Blog Changes and Other Updates

I’ve started making some changes to my blog.  To better account for changes in my life and the topics I tend to write about, I have begun converting some tags into categories and demoting some categories to sub-categories or tags.  I will continue to make more of these changes as my posting topics/styles change and as they become more or less relevant to my current life position.  I will also be re-writing my intro page, about me, biography, etc. over the next few weeks so be sure to look for that.

In other news:

  • Stuart, my brother, had a birthday last week.  He had some friends in town and we all went out to celebrate the big 21.
  • I visited Cape Girardeau in Southeast Missouri for the first time.  I have a friend going to Southeast Missouri State University there so we hung out – for the first time in about a year.  Cape is bigger than I’d expected (and I liked it better than I’d expected) while SEMO is certainly hilly.
  • I am going to Denver for a week before I start working.  I’ve been making a ton of plans.  Should be fun!
  • I am finally going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2!
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I Have a Job! – Here Are The Details

Good news!  After a job search that was significantly longer and more difficult than I anticipated, I finally have a job!  I’m pretty excited! Even better – I had the opportunity to make a choice (although it was an extraordinarily difficult one): over the past week I had three job offers from which to choose!

So, here are the details:

Starting August 8, 2011, I will working for Centene Corporation as a Contract Negotiator.  Centene (more information below) is a Fortune 500 managed healthcare company based in St. Louis, Missouri.  I will be reporting to the Director of Contracting and Network Development.

My role is to be part of the team responsible for building provider networks for Medicaid and other managed plans.  Centene manages plans for state governments.  I will be building relationships with healthcare providers (starting with doctors/doctor organizations and clinics and moving to hospitals and more complex entities), putting proposals together for state governments, and if Centene’s proposal is selected, negotiating terms of relationships between healthcare providers and Centene.  I will be working on provider setup and training as well.

There are a lot of elements to the position: negotiating, business development, analysis, proposal writing, reporting, project management, training, legal, compliance, strategy, etc.  I will be based in the company’s headquarters.  The position includes travel up to 70-80% of the time (during the week).

There should be a lot of opportunities for growth – Centene is looking to double in size in the next 3-5 years.  The Network Development team, of which I will be a part, is going to be key to making that happen.

About Centene Corporation:

Centene Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, is a leading multi-line healthcare enterprise that provides programs and related services to the rising number of under-insured and uninsured individuals. Many receive benefits provided under Medicaid, including the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as well as Aged, Blind or Disabled (ABD), Foster Care and long-term care, in addition to other state-sponsored programs, and Medicare (Special Needs Plans). Centene’s CeltiCare subsidiary offers states unique, “exchange based” and other cost-effective coverage solutions for low-income populations. The Company operates local health plans and offers a range of health insurance solutions. It also contracts with other healthcare and commercial organizations to provide specialty services including behavioral health, life and health management, managed vision, telehealth services, and pharmacy benefits management.

I will post some of my thoughts on interviewing/the job search soon in a separate post, but here are some of the basic statistics that I calculated based on my applications and the responses I received:

Location of Job % of total jobs applied for
St. Louis 44.4%
Denver 15.8%
Washington DC 21.1%
Chicago 3.7%
Other/Multiple Location Options 15.1%

I heard back (either for an interview or to tell me that I was rejected) from 31.5% of the places I applied.  I interviewed for 33 positions. I’ve had four job offers and several more opportunities that could have resulted in job offer had I pursued them.

This has been a long and difficult process and I am certainly glad that it is over.  I am excited about the opportunity to join Centene Corporation as a Contract Negotiator.  Here’s to the future!

Quote #27 – On Decisions

“Life is the sum of all your choices.”

– Albert Camus

Quote #26

“A sound head, an honest heart, and an humble spirit are the three best guides through time and to eternity”

– Sir Walter Scott

These also happen to be things that should influence and help determine major decisions.

We The People

One of my friends posted this YouTube video on Facebook.  After watching it, I definitely want to share it.  Take a look at this video and think about its message.  Most of us learned about this concept of “we the people” sometime during our education, but how often do we think about what it actually means?  Especially after we have to.

This video does a good job of beginning the conversation of who “we the people” are.  And who the constitution is for.  We need to remember that this country is not just about people like “us” – whoever “us” is.  And as we begin this conversation, we should also start to think about who “we the people” are that wrote those words and who they were written for.

Owl City – Deer in the Headlights

I’m a big fan of Owl City.  Below is Owl City’s latest music video.  It’s a little trippy, but I like the song.

The AT&T Guy/Premature Retirement

I was told last week that my life right now resembles that of a retired person, based solely on one day last week: in what seemed to be a day when everything in our house needed fixing, we had a woman come to check our water meter, two guys came to fix our air conditioner, and a guy from AT&T came to figure out why our internet keeps cutting out.  It’s a good thing I was home!

Our AT&T experience, in particular, is worth noting.  Dan from AT&T ended up coming out three times last week!  He has been working for AT&T for 33 years!  While I’ve had my issues with AT&T and their customer service, Dan was amazing!  He was great at explaining what he was doing and why and how he would try to keep costs down.  Apparently our internet cutting out was some freak thing that he couldn’t figure out and the people back at the office could not figure out either.

We had our circuit connection replaced, we had our data connection moved, and still our lines checked out clear.  Dan said that he was hired 33 years ago to climb telephone poles, not figure out computer issues – but he definitely knew his stuff.  We ended up having to rewire part of the house and get a commercial-grade router (that’s what AT&T called it).  Apparently, my Mac made crazy things happen… Now things are working – and hopefully they continue to work!  Thanks, Dan!

In The Thicket

Yesterday I spent the day with my friend Justin and his girlfriend Amanda at Justin’s property out past Steeleville.  It is literally in the middle of nowhere.  And it’s awesome!  Last summer, I went out for the weekend.  This trip was just for the day, but we had a great time.

Our plan was to pick blackberries, ride ATVs, and shoot rifles.  We didn’t end up shooting, but we most certainly had fun.  Before we left, Justin’s dad told us that the forest ranger for the area said that they had found bear poop on their property – i.e. bears had moved in.  No one in Justin’s family had seen any bears, but we wanted to be prepared, especially since blackberries would be prime area for black bears. (We didn’t see any bears or traces of bears either.)

Getting out to their land takes you through part of the country that most people never see.  It is certainly an experience and I really do like it.  There are definitely parts of that culture though that I do not understand, other than perhaps doing things that are convenient (e.g. parking a car in the middle of a front yard of a house on main street, using a school that caught on fire as a junk yard).

We drove around on the ATVs, raced through some fields, and picked a ton of blackberries.  The grass was high and I definitely ate some grass seed :-).  We spent several hours out there picking blackberries, walking into blackberry thickets (really the only way to describe them), getting stuck by thorns, picking berries, and trying to avoid bugs and bees that were buzzing around.  We even got out a machete and hacked our way into different areas in the middle of the bushes to get more berries.

I had to wash my hands about 20 times to get the stains out.  Those berries sure are good.

Getting ready to head out for a day of ATV riding and blackberry picking.

The King’s Speech

I am always amazed by the power our words have.  Sometimes, I wish more people would think more about the meaning of what they say.  Today I watched The King’s Speech.  I know I am behind the times on this, but wow what a great movie!  The acting and the cinematography were quite fantastic.  If you have not yet seen The King’s Speech please do – and keep in mind the quote below.  It is applicable to everyone, not just kings.

King George VI: By divine right if you must, I am your king.
Lionel Logue: No you’re not, you told me so yourself. You didn’t want it. Why should I waste my time listening?
King George VI: Because I have a right to be heard. I have a voice!

America on Facebook

This image, from The New York Times, is way to good not to share: