Sunday, September 1, 2013

Keep Calm and Carry On: What's Next?

In March of 2010, I conceived Operation Highlander as a one year deployment to Scotland to get a master's degree in Strategic Studies while enjoying all that Scotland had to offer. Eleven months into the operation, I've completed the requirements for my degree, my current lease is about to expire without option for renewal, and I've seen a lot of what Scotland has to offer. In several very big ways, Operation Highlander is complete.

At the same time, my resources aren't tapped out, there's more of Scotland to see, I have some other projects to work on, graduation isn't until late November, and I also haven't lined up a follow-on gig. So... What to do?

Well, if all goes according to plan, I'm heading to Orkney.

That's right, I think I can swing a few months in my island paradise. I'm in the final stages of lining up digs up there for the next few months. That will give me an opportunity to work a few more projects during the interim period. I mentioned over a year ago that I wanted to work on some other projects while I was in Scotland, and most of those have fallen by the wayside. In theory, some time spent in Orkney would give me the opportunity to work on some of those items. Most pressing to me is getting my PSP certification. I'm also looking at another security certification, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I have some time to kill. I have just a few days left here in Aberdeen, and during that time I'll be settling my affairs (there are mercifully few to settle), cleaning all of the accumulated junk out of my digs, and taking a cue from the Maritime Prepositioning Source by preparing several different bags to serve as prepositioned gear repositories. I expect to leave a lot of my stuff behind. I've made a lackluster effort not to accumulate much, and as with everywhere else I've wound up, the biggest challenge will be books - several of which I've already given away to the Law Man, but many of which will still get packed away somehow. Once I cast off, I'll spend a few weeks travelling from place to place, trying to keep my wits about me while processing what I've just accomplished and what's yet to be done.

In the mean time, I've probably applied for around a hundred jobs in the last week, and thus far I've received a grand total of one automated response informing me that the job no longer exists. It's depressing. My buddy David the Recruiter tells me that the industry I'm applying into basically don't get any actual attention at the end of the fiscal year, but that he has no doubt that I'll be picked up by December (which would actually be pretty good timing). Even so, both the job market and the system whereby open positions are filled are astonishly bad. It's downright depressing. I've been in the system as both an employee and a hiring manager, and it's depressing. I know from experience that every open requisition gets hundreds of applications, and the overwhelming majority may be from applicants who are entirely unqualified for the position in question. Sorting through them is sort of like searching a vacuum cleaner bag for a lost gem - there's so much schmutz in there that you may never find what you're looking for. I've assembled a network of colleagues and the contact details of hiring managers and recruiters over the years, and I have no clue whether any of that will help me when all is said and done.

But, for now, maybe I've earned a few weeks of respite after a year of hard work... Right? Right!?

No comments:

Post a Comment