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The Job Hunt winds down
A while back.. I ran out of funmoney to support myself while I did consulting for NSCA. So, in September? I put my resume out on dice. (monster is useless, other than for recruiters to call you from everywhere else in the world but where you want to be). And then a roller coaster ensued:

Job Hunt Details and 4 Realizations

  • TekSystems (contracting firm) calls me. Brings me in to check me out. Gives me a brainbench. Very excited. I quiz him up and down about the contracting world.
  • FirstAm interviews me. I flub the interview -- i guess i was still bitter at UGS, a bit, and also very much in the "how can I impress you" place.
  • SHPS does a phone interview with me. I flub that too. Realization #1 hits.

    Realization #1
    I step back. I do an interview of all the work that i've done.. list of projects, what did I learn, what was hard. I realize that while I'm very bright, i haven't stuck with anything for very long, and so that really makes me more of a mid-level type person. (However, as MH puts it: depends which company i'm in. At NSCA, for example, i'd definitely be senior. At Microsoft, I'd be like Entry Level.)

  • SHPS calls me back. They would like to consider me for a mid-level position. I give them back a very honest email stating, hey, yah, i'm figuring this out too. G is excited, wants me to come in.
  • Somewhere around here NetTango is interested in me. I send them my information, let them know I'm more interested in contracting than fulltime. Realization #2 starts to dawn.

    About this time, i head back to Iowa for a bit. Everything goes on pause as I work like crazy to finish off the NSCA work. When I get back into town, things resume again...

  • KForce calls me up (contracting firm). I start talking with them. I learn a bit more of what it is to be a professional contracting person, and take charge of where my leads are being sent.
  • TekSystems sends me over to Humana for an contracting interview. It goes well. I'm one of the top two candidates for them.
  • SHPS brings me in. Its a fun time, i realize these folks could be fun to work with. I realize my confidence flows when I have a marker and a whiteboard.
  • SHPS makes me an offer.
  • I let TekSystems know about the offer, still waiting to hear back from Humana. TekSystems says "hold everything, we would like to talk to you about consultancy." Interview. Goes well -- we understand a lot more about each other now. They ask for some time to get something put together for me.
  • VxCM (name changed) comes out of the woodwork, interested in me. Startup Company, lots of $, lots of work, could be very rich. They bring me in for an interview. I'm very excited.

    Things start clicking together.

    Realization #2.
    I've given my heart to companies in the past. The two times I really gave myself away: E-Markets, and later UGS -- oh, it hurt so much when we parted ways. I am gunshy about giving my heart away again. So, contracting seems better, mostly because of the (healing) wounds in my heart. But, as those wounds heal, then maybe.. my attitude on contracting vs fulltime shifts as well.

    Realization #3.
    I like the idea of being rich. My attitude to money is changing.. large finances are now a welcome friend. It now feels wierd to have anything less than several tens of K sitting in a happy fund. I have no fear of working really hard for the right reasons for appropriate people and reaping good rewards for them. I know that being wealthy does *not* mean holier-than-though, which was part of my fear before. Also, the pattern of my biological father.. the constant striving to be recognized.. i can let that go too. Its all about meaningful work now, about building things, about (learning and) teaching people on nice ways to build things.

    Realization #4
    Time Off, also known as "freedom", is very important to me. I don't use a ton of it, however, I like it being available. I feel more like a partner than a slave then. I don't care if its paid or not, i'm not paycheck-bound at this point. Being with my lady... the places we're going, envisioning... also lends to this sense of freedom. Things could be very good.

    Realization #5.
    I have a hard time making decisions. I tend to just let things sit, and then let others guide me to a decision. This is different from Let Go and Let God -- the difference is, when I can feel other's level of chaos going up due to my not-having-made-a-decision. I disguise it by "i'm waiting to know something". Compare that to: Having weighed the inputs so far, make a decision for now, and then revisit a few months down the road.

  • I start to have a bad feeling about VxCM. It seems like a lot of hand waving, honestly. I'm sure they have good stuff going -- but it seems to be based on particular people's personalities and a single person's vision -- might be very profitable, but not the place for me to thrive. The more I tell M about it, the wider her eyes get. Yep. Cross them off the list.
  • The Final Straw: TekSystems is interested in placing me with a firm up in Carrolton KY (about an hour away). It doesn't feel good. I become painfully aware of the chaos that I'm stirring by not making a decision. (Turns out, i got flushed from Humana, i was not the most technical person. That's cool.)

That night (Monday night), I start feeling something. I corner M's uncle Danny, who's in the insurance business, ask him about SHPS... and he tells me many good things about them. Ok. That's good. I think i'm ready.

The next morning.. which was this morning, actually. Tuesday morning, to be specific. TekSystems calls me up, and I let them know: I've made my decision. KForce calls me up: I let them know, I've made my decision. VxCM, interestingly, is nowhere to be heard from. NetTango lets me know they're more interested in fulltime vs contractor positions.. which is interesting, because now I'm doing a fulltime position rather than a contract position. Interesting. I'm going to have to set the record straight with them, in the interests of full disclosure.

So the place where things are right now:
  • I'm planning on going to work for SHPS on Monday as a full-time employee. I'll be signing the offer letter either tomorrow or Thursday. I want to ask if there is flexibility in their PTO scheme.
  • I have good contacts with TekSystems and kForce, and perhaps some others.
  • Will continue doing some part time fun-money stuff with NSCA.
  • No bridges burnt that I know of. This is very important to me.

More about SHPS:
I just might enjoy them a lot... lots of more modern programming practises, using open source stuff with .Net (like NUnit, NCover, nHibernate, etc). Good team to work with, lots that I can learn, possibilities to mentor.

The only thing that is weak is their PTO - as a single guy, it would have been okay, but I don't know how the family thing will work. They don't have a seperate sick leave, its all straight PTO .. so I'm going from the equivalent of {29 days+unlimited sick} at UGS down to like {23 includes sick} with them. I'm going to ask to see if there's anything that can be done about that. If I go with my parents overseas... well, cross that bridge when we get there.

Dang, its been a rocky ride. I'm looking forward to having some income and project stability again. Get that savings built back up again to happy places.

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that was really fun to read.

I know that I have been sitting there discussing this stuff with you the whole way...but wow...
written down its much more than it seemed when we were just drawing on index cards.

well, drawing on the index cards is where the things start for me.

I love you. Lunch? I need to visit THE BANK in crestwood to get my car title to go get my plates done, while I'm not yet working.

Oh, and .. i sent my little email to the SHPS lady. i'll forward you a copy. *thrilled on the inside*, hope I'm doing this right.


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