Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Is The Ability for Total Recall THAT important?

It’s really not whom you know, you still have to back it up with what you know.  I have come to understand this in my struggling search for a job opportunity.   The client only cares about NOW.  What is it NOW that you bring to the table, which will provide immediate gratification to the position?  I won’t go into the fact that many interviewers lack the skill for assessing an individuals ability, that’s a whole ‘nuther can o’ beans.

Your previous role activities and tasks are only relevant in getting the foot in the door.  They are not relevant to the immediate questioning or discussion if one is, like me, challenged when questions revolve around “how to” produce, execute, or tackle a specific operation/action on the spot.  Unless you are applying for a “mission critical role” i.e. ER medical practitioner, Airline Pilot, Police, Firefighter, Soldier etc., memorization should not be a requirement.  We’re in an age of digital referencing. The tool used to guide our minds when total-recall is not firing. 

I reference almost everything.  If individuals could recall with absolute regularity the broad spectrum of knowledge for their jobs, companies wouldn’t need policy/procedures/work instructions, would they?  They could just instruct and let people go on their way to complete the assignments/actions.

Maybe someone will recognize this fact and let people such as myself beyond the door to prove what I have proven throughout my successful career, that when given the opportunity I can succeed and make them look good in the process.

So, it’s more than total recall but, like in college, where can I go to get the information to complete the action(s)? “Never memorize something that you can look up.” Albert Einstein

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Family Manager & Economist or The Motivation for Hiring the HouseWife

 The three previous companies under my tenure have offered me a better perspective of a talent, I believe, overlooked by many headhunters or human resource teams during job hiring, the background, talent and power of the "housewife” aka Home Economist. 

Yes, you've heard this before but being married to such an individual offers a more close comparative view of the talents within.  I am going to use my wife as an example of how these remarkable significant-others hold the key to many missed opportunities the work force is seeking.

Many such women want to be elevated and recognized for these unnoticed talents, superior to many entering the mainstream of business in general (especially what I have personally witnessed at state government facilities).

I am daily illuminated by Marie's ability to comprehend corporate "day to day" activities discussed when she asks me,  "How was your day?”   She actually understands, in most discussions, and comprehends the issue plaguing me better than most of my peers.  She too has the ability to motivate.  You know those little tid-bits like " That's never stopped you before", "You always had that ability" or " What's keeping you from doing it?" etc.  Did I just hear a Leader a Manager?  Yep!

Some of the discussions surrounding frustrations within my work processes do pose a comprehension hiccup but, by the end of the discussion she comes away knowledgeable and amazed on how people react or not in executing decisions or activities.  With that said, its little best-in-class activities that would amaze many hiring personnel.  The same back-office support i.e. budgeting/financial they require is very comparable to Maries household activities she executes daily like payables, check reconciliation, filing etc. 
These interchangeable corporate talents, many homemakers-economists have, are unsung and unnoticed when they finally make an attempt to place themselves in a temporary/short-term career.  

 They ARE already corporate readied, in most cases, for back-office activities and have the ability to listen, manage and lead if you just get over the fact that they haven't worked for a long while due to raising a family.

Don't let such individuals go unnoticed. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Face to Face. Where did it go?

It continues to amaze me, those seeking job opportunities, will never really benefit from the ever-changing technology. 

Although a rhetorical question, What ever happened to old school method of someone greeting you from the job opportunity company's HR and a representative from the requesting department spending at least 15 minutes with you?  
I know, I know, we have recruiters and website software that supposedly interprets our resumes. But really, unless that recruiter "knows" you or the software really interrogates/comprehends the resume contents, I don't have faith that a large portion of the job seekers will successfully benefit from this technology devoid of face-to-face/human contact.
There was a time around the late 80's that many companies suggested that marketing/sales correspondence needed to be limited and face-to-face was really the only way to maintain a relationship.  So, this is what I am suggesting to HR and recruiters get a face-to-face.  No not a telephone interview. face-to-face.  It’s hard to gain any perspective of how an interviewer is reacting without eye-to-eye contact.  Many would agree. 

Sure, there will be many who suggest  the telephone is a quicker method to limit candidacy consideration but I would too say this. My Manager chose me based on  about 40% of what was in the resume, the deciding factor was based on a face-to-face. He said he knew no one walks into most positions and immediately provides the required bullets form the job posting.  Why?, because it goes back to story of the manager asking the employee to bring him a rock.  The employee brought a rock.  The manager said, "that is not the rock I wanted".  
It takes management a period of time (short or long) to mold the individual to there expectation.  I too believe many would agree with this excluding such positions in medical, Fire & Police, engineering etc.  Professional Services and others are ones that take shape.
Maybe some day we’ll see the return of face-to-face at many levels during the consideration process.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's a Matter of Time

Finally back to some normalcy. Here are my long overdue thoughts of the past several years of struggle and success.

Much has occurred over my tenure in corporate business that makes me look back with a perspective of illumination. I am at my 4th company and . realize, whether through fate or prayers, I have found myself. A lot has happened, as you can tell from my previous writings, that makes me realize there is good management and peers and there is complacent management and peers.

It seems that in my 1st decade of business I had found individuals willing to provide guidance and support in my personal and group/team success. The following years left gaps of lack of confidence, no personal commitment of peers for the success of the whole, willingness to sacrifice and most importantly poor management/team mentoring. There is no blame here and if anything, my error for ignoring the signs.

I have come to a point in my life that success and salary (award) don't always coincide. In fact, the interesting part to this story occurs on the day I was interviewed for my current position.
Following the interview, the interviewer made a salary offer. I said I would think about it and left. On my way home, I telephoned my wife, as I wasn't exactly sure but was confident the new job was more of a lateral opportunity and salary was not the important goal to accepting the job. I wanted to make sure I wasn't stepping backwards from where I was leaving, which wasn't saying much. I asked my wife could she look at my last pay stub and let me know my annual salary. She told me and I told her the offer. It was, as we both thought, a lateral move in salary but a role I felt brought value-add to not only company but myself. By that evening, after discussing further with my wife, I accepted the job offer.

Well, weeks went by and my first check arrived. It was an auto-deposit. Marie had been reviewing the bank account when she telephoned me. She said, " Do you remember when I looked up your salary for the interview offer?". I replied, "Yes." She said, "I am so sorry but, I inadvertently selected an earlier check stub before you got a good raise and you are making several thousand less now. Will that bother you?". I'll tell you my answer in a moment as herein is the reason I write.

I had been at the new company less than a month and knew within a week this was like no other organization or management I had ever experienced. Teamwork; I mean honest to goodness teamwork. Not one mention of "It's not my job". Some absolutes but with offerings of what can I do to help, acknowledgments of work well done and discussions of activities bringing value-add to the department. Where there was doubt or proof of no value-add, the activity was dropped like a hot potato. I was coming home from work with a smile and a disposition I had not felt in years. Although, I would like to have a 9-5 job, the earlier hours didn't cause any further distress. I was happy, as the people I worked with were happy.

So I replied to my wife, "If it doesn't significantly impact our financial stability immediately and there is, I am sure, a chance to recover lost salary within 18 month, than no, less pay doesn't bother me".

People and attitudes are everything.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Baby-Boomers: America's New Unemployable

This is a recap many of you should check out regarding CBS Sunday Morning report on the jobless, in particular, how the Baby-boomers have been affected. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/04/03/sunday/main20050117.shtml?tag=strip

My letter to CBS Sunday Morning-


Thank you. There was no doubt discrimination was playing a very large role in this shameful economic situation. Finally, Sunday Morning's all too brief vignette of the jobless tragedy occurring within my generation of Baby-boomers was long overdue. I too was in the category of the unemployed but was lucky enough that a previous customer ended up hiring me at entry level salary, grateful for the opportunity to work again after being unemployed for almost 12 months having held a position at a medium size company for 36 years before being laid-off.

It was scary. I had submitted over 481 resumes to open positions, with only 3 interviews before I was blessed with my current opportunity. My wife and I knew the dates used within my resumes were the cause and effect of any consideration. Unfortunately, recruiters and HR personnel seem to be the ones contributing to the discrimination. There was a moment during the job search process that my wife and I wanted to get a lawyer for a class action suit of age-discrimination but knew it was fruitless.

I do understand that "value-add" is the bottom line consideration for any hiring organization but, also understand that many of the unemployed Baby-boomers can walk in the door of most companies and provide this kind of contribution immediately, where many college graduates (little or no previous working history) would stumble for longer periods before any recognized value.

Thank you for opening the eyes of many to this horrific hiring practice on the part of many companies and hiring firms.

You (CBS) need to re-run this Sunday Morning piece again very soon.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What do you want from the job?

The most popular question posed for working and non-working.

As members of the human race we should look beyond our own personal needs/wants. This is a time of selfless giving and if possible providing to those you have not. I know there are many who have been out of work for significant amount of time and struggling just to have some form of dignity. But, if the question is posed as a personal question, then here is what I want:

I want a job where I can share and contribute with other peers and enjoy the camaraderie of achieving the same goal: the success of the company/department vision. Having been one of the few lucky ones to land a job after losing one of 36 years, I have witnessed several employees work in fear and stress of others within the company. I provide internal customer support/service to about 130 people at a specific office. I spend about an average of 3 hours a day in traffic to end up like several who walk in fear because of a few individuals. I treat my peers the way I would like to be treated. You'd think this is a shared perspective but I have observed that if I treated my peers the way that some within the company do, I would be disrespected. Yes, of course there will be times of some discontent and the receiving person will not be pleased with the support or solution provided. It’s the attitude of superiority, with warden like behavior, as opposed to one of fellowship and cooperation that can ultimately doom any organization. It's easy to tear down someone but much harder to help build them.

What do you want from the job? Cooperation, sharing and mentoring: the ultimate success to any company/team environment is how it is built and maintained.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Unconditional Patience

I am very late in writing this as I have been for most of my blogs.I write this piece in hope many might pass this along to others who might benefit from a first hand account of one who most certainly praises those "unconditional patient" individuals and their perseverance in the face of personal delays.

I recently was forced to take a 30-day medical leave to surgically correct a major physical issue. This required a 3-hour medical procedure followed up with an anticipated 90-day recovery. The first 30 days is mostly bed/house confinement with a significant amount of P/T in just 4 weeks in order to return back to work quickly. I have been privileged with unconditional patience from a caring and cooperative family and friends. It forces me to really be dependent on many to do the most mundane tasks because I cannot, from helping me dress, tying my shoes or to just listening to me whine about my temporary handicap. These tasks leave me feeling helpless but identifies those willing and unconditionally to interrupt their daily activities to ensure I can maintain my sanity. I found myself literally weeping (actually outright crying) a couple of times because of a character flaw, fear of asking for help and what I perceived as weakness.

I believed I can conquer anything. We see how may handicap individuals conquered greater challenges then mine. I can do this too. Many handicap individuals will never complain rather, they just do it. What I never really thought about were all the individuals who contributed to this person's success and recovery without merit. The Contributors didn't need to be the ones who said, ' he/she couldn't do it without me'. They did it so the person can see/believe in the accomplishment at the end.

"Unconditional patience" from all (most importantly my wife Mo) has lead me to observe other aspects of our lives missing this needed character trait. The willingness of others to unconditionally drop what they are doing to help in the success of another individual(s) without recognition/merit.

It is this fear I believe I conquered during this short period. I have experienced the necessity of others (not all) to berate, ridicule or point to weakness/flaws when asked for help. It was not enough for these self-centered people to just cooperate and give unconditionally. It is this self-centered person that has the attitude , WHY CAN'T THIS PERSON BE LIKE ME. I continue to observe this daily or hear from others who have.

It is evident we humble ourselves when asking for help.

It is a shame the receivers for such requests don't see the opportunity to cooperate.