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The call came in last Friday morning while I was on The Island and went straight to voicemail as I had left the ringer off the day before while I was doing a video shoot of Jeanne Moutousamy-Ashe on the occasion of her book signing for the 25th anniversary publication of her 1982 photo essay. I checked the phone for messages after lunch.

David, this is Al, I am a recruiter for *** and got your resume off CareerBuilder (Sorry, Nick, my track record of putting myself out there into the virtual ether has worked again). I have an opportunity for a 2-4 month contract for a senior Crystal Reports developer. Are you available?

Heck yeah!

I called Al back and we talked a bit. I told him I would be back in Atlanta on Monday. I had brought an ecopy of my resume and references on flash drive and emailed them to Al via the island's microwave DSL link. He said he would go ahead and submit me for this not-yet-publicly-listed opportunity.

I did not want to get my hopes up. I've been down this road before. Monday, no call. Tuesday, I get a call about 11:30am.

This is Al. Do you have time for a phone interview about 1:30pm? Sure.

I have passed many a phone screen and sat for a dozen or more phone interviews. The guy I am talk to, however, told the recruiter he recognized my name from somewhere, but wasn't sure where. I search him on LinkedIn and discover he worked for the company that bought out one of my previous contract clients, but after my contract had ended. This was promising.

Also promising was an email from a recruiter up in Marlborough, MA who had first contacted me back in January for a remote consulting job. The customer had a report with which they needed help. After a phone interview, they left me hanging. Twice more Bruce contacted me to see if I was still available, and twice more the company was unable to follow up. This time, Bruce said, was different. He had a feeling.

So I took the phone interview and we talked about 40 minutes before the client manager invited me in to an interview at 9:30am on Wednesday. I said sure, and raced to my closet to see if I had any clean shirts to go with my interview suit. I called Al, who was not the slightest perturbed that client had decided to move forward without contacting him first.

In the meantime, Bruce emailed. Could I participate in a conference call where they would describe the problem and I could tell them if I could fix it? I said yes, but not until Wednesday afternoon. Now I am juggling, and I tell both Bruce and Al that I am working the other opportunity, but that since one is remote and can be done off hours, they should not be in conflict. Neither recruiter is concerned.

Company **** is 11.3 miles away from the FuskieDome™, less than 15 minutes. I arrive right on time and the interview begins. Its a small company, private, launched about 5 years ago and rebuilding its reporting solution. Apparently the DBA who wrote the original reports left a year ago, and they had tried to replace his system with MS Access which was now showing its limitations. My job would be to resurrect and expand the Crystal Reports solution. I also met with the CTO and the developer I would most likely work with.

I told Al afterwards I thought the interview went well. They seemed receptive, indicating on paper that I had the best resume credentials but that they had a few others to interview and I would probably hear from them Thursday morning. This I have also heard before. I long ago decided to not ride the emotional roller coaster that comes with career management. Its just not worth the stress.

Wednesday afternoon I dialed into the 3pm conference call with the Marlborough recruiter and client. I had expressed concerns with Bruce that given the client's history, they might be fishing for support since we had already interviewed back in January. Bruce acknowledged he had thought of that and promised to be on the call. The client described the problem and asked if I could fix it.

I said, without describing how, that I was pretty sure I could but that it was hard to say with any certainty until I actually saw the report and database environment. I estimated 2 days to 2 weeks depending on whether it would be a simple fix or a complete rebuild of the report. They were open to the idea and said they would follow up with Bruce on the details.

At this point, my mind was spinning. Back in 2005, I took on 2 contracts at the same time over the course of two months, one an evening virtual training job and the other a full time day job. I loved the money but swore I would never undergo that much stress again. But wait a second, I don't have an offer from either company yet. Let's not put the cart before the horse.

5:45pm. The Braves have lost John Smoltz for the season to surgery and the Marlins scored 4 in the top of the 9th to steal a win from the Braves. On the positive side, the crews of the space shuttle Discovery and the international space station Alpha have just ingressed into the new Kibo Japanese Pressurized [research] Module, the largest addition to the ISS. The phone rings. It's Al.

David, they want you. You can come in at 8:30am Thurday and sign the contract (we'll even pay you for your time), then start on Friday with the client at 10am. It may only be for the summer but its something and could be extended. Plus the contract agency can offer benefits and 401k, as well as hooks into other clients if everything goes well with this one. Al promises to send over the contract and benefits info for me to look at.

In the meantime, while Al and I are talking, I receive an email. From Bruce. They are going to FedEx the paperwork for a contract with the Marlborough company. He managed to get me $4/hr more than we had originally discussed. I emailed back that I had just received an offer for the local contract. He said that was OK and we would work around it. They would be looking to start that work the middle of next week after they set up VPN access.

So there you have it. I signed one contract for a 2-4 month job this morning and am waiting for the second contract to arrive. After six months, FULIII™ appears to be over, or in Clinton-speak, suspended until further notice. It will still be a month before I actually receive a full two week's pay, so I will still have to borrow against my HELOC to pay the bills this month, but I will survive.

Oh, and Nick, I used the opportunity of the orientation this morning to invite the other attendees to join my LinkedIn network; one of them thinks he may be able to connect me with a law firm that is in frequent need of Crystal Reports work. But so far, all my jobs since leaving Turner Broadcasting (the former FEWMNBN™) have come by putting my name and resume out there for recruiters.

Who was called during the orientation by a recruiter who found my resume online and wanted to know if I was available for an opportunity, to which I politely had to reply in the negative...
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