Mon Jun 16 12:17:00 PDT 2008 "One's highest demand is for the Divine Design of one's life." -- Florence Scovel Shinn, "The Game of Life" Wow! This is my first blog entry of the month. How time flies. I had decided, upon returning from Costa Rica, to write 15 minutes per day. This is the first entry in 2 weeks! Other things I wanted to do, and still want to do, include reading, and going to the gym. Reading, writing, working out. 0 for 3, there. Maybe today is the day I pick it all up. So far this month, I have been sending out resumes, interviewing, and, of course, Yelping. Weekends with My Love, in various activities. But all the "activities" I have done so far don't seem, in my mind, to justify losing track of my three first goals. Then, Margaret would like to meditate with me. That's another daily routine that would be very beneficial. She's leading a Prosperity Salon down at the Spiritual Enrichment Center, and of course, the prosperity consciousness is helping me in my search for my next contract in San Francisco. In accordance with my sail-trimming strategy put out my own all-points bulletin for $75/hour, and watched to see what would come in. Although it was a bit high for some recruiters, others were willing to negotiate. One recruiter asked me whether I was willing to drop my rate, or if I were at the beginning of my search and waiting to see who would respond. It made me laugh, and I wish I had made a note of which recruiter had this insight. First up, a major retail bank had several requisitions out in May, which I missed. I'm not concerned -- it's a big company, and new requisitions come out all the time. This is a benefit of a spot market. Then a major publicly held agency gave me a call. They asked me to come in and process papers, and to take an automated test of my Unix and AIX skills. I scored above average, whatever that means, and then I didn't hear much from them again. I've been talking with this company for eight years, and they have never actually come up with a requisition for me. I figure this exercise was to get me to prepare my resume and my references, and to get me into the swing of the job hunt. Thanks, guys! A clothing company put their requisition "on hold," i.e. they decided they didn't need the help after all. Next, a network security manager in the retail bank issued a requisition that had all the agencies squirming. It seems they knew there was no flexibility in the rate, and the rate was the first thing they wanted to discuss with me. It took priority over the job description. This made me wonder what the agents were trying to do. If I wanted to shop for something at a nonnegotiable price, I'd go to Tiffany's. Considering the level of fear I heard in these recruiters' voices, I decided not to send my resume in front of this manager through any agency. When he's ready to talk, I'll still be around. I talked with a bullpen of recruiters who were working with a social networking site. Unfortunately, it was for a permanent position, and the branch manager at the agency got in my face about the possibility that I would jump ship for a $90/hour contract down the road. Bless you, sir, for you have blessed me with a $90 contract in the future. I got all the way to an on-site interview with a cosmetics company, and I was able to determine that we did not have a match between my skill set and their immediate needs. I was able to elicit these needs from the hiring manager, and to report back to the agency. What he needed this month was not what he had put on the requisition when he opened it. I think this interview was in my path simply to get me to fix my hair and nails, and to break out the jacket and tie. Everything in due course. The next on-site interview was with a worldwide stock brokerage. These gentlemen were interested in someone who had some programming experience, although my final impression was that they didn't have a job. The hiring manager was very quiet, and they were all pretty calm. It sounded like they had all their responsibilities covered with the people they already had on board, and that they were just going through the motions. Some call it a fishing expedition, but I recognized elements of a grieving exercise for a colleague that had left for another department. Interestingly enough, the guys at the stock brokerage looked and dressed better than the guys at the cosmetics company. Someone put my resume in front of hiring managers at an electric power company, asking for my full $75/hour rate. I haven't heard back from them. Same story with a giant medical insurance company. Recently, a data center operations manager at the retail bank opened a requisition, and an agency in Santa Clara has decided to represent me. In this case, my two years of working with Indians is paying off, because I can understand what the recruiter and the account manager are telling me. They are eager to place me, and the operations manager is interested. Each time I get to the level of actually interviewing with a client, I get excited. Maybe this will be the one. Today the contract world is scrambling to fill a few shifts that are open at a regional operations center for a wireless phone company. It seems ironic to me that the phone companies have made it possible to run operations centers in Bangalore, where the shifts being advertised would be day shifts, and instead have decided to keep the center here in San Francisco, where the shifts are night shifts. The phone company isn't taking advantage of its own technology, it seems.