“My friend works at Google and she said that they have a job opening that would be perfect for me. If you want, I can ask her if she’ll pass on your resume, too. You’d be perfect for Google!” my friend tells me.
My gut reaction is, “No, I wouldn’t. Google is software, and I am a hardware engineer.” Then I check out the links that he sends me: self-driving cars, Google glasses, Project Loon, Makali…Google has some brilliant, wacky projects that I’d LOVE to work on!
But, I’ll have to move to California. This deserves a Pro/Con List. Ok first, beaches: I am ambivalent. That is, I like to visit…for about 5 minutes. Then sand sticks to my skin and makes me itchy, the sun scorches my pale white Irish skin, and I swear I can see fish poop in the water. Plus, I get boat sick, even if it’s “just around the bay.” (Reference: the sightseeing boat trip I took to see the dolphins in Destin; I turned green and almost hurled.)
However, I do like to kayak; or did, at least, the one time I tried it. I’m not much of a water person, ok? I do want to try it again. And since the weather is more temperate by the ocean, I can hike more months per year, and there will mountains close by.
MOUNTAINS! I love mountains. I’ve thought about moving to Colorado, but…snow. Gala Pear tells me that I’ll get used to it, that the sun shines even with the snow on the ground so it doesn’t really feel cold, and that skiing is awesome. But…shoveling snow, driving in snow, shivering in snow. I think living in Indiana for 3 years of my childhood (age 8 to 11) may have scarred me for life. Sorry, Gala—I love to visit you, but only during the summer.
While I am working on the Pro/Con List, an old coworker pinged me on Facebook. We exchanged a few messages, then actually picked up the phone and had a conversation. Old school, I know. That’s how I roll. Well, that’s how I roll when my thumbs are tired of talking, anyway!
Here’s his story in a nutshell, “After I was laid off, my wife left me. I moved back in with my mom in California. It took me 8 months, but I found a job in the bay area.”
The hottie remembers me after all these years, is SINGLE, and is living near Google! *happy dance* I tell him, “I may be applying to Google. If I get an interview, we can hang out.”
“Don’t move to California! The cost of living is so high. Your quality of life is better in Texas,” he tells me.
“But…dream job!” I say. Then I realize: that’s the only item on the list that truly matters, so I updated my resume and emailed it to my friend. Then he emailed it to his friend. OMG OMG! AN EMPLOYEE AT GOOGLE HAS MY RESUME!
Then…nothing. After a week, I prepared a cover letter and sent it to the Google-ite, asking, “Could you give me some suggestions? I’m submitting applications online and would appreciate your feedback.”
The same day she responded with specific ways to improve my resume. Then she wrote, “Cover letters are discouraged, because your work should speak for itself. Let me know which job you’re interested in, and I’d be happy to pass your resume along.”
YAY! She’s going to help! YAY! I went back to the Google Careers website and printed out the postings to which I had applied. Then I had the difficult task of prioritizing them. Shit, which one do I want most? How do I choose?!
Finally, I settled on one and let her know, “This job is my first choice, but I also like that one. But really, I’d be happy at any job at Google!”
I haven’t heard back from her, but I check my phone several times an hour in case a hiring manager calls.
Then I did some soul searching: is Google really my dream job? I mean, it’s AWESOME, but what did I want to be when I was a little girl? What was my goal when I enrolled in college? That’s easy: I wanted to work on the next space shuttle. Truly, I chose mechanical engineering so that I could work for NASA.
Today, though, NASA outsources most of its work to private industry. Space X is launching satellites that deploy satellites. Russia’s space agency launches astronauts into space and brings them home. Lockheed Martin was building the next vehicle for the astronauts, though that project is so far over budget and off schedule that I don’t think I want to work on it. Plus, Lockheed Martin – I’ve had some dealing with them; just let me say, I don’t want to work there.
But the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) still works on Mars rovers and other awesome, cutting-edge space projects. JPL is in Pasadena (about 6 hours south of San Francisco), so it’s still in California, but not next to Stanford. But wait—it is partnered with NASA and CalTech. CalTech is Sally’s second choice for grad school!! If she gets into her first choice, Stanford, then she’ll be right up the road and can visit once a month, like she does now. If she gets into her second choice, then we could live together! Or, she could visit on the weekends and do her laundry. Woot Woot!
I look on the JPL website and find a Mechanical Engineer post. Ok, so I don’t have some of the qualifications, like I’ve never worked on a space craft before. No big deal, I’ll apply anyway, and see if they’ll let me get experience.
I receive a, “Thanks for applying, but we’re not interested,” email within 48 hours.
I could give up. I could wait and see if Google is interested in me, or I could simply be happy at my current job and forget about California. But that’s not me. I revisit the JPL website and skim through the other postings (not the mechanical engineer listings, which all require flight hardware experience).
The Process Engineer position would utilize my materials science knowledge, but it sounds like a lot of paperwork, documentation, and—in short—a snooze fest.
The Quality Engineer position is like being a referee—you have to tell people when they make mistakes and no one really likes you. Even if you’re awesome, you’re a GD ref who puts everyone in their place, like we have at my current job, engineers still think, “Thank you for keeping us all honest, now shut up and let us do our jobs. Thank you. You’re appreciated, really—go away.”
Then I saw it, and almost fainted. “Cable Harness Engineer III.” These beautiful words describe what I’ve been doing for 10 years (more or less); they are what I’ve been training for, what I am comfortable doing, and most of all: this is what I’m qualified to do!! I read through the post and, sure enough, I am more than qualified. For example, they require 6 years of experience; I have 10!! They require a BS (that’s bachelor of science, not bull shit, though at times they are closely related). Excited, hands shaking, I add a new opening paragraph to my cover letter, “Cable Harness Engineer III could have been written just for me: I was one of the interconnect experts at Company R and am now writing a book on the topic. I am excited about this opportunity!”
That line will either make them think that I’m an egotistical narcissist or show them just how f’ing excited I am about OMG THIS JOB IS F’ING PERFECT FOR ME!!!!!
I email and text Sally. I text Gala and ask her to call me. I start thinking about what I want to pack, what I should donate to Goodwill, and how I’ll get Sally’s stuff to her. A condo near work is what I want, ideally, so that I can walk to work. It doesn’t need to be big, just a two bedroom for me and Jack. Maybe three, so that I can have a study. Then again, we really like having a game room/art gallery/library/guest bedroom, so maybe we need four bedrooms. We’ll see what we can afford. I mean, a guest bedroom would be really great, since all my friends need to visit (especially Allie Apple and Gala), but then again, they can sleep in the study or on the couch if I can’t afford a guest bedroom.
Reality check: I may not get the job. I may not even get a phone interview. Regardless, I’m going to let myself daydream for a week or so and enjoy the possibilities. Last year when I was laid off, I couldn’t leave north Texas, because I was still working on my degree. Now, my master degree is complete, and I can move wherever I please. Damn, it’s good to be me!
To think, all this happened because a friend of mine thought of me. It really is true that the people we meet, alter the course of our lives. If he hadn’t asked me if I wanted a job at Google, I wouldn’t have thought about moving to California, and I wouldn’t have found my other dream job. Now, I have two opportunities that I’m excited about; and face it, I’d be over the moon excited to get interviewed for either of them! Thank God for my friends – I love you guys!
Reality Check: these are world class organizations which receive hundreds or thousands of resumes a week. I would be lucky to get a phone interview. So I know that it’s a long shot; I haven’t turned in my two week notice. However, I am going to let myself be excited about the possibility for a week. It’s fun to dream!
Now, excuse me, I need to go compulsively check my email again, for the 30th time this hour. Then maybe I’ll clean out my closet, or organize the garage…
PS More on this is in “California Dreamin’ Continued.”