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…reading and believing your own press clippings

Dan hasn’t looked for a job for 15 years. He’s been with the same firm for that period of time and has risen rather rapidly through the ranks. Along the way, his company gave him all kinds of kudos and recognition and continually told him how great a contribution he made, how wonderful he was and how they couldn’t do without him, blah, blah, blah.

It is true that his performance was excellent and that he had been promoted a number of times. He always had all kinds of people in the company and outside the company telling him how wonderful he was. He reached the level of Regional VP and all of these accolades started going to his head. The first blow to his ego was that he didn’t get as big a raise as he thought he should. The second, and biggest blow, came from the fact that he lost a promotion to one of his peers that he was certain he was going to get. The selection committee wasn’t courteous enough to tell him why he didn’t get promoted, but he felt like his meteoric rise was now slowed, if not stymied. “After all,” he thought (and what he told us) “… I’ve given sweat and blood to this company. I got an MBA. I’ve had fantastic reviews. Everybody tells me I’m wonderful and the company could not get along without me and that other companies would feel very lucky to have me.” (My sense is he imagined this last part more than someone telling him that.)

His family didn’t help either. His father, upon hearing the story of Dan’s plight, agreed that Dan deserved the promotion and that the company wasn’t appreciating him. Dan’s wife totally agreed and kept telling him that he should quit because there were boatloads of organizations that would love to find talent like his.

So, Dan quit. That was six months ago and Dan is still looking for a job. He had absolutely no idea how difficult it would be to find a job. Dan was believing his own press clippings. He thought that since his company thought he was so wonderful and his family just knew he could not only replace his job but find a better one, all he had to do was quit and go look for one.

Dan was saying a lot of what we hear from people all the time, “Every company needs really good people…( especially like me).” They each quit their job thinking that companies are simply going to fall down in front of them to get them on board. They do no research on how many jobs like they’ve been doing exist and what their probability might be of getting a job like that even if they could find the opening. Dan even made the comment that his professors in his graduate program were certain, that with an MBA from their school, he should have no problem finding a new job. Of course, they have absolutely no idea what the job market might be like for what Dan does either. (That’s why they are in academia. Besides, that’s what they’re supposed to tell students who just paid $100,000 to get an MBA from their school.)

Dan had a few interviews, but they were more courtesy interviews from friends, colleagues, etc. He is shocked, depressed and demoralized that he hasn’t easily found a job. The problem Dan has run into is very common. He had absolutely no idea what the market might bear for his experience or background. Just because he had all of these people, his company, his family, his professors etc. telling him how wonderful he was didn’t mean that he was going to find a job. The majority of jobs like Dan is looking for are promoted into from within. It’s rare for companies to hire someone like Dan off the street. It has nothing to do with his ability or his performance. It has to do with the availability or should we say, lack of availability of the kind of job he has done.

The lesson is, don’t believe your own press clippings. Just because all of the people you work with tell you how wonderful you are doesn’t mean that people are going to immediately hire you. Do some “market testing” and find out how easy it’s going to be to find a job. Don’t think that just because you’re so damn good and everybody just knows it, that somebody’s going to instantly hire you.

Dan is now considering going back to work for his old company. He’s going to have to take a position that is one or two levels below where he was before. He’s not sure what he will do. Our recommendation is that he swallow his pride and go back to his old company.  Now, if he wants to look for a job while he’s got one, that’s probably the better idea. Right now, he needs to get back to work.

Don’t believe your own press clippings.

 

 

….some kinda writer i am

well you’d think after all these years of writing I would pay attention… A few weeks ago I wrote about the challenge that boomer women have in the workplace and I ended it by stating that in the next blog I would give advice about what women can do to deal with the challenges… Unfortunately I didn’t pay attention to my own writing and went off on two or three different topics… Some kind of teacher, huh? Fortunately one of our readers, Mitzi Barnes, wrote and asked in a really nice way where the hell the answer was…well, Mitzi, I have to admit, I couldn’t find it either and I obviously didn’t write it… So here you go…

Be aware of a few things… First of all women live longer than men and take better care of themselves and are healthier as they get older… They are more loyal, stable and dependable than men… It is easier for them to change their appearance and look more professional as they grow older than men… They have a tendency to be more open to all kinds of different opportunities because they don’t have the egos that men have which prevent them from taking some positions because they think they are “lesser” than what they have had before

Because women don’t have their egos wrapped up in looking for a job as much his men, they have a tendency to be more persistent and more open to all kinds of different opportunities, even if they are a step back from what they had done before… So women realize that looking for a job is a real numbers game and have a tendency to be more persistent about the numbers it takes to find a job…

Women should emphasize their health and how dependable they are at showing up and working… Since women have a tendency to take jobs  that are more flexible when they were raising children or caring for older parents, they usually have more variety of experiences in their background that they can sell…

I say this often, and I know some people get pissed off… Especially men… But the truth is women work harder than men … Don’t shoot the messenger, but it’s true… Women, like most minorities, have to work harder to compete in mostly a white guy’s world… It’s just that simple… Most employers know that women work harder than men… Don’t argue with me… Well I guess you can, but it’s stupid to argue about it… It’s just true…We all know that the hardest job in the whole world is being a mother… If you can do that well, working in business is a joke.

So if you’re a boomer woman looking for a job, be really persistent about getting interviews and remind prospective employers how hard you work, how committed you are and how flexible you are…It isn’t magic, but women boomers need to realize they have more of an advantage than they think

 

… fake it till you make it

Okay, I know you’re not supposed to fake it much in the interviewing and job search process… You can’t try to be what you’re not… agreed. but there comes a time… or two or three …in each interviewing process that you are thrown off and at a loss as to what to do or say… here is where you have to fake it till you make it…

You have to communicate courage when you don’t feel courageous… you have to communicate confidence when you don’t feel confident… I have discussed often in previous posts about your body language in the interviewing situation… If you want a real treat Go to:                                 http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are And listen to this Ted talk…

This is a very inspiring ted talk… It offers some great ideas of how to prepare right before an interview and gives great insight esspecially regarding body language and some of the things you can do to make yourself more exciting and focused… It also gives advice into those few moments in the interviewing process are you just have to fake it till you make it

 

 

… change the attitudes towards work in getting a job

Unfortunately, our country has developed a societal attitude that work is a right not a privilege… We all need to develop more of an immigrant attitude… I really don’t need to describe that in detail, because we all know what an immigrant attitude is… Secondly we need to communicate that it’s going to be very, very, very, very hard to find a job… It isn’t something you simply sign up for like you do with all the other entitlements… Along the same line ,people have to realize that they may have to take a pay cut and start out in a lower position than they had before in order to get their foot back in the door… We then need to prepare people for the emotional strain that looking for a job is… I’m always amazed that people don’t expect how psychologically difficult it’s going be to find a job… Engage in talking to someone who’s been out of work for more than a year and you can hear the tension in their voice and almost feel the depleted spirit… People need to be aware that the competition for a job is phenomenal… There are at least 8 to 10 very well-qualified candidates for every job and just because people think they are qualified doesn’t mean they are going to get hired or that the hiring authority thinks they are qualified …Looking for a job successfully is a sheer numbers thing… Most people don’t try hard enough to get enough interviews, which is the first mistake… Then, when they don’t get a job right away, they give up way too easily, quit way too soon and then claim they can’t find a job… They claim that there are just “no jobs out there” it takes an average of 16 interviews to get a job… it takes talking to 10 hiring authorities to get one interview… and it takes 100 calls to speak with one hiring authority… In short, it is very diligent, hard work with tons of rejection and refusal… And lastly in this list is to quit cursing the darkness… Complaining bitching and moaning about the way things are does absolutely no good…

… other issues that discourage people from looking for and taking a job

Some of these are practical and some are social issues… some of them drive me nuts because they ring with “entitlements”… others are simply facts of life…

The cost of child care is too high… the cost of childcare is the single largest expense for families in almost half of the states in the nation and has been growing steadily, outweighing cost of food and housing… the cost of child care can surpass that of in-state tuition at four-year public colleges in 31 states… unfortunately the largest demographic hit is single mothers… the National Institutes of Health says that low income single mothers with young childcare challenges can be a significant barrier to even finding a job… it’s not a uncommon for child care to absorb one quarter of what the mothers earn

People don’t want to or can’t commute ….in a recent poll by MRINetwork 75% of almost 600 people said “they would turn down a job offer because of the long commute”…

Maintaining your place in the benefits system is a full-time, arduous job… government programs have become very strict about who receive benefits… even though the numbers of people receiving government benefits is staggering, people have to spend a lot of time actually working with the programs to stay in the parameters… government offices are packed every day in this country… they require appointments, paperwork, filing, re-filing and re-qualifying, literally standing in line all day for unemployment, Social Security insurance, disability and food assistance programs are daunting… trying to keep up with this challenge and then go out to job hunt takes a super effort, zapping a person’s energy and attitude.

Feeling stigmatized by potential employers… study after study has shown that resumes of people who are out of work for 27 weeks or more are automatically eliminated… in a recent study, 5000 identical resumes except for the fact that half reflected being unemployed for more than 27 weeks were sent to prospective employers…not one  of the candidates out of work for more than 27 weeks were invited to interview… So the concern for being stigmatized is real.

next week: solutions

..why people don’t want to work

entitlements often pay more than having a job… the idea that entitlements actually help people find a job… especially unemployment insurance… is dubious… economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research reported in 2013 that unemployment was worse in places which benefits… It seems that the longer people are on unemployment, it is an incentive not to get a job…

We present job Opportunities to unemployed candidates all the time and often hear, “I can make more than that on unemployment… so I’m not going on the interview”… one study found that there were 101 million people participating in at least one of the 15 food programs offered by the Department of Agriculture and there were only 97 million people working in full-time jobs…. You read it right, the number of Americans receiving government benefits outnumbers those with full-time jobs

The new Affordable Care Act has this same kind of perverse twist affecting the labor market… the CBO states that means tested subsidies,  Obamacare phases out  incomes rise and that some people will choose to stay poor and either accept lesser jobs than they might be capable of or get out of the workforce completely… disincentive to become unemployed or cut back on time or in exchange for healthcare subsidies will cost 2.3 million jobs by 2021… the intent to help people is a deterrent to work … it encourages those on this subsidy to “stay poor.”

There is a “attitude” of entitlement that, “there just ought to be a job for everyone and they should be easy to get”… the promise of a regulated economic equality, rather than the promise of equal opportunity to jobs leads people to think that looking for a job should be no harder than simply asking “where is my job?” and then expecting it to miraculously show up or have someone give it to them in the same way they do their healthcare… their unemployment… and their food stamps… the attitude of entitlement promotes the idea that getting a job is a “right” and should be easy to do…

Next week will talk about some of the reasons that people get discouraged about the job market

…the Willis Report

I’ve been on the Gerri Willis show, the Willis Report on FoxBusiness every other week for the past couple of months… it’s really fun and exciting…She always had some very interesting topics…

Yesterday the topic was the recent survey done by Harris poll of 1500 unemployed adult Americans… the major headline was that 47% of these people say that they have completely given up looking for a job…Gerri’s questions were… what’s your reaction to thiswhy are people giving up so easily and,… should the American taxpayers be paying for this group …???

There are more than 4 million people in the United States in this boat… people believe that there are actually no jobs out there… they believe the unemployment compensation is helping them… and overall they blame the economy…

According to the latest data, it takes the average person 17 weeks… about four months to either find a job or stop looking for one… the Council of Economic Advisers has found that a person being unemployed for five weeks or less has a 31% chance of getting a job… once they’ve been unemployed between 27 and 52 weeks, those odds drop to 12%… and what happens once your unemployed for more than a year… your odds drop to 9%… 34% of these people are men between the ages of 25 to 54 and 29% are women of the same age… 18% are young workers under 25… 15% are workers on the cost of the traditional retirement age between 55 and 64 years old… and the remaining 4% are people who are 65 years or older but would still like to work

Over the next two or three weeks I’m going to share with you the reasons I see… from in the trenches… of why people have such a hard time finding a job and why they don’t go to work

The First Reason is that looking for a job as well as losing your job is the fourth most emotional thing that people do…next to death of a spouse, death of a child, death of a parent, coupled with divorce, the fourth most emotional thing that people do is look for a job… they are just plain scared…

For most people this fear leads to massive action and they get up off their duff and really try hard to look for a job… and, if they do it within the first five weeks of being laid off they have a 31% chance of doing that… however, because of fear, lots of people decide to take a little time off, accept severance and do nothing for a while, take a vacation, go back to school… they do anything except what they ought to do which is look for a job

The second thing they do is to apply for entitlements offered by the government…. this is a well-intentioned social policy but it has done nothing but enabled a whole bunch of people to not only become dependent upon the government but become disincented to finding a job…

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, David and Goliath speaks about the inverted U theory regarding social policies that start out as a “good thing” but wind up making things worse… unemployment insurance, disability insurance, food stamps and many other programs instituted to “help” unemployed people actually provide them an incentive to not find a job.

People can often collect more money from unemployment insurance, food stamps,  disability insurance and other government programs than they can by finding a job… economists at the national Bureau of economic research reported that unemployment was worse in places with generous benefits… the new Affordable Care Act has the same kind of perverse to twist affecting the labor market….the CBO states that means tested subsidies for Obama care phase out as income rises and that some people would choose to stay poorer and either accept lesser jobs than they might be capable of or get out of the workforce completely… this incentive to become unemployed or cut back on time worked in exchange for healthcare subsidies will cost 2.3 million jobs by 2021… the intent to “help” is a deterrent to work and encourages those on this subsidy to “stay poor”

Government programs designed to help the unemployed has a tendency to keep them employed… more next week

…good for Ken… a little luck and a little skill

Ken interviewed for a first line managers job… his background is pretty perfect but unfortunately he was flat… no enthusiasm or fire in the belly… he came  in third, even though his experience and background were better than the other candidates who interviewed…

The most impressive candidate was invited back and did a great job in the second interview in front of a group of people and looked like he was going to the offer… but a “backdoor” reference by the  VP wasn’t good at all he was quickly eliminated…

The second candidate wasn’t stellar in her initial interview but they brought her back… unfortunately, even though her skills were solid, she was so serious and tense in a group interview..( that is the problem I have with group interviews… I hate them…they are unfair to a candidate and to  a company… but, obviously I don’t write the rules)… bottom line was she choked and wasn’t the same effervescent, friendly, engaging candidate that the hiring authority initially interviewed… she bombed and just plain didn’t connect with them… so she was out…

In spite of Ken’s Initial interview flatness, he followed up with the hiring authority, etc… the initial interviewing authority wasn’t wild about bringing him back, but it was better than starting all over so, as with the rest of the candidates, he sent information for Ken to use in making a presentation to the group and invited him back for a group interview…

Ken prepared well… went to Starbucks and got a vinti “black eye,” drinking it before the interview … hiring authority said that he did great and they are now checking his references… it all looks good for Ken

a little luck and a little skill never hurt anyone

… Angela’s angst… a lesson

Up until September of last year, Angela had a relatively good inside sales job for a kid three years out of school… her company constantly told her how great she was… how good she was and how well she would eventually do in outside sales. When it was clear that the company was not going to promote her to outside sales, she started looking for a job… we tried to explain to her about what the market would bear for her based on her experience…for four or five months showed her a number of opportunities that were good, solid “one step up” from the job she had and a decent future…

Unfortunately, Angela was reading her own press clippings and was convinced that she should take no  less than an absolutely stellar position…these were two or three levels beyond her … it was hard to get interviews for her because even though her track record was good, she just didn’t have enough experience…when we got her interviews commensurate with her experience she’d simply tell us that she was “better than that” and wouldn’t go…When we did get her interviews like she wanted, she didn’t get past the initial interview… She’d get frustrated and downright mad because they wouldn’t hire her

This went on for a few months to the point where Angela just wouldn’t even consider even going on an interview that wasn’t exactly what she wanted… obviously we weren’t motivated to get her  interviews because we couldn’t convince her that the positions she was qualified for weren’t what she ideally wanted…

The other day Angela calls and says she’s now ready to get back into the market… she says that she has been humbled by the whole experience… it turns out that she got frustrated with her old job and, continuing with her egotistical ideas, quit the job she had, thinking that if she looked for a job full time she’d be better off.

Well, she tells us she looked for a job for about a month and she realized she needed an income so, thinking she could interview while she was working, took a job in retail… She has been there six months and hates it.. she now wants to find a job and she is frustrated to no end…

Here is the problem she’s created for herself… she has now been working in retail for six months and has to tell a prospective employer one of two things, either she hasn’t been working at all or she’s been working in retail… if she goes into an interview for sales and says she’s been out of work for six months, people are going to wonder why she’s been out of work so long… if she tells people that she’s been working retail for the last six months but wants to  get back in  sales they’re going to wonder, if she’s such a good salesperson, why did she take a job in retail

Angela now realizes the level of job she should take, if she can find it… and it’s going to be really hard to find… explaining what she’s been doing for the last six months but that she really wants to go into sales again and it is going to be very hard…

The angst Angela has caused herself wasn’t necessary

…that time the year again… graduation

This year isn’t any better than the last two years for graduates… 1.8 million of them will enter the workforce in May, June and July in an economy that is producing less than 150,000 jobs a month… 80% to 85% of the grads will move home after graduation… they will take  7 to 8 months to find any kind of job… they will be in debt on average $24,000…  60% of them will find a job that have nothing to do with their major…

Unfortunately the reality is that only 40% of college graduates ever visit the career Center at their University and the  majority of students don’t even start thinking about getting a job until near graduation… and to think, this is about the same place where students were the last three yearsis there a reason that students… who are supposed to be educated enough to realize “current events”… especially since those current events are affecting their future…

And the colleges and universities?… Institutions have a moral obligation to their graduates to prepare them for the job market… they don’t …academia has always taken the attitude that their job is to educate students and  after that, they really don’t care…

Parents and students who are investing anywhere from $100,000-$200,000 in a baccalaureate degree should ask a college or university, before they enter the institution, what percentage of their baccalaureate graduates have a job within three months after graduating… Likely they will get a totally blank stare from whoever they ask… and that’s sad

71% of the students who use the career Center get jobs  by graduation…. Students with internships or who worked during college at the 60% better chance of getting a job right after graduation and the ones with internships received a median income of $6000 more than those who do not have an internship… the same goes for those students who actually had a job during college…

Don Philabaum, a friend, founded the company by the name of TalentMarks., www.talentmarks.com, has developed a whole series of programs for students graduating… it’s amazing that every college and university in the country doesn’t have this program…

So, advise your graduate to:… visit the career Center…create a plan of massive action to find a job… connect with every graduate of your college or university ( it is shocking how seldom the students take advantage of these people who love to help their “own”)… be persistent… don’t quit… take any job you can get your foot in the door and… oh yeah, WORK REALLY, REALLY, REALLY HARD