As I see it, we are living in chaotic times. Last year's entry-level job market didn't play by the rules: Employer's decreased their hiring quotas throughout the year rather than increasing them as graduation drew near. This year, I expect a high degree of caution.
Chaos theory includes the mention of how small, seemingly insignificant changes can ultimately make a big impact. This is often called the "butterfly effect," or as MathWorld defines it:
Due to nonlinearities in weather processes, a butterfly flapping its wings in Tahiti can, in theory, produce a tornado in Kansas. This strong dependence of outcomes on very slightly differing initial conditions is a hallmark of the mathematical behavior known as chaos.
Even in a tough market, small personal changes can make a big impact on your job search. This is a blog post written by Jon Lazar, otherwise known as @justjon on Twitter, about the impact that his decision to volunteer with a social media charity event had on his life. I asked Jon for permission to republish in hopes that others would find his story inspiring. Here is his story.
I wrote before about the whirlwind that was the creation of the New York Twestival. A manic three week adventure that created a party attended by a thousand people and raised $24,000 for Charity:Water to drill wells to bring clean water to third world countries. For me, this wasn’t just about changing the way people live in Africa, it was also about changing my life.
I was working for Media Power (aka GetFugu) and watching it crumble around me. As the downturn continued, I sought some potential external experiences that would lead to a new future. The tweet looking for a developer from Toby Daniels came at a fortuitous time for me and took me down a whole new road. Toby was looking to leave his employer at that time to reinvent his career, and Twestival NYC and Social Media Week were his first steps outward.
At the beginning of 2009, I had a minimal social media footprint. I was a developer who would work for Media Power on GetFugu/Xiop/etc. and had no connection to the wider technological or social media world. The Twestival meetings became my window to the world, showing me how much more was really out there in my chosen field, giving me different aspects to a world I hadn’t considered myself to be a neophyte in.
Twestival also led me to going to, and co-organizing, assorted events around New York. From the monthly New York Tech Meetup to the Arts and Tech Meetup to SoundCtrl, I have had the chance to attend meetups and panels where I’ve learned a lot about the current state of technology and startups in New York City and their implications in the wider world. I have attended tweetups (the vernacular of adding the tw- from Twitter to things related to the web site is a bit silly, but unfortunately unavoidable) where I have met some amazing people and have made some good friends with whom I enjoy spending time with outside the social media world. I’ve also had the opportunity to organize a few events, like NxNYC – a tweetup that I worked on with Christina Coster and Karen Glidden for people who did not go to SXSW to meet up – and Twiffleball – a wiffleball game for charity that raised approximately $300 for Angelwish, that wouldn’t have happened without Matt Knell and Brian Papa.
It’s been five months since Twestival, and I still feel like my adventure is still just beginning. I have met some amazing people, attended some amazing parties and events, worked on (and will work on) some amazing projects, and even found a new employer thanks to Twestival. Now, the first Twestival Local has been announced for September 12, 2009 and the next Twestival will be February 4, 2010, and I can’t see where they take my life next.
For more observations and insight from "JustJon," check out his blog.
Do you have a personal story of how a small change or adjustment changed your life? What's your butterfly story, or where can you seek it out? Share.