Thursday, April 29, 2010

From the Void

One of the things I've been occupied with during this blog blackout has been a search for employment.  I had an interesting experience that illustrates a paradox.  It's archetypal and summed up as "fish or cut bait" (usually posed as a question).

I wasn't finding anything in Portland on my profession's website.  Someone suggested I try Crai.gslist.  I found a company and decided to contact them.  At this point I was only beginning to get serious about looking for work, and my purpose was to explore various work settings and what the environment might be like in them.  The recruitment officer said he was impressed by my many years of experience and we set up a meeting time.  I saw it as basically informational, but still dressed as if it was a formal interview.

I was there right on time.  I sat, and waited, 10 minutes, 15 minutes.  I began to feel a bit impatient and to wonder if this might be a clue to how the organization is run.  Finally the clinical supervisor arrived and took me back to the recruiter's office.  There were three of them.

It seemed the meeting went well.  They showed me around their office complex.  I told them I was there for informational purposes and was still working out in my mind what would be a schedule that could meet their needs and accommodate the needs of my family.  There were a few other hurdles I needed to accomplish, such as completing requirements for my license renewal and getting certified in CPR.  As she bade me goodbye the clinical supervisor asked if I'd let them know my plans in the next week or two.  I said I would.

This meeting was on a Monday.  It seemed they had liked me and I liked them.  I felt the business, though a for-profit (I'd only worked for non-profits in my employment history), did put patient welfare first.  I had a sense that they were serious about supporting their staff in meeting patient needs.

On Wednesday I sent thank-you notes to the three who interviewed me and told them I would contact them on Monday the following week.  On Monday I sent them an email, copied to all of them, with some questions I'd not asked during the interview, as well as an update on my progress of renewing my license and signing up for a CPR course.  Additionally, I was tracking down some former co-workers and supervisors to ask if I could use as references--this wasn't easy since it had been better than 10 years since I'd worked with or seen them...and the company I'd worked for is no more (bought out by a company that was bought out by a company, that was bought by a huge for-profit that trades publicly on the stock market).

I was surprised to not hear back from them, and even called the recruiter to ask if they had received my message.  This was on his voice mail. Perhaps he spoke with the clinical supervisor because on Friday I received an email from the clinical supervisor that answered most of my questions.  I responded with an update on my licensure and CPR certification and asked how many references they wanted. I also proposed a certain schedule and start date, subject to negotiation.

No response.

A few days later I sent a message with three references I'd tracked down.

No response.

It had been three weeks since the interview.  On Thursday I called and spoke directly to the clinical supervisor.  "Oh, HI!"  I gave her a date I'd be available to start, and proposed a schedule.  She said they "might have a position available" and told me to send my proposed schedule and availability date--in an email!  This I did.

No response, to this day.  And, when I was glancing through Cra.igslist yesterday, I saw a position posted for this company.

In the meantime I'd found a job position open at another company and contacted their recruiter.  She not only responded, she attached their benefit package for my perusal.  Two days later she emailed again and said she'd like to talk to me and they could "create a position" for me that would be to our mutual advantage.  I filled out an application online and attached my resume.  She sent a message to tell me she'd received it.  Tuesday night she called and left a voice mail saying she'd like to talk to me before scheduling an interview.  Yesterday as I was picking up the phone to call her it rang and it was her.  She had a few questions which I answered and we scheduled an interview for tomorrow.

I don't know if I'll be offered a job there or not.  Its headquarters, where team members would have to meet once a week, is quite a drive.  But it's possible that I could be working in an area that would have close proximity to Scott's school, with a schedule flexible enough to allow for pick-ups and drop-offs.

I can't help but notice the contrast between the brisk responsiveness I've received with the second business in regards to the first.  I considered contacting the first place (which is closer, and we meet at the headquarters only every-other week instead of weekly) to tell them I was looking into a position elsewhere.  When I prepared to write a message something stayed my hand.  It occurred to me that I'd gotten enough messages in the "body language" to tell me why I didn't want to work for them.  They had been telling me why, and it was best to let it go.

The interesting paradox is one hand saying that the difficulty in engaging with the first company is evidence enough that it's not meant to be--particularly when it's contrasted with the responsiveness of the second.  But for every scenario that says difficulty in achieving an objective is a 'sign' that this is not a path to take, there's another that says that anything worth doing has some obstacles to screen out those who aren't serious.

I think I've been a person who was inclined toward the second...persisting in fishing too long, and almost unable to give up.

Wish me luck tomorrow.


Mrs. Spit said...

Good luck !

Wordgirl said...

I'm coming to this late -- but hoping that things went well -- and I'm interested to hear the update!