The past year, as of today pretty much, was one of some low-grade tumult – I use that word rarely because I’m not sure I know when it applies – and a fair amount of stress. I work as a software development manager, project manager, and roles that fall into those categories. I have been doing that for about 15 years, and study best practices of doing that a lot. It’s far more about The People than The Product. But a year ago that Product was put on-hold.
Long story-short, I was among a large group of people laid off due to the impact of COVID-19 on The Economy. We didn’t know what was gonna happen around this place, and a lot of companies had to look as far ahead as they could. So that meant, for some of them, cuts were necessary.
I was among those who were cut. It sucked. I was restless and agitated like a guy who wanted to not be laid off from a company he truly loved working for. But I understood the path they had to take, and I was also one of newer employees, less than 6 months on the job there, so it made sense in a lot of ways. So I did what a lot of people do in that situation; I thought applying to a lot of jobs would help!
Well it did, sorta. For months, no bites. Nothing. I slowly expanded my job searches to include skills within my role, and that did help the opportunities open up a bit. But again, for many months, not a lot of companies were hiring. The most-secure, well-positioned places were actively interviewing and probably bringing people along. I applied for more than 100 jobs, had over 40 interviews, and one company’s interview methods stood out. I won’t mention their name, because I’d still like to work for them, but this was peculiar…
Why bring it up? Because something was up with the whole deal.
There were multiple rounds of job-related conversations, different teams of peers, inter-departmental leads, and recruiters. Everything went really well, I thought, but there’s only so much you can glean from some people’s reactions. They wanted me to talk to a variety of people so that they could make a “team decision,” and this can be a struggle for someone who loves to talk about anything except themselves. Ugh. BO-RING.
After 4 rounds and about 6 hours of discussions, the lead recruiter called me. They all really liked me, thought I could do the job, but were passing because one of the 7 people I talked to wasn’t sure I had enough experience working with a particular workstream. But I was in the system and it might come around later. FFFFFffffart…
Hmm… It was the old Catch-22 of “not enough experience, and not gonna get it here.” Okay, been there before. So one of seven people thought it was an issue. Okay… It bothered me because either it was not a team decision, or the recruiter was protecting my feelings and I had mega-shat the interview process. I always ask for feedback from interviews so I can sharpen up particular areas. His only feedback was that I had provided some answers they hadn’t considered before, liked my personality, but yeah, just that one person and that one thing…
Either “that one thing” carried much more weight than the other areas, or they weren’t sure how to tell me just straight-up “Nope.” But after meeting with all the teams, I figured it’s more the latter. If it’s a team decision, one voice shouldn’t swing it that far.
Eventually I did get contacted by a company I had previously worked for, so I knew What and How They Did What They Do. One hour, 3 people, and 24 hours later I had an offer. I was in the middle of talking with 2 other firms who wanted to schedule me with 6 other people and 4 more interviews, and after a while, from the side of a candidate, it all seems like a pageantry of Importance within the company.
So I’m back and working and have a all new tumult to emotionally intelligence.