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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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11/06/07
Overcoming Unemployment Blues
Filed under: Recent Posts
Posted by: site admin @ 12:01 pm

So, as you might recall, my last day of
work was nearly four months ago.  My
state provides some re-employment
benefits
which I am learning from.  In
a previous note, in fact, I reported about
improvements in my functional skills
resume
.  While it has not help me obtain
a position, it was a good learning
experience.

While I am searching, my habit is to try
to organize to get several identified tasks
done, if I am close to or able to get a second
item done while I am doing a primary task
I choose to do it.  So schedule to accomplish
tasks in managed bunches
.
It is a general philosophy that perhaps many
share.

So, a recent consultee PW mentioned to
me that he was going to a different “assistance”
office and had completed an online course
on Microsoft “Project”.  We talked and he
indicated that it was available to all people
enrolled in his “assistance” office.  Interesting,
so I inquired about it in the “assistance” office
where I am enrolled.  It is not offered nor
available at the current time.  Hmm, there
could be interesting things to learn.  Can I
use PW’s “assistance” office.  Sure can,
just show my card.

So I did.  I picked out 10 online courses of
interest and reviewed 5 within an hour…
Sarbannes-Oxley, Retirement Planning,
Design for six sigma (I am a BBM), negotiation
and interviewing skills.  The Interviewing
and Negotiating contained some interesting
tidbits that are covered in comments to this
blog entry.

However, the main reason for the trip was
not the ”assistance” office, but to visit with
PW.  PW mentioned in our exchanges that
if I visited his office let him know.  He wanted
to meet.  That meant to me that he needed
a visit.  We had coffee and this is where
real substantive exchanges happened.  These
are things you can’t pick up in phone and
Internet exchanges
.  

There were real confidence, bitterness to
previous employers
and story telling
weaknesses that will hinder PW in most of
his job seeking.  They “screamed out to me!”

[Now, in the following, I am going to oversimplfy
and lay out bottom lines rather than elaborate
on the full context and conversation.]

CONFIDENCE.  Speak while looking the
conversation partner in the eye.  Don’t
apologize for all the has happened or gone
wrong,  Be ready to lead or follow in conversation
with good stories that speak to “moving
forward” after being “right-sized”. 

BITTERNESS TO PREVIOUS EMPLOYER.
Let’s go through this analytically.  It is bad
if, after 6 years, you can’t have 2-3 good,
promising, productive or funny situation - good
outcome stories to tell about a company, its
customers or fellow workers.  Don’t make
anything up.

He was ”let gol”.  What is an honest description
of this?  He was “right-sized, in a totally business
decision.”  He had the skills, performed well
but had too high a salary for the tasks he
did.  While it was not pleasant, he was asked
to leave.   Many people find themselves in
this situation of little or no doing of their
own.  Accept it and move on.

Don’t harbor these feelings for long, they
burn at your heart, steal your energy and
degrade your attitude.  Move on.

STORYTELLING.  You can’t realize how
reflective of a personality our stories reveal
of us!  Whille we might just talk about a
situation in our family, if it is done
thoughtfully, it can tell bundles about your
personality.  So, I told him about how a
sour situation was turned positive by
quick thinking in an emergency.  Other
stories were exchanged about what he
liked and intriguing riddles solved.

All stories were about 1-2 minutes, but
they have a way of livening the conversation.

Even our walk to the coffee shop revealed
something.  He knew nearly where it was,
but not exactly.  So,  without hesitation,
went into a chocolateer and asked the
young owner, “where was Starbucks?”
“Two stores down,” was the response.
“Thank you.  I will be back after we are
done,” I replied as I closed the door…

2 Responses to “Overcoming Unemployment Blues”

  1. site admin Says:


    Negotiations:

    While there was a recent blog entry on this
    topic, the purpose here is to highlight a
    good online course to introduce key
    concepts.

    Note actual preparation and practice are
    essential for success.

    The course covered five main topics two
    were major. The first is common to most
    negotiation tutorials and workshops.

    (1) develop your primary and secondary
    bases.
          research your background,
          organize ideas and approach,
          develop your concessions,
          determine the necessary and sufficient
    way to close the deal when the agreement
    is reached.
    Have a win-win attitude, so that neither
    you nor your negotiating partner feels either
    has lost.

    (2) Bring mentors, lawyers, agents into your
    side of the negotiating ‘early enough in the
    game’ to influence what and how you will
    make your case.
    Have an organized plan that reveals good
    preparation. (This is not always covered
    enough in what I have seen.)
  2. site admin Says:



    Interviewing

    Telephone interview reminders
    -Create an information worksheet for
    recording each time, person and
    items of discussion.
    -Caller’s name and title
    -company name and address
    -date and time
    -telephone and email of caller
    -specific items, timelines, yours and
    other person’s action items

    Have a calendar, writing tools, that was
    resume sent, key questions you wish
    to ask, key points you wish to make
    (KPFs)

    Interview brief sheet for you to bring?
    -Who you will meet; key things to mention
    to each based on research
    -Updated resume
    -Executive briefing: paragraph long of KPF,
    acccomplishments, recent skills and
    qualifications. Valued stories reminders
    -Have 2 notebooks (one in case of
    messing up) ready to go.

    Things to prepare for “objections”

    frequent job changes: positive light– projects
    finished, company downsizing, merger, 9/11,
    whatever.

    gaps in employment history: what did you
    do in those times that was productive shows
    professionalism and indicates energy,
    passion and business savvy.

    lack of experience: skills developed on your
    own, skills honed in recent or current
    positions

    lack of education/degree: politely ask how
    a degree would help you perform and
    accomplish for the company. Show how
    your background and innate skills are
    transferrable.
    Agree to further schooling.

    salary reduction: develop other modes of
    opportunity and or compensation that
    can make the difference (vacation,
    benefits, bonus, paying taxes for
    bonus, company car, etc.)

    Too long in a company: indicate continual
    challenges, changing competition,
    professional growth, continual education,
    successful teams, KPF, how it reveals
    your commitment to a mission, cause
    customers….

    Overqualification: request clarification,
    consider “how would you like to hire
    someone who needed less time to
    come up to full speed and make
    improvements?”



    After interview review:
    objectively review your responses that might
    have put any doubt into interviews’ minds

    if yes, formulate a corrective or improved
    reply letter to correct or call in.

    update your reference network

    if decision date is reached, ask if any further
    information is needed.

    If several offers are received, after much
    consideration graciously reject while keeping
    the “door open” for the future.

    Have a written memo outlining your
    understanding of all agreements, employment
    terms and conditions.

    Work hard in first days.  First impressions
    are both lasting and used in evaluations.

    Phrases, Language and Expressions

    Urgent energy:  “that is something I would get
    right on…”

                     “I can see how important that is
    to you…”

    Convey Understanding:  “we speak the same
    language…”

    Overly defensive:  “Let me explain my reasons….”
                   
                     ” It was a mistake but let me explain….”

    Abrasive:   “I (am, was) right…”

                      “You don’t understand…”

    Dodges responsibility:  “It wasn’t my fault…”

                         “I knew nothing about it….”

    Expressions

    tilting your head to one side indicates interest
    scratching your head indicates confustion, disbelief
    lip biting signals anxiety
    chin out head up signals confidence
    narrowing eyes communicates disagreement, disapproval
    lack of eye contact suggests fear, evasiveness or lack of
       interest
    raising eyebrows suggests surprise
    peering over glasses suggests doubt or disbelief

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