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    Friday, April 07, 2006

    Interview with Google

    I can't believe in myself. Either I am super stupid or I am just a joke. Google called me today and we had a nice, laid back interview. Everything went well until we get into the technical questions: some html, some java script, some My SQL. 5 questions and I got only 1 or 2 right. I know I know ... they were not even advance level question or anything but I just could not say it out. For the first time in my life I wished I studied CS instead of Financial Services. If they were asking me financial forcasting, budgeting or return on investment or any crap like that.. i would A+++++ those questions easily, but I guess it is not my faith to be with Google. The interviewer was very very nice, I love her. Anyway, she suggested me to improve more in my technical skill then try again. I mean, come on... if they make a promise that they will call me again within one month, I will sure get myself in shape and ready for anything that comes. I wonder, does Google hire financial analyst or business development at all? All the jobs posted was all technical. I really need to get over this. Hue has been telling me for the last 12 hours that I am not a CS major so it is understandable that I couldn't answer those question. I understood it too. But put yourself in my shoe, imagine something you always wanted came to your hand and you pushed it away. How bad would you feel? I will get over this... but a small suggestion for those who apply for Google: be prepare. Being smart and a fast learner might not be enough. You will need to have what they require and just be yourself. Still now, I believe that Google is a great company to work for and God bless Googlers. vSpring called me today and offer me a job as a business consultant intern. If accepted I will work for one of its start-up company called Control4. Very cool company with sweet product. Check them out at www.control4.com. KBHome called me as well and invited me to continue with the second interview next Wednesday. If everything goes well, they will make me an offer as a business developer in the Las Vegas office or Financial analyst in the head quarter Pheonix, AZ. Let's see how it goes. God bless yall!

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Students to protest the firing of BYUSA adviser

    A group of students will protest the firing of BYU employee Todd Hendricks today, the same day he has been invited back to the university to discuss an appeal he filed over his termination. Hendricks was fired on March 17 after he wrote a letter to the student newspaper asking for more transparency in student elections for the Brigham Young University Student Service Association. He refused to sign a document allowing him to resign his position, get one month of pay and three months of health benefits that would have required him to keep quiet about his firing. He said BYU also asked him to write a retraction and provide names of people he had discussed the matter with. In his letter, he complained that a 10-member commission made up of nine students and one employee, which has the power to disqualify candidates for election, remains anonymous and is vulnerable to being influenced by administrators. Hendricks and his wife, Hilary, said they thought the first appeal had been denied, but when he went to pick up a written explanation, he was told it was still "in process." Then came the call asking them to meet with Jan Scharman, vice president of student life, today at noon. Hendricks could file two more appeals. At 1 p.m., students will be in Brigham Square voicing their discontent over the firing. Senior anthropology major Neil Ransom said students are fed up with not having a voice on campus. There is "no protocol for students to make suggestions or to have BYU change, even though we're supposed to be the major reason this university exists," he said. He said he hopes the protest, in which he estimates about 40 students will participate, will let students be heard. "I don't think BYU can shut everyone up," Ransom said. The students plan to sign honor code-like documents pledging that they will stand in a chalk circle until 3 p.m., and cover their mouths with duct tape with BYUSA written on it. Senior English and anthropology major Ashley Sanders said the point is "to emphasize -- through our silence -- that BYU students have no legislative voice." Hendricks said he has a prior engagement and cannot attend the protest, but, "If there's any way for dialogue, I'm very supportive of that." Sanders called BYU's actions "a symptom of a far more disturbing epidemic of rule theology and corporate poverty of conscience." She said the real problem has been ignored. "The more critical issue here is that BYU, in true form, used the rhetoric of 'honor' and 'loyalty' and threatened job security in order to continue propping up their image of righteousness to the rest of the world," Sanders said. Ransom said BYU has not addressed Hendricks's concerns. "BYU hasn't responded or come out at all and said that any of Todd Hendricks's claims are false, so we have to assume they are true, and if that's the case, BYUSA doesn't represent students at all and is very controlled," he said. BYU spokesman Grant Madsen said BYU has received no request for a public forum, as outlined in the school's public expression policy. "For someone to do a public forum on campus, they need to go through this procedure, the public expression policy, submit a request that gets reviewed, and none of that's taken place," Madsen said. Sanders said the approval could take days. "I feel like the approval process is an inertia firewall that keeps students from responding promptly to campus issues." Madsen said the honor code that all students sign wouldn't bar the protest. "It's certainly not prohibited by the honor code, but the students need to follow the procedure if they want to have something like that be reviewed," he said. Sanders said she wrote a letter to BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson about Hendricks's firing on Wednesday but received no response. She's one semester away from graduation and worries about being retaliated against, but she's taking her chances. The speech policy has sponsored a "culture of apathy" on campus, she said. "Students don't have much control," Sanders said. "It's just whatever the administration decides to do and how they decide to react."

    Letter leaves BYUSA adviser jobless

    An employee of BYU's student leadership office was fired after writing a letter to the university's student newspaper asking for more transparency in student elections. Todd Hendricks of Spanish Fork was terminated Tuesday after he said he failed to sign an agreement allowing him to voluntarily resign, receive one month's salary and retain his benefits until June, when his wife will give birth to their third child. Until Tuesday, Hendricks served as an adviser of the Brigham Young University Student Association and as a student leadership coordinator. He said that on March 10, the day his letter to the Daily Universe was published, he was called into a meeting with Vernon Heperi, dean of students, and student leadership director Brent Barclay. "I was told my act was very disloyal and not helpful and that action would be taken against me." Hendricks's letter was critical of the process of selecting a committee of 10 students to make sure candidates comply with election regulations. "The committee comprises 10 students who are anonymous to the student body but, through associations in BYUSA, generally have strong ties to one or more of the candidates or to a full-time employee," he wrote. The committee meets to discuss complaints against candidates, called "infractions," which are often filed by other candidates or their supporters. "In addressing alleged infractions, the committee's anonymous identities and confidential proceedings sometimes cloud judgment," Hendricks wrote. "Special interest, rather than actual student votes, may thus determine the BYUSA presidency." Hendricks said he is particularly concerned about last year's election, when two candidates who won the primary elections were asked to drop out of the election because vice-presidential candidate J. Griggs committed an Honor Code violation involving curfew. The results of the final election were never released, and the team that trailed Griggs and presidential candidate Jason Smith after the primary were named the winners. This year's leaders after the primary election also were disqualified, this time for making color copies below market value, Hendricks said. Candidates have been disqualified after being found guilty of infractions for the past three years. In his letter, Hendricks suggested making the election committee's work public and housing the committee outside of BYUSA to prevent special interests from prevailing. BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said the letter was only part of the reason Hendricks was terminated. "The letter was taken into consideration, but there were certainly other issues involved," she said. "I would just simply say that he would know that this would not be the sole reason." Hendricks said he was unhappy with the termination agreement's requirement that he keep quiet about why he was fired, and he didn't sign it. Hendricks said he appealed the termination, but was turned down. He said he would pursue further appeals, but Jenkins said all appeals available to him had been exhausted. "My wife and I met at BYU, and we believe in the university's mission," Hendricks said. "We have wonderful mentors and friends here. We hope we don't need to pursue legal recourse." BYU has a process for employee complaints, Jenkins said. "We do ask, as any institution, any company does of course, that if an employee has a concern that that concern is first expressed within the department. I don't know if that happened in this case," she said. Hendricks said he tried to talk to his superiors about the issue. "I think they were acknowledged, but they would say, 'Well, there's only so much we can do.' " BYU also did not exhaust employee discipline procedures before he was fired, Hendricks said. The employee handbook outlines disciplinary steps beginning with verbal and written warnings. "I've never received any warnings, verbal or written." His most recent performance review, written in January, showed that Hendricks was "meeting or exceeding expectations for performance." He said the only other reasons he was given for his termination was that it was obvious that he was not happy in his job. He suffers from seasonal affective disorder but had discussed that condition with his superiors and unhappiness has never affected his job, he said. Former student leadership candidate Smith said he still has concerns about the election process and supports Hendricks. "All my interactions with Todd indicate he is a man of integrity and honor. He always spoke for what he thought was right," Smith said. Hendricks said he's shocked about how the situation played out. "I've been surprised that in all the discussion of termination, no one has even brought up the issues I addressed in my letter to the editor. Instead, the focus has been to berate me for disloyalty and bad judgment," he said.