The Job Search

Where to begin?  My job was recently eliminated in a reorg, and after almost 31 years with the same company I am in a job search.  I am not sure if it is helpful or even wise to write about my experience, but it is where I am at this moment in time.  And I either leave these pages blank for another several months or write to what I am up to.  So I write…

My foundation is semiconductor manufacturing.  At its roots about a decade of process engineering and then worked my way around to leading/managing a small factory.  For the last several years I’ve led a team that planned, built, and started big semiconductor factories and introduced new process technologies.  (~$3 billion BIG)  As I said, my position was eliminated and rather than pick from a few uninteresting options inside the company, I have chosen to research and pick from the much larger pool of opportunity available in the greater Phoenix area and also nationwide.

My preference is to remain in a technology industry and to that end I’ve been looking at renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, and water as well as semiconductors.  I rather like big complex projects and so a director level position on a project near the $1 billion scale is always of interest, or a senior operations leadership role where my plants have both existing product demand and continuous new technology upgrades/product introductions (complexity of a different kind).  In short I am looking for a real challenge that will require hard work and long hours, and with it a real sense that I am making a difference for my company or client, the team of people I lead and work with, and the community at large.

I’ve been full-swing in job search for about a month and compared to what I am used to, progress seems glacially slow.  The flip side however is fascinating.  Beyond the tunnel vision I imposed with intense focus on the old job…there are industries and companies doing fantastic science.   Semiconductors kind of have a lock on the marvels of device physics, but pharmaceuticals and biofuels have amazing production scale leading edge biology and chemistry.  And I am meeting some incredibly talented and interesting people. 

I recall an “aha” from one of my hikes that most people are interesting if I slow down long enough to really listen.  Well, if I want people to listen to me I need to first give the courtesy of listening to them.  And so I’ve slowed down, listened, and yes most are quite interesting, and better yet most everyone is willing to chip in and lend a hand.

So what does it look like to job search?  For one, decide what it is I want to do. Two, do justice to representing my work history in a resume’.  Three, decide where I want to do, the industries and companies to watch and target.  Four, get to know people inside these industries and companies who can advise, alert if a cherry position opens up, and put me in contact with hiring managers.  And five, research and apply to jobs for which the company and the job description sparks my passion.

Which leads to my typical day:

  • Up at 6am, cup of coffee and read the news
  • 7am start filtering the 100-300 job feeds coming into my  inbox, read the summary paragraph and set aside anything remotely interesting
  • Then either off to the gym or off to network
  • Lunch
  • Email
  • Read the full description of the jobs I set aside and of those that make that cut start researching the company.  Out of this decide which jobs I will actually apply to.  Generally 0, 1, or 2.
  • Dinner
  • Thoroughly research the job and company and craft a cover letter specific to the application I am about to make.  Takes me about 3 hours each.
  • Apply
  • Call it a night

I bundle Saturday and Sunday to work in a bit of leisure time, and I push and pull the schedule should I have an interview.  All told, job search is roughly a 60 hours per week endeavor.

Sounds like a lot, but feels like not so much.  To sum it all up…this so far is a good learning experience, and just a good overall experience.

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