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Tech Recruiters, Don't be Stalkers

So the other day I had a first when an unsolicited tech recruiter obnoxiously harassed me. 

To preface this post, I'd like to state that in general I don't have issues with technical recruiters and the work that they do.  I've used them several times in the past to find jobs. And while there are certainly ones I like more than others, they do serve their purpose.

Talent is tight in Boston.  This town and the surrounding area is seeing a tech boom and while positions are plentiful, top talent is not.  I have first hand knowledge on this from a couple of viewpoints.  First of all, we have spent the past few months at MediaSilo looking for a good senior level UI developer.  We interviewed quite a few people and too often found they were lacking the skills we needed. The recruiters we employed had an equally tough time finding qualified candidates to send to us.

The other reason I know about the demand for talent, is the sheer number of emails and calls I get from recruiters on a near daily basis.  Sometimes we even joke at the office about who gets the most inquiries on average.  It can be annoying sometimes, but I understand that they are simply doing their job by both reaching out to people and by searching for referrals. I also understand that by having a public profile on LinkedIn I am inviting their advances to a certain extent.

Thankfully for the most part, the calls and emails have been respectful.  I typically don't respond, because I'm not looking and don't usually have the time to engage them. Sometimes they'll call a second time, or just follow up with an email. But two days ago I was approached by a guy who was a bit more persistent. Here's the timeline:

  • Tuesday afternoon - 4:50pm, 4:50pm, 4:51pm, 4:56pm - 4 calls back to back after each I did not answer.
  • Wednesday Morning - 9:53am, 9:58am, 9:59am - 3 more back to back calls, unanswered.
  • Wednesday Morning - 10:33am - I accidentally started a call back while unlocking my phone, which was immediately terminated
  • Wednesday Morning - 10:35am, 10:35am, 10:36am - 3 more back to back calls, I didn't answer (Stupid, I know)
  • Wednesday Morning - 10:37am - Finally I answered

So I finally had enough, and answered the call.  "Hey, I'm sorry about all the calls. I just really wanted to get in touch with you". Yeah, no shit.  He then continued with typically rhetoric "Are you looking?", "No, I'm set", "Well let me ask you a question, do you get a lot of calls from recruiters?". Wow, this guy is really giving me the third degree sales pitch.  Did Comcast open a recruiting branch?

It then continued on with, "Well let me ask you this, what is it you like so much about MediaSilo?".  And "If you were to lose your job tomorrow, wouldn't you like to have a relationship established with a Boston area recruiter?".  This went on for some time and there was some other crap as well. I tried to be patient and polite, but he wasn't taking no for an answer.  I finally had to said thanks, but no thanks and hang up on him.

I fully expect a follow up call or seven at a later on. Surely he wouldn't give up so easily right?

So yes, recruiters, I do heart you and your services. You've helped on numerous occasions. But please, don't call me, I'll call you. K? Thanks.

Suck it Mayans - or My 2013 Resolutions

The Mayans were wrong and the world didn't end in 2012.  Well actually they never said that it would end, but everybody else said that they said that.  It doesn't matter though,  we all woke on up Dec 22nd, 2012 and it was just another new day.  So we could go on with our lives close the books on 2012 and start looking at what we want to do with the next 365 days of our existence (should we be granted them all).  I do have to say there were some pretty funny images and what not to come out of all of this end of the world nonsense.  This one being my favorite: 

Galactus - devourer of worlds, tool of the Mayans apparently

Anyways, so way back early last year I set some goals for the year - like you do.  To recap, in my naivety I said I'd shoot for the following:

  • Be more thoughtful when making important decisions - I'd like to think I nailed this for the most part
  • Continue to improve and expand on my professional skill set. (I want to be a Ruby on Rails ninja!) - Ninja? No. Slightly more proficient? Yes!
  • Launch and continue to build Collctr.com into a successful business - Somebody beat me to it.  Good luck to them!
  • Blog more, both personally and professionally - Not so much
  • Develop at least one iPhone app - I developed one... from a tutorial... does that count?
  • Take a trip someplace fun with the wife - Check! We were up and down the New England coast line!
  • Live healthier (with a wife like mine, that's almost guaranteed!) - Did pretty well for a while, major fail at the end of the year though
  • Try and be happy every day - Lots of ups and downs.  Probably more ups though so that's winning.

In my defense, we did up-root our lives and move half way across the country at the start.  That does tend to slightly alter any plans one may have set for one's self.  For 2013 I think I'm going to be a bit more concise and realistic.  So here goes!

2013, Lets do this!

  •  In 2012 I went a little spend crazy on my toy collecting hobby.  2013 will bring fiscal responsibility.
  • Also in 2012 I kind of let my goal of not being a fat-ass go by the wayside.  I shall right that ship.
  • Actually finish a personal project.  Time to rein in this project ADHD and actually finish one. Milkcap Museum, I'm looking at you!
  • Finally, I'd like to spend more time outdoors.  New England is beautiful, I must have more! Starting with finally learning to snowboard this month.

 Some Neat New Apps to Help

I've seen a few roundups for "New Apps for the New Year" or the link.  I'm currently evaluating a few that I find pretty interesting.

Lift for iOS

Lift is an app for setting good habits.  You choose or create some habits you wish to accomplish, and you check off everyday that you do them.  It keeps track of streaks and reminds you to work on meeting your goals. It's available for free in the app store. Check out Lift.do

Everest for iOS

With Everest you keep track of your progress towards dreams or larger long term goals.  It allows you to set and check off steps to accomplish along the way.  In addition it has some built in challenges like learning to meditate. It's also available for free in the app store. Everest.com

Others Worth Mentioning - Yoga Studio and Relax+

Yoga Studio is a paid app, but is essentially a series of Yoga Classes on your iPhone.  I've downloaded this but haven't tried it yet. Though it looks promising. http://yogastudioapp.com/

Relax+ is a free relaxation helper app.  Through a combination of assisted meditaiton and music, the idea is to help you destress and relax.  This is another promising app, that I haven't had a chance to try it out yet. Get it on iTunes

Boston Bound

I've had two huge location changes in my life that I can remember.  The first was when I moved to Florida in 2005, and then when I moved back to Illinois in 2008. In three weeks I will embark on the third great move of my life.  The wife and I are pulling up stakes, hitching up the wagon and heading east. Back to Dani's home town of Boston, Mass. It's been a great three and a half years in good old Chi-town. I've made some great, hopefully lasting, friendships.  I met my the woman who would eventually become my wife.  I saw my first Cubs, Bulls, White Sox, and Blackhawks games live. I tore a chunk of my meniscus and had my right knee scoped.  And I've played some really great hockey.  I thought I'd share a few of my memories about Chicago here.

Sweet Home Chicago

For a good part of 2009 I had one of the most trying parts of my stay in Chicago.  It was during this time I took a freelancer job through an agency with United Airlines.  The job was fine, and for the most part I enjoyed the people I worked with.  The pain of the situation was the reverse commute from the city to the north west suburbs.  Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of having to drive in or out of Chicago in rush hour would relate.  In the mornings it would typically only take around 45 minutes to get out to the facility. However coming back into the city at 5pm was a nightmare. A good day I would get home in 75 minutes or so.  On a bad day, like during a cubs night game, it would easily breach two hours.  This went on for an entire year of my life.  I for sure will not miss the Chicago traffic.  Though I've not heard great things about Boston's traffic either.

Another great memory from Chicago was my 30th birthday.  It wasn't a huge ordeal. No big drunken stories, but to me it was memorable.  A good group of some of my favorite people from Chicago were kind enough to travel out to Benihana's in Schaumburg to celebrate with me.  The picture they took of us all will be one I'll hang on to for a long time to come.

Benihana Birthday Dinner

And then there is the hockey.  Before I moved here I had never seen my favorite hockey team play in person aside from half a game in Carolina once.  I still remember my first game seeing the Blackhawks play at the United Center.  I've been to many games since then, and I still never take them for granted.  I'm like a little kid every time the crowd starts the roar during the national anthem.  But I will leave Chicago knowing that I was able to be here when they hoisted their first Stanley Cup in so many years.  I went downtown and found myself chasing the victory parade down the street like a fool. I was there at the UC when they raised the banner to the rafters.  This is not only a favorite Chicago moment, but one of the most amazing moments of my life period.

Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champs

But not to let the Blackhawks have all the glory, I've had my fair share of success playing puck in the windy city.  A couple years ago I played in the first hockey tournament I had been to in ages.  A great group of guys that I knew from Elgin invited me to come along with them and play at a USA hockey tournament just outside Kansas City.  The hockey was fun and we dominated, obviously.  But the trip out there and back and hanging with those guys was part of the trip that was the most fun. Even though I haven't skated with them in quite a while, I'll still miss playing with that group.

Labatt Blue - USA Hockey Tournament Champs

And then I met the Monday night hockey / X-Factor group.  The ladies became my hockey family in Chicago.  We would meet almost every Monday night and skate for a couple hours.  Sometimes it was really great hockey, others it was bad.  But it didn't seem to matter as I always looked forward to going every week.  The cooler full of beer and treats Diane would bring every week definitely did not hurt that enthusiasm.  And Sam always made sure we had a fabulous soundtrack to skate to.  Some nights there was more dancing on the ice than shots on goal.  The Monday night hockey ritual will be one of the things I miss most about leaving Chicago.

There are so many other good memories I will leave here with. Almost too many to name.  There was the trip I took to Los Angeles with Kerry and Tesh.  The Hall and Oats concert at the Chicago theatre.  Playing ice hockey outdoors for the first time.  That time we ran into the cast of Super Troopers at the Lakeshore Theatre. Skating with Ryan Dempster at the ice rink at Wrigley Field.  My 29th birthday spent watching Elton John and Billy Joel perform together in the middle of Wrigley Field.  We had some ridiculously silly drunken times hanging out with the John Marshall crowd at the Plymouth downtown.  The comicons, and the nerf gun battles.  Sailing lessons on lake Michigan.  Taking the dogs on long walks through the parks.  And so many other great memories.  Chicago, you will be tough to leave and I'm sure I will miss you and your fine people immensely.  But I am ready and excited for a new adventure. And not to worry, I'll be back from time to time. You can count on that.

Sailing Lessons on Lake Michigan

Bring on 2012

So another year has come and gone and we being anew.  I started last year on this blog laying out some of my goals for the coming year so I could look back and see how many of them I accomplished. Last year I set the following as my goals for 2011.

  • Loose 30-40lbs by Hawaii trip in November (I dropped around 10)
  • Complete a triathlon (Ran a half marathon instead)
  • Learn to Ski/Snowboard (Never got to it)
  • Complete all four quarters of school with A's in all classes. (Mostly A's, a couple B's)
  • Drink more water (Didn't do it)
  • Go sailing twice a month in the summer (Didn't sail once this summer - super disappointing)
  • Make more time for my family (As much as I could)
  • Save Save Save (Ummm... )
  • Eliminate all non-student debt (Some of it)
  • Learn to do front & side splits (Didn't get there)

Amazingly enough I really failed to accomplished all but one of them. Sure I made progress towards several of them, but I can't say I definitively reached any of them other than the spending more time with the family.  And that one is pretty hard to quantitatively prove. 2011 was a strange year for me.  Not much of it really went like I expected it to.  I guess that's ok though.  A lot of great stuff happened, as well as a lot of not so great stuff.

Highlights from 2011 include...

  • Getting my freelance business, 1980 Creative Media LLC, legit and off the ground.
  • An amazing honeymoon in Hawaii with the wife.
  • I ran a freaking half marathon
  • Countless awesome moments with friends and family... spent just enjoying life and each other.

Now's the time when people are supposed to set their goals for the year to come.  With not really making good on last years extensive list, I am hesitant to even create one for 2012. Alas, I am a sucker for traditions.  So here we go...

  • Be more thoughtful when making important decisions
  • Continue to improve and expand on my professional skill set. (I want to be a Ruby on Rails ninja!)
  • Launch and continue to build Collctr.com into a successful business
  • Blog more, both personally and professionally
  • Develop at least one iPhone app
  • Take a trip someplace fun with the wife
  • Live healthier (with a wife like mine, that's almost guaranteed!)
  • Try and be happy every day

I have high hopes for the coming year.  I know some big changes are in already in the works and I am ready for the adventures to come!  Happy New Year... I wish nothing but the best to everyone for the future.

Confidence

I had hockey practice tonight.  Coming off a week where I felt I have played some of my best hockey in a long time, I had a moment of self-realization tonight in which I saw how my confidence enhanced my performance.  Not stopping a shot wasn't a possibility that crossed my mind.  I literally feel like I have the skills to make every single save necessary.  Did I stop every shot? Not at all.  But I think I stopped every shot that I should have, and quite a few that I probably shouldn't have been able to.

Jim Taylor Ph.D. and specialist in the psychology of sport at the University of Denver calls this "Prime Confidence". "Prime confidence is a deep, lasting, and resilient belief in one's ability." I think it's why I always get excited for challenges.  I love playing against teams that I know are really good.  I love testing myself against the best.  Even when you lose to the best, it still has confidence building effects.  You can look back on those one or two amazing stops you pulled out of your ass to get yourself pumped for the next game. And losing makes you just want that next win all the more.

That's not me, but I'd love to go head to head with her!

That's not me, but I'd love to go head to head with her!

I am a pretty competitive person by nature. I don't like to lose.  That's not to say I'm a bad loser, it's just that I like wins - small or large.  So I am working on taking the lessons I've learned in being confident from playing hockey and attempting to apply them to my professional life as well.  I am already an accomplished web designer and developer with quite a bit of experience.  But like you have to train in sports to get better, I am working to take my skills to the next level.  I know the type of job I want and I am going to work my ass off until I get it.  I'll have to be ready to go up against the best.  But I will win that new position. I'm confident. I've got a lot to offer. I'm Tori.

Controlled House Destruction

Heard some racket outside, and walked out to see the house across the street coming down. Pretty fun to watch! Here's a short(ish) video of the front part coming down. 

6 Months of Happy Marriage

Six months ago today, my wife and I were at the Hotel Vetro in  Iowa City with three of our good friends and a magistrate to get married.  Despite the obstacles put in front of us, such as Dani's back surgery, we have made it through very much still in love.  We can't wait for what the future will bring.  Including our honeymoon to Hawaii over thanksgiving this fall! Aloha! Sadly though, Dani and I still can't enjoy the same rights as heterosexual married couples.  Although this July we will be able to register our marriage as a "Civil Union" in Illinois, in the eyes our country, our relationship will not be recognized.  There is so much hate in this country so I want to take a moment on this special day to promote love, acceptance and equality.  The only way we are going to win equal rights is to keep fighting and always keep the conversation going.  In the news every week you can see that this movement is winning new people over every day.  And we are gaining powerful allies.  So please keep talking about the issues, and please help out the organizations that fight everyday for our cause like the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Illinois if you can.

Happy six months of marriage baby. I love you so much!