I lost my job at SacWeb on August 16th, 2001.
I've been pretty lazy for the past month. It was kind of like a vacation, except I didn't really go anywhere. I think my lazy days are over.
Today I start my new job at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. When people ask me what I'll be doing there, I always resist the urge to tell them I'll be checking fruit at one of the border stations. Our department is in charge of that strange ritural with which many western travellers are familiar.
In reality, I'll be desiging web sites and web-based software for CDFA workers. I'm better with computers than I am with fruit.
Today is a scary day for the econmy. When I woke up, the Dow had already lost nearly ten percent, but it's starting to bounce back a little already. I had a good job offer in the private sector, but with unemployment rising and imminent recession, the State seemed more and more like the better decision. We don't have to make a profit. The job looks pretty damn secure. I could do without the trauma of being laid off again.
But this decision has some short-term drawbacks. Apparently, you can't just walk into the State of California and get a job. You're supposed to have list eligibility. So, say you want to be a programmer. You don't just go to personnel and apply for a job. You take an exam for programmers. "Do you know how to be a programmer? Y [ ] N [ ]," etc. If you do good on the test, they put you on that list. Next time a job comes up, they go through the list and interview the people who are most qualified. It's a crazy system.
So, the good people at CDFA know me by reputation (I've designed a handful of other government sites), and they want to hire me. To get on the list could take awhile. In fact, the exam I need to take isn't even available right now. So, in the meantime they can hire me under a special contract through the SCUS Foundation. It would let me start working right now for $15/hr, until I get my real position after I take the exam. One detail: the CSUS contracts are for students only.
Last week I enrolled in college. So it's back to school, Rodney Dangerfield style. I only had to take six units, which pretty much comes down to two night classes. At first I thought it would be quite a pain, but now that I'm registered I'm kind of looking forward to it. I'll probably change my mind after my first homework assignment. I can simply drop out after I get the Associate position at the State, but maybe I'll try to get a degree or something. You never know.
So, this morning I'm up early to drop off some paperwork at the CSUS Foundation office over on the Cal State campus, then I'm heading over to my new digs downtown for a ten o'clock staff meeting.
Thus begins a new chapter in the Life of Jarrett.
Wish me luck!