When I began the job hunt, I despaired over the small size of my network. Being a small number of years into my career, I didn’t think “it’s who you know” would work for me as a search strategy. I’m happy to say I was totally wrong. Online and offline, the more I put myself out there, the more people I met who were willing to help me out.
First, I have these people to thank for engaging me for work.
- Eric Abrahamsen has me doing Python development for Paper Republic.
- A non-native English speaker has me working to improve the English copy on his tutoring website.
- A client has hired me to build a no-frills personal website. “I want it like a mathematician’s academic homepage,” he says.
- A client is hiring me to translate Mandarin for his business venture.
Second, the following friends and contacts each offered me something, then delivered on that offer. If you’re named here, call in an equivalent favor at your leisure. If you’ve been left off this (evolving) list or want to change how I’ve used your name, get in touch.
- Matt C. praised my cover letter and resume while advocating for me to his boss. My nervousness during the subsequent coding screen meant “my best foot forward” was not the same foot I had “in the door” – but that’s on me.
- Matt C. came back a second time to connect me to Jon Paul, who floated a job opportunity or two my way.
- Matt U. connected me with his hometown friend Milo, who spoke with me at length about his employer and advocated for me during the interview process.
- Gus, despite having newborn twins, graciously found time on a Saturday to take an informational phone call, spent the rest of that morning calling his contacts to help me source leads, and continually checked in for the next month or so with professional advice.
- My fellow Uncoded board members provided moral support and an opportunity to attend the SCALE conference, which brought some networking opportunities.
- Alexi and Anna Leah invited me to feast and make merry in his home, for days and weeks at a time.
- My IndieWeb buddies motivated to keep working on this website, as well as lead a discussion at IndieWebCamp Online 2020.
- A Reed College Alumni Programs event introduced me to fellow Reedie and Sinologist Joseph, who connected me to another Reed Sinologist, Brydon, who turned me on to the American Mandarin Society mailing list, which finally resulted in my spending several months aiding a Chinese-translation effort related to COVID-19.
- Chris Stasse invited me to his home for a drongo week of carpentry, camping, and poetry battles, reminded me that being unemployed at a young age doesn’t mean I’m “falling behind,” and helped me polish my short-story translations.
- Jaime Torres taught me to keep cool in interviews while putting “the Maxwell charm” to use, and helped me push my boundaries and build confidence through athletic excursions.
- Alexis Smolensk, a friend and long-time mentor, firmly advised me to focus my creative and artistic skills on meeting the needs of others, not just on what I alone find meaningful.
- Justin referred me to a position with his employer.
- Chancellor volunteered his lawyerly knowledge to refine my freelancing contract.
- Lyla was Lyla to the fullest.
- After I posted on Hacker News and Slate Star Codex seeking advice, dozens and dozens of commenters came to my aid. Roughly a dozen of these followed up with emailed advice or open positions.
- J. G., who I met on Slate Star Codex, kept up a correspondence lasting several months, consensually hounded me about my to-do list, and advised his offspring to enter the Sith Lord Challenge.
- Subhro, who I met on Hacker News, went above and beyond in his quest to help a perfect stranger. He gave me his phone number and insisted I call him to talk things over, referred me to a job at his employer, and offered sage advice from his stint in the Air Force.
- My parents were indispensable – ’nuff said.