Friday, December 09, 2005

Friday ... A Glimmer of Hope

Friday … A Glimmer of Hope

I spent my afternoon today in pursuit of a job.

That doesn’t sound very productive, does it? In actuality, I’ve been pursuing every opportunity that came my way over the course of the last several weeks, but I haven’t really had any serious offers to tender until recently. One of them is a contract-to-hire situation, which is a fancy way of saying temp-to-perm, but when you’re an IT professional, those terms aren’t used. So it’s a possible full-time, permanent job, the first I’ve been offered in more than three years.

However, that one hasn’t panned out very well. I haven’t heard anything about it, so the possibility seems vague and dim. I was excited about it, but if it’s not going anywhere, I have no choice but to pursue other options.

The second is a long-term contract -- my understanding is 12 months with the possibility of extension. So, over the last week or so, I’ve made the necessary motions to get that taken care of and line up the ducks. I’ve seen the recruiter for our face-to-face meeting, and at last, I had my interview for the position today.

I should be happy about it, but in truth, I’m just concerned. My original scheduled interview was Tuesday, but it was cancelled because the hiring manager was ill. No problem; I set up a new interview for today at 2 p.m.

The client is a large, multi-national corporation with several buildings in the area. I was to go to one that was actually a rented space within another company’s building. I was to go to the receptionist, ask for the manager and wait in the lobby. Simple enough.

When I got there, I arrived with about 20 minutes to spare. I didn’t know if there was some paperwork, application or something like that, which would have to be filled out before the interview. I didn’t want to hold the meeting up by having to fill out paperwork and having it take longer than it should, so I got there with time to spare. I saw the receptionist and was sent to a reception phone that was specifically for the company; I dialed the number and got the interviewer’s voice mail. I left a message, and sat down.

After about 20 minutes, the receptionist asked if I wanted to call again. I told her no, that the manager had another interview before mine, and it may have run a bit over. In 15 more minutes, though, I realized something may have been missed. I knew that he’d had to cancel one meeting already; it was possible he’d not yet returned to work and that I hadn’t been told. So, in my best professional voice, I left a second voice mail.

I waited a few more minutes, then contacted the on-site IT manager for the recruiting firm. I told him what was happening -- or rather, what wasn’t happening -- and he explained that the meeting that was to take place at 1 p.m. hadn’t happened either. There was a mad scramble to locate the hiring manager, and try to straighten things out. I told him that I would be there for another five minutes or so, then I would leave and we could reschedule for more convenient time.

Well, long story short, the man wanted me to come to a different location. It was only a short distance down the same street, but still … what was wrong with the original arrangement? So I capitulated, and drove to the appointed building. I arrived directly behind the interviewer. He greeted me, when he found out who I was, and apologized for the confusion. He also informed me that he had one person ahead of me (who was also standing there), and that he would meet with me immediately upon completion of that interview. He escorted me up an escalator and then asked me to sit in a small seating area in the middle of the hallway.

I watched people and looked at the building for several minutes when I noticed them coming back. They caught my gaze. “We’re still looking for a room,” the interviewer called, trying to sound joking. After another few minutes of pacing about, he and the interviewee settled into the seating area some fifteen feet away from me. There, in the middle of the hallway, he conducted the interview.

At first, I was uncomfortable with that idea; there were to be questions asked, information gathered, things said … who knew what was going to be overheard? When it came my turn to interview, however, I realized I had nothing to fear.

The conversation was brief; I was with him for perhaps 30 minutes, while he went through his background, some background on the company, described the position and the tools used (customized for his group by some other group), and that was it. There was no questioning my background, there was no technical quiz to be answered on the fly, there was no “how would you handle this?” type of questioning … nothing.

I left without knowing, and still don’t, how that interview went. It was brief … it was less than professional … and it was confusing. But I remain optimistic.

I hope that those of you who pray will continue to do so. Those of you that have wished us well and supported us, thank you too. God bless you all.


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