Friday, July 25, 2008

Back on familiar turf

Yes yes yes! After a quick discussion with the hubby... I'm ready to accept. I'll be going back to work for a very very familiar organization that I've oodles of experience with!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Familiar ground Take 2

Back at the local non profit office for round 2. Couldn't sleep last night from the anxiety. Today's interview was scheduled to be with the IT Director and the CEO. I was very, very nervous.

Things turned out amazingly well though. The CEO turned out to be a passionate, intense and powerful young woman probably around my age with young kids too. She was so down to earth and even exchanged dates of birth and baby names and such with me. Her passion for the mission of the organization was inspirational and we shared a lot of common ground in terms of our management experiences. Towards the end of our interview I had goosebumps and had to hold back some tears even. If I could work under her, I would consider myself a lucky person.

At the end of our talk, she basically let me know that they wanted me on board. And that she looked forward to seeing me back there. I couldn't believe it.

So I went back home... and waited for the offer. The next morning, the HR director called. And I had the official offer on the table.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

A fascinating Interview

Yesterday I interviewed with an offshoring company. It was definitely one of the most interesting interviews I've ever had. The position was a Project Manager job. Something I've had 4 years experience with. From an experience point of view, I had everything they were looking for and more. What i was lacking was the official certification. I've been preparing for the certification exam, but the book (PMBOK) is a difficult one to get through on your own. It's a rather dry textbook and would be much more enjoyable as a companion book to a class or a lecture.

My interviewer was very learned on the topic. He asked brilliant questions about project management, listened patiently to my answers, and then recapped my answers but added all the appropriate terminology from PMBOK. I was enraptured. Listening to him talk was like listending to PMBOK speaking. And it was way more interesting that reading the book.

After the interview with him I met with the girl that I would be taking over for. She was able to give me all the information I needed first hand because this was the job that she had been doing herself for the last few months.

I was impressed. And I could tell they were impressed too. Sure enough, the offer came the next day. I spent the whole weekend discussing with the family and finally had to turn them down on account of the distance - I would be spending 1.5 hours at least on the road daily. And the odd hours - lots of nightime calls etc. Tough to do with a toddler and a husband with a stressful job.

It sure felt good to get the offer though!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


In a moment of clarity yesterday morning, I realized 3 things. 3 things that together compose the small mountain I am climbing. (Note: Climbing is good for one's heart and health. It is also very powerful for clearing the head and providing blinding insight into the soul's purpose)

Recognizing the three components of my mountain was an "aha" moment for me. Here they are:

1. Taking a step away from IT to explore other spaces/careers for 2 years.
2. Taking a 2 year break from work to focus on my son's care.
3. Moving cross country 2 times in a 4 year period already marked by 1 and 2 above.

The result - no current experience (not an issue for most people i'm interviewing with), no recent technical skills (easy to brush up thanks to the internet and my local barnes and noble), and the biggest one - zero local network.

Bam! There's my mountain.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mama wants her 50 cents!

These days I feel like my Dad. In '91 when we moved to the US, we were a family of three in need of income. I was a full time college student with 20 hours of allowed income per week. This didn't go very far... Dad had to get back into the workforce. But how? As what? His context had changed. In India - he was a big shot. He'd run his own business for 20 years, was a national award winning electrical engineer and was a highly respected professional in his world. If he were job-hunting there he would've been snatched up by some awesome company in a day. But here he was in America, where electrical engineers have to fulfill different criteria, no current work experience no network. And a family he wanted to take care of.
I feel like Dad these days. And so many of his teachings are coming back to me. Like the "Mama wants her 50 cents" story. Told to me when I was 10. Still the foundation of my belief system at age 36. Here's a link to the original story from Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich".
If he could reinvent himself at age 50, I'm pretty sure I can find the rest of my career after a 2 year break! :-)

Monday, July 14, 2008


Today I interviewed with a leading security company. Very well established (since early 1900). Very reputed. Very interesting position. The last point is on account of the fact that one word in my resume resulted in the recruiter contacting me. Coldfusion. A programming language/application/tool that I had developed applications in almost 9 years ago. It's been at least 6 years since I touched it. But it's making a comeback now and it popped up in a keyword search and that's how I got involved.

I had already explained to the recruiter exactly where I stood with this. I was in no way portraying myself to be a Coldfusion guru anymore. They were still interested. So, in my dashing Ann Taylor suit, feeling like a million bucks, I drove the 20 miles to their office.

I interviewed with two people. The first person was my would-be manager. He was amazing to talk to. His philospohies on management blew me away. In turn he saw great potential in my range of experience.

The second interview was a little intimidating. The interviewer had a list of technical questions and grilled me relentlessly. At the end of it I had no idea where I stood... and I waited... for the recruiter to call with feedback...

He finally called and said "yes"! They wanted me back for round 2! Hooray!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Fairy Godmother : Ann Taylor

When you've spent a couple of years not caring about the spit-up stain on your shirt or the crumbs from your toddler's snack time treat that mysteriously found a way to hide in the crease of your pant leg, you need to find a place that can outfit you and make you feel like the million bucks that you are worth, when you have an interview to go to. Enter Ann Taylor.

We are blessed with an Ann Taylor factory store within a 5 mile drive from our house. They know me now, and not just by name. They know my size, which blouse I wore to which interview with which suit. I love the Ann Taylor store. I go there every time I need a new interview outfit. And they make me feel and look great, every time!

The first time I went to buy a suit in years, I went with DH and son in tow. They sat outside the dressing room while I tried on each of the suits. When I'd walk out to show them, I felt like a model on a catwalk. What a devoted audience. They oohed and aahed and made recommendations. And when the winning suit was identified, looked at me like I was the Queen of Corporate America.

"Mama's going back to work after 2 years," said DH, "we have to make her look as good as she is". Little one nodded emphatically and proceeded to say," Mama, nice. Mama office?"

I looked in the mirror and caught a glimpse of a familiar persona...

Goodbye dowdiness.
Hello sharpness.
Thank you Ann Taylor.