Preface: For those who don't know, both my wife and I are unemployed and are looking for work. Had a teleconference/interview with a neat little company today, and here are my thoughts. Some of you will think I'm nuts. Others will get it, cuz they already know I'm nuts.
Well, let's see what the job boards have today, hummm, yep same old same old. No I don't want to sell insurance. Don't want to work at home or for people from Nigeria. Crap.
I wonder what's cooking on Linked In. Click "jobs" 100 mile radius of Fayetteville. IT stuff. Computer stuff. Unix Admin. Blah blah....WAIT! A______D. Who are they? Ask Google. OK, that's who they are. What do they do? Crap...I got to learn all these new acronyms. I really need to get out of telecom though. Seven layoffs is plenty, thank you.
Oh, this is cool, they're into medical imaging. Neat!, That's exactly where I want to be, but what do they do? Oh...they just move stuff around...they're sort of a communication company for radiologists. They want an applications specialist. JIMMINY CRICKET! I can do this!
The stretch starts to burn in my thighs and calves. That's far enough. I'm ready. I have prepared for this moment for months. This isn't my first race. I've done this before and sometimes, I win. I'm warm enough now to loose the sweats and I toss them to my coach.
Enough research. They want a trainer who can be a field engineer, or the other way round, either way, I'm their guy. E-mail resume where? Oh, there, ok, cut and paste the cover letter, make a few edits for this job. Carefully select the right resume from an arsenal of about 15. Oh might as well add the reference sheet. Attach.
My feet are in the blocks. My body tenses. The pistol is raised.
One last check of everything, no point in making an ass of myself. I do love spellchecker. Click "Send"
BANG! Jeepers! My body leaps from the blocks. It amazes me every time how loud that pistol is! The track is moving beneath my feet. I sense the other runners, I can't see them, but I know they are there, all trying to take this prize from me.
OK, now we wait. Not exactly. Now we learn, who are these people, I need names, histories. Where did the CEO go to school? Where did the marketing guy learn to do his job? How many people work there? Hum...only 35? Oh that's cool!
Email: You have a conference call Tuesday 4 Aug 09 at 3:00.
This track is shorter than I am accustomed to. I can see the first hurdle approaching, it's hard to tell how high these things are because all of these races are a bit different.
I have to get out my notes about everything I have tried to teach myself about medical imaging. What EXACTLY do these people do....oh I see, every thing is virtualized, all the records, images everything....radiology without boundary of time and space. That's so neat.
I am focused on the hurdle. Focus. Think. How do I out do my unseen competitors...I think I can clear this hurdle
OK, today is the day. 4 Aug 09. I'm ready. What's in the email?
The hurdle just up and moved! It just moved! What is that all about? My focus is totally shot and I nearly lose my balance and fall flat on my face. I have to get that focus back or I will lose this thing for sure and in this race, the prize is too important. Not just to win, but to compete anew in a whole new league.
Great, they have a scheduling conflict. The interview/conference has been moved to 11 Aug 09. That really tears me out of the frame. For about an hour. Then I realize what a blessing this is. Many candidates will not tolerate this sort of thing. The yuppie crowd. The Entitled Generation candidate. But I have been here before. I have another week to research. I will be more prepared than before.
Moving a hurdle can be a bit unsettling. I can’t see the other competitors, but I sense many of them have fallen away not because of the hurdle, but simply because it moved. Some will throw up their hands in despair, others will consider this race “poorly run” and walk away. Not me. I am a patient runner. I adapt. I out maneuver. I outlast and overcome.
OK, so I turn this thing to my favor. I go to the A______D website and read every word. I go to LinkedIn and look for company information and peoples names. More Google. Who has the patents? Who does the sales and marketing?
OK, so I’m settled but not focused. Where is the hurdle? There it is now, I can see it. I feel the game returning, I’ll be ready as the track moves now at a steady rhythm under me. Focus. Focus. Excel. Go beyond what ordinary runners will endure
I have the entire history of the company. I have downloaded, printed and read all of their white papers. I Google the major players and become familiar with their biography. Oh, isn’t that sweet, one of the ladies that will be on the conference call just got married. Lovely picture on Facebook.
This is a new kind of hurdle…I have to learn to clear it. I’m running in a new kind of league here
Oh gee-whiz at all the new acronyms and buzz words. Break out the Wiki – PACS, OK that’s a picture archive and control system the military came up with. It has it’s limitations. DICOM – now that’s a set of protocols that control how hospitals transmit patient data along with images and stuff….I’m catching on. HL7? Hmm? That’s just a standards committee and I’m familiar with those. I can do this. I am so ready.
I see the hurdle clearly now. I have plotted my strategy. I’m going to clear this thing. Patience. Focus.
Today is 11 Aug 2009. The teleconference is in a few hours. The family knows I am not to be disturbed with other things going on in our lives. My wife is screening calls, none get through to me. My son is acting project manager for today at the renovation of his Grandmothers house, a project that consumes me. Daughter is at work. My wife leaves home to deliver some paperwork in her own job search. I am alone, in final preparation for the 3 o’clock conference. I’m ready. At this same time, in multiple places, good friends invoke the Divine at my pre-arranged request.
This is it. It’s here. Lunge, leap, stretch, reach. Outlast, outmaneuver, excel. This part of the race always astounds me. The inner peace and silence as my body begins to leave the ground. I have this hurdle, I own it, it’s mine as if it were made for me
At 2:48 pm I have an email. They have a problem with their conference call equipment. They can’t call out, I can’t call in. They want a good phone number. I email them back. Time goes by. Still no call. Dig up the web page call the main number and ask for my interviewer. Get transferred to HR. My interviewer is hung up with a neurosurgeon who’s having a problem. That’s fine, it’s her job to take care of her customers. It occurred to me if any of my competitors were this aggressive and patient.
Hmm…this hurdle is a little wobbly. Cool. Some runners will freak out at that. I won’t.
We have everyone together now and we start. I get a brief history of the company that I am already familiar with. I chime into the conversation and add a few points that only a candidate that has done his research would know. Then came the questions that I knew were coming and prepared for. “How will your background benefit us?” and “Give us an example of how you resolved a conflict with a customer?” This is where the practice comes in. Perfecting the interview. Being ready. Going beyond and excelling above the other candidates.
I watch the hurdle pass beneath me. I still am amazed at whatever Force it is that comes over me right when I need it. The peace and grace and silence that accompanies me across the hurdle remains. The track rises up to gently meet my foot. Impact. I am over the hurdle.
I am advised that I have been invited to the next round of interviews, one on one, face to face with the hiring managers and my direct report, should I be hired. That interview will be scheduled as soon as convenient for all the parties involved.
I’m clear of the first hurdle. Another looms just ahead but still not visible to me. More hurdles remain. I sense the number of my fellow competitors has diminished greatly. Now I’m playing with the big boys. The ones that prepare, discipline practice and research every step of this race we are all running. Good luck guys, but I think I’m going to win this one.