Interviewer vs. Interviewee

Last Thursday I had my first chance to actually be on the other side of the table.  I must admit, when my boss first asked me to be a part of it, I was taken aback; I had never interviewed anyone, and since the interviewee had a PhD in Chemistry, with my Masters in Chemical Engineering I would be the most competent in asking and evaluating her answers to technical questions.

With only one day to prepare, I set off to review the resume and put together a list of questions.  I suppose in my case it was a little different as the interview was for someone with a lot of experience, but it took a considerable amount of time to put together thought-provoking questions that capture the generalities of her experiences to see how they would fit working in a Government setting.  This is also compounded by the fact I am 27 and she had almost the same amount of years in job experience alone.

I was a little nervous at the beginning, but 10-15 seconds I felt much more comfortable.  I only relied on my prepared list occasionally, being able to just ask questions based on where the flow of the conversation was going.  She was a very good interviewee, I am sure it would be more difficult when the person you are interviewing does not elaborate or explain much in their answers.

Overall though, it gave me a different perception of interviewers.  It takes more work than I realized to review a resume and develop relevant questions for the interviewee.  Compound that by getting dozens of resume per week and it can get hectic.  However, I enjoyed it and look forward to the next interview I can participate in. 🙂

UPDATE: Safe to say the interviewee was none of these.

On The Road Again

Well, I’m sitting here at Newark airport, so I figured I’d write a post. I’m on the road again, this time to Louisiana and the area I’m going to is pretty remote. It is a group of us going though, so will be fun. Kim, if you are reading this, I’ll be sure to drink a sweet tea for you! 🙂

Went to Philly yesterday for the day with my hon; we had a great time. Met up with her college friend Mayra and her bf Chris for lunch, then took in some of the historical things Philadelphia has to offer (National Constitution Center, Liberty Bell, Penn Landing, Old City, Drexxel, among others) and them finished the night eating at a Cuban restaurant.

I supplied to Jess all the pictures I took since she is better at getting pictures posted. 🙂 Once she puts them up I’ll provide the link.

Almost time to board, catch you later!

Thanksgiving

Well, I must start out by saying that Thanksgiving this year was a lot of fun 🙂  As always, the day started off by going to church in the morning for our Thanksgiving breakfast.  I spent most of the time helping to prepare the food, maintaining the kitchen while we are serving, and of course cleaning up (Fun fact: I am in charge of the kitchen committee). Lot of work, but I’m used to it, have been doing it for years now.

After church was done, went home to help clean up a bit, and then bring over the tables, chairs, and other random things to my brother and sister-in-law‘s house in Somerset to set up.  After that, came home and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, mostly playing PS3, specifically Assassin’s Creed 2.  Very weird/freaky story (difficult to explain here), but good game-play. Kind of nice to play video games again, hadn’t really done so for almost 3-4months.  It serves as a nice break from work & school. 🙂

Speaking of work, found out today we have two new engineers coming in next Monday (Yes, we are hiring :P), and that I am going to be the sponsor of one and train him.  Hopefully I do a good job of showing him the ropes and stuff.  I trained this guy, so you can ask him if I did a good job 😉

On a last point, as we enter the Christmas season, just remember to stop and take time to remember what Christmas is really about… remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ.  It is easy to get wrapped up in all the things we have to do (work, school, buying presents, keeping the family going, etc.), but all of those things at the end of the day will not fill our lives completely.  So as the craziness levels increase, just keep in perspective that we are celebrating God being born so that he could one day die for us on the cross.

First TDY Post

Well, I would be remiss if I didn’t make a blog post while on TDY (For folks not familiar with military acronyms, TDY stands for temporary duty).  I have spent the last week in beautiful Leesville, LA doing some testing for a project I work on.  I’ve spent most of the time (including all of last weekend!) at Ft. Polk, which has been pretty cool, though a bit tiring.  Can’t post any videos on here, but it was cool nonetheless.  🙂  Here is a picture of me from our last trip down to Ft. Polk.

TDY and My Career

Travel is a core part of my career (I spent approximately 25% of my time on travel).  It has its advantages:

  • Able to travel to various places in the U.S. (and potentially overseas if I happen to be on a project that requires OCONUS travel in the future) and see things I would not see otherwise.
  • Arguably the best reason why I like going on TDY is going with my IPT members.  As always, you learn more about who you work with outside the work environment, and this provides an opportunity for that.
  • Nice change of pace from the office grind, helps to put things into perspective.
  • Learn about different manufacturing processes and get a better appreciation for how things are produced.
  • Talk to Warfighters who have gone to Iraq/Afghanistan, listen to their stories, and most importantly, identify what problems they are currently facing.

Of course, it does have its disadvantages:

  • Going out to eat everyday at a fast food/restaurant for lunch & dinner is not exactly healthy.
  • It seems like TDY’s tend to come in spurts.  Multiple TDY’s really set you back on office work when you return, and result in playing catch-up.
  • Days are usually longer than the normal workday, and it is very tough to motivate myself sometimes to do homework.
  • For long TDY’s, you start to miss being home.
  • Since as Government employees we need to take the contract air carrier, this usually results in us having to take connecting flights, which as anyone who travels knows, leaves many ample opportunities for flight delays.

Overall, the positives most definitely outweigh the negatives, and I wouldn’t change anything about it.

School

Classes are going well, and are most definitely keeping me busy.  I got back my midterm for Project Management, got a 26/30 on it.  Overall he said I did a really good job, but didn’t agree with some of my conclusions.  I am not too worried about it, I am doing well in the class overall, will just have to work hard on the final project when it is assigned.

My accounting class so far is relatively easy (roughly a 98% grade in the class so far).  He currently has us looking through two annual reports, one from Tyson Foods, and the other from Smithfield.  It has been tough to focus on it while on TDY, but I am hoping to knock out a lot of the work tonight after finishing this blog post.  🙂

Work

Work is going really well, just hit my 2 year mark and received my promotion.  Now, it is a matter of just continuing to do my work, taking on additional tasks as time allows, and networking until I am ready to compete for a team lead position.  We’ll just have to see what the future holds.

Other

I bought a PlayStation 3 the other week, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.  First game I bought was Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.  Graphics were awesome, and the story was actually pretty good for an action game.  Sort of felt like I was in a movie while playing.  I also bought Modern Warfare 2 but haven’t played it yet due to not being home.  From what I heard so far, the game is well done, looking forward to playing when I get back.

Lastly (but most definitely not least :)), for my b-day Jessica got us tickets to go see the musical West Side Story.  I have loved this musical since I was a kid, and I can’t wait to see it.  We are going to see it this Saturday; I’ll be sure to review it for you guys.

I am traveling back to NJ Friday morning (6AM flight!), but at least that means I’ll be back at EWR aroud noontime and will have time to relax before choir at night.  Miss you all in NJ, see you soon!

Training…

Well, I downloaded the WordPress app on my iPhone, so I can now blog on the go!

A few weeks ago I signed up for a training at work to cover the material for the American Society of Quality Certified Quality Engineer exam. It meets every Monday 8AM-12AM for 10 weeks. Overall it has been pretty interesting, but today is god awful boring. We are going over some (in my opinion) very simple calculations at a painfully slow pace. I have a lot of work to do this week, so I am getting restless being here.

In other news, Jessica met my parents, brother, and sister-in-law last night. We had dinner at Bonefish Grill, and overall everyone had a great time, which I am glad for 🙂 I don’t have pics of us on my phone (which is something I’ll have to rectify!), so I’ll post a couple in my next post.

My birthday is coming up (Halloween), and this will only be my 2nd yr in the last five that I will have been home:

2005 – Boston
2006 – UK
2007 – Home
2008 – Nashville

Going to go out with family/friends, everyone is welcome to come if you will be around! Don’t have all the details yet, but a Karaoke club will be involved. Should be fun! I’ll post the plans once I know them.

Last point – Root for the Yankees! Game 3 today at 4:13PM!

First Post!

First off, let me just come out and say it, this is not the 1st blog I have attempted to maintain.  It seems that I keep it up for a few months, and then it dies.  I believe that if I set more realistic goals of the number and topics of posts, I will be successful this time.  Only one way to find out. 🙂

My name is Daniel Perez (Dan for short), and I live in Elizabeth, NJ.  I graduated from NJIT in 2004 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, and then went to MIT, graduating in 2007 with a M.S. CEP in Chemical Engineering.  Afterwards, I came back home and applied to various places, finally taking a job at Picatinny Arsenal as a Quality Engineer for the US Army in October 2007, and have been there since.

I also recently went back to school at Stevens Institute of Technology.  The current plan is to get my M.S. in Management, with a Technology Management Concentration, followed by an MBA.  I am going part-time, mostly through online classes, and the whole process will take approximately 6 years (3 years for each degree), so this is definitely a long term project.  To be honest, it is fun to be back in school.  I missed being in class and learning about different topics, and in this case, this will prove to be useful as one day I would like to transition into a managerial role.

I also have a girlfriend named Jessica, and we have been going out for almost 3 months.  I’ll save the story of how we met for another post. 🙂

Well, if you actually read this far (!), welcome to my blog.  If you have any suggestions, comments, criticisms, etc., please leave a comment and let me know!

And if you use twitter, you can follow me here.