Tag Archives: Perseverance

The Phantom Girl Scout Networking Mistake

Last night my wife Laura got a call.  A woman called Laura’s cell phone, and Laura’s number is rarely given out.  The caller said, “I’m a Girl Scout raising money for a trip.” Laura heard something about cookies and knew that Girl Scouts don’t sell cookies in September.  The Caller-ID was blocked. The woman never identified herself. Hmm.  It sounded like a crank call or a con job.  So Laura firmly told the caller,  “Girl Scouts don’t sell cookies this time of year, I’m not interested.” Laura hung up.

A minute later Laura’s cell phone rang again with the same blocked ID.  Laura let it ring.  No reason to encourage crank calls.  When she got a voice message she listened.  An upset mother, who never identified herself, told Laura that she had no excuse to be so rude to her daughter.

So now we are trying to figure out who we offended. At this point we are not even sure cookies were mentioned.  Maybe Laura just assumed she said “cookies”.

The Job Search Application

You are a potential crank caller or con job when you call a hiring manager you don’t know.

That Girl Scout made a few critical mistakes:

  1. She didn’t identify herself
  2. She didn’t identify the person who sent her
  3. Her starting point was ambiguous
  4. She was calling at the wrong time of year
  5. She was “not human”

Number 5 is the real problem.  By having a problem with the first 4, she guaranteed that Laura did not see her as a human, but as a threat, crank call, or con artist.

When you are calling to network, be very clear who you are and who sent you.  Let the person know exactly why you are making this particular call.  Realize that they probably do not have a job for you – it is the wrong time of year.

To turn yourself into a human.  First say in 10 seconds or less you are job hunting.  Less is better. They will tell you if they have a job opening. Then give them something they can easily help you with.  Ask them to recommend a business association, certification, trade publication, online community, or to link to you in LinkedIn. Get their email so you can send them contact information in case they think of something else.

Thank them for their time and hang up.

Send them a thank you email.  Now put them on your list.  Make a few notes so that they are human to you too.  Figure out what would interest them that you can do for them every 2 to 3 weeks.  Every time they see an email or hear from you, you become more human.  Every time you help them, they want to help back.

Don’t be a Phantom Girl Scout.  Be a human.  Get them to like you and want to help you.

Job hunting or administrivia?

  1. Do it.
  2. Do it right.
  3. Do it right now.  (The 3-do’s)

One of my managers told me, “Bryan, you don’t work hard enough.  I put in 60 or 70 hours a week. Even if I’m just in here filing microfiche, I’m getting more done than you.”  I couldn’t answer him.  I was too amazed.  He took my silence for the deep pondering of a well taught student and left. I am grateful he could not read my mind.

The hardest working people I know are paid about the same as others who work steadily and put in 40 to 45 hours a week.  Both the 70 hour week and 45 hour week people are VP’s and directors. They are paid the same.

The people working seventy hours a week focus on the 3 do’s differently.  They focus on working efficiently or hard.  They want to get a lot of work done. At the end of the day they point to the fact that they did the work of 3 people in only 70 hours.

The people working 40 to 45 hours a week also focus on the 3 do’s.  But they first prioritize.  They try to avoid adminstrivia–the things we are asked to do that don’t really help.

One director I worked for said, “When my boss asks for a new report, I faithfully send it to him for 3 weeks.  It is always a masterpiece.  The fourth week I prepare it for him and don’t send it.  If he calls and asks for it I apologize and he has it in his hands in minutes. Most of the time he never asks for it.  I prepare it for a couple of more weeks just in case, then I stop entirely.”   He was one of the most highly rated directors in that company.

Now lets get something straight.  45 or 90 hours of wasted time will get you nowhere.  Solitaire, internet poker and reading the news don’t count as well spent time.  You have to be doing what’s most important for 40 hours each week to beat out the person working 70 hours.

In your job search or your job this lesson applies.  Are you only putting in the time or are you focusing?  Are you doing the hard things that will have the biggest impact, or are you spending your time in the same online job boards praying for miracles?

Do it.  Do it right.  Do it right now.  Don’t get distracted.  Focus on what is most important.  Then take some time off with your friends and family.  They’re important too.


Something To Do Today

It is time to figure out what you are doing.   Really.  Make a list of the things you do at work or in your job search each day and each week.  Think about it.  Are you consistently working on the most important stuff, or are you merely focusing on activity?

Down Syndrome vs down syndrome part 2

Understand the emotions and actions, ignore the words.

Merrilee has Down Syndrome.  At 9 years old she could read 150 words.  She understands only very simple sentences.  Yet, she is brilliant.  She understands very clearly what people are doing and feeling.  She is not distracted by their words, clothing or cars.

Job seekers with down syndrome communicate verbally and in writing much better than Merrilee.  Their down syndrome, however, makes it very difficult for them to understand, interpret and act on the emotions and actions of others.  

Attitude really is everything in job hunting.  A hiring authority told me, “I hire almost entirely on attitude.  It’s easy to train someone if they have a good attitude.”  If a job hunter has down syndrome it doesn’t matter what they know, they will be a problem employee.

Job seekers with down syndrome assume the people around them are mean spirited, harsh, cruel, difficult and/or unfeeling.  When an HR department fails to respond to their resume, they assume rudeness.  When no one gets back to them after an interview they figure the interviewer is a rude jerk.  When they are probed about why they left their last job they think it is an unnecessary mean streak. Having down syndrome causes you to find the worst no matter what happens.

When Merrilee, with Down Syndrome, is told, “No,” she understands the word.  She doesn’t understand explanations so she figures out what the other person’s real emotions are.  She understands that mostly “no” means not now.  She can feel when “no” means not for a long time.  She gets it when “no” means she could get seriously injured.  

Your job hunting will be much more successful if you focus on what people are feeling and watch what they are actually doing.  Make it a habit to never take offense.  That company may literally have 500 worthless applications for one job and cannot reply to each applicant.  Your interviewer may be impressed, but unable to hire you.  He probably told HR that you have been turned down and HR is swamped with other work so they didn’t call to let you know.

Keep trying to get into the jobs and companies you are most interested in.  This month I called a manager about a job he filled the previous month.  He said, “That job is open again.  Can you help me fill it?”  One month later someone new will be hired.  Those who already gave up are out of the running.  His previous “no” meant “not now.”

Something To Do Today

If it has been over 3 months since you talked to someone at a target company, time to get back in touch.  Things change.  Find out what is happening there today.

Down Syndrome vs down syndrome part 1

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.  (Coolidge)

My daughter Merrilee has Down Syndrome.  Her IQ is 43.  She has a lot of advantages over job seekers with down syndrome.  Job seekers with down syndrome accept what happens to them fatalistically.  My daughter with Down Syndrome got an extra half chromosome that makes it impossible for her to be fatalistic.  I’ll show you what I mean.

Merrilee loves cartoon videos.  We limit the time she spends watching them.  We lock them in the boys room so she can’t get them.  Yet she shows up with a cartoon video in her hand while I am at the computer or reading and hands it to me almost every day. 

How does she get the video?  She knows eventually one of her brothers will leave the door unlocked or the key down where she can get it.  She checks the door several times a day.  Not obsessively, just whenever she goes by their room.

She can’t talk clearly, but I know when she hands me a video that she wants me to play it.  She gives it to me when I am busy so I won’t go upstairs to lock the room.  I hand it back and say, put it on the TV stand.  She does.   10 or 20 minutes later she brings another.  This goes on until I play a video for her or put the videos away and lock the boys door.

If I tell her, “No,” she’ll be back.  If I lock the boy’s door, she’ll be back.  She is gentle and loving.  She is quietly persistent.  She is not unreasonable.  I want to help her.  She does what I ask when I tell her to put the video on the TV stand.

A job seeker with down syndrome sadly lacks Merrilee’s gentle persistence.

Be persistent.  Don’t give up on the job or promotion you want.  Figure out how to gently and kindly get your qualifications before the decision maker.  Be reasonable, persistent, helpful and kind.  Take your resume to HR every time they ask.  Ask what you can do to qualify for and get the job.  Then do what they say.  After a month or two, try again.

If you make yourself qualified and have a great attitude, eventually someone will leave the door unlocked.  Someone will quit or the department will expand.  If you are kindly persistent and not irritatingly pestilent, you’ll have a great shot at the job.

You can’t have the blessing of the extra half chromosome that Merrilee has.  However, you can develop her persistence, love and patience.


Something To Do Today

Is there a promotion you really want?  Are there companies you really want to work for?  Go to your job journal and write a plan for getting what you want by being persistent in a nice way.  Decide how often you can try again.  Set appointments on your calendar to try again.