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LinkedIn and my Recent Adventures There, Part II

Posted by Scott Holstad on May 15, 2018

This is the second part in a two-part blog post about LinkedIn and my recent experiences there. You can find Part I here. This section I’ve worked on carefully because if read the wrong way, it could come across as bragging — which is NOT my intention! It’s just that some shocking things have been going on for me there and I wish to share my amazement and astonishment. I’m getting a kick out of this, and it’s been a little surreal, and I want to describe that here. So please don’t think I’m a narcissistic asshole now, because I’m really not. I admit I’m no one special in this post, but I’ve gotten others to buy into me, without lying about a thing, with my redesigned LI profile. Okay, here goes…

 

Part II

 

As I stated previously, I’ve been on LinkedIn probably since their beginning, or at least 13 years. LI usually tells you how long you’ve been connected to someone else, and my oldest connections are 13 or 14 years old. Over time, the number of my connections slowly increased, but they typically fell into two categories. Either they were people I had met in person somewhere, most of whom I sent requests to, most of which were accepted, or more commonly, others have sent me connection requests over the years, often headhunters, recruiters, and HR personnel, as well as others usually in my several fields who somehow happened upon my profile. I’ve usually accepted all requests, because I rarely have an objection – unless the profile has only one or two connections, which I then view as suspicious because why are they targeting me, so I reject those. And over the years, a couple of things have happened to me on LI. One, I’ve been contacted numerous times by recruiters or HR professionals about potential jobs, both contract and permanent, as well as simple inquiries and requests for interviews. This has led to both telephone and in person interviews, which have led to a number of job offers. This is good. This is something you typically want out of LI. The other thing is people often let you know they’re either in the market for a specific type of job or they’re looking for people to hire for a specific job, and the more contacts I’ve gained, the more frequently this has happened. And I’ve been able to put people in touch with companies and the reverse, and I’ve been able to help others in this way, which makes me feel good. I like to help others.

Now many of you know that some eight years ago, I developed extremely serious health problems, forcing me to prematurely “retire” and I was out of the workforce for some time, have really been out of the corporate world ever since. Yet I kept up with my profile in the hopes that one day I would improve enough to begin working again, perhaps as a consultant from home. So my connections continued to slowly increase. And I’ve padded my profile with things I’ve done since, mostly volunteer work, as well as a short-term contract gig or two, but as long as my profile seems to indicate I’ve been somehow active this whole time, that’s the important thing. It’s a strategy one has to develop and hone over time.

Two years ago, I decided to create a new IT startup after much thought, and did so with a partner. It still exists today and I remain somewhat active, but it’s been a struggle due to a variety of factors, most especially my health, as well as some technical and unforeseen financial complications. But I ended up working my ASS off for this, much more than I ever anticipated, coming to regret this decision. So what did I do? Come up with an idea for another startup last year, in a totally different field, in which I’ve worked my ass off for that one too – simultaneously – and while I’ve enjoyed myself to a degree, I’ve also had moments of regret, because my health can’t tolerate this degree of work.

However, I continue to hope that at some point in the next couple of years or so, I’ll be moderately healthy enough to do more serious IT consulting, possibly in networking, more likely in security, and I’d stop the second business and migrate the first one to a different role. With that in mind, I’ve been doing research, taking relevant classes, testing, experimenting, etc., in preparation – even for something that far in advance – while continuing to work in my two dual roles with the two small businesses. You can never be too prepared. So at the beginning of this year, I decided to seriously upgrade my LI profile, make it as appealing as I possibly could, reword some things, take a few things out, add a few things, make myself look as good as I could. Don’t lie. Never lie. But you can make things look pretty good if you know how to present them. During January, I had gotten to the point where I had slowly built up to 444 connections. That’s a nice number by many people’s standards, but I started lusting after the magic “500+” number that goes beside your name once you reach that mark, and I decided to be proactive and pursue reaching that target. And I’d do so by blindly sending out connection requests to strangers in the fields of my background and interests, but even though these would be “blind” requests, they’d actually be targeted intentionally to people with shared backgrounds and/or interests. And I’d do so in volume, making it unrealistic for me to personalize most requests, which I used to do, which some people do, but which most people do not do. You can send a connection request with a personalized message, or you can just click on the “Connect” button, which automatically sends that person a generic, automatically worded announcement that someone, in this case me, wants to connect with you. Most people are used to that and will respond favorably, but some people take offense at the impersonal, generic request and will reject it because it wasn’t personalized. However, I decided that danger was worth the risk because I’d send so many, that sheer statistics would assure me a good number of people would accept my requests and would connect with me. And so this is what I did, almost exclusively.

How did it work out? Oh.My.God. Unbelievable. I sent out quite a few, a good number each day, and within days, I had met and passed the magic 500 number. I was elated. But the connections kept building, which gave me pause to think. And two thoughts occurred to me. I thought since I’m adding connections, why do I have to stop now that I’ve reached my goal of 500? And then I thought, maybe I should aim for more higher up execs, “better quality” connections overall… I had already gotten some impressively high level execs, in the commercial sector, state and federal government, and the military. Some of my new connections were very impressive indeed. But I thought, why not conduct a little experiment? Why not target high level execs – directors, vice presidents and higher, with “C” level execs as my top goal – at a greater rate just to see how many would accept my connection requests and from what types of companies or organizations? How high could I go? And so I began to pursue this. And it turned into a living, breathing entity with a life of its own….

I started getting more and more connections at greater quantity and higher quality than I ever expected. Which inspired me to keep sending out connection requests. Which resulted in more connections. And the more high-level, high quality connections, the more these people wanted to connect with me. And I’ve continued this for nearly four months now, and it’s gone nuclear. The results have been and continue to be staggering. It’s been blowing my mind daily, and for awhile now, I’ve been largely targeting almost exclusively high level, high profile execs and officials with stunning results! And I’ve been receiving connection requests from such people in return. Yesterday, the CFO of Sprint sent me a connection request. The same day, a director from the US Department of State sent me a request. I’ve also been getting job queries. This morning, I’ve received two already, tentative offers for jobs in various fields in various locations. Of course, I’m not ready, not prepared, nor can I move for a job, nor can I work in an office environment – I have to work from home, and I need to be independent to set my own hours. Additionally, I’ve been getting requests from senior level connections to read their white papers, their test results, their scientific data and marketing materials, to analyze them, comment on them, reference them, tell others of them, etc. I’m talking Pentagon stuff!!!

As of this morning, I now had 3,313 connections. (I’ve gotten 220+ in the past day and a half!) I have connections at the highest levels at huge corporations, state governments, the federal government, international governments, think tanks, and organizations around the world. I have senior executive connections at Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Intel, Lyft, Google, Indeed, Visa, Ticketmaster, the NASDAQ, most of the security companies like Symantec, Trend Micro, Malwarebytes, Webroot, Sophos, McAfee and others, with defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, with RAND, with companies like HP, Dell, Cray, IBM, with intelligence agencies like the FBI, ATF, Secret Service, DIA, DISA, NSA, with numerous government agencies like the State Department, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, with the US Army, Navy, and Air Force, with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the US Senate, within the White House itself, with the European Parliament, with the European Commission, and within the United Nations, including the UN Security Council. And these are senior executives.

I also have non-senior executive, but still high-level connections such as IT specialists, network engineers, security specialists, managers, researchers, economists, scientists, etc., at places like Facebook, Amazon, Indeed, PayPal, Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Ford, Hertz, Nike, SAP, Motorola, Verizon, Bitdefender, AVG, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, NASA, several national laboratories, CERN, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), IRS, US Marshalls, CIA, HUD, NIST, DEA, the Pentagon, the IMF, Interpol, and many more.

It’s mind blowing.

I’ve been keeping a list of both “C” level executives and some notable people who stand out, mostly for their positions or organizations. You wouldn’t believe this list if you saw it. Of course, you can see my connections any time you want by going to my profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottholstad/. (Feel free to send me a connection request!) Of my 3,313 connections, 1,023 are senior executives (31%) and of those, 434 are “C” level executives, or 42% of my senior executive connections and 13% of my overall connections. Those are staggering numbers for an “average guy” like me! I’m going to list some of these people and positions at the end of this post just so you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s built into a monster storm of epic proportions and it’s self-propagating now. The more high level connections I get, the more high level people want to connect with me. And I’ve been invited to join some excellent professional organizations and I’ve been approved to join others, some of which have high standards to be accepted by them. One is so elite, I’m literally shocked to the core that they approved and accepted me into their organization. I’ll mention it in a minute. I’ve rejoined two professional organizations I belonged to years ago. These are IEEE: The Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers and Usenix: the Advanced Computing Systems Association. New ones that I’ve been approved to join include ACM: the Association for Computing Machinery, ISSA: the Information Systems Security Association, ISACA, another elite security organization, and most mind blowing of all, the AOC: Association of Old Crows. Just what is that, you ask? Well, here is its description: “The Association of Old Crows is an organization for individuals who have common interests in Electronic Warfare (EW), Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Operations, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA), Information Operations (IO), and other information related capabilities. The Association of Old Crows provides a means of connecting members and organizations nationally and internationally across government, defense, industry, and academia to promote the exchange of ideas and information, and provides a platform to recognize advances and contributions in these fields.” Yeah, I got in. We’re talking VERY high ranking government, research, and military officials. It’s a true honor, but surreal too.

So, my “experiment”/professional networking profile improvement has succeeded beyond my wildest imagination. And it keeps growing daily, many dozens a day. One of my new connections is the Director of Security at the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Another is the CISO of Xerox. Others from this weekend are the CIO of the US Navy, CTO of IBM, Director of IT at the US Senate, COE of Dell, CISO of Dell, a Director at DARPA, the Director of the US Army Targeting Center, the CEO of Kaspersky Lab, Global CISO of Carnival Cruise Lines, Deputy Chief Information Officer of the US Department of Homeland Security, a senior VP at Cisco, Chief of Staff at the State Department, an economist with the IMF, the Chief, Executive Support Team at the White House and the CISO, White House. And those are just some from this weekend! IT BLOWS MY MIND! And the connections continue to grow. I don’t know what to make of it, or when it will slow to a trickle and stop, or how I can benefit, if at all, from this phenomenon, but I’m just going to ride it for awhile to see how far things go, how high things go, where it will stop. There isn’t yet an ending to this story or a moral to be learned, that I know of. So, if the end of this post seems somewhat abrupt, forgive me, but I’m virtually speechless at this point. My mind is blown. I’ve been joking with my wife that surely I must now be the most powerful man in America, after Donald Trump. There are others with more connections, and others may have more connections in the commercial sector or the government or the military, but I find it unlikely that there are too many people who have so damn many senior connections in all three sectors like I now do. No, there won’t be too many people with connections in all of these sectors at these levels. So, I must be the most powerful person in America after Donald Trump, right? Well, maybe Bill Gates probably has me beat. LOL! I’m honestly not trying to brag so much as to share my astonishment. Cause this all seemed pretty unlikely at the beginning of the year. I’m certainly joking about being powerful, that’s for sure!

A closing. I started this post a few days ago, and over the weekend I decided to limit sending out very many targeted connection requests without personalized messages. This means I will probably send far fewer, because it’s more time consuming now. But I think that’s okay. I don’t actually NEED to keep adding to my network; I’ve done well enough as is. But this new strategy will likely earn me a higher connection request acceptance percentage, which was already pretty good. (Although, as I mentioned, over the past day and a half, I have over 220 new connections!) But I’ve been interacting to a degree with many of them, which is good. Maybe they’ll remember me down the road and who knows where that could lead? I guess I’ll end this abruptly, as I predicted. I think I’ll attach a list of some of the better known or more significant companies and agencies represented by my contacts, as well as a list of some of the more notable contacts, by title, not name. Again, I do not intend to brag. I’m doing this to share my astonishment, because while I’ve been fortunate enough to have some cool jobs and a decent career or careers, I’m really nobody special, and yet for some reason, these people – or at least some of them – apparently think I’m somebody special, which is the biggest irony of it all.

PS: For those of you who are among my older connections and for those among you whose position I did not list, please do not infer that I do not value you or your connection. Indeed, I do or we wouldn’t have connected. Some of my most valued connections are among my oldest. This blog post was written to describe my initial recent goal, subsequent experiment, the results of such, and sharing astonishment at some of the connections I’ve recently made that, by most people’s standards, I have no business having. So, please do not be insulted if you are an older connection or not singled out; I’m merely concentrating on the most recent ones. Thank you.

 

 

LinkedIn Connections: 3,313

 

Senior Executives:       1,023 (31%)

“C” Level Executives:  434 (13%)

Network Engineers:    147

Developer/Software Engineers:         143

HR/Recruiters:            110

Project/Program Managers:   124

Writers/Editors:          118

Engineers:       220

IT Professionals:         313

Security Professionals:           372

Federal & International Government:            234

 

 

Most Companies Represented:

 

Cisco:                                       115

Malwarebytes:                        84

C Spire:                                    75

Microsoft:                               67

TVA:                                        54

Teklinks:                                  53

Regions Bank/Financial:         45

BBVA Compass:                      40

EPB:                                         35

Dell:                                         31

BCBS:                                      30

 

 

Notables Executives’ Companies

TVA, TekLinks, Shipt, Wendys, Nationwide, BCBS, Kaiser Permanente, Visa, Regions Bank, SunTrust Bank, Bank of America, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Ticketmaster, Carnival Cruise Lines, Nieman Marcus, Scripps Networks, Authors Guild, Discogs, Morgan Stanley, PricewaterhouseCoopers, JP Morgan Chase, NASDAQ, USAA, AIG, Time Warner, AT&T, Sprint, Vonage, British Telecom, Plantronics, C Spire, Palo Alto Networks, Godaddy, Rackspace, Amazon Web Services, DC Government, State of California, ConocoPhillips, Nissan Americas, Lyft, Xidax, HP, Dell, IBM Watson, Xerox, IBM, Intel, Cisco, VMware, Oracle, Cray, ACM, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Malwarebytes, Sophos, Trend Micro, McAfee, Symantec, Webroot, RSA Security, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Mandiant, Rand Corporation, Idaho National Lab, Oak Ridge National Lab, Association of Old Crows (AOC), US Army, US Army National Military Cemeteries – Arlington National Cemetery, US Army Cyber School, US Army Targeting Center, US Air Force, US Navy, US Pacific Command – US Navy, Missile & Space Intelligence Center, Secret Service, ATF, FBI, DIA, DISA, NSA, DARPA, CERT, US Securities and Exchange Commission, US Department of Commerce, Federal Reserve System, Medicare & Medicaid, USDA, US Department of Education, US Department of Energy, US Department of the Interior, US Department of Justice, US Department of Homeland Security, US Department of Veterans Affairs, US Defense Logistics Agency, US Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, US Senate, US Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, US Department of State, White House Writers Group, White House, HAE (Hungarian Energy & Public Utility Regulatory Authority), European Parliament, Europol, United Nations, International Economic Arbitration Court, United Nations Security Council, International Criminal Court

Other Notable Companies (typically mid-to upper management or IT personnel, etc.)

Facebook, Amazon, eHarmony, eInsurance, OpenTable, Expedia, Indeed, CareerBuilder, CDW, Groupon, PayPal, Citi, Uber, Volkswagen, Ford Motor Company, Hertz, Nike, FedEx, Cigna, BMI, QVC, The Home Depot, WalMart, Target, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Walt Disney World, Mayo Clinic, GE Healthcare, Delta Airlines, SAP, Deloitte & Touche, Nokia, Motorola, T-Mobile, Verizon, EarthLink, BitDefender, AVG, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Kerberos International, Honeywell, Tennessee Attorney General, US Attorney General, NASA, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, CERN, Missile Defense Agency, European Space Agency – EC, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), NIST, HUD, IRS, US Marshalls, DEA, CIA, US Marines, Pentagon, Office of the President – White House, Securities & Exchange Organization (SEO) of Iran, European Commission, IMF, Interpol

 

 

Scott’s Most Notable LinkedIn Connections

3,313 Connections

These connections are not in order of “importance,” but in chronological order of when we established a connection, from oldest to most recent.

 

  1. Global IT Manager, Apple
  2. CISO, TVA
  3. CIO, State of Tennessee, TennCare
  4. Director, US Department of Energy
  5. Director, Office of Policy, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
  6. Chief of Staff, US Department of Energy
  7. Kevin Mitnick, “The World’s Most Famous Hacker”
  8. VP, Head of Cyber Defense, Visa
  9. VP Cyber Programs, Raytheon
  10. CIO, Secret Service
  11. Chief, DHS Joint Analysis Group D-JAG
  12. Global Sr. VP, Symantec
  13. Chief Federal CyberSecurity Architect, Dell
  14. Deputy Director for Intelligence at US Pacific Command, US Navy
  15. Sr VP & CSO, AT&T
  16. Global CISO, Vonage
  17. Deputy Director, G6, NETCOM, ARCYBER, US Army
  18. Sr Cyber Security Manager, Lockheed Martin
  19. Director of Security, Google
  20. CISO, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
  21. Sr VP, US Public Sector, Cisco
  22. Director of Malware Intelligence, Malwarebytes
  23. Director Cyber, Lockheed Martin
  24. Sr Director, Global Customer Success, Malwarebytes
  25. Head of Global Infrastructure, Microsoft Azure
  26. Sr VP, Americas Partner Sales, Cisco
  27. President, FBI-Law Enforcement Executive Development Association Executive Board of Directors
  28. President & CEO, Symantec
  29. Member of Board of Directors, former Microsoft CIO
  30. Director, Systems Engineering, Cisco
  31. VP, Corporate Development & Strategy, Malwarebytes
  32. Director, Global Security, Risk & Compliance Practice, Amazon Web Services
  33. CTO, IBM Watson & IBM Cloud
  34. CISO, US Department of the Interior
  35. Director, Global Pursuit Organization, America’s Data & AI at Microsoft US, Canada & LATAM
  36. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Military Personnel & Quality of Life, US Army
  37. VP Global Physical Security, Oracle
  38. Global Director, Justice & Public Safety Solutions, Oracle
  39. Director of Engineering, Oracle
  40. Chief Enterprise Architect, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  41. Sr Technical Advisor, NSA
  42. CEO, Cray Inc
  43. Special Assistant to the President & Associate White House Staff Secretary at Executive Office of the President
  44. Data Scientist, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  45. Lead Data Scientist, Microsoft
  46. eGov Consultant, United Nations
  47. Managing Director, White House Writers Group, Inc
  48. Information System Security Manager, Northrup Grumman
  49. World Wide Head of Print Communications, HP
  50. VP, Oracle Cloud
  51. Director, Anti-Terrorism & Emergency Management, US Army Europe
  52. Special Investigations Officer, United Nations
  53. Chief of Staff, Director North American Operations, Oracle
  54. Chief, Current Operations Division at White House Communications Agency
  55. Sr Advisor to the CTO, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  56. Foreign Service Officer, US Department of State
  57. Global Network Manager, United Nations
  58. Coordinator of ISIL, Al-Quaida & Taliban Monitoring Team, UN Security Council
  59. HP Fellow & VP
  60. President & CCO, Dell
  61. Director, Fort Worth Regional Office, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  62. Deputy Commandant, National Cryptological School, NSA
  63. Sr Data Scientist, Microsoft
  64. Economist, United Nations
  65. Deputy CIO, Idaho National Lab
  66. Assistant Director, Office of IT, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  67. Sr Ops Analyst, CIA
  68. Director, Advanced Programs & Innovation, Office of Commercial Space, Federal Aviation Commission
  69. CTO, ATF
  70. Head of Tactical Force Unit, United Nations
  71. Director of Operations, White House Communications Agency
  72. Presidential Writer, The White House
  73. Sr Research Fellow Scientist, CERN
  74. Deputy Military Advisor, United Nations
  75. GM, Chief of Staff for CEO, Microsoft
  76. Interim CTO, Microsoft
  77. Data Scientist, Apple
  78. Ambassador At Large – NGO Diplomatic Envoy, United Nations
  79. Director, Apple
  80. Program Manager, US Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security
  81. Chief, IT Project Management Office, ATF
  82. Vice President Ops, Apple
  83. Regional Director, Business Development, NASDAQ
  84. Executive VP, CSO, CIO, Malwarebytes
  85. VP Infrastructure Engineering, JPMorgan Chase & Co
  86. VP, Global MSP, Sophos
  87. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, US Department of Energy
  88. SCCM Engineering SME, NASA
  89. eCrime Threat Intel Analyst, Facebook
  90. Sr Information Consultant, European Parliament
  91. Global CISO, Societie Generale International Banking – 2018 Global CISO of the year
  92. CISO & VP, McAfee Labs Operations
  93. VP & Global CISO, Webroot, Inc
  94. Director, RSA Security
  95. Sr Accountable Official for Risk Management, US Department of Homeland Security
  96. Branch Chief, Office of Compliance Inspections & Examinations, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  97. Director Cybersecurity, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  98. Technical Director, CERT
  99. CIO, IT Acquisition Advisory Council
  100. Deputy Commandant, US Army Cyber School
  101. CISO, Nissan Americas
  102. Director of Marketing & Communications, Association of Old Crows (AOC)
  103. Executive VP, Global Defense & Cyber Strategy, AECOM
  104. Director of Global Services & Intelligence, Mandiant
  105. Director of Special Operations, Asymmetric Warfare Intelligence for Complex Operations Ltd (AWICP)
  106. CISO, Lyft
  107. Sr Director of Security, Microsoft
  108. Cybersecurity Data Chief, Federal Reserve System
  109. Vice President Security Research, Trend Micro
  110. VP & CISO, Rackspace
  111. VP Engineering, Symantec
  112. CISO, US Department of Education
  113. CISO, DC Government
  114. Director of Digital Innovation & Solutions, US Department of Homeland Security
  115. CISO, State of California
  116. CIO, USDA
  117. Director of Operations, DISA
  118. Director Systems Engineering, VMware
  119. Director Global Cyber Defense, Johnson Controls
  120. Deputy CIO, US Department of Homeland Security
  121. Global CISO, Carnival Cruise Lines
  122. CEO, Kaspersky Lab
  123. CFO, Sprint
  124. Director of US Army Targeting Center
  125. Chief, Executive Support Team, White House
  126. CISO, Xerox
  127. Director of IT, US Senate
  128. VP, Dell Consumer PC’s
  129. Chief, Cyber Strategy & Policy, USAF
  130. IBM Fellow & CTO, IBM Z at IBM
  131. Chief Data Scientist, Department of Defense
  132. CIO Plans & Programs, US Navy
  133. System Engineering Director, Cisco
  134. Director of Security, US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
  135. Chief Scientist & Technology Leader, Cisco
  136. Director Network & Security Engineering, Time Warner
  137. IBM Fellow, VP, CTO Watson, IBM Academy of Technology
  138. Deputy Director NTIS, US Department of Commerce
  139. Secretary General & President of the General Assembly @ World Organization on Economic Digital Monetary & Social Development, United Nations. Supreme Chief Justice & Minister of Foreign Affairs, The International Economic Arbitration Court
  140. Diplomat, Lagos, United Nations
  141. Deputy Assistant Director, Information Technology Branch (ITB), FBI
  142. Policy Advisor, DG CONNECT – Directorate-General Communications, Networks, Content & Technology, European Commission
  143. Future Studies Technology Development & Frequency Management Engineer, European Space Agency, European Commission
  144. Director VA Privacy Service, US Department of Veterans Affairs
  145. Technical Director, IT Operations, US Department of Defense
  146. CISO, IBM
  147. Advisor for Communication & Outreach @ European Political Strategy Centre, European Commission
  148. Deputy Assistant Attorney General & CIO, US Department of Justice
  149. Principal Deputy CIO, Department of Homeland Security
  150. Chief of Staff, US Department of State
  151. Head of Forensic Laboratory, Europol
  152. Director First Responders Group, Department of Homeland Security
  153. Director Chief Threat Communications, Trend Micro
  154. VP & CISO, Dell
  155. CISO ConocoPhillips
  156. Deputy Chief of Staff, DISA
  157. CISO HEA (Hungarian Energy & Public Utility Regulatory Authority) – NATO: Top Secret Clearance
  158. Chief of Staff, US Army National Military Cemeteries/Arlington National Cemetery
  159. CIO Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  160. COO, 10th Panzer Division (Germany)
  161. CISO, Kimberly-Clark
  162. Brigadier General, US Special Forces
  163. Executive Director, Interpol
  164. CTO, Ticketmaster
  165. Head of IT Security, Wendys
  166. CISO, CTO, British Telecom
  167. COO, Joint Forces Headquarters, DoD, Pentagon
  168. CDO, Bank of China
  169. Board Member, Public Policy Executive, Rand Corporation
  170. CISO, Ministere de l’Agricuture, Quebec
  171. CISO, White House

 

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Jobs

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 23, 2013

My wife begins a new job today. It’s not necessarily ideal, but it’s pretty decent and she should enjoy it. It’s been a frustrating process, because she’s gotten interviews, but not offers. However, I’m not even getting interviews. I’ve been looking for a job for 13 months. I got one in February, started in March, but it was a contract job and they had virtually no work for me. They terminated my contract after only five weeks, saying only positive things about me. It was weird. And it was back to square one for me. Since then, I’ve found nearly no jobs to apply for, and the ones I’ve applied for haven’t called me. In fact, I’ve only interviewed with three companies over the past 13 months! One of my problems is I’m in a niche field — tech writing/editing. There aren’t many jobs like that in Chattanooga. They’re few and far between. So I’m stuck. Unless I take a retail job or something like that, which would force me to work nights and weekends (which I don’t want to do), I guess I’ll keep looking for something in my field. I’ve also done project management, but increasingly those positions require a degree in that particular field, so it’s hard to even find a decent project manager position. It’s been really frustrating. So we’re poor as hell!  We’ve been doing some contract work out of the house, but it doesn’t pay much, and certainly isn’t worth the time we put into it. So anyway, back to my wife. She starts today. It’s going to be a satellite office for a company out of Nashville and she’s going to be her own boss, for all intents and purposes. I’m really happy for her. Maybe I’ll go over and have lunch with her sometimes. Meanwhile, I keep applying for full time, contract, and free lance jobs here. I applied for a free lance copy editing job two weeks ago, having copy editing experience with newspapers and magazines, and they haven’t called me. I don’t know what the problem is. I think my resume’s pretty good. One of my problems is I’m over-educated. I have three degrees. But I take one of them off my resume for some jobs. Which really ticks me off because I spent a lot of time and money getting those degrees — I shouldn’t have to leave them off my resume. But I think that has hurt me. I also think my age has hurt me. I have experience dating back to the mid-90s on my resume, so clearly I’m in my 40s. I think a lot of companies want younger employees, which irritates the shit out of me. I’ll work for as cheap as a 25 year old — I just need a damn job! I’ve thought about branching out as a full time free lance editor, but I really want the security of a paycheck every two weeks. You know? I’d also like benefits, truth be told. But at this point, I’ll take practically anything. If a contract job pays enough (and it should), I can buy my own insurance…. Anyway, offer some congrats to me wife and if you have any advice for me, feel free to offer it. Cheers!

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New Job!

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 11, 2013

I started a new job today! I’m very excited. I’ve been unemployed for a VERY long time, not counting some part time contract work I did out of the house for awhile last year. Didn’t bring in much money. I’ve been looking for awhile, but it’s been frustrating because in my small city of Chattanooga, there aren’t very many positions for which I’m qualified.

I have three degrees and years of experience as a writer and editor, mostly as a technical writer. I also have some experience as a project (and program) manager with several companies. Awhile back, I interviewed for a proposal writer job with a company that managed prisons, but for whatever reason, that was not meant to be. In November, I interviewed with a large government agency for a technical writer position and my first interview went very well, but the second one was a bust. Seems like they didn’t know what they were looking for. The main guy seemed to want a developer, which I’m not. Back in L.A., I could have gotten a tech writing job any day of the year, and in many places, there are project management jobs too. Chattanooga’s a different beast. Just not much to choose from. So, I’ve been using Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, and others, but I found this job on Craigslist, of all places! It was for a technical writer/project manager position with a company based out of Atlanta that would allow telecommuting for the right person. I applied immediately.

I usually wait to be contacted, but I hadn’t heard from this company in about a week, so I sent a follow up email and got an immediate response from the CEO, telling me he wanted to conduct a phone interview. I was elated. So it happened. And it went pretty well. I think we hit it off and we talked about a lot for a good long while, and then he told me he was going to forward my information on to the Director of Project Management, for whom the position would be working, and I would hope to hear from him. I heard from him that evening. He set up a phone interview for a couple of days away, and that worked out pretty well. We also seemed to hit it off and talked a lot about his company and his needs from this position, and he asked some tough questions, but I think I did OK in answering them. He asked me to send him some writing samples, and he especially was interested in anything I might have that was translating technology to a non-technical audience. Well, I have a lot of that sitting around! I emailed him four articles I wrote while at EarthLink that translated techie stuff into easy to read info for our non-techie customers. One was on TCP/IP and another was on secure file deletion utilities. In addition, I emailed two user guides I wrote for some products I worked on while in the engineering division of a company that manufactured specialized telephones. He must have liked them, because he wrote back and wanted another interview and wanted me to do a writing exercise for him. He emailed me some details that he wanted me to use to draft a project change order, fairly detailed. I spent three days on it before getting it back to him. I was pretty detailed. I had no idea whether he would like it or not, but I got a call from the CEO asking me when I could start, offering me the job!!! I told him I could start today (that was two weeks ago), and so I did.

Now, it’s not a perfect job. It’s a contract job, so no benefits, but it’s a long term contract, for something like three years and with the way this company creates its contracts with its clients, it’s quite possible I could be there for awhile longer, if they like me. It’s a very good situation. Last week, they asked me if I could participate in some conference calls with a new client of theirs, so I could get in at the very beginning and be a part of the process from start to finish, so I did. But today was my first official day and it went well. I mostly read tons of documents, mainly dealing with quality management from their perspective. It was highly enlightening. I’ve been preparing for this by catching up on reading some project management books. I especially have to dive into a book on Agile project management methodologies, which this company employs, and an area I’m sorely lacking in. It’s all the rage, but I’ve never worked for a company that used this method before, so I really need to get up to speed quickly. But the net result of all this is I’m very grateful to be employed again, and I think this will be a great company to work for and I think it’s a great opportunity and I couldn’t hold it in anymore — I had to spill. I have a new job! Awesome.

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Worst Interview Ever!

Posted by Scott Holstad on December 18, 2012

Two weeks ago today I had the absolute worst job interview I’ve ever had in my entire life! Let me back up. I saw this job advertised back in mid-September and applied. It was for a mid to high-level technical writer job. The job seemed perfect. I had done everything they wanted. I seemed like a good fit. I didn’t know who with though; it was through a recruiter. Well, I heard from them and they wanted some additional information, which I sent in. Then I didn’t hear from them again. For two months. Then out of the blue, a different recruiter with the same agency called me to tell me this government agency wanted to interview me for the position. I was surprised, pleased, and nervous. I haven’t done too many interviews for awhile now, so I’m rusty. Still, I went to my interview and had an excellent experience. I really felt like I connected with the man who interviewed me. He liked my writing samples and liked me and told me I was pretty much at the top of his list. I then heard from the recruiter in a couple of days. She told me I was one of the two final candidates and had a very good chance of getting the job. I was elated! It wasn’t a perfect job. It was a two year contract job, and I would prefer something permanent with benefits, but it paid well and I need the income, so I was excited. I was then told another person wanted to interview me over the phone — a second interview. I prepped and felt ready. Then, two weeks ago after lunch, I got a call from this person. He jumped right in and wanted to know about my experience with all sorts of things that … I’d never heard of. WTF? Was this the right interview? He wanted to know about my process, and as I tried to describe how I design, write, proof, and edit user manuals and other technical documents, he interrupted me and said that’s nice, but I want to know how you extract code and about your data modeling methods. Excuse me? Extract code? I’m not a developer, I’m a tech writer! However, he kept using the term “tech writer” even while he talked about things like Agile and Scrum and logical and physical design and UML, and I’m sorry, but we weren’t even on the same page — not even close! I’ve been vice president of a chapter of the Society of Technical Communication, the tech writer’s organization, and I’ve been writing for two decades and have known many tech writers and I’ve never heard of this stuff in my industry. I tried to talk about interviewing SMEs, about writing policies and procedures (per the ad), about user manual design and writing, about intranet design and maintenance, about database design and maintenance, about using Visio and Adobe CreativeSuite and he would have none of it. He didn’t want to hear it. He just wanted to hear about my experience extracting code and data modeling, etc., et al. It was humiliating! He wanted a developer, not a tech writer. Had he even conferred with the first person who interviewed me? Who wrote the ad? This guy was the one who would be managing the position, but he sure didn’t put together the ad.

I ended up doing the unthinkable — I tried to talk him out of considering me. I realized after about 20 minutes of going back and forth in frustration and never connecting that it was a lost battle and that I wasn’t the person for him, so I told him that. I told him I’d still love to be considered and that I can learn — although he said he didn’t want to train; he wanted the person to “come in and hit the ground running.” I said I’d love a chance, but I just didn’t have the experience he was seeking and he might want to move on. Then he tried to argue with me, and it just disintegrated. He wasn’t very friendly and I didn’t feel very friendly after 20 minutes of talking with him.

After I got off the phone, I emailed the recruiter with the news. She called me right away. She was dumbfounded! She couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t either. She wanted details and wondered if he was interviewing for another position without realizing it, but I didn’t think so. She said she’d get to “the bottom of it” and get back to me. We hung up. That was two weeks ago. Since then, I’ve emailed her several times, only to be told she’d call me. She hasn’t. Clearly she’s blowing me off. Why? I have no idea. I’d love to know where the disconnect occurred. What happened? I clearly couldn’t have been the one to mess up! I fit all of the criteria for the ad. The first guy loved me. Then this guy wants someone completely different and now no one will talk to me? Great. I need a job. I’ve been unemployed for awhile now. I do some contract work out of my home, but it doesn’t pay much and I need a permanent job. I also do some volunteer work, which is good, but it doesn’t pay the bills obviously. Back when I lived in Los Angeles, I could get a job in my field virtually any day of the week, but here in Chattanooga, there just aren’t too many tech writer/editor jobs at all. It’s quite frustrating. So, I guess I’ll just keep plugging away. I’m glad to know I can never face an interview as unpleasant, hostile and screwed up as that one again. That took the cake. I’m glad to have it behind me. Now, just get me an interview for a job I’m qualified for and get me that job — please!

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Fractional Factorials — WTF???

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 6, 2012

I’ve never felt so stupid as I have today. I’ve never read something and been unable to comprehend it … until now. I was reading Homer when I was 6. I read the Iliad 3 times before age 10! I’ve read books on electrical engineering, broadband networking, network engineering, existential philosophies, etc., etc. No problems. Well, I’ve been doing some transcription/editing contract work. I’ve spent the past two days working on a 6,000 word lecture on something called “fractional factorials.” I know nothing. This entire lecture, given by a native English speaker who has never heard of articles, subject/verb agreement, singular vs plural, etc., is so theoretical, there hasn’t been one concrete thing I can pick out in order to understand what the fuck he’s talking about!!! I finally found out via Google that it’s reliability engineering. I hadn’t known if it was engineering, math, or science, for God’s sake! Look at the beginning of the Wikipedia article on it:

_____________________________________

Fractional designs are expressed using the notation lk − p, where l is the number of levels of each factor investigated, k is the number of factors investigated, and p describes the size of the fraction of the full factorial used. Formally, p is the number of generators, assignments as to which effects or interactions are confounded, i.e., cannot be estimated independently of each other (see below). A design with p such generators is a 1/(lp) fraction of the full factorial design.

For example, a 25 − 2 design is 1/4 of a two level, five factor factorial design. Rather than the 32 runs that would be required for the full 25 factorial experiment, this experiment requires only eight runs.

In practice, one rarely encounters l > 2 levels in fractional factorial designs, since response surface methodology is a much more experimentally efficient way to determine the relationship between the experimental response and factors at multiple levels. In addition, the methodology to generate such designs for more than two levels is much more cumbersome.

______________________________________

SHIT!!! It’s utter gibberish. I’ve had 8 hours of this shit. My brain’s about to explode. I hope I never see anything on fractional factorials again!

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The New Internet Writing “Experts”

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 30, 2011

Well, I guess this will be my first “rant” of my new blog. Maybe not a rant, but instead just a bitching session….

I’ve just finally got to speak up about a topic I first noticed popping up online here several years ago, and I’ve seen this topic and this issue and these people I’m about to address become more and more common everywhere I go online, no matter what blogging site or on Twitter or FB, Xanga, Blogger, and yeah, now even here on WordPress. The topic is the New Internet Writing “Experts.” The thing that once amused me and now irritates the shit out of me is that virtually NONE of them are qualified in any way to pass themselves off as writing experts in any sense of the word — and yet they do. Again, once amusing. Now, pretty much insulting to those of us who have put the blood, sweat, time and tears in, and who have actually accomplished something significant, thereby making US experts…. Yeah, insulting.

I first noticed this trend several years ago on a different blogging site. An online friend I’d never met IRL had just finished a graduate degree in English and knew for a fact that they were an amazing writer and were naturally, just like every other human being on earth, working on a novel which would, of course, be accepted by an agent and eventually published based on the reality of its immediately recognizable quality due to this person’s substantial writing prowess and gifts. Yep. Never had published a thing ever, but started writing more and more frequently about the art of writing, both poems and fiction. Novels. Amusing. Cute. Darling. Then, however, the blogs started to focus on the art of submitting work to agents, on how to find agents, how to get them to consider if not accept you and your work and ultimately represent you to publishers. Bear in mind this person had never even had an agent respond to one of their increasingly frantic and frustrated queries, let alone request an entire manuscript, let alone agree to represent this person. Never. Having had a damn agent and having had an agent represent me and MY ACTUAL REAL IN REAL LIFE BOOKS THAT GOT PUBLISHED IN REAL LIFE WITH ROYALTIES AND EVERYTHING IN REAL LIFE, I kind of felt like I knew just a tad bit more than this person did and kind of thought that they were being a bit presumptuous, even arrogant, in literally trying to pass themself off as an expert of sorts, never having accomplished what they were advising other people about. It was not a diary about their efforts, mind you. It was honest to God advice from someone who Clearly Knows What They Are Talking About. Uh huh.

I know I’m bordering on sounding very snobbish, but I’m going to get worse, so if you’re getting put off by my tone or attitude now, just move on, cause I’m about to get much worse.

OK, I kept following this person, remaining friendly, but getting increasingly annoyed, as they had no basis whatsoever for passing themself off as an expert in anything regarding publishing. None. However, just two or three years ago, I started seeing a few other people writing similar blogs. To my horror. On how to write novels. On how to write sci fi. On how to write horror. On how to get published. On how to get an agent. On the best publishers to pursue. And not ONE of them had ever had one single book published! Indeed, most — the vast majority — never even had an article, essay, poem, short story, novel excerpt — anything — published at all! That’s not ballsy, that’s galling! Fast forward. Go anywhere on Facebook or Twitter or any blogging site now and you’ll find what I see now every single day, and that is a Twitter feed or a FB fan page dedicated to some “writer” who dispenses wisdom and advice left and right, yet who has NEVER PUBLISHED ANYTHING IN THEIR DAMN LIVES!!! Excuse me, but WTF???

1) What gives these assholes the right to even THINK they can be viewed as experts and should be writing advice blogs, etc.? None of them are even successful at what they’re advising others on! Hell, if they followed their own advice, based on their personal results, they’d never get published and would remain frustrated novelist wannabees, which actually, is exactly the case.

2) Why would anyone listen to a literal non-expert, an anti-expert even, give advice on something they’re totally inexperienced at, a failure at, or have no idea what their talking about in general? The thing that has shocked me is how — and why??? — so many of the people develop large followings!!! I actually intentionally follow one of these people on Twitter. Recent college grad. Knows everything. Working on a novel. Soon to be as successful as Anne Rice of Steven King. Developed a huge following and even a FB fan page. And yet, she has NEVER published a damn thing in her young life!!! WTF???

3) If an aspiring writer were seeking writing and publishing advice, and seriously at that, why on earth would they go to an utter novice, if not a downright failure? Why wouldn’t they seek out experienced, successful veterans for literal, real world advice based on hard work, knowledge and success? I honestly do not understand. Yet I’m apparently in the minority on this, because in my exploring my new blogging world here on WordPress, I was saddened and then irritated to find So.Many.”Writers.”Giving.Writing/Publishing.Advice.Who’d.Never.Published.Anything.In.Their.Lives!!! Again, but WTF?

Listen to me people, especially those of you who think I sound an awful lot like some stuck up asshole right about now. I own a car. It needs servicing sometimes. When I go to the garage, I don’t tell the mechanic – who is trained and experienced – how to do his job, nor do I advise him on it. I furthermore don’t go into the waiting lounge and tell everyone else there how to get their cars fixed. Nor do I go online and dispense mechanical advice. I don’t do this because I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, I’ve never done it before, and I leave the expertise to those who are actual experts. I also don’t assume others out there will want to come listen to me or read my advice on mechanics or advice on how to get their cars serviced or fixed, etc., cause I’m not enough of an idiot or asshole to assume I know what I’m talking about when I don’t, and frankly, I probably wouldn’t think too much of anyone who wanted MY input or advice on something I’d never done before! Isn’t that logical? It sure is to me. Ditto lawyers, doctors, stock brokers, etc. I went to law school, did you know that? I HATED it and dropped out before finishing (although I do have three other degrees in other areas). I’m not arrogant enough to sit here and pretend to be a legal expert and dispense legal advice on a blog or on Twitter or to even think about establishing some FB fan page. And if I did do that, it would not only be a disservice to those poor saps listening to me, but an absolute deep sign of disrespect to those actual lawyers out there who busted their asses putting in the time and hard work and competing with each other to actually succeed at their vocation. Doesn’t that make sense??? It does to me.

IMO, the same can and should hold true to writers. I’ve had 15 books published. I’ve had zillions of poems, short stories, essays, articles, etc., etc., published in hundreds of magazines in at least 26 countries and five languages. Because of this, I’m a longtime member of PEN and the Authors Guild, which are discriminating organizations, in that not everyone who writes a poem or manuscript can join or can/will be invited to join. You have to have proven yourself; you have to have accomplished something (ie, having had a book published, at a minimum).

Let me tell you something else. I didn’t go to college, get my English degree, sit down for the summer and type out “x” number of words per day for three months and then declare my novel finished and ready for obvious and immediate publication. Cause that’s not how it works for most anyone in the Real World. (Idiots!) After I got my undergrad degree, I moved from Knoxville TN to Phoenix to become a “writer.”  I learned quite quickly, as I was blissfully naive — like so many apparently are — that you have to sell a hell of a lot of poems and stories in order to survive as a writer! Indeed, if you don’t know this, you should, but the vast, vast majority of magazines — especially in America — don’t pay anything! You only get a contributor copy. (I’ve always had good luck with Irish and Australian magazines, in terms of them paying actual money…) So, this became my life, because I was dedicated to my craft. I found a job working at an insurance company. 12 hours a day, six days a week, plus one Sunday a month. Basically 12 hours a day for about 28 days a month. For $5.56 an hour. With my proud new English degree in hand. And it was a recession, so I was frankly glad to have a damn job! I worked my freaking ASS off 12 hours a day, 28 days a month for slave wages, and then I went back to my shithole apartment in the ghetto (cause $5.56/hour doesn’t go far), and I wrote. I wrote for a minimum of two hours per night, and then prepared submissions to magazines and publishers for an additional one hour minimum per night. My goal was 10 finished poems per night, 5 new magazine submissions per night — minimum. And those three hours of my night dedicated to honing my craft, at becoming a writer, at succeeding, at becoming published — those three hours were minimum!!! I can’t tell you how many times I stayed up for many, many hours writing and writing and writing, so that I got perhaps three hours of sleep per night, over and over. Yet during this time, I was writing hundreds of poems, some short stories, a few articles, etc., and I had my work submitted out to well over 100 magazines at any given time, and I kept seriously anal records of my submissions, because I also learned quite quickly how you can get blacklisted if you screw up (ie, send out simultaneous submissions and having the same work appear in two magazines simultaneously — yeah, that’s MAJOR and, yeah, a lot of “writers” don’t bother thinking about that…). So, I worked 12 hour days 28 days a month, and I wrote what was more realistically for about 5+ hours a day, seven days a week, holidays included, and I did this for DECADES!!! Even some years later, when I moved over to L.A. to go to grad school, cause I was sick of living in the ghetto and working for $5.56 an hour, even when I was a full time grad school student paying out of state tuition which required me to work THREE part time jobs of up to 20 hours each (such as tutoring in the writing lab), AND teaching writing classes (plural, not just one per semester) AND doing volunteer work to give myself legitimate resume “fodder” (ie, volunteer copy editing for the local newspaper), AND while I was in the process of getting married and all that entails, AND while I was finding the time and energy to go out partying with my new grad school pals, I STILL committed myself to writing a minimum of three hours a day, seven days a week, always and forever, so that two years later, when I graduated as the top student at the largest university in the state of California, complete with my 4.0 GPA, my scholarships, my grants, my teaching experience, my publishing and newspaper experience, my acceptances into four PhD programs complete with free rides (which I sadly did not take advantage of), I was perhaps most proud of the fact that I had by then had a solid 5 collections of poems published, all due to my busting my freakin ass every single day, about 35 hours a day (or so it seemed), and not taking anything for granted. I busted my freaking ASS! Fast forward. Good work, good job, good pay. Long hard hours. Including one still famous 150+ hour week I put in to win my company a contract resulting in 225,000 new immediate customers in one day! (I slept for one hour/night under my desk.) I just about killed myself doing that, and you know what? All that time (except for that 150 hour week) I put in my three hours of writing — minimum — per day, seven days a week. 10 poems a day, 5 new magazine submissions a day. I’m going to stop now, cause I hope you’re getting the picture. I did this every single day for some 15 straight years, and I have never pretended to be the best poet or writer out there — I know I’m not — but I’ll be damned if anyone was going to outwork me because I was determined to do whatever it took to become as good a writer as possible AND as successful (if publishing is your measuring stick) a writer as possible. So, I’ve put in my dues. And I’ve been very successful. And I know how to get published. I’m a better “getting published” writer than actual writer, if that makes any sense.

So, the question I’ve been asking myself is this. Why in the HELL would anyone, anywhere on earth want to willingly subscribe to blogs or follow tweets by twits passing themselves off as writing “experts” when so many of them have not accomplished a single thing of their own? Why aren’t they seeking successful writers out, like myself (but please don’t — that’s NOT an open invite!) and others who have labored under extreme conditions to achieve the level of expertise and success that they have? I don’t want legal advice from a law school drop out. I don’t want stock market advice from some ponzi schemer. Why do you want writing and publishing advice from a total loser? A failure? A reject? What’s the damn point? Where’s the logic behind that? Frankly, I’m at the point now where I do indeed get extremely insulted when I come across the blogs and websites of these so-called writers who claim to be writers based solely on the fact that they have written a manuscript — unpublished (or, now some of them are “real” writers because they do have books out — self-published on Lulu or other places, places where they haven’t had to compete against others, where they haven’t had to prove themselves and their talent — how convenient…) — where they have the audacity to pass themselves off not only as a writing/publishing “expert” but even as a writer in general. Cause I’d wager that, oh, about 100% of them have NOT put in the efforts I have, or even substantial efforts others have, who ARE successful and who have paid their dues and who do know what the hell they’re talking about! Yeah, it’s insulting to me and to my sacrifices I’ve made for decades, some of which are quite possibility contributing to seriously deteriorating health. I’ve frankly driven myself way too hard for far too long and while I have been successful, I’m now at a point where I’m weighing things in my mind — was it worth it? Was it worth these illnesses, these health “problems,” this quite likely shortened lifespan. And I’ve got to say, most of the time I say yes, it was worth it. And I’m sorry, but I am NOT going to give these fuckers who haven’t done crap in their lives to merit anything at all a free pass to allow them to have the nerve to give writing and publishing advice when I have dedicated and quite possibly even ultimately given my very life for my craft, for my vocation, for my profession, for my passion — not some damn hobby I take up during the fucking summer one year so that I can now say I Know It All and I’ll impart my wisdom to thousands of others. Yeah, it’s insulting. So, if anyone out there reads this and if you are man or woman enough to admit you are guilty of perpetuating this type of fraud, please stop to consider things, and please start to consider maybe putting in just one third of the time and effort I have over my lifetime to pay my freakin’ dues and to achieve success in this field. Please stop turning a cute little summer hobby where you have tortured your fingers by typing (I wrote longhand…) a few hours a day into some appearance of expertise and success.  Cause that’s bullshit. If you’re remotely capable of honesty, you’ll admit that and do more actual writing and do less writing ABOUT writing.

I guess that’s my rant for the day.

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