Thursday, February 26, 2009

It Happened

I've told several people this, and certainly, my loyal friends who were with me the day I was laid off from my last job heard it, but on the day I was laid off I said, "Someday, I'll look back on this (layoff) and feel like they did me a favor". That someday was last night.

I met up with a few former co-workers from my last job. As I sat there and listened to them discuss the problems with the project that I left, the consulting firm that continues to take over, the management of the department and the disfunctional executives at the company, I thought of my new position. I'm still new and I'm not an employee yet, so anything I say should be tempered with the joy of a new job. But I really like working at my new place. The people are very helpful. The work is interesting. My boss expects me to know what I'm doing and doesn't look over my shoulder. It's so much more like a start-up than an old line company. I don't miss what I was doing at the old place. Yes I miss the people. But they did me a favor. There, I can say it now. It happened.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

On the phone

Yes, that's where I'll be. On the phone. After three days in my new job, I've learned that this is a significantly virtual IT team. I have yet to see the person who hired me and from what she said, it might be a couple of months before she shows up in the office where I'm located. But I'm on a couple of status phone calls with her twice a day and she's accessible by email and instant messaging. Besides, I'm experienced enough that all I need is a point in the right direction and I can run. I do miss getting to know some of my team members in person but let's face it - after an introduction I usually forget the name anyway. Here's some locations where my boss's team members are located:

Other Project Managers: Toronto, Dallas, Atlanta, Woburn
Business Analysts: London, Scottsdale, Bermuda, Woburn
Developers: NJ, London, Buffalo, NH, Woburn and other places I haven't figured out, yet.

My first two projects will involve working on systems for subsidiaries in Connecticut and Arizona. In the first case (CT), it will involve working with a vendor to adapt a system to something it doesn't do today. In the second case (AZ) it will be installing a brand new system, still to be selected. Should be interesting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Slow Start

I began my new job today. It wasn't like they were ready for me. It started on Tuesday when I was supposed to conference call with my new boss, but she never joined the conference. Never mind that, I thought, I'll show up tomorrow and get things sorted out.

I, of course, arrived in Woburn about 30 minutes early. I mean, you never know how it will go on your new commute and I didn't want to be late. After killing some time, I walked into the office at about 5 minutes before 8 a.m. I was the third person in what turned out to be a very small office. I introduced myself to the other two guys and asked them if they had my boss's phone number. One of them looked her up in the directory. When I called her, she apologized for missing the phone call - she's in Bermuda on business (yes, that's where the home office is) and got very busy. She asked me who was in and when I told her, she had me hand the phone to one of the guys. He talked with her for a minute or two and then hung up. She had given him instructions on where I should sit and how to set me up.

He lead me to a desk - it is a small office so I got one of the 16 desks that were there outside the two enclosed offices. He got me signed on and I began to poke around. After looking at various documents on their intranet, I got an instant message from my boss. Apparently she was going to have another one of the project managers show me the ropes, but the woman was out sick. So she sent me a long document describing the systems and how the companies use them and left me on my own. Ultimately, at the peak, there were a total of 11 people in the office that day, including a very nice admin who showed me around a bit (supplies, copier, etc).

At the end of the day, I sent my boss a note telling her what I had done and asking for more direction. As I checked my home email account, I saw that she sent me instructions on how to get in through the VPN, and then I checked my work email to find more direction. So I think I'll be a bit busier tomorrow.

And the commute? Not too bad - 50 minutes going in and 55 coming home (in snow). Of course it's a holiday week in MA so the traffic was probably at its best. Updates later when I have time. It's late and I need to sleep.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A few details

Starting next Wednesday, I'll be working as a Project Manager at a reinsurance company in Woburn, MA. The job starts as a contractor role, with the intention that they will hire me in 6 months or less, assuming I don't screw up. I'm o.k. with this - if you remember one of my earlier posts, I need to be the president of "You, Inc." anyway. There's no better way to learn how to act like a consultant than to become one.

The office is located in a brand new building on 128 in Woburn, about 50 miles door to door, only slightly further than my last job was from my house. Unfortunately, the last 10 miles are the on craptastic RT 128 where the traffic usually crawls at rush hour. No complaints from me though. I'm happy to have a job.

For those of you interested in the technology, my first assignment may be a data warehouse project or it may be a .Net development project - I'm still waiting on details. The recruiting firm has indicated that they may want me to drop by at the reinsurance company on Tuesday to get assigned and oriented.

I'm very excited to be joining the ranks of you employed people again (those of you who are) and I hold out my good wishes to the rest of you unemployed people. Keep looking; good things can happen. Thanks to all the folks (and there are so many of you) that have supported me in my time of unemployment. Remember, I have a lot of experience doing this, so I'm happy to help anyone who needs it.

I'm not sure how much time I'll have to post in the future. I'll try to write a few after I start the new job just to give you my first impressions. It's a very good thing that I won't have the time to chronicle my unemployed life anymore...


This is the official announcement that I have a job, starting next Wednesday. I'll fill in the details in a while, but I thought I'd get this out there for my loyal readers, whoever you are. Big, big, big sigh of relief and a lot of excitement.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I know in my last post, I talked about the two interviews I was having last week. As it turned out, I had one and one half interviews last week and finished the half interview yesterday. Here's the story.

The long distance drive interview happened last Tuesday, a day where snow was predicted. I drove the 75 miles in about an hour and 1/4, arriving about two hours early. It's always good to be early because you never know what can happen. There was some snow on the way down, but since it was mid-afternoon, the traffic moved along and the drive was not bad. Little did I know....

After locating the office, I waited in a nearby coffee shop, reviewing notes on the company and trying to prepare. About 15 minutes before the appointed time, I went into the office. By now, the snow was coming down pretty good. The interview was a panel interview with 4 people barraging me with questions (their word, not mine). I'm not sure how well I did on this one. While I leave most of the interviews feeling good about how I did, that wasn't so true with this one. I felt like I handled their questions o.k., but it's hard to make eye contact with four people at once and at one point, I know I heard a yawn. Perhaps the extra doses of coffee caused me to talk too much. They said they would probably be making their decision within two weeks - it's been one and still no word.

The drive home was horrendous. As I left the interview at 5 p.m., the snow was falling fast and furious. It took at least 20 minutes just to get out of their office park (less than one mile). The first part of the drive was o.k., albeit at reduced speeds. And then I hit about 10 miles of stop and go traffic, mostly stop. By the time I got home, I had spent about 2 and 1/2 hours in the car. I guess that's probably the worst commute I could expect short of a truck crashing across the highway. I've had that long a commute to drive 45 miles about 5 times in the 7 years I worked at my last job.

The second interview last week was supposed to be a one hour phone interview. It got cancelled on Monday, rescheduled for Tuesday, cancelled for Tuesday and then happened for about 20 minutes on Wednesday without scheduling. The interviewer said she would call me back later Wednesday to finish, but no call came in. The recruiting firm through which I am working this opportunity eventually set me up with an on-site interview in Woburn, MA, which I had yesterday.

This interview seemed to go well. I felt like I did a pretty good job connecting with the interviewer and explaining how I can help her with her needs. But I've learned that a good interview experience is never an indicator of the ultimate decision, so I can't get too excited about this job either. Her boss who I briefly met said they would be trying to make a decision by the end of the week, so I now have two possibilities that I might hear about within a week. I'm hoping that one or the other turns into something because, let's face it, it's ugly out there.

And now, I have to go reload my pipeline because after these two, I have no opportunities that I'm working....

Monday, February 02, 2009


I have two interviews this week. One on the phone and one in person. In fact, the phone interview is supposed to be going on right now, but the hiring manager never called. I have alerted the recruiter and she's working on locating the hiring manager. When the interview was set up, I thought the Monday after the Superbowl was maybe not so super an idea. But here I am, all ready and prepared, sitting by the phone with no ring.

The phone interview is a second interview for a temporary to permanent job (try before you buy) at a company in Woburn, MA. Funny how 8 years ago, I was living in Woburn and not liking it very much. I'd much rather live in NH and bear the commute than to move back down to MA.

Which brings me to my next interview, an on-site interview in Canton, MA. Canton is about 80 miles away. Now, an earlier interview I went on was 90 miles away, to the north. This is 80 miles on the other side of Boston. Unlike the hour and a quarter it took me to get to the one up north, this one will probably take an hour and a half on a very good day and more like an hour and 3/4 or two hours on most days. One way. So I'm not real excited about the prospect of the commute, but let's face it, I do need a job and if this turns into the only offer I get, I will probably have to take it.

So, some activity on the job search, but nothing solid yet. C'mon phone, ring!