"Call the crib. Same number. Same hood. It's all good." - The Notorious B.I.G., Juicy
Monday was my last day as part of The Walt Disney Company. This coming Monday I start my next gig. I'm excited about it and it's a big challenge that I'm ready to take on but I'll reveal more about that after I've got a few weeks under my belt.
As I've gone through the process of finding this next move, I've learned a few things about myself and about the current work landscape.
1. Digital has matured. The last time I was in the job market, 7 or so years ago, the web (I think we still called it that then) was still the wild west. You were more likely to meet an self-trained-hobbyist-turned-internet-guru running something impressive as you were to see a comp sci person or properly trained online expert. Today, in Los Angeles where traditional media is fighting extinction and startups and serious digital first companies have opened up shops by the hundreds at the beach, this is no longer the case. People know what the hell they are doing and digital initiatives aren't relegated to the back room. You better be on your game.
2. Relationships and conversations, real face-to-face, voice-to-voice communication still rule. I used linkedin and RiseSmart in some key ways—resume re-writing, lead generation, and first contact—and they were great for that (glassdoor and indeed are cool, too. Monster was not useful at all) but actual movement came from talking to people. Old bosses, mentors, acquaintances, loose connections—from these individuals came possibilities. And support and comfort. And they happened on the phone, over coffee, at a pub, via video chat. A text message or an email just ain't gonna do it.
3. Your resume is about what you did not your titles. Sure, your portfolio is great but what shows that you can think, problem solve, and adapt? A good shop and hiring manager isn't just looking at where you've worked in the past. They know when you say you've worked on social media or strategy or something nebulous like that that they can't see what you did by you showing them a link. If you can't answer the question, "but what specific things were you responsible for" in a real way or talk through how you solve problems on the spot, you're in trouble.
4. Work is work. Always be honing your skills and using them in meaningful ways. Pro Bono consulting is a real thing. You know people. Get them around a table and work on that great idea and see if its something. Say yes when someone else needs help with their thing. And give it your all. Good work doesn't always require a paycheck in the layoff happy reality of our current job culture. Sharing your expertise now pays off later.
Of course, none of these are absolutes and everyone's job hunting experience will be different but I thought about these things every day of my search and, every day, I felt like I was on the right path even if I didn't know where the journey would end.
That certainty saved my sanity. And, here I am, with no days off.