Sunday, January 27, 2008

Returning to work

Tomorrow, I start my new job at a high-tech company in San Mateo. The job has everything I could ask for: excellent location, salary and benefits. The company has been around 10+ years and is in growth mode.

Finding this job took me about 3 months (technically 4, but I don't count the month between Thanksgiving and New Year's where no company does much), which is about how long it's taken me to find work after my previous layoffs. I've been very fortunate to receive generous severances from each of the layoffs. Without it, I would not have had the luxury to be selective about where my next job would be.

Bottom line, losing a job sucks. But living in the pricey San Francisco Bay Area, layoffs, job elimination, and companies dissolving or relocating is a fact of life. For me, being in the same job in this area for an entire career area is naïve, and will get me nowhere if I want to advance.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Neti Pot

As seen on Oprah and written in the New York Times, the longtime Indian practice of nasal irrigation, also known as jala neti, has recently gained wide exposure. As a longtime allergy sufferer, it caught my interest. In the 20 plus years I've been in California, my allergies are usually at their worst between January and April. So far this year it hasn't affected me much.

But if and when it does strike, I may very well find myself heading out to the nearest drug or health food store looking for one of these mini genie lamps and performing this necessary but not-so-pretty looking ritual over the bathroom sink.

Happy cleansing!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

2008 so far

It's been a week since I last wrote. I went shopping crazy again, taking advantage of after-holiday clearance sales to stock up on 2 more suits at Eddie Bauer and Levi's at Kohl's. I got some nice e-mails from friends and family with updates on their activities.

If you've been following me on Twitter, most of my recent activity has been interviewing with Epocrates, a software company in San Mateo. I had 2 interviews last week. I'll be going to my third interview this Tuesday. Prospects on joining them look promising. I applied to them over a month ago, so when I heard from them last week, I was pleasantly surprised.

Because most of my career has been in retail, I didn't have high hopes that software companies I applied to would find my experience suitable. Then again, I do live in an area where high-tech dominates the region. I'd never know unless I tried.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Online chat at Comcast

As you may have seen on my Twitter entry today, the Toshiba Regza 47" LCD flatscreen arrived today. Two men brought the TV up, took it out of the box and hooked our cable box to the TV. We were watching TV within 5 minutes.

As they were leaving, they asked if it was OK to take the empty box as well. Wow. I guess I'm still remembering my days at The Sharper Image when you had to pay additional shipping to get exercise equipment beyond curbside delivery. At least for this recent experience, things have changed for the better.

Once the TV was on, it was verified that digital cable isn't set up for HDTV tried calling, but a recording at Customer Service after a few minutes said their circuits were busy due to the storm and disconnected the line. I then went to Comcast's website online and ordered the service.

Not more than a minute after I purchased the service, Comcast's website prompted a message that a Customer Service rep would chat live online with me. A nice guy named Cecil came online and after we exchanged pleasantries about San Francisco's rainstorms, he confirmed that I purchased HDTV to add to my existing service. At the time I ordered HDTV online, the earliest available date I could get was Monday, January 14. When I was chatting with Cecil, he told me an earlier appointment could be scheduled for Tuesday, January 8.

Cool. It's been scheduled between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Not in time to see the Ohio State - LSU Bowl Championship Game on Monday (which would have been awesome), but I'll see the game on a bigger screen than the one we have now.

In contrast to my experience with Red Envelope over the holidays, my online chat experiences with REI and Comcast were very positive. It seems rather apparent Red Envelope didn't train and prepare very well their service reps to handle online chats. With REI and Comcast, I got an immediate response and much, much quicker service than I would have on the phone.