Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hoping for a New Job

First, I’d like to furnish a warning to those reading my blog. I’d like to offer thanks to a blog called “The Good Luck Duck.” They posted of a warning and provided a link warning about the use of Google’s AdSense as being a source of malware. I’ll provide the links for both The Good Luck Duck and for the site that they provided.

The Good Luck Duck blog.

Google AdSense Malware Issues

With all that I discovered at that last link, it is doubtful that I will ever put AdSense on “Ignoring the Barking Dogs.”


Now, to the topic related to the title of this post. Jo and I work for the state of Oklahoma and for the last 13 years, I’ve been working in a pretty menial job. I’ve been a supervisor and manager in several jobs over the years, but it was a financial benefit for us to work for the same agency and in the same building. We’ve saved a lot of gas money in the last 13 years.

I’ve tried several times to get better, more challenging jobs with our agency, but have never had good luck. The state has a tendency to use what is called a “structured interview” process. Basically, that is a situation where all candidates for a position are asked the exact same questions. There are some real issues with that kind of an interview.

First of all, if a question is asked of a candidate and in their answer they bring up a related topic, the interviewers cannot follow up with a question or ask for additional comments on that related topic. Thus, the structured interview is almost designed to miss getting really good candidates hired for the jobs. I’ve told people at our agency that the structured interviews are almost guaranteed to result in mediocre employees.

In the process, it is usually three individuals asking the pre-selected questions in turn. Then, during the answers given, they are taking notes as to what the candidate says in their answer.  Another problem with this process is that the interviewer’s have their heads down to watch what they are writing and very little eye-contact is had with the applicant being questioned.

After the interview process is done with all candidates, they go through and rate the answer to each question on a basis of 1 to 10 as to the value of the answer. Then, those scores are totaled for each candidate, using all three interviewer’s scores for them.

Such a process leaves the possibility for one interviewer to skew the whole process. For instance, if an interviewer has a preference for one particular candidate because of association or friendship, that interviewer can lower their score for the other candidates and raise the score on their preferred candidate. With only three interviewers, you can see an almost immediate effect on the outcome of the interviews.

So, in addition to hiring mediocre employees, one can also see a situation where one is hired not on the basis of their abilities, but on who is a friend of whom. I have even been skipped over, even though I have more experience in management.

A couple of years ago, the agency was hiring 3 people for APO I (Administrative Program Officer 1) positions. Six of us interviewed for those three positions.  When all was said and done, three others were chosen who had less experience.

Not long after those positions were filled, an APO II position (Administrative Program Officer 2) came available. I applied and the state’s Office of Personnel Management deemed my level of experience to be enough to qualify for that position. The designation of OPM in regards to my experience surprised some of the original interviewers. Well, at least one of them was surprised.

Just about a week ago, we saw a posting of the APO II position again. The individual that was hired for that position has decided to resign from it. This position is at a new facility and that individual had been the project manager for the building of that facility, so it was natural that he should be the one hired for the position.

So, I applied for it again, and my interview was this morning. In most structured interviews, there were not a lot of questions that were not related to the job being interviewed for, nor were they related in any way to finding out good information about the applicant’s abilities for those positions.

Today’s interview was different, based on my observations. All the questions were pertinent and relevant. Also, prior to the actual questioning, I was asked to tell a bit about myself and my experiences. Two of the interviewers have never really met me nor worked with me in any way to have knowledge about me, nor what kind of experience I have.

Overall, I felt that in 13 years and several interview situations, this was the best one I had experienced. Even though it was still a structured interview, it just felt better than all the previous ones I had. Even though there are no guarantees, I feel that I did well in the interview.

Should I get this job, Jo and I will be working in different buildings, so our fuel costs will go up to some extent, but the job will almost double my current salary. That would go a long way towards getting us completely debt free, including the Mobile Suites.

However, there is one drawback. The state’s retirement system calculates the last three years one’s employment in determining what that individual’s retirement benefits will be. So, if I get the job, I will likely work for another three years.

That is a bummer, but an extra advantage to that is that I could then afford to get yet another really nice camera lens. Every cloud has the potential of a silver lining.

Nikon 24_70mm lens

Wish me luck.

I hope…I hope.


  1. Good info about Google AdSense. I've not had report soy issues with my blog but I will look at it closer.

    AdSense can generate some income if the site has lots of traffic. Since I signed up a couple of years ago for AdSense, I've earned $5.12. Big whoop. Makes me rethink AdSense all together.

    Regarding the job - please don't lose sight of the long term goal (full-time RVing). It sounds like the trigger point on the decision to go full time is retired debt. Yes, Social Security payments can increase if you depend three more years in the new position.

    I could have worked for 2 more years to get more Social Security $$. Looking back on my 1st year in retirement, do I wish I delayed my retirement? No. I am better off today with less $$. My wife and I have a better relationship, and I certainly have a better outlook on life than when we were working.

    It all boils down to a very personal decision. Sorry to sound preachy here, just had to give you my opinion.

  2. Thanks for the boost! I found that AdSense didn't even approach being worth the eyesore.


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