What do you do when you are unemployed and you are not sure what the next steps are? You go to Overland Expo
Look, for the last month, I have been looking for jobs and applying for jobs, because finding a job IS my new job! I can sit here and try to be one of the first 200 applicants for a job 17 minutes after it gets posted to LinkedIn, but I’ll be honest with you...NONE OF THE TRUE PROSPECTS FOR A NEW JOB HAVE COME FROM A JOB APPLICATION! Every single real opportunity that I have in front of me is 100% due to a connection with someone in my network, either virtual network or real life person-to-person connections. So, what’s my strategy? GO OUT AND MAKE MORE CONNECTIONS!
I recognize that I am beyond fortunate to have the support of Tami Sisson and that without her, I would not be able to throw caution to the wind and drive my happy butt out to Flagstaff. But the reality is, it is an investment in myself, my future, and my podcast. I knew there were going to be a ton of people, companies, and opportunities there and anything can happen when you get out into the world and mix it up!
So, I went out to Overland Expo West and it was amazing and worth it on many levels. Here is a recap:
Fun Level: One of my co-hosts, Jose Alvarado joined me at the show and we had a blast. There were a ton of products to see at the show, and we hit everything at least once. Jose “MADE” me eat a full cup of chocolate chip cookies from a food truck for lunch, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Podcast Level: As we walked around the show, we noted all the people and companies that we have some form of relationship with. After interviewing so many people, and participating in this space over the last 8 years, we have some level of connection with a huge chunk of the community. We made the effort to introduce ourselves to new people, hear their story, and invite them on to the show. The best part of the the event was our ability to connect, face to face, with an organization that we have been talking to about a collaborative partnership. We spent a lot of time with them and I am certain that the results will be positive (more to come).
Personal Level: I was able to connect with some of the people that I have been speaking with on my journey to a new full time role. In fact, I ran into the President of a company that DID NOT select me for a role that I thought I was well suited to do. I had interviewed with him a few weeks before, but they determined that I wasn’t a good fit. I shook his hand and thanked him for his time and consideration, then told him about some of the ways I think we could help him through the podcast, based on what I learned during the interview process. I know rejection sucks, but it isn’t personal. I would rather have them find the right fit for their organization then try and put me in a spot where I won’t be successful.
I connected with some other people with an organization that I am very interested in joining. I don’t know to what level they knew I had met with their organization, if any. But that didn’t matter. I got the chance to see them in action, how they interacted with each other and their clients. What the general “vibe” was. This took me beyond the interview process and video calls. This was getting to see behind the curtain, before walking in the door. Fortunately, it was exactly as I had expected. A solid group of people, working hard, and trying to have some fun doing it. I see good things happening here.
At the end of the day, I am very glad that I went to the event. I think it will prove to be a catalyst for good things to come in the future. If you are on the hunt for a new job, try to get out into the world and participate in the spaces that your industry and community will be. It’s not easy, but you might be surprised at how effective it is to walk into a booth and start talking to someone about your journey. Good luck, and I hope you get to where you want to be.