Jul 2, 2009

How I landed my new gig...

It's been a while since I posted lately. A long while. The truth is, we are in the midst of some major changes for my family so it's been hard to give the 'ole blog the care and feeding it needs.

My husband was accepted to vet school at LSU for the upcoming Fall semester, so we've been trying to determine how to make all the pieces work so he can pursue his dream. I've spent the past close to 9 years working for Walmart where I've been given the incredible opportunity to learn and grow. I've been fortunate enough to move up the chain fairly quickly to Senior Director of Marketing Operations; I helped lay the infrastructural foundation and implement a system to manage all of Walmart's marketing initiatives. In some ways, I feel like I should have been paying Walmart for all the on the job learnings I've acquired.

In the midst of all of this, I've taken a fair amount of lumps. Perhaps it's equivalent to what anyone would take in a job - but for me, it's worn me down a bit and I haven't felt that fire and drive that I used to feel. As a result, I began to look around in the Louisiana area to see if there was anything that might be a good fit for me and would really excite me again.

How does one go about finding a job in Louisiana when living in Arkansas? I tried to reach out to executive recruiters and got one response from a gentleman at Egon Zehnder. He was great, but told me he probably wasn't going to be able to help me find something in New Orleans. So, I took to the internet and did all the research I could. I searched for the best places to work in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. I read their city papers online. I started to ask the folks I've worked with. Honestly, the biggest success story belongs to LinkedIn. I must admit, having Walmart as my employer definitely helped open some doors. I sent alot of messages via LinkedIn to people and surprisingly enough - they actually responded to me. Not only that, but they responded with advice and referrals. I must have contacted at least 20 - 30 people in Louisiana via LinkedIn, and I'd say 75% of them responded to me.

There are two key things that impressed me about my job search - one is the power and ease of using LinkedIn to help me search for my next gig; and the other is how incredibly helpful and forthcoming everyone in New Orleans has been. What I heard the most from the folks down there is "we need people like you in this business community".

I was referred to my upcoming employer, Peter A Mayer advertising, by someone else in the advertising business. He recommended I contact them because they might need someone with my skillset. I sent them an email and within that week I heard back. We started a dialog that eventually led to me accepting a position.

I share this now because I've realized in my search for solutions that I truly control my own destiny and no one else is going to tell me what path it is I should take. In many aspects I'm crazy to be leaving the safe and comfortable place I've created for myself at Walmart. But every once in a while you need to shake things up a bit and for me, I feel the time is right to thank Walmart profusely for everything it's given to me and try something a little crazy.

I start August 1st at PAM - so stay tuned!!