There Is No Cat

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Wednesday, May 14, 2003

A strange tale

There are a bunch of different ways to find a job. Among the possibilities, you can:

  1. Sign up for the online services, like HotJobs and Monster
  2. Network with your friends
  3. Rely on pure, dumb luck

The last time I was out of work, I found that number one was pretty much useless. I didn't get no love from the sites. I decided that the web sites were probably a good idea when the tech economy was overheating, but in the chill that's settled over the industry the past couple of years, there wasn't much point.

Networking with friends worked fairly well the last time, or so it seemed at the time. It got me the only two interviews I managed to snag in the six months I was employed, the second of which resulted in something that at the time seemed like a real job. (It's only a real job if they pay you, and that company failed miserably on that count.)

I don't think I had any pure, dumb luck last time around.

So this time around, I didn't put a whole lot of effort into the sites. Sure, I updated my resumes there, and I get e-mail every morning from my agents on the sites filling me in on all the wonderful opportunities out there, but I just couldn't generate any enthusiasm about it, especially when the first person to contact me wanted to talk about a job that required the sun and the moon but paid about half the rate I was asking for.

I did tell all the usual suspects that I was available again, and they sent me leads, but most of the leads I got were stuff I'd seen on HotJobs and Monster, not the juicy, unpublished leads you get from insiders.

So there I sat, fat, dumb, and broke, when some pure, dumb luck decided to combine with the online services and friends for a triple whammy. I got a call and an e-mail from a recruiter last Thursday about a job for a "web designer" in New Jersey. He had found my resume on HotJobs (I could tell by the e-mail address he used), and for some reason, he wanted me to send him my resume in Word format. Go figure, I guess a resume on HotJobs isn't the same as one I e-mail him or the one he can access on my site. Then he told me the job was at Lucent, the company where I spent almost my entire career. Eh, well, I'm not getting any cash from the state, and my most recent employer is more likely to cough up hairballs than the months of money they owe me, so what the hell. The job was up in Parsippany or Whippany or Somerset or somewhere, wherever. None of which appeals to me terribly, since they all result in commutes from hell. But you never know, and the guy didn't seem to sure about the work site. Okay, go ahead and submit me. He also wanted my references to make things happen faster.

The other funny thing about the job is that the contract house heard about it from IBM India, who were asked to fill it by IBM US, to whom Lucent had outsourced the function. So the position is like four companies removed from what I used to do as a direct employee at Lucent. It's a short-term assignment, but hell, I was hired by AT&T as a Kelley Girl temporary worker and wound up staying for 15 years.

Friday I had a phone interview with the ex-Lucent, now-IBM guy who was looking to bring someone on. Turns out he knows one of my references, a friend I had worked closely with for years at Lucent and who I've stayed close to; he was at the wedding, in fact. Then my interviewer mentions that he ran my resume by some of the people who work for him. I know them, too, and we always got along quite well, and they mentioned to him that I had already been through the training for this particular position back in the day.

At this point, the world folded in upon itself.

To make a long story short, I start my new job next Monday. I'm still not sure about where the job is; my interviewer (and now new boss) is located in California, so from his perspective, it probably doesn't matter where I sit, more or less. So I pitched him on letting me work out of the facility nearest my house, where I spent many years as a Lucent employee, with trips to corporate headquarters as needed. I don't know if it'll work out that way, but it would be nice, and beat fighting the other commuters on the Garden State Parkway and/or I-287 every night. We'll see. Even if I have to go up north, I can do that for a while. After all, it's a short-term assignment. Oh, and I got the rate I requested.

It's going to be sooooo weird going back to that company, though....

Posted at 7:38 PM

Comments

Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.

Congratulations!! Being unemployed sucks (I was unemployed for a year before I was hired at my current job), so I'm glad the Fates conspired in your favor. Fingers crossed that it'll just get better.

Posted by Jenny at 11:14 PM, May 14, 2003 [Link]

Hey Ralph, Congratulations about the job. I've been offline for a little while, so just catching up with news. Let us know how it's going.

Posted by deb at 4:44 AM, May 18, 2003 [Link]

Congratulations! I worked for Lucent UK for over 10 years before being made redundant in 2002. I came across your site looking for jobs requiring experience of working on Lucent equipment! Great story. Good luck! Arina

Posted by Arina Kurchina at 9:00 AM, December 2, 2003 [Link]

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

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[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

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