Seems like it’s feast or famine when it comes to jobs opportunities.

So I’ve been at the new job for six weeks now and I’m more or less settled into what passes for a routine around here. I still don’t have general building access so I’m still following someone else over to the buildings I’m working in so they can let me in, but once inside I’m pretty much on my own for most of the day, if you don’t count the occasional call from one of the RC’s with a new ticket they want to fax over. The initial tension caused from being confronted by the truly funky nature of the processes I’m expected to follow has passed as I’ve kept up repeating the mantra of they don’t pay me enough to give a shit and I’ve settled into that semi-apathetic mind state that all menial drones seem to exhibit during working hours.

I mentioned before that I planned to continue my job search as there were a number of aspects about this one that motivate me to keep my tenure as short as possible—to wit the above cited funky processes and the low pay rate—and I had intended to sit down and update my resume during last week’s involuntary vacation, but as often happens when I have lots of free time I allowed my ADD to assert itself and I never got around to it. So I made a point to do it this past Monday, not only updating my Word resume, but also my online resumes at CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com. Since then I’ve been contacted about two possible job opportunities.

The first has a great pay rate, around $41.03 an hour, and would involve doing Active Directory migrations of some sort. The job description was a bit vague so I’m not entirely sure what’s involved. I’ve got some experience with Active Directory, but not so much that I’d claim to be a full-blown administrator so it’s hard to say how long a shot that opportunity would be for me. It’s also unclear from the description if the job includes work on weekends or is a weekends-only job. The other potential drawback is that it appears that the contract only lasts until mid-September. I’ve sent off my resume as requested with a couple of questions on the details and am waiting to hear back.

The second one would have me contracted to the only one of the Big Three American automotive companies that I haven’t already worked for in the past thus completing my Automotive Job Trifecta. If you’re a long-time reader then you should be able to guess which one that would be. They pay rate is between $40K and $45K a year though I’ve been told that my lack of a Bachelor’s Degree would likely cause my pay to be on the lower end, one more (somewhat stupid) reason to go back to school I suppose. However that would include benefits and the contract house I’d be working for seems to think they offer a pretty good benefits package. Plus it’s an open-ended contract that would be closer to my current home so although it’s not quite what I was earning at Ford, it’s still better than what I’m earning now. I’ve sent off the resume to those folks as well.

To say it’s surprising to suddenly be contacted about two opportunities after so many months of nothing is an understatement and it’s probably way too premature to assume this represents some kind of turn around in the Michigan tech industry, but it’s certainly a welcome fluke just the same. Of course there’s no guarantee I’ll land either opportunity but I’ve got a slight spring in my step anyway.

15 thoughts on “Seems like it’s feast or famine when it comes to jobs opportunities.

  1. This BA thing is just bullshit.  It has about as much to do with your ability to do your job as whether or not you wear Hawaiian shirts.

    Except for the fact that it would take time and money, I’d say just go get it out of the way.  Use it as an opportunity to take classes that you don’t need, but might enjoy.  History of your favorite historical period, some art classes, that kind of thing.

    Either way, though, at least you have some -choices- about where you want to work, and that’s always a good thing.

  2. When I was around 30 years old, I got tired of working drone jobs for almost no money and went back to school.  I temped for the first few semesters while taking two or three classes at a time.  Then I went full time and knocked down my upper level courses in three semesters.

    I graduated in May with a BA in CS and now I’m making three times more than the highest paying job I ever had.  A job that I got based on a faculty recommendation.

    Some people think the BA requirement is shit, but it’s the way the world works.  HR gatekeepers shit-can just about every resume they come across that doesn’t have a degree on it.  For the most part, the only jobs they have for non-degreed people are the shit jobs that pay less than anyone with a degree will work for.

    Go back to school.  You should be able to come up with some form of financial aid to get you by.  When you’re finished, you’ll see a lot more doors open up for you.

  3. I look at it this way. It’s like in math class when you just know the answer, but they get pissy when you don’t show your work. It doesn’t matter how much you know it’s all about knowing it their way.

  4. And you can burn out while a student and lose all motivation to persue the career even if you do graduate young. I think people sometimes need to do a boring job, and get bored, to realise to what degree they want something better, but if you become ok with a crappy future and tight lifestyle your need for a good job might demininsh, as happened with me

  5. Hell, my degree is in history, roughly speaking (depends how you dice the credits – it can also be called a degree in “Bible”, and I have a fat minor in psych).  And it was a fully accredited school on secular grounds. (useless tidbit; Francis Gary Powers graduated from my alma mater.)

    But I would not be eligible for the job I have without it. Silly?  Yep.  Glad I have that totally unrelated degree?  Yep.

    Does anyone know if HR guys roundfile resumes that show degrees from University Of Phoenix Online?

  6. To Decrepit old fool…
    Why do you ask if HR guys roundfile (I assume you mean throw away) degrees from University of Phoenix Online? It’s kind of freaky that you ask that because I was looking at University of Phoenix Online and had found a Degree that seems to fit what I want. It would be a shame to spend all that money (they are NOT cheap!)and effort to find out it is not a respectable degree. Do you know something…or were you just making an indirect suggestion to Les? Or, is it just a genuine question and you don’t know. If so…then can anyone out there answer this question…is University of Phoenix Online considered nothing more than a trade school bullshit degree or is it considered valid? From what I can tell, it’s legit…but I haven’t asked around that much.

  7. Just as a follow up…I work with and am on the same team with Les. I can sorta feel his pain because, well, we do the same job! (Hey…WHASSUP LES!!??) However, I can’t really bitch too much because I am pretty new to the IT field , thus, sort of entry level. Whereas Les has been doing this for years and has been high on the mountian before, but has unfortunately been knocked down. In the short time I have known Les, I can tell that he is NOT where he belongs and deserves better. But unfortunately his lack of college degree seems to be a stumbling block. I have been doing this job for a little over a year now, and have attained 4 certifications (A+,Network+, MCP, and Security+) since then. But, even so…I have this terrible feeling that it is not really going to get me anywhere as I will look to spread my wings soon. When I look around the job market, it seems that the jobs that pay well require a college degree. And also, like Les, I am in my late 30’s and not getting any younger.
    I have found a degree from University of Phoenix Online that really thing would fit me well, but am afraid that the degree doesn’t carry the same weight that a “normal” college would. I am too old with limited resources to make a bad mistake by going to the wrong place. Does anyone have any information on University of Phoenix Online about how “accredited” they really are?

    P.S. Thanks to Decrepitoldfool for the response

  8. To my knowledge, U of Phoenix is just a correspondence school with a good marketing plan.  It’s not hard to find out about it’s accreditation and where it sits on the totem pole.  If you have the ability, it’s better to go to a state school of some sort.  It is usually the least expensive option if you are in-state.

    Basically, HR people have too many resumes to deal with.  They just scan for keywords that are relevant to the job description they were given.  They don’t see “Bachelor’s Degree” on the resume, it gets shitcanned.

    A friend of mine in HR says it comes down to this:  A candidate with a degree is preferable because he’ll have a minimum level of knowledge.  It’s a verifiable measure of what the person knows.  A non-degreed candidate is a greater risk for the company.  An unnecessary risk because of the number of degreed candidates they can choose from.

    Another thing to keep in mind, in the program I graduated from there were a half dozen “non-trads” while I was there.  At least three had basically the same lament.  They worked in software but they couldn’t move up because they didn’t have a degree.  If you don’t have the degree you are basically doomed to do the same tedious jobs until you retire or change careers.

  9. Gdub, that’s a very clever handle you’ve chosen. And to think I’ve been sitting around for the past couple of weeks trying to think of one to use when talking about you. wink

    I gotta think that the number of certs you’re racking up is going to hold at least some attraction to the various HR people out there. Especially considering your ability to knock them out so quickly. That demonstrates an aptitude as well as base knowledge.

    I know you’ve said to me you’re worried about your lack of experience, but the truth is more than one of the freshly graduated IT guys I’ve had to work with in the past had the same problem. On my way up I was made a senior UNIX systems operator at one of my sites and given the day shift. The afternoon tech was pretty upset because he was hired first and had a degree from Schoolcraft. He took it upon himself to watch for any mistakes I might make so he could correct me and show our superiors how good he was. The only problem was the mistakes he was pointing out weren’t really mistakes so it made him look foolish. He wasn’t a bad IT guy though and he did his job well enough that they made him the senior tech when I eventually left to do the GMAC Y2K job.

    As for the University of Phoenix, I haven’t any info on them either, but I’ve always been leery of correspondence schools if for no other reason than the fact that I know how lazy I can be at times. Working at your own pace isn’t a great thing when your pace tends to be glacial. Considering how quickly you’ve racked up certs that probably isn’t a problem for you so you just need to find out how seriously their degrees are taken.

  10. I looked into it a little bit.  There is a wikipedia entry about UOP here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Phoenix

    and a site about the negatives of the UOP here:

    http://uopsucks.com/

    Of course, you have to take criticisms with a grain of salt but it certainly doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

    It looks like the major problem with the UOP is that it is only regionally accredited and not professionally accredited.

    They are also in the middle of a bunch of litigation as well.

    I’d steer clear of the place and just go to the nearest state school.

  11. Yep…I did a lot of investigation since last night and it seems that ultimately University Of Phoenix Online (UOP) could very well be second rate. It’s funny you also came up with the site uopsucks.com because I ran across it myself. I read a lot of blogs and other sites about UOP, and although many people who went there would swear by it, others seem to have had a nightmare experience. Some of the blogs had some people who are HR personnel, and they said that once they see UOP on the resume, it goes right to the shitcan. I also noticed that some graduates from UOP would get offended if someone would badmouth their school, but they would misspell a bunch of stuff in their reply, which really didn’t help their case.  UOP is also owned by a company called the Apollo Group that is a for profit group that is traded on the NASDAQ. (I don’t know why…but I just don’t like the sound of that)
    Intel made an announcement that they will no longer continue their employee reimbursement program for UOP because they question the quality of their “accreditation”. You are right, Lobo, they are regionally accredited, but not professionally accredited.
    All in all, there do seem to be some stories where UOP did do some good for some people, it just seems like it is more on the level of a degree from ITT tech, or DeVry University. In other words, something that HR personnel will snicker about behind your back as they throw your resume in the shredder.
    Nobody is more disappointed to find out about this than me, as their Bachelors in Information Technology/Information Security degree seems to be such a good fit for me.
    I’ve heard the argument that it doesn’t matter where you go to school, it what you make of it. I think that that is a bunch of crap. Of course you need to go into school with the proper attitude. But it doesn’t matter if you get a 4.0 average. If your degree is considered a joke and the companies that you want to hire you consider it as such…what good does it do you? Wasted money. And a lot of it!

    Well, Les, I’ll see you at work. We are sure to have another fulfilling and action packed day on the IMAC team tomorrow where we go home every day with a fortune of a paycheck and a great feeling of accomplishment.
    LOL
    On a serious note, sorry to hear about your uncle Gene.

  12. One last point about UOP.  All of the advertisements. How many pop-up ads do you see out there for Harvard? hmmm

  13. The only reason that the four-year degree matters is that employers want to know that you’ve been beaten into submission and now reflexively do what you’re told, no matter how inane or trivial the assignment may be.

    That being said, I have one of those.  Like decrepitoldfool, it’s in History, too.  (Comrade!)  But I really didn’t start making much money until I grafted on the Associate’s degree in programming.  Then they couldn’t shove me into my cube fast enough. 

    So, for whatever advice dispensed through the highly irresponsible venue of blog comments is worth, I’d seriously recommend humoring the suits with some sort of degree.

  14. I would not get a degree from the UOP.  They have had multiple cases where they sold bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees to people.  They got in a lot of trouble.

    Plus, what most people don’t realize is that all the Universities and colleges are offering online classes now.  There are many accredited 4 year institutions that offer degrees done mostly online.

    I recommend not wasting money on UOP, ITT, or any of the others.  Find a university you like and get a degree in something you enjoy and will use.

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