This is partly to test WordPress’s new Blog-by-email. We’ll see how it works.

Yesterday I received a phone call from Rackspace, with a variation of that dreaded message. “We’ve decided to move forward with other candidates.”

I felt kinda like some of the people on Millionaire must feel when they’ve been going for the million dollars, and got the answer wrong and going home with $25,000.

Let me explain. What I had were two options, I could work at Rackspace for ~$45k/yr doing something I would really enjoy or I could work at a camp doing something I would also enjoy for the summer making ~$150/wk. I had 2 really great interviews at Rackspace, even they said the second one went really well, but apparently not good enough.

I’m trying to keep positive, I’m still applying for 2-3 jobs including one at JMU, and working at camp will still pay all our bills (and let us catch up on the ones we’re having to skip this month) along with Kelly’s summer job. I’ll just have to start applying again as summer comes to a close.

I’m particularly looking for IT work within VA, and I don’t mind commuting up to 2 hours each way in order to take a job worth anywhere from $30k up (So from the DC Metro area down to Blacksburgish, and out to Richmond. I’m in the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County area right now). I intend to relocate if the job is at the outer reaches of that range along with my wife and puppy. I have reliable transport, and while I have no formal computing qualifications I have professional and personal experience with PHP/MySQL, computer hardware testing, computer software installation and general computer troubleshooting and problem solving. I’ve worked on a service desk (Level 1 and 2) for a 5000 user organization supporting Novell Netware and Active Directory (on the same network) as well as Alcatel based PBX systems. I’ve also been administrating Linux servers for several years. I’m happy to take an entry-level position (Helpdesk, Desktop support, etc), though I’d like a company with good promotion paths that will allow me to progress beyond, as I’d like to move into server administration, and possibly network administration also.

So while I continue to look for work, if you or someone/an organization you know is looking for an IT worker, let me know about them, or let them know about me!


I had my interview with Rackspace today, and it went really well. Not too many difficult questions so not too many difficult answers. The drive up was quick and painless, stopping only to pee near our exit (also allowing us to grab our map/directions printed earlier).

The datacenter is easy to get to, and easy to get out of. The people are really nice and friendly, and from what I could tell they really know what they’re doing. I was promised a very good salary (I was given a specific window that I’d likely be offered, but won’t repeat here), and they give bonuses quarterly on top of that. It’s based on an hourly rate, so if I work overtime then I get the reperation for that too. From what I understood, there is a 10% increase on that rate for those working second shift, and a 15% increase for third shift (which would be me, working 11pm-8am).

The drive home was just as uneventful, though we stopped in Front Royal (where we’re thinking about moving to) to get lunch, have a look around, and to get Crash some Puppy Chow. It seems a really cool place, and nice to live in. In other good news, I’d used less than 3/4 of a tank of gas (it’s an 11 gallon tank, I was expecting to be nearly empty), meaning it’d cost us $10-15 a day vs. $20. Doesn’t sound much, but saves us $25-50 a week..

I was gonna blog this part last night, but didn’t get a chance to. We went to the Chinese restaurant for lunch for Mothers day yesterday, and we had our traditional fortune cookies. Kelly’s said “Keep your goals away from the trolls,” and mine said “A cheerful letter or message is on its way to you.” I’m not superstitious, I believe God is telling us something, but perhaps in this case the message will be from God saying “the challenging times are over for now.” I really hope so, at least.


Yesterday afternoon I had a phone interview with 3 members of Rackspace staff based in Herndon, VA. It went very well, I was pleased with how I answered the questions and they seemed to like me as well. I was invited to an onsite interview, and it has been scheduled for Monday morning at 10am.

Basically the job involves building servers from specified parts, testing and installing operating systems using automated processes, and some diagnostic work on running systems.

We’re planning on going to the DMV tomorrow so I can sit for a full drivers license, and I need to read up and make sure I know what to expect. We’ve been working on a small list of things that we can pay for or start saving for already, including paying off the smaller loans and the well over-limit credit card, as well as cell phones and looking for a second vehicle. As summer begins to come to a close we’ll begin looking at houses, and it would be really nice to look into some additional furniture in the not-too-distant future.

We’ll also be able to save a huge amount (expecting in the vicinity of $5-10,000) to start a savings account to use for moving costs and such. So I’m fairly hopeful that I will get the position, though I haven’t made any purchases or done anything silly as yet..

In other slightly worse news, I had to tell a client this morning that her computer was irreparable. I feel particularly bad for her because it is her primary source of income (she uses it to scan and print her artwork for selling in multiples) and has small income also. I agreed to waive all my fees (I’d quoted $30) and that if she could afford $45 for a new computer I’d install all the software as well as restoring the backup I’d taken of her PC. I found a P4 1.8 for $50 on eBay and have bought it, it’s much faster than her P3 800, and has an XP Pro license (vs. the Millennium license she had, with XP Home installed). Hopefully I can have it to her by the end of next week. I’ll also get to scalp her old PC for useful parts (not much. Hard disk goes to the new PC, as will at least the CD-RW. I’ll get memory, video card, 10/100 ethernet and a sound card, and a PSU..?)

Here’s hoping things get better for her in that respect, and that everything else works out for me!

3 Out Of 50 Ain’t…All That Great, Actually.

Over the last 2 months or so I’ve been scouring ads online and in papers for jobs. I’m looking for something entry-level IT so that I can gain real and valuable experience. Mostly this means Level 1 Service/Help Desk positions. 2 huge negatives against me are a lack of college education (I might explain that in a later post) and lack of US Citizenship.

This means I’ve been able to apply for about 50 jobs, from DC to Richmond to Blacksburg in Virginia. [It just got more complicated, I’ll explain that in a paragraph or two]. Of the 50 jobs I sent applications to I received exactly 3 responses. I don’t know about anyone else, but I was kinda hoping I’d have had a few more rejection notices rather than just being ignored.

The first application I got a response from was James Madison University. They’d advertised a User Support position, and I applied within 30 minutes of seeing the ad in the paper. A few days later I received an automated email saying the position had been filled.

The second application I got a response from was Highland Retreat, a Christian Camp about 15-20 minutes drive away in Bergton, VA. I just got a call from the director there, who reminded me how complicated my future employment status is just with a phone call to update me on how well things are going with that application.

The third application I got a response from was RackSpace, an IT company with several ventures including MailTrust (Mail services) and SliceHost (a VPS company). I applied for a Datacenter Operations Technician position which would involve building servers, installing OS’s and diagnosing hardware and OS faults on servers in the datacenter. I have a phone interview with them tomorrow at 4pm, and I’m kinda nervous.

My biggest worry right now is that I’ll jeoperdize one position and the other will fall through, primarily the camp one. The camp job is looking very certain, they’re waiting contact from the camps in NZ that I worked with so they have a NZ camp reference. The RackSpace job is a much better option in the long term though, but isn’t guaranteed. The fact that they had 5 positions listed on their careers site makes my chances of getting one of them that much bigger, but I don’t want to commit or decline Highland’s offer until RackSpace offers or rejects me, because $160/wk is better than nothing at all.

So that is my complication – I want both jobs for different reasons, but the one I want more may not want me, and is moving slower so I may have to turn RackSpace down prematurely. I REALLY hope I don’t have to, a rejection I can handle, I’d much prefer that to having to say “well, you took too long and I’ve decided to work in a camp over the summer…” It’d be one of the most illogical things I’ve said in a long time..

That’s my dillemma, suggestions from people who have been in a similar situation would be helpful!