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— also known as my vanity gripe page

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Fri, 25 Apr 2003


I've been remiss in keeping this blog current... This will be a lengthy update. First, my travels: In my search for a job (and recognizing that while I'm working I don't have time to vacation), my family and I went to the Southwest United States on a job- hunting/vacation trip. We stopped in Las Vegas (three days), Grand Canyon National Park (one day), Mesa Verde National Park (one day), the Four Corners and Shiprock (one day), St. George (three days), Zion National Park (one day), and Great Basin National Park (one day).

The idea in Las Vegas and St. George was to seek work in two rapidly-growing areas. As it turns out, a quick review of newspapers in each city revealed the same circumstances as may be found locally; not much advertised work in the technology sector. That was disappointing.

Still, I hadn't been to Great Basin National Park before. It has a mid-sized cave system and some spectacular views... Although the road to get there is somewhat drab.

Just prior to my trip, my wife celebrated the twelfth anniversary of her 29th birthday. Not having much disposable income at the moment, my gift to her was a single card and a flowering plant. The plant is already dead; I hope that's not a portent.


Upon our return, I finished up our taxes. I tried something new this year: instead of using Intuit's TurboTax software (which I've used successfully for at least five years), I bought a copy of H&R Block's TaxCut. This is because of the increasingly intrusive and customer-unfriendly policies being implemented by Intuit.

Unfortuntately, I found that TaxCut is not nearly as user-friendly as TurboTax. I experienced a number of problems with TaxCut, including fonts and text entry boxes that didn't line up properly, an interview process that failed to anticipate several (in my view) common income scenarios, improper importation of depreciated assets from previous tax years (although, in fairness, this could be equally the fault of TurboTax), overly complex error checking routines, and a cumbersome (and in the end probably costly) electronic filing process. This last requires more explanation.

After e-filing my federal return (having properly selected the "file federal and state taxes concurrently" option), the software refused to submit my State return until it had received confirmation from the IRS that the return was properly received. Since my federal filing took place on April 15 at about 1:30 in the afternoon and the IRS didn't confirm receipt of my return until after midnight, that meant my State filing was late. I expect that my ~$250 State refund will be significantly diminished by penalties as a result. Needless to say, I am unhappy with this outcome. Will I go back to TurboTax next year? Possibly.

Job Hunt

This front is not progressing particularly well. At present, I am pursuing three strong leads: a nameless startup company in the South Bay Area, a programming position at Sun Microsystems in Santa Clara, and a possible Perl/Linux/NT position in Rancho Cordova through TekSystems.

The Silicon Valley startup is a stock-only deal, where I'd work from home most days coding a web-enabled database application in Perl. I've had several interviews with one of their managers and a technical interview, which seemed to go well. The big drawback to this particular opportunity is that there would not be a salary until they received funding or IPO. In other words, high risk.

Sun Microsystems is seeking a Java/Linux/Web programmer for a six-month contract. Good compensation there; but would require relocating to the South Bay. Do-able, but uncomfortable. Also, I'd have to seriously bone up on my Java. I have no idea what my prospects are for this particular gig, as the recruiter just called me this morning out of the blue.

Finally, my contact at TekSystems, Josh Gurin, indicated that his account reps are working on a possibility in Rancho Cordova that meshes quite well with my skill set. However, this is a very early stage negotiation; they're not sure that the position even exists at the moment.

So, that's how things stand.

posted at: 19:30 |

Marc Elliot Hall St. Peters, Missouri 

Page created: 21 January 2002
Page modified: 14 November 2006

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