Second interview, second thoughts

handshakeI had an in-person interview for a new job on Friday.

All in all, it went well, I think. We seemed to connect well, and it’s the kind of work I want to get back into. I pulled together an updated portfolio of my work in a big hurry on Sunday morning. I had a lot to do, this past weekend — including an all-day event on Saturday and a ton of yard work and other chores on Sunday — so I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked.

But I got it all together within a few hours on Sunday, and I’m fairly happy with the end product. It also lit a fire under me to really pull together a good portfolio of my work. That’s the one thing I’ve been missing, all these years. To be honest, I never actually needed it before, because at the level I was operating at, and based on the companies I’d worked for, everybody just knew I could do the job, hands down.

Now things are different, though. We’ve got all kinds of people making all kinds of claims about what they can and can’t do, and the job market is glutted with posers. So, a portfolio is the first and last line of defense for both job seekers and employers.

Even if the job doesn’t work out — and I suspect it won’t, because I believe they have an open work space floor plan, and that doesn’t work for me. I’m a really “visual thinker” and rely on the part of my brain that processes imagery to do my job. So, if my line of sight is not blocked and I’m constantly being visually interrupted, I can’t do my work.

I learned that lesson loud and clear years ago. And I’m not going back to any environment that’s even remotely “open workspace”.

I’m also not a huge fan of long-ish commutes. My commute right now is pretty good, and the route also includes a number of stores, so I can shop on my way to and from work, without disrupting the rest of my schedule. That matters. It makes a huge logistical difference in my life.

I also can’t work full-time in an office. I need to work from home at least two days a week. I might need a nap, and I need to be at home for that.  Additionally, not having to drive my car every single day makes a big difference in my fatigue levels, as well as the cost of fuel.

Plus, the company wants me to come on as a contractor first, then get hired. I’m not sure I’m okay with that. It leaves a lot to chance, and while they may say they’re stable and supported by their parent corporation, I’ve been around long enough to know how quickly that can change.

Anyway, I haven’t heard back from the recruiter yet. Who knows what will come of it… But if it doesn’t pan out, that will be a relief, too, because I won’t have to make any more changes for a while. I can sit out the holidays and take my time off… and not worry about anything other than a few little projects I have going on.

That, and building out my portfolio.

Who knows what will happen? It’s impossible to say. But whatever happens, it’ll work. I’ll make sure it does.

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The interview went well – I think

Staying in the game

So, I had my in-person job interview yesterday, and I think it went well. People were pretty guarded, but that’s to be expected in a high-power position for someone who is high profile, as well. And that’s how things could end up with this job. High profile. They either really, really liked me, or they didn’t think much of me, or they’re on the fence. They’re having another manager meet with me next week, which means they at least want to move forward. It’s really hard for me to tell what the deal is with people, because being in a new space, bombarded by all the new stimuli, causes me to shut down everything except my proactive interviewing self. I’m performing. I don’t have a lot of leftover bandwidth to figure out what they’re thinking. I literally have no idea. But at least I’m going back. One thing I’m going to work on for next time, is not being so “tangential”. When asked a simple question, I ended up going off on a tangent, losing my train of thought, then having to gradually work my way back to what the original topic was. It happened 2-3 times, and it was a huge stressor. But I kept my cool, and I finished up okay, I think. I’m going to have to think about this, I believe. It’s definitely going to be more stressful, but it’s going to be better for my career. I’m hesitant about jumping at the first real opportunity to come my way in a long time, but in my experience, you have to. Opportunities like this don’t come along every day. Worst case is, I’m there for 2-3 years, and I’m not the happiest camper. But it would be a phenomenal career move. Just smart, in so many ways. The commute is longer. But that’s only when I actually go to the office. Most of the folks I’m going to be working with are located around the country, and the manager I interviewed with yesterday is actually based out of a home office, several states away. So, people there actually know how to “do the remote thing”. And they do it without hesitation. Which is what I’m looking for. Ideally, I’ll be able to work from anywhere – which means I can go anywhere, and work from there. It will free me up considerably. It’s what I’ve been needing. The other thing is that I will be a subject matter expert in this new role, using the depth and breadth of my technical experience — over 20 years’ worth — on a daily basis. Right now, I’m nowhere near that. People I work with don’t even know enough to realize that I am a subject matter expert. The company where I am now is very territorial. People have their jobs which may or may not include expertise, and nobody else is allowed to step on their toes. That means, you have people in key roles who may not actually know what they’re doing, but they’re never allowed to be challenged by anyone else, so you have folks clunking along, doing a poor jobb, and never being required to do more. No competition is allowed. There has to be room for everyone, no matter what. It sounds nice on the surface, but it’s a recipe for institutionally protected incompetence. Now that I’ve cracked that code, I feel better. I know it’s not me. I know how things work. And it’s not a big ole mystery anymore. In a way, this understanding frees me up to move on. I seem to stick with situations until I understand them, I’ve learned certain lessons, and I am actually free of pain and suffering about the situation(s). Then again, it also frees me up to stay, because I have no great investment in the company, per se. It’s literally a paycheck that supports the rest of my life, and in a way it’s a relief to get to that point. I’m literally in the best position, ever. I am working with people who have learned to love me (and vice-versa) at a company I don’t have a massive attachment to. I go to work each day and spend time with friends. I can show up each day, do that simple work, and have my time and energy free in many other ways to develop other interests, finish writing projects, and enjoy myself. I also have the leeway to build other technology of my own, and work on my consulting chops, so I can eventually strike out on my own. Not only that, but I have skills and experience that make me a subject matter expert, and I have the means to bring that front and center. I am getting noticed by companies, particularly this big one who is interested in me Anyway, lots to think about. I’m going out of town on vacation to celebrate turning 50, so I may not be back online till next week. And then I’ll need to play catch-up.  So, I’m probably “going dark” for a while. We’ll see how it all goes. I plan to spend a lot of time just resting and relaxing. Unplugged in some ways, more plugged-in, in others. Have a great weekend, everyone.