Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Executive Search: You Can't Win If You Don't Play

There is a guy I "know" but have never met named John Reinke. Actually John's "real" name is Ferdinand, but he goes by John. When I say I "know" John, it is because of the degree to which we have communicated over the years, which is to say frequently. He has been a member of ExecuNet since 1993. To say that John "gets it" when it comes to managing an executive job search and understanding what real networking is all about would be an understatement. While he is currently working for one of the big ISP's, he remains the personification of someone who is happy to share both information and advice, and he has lots of both. Both of these characteristics make him a role model for effective networking.

Not only does he post leads (he's an IT guru) in our Executive Forum all the time, but virtually daily he sends out emails to his networking list (which he lovingly refers to as his "turkeys") that is crammed full of advice given in words of one syllable.

I got one recently that I thought was especially meaningful because of the degree to which many of us rationalize and procrastinate when it comes to exposing ourselves to the real world. I asked John if I could share it, and no surprise, he said sure. For anyone who is reading this and is in the middle of job search, take note:

I'm working this weekend on a big conversion here at the bog C. I tell you this to encourage you to work on your job search. It's easy to goof off during the summer (all the decision makers are on vacation). Just as it is easy to goof off during the winter holidays (all the decision makers are celebrating from the next to last week in November until mid-January). Just as it is easy to goof off in the spring (All the decision makers are off opening up their summer homes). Just as it easy to goof off in the fall (all those decision makers are helping get their kids ready to go back to school). WHO-HEeeey! How do I get to be one of them thar decision makers? They sure have a lot of time off. When I was making decisions I worked a lot harder than that. Maybe that's what I did wrong? Ok, I'll be your personal Ebenezer, to you as Bob Cratchet. "No, Bob, no more coal for the fire. Coal cost money." Yup, get busy and get off my Turkey list and you won't get any more "motivational" messages. Now what better motivation is that?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Let's Hear It For The Activists

I actually can’t recall when I first met Pete Weddle which is either yet another sign of my senior citizenship status or simply evidence of the fact that I have known and respected him for a long time. I think I’ll opt for the latter.

Over the years, as an organization, we have been fortunate to have had Pete as a speaker at our networking meetings in and around the NY metro area as well as being able to treat our members to his insights via webinars, but what caught my attention this time around was one of his newsletters that arrived the other day which featured an article entitled: Why You Need to Be a Career Activist.

In reading this piece, it reminded me of not only how well he writes, but also why he deserves the reputation he has as an expert on the world of online recruiting for executives at all levels, be they passive candidates or out there fighting the battle of job search in the 21st century, as well as the solid advice he has for his readers on the smart way to manage their own careers.

In the article, Weddle makes some really important points about how today’s workforce really needs to understand that since the “loyalty” myth has long since evaporated and that in today’s world “you owe your employer performance, not permanence.” From a career development perspective, “your goal is to perfect what you can do at work, and your career is your personal quest to achieve that end.”

Pete goes on to say “Your supercharged performance on-the-job is your best insurance in the demanding, ever changing business landscape of the 21st Century. In good times, it will increase the paycheck and satisfaction you bring home from work. In hard times, it will enable you to land on your feet. It won’t prevent you from being laid off, but it will prevent a lay-off from derailing your career.”

As I read this, I kept saying to myself, why don’t more of us “get it”? It doesn’t seem like it is a concept that is all that hard to understand. When I talked to my partner Mark about it, he reminded me, as he often does, that maybe more people get it than I might think. He pointed out to me that 65% of our membership is made up of people who are currently employed whereas when we started way back in 1988 everyone who came to us arrived only after they had lost their jobs. I had to admit he had a pretty good point.

We have been pounding the drum for so long about how critical it is for executives to be proactive about managing their careers and yet it still feels like I constantly hear from members who tell me that it wasn’t until they faced the crisis of losing their job that they decided to “do something about it.” It makes me wonder if anyone is listening.

Reading what Pete had to say, as well as hearing Mark’s stats, made me feel that maybe more people may understand the issue than I realize, and that I just have a tendency to lose perspective when I get tied up in the day-to-day. Knowing me, that is probably true. Sometimes I can’t even remember if I’ve had lunch, but when I see people like Weddle pounding the same drum as we do, it feels good.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Love Those Brits!

Has anybody out there discovered Martin Lukes, Chief Personal Ethics Champion aka Those who are steady readers of the Financial Times probably instantly recognize this email address, but at the risk of exposing, yet once again, my lack of intellectual capital, I have to confess that I am not a daily reader of this outstanding paper. It is all I can do to look at the WSJ for a few minutes. In any event, I was introduced to Martin Lukes by a colleague in the office, Lauryn Franzoni, who is indeed not only a subscriber to the paper, but also reads it on a daily basis.

Anyway, it is one of the funniest satires I have seen in years, and while it follows a "soap opera like" story line, you can drop in on it at any time because the writing is so good and so funny that even though you may not know who some of the characters are right away, Martin's style and typical British humor just pull you in immediately anyway.

Aside from the humor, it also will help you to improve your British vocabulary and you can learn the translation of terms like: "cavorting starkers", "deep dive", and "brain-bang."

If you were ever a fan of Are You Being Served, Faulty Towers, Black Adder, or some of the other British sitcoms then you should check this out. I think it runs on Thursdays.