Friday, October 29, 2010

Tasks vs. Goals

Before I delve into my point, let me say that I understand the importance of having goals. 90% of blogs, TEDs (whatever they are, I'm still not sure), podcasts, and other success oriented media will mention the importance of goals.

"You can't get anywhere until you know where you want to be. You need a focal point for your visualization."

I get it! Thank you so much.

Yet I think this goal fetishism can sometimes throw a monkey wrench into the works of some people at certain times. I think it overlooks completely a whole different type of person, with a distinct type of wiring. And it may not surprise you to learn that, in theory, I consider myself one of these people. I call them, (for now) task oriented.

Obviously, goals and tasks are closely related, and in some ways contain aspects of one another. Finishing a task is a goal, and what is a goal but a series of tasks to be completed? But when we get into the metaphysical obsession with long or even medium term goals, things get a bit murky.

Here is a prime example.

I am a freelance writer, part time. I hope to be a full time freelance writer some day. At least that is one of my options. I won't refuse an appealing nine to five job, but it will have to possesses certain characteristics. So I keep my eyes open. But whether it be a standard job or my freelance writing, I always hear, "what are your goals?"

Well, my goals are to be able to make most of my living as a result of writing. I'm really good at it.

"What sort of writing? For whom? How many pieces do you want to write per year? What sort of ROI do you want? Do you have a career impact statement? An elevator pitch? What platform best suits your needs and who do you want to meet in those areas? What are your goals?"

Well, my goals are to be able to make most of my living as a result of writing. I'm really good at it.

In other words, there are countless of ways to make a living that I would find acceptable. Even dozens within the writing world alone. I don't even yet know all of the ways in which I could be happy in a career. It's easier to know what I would be unhappy doing. I do have general goals; to make a living wage as a writer. To work in the arts. To be location independent in some fashion. Yet that isn't enough for most gurus who insist I need to have those laser focus goals, so I can accomplish exactly what I want. And so that people can help me out.

I get beaten over the head with, "define your goals, define your goals, define your goals" that I get numb. Numb because despite having goals,  I don't think I work in a goal centric fashion. I don't ever really have an answer that is acceptable to most of my contemporaries to the question, "what are your career goals?" I mean, my career goals are to make use of any number of my talents in service to things I believe in, in a place that does not make me unhappy. As a result, I get a pretty standard reply to the uncommon requests for help I get.

"I can't help you. I don't know what your goals are."

Well, maybe on the level others want them,  I don't know either. There is a fine line between focused goal setting, and boxing one's self in, and I think for people like me the line is blurrier than for most.

That doesn't mean I lack ambition or a work ethic. Nor do I wish to just float through life, waiting for things to happen for me. I am accused of such things, but they are not true. But with so much out there that could potentially leave me satisfied, and me having been given so little chance to stretch my talents in life, I don't see as how I could possibly have the type of specific goals that people talk about. I try to describe through this blog and other media what I can do and what I am about. And I want to find a place in this world that will allow me to engage in such thing.  Such is my version of a goal setting.

But to most? This is goal setting;

"I want to use my expertise as a marketing guru and linguistics specialist to gain employment as a digitally based distance working community manager for a predominantly Jungian oriented mental health facility, geared towards troubled youth."

And you mean to say you haven't included in that goal statement which precise pair of underwear you will wear on the first day at said job? Where is the detail??

I just don't think I am wired to to be that goal oriented. I don't know at this exact minute if I want to be a content writer or a copy writer. I haven't chosen beyond a shadow of a doubt what subject, if any, I want my writing to focus upon. I really don't know if I have a "specialty". I write, damn you. I am a writer. And I write damn well. And I can prove it. And if you hire me to write whatever it is you need an excellent writer for, I will adapt and apply my skills to that task.

I'm task oriented. Why does there always have to be such a far reaching, meticulously detailed goal, summed up by the god-awful elevator pitch, in order to achieve something? A great deal of achievement takes place in the midst of accomplishing a task for me, and I would much rather be given a list of ten things I have to accomplish that week, and then be allowed to engage my resourcefulness and ingenuity to get them done. I want specific tasks to do. And I will earn your trust through doing them quickly and efficiently, before the deadline. I am less trustworthy because I do not have the very nature of what I want my life to be condensed down into a little 30 second speech? Is the fact that I don't lay out a specific goal for the trajectory of my next five or ten years really indicate I would not be a good employee? I fear for many, it does.

I go back to my writing. I can't predict in what precise fashion I will be most useful, or get the most satisfaction. I know I write. Everything beyond that is what I call false gravy. It's micromanaging the future. And while I see the benefit in doing some of it, I think I lose when I am judged, assisted, or defined based on my ability to do so. Because I really am no good at micromanaging the future. Sometimes the present is all I can handle. So I'd rather be judged for what I am trying to do now, not the fancy ways in which I describe how I'd like some theoretical future to unfold for me.

When did being goal oriented become synonymous with talent?

Clear results of predetermined tasks. That is how I like to begin. Perhaps how I need to begin. And it is tasks that I seek to clarify, not goals. I will make my own decisions, and I will certainly do the heavy lifting myself. But I, like anyone, require some help in setting course. Unlike many others though I don't want or need help in setting goals, or developing a five year plan. I need help in pinpointing the specific tasks I need to accomplish in order to get closer to the life I want. The life I talk about and write about. The life I share with all of you. The life I hope some of you can, over time, help me realize.

Yet I am Too XYZ for goal setting with a high, lifetime arc in most cases. I just think the future is too nebulous and fluid, and my history too full of sudden changes and surprises for me to work in concrete, no matter how useful it may be to some. Instead, I'd rather define the general principles of my life, and ask people to help me determine the smaller tasks that need to be undertaken in order for me to get closer to same.

I know that sounds like "tell me what to do". And it could be seen that way. I prefer to look at it as "show me what to do," since the conscious choice to do it will be my own. As will all of the creativity, work, time, energy and accomplishment.

Along the way I will have a better idea perhaps of what my ultimate goal is. Maybe after being led towards certain useful tasks, I can begin to more clearly work out my goal, as so many of you define the term.  But for now, tasks take precedence over goals in my mind.

Do you ever feel swamped, or pressured, by a micro-goal oriented society?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Five Ways to Make Networking Events Introvert Friendly

"The world, especially business, runs on extroverts."

Horseshit.

Oh, it's easier to assume that it does, because by their very nature extroverts make the most noise, and work twice as hard to get noticed for…whatever it is an extrovert needs to be noticed for at any given nano-second.

But some of the best thinkers, and game changers have in fact been introverts. And while the era in which they lived, the nature of their work, or plain luck may have had something to do with their eventual success, you can bet that being an introvert played a large role regardless. Therefore to write off introverts as some kind of backward, dying breed is not only lazy, it is foolish from a cultural and business stand point. Yet often people make this mistake because introverts do not excel, (or have much interest in) the "look at this fantastic thing I can do, and don't you want me to do it for you!" school of networking.

If, however, you are a wise recruiter, company, or guru, you will actively cultivate relationships with introverts. For just as extroverts have many obvious "advantages" over us, we have many subtle advantages over extroverts.

But you don't meet us in the same ways, by and large. You have to work a little harder then free coffee and Nilla Wafers at the local AmVets building. You can't just turn us loose and watch the sparks fly. We don't work in sparks. So for those who do want to explore the Introvert Advantage, I have some advice for you;

Start creating networking events designed specifically for us.

Want to see a well planned networking event fill up faster than you can say "business card"? Proudly label it as an introvert friendly event. The introverted in the population would likely be jumping out of windows in order to get to it faster. That's because we introverts know how much people unfairly cater to extroverts. And we don't want to play that game. We want to contribute and meet people on our terms. Give us the chance to do so, and most of us will be there.

How? Read on…

1) Get away from the bars.

I have spoken to some people about this recently on Brazen Careerist, and though a few were inclined to prefer the boisterous, loud and "stimulating" environment of a bar as the perfect place to make new contacts, most actually shared my disdain for such networking events. I can't say all of them were introverts, but I feel comfortable thinking most introverts are not going to be into such an atmosphere when it comes to networking and marketing. Too crowded. Too noisy. Too…unpredictable.

The solution? If introverts want to network, the strictly networking events should be the opposite of bars. Quiet. Intimate. Spacious. Relaxing. Hold a meet and greet, networking style event in the local independent coffee house perhaps. Rent a whole room if they have one. Or perhaps a conference room at the local library. Anywhere an introvert can actually think, and process what is going on before reacting to it. They need that in order to thrive, so let them have that by meeting in a location suited to such.

2) Prepare a Syllabus/Homework

Introverts like to know the purpose of most things before they proceed. The more information they have on something, the more likely they are to speak or act on it. If the entire mission for an event is "Come meet people!" introverts on a good day will simply say no thanks. On most days, they'll laugh. That is because to an introvert, "meeting people" is not its own end in most cases. Such an event requires them to enter a totally random crowd, pointlessly meander about until they are warm enough to engage someone (if they ever are), and then try to begin a conversation that has specific merit. That is what we do. And since small talk has zero actual merit other than to exist, most introverts hate it.

But what if those who registered for a local event were emailed a list of things that were going to happen at the event? They knew who would be in charge, and where that person could be found upon arriving. Will there be any speakers, or will it be all free flow? Refreshments? What kind? This will give an introvert a plan. An idea of what to expect.

Even better, if they are told, "please bring with you answers to these five questions", they will be even more happy to attend, because that provides instant and common purpose for all attendees. Those five questions will be relevant to what is happening at the event. And it is through engaging in something that introverts more often get to know strangers. This leads well into my next bit of advice.

3) Do….Something!

We get it. Extroverts love talking to people as an activity unto itself. Which is why topics that have no real bearing on the day, or on anything, will suffice. That is the tool by which extroverts dig into the nature of someone, and find nuggets to harvest a relationship.

To introverts, that is just dirt flying everywhere. We hate being dirty, you know.

So give us a task at the event. Be creative with this, but don't be complex, either. Not yet anyway. If you set a goal for the evening, and introverts will come knowing what that goal is, you will get more out of them. Because then something tangible is being accomplished. Perhaps instead of thumping music, drunk co-eds, and numbers on napkins, as in a bar, the social focus is a discussion of a movie that will be played. Or maybe the organizer of the particular event has a very specific idea or obstacle they would like to share with the group. Remember the syllabus? Put this on there, and introverts will come to your event with all kinds of things to suggest. And through discussing the problem, or accomplishing the goal, or responding to the specific stimulus the event offers, introverts will be sharing who and what they are, and at what they excel.

And as a side note, get to this pretty quickly. If the event starts at 7:00, get the ball rolling at 7. The quicker you engage in the mission of the evening, the earlier the introverts will feel involved. Number Four on this list is related.

4) Share Ideas/Theories as Opposed to Identities/Positions

"What's your name? And what do you do? Here is what I do, and a 30 second pitch as to how what I do can help you do what you do. Since this isn't about me, it's about helping you."

Yeah right. That sort of crap isn't like running fingernails against a chalkboard for an introvert. It's more like running one's own teeth against a chalkboard.

Instead of introducing yourself and what you "do", and what you can do for someone else, (that old standby), what if you introduced who you were by sharing your biggest idea to a stranger? i have a Brazen conversation about this recently as well. Think of it...

"I'm Lisa, and my big idea is to find a way to incorporate electronic book readers with instant messenger services so that I can have part of a book sent to me at random times during the day to keep it interesting and non-invasive while I am at work!"

I already want to know more about Lisa and her idea. I want her to explain it to me. And, the shocker is, I will actually ask her. Yes, this introvert would ask the question. Because you see I have something substantial about which to talk. I don't have to do any of that digging.

5) Specialize.

This one isn't new. It does happen already. Yet not as often as the general "business card swap" type of events where a bunch of people gather in a room with bad coffee, and try really hard to pretend they find one another interesting.

I have been to one of those ever, and I was 30 years old before I did it. Guess what? It is highly unlikely I will ever go to another, because it sucked for me in all the ways I predicted it would.

But if the event were specifically for writers, I would more likely go. Because I at least know what everyone there is doing, or trying to do. And it would once again provide me with a specific to discuss, instead of small talk. Introverts like to know why they are where they are any given time. And as I said, "meeting people" is not enough. But meeting other writers? Other graphic designers? Other accountants? That we can handle.

This approach doesn't prevent one from encountering an extrovert, but I think it is the standard event format that comes closest to catering to the introvert way of thinking.

****

So there you have it. Five ideas to open up networking events to introverts. Or shall I say, open up introverts to networking events. There are more, of course, and ideally, a great event would combine two or more of these suggestions.

Introverts are here to stay, and networks, businesses, and extroverts ought to get used to that. One good way to balance things out is to make an already difficult process much easier for these highly valuable people.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Write What You Know? No, Write What You Love.

I have lately had a mini-crisis of sorts in regards to my still new, but no longer fledgling freelance writer status. I haven't been motivated to write much of anything. I see the thick book full of potential markets for future writings, with all of the specific instructions on how to make inquiries each, and got a little nauseous. I checked out a list of writer's marketing websites I have been collecting and occasionally perusing over the last few months and found myself almost wishing I'd lose my internet for a few hours just so I didn't have to read one more of them. And as usual, the very thought of finding a networking event to attend in person, business card in hand made me momentarily wonder if the priesthood might not be a viable way out of this whole career networking thing. (And I am not a member of a church...so think about that.)

More than once in the last week or so even as I fulfilled the writing responsibilities I already had, I pondered if it was all really going the way it should. Hard work I believe in. Miserable work I do not, and yet the whole process of finding places to make the most money writing was starting to wear me down. The research. The pricing. The budgeting. The potential for negotiation. (I haven't done much of that yet, as most of my work has a set payment from the source.) For being something I am supposed to be built for, I certainly didn't feel at all like a freelance writer.

Late last night, as I lay pointlessly in bed, sleep eluding me, something just sort of made its way into my thought stream.

"It all sucks lately because you are using all your energy to find a paycheck and not to write."

I actually sat up in bed a bit when it came to me. I repeated it out loud once or twice. And it gradually sunk in. This voice within my mind was correct. I've been trying to shoehorn my writing mission into available marketing scenarios, instead of creating a quality product that is unique to me, and presenting it on its merits to whomever I decide should see it. As a result, the creativity I usually tap when I write has been a bit plugged of late.

The time and energy I have spent in recent months trying to create an income stream has increasingly outweighed that which was dedicated to actually writing. My focus was on money. On not having enough of it. On desiring to make 100% of my living through writing. On paying off every penny of all my debts as soon as possible. My focus was not actually on writing. I was using writing as a tool to fix my financial situations, as opposed to writing because I have something that needs to be said. I wasn't burning out on writing. I was burning out on money grabbing. My focus should have been on the actual craft of being a wordsmith.

Don't get me wrong. I know that a freelance writer has to have some business acumen. In addition, I know that my acumen in that area is lesser than many others. But I also know that the business side of things can't really take the front seat. Not with me.

Many of you fellow freelancers will probably tear me apart for that, and if you do, so be it. But I am Too XYZ to just follow a business template because most other people follow it. It has to be true to me. And pursuing the money, and trying to adjust my writing to it wasn't being true to me.

No, I need to stop, and think about those articles, blog posts, columns and other writings that are already in my head, waiting to materialize. And I need to give them life on the page, and find later what to do with them. Some may call that writing on spec, and many hate doing so. But I need to create a sparkling product, and the better way for me to do that at this time is to write what I feel I need to write, and then find a market for it. (Or in the very least an audience, even if no money is involved.) As it stands now, many things are not being written because I haven't established enough connections in the business, or haven't found a perfect magazine, or I haven't found a contest that calls for my type of writing specifically. In the mean time, stress, doubt, and fear are filling the void left by the delayed composition.

Writing with passion is important, because it will translate into my work, and make it more desirable in any venue, free or paid. It will leave people wanting more. I doubt that it is a coincidence that my most passionate blog posts here tend to be among my most read. (Not always, but often.)

And what happens when the fire burns out, and I run out of things about which I feel a visceral need to put into words? My sense is that the more I allow myself to write the things I am inspired by, the more inspired I will be to write other things.

Plus, it will also encourage me to go out into the world and experience more in the coming year or so. Visit more places, read different publications. (Even meet more people, but only once in a while.) The more I am exposed to, the more I am going to be inspired to write about. And hence, the better my chance of selling something becomes. It has worked here on the blog, and it must work with the more business oriented I create.

I fight with writer's guilt a lot. I haven't always recognized that, or even admitted it when I did. But I do, and I guess lately it has gained some traction and got ahead of me. But I need not be guilty for being a writer. I can't let the inane and archaic Protestant Work Ethic, and the myth of merit based American Dream guilt me into either running everywhere for a paycheck, or abandoning writing altogether in favor of working at something I hate just to get a paycheck. My family won't let me starve, and I need to make use of that investment they make in me to become a more successful version of myself as a writer. I must not use that generosity as a source of guilt over having debt and needing help.

In the end, it really only takes one post, one article, one well phrase comment, or one reader, editor, or fellow writer to turn the tide and send me into my optimum student loan paying, independent living, sustained income version of myself. And that one single piece is more likely to find its way to the right places if it has been stamped by my own passionate desire to speak, as opposed to being stamped by my desire to convince anyone anywhere to print a piece for me, pay me, and add to my clip collection.

Writing is about sharing ideas. Communicating. Connecting. Educating. Moving. Sometimes even saving and changing. But it is always about us. Those who do the writing. The best writing exists because it has to. And I have not been letting the writing of mine that has to exist lead the way to success. I got caught up in money.And to an extent, in the approval of a nebulous society that has honestly never been ideal for me anyway. (What's the name of the blog??)

The business part of it all isn't over for me. Neither is my hatred of same. Nor is the quality of the products I do produce. My writing is always something in which I take great pride. But for a while, instead of spending hours researching who will pay me to do one of two things I do well, I am going to try to spend those hours researching a new topic that has caught my interest. Or finding sources for an argument I want to make. That way at least I know there will be a result each and every time. The result being a written piece. I can go from there. But the other way had zero guarantees, and I am not prepared to live with that much uncertainty right now.

These inspired writings may not always lead to inspired writing assignments. But they will best showcase my skill, because I will have been committed to them. And though the copy writing job I land may not give me a chance to be an artist, being an artist may give me the chance at the copy writing job.

So begins (again) the long process of being true to my writer self. Yes it will probably be a slower journey than yours. (I'm talking to you, fellow freelance writers that have become instant successes.) But it will be my own road, and I think I have swerved off of that lately.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nine Unfair Things Hiring Managers Expect From You, But NOT from Themselves.

What if most hiring managers, (or anybody in charge of hiring at a given Mom and Pop, no matter what their title) were to act in the same ways they expect potential employers to act? What if they were just as willing to be open about everything, professional and personal, as candidates are expected to be?

In other words, what if there were the slightest bit of equality, honesty, and fairness in the job hunting world.

Let's consider just a few things that the conventional wisdom proclaims a job hunter must do, without even the slightest expectation that those seeking to hire reciprocate.

1) Always spend a few weeks, or even months researching the firm to which you are applying. Make calls. Get people's names and deal with them personally. Get copies of their annual report.  Become as much of an expert on the company as an outsider can be. If you are not willing to do this, why should any manager expect that you are going to put forth your best effort if given the job?

How many of you have sat down for an interview across from someone who had both your resume and your cover letter in hand, and yet proceeded to ask you a string of questions, all of which are very clearly answered on both of those documents? Did they not put in the time to read them? Were they not motivated enough by the possibility of filling the position with the perfect candidate to even read your resume word for word several times, as well as your cover letter? Could they not have done the extra research before sitting down with you to find out all of these things? In fact, why tell them anything at all? If they want you, they'll check up on you, and research your talents. At least for a few months before they give you the interview. They should know you like your best friend before you sit down across from them. And if they can't be bothered, do you really want to work for them?

Doesn't happen. Never will.

2) Be prepared with salary history and current salary requirements. The manager's job is to get the maximum amount of work value out of someone while spending the least amount of the company's profits as possible. Manager's need to be able to see what you have made at your previous three jobs to see that it isn't too high. But they also need to see that it isn't too low, so you don't appear to be desperate. But each job should also have paid you more than the last to show your motivation. This may be illegal, but that's life. Managers are going to want to know these things, and it's your job to provide them.

"Thank you for taking the time to interview me for this position. Before we get started, I'd like to know what I can expect you to be pulling down this year. Since you will be my immediate supervisor, and the lion's share of my work load is going to come directly from you, it is only fitting that I be given this information. I want to make sure that what you make is commiserate with how well you are providing me with proper supervision. I'd also like to know how much you made at your previous post within this company, and the company before this, so I can determine how fair it is for me to work under someone who made less than I do now. You see it is my job to obtain from you the highest amount of money possible, while supplying the least amount of work. I don't inherently trust you and never will, so the best we can do is low ball each other, and I have had a lot of interviews today. Surely you understand why I need something to cut you out of consideration easily."

This has never been said, I would dare say. And if it were, the person would never be hired.

3) Be ready for curve ball questions during an interview. Manager's need to weed out candidates who don't respond well to the unpredictable. These questions have nothing to do with the actual position, and will use up time and energy, but the more prepared you are for possible off-the-wall questions, the better you will look to a manager who asks, "If you had to move Mount Fuji five miles to the west, how would you do it?"

"Thanks for taking the time to interview me today, Mr. Smith. I wanted to let you know I may or may not have a Colt-45 in my suit pocket right now. I am four feet from you. If I do have one and I were to pull it out now and attempt to put a cap in your ass, how would you avoid death or serious injury?" Then reach into your pocket. After all, management requires split second, vital decision making all of the time. Do you want to work for someone who has no solution to this potential problem?

Oh, that would be a silly time wasting stunt that doesn't teach anybody anything about the your candidacy? Really? You don't say?

4) A handwritten thank you note shows professionalism, class, and proves that you valued the manager's time enough to thank them for it. Email is still such a new-fangled device, and so impersonal! And saying so in person at the start and end of the interview was nice, but if you want that extra edge, show them what you are really made of and buy some solid, high end cards, and write out your gratitude freehand.

Spend time writing a thank you card to a guy who took 20 minutes to ask me about the resume he is holding, followed by questions about Mt. Fuji, and from whom I will never hear again, even if it is to let me know someone else was selected? I should show class by engaging in something that basically went out of fashion 40 years ago, for the benefit of someone who will not even so much as return my phone calls (I'm showing initiative!) a week or two after the interview? Put forth effort into doing something totally out of character and out of step with modern communication, all for the sake of a manager who basically did nothing more than do his job that day?

Every time I have an interview I check my snail mail for three weeks in hopes of a "Thank you for choosing to take your time to express interest in our company. I really enjoyed meeting you!" card. I have never received one of these. Ever. But then again, as I am often reminded, managers are busy people who look through hundreds of resumes and talk to dozens of people a day, and don't have time to sit down and write out a thank you letter to every candidate. Silly me. I tend to forget that my time is not valuable, and that I, as a candidate that is expected to write a thank you letter, could not possibly ever be busy myself.

5) Don't make it about you. It is absolutely, positively never about you. Do not seek what a potential employer can give you. You are not there to get a job. You are there to tell the company that you admire their mission, and that your unique skill set can help them do it, faster, easier, and cheaper. Make them see that you are eager to enhance anything and everything that Acme Inc. is all about. (And you will know what that is, because you researched them for 6 months before applying for the position.) It is unprofessional to discuss or even hint at what they can do for you. Remember priorities.

Nothing is in it for me? Perhaps I should forgo a salary then. If I am not supposed to be concerned with what a company can give me, perhaps I shouldn't be concerned for me at all. Perhaps I should just be a cog for them, and put that on my unread resume that the manager is now holding.

No, no. That would be absurd, of course. I will simply ask him during the interview what's in it for me. I will ask him to convince me why I will be getting more by working for him than working for any other company to which I have applied. Naturally the manager will bend over backwards to explain to me that Acme Inc. is here to serve me, and will be more than honored to prove that it can improve my life simply by hiring me. No need for that silly mutually beneficial arrangement. Just have him prove what he will do for ME.

6) Provide them with some sort of insurances that you don't intend to be a job hopper. Managers want to know that you are in with the company for the long haul. Any indication that you could move to another state within the next ten years, or that you have a college degree that might make you restless in the position should be avoided in the conversation. Manager's hate turnover and having to do all of this again in a few years.

I'll tell you what. I'll make a solemn pledge, in writing, that if hired, I will not even think about moving out of the area for at least 15 years, if you sign a legally binding pledge to not fire me, down size me, lay me off, or in anyway decrease my salary over the same period. Deal? No? No guarantee of stability is possible in this changing economy? Wow. I could have sworn you wanted me to assure you of that very thing from my end. Could you rephrase the question?

7) Always address inquiries and job related communications directly to the person responsible. Know their name, their title, and when the best time to reach them is. Nothing shows a lack of respect more than getting someone's name wrong.

My name has two letters, and half of the time people get it wrong. My last name is pronounced just as it is spelled. Except to just about everybody that has ever given me an interview.

8) Be lenient with the illegal questions. Yes, they are not supposed to ask you about children, health, and age, but the fact is they do, and let's face it, it may just be more advantageous to go along than get along with such things. A manager needs to take every step they can to assure that a candidate is going to be ready to go from day one, and you really leave a bad impression when you start quoting employment law to them during the interview. You will come off as a smart ass.

If they are willing to break the law by asking you the "Forbidden Questions", so long as you don't call them on it, just what else exactly are they willing to do that is illegal? You do not want to work for someone who asks "those" questions, and gets huffy or ends the interview when you will not answer them.

9) Be open with your social networking presence. Just what reason do you have to keep anything private online anyway? Nothing says, "potential drunken slut" to a hiring manager more than a Facebook profile that is locked away on "private". What are you hiding anyway? If your online life is that much different than your offline life, a manager is going to start wondering what is wrong with you. Like it or not, social network investigation is here to stay from employers, and you had best be on the right side of it.

"That very attractive blond you have on your arm in that picture on your desk...is that your daughter, or your wife? I'd like to know, for more than one reason. Not the least of which is I don't think I can work for a man of your age that likes to get it on with someone who appears to be, at best, 19. Do you see her socially? You appear to be on the beach. Does she like to wear those g-strings when you go to the beach?  That would be rather slutty if she did in my opinion. How's that reflect on the company here? It's none of my business? Get out of your office? Well the picture was in plain site to anyone who walks into this office. It's public now. I think I am entitled to know who that piece of ass is and why you are touching her. If I don't have the right to know, perhaps you shouldn't display it like that."

Point made on this one, I think.

So there you have it. Just nine of the first things that enter my mind when I think of this offensive, impractical, yet deeply ingrained and endorsed employment dichotomy in this country. There are many other examples of unfair expectations for job candidates I am sure. But my point is clear; we need to stop acting like Oliver Twist, begging for more in the employment world. We need to start insisting, en masse, that managers behave and act as we the job seekers and foot soldiers are expected to act. Nobody is better or worse than anybody else, and this isn't a game. These are people's lives. Allowing managers to get away with murder when they seek to fill a position is a direct result of the working man deciding they are willing to put up with anything just to get hired.  Take a stand. Don't settle for being treated worse than you are required to treat others.

Would you add anything to this list?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

In Memoriam

video
I didn't have it in me to write this, so I made this video. I identify myself in it because it was also posted to Jay's Facebook wall for those who may not have known who I am.