Friday, November 02, 2007

And I'm gonna bowl me a perfect game...

Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues,
And you know it don't come easy.

-- Ringo Starr, "It Don't Come Easy"

Welcome to the 300th post of this dissertation on depression and disappointment.

It also happens to be somewhere around 300 days since I began the first big round of job searching. I've spent a lot of time interviewing both far and near, gaining an unseemly reputation as some sort of job search slut. Maybe someday I'll write a parody of "I've Been Everywhere, Man", set to the names of corporations, as a testament to my promiscuity, but that's for another day.

Yet, even through all of this experience of self sales, I have never encountered what I encountered today. My interview with Susie Student Loan Co. got cut short by about an hour. Yep, you heard that right. After enduring the first four interview blocks, my interview took a detour to the department's senior manager, the hiring manager's manager.

Seeming both apologetic and embarrassed, he relayed to me the mixed bag of news. While I had made a very good impression on everyone with whom I interviewed, he had received news about 15 minutes ago that upper management had put a hold on hiring for the position.

The uncertainty over a potentially protracted legal battle with a cold-footed private equity suitor had made management clamp down on new hires. It was this snag that delayed my second interview, and they thought they had managed to work around the issue by expanding the role's responsibilities. They had gotten a verbal commitment from the higher ups in the middle of this week, which prompted them to go ahead with the interview. The word this morning was that the higher ups and reneged and would not sign off on it. Making the news even worse was the possibility that the hold could last for several months, up into next year at the very least.

The good news was that they wanted to keep a channel of communication open because they didn't want to lose me if I was still in the market. On my way out, the hiring manager said that it's been tough finding qualified applicants for this role. Echoing Sober Husband's advice from about 11 months ago, he said they needed someone who was capable of picking up new things and could look at things with a critical eye. The feedback they had gotten from the interviewers was that they liked the way I analyzed things and could articulate myself in front of both technical and nontechnical staff.

I have their contact information and they have mine. We're supposed to get in touch every couple of weeks to update on any changes, especially if I think I might be accepting an offer elsewhere, because that might give them additional leverage against upper level management.

I enjoyed speaking with everyone, moreso than I had initially imagined. When I learned that database security had been added to the list of responsibilities, I feared that was going to sink my chances because I have almost no experience. I stuck with the adaptability storyline and pointed out how my resume experiences reflected that, and that seemed to work well.

I'm not going to hold my breath on this one, but if I don't find something else around here soon, it might be my best bet in terms of compensation and skills development. The skills that this kind of job will foster are going to become more valuable with time. It will also help me break free of my links to native code (e.g. C/C++).

At the very least, I might try to tough it out through December, when my standards group technical meeting takes place out in the Bay Area. I might take some additional days off while I'm out there to interview for jobs.
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