I just have to talk about my day and since I can't get ahold of anyone via phone, I'm going to post it here since it's related to this thread. (there's a summary at the bottom if you can't handle reading this hideously long entry)
My day started at 5 am (well actually 5:18 after hitting snooze twice) and I was out the door at 6:05 to catch a 6:10 bus which drove me on a loop around Portland (because there was really no straight north bus which would have been more direct) so I could be at a 7 am BNI
meeting. BNI, for those who don't know, stands for Business Networking International. Basically it's a networking group that meets once a week at the ass-crack of dawn (aka 7 am) to exchange info about everyone's businesses and exchange referrals. I'd attended one meeting in DC and thought it would be very helpful to my business but then decided to move so didn't pursue it.
So I head to this meeting wondering if it will work because I already know that there's a CFP who is already a member of the group. In my mind, there is no competition, but you just never know. I walk into the room and everyone is very nice. I'm introduced around, and meet several interesting folks, including the CFP. We do a quick run-through and determine there's no conflict (his minimum is $250k where my clients are more of the "hey I have an extra $25! What should I do with it?" variety). In fact, he says he often gets people contacting him for services who just aren't at his level but that he has no one to send them to...until now. Score!
The meeting proceeds and I give a 30-second presentation for someone else's business (they were not there so I did it for them) and then one for my own and then we broke down into smaller groups for a brain storming session. We sat in groups based on our business type so I was with the finance folks at what was called the "Big Rocks" table (whatever the heck that means!). Nice group and we had a great talk about how we could all help eachother build our individual businesses. Many good ideas that now just need to be implemented.
After the main presentations I was quick to snag another member of the group so I could get her card and pump her for information about her job. She does couples and family counseling and I believe that my Couples and Money (see survey) class would be perfect for. After a few minutes of conversation, she's sold and we're going to meet to talk about setting up a joint venture to introduce a money segment into her couseling services. Score again!
Feeling happy and productive (and a little tired considering it was 8:45 and I'd been up for hours!) I head to my next meeting. I'd responded to an ad for a temp position on CL so I was going to register with the agency. To compound the fact that I was running late, I headed off in the wrong direction. After walking about a dozen blocks I finally stopped someone and asked for directions (I was about to cross a river and I knew that was wrong) at which time I was told that the street I wanted was 14 blocks back the way I'd started which means it was exactly 2 blocks away from my starting point. Yeah.
Back on track (with sore feet - dress shoes are not made for walking) and 1/2 hour late I finally catch the bus and get to my appointment. For the next 1.5 hours I take tests, fill out paper work and just generally do all the crap you have to do when registering for a temp service. Then comes the face-to-face interview. No sweat. Until this conversation starts:
Interviewer: Do you need any adaptive devices for your disability?
Me: What disability?
I: Don't you have a disability?
I: Oh. *long pause* Well we mostly place people with disabilities so if you don't have a disability we probably won't be able to get you work. (no mention of this was made in the ad)
M: Well, I don't have a disability so I guess this won't work.
I: Are you sure you don't have a disability?
I: Well, some people have disabilities and they just don't realize it.
I: Sure! Here's a list. Do you have any of these things? (procedes to hand me a list of ailments including head ache, back ache, depression, stress, etc. which I glance over)
M: Well, I have some of those things on occasion.
I: Oh, then you're disabled! That's great.
I: Sure. You qualify as having a disability so now we have a better chance of placing you.
M: I don't have a disability. I wouldn't consider most of those things disabilities, they're just a part of life.
I: Well, if we don't list you as having a disability then we might not be able to place you.
M: I understand that, but I'm not going to say I'm disabled so I can get a job.
I: Oh. Ok. Well, we'll be in touch.
M: Ok. Have a nice weekend.
*5 minutes later*
M: (leaving a voice mail) Mom, give me a call...you will never believe the interview I just had.
Now seriously, that was the most bizarre situation I've ever experienced during an interview. I've never had someone try ot talk me into having a disability before. And frankly, as someone who worked with people with disabilities for over a decade and whose mom has been doing it for 25 years, I was more than a little repulsed by this company. Result: earlier excitement gone...wonder if that counts as a disability?
It's now about 11:30 and I'm heading to downtown Portland since I have another appointment with another agency at 3:30 followed by a 2nd phone interview at 4:30.
I wander around town, buy a book, have lunch, check my mail, take a nap at Borders with a couple homeless people and then head to the 3:30 interview. This was going to be a slam dunk. I'd already done the paper work, done the testing and had a short convo with the interviewer, this was just a more in-depth discussion.
So we sit down to chat and she asks me what I want to do. I quickly outline my ideal job (Trouble shooting and problem solving for small companies, read: REALLY over-qualified for 99.9% of the work they get) and then outline what I'm willing to do just to keep the cash flowing. The conversation is going well, they'll be able to place me (temp places love me because I type 65 words/minute and get perfect scores on their word and excel tests) so we just start chatting about other stuff (me being new in Portland, hobbies, etc.). Eventually talk turns to my Personal Finance coaching business. Immediately she's interested.
After a few minutes chatting I establish that she's about to get married to someone who has very different spending patterns and she's concerned. I talk to her about my new Couples and Money class I'm developing, we talk pricing and voila, I have a new client. Joy is back in my world. We chat for a few more minutes, I watch a boring video, I give her some marketing materials and I'm off to my phone interview, much cheered after the debacle at the other staffing agency.
4:30 on the dot my phone rings (last time she was 35 minutes late with the call). We talk about the job, the company, what the long-term plans are, etc. and I level with her that the job sounds like it will be interesting in the short term but I'm concerned that once I get it established I'll get bored which would mean I'd probably be leaving. We talk a bit more about the job and the company and what I want to do so I give her my ideal job speil which is greeted by a long pause...
When she starts talking again she has a different tone in her voice and I can almost see the wheels turning in her brain so I jump on the opportunity. I suggest that since it seems that this position wouldn't be a good fit permanently it might be a good idea for them to hire me as a consultant to get it up and running and help them with their general operational development since they seem to be drowning and it's what I'm good at. She gives me two thumbs up for my thought process and we make plans to talk Monday afternoon to set a time for me to have lunch with her and the President of the company to see what kind of deal we can work out.
My pitch to them is going to be this: On-call problem solver. I'd probably be working FT for about 6 months and then I'd just come in on a project-by-project basis as needed. I'm also going to pitch it as an optional service that they can offer to clients along the lines of "You're implementing this new software, why not take a look at your whole operations plan and see what can be ironed out and consolidated so you're really working at peak". My gut tells me it would be a great thing for them and it's perfect for me. I think this might work. So, joy is joined by euphoria and I head for home so I can type an incredibly long and self-involved message on the forum and then pass out.Summary:
- BNI = good networking and good business possibilities
- Unless you feel 100% 100% of the time you are clearly disabled [/sarcasm]
- You can find new clients through random encounters
- Telling an interviewer that you think their job will be boring could lead to bigger opportunities
So that's my job hunting status in a nut-shell. I've spent the last 2 days networking my little buns off and I think things might be starting to pay off. YAY!
Good luck to all the other hunters (huntettes?)