New Horizons…

Figure looking over landscape

Today I’m pleased to announce that I will be joining the team at Zetcom as their Manager of Projects and Implementation in North America and will be working closely with Marcia Finkelstein, their Director of Business Development. Zetcom creates a robust collections management system for museums of all types – from art to archeology to history. I will be fortunate to continue working with many great museums, providing them with incredible customer service, as I was doing in my previous position at Toura. I’m very much looking forward to working with Zetcom and doing some great things. I’m also looking forward to attending conferences again as a Zetcom representative and seeing the many friends I’ve made over the years and lost touch with.

This position arrived after several stressful months of unemployment peppered with a lot of reflection, both personal and professional. As some of you may or may not know, Toura ceased operation as of November 2013. It’s intellectual property was acquired in October 2012 by a company in the UK and I was fortunate enough to stay on board to continue with client management. As is sometimes the case in the business world, the company that acquired Toura, was acquired by another company and the new owners shut Toura down rather than put resources into it. So, for the latter half of 2013 I had to work at dismantling everything Toura had built over the prior few years. It was an extremely difficult time for me and I told many people that it felt like committing slow, painful career-suicide.

Having just worked for a startup (Toura), I figured I had two career routes I could take – working in a Silicon Valley company or finding something again in the museum world. Initially I opted for focusing on startups and bigger Silicon Valley companies, which proved to be an eye opening experience. I had interviews at Flipboard, TuneIn, Box, Shopkick, Hightail, Bitcasa, Guidebook, Apple, and Facebook. I had discussions with people at Groupon, Apigee, Quixey, Lab126, SurveyMonkey. I had initial phone interviews, onsite interviews and managed to get to several 2nd interviews – I was even told I was the runner up for a few positions. A lot of these positions involved user support and client relations – similar to what I had been doing at Toura. I had great experience, outstanding comments from previous clients on LinkedIn, great references, great interviews that got me to runner up status, but couldn’t turn it into a job despite generating a lot of interest. It was frustrating.

Ultimately, I came around…

What I failed to see was how I had positioned myself over the last 10 years – as a professional in the museum world. Perhaps I had lost touch since Toura had started moving away from it’s focus on museums into other areas. I thought initially that there may be more opportunities with  local tech companies, but in the end my marketability was in what could be considered a niche market – the museum tech space. I ultimately learned that this is where my heart was anyway.

As a participant in the museum tech community, I am a subscriber to the MCN Listserv. One day, while checking emails, I noticed that sandwiched in the very middle of a long MCN thread was a job listing for a full-time teaching position in the San Francisco State Museum Studies department. They were looking for a candidate that had a very diverse technology background and I thought that I fit the bill. The application process was extensive – 3 letters of reference, Letter of Interest, Teaching Philosophy, complete CV (it ended up being 8 pages) and two writing samples. The time-consuming application process made me reflect on my entire experience in art and museums over the last 15 years. I spoke with museum people I hadn’t talked to in a while, I had to find every article I’ve been mentioned or involved in, I tracked down every project I was a part of – all of which made me long for continuing my work in this world I loved so much. I completely shifted my job search. While the job opportunities became much more limited, I knew that it was the right direction and I felt much more in my element. Working in a museum, or with museums, was absolutely what I wanted again!

I came close to the San Francisco State position, being one of four interviewed out of 80+ applicants (from what I hear). I applied for a few registration positions at local museums, but they had been filled already. Then, as luck would have it, LinkedIn (of which I have a love/hate relationship with) ultimately came through, as Marcia from Zetcom noticed I was looking for work. After reaching out to me, the conversations began with Zetcom. Coincidentally, at the same time, I was speaking with another company in the collections management business about a sales position. After months of unemployment I had two job offers in hand. I had been pulling for Zetcom and feel very fortunate to have been made an offer. Obviously, I happily accepted.

zetcom logoSo, Monday June 16th (today) is my first day working for Zetcom and I am so excited to get back to working again. Job hunting is a painful experience and one I do not want to visit again anytime soon. I’d much rather be putting my life toward something more fulfilling. As mentioned, I’m very much looking forward to getting actively involved again with conferences, presenting, offering my opinions, working on great projects and hopefully start posting entries to my site again.

Hope to see you soon! Drop me a note if you’d like!

2 Responses to "New Horizons…"

  1. Joshua Hendon

    Chirs, Great job brother!!! Being unemployed was one of the most emasculating , pride swallowing things I have ever experienced. I feel your pain. I’m really happy your happy. Have a great first day, and GO GET EM’!!!

  2. Ken

    Good job, my friend. When you do something you love, you never work another day in your life. I am happy you discovered your professional niche again.
    I felt your pain of job searching and unemployment, as you know.
    Here’s to both our futures. May they be bright, productive, and full filling.

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