When the interviewee becomes the interviewer

Not too long ago I was on the other side of the table. I was nervous about my technical capabilities and embarrassed of not knowing some basic stuff. Then I got hired and now I have to judge folks sitting on that side.

I have learnt the hard way that it is extremely important to have questions that are well worded and simple to understand. The answers maybe complicated but the question has to be very well communicated else the candidate has the dual task of interpreting the question right and answer it. So I'm learning clarity of communication.

Further, there is a nagging thought...Would I have been able to answer those questions out of school or with X years of experience?. Is it hypocritical to expect a candidate to know stuff I did not know? I must admit I had shaky fundamentals coming out of school. It took implementations and practical experience for me to get a better grasp and when I revisit the concepts it clicks! So how should I gauge talent? Should I trust the University GPA and just look for logical thinking? But then some people freeze in an interview situation and all logic flees them. Finding the right filters that are fair and useful seems to be an art.

Finally there is the human conflict. Why should I be looking out for the evil corporation that only exists to maximize shareholder profit and not for the individual who may have a real need for the job?

How successful are people who passed tests and cracked interviews? How successful are people who got passed due to miserable interviews? I guess it begs a more basic question How do I define success?

It all seems so random. On one hand I feel like its worth researching these trends to be a good interviewer and interviewee. On the other hand, from a 3rd rock from the Sun perspective it seems like I should tell HR not to include me in this process and leave me alone. Strange are the conflicts of the interactive world.

Curse of the Synthetic Polymer

Its all around me. Its an integral part of every facet of my life....Clothes (buttons,zippers), Food (containers, bags), Sporting Equipment (racquet's guts, containers), Work (PCs, PCBs, Scopes, Wires), Intimacy (Contraception), Entertainment (TV, Radio, PC), Transport (Car, Bus, Aircrafts).
It's a 20th century miracle that started with Mr.Goodyear dropping vulcanized rubber on a hot stove.

Alas its indiscriminate use, of which I am as guilty as its most zealous lobbyist, is a curse we must live with. World annual consumption of plastic is hovering around 100 million tonnes. That number is obviously growing. The annual estimate of plastic bag consumption the world over is 500 billion to 1 trillion bags. And most of that is not re-cycled. It goes into landfills where it stays intact for ever and more.

The source of the polymers is of course the black gold that makes our world go round. Pundits on the radio waves predict that in 40-50 years we would have burnt our commercially viable oil resources. Global turmoil? I say hurrah!!

Maybe the earth will be able to swallow that 50-100 trillion bags and still not be too polluted.
Maybe there will still be marine life (Approx. 100,000 marine animals die annually from plastics washed into the oceans).
Maybe the globe will not have warmed enough to submerge everything.

Bottom line as with many other vicious cycles is consumption. Will I ever say enough? Tough to predict. Till then I will try to minimize.
Will it be too tacky if I showed up with my own re-cycled plastic and paper bags at the grocery store?
For now my ego wins this battle and the exploitation continues...

Michigan mama

Physically awkward (horizontally challenged for sure)
Dentally forward (and brown from lack of brushing twice a day)
Mentally backward (living in pure consumption without exposing myself to any new literature,art,music,people.....only a few hours of C-Span)

I am taking to the region's stereotype. I am fast becoming the prototypical midwest man.

Mental and dental deficiencies I will take care of starting today: Brush and use listerine, read a few pages of J.K.J's classic 3 Men in a Boat(To say nothing of the dog) before bedtime. The bariatric rescue mission will be launched in 2 weeks when I sign up for a club membership.

But there is definitely some soul searching to be done with respect to:
0. Consumption and consumerism
(a) The craving for more and better never ceases.
(b) The waste I generate travels to a dumping ground making some place on this earth toxic .
(c) Printed sheets and envelopes I use/receive constantly remind me of the trees being cut without others being planted.

1. Profit and loss
(a) The understanding that profit-oriented enterprises are the only ones that are going to make it.
(b) Unless you embrace and force growth, stagnation is inevitable.
(c) But growth comes at a price, someone else has to incur loss.
(d) It is impossible to run an enterprise that is earth-friendly, anti-exploitation and anti-pollution that still makes a profit. Even if there
were, not everyone can follow that model and be successful.

2. Money and Work
(a) The confusion regarding whether I work to earn a living or I live to work.
(b) How much is enough? Will I stop working if I reach that magic number?

3. Location
(a) Confusion regarding why I'm in the midwest of North America instead of on the Deccan plateau of India.
(b) How long do I plan to be here?

4. Discipline and time management
(a) Assessing what I want from my week.
(b) Having the discipline to achieve it.
(c) The happiness of discipline and control versus existing like a vegetable.

Arm-chair socialism, spiritualism, activism, patriotism and management? 100% Arm-chair for sure !!
What kind of atavism is at play in the Michigan mama? And what sustains him?
A strange kind of onion he is, so let the pealing begin......

There is no spoon

Oui or Non Monsiuer!!

Its been an amazing 1 week in Quebec City, Canada.

-30 Centigrade temperatures with wind chill of -40 C
European look and feel of the city
French language being spoken everywhere

1000s of lines of code reviews
Exposure to a totally new communication protocol called CAN (apparently used in cars for the last decade!)
Wondering what I want to do in life: embedded systems/telecom or datacom/marketing or sales/languages

Dining at quaint restaurants by a frozen river overlooking a fabulous castle
Friendly people staring at a brown man
Searching hard for vegetarian options in a place where meat is staple diet
Getting dirty looks from a french waiter when I asked him to remove meat from the crepe
Discovering good wet vine (Merlot)
Eating a local specialty called "poutine" (french fries in a special sauce and cheese)

More code reviews
Software development process discussions
Wondering which came first the process or the egg

First ski experience at Mount St. Anne
Learning to stay put using the snow-plow or "V" technique
Feeling the quads and hamstrings burn
Falling 12 times and taking 2 hours for a 4 km trail that people complete in 20 mins!!
More falls but more control
Getting faster and bolder
Returning to the baby slopes for "slalom-ing" lessons
Feeling every muscle complain - Ankles are very sore too

Now I'm in the airport with the flight delayed by 4 hrs
Looking back its been an excellent week in a new country. Its a beautiful place and I hope someday I am come here with V. The soreness of the body will keep this excellent experience very real for the next week.

Au Revoir

Body Count

It bleeds my heart to know that a recent study puts the Iraqi civilian casualty count since March 2003 at 100,000!!!

Apparently, previous estimates were 20,000 or 30,000 but they were not as well researched as this one.

The technical term - Collateral Damage.

This blood is on whose hands?
Bush? Bush Administration? Neo-cons? Hawks? Americans? World community? Insurgents? Saddam Hussein?

With no WMD or any real connection between Bin Laden and Iraq, is such a brutal attack justified for the sake of dissemination of freedom?

It is my personal opinion that Bush decided to attack Iraq in order to give the faceless war on terror a name and a specific location. To give purpose to a nation angered by the 09/11 attacks.
Does having a more identifiable enemy justify such widespread destruction?

What is the price of freedom? Can there ever be a universal agreement on that?

Questions, questions, more questions.........


Aeschylus wrote:

"In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

The damn line sounds so complicated, yet I am drawn to it again and again. Especially the usage of the word "awful"!

Another one bites the dust.............

Put up much resistance to creating a journal.
Have always had this feeling that LJ is much too public for my comfort level.

So I dont think I'll write much.
But this definitely makes it easier to read all you loafers' LJs.

So here goes.............