I hear it in the hushed conversation over cubicle walls. I see the grins and sly thumbs up offered by our own HR staffers. Somewhere just beyond my field of view, the wheels of the great green machine are in motion. We’ve got a heartbeat. It’s faint, but there. After the torturous road this process has taken just to get to the “tentative” stage, I don’t dare to think of it as a done deal. The probability of success is definitely increasing, but that’s a long way from a signed set of orders and a new desk. Nevertheless, I’m raising the confidence meter from cautiously optimistic to hopeful.
Experience has taught me and millions of others that the Army is a serious player in the game of hurry up and wait. I’ve got the waiting bit down to a science. It seems that we’re about to get a lesson in extreme hurry up. I’m confident that in this case, hurry up is far preferable.
After another week of ponderous waiting, I was given another gentle reminder that this thing up north might actually work out. I got to spend a few minutes talking to a to individual who will act as my “sponsor” during the transition and in-processing period. It wasn’t exactly the call from HR that I have been waiting for, but it’s a sign of life. At this point on the long, torturous process I seem to be overly given to looking for signs and reading tea leaves. Absent the magic moment when they throw the switch from tentative to official, that is probably as good as it’s going to get. After nine months, you’d think that I would be use to waiting for things to happen.
The ability of the system to make the simple things hard is never far from my thoughts these days. Since this whole exercise involves filling out some paperwork and moving my electrons from one database to another, it’s still hard to understand how it could possibly take as long as it does. The irony is that once they pull the trigger, they’ll probably want to give me a short reporting date and wonder why I can’t get out of here with a whole two weeks notice. I’ve been around this Army long enough to know better than spend a dime making preparations without a set of orders in hand. So, I hurry up and wait.
That’s the time I’m going to officially commemorate as the moment of my redemption. The exact time when my voice from the wilderness was heard. Precisely when the shear volume of resumes I’ve loaded into the system broke through the morass (385 if you’re counting). That’s assuming, of course that I pass through the last widget in the process. I’m now in a period of HR purgatory between receiving the official tentative offer of employment and the official final offer of employment. This is the land of voluminous paperwork, of validating security clearances, pay-setting, benefit determinations, and yet more waiting. It’s the last moment for things to go horribly wrong. You didn’t think this was going to be a post about unbridled joy and optimism, did you?
I’ve waited for this moment for the better part of a year. Poured untold hours into crafting the perfect resume. Cursed fate for dragging this process down into the interminable frozen springtime. And now that it’s arrived, I can barely breath it for fear of it breaking apart at this late hour. This is a moment of hope beyond hope… and it is so close to reality and yet still painfully just beyond reach.
And so we’re moving along tomorrow to interview #3, which is a good thing. Of course it’s also an Army job, which means it’s probably subject to the hiring freeze just like the others. That’s the part that’s less than good. In keeping with my casting of the wide net, I can only speculate that the more interviews I have between the now and when our dear friends lift the freeze, the better the opportunity that one or more of them will come in with an actual offer in the fabled land beyond the human resource permafrost. If not, getting the occasional interview gives me the illusion of actually making progress. In the absence of actual progress, I’m good with the illusion… for now.
P.S. Selecting officials, if you’re poking around the internet doing an informal review of names on your referral lists, please take note of the single minded determination I’m showing at achieving this objective. It’s this kind of fortitude and commitment to mission that I can bring to your office and put to work for you.
We are now at day 75 of the thirty-day hiring freeze. Surely we’ve attritted off some of those overhires by now, right? Seriously, we even have a budget for the rest of the fiscal year now. So, come on already Overlord of Personnel. Let’s get the hiring process thawed out.
I haven’t racked and stacked my list lately, but the total number of resumes released into the wild stands at 335. I’d estimate that about a third of those are still in the “open” category. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 are sitting on the desk of a real human being. I’ve had two interviews for positions that are “frozen” and have another one coming up later this week. I didn’t particularly want to go outside of DoD, but they’re making it very hard to show the love right about now… so Treasury, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Coast Guard, FEMA, and a host of others are being fed into the mix as of about two weeks ago.
My search grid now extends from Philadelphia down to Richmond and from the Shenandoah Valley east to Norfolk. Like Grant contemplating a similar piece of real estate, “I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.”
Such is the ferocity of my desire to catch the last train out of Crazyville.