A new chapter

Well, I suppose a new chapter in my career as an RPG programmer has begun. My contract ended at the end of January, so now I am looking for a new RPG position, which is not easy when you live near the center of the 48 contiguous states. Being the age I am, I have zero interest in moving to another part of the country that will keep me employed until I want to hang it up in a very few years. So, I have restrictions on my job search. It’s a little easier than the last time I lost a job, because I and my wife are collecting Social Security, but I do need some extra income. I would rather be a greeter at the local Walmart than relocate.

With that in view, I am looking to telecommute. And you may or may not be surprised to know that the market for telecommuting RPG programmers is rather sparse. I have found a few and have had a couple of phone interviews, but as yet it hasn’t gone any farther than that.

What is interesting is the difficulty I have in specifying my desires to the various websites that offer access to people who are hiring programmers. Some are good, others not so much. If you specify “telecommute” or “remote”, the best of them will make a good faith effort to find positions; but even they must have an algorithm that search job descriptions for the keywords specified and ignore context; the text may say “NOT remote” or “NOT a telecommute position” or “local only” or “onsite only”. The site dice.com is at least helpful, when at the very top of the listing it says “Not a telecommute position” in its search for telecommute positions.

Many others are much worse. I did a search and found a position I applied for near Lake Mary, Florida. Now, I must have eight to ten different web sites trying to find me jobs near Lake Mary. When I try to edit the alert specifications, they will not allow me to specify “Anywhere” or “telecommute” as a location or as a keyword. Some of them try to force you to use words like “developer” or “programmer” or “analyst” and will not even allow RPG as a language specification. They want you to use their canned keywords. Apparently, C++, C#, Java, and Python are the only languages being used today. That, my friends, is lousy programming. And keep in mind that this is coming from a diehard “Mainframe” style programmer when I say that, while surfing the Web, I have seen some of the lousiest, bug-filled programs ever created for public consumption. I would have been fired a long time ago if I had written comparable stuff on the platforms I have used.

So my current keyword selection is “RPG remote telecommute”. I dare not use “developer” or “programmer”; if I do, I get a multitude of non-RPG jobs. There is usually no way in the keyword specification (except at dice.com) to specify a keyword as “required”.

I tend to get irritated at some job posts that specify on-site as a requirement, especially when I come from a site where 3 (and soon 4) of the IT staff are remote workers from as far away as Wisconsin and California. That is half or more of the total IT staff. I’m sorry, folks, it simply isn’t necessary anymore. You can tell how diligent and responsive workers are to user needs by their output. You don’t have to see their faces to know whether or not they are doing a good job.

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