Last week Team Switchboard was honored by a visit from Aaron Epperson, a veteran member of the Portland Startups Switchboard and all around awesome guy.
Aaron recently landed a job as the Technology Association of Oregon's (TAO) new Membership Coordinator through Switchboard and came by to say thanks and meet the team. We got pretty excited when he offered to write about how his success went down. In fact, we'll just let him take it from here:
Dear Mr. Epperson,
Thanks so much for applying to ACMETech. We’re really happy you took the hour and a half to sit on your couch and fill out our insane, random online application. However, we regret to inform you that we’ve gone with another candidate. His name is Todd.
Todd has no less than seven Ph.D.’s, is a championship sailboat racer, and his girlfriend, Tammy, has promised to bake the office cookies every Thursday. We found out that you’re single and have a tendency to burn cakes. Honestly, who’s inept enough to burn cakes?
It was probably after the seventh rejection letter that I started to panic. I had just moved back from the Bay Area after a five-year absence in my beloved Oregon. No one from the old days was left and I had just signed a lease.
I started in on the traditional job hunting tactics. LinkedIn, Craigslist, watching Netflix, thinking about going back to school, deciding I was moving to Thailand, then more LinkedIn. I kept telling myself that this should all be viewed as a surprise vacation and that the screams of my bank account could be ignored.
“Hey! I’m empty!” my bank account would yell.
“No,” I would explain, “You’re on a diet…It’s good for you…”
Eventually, I ended up going to one of the many MeetUp’s Portland has. Nothing's like good old fashioned networking. I milled around the room and shook hands with strangers. I smiled at their jokes as I shoved my business card at them. I mentioned my job hunt to a slender, older man in a gray hoodie.
“Oh, just go to the Portland StartUps Switchboard.”
“Switch what?” I asked through a mouthful of coffee.
“Switchboard,” he said, “It’s this thing where people put asks and offers. Everyone here uses it. It’s a thing.”
“Oh thanks, I’ll check it out.”
It took a week, but I finally did look it up. What greeted me was a really nice community that was active. It had recent posts with actual descriptions of what people wanted or had to offer. I also saw the names and pictures of who posted. The UI didn’t suck!
After LinkedIn and Craigslist, it all seemed so personal. It was also more than just jobs. Doug from ExtreamXCompany needed a Project Manager. Joan had advice on how to start a business. John wanted to give away a desk!
And then I found it! TAO needed a Membership Coordinator!
I read the post twice. Hey, we have a job that magically combines your interests and skill set while helping to promote and support the tech community in the whole state of Oregon. Also, we’ll do that thing where we pay you. I emailed them right away and applied. I held my breath until they called and asked for an interview. I danced!
To make this long story longer, I have found myself in one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I spend my day solving problems, helping people, and learning a bunch of new things. What could be better?
Without the Portland StartUp Switchboard, none of it would have happened!
Aaron Epperson is the Membership Coordinator for the Technology Association of Oregon. He's an Oregon native who's excited about seeing the tech industry thrive in the state. He enjoys nature, reading, and in no way wrote this bio. Nor does he wish for you to email him awesome suggestions on places to eat. Don't do that. firstname.lastname@example.org