What are you waiting for?

I saw something really curious yesterday. Something that wouldn’t have looked out place 30 or 40 or maybe even 10 years ago, but it looked alien to me. I saw people standing in line in a bank waiting to see a teller.

teller line

I can’t remember the last time I went to a teller in a bank branch. I thought, “Don’t these people have phones? Or computers? What on earth could they be doing?”  I mean I’ve been in a branch to use the ATM or talk to one of the account representatives about their products, but stand on line to make a deposit or withdrawal or cash a check? Can’t remember the last time.

I wondered what else people are waiting for. If you’re searching for a job, have you applied online and now you’re waiting for someone to get back to you? Don’t hold your breath.

Are you toiling away at a job, crunching numbers, writing memos, and putting out fires and waiting for someone above you to notice and recognize and reward you? Not likely.

Trying to figure out how to reinvent yourself, strike out on a new career and waiting for a bolt of lightning-like inspiration? Inspiration is for amateurs as the painter Chuck Close succinctly put it.

If you want something to happen, make it happen. Get out of line.

If you’re searching for a job, get off-line and start networking. Newsflash, no one’s going to hire you just because you’ve got 1000+ connections on LinkedIn. They’ve got to meet you face to face and in the flesh. “But I hate networking!” Get over it. You’re going to have to do it so start now.

You want recognition? Make people notice you. Don’t wait to be noticed, get in management’s face. While you’re building a better mousetrap someone else, who probably doesn’t do as much good work as you, is cozying up to the boss. I know a woman who complained that her husband never bought her flowers. (Full disclosure, it was my wife.) A friend asked her, “Does he know you’d like to get flowers every now and then?” She looked stunned for a moment and that night let me know that she would. She gets them often now.

Want a new career? Doing what? You don’t know? How do you plan to find one? Are you talking to people, taking webinars, asking people if they like their jobs? Have you thought about shadowing someone in a career you think you might like?

If you want something, this is no time to be polite. Don’t waste time waiting, in line or anywhere else. It’s time to make it happen.

What are you looking at?

cell-phones

 

You walk slower when you’re looking at your phone. It’s a fact. Walking the streets of Manhattan. Trying to get across a crowded subway platform or train station. Walking down the hall in the office. You walk slower when you’re looking at your phone.

So what are you looking at? Is it really that important? And what are you missing? Who’s way are you in and who are you blocking? Who’s behind you desperately trying to get by as you meander along? FYI, I refer to people walking while staring at their phones as “meanderthals.”

Now besides slowing me down, you’re slowing yourself down as well and you’re the one missing everything going on around you. You’re not just depriving me of my cardio New York speed walk but you’re depriving yourself. But this is not just a rant about people walking while talking on their phones though I’m sure there are plenty of you who’ll chime in with your own complaints. (I’m guessing I may get more comments on this post than many others.)

Whatever’s happening on your phone (cat videos?) is probably less important than something else you can be doing. What other distractions are you looking at when you need to be focusing on the really important people or things? Don’t let yourself get slowed down by staring at the unimportant things in life. Put down your “phone,” whatever that is, and look at the sky, the beautiful buildings and where you’re going. Because you’re going to get there a lot faster if you’re not looking at all the shiny things, screens, squirrels and countless distractions today’s world throws in your path.

What are you looking at?sunsetbridge-view

stone-street

What Else Can You Do?

post-itsThis phrase has been rattling around in my brain lately. What else can you do? It may be my mantra for this year. It seems applicable to almost every situation.

You’re unhappy in your job. What else can you do? Do you need to mend relations with a manager or co-worker? What’s making you so miserable? Is it the work you do or where you do it? If you need a change, what else can you do?

If you’re a manager frustrated by the performance of a staff member, what else can you do? What have you tried to get the person to do their job better? What’s worked in the past? Can the person be trained? Do they need to be replaced? What else can you do?

You want to lose weight and every fad diet or cleanse hasn’t worked. What else can you do? Unfortunately the answer might be eating less and exercising more but I’m sure there are those who will read that and think, what else can I do?

You worry about your children, young ones or grown. What else can you do? Because take it from me, worrying doesn’t work. It doesn’t prevent the bad or create some good. It generally just gets in the way of actually coming up with a new idea. So instead of worrying, ask what else can I do? Reach out, open the lines of communication, support them and unburden yourself. Because I’ve often found that while I’m being wracked by worry about my kids they’re out having a good time.

What else can you do is the phrase that frees you from repeating the mistakes of the past. In virtually every situation above and in countless others, doing nothing is a poor or unacceptable alternative. What else can you do is the first step toward trying something else and hopefully doing something better. What else can you do reminds us that there’s always something else you can do, something else you can try. You aren’t helpless and the situation isn’t hopeless. What else can you do is saying that there is something else I can do, I just haven’t figured it out yet. But there’s something. Everything turns out okay in the end, and if it isn’t okay, it isn’t the end.

What else can you do?

If not now

 

No More Pointer

pointerIn my last post I shared that in December I injured my right index finger and it’ll be out of commission for a couple of months. Don’t ask how, it’s embarrassing. A neighbor’s six year old asked me how it happened and I told him, “Fighting a wombat.” His eyes got real big and he asked if there were wombats in our building. I told him, “Not any more.” But I digress.

Losing the use of your most important finger on your dominant hand causes one to have to find new ways to do almost everything. I rely on my right hand for a lot and my index finger more than I do the other fingers. Sort of like the manager who relies too much on one staff member and doesn’t develop the rest of the team.  I’ve had to learn how to do things with my left hand and the other fingers on my right. It’s been an annoyance and an education.

Now what about that manager who relies too much on one staff member? What happens when that person becomes injured from overwork or gets frustrated and quits? This is more than an annoyance or an inconvenience. The manager who relies too much on one superstar performer, no matter how good he or she is, and neglects developing the skills and abilities of the other fingers, I mean staff, is doing the organization a major disservice. My left hand has gotten a crash course in lifting, washing, buttoning button and many other ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living). If there are typos in this post, blame my left hand.

Leaders need to ensure that every staff person is ready to step up and do the job. Waiting until you lose your most valuable performer to start training back-ups is no way to run a business. Take it from me, Ron “Lefty” Katz.

hands

Oh, Snap!

Finger splint

Usually in December I get my wife some shiny adornment for her hand, neck or ears. This year I was the one who added a shiny new accessory. The finger splint you see above that I started wearing after I snapped the extensor tendon in my right index finger. This isn’t something I recommend under any circumstances but especially not when the windchill is about to plummet to negative numbers and the splint, besides getting very cold, prevents one from wearing gloves.

But being an optimist, I look on the bright side. I had to slow down. I was forced to rethink how I did just about everything. I’m right-hand dominant to an extreme. The only thing my left hand is good for is to keep my watch from slipping off my wrist. So I really had to think through just about everything I do. Hold a pen, type, eat, wash, all simple stuff until you try to do these things either one-handed or with a hand that’s not used to doing them. And I really had to consider what I was doing and only do that which is really important.

I’m going to be in some kind of splint for about two months at least, and that’s assuming this heals and doesn’t require surgery. It’s sometimes frustrating to not be able to do everything I want, but it’s also freeing. I’ve been doing more reading. I’ve thought more about some things I want to write and while typing is difficult, dictating is not. Technology can be a blessing in a situation like this. There’s all kinds of workarounds in life, sometimes we just need our bodies to remind us to look for them.

Focus on what’s really important and take care of yourself in 2018. You never know when something’s about to snap.

Don’t Blame Indeed!

IndeedNow every applicant knows that when an organization posts a job online they include a title, position description, required skills and then some verbiage about being an equal opportunity employer and a few words about their compensation and benefits package.

What you don’t often see are the keywords the recruiter uses to make sure that the posting winds up in the right searches done by applicants and will be used as part of the connect the dots algorithms used by their applicant tracking system to determine which resumes actually get past the ATS and into the inbox of a real live recruiter who will then spend 20 to 30 seconds scanning each resume until people are selected to be interviewed.

Some of the people with whom I’ve worked are frustrated by the job boards because they seem so indiscriminate in which jobs wind up in the person’s search. “How on earth did this nursing supervisor job show up when I’m looking for an Asset Manager position in a bank? These job boards stink! They’ll just throw anything at you and hope you’ll apply. They’re a waste of my time!”

Job search

I understand the frustration, I really do, but it’s not always the job site’s fault. People choose the keywords that will be used to make a match between posting and applicant, and sometimes this is done in a very slipshod, scattershot manner.

Below is an example of one I just found. These are the keywords that a recruiter used to attract applicants for an entry-level position in the marketing department. As you can see the recruiter included just about everything short of “must have a pulse.” They did include “Executive Vice President” and “HS graduate.” I will grant you that most EVP’s have graduated high school, but this is the reason many of your search results are filled with inappropriate postings. It’s because some recruiters aren’t doing their jobs well enough to properly serve their organizations by developing a list of keywords truly reflective of the kind of person they seek. It’s easier to just slug in this all-inclusive “must be able to enter the building without getting trapped in revolving door” list they developed and possibly use for every job they post.

The upshot is then I hear from recruiters that they aren’t getting the right stream of candidates in their pipeline and it’s so hard to fill positions. This is probably one more reason that LinkedIn is becoming so much more popular as a source.

The final irony is that the list below came from a posting from a management consulting firm. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and sit back if you plan to read through the entire list. And please share your comments, frustrations or horror stories. We need to do something to halt this spreading epidemic of sloppy recruiting.
Only the best,
RonHiringhuman resources, recruiting, entry level assistant, marketing, sales, entry level marketing, marketing management, director of sales, director of sales promos, director of sales promotions, distribution sales manager, district sales manager, field rep, sales rep, marketing rep, field representative, field sales engineer, floor supervisor, independent consultant, inside sales, inside sales rep, inside sales representative, international sales account manager, internet sales manager, major, account exec, marketing and sales account executive, marketing account manager, major account rep, major, account representative, manufacturers rep, manufacturers sales representative, market research, marketing, medical sales, merchandize manager, national account manager, national sales manager, national sales rep, national sales representative, point of sale supervisor, product sales manager, quote clerk, regional sales manager, sales & marketing, sales & marketing admin, sales & marketing administrator. sales & marketing director, sales & marketing manager, sales account manager, sales administrator, sales analyst, sales and marketing, sales and marketing admin, entry level, sales, marketing, customer service, advertising, clients, sports, , sports marketing, full time, part time, internships, interns, college, sports, restaurant, hospitality, retail, cashier, server, promotional sales, public relations, client relations, clients, advertising, restaurant, mass communications, business administration, recruiter, internships, interns, college graduates, retail, sales, promotional sales, other. marketing, events, promotions, sales, customer service, public relations, retail restaurant, account executive, account exec, account representative, account rep, account manager, account management, sales rep, sales representative, sales exec, sales executive, field sales, ad sales, marketing sales, promotional sales, publishing sales, mortgage sales, loan sales, loan officer, inside sales, outside sales, direct sales, sales professional, sales associate, telemarketing, cold caller, cold calling, salesman, saleswoman, salesperson Marketing, Promotions, Sports, , Sales, Customer Service, Public Relations, Human Resources, Entry Level, Career Builder related words: Sales, Customer Service, Manager, Management, Manage, Marketing, Management, Administrative, Administrative Assistant, Human Resources, Receptionist, Entry Level, , Customer Service, Assistant, Advertising, Supervisor, Public Relations, Office, Payroll, Admin, Training, Human Resources, Operations, Office Manager, General, Executive, Vice President, Sales, Manager, All, Recruiter, Entrepreneur, PR, P.R., Advertising, C Marketing Management, Entry Level Management, Entry-Level Management, Entry Level Sales, Entry-Level Sales, Entry Level Marketing, Entry-Level Marketing, Entry Level College Grad, Entry-Level College Grad Training, General, Sales, Manager, All, Recruiter, Entrepreneur, PR, P.R., Advertising, Inventory, Internship, Entry-Level, College Graduate, College Grad, High School Graduate, High-School Graduate, High School Grad, Marketing Management, Entry Level Management, Entry-Level Management, Entry Level Sales, Entry-Level Sales, Entry Level Marketing, Entry-Level Marketing, Entry Level College Grad, Entry-Level College Graduate Sales techniques Leading, coaching & motivating Business administration Human resource management Public relations Finance Advertising Public speaking Restaurant, retail, hotel experience, retail management, hospitality degree, hospitality experience, resort, hotel, motel management, server, hostess, host, cook, front of the house, back of the house experience, waitress, waiter, serving customers, retail sales associate, retail account manager, retail manager, retail assistant manager, hotel manager, hotel assistant manager, restaurant supervisor, restaurant assistant manager, restaurant manager, food industry, wine representative, restaurant owner, part time retail, part time hotel, valet, valet supervisor, valet manager Entry level sales Entry level sales person Entry level sales rep Outside sales Entry level outside sales rep Outside sales rep Sales and marketing Team player Sales Entry level sales and mktg Sports-oriented Help wanted New grad Part-time Full-time business experience, business administration, small business administration, degree business administration, master business administration, management business administration, business administration bachelor, office business, small business, business restaurant, marketing business, international business, business sales development, management small business, global business, business sales marketing, marketing management business, marketing business opportunity, marketing business development, marketing advertising business, business in New Jersey, New Jersey businesses, business management skills, business manager, professional development, business to business management, business development manager career, business consulting manager, management, entrepreneur, entry level management, supervisor, coach, leader, consultant, consulting for businesses, management consulting, supervising businesses, business and communication management, Customer care, sales, entry level sales, customer relations, customer acquisition, customer conversion, customer response, customer renewal, customer retention, customer research, customer response, customer effectiveness, face to face service to customers, customer satisfaction, restaurant management, restaurant service, marketing and sales, services in hospitality, customer service evaluation, customer loyalty, customer service advisor, customer service analyst, customer service associate, customer service consultant, customer relationship advisor, customer relationship management, marketing research, marketing programs, promotional marketing, marketing management, businesspeople

 

Good/Bad Thing

My old car died this summer. Over ten years old with well over 100K miles. So now I don’t have a car and that’s a bad thing.

Avalon

But it died just a few miles from home about a week before I was going to drive to a wedding a couple of states away. If this had happened while I was out on a highway hundreds of miles from home it would have been terrible. I’d have missed the wedding, would’ve had to find another way home and would’ve had to deal with a dead car in another state. So what I thought was a bad thing at first was actually a good thing.

Yesterday I cracked a tooth. This is a very bad thing, and painful.

I called my wonderful dentist and asked her office manager when I could come in. “NOW!” was the answer. My dentist was leaving for vacation for two weeks starting tomorrow. For various reasons I’d been putting off this dental work that I knew was necessary and if it had disintegrated a day later I would’ve had to go to whoever was covering for my wonderful dentist (I’ll give you her name if you need someone in NYC). So my tooth breaking on the day it did was actually a good thing.

Bad things happen. We rarely see them as the proverbial blessings in disguise. I’ve been using Zipcar and driving nice new cars instead of a bucket of bolts with almost 150 thousand miles on it. I no longer worry if the vehicle I’m in will make it back to where I started. My tooth has a temporary fix that my wonderful dentist (did I tell you she’s wonderful?) expects will hold until we can do the necessary work on my schedule.

Knee-jerk reactions to situations are often, “Why did this happen to me?” We need to learn  how to step back from our first reactions. I counsel a lot of people who’ve lost their jobs and their first reaction is usually panic, anger, depression or a pinwheel of all three. Most of the time within a few weeks these same people are saying, “This was the best thing to happen to me.” Because now they’re pursuing what they really want to do, or they’ve found a better job or they’ve just come up for air. They’ve taken the time to assess their situation, where they are in their lives and careers and made a pivot.

Give yourself the time to accurately figure out what’s really happened and then decide on a course of action. This is a skill to develop, it doesn’t just happen. It’s not a personality trait that some people are born with. Patience, paired with resilience, also known as grit (see my post of May 2016), are two of the keys to getting past clouds to the silver linings you deserve.

silver-lining

The Cost of Doing Business

Bill O'ReillyLots of people are pointing at Bill O’Reilly’s firing as a triumph against sexual harassment and discrimination against women in the workplace. I’m not so sure. For years his employer, 21st Century Fox and Fox News had quietly paid over $13 million to settle harassment suits. This was considered the cost of doing business. It was part of their culture to tolerate, condone and cover up his misdeeds and those of others.

Some say it was the women who spoke out against O’Reilly who brought him down. Others attribute the decision to the wives of the CEO’s sons who insisted O’Reilly be fired. Many people who support O’Reilly will blame and demonize the women who work there for taking down their idol and chief Fox News rainmaker. They’re wrong. Fox terminated O’Reilly because over 50 advertisers deserted his show and the network. The cost of doing business with sexual harassers just went up. When the cost got too high — and clearly $13 million wasn’t too high a threshold for Fox — that’s when they took action. This was a business decision, not an organization taking a stand against workplace harassment and discrimination.

We’ll eventually learn the true impact of O’Reilly’s exit. But I’m not holding my breath. When something like harassment, for any reason, is tolerated and accepted for so long it gets ingrained in the culture. I fear that there’ll be more polarization between groups and more distrust. Sadly, sexual harassers will take this as a signal to be even more discreet in their attempts to exert their power over others. I doubt that we’ll see a turnaround in the culture at Fox. I hope I’m wrong.

Evil-doers beware!

Lately I’ve been receiving dozens of messages that people want to join my mailing list and receive my updates and blogposts. Now while I’d love to believe that suddenly scores of people had recognized my brilliance and couldn’t go another day without hearing from me, my social media antennae told me otherwise. After investigating some of the e-mail addresses, several of which looked rather suspect, I was able to determine that many of them, probably all, came from sources of spam. Seems these evil-doers want access to my site, probably for nefarious purposes.

Rest assured that I haven’t granted access to any of the requests that I’ve received in the past few days. THIS SITE IS SAFE. And so are you. I’m going to keep somewhat quiet until this storm passes over and the situation is resolved.

If you are a real person interested in hearing more from me and you sent a legit request in the past week, please send me a personalized e-mail letting me know and I’ll be happy to add you to the distribution. But I won’t be adding any that obviously came from bots.

If only they’d use their powers for good and not evil.

Dr Evil

Focus on Ability

I can’t program. I can’t code. I’m impatient with bureaucracy and hypocrisy. I get bored doing the same thing all day everyday.

If a recruiter only looked at the things I don’t do well, I’d never get hired to do anything.

Fortunately I’ve had the good fortune to meet people who looked beyond what I couldn’t do to focus on what I could do (Thank you Pat Licata) and what I do well. EY is taking an innovative approach to filling jobs that are hard to fill by accessing a frequently overlooked group who are particularly well-suited for this function. As reported in Workforce magazine they’ve piloted the EY Neurodiversity Program in their Philadelphia office, hiring individuals with high functioning autism to fill jobs that require the ability to compile and analyze data. Focusing on a specific and possibly repetitive task would drive someone like me crazy but these individuals are particularly talented at crunching the numbers, recognizing patterns and paying close attention to detail.

By looking at what this group of talented individuals do well, they’re able to fill these jobs with employees more likely to stay in them than job hop and fill a need that others might find less fulfilling. More organizations need to follow EY’s lead and tap into a vastly underemployed  population of talented people with disabilities. The way to do this is to focus on what people can do and not what they can’t.

numbers