Posts Tagged job hunt

Sunday Column (474)

I thought I start differently this week. The weather: cold, yet warm. Sunny yet rainy. Lack of Vitamin D (supplements!) and it all seems slow. But, there is energy. Positivity. Fun times and conversation with people that make you rock. A hot chocolate with a neighbour who just gets it. A benchmark to mastering life and to understand I am not alone with the problems I face. The challenge with the kids to make their bed, wash their teeth, get dressed in the morning and eat breakfast. Being at home brings those things into focus. It is good to be home, and it has been a fun time, but it is time to go back and work, to contribute, to make a difference.

Anyway, next week Tuesday, my 2nd interview goes live on my podcast. I cannot wait. I got loads of feedback (shoutout to Debbie, Anna and Spencer) and the third episode will see some changes; from the 4th episode onwards the quality should improve. I am recording 4 (!) podcasts next week. So this week it is going to be a different angle on Stories of Success. Another great industry friend, a fun conversation about life. As I investigate jobs I think about what he said:

1. Can I make a difference to the job?
2. Can I learn something?
3. Is it going to be fun?

I found a few jobs where that is the case, e.g. where I can say YES to all of those questions. Some are more formal, some are more fun, and at some I will learn more, others I can make more of a difference. Weighting, values, priorities and what I learn more and more, there is an emphasis on meeting your manager early on. If the chemistry sucks, you are out. For both parties this makes a lot of sense.

However, the companies need to want me first. And I am not at the stage yet where that’s necessarily the case, and I update you as I go along. I am hopeful though, and everything else would be worrying. The pipe isn’t as big as it could be but things only started to pick up. When I first left my last job I had one verbal offer which turned into a ‘no more recruitment before Christmas’ and another where I lost against an internal candidate. Things happen for a reason and things will work out in the end. I am very positive about things and I am keen on moving on.

That’s my update. Or is it?

The most important part happened over the weekend. My youngest got a red belt in Karate. Only a few months in, he managed to get the first accreditation. He was chuffed and proud, and so should he be. And I am too. I am very pleased he enjoys it and keeps going at it.

We also saw my mate who recently had twins. It is somewhat weird to see these small babies. It is as if it never happened to us. It seems so long ago, I feel so old ;-( No, actually I don’t, but I am glad the days of nappies are over. It was a great afternoon with lots of industry friends.

Weekends can be super to chill, spend time with family and friends. That’s how it should be!

Have a great week ahead,
Volker

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Job Hunt – a roller coaster ride

finish-line I reached the finish line. I am back in full employment, hence I thought I summarise what my thoughts have been over the past few months. It has been a roller coaster ride to be honest.

Where should I start. I started the race for a new job quite well but soon realised a few things: just because you get down to the last two or three out of 20 or 30 or more candidates won’t guarantee you a job. Even after seeing many people, companies might decide last minute to change the profile they are looking for and rule you out. I have been lucky with some interviews where they noticed after 1 session that I was short of experience in one criteria (out of 20) but as the weighting for that criteria was much higher than the other ones: I wasn’t a match.

All of this is of course fair enough, as you don’t want to start in a company where you aren’t a match. And sometimes you find that recruiters put you forward despite you missing that little bit extra, just to fulfil their quota. But never mind. I believe that I cut down the amount of recruiters I would work with in the future to approximately five. This seems like a good number. And the ones that are, know. Thanks for your support!

In our industry the supply of senior people is greater than the demand, so companies get hung up on one criteria. Big brand names, agency contacts, a black book of publishers and all that for a graduate salary. Digital is a flat structure. Between director level and MD/CEO there aren’t that many positions. And everyone seems to wait for a 2014 earn out. Will it happen?

The ultimate choice for me was again to do what I do best: fast pace, high energy and exciting start up! The title is not relevant, as it is the role that is the exciting bit.

For me it was important to go for the right role:

– Exciting product (tick)
– Healthy business (tick)
– Start up feel and environment (tick)
– Within programmatic (tick)
– Responsibility (tick)
– Smart guys (tick)
– MacBook Air (tick)

I need to be enthusiastic about a role and be ready to roll up my sleeves and get on with the job. Leading from the front and knocking on doors. After all I am a trained sales guy, the management part comes later. I believe I found just that role, in a start up, with some awesome, industry leading, cutting edge tech and ideas. Yeah!

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There are a few things that are key to finding a job. I am a natural networker and if I didn’t do anything else I met and caught up with a lot of people over the last few weeks. Some offered me a part time job (Thanks Admonsters!), some offered me commission based jobs and some are interested in me being involved as an advisor. I believe I came out better at the end with a more stable, more connected industry friend network, having shared ideas that might take off one day.

But after all it came down to decide between a full-time position and a part-time / consulting position. Since I got a family, a mortgage and big bills to pay each month, I opted for the full time, the more secure position. A consulting or free-lance position could be an option further down the line, maybe in a few years. We shall see.

However, making those decisions is easy. But the whole period of finding a job (which is a full time job in itself) is actually very stressful. Interviews, preparations, rejections (yes, not everyone wants you) and lastly waiting to hear and get official confirmation. The moment you stop looking because someone verbally told you that you are the next hire, you loose. Never ever take your foot off the pedal until the ink is dry on the paper. And, keep believing. Some company pulled their verbal offer after 10 days – leaving me in a bit of a limbo.

What made it hard for me is that I was always believing things work out, and given my Buddhist conviction on Karma. Having said that, you start doubting yourself, you start exploring other areas, but then things turn around again. Things will work out. They just take time. A week in recruiting is nothing. You get paranoid, you cannot relax, you cannot enjoy your time off. These are existential fears. What if you aren’t able to afford food for your family? What if you cannot keep up with the mortgage payments.

Finding a job in 3 months is hard. I just managed and ideally you need 6 months to evaluate all the right options and compare each opportunity against each other. Particularly during the summer months when companies are not recruiting, people are on holidays. Your mind starts playing games with you sitting around not being able to do anything but not being able to enjoy your time off either. Comfort food, take aways and bottles of wine help to calm you down. Herbal tablets, lots of exercise and a good support system help too. However, the times my wife and I were fighting because you are on the edge were a lot more often in the last few months than over the past 6 years of our marriage altogether.

These periods of fear and stress are periods to test you. You come out of it stronger, with a stronger determination to make things work. Even if it wasn’t your fault that you don’t have a job, even if you got a package to leave, even if it is all down to others, you will be more determined to do better. And you will. Everyone I ever spoke to came out of these periods with a smile and a better position and more happiness.

A time of reflection. A time you want (and I did) to give to charity. You need to keep yourself occupied and help others. Consulting offers, small projects, helping out for free but being busy. I wrote a book, so that is something good that came out of it already. You reflect on what is really important in life.

There are no tips but to be patient as the right opportunity will (eventually) come along.
Plan for 6 months and hope it is shorter.
Enjoy the time with your family; this time never comes back.
Look for a hobby to enjoy: read, write or work on the house: use the time.
It all comes down to timing, karma and belief….and yet, a bit of luck.

If you read that and need some advice, please contact me. I am happy to help, consult and show you tricks how to get through this. I was never worried of not finding a job, I was only worried to go crazy in between and loosing faith. Luckily nothing like that happened, and my wife is still in love with me too. I saw more of the kids, had a great holiday and about to start my newest adventure. I cannot wait!

Good luck to you.

Volker

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