Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Job Hunting (£500 reward)

Dear Diary,

The weather has turned cold and it is time to find work. Also Lisa's nagging has become difficult to bear. She correctly points out that since all I'm doing is sitting around writing computer programs for fun, I might as well find someone to pay me to do it.

It will mean giving up Clojure, I feel, since I can't imagine that anyone local will be both curious about functional programming and using Java. But I have always enjoyed programming in any language, for any task.

I've never looked for a job before. When I was a starving PhD student, I went to the jobcentre in Cambridge and said "I'd like a job, please". And they said "What can you do?", and I said "Nothing really, but I loved computer programming as a boy", and they said "Ring this guy."

And ringing that guy (thanks ever so, Mike) led to an uninterrupted stream of contracts to do all sorts of interesting projects for local firms, all by being recommended to new companies by people I'd worked with before, or re-engaged by companies I'd worked for previously.

There was one period, long ago during a recession, when I wanted to work but no-one had rung up recently, so I contacted a couple of recruitment agents. The second one I phoned said "Actually I have a job that would be perfect for you, but it's just down the road and you've worked for them before, so it would be silly to go through us."  I phoned the relevant company and this turned out to be true. Nobody had thought to call me before they'd placed the job ad. So I started work the following day and that was that.

I phoned the second recruiter back and asked her if I could buy her dinner, since her behaviour had seemed sporting in the extreme, but she lived far away from Cambridge, so instead I sent her a personal cheque for £200. Thanks Sharon, I hope you did something nice with the money.

The first recruiter pestered me constantly for months with offers to work on COBOL in Aberystwyth for pin-money, so after explaining to him for the hundredth time that that wasn't really the sort of thing I would be looking for even if I wasn't working already, I ended up call-barring him.

But anyway, I've never needed to actively look for a job before, so this will be a new experience.

The first thing I'm thinking is to go through all my old contacts and see if any of them are still in the business and remember me fondly. So I'll get started on that.

And the second is that I need to bring the recruitment agent process in-house somehow.

So how's this: If, within the next six months, I take a job which lasts longer than one month, and that is not obtained through an agency, then on the day the first cheque from that job cashes, I'll give £500 to the person who provided the crucial introduction.

If there are a number of people involved somehow, then I'll apportion it fairly between them. And if the timing conditions above are not quite met, or someone points me at a short contract which the £500 penalty makes not worth taking, then I'll do something fair and proportional anyway.

And this offer applies even to personal friends, and to old contacts who I have not got round to calling yet, and to people who are themselves offering work, because why wouldn't it?

And obviously if I find one through my own efforts then I'll keep the money. But my word is generally thought to be good, and I have made a public promise on my own blog to this effect, so if I cheat you you can blacken my name and ruin my reputation for honesty, which is worth much more to me than £500.

Anyhow, if you're interested in helping out, my CV is at http://www.aspden.com

It's not much of a CV. I've never had to use one before, and the main reason I've maintained it is because sometimes HR people like to see one, as a formality, so the first order of the day is probably to improve it. All suggestions welcome.

There's also a massive vainglorious boast here: http://www.learningclojure.com/2010/10/gis-job.html 

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