Archive for career

Learning to walk with the Lwa (the job edition, Part 2)

Posted in Legba, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 29, 2017 by cheshirecatman
Golden Key

© Yanik Chauvin | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The last few months have been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Back in February I wrote about a new job that I was very excited about. It was at a young, up-and-coming tech company with great benefits and a friendly work environment. Things were going well and I was happy. Then the rug got pulled out from under me.

In early March, the company unexpectedly lost one of its main clients, and they laid off about a third of their staff. Being a newbie, I was in the group that got let go. It was sudden: we came into work on Monday, got called to an impromptu meeting, and got the news. Some people were angry; I was hugely disappointed. I also realized that I was fortunate in that I did not have a large amount of time invested in the company–one guy I talked to had been there for 3 years.

In such situations it can be tempting, from a magickal point of view, to ask what you did wrong to earn the wrath of your gods. Honestly, in this case I don’t think I did anything. Call it bad luck or bad timing on my part. I did, after all, ask Legba to help me get the job, and he did. No one at the company expected this to happen.

I do think that the Lwa don’t always lead you on a straight path, and sometimes due to various timing issues this is necessary.

I filed for unemployment and began the tedious task of updating resumes, scanning job boards, contacting employers and filing unemployment claims every week. There were a lot of jobs out there, but apparently there were also a lot of applicants. Even though one of my laid off coworkers found a new position quickly, about two months went by for me and nothing. No queries, not a peep.

Then, on a Thursday in early May, I got two text messages from two separate former co-workers who both worked for a Tacoma company I used to work for. They told me that one of their clients was looking for a graphics person. Note here that I sort of suck at networking, and in my entire professional life I can only remember getting a job via networking one time, and that was only for a 1-day temp position. So this was something new for me.

I called the company immediately and spoke with the owner, then sent him my resume. Over the next 24 hours, we e-mailed each other back and forth, and on Friday he invited me to go for an interview the following Monday. As I looked over their website I was amused that 1) the name was very similar to another company I’d worked at for nearly 10 years and 2) the logo design reminded me of the Tacoma company. Were these signs? Again, I asked Legba for assistance, but this time added the conditions that I only ask for this job if it’s stable and good for me.

The weekend came and went. On Monday, I dressed conservatively (for me) and headed out to the interview. Upon entering the building, I immediately noticed a good amount of diversity (as I would find out later, this company is about 50% people of color, 50% female, and diverse in age, compared to the tech company that was mainly young and maybe 25% female and 25% people of color). The owner was a person of color and the manager who sat in on the interview was a biker-looking dude with tattoos all over his arms. I thought to myself, “This could work.”

The interview was casual with no silly HR questions, no “where do you see yourself in 5 years” kinds of stuff. They told me they would let me know no later than Friday.

Two days later they e-mailed me back and asked if I could start on Friday! I was over the moon.

While this does not have the new technology type of excitement of the tech job, this company fits me well, like a favorite pair of shoes. And I am hoping now for a period of calm and stability on the workfront so I can fully focus on other areas of life.

Also, on an unrelated note, a couple of weeks ago I met a member of Mambo Sallie Ann Glassman’s sosyete, a New Orleans native who is living in Seattle. We’d been corresponding for a while on Facebook and he was every bit as kind in person as he is online. Honor to him and to his mambo and his sosyete.

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Learning to walk with the Lwa (the job edition)

Posted in Dreams, Legba, Life Lessons, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 19, 2017 by cheshirecatman
job_key

© Skypixel | Dreamstime.com – Career and Job Opportunities

If you are a regular reader, you may be familiar with my recurring shoe dreams. Some people have nude-in-public dreams; I have walking-around-with-no-shoes dreams.

I had another one recently in which I was walking around in a truck stop rural area with the girlfriend. I look down and I am stocking-footed. It finally dawned on me that these dreams are largely about stability (and the lack thereof). I don’t know why I did not figure this out sooner. I have weak ankles, so good shoes are paramount to my physical stability. So it’s not too surprising that my recent bout with job instability would trigger a shoe dream.

Just over a year ago, I was laid off from a job of nearly a decade and transitioned smoothly into another job. The new company seemed like a good fit, the job was interesting, and things went well for a while. And then things started going bad. The mundane reason: a long commute (Seattle to Tacoma) meant I was often tired and started falling asleep at work and having job performance issues. My confidence in my work skills took a hard blow. The other reason: a long commute meant little time for much else, including service to the Lwa.

They weren’t happy with me and this became clearer and clearer over time. Whenever my thoughts turned to finding a new job closer to home, things would go better at work. But if I thought, “Well, maybe this will work out fine and I’ll stay for a while,” then I’d start having problems again. When they speak and you don’t listen, things go awry. Eventually enough was enough. So near the end of last year, I started sending out resumes and quickly got a call from a staffing agency, who placed me in a temp-to-hire position with a company that processes legal papers.

The paper-pushing job was super-convenient (a one-bus commute to downtown Seattle), but also a little depressing. Aside from handling legal documents all day long, I was very much a production drone who wasn’t utilizing many of his skills. I really don’t like looking for work and was hoping that this job would work out long-term, but after a brief couple of weeks I could no longer ignore the push to look for something better. And then a playfully written ad on craigslist caught my eye. It was for a graphics-related job in the tech sector.

I was hoping for but did not expect a response, but they responded within a few days and requested a phone screening. Now, I hate the telephone and knew I needed Legba’s help on this one. I lit a candle and asked for his help. And he came through. The interview ended up feeling more like a casual conversation over coffee, and the following Wednesday I found myself over on the Eastside for a group interview.

Legba came through again–I aced it. So much so that my interviewers had no additional questions for me at the end because I’d already answered them. Now, I am a very inconsistent interviewee–whether I interview well or not depends a lot on my mood that day and the demeanor of the people interviewing me. So this was no small feat. I liked the feel of the company–it was energetic, forward-thinking and seemed to value its employees. My interviewers were considerate and followed through whenever they said they would do something. Legba’s hand was evident during our interactions and when I wrote an inspired cover letter and the follow-up correspondence.

The tech company told me they’d make a decision no later than the following Monday. I tried not to become too anxious, but this was a job I cared about, and I knew I’d be disappointed if I wasn’t hired. However, they made me the offer the next day.

That day, prior to the offer, I was returning from my lunch break at the temp job. I stopped in the restroom and set my phone and the book I was reading on the back of the tank. I turned to latch the stall door when I heard a splash. My book and my phone had fallen into the john. I am not really sure how; I thought I’d placed them firmly on the tank.

I immediately snatched them out. I was very glad the phone still worked but the book was damaged. It probably was salvageable, but you can’t really wash a book, so I decided to trash it even though I was in the middle of reading it. It was a Christmas gift. Oh well, I’d replace it at some point.

Shortly after that (like, within an hour), I received the job offer. That made me wonder if the book was claimed by Legba as payment for the job. Later I would call Mambo and ask her opinion, and she said that sometimes happens if you don’t negotiate your deal well. And I realized I hadn’t been specific enough when I petitioned Legba. I liked the book, but I wasn’t too upset. It was a small price to pay, and if the phone had been damaged then I might not have gotten the call in a timely manner, and the job might have been lost. So Legba took the book. I just recently replaced it, but felt it would be a good idea to remember this lesson. So instead of buying an identical new paperback copy, I purchased an older used hardback edition. In this way I don’t feel like I am erasing that event.

After a slightly stressful ten days (mostly due to confidence issues left over from the Tacoma job), I am starting to feel stable again. Also, from a numbers standpoint, this is the 3rd position I’ve had since leaving my last long-term job. Three is my met tet’s number. So I am optimistic I will be here for a while.