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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mama Said...

My mom always said to evaluate a person based on important criteria and not just their “bells and whistles.” And like most girls, I hardly ever listen to anything my mom says.

Recently, I was going through one of my journals and I found an entry I wrote about an ex boyfriend right when we began our fleeting, ill-thought-out romance. I almost always find myself funny to begin with, but this entry was particularly amusing to me, because like any smitten girl, I itemized every great thing about said ex and didn’t really pay attention to the qualities that actually mattered, like stability, dependability, character, good heart, etc. Instead, I focused on this boy’s love of Scrabble (yes, I’m serious) and love of History. Clearly, to any objective person, this is absolutely ridiculous, but when you are caught up in the moment, it is easy(easier?) to focus on the wrong and less important qualities. Because I have the most self deprecating sense of humor that I know, I’ve decided to include every lame quality that made its way into my, “Wow, this guy hung the moon!” entry. Laugh away...or just feel bad for me. That works, too.

1) Sense of humor (ok, so this is actually important)
2) He can cook! (But if he is a dbag, who really cares?)
3)Country music (Really, Megan?? Just, really.)
4) Well read and we read the same things
5) History nerd
6) Loves dogs (This is actually a must, as I’m pretty much obsessed with my Lab.)
7) Outgoing
8) Goofy (I’d like to retract this one, actually.)
9) Good chemistry (When the kid would actually make an effort.)
10) Comes from a good family.
11) Likes the outdoors. (Though he never really left my couch...)
12) Has friends. (I don’t like em’ anti-social.)
13) Thoughtful. (Um, yeah. Not so much.)
14) Common interests. (We both realllly liked him.)
15) Wants a family one day.
16) Can trust my feelings with him. (That went out the window almost as quickly as it got added to the list.)
17) Loves Scrabble. (What can I say? The English language makes me hot.)

So, as you can see, I pretty much paid no attention to the fact that when it got down to basics, I didn’t take the time to evaluate whether or not this guy was actually a good person. I’m not saying that he isn’t of course, (except maybe I kind of am??), I was just more focused on his love of Salinger than I was on his ability to be honest, have integrity, and just be respectful. Granted, I was head over heels, so I just assumed he possessed the more important traits, too, and didn’t really take the time to listen to my gut. Big mistake.

Now, I bet you are wondering why I am writing this? Am I really that bitter? (Well maybe a little, but mainly I’m just inspired.) When I was reading this list, I couldn’t help but think, “Damn, Megan, you are freakin’ retarded!”...and, “Damn, Megan, this is actually pretty applicable to job seekers, too.”

I put out a few Tweets yesterday asking people, “Candidates, I'm curious:What is the most important factor for you when switching #jobs? Money,culture,opportunity,title?” While I got a few responses back that were well thought out and objective, I also got some that surprised me that focused on the actual amenities of a company. One person sent me a DM and told me they would never work at a company again that didn’t have a ping pong table. Another person was very passionate about working for a company that kept a fridge stocked with beer (though, I kind of agree that would be pretty awesome.) Next on the list was money. Barely anyone chose culture, opportunity, or team as their first pick.

Now, like most people, I can totally see the appeal of working for a company that lets you goof off, smack ping pong balls around, drink yourself silly, and just generally act like you are 21 again. I’d say I pray to go back to my early 20’s almost daily so I get it. What I don’t get is why nobody said anything about working with nice people. Most people spend more time with their coworkers than they do their actual family so I’d imagine that should fall pretty high on the list. After all, what good is the beer, ping pong, water cooler that pours your water and gets you off at the same time, and figurative work-circus, if you work with a bunch of jackasses?

So, you see, just like dating, you have to set your priorities and focus on the big picture. If you have nonnegotiables, don’t just brush them aside because you are mesmerized by the temporary glimmer of something (or someone) “cool”...because, like clockwork, that ping pong table is going to break, those home-cooked meals are going to get old, and you are going to wake up and realize that you wasted time on something that wasn’t at all the right fit...and then, if you are anything like me, you’ll get the, “Told ya so!” call from your mom.

By the way, even though the aforementioned relationship didn't work out and I have since revamped my list, a love of Labradors and Scrabble is still mandatory for me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Faking It: You Are Only Hurting Yourself

Get your mind out of the gutter.

Whoever coined the expression, "Fake it til' you make it." should be punched in the face. While I understand the basic idea is to encourage a person to be confident and go after what they want (...I guess???), faking it, in general, is about the dumbest thing a person can do. While it might get you ahead for about a nanosecond, more often that not, you end up worse off than you started. (Ashley Simpson, Jake Pavelka,are your ears burning?)

Whenever I think about the topic of "faking it", one of the first things that comes to mind is one of my early college relationships. Because I'm not completely cruel, I'll refrain from listing this dude's name, but let me just tell you, I thought he was awesome (so awesome, I had my dad wire me money to buy him at a fraternity auction, but that's an entirely different blog entry). In any event, I had admired Mr. College Dream Lover for a good semester (and for a spastic, awkward college girl, that is a LONG time) and he finally gave me the time of day when we just happened to take the same elevator (Thank you, stars, for aligning!). I pushed a few buttons to floors where I was not getting off (enter awkwardness) so he had to talk to me for a few minutes. In the two minutes or so we rode the elevator together I managed to learn that he was a diehard Tupac fan, Jewish (pretty much a requirement for me), and a vegetarian. While I was already very well versed in everything Jewish (thank you, South Florida upbringing!), I freaking hated rap and, being a former fat kid, loved to eat, meat especially. Needless to say, I was instantly smitten after our special ride...and was surprised to find out that he actually kind of liked me, too. Within a week, he asked me out on a sweet little college date and we went to Fleming's, one of the best steakhouses around (ever).

Now, ask me what I ordered. (Blog audience: "What did you order, Megan?")

I ordered a freakin' salad. And, while it was the best salad that Fleming's could prepare, it was still lettuce...overpriced, stupid,lettuce. As I sat there and ate my lettuce (and pretended it was the best romaine I've ever had), I was secretly having intimate relations with every rib eye and filet around me. But, alas, this boy was hot so I muscled through it.

And then I started talking about my love for hip hop. And I might have made up some BS about being on a hip hop dance team in highschool. (For the record, the only "team" I was on in high school, other than soccer, was the Scrabble team.)

But, for a while, my faking it TOTALLY worked. This kid was all about me. We turned into a hot little item and would spend lazy Sundays feasting on tofu and lettuce, all while reading CD jackets and analyzing deep rap lyrics. Anyway, this went on for about four months or so until one day when I cracked. I'm not sure what made me crack, but I couldn't listen to another "beat" and all I wanted was a damn steak. So, because I have a natural flair for drama, I stormed over to his dorm room, told him I hated rap and that I hated lettuce and that I couldn't possible see how we'd work.

And then I drove to Texas De Brasil and ate all the meat I could consume. I was there for three hours-just me and my little red light/green light "keep feeding my fat ass" meat card and I left fat, happy, pants unbuttoned, and single.

Ever since, I've turned my back on faking it, because, while it did score me the coveted hot guy for about a season, I had to sacrifice things I really liked in the process and after it was all said and done, I wasted time on something that was not a fit for me.

Job searches are the same way. (Oh come on, you knew I was somehow heading in this direction, right??)

As a recruiter, I can completely understand a person's desperation to get a job, particularly if you are unemployed or stuck in a really crappy environment (I've been there!). I see it all the time, and while it is frustrating for me to sift through the BS, I get it. I can understand how it is reasonable to think that by inflating one area of expertise (or completely lying about it à la me and my flirtation with Tupac) seems like a good idea, because, well, you can always learn to do it...right? I can understand how a candidate can think that it isn't a big deal to list that they have five years of ad hoc reports experience versus the real one year that they do have. But, in the four years I've been in technical recruiting, I've never see it pay off for a candidate.

More often than not, inflating your background WILL get you submitted (after all, recruiters can only spot check so much), maybe an interview (maybe)...and then nothing else (other than laughed at and then yelled at by your recruiter). In all seriousness, if your recruiter doesn't catch you whoever ends up interviewing you will. This is why I tell all of my candidates to not put something on their résumé they do not want to get GRILLED about in an interview.
(Managers love nothing more than to ask you about that two-week contract you held sixteen years ago; unless you want to be put on the spot about something you have no recollection of, don't list it.)

Now, if you are the candidate that does manage to score the job based on BS, well, kudos to you. But don't count on it lasting. I think I've only seen one candidate manage to get this far...and he got canned within one month. He interviewed beautifully, literally got an offer off of a phone screen in less than 24 hours...and then completely tanked. Talking the talk is only half of the equation. If you can't actually do the work you might as well pack your desk now because your chances of actually succeeding are about as likely as me shaking it in the next Chingy video...not going to happen.

Inflating your skill set is only one way to fake it. Not being honest about the type of environment you prefer, your desired rate, work life balance, etc. all fall into the same category. "Yes'ing" someone just to get a job never pans out. I always ask my candidates when I first meet them to be completely honest with me; if you don't want to work for a startup just say so. If I'm offering a rate of $50.00 an hour and you really want $55.00...just tell me. As a recruiter, at the end of the day, all I want to do is help job seekers. When a candidate withholds information from me, intentional or not, I am not able to do my job and it results in a big freakin' epic fail.

...and this girl does NOT like to fail.

So, kids, the moral of today's post is pretty clear (or at least, I hope so). Faking it is lame. While it might pay off in the short-term and you might score a couple of hot dates with the vegetarian, Jewish thug in your dorm, it won't work. Eventually everything surfaces and you just want to abandon the rap, listen to a chill jam band, and eat a steak...or get a job that is actually a match for your background and preferences. So, quit while you are ahead. As boring as it can be to be honest, it really is the better way to go. So, when you hear some jackass say, "Fake it til' you make it!", just know, that they are, in fact, faking it, too.

And then feel free to punch them in the head for giving crappy advice.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Hot Chick Named Evo

So, I’ve been meaning to update the blog for a good while now with no success. Besides being beyond swamped, I’ve really been toying with what to write about. I feel like I have a backlog of freakish candidate stories that I need to write, plenty of more stuff to make fun of my mom for (as she is a cornucopia of technology-related stupidity)…and then I have this little gadget called the Evo (I’m sure maybe a few of you have heard of it…) that I wanted to write about, too. I’ve been dying to write a review (from a “normal” person’s point of view) on the Evo but I was completely stumped with the approach I wanted to take. For those that know me, know I hate doing anything “by the books” and if there isn’t an opportunity for me to make fun of something/someone, I’m typically not too jazzed to do it. So, for a few weeks, I’ve been completely S.O.L.

The fact that I even got an Evo is hard to believe. Not because I doubt the Droid platform, mind you, butbecause I am friggin’ lazy and for the past three years, I have been walking around with the old school phone from Saved By The Bell (ok, so it wasn’t that bad…but it was a Treo 700p so….). It became the running joke in my little technology circle that I couldn’t call myself a true geek because my phone was so incredibly lame. Not only was it old, it was heavy, it was slow, the browsing capabilities SUCKED, the camera (1.3 megapixel) was almost as bad as a disposable, and honestly, it was just embarrassing to be seen with. There were several times where I almost upgraded (and joined the 21st century) but being the impatient person that I am, I always got ticked off at Sprint and hung up on them, leaving me with the brick once again. I finally had my mobile epiphany when I was sitting on BART. I was tinkering around on my ridiculously large phone and I just looked down….and realized that my phone could seriously double for the handset for a remote control car. At that moment, I had a breakdown. I quickly crammed that damn phone in my purse, mentally broke up with it, and placed my order for the new Droid, my sweet little Evo, the next day. Now, I still had to wait a month to get it, but words cannot describe the feeling of freedom that washed over me (similar to my divorce, but WAY better) when I knew my days with the Treo were numbered.

Life after Treo has been interesting and for the most part, pretty decent. There are a few times it gets a little mouthy and wants to do its own thing (AKA freeze), the battery life isn’t the hottest thing around, and the front-facing camera is a little awkward (especially when you love to take pictures of yourself like me), but other than that, I have been pretty happy with our sexy mobile love affair.

That is, until, I took the Evo on its very first vacation to Crater Lake and it started to act like a complete jerk. I knew ahead of time I wasn’t going to have cell reception but I brought the Evo anyway because I was dying to really test out the camera (8 megapixels) and take pictures. Our trip started out good enough and for the first 12 hours of so; the Evo seemed to be enjoying its time in the wilderness. It was gracious enough to let me take picture after picture, take a quick little video, and really get to know its media capabilities (which are great). We explored the area for the first day and settled into our campsite at night and sat down in front of the fire to review our pictures from the first day…and that is when crap hit the fan. Maybe the Evo was cranky, maybe it was tired, hungry, or just didn’t like all of the mosquitoes, but it threw a mobile tantrum. Not only would the Evo not let me view my pictures, when I finally did get it to work (after restarting seven freakin’ times), it had completely rearranged my pictures so I had no earthly idea what we were looking at and when they were taken. This craptastic behavior lasted the entire evening…and really set the tone for the entire trip.

We went for a hike the following day to the highest peak in all of Crater Lake and the views were amazing; unfortunately the Evo didn’t really want to capture them consistently. In order to take a picture, I had to take the picture (sometimes I got lucky and was able to take five in a row), reboot the phone, snap another picture, reboot….you get the idea. If the phone wasn’t so damn pretty I would have thrown it off the side of the mountain, but alas, its good looks came to the rescue. In any event, this really got me thinking about my Treo and comparing it to the Evo, and then because I think like a dude, comparing both of the phones to women-the Treo was just an average girl and the Evo is the hot chick that everyone covets.

With the Treo, you know exactly what you are getting. The woman version of the Treo is probably a little over five feet tall, maybe a buck thirty or so, mousy brown hair, decent features, straight (enough) teeth, average cup size…nothing remarkable, but you know exactly what you are walking into. She probably wears no makeup and buys her clothes at Costco. Now, the Evo, on the other hand, is freaking hot. She is so hot that all of your buddies try to hit on her as soon as you get up to go to the bathroom. She is so hot that she watches sports, can kick your ass in Fantasy Football, has a biting wit, graduated from Harvard (but doesn’t rub it in), is outdoorsy, can burp the alphabet, all while maintaining her female sex appeal. And her boobs are huge. (Or she has a nice butt, if that is your poison.) She keeps you on your toes and you don’t know what to expect, but you have an idea, and you want it. Now, any guy is going to chose the hottie (Evo) over the frump (Treo). So, that is what you do…and then you get the Evo home and realizes that she stuffs her bra. And is actually a dude.

That’s how I feel right now. I can’t honestly say that I’d go back to the Treo but I do miss the consistency. At least with the Treo, I knew what I was getting. I knew that I’d barely be able to call my mom, I knew that the pictures would suck, and I knew it wasn’t the hottest thing to look at, and depending on where I was, I didn’t necessarily want to bring it around for others to see. I was hot for the Evo. I carried that thing EVERYWHERE, for EVERYONE to see, just so they’d know I got the hot item. (Modesty is not one of my finer qualities.) I talked to people about it. I freaking interrupted strangers conversations in bars and elevators just so I could talk to them about the Evo and show off a little. And then, when I pulled down the covers (…took off the bra for all of you dudes out there), I was not impressed. When it does want to work, the picture quality is great, but the Evo is so moody I never know what I’m getting. Maybe I just got a bad egg, which I’m sure is quite possible, but after Evo’s first vacation, I’m kind of over it and think a breakup might be on the horizon.

Maybe. That kickstand IS sexy.

Friday, May 21, 2010


It has been about three weeks since I made fun of my mom so I figured everyone was probably much in need of an update. After all, F*ckbook is only so funny. For a moment I was worried that my mother would follow Vanilla Ice into the darkness of "one hit wonderdom" but good ole' Maggie proved me wrong. My dear friends, get ready: My mom had her first run in with...(cue the Jaws soundtrack)...THE CLOUD.

Before I launch into my "Can you believe this sh*t??" tale-o-mommy, I must give you the back-story. For 57 years, my mom has managed to go about her day-to-day tasks without having to concern herself with computers, "the Internets", and technology in general. She uses AOL (AOL4lyfe), has an old-school printer, and until very recently, was on dial-up. Needless to say, she certainly had no idea what "the cloud" was. And she probably would have been perfectly fine for another 30 years or so had I not opened my damn mouth in front of her while talking to Kevin...but alas, I did, and she was ever-so-curious.

We were sitting around the table about two months ago when my mom first heard of THE CLOUD. Kevin and I were talking to her new "companion" about geeky stuff (her beau is in IT) and THE CLOUD came up. I think I said something like, "Oh, well just put it up in the cloud..."....and my mom looked at me like I just told her I was quitting my job to sell used needles to five year olds. "What do you mean when you say "Put it in THE CLOUD"? What is THE CLOUD?" She went on and on....and on for what seemed like forever (though, it was only about two minutes) and when she was done, I let Kevin break it down for her. Patience is not his strongest quality so I was slightly amused to see him explain the concept of THE CLOUD to my mom like she was the latest voyager on the short bus. She needed it though...when it comes to technology any concept explained at a fourth grade level or higher completely blows her mind. (She is smart, though, I promise. If you get sued or are in need of emergency medical care, she is your go-to-lady. She is pretty much a certified bad-ass.) Anyway, after he described THE CLOUD in a paint-by-numbers inspired description we moved on to a topic that was far more entertaining. (In case you are curious, that topic was whether or not our youngest poodle, Griffin, is gay. Yes. Seriously, that's what we talked great length.)

Anyway, not too long ago I got the weekly "check-in" call from my mom. This call is pretty typical (hence the "weekly") and it usually covers the same topics (1) my brothers 2) said brothers smoking pot 3) my mom only smoking pot 11 times in her entire life 4) her boyfriend thinks it is funny 5) earthquakes in San Francisco and my inevitable death by natural disaster (so says mother), 6) my ex-husband and what a gigantic d-bag he is and how much better Kevin is 7) the 411 on my brother, Ryan, in NYC 8) the poodles 9) the poodles, 10) the poodles, 568) the poodles...), with a few variations from time to time. This time, however, the call started out with pure hysteria...and that hysteria was caused by THE CLOUD!!! Judging by her freak-out level, I'm pretty sure my mom has a mental image of THE CLOUD that resembles the black smoke monster from LOST...but anyway...she was TERRIFIED.

To give you an idea, it went (almost exactly) like this.

Mom: Megan!!!!!!!!!!! Ah, F**K! MEGAN!!!!!!!!!!! (and a few noises that I can't really figure out how to type)

Me: Mom, what is going on?

Mom: (Silence, just papers shuffling and a lot of banging.)

Me: Mom? (This disorganization/chaos is usually how most of our calls begin, by the way.)

Mom: (Direct Quote) THE CLOUD ate my pictures!!!!!! How do I get them back??

Me: What do you mean, "THE CLOUD ate your pictures?" It doesn't eat anything, mom.

Mom: I had pictures on my desktop and they aren't there now. I think THE CLOUD took them.

Me: Mom, THE CLOUD didn't take anything. I'm pretty sure you don't have that set-up going on.

Mom: Megan, listen to me! They were here. Now they aren't. Somehow THE CLOUD got them. They went up into THE CLOUD. I got to go. I have to get them back.

****Click.**** The crazy freakin' lady hung up on me to go battle THE CLOUD. (The images of my mother suiting up in armor had me in stitches for a long time. In fact, I was still hysterically laughing when Kevin got home.

About an hour later I got a voicemail from my mother. "Megan. I found them. They were in a folder. Could that be THE CLOUD?"

Sweet, sweet mother. **Patting her on the head from 3,000 miles away.**

Since the showdown with THE CLOUD, her boyfriend has given her a tutorial on THE CLOUD and building folders and has explained to her a folder on her desktop named "Pics" is not THE CLOUD in disguise. Things have been (relatively) quiet and the frantic calls have subsided. Our conversations have circled back to my brothers and their love affair with Mary Jane, the poodles, and whether or not Griffin prefers poodles of the same sex or not. (Oh yes, and how I'm going to be buried by rubble in an earthquake. Can't forget that one.) Though it is nice to return to the usual with my mother, I know, it is only a matter of time until there is another technology related catastrophe. Until then, my friends, enjoy the latest "you've got to be kidding me" story and stay tuned...because as sure as the sun rises and falls, my mom will come calling, and I will write it ALL down.

***PS. About a week after the F*ckbook debacle, my mom's account got hacked. Though this was a huge pain in the butt for her, for me, nothing amused me more. (Yes, I know. Once I get buried in the aforementioned earthquake, I'm going to the special section of Hell reserved for smart-ass daughters. That's cool; I can deal.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

F*ckbook: That's What's NOT Going Down at Orlando Hackathon

Since my dad died, my mother (pictured above) has been coming into her own...slowly. Not only is she dating, but she is finally discovering the joys of technology and social networking sites. While she has not ventured in the Twitter world (yet), she has managed to create a Facebook profile and learned (kind of) to navigate the wonderful world of friend requests, photo tagging, and Farmville. (Just kidding about Farmville. The day my mom sends me a request to water her crops is the day Jesus rides through my front door on a tricycle.) Periodically, I check out my mom's profile page to see what she is up to, what pictures she is posting, and to laugh at her (out of love, of course). Usually, Facebook stalking my mom is pretty uneventful, but every now and again, I am pleasantly surprised with pure hilariousness. Last week was one of those weeks. I was fortunate enough to get one of the most entertaining phone calls from my mom...ever...and it was about Facebook. It went something like this.

Mom: Megan, I had a friend find me on Facebook that I don't remember but she says we are friends.

Me: Oh, cool. (Wondering where this conversation is going...)

Mom: Yeah, her name is Lydia. I don't remember ever knowing a Lydia, ever, but she says she lives near me and wants to meet up.

Me: Oh, cool. (Still wondering where this conversation is going...)

Mom: She sent me some link to see her pictures. Maybe that will jog my memory. It is called "F*ckbook. Do you think that is a typo and she meant Facebook?

Me: Mom. No. I don't think that is a typo. I'm pretty sure you don't know Lydia.

Mom: Why would she lie? I probably know her from a long time ago. What is F*ckbook? Is it like Facebook 2.0? (Yes, that is a direct quote, people.)

Me: Mom. Are you kidding me right now? (I knew she wasn't though. My mom just learned how to use last week.)

Mom: Are you on F*ckbook? Do you think you can look Lydia up for me and friend request her?

Me: MOM! No, I'm not on F*ckbook. I'm not looking at Lydia's pictures for you. I don't know her. You don't know her. It is some porn site. You are being spammed or something. Don't click the link because you don't want to have your account hacked. Trust me, mom. F*ckbook is not Facebook 2.0 and you do not know Lydia.

Mom: Spam??? (I could hear the wheels turning on this one.) Hack??? (...this pretty much made her hamster wheel derail) Well, Shit. I was really looking forward to having a new friend around here.

Me: (No words were spoken...just radio silence and the swift sound of me fastening my own noose.)

Ok, in all seriousness, though this conversation did (sadly) actually happen, I do not have rain-man for a mother (I guess, technically, she would be a "rain-woman"...). My mom is actually a brilliant medical professional, attorney, and writer...that just happens to be utterly clueless about all things related to technology. This phone call lasted for about another 20 minutes or so as I explained all things spam and hacker related to her. I could hear her brain furiously processing this information and I suspected the only thing she took away from the conversation was the negative association of "F*ckbook" and "hack, hacker, hacking..." (you get the idea).

My suspicions were confirmed on Friday night when I called my mom to let her know I was going to be in Orlando for a few days the following week to attend Hackathon. After about 15 seconds of silence on her end, she finally speaks. And it went a little something like this:

Mom: Hackathon????

Me: Yep, it should be a lot of fun. A bunch of my friends from the User Groups are going.

Mom: Hackathon????

Me: Mom, are you in the garage? Are you getting shitty reception? Yes, Hackaton.

Mom: Hackathon??? (Yes, people. She really did repeat herself three times.)

Me: Yeeessssss. HACKATHON.

Mom: .....(silence)....(more silence)............................................(still silence)....You mean like F*ckbook?

Me: (Hysterical laughing...for several minutes) Oh my God, Mom! No, not like F*ckbook!!! Jesus Christ, mom. Seriously? Oy Effen Vey. You are kidding right? (More hysterical laughing.)

Mom: I'm confused. (You think??) You said hackers could be sending the F*kbook emails and Hackathon sounds dirty.

Me: (Laughing so hard I'm gasping for air. No joke.)

This went on for another ten minutes or so and I FINALLY was able to assure my mother I wasn't flying back to Orlando to work on some porn site and steal peoples' Facebook account information with naughty emails and friend requests. (Seriously, sometimes I wonder about her...) After I explained to her (painfully) what Hackathon was we got off the phone and I proceeded to laugh so hard I nearly peed myself for a good hour or so.

So, I know most of you (I hope) are more savvy than my mother but you still might be wondering what exactly Hackaton is and how exactly you can join in on the action...and I'd love nothing more than to drop a bit of Hackaton knowledge on your curious little minds. Simply put, Hackaton is going to be one of the greatest tech events to hit Orlando and the User Group circuit, in my humble opinion.

The Orlando Hackathon focuses on learning how to build modules for DotNetNuke and is THIS TUESDAY (May 4th, people!). The Orlando DotNetNuke User Group (ODUG) and Orlando .Net User Group (ONETUG) are joining forces to make this a spectacular event for all Central Florida geeks. (With that said, EVERYONE-regardless of geographic location-is invited. Hell, I'm flying in from San Francisco, so you really have no excuses in my book!).

Will Strhol and Co. have done one heck of a job securing a wicked speaker, to boot. Nik Kalyani is Founder and CEO of HyperCrunch. He is also Co-founder and Strategic Advisor for DotNetNuke Corp., the company that manages the DotNetNuke Open Source project. He is a technology entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience in the software industry. He is irrationally exuberant about technology, especially if it has anything to do with the Internet. HyperCrunch is his latest startup business that builds on his knowledge and experience from prior startups, two of them venture-funded....and he is from my neck of the woods!!!! (Gotta love a Silicon Valley guy coming to Orlando!!That's no joke, people!) He blogs at and is @techbubble on Twitter. Be sure to follow him! (On Twitter, you stalkers! Now get out of his bushes...)

So what is this Hackaton all about exactly? Good question. Here is the quick (or not...) breakdown. This Hackathon focuses on introducing attendees to the Model-View-Presenter pattern, support for which was recently introduced in the DotNetNuke Core. Nik will kick it off with a high level look at the pattern, compare it to MVC, and then get down and dirty...with some hot...code. We will start with the basics and then spice it up a bit with a full-featured module using this pattern. In order to really do this right and give the pattern the credit it deserves, Nik will use (super sexy) ASP.NET WebForms controls minimally and implement most of the UI using jQuery plug-ins. Got it? Good!

Now, like everything in life, this is actually a competition. You aren't doing it for fun. You are doing it to win! (Pound on your chest and assert your masculinity now!) The Orlando Hackathon is more than just the combination of two of the coolest User Groups around (seriously, it is). You can actually win some stuff here, guys! (Good stuff, too!) The grand prise is a saaaaweeet Dell Vostro 3500 laptop and you can also win one of two netbooks. (See! I told you the prizes don't suck!). Now, here is the important part. In order to participate (and be eligible to win a prize) you have to create a DotNetNuke module in 24 hours using the MVP design pattern (which is the focus of this Hackathon). Don't worry, there will be ample opportunity for you to get familiar with the pattern...and if all else fails, maybe you can make something cool like F*ckbook...(Kidding! Will, please don't kill me. I couldn't resist. Really. I couldn't. I'm five.)

If this badass event sounds like something you want to attend (and why wouldn't it??), click here to register. I promise, it will be one of the best nights of your life. Rumor has it Signature Consultants will be providing the sustenance you need to create the best DNN module EVER and there might be a few more raffle items (books, gift cards...women...) for you to score, too!

All of the fun will take place promptly at 6:30pm at City Hall ON THE 9TH FLOOR in Downtown Orlando (400 South Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801) but if you want to EAT you might want to get there a few minutes early. (This girl has an appetite...I'm just sayin'...)

Though I'm not sure Hackathon will be able provide quite as much entertainment as my mother's ridiculous cluelessness (I mean, come on, that crap was FUNNY), it will be a freakin' great time! My company is flying me back to Orlando for it (Thank you, Signature!!!) and the rest of the Orlando Signature crew will be there, too. I can't wait to see everyone again...and you guys better recognize me this time! (I might have dyed my hair...again.)

See everyone there and if you have any questions, feel free to send a courier pigeon my way.

Email will work, too. I guess.

I can be reached at Naughty friend requests will NOT be accepted. Even if you do live close to me.

***Mom, you are way too cute for me to not use your picture on this one. Maybe this will be good for your Facebook popularity? Love, Your Overly Obnoxious Daughter. I, at least, think I am hysterical.***

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hey, Don't Be a Bad Boyfriend!

***Sorry, folks. This is not dedicated to Kevin; we're still blissfully in love. Maybe next time?***

I don't care who you are. Every girl, at some point, has the distinct privilege of dating a tool; that is, a man-friend that isn't nearly as into you as you'd like to think. This disinterest (that everyone can usually see except for you) can manifest itself a variety of ways. Whether Mr. BF is not returning your calls, texts, emails, and smoke signals, not paying you any attention (or only paying you attention when he feels like it), rationing out his affections like they are some scarce resource you might never get again, or never saying those three little words (oh come on, you know the ones...) that you dropped months ago, chasing after someone that isn't into you It doesn't matter if you put in years trying to make a relationship something that it isn't and never (ever) will be or if you only invested a few months, weeks, days (you get the idea); when it finally comes to an end, it hurts. You rack your brain trying to understand where things went wrong, how you missed the signals that were so blatantly obvious to everyone else, and it finally occurs to you that it all boils down to you not being pretty enough...(just kidding) all boils down to managed (or not) expectations. Clearly at some point, both you and your man-friend, did a really crappy job of sharing your expectations and things went south. How was he supposed to know you wanted to run off into the sunset together if you didn't tell him? How was he supposed to know you are a really big fan of bubble gum pop music (and wanted him to like it, too) if you didn't share that helpful little nugget? And how were you supposed to know that he really preferred large chested ladies if he didn't tell you? And that clingy behavior is so not his thing? And that he really didn't want a girl that longed to be a stay at home mom?

No wonder it didn't work out!

While I am mostly referencing the wonderful world that is dating, working with candidates that aren't as into you sucks just as much. You see, dating is really a heck of a lot like staffing and setting expectations is just as important. We might not be getting the physical satisfaction out of the relationship (my boyfriend was the exception...though, meeting him at a User Group doesn't make him a "candidate"...does it?) but we still get very involved with our candidates and really do care about their livelihoods (ok, some care about cashing in, too). Like any romantic relationship, inevitably, our egos also get thrown into the mix which makes rejection (and we get it pretty frequently) not a pretty thing to deal with. After a while you start to understand that this is part of the industry; try as you might, you will not be able to help everyone, and sometimes, even the ones you do end up helping, might not want your help. Until you learn this, and really learn how to manage your expectations (and those of the candidates), you will be met with disappointment after disappointment. In most interactions, it isn't "normal" to lay everything out there immediately so it is a little counter-intuitive, but once you get in the hang of it, it makes your life a lot easier.

So, what do I mean by setting expectations you ask? (I know I ramble and can be hard to follow...)

As a recruiter, it is important to let your candidates know your process. If you prefer to meet them in person before chasing opportunities, let them know that. If you'd like to have a conversation every day, let them know that, too. If you would like them to name their first female child after you, say so. Make sure you clue them in to the submittal and interviewing process. Educate them on double submittals. If you want them to call you after their interviews, let them know. If if you want them to have open and honest communication with you about everything (from availability, to rate, to other opportunities), let them know that, too. Recruiters are often surprised at the offer stage with candidates fess up at last minutes about other interviews they have, offers they've been extended, and last minute rate adjustments (ex: I want a lot more money $10 more an hour); sometimes this is unavoidable but often times, this is due to expectations not being set on the front end. As a result, the relationship deteriorates and the end result is not what you desired.

As a candidate, it is equally as important to let your recruiter know what you want and how you'd like to work. In addition to setting the expectation of how frequently you'd like to communicate, it is imperative to clearly define what you are looking for in terms of rate (and be honest about it!), duration of opportunity, commute, and the kind of opportunity itself. If you are targeting one type of technology or title, say so. If you plan to interview at a handful of places before you commit to one opportunity, let us know. If we send you on an interview and there is something that rubbed you the wrong way, clue is in to that, too. Rate is a big one. We like to get you as much money as we can (within reason, of course). If you were making $60.00 an hour W2 at your last position and would like to make at least that, fess up. We get it. Everyone wants to make money. The thing is, we can't help you get the rate you really want if you don't tell us upfront. Last minute surprises are never any fun, particularly when it entails us going back to the client to get more money when we could have addressed it in the beginning. Also, if you really prefer permanent positions, let us know that, too. It makes no sense for us to submit you to a three month contract assignment when you really want something long term. I know it is normal to want to please others, sometimes so badly to the point you overlook what is best for you, but recruiters are here to help. If there is something in particular you need or want or don't feel comfortable with, tell us. We appreciate that you want to make us happy but we want to make you happy, too. Honest communication is always the best way to go, even if it is momentarily uncomfortable. Makes sense, right? Thought so.

Regardless of the type of relationship, as long as expectations are set upfront, you have a higher chance of getting a favorable result (like not wasting your time with a "bad boyfriend"). Whether you are trying to lock that man down and get him to drop the "I love you" or lock down those candidates and get them to drop the "I will accept", it all boils down to detailing what you expect before you really begin your romance. If you do that and it still doesn't look like it is going to pan out, don't beat yourself up. Instead, cut them loose and move on, as daunting as that might seem at first. Because you know what? There is someone out that that will appreciate you for of cheesy pop music, clingy behavior, stalking tendencies, stay at mom ambitions and all. After all, just like MamaOrlandoTechNuts used to tell me, as soon as you ditch that bad boyfriend, you are one step closer to finding the keeper.

***For the record, I'd rather shoot myself in the face than be a stay at home mom (though no offense to those that are one) and while I do favor AC/DC, Zeppelin, and CCR, I will fess up to listening to Lady Gaga. And liking her. Thank you, Kevin, for not only being OK with that, but for loading up your Zune with endless Lady Gaga ditties for me. If that isn't love, I don't know what is <3***

Monday, April 5, 2010

Playing Hard to Get...Will Get You Nowhere

It has been a little while since I wrote a blog post dedicated to the stupid stuff candidates sweet, clueless candidates, this one is for you. ***raises tall Red-Eye from Starbucks in mock salute***

As girls, we are taught to play hard to get to get what you want (or at least men). I've never really paid attention to this rule...namely, because I'm naturally so awkward it wouldn't really matter what I did. The (less than favorable) end result was always the same. I was a late bloomer in the dating department and when most girls were out dating and playing the field, I was getting married (and subsequently divorced...I've always been an overachiever). I had no sisters to show me the ropes and the only thing my brothers managed to show me was their newest wrestling move, fart noise, and the occasional genital (they were under the impression that this was very cool and oh-so-funny). I didn't get much assistance in the friend department, either. I went to a performing arts school so all of the friends I did manage to make were just as weird as I was and try as I might, I was unable to emulate the cool girls and their coy way with the man folk. I was, in every sense of the word, completely and utterly clueless, and as a result, "playing hard to get" never registered with me. I didn't play. At all.

As I got older, got divorced, and got more comfortable with myself, I stopped really caring about my dating life. To me, my indifference was merely that: indifference. It wasn't a trick, it wasn't smoke and mirrors. I just didn't give a crap about meeting a guy and dating. I figured I had enough life experience with the opposite sex with my super successful marriage that it was probably good if I cooled my jets for a bit. To others, however, this "indifference" was somehow translated into "hard to get" and all of a sudden awkward, geeky, Megan was in demand (sort of..."in demand" is fairly relative. My phone rang. Once. Or twice. And then maybe a few wrong numbers...) So there was something to this entire "hard to get" thing....maybe?

Only in dating, people! Only in dating...and certainly not when it pertains to your job search! When it comes to your job search, my advice to you is to put it all out there and make yourself as accessible as possible. Sit and wait by your phone, give any potential suitor all of your sexy details, and do not give up...even if that means you have to wait in the bushes and employ some stalking techniques. (After all, a little stalking never hurt anyone...)

One thing I've been seeing a lot lately that has been driving me absolutely crazy is candidates that are actively on the market, often unemployed (for months, years...) and act like they do not give a damn. Now, I know a person's pride will make them do funny things, including act overly nonchalant so they do not appear overly eager (I get it, people), but when you don't have a job, it is time to push the pride aside a bit and focus on getting a new job...and in order to do that, you have to put yourself out there a bit.

But let us not get ahead of ourselves. Let's take this one step at a time.

Let's start with putting your freaking phone number on your resume.

Out of all of the bizarre, no-rhyme-or-reason, things candidates do, the one that confuses me the most is when they don't put a phone number on their resume. (This is closely followed by candidates not putting their name on their resume but I can understand this a bit more. Confidential resumes are sometimes necessary, especially if you are still employed.) People, listen to me: If you do not have your phone number on your resume, you are already starting out with one strike. This doesn't mean that I won't email you (please see paragraph about employing stalking techniques) but it immediately puts a bad taste in my mouth and makes me think that you are high maintenance. My job is stressful as it is...and when it comes to high maintenance, well, I wrote the book. The last thing I want to do is chase after someone I saw on Monster or Dice and spin my wheels. Simply put, if you do not list your phone number on your resume it gives the impression that you aren't all that serious about your job search and given the choice between working with a candidate that is serious and one that is on the fence, well, who do you think is going to get most of my attention?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Next on my "Are you freaking serious right now?" list are the resumes that do have phone numbers on them...just not working phone numbers. For the people that happened to move recently and changed their number, I'll let it slide (for now), though, seriously...get on it. Laziness is not sexy and it usually doesn't score people jobs...unless you want to work at the DMV. I hear they love the lazy. What really irks the crap out of me are the people (I imagine they think they are being cute) that list 123-456-7890 as their phone number. Really??? Seriously??? Seeing a great candidate's resume, picking up the phone to immediately call them, only to then realize you have a phony number sucks. It is almost as disappointing as scoring the number of some hot guy at a bar and then realizing it is the local rejection number later when you call to plan your future with him. (Not that this has happened to me but...) In all seriousness, at this point, nobody is going to email you. Once a recruiter realizes you are some smart-ass that lists a fake or nonworking phone number, more often than not, your resume is flagged and you are almost immediately put on some sort of "Do Not Use" list. So for the love of God, put your freaking phone number on your resume and let us do our jobs.

Now, in defense of the many job seekers I'm screaming at via my blog, I know what you are thinking. "God, OrlandoTechNuts is so sexy with her bluntness. Is she single?" (No, for the record, I'm not. And if you don't stop thinking that, Kevin will fight you.)

No, really, I bet you are thinking, "You make good points, Megan, but let's play devil's advocate. Recruiters are a huge pain in the ass. I get so many calls every single day, most of them do not know what they are talking about, a lot of them aren't even local...they might even be sitting in their basements in their underwear (hot??), and they suck at listening. Yes, I want to get a new job. I desperately want to get off the dole. But I desperately want to go five minutes without talking to some ditz recruiter so what is the harm it making it a little difficult for them to contact me?"

I know recruiters are annoying. I get it. Hell, I even annoy myself half of the time, but truth be told, when it comes to job searches, we are a necessary evil, and more often than not, we are just trying to help. (Really.) So please, I know your mama (and Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura...Patti Stanger) preach the powers of playing hard to get...and when it comes to attracting a mate, they are probably on to something. Desperate isn't sexy. But you know what, when it comes to your job search, being desperate is SO hot right now and playing hard to get...Will get you NOWHERE.

So, kindly, put your phone number (the right one, you sly fox) back on your resume so we can all go back to work. Thankyouverymuch.