Monday, June 30, 2008

Reflections on being home

It has been a while since I wrote. I've now been home half a year. The time has gone very quickly, and sometimes I have so many things to do I wonder how I found time to work! The good news is that my health has improved--I am off blood pressure medicine. I'm exercising a lot more and eating more healthily.

Some days India feels far away to me, but at the same time I miss it. Though I was ready to return home, there were so many places I did not get to see, so many photographs I did not get to take, so many friends left unmet. Occasionally--as the other day--I will still wake with the distant sound of bells from the Hindu morning pooja ringing in my ear. Someday, I will return, I know.

I have taken time in this six months to see my own country, sometimes through fresh eyes. We traveled along the eastern seaboard to Florida, and to Alaska. I have enjoyed the beautiful scenery of New Hampshire and New England, in spring and in winter, as well as now in summer. Recently, I missed one experience that would have probably reminded me of India--the annual strolling of the heifers in Brattleboro, Vermont (I'll definitely catch this next year!) In early September, Marty and I will spend a week on an island off the coast of New Hampshire, and catch the fall colors.

But, there is more than reuniting with family and travel these days to occupy me. In the last couple of weeks, I have started networking to find a new position (or positions).

Most career experts will tell you that networking is THE way to get a job. Statistically, only about 5% of jobs are filled through job postings on the internet or in classifieds, and even fewer by sending unsolicited resumes to overworked and understaffed HR departments (or sending them to managers and having them referred, unopened, to the HR group). Between 10-15% are filled through recruiters or headhunters. But the vast majority of people get jobs through who they know, and by being at the right place at the right time.

Though only a sample of one, I have to say that my own career attests to this. I can think of only one position in my whole life that I got through an ad, and virtually every other job was through contacts. Even my first job outside of working for my dad--as a waitress in a local restaurant when I was 15--I found through a friend. For a couple of jobs, including the one I had at Mazda, I didn't even have a proper interview. I don't expect that now in this more rigorous age, but I do expect the unexpected--that some chance encounter may well lead to the next stage in my career.

I've thought a lot about what I'd like to do--and not do. For the moment, I'm concentrating on interim positions--assignments where someone is needed for a finite period of time to manage and/or find a successor, build an organization, set up a department or policies, etc. I'd definitely like to use my international experience. Probably an ideal scenario is a company that's going global or needs global/international processes and thinking. Eventually, I'd like to teach at a college--but probably in a few years.

So my job for the next few months at least is networking. Fortunately, this is not difficult for me and I enjoy meeting new people. I've already heard some fascinating stories from people about their networking experiences. As I get more of this under my belt, I'll share some of these stories here.

No comments: