Breaking News…I Have a Job!

This came up so quickly, my head is still spinning.  I was interviewed on Thursday, offered the job on Friday, and started Monday.  It’s been a whirlwind on both the work and home fronts here at the end of day three, but it’s a good problem to have.   It’s a four-month contract position replacing someone who is out sick, for a time-sensitive program, thus the urgency in getting me in ASAP.   As far as I know, the person is planning to return, however, another of my new colleagues is looking suspiciously pregnant, so perhaps there is hope for work after December!

I’ll try to blog more about the details, but one of the lessons learned is that it pays to be persistent and follow organizations you are interested in.  I had originally applied for a position here in January, but was not selected for an interview.  I managed to network my way to one of my colleagues via LinkedIn.  I did not know her, but she graciously agreed to meet me for coffee to tell me about her job.

Then, when another position opened up in June I applied and was interviewed, and was apparently their second choice.  I thought then that was it, but then they called me with the offer for the replacement position.

More details to come!


U is for Uncertainty

This is a theme I’ve written about several times before.  One of the most difficult things about going through a life transition is the uncertainty about not knowing where you’ll end up.  Most people can adjust to new circumstances, but it’s maddening not being able to plan for the unknown.  Job hunting, like many other transitions, involves a lot of “hurry up and wait” circumstances. Image

For example, the end of the school year involves a flurry of events for parents to attend, after-school plays and sports practices, and other activities that take place within normal business hours.  All of which can be planned for, if one knows where one needs to be on a given day.

Contract jobs, I’m finding, often include the expectation that one is available almost immediately, which would require emergency substitutions of spouse, neighbors, and babysitters to cover short-term activities.  But, it is difficult to make contingency plans until and unless a position has been found.

I just have to keep chanting “it will all work out,”  “it will all work out.”

S is for Sales

This being a blog about job hunting, it seems obvious to note that most everything one does in a job hunt is all a sales effort, with the product being the job seeker.  In classic marketing terms, this means optimizing the four P’s – Product, Placement, Price and Promotion.  So I have to keep evaluating myself to see how I compare to the many other products on the market:

Product – Am I well-trained and current on technology and needed skills?  Do I play well with others?  Am I reliable?  Am I the right mix of skills and experience for the job that needs to be done?

Placement – am I in the right location?  Am I available when needed?  Can companies find me when they are in the market for an employee?  Am I easy to find?

Price – am I priced competitively, and/or do I provide good value?  Am I a premium product that’s worth extra, or am I overpriced?

Promotion –  how do I get the word out to employers?  What special features should be emphasized in the message to make them see me?Image 

I’m still “for sale” but I think I’m a great value – hope some company picks me up soon!

Q is for Quotations

Q is for Quotations

In honor of the letter Q, I’ve compiled a few quotations*  that I thought were appropriate to a job search, or to anyone going through a transitional phase in their life:

The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.  – Ben Stein 


One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.  – Andre Gide


Mistakes are the portals of discovery. – James Joyce


A goal without a plan is just a wish.  – Antoine de Saint-Exupery


In these matters the only certainty is that nothing is certain. – Pliny the Elder


We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems. – John W. Gardner


Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Matthew 7:7


Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.  – Aldous Huxley


Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.  – Theodore Roosevelt

Employment, sir, and hardships prevent melancholy. – Samuel  Johnson

Chase brave employment with a naked sword throughout the world. – George Herbert


Take your pick, if any of these speak to your situation.  Me, I’m off, naked sword in hand, to continue my quest for employment.  May your quest also prove fruitful!

* Disclaimer: I copied these from a few websites, and didn’t do any independent research to confirm the veracity of the attributions, so if it isn’t correct, don’t blame me!

P is for Pornography

ImageGot your attention with that one, eh?  No, I don’t spend time looking at naughty pictures, but I do have a nasty little online habit that often distracts me from  what I’m supposed to be doing.  My weakness is…. travel planning.  When I’m on the computer, I find myself having uncontrollable urges to look at….expedia or kayak, to see what the current airfare to San Diego is, or perhaps VRBO to price rental homes on St. John, or or maybe just to google maps to see how far a drive it would be to visit Niagara Falls and some friends in Toronto.  It’s hard not to click through all of the Groupon getaway deals, not to mention reading travel blogs (current fave: Home Free Adventures).

I know others who admit to oogling recipes, or trolling pinterest for craft ideas, so I’m not so bad, right?  Listen, officer, it’s a free country – if I want to know how much it would cost to fly to Hong Kong in March, that’s my right, OK?  And I’m pretty sure that I’m not looking any non-consensual content.

I have more proposed itineraries than Greece has islands.  If I listen to those who follow the “live your dreams” school of job searching, this should probably tell me something.  In fact, at an earlier point in my life I did travel a lot – I once even needed to get one of those passport additions since I’d filled up all of the pages.  However, I live with a husband whose doesn’t share my gypsy-like tendencies, and two kids who are definitely not in favor of being home-schooled so we can travel about the country in a VW bus.   I’m rather fond of them all, so I’m stuck, geographically at least.  I do remember taking a career survey in high school that told me I should consider becoming a travel agent, but since that occupation has largely disappeared, it’s probably good I didn’t take the bait.

Being able to take exotic vacations again is one of the things motivating me to find a job, although there is some irony there in that I’ll have less time for travel once I’m employed full-time.  At least I can dream, and hopefully fit in a couple of great trips a year.   And when I get to that point, at least I will have worked out in advance which airlines fly to that destination and where the best places to stay are.

In the meantime I must return to priceline  to scope out new job openings.

N is for New Norms

It’s obvious that the traditional paradigms we think of in terms of careers no longer apply – go to college, get a job, retire at 65, then enjoy leisure time for a few years.   Now, people are living longer than they were when Social Security began, and one of the largest population cohorts in our nation’s history is at retirement age.   Our economy has grown slowly, and hasn’t created enough jobs to employ all of those entering the workforce, let alone those who want to stay in it or rejoin.   

No one really knows where things are headed, except that things have to change.  The current burden of spending on pensions (both public and private) and the cost of medical care for aging members of the population is unsustainable.  As a nation, by taking no action, we are choosing to support the needs of older members of our population at the expense of younger members.

In the workplace things will also need to change, to accommodate changes in how and when people will work.  Perhaps there will be a move towards mixed-age work groups, to take advantage of a diversity of skill sets.  There is definitely a move towards more contract work and shorter tenures in any given job.

If I had a crystal ball and knew what the new norms will be, I’d figure out how to capitalize on it.  Not knowing, I’m stuck in the mode of trying to compete for a job in a less than optimal environment, along with many others. 

L is for Long-Term View

ImageI find that my job search focus has shifted somewhat.   After an enthusiastic start, which led to some good leads and promising interviews that all came to naught, and a recent lull that left the pipeline empty, I’m gearing up for the long-term.  As we get closer to summer, it would be easy to slack off, and say, hey, who wants to start working in June anyway when the kids will be home all summer, but I can’t afford to lose the momentum.  

I’m trying not to stress about every week that goes by without a job offer, as I should focus on the long-term.  After all, I’ll probably be working for at least 15-20 more years, so even if my first full-time job in my “new” career is a step or two lower on the ladder, or takes me a few months to find, I’m OK with that.  With that in mind, although I’m still looking for and applying for jobs, I’m also doing some self-study on project management and may do some software refresher classes, too.  I just hope companies will be open to hiring someone who is a bit older than the rest of the crew. 

I also know that I’m not the only one facing a challenging transition.  Among my circle of acquaintances is a professional soccer player who is nearing the end of his playing career.  His wife hasn’t been working, since they have three young children and have lived in four different cities in the past five years.  So their next few years are uncertain, too, as his next career might not pay as well as his current job.

I’m certainly motivated, and like to think that I’ll bring some extra life experience to the table without acting like a know-it-all.   I try not to read too many of the horror stories about people never being able to find another job, and I hope I’m not considered too old to learn on the job.  Unlike my friend, I’m not in a career path that is usually over by the time you are in your early 30s.

I’m hoping to be one who bucks the odds, and finds a corporate job after some time away.  For me, I don’t think pie in the sky ideas about doing what you love and finding that the money will follow are particularly helpful.   I can’t think how any of my interests translate to anything paying more than about $10 an hour (if that), and my training plans do not going back to get a college degree in a completely new field.   Even if they did, that would be assuming that a college degree would get me a job, which seems a heroic assumption in this economy anyway. 

So I’m slogging away, and hoping for some good luck, or inspiration.