A month beyond regular employment

trapezeToday marks one month since I left Hewlett Packard. It’s definitely been an interesting time of personal reassessment as well as assessment by others. I’ve had to update my résumé and LinkedIn site countless times, as well as send out numerous cover letters.

There have been 6-7 one-on-one interviews containing a wide range of questions like:

  • Name 5 two letter Unix shell commands
  • Describe the technique you would use consulting on the merger of two airlines.
  • What would be your ideal job?
  • Where would you use TCP vs. UDP?

The breadth of those questions is because I started the process of finding a new position like I was killing snakes looking at a range of positions and industries. Eventually, I came to the realization there is a huge difference between ‘personal time’ and ‘corporate time’. Don’t think because something is important to you and your primary focus for the day that you’re more than just another candidate for just another position.  It is a marathon, not a sprint – don’t lose confidence just because they don’t get back to you.

The self reassessment needed along the way reminds me of when I was younger. For about 10 years, I played trombone in a circus band for about a month every summer. Every year I watched the trapeze act perform. In this act, there are catchers and flyers. The flyer needs to let go of the bar and not focus on catching but on launching themselves into the gap, in order to achieve greatness. After all, catchers can only catch people who let go of the bar.

There is a quote from Marilyn Ferguson that comes to mind:

“It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between we fear. There’s nothing to hold on to.”

Looking for work has given me a chance to network and interact with a range of people and write blog posts for a variety of sources. These blogging opportunities came directly from my network. Don’t underestimate your network, since if you have a sufficiently diverse social net supporting you in the area you’re interested in working, they will know about positions before they ever hit a site like LinkedIn Jobs.

LinkedIn Jobs was one of the biggest surprises for me. There are numerous positions in almost every role and industry, but if you get a response (and I mean any response) to one out of 10 positions you apply for — you’re lucky. On the other hand, if you can find people in target companies in your network, track them down and let them know you’re applying. LinkedIn is definitely good for that.

Job hunting is a job. You need to plan and manage it. Along the way, you will be forced to question your beliefs and assumptions.

“Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
The Summer Day by Mary Oliver


3 thoughts on “A month beyond regular employment

  1. LinkedIn has been a bust for any decent job leads. The secret, for me at least, has been through my network of people at different companies. Meanwhile, I was asked that “technique for consulting on the merger of two airlines.” They disagreed with my assessment, and I had to say, “Well, that’s the technique I used when consulting on the merger of two airlines, and it was highly successful.” That was a bit of a downer. **SIGH**


  2. “Name 5 two letter Unix shell commands”
    Got to wonder what role this question was for…? Either way – you are over qualified!
    of course, I then had to sit there and remember as many as I could; I got to 21 … ar, bc, bg, cc, cd, cp, dd, du, ed, fg, ld, ln, ls, lp, mv, ps, rm, sh, tr, vi, wc

    Most I still use… particularly now I am playing with the Raspberry Pi.

    but – back to the main post
    I agree wholeheartedly with your point – the value of the network is immense. Abusing Metcalf’s Law – the value of the network is proportional to the square of it nodes.
    So the more people you have in your personal network the more “value” in it.
    BUT … and it is a BIG but … unlike the telecom networks, the personal network needs care and attention – networking is not a casual activity – it aligns with your comment that Looking for a Job is a Job.

    I try – mostly unsuccessfully – to reach out to somebody in my “network” every week by email, and phone phone or face to face every month. This is pitiful, but is a start. Clicking “like” on linkedin or facebook is not networking. a personal note about something relevant is a start.


  3. And like any other job you need to have a vision, plan and maintain focus. Nurturing your network to maximise the return on your investment of time and effort is part of that.


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