Careers and Professions in IT

Next week I’m speaking up at Texas A&M University on professional development, career management et al. I’ve finished the revision of my slides and if you’d like to preview them, or even better give me some feedback, you can find them it here: Technical and Professional career (3/27 Update: Final version.)

A couple of related things came through my email today, they both have some interesting material some of which I cover, and that I don’t.

10 Mistakes that Could Doom Your Career as an IT Pro.

How to get paid more (on theregister.com)

Banking in America

I don’t get it, I just don’t. For almost a year I worked to get away from the evil empire, Bank of America. I was proud that I’d moved all my business to a credit union, for UK friends and family, thats pretty much a building society. I bank with Amplify Federal Credit Union. I was pleased when just after the new year I shutdown my BoA account, cancelled my BoA credit cards etc.(1)

As much as Amplify have been really helpful, their inability to do electronic payments to accounts outside the bank has got me to the point where I think it’s time to move again. I just never realized how inefficient their processes were, how they were totally dependent of printed checks and that’s all just too slow for me.  Back in the UK at FirstDirect I can logon, enter an account number, routing code(for the bank), amount and date and in many cases the transfer is done electronically, often simultaneously and always within 2-hours.

At Amplify, I have to use the pay-a-bill system. Essentially this with a few details, allows me to tell them to print and mail a check.

So for example, today I logged on, had to enter a name, a full postal address, and only the account number of a payee; then I entered the amount of the payment, and could select the day I want to send the payment, I chose today. Low and behold the system informed me the payment would be received on March 27th. Note in this instance when they mean received, what they mean is a check would be received on 3/27, they couldn’t mean anything else since they didn’t ask for a routing number for the receiver.

My alternatives were Overnight check – $18.95. Yep some how they were charging me about $12 for them printing and handing my check to USPS for next day delivery, or some other courier company. The only other option is to do a domestic wire transfer, cost $15.

So I’m looking for other responsible banking options., None of the big international banks, ideas anyone?

This seems to be another area, like cellphone plans and cellphones in general where America is gradually has little more than a 2nd rate service. Which really is a shame. Anyone got any insights into why?

First open water swim of 2012

Rule #1 of open water swimming is hydrate well before swimming in a “rubber suit”(1)
Rule #2 Never swim alone. Where was everyone? If I don’t comment by lunchtime, someone come look for me…

(1) as Wendy would have said…

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I didn’t get where I am today…

In a meeting at the mau5trap today I used the phrase “I didn’t get where I am today…” and then had to explain the humor and it immediately struck me that it was an obvious precursor to The Office. Given Ricky Gervais is only 4-years younger than me he’d have definately been influenced by the original 1970’s The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin tv series and the follow-ons.

I went looking for a YouTube clip and came across this one. Yes, it’s dated. But the content couldn’t be more relevant. The clip, from a program originally aired in October 1976. Not only does it contain some great examples of Reggies acerbic wit, which was a hallmark of the series but he also makes fun of the mediocre, pompous, ex-Army styles that were common in the workplace in the UK still in the 1970’s when I started.

The speech though touches a number of key issues that didn’t come to the fore for a number of years; he talks about growth, chemicals, pollution, destruction of the natural environment, societal approach to weight, food, war and more. I didn’t get where I am today by continuing to work in that environment, CJ.

Humour without consequence, what about sex?

When I used “humour[British Spelling] without consequence” in my earlier blog post, I that thought it was quite a snappy summary of the long drawn out discussion about the differences between British and American humor, apart from the spelling of the word, obviously.

Ricky Gervais has a useful blog entry on the subject, here. I just googled for “Humour without consequence” to see if it was an original phrase, and it appears to be. One search result though leapt out at me, Sex without Consequence, in a blog post on the Daily Kos by Dave Robbins. It totally sums up my discomfort with the current US non-debate about contraception and abortion, that I’d felt uncomfortable about but hadn’t worked out why.

The way the current debate is framed, typically by the right, and mostly by the religious right, is against abortion, against contraception, etc. etc. One small victory recently was the push back that happened against the Susan G. Komen Foundation when it announced it was cutting ties with Planned Parenthood. They tried and tried to position and rationalize it, but when you looked back at the time line, it ultimately seemed it was a religiously and politically motivated attack on an organization for whom abortion is a tiny percentage of what they do for women. And that’s the point, it’s not a for or against abortion post, it’s how comes this always comes down to an attack on women?

Dave’s post nicely calls out the fact that Men have to take at least 50% of the responsibility, and often much more. Nothing is without consequence.

Google Chrome confused by spellings