Let’s see now:

  • Laptop – check
  • Geek glasses – check
  • Nerd shirt in a colour not found in nature – check
  • Stack of Linux/Unix manuals – check
  • Stack of Perl manuals – check
  • iPhone with Whipped app – check
  • Assorted flash drives – check
  • Other assorted stuff that no self-respecting computer dweeb can live without – check
  • Autographed copy of The Wit & Wisdom of Sheldon Cooper – check

[stextbox id=”Question” float=”true” align=”right” width=”200″]Just how much of a dyed-in-the-wool Hokie is my brother? He refuses to wear a kilt until he can find one in Burnt Orange and Chicago Maroon![/stextbox]

Looks like I’ve got everything. I’m off on a 10-month contract with the University of Virginia ITS (Information Technology Services). My brother, Jim Parsons – no, not THAT Jim Parsons! – a dyed in the wool Hokie, must be hiding his face in shame over all this.

So far, Day 1 has been slow but that’s the way 1st days usually are. There’s a cardboard stand-up of Mr. Spock next to my cube and Iron Man collectables on the shelf across the aisle. I have a first-rate view of the train tracks behind the building so I can foam and work at the same time. I’m in Nerdlandia.

Today is the day I’ve been dreading for 3 or 4 weeks; today I have to give two weeks notice to my present employer that I’m leaving to accept another job. For those of you – which is probably most of you – who do not know, I’ve been employed for the past 3 months as a part-time programmer. I’s been 2 or 3 days a week at a bit above minimum wage; not enough to make a living off of it but enough to pay one or two nagging bills. In exchange, I’ve had the opportunity to write code – my first love – again.

I’ve been offered a position at UVA for the next 10 months as a contractor. There is some possibility that the contract will be extended but I am not going to hold my breath. This is, however, an opportunity to whittle down the debt that builds up when you’ve been out of work for three of the past four years.

The sweet sorrow comes from the fact that I’ve enjoyed working for this small firm. The business runs on a shoe-string and there is no guarantee that this part-time position will still be there 5 months from now. All the same, this position came along when I really needed some work and the people there have been good to me. All things considered, I’m going to miss them.

Years ago when I lived in Atlanta, a most amazing thing happened. I was a Programmer/Analyst for The Harrison Company writing code in the assembly level language, NEAT/VS. (Essentially NEAT/3 for NCR’s Criterion system. Sigh . . . those were the days.) I came home from work one evening to receive not one, not two, but three different unsolicited job offers. The strange thing is that I was not actively, or even inactively, looking for a new job. I was pretty happy with my gig at Harrison and the only job I really wanted was one that would return me from exile to my native Virginia. (One did eventually come through which is why I live here in Charlottesville, now.)

I’ve been on the skids for the past 8 or 9 months and my last interview was back in October. I’ve applied for almost 100 jobs and have only gotten one or two nibbles at the most. Talk about being bummed out!

Within the past week, I’ve received three calls – again, unsolicited – from head-hunters. The first was for one that really intrigues me and the other two – while short-term contract work – would at least keep the wolf away from the door a little while longer.

There is no guarantee that I will get an offer for any of these positions but it is funny how things can sometimes turn on a dime. In 2010, I had a sudden spate of interviews before I was offered a position at SAIC. We shall see. We shall see.

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January 2021
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