The Desk

June 28, 2015

Compensation

Filed under: Career Tips,Morale — Yvonne LaRose @ 1:37 PM
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Compensation has several definitions. While it can mean the amount of money that’s paid someone for the work that they do, it can also mean making allowances to balance things out.

There are many times when we find ways to put responsibility for shortcomings on the shoulders of others. That is called blaming.

Compensation, on the other hand, is coming up with ways to meet the goal when there aren’t sufficient resources to do it alone. That’s also considered being resourceful. Read more about several prisms of Compensation in the Career Coach Corner.

June 21, 2015

Dispelling Myths: Timeless Lessons

What was the day like on June 20, 1926 in Beggs, Louisiana? Out of curiosity, let us look at a remodeled farm house from that period that’s now standing in present day standards. Simply switch out the dish washer for a stand with a place for a tub, a wood burning stove, and humble plaster on the walls, and you’ve pretty much transported yourself into the time and place. Let us compare and contrast that the updated appearance to that of the period. Consider The Creole Cottage. Aside from the appliances and an abundance of windows, the appointments are not drastically different.

It was the height of the Great Depression and the Summer. By necessity, industry was predominantly agrarian, the house filling with children. There were many hands contributing to the burgeoning amount of work to be done. We’ve gone through several economic revolutions in that time but some things are just as timeless as the cottage.

There were many lessons to be learned and passed on to the next generation. Lessons with regard to business matters and roles of the individual sexes. There were many teachers in many disciplines. But discipline and etiquette were primary for all, no matter what age or race. Abiding to strict rules of protocol and respect was expected of everyone toward their fellow humans. Pre-pubescents did not speak to any adult as though the adult was an inferior, no matter what the race. Likewise, children did not dismiss adults from their presence because the child was through talking to the adult.

Being articulate and well spoken is another trait of the Louisianan. Those skills represent one’s station as well as the status of the family. Expect the candidate from Louisiana to take humble pride in their speaking skills. In fact, don’t be surprised if there’s astonishment at a compliment paid to their articulateness. It’s a matter that’s taken for granted.

Even before there were human resource departments in urban areas and before the establishment of the Social Security system, a form of collective benefits fund in the form of a Creole Social Club was established in order to provide for emergencies. These are resourceful people who do not rely on handouts for survival. It is insulting to characterize them in any inferior way.

Animal husbandry was just part of the daily grind. So, also, was weights and measures and negotiating a fair price. Sundays were spent listening to Grandfather preach. Weekdays were constant exercises of how to speak to others with diplomacy, in a well modulated voice, using reason as the higher bargaining skill in order to negotiate the sought-after goal.

It was Great Depression America. That meant knowing how to be self sufficient. But it also meant having the wisdom to gain favor with all neighbors in case of need or emergency. Which takes us back to communication and persuasion skills. Speak; don’t speak. It takes a discerning mind to know when words are necessary in order to accomplish something and what priority the “something” has with regard to advocating for it.

There were social skills to learn. One realized that no matter who you were, you were an example of your family. That meant being circumspect in all manner of things. To bring shame upon yourself was to bring shame on not only your family but also your neighbors, your community. So being polite, knowing the rules of etiquette, and knowing your place were supremely important for the community to heave together and survive.

Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. Before making judgments about anything, evaluate as much of the situation as possible. Gather all the facts. Judge the person by their acts and deeds and use a point system in order to rank whether they have earned being in your company or if they are begging for exclusion. If the words don’t match the actions, if they don’t have the right number of points, they need to be removed from consideration. Maybe they can redeem theirself sometime in the future. But there are many things that need to be accomplished. Better to not waste time and energy on one who will be a detraction. So keep them on the fringes (maybe) for future consideration and allow them to prove they are worthy of earning trust and inclusion for building resources and skills.

Things have changed since 1926. It’s called modernization and progress. But some things are constant. Before we fall on trusting the generalizations about classes of people, we need to realize that the character of a person and the foundations upon which they were raised are as ingrained in them as their DNA. Take them out of the place of origin and they will resort to the practices that made them who they are. Many are what we desire: circumspect, hard working, discerning, reliable.

References:

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June 7, 2015

Repetition

There's no course on job search

There’s no course on job search

Not long ago I heard a complaint from one of the industry’s more vintage and distinguished recruiters. (I’ll paraphrase.)

“This business would be a lot more interesting if we could get past the how to write a resume and cover letter stuff. And it would be much better if we didn’t spend so much time on how to interview. Why do we have to go through this so much? It should be obvious!”

True enough, it should be obvious to those of us who’ve been around the block several times. But there are a lot of dynamics that are driving the actual need to have this “wisdom” regurgitated on a regular basis. Let’s look at a few of them today.

Babies

For some reason, people keep having babies. Then they send them off to school to learn all the basics – except for how to write a resume and cover letter, how to interview, how to go to work. Somehow, that information is supposed to get distilled before graduation from high school but it doesn’t. So we have these quasi-adults meandering around looking for meaning that’s associated with their existence and wondering where they belong. Some of them get recruited to things such as gangs, sports, lured into competing for a slot on America’s Got Talent or The Voice or any number of other things that bring some form of recognition and prestige. And some of them try to figure out how to get on Survivor or Big Brother. The thing of it is, no one told them they’ll still need to pass the interview to get accepted on the entertainment scene.

We need to keep doing the stories about how to write a resume as well as how to write a cover letter because there are millions added to the next generation on a daily basis. None of them know this and it essentially isn’t taught in school – not middle school, not high school, and sort of in college but that’s a bit late.

Technology

The way we do things in business is constantly evolving. At one time, you just walked into a business and asked whether or not they were hiring. If there was a possibiity of a situation, someone in charge would talk to the person and do some informal screening. Provided the conversation went well, there was a get hired on the spot moment with a start date that ranged from that instant to maybe a couple of days later so that appropriate clothing could be gathered.

Today, things don’t work on the same principle. We’ve stopped walking into the business and asking for work. We’ve, for the most part, even stopped scouring the classifieds for “Situations” because they’re now online at various websites and company Careers sections. Networking sites now offer information about open positions, with details about more specifics.

The rules of the game for submitting applications have also changed. Even with temporary staffing agencies, you now set up an interview time online. Going into the office is a necessity for the sake of completing some of the paperwork and taking the computer administered tests to assess where one’s strongest skills are. (Yes, the screening process is still intact.)

Actually, there’s a very subtle reason for continuing to have the applicant come into the office. Those who show up, and show up on time, have demonstrated an genuine interest in pursuing the opportunity. Those who do not show up, have an excuse about why they aren’t there, are running late, need to reschedule, have lowered their seed position and will need to make a very strong showing when they do get to the office for the in-person screening and interview. And getting into the office is yet another way to evaluate how well the applicant follows instructions.

Fashion

Because we’ve become more accepting of cultural differences, styles that are acceptable for interviewing are beginning to change. What used to be proper attire for Sabbath and not for the office has become appropriate for either venue. How many applicants as well as recruiters and human resource managers are aware of this fashion evolution is still to be determined. However, it is a certainty that finding some lawsuit that challenges failure to hire based on wearing traditional garb will be easy.

En Masse Education

It isn’t always the applicant who needs a verse or so of the hiring mantra. Recruiters could stand a refresher course in what is acceptable. Those who are new to the industry would do well to take time for getting refreshed on what is involved in sourcing, screening, and hiring the right person. Even the government is trying to work out that formula to everyone’s satisfaction. And there’s still the ‘know thy industry’ caveat.

There are a lot of factors that go into the formula for making a successful application for a job. With each advancement in technology, with each new birth each year, there will be more people who need to learn how to apply and more who need to know how to select the right one. Suffice it to say that for each employer or recruiter or manager, there are that many people who have their own idea of who a resume and cover letter should be formatted. It’s all subjective; it takes a lot of sifting in order to get to the standard and then to get to what’s right. And for those who have been at this for a while, it’s important to have refreshers. Today we briefly looked at three aspects of the job search and why these topics keep coming up as repetitious coaching subjects.

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March 22, 2015

Developing Good Mini Habits

Filed under: Career Tips,Education and Training — Yvonne LaRose @ 5:16 AM
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There was a recent question posted on Quora where the person wanted to know some “mini habits” that can be practiced everyday for about five minutes. Now that was definitely a good question because it focuses on building in small steps to be more efficient.

Read more of Developing Good Mini Habits in the “Ask Yvonne” folder of Entrances Bulletins.

March 18, 2015

Fitting into the Environment

Having a good relationship with the co-workers (whether autonomous work or team) is important. Being mindful of how all of the processes fit together to create a cohesive whole unit is useful for making sense of the job and what you do there. Getting along with your co-workers means you have the rapport to be considered part of the team.

Read more of Fitting into the Environment on Career Coach Corner.

December 24, 2014

When in the Course

Filed under: Career Advancement,Career Tips,Management — Yvonne LaRose @ 8:12 PM
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Maybe you’re also a fan of The Amazing Race, a TV reality show that has contestants conquer tests and obstacles around the world in order to win $1,000,000 (in addition to various segment prizes).

A few years ago, a middle-aged couple had the task of counting beads and reporting to the gatekeeper the number they’d reached. Mind you, there was a factory room filled with these beads. Just the sight of them would make your head swim. Counting them, while daunting by the sheer volume, was doable. The husband of the middle-aged team began counting. He kept getting the wrong number and had to begin again. In one clip, there was a record of his losing count by ten beads.

So it goes when you’re standing alone and dealing with an overwhelming amount of content. Things need to be brought into perspective. Things need to be organized into manageable chunks. Some things need to be delegated, if possible, to teams that have more hands, more ideas about how to effectively organize things, more experience in managing the scope of the project.

Sometimes it doesn’t really matter where you start nor what you choose to put first. It’s simply a matter getting an idea of how to organize the project and then choosing what will be the first line of attack. Just stick your hand into the mosh and make it the starting point. There are many great examples of dealing with the jumbled chaos of a huge project.

Bringing order from chaos.

Bringing order from chaos. (from Kozzi.com)

There will be times when the greatest distraction proves to be external circumstances that need to be resolved before starting the project. If they’re ignored, they prove to be like an elephant in a 4 x 3 room. Every time you try to do something, you find yourself bumping into a blockage. Clear up some of the distractions. Take care of the external; resolve it. Handling it in small bite-sized chunks won’t do because it’s still there being a distraction that needs to be settled. It’s like a burr in your shoe. Just not having it waiting in the wings will be a relief and free your mind to focus on what needs to be done.

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December 15, 2014

Detours

Filed under: Career Advancement,Management — Yvonne LaRose @ 6:15 PM
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As we look at the close of a year of striving to fulfill our desires of reaching our goals, as we consider the steps necessary to do something about turning the goals into accomplishments, there are a few other things we need to examine and ask.

Are you guilty of taking the road less traveled?

Quandaries of the road less traveled.

Quandaries of the road less traveled.

There was this detour sign on my road. I took the detour and kept the map. Then there was another detour so I took it and kept the map. A whole bunch of detours kept coming up and I kept taking them while keeping the map.

Now the map is weather worn, travel worn, and just worn and there’s this new detour sign in front of me. I’ll admit it; I’m lost. So now I have a few questions for you and for me:

  • Just when do I get back to the highway?
  • Where the heck is it or did it run out?
  • What happened to my map?
  • Do you still have yours?

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November 28, 2014

Attitude Adjustment

It takes a lot of nerve to be controlling and to marginalize another. But it happens. Those measures are used to discourage what could be perceived as competition or merely one who has a better edge that will result in dampening the esteem of the controller.

Controlled Identity

Controlled Identity

On closer inspection, the lack of control and authority will be discovered. The control, manipulation, and threats of various types are simply masks used to play on one’s vulnerabilities that were discovered during harmless interaction. When the source of the discouragement is discovered, it’s easily overcome. There are several effective techniques. A few will be discussed today.

A simple objection to the impediment will result in attempting to create guilt. The goal is to shame one into accepting the pressure. Ignoring the pressure is not an effective way to handle it. It’s important to acknowledge the subterfuge in a very subtle way. To do more would be overkill. Tactfully brushing aside the attempt to plant fear or doubt by talking about the ineffectiveness of cowering in fear or avoidance tactics doesn’t help one reach the goal.

Avoid making accusations of attempted harm. The result will be aggravation of an already negative situation. However, do not cave to accepting the abuse. Speak softly; be assertive. Say “no” in an indirect way, such as, “That doesn’t seem like a good option. I think I’ll try something else.” It isn’t necessary to define what “something else” is. In fact, being abstract can work as well; simply say you haven’t thought of an alternative you want to use just yet. It will take a little more consideration of the circumstances.

Getting upset and losing control is a sign of weakness. It also lowers one’s professional image (unless, of course, you’re in a drama). If you’re not delivering an emotion-packed motivational speech or not in a dramatic play, losing your temper is not effective for talking through the sticking point. Point out what is unacceptable and refuse to accept it as your normal.

These are just a few ways to avert being stopped or have your growth retarded while others pass you in attaining a similar goal. Get an attitude adjustment. Assert yourself. Then be glad of yet another opportunity to rise to being yourself.

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November 20, 2014

Career Tip: How Am I Doing

Filed under: Career Tips,Job Search — Yvonne LaRose @ 12:35 PM
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A young woman who had attended a class with me happened to mention a group interview where she was one of the candidates. She shared her concern about how she did and whether she would be called back for Step 5 of the six-part interview screening.

What she expressed was trying to figure out what the interviewer was thinking and their reaction to her. The interviewer seemed to have a skeptical posture and kept looking at her while covering their mouth with one hand, almost as if to hide a sneer.

One thing the young woman shared was the impressions of one of her competitors. That person commented on how articulate and well spoken she was during the interview. They admired her for those talents and expressed a desire to be that capable.

So how did this young woman do and what could she have done to feel she’d won over the interviewer? My suggestion hailed back to my days of competitive speech.

The competition in the speech rounds was the other five orators and the judge. The other speakers were also audience. It was my job to deliver my speech as well as possible, as convincingly as possible, with good expression (physical, verbal, appearance), good interpretation of the message, and win over anyone who appeared to be hostile while addressing everyone in the room.

My technique was to speak to everyone in the room, making eye contact with each one. But I would give a little extra eye contact or emphasize a particular point while looking at the one person who appeared to be the most hostile toward me or skeptical of my ability. If I saw their attitude melting, I was certain that I’d won over the entire room and also placed well in the round. Each time I employed that tactic, I placed first in that particular round and usually came away from the competitions having won first or second place in that category of speaking.

Win your detractor to your side by knowing your subject extremely well. Make good eye contact. Definitely avoid staring; be amicable. Ask good expositive questions that concern matters that could not be ascertained online or through research.

Close the interview with courtesy, a friendly hand shake, a thank you for having been able to have the meeting (it could have been cancelled) and the opportunity to learn more about the opportunity and the company.

The Other Things

Did you notice the people you passed as you went to the office where you were to be interviewed? Did you pay attention to what they were doing, how they were interacting with others, what they were saying or how they were saying it? All of that comprised just some of the working environment and culture. In addition to thinking about whether you’ll be called back for the next phase, think about whether that culture and atmosphere is what you want for your work life or how you can make a positive impact there.

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November 8, 2014

Telltale Signs: Company Profile

A young man stood on the bus stop wearing a navy blue suit. He held a notebook-sized portfolio. His attire was impeccable. I ventured a guess and decided to test it.

“So how did the interview go?”

“Okay. But I’m not sure about them.”

“Just okay? Do you think you’ll accept the position?”

The more he spoke, the more I noticed excellent articulation and vocabulary. There were some physical features that were not very attractive. However, they were quickly dismissed as he continued his discussion of the interview and his analysis of the company and how he would fit into the organization, if he chose to. It was a restaurant and he was to be the host.

He talked about the glowing interview and the very attractive offer that was made. He expressed uncertainty about the acceptance and I questioned him, again.

“I’m not sure about them. There’s a lot of talk but they make me nervous. They’re cutting too many corners.”

Just as important to the recruiter is not only the candidate’s appearance on paper and in person but also how the client looks. And just as the candidate needs to present a good appearance and profile, so does the client. Care needs to be devoted to the quality that goes into the product in addition to the running of the company. Selection of those who appreciate those imperatives and can deliver in a professional, ethical manner is what needs to be reached.

The recruiter is looking for the best match for both sides. Very important to their livelihood is the client who has desirable attributes. A savvy executive management candidate, as well as the recruiter, will consider things such as amount of time in business, success record, office atmosphere, profit and loss statement, vision, planning, industry ranking and reputation, management, turnover rate, timely payment of debts and debt management, to mention just a few factors.

Cutting corners shows, no matter what the corners. When recruiting for the best, it’s important to put forth the best image possible. In the long run, you’ll attract the best and most loyal customers as well as the best candidates who will serve them to keep your business alive and profitable.

What is your interviewing style saying about your company?

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Republished from Career and Executive Recruiting Advice (October 31, 2002)
Republished from Suite101.com (June 5, 2001)

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