Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Personal Policies for achieving "The Good Life"

Good Life Policies ... This is only one.

Maybe a series will come out of it.

The policy is: Unplug for the weekend. Always. Recently, TheHackerCIO got pulled into a client's production support. When a competence vacuum develops, and believe me, this happens a *lot*, a production degradation or outage tends to suck good people into the support call. And that is precisely what happened at this client. It was all right with me, because I was authorized to bill whatever hours I worked. And when the contract ended, due to budget & contractual considerations, one of my colleagues told me the discussion centered around, "What will we do without <<TheHackerCIO>>? He's always there, whenever there's a problem?" Well, of course, they used my real name!

But it was *after* this client that I realized I was checking and answering email late at night and answering calls on the weekend for a non-production-support client. And what made it worse was that I was *not* being compensated for this exercise in "Going the Extra Mile."

So I quit. I "just said No."  I established the "Unplug After Hours and on Weekends" policy. It was easy. On Friday I put in an autoresponder message on my email client, to inform people that:

"I am not on the call rotation for support this weekend, and I will be unavailable for electronic communications. I will consider your email first thing Monday morning. For urgent matters please contact my supervisor"
Mind you, I have no idea who actually *would* be on the call rotation. This contract didn't really involve production support, lol! So the statements above are entirely true! I recorded a similar message on my cell phone:
"I am not on call rotation for support this weekend, and I expect little to no cellphone coverage. Please leave a message if you wish a response on Monday, or for urgent matters contact Johnny Useless at <number-redacted>."
Then, that weekend, I didn't check my work email. Nor did I pick up any work calls. I let 'em all go to voicemail. After a week or two, I've never been troubled again.

I'm now far more rested and refreshed each weekend for the coming week. I even started applying this policy to my after hours email. If you don't set boundaries, people will continue taking. And taking. Until nothing is left. I will always be available for after hours work for a client...

So long as they pay for it ...

I Remain,


Why should I be connected to work if I'm not getting compensated for it?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Why Resume Updating Is SO important

This is not Simon Says. It's TheHackerCIO says. And one thing he says is that resume updating is of crucial importance to your career. Don't take it lightly. And don't do it hastily. Let's see why ...

Last week I listed 4 benefits to the principle: "always be looking for that next job." They were:

1. You need to keep your interviewing skills fresh, and having at least one interview per quarter forces you to.
2. You need to keep your resume up to date, and this makes you do it.
3. You have to review technical material in order to be on the top of your game for an interview. Review is always good. And part of career self-development.
4.  Knowing that You have a quarterly quota keeps you looking at industry trends, such as whether an enterprise architect is a thing of the past. (see yesterday's blog posting!)

...and the question was this: why should #2 be higher than #3?

Why in the world would resume writing be nearly as important as interviewing?

The reason is that they are reciprocally interdependent on each other. They are symbiotically related. One cannot interview properly without having updated the resume. The resume, in turn is informed and focused by interviewing experiences. But as with most symbiotic relationships, there is a dominant member. When you see Mr. Shark, you know he's the dominant member & the Remora ... well he might be helping out a little, cleaning house, so to speak, but mostly he's there to get dinner. The same thing is true of resume writing. It might be even more important than interviewing practice -- at least in your case!

Now in *my* personal case, I *already* spend a lot of time writing my resumes and don't need any improvement in that area. I'm already a world-class writer. And thinker.  And this helps a lot with my resume writing. I've got cites, for instance, from McGraw Hill to prove it: not that I need to prove it. But I always back up  what I say. That's part of the "More honesty than you want" principle, closely adhered to by TheHackerCIO.

In my case, where I don't do so well is in interviewing. This too comes from the "More honesty than you want" principle. But that is a posting for another day. I can at least mitigate things a bit by doing more interviews.

But before you do an interview, you need to reflect on your whole career in the context of this particular job description. And then begin revising. Editing. Probably rewriting the whole thing. And after you get done you ought to know 3-7 stories about how uniquely capable you are for this role; or how you would approach it. These are going to be key to work into the coming interview.

You also use that material to set the stage for the interview: by writing the cover letter. This should be done after you have spent a good long while reflecting on your whole career and rewriting the totality of the resume. For me, this took a full day. Really, to properly do this takes longer, but normally you can put off a headhunter for one day, and promise to get the resume out by first thing in the morning.

So do that. In fact, do it now!!!

I Leave off Here .... To Be Continued .... By ...