Archives for May 2014

Did the shift hit the fan?

Metro-north_mudslide_MTAPhotos

I was surprised at some of the backlash from my last blog. For the most part, actually, the feedback was positive. Engagement, via comments and social media invitations, was quite high. However, because some of the negative feedback came from folks I know, I felt it more. It was almost as if people read the article and thought I was giving the finger and making lewd gestures. People seemed shocked and surprised.

 

Was this that much of a deviation from my usual style of writing? I know for certain audiences and outlets the advice I give is less personal and more practical. Was this too revealing? While I was NOT the person being lewd and giving the finger, I had admitted to acting “ugly.” I feel more authentic being able to admit that, but perhaps it does damage some previously held opinions of me. The thought of this was alarming, because the backlash came from a population of people who were generally very confident in my abilities and even advocated my services to other people. These people I considered among my target audience – highly successful IT executives in prestigious companies. I was really worried that I might have alienated part of my audience with the bold content. I still am – it gives me a knot in my stomach.

 

After a few hours of contemplation, I concluded, perhaps falsely, but comfortingly, that people who have it together, have a successful career, act maturely and are under control at all times – they may not get it. They may surround themselves with people who are like-minded. They may consciously avoid people who seem to be a “hot mess.” They may cut off communication with someone who offends them in some way. They may have seen me as someone who has it all together and who acts professionally at all times. As much as I want to, I just won’t live up to that ideal.

 

I’ve certainly come a LONG way, but I can’t kid you – with two testing toddlers at home, having it together takes everything I have, and sometimes more! If you walk by my house at certain times, especially when I’m trying to get the girls out the door, you will hear someone who sounds desperate for control (and I have some lungs, too!) I’ve been grieving 6 losses in the last 3 years and have had 3 loved ones hit by cancer for their 2nd time. When these feelings are on the surface, I don’t have a lot of access to my emotional fortitude. I can break down from time to time.

 

It felt good to stand in that road rage story, take accountability and show people that you can create a great day and a great life with a choice in perspective. I felt like that whole incident had such purpose. It was divinely inspired for me to share with other people so that they could be inspired.

 

Maybe some people don’t want to be inspired? Or maybe what inspires them are stories of greatness that contain only positive details and highlights. Maybe they are successful because they have mindfully avoided people’s head trash. As a coach, however, I dive right in it. I like to sort through it and examine it. I am ever-present to the fact that being successful isn’t as easy as following the right steps. I mean, it could be, but how many professional athletes would we have if it was just a matter of mechanics? It isn’t! Any Philly sports fan recognizes that, while their team has tremendous talent and ability, they get into slumps. They choke. This isn’t because they forget the mechanics of their sport. It’s because performance is more mental in nature than mechanical.

 

One person had asked what my last post had to do with job seeking. Good comment, and perhaps it isn’t obvious to someone who has it together and has been gainfully employed for 10+ years what dealing with adversity and reframing a negative incident has to do with job seeking. I had hoped my reference to the Ron Nash blog would make the answer to this obvious, but his anecdotes were directly about a job interview and mine was purely about a bad interaction with another driver. Even so, an IT executive in a large company isn’t exactly on the front lines of hiring. From being a recruiter, I know the challenge of hiring has less to do with finding qualified candidates and more to do with finding qualified candidates that have the right attitude who would represent us well to our clients and make us look good, to put it bluntly.  The people who make things happen and achieve greatness usually do so as a result of their people skills. Once candidates get to the hiring manager, they have usually passed the professional and personal screens, having been qualified on hard and soft skills. This is a small percentage of the population – too small!

 

Meanwhile there’s a huge population of people with talent, skills, and education who, for one reason or another, learned habits and ways of thinking and being that are unproductive to their success.

 

This is who I mean to inspire. This is who needs tools in their life to help them apply with greater impact the power of the talents, wisdom, intelligence, and enthusiasm within them. These people need to know that facing adversity and being flawed is not a reason to accept defeat. My services are mostly aimed at helping with the mechanics of job seeking, but I am immersed in and partnering with thought leaders who focus on the mental aspects of success, such as John Assaraf, Tony Robbins, T. Harv Eker, Jen Groover, Brian Brogan,  Ron Nash and Derek Rydall.

 

From a popular post I had up from May 8, which received heavy engagement, I know people are still very upset about the unemployment situation in spite of improving numbers, which they don’t trust, for the most part. Long-term unemployment, disengagement from job searches, discouraged workers – this is still epidemic.

 

Herein lies my mission. I don’t want to alienate these successful IT executives, because I like them, and because they’re in positions to hire my clients and be my clients. They certainly can be helped by my services and I feel great about the impact that I can make on their career, but they don’t need to be saved by my services like the growing population of underutilized talent.

 

So, while I am in alignment in my mission sharing such personal content, I am conflicted and fearful about losing the confidence and rapport that I spent many years building. Do I have to make this sacrifice to move further in my mission to shift the current paradigm of job seeking and hiring? Is this the byproduct of choosing authenticity?  Or, am I truly just sabotaging myself and my success by being inappropriate and seemingly irrelevant, diverting from practical career guidance?

 

These discoveries are unsettling, however perhaps it is perfectly natural. Some say that you know you’re doing something right when you start to get publicly criticized. I’d like to ask the people who consider themselves paradigm shifters how they deal with such friction between old worlds and new ones, if that is indeed what is happening here. Can anyone share?

 

 

The mirror of my ugliness

We-are-entitled-to-our

It was a pretty ugly morning yesterday. The event that occurred later that morning was equally as ugly.

 

Ron Nash’s recent LinkedIn post got me thinking about how I get sometimes when people drive carelessly around me on the road, especially when my kids are in the car. I think to myself, “How selfish is that.” Yesterday somebody felt the same way about me and took it to an extreme.  It stood to completely unnerve me and keep me in a state of upset for days. But that would’ve been my choice.

After dropping my oldest daughter off at school yesterday, I stopped at a stop sign, looked to merge with speeding traffic, and did so “successfully.” This particular stop sign is positioned kind of like an on-ramp, and the locals treat it as such. The cars that were coming were going faster than I could accurately gauge – much faster than the speed limit there. To be considerate to cars that are coming from that direction, I usually accelerate pretty quickly and get up to speed with them so that they don’t even have to tap their brakes. In this case, the car behind me, a big, mean-looking, black SUV with one daylight out, sped up and was very close to my bumper by the time the light just ahead turned yellow. I “ran” the yellow light to make a right turn into my neighborhood. The people behind me were stopped at the red light. In my estimation, they probably would’ve missed it if they were going the speed limit. I suppose that it is fair to say, then, that I prevented them from making the light.

 

As I passed my street, my two-year-old insisted we not go home and continue drive around. Thank God she did, because I was unaware that a car several cars behind that big black SUV decided to follow us to tell me what he thought of my maneuver. This irate, irrational individual might have found out where we lived had we actually went straight home. We stopped at a light by a sandwich shop right past our street and I noticed the car behind me seemed to have trouble stopping in time. I inched up at the light to give him a little more room to stop only to notice that he wasn’t having trouble stopping; he was intentionally getting really close to my bumper. When I looked at the driver to try to figure out why he was getting so close to my bumper, I saw that he was giving me the finger and lewdly gesturing to me. He rolled down his window and I, very curious as to why you would be giving me the finger, rolled down my window. He exclaimed, “Learn how to drive! I saw you back there.”

 

So I asked, “You mean that yellow light that I ran?”

 

No. He said, “You cut everybody off back there.” As he started to continue to exaggerate lewd gestures to me with my two-year-old in the backseat, I quickly decided that I was not going to have a rational conversation with this gentleman to explain that I had plenty of room to merge in with moving traffic and accelerate at a safe speed as long as everybody else was going the speed limit. I also realized that in his current emotional and psychological state, he may not see the irony in the fact that he sped through my residential neighborhood to catch up with me and ride up on my bumper with my toddler in the back seat to tell me that I was a traffic menace. I rolled the window back up as the light turned green. He stayed behind me riding my bumper and exaggerating disgusting gestures to me with an awful face crinkled with anger the whole way through the next town, which happened to have the closest police station. I traveled the speed limit, if not slower, the whole way. I even refrained from turning on red (where it is permitted) when the cars going straight seemed to be in their own jam.

 

He was still too close to me to see if his turn signal was on and if he was going to continue to follow me. When the light turned green, I turned right to go towards the police station and he continued straight into the next town. I thought about trying to turn around and follow him to get his license plate number, but thought better of it. I was shaking pretty badly and I just wanted to regain my sense of calm. As my daughter, completely unaware of what was transpiring, continued to sing happily in the backseat, I regained my sense of calm. Over the course of a couple of hours I made it a point to reframe the situation and gain a healthful and helpful perspective of it, just as the Ron Nash post echoes.

 

I looked how I could take accountability. This probably seems a little crazy for people who have no understanding of the law of attraction. Because this law states that you attract what you give your attention to, I had to accept that it was because of how ugly I had been behaving with my daughters that morning that the event transpired – my anger, my lack of patience, my obscene, exaggerated tone of voice and facial expressions. I didn’t actually say anything obscene or insulting, but I’m fully cognizant from other personal development and therapy that I’ve done of how kids very easily make things mean, “I’m not good enough,” “I’ll never get it right,” and “I’m such a screw-up,” “I’m a bad kid.” That guy was a mirror. I hardly believe myself when I say I’ll never be that ugly again. But, I more vividly understand how I was being, how I want to be, and why I should choose more wisely. I have increased access to the tools I’ve been taught to control my anger and extend more patience to my kids so that they can forgive themselves for their mistakes and grow from them, rather than being hindered and stifled by them.

 

That guy may have been suffering from a psychotic breakdown. In my effort to use this experience as a moment of enlightenment, I started to come from a place of compassion. I thought to myself, “He must really hate himself to be expressing that amount of hate on the outside to complete strangers.” I thought about all the ways that this guy is probably damaging relationships with other people and impeding his own personal growth by placing the accountability on others. He must really be hating where he is in his life right now.  I actually started to cry for him and pray for him.

 

The protective mother in me really hopes that my house is not a regular landmark on his commute into work every day. I hope I never have a run-in with him again for the sake of the safety of my children and myself, and I hope that I don’t read about a road rage incident involving the same guy that escalates to even higher level. I pray, more than anything, that he has a moment of clarity and perspective on decisions that he can make to be happy and feel connected. I am grateful to him for giving me that moment. As long as I choose to be who I want to be more than I choose to react in ways I find ugly, I am confident I will have few more ugly encounters like that.

 

Also, I will be more careful and considerate merging into speeding traffic. Who knows whose day I’m messing up by making them miss a light, especially when I am in no particular rush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you go out into the “real” world…

good_luck_graduates!_kevin_dooley

good_luck_graduates!_kevin_dooley

Dear graduating seniors,

 

Here are some things I thought you should know:

 

  • Life is not over; it is beginning anew.
  • Fun is not over; working will enable you to find new kinds of fun.
  • You do not have to say goodbye to your friends,
  • Though it will be hard to see each other when life gets busy and you will miss having them so close.
  • What is cool now will change; what you think is a lame idea for a job may be exactly what you want to do in 10 years, and
  • It’s okay!
  • What you think is a lame waste of time now may be exactly what you do for fun in 10 years, and
  • It’s okay!
  • If you can choose a job that aligns with your future plans, do so. Otherwise, get any experience and make the best of that experience.
  • The job you take now may not even exist by the time you retire, and
  • It’s okay!
  • Being in the “real world” is exactly what you make, but YOU have to make it – don’t let other people decide what’s real for you.
  • It can be scary to be the one making decisions, but you must do this in order to do the above, and
  • You will make mistakes, and
  • It’s okay!
  • You also don’t have to say goodbye to your favorite professors forever.
  • Your college/university will call you for donations – give if you feel you’ve gotten.
  • You may find yourself in a minivan, and
  • It’s okay!

Even if you have no idea what you are going to do for a job or where you are going to live, it’s okay. It’s okay in the grand scheme of life, anyway. Your parents probably have other expectations. You may or may not live up to those expectations, but as long as you know the things above, it will be okay.

 

Happy graduation!

 

Congratulations to my intern, Heidi!

Extra, extra! HUGE unemployment benchmark reached

News_Attraction by Johnragai-Moment_Catcher

News_Attraction by Johnragai-Moment_Catcher

Under 10 million unemployed!

The mainstream media will NOT let you celebrate about it, however. They would much rather you remain pessimistic, suspicious and discouraged.

Exhibit A: http://nypost.com/2014/05/07/no-three-ring-circus-needed-to-rig-unemployment-rate/

Exhibit B: http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-80083060/

Exhibit C: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-08/jobless-claims-in-u-s-decreased-more-than-forecast-last-week.html  (this article looks positive, but read on)

Is it all good? No. I know that the people who are especially impacted by the economy and still unemployed will not be celebrating these numbers, because the numbers don’t mean anything personal to them. However, when the numbers are bad, they are internalized even more. It means something – challenge, hardship, obstacles, pressure, and even hopelessness. There is, at the very least, hope in these numbers. Hope is much better place from which to conduct a job search. This is why I continue to put these numbers in a more positive perspective. I am but one small voice, however. It continues to enrage me when the bigger, louder voices attempt to inspire fear and negativity, and for what? Clicks? Likes? Impeachment? I consider this to be sensationalization – irresponsible and extremely damaging to the job seeking community morale.

A glimpse at the numbers:

The national unemployment rate lowered significantly over the month to 6.3% with 9.8 million unemployed. The number of persons experiencing long spells of unemployment (over a year) decreased by 283,000 people to 2.3 million. 3.5 million individuals had been unemployed for 6 months or more in April, a decrease of 287,000 over the month, and a decrease of 908,000 over the past 12 months. That means about 32% of those who became unemployed 6 months ago are still unemployed today. They are, however, competing with 1.3M fewer job seekers than they were in October when the unemployment rate was 7.2% and 11.1 million were unemployed.

 

The average number of weeks that job seekers are staying unemployed has increased over the month to 35.1, which is a week and a half shorter than last year, while the median also decreased to 15 weeks. Such a difference may reflect that for most industries and geographies, job seekers may be able to transition within 5 to 6 months. However, about 23% of job seekers may not be able to effectively execute a transition campaign or may be in adversely impacted geographies or shrinking markets, creating challenges to transitioning that lead to extremely long spells of unemployment.

What Sesame Street taught us about discrimination (Thanks, Tina Fey!)

Beyond the Wall by Guiseppe Bognanni

Beyond the Wall by Guiseppe Bognanni

So, I’m in this coaching program* (I’m ALWAYS in some kind of program) that asks me to identify 3-5 people I really admire and want to emulate in some way. The point being that the qualities that you admire about these people are imprinted in you already, which is why you admire them in the first place, and by going through some exercises, you can embody these qualities with greater power and be the person who achieves your ultimate purpose.

 

* If anyone wants to know, it’s Derek Rydall’s Soul Purpose Blueprint program. I am not far enough in it to recommend it, though I am finding it to be very inspiring and it is providing me with new ways to guide clients in career discovery.

 

My people are:

 

Oprah – for overcoming economical and psychological conditioning, working her way up, and using her celebrity presence to make a positive impact on MILLIONS of people’s lives.

 

Daylin Leach (PA State Senator running for Congress) – for the same reason, all though he’s not yet reached a million.

 

Steve Jobs – for approaching the tradition of technology from an artistic and creative perspective and creating something completely new and more usable, hence revolutionizing our every day lives.

 

Howard Stern – for being loyal to the people who stood by him as he raised hell on the corporate stiffs that threatened to suppress his individuality. I can’t say I’m a fan of his particular brand of humor, but as someone who once pursued radio as a career, I admire his professional bravado. No one has achieved as much success in that industry as he has. He is the king of all media, and I thought maybe one day I would be the queen, but not HIS queen – ew.

 

Jimmy Fallon (speaking of ew: http://youtu.be/HOK4aBYNh3s)- for how he uses humor, games AND music to engage with an audience like he is their buddy and for the PURE joy he has in his work, making his own rules and keeping it EAST coast (I’m not against the west coast; I could’ve been west coast. I’m just very proud to be East coast and feel the Tonight Show’s presence here will enable greater opportunity for the entertainment industry here.)

 

Tina Fey – for pursuing what felt right as an individual and letting it lead her all the way to breaking through gender barriers to transform a culture, which opened doors for other female writers/comediennes. I am finding the world of mobile app game development to be predominantly male dominated, as are almost all of the investors.

 

 

In a previous coaching program, I was advised to read more biographies of people who have achieved the kind of success I envision for myself. Tina’s book, Bossypants,  is full of advice based on her journey, some of which would only be relevant should you find yourself to be a famous female television writer and talent, which I suppose is possible. All of which is hilarious.

 

One particular piece of advice, however, resonated strongly with me as applicable to anyone seeking to elevate their corporate success at the mercy of a hiring manager who appears to have a cultural advantage to success within an organization. I hear so many job seekers voice concerns over potential ageism (most common), sexism, or what Tina refers to as “lookism.”

 

“… or any -isms for that matter. -Isms in my opinion are not good.” (Can anyone tell me what movie this is from?)

 

“So my unsolicited advice to women [though I feel this applies to ANYONE] in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism, ageism or lookism or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: ‘Is this person in between me and what I want to do?’ If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.

 

‘If the answer is yes, you have a more difficult road ahead of you. I suggest you model your strategy after the old Sesame Street film piece ‘Over! Under! Through!’ (If you’re under forty you might not remember this film. It taught the concepts of “over,” “under,” and “through” by filming toddlers around an abandoned construction site. They don’t show it anymore because someone has since realized that’s nuts.)

 

[I didn’t find that film on YouTube, but I personally recall this one: http://youtu.be/6mzRy-OWyvE]

 

 

‘If your boss is a jerk, try to find someone above or around your boss who is not a jerk. If you’re lucky, your workplace will have a neutral proving ground, like the rifle range or the car sales total board or the SNL read-through. If so, focus on that.

‘Again, don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions. Go ‘Over! Under! Through!” and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares?

 

‘Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.”

 

Well said, Tina Fey! ‘Nuff said on that.