Archives July, 2009

22 July
Chris Arends

When we are working the years and the quarters seem to go in a certain pattern. Q1 is always kick offs and recovering from Christmas and year end close. Q2 is the big first half push before summer starts. Q3 is summer break, catching up from vacation and getting the funnel full for Q4. Finally Q4 is the big push to close out the year.

Not working gives you a different schedule. You know the last 2 weeks of a quarter if you are looking for a sales job there will be a slow down in the hiring process as most sales managers are heads down closing business. There is still a summer lull but you can still use the time to connect with people as they are feeling less pressure and are relaxed from vacations.

Those of us looking right now are struggling through the slow summer season and getting ready for a big push once school starts. We need to be focuses on laying the ground work for our push and also recharging our batteries so we have a positive outlook when we get new opportunities in the fall.

So the joy for today is the chance to get ready both with contacts and rest as we break from the routine.

21 July
Chris Arends

Getting hired can be a frustrating process as we all know. It isn’t just the searching and interviews it is the waiting and not knowing. This is where good HR teams can make the difference.

We all hear the horror stories of job postings getting 400 resumes in an hour. While we get that it is a lot to sort through for the HR team who gets the first pass I think we forget that while a lot of it is computerized, there are still people on the other end. Those people probably don’t have as many openings to manage as they used or as we would hope but the volume of resumes and compliance issues makes their jobs not fun. That excuses them for the automated acceptance/flush letters.

Where the good ones separate them selves is how they work with the potential hires. Being the first person a potential employee talks to, they can make or break the process from the searchers side. The good ones are well informed on the position and have anticipated the questions that the job searcher needs answered. Sometimes this is a simple as next steps but other times it can be more complex.

The most important thing the good ones do is follow up. Even if they don’t know anything. They at least recognize that there is a person on the other end who has hopes of getting the job they have open. They realize that for job hunters, having voicemail or email go into a dark hole makes things worse.

Todays joy recognizes that the people who manage the hiring process are people too and like any other profession there are superstars and also rans. Thanks to all the good ones. You know who you are.

17 July
Chris Arends

Today more than ever staying connected to people is important. For job seekers it is part of what we do day in and day out. One of the best things to help those of us who are looking is being able to see not only who we know but who our friends know.

While this is not a big secret it is something to be joyful about. For those of us who are looking we are setting up and reconnecting to networks that we may have thought were long gone. This helps us have more opportunities and get back in touch with old friends easier.

It is also a joy that people are using their skills not to just create the latest i-phone app but to help other people have better connections. The power of LinkedIn is also helping people who were afraid of computers and the internet to get their online skills more current.

Today we say thanks to LinkedIn and services like it for helping us get back in touch.

16 July
Chris Arends

Many of the people I have met who are not working are using the time as a welcome break from the day to day routine of having a job. It is recharging and in some cases helpful as we will come in to a new job with new energy, new perspective and a drive to succeed.

Some of my new friends have reached the peak of their rejuvenation period. All their closets are organized, they have read all the books they wanted to catch up on and the Tour de France is almost over. They don’t just want to go back to work they NEED to go back to work. In some cases they are willing to take almost anything to get back into a routine and contribute.

Everyone has a need to feel that they are making a contribution. The joy of it is being able to step back and rest a bit and be ready to work with a new energy.

15 July
Chris Arends

Late on Friday I heard from a woman in my networking group that she had landed a new job. It was with her former company and done via her network. The other members of my group are also seeing more positive momentum on their search with a few waiting to hear about offers.

The joy is that if you keep at it and stay focused you can have success. This is also positive news that maybe things are starting to turn around a bit especially since this uptick of activity is in probably the worst time of year to get hired.

The joy for today is be happy for your friends, they will show you that doing the right things will pay off and can encourage you to keep moving when things seem to be slow.

13 July
Chris Arends

This weekend I rode the Peach Pedal charity bicycle ride in Weatherford TX. On this ride the rest stops are themed. The women in charge of rest stop #3 are a great example of not taking things too seriously.

The theme of their rest area was “Hire Me!” The women were out of work and looking for jobs. To stay with their theme, their t-shirts said “hire me” and had a large trash can labeled “Resumes Here!”. It was great to see people getting creative with their job search, having a sense of humor and giving back to their community all at the same time.

While I didn’t stay long, I appreciated the Gatorade and the the encouragement from others who are going through the same thing I am.

10 July
Chris Arends

When I started out this year I told my kids that one of my goals was not to make Platinum on American this year. Getting laid off wasn’t the way I planned on reaching that goal but it did certainly help me achieve one of my goals. Check that one off the list.

Why this is a joy is that my kids don’t have to ask “Will you be there for my game?”. I get to put my kids to bed and get them up and take them to practice.

This has also been an adjustment for my wife. She is cooking again, so no more cereal nights. She also cooks better than most of the places I ate on the road so I get better food and with leftovers I get it more than once.

I’m sure that American is missing me. They have actually tried to call me a few times to make sure I’m okay. They can rest assured that I am even though I now have to get on the plane at the back of the line, I will be there with a smile.

9 July
Chris Arends

The good news I got this done early today as it is forecast to reach 103 today. The funny thing is it taught me something.

Mowing the yard is one of those things that is met with mixed emotions at our house. The older son hates having to help sweep up and the younger one loves to mow. Like with anything else in life if you hate it you are unlikely to do it well. My oldest son hates sweeping. So instead of making him do something he hates and doesn’t do well, I let the older one take full responsibility for another chore that he will have to do more often in exchange for having to sweep. I told him the main thing I wanted from him is for him to make a contribution to our family and our household.

Some might say I let him off easy by not making him get better at what may seem like a simple task. I know he can do it but he hates it. Just like in my job search, there are a lot of jobs out there I know I can do. If I hate them what good does that do me or the company that hires me? This may make my search for employment take longer but it will make me more successful and I will contribute more to my new company.

This is something we should all keep in mind whether we are looking for a job or figuring out who does the dishes. The closer we are to doing what we like the better we will do it and the happier we will be.

So today I am joyful about mowing the lawn and showing me to play to my strengths.

9 July
Chris Arends

So getting laid off is not a fun thing to go through. The stress of managing finances, worrying about how it will impact your kids, making sure your wife knows what is going on, the awkwardness of talking with friends and networking contact who will assume that you are only going to hit them up for a job they would love to give you but don’t have. All these thing make being unemployed a challenge.

The thing is people go through bigger challenges everyday. Illness, divorce, depression, homelessness, and a whole lot of other things that are much worse than losing a job. In other words there are worse things in life that can happen to you. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely prefer getting a pay check, but in a year from now odds are I will have a new job, new friends, re-connected with old ones and have other life lessons to take with me.

I know there are some people who are unemployed and having to deal with some of the issues above as well. I don’t wish them on anyone. I also won’t pretend to know what they are going through because I don’t. I will however say that having a longer term, positive outlook will make any of those problems easier to deal with. In a year from now you will have had the chance to learn from these trying times and likely find yourself in a better place than you can imaging right now.

Being laid off is a joy to me because it could always be worse and if you think you have it bad there is always someone who has it worse than you. So don’t feel sorry for yourself. Take action, any action that moves you closer to where you want to be and you will be in a better place.

7 July
Chris Arends

One of the stressful things of looking for a job is the waiting. Waiting for some one to return your call, to make a decision or even to have an opening. This is the part where being more than half full becomes an advantage.

Usually while waiting our minds ponder what is going to happen, what happens if I don’t get this job, did I do everything right, and on and on. What I have started doing with the wait time is looking at it another way.

First, the time waiting can be used in a more productive way. Instead of wondering did I do everything right, work on what you will improve. Look at the delays that come in this process as both sides making sure it is a good fit. While I appreciate a paycheck as much as the next guy I would hate to start a job and find out that one of us made a bad decision. That just adds confusion to your resume. So this time is well spent.

Second don’t worry about things you can’t control. Yes do your follow ups and reviews but let go of what is done. If you really want to spend your time wondering about something that is out of your control think about what your new co-workers will be like or what your office/cube will look like or if they have good cafeteria food.

Finally don’t stop looking. You don’t have the job till you have it and you may miss a better gig if you sit around waiting. Your dream job may be right around the corner.

Like the old Heinz ketchup ad anticipation makes the hot dog taste better. Yes I realize I just dated myself. Have joy in you anticipation.