The Dog-Eat-Dog World of the Job Hunt

It’s tough out there right now. Businesses are being bought out by each other, taken over, pillaged, and people are getting laid off all over. Here in the DC area we have the shelter of government, so we don’t feel it as deeply as some other areas do. However, it’s still a tough time. In this time of employment upheaval, I wanted to share a story about how I came to find a new job not so long ago and would love to hear your recommendations on that score as well.

I recently did a job search. Actually, not that recently. My current employer reads this blog, so I should emphasize that I mean recent in terms of my total of 23 years in the workforce. I found a job almost three months ago and it has worked out great.

However, when I was starting my search, I consulted a friend who used to be in the recruiting world and she gave me some great advice. She told me to not jump too quickly into a new job. As much as I hated working for a short-sighted company whose regular business practices included such great things as emailing customers’ credit card information instead of getting a secure system, I should cool my heels. Ignore the disrespect, inflated egos, nonsensical marketing plans, and bad, inflexible corporate culture. “You already have a job you hate,” she said. “Why not search for a job you love?”

It made great sense and I followed her advice. As I said, it worked out great for me. I adopted a new strategy. Instead of mostly answering ads in the newspaper, I chose to focus on meeting people face-to-face. Granted, that’s a tougher thing to do, but I highly recommend it. Mostly what I did is I talked to people about what I was looking for and went to the next step, asking if there might be a place for me in their operations and asking how I might be able to help them or solve a problem.

The answer wasn’t always yes and the conversations didn’t always go as I hoped but I got to meet a lot of new people and develop some great contacts. No, I didn’t get the tasting job at the beer factory and I don’t get to show up whenever I want, but I got something pretty darned good in an industry that does well in both lean and fat times. As it turns out, I got this job through my good friend Don, whose Darling Fiancee needed to hire a Renaissance Man. Bada bing, bada boom – here I am, in a great job.

It just kind of worked out, but not without a lot of searching and talking to people. It was about seven months of looking before I got an offer I liked well enough to accept.

What are your secrets, tips and tricks for finding employment? What have you done that has worked for you? This is a great time to share and have folks benefit from your experience.

Cute Doggies by Haydn Sweterlitsch

Carl Weaver is a writer and brewer for and has been making beer and wine for more than 20 years. He is also an avid photographer and writer and just finished his first book, about a trip he took to Thailand to live in Buddhist monasteries. He considers himself the last of the Renaissance men and the luckiest darned guy in the world. Follow him on Twitter.

5 thoughts on “The Dog-Eat-Dog World of the Job Hunt

  1. Some bridges are not worth crossing except to get away from the train wreck on the other side. It’s a hell of a place to not be anymore.

  2. Your method of job search, the informational interview is always the best. Just think of the way you hire.

    When you realize you need new staff, and as to fight for budget to hire them, you start making a mental picture of this person and checking it against the list of people you know who have that skill and would want to work with.

    My goal is always to be in that image and list for the players in my industry. I want them to want me before they have the need, and then call me first when they do. So I am always meeting contacts and helping them out to keep my name fresh in their minds.

    All the time too, not just when job hunting specifically. That way, when someone wants to hire, they ask me if I’m free (no usually) or if I know anyone who is. And if I help someone get a job, both people will remember me even more.

  3. Hi, Jennifer. same here. Those jobs are out there, to be sure. I think people are waiting to see how things shake out. Sometimes employers list positions without having positions open just to get a sense of the market, so this type of thing is hard to figure sometimes. But yeah, there certainly are some high-paying jobs advertised. Companies can afford to be picky right now, as well.

    Wayan – you nailed it, pal. Keep in touch with folks, be in demand and be picky. Being loyal to a current employer and keeping yourself in demand are not at odds, despite what some people think. I’d hire you. As it is, I knew you were unavailable so the We Love DC All-Male Revue will go on without you.