Tomorrow I start my new job with a really really great local company. I am very excited and happy and I hope that I don’t make an April Fool of myself! I don’t have to move. I am going to learn about some new tech that I am very interested in. And, the company – well, it is world class. It’s a little bit larger than I am used to, but it isn’t mega-sized like a few of my old employers were. That said – I’m not exactly sure what their policy is regarding blogging etc, so I’ll probably refrain from all things company related for a bit.
More than anything else I want to thank my husband, all of my good friends, and my previous coworkers who supported me during the last 11 months of my job search. You kept a roof over my head. You introduced me to hiring companies and helped me get interviews. You convinced me not to sell myself short and to hold out for a position that I really want. You told me to focus on what I am best at. You took me out for a beer and a burger or a nice lunch when I was down (Now I owe YOU lunch/dinner! You know who you are!)
Words just can’t express how thankful I am!
Well, the weather has taken a turn for the better around here. It’s been warm, it’s been sunny, and the trees are dropping pollen like nobody’s business. I’ve enjoyed playing hooky in the yard for the better part of the last two weeks. After a long, unseasonably cold and dark winter there is nothing like being able to do some Spring cleaning in my garden. I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions, but when it comes to Spring-time I’m all about getting things ship-shape in my house, my personal life, and at work. Things to put on the todo list:
- Blow out the cobwebs – In the garden this means cranking up the gas backpack blower and removing the remaining leaves out from the shrubs (hence the smell of two-stroke). In my personal life it means kicking up my exercise program a notch and getting outside for long walks and runs when the weather is good. At work it typically means clearing out my desk of old projects and responsibilities that are hanging around.
- Get my hands dirty – In the garden I’ll be pulling the netting off the pond and clearing out the dead plants and other winter debris. In my personal life I’ll be looking at all the little things I’ve been procrastinating about over the winter. At work it means that it is time to pick up a new skill or hone an existing one.
- Use my imagination – In the garden it’s time for planting the early vegetables and for rearranging the landscape. In my personal life it’s time to plan my next vacation. At work, it’s time to brainstorm new project ideas.
What does Spring make you want to do?
Today I am going to do something that I’ve totally shied away from while I’ve been looking for a job. I’m going to write about an interview that I had this week. Yes, really. Part of my brain is still screaming “NOOOO don’t do it!”, but I’m going to override that. Hopefully that’s not a bad idea, but here goes.
First off, this is a position that I really, really want. Since I’ve been interviewing it is one of only a very few that I have been very excited about. This isn’t pretend excited, this is chomping at the bit to get started excited. I was beginning to wonder if such a job exists or not… well, it does.
The reason for this post is because I learned something completely new and different. I’ve done a lot of interviewing. I mean a LOT. I’ve probably personally interviewed well over 100 people. I’ve asked technical questions, I’ve asked behavioral question, I’ve made people really squirm. On the other side of the interview table, I’ve learned to answer questions with stories about my past rather than general feel good statements. This week I learned an interview technique that applies extremely well when you are interviewing for a role that has many different interpretations. Ask the interviewee to present what the role means to them in 10 minutes or less. SO Simple. Duh! I should have thought of this!
Actually, it’s a little more than that:
- Describe what you think that this role is
- Describe how you’d approach this particular role in this company
- Describe what makes you uniquely qualified for this role
So simple. But yet, so effective. I put together 8 slides and presented them to a panel of interviewers who then asked me questions about my background and my presentation. It was a quick, effective way to get to understand how a person would approach a job. I’m going to remember this for when I am interviewing to fill positions again.
So, you’re probably wondering… how did my interview go? I’m cautiously optimistic. My one regret is that I wasn’t able to sit down with everyone individually. It is much harder for me to make a connection with people when I am talking to a roomful. I don’t know how much that hurt me.
Once again, I’m on a kick to discover new things in my own backyard for my vacation this year. Time doesn’t stand still, even for the unemployed – it is always good to get away and relax in different surroundings. Granted, this year, like last, I’m not going very far. I’m not going to leave my home state, but I am going to do things that most people haven’t even considered. Basically I’m looking for a cheap way to satisfy my sense of adventure.
As you probably know, I’ve taken a few kayaking vacations in the past, I’ve spent a week in the Alaskan wilderness camping and paddling Kenai Fjords National Park. I’ve also spent a week sailing and kayaking in the Galapagos. Those were two trips that I will remember for a lifetime. I love being outdoors, and I love the sense of satisfaction that I have after a long day of activity. This has prompted me to investigate a self-guided tour of the Cape Lookout National Seashore of NC. This trip has been in the works for a while now, and I’ve gotten so excited about it that I HAVE to talk about it. Click to see an interactive map.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with Cape Lookout, it is one of the few pristine barrier islands left on the East coast. The islands are only accessible by boat. You can explore about 50 miles worth of island. Some people bring their 4x4s on the car ferry, but we plan on paddling and camping as much of the island as possible. Camping is primitive and there are only a few sites where potable water is available. You have to bring all your food, and enough water to last a few days in case there are issues with the drinking water supply. We are talking some packed kayaks. Food will definitely require some creativity without the ability to take along big coolers. We also have to worry about raccoons – so I’ll be packing the bear vaults to keep the critters out!
A side purpose to this whole trip is a fascination that I’ve had with lighthouses. I’ve visited all of the major lighthouses of NC except one – Cape Lookout. I’ve driven down the Outer Banks – climbing Currituck, visiting Bodie, seeing Hatteras before the big move, and taking a car ferry to Ocacroke. I’ve taken a side trip to Oak Island as well. I’ve even taken the ferry to Bald Head Island just to see “Old Baldy”. Now it is Cape Lookout’s turn for a visit. Cape Lookout is the one with the diamond day mark.
I’ve set a date in the early summer and I’ve rounded up a few friends who will hopefully be able come along. Timing is important – I want to do this when the ocean is warm enough for swimming but the nights are still comfortable for sleeping. Here’s the plan:
- Leave the truck in the long term parking lot for the park and put in the kayaks at Harker’s Island near high tide. Ride the tide all the way out to the tip of Cape Lookout. Spend a night camping in the shadow of the lighthouse.
- Pack up the gear and paddle North about 3-4 hours or 10-12 miles a day, taking into account the timing of the tides.
- Spend the rest of each day playing in the sand and surf or exploring and taking pictures of the wildlife.
- Repeat until we reach the abandoned town of Portsmouth (stretch goal!). Explore there.
- Paddle South until we find the truck again
- Head home, exhausted, tanned and relaxed
Where’s your sense of adventure?
Posted in Personal