Sunday, March 06, 2011


This past Wednesday I had to meet with someone at the CareerLink in Scranton.  I needed to take with me a variety of documents, including an updated version of my résumé from the CareerLink website.

As I reviewed this Wednesday night, I noticed that while everything was up-to-date, I had not included an "Objective."  Now, at the moment my employment goals are, shall we say, open-ended.  I could not define my objective as something like "Seeking middle management position with established manufacturing facility."  Not that I would turn my nose up at such a job (if such a job even exists anymore), but that is not the only sort of position I am looking for.  Ideally I could tailor the objective on my résumé for whatever job I'm applying for.  But to get things started, I wanted to write up an objective which actually expressed what I'm looking for in the broadest terms.  I came up with this:
B.S. in Physics with over 19 years experience in industry, including Continuous Improvement and Statistical Process Control. Seeking position with progressive, forward-thinking organization that can make full use of my skills and talents.
OK, the first sentence there isn't an objective.  Hell, it's not even a sentence.  And the second sentence may just sound like a crock of B.S.  But these are the words that have been curdling in my mind for weeks.

"Progressive, forward thinking organization" sounds politically loaded, but it isn't. I'm looking for a company that is interested in its own growth and plans to stick around for five or more years.  The company that I was hired into nearly nineteen years ago was like that: it had a thriving R&D department and was interested in the being in the forefront of new technologies.  CDs, Laser Disks, CD-ROM, DVD - all of these things were manufactured from their earliest days at that facility, and in some cases the technology for manufacturing them was actually developed there.  But manufacturing has never favored the innovator, who assumes so many of the up-front costs and risks; it is the Johnny-come-latelies who can enter the field late with more advanced equipment and less of a burden of legacy costs who tend to dominate the market.  In a way, that is also progressive and forward-thinking.  These are the types of companies I'm looking for, and I've got a few on my radar.

"...that can make full use of my skills and talents."  I have a degree in Physics.  I had a second major in  Philosophy.  That should tell you something right there. I can write.  I have some artistic skill.  I am very good with public speaking, in part because of a technique that is rather unpleasant to explain.  (In summary: Hate your audience.) I can work hard and work late, work long hours without stopping to eat.  I can slam my way through a problem and document every step of the way. I'm a relentless researcher. I can come up with solutions to problems literally in the blink of am eye - I called these "eyeblink solutions" years before Malcolm Gladwell wrote his bestseller "Blink" - and sometimes it will take days or even weeks to fully explain the chains of reasoning that went into the solution. Oh, and I have an enormous, encyclopedic store of valuable and trivial information stashed right behind my eyes, and know how to find lots more information in external storage.  I can read upside down, which comes in handy more often than you think. I am strong like an ox, and healthy like one, too.  (Are oxen particularly healthy?) I can be intimidating like a perturbed gorilla. I can debate decorously, or, when necessary, I can flay the flesh from my opponent's bones with my tongue.

Would all that fit in well with a call center?  Or a warehouse job?  "But," you might object, "didn't you just spend from August 2007 through December 2010, with a ten-month hiatus in 2008 when you were on a statistics 'special project,'  working on a production line on a factory floor? And much of that time on night shift?" Indeed I did.  I didn't think I could do it - I'm not the world's most mechanically inclined person. But I did. Through much of that time I held out a glimmer of hope that the industrial downward spiral would reverse itself, and new, better job opportunities would present themselves at the company where I had put in so many years. They never did. Which brings us to here.

Anyway, that's my objective, fleshed out. It's not quite an elevator pitch, and all that wouldn't really find a good home on a résumé.  But those are my skills and talents.  Now I just have to find a progressive, forward-thinking company that can make full use of them.

1 comment:

hedera said...

I've only seriously looked for jobs twice, after my divorce in 1975 and again in the middle 80s when trying to change careers. I don't remember the first episode much (a very bad time, stony broke and living on my parents' bounty at the age of 30), but I remember during the second that I was rewriting my cover letter, and sometimes my resume too, to match almost every job I applied for. Don't assume you need just one objective statement, although the one you've come up with is sufficiently general that it shouldn't need much tweaking.