Progress on the job search…

Things are looking up in my search for employment as I’m at least getting some phone calls as of late. As you might recall back when I was first laid off I had an interview for an internal position with the contract house I was working for at the time. I was told that it would be between two to four weeks before I’d hear anything back and that they were hoping to get things underway in March.

It’s been more than four weeks now so I sent off an email at the start of the week to the fellow I had the interview with letting him know I was still available and very much interested in the position and I got an out-of-office reply saying he was in India for the week. I figured this meant I wouldn’t hear back until this week, but the next day I got an email from him saying that they still hadn’t made any final decisions, but that they hoped to be doing so in the next week after his return. I also heard from my Rep in the company who had contacted them as well and he thought I stood a decent chance of getting the job. Needless to say that helped to buoy my spirits a bit.

Then on Thursday I got a call from a woman about a possible job with a company I didn’t recognize the name of. Turns out I never applied with them, but she found my resume on Monster.com and thought I’d be a good fit. The company itself produces Business Performance Management software which big companies use to see how well they’re meeting their goals and how different business decisions will affect the company. Something I know absolutely nothing about, but the company that called me is apparently pretty big in that market with quite a few of the Fortune 500 and 100 companies making use of this software. I didn’t get a lot of details at the time other than she was interested in my UNIX background and if I was willing to travel. I explained that it’s been 10 years or so since I was a UNIX operator and that I was never an administrator, but I probably could be with a little training and travel wasn’t a problem. This seemed to be OK with her and she asked if she could arrange a phone interview for me with the manager I’d be working for sometime on Friday. I said that’d be fine, not like I had a lot of other plans.

I was intrigued, but not optimistic about this possibility after checking out their website to get a feel for what the company does. The software I’d be supporting sounds really complex as it will mesh with a company’s existing systems and databases, regardless of which vendor provided them, and pull data from them to allow for real-time dashboards and scorecards to be produced for everyone from the CEO down to individual department managers. Combine that with how long it’s been since I’ve worked full-time in a UNIX environment and I didn’t think I had a chance.

The call came on Friday and the first thing out of his mouth was if it would be OK for him to call me back in 30 minutes. Well, sure. I’d be an idiot to tell him no. So he calls back and we get down to the phone interview—something I was still very surprised about as I don’t think I’ve ever done a phone interview for a job before—and he asks some of the usual questions about my background, but nothing too technical. The subject of travel comes up again and thats when the details start to fall into place. The job itself is almost 100% travel and I would covering “the Americas” as in pretty much all of North and South America, though they don’t have to go down into South America very often. This causes my ears to perk up.

He explains that he doesn’t need experts, what he needs are jack-of-all-trades types that are capable of picking up new skills quickly and extrapolating new ways of solving problems from them and that’s what attracted him to my resume as that’s pretty much the sort of tech that I am. My varied background, previous experience with a job that required a lot of travel, and ability to work with high level executives were big positives. I would become part of a team of 17 people most of whom all lived in different states around the nation, with the exception of four people who all live in Dallas. This sort of job pretty much means you could live anywhere as long as you can get to the airport easily and I just happen to live within 15 miles of Detroit Metro. OK, so it’s not as random as that. I moved here specifically because of the previous job where I was flying a lot because it was close to the airport. The company itself is based in California with a development house in Connecticut, but has branch offices in most major cities including Detroit.

The more this guy talks the more it sounds like I was born for this job. The job consists of some consulting and some tech support. We’re the guys who go into new clients to see if they already have server hardware to handle the software we’re selling them and, if not, suggesting what they should acquire and then we go in and get the back-end all setup and running. Then another team goes in and does all the front-end work of meshing it into the client’s system. After that we’re the tech support dudes who show up when there’s problems. I’d shadow another tech for a month and a half or so and then the first few sites I’d be sent to (we generally go solo) would be easy problems in generally vanilla setups to get my feet wet.

Now I’m really excited about this possibility, though all the travel does make me a bit nervous. I’ve not flown since before 9/11 happened and there’s always that nagging worry about if I can live up to what the job requires, but I’m definitely interested. He asks if I have any questions so I toss out a couple of the standard ones including the big one: What’s the pay rate? It’s salaried, but includes a bonus that is based on how many billable hours I’m able to log. Assuming I’m able to max out the bonus every year, and it sounds like it’s not too hard to do so, it would easily make this the highest paying job I’ve ever held. Even without the bonus, though, it would put me back up into the pay range I was making when I started at the last job I held.

My potential boss must have been happy with the interview as he said that the next step would be to setup a second interview with some of the team members who’d grill me a bit on my technical background. If that goes well then I’ll get an electronic application to fill out and return. So far it sounds like I’ve got a pretty good chance at this one and I’m very enthused. I should hear more sometime this week and I’ll keep you guys updated on how it goes.

9 thoughts on “Progress on the job search…

  1. What are your feelings about traveling a lot?

    Say you got offered two job: one you could do with no travel and which would be OK financially, or one which caused you to be on the road most of the time but with, say, 30-50% more money?

    Just curious.

    Zak@I feel really, really fortunate to have a decent paying job that I can do on my living room sofa (no I’m not a drug dealer).

  2. I do like to travel and see new places, but I also know from experience that it can get to you after awhile as well. The first 6 months I lived in my apartment I was away 85% of the time. My (then) fiance lived in it more than I did. Still, that period was the first time I’d ever been west of the Mississippi and the only time I’ve been to states like Texas.

    The possibility you propose may actually come to pass. Both of the jobs offer some great growth potential and that’s as important to me as a good salary so it’d come down to how much of a difference in pay there is. If the difference isn’t all that great I’ll probably go with the one that wouldn’t require any travel, but my ability to be flexible increases in proportion to what I’m paid so if the difference is considerable then I’d have no qualms with taking the travel job.

    Out of curiosity, what do you do, Zak? One of these days I’ll be a published author and then I’ll be able to work from the couch as well.

  3. Having spent 15 years working on the raod across Western Canada, I know the feeling of always being somewhere new. The travel job comes with a price in lifestyle, for certain.  I hope you have a choice when the time comes, and not a single option. 
    Peace and Good fortune Les.

  4. Les, good luck, you deserve it!

    Hmmm…
    I have spent most of my adult life on the road… either as a musician or as a InfoSec consultant … It is great at first, but it does get tiresome, and probably helped kill my first marriage (well travel has some positive aspects I guess).

    I would gladly take a 10% cut in pay to have a job that I could commute to, even 60-90 min commute, just so that I could be home each night to tuck in the lil’ one… a simple thing that I miss too much when on the road, and no.. internet video conferencing is not a pancea no matter what the Marriott commercials imply

  5. Les: I’m a translator. People I’ve never met send me Japanese documents over email, I translate them into English, then send back the English file. It’s lonely, but it allows for a very nice lifestyle. And, I have to remember that I hate working with other people. I actually often go to cafes to do work in a process I call “preemptive distraction” because it’s hard to focus at home.
    Zachary @

  6. Doh! I knew that. You used a different name when you posted last and it threw me off, hence my question.

  7. Best of luck, Les. I hope you get your choice of jobs, though there’s comfort in thinking THE Stupid Evil Bastard may be coming to a city near me.

    I’d be honored to handle your tour and interview schedules. Just let me know and I’ll get in touch with the Bob and Tom Show. They’ve been wanting you on for a while now.

  8. If I get the travel job then it wouldn’t be beyond possibility that I could end up in your neighborhood at some point. That would make it more interesting; the possibility that I might be able to bump into a few readers along the way.

    As for Bob and Tom, I’d be flabbergasted to think that they’d even heard of me let alone want me on their show. wink

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