The Desk

March 9, 2016

Taking Charge

One thing that can lead to marginalization is turning the human into a non-thinking, uncreative entity (as compared with a sentient being who is capable of making meaningful contributions). There is very little to nothing that’s rewarding and motivating about existing in PVS (persistent vegetative state), except perhaps the appreciation that the speed at which activities are successfully executed is at a stellar rate that can be matched by few, if any.

Some grow weary of the monotony. They see the value is automation and encourage use of robotics so that the opportunity to challenge their minds is more available. Even those with the most minimal level of intelligence delight is being able to conquer a new task. Having that reasonable task put before them is exciting.

There are some people who have been conditioned to believe they will be punished for attempting to stretch their role in an organization beyond being PVS. They fear the unknown realm of persecution and retribution for daring to do more than the repetitious. They have experimented with new endeavors and found success nearly every time they’ve done so. Having been exposed to the sweet taste of adventure and new challenges, they want to emerge into the areas where their friends and colleagues are similarly nudged into more involvement – and recognition.

Use Your Skills

Use Your Skills

That fear of retribution is the inhibiting factor. It needs to be overcome. The only way to do that is to take charge of the situation. If the path of asking permission to be included in the next endeavor doesn’t work out, there are other ways to get from Point A to Point B. Some of them take a little (and some a lot) more effort.

The supervisor or manager seems to have favorites for the project. Sometimes it’s because the manager has been watching the progress of their workers and knows what to expect. They know the quality of the work that will be produced, the amount of attention to detail, the speed at which the work will be done, how well the worker interacts with others, how smoothly things blend. Sounds like networking to me.

How much of a challenge is that task compared to today’s mashed potatoes same as? If it’s the equivalent of going from boiling an egg to preparing a nine-course meal overnight, this may not be the time to experiment. If this is merely turning a boiled egg into an Easter egg (or a deviled egg), this may be an opportunity waiting to happen. How to broach that stupid roadblock of being allowed to get involved is the issue.

Perhaps a facsimile is the answer. “Hey, Boss. I’ve been watching the others working on the [deviled egg] and I’ve been experimenting with making them on my own time. Here’s a sample of what I did on my own. I’d like to do it with the others so I can be involved in doing it in the company style.” Mind you, this is the prime sample that’s being put forth. The BETA version is just not the version that should be used as an example of what’s your best.

Was it accepted? Great! It wasn’t? Get permission to work with the others to learn their technique. Better yet, sidle up to one of those who’s a “friend” and ask them to show you how to make yours better. Sidle up to another chum so that they’ll ask to have you included in their group for the next batch of [deviled eggs]. Or just go to an outside group and make some [deviled eggs] they way they do so that you have practice doing it and an audience that benefits from the fact that you were involved in making [deviled eggs]. No matter which way you go – direct or indirect – you have at least one new skill to append to your resume accomplishments.

It’s one thing to aimlessly drift from one boring and uninspiring situation to the next while waiting (and that’s the critical concept here – waiting) for something better to come along and take you with it. Having a mentor who can push you forward at Opportunity’s knock is great. But sometimes it’s necessary to take charge of your situation and do something to spur your opportunities to open to you.

There will be times when taking charge means quietly looking elsewhere for what’s going to be better in terms of many things you desire and have long-term positive payoffs. There will also be times when taking charge simply means becoming more assertive. Mind you, I said “assertive,” not “aggressive,” that is, demanding what you want instead of stating your case about why you are a great option.

Wait! What was that I heard? Was it Opportunity knocking at your door?

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August 27, 2015

Fitness Careers

Not to be outdone, it would be wise for a person who’s planning to enter a particular industry and career to start building connections and doing some strategic planning about building credibility and references. These are a few suggestions I want to offer to the blossoming fitness guru. I’m certain there are other things that have been overlooked.

November 2, 2014

Do the Research

Entrances is a 360 networking forum on LinkedIn. It’s for an exchange of information and for networking with others in order to develop new connections and awareness of new opportunities. The purpose is to gain better insights about another part of the employment sector other than your own space so that better choices are made based in feedback from the other players. One goal is developing relationships that can lead to referrals.

Entrances-Faces of the workplace

Entrances – Making sound choices based on informed networking

While it isn’t a forum for political speech, there are a series of videos running that are produced by based on their #IfTheySpeakForMe theme . They show by various examples of what ensues if others make choices for you because you didn’t do your research; instead, you were passive and took whatever you got. In this weekend before midterm elections, the videos emphasize the importance of doing good research before embarking on an endeavor or entering into relationships.

With those compelling ColorofChange messages are scenarios of hair care dictated by a stranger and being hijacked in a taxi. Those are similar to taking on employment with a client or employer you haven’t researched.

I encourage you to do the research this weekend that will help you make the right choice for you in the voting booth. Remember to vote. Exercise your rights.

Who Is This

That being said, remember to do some research, ask meaningful questions, about where your livelihood is or will be. Find out who the potential employer is. Determine whether the recruiter is the right one for you. What does the recruiter want in terms of a “qualified candidate” and how can the resume writer or the career coach help you them reach your goals. Maybe they simply are not the right fit. Maybe their philosophies are (and never will be) in consonance with your own ethics or beliefs in good practices. Consider the video wherein the hairstyle of several women is determined by a total stranger who contravenes the women’s wishes and relationship with their hairdresser.

We’ve talked about hair in Entrances from the perspective of what is accepted by the other side of the employment desk. It was intended to look at the various styles, colors, whether it constituted good grooming, and whether hairstyle is a valid hiring criteria. A few interesting views were expressed.

Making Impressions

Has someone impressed you with their words? What did they do to make that impression? How reliable are they? Would you be willing to refer them to something that may be a good match for what they have to offer?

Bottom Line

Which is the more important emphasis? Know who the employer is. Know their product or service before going on the interview or taking them on as a client. Recruiters are held liable for the misdeeds of their clients. It is a recruiter’s duty to guide a client along the more ethical path if they are erring in their decisions or execution of their business practices. But it’s imperative to know all of these things before getting involved or else having a delicate but compelling reason for taking a different, better path to open the right door and make better entrances.

March 11, 2013

Career Tip: Moving on Gracefully

So this is how a CEO looks, right?

Andrew Mason, former CEO of Groupon

Andrew Mason, former CEO of Groupon

This is a male version of a CEO and he’s doing what you’d expect of a 21st Century CEO. Definitely. You notice the crisp t-shirt, the roughly tossled hair, the hands in both jeans pockets that creates body language screaming with confidence, the wistful look and eyes looking at something aside as though focusing on a distraction rather than the line that leads to a purposeful destination.

Actually, the image is of former (as of February 28, 2013) Groupon CEO Andrew Mason. He served at the helm for 4.5 years. Things for Groupon went as poorly as they did for Facebook and its IPO. Changes needed to be made – drastic changes. Andrew admitted his leadership was flawed. Not many people will make that type of admission, even to their own self. Some will thrash about and make excuses about the dumb others who were at fault. Because the sting is still fresh and is affecting many parts of one’s persona, a lot of people resort to thrashing and bashing those other people.

A lot of people deal with terminations (getting fired) in different ways. After exploding people in your mind as though you’re playing a video game, there’s the next step – developing and executing a plan of recovery. As you do so, your self esteem seems to pull itself back into your body. You feel as though there’s purposefulness in you and your life. You start wondering why you didn’t allow yourself some of the indulgences you’re finding and actualized them long ago. No matter.

The next step is getting to that frame of mind that Andrew reached. It allowed him to write that public proclamation of having been fired. It afforded him the time to take a stroll down the avenue rather than a cab across town. It allowed him to wear his t-shirt and jeans instead of going through all the ramifications of making certain to keep the business suit dry cleaning costs in check. He put things into perspective and prioritized what’s really important.

That proclamation helped him be proactive and positive. It gave him the opportunity to face the world on his own terms and to open his networks so that they start working for him. Just by publishing that brief memo, Andrew started searching for his next position and his hat is not in his hands.


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February 27, 2013

What Does This Mean in Law?

We talked about legal job search tips that deserve to be preserved. Here are some additional points that are important to interviewing, job search, and strategies for the sake of understanding the terminology and concepts that are being discussed and for the sake of just getting ahead of the game.

So you’re just starting out and trying to figure out what needs to be done to stand out when your classmates are more stellar than you. FindLaw’s Hot Job Talk talks about the various aspects of getting started. One of the difficult areas is should you pursue a position in a firm when your GPA and class standing isn’t as stellar as that of your classmates.

(FindLaw’s Greedy Associates) – In this sluggish economy, it can be hard to land a job, even if you graduate in the top 10 percent of your class. So what legal job-search tips can possibly help someone who’s ranked at or near the bottom?

So let’s say you opt for contract work or a less than stellar first year position and they tell you your first project is “document review”. That’s a loaded term. It could mean one thing in litigation and have a completely different context when it comes to transactional law. And then there are other areas of law such as environmental advocacy. Maybe you should be asking more questions in the moment that those terms arise.

(FindLaw’s Greedy Associates) – If you ask 10 different attorneys what document review is, you’ll probably get 10 different answers.

One solution to this ticklish situation is to have a trusted senior in your corner and explaining things to you as you go. Make certain you respect their position. Don’t start thinking you know more than the “teacher.” And take to heart these tips on how to find a mentor.

(FindLaw’s Strategist) – If you’re starting your own law practice, one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll receive is to get a mentor.

So let’s say you decide to strike out on your own. You may think you can just go and hang your shingle and life will be good; clients will flock to your office; you’ll have to beat them back with a 2×4 as you bill $500 per hour for your time. Really? You need to plan your business just as carefully as you did your education. Here are some things that need to be taken into consideration by a solo practitioner. Just remember that the advice morphs when it comes to practicing with others in some type of collaborative.

(FindLaw’s Strategist)- Not all solo firms advise clients about how to incorporate, but all solo attorneys have to figure out what kind of business entity is best for them.

And now that you’ve set up shop, you need to start networking in order to gain potential business and clients. Since we just had the Winter holidays, you may have been frequenting some of the holiday parties. Since we’re in the midst of the Awards and athletics playoffs seasons, some of those celebrations may call you into those venues to rub elbows and hobnob. Now you’re starting to ask yourself the next pivotal question about building business relationships and client base.

(FindLaw’s Greedy Associates)- So you’ve been invited to the big holiday party. Congratulations. All the bigwigs will be there. Now you just got to close the deal. But how do you go about picking up clients at the holiday party?

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December 2, 2012

Enduring Career and Recruiting Sites

Filed under: Job Search,Recruiting — Yvonne LaRose @ 5:50 PM
Tags: , , , ,

Now that The Desk features news feed from several sites, the sidebar has become overloaded. It’s time to do some pruning and also time to revisit some of the links in the blogroll to make certain those sites are still active. So with this writing, we’ll discover which sites are archival, which are very active, and the owners of the sites get a little attention.

Not giving any preferential treatment to any, here’s the rundown on the sites.

Being Archived in This Post

Career Hub is a collaborative effort of a number of career coaches. They still offer advice on various aspects of the job hunt. It’s refreshing because it isn’t from one static voice. You can subscribe for email updates in order to be aware of the latest in news.

Electronic Recruiting News isn’t a career search site; it isn’t even a recruiting site. It’s a news blog about the recruiting and HR industries. This is probably the first recruiting blog. It features daily (Monday through Friday) musings on things going on in the industry. In addition, there’s a newsletter (called The Bugler) that informs its readers about all types of doings from events to changes to meetings and more. There’s a blog list that features a blurb from different sites. Then there’s the blogroll that has a list of some of the more significant blogs in the industry. The owner is now Colleen Gildea. This used to be a two-owner publication with employees. I honestly don’t know how Colleen does it as a solo owner except she must have a trove of really spectacular employees. Keep up with what’s going on in the industry by subscribing to and reading ERN.

Then we have Six-Figure Learnings a blog and network established by Dave Opton for those who are executives and recruiters accustomed to dealing in the six-figure earnings brackets. It’s been a while since the blog was updated. This could be attributed to any number of reasons, which reminds me that I need to get in touch with Dave and say “Hello.” I recommend you do so as well. In fact, take the time to read “I’ll Take Networking for $1000 Alex” so you can gain a sense of what networking is all about. “Hi, Dave!”

Kathy Simmons‘s site, Executive Update, has been retired. However, you can still avail yourself of her expertise at Experts Connection. It could be said that Kathy and Dave compete for the same market share.

George Blomgren is the owner of two sites with similar focuses on two different aspects of the employment picture. It appears he’s got a lot on his plate right now as For Job Seekers has not been updated since September 2009. The complement of Job Seekers, For Employers and Recruiters, went dormant at about the same time. The archive still has worthwhile information. You should pay a visit to bring yourself up to date on aspects of the employment strategy that have been baffling you for a while.

It isn’t clear why Go Big Network got into the blogroll except for the fact that it’s a venture capital funding network that matches angel investors with appropriate start-ups. Visit them if starting your own business is one of your goals. Learn about what it takes to qualify and what additional work needs to be done.

Dave Perry and I go back a long way – back to the days of blog swapping. That was a great experience for the sake of learning more about my industry colleagues and establishing a more legitimate business relationship with them above the occasional email. Dave and his partner, like George, post to both a job seeker site as well as a recruiter and employer site. The job seeker aspect for Dave is at Guerrilla Marketing for Job Seekers to provide a wide array of resources (books, CDs, articles, coaching, and more) to make your job search fearless, solid, and successful. Be certain to read some of the success stories he has posted on the site. You’ll be inspired. The other side of the picture is Perry-Martel International, the executive search arm of Dave’s services.

How do I describe Lime Connect? It’s a business, it’s a service, it’s an organization that offers fellowships to help those with disabilities. These people in turn fill the employment market gaps so that they are engaged in fulfilling careers while earning meaningful compensation and new skills from exploiting all resources available to businesses. What are market gaps? Go to their site and read about Breaking the Mold.

Secrets of the Job Hunt is another of those sites where I don’t have a real relationship with the owner. However, I found the site while surfing many years ago and it resonated with me in regard to the advice and resources it offers. Visit them.


Okay. That’s the roundup. If you want to find these sites after today, you’ll just have to return to this post and cull through the descriptions. That means you’ll have to bookmark this post. But you enjoy my cavalier style. So just come by and leave a comment about what you were looking for or whether you found these summaries to be accurate. If not, give us your version of what the sites are about.

Sponsored link: Career Match: Connecting Who You Are with What You’ll Love to Do

January 5, 2011

Using Your Skills and Networks

Job search can be a real challenge. Sometimes it’s handled well and people seem to bounce back from a short-term setback with zeal in what appears to be no time. Others have a long detour and a lot of learned lessons that leave the apprentice not too well for the wear.

There’s talk that jobs in the Midwest are short on availability. Even though rents are much lower there than New York or Los Angeles, affordable housing is simply a pipe dream if you’re homeless or living on the streets.

Yet, today we have a story about a man who’s in the Midwest and homeless. It seems he’s in the right place at precisely the right time with just the right skills and definitely more than the required motivation. This man with the golden voice just got Opportunity buried into his lap thanks to his using his voice, the training he got in refining that skill, and the community on Reddit to advance his opportunities for housing and a career in the industry that he loves.

It was interesting that about the time that the golden-voiced Ted Williams story was going viral on YouTube late yesterday afternoon I was talking with a cab driver about those who are down on their luck but cheat or use shortcuts to pull themselves out of trouble. I observed that in those cases, the person will take on the traditional opportunity. Unfortunately, they scam the system by injuring their own self in order to gain short-term, not very profitable tools to gain income and relief. The self injury provides a stream for the short term (maybe three to six months), creates a Worker’s Comp record for them, and decreases their credibility. Ultimately, they keep finding themselves back in the same circumstances or maybe even worse. Meanwhile, their alternative paths to empowerment make those who are willing to provide a hand up or an open door become jaundiced and leery, thereby making them unwilling to repeat the generosity lest they be exploited again. Those who have genuine desires and goals, not to mention talent, are left to struggle against the stigma and prejudice.

Not so in the case of Williams. He’s using his intelligence to help him leverage himself and his talents to beat down the prejudices and stigma toward a person in his temporary circumstances and start his journey down the road to his personal success as he defines it. He’s availing himself of the assistance provided by his virtual network on Reddit to gain the reach he needs to market himself.

His story is so refreshing that it makes me wonder how many other real and virtual communities are actualizing these and other types of connections with referral opportunities for their members of whatever age or background.

April 16, 2008

Why Is It Important to the Job Seeker?

Filed under: Job Search — Yvonne LaRose @ 7:43 PM
Tags: , , , ,

It was probably the 23rd or 24th of March and I was having another bout of apathy in regard to interminable waits for unreliable buses that take me on two-hour rides to the next destination. On that day, I was contemplating the mania job seekers have about having the perfect resume. It was astounding how many articles can be found on how to email a resume (even in 2008)!

It was one of those days when the redundancy of the questions from job seekers was wearing. No matter who or where, the questions were essentially the same, repeatedly. Perhaps it’s because each job seeker graduates from high school and university every year and because new or returning job seekers hit the market on a daily basis. They are either starting out with absolutely no clue about what they’re doing at any level. Or they’re restarting and trying to do things in the most up-to-date, modern style possible without tripping themselves out of the running.

They need someone to guide them and show them the ropes. And there are so many ropes! Then there are others who have the rudimentary information but still need some fine tuning. And finally, there are those who’re short-selling themselves and would benefit from some type of coaching.

These “reasons” were not comforting. There’s got to be more to this than just learning how to present yourself. There are professionals, C-level officers of companies, people in their 40s and 50s, who are striving to know the answers to questions about how to write an effective cover letter, how to interview. Some of these people have no clue about how to start researching a company or even that it is reasonable to do so for a job search.

These sorts of ruminations don’t go away easily. These are the type that linger. So I decided not to rely on my own apathetic perspective. Instead, it was time to ask two well-known friends and trusted colleagues. On March 25, I sent a message that said:

Okay you two. I trust your judgment and discernment. Your words are usually reliable. So I ask you — both of you — Why is any of this recruiting, job search, resume writing, networking, social media, world’s best candidate stuff important?

Yep, the date and time that message was sent was 7:06 pm, Mar 25th. To date, neither colleague has responded. Maybe because the question stumped them as well; maybe because they’ve been too busy to pay attention to it. (It really does happen!) And as I continue to compose this piece, I find little pieces of this and that which indicate others (including my colleagues) are also ruminating about these matters. For example, on April 22, one of my two friends Twittered, “Getting to focus on the part of my job that I love the next few days, all brainstorming and defining the candidate / job seeker experience.”

But I’ve heard nothing.

There must be a more meaningful answer than the pitiful ruminations that wedged their way into my brain.

Aha! As I said, there are pieces of this and that which indicate others in the industry are also considering this question. On April 29, an advertising bit reached my Inbox. It was from Legal Authority, the legal recruiting agency that specializes in attorney placements. (You see? Even lawyers need help with finding a job!)

Time Is the Essential Factor

Legal Authority reveals why the job seeker experience, and all of the elements involved in it, is important by reading between the lines. The first thing they point out is the time factor in relation to doing research.

It’s one thing to broadcast your well-crafted resume and static cover letter to any and every company that has an ad running. It’s quite another to have some idea of what you want to do and where. The “plus” is knowing what “Where” has to offer and which among the thousands are offering something even remotely close to that overall picture.

Legal Authority continues by talking about how they’ll help you craft the perfect resume and cover letter through collaboration with their certified resume writers. In my jaded opinion, there is no “perfect resume” because everyone has their own concept of how it can be done better. The perfect cover letter is the one that conveys your personality as well as your qualifications and causes the reviewer to want to talk with you more than any of the others. But having someone who is expert at getting the right descriptions into those brief documents is oh so tricky.

Here, crafting the best resume and cover letter possible is a bit like coming up with the one right thing to say in order to get that special person to pay attention to you and say “Yes.”

Tools for Optimization

Social networking and Web 2.0 are tools that are supposedly designed to optimize our ability to meet the right people, like-minded and like-motivated people (or else complements) who are parts of a greater whole in which we want to be involved. If they’re not part of the place, they at least know about its insides and even a few people there who can provide greater insights.

To a job seeker, that means finally connecting with the person who knows about the holy grail – the right company, the right position, the right contact name and information. It’s about cutting down the amount of scant time doing the search and getting into the nitty gritty of determining whether this is the situation that will really work. It dispenses with the blind alleys and cul de sacs.

But we’re getting so bogged down with social network entrepreneurs who’re trying to make a fast buck on the social networks with their handy-dandy tools that the duplicative nature of the vast number of them available on all of the networks boggles the mind. How one can make meaningful connections while also trying to determine which tool will deliver the optimal connection opportunities is overwhelming; it deadens the quality time for actually doing the search and coming up with the right connections.

This subject goes much deeper. But it’s starting to become clear that this “recruiting, job search, resume writing, networking, social media, world’s best candidate stuff” is important. It’s important to the job seeker not only for the sake of time and cost containment but also for maximizing one’s return on investment in the advanced education and training and the just plain old “F” word – fulfillment.

Business Perspective

From a business perspective, financial sustainability, the importance of the job search goes back to time efficiency in completing business endeavor goals, putting to use the skills gained through all channels of training and experience, and keeping the “treasury” measurably above breakeven point.

January 26, 2008

Recruiter Tip: Importance of Circulation

This week’s tip is specifically for those of you who are independent recruiters. You may be an early start-up or have been a one-person shop for years. No matter which, that little alcove in the garage or in the corner of your bedroom is your office. When you wake up in the morning, you can see your office and the place where you’ll start your cold calling. In fact, there’s almost no time that you’re not “in your office” because you’re so there. There are some who have a really cushy life. The home office is in the kitchen. So the real conveniences are literally just an arm’s length away.

You’d think this type of life would be ideal. The day can start at whatever hour you decide and it can end as early or as late as is necessary. The trouble is, things start to get staid and stale. There are days when it’s hard to get the engines running or to get excited about doing the same routine today as you did for the past 18. And if you’re one of those who doesn’t know the definition of “weekend,” then Life (and the calendar) is becoming one huge blur.

Yes, keeping a home office is very economical, convenient, sensible, and a lot of other adjectives. But it can lead to stagnation if you’re not careful. One of an independent’s mainstays is creativity and the best way to keep creativity at its height is to carefully feed it each day with exposure to a variety of situations so that you have a different perspective. Therefore, one of the things you need to do in order to keep that flow of variety is make certain you’re circulating.

While it’s a good thing to have everything at your fingertips at your home office, have you considered setting up a virtual office presence at an executive business setting? Some offer mail service only for a very reasonable monthly fee. If strategically chosen, this mail service can keep you up to date on services available to other businesses in the suite, conferences and trainings, and potential contacts. It’s also good exposure for you and you may have a class that’s waiting for you to teach with the right development.

If the mail service idea doesn’t work for you but you’re still dying on the vine from the sameness syndrome, try doing some of your work at a Kinko’s where you literally can put your presentation together, have it printed, bound, and shipped while in your office. The beauty is that if you use the same center on a regular basis, in no time you’ll have established a rapport with the staff who will be willing to help you with bits of this or that to make life better.

Finally, there’s the local wi-fi coffee shop. Stop in to read the morning paper with a cuppa Joe and a bagel. Once you’ve noted which way Wall Street is headed, scan for those “must-find” business names in the news. The great thing about the coffee bars is that you’re welcome to stay as long as you want and come as often as you want. There are few restrictions and these are also great places to hold first meetings while still maintaining a professional presence.

The most important underlying thing about all of these suggestions is that availing yourself of some outside resources also allows you to stay fresh, aware of what’s going on currently, and still circulating.

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