Monday, October 27, 2008

Expanding my Horizons

Given the relative lack of progress on jobs in NH (I have my resume out to several NH jobs, but other than the interview a week back, no responses), I have submitted my resume to a couple of jobs at a company way around 495 in MA. Both jobs looked interesting and in the category of something I would like to do. It's just too bad they're not a bit closer.

Next step, see what I can find downtown in Boston so I can commute by train or bus. I'd much rather let someone else drive, even if it means being chained to a schedule or a longer (time wise) commute. With that extra time you can work, sleep, read or whatever you need to do. I commuted by train early in my career into NYC, and though I'm sure I didn't love it at the time, I have good memories. I also remember never finishing the Times crossword puzzle, even when I worked it both going to and coming from work.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Chromed out

(Warning - non job search related content to follow)
I tried, I really did.  I thought that switching to Google's Chrome browser would help me complete moving my productivity tools to the "cloud".  When you leave the corporate tether, you fall back to whatever tools you have on your PC.  For a while now, I've been using Google's Gmail for the majority of my email needs.  I started up a Google Calendar for my (few) appointments.  I've begun putting documents out in Google Documents.  I stay in touch with people using Gtalk.  I had set up a home page using iGoogle. So when the Google browser came out (Chrome), I figured it would integrate well with all those other applications.  When yoiu put everything in the "cloud" it's accessible from anywhere - whether you're using your home computer or a computer at outplacement or one at a house you're visiting (or certainly if you have Internet on your phone).  But I got frustrated with Chrome.  Here's what I found out:
  1. bookmarks are a pain as the folders go back and forth across the screen instead of down in a hierarchical (and familiar) fashion
  2. there's really no menu bar
  3. nothing works better that I can see
  4. videos and/or flash wouldn't show
So when iGoogle turned it's tabs to the side instead of the top, it was the last straw.  Microsoft, I'm back.  I'll still use Gmail, some of Google Documents, the Google calendar and Gtalk.  But I"m done with Chrome and iGoogle.  At least for now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No Thanks

Well, Friday's interview turned into a "no thanks".  As reported through the agency with whom I am working, the hiring manager related that he enjoyed our conversation but that I'm not the guy he's looking for.  Of course, he has yet to articulate who that person might be to the agency. Anyway, I'm a little disappointed but not crushed.  After all, it was only my first interview.  You do get somewhat invested in the idea of working for company X, what with the research you do, the emotions you feel before and after the interview and the thinking that goes on in your head as you sort out how you would do the job you just heard about.  But as with the job that you just finished, you learn to put that behind you and look forward.

In the last few days I've heard about openings at two companies I have been targeting for which I might be a fit.  I'll be calling some contacts at these companies today.  Looking forward.

Monday, October 20, 2008

So we'll see

Friday's interview seemed to go well, but you never know until you get some follow-up.  We had a good meeting where I covered my background and the hiring manager covered his pain points.  I think I can help them, but he really hadn't defined the job yet.  In short, a CIO of about 40 years retired, the CFO inherited IT, he's had a consultant in to help him set direction for a few months and now he's trying to figure out what he wants in terms of an organization and the talent to staff it. So we'll see.

On the one hand, I feel good that I had an interview, and I think I'd like this job if it becomes available (at the right price and authority).  On the other hand, it's the first interview I've had, and I wonder if it's smart to take the first thing that comes along.  I've had situations where I've taken the first thing and others where I've been able to be more selective.  Both have worked out.  So we'll see.

In other job news, I got a lead that a company similar to the one I just left fired their IT Director. I had already reached out to the CEO at that company, through a mutual acquaintance.  So I sent another note out to reconnect.  So we'll see.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I think I'm ready

I've got my first interview tomorrow and I think I'm as ready as I can be.  I attended an interview skills workshop today at outplacement.  I've reviewed my resume to make sure I can speak to everything on it.  I've researched the company through D&B, the Internet, their website, the SEC site.  My shirt is pressed and my suit is clean.  I know how to get there.  Should be great.  If only I knew what they were looking for I might feel more confident.  It's a "discussion" as much as an interview.  They're trying to figure out what to do with an IT position.  So who konws?  I try to keep my expectations low so they can be wildly exceeded.  

Oh yeah, new business idea.  Business cards with a scratch ticket on the back.  Who wouldn't want one of those?  Who would forget you if you did that?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

From under rocks...or is it Monster?

One thing about posting your resume on Monster (or Hotjobs or Dice) is that it brings out the recruiters.  They seem to hit you fast, like you had just turned over a rock and all the bugs got out. Sometimes, it appears that they haven't even looked at your resume.  "Would you like a job programming Java in Arkansas?". Other times, they call or email with some intriguing leads.  I responded to, and talked with, a recruiter for a job in Woburn today.  I'm qualified, maybe over qualified.  It's a temp-to-perm, which means they get to try you for six months before they buy you.  I really don't object to that.  I'll be giving my next job everything that I can, and I don't expect that will end after six months, unless severe disillusionment sets in.  Then it's probably better for both of us that it's temp, because I'll probably be looking again.

I have been spending a bunch of time over the past day or two researching companies with which I have interviews.  I like to be prepared and not have to ask, "Now what exactly is it that you guys do here?".  This is where my business degrees kick in, as I begin to remember financial terms like EBIT and EPS.  Not necessarily the only gauges of your potential employers' success, but important ones.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Not my best

I have this ideal self who is constantly firing off resumes, talking on the phone to networking contacts, acting all self-assured and positive about finding a job.  Unfortunately, I rarely see this ideal self. Occasionally, I have days like yesterday where I find any kind of an excuse not to do the things I know I should be doing - the things the ideal self just cranks out.  There's a spot on the rug from last night that needs cleaning.  There's laundry to be done.  What a beautiful fall day - I'll have to knock off early to run some errands on the motorcycle.  Hey, I've been meaning to do that minor project in my shop.  I felt bad about my lack of effort so I finished off the day by eating and drinking more than I wanted to.

Today, I'm trying to make up for it by firing off some resumes and talking to various contacts However, I already know that I'll be knocking off early this afternoon for a trip to see relatives.  I guess I'd better hit the ground hard on Monday. At least that's what that other guy, Mr. Ideal Job Hunter would say.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Job Search Work Team

I went to my first meeting of a job search work team.  Essentially, it's a group of people who get together on a weekly basis to report progress (accountability)  and share ideas (networking).  I really didn't know what to expect and I think my day 1 was not necessarily typical.  I got there early (as is my habit) and met one or two team members before the meeting got started.  The facilitator (a career consultant from the outplacement firm) started the meeting by saying that one of the members was coming in soon with good news. Soon thereafter a team member arrived and told us that he had gotten and accepted an offer.  He also mentioned that he had a couple of others pending that he would stop pursuing.  Most of the session was this individual sharing his excitement with us.  He paid tribute to the outplacement folks and to the process.  According to him (and confirmed later by his work team members), he is the guy who worked the most at finding a job.  He did all the exercises in the process, took lots of on-line courses and took every available teleconference and in-house course.  One interesting note, he worked almost exclusively with agencies in his search.  Everything about his chosen job sounds good - company, location, pay.

I guess this is why we go to these meetings - to experience the taste of success through others.  I'm happy for this guy I just met, but success will taste sweetest when it's mine.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I forgot to write yesterday about a dream I had over the weekend.  I'm calling it the "Vindication Dream".  I received some news about my old project team last week that I'm sure triggered it.  Because of some moves by the consulting firm that's now running the project, the people on the team are none too happy.  In my dream, the project was cratering and my former boss admits that this wouldn't have happened if I was still there.  I think I remember in the dream that he wants to offer me my job back but I turn him down.  Vindication.  Even though it's only a dream, it still tastes sweet.

Monday, October 06, 2008


I spent Friday at the outplacement office in a meeting on the rest of the 10 steps.  I'll go through these in a later post.  When I checked my email later that day, I had one from the headhunter with whom I have been working.  I called him that afternoon and we discussed a position.  He set me up with an interview on October 17.  I'm not sure I 'm a good fit, but I sure could use some interviewing experience.  I also talked to a former co-worker about a company he had previously worked for.  He was very helpful and is making some connections on my behalf.  They do have  job currently posted for which I may be a fit.  

I should probalby write a post about my weekend motorcycle ride.  It was a beautiful, but cool day on Saturday as I joined two friends for a ride into NH puckerbrush.  The colors were spectacular and I travelled a number of roads I haven't been on in a while, including some of my favorites around my old home town, Goffstown.  It's a great way to spend a fall Saturday.

This week, I have several teleconferences and a bunch of research to get to.  I have to develop my marketing plan.  Should keep me pretty busy.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Days Flying By

Like the leaves falling from the trees, the pages of the calendar are also falling away.  Yesterday was the three week anniversary of my departure from my former employer.  With the economic events in the US, and the large outpouring of money from our personal coiffers (wedding, finishing construction on the house), I don't often feel good about my situation.  But every once and a while, there's a glimmer of hope like the two emails I got yesterday from the headhunter asking to clarify my experiences in a couple of areas for two firms in the area with whom he's working.  Not that I even have an interview, but to have someone show even the tiniest bit of interest is gratifying.

I also had lunch with a former coworker yesterday, as well as IM'ed with a few others (is it o.k. to use "IM" when it was really gtalk?).  This gives me a sense of connectedness to people I recently left behind.  It is kind of isolating to sit at home during the day without talking or IM'ing with others.  I guess I'm not a good telecommuting candidate, at least not full time.  

Today I've signed up for a couple of teleconference teaching sessions from the outplacement firm.  I HAVE MEETINGS ON MY CALENDAR - another gratifying feeling.  This search process really is a cycle of ups and downs.

Tomorrow I'm meeting former co-workers for our monthly breakfast.  After that, I'll be at outplacement again for most of the day.  Busy guy, it seems like.