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03/16/2005: "state of my career address"

It's been a while since I updated everyone on exactly what is going on with my job search. There has been progress and events, but at the same time it really doesn't feel like much is happening, hence my silence. As I did miss some fairly significant events, however, I thought I'd bring everyone up to speed.

First off, I'm still in the same temp job I've had since the end of January. In an encouraging turn of events, the detailing work I had been doing pretty much entirely dried up, and most of the contractors they brought in were let go. I was kept on, and now I'm doing actual design work. It's a very nice change, actually having to use my brain instead of mindlessly pumping out drawing after drawing. While the work is certainly more enjoyable, it's still not exactly thrilling, nor has the workplace culture changed any. The job satisfaction has improved, and it's providing much-needed income, so I'll chalk this up in the "good" column.

Just before I got sick, I had a very interesting week planned. I had not one, but two interviews for the same week. March 1st (a Tuesday) I finally managed to get an interview with the president of a local manufacturing company where I had sent my first broadcast letter (essentially applying to a job that may or may not have existed). That interview went fairly well, and is going to be followed-up by a task for me to complete. Basically, they are going to bring me in and say, "We don't like this feature of this product," and I will have to come up with a new concept for that feature and design it. It's something I've never had to do for an interview process, but it's something I'm good at, so I'm looking forward to it.

I actually just learned not even an hour ago that I'll be coming in to do this project at their facility. Until today, it hadn't been concretely decided whether I would be doing the project on their computers in their office, or whether I'd take the project materials away and do it on my own somewhere, somehow. I've been following up on this since my interview, and today got the surprise of a lifetime when I actually got to talk to the president instead of his voice mail. In any case, I now know that I'll be busy this coming Monday evening, working at getting a job (literally).

One thing I didn't mention previously is that there actually is a position open. I didn't know that when I sent them my letter, so my timing was bang-on. The downside is that they are interviewing other people as well, but that's fine. I'd rather have competition for an opening than be the sole candidate for nothing.

The Wednesday following that interview I was sick as a dog. The proverbial bus hit me (thank you, influenza) and I came home from work at noon and slept for 4 hours. I e-mailed the person that was supposed to interview me the next day and warned them about my condition, and asked if they wanted to postpone. They didn't, and thankfully I was feeling much better, so I headed off to Mississauga for my next interview.

I got this interview not through a broadcast letter, but through a posting on Normally I don't find a lot on the job boards, and tend to check them very infrequently. When I did check them, I found a posting that was written not like any tyipical job ad I'd ever seen, and it had my name all over it. I had a lot of fun writing the cover letter for that, and got a reply the very next day. The company is actually split in two pieces, one location in Mississauga, and the other in B.C. where the president resides. After reading my cover letter and having a phone conversation with me, he decided it was worthwhile to fly out to Ontario to meet with me.

That interview also went fairly well, but I was nervous about the job itself. I wasn't worried about working for a small-ish company, but rather the amount of responsibility I'd have should I be awarded the position. The company currently has one engineer, and he's leaving for another job. I would have been his replacement, and would be the company's entire engineering and testing department. That is a lot of responsibility, especially when my testing experience is somewhat limited. It would have been a phenominal career move, and would have provided room for personal and professional growth for years and years to come.

As it turns out, I won't have to worry about it. Last week the president e-mailed me and told me that I was not going to be selected. He admitted that it was a hard position to fill, and that he's being picky about who he selects. In a way I'm kind of relieved. While I had been looking forward to accelerating my career and purchasing a second car, I'm glad that I don't have to commute to Mississauga daily. That would have meant a minimum of two hours driving daily - possibly closer to three - which would have truly, truly sucked.

Thanks to the rather severe bout of flu I had my job search activities have been pretty limited over the past week, so there isn't anything more to report. I have to get back on the ball and start sending letters out, especially now that I'm a card-carrying member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario. Someone out there really needs a product design engineer - I just have to figure out who that someone is.

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