Its been a tough and crazy year so far. Back in March 2021, my contract with Bloomberg (IT – Data Retention Specialist) ended. Since then I have been out of work and looking for something exciting to do for the next step of my career.
After I graduated from Lehigh University, I starting off working for the Department of Defense as technical engineer and then after taking some time off to drive cross country with some friends (will dig into this in a future post), I ended up with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) where I was a field engineer working on hazardous waste cleanup sites throughout the state. After taking a 4 month furlough to attend NYU Film School and getting Certificate of Filmmaking I returned to the NJDEP where I became the office IT Support guy as computers were just really starting to become mainstream and I new more them most of my coworkers.
One of my first breaks came when I saw an add for Windows Server Training with Prudential Insurance. They were offering 8 weeks of free training and certification and then a position within the company. I completed the training, got my MCP Certification and ended up working for Prudential on some great projects including Y2K until they changed everybody schedules to 3 twelve and a half hour days, and then 4 days off so that they could provide 24/7 coverage. During my later years at Prudential, Survivor The Amazing Race, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire all made their debut. A somebody with a free spirit I remember telling my co-workers to remember me as one day I will be on one of these shows (I actually passed the addition test for Millionaire and added to the contestant pool, but was never chosen). As for Survivor and The Amazing Race, I have applied many times over the years and continue to apply today, keeping my hopes and dreams alive (I have written all about this on this blog over the past 10+ years – Go back and read some old posts if your interested)
I left Prudential for a new position with CIT (a financial lending company). I worked there for 12+ years, starting as a Windows Server Support Specialist, and then moved to Backups, Restores, and Storage. During my tie with CIT, I made lots of friends and they all new I was obsessed with getting on Survivor. One of my co-workers is who set up this blog (averageandy.com) so that I could write about my Survivor journey. I am grateful to him for giving me this opportunity and it has been very therapeutic to write about my life, Survivor, and my other passions like Non-Sport Card Collecting.
At CIT, I always tried to have fun. I would post trivia questions on my instant messenger, and put up team schedules (NY Giants, Lehigh Mountain Hawks) and concert ticket stubs on my cubical wall. I joined the company intermural Golf and Tennis Teams, and overall just tried to make sure to have fun at work. While some people though I was a bit crazy, and a little strange at times, I believe most people enjoyed a little fun during their days. Eventually CIT did some reorganization and I was let go. In hindsight this was a blessing as I had become a bit complacent and comfortable with my job and it was time for a change.
I ended up working for NBCUniversal out of there Technical Support Building. It was quite different working for a media company after CIT. Things were much less structured and regulated. We were allowed to be much more hands on and creative which I really appreciated. Again, I let people know I wanted to be on Survivor (Which was funny since Survivor is on CBS, and here I was working for NBC). Working in Information and Technology, were were separated from most of the entertainment side. We did have a few Christmas parties on the Saturday Night Live Stage, which was pretty cool. I do wish I would have at least reached out to somebody in the entertainment division just to see if they knew or had any contacts / connections with somebody associated with Survivor. After 3 years, the contract I was working under was not renewed as NBC decided to go with a cheaper company. I spent the last 3 months of my time at NBCUniversal writing documentation and training people to take over my job when I left.
After some time off, where I started to realize how much job hunting has changed, and how most of the resources I used were outdated and obsolete, I was able to get a consulting position with Bloomberg as a Data Retention Specialist. Things started off good and I enjoyed my day to day work. But then I got moved to another office 80 miles from where I lived. I have had long commutes before, but the jobs were exciting and in interesting locations. The new office was in a office park with nothing around, and my team members were mostly at the other office so I was basically by myself every day. As I was finally getting settled and coming up with a routine, COVID came along and everybody was told they had to work from home unless there was a business reason to be on site. There were a few times where I did need to go to the office but most of the time I was logging in from home. Bloomberg’s policy is contractors work from 1 year and then are replaced. Due to COVID, my contract was actually extended a few extra months, but it eventually ended in March 2021
This brings us all the way back to the beginning of this post. Its been a interesting six months between a my father in law passing, my daughter being home all summer before heading back to college for her senior year, and looking for a new job.
When I sat down to write today, I was just going to go over how the process of looking for a job has changed over the years and the things I like and dislike. As you can see I went off on a tangent for a while but that is just what came to my mind so I let it flow. Now that I’m back on track its time to talk about looking for work in 2021 and what I feel is wrong with the current system. I am not mad, or bitter, and understand that everybody is responsible for there own success and failures, but it is a bit crazy that most people looking for full time white collar jobs are evaluated on a single sheet of paper (resume). Actually in some cases who gets hired on a job can be decided on just a few questions on an application. Do you know python? Yes and your hired, No and good luck elsewhere
I wonder if companies look at resumes or the answers to questions after they hire somebody to make sure they know what they say they did. Or do they figure once your hired, you will learn on the fly. I have seen positions filled and then the person realizes this is not what they wanted or expected, so they leave and the hiring process starts over. Meanwhile there were plenty of people who applied and would enjoy the job but they were never even considered because they did not have the correct buzz words on there resume. The fact that somebody is passionate about a company and its values, or feel the position is a perfect fit for them seems less important then somebody who lists all the systems and application they know on there resume (logging on to a Server, or using Exchange for your E-Mail does not make you a Server and Messaging expert).
There are hundreds of people and websites out there that say they will help you craft the perfect resume for a job you are interested in. They will let you know what format to use, what key words to use, and what past accomplishments to highlight. They will run scans on your resume against the job descriptions to make sure your the perfect match. It becomes almost a game to see if you can figure out how to get to the next round. For someone like me, who has never been good at promoting myself in writing, gut instead feeling that if you just take a few minutes to get to know me and what skills and attitude I can bring to the company and position, you will see I am a good fit. I am also have never the best with anagrams and business jargon in general. While I know there are hundreds of different hardware and software vendor with multiple models and applications, I get confused if somebody asks the difference between things. I’m more of a generalist (These are all OS, Database, Storage,…). I understand the concepts but have a hard time explaining things in a technical way.
You are also told that the key to job searching is to build your network You are told to reach out and connect to everybody you know on sites like LinkedIn in hopes of finding somebody in the company you want to work for that can help you. And while most people are open and willing to help (If somebody reached out to me, I would do all I could to help them), I have some trouble asking. I realize its just a internal fear of being annoying or being rejected, but its their and it makes things that much harder for somebody like me to get in the door.
I have been writing for a while and its time to take a break. I will take some time to re-read what I wrote to see if there are things to add, and continue this posts soon
In the meantime, anybody who read this all the way to the bottom and happens to have any connections with CBS or Survivor, please reach out to me. Also, since while waiting on the producers of Survivor to reach out to me, I do need to find a job, so anybody who knows of any opening for an older IT Professional looking for a server support position (Installing, Upgrading, Troubleshooting,…) please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-963-1937
Its getting towards the end of a Friday, so enjoy your weekend (If you have off)