Train crash in India

I know that I just posted last night but anytime something happens in India, I feel kind of an internal quiver. I worked in India for about three months during a past job and it is really one of the most insane places I have ever visited. This post is in response to a train fire that reportedly killed 32 people in the region known as Andhra Pradesh which is in the southern part of the country. The region is important, to me, because I lived in the Andhra Pradesh region, in a town called Hyderabad, which is mentioned in the article. There is a region of Hyderabad officially named or nicknamed (I’m not really sure) Cyberabad– I think b/c the region is the home to a number of tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others.

In a nutshell: India is the most dangerous place I have ever lived. And I’m not talking terrorists and the like (though I was living in India when the terrorist activity occurred in Mumbai and later, we had a bomb hoax called into my office, which clearly was not that fun). India is a rapidly developing third world country but things like unsanitary water and sickness from monsoon will take you down. I got so sick while in India that I lost about 15 lbs (leaving me at a skeletal 90 lbs by the time I returned home). You risk getting run over by speeding cars just crossing the street. And then there are things like unregulated transportation to add another layer of danger to the experience. Continue reading

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Cleaning up

So this post isn’t really about anything but it’s one that I’ve wanted to write about for some time: hoarding and clutter. One of the things that has been hard about moving back to my parents’ house is that they aren’t hoarders per se but they tend to have a lot more stuff around the house than I personally care for. It drives me a little nuts. Also, I’m obsessed with the tv show Hoarders (I’ve had the show on for the past few hours while I did some chores and inevitably I end up feeling icky and wanting to clean things after watching this show). So this seems like a good time to write on this topic.

Part of it admittedly is my own fault. I moved a whole apartment’s worth of stuff back to my parents’ house so there is just a lot of stuff to store. And I will be the first to admit that I exhibit hoardy behavior myself– not sure how much of that is biological and how much of it is sociological from being raised by my parents. But I feel like seeing how my parents tend to be and having some sense of self-awareness and wanting to fight impulses to hoard has made me want to really stay on top of it and try to minimize this habit when I’m relatively young and capable of making a difference in my own life.

Continue reading

I’m doing something wrong

I think all of my friends are sick of me venting and complaining about the frustrations of job searching so my only solace is this blog. (I can’t blame them, though, but I just feel like I’m really losing outlets b/c of this prolonged unemployment.) So today’s post is really just a massive rant to wrap up this week before I watch the People’s Court.

I’m doing something wrong. I have to be. I am absolutely going about this search the wrong way. I am not as smart or talented as I think I am. I have wasted my time in my career to this point b/c I never seem to have the right skills or background for any job that I am applying to. I am an old chicken and nobody wants me. I am ugly. Oh, and also: I smell. Continue reading

Nobody likes being runner up

So I heard back from that role that I had been interviewing for FOREVER and ultimately I wasn’t chosen for the position. I’m fine with it as it always seemed like a stretch role– so there is a certain level of peace that comes with finally getting an answer. I have another role in my consideration set– it’s a contract assignment– so it was good to be able to settle any reservations I had about that lingering possibility and focus forward on other opportunities on the horizon.

The feedback that I received was that the team thought I was really smart but that ultimately, they went with candidates that had a stronger background and more experience in that particular facet of business. Which ok– I get: you can’t fight experience. If somebody is an expert in a field, even the smartest of people is not going to be able to fight that. (Although I would argue that that is how companies end up being uber non-innovative.) Continue reading

Best five years of your life?

So I got together with my college friend today which was pretty nice. She lives in SF and it was an opportunity to catch up and get out of the house and not think about job searching for a day. We had lunch in the Inner Richmond and then grabbed a coffee to talk about life and jobs and families and all that jazz.

As is the case every time we get together, we reminisced about college and how different life was and we were so so long ago (as an FYI, we graduated from UC Berkeley in 2001). As context, life was pretty peachy keen in the SF Bay area while we were in college. My friend has always worked in the non-profit field and said that in summer 2001, she had her pick of non-profit job offers. The same wasn’t necessarily true of the tech sector: at that point, the tech bubble had already burst so there was a certain level of trouble in the SF Bay. But then September 11, 2001 happened– when the airplanes were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Centers in NYC– and all hell broke loose. Life has never been the same since. Continue reading

Massacre in Aurora, Colorado

I keep this blog as an outlet for myself to write about things that I think about, experience, bother me, etc. I also keep it as a running record of things that happen at points in my life– maybe something to look back on later in my life– and I would be doing a disservice to myself and this record of life to not mention the massacre that occurred the other night at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Returns in Aurora, Colorado.

In this terrible event, a 24 year old former PhD student devised a ruse– donning full gear including gas mask, throwing tear gas into a full theater– and opened fire on innocent theater-goers, at this point having killed 12 individuals and injuring over 50, some still in critical condition. From what it sounds like in the press, he then gave in to police reasonably quietly and now is being held and the mystery of what happened within the mind of this clearly deranged individual is just now being unraveled. Continue reading

La Douleur Exquise

So the announcement that Marissa Mayer would be leaving Google to join Yahoo as CEO was certainly shocking. It’s not at all something that I expected but now that there have been a number of articles published explaining her circumstances, the opportunity, etc– the move makes sense and I generally think that this is a good choice for Mayer as well as Yahoo.

Without her saying it, it’s all speculation of course. But various articles have commented that while she was a product wunderkind at Google and employee #20, that she was recently passed over for a plum role and had taken a noticeably lessened role at Google in the recent past. Having spent 13 years at Google, perhaps she was feeling antsy, maybe she wanted a bigger title (and wasn’t going to get it at Google), and maybe she wanted to tackle the challenge of turning around a company that was unfocused and lurching towards obsolescence. When you’re smart and capable, a meaty challenge is hard to resist. Continue reading

Being a woman in a man’s world

This will probably be one of many posts that I do over the course of keeping this blog where I comment on how very awful it is being a woman. The stats support it: the amount of money that women make compared to men for doing essentially the same job (the cause is supposedly that woman don’t negotiate enough and don’t know their true worth.) The number of male C-level executives compared to women and the reasons for the discrepancy (amount of time spent in career and disruptions from having children, discrimination, glass ceiling, etc.) The number of women on executive boards versus men. Sometimes it really feels hopeless perhaps not just for me and my own career but the state of the business world as a whole.

The main story on CNN today is what prompts this post: a biography of Vicky Triponey, a female Penn State administrator who frequently stood up to Joe Paterno regarding discipline of his football players. I’ll get back to this later in this post. Continue reading

Focusing on what matters

I finished the Steve Jobs biography yesterday and from beginning to end, I loved this book– something that I mentioned in my previous post. Some of that enjoyment comes from the fact that the book highlights what Steve Jobs was really like and the culture that he created at Apple.

I knew generally about the philosophy of Jobs prior to reading the book. He believed in doing a few things and doing them exceedingly well– which is demonstrated in his streamlining the Apple product suite when he returned to the company following the NeXT acquisition. He thought some things mattered and other things didn’t. For example: he was known for wearing a black turtleneck and jeans to work. Everyday. He was fanatical about perfection and felt the devil was in the details. For example– not in the book so this is an exclusive!– when the Apple store was being built in SF he actually asked that some of the concrete on the sidewalk be re-set b/c he wanted the lines on the sidewalk to match up to the lines of the doorway. Check it out the next time you’re there. Continue reading

The Search for Jobs

So I’ll take a small departure from whining about the jobs search to talk about the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. As you will probably recall, it came out soon after Jobs’ untimely passing and was very popular with readers hoping to find out more about this enigmatic technology leader.

I have to say: I really do love this book. I generally like non-fiction better than fiction (so I have gone through this book much faster than, say, the Hunger Games trilogy). Furthermore, I spent a summer as an intern at Apple and was privy to all the stories about Jobs. In fact, as interns, we were “treated” to a talk by Jobs and the fact that he was at least 20 minutes late and had a number of handlers and that the fact that the interns were basically held captive in the auditorium waiting for him to arrive was proof of how things functioned at the company. As a side note: he was also startlingly skinny in person. Continue reading