February 25, 2010

Spinning Plates

Filed under: Uncategorized — heratech @ 8:43 am

I’ve been neglecting my Agile blog, and for that I apologize.

For someone who is technically unemployed, I’ve been keeping pretty darn busy so far this year. So busy in fact that I feel like I have several plates spinning at once.

  • Contract Job #1
  • Contract Job #2
  • Interviewing
  • Personal Journal
  • Reenactment projects
  • Agile Journal

Spinning plates

I’ve been working three days a week at my former/current employer (otherwise known as the folks who laid me off last June, then called me back part-time in July because they missed me). They recently bumped me up to four days a week, so it almost feels like I’m working full-time again. Except for that monthly check I write to cover my COBRA benefits that is. I’m grateful to be working as much as I am, when so many of my fellow TWs are unemployed.

Since October I’ve also been working a short-term contract with a TW friend of mine. They needed some help converting a Word document into FrameMaker and he was too busy with other projects to give it the TLC it deserved. I’m starting to think of this as the Short Term Contract that Will Never End (but not in a bad way). The initial contract was for 40-80 hours. I passed the 80 hour mark back in January, but they’re still bringing me in one day a week and sending me paychecks. I shan’t complain.

The hiring situation is pretty dire here in New England, so since I’ve been blessed with income, I have to admit that I haven’t really been looking too hard for full-time work. My friend Stephen expressed it well when I asked if he was going to follow-up on a job lead that I’d sent him? “I’ve got a job, so I feel a bit guilty looking for another one. I figure I’ll let someone who is out of work take that one.” But back around Christmas a friend forwarded me a job opportunity, which resulted in two rounds of interviews. And the requisite running around finding a suitable winter job interviewing outfit (the three interview outfits in my closet are all summer weight), reading through the company’s Web page, researching the company on Google and LinkedIn, futzing with my resume and writing samples, etc. While they didn’t make me an offer, I appreciated the opportunity to meet with them and learn about another one of the companies in my area.

My personal blog is where I post random things, vent about work, and write rather lengthy tales of my weekend adventures. When I took a short trip to visit my parents back in January the trip resulted in 8 pages (4,700 words) of entries. Time spend writing in my personal blog does cut into the time that I can spare to write in my Agile blog.

The last weekend of January and first weekend of February I was at reenactment events. Our group only formed last spring, so we’re still recruiting new members. I had quickly thrown together a recruiting flier last fall, but it didn’t look as professional as I’d like. I downloaded a proper template and reworked the design. I’m not fond of marketing jargon, but I do enjoy playing with fonts and design. So this was one of those little projects that was fun. Since we reenact 16th century Bavarian mercenaries, I wanted to give it an “old-fashioned” feel. I downloaded several different gothic fonts and experimented until I found one that gave the feel I was looking without sacrificing readability (gothic fonts can be horrible to decipher!).

Since I’m a writer, and one of the more computer savvy folks in our group, I was also volunteered to be the Web master for our group. We threw together a couple of pages last fall, but mostly the group uses our Web page as a place to host our discussion forum. Since I was going to be handing out recruiting fliers that included our Web site, I felt obligated to go in and put up a little bit of actual content and clean up some of what was already there. I’d include a link, but it’s not yet to the point where it’s anything to brag about. My side project for the next couple of months is still “building the Web site.” Which will require research, writing, learning more CSS, and time spent experimenting in my sandbox Web site to get the look I want.  I’m a new reenactor, so writing the content is slow going.  And my Web skills for anything other than Help are rusty as well.

The write-up in my personal blog for that first weekend event (a one day event) ran to 8 pages (4,700 words). The write-up for the second weekend event (a three-day trip to Chicago for ReenactorFest) ran to 12 pages (6,900 words). Again, I was devoting my after work writing time to my personal blog and not this one. I haven’t stopped writing (I can’t!) I’ve just been posting my output elsewhere.

Let’s see if I can get the Agile Blog plate spinning again. It shouldn’t be too hard. I gave up that time-thief FaceBook for Lent. And I have Scrum Club tonight. I’m sure I’ll want to write about that when I get home.

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