Employment application advice

Karl Denninger points out how it is possible to take advantage of the legal maze that surrounds the modern corporate employment:

So here’s the deal folks: While I can’t ask you about your health status nor if you have dependents, nothing prohibits you from putting that information on your resume if it is to your advantage – and it is, if you are in excellent health and have no dependents.

Will this matter?

In this economy you better believe it. This has been true forever, but it has become even more true with the passage of Obama’s “Health Care” law. So if you’re unemployed and have these cost-impacting facts in your favor, make damn sure you list them.

An employer cannot ask about this, nor can you realistically discuss this in an interview, but absolutely nothing prohibits you from listing this as a “personal attribute” on your resume. If nothing else, in a tie-breaking circumstance it will get you the interview you need to have a shot at the job.

Never forget that no matter what bizarre obstacles are placed in your way by the bureaucrats of the world, you can usually figure out a way of bypassing them. But this usually requires first taking the time to understand the nature of the obstacle and what it was originally designed to prevent.

On a related note, CS, who is in the military and has an engineering degree, wishes to poll the hivemind.

I decided that the prudent course of action would be to learn some marketable skill and start working on independent income sources before separating from the military (which I can’t do as yet because of contractual obligations). My ambition is to be self employed and make a good income that depends on the quality of product I create (versus, for instance, the current situation: a salary that depends upon the number of hours I physically exist in a particular space per week).

The trouble is that I need a skill I considered writing, which I enjoy, but there doesn’t seem to be good money in it. Investment sounds attractive, but far too risky. These are things that I would like to do in addition to a primary occupation. Upon reflection, I remembered that I had a ball in my high school and college “intro to computer programming” classes years ago. I realized that expertise in programming could have many advantages:

1) It results in products of genuine value.
2) In our inreasingly computerized world, good programs and programmers should remain in demand.
3) The product is information, possibly meaning greater versatility in creation, marketting, and distribution above physical products. In theory, this could allow the smart programmer to have a very high degree of control over his own time and effort.
4) If it’s at all like my high school and college experiences, it’s challenging and rewarding.
5) One knowledgeable about computers is at a distinct advantage in the modern world.

6) I’m guessing it ingraines a habit of thinking things through thoroughly and logically. Whch brings me to my request. I would very much appreciate answers to these questions:

1) Is it worth it to try? (please note that I don’t want to be a dabbler; if this i to be a source of income, then I want to be an expert)
2) What practical advice can you offer on gaining expertise as quickly as possible? For instance, what books and programs should I have? What type of computer do I need? Should I take a college course? Are there any people or organizations I ought to contact? Remember that I am at present almost completely ignorant about computers, so I have to start at the most basic level.
3) What are the best ways to make money as a programmer? I’m especially interested in those that would allow me to be self-employed.
4) What blogs, websites, publications, and other sources should I be familiar with?
5) What are the pitfalls to be avoided?

Have at them. Note that he’s smart enough to avoid wasting his time with writing and investment, although I’m not sure about assumptions 2 and 5. It seems to me that trades such as plumbing and electricity are probably a safer bet in the present circumstances, but I don’t know much about the present demand for those services.

Another RGD error

GL spots a problem on page 70:

“The unemployment rate is the third major statistic that is considered to be fundamentally unreliable, and like the previous two it is closely watched by politicians, economists, and Wall Street. Like GDP and CPI, it is an estimate, though it is theoretically a little less difficult to estimate due to the obvious fact that there are far more economic actions and goods being sold than there are people in a national economy, so the challenge of figuring out how many of those people are working is somewhat reduced. This does not mean that it is difficult, though, since the definition of employment can vary greatly from one individual to the next.”

The last sentence should read: “This does not mean that it is not difficult….” I appreciate the correction. Those inclined to a critical perspective should feel free to commence arguing how this proves that every economic prediction in the book is false, Keynes and Friedman were both correct, Ben Bernanke saved Western civilization, now is the right time to invest in equities, and the global economy has recovered.