February 29, 2024

On Monday, I’ll start working fulltime through a subcontractor for the CDC. It’s back to a regular 9-5 desk job with a 45 minute commute each way. But I don’t really mind. Considering the other options, I’ll take it.

For the past 2.5 years, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to have worked remotely. It sounds nice, but it has its downsides as well as its upsides. The biggest advantage was not having to drive in the Atlanta traffic. The biggest disadvantage is that nobody else at home thinks you’re working, so all the other family members are always asking you to do things.

I had gotten laid off on Sept 16. And since they gave us advanced notice, I started to seriously look for a job at the beginning of Sept. Being in the job transition stage a dozen times before, I wasn’t too concerned at first about finding something. Before, I guessed it would only take at max a couple of weeks to find something. But, when 3 weeks passed with nothing, I started to get more serious. And I’d have to say that this job market is the softest market that I’ve ever experienced. And even though I have one of the most in demand skills (Java developer) right now, it still took me 6 weeks of looking to land something.

During the middle of my job search, I decided to apply for unemployment for the first time in my life. But, since I had received a severance pay, it couldn’t kick in until the severance expired. But, I wanted to cover my bases just in case it took longer to find a job than I hoped.

Another thing that I hadn’t done before was join some job transition networking groups. The best group was the Christ Centered Career Group. Best of all, it meets less than 3 miles from my house. They are serious there in trying to help you find a job. I’d highly recommend it to anyone in job transition. I also attended the IT advisory group meeting. It is a small group that focuses on IT and is a useful group. I had also attended a meeting at the Roswell United Methodist Church. They meet twice a month and offer a free dinner, resume reviews, and a program afterwards. I didn’t find that meeting as helpful as the other two, but still it’s worth attending at least once.

But the bulk of the work in finding a job was through job boards (Monster, ComputerJobs, Dice) and the flood of recruiters that called me from the job boards. It actually got so hectic that I had to take my resume down to slow down the number of calls and emails from recruiters.

In total, I had applied to 26 positions around the Atlanta area. Got 11 phone interviews out of that. And 6 face-to-face interviews out of that of which 4 rejected me afterwards.

At the end, it boiled down to an interesting situation. A fulltime Java developer position at the CDC working for my previous neighbor or being the CTO of a small startup. I had met with the CEO and two of the other principal investors in the startup. And it was obvious I was the ideal candidate. But, the salary wasn’t as good as the CDC position and I was not sure how it would hold up in this economic climate. And since the CDC is not going to go away and doesn’t really have a funding problem, I chose stability over adventure. If it was two years ago, I most likely would’ve taken the CTO position instead. I don’t regret passing on the CTO opportunity. If anything, I’m grateful that it has shown me that I’m potentially capable of filling such a position.

Overall, I’m happy to have landed a job with the CDC in these economically uncertain times.