Originally Published: Thursday, 17 May 2001 Author: Kristina Pfaff-Harris
Published to: interact_articles_jobs_skills/Linux Job Skills Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Linux.com Jobs Anniversary

As part of our week long birthday celebration take a look back at the birth of the Linux.com Jobs section and how one volunteer views her work at Linux.com.

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It's been two years for Linux.com, but one year for me, and in a way, for the Linux.com Jobs section. In that time, I've seen a lot of changes, but they've come and gone, leaving Linux.com getting better and better all the time. On this, my one-year anniversary, I recall how it all started for me.

It was a dark day in DotComVille. I was working on a project that, while interesting in itself, wouldn't bring in any money for the company I was working for until the client began selling the product. Even worse, we'd had to spend money to support the project so that we could even do it in the first place. Paychecks were often late, and an air of futility hung over the company. I was going around and around in circles, adding this, changing that, converting from a Web URL-based format to XML because our client's other programming team had a Windows XML widget and had to do everything with that. In short: life was less than fulfilling.

In the search of something I could do to feel good about, I filled out the application form for a Linux.com volunteer. Admittedly, I was somewhat diffident when submitting my "resume." In addition to the programming and sysadmin. things I'd done, I listed several other jobs I'd held such as "Resume writer" and "Casino Lounge Singer." You never know, after all. Maybe one of the HR folks for Linux.com would like that kind of thing. I had the application all set to go but for one small problem: They wanted references.

What to do? Luckily, my friend Kyle Smith was working as the Project Manager for Linux.com Quality Assurance at that time. In desperation, I emailed him: "Will you please," I begged him, "be a reference for me to volunteer on LC? I have got to have something meaningful to do!" I wanted so much to be a part of something bigger than my trivial job. It wasn't about the money, it was about the feeling you get when you add to something, or create something, or help someone with a tricky problem. I really needed that feeling: it had been a long time. Kyle agreed, and even offered to let me work in his section if no one else wanted me. I started to feel better immediately.

I waited to hear. Since I do mostly low-rent Perl and HTML, and the site was mostly PHP, I didn't expect much. Then, much to my surprise, the Project Manager of the jobs section emailed me, asking if I would be willing to work in his area. It seems that the "Resume Writer" tag had paid off, and I became an official Linux.com/Jobs staff member.

We were brimming with ideas back then: the jobs section of Linux.com had initially launched with no content, no staff, and just a jobs/resume database. Rednix and I got together in IRC for several sessions, and between us, came up with "Ask the Jobs Staff," "Dream Jobs Now" and other article sections. Some L.C. trivia: originally, Rednix and I conceived "Ask the Jobs Staff" as "Ask Grandma." "Grandma" would be a crotchety older lady similar to Granny on the old TV show "The Beverly Hillbillies" and would answer the questions in her characteristic way with much down-home flavor and threats of how she would "whack ya with a wooden spoon fer thinkin' sech garbage." Rednix and I thought it was hilarious. It was the best idea ever! It would rule the world!

Everyone else hated it, though, so "Ask the Jobs Staff" was done straight. (I suppose that's what too much caffeine and not enough sleep can lead to.)

We finally settled on Ask Staff, Dream Jobs Now (job search advice), Company Profiles (interviews and profiles of Linux employers), and Job Skills, as well as the prerequisite Job announcement and Resume database, which is still in use to this day. We soon obtained more volunteers, and were able to have more articles in the various sections, re-launched with actual content, and even hit Slashdot that day. Things were off and running.

Many people ask me why I would spend time doing stuff for "nothing". I mean, "What do you get out of it?" they ask. In the last year, I've gotten a heck of a lot more than "nothing" out of volunteering for Linux.com. At the least, I have my @linux.com email address, which is just...well...nifty. More importantly, I've gotten email over the last year saying that something we wrote, or something we did got someone a job they love. I've had several people say thanks for some of the things we've done in the jobs section that have been helpful to them. I've had the opportunity to know and work with some of the best technical and editorial talents in the industry. And, in my own small way, I have given something back to the community in which I believe so strongly.

In the olden days when I first got on the Internet, it was a community of people helping people to learn, to build, to interact, and to create new and wonderful things with no expectation of immediate financial gain. I see this spirit in Linux.com, and it just gives me hope. Thanks for a great year at Linux.com, everyone: let's have many more!

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