Monday, March 9, 2009

Debi: Time to Get Serious

Today, I'm going on my first job interview in at least four years.

When I got out of graduate school in 1996, I got my first web geek job. It was during dotcom mania, and while the company had hired me to write "web content," between my interview and start date, it had completely changed business plans. I got there, and within a few days, someone had handed me a book on HTML and asked me to start building the web site. During the heady ten years that followed, I switched jobs every time something bothered me even a little. Raises capped at 15%? I'm outta here! New boss not as fun as old boss? Buh-bye! Between 1996 and 2005, I had at least five jobs. Some made it onto my resume and some didn't.

I always left on my own terms, usually with friends and good references. I saw one company get closed by the government for tax and regulatory issues and one company close up shop completely, but the majority of the places I've worked in the Chicago area are still running, at least somewhat. I've been working freelance now for three years, though, and I'm slowly watching my work dry up. Some of my clients are former employers, and they're just not investing in new web projects right now. In the space of ten years, I've gone from a hot commodity (along with everyone else who wasn't frightened of computers in the late 90s) to one of a gazillion out-of-work programmers.

So, off I go this morning, in my five-year-old black business suit, to interview at a creative staffing agency. I am good at what I do, and I genuinely like helping clients achieve what they want, so I hope that I can get some work through this company. It's for 1/3 of what I normally charge, and I will be lucky and happy to get it.

Welcome to the "economic crisis" in the Chicago area. It's not so much about meeting my basic needs; we can pay the mortgage and eat and all of that, no problem. It's more about, as my husband describes the investment world, the landscape having changed completely. I used to look out my window and see a city full of possibility. I still see that city, but the line to get in is a lot longer than it used to be.

Wish me luck.

1 comment: