Who’s Going to Hire You? Seriously.

I got my start in the hospitality business by working at distressed properties.  Distressed is the polite term that hotel management companies use when a hotel is in financial trouble, has health violations, and nobody in their right mind would stay there.  Thankfully, there are a lot of tourists who are not in their right mind.  Think about that the next time you pull into a hotel after a long day of travel and say, “Just give me a room.”  Here’s an example of a distressed hotel’s pool (and yes, I worked at this hotel):

The guests were distressed, too.

That particular hotel had been hit by a tornado, and the owners were fighting with the insurance company over who was going to pick up the tab for the damage.  After the tornado struck, the first management company simply closed the restaurant and shut the power – without emptying or cleaning the freezers.  I had the joyous task of getting maintenance men to clean out hundreds of pounds of rotting steak.

When I say “distressed hotel,” it’s not just the building that’s distressed.

At distressed properties, a pattern emerged pretty quickly:

  • The hotel owners would hire the management company because things weren’t going well
  • The management company brought in their own General Manager
  • The GM would bring in a bunch of his friends in for management positions
  • Things would get better – for a while
  • The hotel owners would fire the old management company and go back to the first step
  • The GM would leave the property, take their friends along, and go to another property

Each time the management company changed and the GM left, I noticed that the GMs were bringing a lot of friends along for the ride.  When the third new GM (Tom) came in, I made it a point to be buddy-buddy with him.  He was thankful for the help, and he taught me a ton about the hotel business in a matter of months.

When the owners fired this new management company, Tom headed off to Georgia to manage yet another property, but this time something different happened.  The phone rang, and Tom was on the other end.

Tom: “I’ve just taken over this hotel in Savannah.  You wanna come down here and manage the front desk staff?

I said, “I have no idea how to do that.”

Tom: “Neither did the last guy here, but at least I know I can work with you, and you’ll work hard for me.”

Sold.  I packed my car and moved down to join him.  It was the easiest promotion I’d ever gotten.  That job was never posted in the newspaper, and if it had been, I’d have never known to look in Savannah’s newspaper – and I wouldn’t have made the cut over all the other applicants anyway.  Tom called me directly and hired me because I’d already gone through a long interview with him – I’d worked for him.

Your Coworkers Are Interviewing You Right Now

There’s a pretty good chance that if your manager quits, you might not want to work for them somewhere else. You probably also only have one manager, and you don’t want to put all your eggs in that one basket.  After all, they may never leave the company.

Your coworkers, on the other hand, are plentiful and ambitious.  I bet at least one of your coworkers leaves this nasty hole every year, and they break free to get a better job somewhere else.  Wouldn’t it be nice if they called you up a few weeks later and gave you the inside track on a new job?  It’s the easiest way to get ahead, and you’ll be working with at least one person who already knows and trusts you.

Recently, I asked you to write a testimonial for the Incredible DBA Team, and I asked you how it made you change the way you see your job.  Now it’s time to go back, read the comments, and think about how you can generate some of those same testimonials for yourself.  Your fellow developers, DBAs, sysadmins, SAN admins, managers, project managers, and end users are your very best network.

Who do you want to take you along?  What can you do today to make sure they’d want to take you along for their adventures?  How do you get them to write testimonials like these?

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • I’ve actually experienced this, from both perspectives. I brought a friend into a company, because I knew him for years, worked with him before and trusted to work with him, besides of qualifying for the position. He left the company after a few years, and about a year later he gave me a headsup on an opening DBA position where he was at. He had done some PR for me, but my qualifications landed me the job. We’re now again THE team and our managers love the work we do.
    So there’s a lot of truth in your story, you never know who will call you.

  • This is actually how I became a DBA. I was working right out of college as an electrical engineer. Left that company to move out of state. About a year later, I got a call from the guy who was the president of the company I left. He was now head of the engineering department at a new company in Arizona. He asked if I wanted to join as a database developer. I told him I had no experience or knowledge of databases, but he said that was ok and I’d learn. I took the job and launched a new career working with SQL Server.

    • Shaun,
      Those are the kinds of things I dream about. being offered a job without the qualifications, yet.
      If you have any advice where I can look, let me know. I am in Phoenix, AZ, too, and currently looking for DBA work. Junior work, that is. I’m entry level, having just completed my DBA degree, and learning SQL Server.
      Anyway, a hand-up or a foot-in could be wonderful.

      Great post Brent as always.


      • We have one position open at my company, but we’re looking for someone with Oracle and SQL Server experience. Not sure how successful we will be finding someone like that though. I don’t know of any entry level DBA positions. Sorry!


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