Over the past several months, I haven’t written anything about my job hunt or Jon’s job hunt or what ended up happening with any of that. It seems like every time something exciting happened, it wasn’t quite final, and so I didn’t want to “announce” it yet. And every time one thing was finalized, there was another part of the situation yet to be determined…and there still is! But I want to give a rundown of what has happened since October, if I can even remember the order of things! Bear with me…it’s a lot.
At the beginning of October I got an interview with a market research firm called The Link Group that recruits at Carolina. I went to a meet-and-greet one night, and then had my first interview on campus the next day. (It was actually the day after that I got engaged!) I found out it was a three-round interview process, so I was pretty nervous. About a week later I got called back for a second interview, again in Chapel Hill. That one went really well, and another week later I got called back for the third round, this time in Atlanta! Jon had already interviewed with Novelis, an aluminum manufacturer, and had gotten called back for a second interview with them just a few days before I found out about mine. His was also in Atlanta! The first week of November, he went there and back in one day for his interview, and just two days later I flew to Atlanta and spent the night for my interview the next day. Jon was not extremely impressed with his experience, but I had a great time on my trip, and was really hoping for an offer.
After my first interview with The Link Group, I also had a phone interview with a man who had started his own consulting business and wanted to hire one more person to help him when he moves back to Chapel Hill in the spring. I never heard back about that job, but was not too disappointed after I found out those details. That position and The Link Group position were the only positions I found through Carolina’s career services that were at all related to my field and interested me. Since September I had also been talking to the PR firm where I had been interning about the possibility of going full-time after I graduated, but was not making much progress on that.
During this time Jon also interviewed with Schneider Electric, an energy management company, for a job that would be in Nashville, at least for the first year. Then he did a phone interview with Eaton Corporation, a very diverse power management company, for a position at a manufacturing plant in Fayetteville, Asheville, or a couple places in South Carolina. He was not very impressed with that interview, and we weren’t very excited about him working at a plant in any of those places. He also interviewed with an electrical consulting company with just one location in Raleigh. I think we were most hopeful for this position, because we knew it would be in Raleigh, or for the job with Schneider because we both liked the idea of living in Nashville for a year. I think Jon might have had maybe one more prospect as well, but I was having a hard time keeping them all straight and even understanding what all the companies do…
So then we waited to hear back…and waited…and waited. I continued looking for other opportunities that came up, and since most of Jon’s potential jobs involved moving, I started to look for more temporary positions. I applied to a temporary communications position with the State Employees Association that seemed really great if we had to move – it was 40 hours/week, only from January through April.
Some time late November or early December, Jon got a call from a guy at Eaton who wanted to recommend him for their Leadership Development Program instead of the other position he had applied for. This was really exciting because it sounded like a much better opportunity. About a week later he interviewed on campus for that position, and the very next day he got an offer! The program is two one-year rotations in different locations (different parts of the company). After the program, he would move on to a more senior-level position somewhere else. It was a great offer, but it meant we would have to move, and we wouldn’t know where we were going until March or April. However, Raleigh was a location people from this program had gone in the past, so that was a possibility for the first year.
Then, of course, I got an offer from The Link Group the very NEXT day!! I was getting antsy when a month passed and I hadn’t heard anything. My offer was great as well! But if Jon took his offer and he wasn’t able to get Raleigh for the first year, I would only be able to stay with the company for seven months. Jon only had a little over a week to decide about his offer; I had a lot more time. We thought and prayed, thought and prayed. We listed out the pros and cons of accepting the offer with Eaton and not knowing where we would be going, versus declining and hoping for an offer in the area so that I could definitely take my offer. Though I really wanted to accept my offer, I had also been saying for a while that I wanted to move to experience somewhere new, outside of North Carolina. And this program would be more than an entry-level position for Jon – it would teach him more, he would experience two different parts of the company, and it should lead to quicker promotion. It is a solid company, and Jon had gotten a lot of really positive feedback about this position. We decided that in this economy, the opportunity was too good to pass up.
While we were making this decision, I began communicating with The Link Group about the possibility of accepting the job if I could only stay for seven months. Unfortunately, they needed at least a year of commitment from me, so I knew I couldn’t take the job unless Jon was able to get Raleigh for his first year. The most complicated thing was that he had no idea if Raleigh would even be an option this year, and how likely it would be that he would get it if it were an option! All the program director said was that the options would be available in February or March.
At the beginning of the next week I interviewed for the temporary position with the State Employees Association, which now seemed like an even better opportunity if I was not going to be able to accept my offer. A couple days later, after talking to the program director about his situation, Jon surprisingly found out that Raleigh would not be an option for his program this year! We were really disappointed, but still thought it was best for him to accept the offer, so he signed the papers a few days later.
Thankfully Christmas break came right after all of that – we were about to go insane with all the “if’s” and the waiting and the pending responses that would determine big things for us! Then, of course, at the end of Christmas break I had still not heard back about the temporary position I was hoping to start when I got back to Chapel Hill. I finally found out someone else had been hired. So I was back to figuring out what I would do for this next semester!
We know Jon is starting his job in June, but we don’t know where it will be yet. All we know is where people in this program (which is only two years old) have gone in the past. And as we saw with Raleigh, not all those places will necessarily be options. There could also be some new places that haven’t taken people in the past. However, places people have gone before are Denver, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Costa Mesa, CA, Jackson, MS, Jackson, MI, a few other places in Michigan, and Asheville. I might be missing a few, but those are the ones we keep telling everyone! Each place does something different…for example, the places in California do aerospace work, while some other places do vehicle-related things.
Jon should get the list of options in February or March, and then he will get to rank them. It will probably be about a month later that we’ll find out where we’re going. We don’t know yet if that will involve interviewing with these different places or not. One great thing about his offer is that it includes career help for his spouse! We have no idea what that means yet, but that gives me a little hope for being able to find a job for just one year
Now you’re probably wondering what I’m doing with my time this semester! I was pretty worried about that, coming back to school after the break with nothing on my plate except continuing my unpaid PR internship. I was hoping to find a part-time paid job related to PR or communications to keep up my professional work, and so that I could also pay for a program to get my Pilates instructor certification at a local studio. The program is really intense and would take the entire six months I would still be here, but I’ve been wanting to do it for a while, and was thinking that being a Pilates teacher might be a good alternative to finding a job in my field if that is too hard for the two years we are moving around.
I reached out to several event planners, asking if they needed any communications help, but not super hopeful I would get much of a response since the semester had already started. It turned out to be such great timing for one wedding/event planner who had recently put out word on her Facebook page that they had an immediate need for a communications intern! (I didn’t even see that until after I started working!) The communications work is unpaid, but I will hopefully have the opportunity to help with several weddings this spring and be able to earn a little bit that way. I am so excited to get great advice and ideas for my own wedding, too, of course!
The company is Your Special Day Weddings & Special Events. I’m working with Shawn, the owner and creator of Your Special Day, who works out of her home. I’m excited the company already has an established presence on Facebook and a presence on so many wedding sites as well. She has done a great job, and hopefully I can be a great help to her this semester! I’ve already got a list of press releases to write, wedding site accounts to update, blog posts to write, and more! 🙂 The Lord really answered my prayers to find something that would be both helpful to me and that I would be excited about doing.
I’m also in the process of finding a part-time nannying job. I have a profile on care.com, and we will see what happens over the next week or so! I decided the Pilates training program was not meant for this semester, as I did not want to pass up the opportunity for experience in the wedding planning industry even though it is unpaid. I will hopefully get the certification at some point, though!
I am also staying very busy with my own wedding plans! I am really thankful now to have a flexible schedule in comparison to working a full time job. If I had taken my original offer or even gotten the temporary job I was hoping for, this wedding planning would be a lot more stressful and difficult. I think I will enjoy my last semester here in Chapel Hill a lot more, and I really couldn’t think of another industry I would rather be doing communications work for right now than the wedding industry! The Lord continues to show me that He knows what will be best for me and values my desires. I am so thankful He makes His plan happen even when I complain and get discouraged or disappointed in how His plan is unfolding.
Up next: Ashley’s baby shower!