Wednesday, September 28, 2011

FOCOL and the library basement

I started as the assistant to Fox Cities Online through the Appleton Public Library. I sit in one of the fancy basement offices in the library and manage the database of FOCOL with Microsoft Access. I get a login to the APL computers and everything. Pretty exciting, right? I get to read the newspaper, surf the internet, chill out on Facebook, check out whatever I want to find new businesses, clubs, services and, well, basically anything in the Fox Valley. I also have to find ones that went out of business and remove them from the list.

The most difficult part is the part that sounds easy - assigning categories and keywords. It is hard to put each place into one main category when some places easily fit into more than one. Also, coming up with keywords takes some thought. I've been putting in a lot of keywords for each place I add and it seems like I put in more keywords than the last guy. But, if you were looking for somewhere in the Valley that does haircuts for men, you could search for men haircuts, barbershops, salon for men, etc.

The boring part is clicking on EVERY single link to make sure it is still active. Since no one has gone through the database in awhile, I am finding a lot of dead links to remove. It takes time though.

Today was my first day. This is my new Wednesday side project. I already like it better than my actual job.

And, if you are looking for any businesses, clubs, services, etc in the Fox Valley, try searching on FOCOL to find what you are looking for.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Job searching has become my only hobby

Four years after college graduation and I’m still wondering what made me choose the major I did. At the time, a liberal art major didn’t seem like a bad idea. First of all, it was a degree. A degree should be able to help me find a solid job. Second, it got me out of school. Getting out of school is something I thought involved more free time and sleeping in, but this is not true. And lastly, I really enjoy literature and grammar. Earning a Bachelors in English was the perfect degree for my interests (however, it is not so friendly in the real world job market). Working seven days a week at less than desirable jobs is the opposite of where I expected my life to be when I finished my degree.

Not only can I not find a job that uses my degree, I can’t find anything other than foodservice or retail. At the moment I’m just looking for a nice little office job, nothing too big and flashy. I’m overqualified for certain positions, I don’t have the necessary experience (earning a degree doesn’t count as work experience), I don’t have the right skills for the position, etc. Since I only worked retail and foodservice while earning my degree, I (according to job postings) have no other job skills.

Frustrating isn’t even the word for it.