October 11th, 2007

classic cylon

Do I really want a job?

I was having a conversation with one of the Starlite dance teachers after my Monday night lesson. She used to work for a SFBA tech company as an ad buyer, so she knows a few things about Internet advertising. What started out as some general inquiries into how the company determined how effective the ads were changed direction when I brought up the subject of Google, asking if she understood how they make money. (You probably know where I was going with this, but more on that later.)

After she gave a response, she pointed out a couple on the dance floor who work for Google. I didn't know them, so I asked her if she thought they enjoyed their jobs. I also added that I didn't think Google was a good place to work any more. Her response surprised me, because she said that if I really wanted a job, I could get one pretty easily. (The remark was not completely out of context, as I'd told her some time ago about having worked for AltaVista, and been laid off.) I reminded her of this (she hadn't forgotten), and began to explain the situation with my job interviews, etc. But she still maintained that I could still get a job if I really wanted one. She said she thinks that I am just taking time off to do other things, like dance, sing, travel, etc. We talked about it some more, but we both had to leave, so we decided to continue the discussion later.

This isn't the first time someone has told me this; my choral director said words to that effect while we were in Cassis. In fact, I think a lot of people from chorus are puzzled about my situation, and wonder if I just don't want to work. However, I also think most of these people don't have much detailed knowledge of the computer industry; most don't work in it (and don't follow tech news), and those who do have little if any f2f contact with IT staff (especially software people). So they are more inclined to believe the more general news stories that are published about how there is a shortage of qualified people, that companies are forced to bring people in on visas, and so forth.

I do want a job. However, I want it to be career-enhancing; not extremely stressful; something where I get peer recognition and respect; basically, what I've been writing about all along. If I really didn't want a job, I wouldn't apply for any jobs. Going through the job application circus is incredibly frustrating and wasteful of time. Practically anything else is a more productive use of my time.

Anyway, the dance teacher said she thought I could get a consulting job pretty easily. I don't think I can get one yet, at least not in computer networking, because I still have a lot to catch up on. My (would-be) peers – the people on the mailing lists I've been writing about, have up-to-date skills, and thus are in higher demand. In order to do consulting, I have to be as good as they are. But interviewing for jobs I have no prayer of getting competes with the time I need to bring myself up to their level.