How to find a job at a convention – part 1

boxing-100733_640-pixabay

How do you find boxers? Go to a boxers convention.

Why search for a job at a convention? The people who are there are real.  People who talk like you do. This old boxer puts it beautifully.

I look at ordinary people in their suits, them with no scars, and I’m different.  I don’t fit with them.  I’m where everybody’s got scar tissue on their eyes and got noses like saddles.  I go to conventions of old fighters like me and I see the scar tissue and all them flat noses and it’s beautiful.  Galento, may he rest in peace.  Giardello, LaMotta, Carmen Basilio.  What a sweetheart Basilio is.  They talk like me, like they got rocks in their throats.  Beautiful!  (Pastrano)

There are three different ways to work a convention to find a new job:

  1. Pay for yourself to go and work it for all it is worth.
  2. Go there as an exhibitor (and also find a job)
  3. Go there on your company’s dime to do research (and also find a job)

All three can be done ethically, and that’s a key.  No one is going to want to hire a louse who uses his company’s resources dishonorably to search for a job.

The freewheeling job search you can engage in when you pay for yourself contains elements beyond what is acceptable under the other two.  Tomorrow I will start discussing the details of how to find a job at a convention….ethically.

The first thing to do is to find out which conventions are the most important in your industry.  That’s easy: ask.  Ask your boss and his boss.  Call up leaders in the industry and ask which conventions have the most movers and shakers attending.  Ask experts in your field where the most dramatic new products are introduced.  If anyone asks you why the sudden interest, tell them the truth, “Learning more about our industry and competitors will help me advance my career more quickly.”

Be prepared.  Your company may offer to pay your way.  If they do, you need to be ethical about the whole process.  We’ll deal with that problem in a few days.

Something To Do Today

Make a list of the most important conventions in your field.  Find out when and where they will be held.  Check to see what an exposition hall pass costs.  Quite often it is free to visit the advertisers, but you have to pay to listen to speakers.

 

 

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

Dead fish – arsonist firefighters and job hunting

“You’ve done well on your final interview.  I was told you can expect a job offer in the next couple of days.  Congratulations.”

“Wow.  Uh, Bryan, are they doing a background check?”

“Yes. This is a bank.”

“There’s one more thing you don’t know.  I haven’t told anyone because I was afraid it would keep me from getting the job.  Three years ago I…”

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Is there a dead fish hiding in your briefcase?

Hiding a dead fish in your briefcase won’t make it smell better when you finally have to open it. We’ll talk about job hunting in a minute.  Projects are easy

Dead fish and the project arsonist

In project management hiding a serious problem will turn you into an arsonist firefighter—the guy who causes months of sleepless nights for his team.  For projects, let your boss know of the problem by asking for his help to find a solution.  If you ask early enough, he may still be able to get you training, equipment, or people to help you.

In job hunting, you need to make some choices if there are dead fish in your briefcase

You can make two mistakes.  The first is to put everything that might disqualify you on your resume.  That keeps you from being considered at all.  The second is to hide the information as long as possible. The first is like slapping someone with a dead fish instead of shaking their hand when you first meet them.  The second is like taking that dead fish and hiding it in your briefcase and putting it out in the sun.  The smell will get stronger and stronger over time.  Dead rotting fish don’t smell better after a few days.

First make sure it is a real skeleton.  Age, marital status, sex, sexual preference, and country of origin are often considered to be a problem by a job applicant when they are not.  Don’t bring them up.  They are not skeletons.

Problems that disqualify you from a job are another matter.  The only way to win with a serious problem is to find a champion.  It could be the manager who wants to hire you, the HR (Human Resources) person, or someone you know who overcame a similar problem.  You’ll have to take a risk in letting someone know during the interview.  Often your champion will be an agency recruiter.  As your champion gets to know you, he can break the bad news to the hiring team with a positive recommendation.  That may be before or after the first set of interviews.  It will never be just before a job offer is made.

Let’s face it, a disqualifying problem disqualifies you!  You are asking for an exception to be made.  If you can get someone to go to bat for you, you have a chance.  Don’t try to hide a major problem in your briefcase, hoping no one notices.  A rotting fish never smells better after a few moist days in the sun.

Something To Do Today

Are there problems you bring up in your resume?  Do you apologize for something?  Do you proudly display your age, sex, sexual preference or country of origin in your resume?  Get rid of that stuff.  It makes people worry you will be a flaming activist.

Bigger problems?  Decide how you will enlist a champion.  Will it be a recruiter or someone you know outside the interview process?  Will you recruit someone within the interview process?  You need a plan.

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Later:               Poisons

Liars

How to work a convention

How to heal a project or job search before it breaks: Dr. No

Doctor No can heal a case of pebbles. It can fix a project or job search before it breaks. How?  You make the people giving you a pebble, one more little thing to do, fix the problem they create.  They become Dr. No.

stacked rocks

Is your to-do list impossibly tall?

The team leader I disliked personally the most was a good project manager. I loved working for him. One redeeming social skill was that he knew about Dr No.  When he was asked to add just a little more to a project he would agree and then ask what he got to drop to make up for adding that little bit.  He did it religiously. He didn’t just say, “No,” he used the Doctor No approach. He asked the person adding work to heal the problem he was causing. He asked the manager, boss team leader, or project manager, “What can I now say “No” to? My team can’t do it all, so help me say “No” to another project, specification, or task. He turned the person giving him the work into Doctor No, a healer.

I hate firefighters–people who commit a project to disaster.  The most difficult problem for firefighters is to say, “NO!”  It is hard to refuse to carry a mountain as it is thrust upon you one pebble at a time by smiling friends.  Still, you MUST gently refuse the pebbles.  The best way I have found to refuse pebbles of additional work is to require the person handing you the pebble to tell you which other pebble you can drop. They become Doctor No and fix your time and resource problems.

The velvet glove on the steel fist comes in handy here. As the person trying to hand you the pebble tells you how small it is, you have to clearly tell them it will not get done unless they tell you what else to drop. When they say, “You decide,” tell them, “I won’t do your task unless YOU tell me what to drop.” If you absolutely can’t get them to let you drop something, you then decide to drop something.  Tell everyone by voice AND memo what will not get done due to the specific additional burdens placed on you by this specific person.  Then “don’t do” what you said you wouldn’t do.

Circulate a list of unfinishable projects. Put them in order of importance. Let everyone else fight for the priorities on the list. Make it clear they will probably not get done. When you or your team gets lucky and finishes something unexpectedly early, you look like a wizard.  Remember Scotty in the original Star Trek series?  That was his management style.

The best defense against the atom bomb is not to be there when it goes off. (unkn)

Does this apply to job hunting?  Absolutely.  My blog and books can give you more information on job hunting than they can possibly apply in a day, week or month.  Doctor No is about prioritizing.  If you ask me what order to do things in, I’ll tell you.  Otherwise I expect you to figure out what is most important and drop the rest. For your job search, demand that you, yourself be Dr. No.

The team leader I disliked the most personally, was the best manager, and I really appreciated it.  He could get me to go the extra mile because he used Dr. No.

Dr. No is about setting priorities.  It is a nice way to get the people overloading you to help unload some of the burden.  Turn those people into Doctor No. Let them be the healer.

Something To Do Today

Most people are afraid to try the Doctor No approach.  Try it out the first time with a smaller project, something thrust on you that really is not that significant.  Don’t say, I’ll try to get that done and then stay late to finish it.  Ask the person to help you figure out what to drop instead.  If they won’t tell you what to drop, tell them it won’t get done until they open up a hole in your schedule for you to do it.  Then don’t do it.  Your pebble pushers need to find out you are serious.

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Later:               Dead fish

Poisons

Liars

How to work a convention

The Mythical Man Month

sand sculpture of a sphinx

The mythical man month is another impossible beast.

I hate firefighters–people who commit a project to disaster.  “Leaders” sometimes think that if one woman can have a baby in 9 months, then surely 9 women can have a baby in one month. Those leaders/firefighters create career death marches for their subordinates and coworkers.  Too often they are rewarded for being able to get so many hours out of their team.

The Mythical Man Month is a great book about the fallacy that projects can be infinitely divided and finished sooner.

To increase productivity on a 2 person project by 50%, you have to add 2 more people.  Adding one more person does little.  More time is spent communicating and coordinating than the person adds to the project.

A 9 month project with 7 solid, committed, experienced programmers will take as long to complete as the same project with 25 engineers, a manager and 4 team leaders.  Why?  Because communication becomes a major burden in a large project.

One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. (Elbert Hubbard)

In any complex project, adding people in the last month rarely speeds things up.  The folks who can finish the project have to train the new people, supervise them, and check their work.  The experienced people lose all productivity and the new workers are marginal no matter how strong their background.

In your job do you know how people really work together?  Do you know the cost to productivity of adding more people to a project?

For your job search

Are you making your job search more complicated than it needs to be?  Are you dooming your search with lots of undirected activity?

Are you spreading your search efforts so broadly that you are depending on luck?  Contacting 500 recruiters is rarely as productive as closely working with one or two or ten.  Spamming 1000 companies is not as effective as calling 10 managers who may be able to use you or refer you.  Networking with 5 CEO’s or Directors beats lunch with 50 production line workers.

What really gets more done?

Something To Do Today

Find a copy of The Mythical Man Month.  It is a classic.

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More firefighting problems:    The Elmer Fudd job hunt

Doctor No

Dead fish

Poisons

Liars

The incredible strength of weak connections

And later:        How to work a convention

I hate (certain) firefighters

“Jim barely went home for the last two weeks.  He saved the Membership Project.  Our customer was screaming because of the implementation problems.  We are giving Jim a bonus and a week of vacation for his efforts.”

Jim is a firefighter and an arsonist.  He led a project down the path of failure.  When his inept leadership nearly sank the whole division, the manager two levels above him stepped in and salvaged the project at implementation.  Jim worked like crazy.  His whole team did.  It really bothers me when guys like that get praised and rewarded. In some companies that is the culture.

I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to die in a fire of suspicious origin. (unkn)

picture of matches catching fire

One man’s job arson causes a whole team to burn.

Has an emergency caused you to work nights and weekends?  Did a job you were the finalist for disappear because of a disaster? Was it filled by a firefighter who is an arsonist?  Do your bosses know the arson root of a lot of job fires?

Root causes of job arson are going to be a continuing subject for a few days.  Career building and job hunting both have firefighters who are also arsonists.  Don’t think you are safe because you are job hunting.  It’s amazing how many job hunters destroy their own chances of success.

 Something To Do Today

Make a list of the times you have had to work late and on weekends due to unforeseen problems or disasters.  There is probably an arsonist somewhere.  Who is it?  Make a list of arsonists.

The list you are making may help your career and your job hunting.  It can help you see how you aid and abet arsonists.  That tendency may be why you have missed more than one job or career opportunity.

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Job arson examples:      The Mythical Man Month

Doctor No

Dead fish

Poisons

Liars

And later:    How to work a convention

15 ways to blow your job interview subliminally

No one will know for sure why you were turned down, but you will be out of the running for a job because of these 15 interview mistakes.

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

Resume rewrite – changing fields with old experience

Rewriting a resume so that it gets results, instead of getting deleted, is an art.  Here is a 15 minute video of taking a resume for someone changing fields, with ancient experience, and a good attitude, and making the resume into an attention grabber with no visual negatives.

It ends a little abruptly, but all the changes are made and you just missed my final 15 seconds bragging about how good it looks.