I\’m \”Taken\”

I got my first job. I think it suits my desire to learn SAP R/3 and its related technologies. I will start my job as a regular employee (yup, no probation period) effectively on September 1, 2006. :) So, the \”salary discussion\” interview I was expecting was not a salary discussion at all. It\’s already a job offer. I consider myself lucky because I was recruited after only one (1) interview. Some people get 2 – 3 interviews and does not get any job offer in the end. I won\’t discuss any details how I got an offer, blah blah and so on and so forth. You know, everything else is confidential. I will start my first job immediately on the 1st of September, right after my graduation march on the 31st of August. Sounds fun. Carpediem!

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Behavior-based Interviews

This week, I had several interviews and what really challenged me were behavior-based interviews. One stupid answer could ruin all your good points. The interviewer would throw a lot of questions to you in order to analyze your background and tendencies to behave in work environment. The questions were designed to know how you have behaved in your past experiences and activities, so you ought to know what you did in college if you are a fresh grad, or what you have contributed in your present or previous company if you\’re an experienced applicant.

According to my father, who took several behavior-based test and interviews before, behavior-based interviews is based on the principle that people hardly change — Old habits die hard. From what I understood, the point of the test is to know how you have behaved in the past to tell the recruiter how you will act in the future. For example, if you answered consistently with positive leadership contribution in group work and projects, then it tells the recruiter that you have a potential to be a good manager. If you tend to be uncooperative, or you consistently prefer being a lone-wolf, it tells the recruiter that you are not suited for team projects. However, I do not know exactly what happens to those people with inconsistent behavior.

Probing questions can also be hypothetical. The interviewer can give you a situation or scenario which you have to answer honestly based on your own values and character.

If I only knew this earlier I could have answered the chain of question given to me with more ease. I had interviews without saying \”aaah\’s\” and \”uhmm\’s\” but during this particular interview, I mumbled a bit. I think I was able to pull through anyway. I do not know whether my next interview is still behavior-based… what scares me is the topic: salary discussion. (Baka dito nila malalaman kung sino yung mukhang pera… hehe)

Time to reflect about myself until monday…

\”Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.\” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

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My Thoughts as a Fresh Grad

It fascinates me that after a seemingly losing battle with the panels of our thesis and our beloved school research coordinator, our thesis turned out to be really successful. Except that it has only gone through private alpha testing. I don\’t know if my groupmates are willing to pursue the commercial implementation of our web application. I have a business contact who shared interest on the possibility of creating a fork application using our thesis. I\’m still considering if that really is viable here in the Philippines. I\’m not even sure if our school would shell out money to BUY our software. Now, that\’s a different story all together.

Right now, my future lies ahead of me. I have the potential to create a bright future but I\’m still waiting for the best job offer. I can opt to start a new business but I think that the talent I have invested in IT may go to waste if I do not gain industry experience for at least 3 years. What I have learned in business so far, especially in IT, is that there are many companies out there that could eat you alive. In IT business, it\’s hard to stay afloat if you can\’t keep up with the skills needed. What more if you come from the bottom and just starting to climb up the corporate ladder? It\’s scary.

I decided to gain more experience from experts. I do not want to learn the hard way if there would be easier way. It\’s just impractical to beat myself up. This is the same reason why I do not hastily accept any job offer. I want the best possible option I can get and grow my career in one company steadily. I do not want to shift from one job to another. My father worked in one of the largest consumer goods company in the Philippines. He stayed there more than 15 years and as a result, his salary ballooned that it could even surpass the salary of an average senior manager in a medium-size company. Sadly, he had to retire early because of downsizing initiatives of the executive management.

After analyzing the problem my father had during his working days, I decided that the best possible option is to become a manager so that I am not directly affected by the management. I want to be the one making decisions, not the one taking orders. Well, of course I have to start somewhere at the bottom, as a prerequisite, to climb up.

I also thought that being a freelance consultant might be wiser than being a manager because even if you jump from one company to another, you can bid your price. Being a consultant can really take a long time though. It takes years to become one.

I have also considered being a professor or trainer but I have learned that having industry experience is priceless. Yes, teaching can be fun and it\’s a very reputable job. However, putting into another perspective, an industry practitioner can be trained to become a teacher through workshops and seminars; a teacher cannot be easily trained to become a practitioner, IMHO. Given that a UNIX professor has 3 years experience versus a UNIX administrator with 2 years experience and knowledge in system implementations; both are certified. If I am a recruiter for Project Manager Trainee position, I would choose the UNIX admin without a doubt even though both are certified professionals. Think about it.

To be fair enough, some professors I know had part-time jobs in their respective industries. Some had shifted from IT to full-time teaching. It really depends on personal preference. I know that professors in DLSU have to take doctorate degree before they can be full-time professors. I guess the hard work really pays off if one pursues the career he desires.

Call centers have tried to hire me countless times even before graduation. They have offered job positions like technical support representative (TSR) and the like but I did not take any of their offers not that I am boasting about it. In fact, I nearly  accepted one offer after passing a screening exam but I was not able to appear in the final interview because I had tonsillitis and high fever, which is not my entirely fault. I was somewhat thankful that I did not accept it is because I really wanted to start my career on the right track.  I have no problem being a call center agent but I am just not designed for that job and I know that I won\’t enjoy it. I want to do something that I really enjoy so that it won\’t feel like work because when you really enjoy what you are doing, work doesn\’t feel like a chore.

Ok, I guess I already made my point clear. To all the fresh grads out there, especially in the technical field like IT and Engineering, I hope you already have a good lead in the industry you want to pursue. :) It\’s a long way to go.

Good luck to all of us!

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SMART WiFi Rebranded, SMART Bro

\"SmartSMART WiFi gets a new name — SMART Bro. Smart Comunications Inc. has unveiled on April 21, 2006 in their press release that its fixed wireless broadband will be now called SMART Bro – Amazing Wireless Broadband.

I don\’t know what\’s the reaction of current SMART WiFi subscribers about this news; however, what I\’m sure about is that there are still complains about SMART broadband service. Some reported that the increasing number of subscribers in SMART broadband services had adverse effects on its service quality. Lately, SMART started improving its network facilities by installing upgraded routers (not new?). The network backbone was also upgraded up to a capacity of 10 Gbps but the exact number of core backbones is unknown. Let us hope they have added redundant WAN links in between core backbones to avoid frequent disconnections and limited connectivities.

It\’s also a relief that Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) will stop rebranding the same wireless internet service. From now on, PLDT will be reselling SMART Bro in place of myDSL-W instead. That\’s practical and more consumers-friendly because getting rid of the 2 annoying brands (SMART WiFi and PLDT myDSL-Wireless), the consumer won\’t be confused about the true meaning of DSL and Wifi anymore. At last, PLDT and SMART heard the voice of IT professionals and stopped playing with the hype of WiFi and DSL branding.

If rebranding this old service will bring about changes, let\’s hope for the best and wish every SMART Bro subscribers the best of luck.

DISCLAIMER: I\’m NOT affiliated with SMART and/or PLDT at all.

Btw, are you aware that there\’s Smart bro (not the wireless broadband service). It\’s a tabbed browser from Mind Vision Software… eeerrrr?

Links:
Go to SMART Bro official website
Smart: SMART WiFi is now SMART Bro
Smart+Bro, Smart+WiFi, PLDT, MyDSL

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Surprise Interviews

It was really a surprising event this morning. We\’re all at the 30th floor of PhilAm Life Tower and the OJT orientation we all thought would happen between 9:00 – 10:00 AM was just a pretext to a final screening interview. All of us were nervous. Who won\’t? It\’s hard to believe that your effort would be wasted in a single blow. Disappointments are bound to happen anyway, that\’s why I was not very enthusiast about the orientation this morning because I knew anything could change at the very last minute. And I was right. When I entered CA office this morning, there\’s no guarantee yet that I had secured my OJT there. I was surprised but I realized this could happen due to strict selection of interns.

I was chosen as one of the five trainees and I\’m sure it\’s not luck that brought me here alone. I\’m relieved but I felt sorry for those people who were not accepted in. Reality can be really harsh and at times like this, you can always lean back to Him and just hope for the best.

I just remember what the trainor in Trend Micro told me in my previous interview, pertaining to career in IT — You won\’t lose any opportunities. It\’s everywhere. It\’s just a matter of time that it knocks to your door.

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OJT Blues

Several days before Holy Week, some of my friends had a rush of OJT hunting. There are several companies I have applied at the very beginning of our school holidays; however, those companies are either mass hiring for full-time employees or they do not have slots for OJT (how stupid that some companies accepted OJT applications and yet they didn\’t even contact applicants. RAWR!!)

Anyway, I am very thankful that a friend of mine, P4, is kind enough to offer a chance for PLDT internship. Some of us simply freeloaded (like me). I don\’t know if that\’s the best term to describe it but during those dire times, most of us are very desperate to start working on our On-the-Job-Training already because some early birds are already earning OJT working hours during the holidays. We felt that we were left out of the OJT hunting game, but of course it is not just a game that you can give up easily. It\’s the prelude for the real world.

Based on the preliminary results of Philippine Labor Force Survey released on March 15, 2006, there are 2.8 million unemployed persons January 2006 already which is equivalent to 8.1% unemployment rate. That\’s slightly better than last year\’s 8.3% unemployment rate. But still, recent graduates make the number of unemployed people bigger. The expected candidates for graduation this coming August are about to make that figure worse. Scary.

OJT in IT is not simple as it seems to be…. well, at least in my experience. Not so many companies are willing to take in inexperienced college students for them to train in a specific IT field such as Cisco networking, Java programming, UNIX or Solaris administration, blah blah blah… most of the times these positions already require at least a year experience and there are very few companies who entrust their projects to interns. That\’s understandable but that\’s not the problem. Some IT companies accept OJTs just for the sake of it without offering real training. Some give interns clerical work, typing jobs, all-around assistant positions and whatnots. It\’s silly. Some OJTs I found in Jobstreet simply requires you to know MS Word! You won\’t even find this kind of OJT serious. If you want to get into a big company and find a serious OJT, it often requires skill aptitude test, screening and some interviews. In reality, finding a company for internship requires a more complex procedure. Your \”connections\” inside a company such us your relatives, your parent\’s friends and sometimes, your friends\’ friends to the nth degree, is proven to be very effective to boost your chance of getting accepted. It\’s not always helpful though.

Enough ranting. I will now chronicle what happened in my three weeks OJT hunting.

Right now three companies have entertained me in internship — Trend Micro, PLDT and CA (in order of date of application). I couldn\’t wait for Trend Micro for their confirmation because two weeks before Holy Week I already took their test and a whole week had passed without any call or email from them. So, I didn\’t want to waste more time and tried my luck in PLDT. The process was not easy at all. We had to go at Mandaluyong several times just to complete the requirements. At the verge of giving up, I also applied for CA before Holy Week and I was immediately considered for interview after Holy Week. We went back at PLDT the other day and apparently our OJT application in PLDT had been approved. P4 worked some magic. I thought I will settle for PLDT…. that\’s what I thought but CA already clouded my decision. It is really tempting — free breakfast, it\’s in Makati, P150 allowance a day, real training and requires me to get up later because the office hours starts at 9:00 AM. I\’m probably crazy if I refuse the offer. Although PLDT would provide good internship, I don\’t think I\’m built for long journey everyday. I could rent a condo in Pasig but it is not practical right now.

The Holy Week passed by so quickly. I have unwound for a while, visited some relatives and breathed fresh air in Batangas. That\’s about it. Nothing more exciting.

The OJT blues continued. It\’s already the first week of 4th term. To my uttermost surprise, Trend Micro HR department called and I was scheduled for an interview at Libis. OMG… now that\’s more trouble. What if I pass the interview, how I do choose the best option? I don\’t even know how to go to Eastwood. I rode Taxi when I took the exam three weeks ago! I asked Carl and Lloyd about the proper directions and landmarks. I\’m really grateful that they doodled for the sake of the improvised map of Quezon City, Pasig and Makati.

\"\"

The interview in Trend Micro was ok and I went home thinking that there is a possibility to get the OJT. However, it is very tiring. It\’s even farther than PLDT Pasig. It seems that CA is still the most practical choice if I get selected there for internship.

Two days later after my interview in Trend Micro, CA scheduled my presentation and interview on April 20th. I delivered the presentation well but I was nervous. I have not presented in front of a total stranger before in my entire stay in college so I think it\’s normal to I get a shiver in front of them. The day after, CA called about the orientation on April 24. Eh? Did they confirm my slot in CA already? Was it implied? I\’m not sure but it sounds like they actually accepted me in internship already.

By the end of the day I have decided to go for CA. I know those people who came with us in PLDT would understand my situation, especially P4 because I have discussed this issue with him long ago.

Let us do our best!

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The Almighty Diskette

Diskettes never fail to amaze me. They are still used today ever since floppy disk technology was introduced in 1971. That\’s 35 years of computer history and they still live on. The 3½-inches microfloppy diskette HD (high density) is probably one of the most popular floppy disk format and is the most expensive storage medium per megabyte today. A generic CD-R costs less than P10 while a floppy diskette normally costs around P25…. w00t!

And I always contemplate why diskettes endure to last for over three decades… Today, I realize it\’s still useful.

Our Java laboratory is not linked in the internet which made it impossible for us, students and professors alike, to upload our exercises and laboratory files elsewhere. The expensive Sun Blade sparc 64-bit PCs do not even have a CD-writer. My classmates and I tried to plug our USB flash disks but no one has successfully mounted one. You see, our Java and Solaris laboratory is \”prestigious\” because only a number of students are priveleged to get hands on experience with one of the Sun Blades…. It\’s just so pathetic that we can only use diskette to backup our laboratory files.

I thank Glenn for his almighty diskette, I managed to retrieve my laboratory files today that is very much needed for our test next week. :)

diskette, floppy, cd-r

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