Being sought instead of seeking

I’m in a position of unusual strength. Right now, I have in my possession three job offer letters from three small to mid-sized startups here in the Bay Area. I’ve spent the better part of the weekend weighing things out, and I’ll continue to do so for at least the next 24 hours. No matter which one I choose, I’ll be making a new career high in salary. And that’s just as a starting point. Not bad for someone without a college degree, huh?

Maybe this is something I’m going to have to get used to going forward? It could be, but I’ll never take it for granted. As Andrew Grove said, “Only the Paranoid survive.“, and that line of thinking has served me well through the years (professionally speaking, of course).

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the forum…

While my move meant I was likely to be in this position of hunting for new career opportunities, it wasn’t originally going to unfold this way. I had been in talks to work remotely with my last employer for at least my first few months on the west coast — a “soft landing” where I’d still be drawing salary and they’d still be receiving pixels and bracketed code. But at the end of January, business goals changed and three-forths of the workforce got laid off. Guess which side of that fraction I was on?

Strangely enough, being laid off actually helped me this time ’round. Unused vacation time and a decent severance package helped pay for my relocation costs and have made what would have been a more stressful situation less so. And starting with a clean slate here on the west coast just helped me further.

Been through the lows and the highs

This was all in stark contrast to my last job hunt in ’09, where I spent three months after being laid-off frantically getting anyone in the New York market to give me the time of day. It wasn’t anything against me per say, but the economic downturn that kept all the eligible employers sitting on their hands. There were days when I sent out 20 or 30 copies of my resume, all to no response. The afternoon I finally started getting some traction, I think I sent out over 75 copies of my resume. Remember: when all else fails, turn to brute force.

This time, it felt like I barely had time to hit the send button before the phone started ringing and the emails started pouring in. I’ve come to find out that I started looking for work just as the San Francisco market has started to hungrily snap up anyone with halfway decent design skills. Add to the fact that I’m a designer that can code, and I become an even tastier morsel for those companies. It’s nice to be the hunted for once, and not the hunter.

All good things must come to a start

For the most part the hunt this time has been a lot of fun, with the occasional moments of hand wringing thrown in to keep me from feeling like I was dreaming. But the hunt is drawing to a close, and it’s time for me to start earning my keep. My half of the rent for this great new apartment isn’t going to pay itself, and there’s only so long you can stare at the same blank walls before you start getting stir crazy.

Remind me I said all this in two months when I’m trying to find some “free time”.

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