In the not too distant past, I had a job interview. Even before the Big Announcement — that TopFive was moving to a Managed Service Model — I was quietly looking for a new job because I knew I was on borrowed time. In Corporate America, we use the terms Capacity and Demand. For the last few years, I had had much much more Capacity than Demand.
My skillset is kinda niche. In laymen terms I’m a Subject Matter Expert for a software system that is used primarily by law firms, but I hadn’t done that since 2011. Also, working at a law firm, even from the IT side, is not always a pleasant place to be. If I was going to go back to a law firm environment (Work From Home? Sure you can work from home all you want after you put in 40+ hours at the office) it had to be a more meaningful position than the one I previously held.
As luck would have it, I applied for a position I had seen posted for over a year.
Bonus Gallery: The Perils of Navigating a Badly Designed Job Application Interface
The first round was a phone screening with the HR generalist and she asked me why I was looking for a new position and I told her about the move to a Managed Service Model. That’s about as good of a reason to be looking to leave your company as you can get. And had we stopped there, I might have been more enthusiastic about the position. However, there was something annoying about the phone screening. She went over my resume line by line and asked me why I left each position, going back the Beginning of Time.
“Well I just got too old to deliver newspapers on my tricycle.”
I know that she has to ask certain questions. I know that is just how it is. I know you’re doing your due diligence to screen for any issues or patterns that might show up over time like doesn’t get along with authority. You’re might get lucky and get someone who says “well I was tired of sleeping with my boss” or “I needed to get out of there before they found out how much I was embezzling”.
Here’s the thing. No one leaves a job because they are overpaid or too happy. And no one wants to replay the drama of 4 jobs ago even if they can remember why they left. That’s like asking someone why they broke up with the person they were with 3 relationships ago or why you didn’t marry your high school sweetheart?
I did make it to the next round, a phone interview with my potential boss. There is a reason this position has been posted and re-posted for over a year. Reading the job description, I could tell they were trying to fill at least three distinct positions with one person. I can tell you that this type of candidate doesn’t occur organically in nature. Iit was like trying to find a Brain Surgeon, who also was a carpenter, and knew how to play the saxophone while also speaking fluent Estonian.
Recruiters call this a Purple Squirrel. And that’s what they were looking for. Alas, i didn’t get an offer and am okay with that.
This post was drafted a year or so ago, as these events were occurring. I waited to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job hunting efforts or reveal any information about my former company. The purpose of these posts aren’t to bash my former employer but to share my experience and hopefully educate people on the perils of Corporate America.