seeking a portland-based assistant!

My very little firm, Jarrett Walker & Associates, is ready to add some support.  It will be six months before I decide whether to cross the hurdle into formally becoming an employer, but meanwhile, I have a range of support tasks that can be a great learning experience for someone trying to get into the field. 

So I'm looking for someone (maybe more than one) who's comfortable with being a subcontractor without benefits for up to six months, until we get to that decision point.  I envision you working around 25-30 hours/week, with frequent visits to my Portland home office but no obligation to work onsite all the time.  (If you are available only part-time, but at least 20 hours a week, that' s also possible.)  I envision paying you something in the range of $15-40/hour, depending on your experience and skills.

You do not necessarily have a graduate degree or transit planning experience, though I'll pay you more if you do.  You probably do have a BA.  You absolutely need to have:

  • Passionate enthusiasm about public transit and its role in building a better civilization.
  • Strong organization skills — i.e. organization of documents, information, calendar etc.
  • English fluency and readable writing in English.
  • Ability to use basic software, including all parts of Microsoft Office on Macs.
  • A willingness to pitch in on whatever needs to be done at the moment.
  • Ability to work with visualizations, such as graphs and maps, and make connections between this information and other data forms.
  • Evidence of ability to learn new material and concepts rapidly.

In addition, it's highly advantageous if you have:

  • Some transit planning or policy experience.  (Intelligent volunteer advocacy counts.)
  • IT troubleshooting skills and confidence.  (Macs with Microsoft Office, plus online tools including Google Apps, TypePad, and key social media.  This is especially valuable because I'm very bad at this myself.)
  • Strong ability to write, and to customize writing style to different audiences.
  • Ability to design compelling visuals, including document formats, PowerPoint presentations, and graphs and diagrams that tell a story clearly.
  • Advanced data analysis skills, which could include advanced uses of Excel, database programs, and GIS.

Again, I do not recommend that you move to Portland just for this opportunity, though I won't discriminate against out-of-town applicants if you're sure you want to take that risk.  In six months, if I'm ready to build a larger staff, I will be more enthusastically seeking staff interested in coming to Portland to work with us.

If interested, please hit the email button under my photo, over on the far right of this page –>

Email me your questions about this opportunity, and if you are interested, send me:

  • A resume
  • At least three references I can call who have some experience with you in the skill areas I've described above.
  • Optionally: the hourly rate, without benefits, that you think best matches your skills, supported by a history of past compensation if relevant.  If you have a bottom line minimum hourly rate, state it.  If not, we'll figure this out if we're a match.
  • Preferably: A sample of some past project you've done that displays both your ability to write and your ability to interpret data, ideally including visualisations (graphs, maps, diagrams) that you've designed.

If this sounds vague it's because I'm intentionally casting a wide net here.  It is the nature of working in a very small firm that you have to do many kinds of tasks — both professional and clerical — so there are several possible backgrounds that could be good qualification.  I may also add more than one person to get the complete skillset I need.

The application deadline is July 20, but if you've missed that go ahead and send me something.  I am likely to make decisions based on what I have on July 20, but I may not meet all of my needs then.

Please spread the word, especially in Portland!

9 Responses to seeking a portland-based assistant!

  1. al m July 11, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    WOW-your getting big time Jarret.
    Gonna have offices all around the world like one of the news organizations?

  2. Bruce Powers, ASLA, PLA July 11, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    Please give me a call at 503-206-6024. I have a lot of transit experience and I am a registered landscape architect in Oregon. I have recently established a small design firm and I am seeking opportunities for collaboration. I also know a great person who could help you with many of the production needs you mentioned. I am very flexible on schedule and willing to do whatever I can to help you.

  3. David in Ottawa July 11, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Wouldn’t an “absolutely need to have” include the right to work in the United States?

  4. Miles Bader July 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    @David in Ottowa
    Work visas can be obtained…
    [annoying for Jarret of course, and adds uncertainty, but …]

  5. Jarrett at July 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    David and Miles.  If you are going to accuse me of any anti-Canadian bias you face a mound of contrary documents going back years.  As I said, I don't recommend moving to Portland, i.e. to the US, just for this particular opportunity, so I was not focused on those details. 

  6. Miles Bader July 12, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    [post deleting…?!]
    If my previous (deleted) post was too short, let me expand:
    I don’t read David’s comment as implying anything about bias, and I certainly didn’t intend anything negative at all (negative interpretations never even occurred to me!).
    My interpretation of David’s comment was that he was just observing that you have an international readership (maybe more so than most blogs), so that this is an issue that would be good to address in your posting; he seemed to assume, however that (as is often the case for small companies) it’s basically the applicant’s responsibility to deal with visa issues.
    I was just pointing out that the omission doesn’t necessarily imply that international applicants would be entirely on their own…

  7. Jarrett at July 12, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    Miles, that's fine.  When I hire for positions that are long-term enough to be worth moving to the US for, I'll be clear about those issues. 

  8. Bronwyn July 12, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    That sounds like a cool job! Unfortunately I am in the wrong country and getting established in interior design. However, this ad hits a whole bunch of my abilities and interests, so I shall have to remember this, in case I need a change of career and scene.
    Therefore, I signal-boosted this over to a hangout of mine likely to have suitable geeks for you. I hope some of them will be good fits!

  9. David in Ottawa July 13, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    Miles’ interpretation of my comment was quite correct vi-à-vis the international readership, but I would just add to it a bit:
    It’s just the way you’ve written the post it seems like you may well be expanding further, in which case a six-month opportunity now is not quite the same thing as a six-month opportunity with little or no prospect for extension. For anyone not gainfully employed the risk calculus here is actually pretty favourable towards moving to Portland, and even if it weren’t the possibility of just being able to live and work in a transit-related job in Portland for six months would be valuable experience for anyone interesting in transit and urban planning, including for non-Americans.
    In that context, it would not be beyond the realm of the conceivable that this would be open to non-Americans as well. Perhaps you’ve just underestimated the potential appeal.

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