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A Thorough Recapitulation.

29 November 2012

OK. So. I write this still vibrating a bit from what I feel was a very successful day of interviews along with my job talk. But I’ll try to write it in a way that might be of service to people who are trying to do similar things in the future. What with this whole newfangled societal-engagement-through-the-Internet-and-social-responsibility thing that I’ve gotten hooked into on twitter. The trip was absolutely whirlwind. I flew out Tuesday evening, which became Tuesday night because my plane was delayed almost three hours because of weather in ECC. Then I got there and was told by the hotel that I would be paying for the room, not PECMC. I sent an email to HR there, and they stormed the castle. There’s a line item on my credit card I’m told will be coming off.

So I got in way to late to meet the friends I’d set up dinner plans with. So I went to the hotel bar and had a burger and listened to a surprisingly good mash-up of “Another Brick in the Wall” and “Stayin’ Alive”. Then I had cookies and fell into a fitful sleep, awaking every other hour.

I got up in the morning, acquired coffee, killed a couple of hours looking at my talk and generally being stressed, making a few last-minute changes, and then took a cab to PECMC. The cab driver was chatty and pleasant. Had good things to say about ECC, and PECMC. In fact, I haven’t heard a single negative word about PECMC, from anyone. Every single person, who works there, or who lives in ECC, or who just knows the reputation of the institution, that I’ve talked to has said some variation of: “PECMC is a first class organization and a great place to work and research.” I’m just spectacularly excited about them.

So I got there about 20 minutes early, and sat in the lobby nervous. I felt like I was having a bad hair day. But I was dressed well. My mother taught me to always own one really nice suit, and good shoes, and a nice overcoat. “There are times when you want to be able to walk in knowing that you’ll be the best-dressed person in the room.” I did. And I was. There is a kind of confidence I’ve found that comes in professional situations from being elegantly but conservatively dressed, and especially being in a jacket when everyone else is in shirt-sleeves. The uniform says that I’m in command of the situation. Like, if we walked outside and society had collapsed into cannibalism and plague-ridden biker gangs were rounding up the weak to work in the meth-labs, I’d be the obvious pick to lead the small band of protagonists to the last remaining civilized Island Paradise (or Canada). Like that.

I met with my contact and her colleague. An RN-administrator in the quality improvement team. They sat me down in a starkly bare office that was part of a big move they’re in the process of completing. We talked comfortably and collegially for a full hour. They wanted to know about me, what I do, how I do it. I wanted to know if they understood the kind of effort that goes in to health care simulations and were prepared to make that kind of investment of time and resources. They’re already engaged in a lot of simulation work, but they don’t have experts who know how to write the code or manage the projects. So there’s a backlog of work essentially waiting for me.

The next interview was a lunch interview with their project manager team. Three young (late 20s to early 30s, it seemed), very bright, very engaged people who seemed really excited about the prospect of having someone who’s an expert in this stuff in part so that they could stop doing it. They’re project managers. Not engineers. But they struck me as good, competent, excited project managers.

After that, it was time for my talk. We walked across the huge, glorious campus with shiny glass and elegant brick and stone buildings to a lecture room, where we tried to attach my laptop to their system but it didn’t work. So I started my lecture from my flash drive (Prepare! I also had it on a CD, and I had emailed it to myself. The last of those ideas was taken from a twitterer.). I was disappointed because that meant that I could only show one of my simulations, rather than both. But they had me start, and then their IT person came and fixed the problem, silently and quickly, during my talk, and then seamlessly switched me over to the laptop so I could give the entire talk. It’s how a classy organization works. At my current place, that would have required scheduling a work order that would have taken a good three weeks.

My talk came fluidly and easily. There were several questions and I was pleased to hit it right at 53 minutes or so, to give time for questions without leaving too much time. I’d given big pieces of it before, but this was new in its conceptual whole. And my next interviewer, their director of operations, asked me: “You’ve given that talk before right?” When I indicated that it had been specially tailored to this event, she seemed impressed. She has a background in operations research from her undergraduate days. So she knew enough about the field to know that I knew what I was talking about. It was a good a productive interview that felt like it had a lot of camaraderie built-in. She asked me when I could start.

Which of course, they’ll ask most people. But it felt good. It was probably not a question they’d ask of someone who was busy bombing their interviews and talks. She then escorted me to the CMO. I expected him to be a little intimidating. He wasn’t. He was friendly, and spent the first 10-15 minutes of our scheduled 30 talking about how he was really excited to meet me, and that while he hadn’t “dived in” to my CV, he’d been pleased with it at first glance. He asked me about my side-line work with ECU, and told me that that wouldn’t necessarily have to end.

He wanted to make sure that I knew how to use other tools than just simulation to approach problems. He had an undergraduate engineering background as well. He seemed pleased when I told him that simulation is a good hammer, but not everything is a nail. There are other tools that I’m well versed in that can be used for other types of problems not necessarily amenable to simulation. He asked me if I had any questions, and I said that all of my questions had really ben answered already, but that I knew that new ones would come up as time went by. He gave me his card and told me to contact him personally if they did, including questions about living in ECC. I also mentioned obliquely that ECU is trying to recruit me as well.

Finally, I met again for wrap-up with my initial contact there. We sat down for about twenty minutes and had a casual conversation about what it would be like and when I might be able to start. I asked about vacation and she said: “It’s complicated but works out to about 5 weeks.” I said: “Oh! We’re done then, I’m happy. No need to negotiate over that.” Then I asked about salary and she said a big number. I said that if that offer was on the table, I’d take it today. She told me that she’d need to talk to several people and that it would take 2-3 weeks.

I hate waiting. But I feel reasonably confident. I think there’s a better than 50/50 chance that I’m offered this job. And if I am offered it, and the offer is basically what I’ve been led to believe it will be, I will take it in a heartbeat. A rapid, flushed, excited, grateful heartbeat. I am sober, sane, healthy and in the prime of my life. This is a good place to be. I know that I impressed the people I presented to and interviewed with. Now I wait. And hope. And recognize that whatever happens, I’ll be ok.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Mona permalink
    29 November 2012 11:48

    That sounds so great. Congrats again! Just one little question… How do find always find a way to slightly slam Canada?! 😉

    • 29 November 2012 11:50

      That wasn’t a slam! That was saying that the USA would fall into disrepair but Canada would remain awesome!

      • Mona permalink
        29 November 2012 12:57

        LOL! I though you were suggesting Canada was the opposite of a civilized tropical paradise. Okay, maybe tropical isn’t the best word to describe us…

  2. 29 November 2012 15:12

    Whatever sounds a really good experience. But I am hoping you get a result out of it.

  3. 29 November 2012 15:46

    Yayyy!!!! I’m so happy for you. I hope all works well and they make an offer that’s totally irresistible. So proud of you 😀

  4. 11 July 2014 20:21

    It is actually a great and useful piece of information.
    I am happy that you simply shared this helpful info with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

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