Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chatting at the Customer Service Counter

Yesterday, I exchanged something at a store. The woman helping me knew someone with my unusual last name, by marriage. Although the person she was talking about isn't my relative,  we worked together through a vendor during my last job. I got to know five people from that office and she worked with four of them.

I'm always impressed when connecting with strangers.  She asked where I used to work and she even knew some of the people from my team. She decided to work at this store in addition to her full time job when her daughter  went to college. She said she felt unproductive with all the extra time on her hands, it was her favorite store, and it seemed like the perfect fit.

This chat reminded me of how expansive my network is, how many great people I've been lucky enough to work with, and how New York doesn't feel big anymore. Although I rarely feel bored during my time off when I'm working a full time job, there is a piece of my brain that is not getting regular exercise. It must get rusty, right?

A few days ago, I designed my own volunteer program at a non profit. I offered to work one day a week to help quantify the impact of a new technology on whatever it is they care about. Word is still out if they can accept my help and what it would look like if they can. A friend asked me how this could line me up for a job. It may sound funny but my motivation is to do something I enjoy and feel useful in the process.  I have been giving the same amount of time to other places but working on a specific project is what I'm good at.

I'm finding more jobs that fit my criteria. In most cases, it is because someone else is telling me about an opening and not because good positions are listed on job sites. I just talked to a friend who suggested following up by mailing my resume and cover letter to the recruiter. It is such a simple way of getting someone to look at my resume but if she hadn't suggested it,  I wouldn't do it. 

I keep hearing that hiring is picking up. I also hear nothing gets done this time of year. When it comes to potential employment I thought it would just be a matter of having my experience resonate with a recruiter and the details would work themselves out. I'm not sure what the reasons are but I'm not hearing back about jobs that make me think "I can do that in my sleep and my resume proves it." When did hiring managers become even more picky then I am?  

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

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