Rollercoaster Ride


Well, this past month has had some ups and downs, hence the title.  I was very hopeful for a job, and well, it fell through.  Maybe my story can help someone out there.

I had a one-time boss at Thomson who loved me.  As the result of an acquisition, she was thrust into the company and was lucky enough to get me reporting to her.  From my position this was not a great thing – I had been reporting to a Director and was now reporting to a Senior Manager who reported to the Director.  From her perspective it was even worse – she had been a Director (which at her old company was treated more like a VP) and was stuck as a Senior Manager reporting to a Director.  She went from a staff of around 20 to a staff of 1.  Me.

But it worked out quite well.  I learned a lot from her, and she has become one of my biggest supporters.  She, however, did not stay the year, moving on to Elsevier, Thomson’s main competitor.  I went back to reporting to the, now, Senior Director, who had a much better appreciation for my abilities and skills.

Eventually, my friend came back to Thomson, as a Vice President.  She told me I could “write [my] own ticket”, and that I should just tell her what I wanted to do.  She did actually go on to offer me a job – a pretty good job which, had I taken it, would probably have left me safe from the layoff which hit me in the end.  But my (then) existing position was much more exciting, and also had the promise from my (then) manager for an equivalent promotion.  Was a bird in the hand worth more than two in the bush?  Most likely, though the VP wound up being laid off before I was, just as was the Senior Director, so who’s to know if I really would have been safe after all?

This VP then moved on to another publisher in the marketplace, and as soon as I was laid off, she contacted me to learn the details of the non-compete clause attached to my separation agreement.  Essentially as soon as it was completed, she contacted me to tell me to apply for an open position in her group.

It was not a position in my career path – it was in a very different area from the one I had been doing, and at a comparable level – but it was an exciting one that I knew I could do, Business Intelligence.   I worked through the HR rep quickly and when she asked if I had any questions, wound up scheduling an interview with my friend, who told me no interview was even really necessary as she considered that done in our intial conversation about where I might want to take the position and newly formed department.

I met with potential peers, other senior management, and was told they were in the final round.  I knew there were other candidates, but I just underestimated how strong they were.  In the end, the position did go to an actual librarian, who would be able to perform the job a whole lot more assuredly than I, more of a Product Manager, could.

But the upside was that although she could not offer me that job, my friend still wanted to work with me.  Would it be alright with me if she passed my name along to others in her organization (both peers and direct reports) with the goal of giving me contract work? 

Of course I said yes.  Not only would some projects bring in a little money (not a dire need yet, but still not a bad thing to have) but they would get my foot in the door with many different areas of the organization.  So if/when something does come up in the future, I could have solid experience with the company under my belt at the same time as having the hiring manager perhaps know my name.

So, now I am a Publishing Consultant, working on Journal Strategy and Analysis.  They have offices in New York, Philadelphia and even one in the suburbs about 10 minutes from my home.  So depending on who is contracting the project, and what exactly will be needed, I can work from the appropriate office as needed, and work from home at the other times.

Wish me luck!

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