Been playing a fair number of games in the past few months. Theoretically because I'm working now I should be able to afford more games, but I play less often now, and with returning to school coming in the spring, well, gaming may get fairly well held up.
Anyway, I can break my gaming down into three categories:
Pen-and-paper - Been trying to play in three campaigns. Only successfully managed to get to one recently, the other not recently, and the third seems to be dead-in-the-water. Not a good sign. The one I've gotten to semi-recently is 3rd Edition D&D, the other one is 2nd Edition AD&D, and the dying one is 3rd Edition. I figure it's less the game and more the person running the game that determines success.
Consoles - Got a GameCube. Got it with Super Mario Sunshine, which, while fun, is not spectacular and reminds me of the old SMB games, excpet harder and on crack. Madden 2004, however, rocks. I love the GameCube controller.
PC Games - Cycled through a number over the summer, now playing Rise of Nations and occasionally Sims Superstar.
Well, here I am in Minneapolis. Been here a little over four months now, after completely giving up on living in the Baltimore/D.C. area.
The job market here is marginally better, but given the economy and the general mess that's been happening, well, it's hard to know when I'll have real work.
What really seems to screw me over is that I'm pretty talented, with no degree and a track record of dot-coms. So, despite that I want something a little more sedate, I don't get it. And despite being able to work with people in a people-oriented role, they'll usually slap a code-monkey in with the people skills of a goat before they'll put me in there.
This is my experience of America.
With any luck, I'll either grab a government job, or else head overseas soon.
Lack of degree, lack of certification
Here it is, Friday, and I'm sitting at home, yet again. I've been transformed from project manager to househusband. It's weird sitting at home every day. I understand why housewives freak out when their husbands come home. It's an interruption to the daily rhythm.
Having moved to the Baltimore/D.C. metro region means that I've encountered a job world where experience means less than a degree or certification. It's funny how many jobs ask for a degree in Computer Science just to do help desk work.
Having been a project manager for both web development and wireless games doesn't mean anything here. I have years of experience moving up the ranks very quickly. But that doesn't matter either, unless those years are 15+. What matters is I'm not certified from the Project Management Institute. I almost got another job, but I lacked the server experience, though I'm sure if I had some sort of server certification, I would've gotten it.
So what have I learned now? Well, I like watching Judge Judy and Texas Justice. I find the people on Elimidate and The 5th Wheel exceptionally vapid, but they're so much better to watch than soap operas. Dr. Phil is the high point of my day and while the show is good, even by my all-time standards, it is sad that it's the high point.
I'm starting work at a grocery store on Monday. I'm getting paid enough that taking temp work (without a second car already in hand) makes little sense in comparison. I've applied for several government jobs as a secretary, focusing on office automation, so maybe I'll hear something in a couple weeks. Should nothing pan out here, I think I'll probably head off to Minnesota during the summer so that I can eventually finish my degree.
What have I learned? A couple things. Aside from the need to get degrees, I would recommend a few certifications to anyone in the tech industry. If you can pick up the PMI or PMP certs (as I see them listed in the paper), they can be worth a bit. I've also learned that getting experience in a grocery store will almost always get you work somewhere, and that federal jobs are an excellent way to job security. The last thing I've learned is that no matter how great the job you have is, never get non-collateral debt beyond what you could pay off at $20,000 / year. If you get that grocery experience, believe me, you'll never drop below that.
Well, here I am, having moved, sitting at my laptop in Odenton, Maryland. It's different being here, but far nicer for me. I get to be with Christine now and I also don't have to miss Finland so much since we have Memories of Finland in College Park. I just got a recipe book and made some Finnish bread.
Anyway, it's weird with being here. I'm in the situation of part wanting to work for someone else and going nuts not finding a good job, and yet I'm partly wanting to just get my own company started. How frustrating!
Anyway, that's life. Any cool leads? Let me know.
Two days until I fly. It's actually less than 48 hours now, given that I'll be flying out of Helsinki at 9.30 local time. I have one more trip back to my apartment to do a final vacuuming, and retrieve items from there. It feels very strange.
I have no idea what I'm going to end up doing now. I've left my job here in Finland, and I'm heading to a world of contracts but no certain steady job. I've made the argument before that there is no such thing as a certain job, but at any rate, it feels strange. I feel free, though.
I have plans, of course. I hope to study mathematics and Arabic this next year, getting prepared for re-entry into the academic world. I want to go back to school and get my degree in history and perhaps economics as well. I'm getting married in September, and I hope to get a business running together with some great guys I know.
Introspection is a good thing, I find, but it is not enough.
Yet, here I am, heading once again into the great unknown.
Relocating and keeping my job
I love my job. For me it's the best job around. I get to sit in this great role where I get to explore my tech interests with Java, XML, and metadata, yet I also get to work as a producer making all kinds of cool games for mobile phones and (eventually) other wireless devices. It's fun!
The problem is that I'm getting married in September. I currently live in Finland, but my fiancée is looking for jobs in the U.S. Now, we have an office in the States, but it's in Austin. I'd prefer to live near D.C., as I have coordinate with content providers on the East Coast, and also projects in the U.K.
The big deal is going to be how I can keep my job and do this move. I currently do most of my work with U.S. companies as is. I'm wondering if maybe I can set myself up as a telecommuter. We've been discussing the possibility of moving our office, and that'd be great, but I could telecommute before that. I spent two weeks on a business trip there and telecommuting worked out really well.
Well, I guess we'll see, but if anyone has any suggestions on how to go about getting telecommuting approved, please let me know.
IPR: Metadata and moving forward?
I've been fortunate enough to have been granted the arduous task of developing metadata standards as part of my job. While that doesn't sound like fun, it's given me a lot of exposure to differing opinions on all kinds of subjects.
One of my areas of interest is intellectual property law. It fascinates me enough that I'm really looking at taking the LSAT and moving into attending law school.
What I wonder is how we can move forward to make sensible laws and develop sensible technology to protect property for a reasonable time to make profit, without locking it away for an eternity. How can we keep corporations profitable while supports the actual content creators, and yet not infringe on the public intellectual domain?
I see metadata as a possible tool for that. Check out the PRISM standard.
Yesterday, the 26th of March, was a day for which my fellow coworkers will admire and despise me. Yes, yesterday I spent a couple hours in the OSDN offices meeting with hemos. That was pretty cool. He said I should mention the chocolate chip cookies to my coworkers, too. Oh well.
The cool part is that we got to talk about the interesting stuff that goes on with community sites like this on. That and we rambled on about other stuff like the socially-aware geeks we are.
What'll make me really happy is if we find a way for my company (well, the company that pays my bills - I don't own it) to work with OSDN and maybe enable it to be more successful than it already is.
BTW - For those who don't realise it, Pennsylvania is a really friggin' huge state. I drove from Newville, PA (40 mi WSW of Harrisburg, PA) up to Acton, MA. Well over half that drive was in PA, and while the Poconos may be pretty, they suck in the rain.