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Social technology research scientist seeks social tech research job!

Well, coming back from the winter holidays it’s time for me to cope with my new job status: i am back on the market!

Unfortunately I got swept up by the recent layoffs at Yahoo.  After several weeks of rumors discussed in various technology blogs (see http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/14/yahoo-employees/), the layoffs finally happened mid December which took about 5% of the company.  I was sitting on the fourth floor of building A, home of the communities teams (Answers, Groups, Delicious), one of the target areas of the layoffs, watching managers walk through the floor requesting private meetings one by one, followed by a flurry of packing boxes and goodbyes in the two hours we had to leave the premises.  Imagine my feeling as I watched my own manager approach my cubicle.

I have to say, my main feeling at the time (aside from surprise!) was “but i was working on really cool projects and now I don’t get to finish them!”

Now, two weeks later, holidays over, my main feeling is one of…ugh.  I’ve been on the job market before, and I find it has a lot in common with the more unpleasant side of dating.  As a social psychologist & technology researcher I have spent a fair amount of time focusing on match-making online (both professional and personal match-making) so I’m well-versed in the literature on the topic.  Finding a match professionally is a lot like finding a match personally.  You want to find the best match possible, in a reasonable amount of time.  You go on a lot of “dates” where you put your best foot forward, while trying to stay honest, because if you get the job you have to do the job.  You debate how much do I adapt myself to what they want, versus focusing on myself and what I want.  You have trouble perceiving how others perceive you, and when the “date” does not end well you are never told why.  You have to tell yourself, well, it’s nothing personal, it’s just not a good match, while at the same time wishing everyone you “date” really, really wants you.   You find yourself having to remind yourself “I’m really great!” at the same time wondering why organizations don’t immediately fall madly in love you and hire you one the spot.  I have the additional problem of really wanting three jobs in one (more academic industry research, early stage prototyping, and social tech design), when most larger organizations want you to fill just the one job role.

Finally, as far as match-making services go, job boards are really ineffective.  I’m always amazed that the state of the art in professional match-making technologies isn’t, well, better.   I need to spend a *lot* of time researching where I would like to work, and I still have better luck through personal connections than job boards, because personal connections are much more effective at knowing who you are, where people like you go, whether you would be a good fit, and helping you get on the hiring manager’s radar.

Well, back to polishing my resume and my curriculum vitae….

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