Networking events for IT professionals. Award winning blog series. Weekly podcast. Meet. Read. Listen. By @echodave, @bobwaltenspiel

More Than Meets The Eye: The 9/19 Pink Slip Party Recap

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So that was fun.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Recruiters, if you filled out a blank nametag last night, please shoot an email to contact@ITinTheD.com if you want to get copies of the resumes of those who sent them in to us.  Job seekers, same email address, get your resumes to us if you want them going to out recruiters.

Once again, Saint Andrews Hall was filled to capacity with some of the best and brightest from the metro Detroit information technology community.  Recruiters, job seekers, and those just looking to expand their network…all were on hand, and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves and get something good out of it.

Now, that’s not to say there weren’t a few “lessons learned” from last night…

But first, since none of last night could have happened without our sponsors, a huge and sincere “thank you!” out to them.

 

Arrow Strategieshttp://www.arrowstrategies.com/ – should be a familiar name to most people at our events.  They’ve been heavily involved with us for years, and were sponsors the first time we hit Saint Andrews Hall on 3/13/13.  Additionally, Steve Gaura was on our IT in the D show a few weeks ago, and you can catch what he had to say about the industry as a whole, the types of positions his company is always looking to fill, and more over at http://www.ITinTheD.com/listen/it-in-the-d-show-archives/episode-9-arrow-strategies-and-yelp/  Steve in particular is truly part of the “core” of what our group is and does, so always keep him and Arrow Strategies in mind when you’re looking.

Brightwing – http://www.gobrightwing.com/ – was also a sponsor back on 3/13/13, and had a great group of folks there last night as well.  Additionally, Russ Dotson has been a crucial part of our Support The Troops activities over the past few years, and was a guest on our very first installment of the IT in the D show.  You can listen to that episode here – http://www.ITinTheD.com/listen/it-in-the-d-show-archives/episode-1-june-03-2013/, and then another when April and Elyse popped in over at http://www.ITinTheD.com/listen/it-in-the-d-show-archives/episode-8-august-5-2013/

Strategic Staffing Solutionshttp://www.strategicstaff.com/ – is a relative newcomer to our events, but that doesn’t make us any less grateful or appreciative for their support of what we do.  They’re based downtown right off Campus Martius, and even though you don’t hear as much about them as you do some of the other companies that are located in that same circle, they’re doing really great things and always looking for great people.

Logicalishttp://www.us.logicalis.com/ – is also fairly new to our events, but they’re getting more engaged ever since a long-time member of ours who has been coming to our events for quite some time took a job there earlier this year.  They specialize in global virtualization solutions, and have some really cool offerings.  They’re also looking for some bright minds to join their team, so give them a look and keep them in mind.

MEDChttp://www.michiganbusiness.org/ – we do a lot with MEDC, not necessarily as a part of “ITinTheD.org events”, but Bob and I have spoken at a number of their Shifting Gears classes and really enjoy doing our part to help people in career transition with our 10 Commandments of Networking presentation.  MEDC is far more than just the Shifting Gears program though, and they have a lot of great things going on all across the state in a number of capacities.

New Horizonshttp://nhgreatlakes.com/ – has been coming to our events forever, and they’ve helped literally hundreds of our folks find grant funding for training classes.  So it wasn’t really a surprise that they wanted to get involved, and they did so in a great way – one attendee at our event last night is now the winner of a free technical training class!  Want to find out if you’re the winner?  Listen to our IT in the D show live on Monday night as they’ll be in-studio with us to make the announcement.

The Great Lakes Technology Showcasehttp://www.greatlakestechshow.com/ – will be taking place November 4-6, 2013, and is focused heavily on the telecommunications industry.  If that’s in your line of work or area of interest, be sure to check them out.

Bartechhttp://www.bartechgroup.com – has been coming to our events for years as well, with different people taking point as recruiters move between companies just like the rest of us in the information technology field.  Always looking to hire talented people into new positions, definitely give them a call as you’re starting to look.

As noted above, we’ve had a couple of those companies on previous episodes of our IT in the D show, and we’re working on schedules to get everyone in and on the air with us as time permits.  As we also noted above, none of last night happens without their belief in us, in what we do, and in how we do things.  Without them, we’re just not capable of doing things like last night…at least not without all three of us winding up in divorce court.  So give them a click, give them a like, drop them a note and say “thank you” to them for last night.  We’ll also be nagging them for some more details and information that we can share out with you in the coming weeks.

networkSo now let’s talk about everything else that went on last night.

The awesome food we picked up from Bucharest Grill.  Bob and I accidentally discovered this place while meeting friends at Park Bar, and we’ve become basically crack addicted monkeys about the food there ever since.  Jeff has no idea how we’d never been there before we were, and so now we’re contemplating a suitable punishment for not having gotten us there earlier.

The stuffed grape leaves, the hummus, and the chicken shawarma…oh man, the chicken shawarma…simply outstanding.  Love that place, can’t recommend it any more highly than we already do.  It doesn’t matter what time of the day you go there, there’s nearly always a line…that should tell you how great it is.  So, you might have a little bit of a wait, but it’s totally worth it.

Our photographer was Cherry Volz, and you can find her at www.CherryVolz.com if you’re looking for some great shots at your own events.  She’s the one that did the photos that are on our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/ITintheD and she really does great work.  She also did Bob’s headshot, which came out great, so we highly recommend her.

As to our big surprise that showed up at 7pm, Kryo, well, he was clearly one of the (if not “the” for some) highlights of the evening…we’ve never…NEVER…had anything happen at one of our events before that had the entire room in slack-jawed silence and scrambling to get their cell phones out for a pic/video as he made his way in and around the room.  Nine feet tall.  Guns that shoot a freezing fog.  Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of LED lights, including the ones forming the old English D on his chest…just outstanding.  We couldn’t possibly be happier about the reactions from everyone attending.

2013-09-19_18-11-22_109bAnd speaking of “everyone attending”…man, we had a lot of people in that room last night.

We thought it was about the same as our March 13th event, the staff at Saint Andrews said there were more people, some of the folks that were there last night thought there were fewer people there, some said “the same”, some said “way more”…so, pick your answer.

What skewed some of the perceptions internally, we’re sure, was that there were far more recruiters there than we expected.  That’s one of the “lessons learned” from last night – we had way, way more recruiters show up that didn’t tell us they were coming ahead of time than ones that did…and it’s not like we didn’t have a lot that had…so the room had a pretty high percentage of those looking to hire.  Which is basically a sign of the times, and lines up exactly with what we’ve said a number of times in the past (including in a few of the videos on our Events page) about how the Pink Slip Party dynamic has changed since we first started them back in May of 2009.  Back then, it was all about job seekers who were desperate to get face time with recruiters, since they weren’t getting their phone calls returned or their emails answered as the market was flooded with available talent due to the implosion of the economy and the industry.  Since late 2011 into 2012 and today, that has flipped 180 degrees – now it’s the recruiters who are banging down our doors asking when our next event is, and dying to get face time with good candidates because the IT market is so robust out here that it’s hard to find, and keep, good talent.

So, honestly, if you’re even thinking about looking for a gig and you weren’t at Saint Andrews Hall last night…you should be kicking yourself right now.

All in all though, a great event with a huge crowd.

anxietyWe’re going to have to figure out how to squeeze in an 11th Commandment of Networking, I think.  Or maybe just amplify Commandment IV: Thou Shall Not Have Anxiety a bit more.  I talked with a few people who said that they were there looking for a job, and they walked around the room a bit…but nobody with a lanyard and badge approached them and so they were just going to go home.  Those that I caught and had that chat with got the same answer (which nearly included a smack upside the back of the head) which was: “So let’s say you’re at a bar, and you’re looking to meet people…but nobody comes up to you, do you just go home?  How are you ever going to meet anyone if you do that?  How are you ever going to find a job if you do that?”  Most turned around and walked straight back into the room…but a couple didn’t.  They hemmed, they hawed, they shuffled their feet…and shuffled their way out the doors.

Look, we don’t sit at the registration table with golden tickets that say “Good for one free job” that we hand to you as you walk in.

We create the environment.  We gather the people.  We get them all in one place for you.

But then…then it’s on you.  You own your career…not us.  You own your job search…not us.  You own your path…not us.

We’re absolutely, 100% committed to doing everything we can to make sure you get what you need out of our events…we’d be idiots if that weren’t the case…but there’s still only so much we can do.

I could probably sit here and type for hours, because there are so many great stories that came out of last night.  We learned about dozens of new hires that have taken place since our 3/13/13 event (reminder to those recruiters – you do know we have events every month and not just twice a year, right?), some new faces in old places, and some old faces in new places.  It was…it was great.  So much awesome (and in may cases, humbling) feedback from people about jobs they’ve found through our events, or what our events mean to them, or how much they appreciated the casual atmosphere instead of the same sucky job fairs.  You’re more than welcome, and it’s incredibly rewarding to hear things like this from people.  Whenever we get asked “so what do you guys actually get out of this?” …it’s those stories that we tell.  The guy who found a job at a previous Pink Slip Party after being out of work for eight months who just wanted to come shake our hands and buy us a beer to say thank you for saving his house…and probably his marriage.  The lady who came to her first event a few months ago and through someone she met that night has now sprung forward about two career steps and $30,000 in salary.  There were a dozen stories like those last night…each one the kick in the ass that we sometimes need to remind us that this really isn’t all about us, or our time, or what it takes to get these put together…people rely on us to help them.  They rely on our events to help them.  It doesn’t matter that I go through a twitching panic attack every fifteen minutes for 24 hours before one of these things hit…they matter, and they help, and good things happen as a result…

…so yeah, I’m already done whining and we’re already working on our next Pink Slip Party.

But don’t forget about our events in October (BlackFinn, Royal Oak), November (Falling Down Beer Company, Warren) and December (Rochester Mills, Rochester Hills) while you’re waiting for the next Pink Slip Party to hit.  Lots of people find jobs through our smaller events, just like lots of people show up at Pink Slip Party events just to network.  Details on all of our upcoming events can always be found on our Events page here: http://www.ITinTheD.com/meet/

IMPORTANT NOTE: Recruiters, if you filled out a blank nametag last night, please shoot an email to contact@ITinTheD.com if you want to get copies of the resumes of those who sent them in to us.  Job seekers, same email address, get your resumes to us if you want them going to out recruiters.

And again…a huge and most sincere “thank you” to our sponsors, as well as to everyone else who made it out last night.  As I just got done saying, we just do the gathering and then we play traffic cop throughout the night – without all of you, these events just simply don’t happen or matter as much as they do to people.

Photos will get added onto our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/ITintheD as we get them, so keep your eye there.

1 Comment
  1. Ray Braun says

    Absolutely awesome. Congratulations to all for a great event.

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