Thursday, January 22, 2009

more work ups and downs

Whew. Friday was spent on the phone/e-mail. I heard all about the part-time gig.

Here's the rub. Let's pretend this job is teaching astronauts - teaching them some background science for their experiments. But I've never been an astronaut. Does that disqualify me from teaching them? I'm not teaching them to be better astronauts, or teaching them about being an astronaut. I'd be teaching them about my expertise.

When they interviewed me in September, I was head and shoulders above anyone else. Which made them worry they hadn't hit the right people with the position description. So they re-advertised and found some former astronauts. Who do not have a background in the background science.

So, some people in the organization think they want someone who knows the science and can teach it. Other people think they want a former astronaut, who can bond with the new astronauts. One of my references said to them - would you rather have someone you know (whichBox), who knows your stuff cold and who can learn to navigate the world of the astronauts, or do you want an astronaut who has to learn all your science?

I hope this extended analogy is working.

One of my references is a former 'astronaut.' He's the one reference I was least sure of - we'd worked together, but I really didn't know what he might say. I talked to him, too Friday and he said they asked him about the need to be a former astronaut, and he told me that he told them it did'nt matter.

So, done everything I can do. It's all up to them. I'm kinda curious what they will choose, to be honest. And I still want that part-time job.

Anyway, earlier in the week i had applied for another job, with the organization that totally blew me off this past summer. I interviewed for a job and never heard back from them. And I interviewed with someone I knew personally, and still to this day have not heard a word. Anyway, new position, in a slightly different area than my background. It's a brand-new project, just starting out. The head guy called me Friday afternoon and said he'd had a few applicants but wasn't excited about any of them, then saw my application, and my background was perfect and I was a known quantity to so many people there....we talked for 30 minutes, and I thought it was all good. He e-mailed me a background paper on them, and suggested we talk next steps this week. So I spent the weekend excited, but worried it was all going so fast and did I really want a job to start right away, etc etc.

So I e-mailed him Tuesday and said ok, let's talk, and he replied he would get back to me. What? Wasn't this guy all fired up on Friday? What happened? Sudden paranoia that maybe I was being sabotaged by someone in the organization. I am good at what I do, but no one is perfect. I have my flaws. And I worked for a competitor company a few years ago, is there a lingering issue I don't know about?

As I was typing this the guy e-mailed me - his week has gotten away from him, can we talk tomorrow or next week? Ok. Whew. I just wrote him back and said it sounded like he needed some help and I was around, anytime was fine.

Oh, and get this. The head person of the parttime job? I think, based on what my contacts said, that he's the one who doesn't think I'm right for them. And guess what? He is on the advisory board of this new project. Small world.

Anyway. Back to my analogy. What do you think? If you've never been an astronaut, can you teach astronauts?


Andiamo said...

Yes, it is possible, however not everyone agrees on this subject and it's usually the astronauts in any organization who feel they can only be taught by their peer or greater. It's a big issue called an ego that causes many businesses to see great talent go to another company.

I just wanted to tell you that these crazy HR/Recruiting processes usually have very little to do with the candidate. Especially in this type of economy where jobs are on hold while they look at budges.

The part time opportunity sounds like too many chiefs making business partner looking at the high level view of whats best for the company. Which may be a peek into your future if you join them. The more recent opportunity with the "my week got away from me" may be more promising.

It is much easier said than done to just know that this will all work out. It really will. Remember to take care of yourself while you are still home right now. :)

niobe said...

Of course you can teach astronauts if you've never been an astronaut.

Though, I have to say that, in my field, if you're not an astronaut, not matter how much other expertise you have, it's harder to get the astronauts to listen to you. Which says more about them than about you.

Katie said...

It sounds to me as if the fact that they are "astronauts" has no bearing on the subject matter you will be teaching. It's as if you are teaching a college students (I'm sorry if I'm oversimplfying). I think if you are an expert in your field (which it sounds as if you are) then it shouldn't be a problem who you are teaching. As long as you can apply your teaching to what they will be using it for, then it shouldn't be a problem. At least that is how I'm understanding the situation, but unless I'm missing something, I certainly think you would be capable of teaching "astronauts" even if you've never been one.

CageQueen said...

I agree that it is better to know the material and worry about the friendly bonding later.

Wabi said...

If you are teaching astronauts something their training doesn't already give them, but you happen to be expert in, then it seems entirely appropriate for you to get the job.

I can see what a tough sell this would be for the rocket jocks to comprehend, though!

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