Friends and Faithful Readers
I launched this Blog in October 2013 in anticipation of publication of the first edition of my book, I’m Fired?!? A Business Fable about the Challenges of Losing One Job and Finding Another. That book was published by Lighthouse Point Press (thank you, Ralph Yearick) in 2015. I took a break from the blog in 2016 to work on a second edition of the book, which was published in 2020 (again by Lighthouse Point Press and especially thank you to Ralph Yearick) and in February 2021 I began posting to the blog again.
Overall, I’ve published 135 posts, or somewhere north of 40,000 words. I will admit that some posts were “re-posts” of prior posts, but not too many.
I’m delighted that I’ve reached a number of people. 2021 was my best year ever with almost 3,500 views from 1,500 visitors. All-in I’ve been fortunate enough to have the blog visited by 7,500 people who’ve looked at over 11,000 pages. I feel good about that, and I sincerely hope that they have found help with their job search.
I had two major goals for this blog. One was to help job seekers get back to work, and the other was to sell books (I will admit to the crass commercialism). I think I’ve done what I can to accomplish the first goal. Contained in this blog are hundreds of tips and techniques, encouragement, and the occasional reality check to support the job seeker. What the blog has not done, is generate book sales.
If you are familiar with book publishing these days, you know that it’s tough. For every good book published there are a dozen self-published books that are awful, and there is no easy way for the shopper to tell them apart. If you look on Amazon and find my book, you’ll see that the second edition is ranked #6,096,742 in all books and #3,318 in Job Hunting Books. There is simply too much competition.
So, it’s time for me to do something different with my Saturday mornings and I will stop feeding this blog weekly. I am considering another book, or I may blog again on a new topic (this was not my first blog). I may even feel inspired sometime and add to this blog, but our weekly visits have come to an end.
For my loyal readers and followers, I bid you adieu, until we meet again.
Happy new year! I hope you are staying safe and healthy and ready to jump into 2022 with both feet.
As I’ve said several times recently, this is a wacky job market. There is huge demand in food service, warehouse work, and other trades. There is a significant number of voluntary quits in all arenas, which means that those jobs need to be filled by someone else. I expect the employment activity this first quarter of 2022 to be through the roof. It is a great time to be job seeker.
So, let’s imagine what would otherwise be an unusual scenario. Say you apply for a job that you are only lukewarm about, but they call you for an interview. What do you do? You could pass because you really don’t want the job, and I just told you that there were plenty more fish in the sea, right?
Take the interview! There are at least three good reasons that you should take the interview and go into it as if this is the best job ever.
- Practice – To land the job you really want, you need to be good at being interviewed. This gives you the best possible practice. You get to hear and respond to questions, gauge the interviewer’s reaction, and practice your questioning techniques.
- Networking – Even if you don’t think you want this job, you might learn about a different job at this company, or you might be able to include the recruiter and/or hiring manager in your network to help find a job someplace else.
- You might like the job – Want ads are tiny slices of jobs, designed to attract candidates and to weed out the unqualified. You won’t really know what the duties, the work environment, etc. are just by reading the job posting. But, by going through the interview process and talking with people, you might find out that this job is better than you thought.
Let’s be real, what the worst thing that can happen by interviewing for a job you don’t think you want? Maybe you waste a couple of hours of time. Maybe you run into your current boss in the HR office (awkward). Maybe you have to turn down an offer. Those are all pretty small risks. If you get a chance to go through the job interview process, take it. The practice alone is worth your investment in time, and maybe it will turn out even better than you expected. If you need some help with your job search, try this: https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.
Friendly reader and job seeker. I’m dealing with some technical issues so I’m going to take a few weeks off, enjoy the holidays and get things taken care of. I’ll be back with more job hunting help after the first of the year.
I wish you, and your family, all the best for these holidays and fantastic success in your job search efforts in 2022.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, Happy Kwanzza, and Happy New Year.
In the meantime, if you need some tips on how to make the most of your search, this might help https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/. Also makes a great stocking stuffer!
This week I took a course on time management. The basics that have been taught forever are still true. You need to do what matters most first, and then let your schedule be filled in by all the rest. If you need some resources to improve your time management I suggest you check out Do What Matters Most – either the book or the training – or First Things First – either the book or the training. But what I was thinking about as I went through this course was all of the ways that I’ve failed in applying these techniques in the past.
I read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People probably 35 years ago, and it blew my mind. I’ve reread it several times since, and I’ve taught the seven habits in many workshops. Habit 2 – begin with the end in mind, and Habit 3 – put first things first, form the core of time management. The challenge to the 7 Habits is that second word, habits. For these techniques to really work you need the discipline to practice them every day – to make them habits. And when you do that, you will be unstoppable.
But what gets in the way? Lots of things. Life throws you curveballs. Plans change. But more than anything else, the think that gets in the way, at least for me, is – me. I procrastinate. As my father used to say, “why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” In many ways I am my father’s son.
But there is a bigger question. Why do we procrastinate? Usually, it’s because we don’t want to do something. If I set a plate of cookies in front of you, who’s going to say, “I’ll save mine for tomorrow?” You like to eat cookies, and if they are right there, you do. There is no procrastinating. But, what if you are supposed to be contacting strangers to schedule networking meetings? Or filling out a job application for a job you’re not sure you really want? That’s when procrastination kicks in.
When you are looking for a job, and for the rest of your life, you need to learn to do what matters most. Find the tools, techniques, discipline you need to make those calls, fill out those applications, send those thank you notes, and do your research. Very few of us can find our next, best job just by sitting around and eating cookies. We need to stop procrastinating, and get it done. If you need some tips on how to make the most of your search, this might help https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.
About 6 months ago I posted about remote work. There are more and more jobs available where you can work from home some, or all the time. But, before you apply for those, I encourage you to take a hard look in the mirror.
Remote work is not for everyone. A few months ago, I facilitated two workshops on how to manage remote workers. One of the things that I learned from developing those workshops was that being a successful remote worker is a two-way street. Yes, there are things the organization and your manager need to do to help you be successful. But there are also some things you need to do as well.
Working remotely requires discipline. You must be able to avoid the distractions that live in your home, like dirty dishes, laundry, the television, food in the kitchen, mowing the lawn, your children, and the list goes on and on. An advantage of going to the office is you typically leave your house and go someplace else – ON TIME – and you leave those distractions at home. When you work remotely, you really just need to roll out of bed and walk 10-50 steps to where you work, and you bring all of those distractions with you. To be successful, you need to be able to clearly separate “at work” from “at home,” even when “at work” may still be in the corner of your bedroom.
Secondly, you need a place to work, not just sitting on the couch or lying on your bed with your laptop on your lap. That can work for an hour or so, but you can’t do that 40-hours a week. The kitchen table is better, if you are home alone, but distracting otherwise, and you have to put everything away every night. Really, you need a desk or table, a good quality chair, good lighting, and as much quiet as possible. Stable high-speed internet access is a must. While you may not need a “home office” if you can make that happen it really helps.
Finally, at least for today, you need the full support of the people you live with. Again, “at work” need to mean “at work.” You will be challenged to work from home if you are also caring for your kids, spouse, parents, etc. The research shows that it can take over an hour to fully recover your productivity after a distraction. If you hear “Mom, …” every 30 minutes, you’ll struggle to get your work done.
A significant part of the post-pandemic workplace is remote work, but before you raise your hand to work from home, make sure you’re really ready and able to be successful. If you need some tips on how to make the most of your search, this might help https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.
This is a strange holiday weekend. A few days ago, we celebrated Thanksgiving Day. A day dedicated to family, friends, and being grateful for what we have. Then the next day is Black Friday where we are expected to shop ‘till we drop, grabbing “bargains” and spending more than we can afford. And Monday will be Cyber-Monday where again we’re encouraged to spend with abandon, but online. Who put those things together?
If you are job hunter, I want you to mentally go back to Thanksgiving Day. I hope that for you that was a nice, energizing day. I know that large family gatherings can be stressful. I also know that for some, the absence of the large family gathering is also stressful, or sad. But let’s take this back to the roots. Thanksgiving is a chance to assess where we are, and to be thankful for whatever it is we have. It might be meager or bountiful, but regardless, we can still find gratitude.
Find that peace. Relax. Assess.
As a job seeker, the next 30 days will be difficult. Traditionally, the job market slows way down after Thanksgiving. Hiring managers are focused on their holidays, getting things cleaned up for year-end, and using their vacation time so they don’t lose it. In this wacky economy, I still expect all out hiring in retail, warehouse, and food services, but I expect the professional hiring world to slow way down.
Take this time to recharge and get yourself ready. Polish your resume. Practice your interview question responses. Send thank-you notes to your network. And get ready, because I expect the 2022 labor market to start off hot. If you need some tips on how to make the most of your search, this might help https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.
New to networking? The skill of building a network of contacts is crucial to finding your dream job. Here is a set by step guide. It’s easier than you think.
- Make a list of everyone you know – not just the people you think might have good contacts – everyone.
- One-by-one, contact them and ask them if they would help you.
- At that meeting, tell them your elevator speech.
- Hand them your resume.
- Ask them if they know anyone you might talk to about your job search.
- If they say no, show them your target list and ask if they know anyone who works at one of these companies.
- Ask them if there is anything you can for them.
- Thank them.
- Using the list of names they gave you, return to step 2 and repeat the process.
Depending on your personality, networking might be fun, or daunting, but it is by far the most effective way of looking for a job that you’ll really love. it is rarely fast. For most of us it is exhausting and frustrating. But it works – consistently.
Over the coming holiday season, the job market will slow down, but the networking season can ramp up. People will be feeling more generous, and they may have more time on their hands. Use this time to work on your network, and when the job market opens in January, you’ll be ready. If you want more help with networking, this might help https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.
Anybody a fan of the movie Big? I love it when Tom Hanks sings “Feelings, nothing more than feelings …” to his mom to prove that he is really her missing little boy.
So, how does it feel to get fired? Simple – it sucks. It’s like getting punched in the stomach. Even when you know it’s coming it is an awful feeling. I’ve been blindsided a couple of times. The boss calls you in. You think everything is going great. Then she says, “I’m sorry but we’ve decided to make a change. We’re eliminating your position. Your last day will be …”
You don’t really hear much after that. Your head starts to swim. You feel a little nauseated. Depending on how quickly you move through the stages of grief you may get angry. You may try to plead. Your fight-or-flight instincts kick in and you just want to get the heck out of there.
You’re probably reading this because you’ve already been fired and know what I’m talking about. If so, then you may be wondering why I’m wasting your time recalling bad memories.
Here’s why. You need to remember what that feels like. I don’t know if you got fired yesterday, last week, or 10 years ago, but look at where you are today. You’re alive. The world continues to revolve, the sun rises and sets. Life goes on, and no matter how badly you felt when that happened, you survived.
It might have been difficult to talk about – maybe it still is. It’s always hard to tell your family – believe me I know that – but you’ll go on. Follow this blog. Read the book. Build a network. There are people who can and will help you.
Now let’s get busy and find you that next job. If you are struggling with your job search, this might help https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.
You remember Scheherazade, right? The legendary storyteller of One Thousand and One Nights? Go read Wikipedia.
Anyway, if you haven’t had an interview in the last decade or so, you may find that the process has changed some. Most interviewers use some form of Behavioral Interviewing and while no longer revolutionary, it’s still state-of-the-art.
The theory is that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance. If you ask a candidate how they would handle a certain situation (for example – talking with an angry customer) they’ll tell you what they think you want to hear. But, if you ask them to tell you a story about the last time they handled an angry customer, they are more likely to reveal their true stripes.
As the applicant, you need to be ready to tell the story. Search the web for interview questions then think about them and write out your answer. Include all the color and excitement (but still stay succinct). Practice saying the answers out loud so you feel comfortable telling the story. You may not be asked that specific question, but having a back pocket full of stories will build your self-confidence and you’ll be surprised how you can weave one story into many different questions.
Here are some of my favorite questions just to get you started and Google can find you thousands more.
- Tell me about a time when you were a member of a team that had a difficult goal to achieve. What was your role on the team and how did you help influence the success of the group?
- Tell me about a time you had an employee who was not being successful. How did you manage that process and either help the employee become successful, or transition out of the organization?
- Tell me about a time when you were in a fast-paced environment and you had multiple and possibly conflicting priorities. How did you prioritize your work? What techniques did you use to keep yourself organized and avoid missing deadlines?
So, be prepared to respond to an interviewer who says “Tell me about a time …” by becoming Scheherazade and tell a story that people will remember. If you’re struggling with your job search, this may help – https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.
It’s Halloween (or at least Halloween weekend). Scary movies – trick or treat – house decorations – too much candy – BOO! Halloween can be fun, but it can also be scary.
But, you know what is really scary? Being long-term unemployed. Losing a job that you’ve had for a long time, through no fault of your own, and then not being able to find another one. Now that’s scary. How long can you live without a paycheck? Two weeks – a month – three months?
The job market is bizarre. Help wanted signs are everywhere because there is a shortage of laborers. If you want a job in warehousing, retail, or food service, you can get one in a minute. At the same time the news is reporting on record quits. People are voluntarily quitting their jobs in the last few months at a record pace. I don’t think it is because those people are taking warehouse jobs, do you? And regardless of what jobs they are taking, if they are quitting, they must be creating new job opportunities from the jobs they left, right?
Bottom line is that there are jobs our there. They may not be your dream job, but they pay money and provide benefits. If you’ve been out of work for a while, you need to take stock of what you know, what you can do, and what’s important to you. If there are no jobs in your industry or preferred field, how can your skills translate to a different one? What job could you get where you might learn new skills?
It’s an old cliché, but if you’ve been out of work for some time, you need to get out of the box and look for something different. There are jobs. Find one that helps you move forward (and pay your bills). As you continue to network, the dream job will come along. If you need help with you search, try this https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.