Making Things Natural

JobsMovieFrom the Jobs movie.

I think you believe that the computer, or the Walkman, or whatever it may be, should be a natural extension of the individual, and it’s that mission, that devotion to quality
— Jony Ive (the movie characters, perhaps not the real one)

This quote, whether it’s really from Jony Ive or not, still gets to me every time I read it.  Isn’t this a calling for all product designers, including software designers and especially user interface designers?

The Courtesy of a Response

The Courtesy of a Response

ResponseMost definitely stepping up onto a soapbox here – this is one of my pet peeves. Yes, I am directing this at a few friends as well as the world at large. I’ll put on my flak jacket if needed.

I don’t understand businesses who advertise their phone number, their email address, their twitter account, their Facebook page, and then when someone contacts them through any of those mechanisms, they don’t respond. Shame on them!

Likewise, I don’t understand when churches and other non-profits do the same thing. The irony of churches with sub-titles like “the friendly place,” or “we want to hear from you,” but it’s a one-way communication path into an apparent black hole.

Certainly, there are spammers and such, who don’t deserve a response. If somebody just wants to pick a fight, or argue, or are chronic complainers, OK, I can understand not responding to them. However, when dealing with a real person, treat them as a person. If you were talking face-to-face and somebody asked a question, would you just wander off and ignore them?

I’m very aware that my choosing to respond to almost all requests doesn’t obligate you to do what I do. You make your choices, I’ll make mine. Feel free to test me on this — responding is one of my higher values.

ZigTomZiglar

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.Then there is Tom Ziglar, head of the Zig Ziglar company. Zig has since passed on, and is very much missed. I had an opportunity to reach out to Tom back in 2010. Of course, his response was excellent.

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How does this apply to a job search? Or for an employer? What is one of the terrible things potential employers do? Jeff Haden thinks it’s the Worst Hiring Mistake!   If it’s a fact that most jobs are found through networking, then every contact may represent the creation, maintenance, or sudden loss, of a networking contact. How many can you afford to lose?

 

Last updated: 12/20/2014

You can find all my Job-Search related articles here. Please remember, a job search is normally an ordered set of steps. If you try to skip steps, it usually doesn’t work out well.

Beginnings: Dear Younger Me

Dear Younger Me

The MercyMe song, Dear Younger Me, hits right at the heart of what this Beginnings series is all about. What if I could go back, and talk to my younger self, could I save a lot of pain for the other me? Of course, everything I would tell my younger self, I’m sure I heard already, but that was just for other people, right? I wonder if I could learn faster the second time around?

Thanks Brian H for the inspiration and pointing me back to this album [again].

Dear younger me
Where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running thru my head
I wonder how much different things would be
Dear younger me

Dear younger me
I cannot decide
Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you’ll make cuz they’re choices that made me
Even though I love this crazy life
Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride
Dear younger me, dear younger me

Oh, if I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would’ve had no power
My joy my pain would’ve never been my worth
If I knew then what I know now
Would’ve not been hard to figure out
What I would’ve changed if I had heard

Dear younger me
It’s not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross

Dear younger me
You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed
Every mountain every valley
Thru each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be
Dear younger me, dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

 

Last Updated: 12/8/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.

JST: The Need for Accountability

The Critical Need for Accountability

AccountabilityFor most of us, a job search is hard work. Hours of dedicated activity. Research. Stepping outside our comfort zone. Reaching out. Connecting. Following-up. Staying on task. Yet, many, probably most, people in a search drift off path! They get busy. Yard work. House work. Spending extra time with family. A few trips that were never possible before. And suddenly you discover you haven’t done anything of significance in days, or weeks. I’ve watched people “forget” to work on their search for months!

Get help! Seek an accountability partner. Maybe even a whole TEAM! – your “AAA Team:” Attitude, Action and Accountability

  • To encourage you
  • To prod you forward; to make suggestions; to be your advisory counsel
  • To help you prioritize your time and activities
  • To lovingly chastise you when you’re not on track
  • NOT to ask questions like “so why haven’t you found a job yet?”
  • People who will let you ask questions when you don’t know what to ask
  • People who won’t let you stay in “stuck”
  • People who will respond when you’re in a crisis (however YOU define crisis)

ASK people if they’re willing to do this for you. Give them an easy out. Learn who your real friends are. Real friends will tell you what you need to hear, even when you don’t want to hear it. (Proverbs: “wounds of a friend”) If you don’t have a group who will help you with this, find a nearby career ministry and ask for help. It’s even OK to be choosy!

Per Peter Bourke, your spouse can be “your secret weapon.” If the world is down on you, but your spouse is supportive, you have an advantage. But, there’s a big warning that goes with this. Your spouse can also sabotage your search. If your spouse is NOT your biggest supporter, set some limits and make sure you have others to help you with the process.

Consider a mentor or a personal career coach [not necessarily paid for]. Whatever you do, don’t get stuck. If your search is not moving forward, and you don’t know what to do, change your direction to get some help to move forward. Your job may not be your life, but for most, if you don’t have a job, life tends to suffer, usually a lot!

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.”
-Japanese Proverb

Last updated: 12/4/2014

You can find all my Job-Search related articles here. Please remember, a job search is normally an ordered set of steps. If you try to skip steps, it usually doesn’t work out well.

JST: Are You Ready to Begin a Job Search?

Are you ready to begin a job search?

WaitDoes that sound like a silly question? It’s amazing how many people are desperate for a job, yet have a lot of baggage to handle before starting a search. It’s quite a paradox. Be sure you’ve “unloaded” any of that counter-productive baggage before you start your search. Desperate for a job or not, you can easily shoot yourself in the foot if you jump before you’re ready.

Crazy as it may sound, as desperate as you may be, you might not be ready to begin a search. A few considerations:

  • Make sure you have a “clean” story of why you’re not where you used to be
  • Are there life / personal issues that are impacting your job situation? Anger? Addictions? Is there anything “else” that was a factor in your being out of work?
  • Personality quirks? Hygiene? Clothing? Transportation?
  • Is your family supportive of your search? [Remember: your spouse can be your secret weapon, or your saboteur! Are you single? You might have an advantage.]
  • Are you disciplined to stick with a search process? Consider the value of some accountability
  • Are you current on your industry and the things that are likely common discussion among your peers?
  • Are you aware of current events? You don’t want to be too caught up in the media, but you don’t want to miss that there was a major disaster in the last day or so either!

Be sure, before you jump into a search, that you don’t have things that will prevent you from fully executing. Whatever those things are, tackle them first. If you don’t think this is serious, look around at people who have been out of work for many months to many years, with the primary reason being there were too distracted to dedicate themselves to a search. Don’t be that person!

Last updated: 11/18/2014

You can find all my Job-Search related articles here. Please remember, a job search is normally an ordered set of steps. If you try to skip steps, it usually doesn’t work out well.

Beginnings: Focus on the Long-Term

Focus on the Long-Term

(beginning with eternity is a good idea)

LongTermFor some of us who are detail oriented, it’s very easy to get caught up in tasks and forget about the long-term purpose. Big reminder to self: begin with the end in mind. Routine and habits are good, but only if they are leading you toward the real goal.  Remember the principal from Good to Great and Essentialism, “the good is the enemy of the great!” Be sure you know the one main thing you want to accomplish.

Dave Ramsey also speaks to the importance of values or principles. Process is a good thing, but Principles are better. My loose paraphrase from EntreLeadership.

Last Updated: 11/17/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.

Beginnings: Co-Reading

Co-Reading

FriendsReading with a partner; sharing what you’ve learned.

This idea originated with Liberty Church in Marietta, GA with what they call the One Year Challenge, or OYC. Perhaps over-simplifying, the idea is to read through the new testament in a year. (it won’t take that long) Agree with your reading partner what you’ll read each day. Read separately, and then send a quick summary to the other person. Needing to tell someone else what you read can sure make a change in your reading habits. It’s sort of like reading accountability!

Well, nothing says you have to stop with Bible reading. What if you applied this to other books? Over the past few years I’ve co-read numerous books with others. My favorites are books that have  natural short breaking points. Either short chapters, or good segmentation within chapters. A favorite book to co-read [I’ve co-read it about 4 times!] is

Most chapters are just a few pages. Easy topics, easy to dialog, doesn’t take a lot of time. But don’t stop there. Why not read something hard with somebody else? It’s amazing how sometimes other people catch something that I’ve missed. (actually, not all that amazing)

Co-Reading. Highly suggested. Give it a try.

Last Updated: 11/13/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.

Beginnings: Read More

Read More!

BookReading. We live in an age where there is more written material produced every day than existed across all history until just a few hundred years ago. Our access to reading material is amazing. Our founding fathers would be amazed at the easy access we have to written material. Alternatively, if you don’t like reading, there is an incredible wealth of information available in audio form. The resources available to us are amazing. People may spend 10, 20, 40, or more, hours a week in front of the television yet “don’t have time” to read. How sad!

Excerpt from How to Read More

Warren Buffett, the man commonly referred to as the greatest investor of the 20th century, was standing in front of 165 wide-eyed students from Columbia University.

One of the students raised his hand and asked Buffett for his thoughts on the best way to prepare for an investing career. After thinking for a moment, Buffett pulled out a stack of papers and trade reports he had brought with him and said, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” [1]

Buffett estimates that 80 percent of his working hours are spent reading or thinking. It’s enough to make you ask, “Am I reading enough books?”

80%! Wow!

I read “stuff” a couple of hours a day, minimum. I’m working to be more intentional about reading quality books. Progress can be slow. How about you?

 

Last Updated: 11/12/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.

JST: Connect, Connect, Connect

Connect, Connect, Connect

PeopleConnectNetworkNetworking is the key to a job search. You’ve heard it. Do you believe it? If you do, then a key is to connect with anyone and everyone you meet. Who are the best connections? Who are the people “not worth” connecting with? Not many people are accurate at predicting which are valuable and which aren’t, so why not try the idea of assuming everyone you meet might be the most valuable person you could ever meet? If you find out otherwise later, you haven’t lost much!

“Connecting” means more than saying ‘hi’ and talking about the weather. Can you in a few words describe your search? Not a 30 second elevator pitch, just a few very short words. Do you have business cards to exchange? Do you regularly follow-up with a custom LinkedIn invitation? Make this all habit. Every – single – time! After you connect, do you send a follow-up thank you note? Every time! It’s not hard. Be intentional.

 

Last updated: 11/11/2014

You can find all my Job-Search related articles here. Please remember, a job search is normally an ordered set of steps. If you try to skip steps, it usually doesn’t work out well.

Beginnings: Start with Values and Purpose

Start with Values and Purpose

ValuesWordleThis is a hard one for me. I’m a process person. I way too quickly look at how to do something, not asking why. If you start with, and stick with, and often refer back to, your purpose and values, life just gets easier. Decisions are already made for you!

It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
— Roy E Disney

But there is a counter-thought: Culture trumps all!

Culture will eat your mission statement in a heartbeat.”
— Ike Reighard

Simple observation: culture isn’t process based either, although you might try a process to learn and clarify your culture. You might want to check out Culture Bus.

Do you have a crystal clear purpose statement? Amazing how hard it is to come up with a simple purpose statement!

Last Updated: 11/10/2014

If you find these Beginnings posts of interest, you can find a full list here.