Job update: reentering the workforce

Astute readers (or folks who click to my site rather than just scanning my RSS feed) may have noticed that my tagline, which formerly read “This blogger is for hire,” has changed. Later today I will start my new job as product manager for iET Solutions, a company that makes software that manages IT services based on the ITIL standard, as well as more traditional customer and IT management offerings including helpdesk and CRM.

I thought it might be helpful for other people in the job market to get some perspective on my search. My full time search started in November, and I received my first offer in early April, almost exactly six months later. During the intervening time, I spoke with almost 40 companies; had first-round interviews with about 15 of them; second round or higher with 8; and secured two offers.

Position availability for product managers has been bursty. There was a hot period for about six weeks from November through early December, then no real positions available until about late February, when things suddenly got hot again. This may be a specifically Boston issue, or it may speak to factors in the economic cycle that influence the availability of this kind of marketing position.

I used several lead management methods to identify new opportunities. Monster and Craigslist were in the mix, as were conversations with friends and colleagues at networking events and ongoing daily conversation. I listed my resumé on Monster as well as on my own blog, and found that both brought a roughly equal number of hits in any given month, though the nibbles from people who found me on Google tended to be less targeted and less serious. No one who contacted me mentioned having read my blog. I also worked with three recruiting and placement firms and spoke with many more. Some of the experiences with placement firms were very positive, and I will be happy to provide specific recommendations offline. The recruiter who placed me at iET Solutions was a single-time recruiter (not someone with whom I had looked at other firms) who found my resumé on Monster.

What’s next for me and this blog? Well, it’s likely I won’t update as often as I have been doing for the last six to eight months, but I anticipate continuing this project well into the foreseeable future. There may be some new directions in content, responding to some of the challenges of my new job. I hope you’ll enjoy the ride as much as I plan to.

Manila 9.5 goes public beta

The new version of Manila, the software that powers this blog, entered public beta over the weekend. Congrats to Jake, Scott, and the rest of the Userland team.

Some of the changes in the software look really interesting for all levels of users, including nofollow support, enclosures, authenticated member signup, better management for comments and trackback (spam management), and a ton of performance fixes. Others, including version control and site access control, look squarely aimed at a specific set of customers—those inside the firewall. Very interesting.

Things I’d like to see fixed that I don’t see listed—I’m going to try to install the beta bits and check for the fixes, but haven’t gotten there yet:

  • Static rendering issues with news items: This is the biggest pain for me. Currently the news item department, comment, and trackback links are all broken on every news item on my static site (www is the static site; is the dynamic site). The static rendering code should be smart enough to link to the dynamic site for these items—or else we should have the option to do static rendering of comments, trackback, and news item department pages.
  • The calendar on static pages: Unless you go back and re-render a month manually, the navigation on the calendar of a static page does not link to any content published after that page was rendered. This makes paging chronologically forward through the content a real problem. It’s not just a problem for one month, either, since the “next month” link points to the last available content date. So basically you have to manually re-render a given month for a few months in a row to avoid losing the thread of the navigation in statically rendered pages. Manila should either do re-rendering automatically as part of a scheduled maintenance process, or should identify a different way to handle the calendar function.
  • Better archive handling: Now that this site has almost four years of content, the limited archive paging (month at a time) that the calendar control offers is frustrating. I’d like to see automated support for weekly, monthly, or yearly archive pages, even if they only offer titles and not full content. I’d also like to see more robust department archives. Currently they only manage a fixed number of news items (50?) per department, and then you have to use the calendar (or Google) to find older entries. I’d like to see Manila support paging, date-based archiving, or some other intelligent way of finding deeper content without taxing server resources on news item department pages.

I look forward to playing with the beta some more over the next few weeks in my shrinking spare time.

Welcome to the neighborhood

Aaron Swartz: SFP: Come see us. Looks like Aaron got some initial round funding to work on his company this summer as part of Y Combinator’s Summer Founders Program and will be setting up an office here in the greater Boston area. Congrats, Aaron! (I like the description of the area he attributes to Paul Graham of Y Combinator:

“Now you want to go about finding an apartment. You want to get a place on the red line [the local subway] because then you can go see people and people can go see you. The best place to go is Davis Square, because it’s cheap, fun, and on the red line. Harvard is fun and on the red line but not cheap, Porter is cheap and on the red line but not fun, so I recommend Davis, Inman, and Central, in that order.”

Happy Patriots’ Day

I’ve come a long way from three years ago, when I wrote about my confusion about Patriots’ Day (is it a day off to watch the Boston Marathon?). Now I live in a town that claims the highest number of first-day casualties within town borders—22 colonists and at least twice as many British regulars, more than either Lexington or Concord—in the American Revolution. The Lexington Minuteman rounds up all the facts and legends.

Update: Good coverage of some of the reenactment fun in downtown Arlington on Ben Hyde’s blog.

Banning books aloft?

Boing Boing: TSA screener: 2-book max on flights. Ross Mayfield has an interesting conversation with a TSA screener in which the screener mentions that the number of books to be allowed in carry-on will be decreased from four to two. Is this simple confusion between matchbooks (which would make sense in the context of the rest of Ross’s conversation) and literature, or does the TSA actually think that books are possible hijacking weapons? My money is on the former, but it’s too good a story not to share.