Cover letters whyyyyyyyyyy

If I hate cover letters as much as I do (and oh god, I do) and I once made a living writing, how do other people feel?Particularly programmers, who may not have had any training in writing? Why are these archaic things still required to get a job? Someday I’m going to make good on my oft-promised threat and send a letter that simply says: “Hi, my name’s Jessa, and I am awesome. You should hire me. Here’s my resume and portfolio website! Sincerely, Jessa.”

Unfortunately today is not that day. I am not yet that courageous. Maybe someday when I don’t actually need the job I’m applying for. It’s good to have goals, right?

  • What did you learn yesterday?
  • What are you going to do today?
  • What do you expect to learn?

Ok! Friday I identified a couple places that I want to work and started at my computer for a little while being frustrated that I have to write cover letters. Then I read some more of Eloquent Ruby and called it a day. Motivation! I also decided that I’m just going to forgive myself for not finishing the bookstore project, merge the branch I was working on forever and come back to it in a little bit. I’m so tired and frustrated with it. I will come back! Just…maybe in a few weeks.

Today I am going to apply for three jobs: one with a company where a couple of my friends from code school work, one for a  New Media Software Developer with a news station in Raleigh and one for an ecommerce site in Canada. I’ve never been to Canada! Depending on how next year’s elections turn out, that may be a valuable contact to have in my pocket. It’s actually interesting, the Canadian company emailed me…so what’s the process for that? Do I just write him back and say I’m interested? Do I fill out an application through the site and then let him know? Hrm. The one advantage to being so new to all this is that I can successfully cry ignorance and ask for help. So maybe I’ll do that!

After I apply for the three jobs I’m going to reward myself by going to the gym, and then this afternoon I’m going to work on code. I’ve been thinking that maybe going back through my TIY projects might be helpful; hopefully in two ways: both to remind me how to do the various tasks and boosting my self-confidence because they’ll (hopefully) be easier than they were the first time. People keep telling me I need to work on my own projects, but I don’t really have any ideas for actual things. I’ve never been super imaginative.

Today I expect to learn how to apply for a job in Canada for which the first contact was made by them! It’s an exciting life I lead.

Unemployment: Day 1

Don’t worry, I’m not actually going to number these the same way I did the apprenticeship ones. I just figured that I’d mark the occasion numerically. Technically yesterday was my first day of unemployment, but I decided to take a day to be lazy. I got my hair redyed and then came home and pretty much watched Daria for the rest of the day until Kevin got home. It was great!

Also, my hair is BRIGHT PINK! It's so awesome; I'm basically Jem right now.

Also, my hair is BRIGHT PINK! It’s so awesome; I’m basically Jem right now.

Today, however, it is time to get back to work. Or, at least, it’s time to plan a path to getting back to work. Although highly organized schedules almost never actually work for me, I love making them so, and I really need to avoid spending the entire day on Minecraft and Facebook and then wondering why I’m not finding a job. So! Priorities! Programming! Searching for a job! Reading/studying/tutorials! Working out! Possibly writing a blog post about my fear that having suuuuper hyper feminine hair will hurt my changes of getting a job because of unconscious bias against women in tech! (What do you folks think?)

The last time I was unemployed, Kevin was working on his game so neither of us had anything approximating a normal schedule. This time, he has to leave the house to go to work, so I’m going to just stay on his schedule, which I think will help. I also think I’m going to stick to the format from my apprenticeship posts, asking the agile questions every day and using them as a guide.

  • What did you learn yesterday?
  • What are you going to do today?
  • What do you expect to learn?

Yesterday I learned that I still remember a LOT of the dialogue from Daria. I’m sure those of you who have met me in person will be SHOCKED to hear of my love for that sarcastic cartoon lady.

Today I’m going to get everything prepared to hunt for my next job. I’ve talked to a couple people about opportunities, I need to follow up and either get them information that they’ve asked for or get clarification on what they need. I’m going to make a list of websites, companies and organizations that either aggregate jobs or that I want to work for. Are there any job fairs coming up?

I expect to learn that I really hate job hunting. This isn’t news, but man, I really hate job hunting. Who invented cover letters, and where’s my time machine so I can go back and prevent that travesty from coming into existence?

SB Apprenticeship: Day 64

In completely unrelated news, I have finally collected all the cats from Neko Atsume! This game is silly, adorable and completely addictive.

In completely unrelated news, I have finally collected all the cats from Neko Atsume! This game is silly, adorable and completely addictive.

  • What did you learn yesterday?
  • What are you going to do today?
  • What do you expect to learn?

It’s been extremely hard to focus on work stuff knowing that as of Wednesday I won’t be here anymore. Yesterday I looked at my bookstore code for a bit and then finished editing my resume and put it and some more recent work on my portfolio site. Brandon mentioned that he thinks I would do well at a product shop where I can do a deep dive into a pre-existing code base and there will be people around who can help me get up to speed, so I think that’s where I’m going to focus my efforts.

I think today I’m going to work on some Code School/Treehouse stuff. It’s been a while, so a refresher would be nice. I’ll still have access to the Code School stuff for a little while after I leave SB, so I may as well get as much out of it as I can!

SB Apprenticeship: Day 63

  • What did you learn yesterday?
  • What are you going to do today?
  • What do you expect to learn?

Sorry for the lack of posts last Thursday and Friday, folks, I got some bad news and wasn’t feeling particularly social. Unfortunately SB has decided not to extend me a job offer, so the last day of my apprenticeship, and my last day at work, will be this coming Wednesday, Nov. 11th. Fortunately I’m leaving on great terms, so maybe in the future I can join their team for real!

I’m not sure if I’m going to keep up this blog. For the people reading, have you been keeping up solely to learn about the apprenticeship? Would reading about my job search be boring? I’ve liked having the habit of blogging, but it’s much easier when you have a deliberate thing to talk about. Anyway, let me know.

Today I’m going to keep plugging away at the bookstore. I’d really love to be able to finish it and have something nice to show off potential employers. Brandon and I paired Thursday and made some progress on the process of making a customer for Stripe, so they can save a credit card and reuse it. That’s the last big step.

SB Apprenticeship: Day 60

Words of wisdom

Words of wisdom

  • What did you learn yesterday?
  • What are you going to do today?
  • What do you expect to learn?

Yesterday I learned the value in committing often. I accidentally deleted everything I had done Monday in trying to get rid of some code I wrote while following the wrong path to creating a customer for Stripe. Soooooo, that was frustrating. I got most of it rewritten, but there was a tricky part I had needed help on, and now I can’t remember what we did.

Today I’m going to continue rewriting the code that was lost and then go back to attempting to create a customer in Stripe. Man, I’m so close to finishing this project. I can almost taste it!

I had planned on doing some more Ruby tutorial/Code School/Treehouse stuff today, but Brandon is unexpectedly in the office, so that may change. Today makes 12 weeks since I started my apprenticeship, but I’m still at least a month out from (hopefully) being hired. Brandon told me that they picked 12 weeks fairly arbitrarily and that as long as I was making progress it was fine if I didn’t finish in that time, but it’s still frustrating to be behind. Still, I can tell that I know way more than I did 12 weeks ago, this bookstore project is coming along despite my stupid git tricks, and it’s all going to wind up awesome.

SB Apprenticeship: Day 59

I added a confirmation page!

I added a confirmation page!

  • What did you learn yesterday?
  • What are you going to do today?
  • What do you expect to learn?

Yesterday I started out trying to make a customer in Stripe so I could save a credit card and use it again. I got a bug that I couldn’t figure out, so I decided to move on and make the order confirmation page, which took forever because of lots of little bugs that had to be fixed along the way. I ended the day with the same bug I had started it with, only reached through a very roundabout path. Sigh. But I got the confirmation page working! It’s tricky to test, because I have to put all the info (name, address, email, cc number, etc) in every time, and I have it set to destroy the cart once payment has gone through, so if anything breaks in that process I have to go back and redo the entire thing. So tedious.

Today I am going to hopefully finish working on creating a customer and saving a credit card. The flow for this project seems weird to me, according to the tests I should have a cart, a checkout page (where you put credit card details), a confirmation page *and* an order summary page. Oh, and it sends an email. This seems redundant to me, but maybe there’s some reason for it? I think I’ll ask Brandon his thoughts and maybe that’ll be a step I won’t have to take. I’m so close to being done!

Part of the thing that was confusing me yesterday about saving a credit card was that I have to make a customer (to associate with the cc, which makes sense), but I’m not sure if I have to make a user to go along with that. Or…now that I look at my code, I already have a user model but I don’t have a controller. Soooo maybe I’m just confused. Anyway, I expect to learn what that’s all about and hopefully get that untangled.

Also, if any of the people who read this are in Durham, be sure to vote today!

SB Apprenticeship: Day 58

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH IT WORKS!!!

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH IT WORKS!!!

  • What did you learn yesterday?
  • What are you going to do today?
  • What do you expect to learn?

So…I finally got Stripe working! That was my triumph of the week. Annie had to help me track down a bizarre little bug that was changing my total price to an integer and chopping off the cents that I am absolutely positive that I would never have figured out on my own — all it was saying was that I couldn’t have a charge of less than 50 cents, regardless of the actual total. I thought that it just wasn’t seeing the total, so I fought with that for a while, but Annie realized that if my total was more than $50 I wasn’t getting the error message. My cart had just been so full from my tests that I hadn’t noticed the bug.

I also got emails working!

I also got emails working!

Not only did I get Stripe working, but I managed to get the email to work, too! I practically went on a high-fiving tour of the office at the end of the day.

Today I have a few more things to do to satisfy the Cucumber suite.

  • After you hit ‘Place order’ on the checkout page, you’re supposed to be shown an order total to review before hitting the final ‘Confirm’ button to send the order.
  • After the final confirmation you’re supposed to be shown an order summary
  • Your credit card should be saved for future purchases
  • If you make another order you should be asked if you want to use your saved credit card

I think these will be relatively easy to implement, but with my track record, who knows. I’m pretty sure that it’ll just be a new page to show everything, but I don’t know how to get Stripe to save a credit card, so that may be a challenge.