Friday, June 19, 2015

What Ants (Yes, Ants!) Reminded Me about Job Searching
June 14, 2105

Author:  Mike Cleckner
Software Engineering | Project Management | Software Development | Quality Assurance

After another week of pursuing opportunities, which really means another week of being caught in the black hole known as "the hiring process," I sat on my deck with my morning cup of coffee. The weather was perfect, but my attitude was not. You see, I'm out of work, not by my choice. I'm frustrated. I'm burnt out from submitting job applications, networking with people, and following job leads to dead ends. But if you are reading this, then chances are you're in the same boat too. Misery loves company. Welcome.

There I sat, brooding, when I noticed these little ants scurrying around on the table. There were dozens of them. Randomly running this way and that way. A few got too close to my coffee mug, so I squished them.

(I know negative karma points for me.)

But then other ants happened to come upon their fallen compatriots and you know what they did? They picked them up and carried them away. Now you could have a sinister view of why the ants took their fallen comrades away (the ants are of course out looking for food), but I started to imagine that perhaps they were "helping" them. "Hey, buddy! Man you're having a hard go of it. Let's go get some aphid juice. What have you been up to?"

Lesson 1:  Don't stop being connected with your former colleagues. They are a source of support. They know what kind of person you are, how well you did your job, and really wish you were still working with them.

Now, your former colleagues aren't going to necessarily get you a job. They don't really want to listen to you drone on and on and on about how miserable you are (that's what your dog or cat or goldfish are for), but they keep you connected to what's going on in your industry. And who knows, they might have a job lead at some point. They know your qualities, your skills, and what kind of coworker you are. If you are staying in touch, then they might think of you first.
Then I started looking around more. There were a lot of these little ants everywhere on the deck!

(Someone should really do something about it, instead of sitting around drinking coffee.)

Many were randomly scurrying around. Here and there I noticed that some were actually walking with a purpose. They were following something. Sure enough, where the ants marched with purpose, there was food at the end of the trail. There were a lot ants gathered around the food, picking off pieces, and others stacked up behind trying to get to the front of the queue. A frenzy of activity. Looking around I saw other lone ants or smaller groups of ants working on other food sources. These weren't large pieces of food, but food nonetheless.