Lake County Jobs
Building a new home is an exciting process. The thrill of watching construction move forward, day by day, is hard to describe. In fact, I would drive from Downtown Orlando to Leesburg every other day to witness the progress. Although my job was in Winter Park at that time, the experience was worth the 2-hour round trip prior to clocking-in at 10:00 a. m. The drive did give me time to think about the future, which included rural living, a 55+ community, friendly neighbors—and oh, yes, a 60-minute commute to work! This harsh reality opened the door to thinking about a Lake County job that would be closer to home.
The Mid-Life Career Change Conundrum
It is often said that, “With age, comes wisdom.” I would argue that, “With experience, comes wisdom.” We all grow older, yet even as we age, we still make mistakes that, in retrospect, look quite avoidable. In my most pronounced example, leaving a career and moving to Florida at age 51 was just plain foolish. It may have been “our plan,” but there was no documented plan in sight, just a decision. My wife, an RN, had her new Florida employment locked and ready for her arrival one week before I was to leave Michigan. During that week, I said my “Goodbye” to a 17-year career on my own terms and cast my sight on our dream in Cape Coral, Florida.
Ready to start a new chapter in life, I piloted the 26’ moving truck and car trailer southward, passing through Ohio, Kentucky, the hills of Tennessee, and Georgia. In about 23 hours, I would arrive, bleary-eyed, in the palm-filled Sunshine State. After a week of unpacking, I commenced my job search. Naturally, I was expecting employers to welcome me with open arms. They would be overjoyed to meet me, I assured myself. A man touting a “Northern work ethic” and over 10 years in corporate leadership would be snatched up instantly. This turned out to be a massive miscalculation.
After almost three years of underemployment, we sold our waterfront home in Cape Coral and moved to an apartment in Orlando. Deciding a year later to build a home in Leesburg put the stamp of stability on the region as one that could provide employment opportunities. Although working in Winter Park at the time of ground breaking, I accepted a job in Lake Mary after moving into our completed home in Leesburg. Unfortunately, the commute was now over one hour each way! To reclaim a solid chunk of life, the search began for a Lake County job.
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The Search for Lake County Jobs
Elevate Lake Economic Development, an entity that promotes “Lake County’s business friendly climate” is a helpful site that lists major employers. Here, I discovered there were indeed a good selection of industries nearby that could provide an assortment of Lake County jobs. My optimism climbed as I found:
- Three Hospitals
- Citrus industry
- Tree farms
- Distribution centers
- Landscape companies
These represented a good mix from which there might be a job or two for which I could qualify. My background in video production and marketing was a tough fit, but I explored beyond the usual job titles in hopes of finding the right employer.
At my current age of 55, I feel more inclined to build stability than to climb any corporate ladder. If I worked close to home and could find a Lake County job that utilized my skills, it would be worth a look. I continued the daily journey to Lake Mary while keeping both eyes open.
Like a Good Neighbor…
One of the first people that we met in our new neighborhood is named Doris. She and her sister are some of the most pleasant, happy, and warm folks I have ever met. While walking my dog one afternoon, I met Doris and her sister on the sidewalk. We chatted a bit, and I mentioned that I was looking to shorten my drive and was hoping to find a job in Lake County—Leesburg if possible. Doris suggested I consider her employer, That! Company, if a job opening developed. I kept this in mind and did some research on the Leesburg company that night.
Serendipity has a course of its own, and I am not one to stand in its way. I discovered That! Company is a leading internet marketing and white label service provider. They specialize in digital marketing campaign management. Coincidentally, one of my side-interests is website development and finding ways to drive site traffic. These were avid interests, but when a position was posted for SEO Coordinator, it became my mission. Shortly after hand-delivering an application and resume to That! Company, I was offered an interview. My goal of landing a Lake County job was one step closer to fulfillment!
During the first interview, I was asked some traditional questions and given a history of the company and its current operational direction. Although my SEO experience was not professional, I was encouraged to learn that the company preferred to hire those who are trainable. This was a relief, because I do enjoy learning new skills and the job sounded like a good fit. In one week, I was invited to a second interview with the SEO Department manager, and a few days later, with the owner of That! Company, Ken Knorr.
Passing the Pressure Test
I met Ken briefly during my first interview. In the ten impromptu minutes we spent together, my impression of him was that of creative, entrepreneurial, leader-savant. My kind of man. This did not prepare me for the final interview, details of which I refuse to share. Why? Because it is the rarest form of interview and sharing it could undermine its impact to future candidates. I will, however, share this: We sat in his “office,” a picnic table outside the main building. During his questioning, I felt completely at ease. It may not be the same for everyone, but I was having fun.
Ken acknowledged that I had “passed his test,” but that he leaves the ultimate decision of hiring to his managers. His reasoning made sense, even though the owner of That! Company and the host of the The Daily Drive podcast clearly held all the cards.
Fast-forward 6 weeks and I am writing this blog for my employer, That! Company. My SEO Coordinator career is off to a great start and I am, indeed, learning! The staff here is focused on getting work done for clients. However, there is plenty of time to build relationships among each other. Weekly staff lunch, provided by the owners, encourages everyone to gather in the break room and bond. Wednesday Game Day spikes the competitive spirit in each of us, be it a Nerf Dual or Nerf Poker, to name just two original creations.
About Nerf… I was advised in my first interview that there are random intercom calls of “Code Red,” and should such a call be made, to simply take cover. I am a survivor of a recent Code Red call that put me in the crossfire of several hundred Nerf balls just one half-hour after starting the day. Clearly, I am fortunate to hold a Lake County job that allows me to be closer to home, be productive, and have fun. The question now is, what’s going to motivate me to leave work and go home at 5 o’clock?