One of the reasons Big D is in the house is because I am, like many Americans, seeking employment. In all honesty, after my term with the judiciary ended in April, I didn't look too hard over the summer, preferring to ferry the Gs to various camps and to enjoy another brief sabbatical. Worldwide is busy and peripatetic; the stock market is up; the blog is fun, though not much is happening in the "audience development" department (more on that below).
But with the summer gone, it's time to get serious, and the facts that we don't want to move, and that the U.S. government seems to have decided that short projects to reform the judicial systems of other countries may not produce the intended return on investment, dramatically reduce the number of available opportunities.
Plus, the job search market seems to have changed quite a bit since the last time, in 2004, that I was looking. Craigslist, LinkedIn, Careerbuilder, and a number of service providers masquerading as head hunters have changed the landscape, though, not always for the better, it would seem.
So not getting a lot of return on my investment in the foregoing, Worldwide suggested that I look into a free seminar provided by the Triangle Business Journal, a paper devoted to reporting on local business activity. The ad, which I didn't read all that carefully, looked like the box at right.
About 15 people were there and we were greeted by an "Audience Development Manager." After going around the room for a brief set of introductions, she began the seminar. She was a little hard to take seriously, as she had that habit of ending every statement with an intonation that suggested it was a question, something that I now know is a "High Rise Terminal" and often accompanies nervousness in public: "So, if you're looking for a job? The best place to start is Page 1? There's an article about a Blue Cross expansion, so maybe you could, like, follow up?"
Ever curious (or curmudgeonly, perhaps), I raised my hand, asking politely about the best way to follow up in such a situation. She suggested that maybe I could send the CEO a note introducing myself and asking if we could meet for coffee. Gee, I thought, things would have been so much easier for Bud Fox is he could have just sent Gordon Gekko an email, rather than using his unctuous charm and a box of cigars to gain entree.
She proceeded to walk us through the paper page by page, explaining how bankruptcy filings were red flags, and generally how news is an excellent source of information. And that you can get it by subscribing? But wait. There's more. If you sign up, you also get a directory of all local businesses, organized alphabetically.
Like a lot of newspapers, there doesn't appear to be much to differentiate the paper from its online version, and doubtless that is the motivating force behind the subscription drive and the euphemistically brilliant discipline of "audience development."
Looking back at the ad, it doesn't claim to be doing anything other than it actually did, so I really can't complain. I suspect that the best opportunities are to be found through "soft contacts," 2nd or 3rd level network connections on social media, and LinkedIn seems to offer that possibility. However, I get so many contact requests from people for whom I don't quite understand the connection, I fear it may link itself into irrelevance. The Nigerians don't seem to have found it yet, but it's only a matter of time. I won't be subscribing, but I'll keep looking at the TBJ online. And I have registered for this event later in the week. If I don't identify any opportunities, I still might have something to, you know, write about?