How To Get a Degree - CHEAPLY

Written on 11:31 AM by Robert

If you are unemployed, you may have noticed you may need a degree you may not have right now. Associate Degrees are not what they were 20 years ago. Or you may have a Bachelor's degree and want to stand out from a pile of resumes with a Master's degree. How can you afford one?

Online MBA can range in price from $7000 to over $100,000. Call (or web surf) your city and state universities and shop around. You may be surprised how cheap the can be. Otherwise, check out and get tips and links to schools.

Personally, I'm trying to finish my Bachelor's degree (just a few classes to go!) before worrying about my next step. I would love to get an MBA as well, if that's still even considered worthwhile. Any thoughts? Edit

Where are all the jobs?

Written on 11:10 AM by Robert

Today's reports indicate that we hit a 25 year high unemployment rate of 8.1% in February. Over 651,000 jobs were lost in February alone. CNN reports that 7.3% of those people were white, 13.4% were black, 10.9% were Hispanics, and 6.9% were Asian. My point? Not sure yet. Conspiracy by the "man"? lol Hardly. But where are all the jobs, then?

CNN has an interactive map of the unemployment rates by state and by industry. If you're one of those people that think that you will be better off working in another field or industry, you're not alone. Do the research, do what you love, and do what's best for you and your family.

Click here to see that map. Good hunting! Edit

Not Right For The Job

Written on 3:21 PM by Robert

I've been working at my old company for 14 years - first as a computer technician and network administrator, then as a Programmer. You would think with that much experience I could find a job easily after being laid off.

I have to admit, I hate being a network administrator because of being on-call 24/7. I hate being a technician for the same reason. That seems to limit my choices to programming, doesn't it? Well, they originally hired me 14 years ago because I was familiar with Visual Basic (I took a college course using version 3.0). Through the years (even as a network admin) the company kept upgrading VB until .NET 2005 and I've been learning every new version I received. I was always able to create any application I was told to create. I also learned RPG on their AS400 system, connecting to that system's DB2 databases, as well as modifying an ASP-based Intranet application. The applications I worked on were always low-level jobs and never required any complicated technologies. And then the position was eliminated.

For four months I've been on several interviews and going through all the jobs available and I've come up with a conclusion. It seems that most programming jobs available are senior-level jobs. Entry-level jobs are looking for people with a myriad of programming skills. I don't know if it's been like this for over a decade or if things changed with the deepening of the recession. Also, since I only have an Associate's Degree, it also hampers whatever possibilities I may find because a 4-year degree is also a requirement.

Right now I'm trying to finish my last 3 courses I need to get my Bachelor's degree, which I'll finish next semester. I'm also learning Java from an online continuing education course. Trying to stay current is hard work, but if you persevere, you will make it.

My suggestion to programmers having a hard time finding work is to take something you're good at (.NET, Java, etc) and learn it WELL. Get certified - it definitely helps. Then use it to accomplish a specific goal (Web 2.0, etc). You are setting yourself apart from the rest of the applicants with your specified skills.

I have a long way to go myself, but at least I can share my wisdom with others who can use it. Edit

Being Mister Mom

Written on 12:49 PM by Robert

If you're married and you both work, it is understandable that the responsibilities around the house would be shared 50-50 (at least it is around here). When one of you loses your job, then then person looking for work becomes the person with more responsibilities at home than the person still working. It just seems to be common sense, doesn't it?

I lost my job on October 25, 2008. I saw it coming for months. I had desk cleaned out (for the most part) and my future plans laid out. I thought it would be relatively easy for me to find a new job - I'm in the IT field with 14 years of experience. How hard could it be? If I had any problems, I would just get a consulting job. 15 years ago, I went through a few consulting and temp agencies without even trying. Now with this economic disaster this country is facing, the game isn't the same as it used to be. I'll probably elaborate more on that in my next blog.

So now it's over 4 months later. I'm the King of my castle - and it's driving me up the wall. Here is my typical day:

I wake up around 6:30am, take a shower, wake up the kids, then make breakfast for the kids while my wife heads for work. I take the kids to school and come back home. I spend a few hours online checking out the emails, the job sites, and other tips CNN gives me to follow up on online. Before I know it, its time for lunch. I have something to eat, clean up the house a little, get some online learning done, and then it's time to pick the kids up from school. I make the kids something to eat, then continue doing some housework until my wife gets home. Two days a week I have school at night, so I drop my kids off at my mother-in-law's apartment downstairs and then head to school. On those school nights, I get home around 10pm - just enough time to catch up on my favorite TV shows and get to bed, to do it over again the next day. On nights I don't have class, I'm doing homework until its time for the kids to get to bed.

I look forward to those days when I have dentist appointments, a job fair, an employment workshop, an interview -- anything that will make my day a little different than the last. I know all of my kids' teachers, the parent coordinator in school, the crossing guards (lol), some parents. I also know in great detail which cabinet doors are creaking, what home projects need to be done, and how to separate the colors from the whites. I'm not saying I don't like taking care of the kids or the house, but I miss working!

I know I'm not alone out there. There are tons of Mr. Moms out there right now. CNN told me so. lol Let me know if you know what I'm talking about! Give me an example of your typical day at home! Edit

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