Saturday, July 28, 2007

I Can Program a Computer, Choose the Perfect Time

Stick with this post because there's quite a bombshell at the end.

Since I've been in a multimedia frame of mind, let's throw in a clip to start off the job search update...

So here's where things stand right now...

I trusted my gut and sent a politely worded rejection letter to the CNC manufacturer. Since then, I've gotten two more contacts from local recruiters plugging the same position. My read is that the company is desperate to find someone to fill that vacancy.

The most prized local lead, a high performance programming role with the big indigo computing megalith, remains silent. I fear that the company's automated web form may be just a black hole. I've been using Google to see if I can deduce from news reports, press releases, or local university websites who might be in charge of this project, but I can't find any information on it.

This coming Tuesday morning, I have an introduction over coffee with a manager for the local office of a consulting company who is looking for Java developers. I had a phone conversation with one of their recruiters last week. It sounds like they try to hire people locally instead of sending their staff on extended traveling assignments.

It's looking like my interview with the Bay Area software company that I mentioned in the last update will be in mid-August.

On Thursday, I had the third and final phone interview for the Western Keystone State office of the Financial Trading Software vendor. The recruiter said that the interviewer gave me good marks, but now they seemed to be obsessed about my salary.

According to the recruiter (whom I refer to as the "obsessive girlfriend" because I get no less than four e-mails and phone calls from her a day), they are concerned that my current compensation is so low.

I explained to them that I live in an area where the cost of living, especially for housing, is very low. I added the lowness of my salary is also due to the fact that I work for a startup.

I really don't understand the whole brouhaha. I've demonstrated some degree of skill aptitude to them via a standardized programming language test, a programming logic test, and one and a half hours of technical phone screens. Why they would refuse to pay the market rate for their area just because I make a lot less than that know simply befuddles me.

On Thursday evening, I had a 45 minute phone interview with an Online Advertiser that just became part of the Really Big Pacific Northwest Software Company. It was more of a get-to-know you discussion, but the chemistry was good. They are a .NET shop, but they are willing to bring on sharp people who are willing to learn it. It sounds like they have some really interesting scalability problems they're trying to tackle. I am slated to have a more involved technical interview this coming Tuesday evening. If that goes well, I think that advances me to a face-to-face interview.

During my lunch break on Friday, I caught up by phone with a local recruiter I met way back in January. He talks my ear off, but I like him because he seems genuinely interested in helping me find a role. He said a new position had come up for a company that does telephony applications for correctional facilities. It was a local position, and the pay was much more than my current job. He wondered whether I might make a fit, despite the fact that I hadn't had experience with telephony hardware. I said I'd be willing to write a paragraph that addressed that concern so that he could forward it along with my resume.

On late Friday afternoon, I had an in-person interview over at a CD/DVD/Video Game Distribution Warehouse on the northeast side of town. I spoke with their director of IT as well as the two guys with whom I had spoken on the phone a week prior. I got more detailed information on the architecture of their system and how they were trying to upgrade it. Since this is a short-term contract involving legacy technology, I'm probably not going to take the offer, but I'm sure the managers loved getting to meet the brother of one of their network admins. The comment that kept coming up was how we didn't look alike and how different our personalities were.

I also had a couple of phone conversations with a recruiter out in the Pacific Northwest who was looking for someone to do a 6 months - a year contract with the organization that helps the DOJ enforce antitrust compliance with the big software company out there. Yes, it's the same company with whom I interviewed in April and got rejected, and yes, the irony has not escaped me. From what I've learned, they have had a lot of trouble finding someone with expertise in this area, and while I am not experienced in working with the protocol they're auditing, I have a lot of low level network protocol analysis and reverse engineering experience. At her request, I provided a short introduction about myself that speaks to that. Hopefully I will have a phone interview with them soon.

I'm still waiting on a phone interview time for the Bluegrass State Printer Manufacturer.

I sent my resume and employment agreement to the recruiter representing the Local Interactive Search Engine.

The incoming recruiter contact e-mail and phone call backlog started to get pretty hairy by the end of the week. I'm turning away most of the chaff, primarily bad skill matches, undesirable locations, or legacy technology assignments.

And now for the bombshell. After the CTO got back from his trip to LA on Thursday, he called me on his cell phone to make sure I was in the office. He wanted to speak to me privately.

We had a discussion in the conference room later that morning. He said that he knew that we hadn't talked much, and he wanted to make sure everything was okay with me because he noticed that I was out of the office a lot during the mid-day. He said that the CEO and he were worried that I might be interviewing.

I admitted that the uncertainty over the company's direction had been a big source of stress on me. I didn't say that I had been interviewing, but I admitted that I had been seeking some professional help to deal with the stress, and that was where I had been during those times.

He apologized for the roller coaster ride, saying that he and the CEO had been through a lot of stress as well. He then went on to assure me that we were in the best financial position we had been in for a long time. He then disclosed that things were teetering on the brink about a year ago, which coincided with his "crunch time" memo (scroll down to "Things aren't much better at work...") from last year.

He then said that a deal was in the works with the Hollywood guy, and it sounded like something that my coworker and I had speculated about a little over a month ago. The empire builder is offering a stock swap deal, which puts our company under his control. On Monday, our angel investor heads out to the Left Coast to nail down the agreement. Our company would then oversee the integration of the IT services of his other acquisitions. The CEO and CTO would move out there to work. My coworker and I would be given the option of either going out there, too, or staying behind to work remotely.

I asked him how serious this deal was. He said that it was so serious that he was not going to pay the kids' tution at the parochial school they attend. That means he plans to be out there with his family this fall. Moreover, he said the deal was good enough that he was going to sign off on his shares in the deal. Once the deal goes through, my coworker and I would be getting raises, too.

The news really hit me hard. For one thing, it confirmed a lot of speculation. It also made me reexamine my job search strategy. Did I need to ratchet back so that I wouldn't draw any suspicion? Should I just go out with them and leave the family behind? By the end of Thursday, my mind was just too wiped out to ponder it further.
blog comments powered by Disqus