$250,000 too proud

bus wreck

Over negotiating can be a wreck. Watch out.

How hard do you negotiate? If you are critical to a project’s success, shouldn’t you be really well paid? The job market is hot.  A lot of employers are not finding the right person.

Here’s an example I was part of:

Mike’s expertise selling into FEMA was critical.  Their product was more than an idea, but not a proven solution.  Mike was already calling on FEMA contacts even though he wasn’t officially on payroll.  The feds wanted their product.  This would be a big win for everyone.

Mike had been unemployed for 8 months and was running out of money.  This was juicy.  If Mike quit or was fired the day after he started, he’d still get $250,000.  The commissions would double that. Still, he was worried he wouldn’t get everything he deserved.  The contract wasn’t tight enough.  What about bonuses in year 4?  He brought in the best lawyer he could find.  The company balked at his demands, his lack of flexibility.

Then the lawyers and the dragging negotiations wounded Mike’s pride.  A venture capitalist said the wrong thing.  The CEO didn’t want to completely get rid of the non-compete agreement since there was a one year severance guarantee.

Mike quit the negotiations. The product was cancelled.  The company was closed.

A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.  (Harris)

What hurt the most was that it took Mike six more months to get a different job.  That job paid half as much with no commissions or bonuses.  He had to clean out his savings accounts and sell his cars to survive.  Mike told me, “My pride cost me $250,000.   That was the best offer I ever had. What was I thinking?”

This was an extreme case.  The problem was pride.  When you know you are essential to a project, you want to be treated with respect.  Sometimes that respect kindles the flame of overarching pride.

The job market is really heating up.  I am seeing more examples of this destructive pride.  A manager once told me his policy is, “If two people are absolutely critical to a project and they disagree violently and refuse to compromise or go down one of the two paths, FIRE THEM BOTH.”

Don’t forget, even if you are irreplaceable, the project can be cancelled.  There are always alternatives for an employer.

Don’t let destructive pride make you expendable.

Something To Do Today

Have you ever withdrawn from a job or promotion pool because it took too long to get a decision?  Realistically look back.  What did you gain?

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Later:      How fast?

Daydream

Audible

Down by 20 at halftime

How to get great desirable permanent employment

Flag behind a prison fence

In America great desirable permanent is available for you. Do you want it?

To have great desirable permanent employment, you have to look in the right places.  Here is how you make sure you are working at a permanent job.  My experience first.

Our company made a record profit.  The industry was booming.  The company was sold for an unbelievable amount because its future was so bright. Our new owners were literally brilliant and had built a powerhouse with a strong diversified cash flow.

95% of the employees were laid off by the end of the next month. We were in a boom no one thought was a bubble.  The bubble burst.  The company had to lay off almost everyone. I lasted until the end of the next month.

The only thing that make life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty, not knowing what comes next.  (LeGuin)

10 years later I was employed by a huge computer company.  The world was good.  This was a permanent job.  I had been there 9 years. I was safe.

Then I got a letter from a friend at corporate headquarters.  There were going to be layoffs in 3 months.  I asked my bosses. They denied it.  My contact said, “I read the memo.”  I quit for a new job one week before the layoffs were announced.

What has happened to permanent employment?

Success isn’t permanent, and failure isn’t fatal.  (Ditka)

Permanent employment does exist.  It exists in your skills, networks and planning.

Union negotiations, trade laws and employment contracts are all useless against the tides of change.  Your guarantee of permanent employment comes only through your own efforts and flexibility.  Permanent is what YOU bring to the table.

Even people who have been in the same company for 20 years have switched careers 3, 5 or 10 times.  During my 9 years at EDS I had 4 very different job paths in 9 years.

Look at where you are.  Prepare for the changes that absolutely will come.  Learn new skills.  Pay for your own training if you have to.  Get certifications.  Pay for the tests yourself if your company won’t.  Get trade magazines for your specialty and industry.  Bring ideas to the table where you work.

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. (London)

The world is changing.  You can either benefit from the changes or lose everything you have.

Permanent success means constant change.  Make your job permanent, though your career changes.

Something To Do Today

List what you can do to become a “Permanent” employee.  Meaning you always have a job.

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Later:              $250,000 too proud

How fast

Daydream

Audible

Down by 20 at halftime

One fully preventable way to lose a job offer

Men running across dollars

Are you killing your job search with impatient speed?

When the fit between a candidate and the job seems perfect, and there is a delay, I often hear:

“I’ve been waiting two weeks to hear back from them since my interview.  What is wrong?  They are so rude.  Don’t they realize I am losing any desire I had to work there? Why can’t they make a decision about me?  I wish they’d just call it off.  Look Bryan, tell them no.  Withdraw my name from consideration.  I don’t want to work with wishy-washy know nothings.  Take me out of the job pool.”

Did you notice the focus on “I”?  The whole tirade is about “my needs”.   Not a word in there about what the company needs.  Nothing about due diligence.  No concerns about the company being sure they can keep him on payroll.

A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.  (Harris)

Companies postpone decisions for a lot of valid reasons that they never tell candidates. Some winning candidates can’t take it.  They can do the job.  They’d love the job. They just can’t believe that the company doesn’t love them enough to make an immediate offer.

A while back I took a guy out of the running for a $200,000/year job.  He was perfect for it.  He just couldn’t stand waiting.  The CEO was surprised because he was at the point of making the final decision.  Of course, another guy got the job.

Are you the guy who meets a girl and after an hour says, “Let’s cut to the chase.  I’m hot.  You’re hot.  Baby, if you won’t MARRY me tonight, you must not like me. Let’s just call the whole thing off.”

What does it hurt to wait?  If the company puts you on the backburner to keep you warm, why not just stay warm?  If another great job comes up, take it.  But why get mad?  Is your ego so big that you can’t let a situation gel for a month?  Are you such a hottie that you can’t be ignored?  Get real.  The company you are applying to is not being run just to offer you a job.

Prepare for success.  Be presentably persistent.  Then take all the time you need to win.  That’s how careers are built.

Something To Do Today

Have you ever withdrawn from a job or promotion pool because it took too long to get a decision?  Realistically look back.  What did you gain?

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Next:   Job security – what permanent means

$250,000 too proud

How fast

Daydream

Audible

Down by 20 at halftime

6 things about being persistent in pursuing a single job

Moving a huge log

If you want a job or promotion enough to persist, you may get it.

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.  (Coolidge)

Presentable, not pestilent persistence

True story: Frank’s interview was postponed, no date set.  I wasn’t able to set up the interview.  I couldn’t get him a “yes.”  I couldn’t get him a “no.”  His resume was in limbo.  So Frank said to himself, “What have I got to lose?”  Frank called the VP of HR (Human Resources) at the company every day or two.  For weeks he called.  Usually he left no message.  Frank just called, got voice mail and hung up. Finally the VP picked up his phone.  Frank was enthusiastic about the company and the opportunity on the phone.  No whining.  No complaining.  An interview was set up.  Frank performed a miracle using the power of persistence.

The facts that made it work:

  1. He was excited about this opportunity. This particular one.
  2. Abject failure was given a cost. No new job.
  3. A price was paid. Regular calls.
  4. Presentable persistence, not pestilent persistence, was employed.
  5. Enthusiasm was generated for every call. He knew he’d get through one day.
  6. He sold himself from the VP’s point of view. No whining, just positives.

If you really want a new job or promotion, you often just have to keep trying.  You have to make a positive impact through your persistence. When your opportunity finally comes you have to be ready to pursue it like it is the first time you tried.  You have to be all positive.

One last thing to consider.  While you are being persistent, continue preparing.  Learn something new every day that applies to the job or promotion you want. Win by superior preparation AND persistence.  That’s the sweet spot where home runs are hit.

Something To Do Today

Today is  Opportunity Assessment Day.

What job or promotion are you aiming for?  Do you really want it?  Really?  Do you want to do the work or do you just want the prestige?

If you really want the JOB, the WORK and the opportunity, make a list of things to do every day to prepare. Now do it.

Is there an opportunity you know of?  Now figure out how to be presentably persistent in chasing that opportunity.  Do it.

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Coming up:                                                            Premature withdrawal

Job security – what permanent means

$250,000 too proud

How fast

Daydream

Audible

Down by 20 at halftime

My job: If I don’t die tonight

cemetery statue and cross

Are you afraid to change jobs? What if you don’t die tonight?

Are you keeping your job because you are afraid to change?  Do you hate your company but hate looking for a job more?

My wife’s best friend was having chest pains a couple of years ago.  She spent the night in the hospital’s heart treatment center.  She’s one of the nicest, busiest people I know.  Friends and family came to visit. If she dies she has nothing to worry about.  But what if she lives?

Silly question.  She’ll do great.  She is doing exactly what she likes in life.  If she had to cut back, she could.  She would still be living life to its fullest. Carpe jugulum. She grabs life by the throat and throttles every last ounce of joy and fulfillment out of it.

Do you grab life with both hands?

I’m not talking about engaging in hedonistic self destruction.  I’m talking about working at a job that is fulfilling, even if you don’t like it at times.  Do you have goals you are reaching for?  Is your life in tune with the direction you like to go?  Do you see a future?  Are you growing?

Are you keeping your current job because you don’t dare leave?  Bad idea.  Keeping your current job because you are learning is a great idea.  Keep your job because it allows you to grow even if you hate your boss, fine. If you need the money for your family and education this job can be a stepping stone.  Stay because you are getting something good out of it.

Money isn’t everything.  Two books that try to put money in the proper perspective even though they seduce you to desire more are The One Minute Millionaire and The Power of Positive Thinking.

If you live another day or another 50 years will you be happy with where you’ve gotten and where you are going?  In a year, what will you regret not starting today?

————–

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. (Thoreau)

The best resume focusing exercise in the world

hunter shooting an arrow

Your resume will be deadly if it is properly focused

As a recruiter, I use this exercise with problem resumes that just aren’t getting people interviews. First I need to explain why the world’s greatest resume focusing exercise works. Then I will explain the exercise.

For years the joke has been: “Yesterday I was a truck driver. I passed a test today, so now I am a network technician. What’s a network?”

If you started out as truck driver and worked your way up to become the COO of a company, that’s great. Don’t mention the truck driver experience, unless you want to be a truck driver again.

Your resume has one purpose: to get you an interview!

Leave out delightful tales unrelated to the job you are applying for. If you really need to show your job progression, then start out writing about your most recent triumphs at the top. At the very bottom of the particular job section write: I started as a truck driver.

So, you’ve worked there 15 years and only been a computer security expert for 2 years? I don’t care. Your resume is not a confession of crimes and psychological problems. Put down what you did for 2 years and let the interviewer find out more. Your resume is only to get you an interview. It is not a warning to potential employers.

If you emphasize what you have accomplished, the person reading the resume will know how “heavy” you are in the job you are applying for. List projects you completed, improvements you made, money you saved, and new clients you helped bring in. If the list is impressive it won’t matter that you spent ¾’s of your time filing reports and ¼ of your time as a sales manager.

Leave out disqualifiers. Emphasize how you have saved money, brought in new revenue streams, increased customer happiness, speeded up processes and helped the company succeed. Your resume is supposed to get you an interview. Leave out all the stuff that doesn’t apply to the job you want.

Something To Do Today

This exercise is to keep you from using the following idea in your resume:

“If you can’t beguile them with brilliance, baffle them with bulls**t.”

Writing exercise time. Take your resume and first expand it to 4 or more pages by including all the responsibilities and accomplishments you have ever had.

Make a new copy. Cut out every line that is only responsibilities. This second copy should list only the projects completed, customers pleased, money saved and new clients you brought in. There should NOT be any lines that say “supervised”, “responsible for”, or “supported.”

Make a new copy. Cut it down to ½ page. Yes, ½ page. List only the accomplishments that directly apply to a job you want.

Now cut that ½ page to ¼ page.  Use those incredibly brief but important accomplishments in your cover letter or email body.

This is an exercise. Apply what you learned to the resume you send out for a job.

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Later:      Persistence

Premature withdrawal

Job security – what permanent means

$250,000 too proud

How fast

Daydream

How to find a job at a convention – Use those business cards

ace up the sleeve

A business card is an ace up your sleeve in your job search

Are you at a convention? If your boss is sending you to learn something, attend the seminars first.  If you have a booth, man the booth first.  And while you are doing your bosses work, collect all the business cards you can. Make a copy of every card for yourself.

Serious about your job search?  Sort the cards out into three piles by company:

  1. I’d love to work there.
  2. I’d consider working there.
  3. I’d never work there.

Contact everyone you have a card for.  Send them an email or give them a quick phone call.  Tell them you were pleased to meet with them.  Ask if you can help them.

Wait a week or two.  Now it is time to use the convention network you are creating to get a job.  Of all the people you contacted, which ones are most likely to know about jobs you want?  The people in pile “1” know about jobs in their company.  People in pile “3” are likely to be actively looking for jobs and know about jobs in good companies. People in pile  “2” are a combination of the other two.  So you should contact people in all three piles.

Why sort cards into 3 piles? Because you need to decide who to ask directly for a job.

Most of the people you meet cannot give you a job.  They can point you to a job, or pass your information along.  You don’t want to work with some of the people. Ask people to help you in the way that you and they feel most comfortable.  Call them up and say, “Jim, I’m keeping my eyes open for new opportunities. We talked a couple of weeks ago at the convention.  Who do you know who I should talk to about a job as a (job you want)?”

If they say they don’t know where you could go, then say, “Jim, I appreciate your thinking about this for me.  I’m going to send you an email.  Could you forward it to anyone you think might be closer to that job I’m looking for?  Thanks.  I appreciate your help.”

Now send him an email with a brief description of your skills. Don’t send a full resume.  Instead send a hard hitting 100 word message containing bullets of only your 3 greatest accomplishments.  Thank him for his help.  Ask him to get the email closer to someone who can help you find that job.

Want to get even more help?  Tally the jobs you are finding out about.  In 3 weeks send an email out to everyone you contacted and say, “I found out about 14 jobs thanks to the help you and a few friends gave me.  I haven’t made a decision yet on what I am going to do.  If any other jobs have come across your desk, I’d like to know about those too.  Thanks.”

This is networking at its best.  Of course you can use this in any job hunt.  Conventions are just very convenient for this kind of job search because you meet so many people so fast.

Something To Do Today

If you are serious about finding a new job, conventions are great.  They are also a LOT of work.  Decide how much time you are really interested in spending on that job search.

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Later:  What to leave out

Persistence

Job security – what permanent means

$250,000 too proud

How fast

How to find a job at a convention – company trip, ethically

People talking at a convention

Convention job hunting can be as easy as hunting at the zoo

Some people get job offers at conventions, like this guy I know.

Two booths of software were side by side.  One was superior visually.  The other was better to use, and it had a salesman who was a whiz.  People were crowding around the great salesman.  The visually superior product kept losing crowds to that other salesman.  Finally the president of the losing company decided to try and eliminate the problem.  He offered a substantial raise, relocation package and perks to the salesman who was beating him. He turned down the job. I talked to that salesman later. It was a great moment in his career.

How can you do it?

As a programmer, brick layer or CEO the best way to look for a job at a convention is to be the best salesman for your company. That means helping everyone you can.  Get their cards.  Get 2 cards from everyone.  One for you and one for your company. During your free time go to as many booths as you can and get cards from other people.

Someone, anyone working for another company, is an insider. If you are serious about getting a new job, you will find an “inside contact” at every company whose booth you visit.  You don’t have to talk “jobs” with them at the convention.  What makes this even sweeter is that many of those people will come to your booth and initiate the contact.

After the convention volunteer to help your company’s sales force out.  Contact all the people you met while at your booth.  Give them the company line your salespeople want them to hear.  Keep notes about every contact you make.

Still serious about your job search?  Sort the cards out into three piles: 1. I’d love to work there.  2.  I’d consider working there.  3.  I’d never work there.

Don’t throw any of them out.  Tomorrow when I talk about what to do with each pile, you’ll see why you even want to contact people at places you would never work.

Something To Do Today

If you are serious about finding a new job, conventions are great.  They are also a LOT of work.  Decide how much time you are really interested in spending on that job search.

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Next:   How to find a job at a convention – piles of cards

Later:               What to leave out

Persistence

Job security – what permanent means

$250,000 too proud

How to find a job at a convention – you pay

I know of one consultant who flies to meet his clients for lunch anywhere in North America.  He lives in the small Colorado town of Telluride. He has chosen to live in paradise and pay the price of frequent travel.

waiting in an airport with luggage

Waiting for a job in an airport – convention job hunting

In your job search, instead of flying across the country to meet one person, you can meet with 100 potential employers. You will only pay for one plane ticket and 2 nights in a hotel.  So bite the bullet.  Pay up. Go to a convention related to your field of work.

But how do you effectively work, or network, at a convention?  Five steps:

  1. Get a list of all the exhibitors and speakers. Don’t be picky at this stage. Research and call every company that is close to the field you want to work in. Don’t ask for the HR department, ask for a manager, marketing or sales.  Talk to them about who will be coming to the convention.  Call the best contacts who will be coming. Tell them you’ll see them at the convention.
  2. Go to the convention and make your first pass in the morning of the first day. Quickly go to every booth on your list and collect materials and business cards.  Just explain that you will be back, but need to work quickly this morning.
  3. Go back to every booth on your list and talk in depth with the people you want to contact. Work a priority system.  Who is most likely to hire you? Ask them questions you have about their company and their field.  Make sure you have the business card of everyone you talk to.   Give them your card.  You are building a network.  You might discuss employment, but this is not the time to apply for a job.
  4. Enlist everyone in your job search. Everyone who made it to the convention has influence where they work. They have been talking to new people, finding things out about the industry.  Enlist them in your job search. When you get home, contact everyone you met OR WANTED TO MEET.  Call them.  Chat briefly.  Then ask if they heard of any openings for someone like you.  Ask who else you should contact.  What if they are a techie and you are a salesman?  Call them anyway.  They’re a CEO and you are an engineer?  Call them.  A conversation about the convention leads naturally to what is happening in your field and job openings.
  5. Send an email to everyone you talk to. Thank them for their time and ask them to forward the email to anyone who might get you closer to the job you are looking for.

If you work a convention aggressively you will find dozens of openings that aren’t advertised.  You’ll even find out about jobs at companies not at the show.  Why?  Because the people manning the booths are the best and the brightest.  They are heavily recruited by other companies.  They know which companies are looking for talent. Aren’t those the people you want in your job search network?

Something To Do Today

You need a list of conventions.  Most people forget to include the association conventions they can attend that are less than 200 miles away.  Go back over your list of conventions and add a list of local and regional association conventions you can attend.

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Later:                  How to find a job at a convention – as an exhibitor

What to leave out

Persistence

Job security – what permanent means

How to find a job at a convention – part 1

boxing-100733_640-pixabay

How do you find boxers? Go to a boxers convention.

Why search for a job at a convention? The people who are there are real.  People who talk like you do. This old boxer puts it beautifully.

I look at ordinary people in their suits, them with no scars, and I’m different.  I don’t fit with them.  I’m where everybody’s got scar tissue on their eyes and got noses like saddles.  I go to conventions of old fighters like me and I see the scar tissue and all them flat noses and it’s beautiful.  Galento, may he rest in peace.  Giardello, LaMotta, Carmen Basilio.  What a sweetheart Basilio is.  They talk like me, like they got rocks in their throats.  Beautiful!  (Pastrano)

There are three different ways to work a convention to find a new job:

  1. Pay for yourself to go and work it for all it is worth.
  2. Go there as an exhibitor (and also find a job)
  3. Go there on your company’s dime to do research (and also find a job)

All three can be done ethically, and that’s a key.  No one is going to want to hire a louse who uses his company’s resources dishonorably to search for a job.

The freewheeling job search you can engage in when you pay for yourself contains elements beyond what is acceptable under the other two.  Tomorrow I will start discussing the details of how to find a job at a convention….ethically.

The first thing to do is to find out which conventions are the most important in your industry.  That’s easy: ask.  Ask your boss and his boss.  Call up leaders in the industry and ask which conventions have the most movers and shakers attending.  Ask experts in your field where the most dramatic new products are introduced.  If anyone asks you why the sudden interest, tell them the truth, “Learning more about our industry and competitors will help me advance my career more quickly.”

Be prepared.  Your company may offer to pay your way.  If they do, you need to be ethical about the whole process.  We’ll deal with that problem in a few days.

Something To Do Today

Make a list of the most important conventions in your field.  Find out when and where they will be held.  Check to see what an exposition hall pass costs.  Quite often it is free to visit the advertisers, but you have to pay to listen to speakers.