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Life Update

I haven’t posted in a week or so, which means this is overdue.  I just wanted to put out an update of my activities from the last couple weeks.

Adventures in Temporary Employment

Back in September I applied to work a temporary data entry position with the staffing agency Penmac, which is headquartered in Springfield.  They ignored me and took no action until early December, when I was suddenly contacted and they said they wanted to get me started immediately.  I drove out to their office in Lee’s Summit, took the same computer proficiency exam that all Drury undergrad students have to pass, and then they sent me on my way.  A day later they called me up and had a job for me:  envelope stuffing at the Delinquent Taxes Collections Department at the Jackson County municipal courthouse.  I started on a Friday what was supposed to be a week-long assignment.  We had to mail out judgments to people telling them what they owed on their taxes.  It took about an hour and a half to put together one batch of 35 of these letters because of all the different things that had to check out and line up perfectly, and errors made things take even longer.  Nevertheless, we finished up all the letters by Wednesday the following week.

I guess they were fairly satisfied with my work, because they said they wanted to keep me around until Christmas.  Although the work was mind-numbing and an untrained monkey or other even less evolved primates could have handled most of the tasks, I was grateful for the opportunity to earn a little cash and have something to occupy my time as I waited to hear back from companies offering full time work.  Everyone I met working at the courthouse was really friendly, and I appreciated the opportunity to have something to do for a while.  I got into a nice routine of getting up at quarter after 5 every day, listening to the Adam Carolla podcast, and then driving downtown around 6:45.

The Quest for Employment

I went to the Drury to Drury Kansas City Christmas Party (or whatever they called it) and had a chance to re-connect with several friends from college who were now living in Kansas City.  It was a lot of fun, and I hope Drury to Drury KC keeps things going, because the community and alumni network is what really makes Drury an excellent school.

A couple of my friends work at Cerner in KC, and they said the company was looking to hire employees for the new year because the health care industry is really expanding right now, in part due to the new health care laws and other factors influencing the need for increased utilization of medical technology.  My friends sent in my resume and put in a good word for me, and I went onto Cerner’s career website and applied.  Before too long I was contacted by a recruiter.  I interviewed last Friday (12/17), and on Monday (12/20) I was offered a job.

I think I was almost over prepared for the interview.  I knew it was going to be Behavioral Questions-based, so I practiced up responses for that with a friend, and I read a lot of information about the company, including the 2009 annual report.  Cerner’s share price is up 25% since September.  I wish I had invested back then!  I went into the interview feeling confident and calm, and I left feeling nothing.  I did as well as I could possibly do, but due to the bad economy, I had been more used to not getting hired than getting hired.  Thank goodness that Cerner’s HR and I were both able to recognize a great opportunity when it presented itself!

I’m going to be starting at Cerner in January as a Velocity Business Consultant.  I’m really excited to begin work.  The first 11 weeks are training, so that should provide me with a solid base of knowledge to be able to do a good job from the get-go.

Going Where I Can Set My Soul on Fire

Thanks to an end of January start date at Cerner, I’m 90% certain that I’m going to be able to go to the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which is taking place between January 6 and 9.  I’ve had tickets to the show since October (thanks to Glenn at MidwestGSM), but since my future has been so up in the air it wasn’t a guarantee that I would be able to attend.  I still have to buy airline tickets and make hotel reservations, which will undoubtedly be expensive at this late date.  Oh well.  I can’t wait to see all the new technologies unveiled.  I read somewhere that Windows 8 (or whatever they’re going to call it) might be revealed, as well as whatever Microsoft’s tablet operating system is going to be.

I think I’m going to use Allegiant airlines.  They fly out of Kansas City on Mondays and Fridays, so I think I’ll fly out Monday afternoon, and fly back Monday morning a week later, which will give me the Tuesday before the CES begins to explore Vegas.  I’m definitely stopping at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop of Pawn Stars fame.  I may try to drive out to Hoover Dam too.  I don’t have my whole itinerary lined up yet.

In Conclusion

It’s been an eventful couple weeks.  Let me know with your comments what I need to see and do while I’m in Las Vegas.  I’ve got a limited time frame where I won’t be at the CES, but I want to make good use of my down time while I’m out there.  I probably won’t do much gambling, but I want to play a couple hands of blackjack for sure.

Have a good one.

2 Comments

  1. Neil wrote:

    Im glad you’ve found employment man. Bout time! But at least you can now tell your children and grandchildren about the hardships of being unemployed (don’t let on that it is actually pretty nice as long as you can pay the bills) and scare them into working their whole lives, lol.

    Cerner will be great. Money will be better. Whatever job I get after my short term stint at Coker, I hope it is one that requires a few months of training. I don’t want to get into some job that just expects me to know everything that I am doing. I want to be trained by the company to do exactly what they want, and then use my additional skills and knowledge to improve. Believe it or not, most companies don’t do that… Because they will train you so much, it sounds like Cerner will be great.

    See you soon man. Have a great Christmas!

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 10:50 | Permalink
  2. Russell wrote:

    @Neil, the training is really one of the things that impressed me most about cerner when I was looking into the company. I’d heard about it from friends that work there, and they presented about it at the informational session before my interviews. I completely agree that most companies make the regrettable choice of just loosing their employees onto an unsuspecting customer base without making sure they know exactly what to do. I’ve worked at places like that, and it definitely adds to your stress level until you know enough to be able to handle random events. I love knowing what to do before I have to start doing it. I’m looking forward to hanging out with you next week while you’re home from Bermuda, or wherever you work right now.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 11:19 | Permalink

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    […] I mentioned in my previous Life Update post, I have the opportunity to go to the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The […]

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