Note: My Web pages are best viewed with style sheets enabled.
When I first wrote this page, I had an extensive recounting of my career here. When I retired, I again wrote a history of my career. Please see my Retired if you are interested. Relative to this page, pay special attention on my Retired page to November 1995 through March 1997.
At the beginning of November 1995, for the first time in a 33-year career, I became unemployed. Previously, whenever I left a job, I had another job already waiting for me, even when I was asked to leave CAI. Fortunately, I did not really believe all the optimistic statements from SAIC managers about potential new work; so my wife and I had already started changing our style of living in anticipation of not having my salary. When I went to apply for unemployment benefits, I learned about a state program called Experience Unlimited, in which unemployed professionals help each other gain the skills to find new jobs. The local unit of this program in Simi Valley calls itself the Outstanding Professionals Employment Network (OPEN). Through OPEN, I learned how to write a "killer" resume that is nevertheless honest, how to write cover and thank-you letters, and how to prepare for an interview and conduct myself during the interview. I also learned how to network, how to research potential employers, and how to pull the hidden meanings from a want-ad. Finally, I learned to watch for mistakes and abuses committed by employers during the recruitment process and what I can do about them.
In April 1996 after almost six months of unemployment, I received two offers. Lockheed-Martin offered a very generous salary and would pay the cost of relocating me to northern California. But the closer I got to saying "yes", the worse my stomach felt. I really did not want to leave the home where I had lived for 23 years. Omnikron Systems — a small, commercial firm — offered me significantly less but was local. After negotiating Omnikron's offer upwards, closer to Lockheed's offer, I joined them. Omnikron had staked out three main business areas: data warehousing (very large, archival databases), technical recruiting ("head hunting"), and independent testing of software for the financial services industry. Guess into which area I went. But after only seven months at Omnikron, they realized that they lacked the resources to make the testing area grow. At the end of November 1996, I was again without a job.
Although it was necessary again to reduce spending, I decided to buy a PC and connect to the Internet. My prior experience with OPEN (now renewed) taught me the value of both in my search for employment. While surfing the Internet, I discovered Disgruntled, a Web magazine (a "webzine") for workers feeling abused by their employers. I wrote an article for Disgruntled, and they published it (unpaid). So I wrote three more, two of which were published. Disgruntled is now defunct. Since I retained the copyrights on these articles, I republish them here along with other articles of a similar nature:
For over six years, I worked at TRW, which treated me very well. Most important, this employer made none of the mistakes nor committed any of the abuses I described in my Disgruntled articles. The company treated me very well and paid me more than I might be worth. However, as soon as I could afford the change, I retired.
Last updated 13 January 2008
David Ross home