Making progress

Got a call from the second head hunter people. They want to set up a telephone interview with the insurance guys for next week. I suck at phone interviews. I’m usually okay face-to-face, but I can’t gauge body language and make eye contact and all that nifty stuff with just a voice encounter. I just don’t make as good of a first impression on the phone as I do in person. Well, crap. Nothing to do but try my best, I suppose. But I anticipate this will severely decrease my chances of getting that position.


Writing Stuff

Words: 935 on the novel WIP. Downloaded a slew of guqin music. A guqin is a sort of Chinese zither, a very old and traditional instrument, and it plays an important role in my novel. Doing a lot of research on it, and I realized I didn’t have a good enough idea of what it sounded like considering how key it is. So spent an hour or so, playing mp3 clips I found online. An interesting background to write to, but very fitting for this particular work. Also did a lot of research on the playing technique and things like theme and musical philosophy.

Been working on a sound byte “pitch” but everything I come up seems to have a ring of pretension to it. What reads as dramatic and interesting on paper sounds over-the-top and silly out loud. Grmph.


Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
9,169 / 45,000
(20.0%)


Club 100 For Writers
16

500/day
32

‘Nother interview, movie night, RoF issue

And the 2004 tax season comes to an end. Actually went out yesterday to the post office to mail something non-tax related, and didn’t have to wait in line. It was only after we were on our way out of the parking lot that it occurred to us that we’d risked life and limb, mailing something on tax day. Huh. Maybe the e-filing push is really working?

To celebrate the day, we had glenn5 and arkhamrefugee over to watch Fight Club and Harvey. glenn5 had never seen Fight Club before. Whee! More people to introduce to the glory and wonder which is Fight Club! Much fun.

Also got a call yesterday from another head hunter outfit. They want to schedule me for an interview next week with a large insurance company for basically the same sort of job I had before, for approximately the same wages and benefits. And get this, they’re based out of approximately the same part of town my previous work office was located before, which is a much nicer daily drive than a downtown commute would be. Same job, different company. Seems like a good opportunity to get back into the salary rat race. Not exactly excited about the prospect of being a cubicle monkey again, but I have to admit the appeal of a plump, regular income with snazzy health benefits is seductive. I’ll take the position if they offer it to me, but I won’t be crushed if they don’t. Plus, this company is undergoing some major legal investigation by the Securities and Exchange commission–something I wasn’t aware of until glenn5 brought it to my attention–so I’m not sure what to think of all that.

But I’m happy that I continue to get calls.

Also, it’s undoubtedly old news by now, but heard yesterday from the Dragon*Con Director’s mailing list that Joss Whedon has been confirmed as a guest. Fangirl squeeing! He’ll be joining Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion, Ron Glass, Jewel Staite and Morena Baccarin to pimp Serenity. Now I’ve just got to find a way to sneak out of the Daily Dragon office for long enough to attend one of their panels.


Writing Stuff

Got my subscription copy of June’s Realms of Fantasy in the mail yesterday with “The Storyteller’s Wife” in it. Happy dancing! It’s the lead story again, and full-sized and up close, the illustration is even more gorgeous! They also published my photo in the “contributors” section.

But I haven’t received my contrib. copies. Hmph.

In worrisome news, the Transfinite website appears to be down, and their guidelines listing is gone from Ralan.com. I’m rather concerned that my poor story has been orphaned. I’ve fired off an email to the editor. Waiting to hear back.

Eternal Sunshine and Job Status

Interview: they’re calling me back today to schedule a follow-up. See Friends-Only post for details.

Got The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind from Netflix. I was pretty unexcited about the prospect of a Jim Carrey movie as I’m not exactly a fan of his. But it was actually really good, despite Carrey’s presence. It helped that he wasn’t doing his goofy, over-the-top “Jim Carrey” thing, but also, the story was really poignant and thoughtful. It was good. And I really adore Kate Winslet.

Having major technical issues. Comcast keeps fading in and out, making accomplishing anything Internet-related impossible.


Writing Stuff

Had Matthew first reader the folktale. Did two editing passes on it based upon his suggestions.

Club 100 For Writers
14

The skinny on the job interview

So the job interview went well, but then it was just the recruiters making sure I wasn’t a psycho, and that I had the proper skillset. Check, not psycho, and definitely have the qualifications. I could’ve been in and out of there in ten minutes, except I kept asking questions about the position and stretched it out for another twenty.

Get this, the recruiter guy didn’t want to tell me the name of the company they intend to contract me to, citing things like confidentiality and client-recruiter business practices. Okay, fine, but it makes it hard for me to research information about a prospective employer. So I asked him a lot of questions like how large the company was, how long they’d been in business, where they were downtown, what their promotion system was like. And in the course of my grilling, I actually managed to trick the name of the company out of him, HAH.

Interland. As in the same Interland that screwed over arkhamrefugee when he worked for them. So, after chatting with the wondrous Badger Lord, I determine that I really don’t want this job.

The recruiters are supposed to call back today to set up an interview with me and Interland. I can’t refuse an offer of employment and still maintain my unemployment benefits, so I figure I’ll do what I never ever do at the interview, I’ll ask for more. I’ll ask them to document on paper the exact job responsibilities for the position, I’ll ask for a larger starting salary than their initial offer (which will still be significantly less than what I was making before), and I’ll ask for better hours. Might even ask them to throw in some free parking. If they give me all I ask for, then hell, I’ll take the job. But I’m betting they won’t want me.

So, NEXT career opportunity, please!

And hey, one excellent thing came out of this. arkhamrefugee is joining glenn5 and us tomorrow for our movie night.

A Tale of Two Interviews

Prepping for the job interview. Trying not to get myself stressed and anxious, but it’s deep into the inevitably on that front. I haven’t had to do an interview in over a decade. *twitch*


Writing Stuff

On a much more enjoyable note, I did the Apex interview yesterday. The questions ranged from meaty to light, and included one about Hobkin. I’m quite looking forward to seeing the finished publication.

The person in my writers group that I sent the Greek translation of “Manny” to has read it, and assures me it’s very faithful in tone and text to the English. There was one mis-translation he found, “teal” got translated to “tea-colored,” but all in all, it sounds like their translator did an exemplary job. Whew and woo! Definitely hoping 9 continues to buy things from me.

Words: Two passes on the folktale and completed the ending which I had been unsatisfied with before. Foisting it upon Matthew, then probably will send it up to Critters to get hacked apart. Then it goes out post haste to Cricket. I’m seriously considering skipping the Critters step this time around, but remain undecided.

Club 100 For Writers
13

Job Interview. Those racy Greeks

Got a job interview tomorrow. It’s for a company that specializes in staffing tech positions. It seems to be a cross between a temp agency and a head hunter from what I can tell, but solely for IT work. The job they want me for has full benefits. It starts out as a three month contract with potential to become permanent. The thing is, the hours reek–10AM to 7PM Monday thru Friday. Seven? I wouldn’t get home until 7:30 at the earliest and probably closer to 8! And the pay is a lot less than what I was pulling in at my previous job. On an up note, it’s for a web content editor position, which is cool since I’m definitely interested in moving my career in that direction. But I’m not happy with the hours and pay cut. Plus it would involve a daily commute downtown. Yuck yuck yuck. We’ll see how the interview goes tomorrow. But I’m not exactly gagging for this position. At least I’m getting calls, though.


Writing Stuff

Received my contrib. copies of my reprint in the Greek publication, 9. And yep, can’t read a word of it. Although I was able to identify my story by my byline. It’s a very nice publication–glossy full color cover, high production values, gorgeous interior artwork. I’m extremely pleased with it. I’ve scanned in my story and created a PDF out of it, and emailed it to someone in one of my writers groups who lives in Greece (and obviously, can read Greek). I’m curious to see how close the translation is to the original English version.

9 is pretty racy as publications go. It’s the weekly “Comics and SF supplement” that goes with the newspaper, and the comics are of the variety you’d expect in Heavy Metal. Of course, I can’t read the storylines, but there are naked breasts and asses depicted in full, comic booky color. And check out the cover: Clicky for suggestive Greek artwork

Credibility bottoms out with three words: “I’m Self Publishing”

So I went into the unemployment office this morning for the orientation workshop–the first of four mandatory classes. I actually had to wake up to my alarm clock, something I haven’t done in a month. I don’t miss that at all. Ugk.

The class itself was only marginally informative, but I didn’t expect it to be a “next coming” sort of experience anyway. The most insightful thing I took out of it is that applying for jobs is much like sending unsolicited submissions to editors. The same things which will get you discarded immediately by an editor will get your resume/cover letter likewise circular-filed by a prospective employer. Basically, it behooves a writer/applicant to know the market/company they’re approaching, do their research, don’t unload personal grief in cover letters, etc. etc. It makes me feel a little better about the whole job application thing, thinking of it as a sort of unsolicited submission, which I’ve got tons of experience with, rather than something I haven’t done in nearly eleven years.

I also did a lot of people watching, the writer in me taking notes and trying to eavesdrop on conversations during breaks. Couple non-employment-oriented observations I made:

1. The people in business suits seemed to radiate more of a lost and helpless aura than the people in casuals. There’s a deer-in-headlights ambiance coming from them, especially the older ones.

2. The presenter, when he first introduced himself, exuded an air of professional efficiency. He was articulate, relaxed, and impeccably groomed–custom tailed French cut shirt with silver cuff-links. He did have a tendency of dropping the “l” in “help” so that it came out “hep,” which I found distracting (especially since one of the bits of paperwork he kept referring to was the “How May We Help You?” form). But overall he gave an excellent first impression, all “I am a font of sound advice, respect my authoritah”-ish.

In a “we’re all in the same boat” spiel, he commented that something everyone had in common in the room, aside from being unemployed, was we all had a story, which of course blipped my radar. And then he went on to give a brief overview of his. Apparently he was writing a novel and was so wrapped up in it he missed all the sinking ship signs at his previous place of employment. That is, until the pink slips started going out. During the break, I had to ask him how his novel was coming along.

Him: “Fantastic, it’s being published in June!”

Me, writers ears perking up (networking, ooo!): “That’s great! With whom?”

Him: “Myself.”

Me (ears drooping): “You’re self-publishing?”

Him: “Yep, I’m self-publishing. It’s the only way to maintain all my artistic rights. I firmly believe it’s the only sane way to publish these days–”

And suddenly, all the credibility he had with me is completely down the drain. I could almost see the red stamp on his forehead which read “SUCKER” and the big neon “I’VE BEEN SCAMMED” placard around his neck.

Whereas there are legit reasons to self-publish, “maintaining artistic rights” and viewing it as the only “sane” approach to publishing ain’t them. Ah well. No doubt he can still give me good pointers on writing a punchier resume . . .

Moving on

Went back into the office yesterday, but my heart wasn’t in it. Accomplished some stuff on my “things to do” list and then called it quits for the afternoon. Came home and watched The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy with Matthew. Fun flicks, but not really anything to ooh and ahh about.

I find that I’m in the market for a new laptop. I just need a bare-bones machine that can handle word processing and wireless Internet action–email, surfing, FTPing. Light, so I don’t feel like I’m sitting beneath a boulder when I have it on my lap, and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW would be nice. Maybe we’ll swing by Best Buy and Circuit City today.



Writing Stuff:

Received:
- Rejection from Flesh & Blood.
- Invite to submit something to a women’s erotica website from the editor, jinzi.

The god of publishing taketh, but She giveth too. Hey, it’s always flattering to get asked to write something for money. Thanks, wicked_wish for the recommendation!

Mailed out the Revenant Anthology contract for “Caesar’s Ghost” and emailed the editor my bio and a blurb to publish with the story. According to said contract, the anthology is slated for a June 15th publication date. Coolness. It’ll be out in time for Dragon*Con. Which reminds me, now that the guest application forms are online, I should see about filling it out and sending it off.

Beginning to send my middle-grade book out to agents. The whole agent submission thing is pretty new to me, but after seeing the numbers for Tobias’ survey, I’m thinking I want one.

Briefly broke the Tangent website. Well, maybe not broke, perhaps “dinged.” I was trying to add more sub-menu items and I accidentally created main menu additions and couldn’t figure out how to unpublish them. Several panicked emails to the webmaster later, and I fixed it and managed to add the sub-menu entries I was trying for. Whew.

Well, that’s it then. I’m unemployed.

If you can read this, I either know you in person, or I trust you despite the fact we’ve never exchanged face mail. I may open this to more people later, but right now, I’m feeling the need for a modicum of discretion.

[Edit: 4/9/2006 - it's been over a year, so I'm opening this post to just a flist lock.]

For those of you who didn’t know, I telecommute out of Atlanta for my day job, and have since 2001–a generous arrangement by my company of employment. However, it’s also a tenuous one. I fill out a yearly “remote worker” application which may be refused, necessitating that I either return back to where my company’s home office is (in the Midwest), or terminate from the company.

I just had my 2005 remote worker application refused. I’m not moving, so I’ll be unemployed starting March.

I’ve known this was a possibility for the last year, as my company has been re-evaluating it’s remote worker policy since the .com crash. Matthew and I have been saving, and I’ve been braced for this; I’m not freaked out or depressed by the news. But I have been with this company for nearly eleven years. There’s definitely anxiety at the prospect of losing my decade-plus meal ticket. My supervisor is talking to other folks in the company to see about finding me a local position after March. If something comes up, I’ll take it, but I’m not excited at the prospect.

What I’d really like to do is take this opportunity to switch career paths. I’ve worked in IT for a decade, and I’ve never found it to be a particularly rewarding occupation. If I can, I’d like to try to switch to writing and publishing, since, as anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows, that’s where my passion really lies.

It doesn’t help that I’m terribly unhealthy and need medical benefits, though.

The future is less secure than it was. But I’m okay.