Gut Punched Back into the Job Market
Nothing unique about this story. Something similar is playing out for thousands of people right now. Yesterday I joined an 8:30am “Check In” call with my boss. You know it is trouble when either HR or your boss’s boss is unexpectedly on the call. My first response was to mutter “oh shit.” (Apologies Derek and Thijs if you heard me but as you both know this was a total blindside.) In the months prior I had been getting feedback from leadership and the Account Executives like:
- “What you have already achieved Eric is by far the best we have ever seen in terms of [a specific features] demo.” This marketing leader was “truly impressed.”
- One partner wrote “You did an excellent demo and we seem to be checking off all the boxes so far – something they have not been able to do [with other CAI vendors] until now.”
- I did a “great [job] of making the authoring experience come alive for [the opportunity].”
- A new demo I created that could be reused was described as “very effective and really good.”
- “That was excellent. Thanks Eric!” and “Great demo!” are both frequent pieces of feedback.
As you can tell, it wasn’t my work – rather it was other external factors. It’s not fair to go into those details here. I believe in extreme ownership, and there wasn’t much I could control or do to prevent this. Always gave it my all, worked hard and delivered above and beyond. I was heavily invested in the technology, I helping to build process and improve efficiencies. In fact I’d been online until 10:30pm the night before tinkering with an extension I was writing. But I digress, I’ll write about that passion later.
That meeting was over in about 10 minutes. Afterwards I tried to catch my breath and needed a distraction. Fortunately I had already registered for a (very worthwhile) Consensus presentation on What’s the “Minimum Viable Demo . . .” The important item for me was that before lunch was over I’d booked two meetings with recruiters for today as well as communicated with a few others to line up other interviews.
On My Feet Today
Those two calls this morning went well. For one, they want a specialist. So I’m not a fit but it is always good to qualify out quickly and move on. And those long term relationships with independent recruiters are very worthwhile. On the second, the recruiter knew of several opportunities that they want to get me involved with. The updated resume goes out this afternoon.
I also took the time today to do a knowledge transfer regarding the demos I’d built and various projects that were wrapping up. I wasn’t asked to do so, but the AEs I worked with didn’t ask for me to let go. It isn’t fair to them, they have a number to make and a family to feed. My boss and his boss also wanted to keep me. Not fair to not give them the details that hadn’t yet gotten documented.
I did the same voluntary knowledge share for Dynatrace. This happened when Thoma Bravo did their (brutal) Reduction in Force after acquiring the company. That time I provided enough details that another Sales Engineer was able to win the deal using the demo I’d built. If I hadn’t reached out and offered they wouldn’t have been successful. When your solution‘s entry level starts at $100k, it typically requires VP or Cx0 signatures after a POC. Not many SEs can build a custom demo that conveys that level of confidence and targeted business value on an expensive solution that usually requires a PoC.
Excited for the Future
I’ve already got a few more calls lined up. On Monday I’ll be reaching out to a special list of recruiters with my information as well as information on others that were impacted. I’m still gathering details and getting permission. If I send it out tomorrow it is more likely to get buried in the weekend email. So Monday on that task.
I don’t know if I’ll stay in the Conversational AI space, or pivot. I’ve successfully done APM and CDN prior. As such I know I can pivot to other technologies. I’m also thinking I might be open to changing roles, more to come there.
Where are things now? I know there are a lot of high quality people entering the job market. That being said, I’ve got a Masters in Information Systems (InfoSec emphasis) and have years of experience. I know how to code in multiple languages and bring a wealth of IT knowledge.
I’ve had a handful of misfortunes in the past 6 years. I survived a head-on collision, I’ve been through the dot com bubble. This is nothing in comparison. I know what I am capable of. So I’ll be working this search like a full time job, and will also be diving into some new technologies I want to learn more about. More on that later too.
If you are looking for a creative problem solver that can convey business value to any audience at any altitude, reach out. I might be the person you are looking for.