Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Who I am Not What I Do

Through this process I have been impressed by both friends and strangers. Everyone is happy to help me. For example, I ran into a friend (and blog reader) yesterday who suggested a few places to check out.

As a manager, having the people around you be responsive and cooperative are job requirements. As a manager, it is hard to know when people are sucking up or would have done it anyway. Now, everything is about who am and not what I do. I have a new found appreciation for my community. It feels good to have so many people looking out for me.

The highlight of Tuesday was hearing back from someone I met on Friday. Funding on the renovation project is several months from being official but my resume is with the right people for when the time comes. Yes, there is a large chance that this job will not pan out. That doesn't stop me from feeling good that I am officially a strong candidate for a job I want.

About two weeks ago, I found a position that looked like a good fit at a friend's company. I reached out to her at the time but didn't hear back so I followed up with her yesterday. She got back to me right away. Although not clear from the posting, the job involves traveling 75% of the time so I will not apply. Thank goodness my friend filled in the gaps so I didn't waste my time on that position.

I followed up with the referral from my new friend from the nail salon but did not hear back. It was so great of her to follow up and put me in touch with her contact on Friday. Unfortunately, he hasn't gotten back to me so that is probably a dead end.

For the most part, instead of combing sites like Monster and Career Builder I go to the web sites of places I would like to work and see if anything is a good fit. I found a events manager position for a non-profit. I'm glad to have found another opening that looks interesting. The next step is to figure out if there is someone who can encourage the recruiter to look at my resume.

Job applications: 1
Networking events: 0
New contacts: 1

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Did You Check Under the Bed?

I find myself spending a lot of time trying to craft emails these days. This requires a completely different level of concentration than writing an email. After working with a technology company, my work writing took on a casual air. My first boss had the education of the elite: the top boarding school followed by the top college capped off by the top architecture program. He was an amazing writer. Forget about being perfect; he saw work in degrees of wrongness. Looking back, I learned more than I ever thought I did during those years of paying my dues.

One of my friends called on Monday to say hello. Deep in my email crafting concentration I said, "Looking for a job."
"Did you check under the bed?"
I cracked up. How did she know to call to get me out of my head?

Most of the day was spent working on follow-ups and planning. It is amazing how quickly the days pass. I thought I would have all this free time but I feel like the days slip through my fingers.

After a great dinner out with a friend, we went to celebration drinks for a coworker who won an Emmy. How amazing is that?

It turns out that some MTV people where there but I didn't see if anyone knew about this job I've apply for. Actually, dear readers, I was rejected for the job only hours after applying. I suspect there is a computer program that rejected me automatically but I still am hoping to get my resume in front of the right person.

I had a great conversation about video art, Germany, and the 1979 Munich Olympics that was way more interesting than any faked conversation with someone from MTV. Yes, I want to find another job I love but I want to be myself while finding it.

Job applications: 2
Networking events: 1
New contacts: 1

Monday, June 28, 2010

Half Day Fridays

One of the nice parts about this time of year is that the people I know have more time. It is the time of year I want to be outside with fewer obligations.  For example,  on Friday I went to The New York Times to see a lunchtime interview.

There were under 100 people there with only a handful of us not NY Times employees. I've thought about moments in the interview at over these past few days so I am thrilled to have been able to go. It was the type of event I would have been invited to but probably would have missed out on if I had a job.

I chatted with a few people who checked in at the same time as me and sat with them before the program began. One person I met works for a large non-profit that recently secured funding for building out an adaptive reuse space in New York . In other words, they have a historic building that needs to look the same from the outside but not on the inside after the renovation.  I've worked on several similar projects before so this is another great lead.

After the talk,  I headed up to Columbia to hang out with a friend who has half day Fridays in the summer. There was a posting that caught my eye but since she works in the same department, it made sense to talk to her about the position before applying. We hadn't hung out in a long time so it was super fun to walk along the Hudson and grab a bite to eat while catching up.

After talking about the opening for a few minutes, it was clear it wouldn't cater to my strengths. There is another opening, however, that I wasn't aware of that might be a better fit. The best part of this meet up was reconnecting with someone who I love spending time with.

When I'm having one of those days where I'm worried about the big question mark of what is going to happen next, knowing that I have old friends in my corner is invaluable.

Job applications: 1
Networking events: 2
New contacts: 2

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Beauty Network

I love Steinbeck. There is something about how human his characters are and how he paints this picture of an America so foreign from the day to day of 21st century New York City.  Perhaps he is my escape in the way that people in fly over states watch Sex in the City. Last week, I read a passage in Travels with Charley that begins "It is my considered opinion that the hairdresser is the most influential person in any community." 

So when I got my haircut yesterday, I told my hairdresser all about my job situation. It turns out that his sister just graduated from college in Washington State and spent the last week looking for a job in New York, in part through his client base. Steinbeck was on to something and now I am, too.

Later in the day, I had time for a manicure before heading to a dinner so I stopped in a salon near the restaurant. A few minutes into the visit, I noticed a woman there with a bag marked with a brand of office furniture. Perhaps she works in the industry? How to talk to her? After a bit, the beautician moved me to the station right next to her. I started the conversation and it turns out she works for a firm I am familiar with. I complimented a recent project, she told me a bit about her work, and we see eye-to-eye on a lot of aspects of design and maintenance. While our nails were drying, she mentioned a good chance of an opening at a place I would like to work. 

Thank you, Steinbeck!

Job applications: 0
Networking events: 3
New contacts: 2

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yoga Day

Relative to a lot of people, I haven't been out of work for long. In January, I was told my position was being eliminated, there was tons to do to make that transition go smoothly, I had a new role lined up for May (my end date) but it fell through at the last minute.  So here I am.

Starting in June, I've been a volunteer once a week. Tuesday, I was one of four volunteer coordinators for helping 10,000 people get set up to do yoga on Central Park's Great Lawn. My role was to get everyone on the east entrance a gift bag including a yoga mat, managing a team of about 25 volunteers. It was my first time working a large event in a leadership role but that piece of the puzzle went super smoothly, in large part because someone easygoing but strong took on a leadership role at each station. Looking back, I should have been better about learning everyone's names since that goes a long way in making people feel appreciated.

The event itself was amazing to be a part of. The people waiting in line were, for the most part, in an excellent mood. The volunteers were eager to help. Watching the empty lawn slowly fill up with people, I got more excited about being part of something so wonderful. There were people in bright yellow jackets to monitor the entrance to insure an accurate people count for making a new the world record. As the start time got closer, so did the storm clouds. Occasional raindrops became more frequent and fuller. Someone made the call that the event needed to end due to safety concerns regarding the weather so it all ended with a whimper.

Due to the rain, the people working the event all congregated under the few tents although we got completely drenched. Thankfully, all my years as a runner and working in the park paid off so I wasn't phased by it until-- still in wet clothes-- we were in the air conditioned wrap party.

I got to know a number of other volunteers and ran into a good friend who recently moved to my neighborhood. My friend who invited me to help out also went over some of the glitches with me so I also learned a fair amount. I'll be hard pressed to find another volunteer opportunity that is as much fun.

Job applications: 0
Networking events: 1
New contacts: 4

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

MTV and Comedy Central

For almost a decade, I've been able to say "I love my job." I'm talking about waking up on a Saturday feeling disappointed that it isn't a weekday kind of love. Not having a job certainly has its minuses but I have this sense that there is another job that I'll love even more just waiting out there and I need to find it. In the back of my mind when considering jobs is this quest to want to jump out of bed on Monday morning to get the work week started.

Yesterday morning, I saw a position at MTV for a department coordinator. From the job description, it sounds like something I'd be good at. In general, the more vague and amorphous the job the better the fit. My strength as a manager is to make sure that experts are talking to each other in a way that everyone understands so it makes it easy for people to collaborate and grow. If the job description is fuzzy, that is always a good sign. Before I apply, I'm reaching out to a friend who works at MTV to see if I can get the recruiter to spend a few minutes with my application.

In the afternoon, I took my 2 year old niece to the playground. Spending a few hours with her in the middle of the week is exactly what I want to be doing with these flexible days.

For dinner, a group of my friends-- and some new people-- all met up at an apartment for a sort of housewarming. In retrospect, I should have gotten the word out that I'm job hunting to the new people but I'll keep that in mind for next time.

After dinner, I went to a screening of a new Comedy Central show that a friend has been involved with this year. I shook hands with a lot of people from the show but it wasn't conducive to getting to know new people. Seeing the end product all her hard work was fantastic and, as promised, it genuinely made me laugh.

Job applications: 1
Networking events: 2
New contacts: 0