Coffeehouse Thread

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The Sysiphus Economy

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  • User profile image
    bryanedds

    Hello.

     

    My name is Bryan and I'm a superfluous engineer.

     

    I'm a software engineer with a degree, a few years of experience, and relatively high competence. I've also been out of work for almost two years. When I send in resumes, I get no response whatsoever. I have been working the past year with a start up making games for the iPhone, and saw no revenue at all. I apply to companies where I've painstakingly networked internally and receive no response. I try to find contract work just to stay afloat, and it falls through every time. I have literally traveled across the country to places that I had no connections just to be close enough to be considered for candidacy.

     

    I might as well have been invisible.

     

    Nothing seems to work in the Sisyphus economy. Present your candidacy however you like. Be bold, or be cool, be smart, or be boring. Be funny, somber, excited, or collected. Be right, be wrong, be obstinant, be a sycophant, be yourself, or be someone else. It doesn't matter what you do; unless you're a senior engineer with 10 million years of experience, no one even notices you.

     

    I can't imagine what it's like for college graduates. Actually I can, it's about the same.

     

    It didn't used to be this way. I used to have no trouble landing interviews and the position of my choice. Things have definitely changed.

     

    Worse, pretty much all signs point to a second leg of the recession dropping. I expect this recession to continue for at least another two years, perhaps four. If they keep stimulating us, it could go on for another 10 or 20. It just depends on how stupid we are as a nation.

     

    It's not looking good...

     

    I'm wondering if anyone here is having the same experience. If so, what do you do to cope with the daily hopelessness?

    An individualist is he who is saving himself from all those who are saving the world.
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  • User profile image
    Bass

    I can't really I have had the same experience.

     

    Do you have a college degree? What major?

    What is your software development experience in?

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    Bass said:

    I can't really I have had the same experience.

     

    Do you have a college degree? What major?

    What is your software development experience in?

    I was on the market for 8 months. While nice jobs are not easy to find, by posting my resume on Monster.com and LinkedIn I was getting amost a call per day from a bunch of recruitment agencies in the area.

     

    Have you tried to verify that your resume is "appetizing" to a potential employer? What are your core competencies?

  • User profile image
    bryanedds

    Hey Bass,

     

    Degree is A.S. in Computer Programming (couldn't afford a B.S.). Core competencies are embedded C++ and C#. Core experience is game engine, tool, and game play development. Taught myself C++ and have been programming hard core with it for greater than a decade, albeit only 3 professionally.

     

    I was thinking about going to college to get a B.S. in Math, but it's just financially infeasible.

    An individualist is he who is saving himself from all those who are saving the world.
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  • User profile image
    bryanedds

    PaoloM said:
    Bass said:
    *snip*

    I was on the market for 8 months. While nice jobs are not easy to find, by posting my resume on Monster.com and LinkedIn I was getting amost a call per day from a bunch of recruitment agencies in the area.

     

    Have you tried to verify that your resume is "appetizing" to a potential employer? What are your core competencies?

    Hey PaoloM!

     

    I'm going to try posting my resume up there. Thank you kindly for the idea!

     

    However, I'm not sure if my resume is 'appetizing' in any way Scared

     

    Cheers!

    An individualist is he who is saving himself from all those who are saving the world.
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  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    bryanedds said:

    Hey Bass,

     

    Degree is A.S. in Computer Programming (couldn't afford a B.S.). Core competencies are embedded C++ and C#. Core experience is game engine, tool, and game play development. Taught myself C++ and have been programming hard core with it for greater than a decade, albeit only 3 professionally.

     

    I was thinking about going to college to get a B.S. in Math, but it's just financially infeasible.

    Are you targeting only the game-writing jobs?  If you are, then you're narrowing yourself to a very competitive niche!  I think it you were positioning yourself as a 'general' programmer you might have more luck.

     

    Herbie

     

  • User profile image
    bryanedds

    Dr Herbie said:
    bryanedds said:
    *snip*

    Are you targeting only the game-writing jobs?  If you are, then you're narrowing yourself to a very competitive niche!  I think it you were positioning yourself as a 'general' programmer you might have more luck.

     

    Herbie

     

    Hi Herbie!

     

    Definitely not. I have been applying to every programming job I could conceivably be qualified for.

     

    Sadly, non-game people are reluctant to consider candidates with my specialization. They think I'll get bored or something. I try to explain that games are what got me into programming, but programming is what my true passion is. I have reworked my resume to be general, but my game experience can't really be hidden.

     

    Shame that one's experience should become a burden :/

    An individualist is he who is saving himself from all those who are saving the world.
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  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    bryanedds said:
    Dr Herbie said:
    *snip*

    Hi Herbie!

     

    Definitely not. I have been applying to every programming job I could conceivably be qualified for.

     

    Sadly, non-game people are reluctant to consider candidates with my specialization. They think I'll get bored or something. I try to explain that games are what got me into programming, but programming is what my true passion is. I have reworked my resume to be general, but my game experience can't really be hidden.

     

    Shame that one's experience should become a burden :/

    Boring companies want boring employees to do boring jobs (like LoB app development), the archetypical game developer doesn't fit into their preconcieved notion of what an ideal employee is.

     

    I do think you're better off upgrading your AS degree to a BS. I know you've mentioned the cost of doing so, but that's what student loans are for. Maybe do a correspondence course if necessary?

  • User profile image
    Minh

    bryanedds said:
    Dr Herbie said:
    *snip*

    Hi Herbie!

     

    Definitely not. I have been applying to every programming job I could conceivably be qualified for.

     

    Sadly, non-game people are reluctant to consider candidates with my specialization. They think I'll get bored or something. I try to explain that games are what got me into programming, but programming is what my true passion is. I have reworked my resume to be general, but my game experience can't really be hidden.

     

    Shame that one's experience should become a burden :/

    Post your resume here.

     

    And exercise to keep your spirits up.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Minh said:
    bryanedds said:
    *snip*

    Post your resume here.

     

    And exercise to keep your spirits up.

    Minh: I remember 2005, we were chatting over IM and you were just saying how you didn't have a job because you didn't feel like it. I suggested you did, you agreed, and almost immediately you scored yourself a position at a bank.

     

    Did that really happen, or was it a pretense you just kept for me? Big Smile (if so, how did you get a job so quickly?)

  • User profile image
    Minh

    W3bbo said:
    Minh said:
    *snip*

    Minh: I remember 2005, we were chatting over IM and you were just saying how you didn't have a job because you didn't feel like it. I suggested you did, you agreed, and almost immediately you scored yourself a position at a bank.

     

    Did that really happen, or was it a pretense you just kept for me? Big Smile (if so, how did you get a job so quickly?)

    In 2005, I had the bright idea of going to my then employer and ask to do 20 hrs / week and spend the rest of the time developing games. Here was the conversation:

     

    Boss: I see your motivation. I will ask my boss. But just in case, what would you do if we can't do it?

    Me:    (thinking there's no way they'd let me go) I would have to resign.

     

    (A WEEK LATER)

     

    Boss: We can't do it

    Me:    OK. See ya. (What could I have done at this point?)

     

    At that time, I spent... maybe 3 months looking... then a recuiter got me a good job (for their 50% cut) for 9 months, then I finally hook up with a bank, which I've stayed at ever since.

     

    But I got the recuiter job because my background if FoxPro (of all things)... but led to other projects in the same company... and I had a killer interview for the bank which got me that job.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    Minh said:
    bryanedds said:
    *snip*

    Post your resume here.

     

    And exercise to keep your spirits up.

    Yes to the exercise. You have to get out of the house. I walked a lot over the last few years when I was scrabbling around for contracts in the UK. Even just going and sitting somewhere else is a help.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    If you aren't getting interviews, you should have someone with HR experience look over your Resume. It probably sucks.

     

    If you are getting interviews but no job offers, you really need to study better before interviews. Treat interviews like a test.

  • User profile image
    bryanedds

    Bass said:

    If you aren't getting interviews, you should have someone with HR experience look over your Resume. It probably sucks.

     

    If you are getting interviews but no job offers, you really need to study better before interviews. Treat interviews like a test.

    Bass,

     

    There is data to suggest that the truth might be more nuanced. I've used the same resume template for my whole career and never had much of an issue landing interviews and offers. Once the economy hit the crapper, things just dried up for me. At the beginning of it, I could still get interviews. As things got worse, even those went away. Have you heard of some companies now filter out all applicants who aren't currently employed?

     

    Expressionless

     

    Fundamentally, however, I agree that one should always improve one's resume and inteviewing technique, and anything one has control over. Not a day goes by that I don't try improve my programming technique in some way. In terms of opportunity, however, nothing seems to have paid off.

     

    The most difficult thing is to watch your own frustration warp your view of reality. While you can, in intermittent moments of clarity, recognize that things are not be as bad as they seem, the emotional state is still generally affected.

     

    It's a really nasty thing to deal with. I wouldn't wish it on anybody!

    An individualist is he who is saving himself from all those who are saving the world.
    Last modified
  • User profile image
    bryanedds

    bryanedds said:
    Bass said:
    *snip*

    Bass,

     

    There is data to suggest that the truth might be more nuanced. I've used the same resume template for my whole career and never had much of an issue landing interviews and offers. Once the economy hit the crapper, things just dried up for me. At the beginning of it, I could still get interviews. As things got worse, even those went away. Have you heard of some companies now filter out all applicants who aren't currently employed?

     

    Expressionless

     

    Fundamentally, however, I agree that one should always improve one's resume and inteviewing technique, and anything one has control over. Not a day goes by that I don't try improve my programming technique in some way. In terms of opportunity, however, nothing seems to have paid off.

     

    The most difficult thing is to watch your own frustration warp your view of reality. While you can, in intermittent moments of clarity, recognize that things are not be as bad as they seem, the emotional state is still generally affected.

     

    It's a really nasty thing to deal with. I wouldn't wish it on anybody!

    Hi Minh,

     

    Good suggestion on the exercise. I do get a bit of exercise due to accidental circumstances, and now that I think about it, it does seem to do quite a bit of good. I'm going to do more of it and see how it goes!

     

    I suppose I could post my resume for y'all to dissect, but are you sure that's ok with the rules here?

    An individualist is he who is saving himself from all those who are saving the world.
    Last modified
  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    bryanedds said:
    bryanedds said:
    *snip*

    Hi Minh,

     

    Good suggestion on the exercise. I do get a bit of exercise due to accidental circumstances, and now that I think about it, it does seem to do quite a bit of good. I'm going to do more of it and see how it goes!

     

    I suppose I could post my resume for y'all to dissect, but are you sure that's ok with the rules here?

    Y'know what's really tempting for me? Hiring you.

     

    It's nothing major, nor full-time, and I don't need anyone for at least a couple more months, but in the near future if you're looking for some extra cash, let me know.

  • User profile image
    bryanedds

    W3bbo said:
    bryanedds said:
    *snip*

    Y'know what's really tempting for me? Hiring you.

     

    It's nothing major, nor full-time, and I don't need anyone for at least a couple more months, but in the near future if you're looking for some extra cash, let me know.

    Webbo, I'm on that like syrup on hotcakes! I'll forward you my resume if you don't make taking a look Smiley I'm happy to look at anything you've got now or in the future!

     

    Not sure how to contact you tho. My e-mail is bedds@redsword.com if you'd like to send me contact info privately!

     

    cheers!!!!!

    An individualist is he who is saving himself from all those who are saving the world.
    Last modified
  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    bryanedds said:
    W3bbo said:
    *snip*

    Webbo, I'm on that like syrup on hotcakes! I'll forward you my resume if you don't make taking a look Smiley I'm happy to look at anything you've got now or in the future!

     

    Not sure how to contact you tho. My e-mail is bedds@redsword.com if you'd like to send me contact info privately!

     

    cheers!!!!!

    Just to give you a fair warning: I'm a full-time undergraduate student, I have a number of money-making projects on the side, and that's where this is coming from. I'll send you an email right now with further details.

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