One thing I can say, I’m tired of writing either formal cover letters, or formal e-mails that serve the purpose of a cover letter. It takes me minutes to bang out most medium length blog posts, because I do little proofreading and refining. Cover letters have to be as close to perfect as possible, and I go over them with a fine tooth comb, then have Bitter go over them with a fine tooth comb.
The one aspect I find very difficult is balancing possible offers. Right now I have no offers on the table, but several leads. One lead I have an interview scheduled for, and am very optimistic about. It’s going to be a pay cut because I’d be moving to an academic environment. The job is a step up in title, however. The other lead, which I developed just this morning, is well within my skills, but it’s a gig with a consulting company. It is also a pay cut, but seems to be coming in about the same level as the academic position, is not a step up in title, but well within my set of skills. The third lead is a long shot, but a dream job with a very well known and well respected company. I had a fourth lead, but found out today, after a phone interview, they didn’t think I had the skills they needed.
The quandary is, do you just try to go as fast as possible to an offer, any offer, or do you hold out for the job you think you really want? This is an easy answer when you already have a job; you hold out for the job you really want. When you’re unemployed, that’s a much harder decision. I’m doing my best to try to synchronize the process as much as possible. I think it comes down to this: I won’t turn down an offer on the table, that I’m mostly satisfied with, for a long shot at an offer I’d be very happy with. But I may turn down an offer I’m only mostly satisfied with for a pretty good chance at an offer I’m happy with.
Salary negotiation for the unemployed is tough, though. I expected any job not with my previous employer was going to be a salary cut. Our company was unstable for several years, and they could not afford to lose me. I was paid a pretty good risk premium for sticking it out. It’s looking increasingly likely I will not be able to make that back in a new job. Everything I’ve been looking at, except the jobs in New York City, are a 20% cut in my previous salary. Jobs in New York City pay better, but it’s about a 20% premium that needs to be added to those jobs to cover commuting and New York State taxes, which are, to put it mildly, insane.
I have little doubt I’ll find something by the end of the summer, it’s just going to be a question of whether I get something I really enjoy, or have to settle. Salary cut is already largely a given, and that’s painful, but I’d hate to get paid less for a job I hate.
UPDATE: Just got word the lead I developed today evaporated just as quickly. It was short term contract work that would not result in full time employment. I’m still turning down contract work right now, but that could change in a few weeks.