I Need a Job – Help!

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I’ve been a bit reticent about pushing this topic too hard here, but since nothing else is working ….

It’s now been almost 5-1/2 months since I’ve held a full time job.  I’ve been working part time – doing some IT consulting and also picking up some photography work.  So there’s money coming in – but orders of magnitude less than what I need to get by, even with all the cutting back I’ve been doing in recent months.  I need a job.  Full time.  Permanent or contract, doesn’t matter. I need a job, and soon.

I’ve had some interviews here and there.  I’m not sure if this qualifies as Murphy’s Law or Catch 22 but those companies that were interested in me held no interest for me, while those positions that I really cared about slipped away.  I know in some of these instances my age is working against me, although of course it’s never mentioned.

January is rapidly approaching, The job market in Hong Kong stays slow in January in anticipation of the Chinese New Year Break. But things should be opening up a bit past New Years. I’m here and I’m ready to work.

I’m close to the point of having to make some tough decisions – whether that’s moving to a place drastically smaller than the one I’m currently living in or leaving Hong Kong altogether.

I’m constantly nagging head hunters, all of whom tell me that the market is slow at my level.  I’m continually calling and emailing friends, many of whom are trying their best to help.  I’ve been using Twitter and LinkedIn as tools.   The one thing I’ve never been any good at is striking up conversations with strangers in bars, the kind of business networking that seems to happen a lot here.  When I think about it, the only people whom I haven’t asked for help are my readers.  So I’m doing that now.

Here’s the deal on me, for those who don’t know:

  • 26 years experience in IT, 17 of those years at the management level.
  • 15 years based on Hong Kong with experience managing projects, support and staff across the region.
  • Experience managing simultaneous projects with budgets up to US$20 million.
  • Experience managing teams across multiple countries.
  • Able to work with all levels of users from admins up to C suite executives.
  • Previous employers have included Warner Bros, Charles Schwab, Merrill Lynch, Sybase and Barclays as well as a variety of start-ups in the U.S. and Hong Kong.

Aside from the above, I’m a part-time professional photographer and co-owner of PASM Workshop, a successful photo studio here in Hong Kong.  I’ve written for the South China Morning Post and BC Magazine and my photos have appeared in U.S. and H.K. publications.

I’m open to part-time or short-term contracts as well as permanent positions and I’m open to considering locations other than Hong Kong.

So please, if you know of anything, or know of anyone I should get in touch with, please let me know.  Please share this with your friends.  Contact me to get my full CV.

Thanks for reading this.  Really.

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8 thoughts on “I Need a Job – Help!

  1. Buck

    Good luck my fellow IT brother! The worldwide market is tight but I think your skill set is better placed than mine (applications programmer). I’ll be sending some positive energy your way…

  2. mumphLT

    Mate, if I was you I’d take one of those positions in companies that don’t really interest you. When I got the arse – to make ends meet I started my own company in China, got a position with a retainer acting as consultant to a HK company, wrote for a magazine & did odd jobs for potential clients just to get my name out n about. If I’m straight it took 4 years of doing that grind before we’d made enough impression to set up Company #2 which is far bigger. And I still do some writing and do a smaller retainer job for the company that helped me out when I needed (support for my HK visa) it.

    Once you have a job you have some money coming in, don’t have to put your heart & soul in it – just do the salaryman thing. Tend to meet more people, if you’ve got a job I always reckon it’s easier to find one than being unemployed.

  3. mumphLT

    ..I should point out the number of projects that I looked at that either failed to get off the ground or failed in those four years – but a bloody minded attitude of ‘keep on carrying on’ can help. The failures didn’t bother me (unless they lost me much $) as I just took the lesson to the next project.

  4. Skippy-san

    I feel your pain. My former company does a lot of IT work on contract for the US Navy. Most of that is in Japan however. Probably would not be in the salary range you were used to-and it would not keep you in HK , but probably could keep you in Asia. Check out GD and/or CSC they both have contracts at Saesbo and Yokosuka.

    I hope you get a job in Hong Kong though. mumph may be on to something.

  5. Sean

    Last weekend in the SCMP there was an advertisement of the HK Film Festival. If I am not wrong, they were looking for people for 3 to 6 months to help out the organization of this festival: promotion, entertainment, websites, program, etc. You may want to look in to this.
    You mention you have been in a senior position for several years and in charge of multi-cultural, cross-region management jobs in Asia. Great, but so what? As a veteran in Asia, these working relations clearly did not work out to a level that you were offered a job because of that; not by your management, not by the staff you directed. If I read your blogs well, you don’t speak any Cantonese or Mandarin beyond ordering a beer. I assume you can’t read or write any Chinese.
    You have a few options: go home, enjoy the good memories. Or, stay in Asia and find a more affordable place to retire (as HK is expensive). Maybe, you should stress those points we got to know about you from your blogs: passionate about music, knowledgeable about films, engaged in injustice in HK, how the night life in Asia might be more profitable, etc. These topics may have more impact on your resume than what you have on it now. Good luck.

    1. Spike Post author

      Sean, thanks for the tip and your thoughts. I’m not sure how well you read my blogs, because while I am not fluent in either Cantonese or Mandarin, I have far more of both beyond simply ordering a beer. I can also read some Chinese thanks to my time spent studying Putonghua at Fudan University in Shanghai, where reading and writing were part of the curriculum. I admit I am nowhere near fluent enough to qualify for positions where these languages are a requirement, but a bit more than you have suggested.

      And while I thank you for your excellent summation of my passions in your last couple of sentences, if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile (as you appear to have done) then you’ll know that I almost never blog about my work life. I think you’ve assumed too much based on just 4 or 5 sentences in one post. I’ve had 5 jobs in HK, not one, and my ability to establish and maintain relationships across countries and cultures, and from fresh graduates up to managing directors and CEO’s, has been a key factor in obtaining those jobs. My reason for pointing this out in the blog post is that this is a requirement that I see on almost every job description that comes my way and a question that I have been asked in every job interview.

      I certainly wish that a love of music and movies would be enough to qualify me for a regional CIO position. Even during my 9 years at Warner, maybe 5% of senior management cared that I knew more about the Warner catalog than they did. Sidebar – Koji Hase, co-inventor of the DVD, once grabbed me and introduced me to Kevin Tsujihara, at the time head of WBHEG and currently in the running to be the next head of the studio, and told him that I knew more about Warner movies than anyone else. Tsujihara nodded and turned away.

      Anyway, I believe I have a few more options than you have suggested. But thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Ebriel

    You’re after leads not advice, but as I’ve got none of the former for you I’ll play the harridan and give you the latter.

    Mumph’s POV sounds spot on. Say, give yourself a time limit for holding out for a job you’d like. If you don’t get it by then, take one you’re not so keen on and downsize your flat and life, saving the difference for your next project(s). They could be in HK or elsewhere in Asia. Keep looking for your dream job and get started on projects while at your not-so-hot job. Sure, some may not work out, but others may take you surprising places.

    PS: I’m looking at this cartoon a lot lately http://gapingvoid.com/2012/11/10/just-keep-working/

    Next year it’s my turn to sponsor our visa in China (sure we could go the F foreign expert route but better for us to have real Z working visas). My options are somewhat limited because we’re newish here, I haven’t been out networking in the artworld much, and my Chinese is still basic.

    I may have to take a job I’m not terribly keen on, which has nothing to do w/my degree or background. The pay’s not great. It – and the housing – is in a part of town 1.5hrs from 798 arts district. But it’s just 3 days/week which gives time to work on projects that really matter to me, and the visa gives my better half the freedom to work whatever kind of job he likes.

    There’s usually a tolerable compromise somewhere, if you’re working on something that you believe will get you to a better place…

    1. Spike Post author

      Thanks Elizabeth. BTW, I do always follow your blog and your travels/adventures/art. Hope to meet up with you next time you’re in Hong Kong!

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