Posts Tagged ‘job hunting’

The hunt is on

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,

Man, job hunting this time around is quite challenging! It’s a combination of finding a company in a reasonably close location, looking for a position that’s not quite first job entry-level but isn’t exactly management, and trying to meet my desired price point. Now that Panda and I know where we’ll be located, I’ve had to shift my job search further west out of DC. I’d really rather not commute an hour to hour and a half each way – 30-45 minutes would be ideal. I also want something where I don’t have to start over again, but can pick up in a similar place to where I was when I left my previous job. This is difficult to find because I plan on moving into a different industry and some of the industry-specific skills they require are not part of my skill set. At the same time, I want a salary similar to if not slightly higher than what I had been paid

Adding to those criteria is my desire to work at company that either has immense opportunity to grow or has a cool, laidback work culture. Of course having both would be amazing, but I’d be happy with one or the other. A lot of companies in the region require highly technical skills – a good 75% of listings I’ve seen are for engineers, programmers, and the like. What about someone like me who is tech-savvy despite not having a technical degree? I wish there were more options out there. It seems like I find a ton of very basic administrative assistant type roles or far too complex engineering project management roles. How do I find something in between?!

I’ve definitely come across some promising leads, but boy are they competitive! I’ve gotten a few rejections and I’m still waiting to hear back on some others. I wish it was easier to find the sort of tech companies that I’m interested in, but most of the tech companies out here exist to service government needs and that sort of thing gets highly technical. I’m not in the best location for the type of work I’d like to do, which is really limiting my choices. I originally started looking for positions with opportunities to travel, but now I’ve thrown that out and will just count myself lucky if I do find a position offering that.

And the hunt goes on…

On My Mind, episode 8

laelene Posted in on my mind,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday Thoughts

Been awhile since I last linked up with Jennifer of Ramblings of a Suburban Mom, so let’s do this!

brand new condos with now selling sign

Our future home?

a. ~A lot has been on my mind lately, mostly related to where I want my life to go in the next couple of years. Panda and I have been house hunting (more like condo hunting) and we found a place that is basically our dream home. We love the layout, it’s brand new (not even built yet), it’s super spacious, it’s a nice neighborhood, and it’s on the higher end of our budget but totally manageable once I get a job. The one thing I don’t love is the location in relation to where I might work. It’s looking like I will have a 40-60 minute commute each way, based on the jobs I’ve been applying for. Am I willing to make that commute every day? I was hoping for something less stressful, but we’ll see! If I love the job and my home, a commute isn’t so bad.

b. ~I’m still grappling with the idea of my new life “out east.” I’ve had to resist looking at some very appealing job opportunities in the SF and LA regions, where a lot of cool start-ups are. I really want to find a company culture that I would fall in love with, where they take care of their employees and offer great growth potential. Oh, and I’d really like a job that involves around 25% travel. I don’t need all the crazy cool perks of some companies I’ve seen, like free massages or no dress code or no set hours, but I do want a somewhat laidback vibe. I don’t mind business casual dress or having to show up at a certain time each morning so long as the people are chill and there is room for a ton of learning and evolution of my role. So many companies on the west coast offer that and it’s a little harder to find here, but I have some promising leads.

small round glass table with blue star pattern designc. ~The other day I was at Target exchanging a tripod when I happened upon a super cute table. When I checked, it was on clearance for 50% off, which is not ideal, but still a steal! I mean, with something this adorable I just had to snatch it up. Initially it looked like the perfect little thing to put out on the porch, but now that I’ve field tested it in my room I can’t bear to put it outside. We’ll see where it fits in when we move to our future home! I may not be as good as Jennifer when it comes to Target clearance shopping, but I’m learning from her!

d. ~I started looking at laptops today, since that will be my reward for landing a job (in addition to getting a car for myself!). My absolute no-compromise criterion is that it is QUIET. Like, tablet quiet (aka silent). I determined that that basically means I need a solid state drive (SSD), so that’s what I’ve been focusing on. My tier 2 criteria include having a touchscreen, backlit keyboard, 3 USB ports, and 2-in-1 media reader or better. An added bonus would be a button that can turn the display off so I don’t have to wait for it to go idle on its own. Oh, and I was hoping for an ASUS but the only one fitting my specifications is $2250 with a student discount! DANG! Depending on how happy I am with the job I land, I might spring for that just because it really satisfies my needs, whereas all other options are missing this or that.

e. ~Is it just me or do you marvel at how freakin’ perfect Kate Middleton always looks? I mean, she just gave birth and she’s coming out looking like any other day? She’s so composed and elegant and graceful and personable all in one. I doubt we’ll ever see her trip or yell or mess up at all. It’s amazing because I think of how I’d be and well, quite frankly I’d never be accepted into royalty! They’d cringe at the casual wear I go out in, how I don’t wear makeup or do my hair, and all my other imperfections. I am perfectly happy being out of the limelight and I don’t understand how famous people manage; then again, I guess many of them don’t, what with those in rehab and lashing out and whatnot. You won’t be seeing that from the Cambridge royalty though! Always so poised it baffles me.

f. ~I started watching Once Upon A Time as my first deviation from my “normal” shows (crime dramas) and it is tangling up my mind quite well. The relationships are suuuper complex – [possible SPOILER ALERT] I mean, your step-great-grandmother is also your adoptive mother and step-great-great-grandmother was once in love with your grandfather (on the other side of the family) and a bunch of them are trying to kill each other? It’s all sorts of weirdness that I can barely keep up with. No wonder I stick to shows where each episode brings on one less-complicated mini-drama generally not related to previous ones.

country junction soy candle in macintosh from gettysburgg. ~Tonight I finally decided to break in my super cool soy candle from Gettysburg and I love it! This is my first time with a soy candle and I’m pretty sure I’m a convert now. I’ll have to test out other brands, but it burns sooo clean!! I usually have a little reaction to a candle burning due to my over-sensitivity to particles in the air, but I couldn’t even tell this one was burning. This particular candle is also super cool because of the little mug it comes in. I can’t wait to find a way to use it once my candle is all burned up.

That’s it from me for now! What are your thoughts on this fine Thursday?

Job listings

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,

As I scour the web for job listings, I’ve come across quite an assortment of posts.  They range from professionally-written and well-organized to a complete jumble, riddled with errors and not very representative of what the job may be.  Some barely give me enough information to know if it’s a job I’d be interested in!  What a waste.  So here are some thoughts I had while reading dozens of descriptions…

1. What amuses me greatly are the ones that say “only serious candidates please.”  It made me wonder if that actually works, and silly as it sounds to me, I bet it does, if only a little bit.  There’s something about human psychology that needs a little reminding of the seemingly obvious things at times.  That’s exactly why saying “please RT” on Twitter actually does work in increasing the number of retweets.  It’s obvious that people would love if you retweet their stuff on Twitter, but sometimes when it’s a particularly important thing, writing it out gets people to take action.  Similarly, having that warning phrase probably does do some damage control for the posters, decreasing the number of junk applications they get.

2. I appreciate it when the company tells you who they are!  It amazes me how many anonymous job listings there are.  After all, if I were the hiring manager, I would want to make sure the candidate not only fits what I want in the position, but aligns with the business objectives of the company as well.  Don’t you want people who fit the company culture and truly like your product or service?  I can understand individual people looking for personal assistants being more vague on who they are, but at least they describe themselves – “female executive working between home and office.”  Companies rarely go into their company culture, usually saying something generic like “fast-paced environment.”  What if I find out, like my friend Elle did once, that you stand for exactly the opposite things that I do?!

2a. Also, some descriptions are very similar and I wonder if it’s the same one I applied for.  Though it doesn’t look the same, it’s the same job title, in the same general area, with the same pay.  What if I’m wasting my time applying twice?  If I know what the organizations were, that could be prevented.

3. What’s up with this whole “salary commensurate with experience” deal?  I would much rather they put up a range so I can get an idea of where I fall.  To me, job descriptions vary greatly between organizations and though I just about qualify to be a marketing director for one, I barely qualify to be a marketing associate/assistant in another!  That’s where the issue of money becomes handy (and I begin to see why money came about in the first place).  The standardization of worth is pretty accurately measured across these jobs, despite the descriptions.  So a quick glance at the salary or hourly wage gives me a good idea of whether I’m too far off from a position or if it is within my range.  Oftentimes the job descriptions don’t even tell me and technically I qualify, but I get the impression they’re looking for someone with closer to 7 years experience, or the like.  I think having a solid number up there helps weed away people whose expectations are too far off.

I’m sure I’ll find other nuances that either entertain or annoy me as I keep looking.  Such is the experience of being a job hunter!  I’ve gotten much better at distinguishing between real listings and the fake ones though (well maybe they’re not fake, but they’re a bit of a scam and not the standard career job I’m looking for).  I’ve got some promising leads and interviews to be scheduled, so that’s good.  And the hunt continues…

Competing for an interview, literally

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,

Hello!  I hope that you were redirected here from one of my social media accounts and that you’re interested in helping me WIN a job interview with Vidli.  (They’re giving interviews to the top 5 candidates!)  Here’s what to do:

1. Go here: and

2. Vote for Vidli on both (I get 3 points)

3. E-mail with the subject line “Mary Qin asked me to vote for Vidli – so I did. Long Live Boobies!” (And CC me, or just leave a comment and let me know you did, so I know who to give eternal thanks to!)  If you voted for both, no harm mentioning it in the body.  If you only go for one, do the Keiretsu Forum Angel Competition (first link).

4. Then, go sign up here: (I get 1 point for that)

You will have earned me 4 points for doing all that!  Contest ends the moment the clock strikes twelve and Dec. 31st becomes Jan. 1st, so please act now! 🙂 THANK YOU!

By the way, their avatar/mascot is a Blue-footed Booby, hence the ‘Long Live Boobies’ in the subject line.

UPDATE:  As of December 29th, I am #5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Help keep me there (or get me higher) and recruit everyone you can please!  😀

The final push

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m inching my way closer and closer to a potential job offer!  After passing first-round interviews, I had a second interview and am now a finalist for the position I want so much.  I said before it’s not exactly my dream job, but what I meant is it isn’t my complete life goal, but for a first job, it pretty much would be the ultimate job for me to attain.  It not only allows me to stay close to my alma mater (one of my four stipulations), it would be a great way for me to jump-start a career in environmentalism.

I just sent out my official reference list, complete with a little blurb for each person to describe the (skill) areas they know me best in.  Prior to that, I e-mailed my references to confirm their willingness to speak on behalf of my qualifications, work ethic, and performance (and perhaps my personality as well).  I also did much of the work for them, coming up with some examples of what I did while working for them and reminding them of my strengths.  I hope all goes well and that the hiring manager checks all the references to get the best all-around picture!  I’ve also prompted my boss who’s meeting with two of the people on the interviewing team sometime this week.  She agreed to help put in a good word for me, so I gave her a refresher course on what I’ve done.

Now I’ve pretty much taken every step I can to increase my attractiveness as a candidate.  It seems there is not too much else I can do beyond waiting for this week to (hopefully) fly by!  In the mean time, I will enjoy the last couple of days I have with Philosopher before he heads back to England.


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Don't make me go there yet!  Let me do my interview first, please.  photo credit:

Don't make me go there yet! Let me do my interview first, please. photo credit:

Today I got an e-mail that had me bouncing off the walls: an invitation to schedule an interview for a job I really want!  It was thrilling to see it sitting there in my inbox, waiting patiently for me to open it and arrange to meet with the hiring manager for the position.  I eagerly replied with a preferred time and she confirmed not long after.  Suddenly, I remembered that I’m on call for jury duty this week!  Frantically, I began to compose an e-mail back, bringing up the topic.  I came up with as many alternatives as I could and sent it back, hoping she can be flexible with her time.  Now I’m waiting here and haven’t received a response, so I anticipate she has gone to bed and I won’t know until tomorrow.

In the mean time, I’m reviewing the application information and compiling a list of my qualifications for each of their requirements.  I’ll go over their website, my cover letter, and interview advice articles over the next two days as I prepare for this all-important interview.  I e-mailed my parents, happily sharing the news with them and called up my mom when she was free to talk.  Tomorrow I’ll be chatting with my dad, discussing possible questions I should be ready for and anything else his wisdom has to offer.  After all, he’s often been in both the hiring and applying positions and can impart a lot of useful knowledge and insight.

LEED certified!  Who wouldn't want to work in a building so green?  photo credit:

LEED certified! Who wouldn't want to work in a building so green? photo credit:

I’m also going to e-mail a former boss, who I just went to visit days ago, and see what she has to say.  It’ll be nice to share the good news with her, after I gushed about the position and how much I wanted it.  Besides, she works for UCLA, so maybe she’ll have some pertinent pointers to share with me.  Now let’s hope I can make it to the final step and get hired!  I’d be absolutely elated because this job fulfills the requirements I had outlined before.  Though I said it’s not exactly my dream job (which would to be an eco-consultant, I think), it is my favorite candidate for being my first career job.

When I was talking to my mom, I was concerned that they weren’t interviewing on Friday because they were going to choose then and then rush someone into the position by Monday.  That would make things difficult if I had jury duty and the manager couldn’t stay after work to interview me.  My mom assured me that no company would ever be so crazy-rushed to hire someone in such a short time frame, so there must be leeway for me to interview at a later time if I must.  If I get called in to serve my civic duties on Thursday, I certainly hope she’s right.  I would love to get this position!

Gosh I’m nervous.  I haven’t wanted something so much since Panda.


laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
photo credit:

photo credit:

At moments, my mind is clouded by a foggy haze.  Thoughts no longer come in lucidly and I can just imagine the transmissions in my brain slowing down.  It’s hard to focus when an invisible weight sets foot on your cranium and won’t dissolve, no matter how you try.  In fact, it’s almost like corn starch in water or a Chinese finger trap, where the harder you try, the more resistant it gets.  So I’ve given up fighting against the current and decided that it’s time to let my weary mind rest for the night.  I have no clue what has brought on this mental murkiness, but along with it I feel a sense of increased agitation and restlessness.

Snippets of thoughts run through my head – things to remember, things to do, things to… wait, what was I thinking again? A train of thought is lost just as easily as another takes its place and my mind jumps around lethargically in a way completely unlike the normal stream of thoughts that has me working at a quick pace.  I remember websites I meant to visit and read, but I’ve no patience to go through the words.  My left eye feels more strained than my right and that irks me.  I remember moments that I was harsh or irresponsible towards Panda and I get a pang of guilt.

Too many choices lay in my path and I can’t seem to rationalize my decisions.  Everything is a good path, so how do I choose just one?  I want to go to all these events, but I don’t have the time and shouldn’t use the resources to.  I’ve been craving ice cream all night long and never got around to getting some.  I’ve wasted way too much  time agonizing over when I’ll gain access to Google Wave, then researching Google Voice and MetroPCS instead.  Why?  Because I’m curious and wanted to learn about them.  But I feel at a standstill, unable to get what I want though I know what it is that I’d love so much.  A lot of that has to do with my job search.

I wouldn’t say I’ve found a dream job, but I’ve found one that fits my main specifications and sounds wonderful:

1. with UCLA

2. environment-related

3. decent pay with benefits

4. small work environment

But I haven’t heard back and it’s frustrating because I hate the whole job hunting process and I’d like to just get a job and settle a bit.  Much as I enjoy what I’m doing now, there’s huge pressure from my parents to find a job.  I don’t think they want anything else from me now, even if I win an award or get to do something prestigious.

I'd like some tranquility and a sense of accomplishment right about now.  photo credit:

I'd like some tranquility and a sense of accomplishment right about now. photo credit:

My body feels out of sync and I’m getting more conscious of my unevenness.  I haven’t had a proper workout for ages because I’ve been telling myself that I’ll start up a routine once I get a job.  See, even I’m placing these restrictions on myself.  I just want to land that job, get an apartment, get that new car, and begin a routine.  Strange.  I’m not one for routines and doing the same thing over and over again.  But at the same time, I’d like a little more pattern in my life.  Living week to week is not sustainable.  So many things hinge on settling (and having money): starting to attend yoga classes, joining a massage clinic, picking up more hobbies, getting more creative with cooking, hitting up more restaurants, going to football/basketball games, getting alumni membership in Alpha Kappa Psi, reading books again…  I’m putting off everything requiring money or a steady time commitment.  After all, I don’t want to start something just to have to change when I do start working full-time.

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