Thursday, April 19, 2007

coder's high

So anyway, I got the job from the previous post. I don't know why they were making a big deal about how late I could stay, since the company policy here is to go home at 5:30 (!!). That's the earliest I've gotten out in a long time.

At first I thought of myself as mysteriously good at interviewing, because through the contracting company I've had many an interview. So far I've passed even the ones that I thought for sure I had made a fool of myself at. But now I'm starting to realize that the main reason I'm probably getting through all of them is because I'm *cheap!*. I mean. That sounded bad. I mean I get paid near-minimum wage. Think... full time McDonalds worker. It was kind of sad because when I filled out the tax form for the US I had to translate my salary into DOLLARS which made my meager salary look even cheaper. Cry!
... Ok, my boss gave me the raise, almost the amount I asked for, so I was pretty happy. So now I'm paid the same as a slightly better paid fast-food worker. Possibly In'n'Out burger.

But this new job is BORING. I heard in the interview I'd be coding PL/SQL, which I haven't done so much of. "sweet, I'm gonna learn new stuff!" I thought to myself. In the interview, my manager said "this will require you to use PL/SQL and stay late."

Here I was thinking my work would involve cola-inspired late night coding sessions, for which I had been getting a little nostalgic.

The first day of the job, however, the reality was pretty different.
manager: "Here's an excel file. Copy all of these columns and make one big select statement."
(there are 200 + of these files, some of them over 400 rows long.)
me: "Erm, so is that all? Copying and pasting,pretty much?"
manager: "It's a lot of work! You have until the middle of May, good luck!"
Me: ....I have been a-fooled!

After one day of painstakingly copy+pasting, my wrist was really starting to hurt and my mood was getting foul. I grumbled to myself "there's GOT to be an easier way to do this!!"

Then, in a moment of glory, I realized you can write programs with visual basic in excel. I hunted around the internet and found a sample excel output-to-text program, tweaked it around a bit, and had a macro that did my work for me. ...I'm feeling a little guilty because I will now have all my work done in the span of two days, rather than the month I was given.

This weeks lesson: If it's boring and repetitive, there's probably a way to do it with a computer program, and there are tons of examples on the internet.

Hooray, internet! ^^

In other news, fashion in Japan is very uniform. when you see a million other girls wearing trench coats, and you have a trench coat in your closet, it's very hard not to wear it. But I don't tie it up with a ribbon like everyone else because I am a daring non-conformist. ^_~

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Is it sexism?

There's a subtle, invisible line you're not supposed to cross in interviews about your potential employee's personal life, at least in american interviews, that is definitely stepped over here.
At almost every interview I've been at so far in Japan, the same questions in the same order...they go down the resume and ask questions about all the information on it. So normally they start off with
"tell us about your programming experience.."
it then gets a little more personal, with questions like
"So, how good is your japanese? " which is fine, I now have at least some certification, even though I usually have to explain what it means.

Next is slightly more personal, but still work related.
"how long will your commute be? Is that going to be alright for you?" Well, you know, hour long train rides suck, but minute for mintute it's probably better than being stuck in traffic.

...and then there is a little check box on these resume forms here that says if you're married or not, which generally leads to the question:
"I see you're married. Is there a particular time you need to be home at?"

I never know how to answer that.
Yesterday I tried the tact of saying:
"Um, I don't have a curfew, if that's what you're asking..."
The interview guy exchanged glances with my company's contract coordinator, who was also in the interviewing room, and together they sort of hummed and hawed.

I felt myself starting to brew with a slightly unwarrented anger.
"WHAT? go on and SAY it! You mean, 'Don't you need to GO HOME and COOK YOUR HUSBAND DINNER?' because you're a WOMAN?!"
the little feminist in the back of my head was standing on her soapbox with a megaphone, causing the drunken crowd in my mind to yell"MrRRRYYYEAHYOU TELLEM!!"

As I tried my best not to burn smoking holes into the interviewer's shirt with my glaring eyes of vengeance, the contract coordinator stepped in with a quick "well her husband works at a bank on a shift schedule, he often has the late shift".
This caused the interviewer to look a bit relieved, so it looked like the day had been saved.

Still, did he really need to say that? Did he really just say "she's not a bad wife for being willing to work late, her husband has the late shift so it's ok if she doesn't make him dinner?"
I hate to sound mean, but he's a big boy who can use a frying pan all by himself now!

Maybe I'm overanalyzing this.