I have 48 days to find a job

  1. Start writing an online dating column
  2. ???
  3. ???
  4. Profit

No, it does not rhyme with SMELLUS

So Smell, Smhaw, or Smogers then? I’d genuinely like to know which of these companies has a “tech support must try to upsell customers” policy so I can avoid doing business with them in the future.

To repeat what others said upthread – you’d be a great fit as an internal IT/helpdesk guy for a medium-to-large size place. Most places like that are less concerned with the details of what you know, than with your aptitude for learning to do stuff – the fact that you build your own PCs shows you’ve got the knack, the writing is a HUGE HUGE plus (IT people who can communicate in normal human language are always very popular), and as far as gaps in your technical knowledge go, that’s why you join an organization that has other more experienced people who can assist when you hit stuff you don’t know about.

Put together a resume emphasizing your people/service/communication skills + general technical aptitude + ability to adapt and learn, and you’ll be able to get a solid job.

There is an disproportionately large number of software developers that are musicians, so the artsy-fartsy end of your personality isn’t as odd as you’d think.

And given your propensity for breadth, rather than depth, you might seriously consider trying to work towards more of a system admin position. Learn Unix, scripting, perl, NFS mounting, etc. It’s still IT work, but typically the problems you have to solve are more interesting than desktop support. It’s also often an inlet into the QA or development groups if you feel so inclined at some point.

Sysadmin is more like a parallel stream to, than an entry point for development work.

True, but I’ve seen several admins move into dev, but never the other way around.

My main point was just noting that Creole Ned’s background/personality may be more compatible with admin work than he may have initially thought.

Getting hired as a unix sysadmin with negligible IT experience is a pretty tall order.

(and two of the three sysadmins where I work have gone the developer -> sysadmin route, me included :)

Agreed. It wasn’t clear to me how much relevant experience he had.

same with me. I’m looking to go back though

If you’re building your own systems at home I’d be willing to bet you could get A+ certified with little real effort. I know money is tight, but if you’re really interested you can pick up the excellent A+ Certification book by Mike Meyers from Amazon for like $40. There are two tests, but you can get vouchers from many places (including the book publisher) to bring the combined cost down to under $300. If you set aside a few bucks each week while you’re reviewing the book and taking the practice tests you should be able to save up enough by the time you’re ready to take the tests. While the certification isn’t neccessary to find a helpdesk/internal IT deparment job, it will make your resume stand out.

I also agree 100% with the folks here who have mentioned that your “artsy fartsy” side will only be a plus in nabbing a company IT support position. Having spent my entire career rising through the ranks of such positions, I can honestly tell you that IT Support guys who can communicate effectively with end users are as precious as gold these days. Finding one who can write coherent emails, communicate with end users in a friendly and non-intimidating way and just possibly, by the gods, actually write a proposal that management won’t immediately heap scorn and derision upon, is like finding a needle in a haystack. You sound like that needle, so I’d encourage you to try looking into such positions. Doing internal IT support is the complete opposite end of the spectrum from call center phone IT support.

Good luck whatever you decide. Don’t hesitate to PM me of you want specific advice about anything related to certification or looking at a career in internal IT Support.

There is great advice in this thread. Find a job you love, I won’t repeat the feedback you have already been given.

But (and I mean this in the nicest way possible) learn how to do sales. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it, it doesn’t matter if you don’t think you are good at it. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and do a good job at your current job. It’s not hard to get better once you give up the roadblocks of not wanting to do it, or not thinking you can do it. Watch those that are good at it, and learn.

Again, you don’t have to stay at the job if you don’t enjoy it. But if you do it well you will have options, which are always good.

Kael, there’s having a salesy attitude and there’s this bullshit. I know people who used to work at ATAT, in the customer service division. They helped people efficiently, were well-liked by the people they dealt with, excelled on every single metric out there… but none of that mattered because their #1 metric was how much they sold.

And keep in mind, this isn’t the line you call when you want to change your billing plan or something, this is the line you call when you can’t reach the internet or a tree downed your phone line. THOSE people are being measured on how much they’re selling, not how much they’re helping.

That is insane and soul-killing and nobody should put up with that stuff if they don’t have to.

I used to work in AT-AT customer service too. We got a lot of calls about the snowspeeder cable vulnerability, but you wouldn’t BELIEVE what the AT-ST techs had to deal with.

For me at least, you’re either comfortable doing sales or you’re not and it in my opinion often borders on the immoral. Some people just aren’t made to push people to buy shit they have no interest in or need.

Hey, fuck you.

And I mean that in the nicest way possible.

When someone calls a tech support line, they are not calling because they want to lay themselves open to being pressured into shelling out more cash for something they don’t really need. They are calling because they have a problem with the service they have already paid for, and they would like to actually get their money’s worth. If the company management thinks that is an appropriate time to try to squeeze more money from them, the company management is inexcusably wrong, and deserves to have the customer cancel the service entirely.

The tech who is responsible for assisting the customer to resolve their problem should under no circumstances be put in the position of making the experience this unpleasant.

Fair enough. Maybe I tend to be optomistic in these matters. In general I try to find the good spin on it, so my advice wasn’t about Ned keeping the job forever, or a comment on the business of upselling, but was about finding the opportunity to stretch.

If Ned is offended by my post then I apologize. It certainly wasn’t my intent.

Nah, I’m not offended at all. I totally get what you’re saying – to try to stretch myself – but I’ve had opportunities in sales before and I don’t like it and never intend to pursue it, so I see little reason to try to get better at it. If I want to stretch myself in new ways, I have plenty of other ways to do so (including that C# book that sits here, taunting me).

That’s not to say I don’t try to do well where I am working, though. I do. I like to think I have a sense of professionalism even when I’m doing something I don’t enjoy. The sales push is not quite as bad as it sounds, either, since there’s no script or anything, it’s more a case of ‘if someone is activating an HD PVR, ask then if they want an HD channel package at the same time’ and things like that. I still don’t like it and as an educated consumer I wouldn’t be offended if someone asked me. I completely understand why some would. I’ve talked to some of them!

Further background on me: I have no real programming skills. I know what Unix is, I know what scripting is, I can write HTML and CSS and have wrangled a bit with PHP and some server stuff (again, the broad, not deep thing) so as far as that goes, a company would have to be feeling extremely charitable to take me on in a role that required a solid programming background.

Thanks for the further thoughts, though. I’m updating my resume and if anyone wants to peruse it, I’ll send it via PM when it is ready.

Raife, I may write a book instead. (really!)

MarchHare, I can PM you the name of the company if you like. It’s one you mentioned but since I’m currently still there, I’d prefer not to publicly identify them.

I think it’s valuable to learn how to sell something you can believe in. But upselling in the tech support division of an ISP you hate is not where to try it.

Yeah, I thought that, too, and then I took a job in computer sales. I love computers, what could go wrong?

The answer would make a good stand-up routine.

(I understand the point being made, though.)

The company is currently hiring for my position (in a different city). This is the job description:

My resume has been provisionally updated. If anyone would like to mercilessly skewer it and tell me to consider a career as a barista, please let me know and I will forward it to you!

haha I bet they think that
“Look for opportunities to improve our business and elevate customer experiences” and “Promote and sell the features, advantages, and benefits of __ products and services to our customers” go hand in hand.
My old old employer sure did. I worked for one of the major banks in Australia in a support role and still had a sales target but it was only related to C/Cards based products ( Credit card insurance, Increased limits etc ).
We use to have discussions about how beneficial it was to offer a customer an increase if they just told us they’d been demoted or left their job to which we got “They could probably use a little extra. You’ve decreased that customer’s experience by not offering it” and on the topic of sales in general “We’ve asked our customers and they said they like it when we offer products and services and rate our scores higher if we do” never mind that people use to scream “STOP SELLING ME SHIT” if we hinted at certain products. I liked my job, I liked helping people… the sales component was always totally shit. I still talk to people that work there and the selling has extended to non-related things ( Homeloans, Savings accounts, Home insurance ).

Anyhoo, Creole Ned, if you blank out your name and other personal details you could probably upload it somewhere for us to all have a look at your resume.