I’ve been absent from the blog circle to say the least, but there is a reason. Sorry I haven’t replied to your comments in a timely manner, I’ve been busy! I’ve been reading all my friends postings, though I haven’t commented much. Time constraints are just that. For anyone who cares to know what occupies my time recently, read on.

I’ve put in on a new job at work. I’ve very exciting at the idea of getting this new position. But it will be a challenging position. I’m having to actually study like crazy just to get ready for the interviews (if I’m lucky enough to get one). I feel like I’m back in college! Except now I’m studying on my own schedule and I actually feel like I get the concepts, which is a nice change 🙂

The job is bona fide electrical engineering (it’s a transmission system protection engineer). I really have the deck stacked against me as I have a mechanical engineering degree. But I received a lot of encouragement to apply anyway – so I did. As a result I’m spending hours a day on top of working just refreshing my electrical knowledge and learning new concepts. That makes for LONG days.

I just learned that I was one of 12 people who applied for a job. Only four will get full-on interviews. The only other person I know who applied has a master’s degree in electrical engineering. I can’t help but think that there is no way a guy with a mechanical degree is going to make the cut (in spite of the fact that my entire career has been spent working in the utility industry in one way or another). But I’m going to give it my best shot! I’ve even have video-correspondence power engineering courses I’m watching in my “free” time. I’m reading engineering textbooks and industry papers for “fun”. Hooray! 🙂

Now you know why I’m scarce. It’ll be two weeks before they do the first screening. So we’ll just have to wait until then to see what happens. …Whew… Time to hit the books!

Update 1 10/16/2007

Tasks 1 and 2 (initial study and apply) are complete and the result is the first accomplishment:

I’ve got a technical interview! Next Thursday afternoon we will see if I’ve got the chops to pull off a technical screening. The studying is coming along very well and I really feel like I’m learning a lot. So I just have to keep up on the technical studies, pull off the first interview then research the intricacies of the HR interview (more of a behavioral thing). If I can do well there I just might have a pretty good chance at nailing this thing!

But first thing’s first. Gotta get back to studying. What’s funny is if I somehow pull this off I’ve pretty much doomed myself to a year or so of extra-curricular research. This website alone may take that long to read. Ah well, it’ll definitely be worth it.

And if I don’t get it, I love the group I work in now. I can’t loose! Check back in a week and there may be some news. Later!

Update 2 10/25/2007

The next task is completed: the technical interview is over. The good news is I think 90% of it went very well. The bad news is the other 10% was me falling on my face during one of the technical questions. I totally flubbed it. But since the rest of the phone call went so well, I can’t tell how much of a negative impact that one bad spot had. Was it a deal breaker? Unfortunately I can’t say. They said I’ll know by tomorrow or Monday at the latest if I made the cut to the final interview. Keep your fingers crossed!

Update 3 10/29/2007

Sorry, everyone! I didn’t mean to leave you hanging! The short story is I made it to the final interview! The technical screening, which was done over the phone, went at least as well as it needed to! I was so relieved I crashed this weekend and just chilled for a couple days. It was a much-needed down time! But I stupidly forgot to catch you up. What can I say, sometimes I’m an idiot. Just don’t tell the hiring manager that 🙂

I learned that I made it to the final interview dark and early on Friday morning (10/26). I was so relieved I just started putting the next round of interview materials together, finished the work day, celebrated with an extra helping of the usual round of Friday-after-work beers, then went to Deely’s place to watch the BSU game (actually I don’t care one wit about football, but I like hanging out with my friends! Especially when there are copious amounts of beer and hammerschlagen present). So I probably had 0.63 more beers than I actually needed, headed home, crashed and then slept for a well-deserved 10 hours. I guess all that is to tell you why I forgot to post the news. Sorry!

But that’s all done now! I indeed made it to the final interview! It will occur in one week and next Monday (11/5) at 1:00 PM it will start. It’ll probably take 3-4 hours – they’re pretty intense. I’m grateful for the extra week. Though it means more waiting, there’s actually a large amount of material to go through to prepare for this process. But thankfully not as much as there is technical mater (not by a long shot).

R-man asked what the question I bombed was. First off, it was thrown in as pretty much a trick question. It was a question to probe depth-and-breadth knowledge. It was designed to mislead you and set you off down an erroneous trail that would lead you to the wrong answer. Basically I eventually saw the trail, thought it didn’t make sense and then said I couldn’t think of better way to approach it. I just knew I was wrong. This wasn’t too big a black mark against me because every other applicant but one got it wrong, too. The one who got it right didn’t really get many “points” for the right answer, though. He verbally headed down the misleading trail getting colder and colder, all the while flipping through textbook pages (the flipping which could be heard over the phone). He actually found the right section in the book because he then said, basically, the conclusion of the wrong trail was: an equation. He rattled the equation off. It was, of course, the correct equation, but it didn’t follow from his obviously erroneous reasoning. I don’t know if he meant to be deceptive – I doubt it, he probably was just trying to put the best face forward on a bad situation. But in the end he appeared to be trying to pull a fast one on the interviewers so the correct answer didn’t impress them. I think they (and most competent interviewers) prefer honesty. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t try to B.S. my way out of it. There’s nothing wrong with using references, of course. If I had known where to look it up I would have done so. But if you find what you need and it demonstrates you were wrong – own up to it. Now if you’re curious about the actual subject matter of the question, it dealt with power transfer across a transmission line. Basically if you’re given a known line impedance and known voltage difference between the “sending” and “receiving” end, determine the real and reactive power flow along the line. The pitfall is to think the voltage difference between the ends is due to the line current and line impedance (it’s not).

ANYWAY… Thanks for your support everyone! I’ve spent five straight weeks studying, now I’ve only got one more to go. Of course if I somehow pull this off and actually get the position I’ll have a lot more studying to do. But at least it won’t be on such a compressed schedule. I’ll keep you posted. Promise!

Pseudo-Update 4 (or 1?) 11/04/2007

This isn’t an update so much as me rambling as the time of interviewing draws ever nearer (tomorrow 1PM). I just had to go clothes shopping to get something decent to wear to the interview. Anyone who knows me is well aware that I put about as much thought into clothing as I do into football 🙂 so clothes shopping is not exactly my idea of a good time. But the experience really shed light on a recent development. I’ve lost weight. Quite a bit, in fact. And it’s all thanks to Capoeira!

I’ve been roughly the same size since I was 14. I was quite a big eighth grader at 5′ 8″ and 140 pounds. Unfortunately I stopped there. I’ve only grown sideways somewhat over the past 17 years (crap I’m getting old!). Up until I started Capoeira I was around 150 pounds. Now I’m steady at 140, but shrinking in size. I had to buy new jeans and shirts today because my old jeans (32″ waist) have been nearly falling off and my dress shirts look like they were tailored for a gorilla when I wear them. The good news is I didn’t have to buy new dress pants for the interview because I could just dig the college-era khakis out of the closet because they’re actually the right size. I’m not sure how many years it’s been since I wore the 30-30 sized 501s that I started wearing in junior high but it’s been quite a few. And now I find myself in them again after only two month of Capoeira.

So what’s the significance of this apart from pre-interview nerves talking for no good reason? I guess if you want to lose some weight – try Capoeira! It’s the most fun you’ve ever had getting in shape and hurting yourself!

(Real) Update 4 11/05/2007

It’s done!  I just got home from work and other post-work duties.  The interview went well!  I really can’t say how well.  The interviewers were careful not to drop hints.  But I enjoyed the time and thought the whole process worked quite smoothly.  Unfortunately, the hiring manager had some commitments right after the interview so the interview team could not meet and won’t be able to meet until later in the morning tomorrow.  They said I’d hear by tomorrow afternoon.  I don’t want to wait more!

But at least it’s finished.  I may not have the final answer but I can relax in the knowledge that I’ve done want I can and there is no more for me to do.  Except maybe go frag some people in Halo 3!   Thanks for everything, guys.  I’ll let you know what happens!