Recently, in the Work category…

I just made the official announcement over at Smart Goat, but I also wanted to get into some of the whys and wherefores of the whole thing.

Continue reading “Start All Over Again”…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I enjoy a good bandwagon. So it shouldn’t surprise you in the least that I would be intrigued by Ruby on Rails. Stories of increased productivity, happier programming, and elves that write your code for you while you sleep made me think this might be what I’m looking for.

What? That’s what it said on Wikipedia, so it must be true.

Anyway, I started reading up on it, going through some tutorials, and I really liked what I saw. I love the way that data is just there. Need all of a user’s lists? user.lists has them. Need all the items on a list? list.items has ya covered. Create a table, create a model based on the table, then associate that model with other models, and you get an amazing collection of useful ways to access your data.

I decided to use it to build Gift Goat so I could put RoR through its paces. Tutorials are fun, but to find out if you have the right tool you have to use it on your own project in your own way. I wanted to see if it was something I could use on a regular basis for building the many different web site ideas Angela & I have.

So far, I really like it. Other work has kept me from spending as much time on it as I’d like (I’d hoped for a July 1 launch. That’s looking less and less likely.), but what time I have had has been really productive. It’s amazing how much you can do with just a few lines of code.

As I get more of Gift Goat done I’ll post more about what it’s like working with RoR and what I think its strengths and weaknesses are.

As promised, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. The story has been rattling around in my head for a while now. I’ve visualized most of the major scenes, but the subplots are still a mystery even to me. It’s something of an action/thriller novel — I’ll give more details when I start writing it. In fact, I’ll probably post excerpts here from time to time.

I’ve finished a few small web sites recently. I’m doing on-going maintenance for one, another in development, and another that will probably be starting soon. I’m really hoping to have my plate pretty well clean going into November, because I have my own project I want to start. I’d really like to be working on my project during the day and my novel at night. And watching television. Sweet, sweet television.

Oh, and if you haven’t noticed the Red Cross link in the corner, please do. I’ll most likely leave it there for the rest of the year. If you can give, I highly recommend it.

Boxes and Arrows has an article on planning your future. Seems like a useful exercise, particularly for those of us trying to make a living working for ourselves.

The last month and a half has been busy. It’s a good thing we don’t have real jobs. Since the layoffs were announced, almost all development work has stopped. A couple of people have been working on a new, web-based version of our software. One person has been continuing to work on our current applications. Those of us who were laid off have spent our time looking for jobs.

It’s a strange atmosphere. Those fired are just putting in their time until it’s over. Nobody pretends to care anymore. There’s not a sense of hostility between The Haves and Have Nots, but there is tension. It seems likes The Haves feel a little guilty, and a little worried about their own jobs. Rumors of unpaid bills do not help that any. For the Have Nots, there is some resentment, but a lot of relief, and even a little sympathy for the Haves. I, for one, do not envy the job they have ahead of them, trying to keep this company from folding completely.

Besides applying for jobs, Angela and I have been busy with Smart Goat work. We’ve done a lot with Clemency’s site, and we think we are close to finishing another client’s site. We are also close to signing a couple of other customers. And, we joined the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, where there are a lot of potential clients. Our days are not all Slashdot and solitaire, like one might expect.

All the job searching has paid off for Angela. Just last week, she accepted a position with a building materials manufacturing company. She will be doing web development and Java development for handheld devices. She is excited, and the projects they have for her sound very interesting.

My own job search has led me to the opportunity of a lifetime. I have about decided to accept a full-time position with an up-and-coming web design company. :-) Not because I’m giving up, or because I’m not finding anything. It’s because Angela and I both believe this could be our chance to jump start our business. If our business is going to grow, someone needs to be working on it aggressively. We’ve talked about this a lot in the past week — she doesn’t mind being the main income provider, and I don’t mind staying home and working on the business. It’s a little risky, but that is exactly what we need: With big risks come big rewards. I can always jump back into the corporate world if necessary, but I’m determined to make this work.

My last day is two weeks from Monday. My first day is two weeks from Tuesday. Guess which one I’m looking forward to more.

Some mornings, Angela & I would pull into work and there wouldn’t be many cars in the parking lot. I’d turn to her and say, “Hey, maybe they fired everybody!”

“Yeah,” she’d say, “let’s just assume we’re fired too and go home.”

And we’d just laugh and laugh. Because, at the time, it seemed pretty funny. Well…

Thursday afternoon, the company we work for gave us notice that, come November, we would no longer have jobs. In fact, 75% of the employees will be gone by the end of the year.

It’s not like this is completely unexpected. Things have been going downhill for about a year. They bet the farm on a single client, who ended up costing us more in development than we received from them in revenue. Those who make decisions had made a bad one, and they had absolutely no idea how to recover from it. They’ve been laying off people pretty steadily, and now they’re completely eliminating some of the services they provide. I don’t expect there to be anything left of the company in another year. I’m not sure who’s better off — those who got to keep their jobs, or those that didn’t.

I am sure that we will be fine, though. The job market is slim, but we have two months to look while we’re still getting a paycheck. We’ve got a home business, that I believe could take off if we concentrated on it more. And, we’ve got money in the bank, should it take a while to find new incomes. In other words, we have lots of options, and lots of decisions to make.

Whatever happens, it’s important to focus on what matter most: we won’t have to work at that cesspool any longer. :-)

Note: The following is humor. I hope. I haven’t written much humor lately, so it seemed like a good idea to identify it as such, so I don’t make anyone angry.

Continue reading “Analysis of a Workplace E-Mail”…