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Monday, June 14, 2010

How to stalk employers

This was supposed to have been a more comprehensive guide to getting some extra help with a job search, but it was rushed into production too quickly. Sorry. Good luck.

Some could call this time "The Great Recession." Too many people we know probably have other words, such as "The Giant Ball of Suck."

Here's a random collection of ideas that may help you find employment:

Have your computer do the work for you

OK, pick your favorite Web browser. No, not that one. I mean Firefox. Look, it's not a religious experience. It's a Web browser. It'll help you find a job. You can go back to using your 10-year-old version of Internet Explorer or the special browser made by Viking hermits in ice caves after you get the job. So if you don't have Firefox, get it. That'll help you in the next two steps:

Install the SiteDelta plugin for Firefox from

When you get to the page, you'll see a long green button, "Add to Firefox". Click this and a new window pops up, with a countdown over the word "Install" -- they really want to make sure that you're installing legitimate stuff and have a few minutes to think it over. Don't trust us? Well, you're pretty smart, then. But you still need the job.

Then install Feed Sidebar for Firefox from

This is it. If you're new to Firefox, you may want to take a look at just two other things: IE Tab Plus and Adblock Plus. The first lets you view Web pages in Internet Explorer from within Firefox; read that a few times and it'll make more sense. It comes in handy mostly for older Web sites with lots of bad coding, like the places with weird custom job application programs that run within the browser. Adblock Plus, er, blocks ads. You need to get a list of ads, called a subscription; try EasyList, which may be the default.

OK, now you've installed 2, 3 or 4 plugins. You'll have to restart Firefox for them to take effect. Restart Firefox.

Near the address bar at the top of the screen is a mostly orange box with little white waves emanating from a star; that's Feed Sidebar. This handles what's called RSS feeds -- mostly used in blogs, but used in some job sites and such. You can click it to peek inside, then click again.

In the bottom right corner of your browser is a little triangle, just hanging out. That's SiteDelta. It won't do much right now. We're going to use these to stalk jobs online. First we have to get some ideas.

Coming up with the first slice of jobs

If you're reading this, chances are you're not so much looking to drive a forklift, though you may be willing. Chances are you've got education and a career. So let's move ahead on that premise.

Are you a reporter? You probably know about A teacher in Georgia? TeachGeorgia. There may be other job sites oriented toward your specialty; take a look.

Because we've got to start somewhere, let's point your browser toward Use this as a learning tool, alright? If you go there and click on the Alert button, you see you can set alerts for new jobs -- show me only part-time jobs in Wisconsin, or full-time jobs in Arizona, or whatever. This is good to know.

But try clicking the "search jobs" link. Up pops a new screen (here). Toward the top is a new orange button with white radio waves coming out -- just like your Feed Sidebar button. Click that button. A new screen comes up with a list of jobs. At the top is a "Subscribe Now" button. Click that. A small window pops up asking if you want to bookmark it. Hit Subscribe. Close the windows. Your computer will now automatically check for new jobs posted here.

Once you learn to pay attention to that little orange icon, you'll see it in more places. To see what's new, click the Feed Sidebar button near the link bar in Firefox, near the top of your screen and the navigation commands. You can tell to check the sites you subscribe to regularly -- say, every 20 minutes.

But most employers still have just a list of jobs. This is OK; this is where SiteDelta comes in handy.

Now, let's say you're living near Macon, Ga., and thinking there might be a job at Wesleyan College in Macon. Can you find the employment page? First you have to find the right Wesleyan College, then hunt down the employment link on the main page. Eventually, you should get to There's separate links to open faculty positions and open staff positions. But if you scroll down, you'll see it's the same page.

Remember that SiteDelta icon near the bottom-right corner of your browser? Click that. Once. A new bar appears at the top of your browser: "Page scanned. Click SiteDelta icon on next visit." SiteDelta will now be stalking this on its own schedule. (You can force the schedule by right-clicking the SiteDelta triangle icon, opening the sidebar, clicking Pages at the top, selecting SiteDelta Settings, then the Scan Schedule tab, then explicitly setting the frequency -- hourly, every 20 minutes, whatever.)

So now you're wondering -- what have you done?

Well, you'll want to open Feed Sidebar every day or two to see what new jobs are posted through your RSS feeds. And you'll check SiteDelta when the triangle turns red -- that's the only real notification you get. When SiteDelta shows up, you can right-click on it and select Open Changed Pages. If SiteDelta isn't checking as much as you want, you can tell it to scan your pages.

Now, on to other specialized job sites

Think for a moment about your industry and where you'd be willing to work. Think about how those skills may translate into other kinds of employers, if at all. Say you've got a background in marketing. Well, lots of businesses -- and even charitities -- need help with sales, marketing, public relations and the like.

Think about the steadiest employers in your area, if you're not willing to move. City government? County government? State government? They've all got Web pages, and they've all got listings of jobs (when they have spare jobs). The little communities within a 30-minute drive have the same thing. And then there's the weird quasi-government jobs, such as the local water authority or the regional planning agency. Make a list. Brainstorm. Think some more. Then find the jobs pages; hit 'em with SiteDelta or get the RSS feed or the subscription.

Other steady employers? Well, healthcare's big. You may not have training in nursing, but your skills may cross over there. Check the local hospitals. Arguably check nursing homes. SiteDelta and RSS feeds. Get your computer working.

Well, what about big employers? Most of American employees are with small businesses, but it's tough to find those jobs one-by-one. So let's keep stalking major employers. Your local Chamber of Commerce should have a list -- it may be online, it may not -- of the area's largest employers. Find the Web sites. Sign up, SiteDelta, RSS. Then find the Chamber of Commerce for your county, and the next few counties around, and the cities in those counties. SiteDelta. RSS. Whatever. Get it done. Check on it once or twice to make sure it really is working. And keep looking.

There are other ways to find jobs -- including those that are traditional, such as networking through friends and colleagues, or maybe standing on the corner in a business and/or chicken suit trying to get attention. There are plenty of books in your library and probably some resources online. But this is a great reason to check out the library, where odd-looking people are welcomed during the middle of a business day. And you can check out the Sharpe's novels on audiobook.

And we're outta time. Good luck!


Monster to post resume

State Web sites to post resume


Call a friend

Get references out

Get reference letters out

Draft resume, cover letter

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Some steps to a special kind of happiness

As with everything in life, there are different degrees of happiness. mom always sets the bar high.

Witness this:
To get kind of a happy belly:
  1. Go to the grocery and buy a jar of meat sauce

To get a fairly happy belly:
  1. Go to the grocery store and buy a pound of beef, a jar of Prego and a packet of Lipton onion soup powder.
  2. Combine

To get the most amazingly happy belly from some authentic bolognese sauce:
  1. Have a person born to parents of mixed, but largely Italian and French descent, in an area with heavy Mediterranean but multicultural influences
  2. Have said person grow up with some self confidence
  3. Have said person grow up with an unusual amount of determination, which gets her through night grad school
  4. which gets her an MBA
  5. which gets her a position as one half of her company's representatives in another country
  6. where for no apparent reason she falls in love with a guy
  7. then agrees to marry him
  8. then moves with him to a place not known for its high levels of immigration from her nation of birth
  9. who then links up with all eight people in the area
  10. one of whom invites her to a farm for a child's birthday
  11. where said husband points out a basket of nice tomatoes
  12. that somehow she magically turns into one damned good bolognese sauce.

The third option's a lot more complicated, but entirely more rewarding. And sometimes there's a kiss at the end of the meal!

Fun with a criminal

An old buddy of dad, who became a new buddy of Aunt Selle, had his Gmail account taken over by a scammer who was asking for help because he'd just been mugged in London. Suffice to say Uncle Jim hasn't been mugged, but he's probably ready to run the guy over with his tractor in Georgia.

This has little to do with Lil' Genghis, but, hey, it's entertaining to dad at least.

The astute among you will note carefully that dad's name is not Mark. Also, "JACKASS" isn't an insult so much as an inside joke with Uncle Jim, but the scammer just tried to ignore it.

9:29 PM Jim: Hi Mark
Jim: how are you doing?
me: fine, and you?
9:30 PM Jim: not too good...why dont you reply to my email about my plight ?
me: was thinking the other day about our old boss ... what was his name?
I didn't see an e-mail
Is there a phone number I can reach you at?
9:31 PM Jim: Oh
I sent an email that i got mugged in London
me: That's terrible!
Jim: And that i want you to loan me the sum of $2450 usd till am back home
yes it was
9:32 PM Are you there?
me: How do I get it to you?
9:33 PM Jim: through western union money transfer on my name in London
Where are you now?
me: You've got a common name.
Jim: Jim (Name)
9:34 PM me: I know your name, yes.
Jim: Name: Jim (Name)
Location:Craven Hill Garden, W2 3EA ,London, UK
me: No more address than that?
Jim: yes
me: European addresses always confuse me
Jim: that is all needed from western union
9:35 PM How soon can you make the payment?
9:36 PM me: What time is it there?
Jim: it is 2:34 am here now
9:37 PM me: 937pm
OK, just got off the phone
9:38 PM Jim: Oh Ok...Can you still make it?
me: They say you can pick it up between 4:30 and 5 a.m., but the system's going down for maintenance after 5 p.m. ... Can you be there then?
er, system's going down for maintenance after 5 AM rather
Jim: Ok
me: It'll take 2 hours to process
Jim: Ok
9:39 PM Ho do you know that?
me: That's what they told me on the phone
Web site wasn't going through for some reason
Jim: Ok
9:40 PM me: Something about credit card authorizations as a cash advance or something
Jim: You can go to any western union Location arround you and make the payment
me: Never had a friend get mugged overseas before!
Jim: it was a bad experience so far
9:41 PM me: So far? You think you'll get mugged again?
Jim: i dont pray for such thing anymore
i mean since i was born
me: Well, why did you say it was a bad experience so far?
9:42 PM Jim: i mean that was the most worst experince in my life ever since i was born
9:43 PM me: Well, there was that thing with the stripper who turned out to be a hooker who turned out to be a cop
I'll never forget that story
Man, remember how much we laughed?
Jim: yes dude
9:44 PM Mike can you try and see if you can get the money send to me at a western union location right now ?
me: They said they'd get it to that whatever garden thing in 2 hours
so should be 4:30 a.m. there
between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m.
9:45 PM I think the delay may be the computer problems that are making them take the system down at 5 a.m.
No one gets mugged at a good hour, you know?
Jim: yes
9:46 PM so Mike how will you give me the info to get the money here ?
me: Is there a 24-hour one near you?
9:47 PM Jim: i really dont know
But am not sure
me: What was that postal code again?
9:48 PM Jim: W2 3EA
9:49 PM me: Trying to find a Western Union near there
Jim: ok
9:50 PM me: There's a place on Queensway?
Damned British make all the streets sound the same
Jim: yes
9:51 PM me: Do you know where that is? They're saying only .26 miles
from the postal code, anyway, don't know how that relates to your address
12 Queensway
London, W2 3RX
You want to give them a call and make sure they're going to be open?
Or want me to call?
Jim: what did you post on my facebook?
9:52 PM me: What?
Jim: Ah, was just gonna warn you -- on the line with the guy now on Gmail. Jim, there's a
9:53 PM me: Aww, gee, did I make your bitch-ass moron self waste more than 30 minutes of your life for no gain?
I'm a bad, bad boy
But you're an utter loser moron
You're in Gmail chat real time and not even checking the e-mails as they come in?
Do you have the IQ of a syphallytic rhinoceros?
9:54 PM Can one man truly be this stupid?
I guess you can.
Fine work, fine work.
Jim: do you know how much i realise from this gmail account?
me: Well, if you weren't a complete idiot you wouldn't have wasted 30 minutes here
Nor would you open a conversation with the WRONG NAME
9:55 PM Give it up, guy
You're too dumb to be a criminal
And trust me, the real Jim and I have known lots of criminals over the years
and we laugh at them all the time
But we'll be laughing at you for a longer time
And still you talk
Face getting a little red?
9:56 PM Embarrassment? Anger?
Do you feel like your brain is smaller than your penis at the moment? Isn't that hard to do?
9:58 PM Awww, did I hurt your widdle feelings?
Go back to Lagos.