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At a serious crossroads...

 
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Hello fellow Ranch Hands,
Sorry for the length of this message, but a lot has been on my mind.
On 02/26/09 I became yet another statistic added to the numbers of the unemployed.
After 7 years at IBM and previous 5 at Informix (acquired by IBM), my position was reduced to a faceless, remote virtual body who was disposable. Easier to do when there's no face attached to the name who's core group is located 3 time zones away.
Anyway, that's behind me, and given the manner in which I was treated in the past year I'm looking at this as a good thing, but I'm trying to determine my next move. I have a ton of professional experience in a wide assortment of Java technologies.. JAVA Core, J2EE, Markup languages, Websphere, Portal development, JDBC and have acted as project lead and even some project management duties (kicking and screaming), build and testing automation... you name it, I've pretty much done it.

Prior to Informix I go back another 8 years working from a more MS centric background with MSVC, C, C++, VB and related tools.
It was a deliberate decision to stay in the technical arena rather then pursue a management direction as I actually like software development.

So I'm taking my first week of freedom to assess where I am and my next move. Since I was laid off I have a certain amount of severance I can fall back on, as well as the small amount of unemployment insurance. So for the short term, I'm okay. (my wife was resourced out of her job too, but that's another story).

I'm going through the normal process of getting my resume in order, searching on various job services for local openings and such, but some things come to mind.

1) I'm pushing 50. My "inner voice" is saying that this will be a huge bridge to cross for potential employers since we seem to be in a trend where everyone is wanting everything for nothing. My experience could actually act against me since, yes, I don't think it should be given away for free. Should I consider a whole different direction? One important skill I've acquired over my career is how to learn quickly.
2) Although I do have a lot of verifiable professional experience behind me, I failed to cover myself in certain areas, e.g., getting certifications since I figured if I were using the technologies already what would be the need? Should I go ahead get certifications (SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD)? Do companies really recognize these even with my professional background clearly showing that I've been trusted with these technologies for production purposes? Yes, while it certainly couldn't hurt, will it significantly increase my marketability?
3) If you were to believe what the news blurts out, this world is coming to an end soon and it's just a matter of time before all banks fail and what's the point anyway? Okay, while I really don't believe this, it's hard to not get sucked into this frame of mind. Not really a question here, just a personal state of the union as I see it comment.

I'm thinking that maybe I could look into aligning with contracting companies for short term projects just to keep my chops up to snuff with the possibility of going self employed contractor sometime in the future.

So I'll stop here. If you've read this much, thanks for your time. If you have any words of wisdom to provide I would be open to feedback, suggestions and a job if you have one in the Portland OR area!

~Karl
 
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If Java/JEE is where you would like to continue your career in, then check my site that has useful tips and resources at http://www.lulu.com/java-success.
 
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If Karl Krasnowsky is your real name, I would delete this post immediately. You share too much personal information and an Internet search on your name may bring this web page up. Do you really want potential job opportunites to be squandered based on someone interpreting your personality the wrong way or see trouble in your "story"?

Good luck!
 
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A few thoughts...

I don't think anything here is too personal or too negative. Yes, with hundreds of candidates for a position a manager may use this as a reason not to hire you. He'd be a fool since everyone is feeling this way--the only difference between you and the other candidates is you're actively looking for options and non anonymously lamenting at home; still in this market anything could hurt. personally, I wouldn't worry.

As for certifications, search this forum (keywords: certification, value) and you'll find a number of threads on it over the years.

Personally i see you as experienced and that's a good thing--although not everyone sees it that way. As a side note, "how to learn quickly" is a skill more than 90% of the candidates I interview claim to have, so that's not going to set you apart. I think what could set you apart (at least from younger folks) is (I'm assuming) that you've been around the block a few times and know when to take a short cut to hit a deadline and when that shortcut isn't worth it in the long run.

Good luck.

--Mark
 
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As a side note, "how to learn quickly" is a skill more than 90% of the candidates I interview claim to have, so that's not going to set you apart.



Which is why you need to word it differently from all those young whippersnappers. Something like... as you can see from all the technologies that I used over the years, I am not afraid to learn new technologies, and is able to learn quickly.

Henry
 
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Hi,
as of my perception, "nothing new under the sun"
you have good experience, skills, personality I see. you will get a new job relatively easily, I hope.

the whole world system is really crazy, I agree. and we are slaves that get salary at the end of the month, so to say.
if the world collapses, it will for everyone.

all the best.

 
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"yli m ogenki desuka", please check your private messages for an important administrative matter.
 
Karl Krasnowsky
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James Clark wrote:If Karl Krasnowsky is your real name, I would delete this post immediately. You share too much personal information and an Internet search on your name may bring this web page up.



I appreciate your concern, but I don't believe there's much in my story that would necessarily be something I would hide from anyone anyway. Using your logic I should simply say nothing to anyone about anything that might be misconstrued by anyone. I can't control that, and I'm not going to hide under a rock in fear that that might happen. I don't work that way.
 
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