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KONK REACTOR column
[Published in the KONK Life newspaper on May 10, 2012.]
I Need A Job
Two years ago I got the wake-up call:
“Dude, it doesn’t matter that your work garners awards from the CEO, that you have an impressive project resume, that you consistently do high quality work 40% more than you’re being paid for, or that you’ve shown 30 years of loyalty in the face of other opportunities. Our bean counters think we’ll show 0.00001% more profit if we send your project overseas and force you to `retire’ now instead of letting you move over to another needy project.”
Well, the call didn’t use exactly those words, but that was effectively the message.
I documented this in 2010 in a Solares Hill story “From I’ve-Been-Moved to I’ve-Been-Moved-Out” (a play on the nickname used by IBM employees). I had indeed been moved out, and had to face the situation of millions of others in the worst job market in decades. Granted, my plight was nowhere near as grim as so many of the unemployed. I did get a severance check, and would start drawing a small pension. But I also had significant on-going expenses. It was way too early to even THINK about retiring.
With that severance pay in the bank, and a tax refund that came in at the same time, I wasn’t under immediate pressure. Indeed for a while I dove mainly into more volunteer work and into long-delayed projects that had been waiting for previously mythical “free time” to materialize. I actually took a breather, after 30 years of mostly 60+ hour weeks. I kept my eyes open for work opportunities, but I didn’t expend much effort seeking them out.
I also found time to pursue lots of education in technologies that didn’t come up much in my recent IBM years. I have extensive and diverse skills, but a lot of IBM in-house work is different than many (read that “smaller”) businesses. I’ve dealt with virtually all aspects of the Internet since before it escaped academia into the “real world”, and I was hungry to stay cutting-edge and expand into areas where I hadn’t yet been deeply involved.
Before I knew it a year had passed. I knew I had to get serious about making a living. I began looking at more job openings, but much of the world seemed to be far behind IBM in one aspect: working remotely. You’d THINK that in today’s connected world, most technology companies could handle virtual team members working from exotic places like Key West, as I had done for 10 years at IBM. But even Facebook, for God’s sake, wanted their people to live close enough to regularly show up in their buildings. At IBM I lead a team scattered all over the US. We only met face-to-face TWICE in 10 years! But I was astonished to find none of the available cool jobs (and even not-so-cool ones) I approached would accommodate me from my island home.
So I started my own company where I could do just that: Your Web Medic (google it). But start-up curves can be steep, and even though I’ve got happy customers out there, it hasn’t grown to a sustainable point yet. Like so many of us on the rock, I have to double-up. I need to find something steady — and soon!
I’ve seen openings in Key West that I’m very qualified for, but I’ve had to rule them out for another reason: I must leave the island for a few weeks several times a year. I’m still able to do “remote work” during those times, but the KW openings I’ve contemplated want me to stay close to the rock. I’m still looking for one that can handle the periodic off-the-rock-time requirement.
My ideal job – which would make best use of my skills — involves remote management of web resources like websites and/or social media. I’m great at it! My writing and editing skills (finely honed over the decades) combined with my technical skills could even take the place of two or three current employees. I’m also interested in a job that focuses more on writing. If you or someone you know needs help, just holler! (about/contact)
….post script to the newspaper article….
Just to make it clear, my skills go far beyond simple “website maintenance”. I’m the proverbial “jack of all trades” with the second sentence edited to: “master of many.” They fall well beyond “the Interwebs” — on to many technical, creative, practical, educational, even physical fields. If you have an opening of almost any kind in Key West, or that can be handled remotely (for businesses located elsewhere), let me discuss how I can fill that position — with a BONUS to you of having me assist your business with several of its other needs.
And I am NOT looking for top dollar. I believe you’ll find that bringing my skills on-board will be highly profitable for you….
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