October 23, 2005

Self-Unfullfilling Prophecy

Dean, who has himself made career jumps, brings to our attention a review of a book about failing to find a job. It would appear that failing to find a job is exactly what Barbara Ehrenreich set out to do, pretending to have had a career exceptionally hard to fake. A public relations consultant should have a web portfolio going back close to ten years, including both personally created sites (doing pro bono sites for churches and community groups is a great self-promotional tool) and professionally created sites overseen for the client. Without web skills even a real PR consultant would have a hard time finding employment any more. Had she instead posed as an administrative assistant to some downsized middle management team, all she'd have needed is a few people to back up her story. It should also be noted that in her persona as a PR consultant, she could have landed a job as a new car salesperson or a mortgage brokerage loan officer within a week.

I myself could have been in the situation she found to write about, but I chose not to. Nine years ago, at 45 years of age, I walked away from a 22 year career and started over. The company I had worked for was so small that I'd never had a job title, and I'd done everything from payroll to product design to press operation, but none of it had I done enough of to do full time. So I reinvented myself as a plug and play computer geek. I worked a couple of Y2K conversions (one company was moving their inventory to PCs from mid-range software which hadn't been supported for ten years), and then supported industrial controllers for a year and a half. Now I work in an industry which didn't exist when I entered the workforce, and if I weren't inhibited from taking out-of-town contracts by my wee wifey's mobility issues I'd be turning down two job offers for every one I accepted. This spring I worked for a couple of weeks with a travelling engineer who had to spend much of his time fielding calls from three different head-hunters, each trying to find the angle which lure him away from his current long-term position. This is the current state of the job market thruout much of the world in mobile telephony, but I am also going to be exploring the expansion of my current skillset so as to also work with wide area WI-FI. No Bait And Switch required, just having had the lack of dullness to have realized back when one had to be a hobbyist to operate one that microcomputers would be found along any future career path.

Posted by triticale at October 23, 2005 11:15 PM | TrackBack
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