I ranted in bit recently in other people’s comments (here and here) about the current job market versus the perceived job market. That’s nothing new; what is new is that I then got a couple of feelers back about possible positions. Consequently, I’ve come to think that I should put up a disclaimer here about what I am/am not looking for.
That type of gig is what I refer to as a “round-hole” job. There are a lot of round-peg people, and a lot of round-hole jobs. HR: go find one of those people instead; they’ll be happy and you’ll be happy. I was a round-peg person twenty years ago, but now, not so much.
The only thing worse than putting a square-peg person in a round-hole job is trying to put a round-peg person in a square-hole gig. It doesn’t work. And when it doesn’t work, it really doesn’t work.
Here’s a bit of why I’m a square peg:
Macintosh: I was a charter subscriber to Macworld Magazine in 1984, although I didn’t buy my first Mac until a few years after that (no, that isn’t supposed to make sense; people have been laughing at me about it for a long time now). I’ve been writing for Mac magazines such as Macworld and MacTech since 1998. I’ve been speaking at Mac-related conferences since 1996.
Writing: I co-authored my first book in 1997, and was a solo book author for the first time in 1998. I’ve been writing for books and magazines (print and online) steadily since then. Additionally, I’ve been blogging since 1999 (you’re soaking in it!).
Speaking, Teaching, and Training: Along with the Web and Mac conferences I mentioned above, I’ve also taught at schools such as Cal State Long Beach, Athens (Georgia) Technical College, and Pasadena (California) City College. I’ve done on-site training for organizations such as NASA/Ames, the J. Paul Getty Trust, and Lynda.com.
Education: BS in Information and Computer Science, UC Irvine, followed by a Certificate in Engineering Management from UC San Diego Extension.
Community: I’ve been involved with technical and online organizations since the early 90s. I’m currently List-Mom (since 1999) for the Wise-Women’s Web community. As a steering committee member of the Web Standards Project, I’ve participated in the DOM Scripting (current co-lead), the Dreamweaver (past lead), and the Microsoft Task Forces.
Financial and Transactional: Prior to the Web coming along, I wrote banking and financial software, including a six year stint for Citicorp as a programmer and manager. I’ve written software for retail stores, warehouses, mail order fulfillment, inventory, and point-of-sale. I’ve also written credit card software on both the retail side as well as the banking side.
Management: I’ve managed up to a dozen programmers, on projects as long as three years (and that one came in on time and under budget!). I’ve designed software, estimated projects, held interviews, hired, laid off, and given performance evaluations. I’ve also been in charge of recommending and purchasing hardware and software for a variety of firms.
And so on…
And at this point, you’re thinking: no company needs one person with all those skills. And I’m not expecting that anyone will. What I am figuring, though, is that some company out there might be looking for someone with a particular hard-to-find skill set, and I’ll have some variation of that set.
But what I also know is that those kind of jobs aren’t usually found in the bigco.com/jobs/ database—instead, you have to know someone who knows someone, who knows that they’ve tried three great people in this weird position, and that while those three were all smart and capable people, they’ve all flamed out because it needs someone who’s a little bit outside the usual. That’s me.
And if that’s your situation, don’t send an HR person to talk to me, as we’ll have nothing to talk about. This isn’t something HR people can handle. If you’ve got this type of job opening, read through some of the last few years of this blog. Read what I’ve written elsewhere. Google me, and see what other people are saying about me. Spend 45 minutes watching a video interview of me. By the end of that, you’ll know whether or not I’m one of the few people around who has a shot of succeeding at your gig. If I am, give me a call or drop me a line; I’ll be happy to talk with you about it.