Schrödinger's candidate ...

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I'm pretty sure this is going to be a less-than popular post, since I don't have any book "in the hopper" (well, I do, but not far enough along in the process!), I didn't get anybody "in the industry" to either let me re-print one of their posts or do an interview, and I've already covered the interesting networking things I've done recently.  Which leaves you with another dose of "navel-gazing".  Sorry about that.

Readers who have been paying attention are no doubt asking themselves, "well, what happened with that job?" ... a good question, indeed.  I had been told, at the second interview, that they were talking to 3 folks, one of whom wasn't going to be in until mid-week (last week), but they anticipated that they'd have a decision "by Friday".  So, I spent all day Friday by my phone, with my cell phone at my desk (where it usually never is), and refreshing Gmail all afternoon. 

Nada. 

So, I go through the weekend in a "Schrödinger's Cat" sort of superposition, not knowing if I was "hired" or "dead" (as it were).  Obviously,  I wasn't expecting any data over the weekend to resolve the state, so had to wait for today, and more-or-less repeat Friday's anticipatory exercises.  It got to be 4:00, and I figured that I had given it a decent period for a "by Friday" communication, and called the HR rep that I'd spoken and met with.

And got her voice mail.  So ... more waiting.

Obviously, being this close to either being hired or being deeply existentially "disappointed" for what has been (from my internal clock, which started a week ago Thursday after my second interview) eleven days, has created a lot of psychological stress, and a lot of philosophical meandering around the horrific nightmare which is the job search.

The market out there today seems structured to only find the perfectly machined cog to go on a pin into whatever corporate clockwork is hiring.  This is most notoriously exemplified by those very evil places that explicitly specify that only "passive" candidates (i.e. folks that are already doing the same job at some other company that can be lured away) will be considered, and all those highly qualified (but unemployed) job seekers out there be damned.

I have never been the perfectly-angled trapezoidal block that they're looking for to drop into their narrowly-defined trapezoidal void, always being more of a "swiss army knife", with the capabilities to do dozens of things, but not "looking like" the specific tool for which those with too-literal vision are searching.

I was reminded today of a famous quote by Robert A. Heinlein:


A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Unfortunately, it seems that today's job market is, at best, looking for just  the right sort of insect, and (to rather invert the metaphor) if you're not the creepy-crawly they're specifically in the market for, they'll squash you like a bug.

Of course, I could hear tomorrow that I've got this gig, and that everything will be wonderful ... but right now it's feeling mighty sick that so many folks with so many talents are shut out from the job market just because we can be. I'm dying to "get back into the game", and I'm guessing a lot of the folks reading these scribblings are too. Sorry to fill up your screen with emo angst, but I suspect that most of you know where it's coming from.

Oh, on an additional follow-up point ... I may have found a replacement (the "Third Job Stalker" for Doctor Who fans) if I do, indeed, end up getting hired.  I think you'll like him, as he tends to write far more interesting blogs than I do outside of this space!  Hopefully, I'll be making the introduction in the near future (or you'll just get to hear more "wailing & gnashing" from me).

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