Did I ever tell you about the great Job search of 1999? That summer, my husband and I, with our three degrees and our hot-off-the-press Information Technology Diplomas were hunting for work in the IT field. By 99 that field was barren. The market that had been hot in the early to mid 90’s, so hot that if you had a pulse and could turn a computer on, you were considered hired. But we entered the program as the mad rush was winding down, and the market was flooded with IT grads just like us.
So, 1500 resumes, and 12 headhunters later, Hubby and I took my cousin Bob’s offer of his bachelor apartment in Toronto. He was going to let us stay there, rent free for a month and look for jobs in person, instead of trying to do it over the Internet back on the Rock. We took the last of our savings, bought ourselves two tickets to Toronto, and left.
During our long distance job search on the Rock I collected contact information for companies in the GTA, and the day we landed in the Big Smoke we yanked that list out and we started cold calling. We went building to building, door to door, with resume in hand and our hearts pounding in our chests. The rejection was unbelievable, almost unbearable. We had one dick tell us, and I will remember his exact words until the day I die: “You people are a dime a dozen, you will not get hired here. You may as well pack it up and go back to Newfoundland.”
We had one week of job hunting left, before our time at Bob’s was up, and we had to go back home. It was a 5:00 on a Friday, and we had almost worked through a skyscraper on King- there were only two more offices to go. We were hot, we were tired, and we were sick of the rejection. Besides, we could not seem to get past any of the secretaries at the front door of any of these offices. Don wanted to pack it in for the day- and so did I. But there were two more companies to go, and we could at least say we cleared that building. So we went for it.
We opened the door, expecting to see another bubbly secretary stop us at the door, politely take our resume, and our arm, and guide us back out to the hall. All the while assuring us that she would place the resume in the right hands. Instead, no one was at the front desk, and just about the tallest man I had ever seen was walking up the hall towards us. He said hello, and asked us what we were doing there. We gave him our well rehearsed spiel and waited for him to take us by the arm and guide us out with a smile and a nod. He seemed a little amazed, and curious, and he said: “Let’s do something a little wacky.”
He brought us into the board room where the company heads were seated for a weekly meeting. Turns out, one of the main topics of conversation was finding help for upcoming projects. We had a little impromptu interview, and we were sent on our way again. But we were called to come back for a more formal interview- and from there (and after much turmoil within the company as some believed we were not what they needed because we were newbies to the craft) we were each given an offer. It floored us.
To this day, I have no idea why the Big Man hired us. We were probably not the best choices at the time- but we worked hard, we learned lots and we contributed. I remember one of the VP’s telling me over drinks that she thought the Big Man hired us for the story. It is one he told often.
It was hard for me to leave a few years back, given that history. But I had burned out with what I was doing, and I missed teaching. Plus the IT market had suffered somewhat, and contracts were drying up. It was a scary thing for both of us to stay in the same industry, but it definitely was not a good idea to stay in the same company. I dreaded telling my boss, but I gave him about 3 months notice, and said my goodbyes. It was difficult to leave the very people who had given us a shot at something, the only people who had given us a chance.
And now my husband is, for a variety of reasons, in the same spot. He started looking over the holidays- just putting out feelers to see what was out there, and he got a bite right away. Which was a surprise to us. Such a contrast to 8 years ago. It is an excellent offer, with better pay, training, it is closer to home, and something new and exciting to build on. It is clear to him that he has to say goodbye- and it is torturing him because it is the worst possible timing for his current company. He has to accept a dream offer within 24 hours, and has to be ready for work in two weeks, or he has to let it go for good.
It isn’t an easy spot to be in. But I am proud of him.