Thursday, October 25, 2007

A-B-C-D-E-F-Job?

Some of you have asked for an update on my job situation. I've been a bit hesitant about divulging too much information on my blog because... well, because there's a certain decorum one needs for this stuff.

On the other hand, while I believe firmly in decorum, I also believe in being as transparent and forthright as possible (and as appropriate). It's how I lead both my professional and my personal life, so there's no reason why it shouldn't also apply to my blog.

So, let's go back. All the way to May. (And, if it weren't for a 6-month contract stint at Microsoft and my little adventure at the beginning of this year, we'd be going back to last May!)

That's when I applied for the Director of Product Development position at the children's advocacy non-profit. Let's call them "A." I had three interviews with them -- a one hour phone interview, a three hour in-person interview with the CEO and executive recruiter, and an all-day interview with the 7-person leadership team. End result: I am one of two finalists. The other is a friend of mine, whose position I coincidentally took when he left (and I started at) another non-profit, a health education organization. They offer him the position. He declines it to take a more stable, higher-paying job in the technical consulting industry, but they didn't then offer it to me. I inquired as to why, and they told me. As of last week, the CEO had resigned. The position is still open -- and re-defined. I am newly in touch with the executive recruiting firm, but gun-shy about the whole thing at this point.

In July, I applied for two cool positions, both at non-profits. One was for the Director of Programs with a cultural and educational exchange program for at-risk youth (let's call them "B") and one was for the Executive Director position with a childbirth education organization focusing on lower income families (we'll call them "C"). I had two interviews with B, both of which went really well. At the end of the second interview I inquired into the salary and was very sad to discover that the salary was grant-based (i.e., non negotiable), less than half what I had come from, and simply not enough to even come close to supporting the family. I was sad to let go of that job, but was asked to bid on the writing of a 2-year curriculum for the organization. I am still awaiting word on that bid, but considering the fact that my first sentence in the e-mail when I sent it was, "You might want to sit down," I have a feeling nothing will come of it. (Non-profit or not, those things are very expensive to do well, especially for a media-savvy, demanding teen market!)

In early August, I noticed that the Director of Product Development at a family game company (we'll call them "D") that I've had my eye on for years, had opened up. In my initial inquiry, I attached networking e-mail exchanges with the CEO that had gone back almost two years. I got a call 15 minutes after I sent the e-mail, was asked to call the person vacating the position that evening, and to come in the next day -- which I did. On that day, I met with the CEO and she introduced me to a bunch of the directors. A few days later I was asked to come back to meet the leadership team. After that meeting I was pretty sure an offer was coming, but instead of a job offer, I was offered a contract writing gig. I took it, of course, odd as it all seemed to me. So there I was, applying for a position at the same company for which I was doing a freelance gig! And for three (three!) weeks after that day, my status as an applicant remained up in the air while I finished, submitted, and was paid for the writing gig. By that point I had gone from sure I had clinched the Director position to wondering whether I was even in the running at all. The day before I left for Germany in September I was informed that they'd found someone else who had sourcing experience in China which I, admittedly, don't have. I thanked them, expressed my disappointment, but congratulated them on their new hire. Last week I saw a new ad for that position (Director/Sourcing Expert). I emailed them, asking whether I could be of help in the interim. Not surprisingly, I haven't heard back.

I was in weekly touch with the people from "C" (the childbirth organization) through July, and the interviews for qualified candidates were supposed to be in late August or September. I fretted, because of our trip to Germany, but amazingly enough, interviews for all final candidates were moved to a day during the week when I returned. Although the job description had asked for 5 - 10 years' Executive Director experience with a non-profit, my assumption was that, since I didn't have that experience but was being asked to continue in the process, it wasn't an absolute mandate. The interview went very well and when I was asked if I'd been an ED or served on a board of a non-profit, I could only be honest and answer that I had not, but since I was there at all, I assumed that experience wouldn't make or break my candidacy.

I got a call a few days later, saying that I'd have been a "shoo-in" if it weren't for my lack of ED experience, and inquiring about whether I'd be willing to serve on their board beginning in early 2008. Since this process had already taken over three months and was "the one I wanted" (though salary hadn't been divulged yet, and that might have been a deal-breaker), I was very, very discouraged that evening. But I decided to focus on the positive, and I'm still very excited about being a board member for this organization.

A few weeks ago I interviewed for a web-based education company (they'll be "E") and that's still up in the air, so I'll decline to add anything more here.

And last week I sent an unsolicited e-mail to an exciting start-up company ("F"?) that will be doing exactly what I love the most -- developing engaging skills development media for young children. We talked for almost three hours and definitely hit it off, but unfortunately they need to fill other, more technical positions first. They did ask me to submit a timed writing sample, which I did (and that's why yesterday's post was a "Wordless Wednesday"!). Last night I was told that, although they love my "casual and friendly" voice and style, there's no immediate work, but there should be in the next few months. Am I willing to "just keep in touch"?

Of course I am.

And now I need to quickly sign off and reply to an e-mail inquiring about my availability for some freelance consulting work. I love that the e-mail ends with this: "If you had your way, what parts of this might you want to participate in? What could your commitment level be until there’s some moolah to spread around? Dang, I wish we could just hire you right now!"

I do too, my friend. I do too!

I have a feeling that the perfect job is out there seeking me with as much fervor, dedication, commitment and hope as I am seeking my perfect job. We're both wondering why we can't find each other when we're sure -- positive -- that the other exists. But I know that we will find each other one day. And it will be a glorious union that will make us both very, very happy -- and very, very relieved!

(Note: The positions I mention above are those for which I've had at least one interview and in which I am interested. There are also quite a few jobs I've interviewed for that I'm not particularly interested in... as well as plenty of jobs I'm interested in, but couldn't secure an interview!)

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3 comments:

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Oh, Carol, I sure hope the forces in the universe slide into position soon and you and your job find each other. What a hard thing to go through. You are definitely showing perseverance and enormous patience. Huge, huge hugs.

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Good luck Ladybug...I hate job hunting...

mks said...

Wow the blog world does have a way of connecting people. I linked to your blog from your LinkedIn site and it sounds like quite the tumultuous year of employment seeking.

Truth be told I had a 5 hours interview yesterday with 8 people and I am one of two candidates as you were. It is at a large university in boston working in the educational techology media department as a project manager. One of two finalists. I hate the waiting. My vibe was good but as your situations have shown, ya never know. Best of luck to you and I will be adding you to my blogroll!

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