Yesterday I had a conversation with a man who was looking for work. He is a network engineer with many skills, certifications and a degree under his belt... and he's in the same boat I am, looking to improve his job prospects.
I found him likable enough. When I told him I once interned at Netscape, his eyes lit up. He'd found someone he could talk to! One of the questions he asked me was, 'Why didn't you stay in the IT field?'
My response was off the cuff, served with a sliver of bluntness.
'I like to eat.'
That is not to disparage the IT technogeeks in my life. In order to be any good, you have to hustle constantly. In that respect I guess it's like everything else in life. You have to be smart and fast.
I would have enjoyed trading beers and stories with him. Next time I see him I might ask him for his contact information, card or Facebook account or whatever they do now.
What struck me was that we weren't all that different.
Both of us have families and want to be present in the lives of our children. I sensed the conversation was going on too long, he just came in to get a pair of electrical scissors to cut wire.
In my opinion, this is the way to find the best jobs. Know somebody. Utilize your network. Listen.
I put out my resume and I've looked at the job postings through the Texas Workforce Commission. What I'm seeing isn't encouraging, but I'm going to keep looking because the alternative is to stay in a dead end job until I'm used up, my personal hell looming and I'm trying to avoid it.
Going out to social gatherings is good, not only for my mental state, but it's a great way to make contacts. I met a human resources manager for a national corporation. She told me all about how I'd be a great fit for her company. She even started emailing me job listings. Fan freaking tastic!
In the past there have been many strategies I've used when interviewing.
- I've tried to smooth over all the challenges that I've faced. Job interviewers want a person fast, efficient and capable.
- Then I acknowledged my disabilities and highlighted how I overcame the stuff that life threw my way.
- I even tried to hide my deafness by lip reading and anticipating questions. My own version of don't ask/ don't tell. Incidentally that was the strategy that got me hired at Lowe's. I fully believe that was the only way I made it through to the second interview.
In a fit of irony, the HR manager told me why I wasn't hired was that I had my act together and there was another candidate who had more problems than I did.
I wasn't screwed up enough. That boggles the mind.
It may not be the fastest way, but I get better results when I use my friends to network.