Thursday, January 27, 2011

Job hunting with Miss Tasha

As we all know, yours truly is trying to eke out a bit more money from her hardscrabble existence, so that I can a) pay my bills, and b) keep Kona and Timmy in the style to which they’re accustomed. And those are not necessarily in the order of importance.

Plus, because I try to keep up-to-the-minute on any and all latest trends, it also occurs to me that there may be some of you out there in the blogosphere similarly looking for work in what has charitably been called a “challenging” job-hunting environment. So, as part of my mission to always offer the most helpful advice to my sixteens of readers, I’ll start sharing with you some gems of wisdom that you too can apply to your own job hunt. No need to thank me – that’s what I’m here for.

So, to begin. As I am always alert to any tips that I read in the paper, I was intrigued by a column in the Chicago Tribune the other day from their resident job search guru, about “creative” ways to handle the process. Okay, I can be on board with creative. This was the first tip:

Go to the coffee shop or the gym

Apparently one is supposed to go to these places and start chatting people up, those that you think look appropriately managerial. I guess that would be the frazzled people who come in early in the morning for their jolt of caffeine before they head off to their jobs? You know, as opposed to the unemployed folks who are actually hanging out in the gym or coffee shop all day.

“Go to a Starbucks or gym, for example, in a neighborhood where managers live and start conversations, asking managers about their businesses, listening for their needs and offering solutions.”

Because I am all about test-driving the unknown before I foist them on you, the unsuspecting public who isn’t as armed to handle catastrophe as I am, I decided to try this out this morning when I went to my local Starbucks for Kona’s scone and my coffee. Here’s how it went:

Starbucks Jesse, making another woman’s coffee before she gets to mine: Hey Tasha, how’s it going? Barbara, how are you?

Me: Where’s my coffee?! Ha, just kidding. Hey, I thought you were only friendly to ME, and now I see that you’re chit-chatting with everyone! What’s that all about?

Other woman, laughing: I think we’re both special, part of a select few.

Jesse: Yeah, that’s it!

Me: Hmm, okay then, I can live with that. (To other woman) So you’re getting a coffee before you head off to your high-powered job at some random company which is what exactly and would I perhaps want to work there because you know I’m really brilliant so you probably need not just someone like me but me specifically to help your company before it hits the skids, right?

I finish with my usual bright, winsome smile. For some reason, the woman grabs her coffee and bolts. Hmm. I guess I need to work on my delivery a bit.

Then there’s this tip:

Become a stalker

Okay, so it doesn’t say that exactly, but that’s the gist of it. No, seriously.

“If you have a specific company or job in mind, try parking lots in office parks and warehouse districts. Hang out at conference hotels and choose seats on trains and in airports next to people with laptops.”

The part about sitting next to people at airports with laptops will have to wait until my next flight, but I’m looking forward to that one. I speak from experience here, but there’s nothing that a business traveler working on that all-important presentation appreciates more than a crazed job-seeker sitting next to them firing questions. So I’ll report back on that.

As for hanging out in company parking lots, this morning I had to go to the grocery store, so I decided I would take the synergistic approach and swing by the WGN building on my way. They’re a tv station – surely they need good writers for the stuff their on-air people blather about, right? Story or research people? Sure.

So I head on over, and realize mistake #1: since it’s 10AM, most people have already gotten to work, and the only parking is waaay off in the distance. Well, most legal parking. Since that clearly won’t do for my purposes, I just pull up in the emergency lane so that I can see people right as they walk in or out of the building. And wait. And wait some more. Damn, it’s cold. I finally see someone peek his head out…but no, it looks like it’s just security. I’ve started the car to keep warm, and am blasting some Shinedown to keep myself entertained, when I see someone in some kind of uniform headed outside towards my car. I’m sure he’s just bringing me coffee or something – after all, aren’t all of us lowly cogs in the corporate wheel in this together? – but I suddenly remember my need to be elsewhere, so I drive off. I think I’ll have to try this again in summer, when it’s a bit warmer. I’m sure that’ll make all the difference.

As always, I will report back.


Robyn said...

Why exactly have you not applied to Starbucks? They clearly love you and you wouldn't have any additional travel expenses since you already go there everyday.

Anonymous said...

Tasha, we have fallen in love with yer blog. You aren't going anywhere any time too soon, believe me, at this point, we need more smart assed women than you can imagine. Those stupid men think they have the market cornered, well, they are wrong. Chin up, dammit, and if you need anything, let us know (moneys tight, but we have an endless supply of inspiration) Flying tackle huggles...

Anonymous said...

Signed, Tap

Dee said...

Tasha you are a great writer and a creative thinker. You are into cycling. What about SRAM, they are in Chicago, and they're cool. And they have indoor parking for ~100 bikes :)