Tag Archives: promotion

The best place to look for jobs or promotions

When I was a child I tried fishing in the water puddle in front of our house.  When the sun dried it up I could see there were no fish there.

At college I saw a video of a man fishing in one of the larger fountains there.  When people asked how the fishing was, he pulled up a nice string of large trout.  That made for interesting conversations, but no one believed him.  They could see there were no trout in that clear fountain water.

On a Scout outing John and I were lying on a creek bank and looking down into the water.  We could see 3 nice trout in the tree roots.  When a fisherman came by we asked how he was doing.  Only one fish so far.  John told the man to cast his lure at the tree root.  In a dozen casts the man caught all three fish.

To catch fish you have to cast your lure where the fish are.

This applies to new jobs and promotions

A recruiter can be that kid lying on the bank of the creek looking into the water.  He says “Cast your resume over here and you’ll get a job.”  He knows where the jobs are.

Ask your friends and acquaintances who is hiring.  They may have a good idea where to go. Look at the financial news stories and find out what industries are “going public” in the stock market.  Ask what companies are growing the fastest and look for a job in that industry.

Your mentor at work will tell you, “Volunteer for that project.  It has great visibility.  Avoid Jill Montoya, she’s poison.”  The mentor knows where the rewards and pitfalls are hidden.

Always be looking to the future.  Where are the jobs being created?  What do you need to learn to be in a high demand field?

Fish where the fish are.  You’ll have better luck.

Something to do today

Ask the people you respect most in your profession where the jobs are and where the industry is going.


Later:              Mirrored windows

What do you do while you wait to hear if you are hired?

Here in the USA we wait in lines.  We get upset when someone cuts in front.  So we wait back until it is our turn.  We don’t want to be greedy.

Tim was competing with 3 others for a promotion at EDS.  He was prepared.  He was a good choice.  He told his boss, “I do want this promotion.  It is the next step I need to take in my career.  But I don’t want you to choose me for the job if the other guys should have it.  I know it is important to them too.  I don’t want you to feel any pressure to give it to me even though I want it.”  Tim did NOT get the promotion.

Tim also waited a full year to get half of the bonus he was promised for putting in a lot of overtime on a project.  During that year he reminded his boss twice of the bonus.  Then Tim waited patiently with a smile.  Tim was a nice guy.  He was getting beaten up because he was afraid that hustling was uncouth.  Tim was politely waiting in line.

Good things come to those who wait.  But only what is left behind by those who hustle.  (Abraham Lincoln)

Let’s compare that to me.  Same area at EDS, different job.  I wanted to move to a special technical team.  There were 4 openings.  I asked my team leader and manager to help me get in.  I reminded them every few days.  I visited the manager who was leading the new group every other day.  I brought a word of cheer or another accomplishment.  He had no doubt how much I wanted the job. He got an email after every contact.  I got the job with 3 years of experience.  The other technicians were 5 to 20 years my senior.  They were well known and earned twice what I did.  I was nobody in comparison.  And I know I beat out a whole bunch of other folks who had way better credentials than me.

I waited, but I hustled while I waited. I made sure my references were checked.  I offered more proof of my accomplishments.  I never let the manager forget I wanted that job.  Towards the end he would see me in his doorway and grin, “Bryan, I haven’t made that decision yet, but I’m going to.  Don’t worry.  I know you want the job.”  But I kept coming for 3 weeks anyway.  I wanted the job more than I wanted to be polite.  I was willing to out work any of the more senior guys he could hire.  This was my only way to prove it.

There were a lot of very surprised people when I got the job.  They were obviously better than me.  But I hustled.  I made it a big deal.  I got the job.  Unfortunately there was nothing left for the others waiting in line.

Something to do today

If you are job hunting or looking for a promotion, hustle.  The job seeker who offers contagious enthusiasm often gets hired over the guy with experience.  For the job that is a quantum leap forward in your career, refuse to wait in line.  Hustle.


Later:              The 5 pound call girl

Where to fish

You can grow as a diamond in the rough job candidate

Every few years a hiker in the United States finds a large raw diamond. Usually it was carried down by glaciers from Canada when sheet ice covered the north.  A raw diamond is interesting, but not exciting.  To reach its true value that stone must be turned over to an expert.  It will have scores of facets polished into it until it catches the light and sparkles with fire.  It is the expert polishing that makes people cherish diamonds.  Diamonds in the rough don’t stay that way for long after they are discovered.

My old partner got a Thank You note from a candidate she first placed 20 years ago.  She convinced a bank to take a chance on him.  He has worked his way up the corporate ladder and gotten promotion after promotion.  He was a diamond in the rough.

At the bank he first decided to stand out less while working more.  He watched closely how others dressed and acted.  How did they succeed in the sales and politics?  Banks are calm on the outside, but full of opportunity and excitement behind the façade. Mentors appeared as he looked for them.  Some were his managers, some were higher up or lateral to him.  They gave him advice and helped him acquire polish.  Over the years he kept on polishing new shining facets into his skills and character. He learned management and leadership.  He figured out ways to fix problems instead of just endure them.  Instead of being noticed for his rough exterior, he now stands out for his ability to make things happen and his polish.

If you get a job based on being a diamond in the rough you will only progress a little if you don’t acquire some polish.  You may have to get rid of the nose stud or the blue jeans you always wear.  It may be your technical skills that need work.  Effective management and leadership abilities need training and practice.  Look for mentors, people above you who can lift you up.  Move away from the group that is stuck in a rut.  Find the stars that are rising and do what they do.  Learn constantly.

You can tell a human diamond in the rough from an average person.  If you truly are a diamond in the rough, you will embrace change.  You will actively seek polish and improvement.

About Today

This series is about what makes or breaks a job hunt.  Reality and the real world.  My list of the reasons people get a new job or struggle includes:

  1. Nothing beats a positive unstoppable Helium II attitude.
  2. People who are hurting are terrible employees and everyone knows it.
  3. You have to know your advantages and ruthlessly exploit them.
  4. The people competing against you must be known, measured, and either beaten, eliminated or enticed elsewhere.
  5. You can’t make a silk purse out of a buggy whip.
  6. You have to be worth more than you are being paid
  7. A man dying of thirst will still want a bargain on a bottle of water
  8. Perception isn’t important, it is everything
  9. Character really counts
  10. Diamonds in the rough don’t stay that way
  11. Relax and get cleat marks up your back

Think about your job search. Just think.  And then take notes about your conclusions.


For this week:     Zen and the art of getting a job

Tomorrow:           Cleat marks up your back