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16 February 2011 @ 10:42 pm
JobQuest: LEVEL UP!  
After the SRI debacle of 2008, I promised myself that I wouldn't count chickens on any future job offers. If something looked promising, I might let some people know, or drop some hints, but nothing that would jinx anything.

Some people say you don't really have the job for sure until you clock in that first day.

I went one further: I wasn't going to believe that I'd really landed the elusive Real Full-Time Job With Benefits until the first paycheck cleared.

The check cleared Tuesday night.
I am now officially employed as a Technical Writer.

... of course, I'm only 10 days into a 90-day trial period, so there's a part of me that thinks that even this is premature.

This was, for the record, extremely fast-tracked. The Monday before Further Confusion (09 JAN 2011), kohai_tiger gave me a heads up about a job listing at his company, in his department. I cleaned up my resume and sent it in.

The Monday of Further Confusion (17 JAN 2011), the last day of the con, my cell phone rang while I was sitting in a panel. I took the call outside, and when I came back, I had an interview slated for Wednesday (19 JAN 2011).

The Tuesday after that (25 JAN 2011), I had my second interview.

My last day at Legends was Friday, 04 FEB 2011.

My first day on the job was Monday the 7th.

Turn-around time from first hearing about the job to starting it: 4 weeks exactly.

I should note that the job boards, the resume shotgun, and all the rest of the knuckle-down, nose-to-the-grindstone, job-hunting-is-your-job legwork aren't what finally landed me the Real Job.

What landed me the job was playing Star Wars D&D twice a month with my friends.

I'm afraid I've learned all the wrong lessons from this.

I love the job.

For those of you wondering what a "Technical Writer" does ... well, so was I, a few weeks ago. Summary: I turn field data into readable, well-organized reports.

The work is interesting, and I'm working with a good team.

During the interview, they were very enthusiastic about my resume and my writing samples. This was the first time in all my time job hunting where interviewers looked at my wide-ranging, eclectic background as an asset. this job can make use of all of my different skill sets—even my time at Legends!

Because of those wide-ranging skills, they're also going to be cross-training me as a field tech as well as a technical writer; at least one person has said "it would be a waste to keep you behind a desk."

One thing I love: after getting tossed into the deep end of the You Figure It Out pool at the last two "Real Jobs" I've had since graduation, and then spending two years in the genial chaos of Legends, I'm in a place where the standing orders are "if you have a question, ask someone"—and the answers generally start with, "let's look it up!"

I'm in heaven.

I made an interesting discovery on my second or third day.

Our company certifies clean rooms, vent hoods, and other lab apparatus for a wide range of companies, mostly in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Our safety-and-technical trainer repeatedly emphasizes during our training sessions that our work insures the cleanliness of locations that make medicine that gets directly injected into the bloodstreams of patients with already-compromised immune systems

Contaminants, especially unsuspected contaminants, could kill people. Lots of people.

And it comes down to us.

Lives are in our hands.

Here's the interesting discovery:

I'm good with that.

I'm a Coast Guard veteran, and my first long-term civilian job after mustering out was pushing hospital patients down to X-Ray and Nuclear Medicine on gurneys. I've had lives in my hands before.

When that clicked during training, it didn't feel like ZOMG PRESSURE. Quite the opposite: I relaxed. Some little ball of tension inside me evaporated.

When I know that lives hinge on the quality of the work I do ... I'm in my comfort zone.

It's odd place to find your comfort zone, I confess.

Maybe it's that, in a job with High Stakes, I don't feel the need to "prove" anything. Simply doing the job and doing it well and right is validation enough.

Maybe it's just that, deep down, I can only really take a job seriously if lives are on the line. "Pfffft. Urgent? You're not bleeding and you're not drowning. Let me tell you about urgent ... ."

Braxusbraxus on February 17th, 2011 06:53 am (UTC)
Always believed that it is always easier to land a job if you know someone at the place you're applying for. Hope the year continues to bring you good fortune!
Leodrleo on February 17th, 2011 06:56 am (UTC)
Hey, that's awesome! Congratulations.
leonard_arlotte: Slyleonard_arlotte on February 17th, 2011 07:30 am (UTC)
It is a maxim these days that it's who you know that matters most.

Might I suggest that you continue building your portfolio on LinkedIn. You may not be looking for work in other places, but it will help you move up in your current job. Down the road a few years, as other people have moved on, they may well be Important People in other companies that can help you find even better positions. Also, you may end up being an Important Person to help someone out.

I'm in a class now about Change. One thing that is very true these days is that change happens a lot, and it can happen quickly. Those that are best prepared for it handle it best.
leonard_arlotte: Slyleonard_arlotte on February 17th, 2011 07:36 am (UTC)
Congrats on the new job, btw.
(Deleted comment)
leonard_arlotteleonard_arlotte on February 17th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
Absolutely, though I haven't discussed the class much in my journal.

We have two text books in the class that are excellent reading:

Managing Transitions (3rd edition) by William Bridges
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Tubetoob on February 17th, 2011 06:08 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed The Tipping Point -- Outliers is my favorite of his books, though, I think.
Araquan Skytraceraraquan on February 17th, 2011 07:37 am (UTC)
Congratulations. Here's wishing you the best of success in your new occupation. }:>
lyttlebyrdlyttlebyrd on February 17th, 2011 07:52 am (UTC)
Congrats! Best of luck to you!
Moral Explorernotthebuddha on February 17th, 2011 08:48 am (UTC)

I'm having to think about similar work myself. What are the hours like? Lots of meetings?
ArchTeryxarchteryx on February 17th, 2011 11:57 am (UTC)
Warmest congrats to you, Athe. It's heartening to hear SOMEONE getting a job in this economy, and like I'm trying to do, you did it by broadening your horizons (and networking!).

At worst, it's something to add to your resume to help you get the NEXT job, at best, it's a chance to start catching up. Either way, you win.
Arcaton: jackassr_caton on February 17th, 2011 12:08 pm (UTC)
Great News.
and good luck - it sounds like a place with it's collective head screwed on.
TheBitterGuythebitterguy on February 17th, 2011 12:13 pm (UTC)
Awesome. Lemme know if I can use some of your leftover job mojo.
KehzaFox: pleasedkfops on February 17th, 2011 12:22 pm (UTC)
Huzzahs and awesomeness on your employment situation!
Yasha-tauryasha_taur on February 17th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)
Great! Congrats! Sounds like you found a good fit.
Tombfyretombfyre on February 17th, 2011 02:56 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you've got yourself a really good thing going there. ^^ Funny how more and more jobs seem to be fetched via word of mouth these days. Out of my last 4 jobs, 2 have been just from hanging out somewhere and talking to random people. And boom, job offer. Hell, I got one job just by going to an Anime convention and working in the dealers den.

I wish you continued luck with this new jorb!
Helvetica 'Foofers' Boldfoofers on February 17th, 2011 05:17 pm (UTC)
Knowing of your exactitude with language, this sounds like a great fit for you.

Also, every technical writer I've known has always been an awesome person. Maybe a little bit crazy, but awesome. As an awesome (and maybe a little crazy) person yourself, this just greatifies the aforementioned fit.

Also also, holy shit, EMPLOYMENT! Congratulations, and I hope this is the start of something big.
silmaril on February 17th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
There's so much to cheer in this post that I don't know where to begin. So let's go general: Cheerio!
Paka: pied crowpaka on February 17th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC)

I'd sort of like to ask you for help with a reccommendation and whatever for your old job, but while I'm sure I have the customer service chops, I actually don't know whether I'm enough of a comic fan to do it well - do you think I have a chance?
Moredena: <3ladyringo on February 17th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC)
Congrats!!! We're looking forward to having you in town in October! <3
A.R.M.: Land of the Midnight Snackkinkyturtle on February 18th, 2011 09:56 am (UTC)
drangadranga on February 18th, 2011 10:33 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the new job, that's quite an achievement these days!

I'm not sure if I would be all that comfortable with something where I was always worried about lives being on the line, I'd be paranoid about every little detail and never get things done... but after working as a volunteer firefighter, it did give me a new idea of what an actual emergency was, suddenly a down or slow server doesn't seem like a real crisis anymore, so I can stay more level headed and work better though issues...
Stalbonstalbon on February 19th, 2011 05:18 am (UTC)
*Hugs!* I'm really glad to hear you've landed a good job like that! When I was looking around the market for a job a couple years back, I was looking into editing and such, and technical editors/writers positions often came up. It sounded like something I'd like, but you need the experience with what they're working in data, and that's what I lacked. So I'm glad it's something you can do, and do well!
SilverClawbfdragon on February 19th, 2011 05:33 am (UTC)
Indeed, more often then not landing a job is much more about the length of your contact list then the length of your resume. It's what the business goons call "networking" I suppose.

In any case, congrats! }:->