Monday, June 25, 2007

fighting Father Time

I usually get my hair cut about every 6 weeks. For the past 3 to 4 years, I have to include coloring with the cut to fight the gray. This is to continue fooling people that I'm at a much younger age. So far, so good.

When I was 24, I was at a Foot Locker buying hi-top basketball shoes when I used to play hoops on Saturdays. The salesman asked at which high school did I play.

At my 20th high school reunion, a former classmate ignored me for the first half hour because she didn't recognize me. She thought I looked too young to have graduated with her and that I was the former class president's date.

I don't know if I can continue this into my 60's, but getting older and wiser is a good thing. I just plan on trying my hardest not to look that way. So how old will I be Saturday? It won't be hard to figure out, but it's nearly twice the age from the time I bought the hi-tops at Foot Locker.

I'll show you my driver's license to prove it.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

should I stay or should I go now?

As you may have already noticed, my blog postings for the past month have been sporadic and likely will be for the next few months. With my job about to end in the next few months, perhaps sooner, my official job hunt so far has resulted in 2 interviews with a former employer, 2 notifications from recruiters wanting to help me find a job, and a phone call from a Walnut Creek financial services company where I'd sent my resume.

Up until last week, it was getting frustrating as I wasn't hearing much from anyone. One company responded to tell me it was being reviewed. They ended up hiring another candidate. A former employer called me the day after I submitted an application. It resulted in 2 interviews, the first with the hiring manager, the second with the hiring manager's boss. When I didn't hear from them after a week, it was apparent to me they chose someone else. I contacted the HR coordinator to find out. She confirmed they filled the position internally.

As for the financial services company in Walnut Creek, they called to schedule a phone interview but wanted to make sure I was aware of the starting salary. I wasn't, because I didn't scroll the posting all the way to the bottom, where it was listed. It was $15K less than my current salary. I asked if it was negotiable. They said no. Pay cut to commute to Walnut Creek? I politely said no thank you and ended the call.

Last weekend, I submitted a job application to a retailer in Oakland through HotJobs. This is what seemed to open things up. The next day, I got an e-mail from a recruiter specializing in finance and accounting jobs. She told me she placed someone from my company recently and said she saw my resumé online and said she could do the same for me. I first arranged an interview this past week to meet her, but decided to postpone it. We are migrating our cash management account from one bank to another and since I reconcile and monitor the account daily, leaving the office early would not be a good idea.

A few days later, I got a second e-mail from another recruiter explaining that she was confident that she could find a job for me. She sent me her company's website link to review their approach to placing people. I reviewed the proposal and she'll be following up in 2 weeks (at my request). I already know my decision, but will disclose that to the recruiter and the reasons why when she does get back in touch with me.

I end this entry to address the question posted today. Should I stay or should I go now? While I haven't gotten any solid offers yet, it is only a matter of time. I've made no secrets at work that I'm currently looking. We've had 3 people in my department leave in the last month. A co-worker and longtime employee (8 years) approached me this week and told me that who is now left in our group will likely stay until the end.

She told our new CFO that she thinks I'll be staying to the end, but with everything I've talked about, she isn't so sure now. She wanted to know what I would be doing. She also is one of the few people who really knew and understands all the work I do. She said she understands if I decided to leave before everything ends in Foster City, but personally asked me to stay. I was really touched.

I told her that because I'm very selective about my next job, I've begun the search now. It will probably take me until my job officially ends to find what I want. But if I am offered the right job, I will leave and forfeit my retention package. It is no longer about the company once the decision was made to move to Dallas. It's about keeping my paychecks coming in.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Come and get it...

After living in our condo for nearly a year, I still peruse the San Francisco real estate listings from almost daily. For the past several weeks (seems like months), a 4-unit building at 200-204 Funston Avenue (at California Street) is still on the market.

The listings are posted in numerous variations: purchase of the entire building, purchase of the top 2 units for a single price ($649K), and of course, individually as TIC's (tenancy-in-common). Same pictures, different wording. Excellent neighborhood (Inner Richmond). Still not sold.

I haven't visited any of the open houses, but from the other pictures shown of the units from craigslist, it seems a nice enough place. But I also understand why none of the units have been yet sold. While these units are rather sizable (about 1000 square feet), none are more than 1 bedroom.

It's my guess that these units were previously rentals and the owner decided to renovate them hoping to make some money by selling them as TIC's (just like our last landlord). Problem is, fixing them up doesn't change the fact that these are units designed for no more than 2 occupants. Most who live in 1-bedroom places would rather rent than buy.

I admire the realtors for their creative attempts to sell the units. But it hasn't worked. My suggestion to the current owner(s) or prospective buyer(s) is to hire a property management company to rent the units under short-term leases. Lease them for 2-3 months or up to a year as corporate housing/hotel alternative for those staying in San Francisco for an extended period. Ideal for college/university professors, executives, caretakers. Public transporation is just outside the door, and access to Clement and Geary Streets is a short walk.