Back to Work

Well, the executive summary on the job search is there’s nothing much to report. It’s slow going, partly because I’m continuing to be really picky on what things I pursue, and also because, frankly, I’m running into the old&expensive challenge where companies shy away from older candidates without ever admitting it.

I’m happy being patient but I’ve spent some time on and off the last couple of weeks evaluating my approach and priorities, and out of that I tweaked what kind of roles I’m looking for a bit, but more importantly, decided to rewrite my resume from scratch, which I decided it really needed, and shifted it away from some of the more “moon shot” language I’d stuffed into it — as well as cutting a bunch of stuff that was frankly filling and trivia and not really useful in there.

That’s what can happen when you use what was basically a 12 year old resume with updates, rather than a fresh look at it. Much happier with the resume now. I’ve even put it online for your amusement and so you can easily pass it around to people hiring people like me. It’s way too early to guess if it’ll change the slow response thing much, but I’m happier that I did it.

I’ve had a few really interesting conversations along the way, including one opportunity I felt was 95% the perfect fit, but the other 5% I felt was going to be a problem, and when talking it over with them, they agreed with me and so we didn’t move it forward. I feel kind of sad because it would have been a lot of fun, but I also still think that was the right choice.

One reason I started my search in October, other than because I was ready to, was that I knew I wanted time to explore the market and get a sense of what I really wanted to do moving forward, and study companies to see which ones I might target and which I wanted to avoid. It also gave me some time to explore those “moon shot” type options that I might want to explore. I’ve also been able to talk to people about what might be possible or likely — for instance, I’ve wondered about a shift more towards product management, but the feedback I’ve gotten is that would be difficult from outside a company without a strong supporter on the inside, which makes sense.

So the search continues but other than the reworked resume, I’m not changing a lot in how I’m doing the search for now. I put some serious thinking into the question of whether I really wanted to go back to work or not, and I do, but to something interesting and challenging, not just A Job.

I’ve also thought about whether I should do consulting or contract work instead. I’ve had some options there, including some WordPress work and some writing opportunities, but so far, I haven’t. Doing that in some ways sounds fun to me, but that’s ignoring the business grind aspects of freelancing. I am at the point now where I’d consider a good project, but I’m not going to go solicit them, at least for a while.

So the wheels of justice grind forward slowly, but that’s okay, because I really enjoy having the option of being picky and not worrying about getting a paycheck going again any time soon.

But I do find I miss the people and challenges of work, and when I find the right role, I’m looking forward to diving back in again.

Thoughts on Apple

A question I get a lot is whether I’m going to go back to Apple. It’s one I’ve asked myself, to be honest. To do so would require a few things: the right kind of role for my skills and interest; my enthusiasm for that role; and finally, Apple being interested in having me do it.

Having watched Apple’s job board for a few months, I have some opinions: I have applied for a few things, and they basically break down into App Store positions or off in Marketing. Only two really hit my button where I said to myself “I’d really like to do this”, but I didn’t pursue either via the backchannel, and no, Apple hasn’t expressed interest in return.

I do feel that with my background and interests something on the App Store team would probably be the best fit, followed by perhaps something in Phil’s marketing world somewhere. I don’t at this point see either as too likely, and I don’t at this point feel terribly disappointed at that. Which in a nutshell defines my view on going back to Apple. For the right situation, I’d do it in a minute. Do I feel like I really should push to make it happen? At this point, not enough to rattle cages. But I might for the right role, if I see it.

I will say this: if you’re in Phil’s world or off with the App Store, and you see this piece and think to yourself “Hmm, maybe he could be useful here”, drop me a line. Coffee and lunch is on me, and we can talk. One role I recently applied to was App Store Business Manager, Sports and News which feels right up my alley, and almost made me rattle some chains inside the campus. As of today, it’s still open, too and has been since December.

One interesting thing about the App Store, and one that’s given me pause: of the applications I submitted to Apple, about half of them have been App store roles and the other half mostly in Marketing roles with a few random things.

Every role I applied for that was clearly in Phil’s world closed within two weeks. Every single one (I’ve found from my past poking at things at Apple this usually means an internal candidate was already identified, FWIW). All but one of the other roles I applied for have closed, most within a month.

Every single App Store position I applied for is still open except for one. Why that huge disparity in percentages of closed positions? I don’t know, but it does open some questions to me: is the App Store team simply not prioritizing hiring? Is it in the midst of some significant re-org work where the roles are informally on hold until that’s done? Do they just not close jobs when they hire folks and leave the paperwork un-done?

To me, noticing that put up a minor caution flag about the App Store, because it seemed so different than the rest of Apple.

My bottom line on Apple right now is that if I had a choice, I’d prefer a role with the App Store team, but it seems clear that won’t happen unless someone on the inside takes an interest and helps me make that happen. Which I tend to think won’t happen, and I’m comfortable with that. I’m still going to explore options, but I feel like I’m only going to want to try opening my back channel once, and I haven’t seen the role I want to expend that bullet on yet.

And maybe I’m overthinking it, but what the heck. We all have hobbies.

Who I am, what I’m looking for

To close, a quick executive summary on what I do and what I’m looking for:

I’ve got two sets of core strengths: I’m a good writer and creator of content, especially in the online realm. that can be technical, it can be marketing, it can be social. I can produce video, I can produce podcasts, I can produce text.

I am also a community manager and architect and someone who has deep experience in social media. I can do consumer, B2B and especially be the person who works with your technical and developer communities. I can be the public face, the speaker to nerds, the voice of reason, the advocate from the outside users to the inside.

What am I looking for? Good product to support, good company to work for, but more importantly, good people to work with and an interesting challenge to sink my teeth into. I prefer the core Silicon Valley area (draw a circle around Cupertino) but also remote or part time remote would be a nice plus I’d happily consider.

And if that sounds interesting, you can see my resume, or find me through LinkedIn. Or drop me an email at chuqvr@gmail.com and I’ll buy the coffee so we can sit down and talk.

And with that, back to working on my Swift app.