Redmond bound, dismal job market at home

I'm coming out this week to Redmond again to visit Microsoft and interview, this time for a developer gig.

That last time, I was interviewing for a PM gig that I didn't entirely understand, and the vetting process before coming out was not particularly rich. I was an awful fit for that job, I think, and in retrospect, I'm not even sure how they came across me because I had never applied for it. But it was still a good experience, because it gave me a peek into the culture that I would never have had otherwise.

When I lost my job in April, the day after my honeymoon no less, my game plan became pretty obvious after a few days. I had to broaden the search and think more nationally in terms of the kinds of places I wanted to work. I also wanted to use the time I wasn't working (which has been a lot longer than I expected) to try new things, learn new things and develop my side business (mostly CoasterBuzz) into something that could sustain me for the duration. I feel like I did most of that.

Locally, in Northeast Ohio, the work potential is the worst it has been since 2001. The smaller short-term contract stuff kept leading me to the "over-qualified" response (seriously, for three months, doesn't that make me a low-risk bargain?), and the three really solid gigs I encountered after long interview processes ended up in two "we can't spend that money right now" endings and one that went to one of my mentors from two jobs ago, who also got let go and was clearly the better candidate, by a long shot.

We're not at all tied down here in any way other than real estate (another dismal market), so I've been targeting a number of well-known companies and watching their job postings, mostly in the Pacific Northwest and Central Florida. Good choices, too, as Forbes recently named Seattle as the best place for tech jobs, and Orlando was third place. I never forgot the trip to Microsoft, and going to conferences and what not just made me want to be a part of what goes on there even more. It's a far cry from the start-ups I've been working at, but internally, there are a lot of people taking initiative to better their product areas. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that? I've been watching the boards for start-ups and small companies as well, but the number that are hiring in these regions seems to be nearly zero.

This trip feels much different already. I had two brutal phone screens that were far more intense than most face-to-face interviews. The vetting process was solid and I go in feeling like I understand the gig, they understand me and flying me out there is a good decision for everyone. I'm really psyched for the trip. Plus there are bonus points because I'll have a short window to visit family out there.

I'll share more about the process after I get back, and hopefully have good news to share as well!


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