the Agile methods make a lot of sense. From a SW development side, I have spent a lot of time over my 25 year career experimenting with and using different rapid development methodologies.

My current environment is a project that I've been working on since 2016. The project started in 2014 and made a big deal about going Agile. They had three or four developers and added maybe 5 more over those first two years. Since 2016, they've had at least 12 developers on the team. It's the end of 2020 and the project hasn't shipped yet. Not all of that delay is the team's fault, but most of it is.

What the original Agile developers didn't understand was that their sprints were designed to get features in front of users as fast as possible. So they effectively spent their sprint time showing the user prototype code. Over and over and over again. Until there was a giant pile of prototype code that they then had to try and ship. And it's been a disaster. They incorrectly believed that Agile means no documentation. They didn't understand that Agile sprints are still supposed to produce production code.

Back in April I convinced them to let me re-architect the entire application and re-write it from scratch. They gave me 13 months. With one other developer. So a project that took a dozen people 6 years, I get a little over a year with one other guy.

The difference though is that the two of us are very experienced at doing exactly this thing. And so we are able to use Agile concepts and to streamline our design/documentation efforts and then scream through development tasks (without them being prototyped). And while we're doing that, we are completely changing how we test to bring things up to modern development standards.

My point is that bad development teams can never be saved by process. Good development teams will almost never be held back by process. Focus your energy on building good development teams without worrying so much about the process (although good teams will probably do better with Agile than something like CMMI, unless you are working for the military, in which case you'd be insane to try using Agile methodologies).
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Re: How is your career going?

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FWIW, ideal team size is about 7 according to SCRUM. So having a dozen people in a team is hindering the team. It should be separate teams, IMHO.
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Re: How is your career going?

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Kasey Chang wrote: Sun Dec 20, 2020 11:04 am FWIW, ideal team size is about 7 according to SCRUM. So having a dozen people in a team is hindering the team. It should be separate teams, IMHO.
I've worked on much larger teams and we weren't hindered by it. We were hindered by a lot of things on this project, the size of the team wasn't one of them. On the other hand, for this project, any more than two people would create unnecessary friction and slow us down. The ideal team size depends on too many factors, regardless of what the process nerds say. ;)
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by malchior »

RunningMn9 wrote: Sun Dec 20, 2020 5:33 pm
Kasey Chang wrote: Sun Dec 20, 2020 11:04 am FWIW, ideal team size is about 7 according to SCRUM. So having a dozen people in a team is hindering the team. It should be separate teams, IMHO.
I've worked on much larger teams and we weren't hindered by it. We were hindered by a lot of things on this project, the size of the team wasn't one of them. On the other hand, for this project, any more than two people would create unnecessary friction and slow us down. The ideal team size depends on too many factors, regardless of what the process nerds say. ;)
Plus no process nerd would ever give a hard, fast rule like that. Most cases are different. That is why I was talking about management before. Good management figures out ideal team size, blockers, and drives to efficiency. Unfortunately good managers are rare. And good engineering managers are even rarer.
RunningMn9 wrote: Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:56 amWhat the original Agile developers didn't understand was that their sprints were designed to get features in front of users as fast as possible. So they effectively spent their sprint time showing the user prototype code. Over and over and over again. Until there was a giant pile of prototype code that they then had to try and ship. And it's been a disaster. They incorrectly believed that Agile means no documentation. They didn't understand that Agile sprints are still supposed to produce production code.
In fact, usually the effort should be pushing for a minimum viable product and iterate in features over time. That doesn't work for every product - especially complex systems - but then you often can solve for that by breaking them down into components and productize the "functionality". Years and years without a 'product' is not agile. It sounds like a situation where I'd be losing my mind.
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Re: How is your career going?

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It’s a situation in which I very nearly did lose my mind, literally. :)

As mentioned above, if you have good management and good team members, you need some kind of process, which one doesn’t really matter. We are nominally a CMMI Level 5 organization, but with the wrong team members, yikes.

There were factors that were totally outside of our control, but that lack of any kind of development discipline killed us.

The code base is one of the most fragile that I’ve ever seen which is finally what got them to green light a complete rewrite before the first version is even out the door.

This has been a multi-year effort by me and my boss. Hopefully we don’t botch it. :)

We are at the critical point now though, with me working through the most complex part of the end product and things are still looking good, so there’s hope.
And in banks across the world
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And every other race, creed, colour, tint or hue
Get down on their knees and pray
The raccoon and the groundhog neatly
Make up bags of change
But the monkey in the corner
Well he's slowly drifting out of range
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Re: How is your career going?

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Okay, just had my 2nd round interview for "technology navigator" position helping seniors cope with technology in these quarantined times. Not sure when they will move forward, but I think I really have a good shot with this job. Pay's not great, but I think there's a chance I can become a trainer with more responsibilities. But no point in jinxing it.
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Re: How is your career going?

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A few months ago, a stranger found my website (!) and contacted me about editing a memoir that runs to 147,000 words. That's around 300 single-spaced pages. I was noncommittal and asked to see some sample pages. She needed substantive editing, not copy editing, so that job would've gone to Wife (I can edit for content, but it's not my strong suit). Well, it turned out to be the worst-written document either one of us had ever tried to read...and Wife teaches undergrads. Fixing it, if even possible, would've taken at least 10 minutes per page, maybe 15. That would've been a lot of billable hours if either one of us had wanted the job (and the woman had met our price), but life's too short. We politely referred her elsewhere.

Today she left another voicemail. She'd hired an editor who reworked her document, but that person doesn't proofread, so she came back to me.

My initial reaction is to politely blow her off again. In addition to my daily MIT work, I'm doing a contract job for NVIDIA that runs thru March, when the Boston Globe's annual Salute to Nurses should come back to keep me busy thru May. What if somebody else has done the heavy lifting and I can pick up a few thou just fixing grammar? I *could* fit in another job if there's no deadline pressure -- I don't want to, but lately I've grown rather fond of having more money than I need. What I saw of her story wasn't interesting, but neither are the GTC conference descriptions that I'm editing right now. A memoir would be a change of pace, at least. The novel I edited a couple of years ago was bad, too, but it was kind of fun. A steady diet of sci/tech editing gets...bland.

I think I'm going to ask for sample pages again, and make sure she understands what this will cost if I do take the job.
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Re: How is your career going?

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I wonder how the cost-benefit ever works for something like that. How many people does she think is going to read it (of which a subset would actually buy it?) It's possible I suppose that it could be a vanity book by someone who has the cash to polish the turd to nice shine.

I'm kind of like you, I prefer to edit for grammar and clarity. Editing for content is far more time consuming, and often its difficult to be sure your re-written content is conveying the intended meaning. Nothing could possibly be worse, though, than the Russian pseudo-English I had to edit at The Wargamer. It was not helpful to ask if my re-writes were accurate because they could never express themselves coherently.
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Re: How is your career going?

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Most people just want a line to put on their CV or LinkedIn "published author", IMHO. I doubt more than a few dozen people would actually read it.
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Re: How is your career going?

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I'm a published author, and I'm pretty sure I have no such line in either place. Maybe I should? :think:
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Re: How is your career going?

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Jeff V wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 10:21 am I wonder how the cost-benefit ever works for something like that. How many people does she think is going to read it (of which a subset would actually buy it?) It's possible I suppose that it could be a vanity book by someone who has the cash to polish the turd to nice shine.

I'm kind of like you, I prefer to edit for grammar and clarity. Editing for content is far more time consuming, and often its difficult to be sure your re-written content is conveying the intended meaning. Nothing could possibly be worse, though, than the Russian pseudo-English I had to edit at The Wargamer. It was not helpful to ask if my re-writes were accurate because they could never express themselves coherently.
I'm sure it's a vanity project. Probably an old woman who wants to leave behind a record of her life. And I don't think English is her first language.

I don't mind substantive editing if the text is in reasonably good shape to start with and/or the subject is interesting. This job is not. It needs a complete ghost write, more than editing. Often I couldn't even tell what a paragraph was trying to say -- I can't fix what I can't understand. I'm a little curious to see whether it's improved dramatically or not, but in the cold late-morning light I'm more inclined to just send her packing. I'd like to edit a memoir or another novel someday, but not this one.
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by Blackhawk »

I've actually considered doing the same. Not to that scale, but something to leave for future family. I'd dearly love to have had my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather who settled here right about the time Indiana became a state do the same, or add a few greats and it'd be the ancestor that sailed over from England in 1634 to help found both New Haven, CT and Rye, NY. Or even my great-grandfather who I know nothing about but likely didn't do anything all that interesting. I'd kill to read something like that that my grandmother had read.

I'm published, but I'm not a great writer. Still, I could cover myself and the last two generations of my family, and if I could get it into a format that would be safe, it might be of interest in a century to my great-great-grandkids, long after the people in it are piles of bones. I'd be under no impression that many people would ever read it or care that it existed. The benefit is to the family, and if I were elderly, the cost would be less of a concern (IE - you can't take it with you.)
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by Jeff V »

Blackhawk, Kraken will be happy to fully edit it for the low, low price of $10,000. It's not that editing you is a lot of work, but there is a limit on how exciting a book based in Indiana can possibly be, and that limit is trivially small. In terms of sales, given your time to write it and publishers costs, you'll approximately break even after it achieves it's 23rd week on the NYT Best Seller chart. :twisted:
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by Jeff V »

So yesterday I attended a Zoom seminar on applying for a WIOA training grant. This is a federal program, administered on a regional level, and apparently my region (Kane and Kendall County) will authorize up to the program limit of $10,000. The seminar was put on by a company (Microtrain) who I used before for project management workshops and a PMP exam review course. While the workshops were very good, the exam review was basically just a couple of days summarizing the shit you ought to have nailed down before actually spending money on the exam itself. I never did make it as far as applying for the test.

They now claim to have a 40 hour program that yields 96% pass rate on the PMP. That cert would definitely help even at this late stage in my career, as I'm inclined to more sedentary pursuits. The job I interviewed for last week would have had me cabling and working on IDFs 30' off the ground and my wife even thought it seemed more physical than ideal, and she's probably right, arthritis making cabling tasks profoundly unpleasant. I was fortunate for the last 10 years to be working for a boss who was dead against any of his staff doing any cabling whatsoever.

It seems likely that the submission and approval process for this grant will take a month or more, with this training company happy to help along the way. They said their intent is no out-of-pocket expense will be incurred by me, if the cost of the program exceeds the grant, they will adjust their price accordingly. Seems worth a try, at least it might stave off my wife's ultimatum to find a job or we all move to the Philippines (today in reaction to the questionable state of the stimulus package, she moved the timeline from June to end of January!!)
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by Kraken »

Jeff V wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 8:39 pm Blackhawk, Kraken will be happy to fully edit it for the low, low price of $10,000. It's not that editing you is a lot of work, but there is a limit on how exciting a book based in Indiana can possibly be, and that limit is trivially small. In terms of sales, given your time to write it and publishers costs, you'll approximately break even after it achieves it's 23rd week on the NYT Best Seller chart. :twisted:
When I first hung my shingle I would proofread for as little as $25/hr and I'll still go that low for friends and family if I can pick away at my own pace (no deadline). A book-length manuscript in good starting condition would take around 50 hours, give or take.

As of next month I'm raising my base rate from $50 to $60. My corporate clients will barely notice.
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by stessier »

Kraken wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 11:09 pm When I first hung my shingle I would proofread for as little as $25/hr and I'll still go that low for friends and family if I can pick away at my own pace (no deadline). A book-length manuscript in good starting condition would take around 50 hours, give or take.

As of next month I'm raising my base rate from $50 to $60. My corporate clients will barely notice.
Would you say your rates are average? Is this something that is location specific, or is it more genre specific (like a tech manual costs more than the nursing guide)? My daughter wants to become a writer so I'm always looking for writer adjacent jobs to show her where she can make money while she pursues the dream.
I require a reminder as to why raining arcane destruction is not an appropriate response to all of life's indignities. - Vaarsuvius
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by Jeff V »

stessier wrote: Fri Dec 25, 2020 6:48 am
Kraken wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 11:09 pm When I first hung my shingle I would proofread for as little as $25/hr and I'll still go that low for friends and family if I can pick away at my own pace (no deadline). A book-length manuscript in good starting condition would take around 50 hours, give or take.

As of next month I'm raising my base rate from $50 to $60. My corporate clients will barely notice.
Would you say your rates are average? Is this something that is location specific, or is it more genre specific (like a tech manual costs more than the nursing guide)? My daughter wants to become a writer so I'm always looking for writer adjacent jobs to show her where she can make money while she pursues the dream.
It's rather on the low side, or at least it was 15-20 years ago when I was averaging that same rate writing and editing for websites and magazines. There was money in it prior to the .com crash, and with the demise of print I imagine its a hard business to sustain.

I mentioned this before...when I first went to college in 1980, I considered a career in writing because it was something I was already good at. Then a salary survey was published in the newspaper...at the very bottom was "Writer" with a average salary that was less than half of minimum wage. ($2 per hour).

It pretty much comes down to your salesmen ship ability. After college left me under employed, I started looking into writing again, and the bibles at the time (The Writer's Market had excellent chapters about the writing business in general) said a writer should spend 70% of the time engaged in sales activities and only 30% actually writing. Since I loathe sales, I never could sustain myself in the business, eventually some opportunities found me, and among them was ghost writing for an author making north of $200K per year who was apparently really good at the sales part and outsourced most of his content creation.
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by Kraken »

stessier wrote: Fri Dec 25, 2020 6:48 am
Kraken wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 11:09 pm When I first hung my shingle I would proofread for as little as $25/hr and I'll still go that low for friends and family if I can pick away at my own pace (no deadline). A book-length manuscript in good starting condition would take around 50 hours, give or take.

As of next month I'm raising my base rate from $50 to $60. My corporate clients will barely notice.
Would you say your rates are average? Is this something that is location specific, or is it more genre specific (like a tech manual costs more than the nursing guide)? My daughter wants to become a writer so I'm always looking for writer adjacent jobs to show her where she can make money while she pursues the dream.
$50 is a good benchmark, particularly for someone starting out. You won't find anyone undercutting you. I only bill small projects or regular jobs hourly, though. For large jobs, I quote a set price based on how long I believe it will take and how easy/hard the work will be, based on evaluating some sample pages and on the client's ability to pay. For example, if I think something's going to take 50 hours that's a baseline price of $2,500 at $50/hr. If you're a big for-profit company, I'm going to inflate that to $3,000 or more. If you're a small nonprofit or an individual and I want your job, I might cut it to $2,000. I tend to slightly inflate my time estimates, too, so most of my jobs pay better than my benchmark rate. ALSO: If I think a company will become a repeat customer, I sometimes lowball my first quote and then raise the price when they come back for more. Once I demonstrate that I'm accurate and reliable and fast and easy to work with, they're hooked, and they aren't going to shop around. That's how I became NVIDIA's go-to guy.

For my "day job" I bill $50/hr but I'm capped at $500/wk. If I raise my rate to $60, I won't make more money unless they raise the cap -- I'll just be limited to 8 hours instead of 10. I'm still going to do that when their next fiscal year starts and they can factor a higher cap into their budget.

For comparison, The Conversation wanted to hire me for a few hours a day, and their content is more interesting than what I usually do. This was right after I started out so I was definitely interested -- you need at least one reliable regular gig to make a business out of it. But they wanted me to work evenings and be on-call on weekends, and to turn stories around in "real time" (i.e., as they are assigned "live" each day) and they only offered $25/hr, so that was a hard pass.
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Re: How is your career going?

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Thanks for the insight from both of you!
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Re: How is your career going?

Post by Kasey Chang »

Jeff V wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 11:28 am I'm a published author, and I'm pretty sure I have no such line in either place. Maybe I should? :think:
And some people want to appear to be a subject matter expert in that field... and what better to "prove" it than publishing a book?
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