Friday, January 12, 2007

Fwd: Gimme a job!

This is a message that I posted to the dc.jobs Google Group. My next
step is probably screaming in the street, whereupon I expect to be
arrested. I hope I'm kidding . . .

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: ^Ernie^
Date: 12 Jan 2007 09:33:56 -0800
Subject: Gimme a job!

C'mon, guys! I'm a seasoned software developer with more than 20 years
experience on every line-item in every phase of the research,
development and production lifecycle, as well as some amount of time in
the early years in other forms of automated data processing support. I
left defense consulting in the late 90s a little disillusioned with the
whole Federal consulting process and started some State-level
contracting without renewing any clearances. I could never find a real
need to know classified information, even when I analyzed data, because
I had the clients cook it down to character classes, allowing all tests
from pre-edit to acceptance while eliminating unnecessary access to
privileged information. These days I guess they just let some bozo
with a laptop walk with it. Without use, my clearances lapsed quickly,
anyway. After completion of the State-level work, I decided that I was
finally in a position to take a couple months off and finish that novel
that kept getting relegated to one desk drawer or another. I kept a
line out for opportunities, I just didn't pursue any aggressively for a
couple of months. As I sat comparing manuscript versions to be merged
into a whole, I heard Matt Lauer ask with incredulity, "Do we have any
pictures?" That was 9-11 of 2001: Everything I had every done in the
defense consulting community suddenly required an active clearance,
mostly Top Secret or Special Compartmentalized. Then I got a call from
a recruiter who asked why I didn't have a job. I told him I'd been
working on a novel. "You've been unemployed for two months?" He
asked, adding emphatically, "You're no longer employable!" Maybe that
was what spurred me on, maybe it was just software-development
withdrawal, but I started an intensely aggressive campaign that seemed
to be going nowhere. I even had a huge sign with an expensive graphic
made and set it up on a stand, first on Farragut Square, and then in
Lafayette Park. Every reaction I got was as though I were either a
lay-about or that they thought that I would forget everything I knew or
obsolesce in a couple of months after dedicating a lifetime to acquire
my skills and achieve my proficiencies.

I was always too absorbed by the work to have much of a social life:
My personal contacts dried out quickly and friends quickly lost
patience with my situation. At 54, I'm a little set in my ways and
sitting in front of a terminal hasn't done much to keep me in shape for
construction work. Most people hiring for low-level jobs say things
like, "By the time I get you trained, you'll find a job in your field."
Nobody wants to negotiate (and believe me I'm exceedingly reasonable
on rates right now).

I submit online applications constantly, but nobody takes me seriously
and I've nearly lost faith -- I've certainly lost faith in normal
internet solutions. While I'm not burning time online, I'm writing C++
programs that nobody cares to see. I'd love to do that for a living,
but right now I'd just settle for living.

This is a sin and a crime and a shame. Hire me!

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