My personal website is woefully outdated (nobody likes doing chores), so I'm catching up on the chore of updating stuff. Since the last update, the COVID-19 pandemic has happened. I've spent it mostly in self-quarantine.
I was out of work for awhile, but since then, I've working on a yearlong contract as a Contract Media Tester in the Publishing & Marketing Dept. of Bungie. It's one of the best jobs I've had. I'm approaching the end of my contract, so we'll see how much of a future I have there, soon.
Since the killing of George Floyd by police, I've also spent a lot of time documenting and archiving the live streams of the protests. They've quieted down a lot compared to 2020, but such police killings are still an issue across the country.
If you would like to see what happened at a lot of the protests, and hear the protesters' grievances, I've posted them all to my Internet Archive, and to a BLM Protest playlist I created on YouTube. I even made an amateur 3 hour documentary that's a montage of video clips of the live streams, summarizing the protests of July 2020, in chronological order from start to end of the month.
Although the upper management at that Ballard warehouse was generally very nice to me (as were some low-level coworkers), they've got some genuine human resources issues there. Some of their guys, who've worked there for years (since they were high school buddies with each other) are very comfortable where they're at. Comfortable enough that some don't appear to mind one bit how hostile or generally abrasive they are to anybody. They may get written up for their behavior from time to time, but don't appear to see any real consequences. And deep down, my radar tells me they really don't give a shit. They're just a bunch of good ol' boys. So after bringing this to the managers' attention on different occasions only to (mostly) just hear a response of silence, I gave them notice and quit.
I had quickly gotten a contract job offer from an agency recruiter filling spots on a team at Google Maps over in Bothell. It sounded like a good job. The starting pay was a $2/hr pay cut, but the recruiter said repeatedly they always promote within 6 months (resulting in a raise back up to what I was earning at the Ballard warehouse), and then get another promotion a few months later (resulting in a pay increase $2/hr higher than my previous job, plus I'd get some nice management experience).
Unfortunately, within a few days of the training period, I discovered the recruiter had lied to me about the way they promote their new hires within their first year (surprise: they don't). I found out the hard way that I had just quit a job where I didn't like my coworkers' attitudes, only to replace that job with a lesser-paying job with a commute that's twice as long. I debated with myself what to do, and I decided it was best to focus on getting my next job.
Within a couple weeks, I got a contract job offer (from a different recruiter & agency) to go back to a Major Software company, headquartered in Redmond, to test video games at. Again. The Eastside commute there is never fun, but at least the pay will be about the same as what I made at the Ballard warehouse, but without that same kind of coworker BS (it wouldn't be tolerated there).
Now it's the end of September, and I've got just a few weeks of downtime before the start date for the QA team on my next game testing contract. A few weeks without pay isn't very healthy for the bank account. But I had the sense to save up a little money in my bank account earlier this year, and relaxing at home for a few weeks can't be bad for my high blood pressure. Life would be so much better if I had a job I enjoyed that I could actually do from home, but I'm getting by.
Although I received nothing but compliments from my fellow teachers at how professional I was as an Assistant Teacher, unfortunately I had to quit. Didn't see eye to eye with their Scheduling Department regarding their scheduling procedures, and their tact with teachers. Sometimes the most challenging thing in the education industry isn't the kids, it's the adults. Since I also took a part-time morning warehouse job recently, I gave notice for the part-time afternoon teaching job.
The new part time warehouse job is just a few blocks from Mox in Ballard. They sell and manufacture mostly computer cables, as well as metal plates and panels. They can do some nice stuff with laser engraving. Convenient location here in the North end, and the pay is a little better than I've had in awhile.
I was hired as a Receiving Assistant, and have since been cross-trained in Testing and Shipping. More cross-training is likely. I've gotten a lot of compliments about my work thus far.
My warehouse boss was actually happy to hear I quit my teaching job, and immediately asked me to work 40 hours per week. I have, and it sounds like (when I get my 90 day review soon) I'll probably be offered a full time job there (meaning healthcare benefits, for example).
I hope things go well there. We'll see how it goes.
Tonight, I write this on the night of the "Red Blood Wolf Supermoon" Lunar Eclipse, which I enjoyed watching for a bit through my bedroom window, as the crimson Moon rose over the cemetery behind my house. I heard some coyotes late last night fighting somewhere by the cemetary, but no such nightlife tonight.
I tried my best at that warehouse job up the road, but I just wasn't a good fit there. While I consider myself a hard worker and reliable, the expectations of the efficiency expert running their warehouse might be a better fit for someone else.
So I quit that job and became a part-time Assistant Teacher! I now work for a local non-profit that runs afternoon classes throughout the Seattle School District, teaching kids 8 - 12 years old how to create and debug video games. We use a visual coding system invented by MIT as an educational tool for kids, called Scratch.
I've only just started, but I've had a lot of fun thus far becoming a teacher. I'm now looking for a second part-time job to work on my off-hours to pay the bills. I haven't decided for sure yet how long I want to teach. But I think this would be a good work experience for me, and I'd like to continue teaching for a little while, at least.
Some kids are more challenging than others, but all the kids are generally okay. Plus, I typically work at schools up here in the North end of Seattle. This means commuting is limited to nearby neighborhoods. That's a good thing, especially since Seattle is messing with traffic again by demolishing the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
I've been working as an Order Picker at another online jewelry retailer since Labor Day. Nice folks, though not my ideal job. The warehouse concrete floors are very tough on the feet, and some of their expectations on productivity, neatness & "passion about our jobs" are shall we say, ambitious. Even for somebody like me who consistently works hard all day long with an excellent accuracy record. I'll be getting a raise at new year's but only because Seattle's minimum wage is going up again (i.e. I've had better-paying jobs elsewhere).
On the bright side, it's located just a mile from where I live. I can't remember the last time I had a job I could just walk to work to. Which can be pleasant at times, walking along the Interurban Trail.
The job pays the bills, and that's the point. Also, it's a full-time direct hire job with healthcare provided. So I definitely appreciate the opportunity to work there, and do my best on the job every day.
Healthcare is getting increasingly important at my age. :( While at the doctor recently for a bad cold, she also put me on some high blood pressure medication that it sounds like I've been needing for awhile. Although my weight has not changed, my doc says that I am probably losing weight without realizing it due to walking 2+ miles a day, as muscle weighs more than fat. We'll see.
Looking forward to playing Fallout 76 next month. I'm disappointed Red Dead Redemption 2 isn't coming out on PC/Steam (it would have looked gorgeous on my desktop). Guess I'll have to settle for the country roads of the post-apocalypse instead of the Old West.
It's been awhile since I updated anything about myself, so here we are. My career advancement has been kind of disappointing in recent months. You never know until you try, and you can't win them all. All you can do is try to keep on truckin', and take away something productive from your experiences.
The Court Reporting job downtown turned out to not offer enough work to survive on in Seattle's 21st century economy. By contract, we are paid per hearing. Unfortunately, they only had hearings available for me typically a few days a week, and sometimes some weeks had none at all. Plus, last-minute hearing cancellations resulted in losing 60% of my pay for those hearings, per our agency contract.
At least under our agency's contract, Court Reporting is not a job you can count on for a primary source of income. I told them they can keep me on the books on an On-Call basis, and sometimes they still schedule me for hearings. But I do not have any long-term plans for being a Court Reporter. At least not with my current agency.
I tried becoming a "Grader" at Card Kingdom, locally known in Ballard as Mox Boarding House. A Grader is somebody who appraises the condition of Magic: the Gathering cards. Card Kingdom is the online retail storefront for Mox.
I did well as a Grader, and my boss said she's writing me a letter of recommendation. But I decided to quit due to their quota expectations for grading cards. It felt unrealistic for somebody with no previous background familiarity with Magic cards. CK needs Graders to grade 4,000 or more cards daily. The best I could do was 2,500 in a day. No matter how hard I tried, 4K just seemed way beyond me.
So I quit Card Kingdom while on excellent terms with them. I still don't play much, but I now have the professional training in M:tG editions and conditions needed to be a professional Grader. Not that there's a lot of jobs out there with "Grader experience" in the requirements. But it's a new skill for my skill set. At least I was a productive member of CK's team.
I was able to save up some $ in the bank in case things didn't work out. I also saved enough to FINALLY finish re-building my PC. Fallout 4 now runs like a champ with the hi-res DLC on Ultra graphics mode! :) Just in time for Fallout 76, too! I even expanded my collection of tabletop games and RPG books while working at Card Kingdom.
If you're a Magic fan living in Seattle, then I very much recommend seeking employment at cardkingdom.com. If you aren't very familiar with the game, then unfortunately I'd recommend to look elsewhere for a job.
That conveniently-timed short-term Microsoft game testing project turned out to be shorter than they planned. On short notice, they laid off the entire testing team about two months ahead of schedule. Thanks again, Microsoft.
On the bright side, I was able to get started on the new Court Reporter job. It's the first job I can recall only requiring a single bus to commute on, taking me almost directly from home to work. It may broaden my work experience on my resume a bit (I've always wanted a job supporting the government in some administrative role). Plus, I finally may be able to save up for buying a small off-the-grid homestead to retire on in 3 to 5 years. We'll see.
Need to wait until maybe Black Friday to buy a new motherboard due to the MS project evaporating sooner than anticipated. God, I miss playing Fallout 4.
As the last half of my Gen Con contract starts, I get word from an agency that employs Court Reporters (http://bsssalem.com/reporters.html) that they'd like to hire me. I fill out and submit the federal paperwork to get the necessary security clearance. It will take six weeks or so for the security clearance paperwork to be processed.
In the meantime, I get selected to be a Testing Associate 3 at Microsoft's Millennium Campus on a short-term QA Game Testing project to last until sometime in November. This dovetails nicely with the time I need to wait for my security clearance.
After having replaced my hard drive, my RAM, my graphics card and my power supply unit, I finally determine my windows-crashing problem on my desktop is requiring a replacement of the currently-overheating motherboard. Perhaps after I get my next job.
I began a summer gig working a temporary job at the corporate office of Gen Con over in Leschi. This consisted of putting together ticket & badge packages for con attendees, and later scanning their used Gen Con tickets into a database.
Although I was told I could work there twenty years if I wanted to, I gave my two-week notice at Blue Nile. I needed a change.
Also, I turned 44.
After a month of driving school and scoring a 90 on my driving test, I finally got my driver's license. I predict climate change in Hell.
A week after getting my driver's license, and a day after getting my tabs & plate for my moped, I either sprained or broke my left big toe when I wiped out on my moped in Pioneer Square. Awesome.
Greenwood / Bitter Lake Neighborhood
Sometimes short-term employment is exactly what some folks need.
Hiring entire departments full of hundreds of "Perma-temps" year after year, is something else entirely.
If you are only offering temporary/contractor employment, then please be prepared to answer the question,
"How many years do you or your client intend to stay in business?"
The "gig" mentality of project-to-project employment has no future.
Short-changing the future of America's workers is bad for everybody.
Being a "Perma-temp" is not a career.