Thursday, August 23, 2012
SIGGRAPH 2012 Job Fair and the Kindness of Strangers
Something very funny happened when I worked the SIGGRAPH 2012 job fair. I got a job. No! Just kidding. Not even close, but something very human and nice happened, so that is what this post is about.
I was sighted working the Siggraph 2012 job fair by a variety of people, apparently. That means that various people who know me saw me there and made comments to friends who made comments to friends who maybe made comments to me. I hear about this weeks after SIGGRAPH, by the way. Thats all ok with me.
Its even ok with me that I heard many times "that I must have been humiliated" working the Job Fair. I thought that was an interesting comment, and I heard it several times, from different people, so I suppose I was. Humiliated, that is. I mean if they say so. I didnt think I felt humiliated, I thought I was looking for a job.
The background here is that for health reasons I have decided not to try to do anything entrepreneurial (I may have to back off of that decision) because of the stress that a startup and running a company necessarily causes. So it seemed logical to me that I would look for a job. Lots of people have jobs, lots of people have had jobs in the past, and will have jobs in the future. It seems like a logical thing to do.
And since Siggraph has gone though all the trouble to make a job fair, it seemed logical to me that I would take advantage of it. So I stood in line at various booths and talked to various human resource people. And after doing that a few times, a very amusing thing happened.
A very serious, very presentable young man who I did not know, asked me if he could have a word with me. His name was/is Michael Shaneman (name used with permission), and I am pretty sure that we had never met. Sure, I said. He took me aside and said, something like this. " I hope you dont mind, " he began, "but you are doing this all wrong. You can never be negative in front of a recruiter, " he said. "They are paid to weed out anyone who says anything negative or who is eccentric in any way" (I am doing this from memory). "You have to be positive and you have to lead with your ace. " I could tell that he was totally sincere, totally well meaning, and really wanted to help me.
Isn't that nice ? I mean a total stranger ! And he was/is completely sincere, and I think you will agree with me, completely correct. I probably wasnt even aware I was being negative. I probably thought I was being wry, or sarcastic, or even ironic, or something.
Anyway, the point is, it restores my faith in human nature that a total stranger would try to coach me to have a good attitude, and I think he deserves a pat on the back.
Of course, it would be completely misleading to try to convince an employer that I would not be jaded and cynical, and filled with a certain, hmmm, lack of enthusiasm for what computer animation has become, but its hard not to like someone who would help a stranger like that.
So, Michael Shaneman, wherever you are. Thank you very much ! It was probably the only good thing to come out of the so-called Job Fair, and if so, it was a very good thing indeed.