Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Coming Soon: Navigating the Path to Industry

Do you remember that short ebook about job searching that I decided to write? Well, it is almost ready to be released.

It is called "Navigating the Path to Industry: A Hiring Manager's Advice for Academics Looking for a Job in Industry," and here is the cover:



The cover was created by Susan Lavoie, and I am thrilled with how it came out. She sent me four initial ideas to choose from, and all of them were about 1000 times better than any cover ideas I had. 

The book will be out on Amazon on Wednesday, September 10. I will get it out on BN.com, Kobo, and iBooks as soon as I can after that. I've also gone ahead and purchased ISBNs, and plan to figure out how to make the book available in Overdrive, too, so that any interested libraries can add it to their collections. It may actually appear on Amazon a day or two early- I am not a big enough publisher yet to be able to have a pre-orders page and control the release date. So, I'll upload the book, push publish, and wait and see when it becomes available. I'm going to do my best to make sure that it is available for purchase at Amazon on the 10th, though- so mark your calendars!

If you were a beta tester or volunteered to be a reviewer, your advance review copy should be in your inbox before the end of the day on Friday.

If you're new here, or somehow missed me talking about this before and are wondering what this book is all about, it is exactly what the subtitle says it is: a compilation of my advice for people looking for their first job outside of academia, based on my 10+ years as a hiring manager. It had its genesis in a series of blog posts I wrote with job searching advice, but I've added a lot of additional information beyond what I covered in those posts. The topics covered in the ebook are:
  • Laying the foundation for your job search (getting organized, getting mentally prepared, plus some etiquette tips)
  • Figuring out what you want to do after academia
  • Building a network (including informational interviews and the use of LinkedIn)
  • Networking as part of a job application
  • Writing a resume
  • Writing a cover letter
  • Interviewing
The PDF version of the book is about 40 pages. I plan to sell it for $1.99 on Amazon. 

The feedback from the beta testers was quite positive- plus they gave me some great ideas to make the book even better, which I have incorporated into the final product. I've figured out how to format it properly and have tested it on as many devices as I can get my hands on... and I am beyond excited to get it out for other people to read.

I thought I might set up an email newsletter for people to subscribe to for notification of when this book is released, but thanks to the anti-spam laws, that would require disclosing my business address in the emails. My business address is also my home address- so I think I'll postpone the newsletter idea until I can justify the expense of a P.O. Box for my business. If you really wish I would publish an email newsletter, tell me why in the comments, and I may reconsider and get a P.O. Box sooner rather than later. Until then, I'll just tell you all about book releases and the like here and on Twitter. I of course appreciate any signal boosting anyone wants to do, as well!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trip Story: Alamosa

We spent most of our Colorado vacation in the mountains, or at least near them, with one significant detour: after we left Aspen, we drove south and east to Alamosa. Mr. Snarky had read about the relatively new Great Sand Dunes National Park, and really wanted to see it.

The drive from Aspen to Alamosa was one of the longer ones of our vacation, but we still managed to get checked into the hotel and even get some laundry done before it was time for dinner. We headed to Calvillo's, a Mexican restaurant that was highly rated by the online reviews. The food was pretty good, but the entertainment was even better. There was a duo performing Mexican folk songs. The man had a beautiful voice and played better than decent rhythm guitar. The woman played intricate finger-picked melodies on lead guitar and sang a solid harmony. Together, they were absolutely wonderful. Unfortunately, they left before I found out who they were or put a tip in their jar. I was planning to do so on our way out, and they finished performing before we finished eating.

The next morning we headed out to the dunes as soon as we could- we wanted to get some time on the dunes before it got too hot.

The kids and I walk across the dry riverbed to the dunes
The dunes were beautiful. The clouds passing overhead made shadows on the sand, which pretty much blew Pumpkin's mind. She was amazed that clouds could make such pretty patterns, and that the arrival of a shadow could have such a profound effect on the temperature.

The mountains in the distance were pretty cool, too
Both kids enjoyed climbing up the dunes, but Petunia was a bit freaked out by the way the sand gave out under her feet when we tried to go down a dune. Between that, the fact that climbing up the dune had tired her out, and her realization that we would not get to the "top," she was just done. She sat down on the sand and refused to move. She screamed that she wanted to go up to the top, not down, but then wouldn't walk in any direction. In the end, I had to pick her up and carry her down the dune while she screamed and kicked. It was a good workout.

Post-tantrum: once we were back on solid ground, Petunia agreed to walk again

The visit to the national park was rescued in Petunia's eyes by Mr. Snarky's decision to buy the kids Junior Ranger vests at the shop, and a cool sand dune making exhibit they had in the visitor's center. I am glad we visited the park, because the dunes and the surrounding grasslands are starkly beautiful. I love the feeling of being in such an open, expansive landscape.

More cloud shadows
However, if you're reading this and trying to decide whether or not to visit the park, I'd say it is great with a seven year old, but maybe a bit to much for a four and a half year old.

We had lunch at the only restaurant near the park, the cafe at the Great Sand Dunes Oasis. They had fry bread! I was so happy.

After lunch, we took a short and hot hike up to see Zapata Falls. Actually, Petunia and I picked pretty rocks out of the stream while Mr. Snarky and Pumpkin went to look at the falls. Pumpkin didn't care for that part of the hike- it involved picking your way across wet rocks. She didn't have her water shoes on so her running shoes got wet, and she slipped a bit and was freaked out by that. So now it was Pumpkin's turn to be unimpressed with a hike.

We made it up to both kids by spending the rest of the afternoon in the water park that was attached to our hotel. It had a small kids' slide shaped like a frog that Petunia went down roughly 1000 times. That number may not even be an exaggeration. I sat in the shallow water and watched her slide for at least an hour. She gave a little delighted scream each time she slid down into the water. Pumpkin liked the slide, too, and also liked swimming in the deep end. We were forgiven for the hiking in the morning, and everyone headed out to dinner in a pretty good mood.

Dinner was at the San Luis Valley Brewing Company. Mr. Snarky loved the light in the room.


And we tried a Kiwi Blonde beer that was surprisingly great. Fruity beers are not usually something either of us really likes, but this one was so good that Mr. Snarky asked about how it was brewed, and the brewmaster came out and gave him the recipe.

After dinner, we wandered around the downtown area a bit, had desert at a Nestle Toll House franchise (something I did not even know existed), and then took a slightly scenic tour through town on our way back to our hotel. We left Alamosa the next morning happy that we had come.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Guidebooks Wanted

Over at Tungsten Hippo, I wrote about some books that have helped me better understand racism. It is a very incomplete reading list, and I welcome suggestions for other books to read.

As I thought about that post, I realized that books have helped me understand a lot of things better. (Duh.) I think I need to search for some books to read about getting older- not so much from the accepting mortality point of view, but from the standpoint of acclimating to the physical and mental changes that happen as you enter middle age. I am certain there are some good books out there on this topic, and I think I should seek them out.

Because honestly, I am struggling a bit with this whole aging thing. I don't mind getting older in theory, but in practice, the symptoms suck. I'm trying to figure out which symptoms to fight (weight gain), which to accept (wrinkles), which to embrace (fewer cat calls!), and which might actually need some medical intervention (fun fact: the birth control that's best for you can change as you age). Those are the easy ones. What about the heartburn I've been getting? Where did that come from all of the sudden? Don't get me started on the sleep disturbances. Just when Petunia is starting to sleep through the night more often, I find that I can't count on staying asleep all night anymore. That is so unfair.

And that's just the physical changes- I'll spare you the whining about mood swings and that weird antsy feeling I get where I want to crawl out of my own skin.

I want a guidebook, or at least a funny travelogue from someone who's been here before me.

Anyone have any suggestions? Or do I need to throw myself on the mercy of Amazon's algorithms?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Weekend Reading: The OMG It Is Already Friday Edition

This week went by rather quickly, and here it is Friday afternoon. I made some decent progress this week. The mobi formatted version of my job search ebook is with my editor for proofreading. I should be able to get the review copies out to the people who volunteered to be reviewers next week. I'll also put up a post with the cover and the release date next week. I think I'm close enough to done that I can pick a release date and stick to it. It will be in early September.

In other news, I heard that Petunia, the Girl Who Was NOT a Princess (my second kids' book) will be out in late October. I'm really excited about that, too, and have some fun things planned to go with that release. Details to come along a little closer to the date.

I also plugged through a lot of admin things, setting up my backups, registering fictitious business names for my first projects, and sorting out a mistake I made when I set up my web hosting. All of these things were easier than expected (except the fictitious business names, which were as easy as I expected, since I'd done one before for my contracting work). So that was good.

I was talking to a friend about all of these things, and she wondered how she could keep up with all the various things I'm doing. I realized that I had no easy way for her to hear about what I'm doing, and that strikes me as a problem. I am still a Facebook hold out, and don't really want to get active there. So I am now thinking about setting up an email newsletter. All the cool kids seem to be doing that these days. I'll probably post about that next week, too.

But this is supposed to be a links post! So here are some links:

This post from Wray Herbert about the importance of having a conscientious spouse isn't really surprising, but it is nice to see data to support our intuition. It also reminds me of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote that has been floating around lately, about how having a spouse who took her work as seriously as his made all the difference. Of course, I cannot find that quote right now. If you can, put it in the comments!

Speaking of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she is one of the few prominent white leaders I've seen speak about Ferguson. Talking Points Memo has an excerpt of her comments.

I'm not sure what to say about the fact that some undergrads at North Carolina State University have invented nail polish that changes color when exposed to Rohypnol. Good invention, I guess. Sucks that we need it.

Speaking of which, this quote from a college guy (in this Salon article) made my head explode:

"Some men feel that too much responsibility for preventing sexual assault has been put on their shoulders."

Gah.

Matthew Yglesias' article about white-on-white crime is so good.

This is a really, really good story from Matt Zoller Seitz about what white privilege really means.

This essay by Amy Salloway may make you think twice before mocking a picture of someone on the internet.

Brooke Davis' piece about meeting people whose homes are being lost to climate change is very good.

I also really like Ed Yong's story about an athlete who tracked down the mutation underlying her rare genetic disorders.

That's all I have this week. I hope you all have a good weekend!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Hard Part

A couple of months ago, my book club decided to remember and honor Maya Angelou by reading her classic book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

I have read the book before, but it was a long time ago, so I decided to re-read it and see what new things I notice this time around. And I have noticed a lot of new things. I think there is some wisdom in that book that I needed to get a little older to take on board.

Re-reading this book at this particular time has been very interesting. Angelou's beautiful writing pulls me fully into the story in the book, and often when I'm reading it, I am in that "lost in a book" state that is one of the best things about reading.

It is all too easy for a white reader to come out of that "lost in a book" state and think that the racism and discrimination described in the book is a thing of the past. I like to think I would not do that at any time, but it would have been impossible for me to do it this week, with the ongoing outrage in Ferguson.

My Twitter feed has been full of justified anger and pain. I have never been more grateful that I took the time to diversify my feed (something I continue to work to do), because I am learning a lot about what is and is not better these days. And like many people, I have logged in each evening and watched with worry and horror as another night goes wrong.

I think too often well-intentioned people who are not affected by a particular form of discrimination can see that this discrimination is wrong, and perhaps even support laws and policies against the discrimination, but then want to skip to the end state we all hope for, when all that really matters is the content of our character. Sadly, it just doesn't work that way. While we acknowledge the progress that has been made since the time described in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, we cannot forget to also acknowledge how much more progress needs to be made. We can't wish that progress into happening. We have to make it happen. We can't skip the hard part.

Unfortunately, we in the white community seem to be short on leaders who are willing to tell us this truth. The Pew Research Center did a survey and found that only 37% of white people think that the shooting of Michael Brown raises racial issues. Where are the white politicians with the courage to stand up to that other 63% and tell them the truth? Who will lead them through the thought experiment of imagining what would happen if it had been two white teenagers walking down the middle of the street? Who will ask them to examine their own past and think about all of the times they have jaywalked and not been stopped, let alone shot? Apparently, we don't have any white leaders willing to step up and do that.

We cannot rely on Black leaders to do this work, not because they are not eloquent, but because the people who most need to hear this message just won't listen to them no matter how eloquently they speak.

I understand that it will require courage for a white politician to stand up and tell the truth to that 63%. I understand that politicians tend to look at polls for guidance on how to vote in order to keep their jobs. But they all talk about going into politics out of a desire to help their country. Well, their country needs help on this. I am extremely disappointed that none of my supposed leaders are willing to actually step up and lead. Aren't the Democratic politicians embarrassed that the only white politician to make a statement that really acknowledges that there is a race issue here is Rand Paul? Maybe I have just missed hearing about a white politician telling it like it is, but I suspect that the reason I haven't heard it is that none of them have the courage to say what needs to be said, and that is shameful.

Because you know what else takes courage? Protesting peacefully for your rights while a line of police point guns at you and fire tear gas at you. I am amazed that the protests have remained largely peaceful in the face of provocations that started with police arriving at a peaceful vigil with police dogs. I cannot believe those police did not know the symbolism of what they were doing.

I cannot stop thinking about how hard it must be to be a parent in Ferguson right now, with the nightly disruptions and school canceled. I am moved by the efforts of the Ferguson public library to provide a place of respite, and by the school teachers who are showing up there to teach kids who don't have anywhere else to go this week.




All sorts of ordinary people in St. Louis are stepping up and showing courage and leadership right now. It is a damn shame that white politicians won't do the same.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...