Gordon, Guthrie W: August 2009 Archives

My career backup plansÖ


As you may or may not know, I am actively searching for a full time job. I will be graduating with a degree in plastics engineering this December. Iím sure you are all aware of the weak economy, and I am starting to see how tough the job market really is. I have spent the entire month of August applying for full time careers in engineering. I know it has only been a month, but I have applied for approximately 25 jobs at 21 different companies. I still have not even received an interview.


For this reason, I am starting to consider my options if I cannot find a job right after graduation.


Plan A: My first choice is to start my career by finding a full time career in engineering. I know it takes more than just saying that I want one. I have continually increased my efforts towards my job searching. I continually update my resume, joined CareerBuilder and Monster, send cover letters with all of my applications, follow up on my applications, and I market myself as much as possible. This includes talking to all of my professors, classmates, and all of the professional contacts I have made in my career.


Plan B: Try to get funding for full time graduate studies. For a long time this was my first choice, however things have gotten more difficult. The funding for graduate students at Umass Lowell has been reduced this past year. You used to be able to get tuition waived if you got a job as a teaching assistant or a research assistant. They call these half TAís and half RAís. To get tuition waived now, you need to get a full TA, full RA, or half TA-half RA. This obviously makes things harder for me.


Plan C: Settle for an internship. Several of my classmates are working internships with bachelorís degrees. It is experience towards your career, but there are several downsides. The pay is lower, there are usually no benefits, and you are first on the cutting board when the company isnít doing well. I would want to try and get an internship in a large company that would give me a maximum chance to get a full time position.


Plan D: Sign up for the armed forces. I am not very warm to this idea right now, since I went to college to avoid this in the first place. But the idea seems more and more logical as time goes on. When no one is hiring, Uncle Sam is. I believe if I studied hard and scored high on the ASVAB, I could get a job in research and development or engineering. This could work out well for me, since it has been one of my career interests to get into defense systems or aerospace engineering.


With school starting this week, I am hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst. If I canít accomplish Plan A, or Plan B by December, I am going to move onto Plan C. I might wait up to a year for Plan D, because I will be able to open myself up to more jobs once my apartmentís lease is up. Regardless of what happens, I will try my best to stay positive.


Enjoy your first week back at school. Good luck!

The interview process...


Over the past few weeks I have been spending some time applying for full time jobs. Since this will be my last semester at Umass Lowell, I want to try and find a place to start my career. However, it is not the best time to graduate; the job market has definitely been affected by the poor economy. I did receive a bit of hope from the effort I have recently put in.


One of the companies I have applied to asked me to take a couple of online assessment tests. What this means is that they reviewed my resume and decided that I actually qualified for the position available. I took the tests they asked me to, the first one was a management decision test, and the other was a reasoning test. The first one was not too difficult, but the second on was determining patterns between pictures. I found this to be pretty difficult. Hopefully my score will be high enough that they will ask me to come in for an interview.


I am keeping my hopes high, there is still plenty of time before I graduate to find a job. I am going to keep searching online for positions, and I will prepare my resume for the career fair in October. I am also attending a conference this fall where some potential employers will be. With some hard work and a little bit of luck I should be able to find my career.


Enjoy the last week of summer everyone!

My alarm went off this morning at 2:20 AM. I had set my alarm so early because I needed to get ready for work. I had to leave my apartment by 3:30 so that I can get some coffee and meet up with my co-worker at 3:50. From there it takes close to an hour of driving to make it to work by 5:00 in Jaffrey, NH. Why so early?


These next two weeks I will be working 4 12 hour days. Monday-Thursday: 5:00 AM -5:00 PM. Over the summer, another intern and I have been running a high speed expansion process. Since we have had such success with these products, my supervisor has decided to have us train the current operators. This includes 5 people on 1st shift, 3 people on 2nd shift and 4 people on 3rd shift. So for this reason, we will be coming in at 5 and leaving at to overlap 2nd and 3rd shift by two hours.


This morning, I went to the 24 hour dunkiní donuts near my house, only to find that it wasnít really a 24 hour dunkinsí.  So I went all the way to work, planning on getting a coffee there, to find that the local water has been contaminated with .coli. So itís my first 12 hour shift, and thereís no coffee? Thatís just cruel.


The good news is that I will get the next two Fridays off. I canít wait for my three day weekends! It will help me enjoy my last two weeks of summer!

Last month of summerÖ


We are now within 4 weeks of the start of school. This is the time I like to spend getting things in order for the next semester. Since my apartment is about 90% set up, I am setting my sights on the challenges that are going to face me in the future. First and foremost is finding a job.


I am in the process of revising my resume. This is tricky, because I will need to change the format in order to fit everything onto one page. This is also a good thing that I have some real experiences for employers to look at. I hope to have my resume ready to go by the time school starts.


 In todayís tough economy, I will need every advantage as I can get. I have seen people graduate summa cum laude last semester and not been able to find a job. I am still struggling to try and graduate with a solid 3.0 GPA. I didnít do too well freshmen and sophomore year, but if I get solid Aís in my last few classes it should be possible.


The last thing I need to do is probably the most important. I need to get organized. This is a simple sounding task that I have always acknowledged but never accomplished. I need to set up a strategy for my schedule, and my finances for my next few months to help me succeed.


I hope everyone enjoys the last few weeks of summer!

One major decision faced when going to school, is living on camps or getting an off campus apartment. In my four years at Umass Lowell I have been in both situations. There are a lot of differences, such as style of living, rules, responsibilities and expenses. Although I believe that living in an off campus apartment is cheaper, moving into an apartment is far from inexpensive.


The first expense is the first and last monthís rent and security deposit. This is typically equal to three months rent. Some places charge less for security deposit; some donít have security deposits, but most do. Another hidden charge is a credit check. A common charge is $40, non refundable, and it doesnít go towards anything if you are approved. So now you have spent over 3x your monthly bill for an empty apartment.


Furnishing the apartment is another issue. If you are lucky you can fill your apartment with hand-me-downs and donations. But if you are like me, you want everything to be brand new. My girlfriend and I bought all new appliances for our apartment, and spent a good $150. We also bought new pots and pans for around $120, which is actually a bargain. I got a new desk from Target for $100. Luckily we were had couches, a bed, and a table to bring to the new apartment.


The next expense is setting up cable and internet. All the cable and satellite companies like to boast about how much money they can save you by setting up internet, phone and cable. What they donít boast about is charging almost $200 just to set everything up! You can also expect to spend almost $200 on groceries the first time, since you will be starting off with empty cabinets and an empty refrigerator.


The way I see it, you spend a lot of money and put a lot of effort into moving in, so that you can live comfortably for the next 12 months. In my opinion, getting an off campus apartment has been one of my greatest experiences in college. Although expensive, I have learned a lot about paying bills and being responsible. It also opens the door to having unlimited freedom and lots of fun. I am very grateful that I have had the opportunity to experience life on my own, both on and off campus. I would highly recommend doing both, to really get the most out of your college experience.


Enjoy your last month of summer break!

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Gordon, Guthrie W in August 2009.

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