This is my first post on my "new" blog= second attempt . It is little wordy, but LaidOffCampPhx rocked and it is worth it.
Last weekend I had the pleasure to attend a different kind of community "Camp" called LaidOffCamp Phoenix with my wife. At first I was not really even paying that close of attention to it, because currently I am employed and things are going pretty good. On the other hand the wife unit is job hunting, but I figured it was going to be a day full of obvious resume tips and people telling you to go "fill out an application on our website". But a couple of weeks after I heard about I was at lunch with Joe Guadagno for tech lunch south and he made a comment about it. I went back to the office and read the session abstracts and was really interested. The camp appeared to fill a special place by including sessions like "this is what companies are really doing" for people job hunting and information like "starting your own business" to give be a lot of choices in what they may want to do with their professional lives now. So I fired up the chat and gave the information to the wife and she signed up with me.
Saturday morning quickly arrived and we headed out, this was the first community event that I had the chance to attend with Wendy and I was pretty excited to see what she thought. I attend quite a few developer oriented events on weekends and get to meet a lot of great people at them, now it was her chance. Breakfast was served and we spent some time talking to Justin English from TEKsystems while eating. The morning started with introduction by Mayor John Lewis of Gilbert which was followed by Karen Burns who talked about her book The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl and the her personal experiences of having 59 jobs in her life. Wow that is a lot of jobs and she has done quite a few different things.
For the first session Wendy and I decided to both go to Eric Knott’s talk on Key Strategies from a Corporate Regional Recruiting Manager. Eric talked about things that he has seen not only resumes, but just in interviewing and dealing with applications for large companies. Some little tidbits from this took that I liked was that 70% of the jobs in corporate America never even make it to any kind of posting and how easy HR types will toss resumes for being either over complicated or a pain to read. Already by this session we had met a lot of friendly people that warmly welcomed us to Phoenix.
For the next two sessions we gave it the good old tag-team approach. She headed off to a session on saving money which she enjoyed and I stayed out in the halls doing the unconference thing, meeting more great people and talked for awhile with some who gave me great pointers about the tech community here in Phoenix. Next time slot I went to Matt Clower ‘s session Connect Better with Different Personalities and was wondering how it would fit with this agenda of the camp, but now the light is in my eyes. I learned a little about understanding people (something I need to work on) so I can better meet their needs when communicating and working with them. I see how this would be a invaluable skill when trying to get your own thing going (along with other aspects of life). More research will be done on this topic in my spare time. Wendy spent her 65mins in Susan Baier’s session titled How to Land That Gig and she loved it. Susan you get a big Thank You from me in regards to making Wendy feel better about what she is going through job hunting right now. And we learned Susan is a great person to sit down and have a conversation with, hope to have many more in the future.
PIZZA TIME! Lunch was sponsored by TEXsystems and they provided the event with enough pizza for an old fashion quakefest and the pizza was mighty yummy. Wendy and I picked a table to sit at and started discussing our day so far. Next thing I know we are talking to Pamela Slim about some of ideas of wanting to start our own business and where we currently stand with it. The one lunch conversation was worth the entire day, but wait she is giving a talk right after lunch. WhammyBar! I have to say I really enjoyed the extended lunch time which allowed for more conversations and networking then I have experienced at a lot of events.
THE BEST SESSION I WENT TO Pamela Slim OH:"Rocked It"
During lunch we had talked for a little bit and she gave us a copy of her book Escape From Cubicle Nation which I read a couple pages of while waiting for the session (Scrappy and effective ways to launch a side business as you figure out your next career move) to start. I had also heard nothing but praises for what she has done for some many people there. Plain and simple no let down. Within a matter of a couple of minutes I had goose-bumps just because we have been through some crazy (good and bad) times during the last couple of years and she was able to describe how I feel now. She nailed what I want now and later! She described it all and I do not feel crazy for it either. I could go on about this session alone for another hour. I won’t. You just need to check out her site! <<Excitement fills the crowd>>. Sorry one last comment: To all the people that DM’ed me about my catalyst thank you very much.
Next up was a panel session: Go It On Your Own: Run Your Own Business. We both went to this and harvested quite a bit of personal experience and vision as to how the small business may go and who can help us. The biggest thing I got out of this panel is that "It is possible" as long as you’re ready to do it. People talked about some of the pitfalls they have experienced and also the great experiences they have had while busting their butt for what they want.
After the camp was over quite a few people headed over to Liberty Market in Gilbert where the great conversations continued and some beer was had. Like I said this was one of the better experiences I have had in a while and I came out of it on a high. Not expecting to be able to take over the whole world and end my run in the gray cubicle nation, but feeling that if I work my butt off with my wife we can make our lives a lot better for us together. Just got to do it RightSmart.
So to all of those involved in the LaidOffCamp Phoenix event (especially Rachel Reese): hats off, awesome job, and thanks for making somebody feel better about where they are.