The Java Key

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons. ~ T. S. Eliot


We want to do a lot of stuff; we’re not in great shape. We didn’t get a good night’s sleep. We’re a little depressed. Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup. ~ Jerry Seinfeld

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When Microsoft Lays You Off ~ Tips from Someone who has been There.

10403668_516106198490681_6419961896243906111_nFor those of you who live in a cave, let me catch you up. Microsoft gave 12,500 employees walking papers last week. Note, Microsoft conducts these Reduction In Force (RIF) exercises every 3 to 5 years. This current RIF is the largest in the history of the company.

Microsoft’s Stephen Elop provided us with his “moving forward” email to the troops. This letter is not a secret–it is posted on Microsoft’s own site:

Full disclosure, I worked at Microsoft as a contractor and then FTE for 19 years, 8 months. Let’s just call in 20 years. Then I was laid off along with 20 or more people from my product group. Don’t worry about me, I got snatched up by Amazon within a month of my leaving MS. And I got a nice severance package as long as I signed a contract saying I would never reveal the particulars of my severance. But I lost all my unvested stock which was a really big chunk of value.

Now less than a week later I find that six of my friends, all senior people in the company, have been cut. 5 of the 6 are over 50 years of age. All six are just short of 15 years with Microsoft. Ever single one of them will look for work because they are not ready to retire. One could retire, but he would rather work than eat—he is just that kind of guy.

In my case, my wife was incredibly supportive, still working herself, and my layoff gave us a reason to downsize our lifestyle. We canceled the cruise we’d been saving up and planning for three years. We sold our McMansion and moved into a smaller house where we would not have a mortgage. (Suzy had been campaigning for years for this.) Now three years later, we are so much happier.

So here are my top three suggestions for my newly out-of-work friends. Ping me if you wanna have lunch, strategize, and/or work on your LinkedIn profile.

1. Don’t take it personally, it’s just business. Yes, they can hire 1.5 to 2 people for what you were being paid. That’s a very compelling impetus for a corporation that has stock holders. Fight the potential depression and destructive self guessing: I should have spent more time at my desk, I could have done better, or I was at that position too long, I should have seen it coming and moved before the shoe dropped.

2. Update your LinkedIn profile. Now. If you don’t have one, create one. Trust me, this is how you will get your next job. I blogged about this here: Post Your Resume on LinedIn. See my current profile for some examples: My LinkedIn profile was the first thing the hiring manager looked at before he had HR call me for an interview.

3. Network. Yeah, you’ve heard it before. When I was looking for work I was dropping 10 to 20 resumes a week and not getting any response. By the third week I was feeling really depressed, I’d never been without work for this long since I was in high school! I was on Facebook, and actually felt guilty that I should be emailing more resumes when a friend from way back said she was looking for a writer.

I pinged her and said I was available and she said, “You are overqualified.” I said, so what? The next day Amazon HR called me. I got more action from my friend than I got from any other company, companies that are sifting through, in some cases, thousands of resumes for each position listing.

Most people don’t realize how valuable they are, their experience is. Don’t sell yourself short, if you worked at Microsoft for more than five years, you can work anywhere. Every time I moved from one job to another, everything got better: pay, people, challenge, and happiness. So get started on the top three things mentioned here, your friends are behind you all the way.

Picture credit Human Workplace on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Posted in Employment, Guides, LinkedIn, Microsoft | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Superhero Muse du Jour

10419973_722778797785099_1278952245465997169_n  10501746_732347700161542_783593678335151188_n 

992926_493487334073009_1522237675_n  WonderWoman

Are there any other questions?”

I cleared my throat. “Yeah,” I replied, raising my voice. “Can I get paid for being the repeat victim in these practice runs? It’s not easy, you know, getting tied up or stuffed inside
something, while everyone figures out what catchphrases to use when destroying people.”
For a few seconds, Magnifiman was quiet. “Okay, are there any other questions?” he asked.

I sighed, my shoulders drooping. “I’ll have to take this up with my union,” I said. Of course, I just needed to form one.” ~ Hayden Thorne, Curse of Arachnaman

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Microsoft Live Spaces Saga Continues

wordpress-spacesThis blog started on a platform called Microsoft Live Spaces. Wikipedia sez,

“Windows Live Spaces was Microsoft’s blogging and social networking platform. The site was originally released in early 2004 as MSN Spaces to compete with other social networking sites, and re-launched in 2006 as a part of a shifting of community services away from the MSN brand. Windows Live Spaces received an estimated 27 million (27,000,000) unique visitors per month as of August 2007. Despite being considered a useful messaging and communication tool, Windows Live Spaces has been criticized as not being as powerful as some of its alternatives. It was shut down in 2011.” ~ Wikipedia

icon_photos_bigWindows Live Spaces censored the words that a user can choose when naming their Space, prohibiting for example the word whore or the so-called “seven dirty words”. In addition, Microsoft has received criticism for censoring the words “democracy” and “freedom” under its Chinese portal.

Forced to move to WordPress or lose my posts, I soon came to love the more feature laden, user friendly platform. This year, I have noticed that my original Microsoft Live Spaces post have lost all photos which renders them practically useless.

If you want me to recreate any of my oldest posts from that time period, ping me here and I will do the best that I can.

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Professor Gadget Sax Quartet, take 2014

“Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.” ~ Charlie Parker

Suzy and I were busy this weekend. First we have the normal family get-togethers and the weather was cooperating. Then there was my sax quartet gig at Ballard Locks. It was lightly raining part of the time but we had over 35 people listening to us. And many, many people come up and talk to us about playing in high school and loving the music. We even had two requests for a CD.


We played soprillo, soprano, alto, tenor, and bari sax. We had charts from Paul Coats and Russell Peterson plus more. Very enjoyable and quite the challenge to work up with only 4 practices this year. 

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A Cold Summer for the Emerald City in 2014

“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.” ~ Anthony J. D’Angelo

FlowersI’m sitting here finishing some projects and looking out the window here near the Emerald City aka Seattle. Mid to high 50s most of the morning, light rain, and now mid 60s, the plants are so happy. So are the birds and our squirrel, Fred and Ginger. It’s been an interesting Spring.

This summer is looking to start out a little cooler than normal. We’ll see. I am so ready for the hydrangeas to come in. We have two in the front yard next to the lace leaf maples. Usually blue, they are pinkish because I didn’t add the Ironite soon enough.

10402912_10154292847400541_614763458065185302_n   cherry

maple   gate

Yup, we have apples already, the berries are coming in nicely, and the new walk stones are in for the dewy morning trips to the garbage cans. You can see more pictures if you are so inclined at my Instagram site. Enjoy the day folks.

Posted in Hobbies, My World, Seattle | Tagged , | 1 Comment

My Dawg and Me …

I’m here watching TV and Amelia is, of course, sitting right next to me. She is an Australian Red heeler and German Shepard mix. Her smile is omnipresent and her love is unfailing. Words fail me, so here are some other folks attempts to describe man’s best friend.

dawg“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” ― Groucho Marx

“Happiness is a warm puppy.” ― Charles M. Schulz

“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.” ― Marilyn Monroe

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.” ― Mark Twain 

“Meow” means “woof” in cat.” ― George Carlin

“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.” ― Christopher Hitchens

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” ― Winston Churchill

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” ― Josh Billings

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” ― Will Rogers

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.” ― Mark Twain

“All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.” ― Charles M. Schulz

Posted in Dog, Pets | 1 Comment