[rescue] Re: Unemployment on the Rescue List - moving to Geeks...

Mike Hebel nimitz at nimitzbrood.com
Fri Sep 26 18:44:24 CDT 2003

This whole thread should move to Geeks...

On Friday, September 26, 2003, at 02:49 PM, Shannon wrote:

> Even free training costs you money.
> Retraining me in anything substantial will take 6-months to a year,
> which is time I don't have.
> It's called a catch-22.

No.  it only looks like it.  For instance if you were let go because 
they farmed the work overseas you might be covered for extended 
unemployment money while you're being re-trained.  Check into it.

> There are actually plenty of IT jobs, but the HR departments suck, and
> too many of them require a security clearance.

That may be.  But again I think you're putting the blocks in front of 
yourself rather than looking at the problem from some 1966 Batman 
camera angle so you can find a solution.

> On the bright side, the number of calls I am getting now from 
> recruiters
> and IT shops is increasing.
> Several companies that went to India are now regretting the decision.
> One company found their costs have skyrocketed due to problems in
> dealing with the foreign workers, and the decrease in quality of work.
> Several of us are circling like vultures due to rumors that they are
> going to kick the offshore people out soon.
> I'd love to see this become a trend.

So would all of us but you need a solution _now_ not later.  Hope for 
the best, plan for the worst, be pleasantly surprised.

>> Keep looking - there are always solutions.
> No, actually there aren't always solutions. No is sometimes true.
> Sometimes you can't. There really are monsters.

Bite me toad boy.  Sorry to be gruff but other than a 6 month stint 
doing warehouse work I've been eeking out a living on consulting money 
now for about 2 years.  Consulting money I made by making sure that 
$customer could afford me and knew that I knew what I was talking 
about.  Again - it's all about how you look at the situation.

>> Pair up with someone
> Heh... my expenses are lower alone. I am more willing to run lean than
> anyone I know. Even when I am making good money I'm like that. That's
> the only reason I'm not on the street now.
> It's hard to get roommates to save money. Most people don't think too
> far ahead I've found.

This one I can accept - I have to keep my wife in budget al the time.

>> or get a renter on the sly.
> I can't parse that about sly renting.

If you're already renting some places don't let you have another person 
living with you.  Some homeowner's policies don't allow you to sublet 
either. Quiet cash rental.  No paper involved.  "On the sly" = "In 

>> Rescue and sell used equipment on E-pay, not the best solution in the
>> world but it's workable.
> Most of us around here are already freelancing. The eBay sales have 
> been
> sporadic at best for all of us, with a buddy of mine making out the
> best. He bought a set of Crays, and sold the HIPPI cards in one of them
> for more than the whole lot cost him.
> It takes money to do the buy/sell thing too.
> I have about $250 in my eBay war-chest right now.
> I suppose I have made enough this year to pay the phone bill, so that's
> at least something.

Still - it's money.  And, with effort, it can be increased.  There are 
plenty of people making money reselling equipment - you could do it for 
a living too.  It's just another option...

> 3-5 years ago around here, you could make your living doing 
> freelancing,
> and several people quit their job altogether. But for the last 2 years,
> its just been really dry. Consultants/freelancers are one of the first
> things businesses around here cut back on in hard times.

Really, then explain why I've been able to survive for the last two 
years on pretty much consulting money alone.  My wife works but all her 
money goes to the care of my daughter who is a special needs child.

> Several of us are working on some plans, and have even bid together
> on contracts.  Just no luck so far.

You need to be a formal company to do that.  No business will deal with 
"a group of consultants" unless they are "a consulting firm" or "a 
service entity".

> The thinking is that bidding together on jobs, even if it isn't enough
> work for the whole group, will give us a greater chance against the 
> well
> entrenched old-guard contractors.

Nope.  You need to be a formal company - usually with at least _some_ 
history.  You can do it but you need to farm each person out 
individually until all your guys have experience _under your company_.

> Another effort is trying to convince timid businesses that they need to
> be moving in bad times, not sitting still. There is work out there if
> we could just get the owners to stop cowering and start doing business.
> Of course, I understand the "batten down the hatches" mentality, but it
> rarely works long-term.

Fine.  Show them the $cost for a "commercial support agency" and then 
undercut them.

>> Three to a house isn't all that bad if the house is big enough. It may
>> hurt but you _can_ run less computers and reduce your electric bill
>> and conserve more. I have to do that now.
> I have a Sun SS5 and a PC running. Turning off the SS5 means running 
> the
> PC harder, which uses more power.
> I'd actually *increase* power consumption by getting rid of a computer.
> Besides, according to the meter, they only eat about $10-20 a month.

That's still $10 - $20 a month.  If you run the PC in power-save mode 
when you're not using it that will cut down on some of that.  I don't 
know what you're doing with both but you _could_ conceivably cut it 
from 2 down to one but you're right - your load does seem light enough 
already.  I'm just trying to point out ideas.

>> I'm thinking there's your extra money - do re-wiring work for 
>> businesses.
> Yeah, I might make enough to pay my bail after I'm arrested for doing
> work without a license! :)

Telco wiring.  Since that is "low voltage wiring" most areas don't 
require anything but perhaps conduit.  I have almost never heard of any 
requirements as a tech for stringing cable.  If you're in one of those 
areas then I pity you because you've entered the realm of unions which 
are a basically good idea but have long become corrupt for the most 
part.  That being the case - flip burgers late night until you have the 
money for the license.  You might not like it but having two jobs _is_ 
a valid solution.  Regardless of what the papers say I've never seen a 
McDonalds that wasn't hiring.  Money is money - operating at a loss is 
different than operating at a complete negative.

> A friend of mine got his HVAC license last year. He knows he's losing
> his job soon, so he spent the money on training while he was working.
> He'll start out as an apprentice, and that will pay half of his
> expenses. He still hasn't figured out how to pay the rest. The idea is
> to try and get them to bump up his "rank" as fast as possible, before 
> he
> runs out of money.
> Hell of a plan!

Yes.  It is.  At least he has one.  You sound like you've got a failing 
one you won't think about changing.

> I've always wanted to learn about electrical systems, so I've looked
> into becoming an apprentice. It won't pay the bills for me, but it
> might keep me afloat until something better comes along.

And, if you get the right company they've got plenty of steady work.  
It's something anyway.

>> Offer to set up their I/T backbone again for a small fee.
> Some of us have been looking into that, but the people are in such dire
> straits, most of the work so far has been done for free. I've done some
> of that myself this year. They clients just don't have any money, so 
> its
> mostly a matter of keeping in touch, networking, and having some work 
> to
> put on the resume for the idle times.

Time to move!

> As far as IT backbones and the like goes, most are simply without 
> power,
> so they don't need any work like that. The rest of physical damage that
> will require weeks or months of work before they start working on a
> backbone, server, etc.
> We are, of course, circling like vultures.

I think you're circling a corpse that will be long gone when you can 

>> It's the one things that keeps me from offing myself on a regular
>> basis -
> How can you off yourself more than once?

Please don't be dense.  I've been in more than one situation in my life 
where I came very close to taking my own life.  Each time I've found 
reasons to back off from it - most often the one I stated.  You can 
_always_ find a solution to your problems.  Maybe not immediately, 
maybe not without handling other issues first, but there _is_ a 

Mike Hebel

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