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Identifying What Matters to You in An Employer

Over the past couple of years, I had two moments of great clarity when it comes to work and what matters to me at a job. Before I get to those though, I should give a little bit of context as to why this post matters.

There have been several think pieces written over the past decade about this very concept or ideas adjacent to it. Often times, people are stuck at jobs they hate but they don’t realize why they hate them. It could be because the job is truly bad. It could be because you have bad work habits. It could be because you have a bad boss or a company that doesn’t do the right thing. You could be stuck there even though you have a way out because you need the money. One of my favorite business bloggers, Kaytie at Optimistic Millennial, did an entire piece on this very concept.

The problem, both in my own personal experience as well as the experiences of those I’ve watched go through this, is that often times we stop too quickly when asking why we don’t like a job. Sure, we may be able to say ‘I hate this job because I don’t like the boss I have’. But when we truly despise a job, we often leave it at just that. I hate this single, vague aspect, and nothing more. While this is a great way to have hate that you can direct at something or someone, it does very little to help you make change to improve upon your situation — as well as to avoid repeating the same problems that makes you hate your job yet again.

Last year, I talked about how I left my long time employer for various reasons. The job had, as I shared in that post, felt at times like the worst job I’d ever had. What I didn’t realize — despite writing it in that very post — was that it was also, at times, the best job I ever had. I didn’t stop to think what made it that way. I was so focused on the fact that I was burnt out and bitter about the way things ended that I couldn’t recognize the fact that there were several good qualities about that job that I truly enjoyed and that mattered to me.

Mind you, I’m not talking about things like salary or benefits. Those things clearly matter. If your job’s salary and benefits don’t allow you to meet your basic needs, you’ll constantly be worried about where money is coming from. It will make you paranoid about your job stability even when you have a completely secure job. I witnessed this with several employees around me over the better part of 2018, feeling it myself at times as well. That said, that’s probably commentary on a specific type of job is treated in the USA versus how it’s treated in other countries and is better left for another post1I eagerly await the day when American companies put the same level of care to hiring, training, pay, and candidate selection for call center employees that Philippine companies do..

Let’s say that your salary and benefits are good enough that you’re not worried too much, if at all, about them. What do you need in a company at that point? That’s when the self-reflective side of each of us comes into play. You need to go beyond the thought of ‘I hate my job’ and ask yourself why that is. Not just once, but several times. Such a process may look like this:

I hate my job.

Why?

I hate my boss.

Why?

They micromanage me.

Why?

I don’t know.

Is there anything I can change in my behavior to help improve myself so they don’t need to do that?

Yes.

K. Cool. And have you discussed this behavior with your boss.

No. They don’t take feedback well.

Granted, the above mental conversation could go on much longer than I’m letting it and could discuss several more problems than what I’m listing. But I think the larger point is made. Learning what you love in a job is not just about knowing what you dislike in a current role. It’s about understanding why you dislike it AND how having a different environment around you will help you to be a more productive employee.

The second epiphany about what mattered to me was an extension of the first one in some ways. I had realized that I there were parts to that old job I loved. I had also realized that my (then) new employer wasn’t the right fit for me and that I needed out. The great moment of clarity came when I recognized that in order for things to improve and to find a company that fit what I truly wanted in a company, I needed to flip the interview process on its head.

I love interviewing. I know that sounds weird, but the interview process is fascinating to me, regardless of which side of the table I’m on. The problem was (and likely still is to a certain extent) that I’m much better at being an interviewer than being an interviewee. I’ve worked at multiple companies now where I would get pulled into interviews to help get a better read on prospective candidates that came in looking for a job — even if that candidate wouldn’t report directly to me or my department. After thinking about it for a while, I came to realize why this happens.

As I was learning to be an interviewer, I learned a technique called behavioral job interviewing2Also sometimes referred to as behavioral-based interviewing.. The basic premise to this concept is to get your interviewee answering whatever questions you have with examples of how they handled a situation in the past with their previous work or school experience3The behavioral job interview, in my opinion, is one of the few interview types that doesn’t inherently put recent college graduates or people looking to change careers at a disadvantage in the interviewing process. This is because the interviewer will, if they’re conducting the interview properly, be looking for behaviors in how situations were handled just as much as direct job experience. Although it’s a style that is not necessarily an end-all be-all for interviewing, particularly when a job requires some level of experience or a specific prior skill set to do safely, I view the behavioral job interview as a critical component of most any interviewing process.. I tried taking this tactic one step further, often times drilling down on a specific scenario or question to determine not only what behaviors the interviewee exhibited from the event we discussed, but also what they learned from that experience.

I have, for as long as I could remember, subscribed to the spray-and-pray method of job hunting. If you get in front of as many people as you can for interviews, not only are you bound to get more job offers, you’re also sure to eventually find a company that you’ll like. It was the entire premise of my 2017-2018 job search that resulted in countless form rejection emails. And considering the rotten luck I’d had with friends trying to refer me in to wherever they worked — I had never gotten a job as a result of a friend/colleague’s referral prior to my new job — I thought this was the best way to handle my job search.

I do think this method can still work. That said, in utilizing this method, what I wasn’t doing was researching the companies before I applied to them. Or, if there were concerns about the company that surfaced in my online search, I wasn’t trying to dig in and address those concerns in the interview process. Nor was I asking about the things I cared about in a job aside from benefits, salary, and schedule. Essentially, I was doing everything I encouraged those who asked me for advice NOT to do.

It wasn’t until I started treating the interview like I was the one interviewing the company that I started to notice a change in results. I cared a lot more about things that were deeper company culture factors that I had in the past. Though this turned off some interviewers, other times it led to deeper philosophical conversations about business culture and direction during the interview. Even if I didn’t get the job at a specific place I interviewed, I had a better idea whether or not the job was going to be a good fit for me — and not just from a salary standpoint — coming out of the interview process.

If nothing else, this experience showed me why it matters to understand what I’m really looking for in a job. There’s no guarantee I’ll be 100% happy with everything in my new job. After all, there’s always something that gets on your nerves, even in jobs you like. That said, I feel informed and comfortable for the first time going into a job. I don’t think I would have been able to do that without learning what mattered to me in my work.

10 Pokemon Go Community Day Ideas Based on Shinies

Nearly three years on from its launch, Pokemon Go is still doing quite well for itself. Sure, there are some flaws in the game — like the fact that we never got the footprint tracker from the game’s launch back — but all in all, it’s a pretty interesting game for one that’s closing in on preschool age. One of the big reasons for Pokemon Go’s success is its constant barrage of in-game events. Though some of the events are hit or miss, one of the game’s earliest creations, Community Day, is still going strong.

For those unfamiliar, on Community Day players will have a three-hour window4There have been a couple of exceptions to this rule, most notably Eevee’s Community Day, which lasted 48 hours. where a pre-selected Pokemon will spawn with significantly greater frequency than normal. The Pokemon for Community Day is typically either the base form of one of the various starter Pokemon from the games5Squirtle, Chikorita, Torchic, etc. or a Pokemon that’s known to be overpowered6Metagross, Salamance, Dragonite. or has a special gimmick in the main games7Amphraros, Pikachu.. The end stage evolution of the Community Day Pokemon also gets a special move bestowed upon them that they can’t learn any other time.

The other common thread with Community Day is that it typically coincides with the launch of the shiny forms of that Pokemon’s evolutionary line. Shiny Pokemon do appear at an increased rate, though it is still somewhat low, leading to variable luck between trainers. With the most recent Community Day, Bagon, just wrapping up this past Saturday, I thought it’d be a good time to throw out my ideas for some potential future Community Day Pokemon.

For this list, I’ll be basing all of my entries off of the shiny Pokemon I’d be most excited to see as part of a Community Day. This means that any Pokemon whose shiny has already been released — including my personal favorite, Shellder — are excluded from this list. Furthermore, I’ve chosen to exclude starter Pokemon from this list, as they’re all but guaranteed to eventually get their own Community Days. Additionally, I’ve limited this list to Pokemon from Generations I-IV, as those are the only generations released at the time of writing. All images courtesy pokemondb.net.

10. Voltorb

Voltorb
I genuinely considered cutting this list to nine before remembering that Voltorb’s shiny existed. While it has the same basic color swap as another entry later on this list, the flip from red to blue is simple enough to look good on both Voltorb and its evolution, Electrode. As for its Community Day move, this would be the perfect time to introduce a 1-bar charge move for Explosion, as that’s pretty much Electrode’s entire gimmick.

9. Croagunk

Croagunk
I’m really picky about how I feel about shiny Pokemon with loud coloration. I either love them (see: Shellder, Scizor, Espeon, Murkrow) or hate them (see: Alazakam, Heracross, Masquerain). That said, I quite like Toxicroak’s best attempt at recreating the 1990s Charlotte Hornets jerseys. Croagunk itself is noticeable enough that shinies won’t be hard to spot, so that helps it in my book too. For its special move, I’d give Toxicroak Focus Blast, but only because it already gets most of the good moves it can learn anyway in Pokemon Go.

8. Shuckle

Shuckle
Welcome to the No Fuckle Zone. There would be some people in my local community hyped as hell for this Community Day, in part because of the beautiful artwork that is this shiny. Like a couple of other entries on this list, Shuckle has some other things working against it, thereby keeping it low on this list. It’s the only Pokemon on this list without an evolution, meaning it’ll have to learn the move on Community Day via catch. Beyond that, Shuckle’s offense is putrid, so regardless of what move we give it, it’ll still deal minimal damage. So let’s just give it Rock Slide to mess with people.

7. Weedle

Weedle
I love Beedrill’s shiny. It’s one of my favorites in the entire game. That said, Weedle gets a low spot on this list because it suffers from the same problem that one of my least favorite Community Days — Bulbasaur — had. The regular and shiny sprites look super similar. Granted, this was common in Gen I, but it does hold Weedle down. Beedrill would ideally be the Pokemon to introduce the move Fell Stinger, which boost attack each time it’s used. Think a Bug version of Power Up Punch, at least for purposes of Pokemon Go.

6. Bidoof

Bidoof
Shiny Bidoof is a meme. You cannot evolve a shiny Bidoof obtained on Community Day. It will know Superpower and it will wreck you all. Praise be.

5. Electrike

Electrike
Pokemon whose evolutionary line have wildly different shinies can be a little jarring. Hell, just look at the Shellder line if you want an extreme example of this. That said, while the Electrike line has two very different shiny color schemes depending on where in the chain you are, it works. I like the blue Electrike and the gold/gray Manectric equally well, meaning this would be one of the few Pokemon I’d keep a shiny evolutionary family for. Manectric would ideally be the introduction of Shock Wave to the game, giving it a reasonable reward for not being Luxray.

4. Tangela

Tangela
Green spaghetti. We all support this, right? Cool. Give Tangrowth Power Whip and we’ll call it a day.

3. Seedot

Seedot
Have you seen the shiny Seedot line? They’re all amazing. All of them. Seedot’s silver and orange color scheme in particular is one of the more unique shiny sprites in the game, which is a shame, as it’s wasted on a line that’s not particularly good in Pokemon Go. In an ideal world, Shiftry ends up with Grass Knot as its charge move on Community Day, but if I’m realistic, it’ll end up with Leaf Tornado, which might be the single biggest dumpster fire of a move in Go right now.

2. Riolu

Riolu
Let me tell you how much I’d love to see a Community Day for a Pokemon that typically only hatches from an egg. Whether its Riolu, any of the baby Pokemon, or the Alolan types that only come from eggs, it’d be a great way to increase Community Day interest. Riolu is recognizable because of its evolution’s presence outside of the Pokemon main series, not to mention that Lucario has a bevy of moves we could give it. That said, my main reason for picking it over other egg-based Pokemon is because of that yellow and gunmetal shiny. I know it’s not everyone’s taste, but it works in this case.

1. Hoothoot

Hoothoot
If memory serves, the first shiny Pokemon we saw in the anime was Ash’s Noctowl. How Hoothoot hasn’t gotten a Community Day yet solely based off this fact alone is stunning. But here’s the thing — Noctowl is an awesome shiny. The gold and rust coloring is a huge improvement over Noctowl’s normal brown coloration and is (at least in my opinion) one of the best looking shiny Pokemon of all generations. Giving Noctowl Air Slash as a quick move for Community Day would be a nice touch, as it’s one of Ash’s Noctowl’s signature moves.

2019 Writing Goals – Q1 Review

Happy April! For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who like oppressive heat, constant sunshine, and other generally depressing things, it’s about to be your favorite time of the year. That said, while I’m quite fond of early spring months, the fact that they give way to summer always makes me sad. What better time to talk about uplifting things like whether or not I’ve kept my new year goals for writing?

People say I have weird priorities. I just think I’d rather not be constantly sweating.

If you want to go back and read the original goal post, you can find it here. That said, I’ve also put something of a summary of the goals in with my progress on each of them below. This is mostly for those who are lazy and don’t want to click back to the post, but it’s also for me and ease of copying when I write posts later in the year. Because deep down, I was the lazy one all along.

Goal 1: Blog Growth?

Part of the reason I’m adding a bit of summary to the goals section is specifically because of this incredibly vague goal title I created at the beginning of the year. I ended up settling on averaging one visit an hour — 24 visits per day — over the course of the year. My hope was to get to a point where I’m regularly seeing traffic on my blog regardless of the time of the day. So how’s that going?

I mean…pretty well. Though January ended with me being a bit behind pace on this goal, both February and March made up for it in spades. If this continues, there’s a decent chance I could end 2019 with no months from previous years in my top 10 traffic months. That’d be pretty neat for my growth. I’m hoping that the direction change I mentioned a few weeks ago continues this trend, but it’s far too early to get any sort of gauge as to how well it’s going so far.

I did make a bit of a change to the table formatting I’m doing here versus previous goal posts. It’s mostly because I accidentally deleted the massive spreadsheet I used in 2018 when cleaning up my Google Drive. But considering how traffic has been consistently going up over the past year, I feel like this format works just as well.

Goal 2: Finish a Second Draft of the WIP by July

I have to admit. When I wrote this goal, I figured this was arguably the most ambitious of the goals I’d set for myself. Progress on the WIP was not going well to say the least. Even though I had made some progress early this year, I was figuring that my first draft would be done sometime in June if I was lucky, meaning the second draft would happen sometime in the fall. That said, I ended up getting the first draft done in mid-February, thanks in part to my old job giving me literally nothing to do during my last three days at work — meaning I went home without stress and just wrote at night. I’ve gone through two rounds of my own edits so far (one for grammar and one for continuity) and I have two beta readers going through now to give me feedback. One of them is giving me genuinely the best editing feedback I’ve ever received, while the other is an author whose work I aspire for my own work to be as good as, so I feel like I’m in great hands. There’s a decent chance I’ll hit this goal, though there’s still a ton of work to be done before that point.

Goal 3: Take on Four New Freelance Projects This Year

Of all of the goals I put on this list, this goal is definitely the one going the least well. That’s not to say there isn’t progress being made, as I do have a couple projects in the pipeline for later in the year. That said, there’s not a solid timeframe on either of them at this point, so I’d still like to pick up a couple of more before then — just in case they go into 2020. Granted, Q1 of this year was busy for several reasons, including my new job. That doesn’t mean I hadn’t wished I’d made more progress on this goal though.

How did you do on your 2018 goals? If you’re a blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, or other creator, I’d love to hear how you did, as well as your 2019 goals. Sound off in the comments.


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My Pokemon Gym: Psychic

I came to a startling realization the other day. For the first time in well over a year (if not more), I had no drafts in my blog’s Drafts folder. Everything I had started as a draft was finally complete, had been merged into something else, or is something that I ended up scrapping for parts for my work in progress. Well shit. Now what do I do? Since I’ve done two different My Pokemon Gym posts (Fighting, Ice) to this point, I feel like it’s about time to revisit this concept. This is in no way because I was desperately hoping Fire Emblem: Three Houses would be out by now so that I could review it. I have no idea what you’re talking about.

In preparing for this post, I decided to pick a type that wasn’t one I feel super strongly about one way or another. Instead, I picked my type thanks to the single best written character in the first season of the Pokemon anime, Sabrina. She was a difficult gym leader to fight in the Gen I games8Mostly because of how broken the Psychic typing was in those games., though she could be managed if you had something that could outspeed her. While Psychic typing has fallen off in later games, it’s still one of the better typings in the game, not to mention one I struggled to make a team for without repeating Pokemon I’d used on other teams.

As I’ve done on previous Pokemon team/gym style posts, I’ll be sharing the six Pokemon on my team, along with their held items and moves. I’ll also be giving a little additional background into why I’ve chosen each of these Pokemon. I won’t be using legendary Pokemon on my team, as has been the case in previous posts. My main goal in this post was to not reuse Pokemon from the other teams I’ve done, which means no Jynx and no Gallade9To give you an idea of how little I use the Fighting type in games, I had this post completely finished with this rule in mind, only to go back and notice I had used Gallade in my Fighting type gym post.. That said, I also tried to mirror this team to how I play Psychic types in games. While I love elemental coverage on Fighting types and love troll-y, trapping, instant killing Ice types, you’ll see my Psychic strategy below.

Meowstic

The first of three pure Psychic types to grace this team features a struggle that all Psychic types face — how do you hit Dark types? Female Meowstic struggles with this in particular, as it doesn’t gain access to Miracle Eye like its male counterpart. That said, Meowstic is the scout of my team, as the rest of my team is intent of taking out the ever dangerous Dark type, along with Psychic’s other weaknesses in Bug and Ghost. Meowstic is a lead to see what I have to deal with.

Ability: Infiltrator
Item: Choice Scarf
Moves: Fake Out, Signal Beam, Shadow Ball, Psychic

Hypno

I lacked friends as a kid10Read: I lacked friends who had Pokemon and a Link Cable., meaning I was locked out of the possibility of getting Alakazam, Golem, Machamp, and Gengar. As a result, my Psychic type of choice in the original generation of games was nearly always Hypno. Its tanky nature made it superior to Kadabra’s frailness, plus it has a shockingly good Attack stat for a Psychic type. Barrier does a bit to help its lackluster Defense stat, but the goal is to help Hypno live as long as possible by any means necessary in an attempt to stall out an opposing Special Attack ace.

Ability: Inner Focus
Item: Muscle Band
Moves: Barrier, Drain Punch, Zen Headbutt, Fire Punch

Mega Gardevoir

I originally had Gallade here as my dedicated Dark type killer, only to realize my violation of my own rule after the fact. I really do like the Ralts line in general, so it’s not like this is a disappointment. Gardevoir relies heavily on Psychic and Fairy attacks, and I’m not going to change that here. That said, I will say I do prefer Gallade in single battles and Gardevoir in double battles. Mega Gardevoir paired with Oricorio is hilarious if used correctly.

Ability: Pixilate (Trace prior to Mega Evolving)
Item: Gardevoirite
Moves: Hyper Voice, Calm Mind, Thunder Wave, Psychic

Delphox

I didn’t have a ton of cares for the Fennekin line until I spent the better part of three weeks breeding one as a present for a friend for her birthday. Delphox is super fun to use in game, particularly because of how thoroughly it scares away Bug types. Laugh all you want, but Bug types are much better now than they used to be11This is thanks in massive part to the buff to Leech Life.. Delphox is here to trap you and slowly chip away at your health, and it will keep living thanks to heavy investment in Defense and Special Defense. Also, I made a massive oversight neglecting to have Delphox on my mega evolutions we need to see list.

Ability: Blaze
Item: Leftovers
Moves: Fire Spin, Rest, Sleep Talk, Toxic

Starmie

The hardest debate I had was for the fifth spot on the team, as I was stuck going back and forth between Starmie, Alolan Raichu, and Exeggutor. In the end, I picked Misty’s signature Pokemon because I’m a bit more attached to it than I am the other two. I can’t begin to tell you how much I wish Starmie got access to Curse, as it’s too fast to use Analytic effectively. I have a plan to deal with it, but I don’t like it.

Ability: Analytic
Item: Iron Ball
Moves: Scald, Cosmic Power, Thunderbolt, Psywave

Espeon

 

The Mountain Dew fox is back! And, like Mountain Dew, things just magically bounce around in its presence — in this case status conditions. I love how stupid this set is. I don’t care if there’s zero way for it to his a Sableye. It’s fun. And that’s the whole point of Pokemon.

Ability: Magic Bounce
Item: Psychium-Z
Moves: Morning Sun, Calm Mind, Last Resort, Stored Power

My Pokemon Gym: Equipment

I’ve spent a few posts talking about what my Pokemon gym would look like if I used different types of Pokemon as my specialty. It’s a theme I enjoy so much that I’ll be giving you yet another installment in the series tomorrow. That said, as I was writing tomorrow’s post, I came to a startling realization. I’ve written three12Well, two at that point. Three now. posts about what Pokemon I’d use in each of my single-type Pokemon gyms, yet I haven’t mentioned once what kind of equipment I’d have in my gym. It is a gym after all. And what’s a gym without the ability to get swole?

As is the case with the rest of the Pokemon gym series posts, I’ll have a six deep team, full with items, abilities, and moves. Images are from Pexels unless otherwise noted.

Door

Steve Johnson

No gym — or building for that matter — team is worth trotting out without a gatekeeper to lead off your team. And for that, I have a door. Doors keep the heat or cold in depending on the time of year. You can lock them to keep intruders out. You can prop them to ensure steady flow of customers. Doors are a fantastic way to introduce your team.

Ability: Literally being a door (prevents opponent from using priority moves if Close or Slam was used last by door)
Item: Squeaky Hinge (sound based moves have a 10% chance of flinching the opponent)
Moves: Open, Close, Clopen13A mix between closed and open., Slam

Treadmill

William Choquette

Like running but hate nature? Have you ever wanted to feel like a hamster but get vertigo at the idea of using a wheel or ball to run? Try treadmills. They’re all the fun of running without the unnecessary distraction of scenery.

Ability: Maintenance Mode (treadmill will randomly stop working for 1-15 turns when you need it the most)
Item: Pulse Monitor (item stops functioning as soon as you equip it)
Moves: Extreme Speed, Extreme Slow, Extreme Incline, Team Xtreme

Water Fountain

Artem Bali

Once you get tired from all that running, you might want to cool down with a refreshing beverage. And while some fancy gym leaders might use a vending machine, I’m all about the water fountain life. Water fountains are a bit of a mystery (which is part of their appeal). What color is the water that comes out going to be? It’s a surprise! The pressure of the water will also catch you off guard, as the water will either barely trickle out of the fountain or it’ll hit someone in the next zip code. It’s like a spontaneous blind date, only with the added risk of cholera.

Ability: Variable Height (water fountain will always be at a height that will require you to bend over awkwardly to use it)
Item: Queue (item always forces the user to wait on everyone else before attacking)
Moves: Bubble, Cloudy Water, Weak Stream, Loose Handle

Overenthusiastic Gym Patron

Anush Gorak

AHHHHHHHHH! HOOOOOOOOOOOOO! OH YEAH! DO YOU SEE THAT? DO YOU SEE IT BRO? LOOK AT THAT VEIN! IT’S SICK, BRO. THAT’S MY THIRD VEIN POPPED THIS WEEK! YOU WANT A PROTEIN SHAKE? I’VE GOT CHOCOLATE COOKIE AND CARAMEL DREAM. NO? SUIT YOURSELF, BRO. AHHHHHHHHHH! HOOOOOO! GO BUCKS!

Ability: Big Voice (sound moves are six times louder than they need to be and may cause flinching)
Item: College T-Shirt (allows user to be nostalgic about an institution they’ve never attended)
Moves: Growl, Grunt, Sick Gains, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Elliptical

Pixabay

This notoriously low impact machine has gained a reputation for only being used in classes led by overly enthusiastic college grads and people going through mid-life crises, but it’s more fun than you’d expect. Much like the treadmill is meant to replace running, the elliptical is meant to replace cartoon running. Could you imagine how good Daffy Duck would be as a personal trainer running a spin class?

Ability: Personal Trainer (Elliptical will become 1 stage faster per each opposing Elliptical in horde battles)
Item: Neverending Spiral (holding this item will cause you to feel like you’re going somewhere, even though you’re not moving)
Moves: Fire Spin, Leg Spin, Spinny Spin, Ohgodwhenwillthisend?

Barbells and Dumbbells

Victor Freitas

Hehehehehhehehe. Dumbbells.

Ability: Set Weight (barbells and dumbbells are immune to moves that impact their weight)
Item: Try Hard (equipping this item will cause the user to always look like they’re trying hard)
Moves: Clank, Clang, Clanggityclang, Rollout

Happy April Fools Day, all. Real content will be posted tomorrow.