Archives for posts with tag: networking

Under-employment offers some advantages, including the ease with which one can excel. In the first six months of my little job, my efforts have been formally recognized three times, and I have received lots of great informal feedback from my managers. I have also been allowed more responsibility. Rather than simple floor sales, I will be able to schedule appointments to sit down with customers and develop plans for bigger projects, and I’m excited about the opportunity.

I see this job as a long-term, but not necessarily central, part of my work life. It is fun, the people I work with (and for) are wonderful, and I am developing skills in an area that has always interested me. I’m also applying skills I brought to the job. And of course, there’s the discount. I sell beautiful things for the home, and I have a home that needs many things, which might as well be beautiful.

Being officially “part-time” also keeps things fresh, and leaves me plenty of time for…

That’s the problem. Even with my puttering and my projects, my walking and my Waldo, and my lovely family, I find myself searching for somewhere to direct the rest of my energy. The years of experience in my field are jingling in my pocket, just crying out to be spent. (wow, tortured metaphor or what?)

I’ve been diverted this last year by many things (details available in previous posts), but have been inching back toward the hunt for a “big girl job” with a big girl paycheck (I have not given up my dream of hardwood floors.)

I applied for the local version of my old job when I spotted an opening in early May.  I tweaked my LinkedIn profile. I asked the colleague I most admired at my last job for a recommendation, which he promptly provided. I perused LinkedIn, scanning for anyone  with whom I might have some tenuous connection, who might give me some insight into the prospects for the job. I didn’t know anyone who knew anyone, but I noticed the profile of a woman who had previously held my prospective position. We seemed to have a lot in common professionally, although she has already done things I am still aspiring to: certified mediator, mitigation and sentencing specialist. I’d love to talk to her. I started composing a message, and couldn’t find the right tone. Dr. T came home and off to lunch we went.

I did not receive a response to my application, which stung a little, but was something of a relief:  a full-time job could be hard to juggle with the parts of my life that are working well- studying with BR two nights a week, and my little job, and there was a certain “been there, done that” aspect to the job. Ideally, I’d  come up with something that allowed me to set my schedule around my existing commitments, and give me room to grow. This train of thought pulled up right back where I started last year: mitigation specialist, certified mediator, private investigator, graduate student, freelance writer. All highly acceptable options, but how feasible? Time to start getting serious again.

About two weeks ago, I received a LinkedIn invitation from my prospective contact.  Had I sent the message after all? I couldn’t find it, and decided I was becoming just that much more senile. I happily responded to the invitation, promising myself to contact her after the in-laws left. Before I got to it, she sent me a note today, saying she’d found my profile on LinkedIn, that she was interested in moving to California and hoping I might be able to offer her some information on how things are done there. She offered to provide any information I might need about working here. I expect we will meet for coffee soon. I am still grinning at the cosmic symmetry.

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According to a list I cribbed from a blog post to the SFGate on February 9 about how to triple your chances of being hired,  employers most value the following traits:
  • honesty,
  • trustworthiness,
  • commitment,
  • adaptability,
  • accountability, and
  • flexibility.

First of all, the math escapes me. There are six traits listed, not three. Besides that, who trusts anyone who talks about how honest they are? It seems to me that any description of a job candidate with those words would be far more credible coming from a reference, rather than the candidate. I have all those traits (trust me!) and I am still looking, possibly because I haven’t mentioned them in any cover letter I’ve sent.

Ironically, in my own case, those traits are pretty much demanded in my chosen field (investigation,) so I suppose I can easily tweak my language to better reflect them in the future. In the meantime, the pretty bubble I inflated last week by finding and applying for 3 interesting positions was deflated somewhat by my husband’s well-intentioned assertion that according to what he heard on the radio (NPR, so you know it’s true) you should never apply for a job until you have networked with the employer.

I have long been aware of the reported value of networking, and have long avoided it. I don’t understand my aversion; I have spent my working life making cold calls, face to face and on the phone. It seems a small step farther to do it on my own behalf, rather than for a client. At the risk of climbing back on that darn couch, I have to suspect that I suspect that I don’t deserve the effort. I must say that my feeble attempts at “networking” in my own very specific field were met with resounding indifference from my professional peers, and I was surprised and unsettled by that- I mean, I was volunteering, for crying out loud.

Well, boo-freakin’-hoo, as they say. Maybe I was doing it wrong. It’s time to try again. So I will, turning again to my two friends, the library and the internet. I will commit to making some effort to connect with someone in my field every week. I will make the same effort with someone outside my field, in a related area of interest. I will document those efforts here. I will also be reviewing current writing on the job search process, and commenting on whether I find any of it helpful. And I will clear the final hurdle of completing my Linkedin profile.

Finally, I will re-commit to this blog. For a minute, I thought I had run out of things to say, but I am happy to report that simply completing this post has recharged me in some way.

George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (cnms.berkeley.edu).

Greggory Miller

Investing for normal people

The Happsters

Spread Positive Vibes. Give Love. Be Happy.

jmgoyder

wings and things