For almost two decades I have worked in the IT industry. I have enjoyed a wide variety of jobs where I started building machines for the a neighborhood white box vendor to becoming the IT resource for multiple dot-com start-ups in Silicon Valley. And now I answer phones, providing tech support for Enterprise customers. I spend my 9 hour shifts fixing what other people own. Every day I am repairing something that another 'paper qualified' person put in place. Rarely am I engaged to repair something that is broken after it has been correctly installed and maintained. I am doing their jobs for them. And the ones I really enjoy are the consultants that call us to fix what they installed and are being paid many more dollars per hour for than I am. Yet I am his resource to maintain his customers.
What is the difference between those people and my self?
A good question that I spent a heavy part of my vacation trying to figure out. Here is what I came up with: I'm too experienced and not flexible enough in this market. I have worked myself into a niche market that is all but closed up. For years I have been paying a portion of my taxes to help ensure that the off-shore outsourcing is profitable to employers because of the federal tax kickbacks the employers get. Now I'm competing with persons who have degrees that I never made the time to get. They have papers that suggest they have the skills an employer wants and needs. I have the experience to actually do the work.
So, again, what am I missing?
In a word: Salesmanship. I am not a salesman. I have a hard time with salesmen. I call a vendor for something I need, I ask for their website. I then bargain hunt. HARD! Then I call back, armed with those details. If they will not provide me the item I am looking for (or like item) within 5%, I move on. 5% of the price is what I consider a reasonable difference for having it NOW, rather than ordering one in. Their S&H charges are spread out across several items in an order, not a single item.
Example: I recently replaced my failing motorcycle. I had cash for the dealership that had the bike I wanted. I sat down with the sales guy, and started the haggle process. He quoted a price and I countered. He excused himself to speak with his supervisor. I told him, then, to get the very bottom dollar the supervisor would go for, because I don't have all day. He came back with a different number. I again countered. He said he had to ask, again. I left. He did not follow instructions of me, the customer. He was prepared to waste my time. I understand the process. Get the customer so wrapped up and invested in the purchase they will finally commit to a price the dealership wants, rather than what is in budget.
I, honestly, could never do the other side of that job. I don't sell, well. I'm not into marketing. I don't trust it. Marketing has proven, to me, to be a series of lies, mistruths and hype that usually over sells an item or service. And leaves a company with unhappy customers, but a dollar today, rather than being honest, selling a reasonable and quality product at a righteous price and earning 20 dollars tomorrow. That is what marketing means to me.
So, how does a person such as myself sell himself into a different job? Especially one across state lines where he has no business contacts, but needs to find employment there for family reasons?