Category Archives: Quitting or Fired

The one critical component in a career plan

kicking to success

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. (Dwight Eisenhower)

When it was critical

The hottest technology in 2008 was the iPhone.  It was simply a small computer with cell phone reception. Its rise was carefully planned.  The most significant pieces of the plan included a snazzy look, rugged portability, and simple secure paid download of music. Apple, the creator, had a plan to continue making money forever.

Here is where career plans worked

2008 was the perfect time for Apple’s hottest talent to abandon their jobs with the iPhone division.  2008 was also the time for Apple’s best job security conscious talent to move in and take over. Why?  Because it was obvious the market would be buying upgrades to iPhones forever.  The iPhone was becoming a top-end commodity, but a commodity.  The music distribution system was ahead but developing strong competitors.

iPhone is no longer innovative genius.  It is now a cash cow.  iPod and iTunes are no longer what the bold innovators want to be working on.  They need a new challenge.  iPod and iPhone are now the perfect product for the long term managers.

The single critical component in your career plan

Your career plan will be a rousing success if you focus on your personal growth curve. Do you treasure security? Do you want to innovate and take outrageous chances for outrageous reward?  Do you really want technical challenge?  Is your goal to make enough money, but have a lot of free time for your skiing?

When you know what you want, you can plan your career successfully.  However, what you want will change time and time again.  So you need to be prepared to change your career plan as you see changes beginning in yourself. Your personal growth curve will tell you how fast you are getting to where you want to be in your career.

Career plans work

They work when they are reviewed every year.  They work when you review your real personal desires at the same time.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about the “personal growth curve.”  You have to understand it in order grow as fast as possible.

Something To Do Today

This week will be a great time to review your career plan.  Today you need to start writing down what you really want.

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Tomorrow:     Your personal growth curve

Later:              Useful career plans

What is “the next big thing”?

 

Career killing shortcuts

3 different ways to go now

Choose your direction carefully.

The modern age has been characterized by a Promethean spirit, a restless energy that preys on speed records and shortcuts, unmindful of the past, uncaring of the future, existing only for the moment and the quick fix. (Jeremy Rifkin)

Lufkin is the premiere maker of the pumps sucking oil from Oklahoma’s prairies. In 1981 used Lufkin pumps were selling for more than new ones. Fancy business school graduates said Lufkin was nuts. They could sell the new pumps for much more. “Take your profit now!” they said. The owners of Lufkin said, “We’ve been here a long time. Demand goes up and demand goes down. We will service our customers the best we can. We won’t take advantage of them when they are desperate. When the bubble bursts we will still be here. We’re in this business for the long haul.” Today, after decades of recessions and some good times in their business, they still make a solid profit, now as a GE subsidiary.

In the recruiting business one recruiter said, “I take people out of one rut, and put them into a different rut.” Some recruiters don’t care. I do. I find people in good jobs who could do significantly better. I then place them in a job where they can more quickly meet their career goals. I help people shave years off of their career growth. I move them into a better long term opportunity.

Be mindful of how your resume looks. People who have changed jobs 3 times in 2 years have a hard time getting a great job. Later, even after 3 or 5 years in one job their resume is tainted. The manager hiring for a great job wants someone who will be there a long time. He knows he can attract bright stable workers. Why should he settle for someone who may be gone in 6 months?

A new job should give you a significant LONG TERM advantage. It should help you take charge of your career. Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times. In 2005 he only won one day out of 21 racing days. On one day he was 20 minutes behind the fastest bike. But he was always mindful of where he was in relation to his competition. He made sure he had the best bike and the best team even if he wasn’t getting the glory of being first over the finish line. Looking for the long term advantage is how he won.

Find the best team and opportunity you can. Get in it for the long haul. Go win. You cannot speed up your career by taking a lot of shortcuts.

Something To Do Today

Write down your career goals in your job journal. Where do you really want to go? Can your current team get you there? If not, time to change teams.

Is your job like rollerskating in a buffalo herd?

buffalo blocking traffice

You can’t drive in a buffalo herd either.

I talk to many job seekers who want to change careers.  Some of them are accountants who should be salesmen.  They got into accounting because it is safe, pays well, and has a great future. Their personality is wrong for accounting.  They don’t like carefully following precise rules.  Reporting on what other people are achieving gives them the itch to do more, not the pleasure of a job well done.

Some people who want to change careers are salesmen who should be accountants.  Salesmen make so much money that, for some, it is irresistible to get into sales.  The “should be accountants” are great with logic, and to them, buying is all about carefully planned decisions.  But developing relationships quickly is not their way of living. Pressing emotional buttons feels somehow wrong.  Sales is just not working.

A favorite song of mine says, “You can’t rollerskate in a buffalo herd, but you can be happy if you put your mind to it. Knuckle down, buckle down, do it, do it, do it.”

If you have the wrong personality for your career field, CHANGE.  Do it now.  You will only have more obligations in a couple of years.

The first step is to work within your current company to see if you can switch careers.  Will they let you go from being an accountant to being a salesman?  Can you go from being a salesman to being a sales engineer or financial analyst?  Is there a way you can exploit your current job?

Often you have to change companies to change your career. You will probably have to take a big cut in pay.  Only you can decide if it is worth it.

One more thing to consider.  Is your career the problem, or the people you are working with?  I don’t know any accounting companies that are filled with rollicking, frolicking, totally off the wall, hard charging adventurers.  I do know that accountant personalities range from nearly dead, to micromanaging bosses from hell, to nurturing versatile entrepreneurs with great attitudes.  Carefully look at your situation.  Make sure that your company and the people you work with are not the real problem.  You may still need to change jobs, but your career may be fine for you.

Don’t settle for a job or career that you just can’t be happy with.  Seriously look at what it will take to work with a better bunch of people or to switch careers entirely.  Life is too short to choose misery.

Something To Do Today

Go online or to your local job center and take a personality test.  You will be surprised how accurate they are.

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Next:   Resume magic

Later:  Imperfect and highly paid

8 signs you will be laid off

Another person just told me they think they will be laid off, they aren’t sure. Some layoffs and firings you just can’t avoid.  One smart guy said,

Getting fired is nature’s way of telling you that you had the wrong job in the first place. (Lancaster)

laid off?

Are you going to be laid off?

There are always hints that you are going to be laid off. They are obvious after the fact.

True stories:

Susan is going to be fired. She appears to be clueless. She is a great person but is not getting the job done. She’s in a genteel company where people are expected to take hints. She has not taken the hints. She has been all but told to find a new job. She refuses to accept that. We’ve even read the tea leaves for her after her boss asked us to help get her out of the company. She refuses to accept it. Susan is going to be fired for not being above average. It just makes no sense to her.

My old friend Larry was at a major computer company. Every year his reviews were stellar. Then one year his review changed from “superior” to “needs improvement”. Larry asked, “Is this a hint?” The reply was, “It is what it is. You’ll need to figure that out.” Two weeks later Larry had a new job with a 25% pay raise. He’s still at that new company and still getting superior performance appraisals. Larry was being pushed out because his salary was too high, even though he was worth every penny of it.

The two main reasons for firing or laying off people are that they are not good enough, or they are too expensive. For either problem, some of the signs are the same, such as:

  • Pay raises less than the rate of inflation – particularly NO raise
  • A job review with average or lower ratings
  • Reduction in responsibilities or some of your duties given to others
  • Being on probation (some people actually miss this one!)
  • You are asked to relocate to a place you won’t go
  • Your company, division or location is losing money
  • A competitor just won a big contract you should have won
  • A new boss promises to “revitalize” your group, division or company

If you are wondering about your own situation, take the bull by the horns. Ask your boss two questions:

  1. Are there going to be layoffs?
  2. Should I start looking for a new job?

If you have the guts to ask, he just might tell you the truth. It’s better to know for sure if your boss will tell you. If your boss lies, you’ll still get a feeling for the truth. Find out. It’s better to look for a job while you are still employed rather than when you are jobless.

Do you have even one of the 8 signs in your job? Go talk to your boss. Do you have three or more of the symptoms? Look for a job no matter what the boss says.

How fast can you find a new job and get your career back on track?

steam engine crashed out of a building

Getting your career back on track? It depends on where you are right now.

How fast can you find a new job?  Let’s talk about the Beatles.  They were an overnight sensation….except for the years they spent playing clubs in Germany and England.  Years lost to the world.

I bet you know a guy who quit and had a new job a week later.  He wasn’t even looking when he quit.  He told you so, and he wouldn’t exaggerate.  So how long will it take you to get a new job? No one knows.

The best way to find a job (It actually speeds things up)

The best thing to do is keep your current job and start looking.  Use your network.  The first thing to ask them is not, “Find me a job,” but, “How’s the job market?”  Get the people you know to tell you how long it took for their acquaintances to find a job.  This will tell your network to keep their eyes open.

Be careful how widely you let it be known you are looking for a job.  If you are employed, use your network, recruiters and respond to ads.  LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, and others are great places to put your resume. You have to understand that you will be getting calls for a year or two if you put your resume on the internet.

How long will it take?

Executives often look a month for every $10,000 in income they want.  If they are earning $120,000 then they may search for a year.  Technical experts are often either hired within days of their search beginning, or they take 12 months and then get 3 job offers at once.  Why?  They may have critical skills, but there is no job until someone else quits or a project starts. Then openings pop up as a mass of people all change jobs at once.

Your job search will be over much more quickly if you will commute a long distance or relocate.

The modern steam locomotive can cross the plains at the lightning speed of 15 mile per hour.  The only thing faster is a telegraph. (circa 1870)

Let’s get serious about money.  Are you overpaid?  Do you have golden handcuffs that will keep you from leaving?  Then you may never find another job without taking a pay cut.  If you are underpaid, you’ll get a new job quickly.  That’s just a fact.

How fast will you get a new job?  No one knows.  So it is probably best to start looking while you are still employed.

Again, here is the first step to finding out how fast you can find a job.

Don’t just ask your network to help you find a job.  Ask people how long it took for folks they know to find a job.  Search for stories of quick searches and also ask for horror stories.

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Next:      Daydream

Audible

Down by 20 at halftime

Feel the fear, and¼

Signs you will be laid off or fired

My job: If I don’t die tonight

cemetery statue and cross

Are you afraid to change jobs? What if you don’t die tonight?

Are you keeping your job because you are afraid to change?  Do you hate your company but hate looking for a job more?

My wife’s best friend was having chest pains a couple of years ago.  She spent the night in the hospital’s heart treatment center.  She’s one of the nicest, busiest people I know.  Friends and family came to visit. If she dies she has nothing to worry about.  But what if she lives?

Silly question.  She’ll do great.  She is doing exactly what she likes in life.  If she had to cut back, she could.  She would still be living life to its fullest. Carpe jugulum. She grabs life by the throat and throttles every last ounce of joy and fulfillment out of it.

Do you grab life with both hands?

I’m not talking about engaging in hedonistic self destruction.  I’m talking about working at a job that is fulfilling, even if you don’t like it at times.  Do you have goals you are reaching for?  Is your life in tune with the direction you like to go?  Do you see a future?  Are you growing?

Are you keeping your current job because you don’t dare leave?  Bad idea.  Keeping your current job because you are learning is a great idea.  Keep your job because it allows you to grow even if you hate your boss, fine. If you need the money for your family and education this job can be a stepping stone.  Stay because you are getting something good out of it.

Money isn’t everything.  Two books that try to put money in the proper perspective even though they seduce you to desire more are The One Minute Millionaire and The Power of Positive Thinking.

If you live another day or another 50 years will you be happy with where you’ve gotten and where you are going?  In a year, what will you regret not starting today?

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The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. (Thoreau)

Your Workplace WMD – poison and disease attitude

 

team in gas masks with stretcher

Workplace poison emergency response team

This is about your job.

Do you know why ISIS and Al Qaeda have not used small pox, nerve gas, or sarin in an attack on the USA yet?  Because they are not as fast, painless, or sure as a car bomb….in killing the attacker. They are scared of how painful it would be for the terrorist to use those WMD’s.

Terrorists are smarter than people who are mad at their boss or a coworker. Workplace attitude poisons and diseases kill attackers more horribly and slowly than they kill their target. ISIS terrorist attackers want to die quickly and relatively painlessly so they won’t use poison and disease. People who are mad at their boss die slowly, painfully, and publicly from their own venom.  Their boss rarely suffers. The terrorists are smarter than upset workers.

Malice sucks up the greater part of her own venom, and poisons herself.  (de Montaigne)

Every day I talk to people with serious reasons to leave their jobs.  Most briefly state the problems, then go on with their job search. They are winners.  Some state the problem and then they try to poison and infect the people who contributed to the situation.  They are losers.  Examples of stupidity, gross unfairness, lawlessness and cheating are given, then repeated, then complained about. The trouble is that the attacker slowly poisons himself.  His pain is horrible to behold.

What is left is a twisted wreck of a person who is unemployable.

So what do you do?  Forgive.  Forget. Get on with your life.  The best revenge you can have is to be happy while they are miserable.  Let them wallow in depravity.  Don’t hop in the mud puddle to wrestle the pigs and expect to stay clean.  Forgive them.  Pen them up in a part of your life that is through.  Don’t talk about them.  Don’t even think about them.  Stop letting them ruin your life.

If you are still employed, you can pay them back.  Stop talking about them.  Stop worrying and fretting. It will drive them nuts when they can’t seem to get to you.  If something illegal is going on, quit now and tell the police.  Otherwise stay there, find a new job, and then leave.  They’ll hate having to replace you.  Never say an unkind word about them to anyone, just find another job, give notice and leave.  Then forget them. That is the ultimate revenge.

Something To Do Today

How To Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie can help.  It can help you get rid of anger and start living for the good things in life.

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Coming:

How to find a job at a convention

What to leave out of your resume

Persistence

Job security – what permanent means

Liars, how we catch them

On a call with a candidate I am told,  “I was fired from my last job for lying on my resume.  I put down that I had completed my degree when I was 6 credit hours short.  They caught it 6 months after they hired me.  Now what do I do?”

fraud alert road sign

We catch amazingly smooth liars.

We catch liars on a regular basis.  The most common lie is stretching a job’s hire or fire date so that there is less time between jobs.  Some people make up a job and add it to the resume.  Others remove a significant job that ended disastrously.  Education is always a tempting place to lie.  Certifications make a big difference in getting your resume past screeners, so some people lie.

So, how do we catch liars?  Often they forget they lied to us in the past and they change their lies.  We have resumes and interview notes from two decades ago in our files.  When we compare them we find discrepancies.  We also check references.  When a person talking about you comes up with a different story, we do more research.  Education and certifications are all very easy to check.

A lie is any communication given with intent to deceive. (unkn)

One other way liars are caught is by alternate references.  We network into your old companies without telling you who we are calling.  For instance, we had a candidate who said he interned with a firm that disappeared in the Enron scandals.  That job rounded out his resume nicely.  The only trouble is that the man who had been managing interns still works in this area.  He knew the candidate never worked there.  The job would have been his even without the intern experience.  That lie lost him the job.

We don’t check alternate references to catch liars.  We do it to get fresh information and to keep our networks alive. Right before writing this we checked an alternate reference from a job the person had 12 years ago. It was a great recommendation of that person.  That is what we look for.

Do liars prosper?  Sure, at times. For a while.  But something happens to them. Liars we catch usually tell us, “Everyone lies.  I just got caught.”  Over time they lose the ability to really trust others.  They lose the ability to feel when others are honest or deceptive.  In business that will eventually be fatal. Business really is built on trust. Contracts are merely to put in writing what each side already trusts the other to do.

Something To Do Today

Do you need to correct your resume?  Then do it.  Send the new one to recruiters along with a note that the last one was incorrect.  Most people are willing to let you correct a mistake, even if it was a lie.

If you have been hired based on a lie you may want to correct it now, before you get a promotion that has an automatic background check.  You can submit a corrected resume or ask your boss for help to get that certification you really don’t have. Sure, you might get fired.  What is peace of mind worth to you?

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Coming up:      Poisons

How to work a convention

What to leave out

Persistence

Forgetting to get a job – Liar research day

“Five wasted years due to a liar.  I was promised equity, part ownership, and then they sold the company without giving it to me.  I was robbed. I’ll never trust anyone again.  Now I’m in it for the money.  I’m in it for me.”

He has the skills to succeed, but who would hire him for an honest corporate level job now? He broods on wrongs done to him. His attitude and morals are shot. He is sure everyone lies and cheats. Every time he sends me a resume, it has incredible lies on it.  He only remembers the bad, never savoring the good.

Some places will hire him for sales or sales management because of an undeniable track record.  But will he cheat the customers or help them?  Will he ever be a customer centered salesman again? He will be fired soon.

I have kept in contact with him for years and he has never recovered. He refuses to move on mentally. Morally he remains disfigured, brooding, and unreliable.

The inability to forget is infinitely more devastating than the inability to remember. (Twain)

picture of hate

Grabbing offenses tightly only pushes needles through your hand.

There are a lot of people like him. I ask these scarred souls, “How soon did you figure out your boss was lying?”  Usually the answer is, “I found out 3 months (or 3 days) after I started.  But then it was too late to take another job.”  I ask, “Why didn’t you get the promises in writing?”  The answer is always, “I didn’t think I needed to.  He kept telling me he would do it.” By then you knew your boss was a liar, so you trusted him??

Time to forget that you were cheated.  You made two mistakes: 1. You decided to keep working for a liar, and 2. You decided you didn’t need promises in writing from the liar.

What you should do is learn from the two lessons above and move on.  Refuse to work for a liar again.  Get promises in writing.  And now start remembering all the good people you have known.

Good people attract good people.  You will find that people who tell the truth in business don’t mind putting their promises in writing.  As a matter of fact, they prefer putting promises in writing so that there is no dispute later about what they promised.

Now forget how you were robbed.  That was one bad boss.  No need to tell the story over and over.  Frankly forgive him.  If you are suing him, let your lawyer worry about it.  If you aren’t taking him to court, drop it completely.

Learn from your mistakes.  Continue trusting people.  Get promises in writing.  Learn the right lessons and forget the pain.  You’ll be happier.

Something To Do Today

Liar research day.  Who do you know who says they were robbed in a job or business?  Come on.  You probably know a few.  Ask them 2 1/2 questions:

  1. How soon did you figure out he was lying and why did you stick with him so long?
  2. Did you get all those promises in writing?

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Later:   I hate firefighters

Dead fish

Poisons

Liars

How to resign your job – part 2

The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn. (Russell)

bridge-512086_640-pixabay“Take this job and shove it” – can really hurt YOU

Every week I hear, “I know that candidate from a previous job.  I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole. He was not a team player.”

Sometimes that comes from the way the person left a previous team.  Often the comment arises from an incident a decade or more before the comment.  Someone burned bridges as they left a job.  They were rude, bitter, destructive or insufferable.

Your boss may be getting ready to quit too.  He could be your new boss again at your next job, or in 10 years.  A current teammate may be on your future interview team. Leaving in a professional manner makes it possible to work together with members from your old team in the future.

Professionals leave relationships intact.  I have heard it put: “Be wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove.”  Don’t let people take advantage of you, and don’t purposely hurt anyone.

We are back to the right way to quit.  Hand your boss a simple letter that states:

“I have appreciated the opportunity to work for XYZ company.  I am resigning with my last day of work on -date-.”

Then keep your mouth shut.  Say only positive things.  Never brag about where you are going.  Cooperate with your boss and coworkers.  Avoid all questions about where you are going geographically or with which company.

Be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove.

Something To Do Today

Have you got a network list?  People who you are actively cultivating to help your career should be in that network. How many of them would like to work for the same type of company you find ideal?  Count it up.  Really.  Count it up.  Doesn’t it make sense to have them as future allies?

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Tomorrow:     A successful email

Later:              The guy who invented running died

I make the milk every morning, my wife will keep me

Propagating blueberries guerilla style

Great ideas are a dime a dozen