The Weirdest Job Search

Eric Lawler

March 13, 2023

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2 Months In: A Job Search Update

LinkedIn never forgets. The listings I created in their recruiting portal circa 2017-2019 for Lawn Love, connected to my personal LinkedIn account, still show up in their hybrid job search, recruiting/ATS software portal. LinkedIn is keenly interested for me to reopen those roles“Are you still hiring?” prompts appear about every two weeks, both on the home page and when trawling listings. It offers to immediately re-post the 6-year-old listings. and still has the statistics associated with them, which gave me a chuckle this morning.

For hiring full-stack PHP developers willing to work in, or relocate to, San Diego, I spent $350 on one LinkedIn listing to get 43 applications in ~3 weeks in 2017–a poor ROI compared to using AngelListRecently spun off from the venture capitalist arm and rebranded “WellFound Jobs.” I wonder which group will ultimately be more successful, in our post-Silicon Valley Bank world…. At the time, this felt like an acceptable volume of applications. I could easily personally review each one, and it dwarfed StackOverflow’s whopping 0 applications in ~3 months.

Today, most engineering leadership listings, of all levels, appear to average 100 applications the day the listing goes live, ~250 applications by day two, and then stabilizing between 280-350 hopefuls as future applicants are put off by the sheer volume HR departments and hiring managers have to sift through at that scale. The record is currently a pediatric telehealth group with 45 full-time employees, a high bar listed for their VP of Engineering role (albeit with no cited salary range to indicate just how much raw experience they’re seeking) with, ahem, 876 applicants in 24 hours. 876!

I’ve been careful to only apply to positions that sound like a potential great fit between my working style, the company’s current needs, and the business model/industry. But, like last week’s Silicon Valley Bank run, there’s always the temptation to join the crowd and start shotgunning my resume to every electronic inbox under the sun. 60 days of unemployment hasn’t changed my view that clicking apply on every position you see is a foolish strategy. Will I feel the same on day 600?

Who knows? Maybe the 128,202 138,302 laid off tech workers from 482 companiesToday’s numbers courtesy of’s tracker. Naturally, this was posted 16 hours before Facebook laid off 10,000 more people. in the first 72 days of 2023 is only the beginning. Maybe I’ll look back in six years and laugh at how remote job listings in tech used to only receive 900 applications in a week… Maybe the shotgunners will ultimately rise to the top in a new, J.P. Morgan Chase-eat-dog world, while I split my time between freelancing for the big tech monopolies’ contractors’ subcontractors and pulling $5 espressos for JPMC SVPs in downtown Boise.

In Snow Crash we trust. Come on corporate city-state burbclaves and FOQNEs!

Finalized at 12:57 PM. Tidied up on March 14, 2023 @ 5:11 PM.

Tagged with personal and hiring.

The Longest Journey

Eric Lawler

January 30, 2023

Filed under “

10 days into the current year, I was unceremoniously terminated with the click of a button. 150 peers shared the experience of one’s laptop abruptly freezing and throwing up a “PROPERTY OF [FORMER EMPLOYER]” lock screen halfway through an otherwise ordinary Tuesday morning.

Having never been involuntarily separated from a role, I found this an exciting and novel start to 2023! It came at a convenient time, too. I had already been thinking through the next steps to take on this 50-year mission to provide food and shelter for my family. The opportunity I was sold in late 2021 at a fast-growing fintech startup wasn’t going to deliver on a number of promises“Past performance is no guarantee of future results” applies to more than investment funds., so after a full year in the role, it was clear I needed a fresh direction.

After weeks of reflection, I’m determined to apply what I’ve learned in the past few years to another role working as head of engineering in a smaller company. Seeing the rampant waste from hiring hundreds of programmers and then “keeping them busy” pains me. Watching organizations ship less software year-over-year–despite doubling “resources,” adding PMO groups to tame cross-team dependencies, etc.–stresses me out. There’s so much waste in the generic American corporate model. Why are we satisfied with this status quo?

My previous role reminded me that I’m most fulfilled when I’m helping a company ensure its product is actually serving its customers. YCombinator’s mantra “Make something people want” feels trite, but it’s disappointing how often this basic mission is lost as a company grows. Concocting clever ways to quickly test our riskiest assumptions in a project? Figuring out novel means of actually shipping that “value” to our customers? Sign me up! My hope is that we associate 12- to 24-month waterfall scrumfall projects that can’t be validated until the entire effort is launched with the wasteful, VC-fueled “hypergrowth” era we left behind in the 2010s.

I firmly believe in the simple, centuries-old business recipe: Take care of your employees so they can take care of your customers. Take care of your customers and you’ll create revenue for the business that can be reinvested to serve yet more people–employees and customers alike.

In the meantime, while I’m in the “meet with everyone who finds my experience interesting and learn about their needs” phase of this job search, I’m taking advantage of the unexpected time off to explore more of the paved roads in the greater Boise area. After all, there’s no such thing as bad weather; only bad clothes.

The author dressed for 33* bike riding in the snowy Eagle, Idaho foothills35° on the road is downright balmy contrasted to 25° fatbike rides through the snow.

I don’t know what my near future looks like–let alone where I’ll be in December 2023–but I’m excited to see where these unexpected twists in life’s journey lead me.

Finalized at 9:59 AM.

Tagged with personal.