Saturday, June 23, 2012

What Color Is Your Masochism part 5: How I Got the Gig

I never got around to mentioning that I got the long sought job, the one I spent 3 years looking for, the one that makes me happy to get up and go every morning (ok, most mornings), and I learned so, so much while I was looking. It is an incredibly treacherous job market out there, at least it was when I last checked. I did everything I could, followed all the advice of experts, and I can say that one piece of advice rang true above all others: the last place to look for a job is in the want ads. I think Craigslist and Monster and the like are great places to do research, to see what's out there, learn about different types of jobs and companies, explore fields that match your interests and even look for new interests. They're also fantastic places to practice building your chops, honing resumes and cover letters. If you're lucky, you'll get some interviews or at least some valuable feedback on how you're presenting yourself. If you're very lucky, you might make new contacts, allies who will remember you the next time something opens up. But the unfortunate truth about approaching the job search from this angle is that by the time the ads are posted, several other applicants have either been recommended or sought out by the employer.So how do you get around this?

Ideally, you should talk to as many people in the field as possible. Networking is no joke, and it is not overrated. Thanks to some lucky connections, by the end of my job search, I had managers at some of my target companies sending me the drafts of employment ads before they were published, so I was able to be one of those few early bird applicants, and while none of these ended up being My Job, they led to connections with an ever increasing group of contacts in my field, and I'm certain that this was a huge component of my job search success. In the end though, it was a close friend (and networking genius) who led me to My Job, and she found it through a brilliant channel that hadn't even occurred to me: Twitter! This worked because I was dialed into the early notice system by way of my social network, I had strong feelers out among people who were on my side and knew I was looking, and I had so much practice with writing resumes that I was ready to apply on the spot. All the resume practice and research had prepared me for what came next: I knew exactly what I was bringing to the employer, I knew exactly what I was looking for, and I knew exactly why. These certainties made the interview a no-brainer.

When I met my future boss, we got along instantly. We understood each other, and it was like a breath of fresh air after struggling so hard to appeal to employers that weren't a good fit. We spent the whole time talking about the job, but it didn't feel like "talking about work" It felt like talking about something we were both interested in (concerts! oh how I love concerts!). She and I had similar backgrounds in the industry, so my experience and qualifications made sense to her, which meant I didn't have to convince her of my value. And the job made sense to me, and was something I couldn't wait to dive into! So we were set.

The one drawback was that it was going to be a part time gig with the potential to increase, which isn't ideal living in one of the most expensive cities in the country, but I had been looking for this for so long, and saving a preparing along the way, so my boyfriend and I decided it was worth it to take the leap and we would make it work. And we did make it work... for 4 weeks! And then I got run over by a motorcycle and had to be away from my dream, part-time job for 3 months (sigh...).  BUT! While I was gone, they decided that they needed me full time, so by the time I got back from the horrible injury convalescence recovery misery fest, I had a dream FULL TIME job! Score!!

The whole motorcycle bit really, really, a thousand times sucked, and the job search itself wasn't much more fun than that, but I'm finally where I want to be. So if you're out there looking for a job and looking for solace, don't expect that all the little hoops you jump through will make sense, and don't expect the path to be straight and clear. I would never, ever lie to you and say that everything happens for a reason, but I will say this:

Everything happens

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