Sunday, January 27, 2008

3 for 4

It's a weird time here at work. Some people are leaving next month, others have up to six months, some people have to decide whether to move, some have to decide whether this is all worth it. Because of all the changes, responsibilities are all over the place. The fact is the company is telling us dates but not providing any information with which to make a decision on how to proceed.

Most of us are doing what we need to do to wrap things up. We're loyal to each other in that we want to make sure we help as much as possible to make the transition smooth. At the same time, it's hard to focus with the lack of leadership. I know it's impossible to not go through something like this a few times in one's working career, but I certainly hope to avoid experiencing this confusion and frustration for some years to come.

My situation is like a black hole - information goes in but nothing comes out. I expected to be out of here in a couple months but was officially told that I was to leave in six months. While it's always nice to know you're valued and needed, it doesn't make sense when management failed to give me a heads up or even ask what I wanted. Frankly, I don't have the sense they had any plan for how to use my time. Who's running the show here?

Over the past week, I've been open to exploring what they had to offer me. While it would have been interesting to work on this project, the downsides were bigger than the upsides. I'd gain some new work experience for my resume and remain employed for half a year. On the other hand, I'd have to continue working in an unstable environment and have to pass up potential jobs if they wanted me to start in the next few months or give up a substantial severance for leaving early. The idea of not having income coming in is scary, but I decided that I'd rather collect my severance and have the freedom to apply for jobs that pop up. I've made a request to have my departure date moved up, but I don't know whether they'll be able to change it for me.

The first week of January, I submitted my resume for three positions. One, I had no expectations of hearing back since my qualification are a stretch. Within 36 hours, I received a call on the second resume - wow. I had a quick screening interview with HR after which he said he'd speak with the hiring manager about setting up a phone interview.

The process went surprisingly fast. I went in and interviewed with seven people the following week. While I prepared for the interviews, I set low expectations. After all, I haven't interviewed for a job in over five year; I'm rusty. While I felt it went pretty well, the hiring manager made a comment which leads me to believe that I'm not going to be there first choice. After some initial icebreaking conversation, she said, "I believe there are things that people can be taught and there are skills that people must possess. I have no doubt that you have the skills [to perform the analytical tasks of the job], but I want to make sure you've fully [thought through the demands of the job]."

I was a little caught off guard by her comment. I appreciated her straight forwardness but was at a loss for how to interpret her opinion. I did my best to respond (though now my friend points out I was too honest about my weakness) and demonstrate that I was ready to step up to the challenge. Basically, the company is going through a transition where her department is trying to establish a presence and leadership position and the person coming into the position needs to have strong interpersonal skills. I admit that I could be better, but I'd like to think that I've learned over the years how to build relationships.

Afterwards, I did all the appropriate follow up. I sent thank you e-mails to everyone. I also had a brief conversation with the hiring manager regarding a few questions that developed from talking with everyone. She was very gracious in talking to me, but I'm not sure I took full advantage of the opportunity to sell myself as the best candidate. At the end I asked what the timing was on a decision. She let me know that they are waiting to fly someone in for interviews and would notify me either way sometime in the next couple weeks. For someone who initially indicated they were in a rush to fill the position, she's taking her time which leads me to believe I'm not the best candidate. We shall see.

The following week, I was excited to hear from the third place where I had submitted a resume. Again, I did a phone screening with HR. I was one of three candidates from the masses of resumes they received. Now I am hoping to hear back that the hiring manager wants to speak with me. That same week, I put my resume out for another posting and immediately heard back the next afternoon. The recruiter told me more about the position and asked me a couple questions regarding my skills and interests.

The past week has been quiet. I fear that I'm not the top choice for any of the jobs where I've interview. (sniff) There was this frantic flow of calls and now it feels like I'm drifting in space. I do hope I get some good news next week about a new interview.

What is a positive for me is knowing that I've done something right with my resume. It's nice to know that I'm 75% on getting bites for job postings.

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