FROM THE INSIDE OUT
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
 
Burned Bridges

Recruiting is a tough business. Not only is the job itself trying at times, but so is working with a group of strong-minded people day after day.

I've spoken to many recruiters throughout my career (because, of course, having been one myself, I know their language and feel their pain), and it seems that the majority have at least one burned bridge in their past. --It's ironic too, because a good recruiter will be the first one to advise the candidates they represent not to burn any bridges of their own.

Another irony (or coincidence?) is that it seems the recruiters who have had such an experience are seldom the ones who lit the match that burned the bridge that they'll never cross again.

So, my advice to anyone considering a career in recruiting is this... Be professional. Be honest. Work hard. Be consistent, yet flexible. And carry a portable fire extinguisher in your briefcase to work every day.

If all else fails (and don't be discouraged if it does... recruiting isn't for everyone), you will be a perfect candidate as a firefighter --a safer career, should you find that people are lighting matches under your recruiting desk!

(I hope that answered your question, Mike. If not, let me know, and I will write more on this subject soon.)
 
Monday, September 29, 2003
 
Carpe Diem!

So often, that is easier said than done. ...It is sometimes difficult to seize today when yesterday's hurtful memories haunt you, and tomorrow's grueling challenges are bearing down on you (though the past cannot be relived, and the future hasn't even happened yet).

I guess that's why so many people emphasize "living for today". (It's the healthiest mental attitude one can hope to have.) However, that concept is sometimes more difficult for really intelligent people to grasp than those who may not be such deep thinkers.

If only we could learn to file yesterday away, and leave tomorrow's file empty until there is something to actually put in it, there would be a lot fewer depressed and anxious people in the world. (No doubt where the saying, "ignorance is bliss", comes from.)

Take my cat, for instance... She doesn't remember the time when she was a kitten that we had to make an emergency vet visit late one Friday night to have her leg sewn up after a little mishap with a circular saw blade left on my back porch during some construction. Neither does she remember the time she was chased up a tree by a dog that clearly planned to make her his dinner. She also has no recall of the other (older) pets I've had who have died since she came along. That last one I'm not really certain about, but I know that she spends absolutely no time wondering where they went, or why.

My cat doesn't worry about where her next bag of kibble will come from, or if I will be home in time this evening to spend a little quality play-time with her. She doesn't care what others think of her, or spend even a fraction of a second thinking about the 17 different maladies that can kill a cat (which doesn't even include dogs and gaping wounds). She definitely lives for today.

I wish I could be more like my cat. Now there is someone who knows how to "Seize the Day!" ...In her mind, the kibble is free, and will always be there tomorrow --no matter what she does today.
 
Friday, September 26, 2003
 
The opposite of love is not hate.

The opposite of love is indifference. Hate is a passionate emotion, just like love. Indifference involves no emotions or passion at all. Indifference is how you might feel towards nothing more than a grain of sand. No love. No hate... Just indifference. (OK, so I made my point on that.)

If you HATE your job (your hair color, your in-laws, etc.), then do something about it. ...It means that you feel some passion about it (whatever it is that you hate), which means it may be worth saving. The thing is, you have no control over changing anyone else but you. A few simple behavior modifications on your part could make a world of difference in how life treats you. It doesn't sound like much, but it's huge!

Funny how sometimes when we change ourselves for the better, other things --and people-- seem to change for the better too. If you really hate your job [or fill in the blank], then you could just as easily learn to LOVE it too. Passion is the same emotion that drives both love and hate. You have the power to choose how you use yours (in a constructive way). We all do. We just have to know how to best channel it to facilitate positive changes in our lives.

Indifference is another story. If you feel indifference towards your spouse, for instance, then that's when you know for sure that your marriage is over. When there is nothing left worth fighting for, it's time to move on. ...The same holds true with most facets of our lives... our jobs, our friends, etc.

When you feel indifferent about something, that's when you know that it's finally time to change directions. Why beat a dead horse?... Passion is what drives us. Put passion back into what you do, and you just may find that something you once thought you hated is actually something you could have loved all along.
 
Thursday, September 25, 2003
 
How to work with a recruiter...

If you have started the process of looking and you have the attention of a recruiting firm or, at least have sent your resume out, then here are some DOs and DON'Ts...

  • Keep notes of who you sent your resume to and when. Also note who is talking to you about what.

  • On the first contact with a recruiter set the ground rules. Let him/her know whether your search is or is not a confidential search and whether to inform you of all introductions in advance or not.

  • Do not, by any means, sit back and wait for the recruiter to get it done for you. The recruiter just increases your odds of a successful search. Continue to work other options in parallel.

  • Invest in a good answering machine...

    --Believe: Some people don't believe in answering machines - technology and machines and all. When you are actively sending out resumes and looking, be sure that your phone is answered at ALL times. So, believe or not, if you don't already have an answering machine (or voice mail), get one.

    --Decent Message: Make sure your answering machine has an adult voice with an appropriate message (at least while you are looking).

  • If you know for certain that the recruiter is working your resume actively, then keep the recruiter appraised of your whereabouts. If you are going to be away from your phone for an extended period (days, weeks, months) let them know how long and where.

  • Don't call the recruiter after the initial contact unless there is some significant change in circumstances that the recruiter may value. Otherwise, wait for them to call you. If the company is paying the fee, they are not working for you , they are working for the company.

  • Return all calls in a timely manner whenever anyone on your search list calls.

  • Interviews are good. If it is at all possible, take all interviews that are even remotely close. (i.e. the prospective employer-client company has seen your resume and is up to speed on who you are).

    --Each interview is an opportunity to practice your interviewing skills.

    --Each interview is an opportunity to meet new people and promote yourself.

    --Each person you interview with is now a possible new member in your expanding network of professional contacts - someone who you may end up doing business with in the future.

  • Recruiters feel that there is sort of a proprietary nature to the employer-client information they share with you. If you are working through two recruiters, then honor that confidentiality, by not telling recruiter-B where recruiter-A has you interviewing or vise versa.

  • Use the recruiter for counsel, whenever possible, on the how, when and where's of searching and interviewing.

  • Call the recruiter/agency immediately after every contact with their employer-client. Let them know what has transpired.

  • Always send a thank you letter to a company who has interviewed you.

  • Don't call the recruiters' employer-client without first checking with the recruiter.

  • Discuss the details of all offers with your recruiter. If you feel strongly about asking for adjustments in a particular offer ask the recruiter to be your spokesperson.

  • If you do accept an offer from a new employer, contact everyone on your list and let them know that you are off the market for the time being so they don't continue doing anything in your behalf that might waste their time.

  • If your new position involves a move, then invest in the future and update everyone on your list with your new address when you get settled in. Maybe they weren't able to help this time, but they might just hear of a fantastic deal later so keep your contacts alive.

  • Personal preference is, 'don't blow thousands of dollars on fancy resume formats'. Do invest in getting the right information on paper, but leave the frill off.

    Have an offer? What to do!...

    Let's break it down in to steps... So let's back up a little first.

    1. Do consider a job change if you are COMMITTED to leaving your present employer. If you really want to stay then attempt to fix anything that may be wrong with your situation and then stay.

    2. Never, Never, Never go to your present management with the 'I'm considering leaving or I have another offer, if you fix this/that I'll stay' routine. It is extortion. No matter how it is packaged, how angelic your delivery, how good spirited its intent, it is extortion. Sooner or later your management will wake up feeling pressured and resent it and your character.

    3. OK, you're going to leave. Right or wrong you are best off looking for a new job while you are still employed. So find the time around your present job schedule to make contact and interview.

    4. You have a verbal offer 'Yeah'. Give a verbal acceptance and start date.

    5. You have a written offer. Give a written acceptance and start date.

    6. Give notice. Be prepared for 1 of 3 moves by your present employer...

    A. They terminate you immediately, lest you might try to steal company secrets.

    B. They say 'OK' and ask you to stay for the customary two week to help transition someone else in to your old job.

    C. They go ballistic. They really NEED YOU in that job. So they make you a Counter/Buyback Offer. DO NOT ACCEPT IT!!!

    If you accept their counter offer here is what happens...

  • You have angered the new company, who ended up wasting their time interviewing you and making you such a nice offer.

  • Now that your present company knows that you are unhappy and have actively gone out and found other employment, they will, more than likely, take steps to replace you on this job so that if you do leave in the future, it won't be such a problem.

  • 6 months later, despite your urging and their assurances, the pay increase or change in corporate structure that they promised you has still not happened.
    You are still unhappy and more, you are probably no longer involved in such critical work.

  • Management, at this point, doesn't care as much if you leave and even more, might actually contemplate helping you leave.

  • They might give you poor job assignments or more to make your work less than satisfying, so much that you eventually just resign.

  • At this point the other company may not want or need you any more. What has happened here? You have managed to mess up two working relationships. You can go around blaming everyone and their brother for what has happened, but in the end you can only blame yourself for being naive.

    If you stick to your guns and leave....

  • You will have won the respect of all parties. You are a person who knows what they want and goes for it.

  • You can not be bought. You have principles.
    On departure day, be friendly, separate on good terms.

    7. It is never wise to burn bridges. Be VERY CAREFUL to only take your personal effects out of the building.

    [This complete article can be found @ http://jqt.com/, with other good info, such as RESUME PREPARATION TIPS]
     
  • Wednesday, September 24, 2003
     
    Short, sweet, and to the point...

    If all else fails, take the easy way out. Seriously, I am guilty of sometimes making things way more complicated than they need to be. It's a bad habit I'm trying to break.

    I had a propsal to submit to a major client, and toiled over facts and figures (made graphs and charts, etc.) for a few hours before asking someone else's opinion on where I was headed.

    He said, "What are you trying to convey?" I replied that I was trying to show how simple and cost-effective our services could be for their company. He said why not just say so? He said I should just tell them that this is what they get, and this is what it costs.

    Duh, now why didn't I think of that? I know why. Because I was too caught up in details. I couldn't see the forest for the trees. My proposal went from 4 pages to half a page, and even I understood it. ;-)

    The next time you get caught up in details, do like I did. Take the easy way out. Be short, sweet, and to the point. More often than not, it's the best route to take anyway.
     
    Saturday, September 20, 2003
     
    Study at Cambridge University says

    ...we read better than we think we do.

    Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

    Jsut dman amzanig huh?.......

    Nevertheless... I still won't buy anything from anyone who spells PROFESSIONAL proffesional, or uses the word LOOSE for lose. And just for the record, not even Cambridge U will hire anyone who sends a resume written as their above study indicates.

    Sorry, but Websters is still in business, and if you can't spell, I recommend you use it! ;-)
     
    Thursday, September 18, 2003
     
    The best way to win an argument...

    ...is not to argue at all. There are, after all, two sides to every story. Sometimes, if you just let your opponent tell their side, and graciously agree with (or at least attempt to be understanding of) what they say --even if just in part, you may be surprised at how they are suddenly more willing to listen to your viewpoint.

    This, of course, is most effective if you refuse to recognize such disagreements as 'arguments' at all. You may call it debating if you wish, but arguing is for amateurs.

    Even if the other party expresses their own viewpoints loudly, such a situation can often be diffused by your remaining calm. (Calm does not mean condescending. If the other party feels you are simply placating them, nobody will win.) You'll shut each other out, and come to a stalemate.

    You have to always be willing take the high road (if doing so sometimes means biting your tongue until it bleeds), but the best way to get another person to be agreeable is to be agreeable yourself first.

    So, stop that bickering, and get back to work! ;-)
     
    Wednesday, September 17, 2003
     
    True success, well-defined.

    "He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often & loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men & the love of little children; who has filled his niche & accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others & given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction."

    ~Bessie Anderson Stanley, 1904

    OK, so I'm on a cliche' and quote kick at the moment. (Please, if you are a hard core feminist who objects to the way the above quote was written, take it up with Bessie, not me. I just thought it was nice --and so true).

    Sometimes, in our pursuit for happiness, we run amok, and forget that living for today is more important than the past or future. Today, we may not be where we think we should be, but that, I believe, isn't really up to us.

    The best way to lift ourselves up is to do something for somebody else. Remember the saying, "I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet."? If you have feet, put one in front of the other, and keep going.

    Stop to smell the roses, and take one to someone else who isn't able to go out and smell them on their own.

    That's what living for today, and true success, are all about. ...Don't wait for your life to begin. It already has.
     
    Monday, September 15, 2003
     
    The Extra Mile

    I first met Bob 10 years ago on a warm summer day, 1000+ miles from home. He was a nice average guy, with a nice average wife, and a nice average job and home. As the economy began to sour in the mid-90's, so did Bob's life. He lost his wife, and then his job, and then his home. Life will never be average for Bob again.

    He allowed his circumstances to carry him adrift on a downward spiral. He lost hope. He disappeared from the lives of those few left who loved him, and had not been heard from until last week, and then, only through a phone call from a hospital... a stranger to a stranger, each speaking on his behalf, as he lay unable to speak for himself.

    When Bob began coughing up blood, and found himself in the ICU, his neighbors from the Y had broken into his room to try to find any information they could on next of kin. Bob is an organized guy, despite his despair. Upon finding his personal phone book, they began to piece together the remnants of their buddy's broken life.

    They discovered that Bob did actually have people who cared about him (many, in fact), though his immediate family were all long gone.

    They also discovered that Bob even had a sister, a next of kin, though given up for adoption before he knew of her existence. These guys from the Y, no doubt with heavy burdens of their own, cared enough to find her so that the hospital might have someone to turn to for answers as to what may have been Bob's wishes for treatment of his life-threatening condition... someone who loved him, to hold his hand in his time of need. Someone to tell him it would be alright.

    Bob has less than 6 months to live (and maybe far less). A bad heart, among other things, the doctors say. Little do they know exactly how bad his condition really is. Some things just can't be seen on an X-ray. Bob's heart had been broken for many years... from the inside out.

    Thanks to a handful of (once also no doubt) average guys, most with broken lives and dashed dreams of their own ...guys who could have just looked the other way (like so many often do), took the time to find someone who loved their friend. They made an impact on so many lives by going that extra mile... not just Bob's life, what little he has left of it, but those who knew Bob before his life at the Y.

    It's not always the big important people who are the movers and the shakers of the world. Sometimes it's just a bunch of average guys, who make a huge difference, small as they may seem to some.

    I haven't blogged this past week, because I've once again been 1000+ miles from home, holding the hand of my brother, Bob.

    Both lost, we've now been found. Once blind, we both now see ...thanks to a handful of average guys who were willing to go that extra mile.
     
    Friday, September 05, 2003
     
    Put yourself in somebody else's shoes...

    And you will find that life goes a lot smoother. Everybody wants something out of everything they do... whether it be money, self-gratification, recognition, or some other form of satisfaction or achievement of a particular goal. If you can learn to tap into other people's motives, there are few other obstacles that can stand in your way of getting whatever it is that you want from them.

    Listening is a much more effectual part of the communication process than talking. Try it. Like they say... "Nobody ever learned anything from talking". Sounds like a no-brainer, but there seems to be a lot more talkers in the world than listeners, thus my theory on why deals are broken, the reason families fall apart, why promotions are lost, etc.

    The next time you want something from someone, try to ascertain what it is that they want first, and what you want from them will come much easier. Listen, really listen, and you may just be surprised at what you learn, and how more things turn out the way you want them to.

    So, y'all come back now, ya hear? ;-)

    Have a great weekend! ...(If you are in FL, like we are, batton down the hatches. I hear we've got some rough weather headed our way!)
     
    Tuesday, September 02, 2003
     
    Hello, hello, hello...

    "Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home?" ...OK, so if you are between the ages of 13-73, you know that's Pink Floyd, not me, but it is often how I feel in this day of high tech answering systems, caller id, email, and the like. When we were forced to answer our phones (or at least somebody was), I suspect a lot more business got done.

    I can't be alone. (If it is just me, I'd prefer not to know about it. I don't need to get paranoid on top of everything else.) Here's how my week breaks down...

    Monday: I send 25 emails, leave 10 voice messages, and send 4 faxes.
    Tuesday: One person responds to my email from Monday, but answers a question I didn't ask. Nobody returns any of my 10 voice messages, and I'm not really certain my fax machine has worked since 1997. I send 15 more emails, leave 7 more voice messages, and turn my fax machine off. Four people call me, but not one is a return of the messages I have left. One is a wrong number, and the other 3 have mistaken me for the complaint department. I'm just in sales, baby. What do I know about cookies? (I never did well in Home Economics.)
    Wednesday: Three people out of the 40 I have emailed since Monday email me back. One of them actually gives me a straight answer. The other is the same clown who keeps answering questions I haven't asked (but not yet answered the one I did), and the third tells me to pound sand. ...By this time, I am really looking forward to the weekend.

    Thursday and Friday are just more of the same, and I can't help but marvel that before all of these "conveniences" became available, I got more work done on a Monday, before lunch, than I do in a whole week now.

    Friday afternoon finally hits, and as I head for home, I sing, "I-I-I-I-I have become comfortably numb." (Seems appropriate, coming from "The Wall" album, as sometimes it seems that's all I hit consistently these days.) ...Don't call me on the weekend. I'll be watching my caller id.
     

    Formerly FROM THE INSIDE OUT was primarily a work-related blog, but as of 4/24/04, the sky's the limit! (Written anonymously, by someone you don't know anyway.) Old posts have been left in place, in case anybody has nothing better to do than read our archives. Well... there just might be somebody, right?

    LINKS... To some truly fascinating places, really!
    4infoToGo.com
    ItsYourJobNow.com
    More coming soon!

    ARCHIVES... What did she say? Was it about ME?
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