Saturday, November 5, 2011

Success Spaghetti Style

I’ve been out of work since September 14, and yesterday I interviewed for a job (my third interview in the past seven weeks) and found out I got it two hours later.

Here’s what I learned over the past 51 days:

The best way to succeed is spaghetti-style.

Without giving away too many details and at the risk of sounding undeservedly glamorous, the job I’m most qualified for usually has only one opening per business. Sales forces, for example, could have as many as twenty or twenty-five slots per company in my industry. But only one of me. So, right of the bat, I’m kinda at a disadvantage.

To get a job in my industry – the job I look for in particular – you either have to know someone or somehow be in the right place at the right time. More often the latter, but it doesn’t hurt to have both angles going. So when I found myself out of work (again) in September, I decided the best way to find work would be to utilize a spaghetti strategy.

First I needed to sell myself. I created a one-page letter that I felt balanced a formal, business-like “here’s how I can help your business” with an informal and intelligent easygoing style. Then, with the help of a recruiter I know, I rearranged my resume and redid it to sell me thoroughly for the job I was aiming at as well as make it aesthetically pleasing (at least to me, trying to be as objective as possible). I went to Staples and make about a hundred copies of the letter, the resume, and a Letter of Recommendation I had from my last long-term employer. I saved all the receipts, because they can be written off at tax-time.

Then I created my target list. Online, I was able to come up with about 65 businesses within a 25-miles radius of my home. I visited the website of each and every one and made sure I had the most current, up-to-date address. Then I bought me a big package of envelopes and stamps (keeping all receipts).

You know what I did next. Spaghetti.

There’s an expression that if you throw enough spaghetti at a wall, some will stick. That’s the essence of the Spaghetti Style of Success.

Twice a week I mailed out a handful of Me Packages to the various businesses surrounding my house. Averaged about fifteen a week, or three a day.

In the 51 days of my unemployment, I’ve sent out 90 letters, so I’ve looped and started a second lap of mail-outs. The first letters I addressed “Attn: Office Manager” and the second batch I addressed “Attn: Controller.” If there was going to be a third batch, I was planning on addressing them “Attn: General Manager.” Then back to “Office Manager” for a fourth.

Three weeks in I got a call to come in for an interview. The place was actually too small for the size company that could use me, but they liked the resume, the intro letter, and, especially, that glowing Letter of Recommendation.

Ten days ago I got a letter from someone outside my targeted radius, who got the Me Package from someone else. I’ve been trying to schedule an interview with him, but phone tag (and the power outages we recently experienced) made that difficult.

Then, Thursday, I got a call from a place who I called back and set up an interview for yesterday. An hour after the interview, they called me back with an offer I accepted.

Me Package 1, Unemployment 0.

Kudos to the Spaghetti Style of Success. Something stuck to the wall.

(Of course, I pursued other avenues during the past 51 days. I met with three recruiters and interviewed with a company in – of all places – the clothing retail industry. I checked on a daily basis an applied to a dozen suitable jobs. I sensed dead end from both these strategies. But I kept them up – or the wife prodded me to keep them up – because when you’re outta work, you need to pursue every angle.)

What’s exciting to me is that the Spaghetti Style of Success can be very effective to my writing career. (Perhaps “career” is too strong a word. Substitute “interests” for “career” and you’ll have a better approximation.)

With some help, I sent out a few short stories a year ago and collected around 15 rejection letters. Then, I stopped.

A year-and-a-half ago, I sent out a copy of one of my novels to a contact in the publishing business who knew a literary agent. Based on the comment, “publishers are not taking chances on new SF writers,” I left that path cold.

How might the Spaghetti Style of Success attack the problem of being an unpublished writer?

Easy. Never quit! Keep sending the stories out! Keep sending the novels out! If someone doesn’t like it, no big deal. Move on. Keep moving on. Somebody, somewhere, will like what I send them and will publish it. Something will stick.

Now I’m inspired. I have a job so I don’t have to worry about keeping that roof over my head and my family fed. Now that I have a job, I can work on succeeding at something I love.


No comments: