Saturday, February 28, 2015

We interrupt this program....

I know, you were looking for more assistance and you do not understand this interruption.  Well, stay tuned, this is extremely important:

                                      THE PARABLE OF THE ENGLISH FOX HUNT

I trust you have heard of them.  The "upper class" among the so-called elite, often gather together for a fox hunt and without any thought to the major expenses involved, they purchase the best horses, employ the most successful riders and make certain their dogs are trained by the finest trainers available in all of England.  The date for the hunt is established, the prize turns out to be a record high and everyone in all of England awaits the outcome.  Especially those who have invested the most money.  Little do they know of the efforts of those who are least prepared to win the race without all of the other, extensive expenses involved.

The date arrives and has finally come to be.  The horses are well groomed, the riders look immaculate in their fancied up, but official uniforms while the families of the investors are eager to discover which dog will win and how large the final purse will be.

Little do any of them know of the unscrupulous competition that is about to be unleashed.

As the fox is loosed and the horses are freed to chase, the race is on.

About a hundred yards from the start, just out of sight of the audience, a rabbit is loosed and crosses the path of the dogs.  Dogs being dogs, about a third of them, sense that smell and stop chasing the fox and set out after the less craftier and easier prey and their part in the ultimate race is over.

Another hundred yards along the path being set by the fox, another rabbit is loosed and another third of the dogs give up that chase and head for that other rabbit and eventually are also lost to the race.

Further along, another rabbit is loosed and now half of the dogs remaining are out of the ultimate race.

And finally, the slowest dog in the race stumbles upon the weary fox and is declared the winner.

And so it goes, too often in life as we know it.

A bright young student in high school or college is being applauded for his efforts and the grades he has amassed and everyone predicts great things, based on what has been seen, so far.  Few however know of the highly educated, beautiful young girl who has captured his heart and in the process of conveying their love, she becomes pregnant and there are problems.  So now, he turns down the lucrative job in another city and takes a job at Wal-Mart so he could be closer to his family.  There are new complications to follow and so it goes, he continues in mediocre jobs, trying to keep the family together, never realizing the predictions that others held for the two of them.

And there was a bright young woman who graduated at the top of her class in Nursing school and was highly recruited by some of the most successful hospitals in the nation, but rejected all of them to join a medical missionary group in Africa.  While it was an exciting experience and she expected to stay with them as a career, she contracted a mysterious new malady that was unknown to the science of her day.  Rather than achieving her goals and those of her loving family at home, she returned to the States and remained, a specimen for the efforts of others to discover the source of her disease.

Fictitious examples, of course, but similar situations occur in every city and town across our great nations, virtually every day, to people whose dreams of success often fall prey to the unforeseen events in our daily lives.

"I didn't know she not going to stop, so I continued to turn, and now I will be spending the rest of my life in this wheel chair," he told me.  "OK, I replied, "so let's see what we can do about creating a career for you that centers on your situation."  Another piece of fiction, to be certain, but the question remains, what we can do for you, the reader, and others in need of the assistance we have to offer?

Or will you let it pass and remain with those who believe so ardently in themselves that they will join the ranks of those who agree with Humpty Dumpty, who was said to proclaim:  "We are the masters of the moment, and not only at the moment, but for a very long time."  (709-27, DoQ)  As I recall, as the story goes, "All the King's horses and all the King's men, couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

How to locate "your" job - phase four

You cannot possibly imagine how many times I go over each page to correct my many errors, and so I opened for this entry and discover "jon" instead of job.  I trust you have already forgiven me.

Yesterday, well, earlier today, we were talking about preparing for the opportunities you will discover in the future.  Now, we need to examine how you have prepared yourself for the future.  I hope you were serious about examining your relationships with others as you were growing up.  For most of us, it could have saved us years of fumbling abound trying to find the reasons we were not being as successful as we were trying to become.

In my case, for example, I never really knew my Father, but I had heard he was a very successful sales person.  After graduating from college and discovering that opportunities in the Personnel area were few and far between, I tried Marketing as a potential career and started hating it within weeks of
being on my first job.  I had been used to a military environment where everyone was expected to be on time, on cue and ready for anything that happened on our "watch".  If you "goofed" up, you received a reprimand and more often that not, it was officially recorded.  That meant that the promotion you had expected was going to be delayed.  I excelled in staying out of trouble, performed on the job as my predecessor had taught me and as a result, was promoted rapidly.  Now, in the "marketing" office, the norm seemed to be, if you made a mistake, you lied your way past being held responsible.  I hated it and quit before my attitude got me in trouble.

I tried sales, my friends suggested that I was a "natural" but I would discover that I literally hated to call on potential customers, even though I was well prepared to talk about our products, I hated trying to start a conversation with people I did not know.  As soon as they assigned me to a territory where I was calling on former customers, I began to excel.  But those earlier failures lingered in my mind and when I began to believe I was not as competent as others, I quit.

I struggled with that attitude for a year or so when I came across a guy who was selling "enthusiasm" like it was a commodity and I bought into his philosophy of life - and sales, like a hungry dog chewing on a brand new bone.  Selling became as natural to me as tying my shoes laces in the morning.  It literally changed my life.

That is why I became successful as a employment counselor.  I discovered how needy people were as they tried to explain the circumstances that led them to our offices.  Some of my applicants were as competent in the skills they had to offer as any I had ever seen, but trying to convince them of that was like pulling teeth with tweezers.  It didn't work.  One Saturday morning I was in the office when three beautiful young women asked if we were open for business and I was not about to tell them that we were not.  Each had a resume and it was apparent that their clerical skills were way above average.  I called the office of one of the companies we dealt with regularly and happened to catch one of their executives at work.  He gave me the home phone number of their Personnel Manager and after I told him of the skills, he told me that if their skills were as good as I had relayed to him, he would probably hire all three.  And he did.  I didn't have to sell them on the potential involved in the opportunities they were about to receive.  They came, expecting to get hired on a Saturday morning. 

I say all of the above because I often got the impression that applicants felt they were not worthy of the values you placed in them as competent workers.  Far too often they failed at jobs where they were more far more competent than their confidence.  I came to the conclusion that this attitude began long before they walked into our offices.  Unfortunately, I did not take time to examine my own theories.

Years later, I came to a situation in my own life where it seemed that everything I thought I was really working, turned out to be little more than a complete waste of my time.  My marriage came to an end and I realized I was losing the greatest opportunity in my life I had ever experienced when it seemed, my beloved children were turned against me.  It seemed I had no other alternative, I returned to the faith that had once been a essential part of my life.

Regardless of the faith you have accepted for yourself, we all need to realize our birth was far more important than the result of our parents expressing their love for each other.  Even though we might have born to parents who were not married to one another, we entered this world on purpose. The fact is, our lives were known long before we learned how to walk and talk.  We were loved at the moment of conception.  We have been loved continually right up until the moment you chose to read these words.   We will be loved until we both have passed away.

I am not talking about the kind of love that you read about in books, or watch in movies, or on TV, or perhaps, learn about in churches or synagogues.  I am not talking about a religion,  I am talking about the fact that we are born so that we might make this planet all that it was meant to be from the very beginning.  While I do have a personal faith, it is not created out of man made rules, the kinds that have continued to fail us, almost from the beginning.

That is why I am confident in my belief that as I have aged, I have come to realize the errors of my ways and that now, I am in a position to offer help to others, the kinds of help that I could have used myself along the way.  To understand what this might mean to you, in your life, tomorrow, you need only to drop me a line at -

Oh yes, I'll be here on Saturday..... 

How to locate "your" jon - phase four

Now that we have talked about the "no-essentials" (but often, extremely important) aspects of a job search, let's get involved with making certain you land the opportunity that is best suited for you.

Understand, I have no idea of your background or your work experience, but having dealt with many hundreds of job seekers over the years, I have developed my own system that has worked well for most of those who are really serious about there future.  I trust that you are.  If you are - in fact, serious, I will expect to see a resume or a reasonable facsimile in my mail box in the next couple of days ( 

Let's start with an honest answer to the question:  "How did you get where you are today, vocationally speaking?

For me to be honest, I will tell you that far too may of the people I have interviewed over the years have literally stumbled onto the direction of their careers.  If they graduated from college, they started on a job for which their studies and training had prepared them.  Unfortunately, only a few of them had seriously considered their future; most, in fact, many had trusted their employer to provide a proven track leading to retirement.  That might have worked for their parents, but this generation is facing a far different future.  And I must add, a future that contains far more promise than was available in former years.  Do I need to repeat that claim?  I am not using a crystal ball, I am telling it like it is.  I left after nearly seven years in the USAF, almost all of which was involved in personnel affairs, obtained a college degree in Business Administration, and the only job I could find in the city of Atlanta, GA in Personnel, was a clerks job that any high school graduate could have handled.  The other day I took a close look at the corporate structures in Nashville, TN, and estimated there had to be thousands of the jobs I would have been qualified for in my day.

You read the newspapers in any major city and you will find hundreds upon hundreds of potential job openings, yet if you read the business pages, you are likely to find articles suggesting the un-employment rate is surpassing previous estimates.  They are suggesting "bad" times ahead, while ignoring the fact that the Stock Market is at or approaching an all time high.  Yes, I know the Stock Market is not a accurate gauge of our economy, but try to tell that to the average person going to and from their place of employment.  The truth is, we allow the media to control our emotions and never stop to realize, statistics have very little or nothing to do with our career advancement.

That depends primarily upon your attitude and mine.  Here is the most important fact.  If you are not paying close attention to your skills, and your employer's appreciation of your effort, you may fall prey to those business page predictions.

Far too many people prefer to think of that vacation in the Bahamas they plan to take next year without a thought to the path they have chosen to provide for their future.  They seldom if ever pay that much attention to the lives of those with similar skills working in the same work environment who are more intent on advancing their careers by enhancing their educational credentials.

In my day, we had confidence in our governing authorities while the media in our day appear to believe that the behavior of our elected officials is far more important than the efforts that most make to create a more perfect society and more equitable distribution of the wealth in the nation. The ones that are behind our headlines and the spots on prime time TV, more often talk about the problems happening elsewhere, rather than dealing, effectively with the inequities here at home.

You may think I digress and I have, only to point to the fact that we seem to be prone to fret more about the so-called "big" problems, while ignoring the necessity to deal with issues like our bank accounts and much more importantly, our paychecks.

They - those others in the news, have little or nothing to say about your financial future as it all depends on how we deal with the opportunities that are everywhere these days. 

So, it is time for you and I to take a inventory of the skills we possess and those we have ignored and examine the possibilities of those we might obtain by a few days in the classroom.  Actually, you can learn a lot by just taking advantage of the programs one can discover on our TV sets.

You can do it two ways; one, by initiating your own search or we can talk about the possibilities that may have escaped your attention.

But for now, you need to take inventory of where you are, today, and where you would like to in two or three years.  Start with your assets, all of them.  Write them down and re-examine them, over and over again.  You will discover some that you need to discard and others that you need to pay closer attention to.

So, now is the time, this is the day, to get started.  What say you?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How to locate "your" job - phase three

Oh yes, resumes.  I promised, I know.  But the whole truth is, I hate resumes.  I love re-caps, just a list of the more important jobs/positions you have had (or held) - so the reader can get an idea of your value to his or her firm.  And it is, or they are, to be attached to a powerful letter explaining why you should be considered for the position and an indication as to how you knew the position was available.  It may not happen.  It may be that you only think a person with your talents should be employed by an organization like the one the person represents.  ALWAYS, as in all ways, send such letters addressed to a person, some one you have learned through your research, occupies a responsible position in the organization.  Envelopes and letters that are not personalized are a total waste of the limited time you invested in the process.

Why do I hate resumes.  In the companies I have worked with in the past, most of them filed - and forgot about, hundreds of resumes, taking up space for no better reason that the "boss" wanted others to know how busy we were.  My opinion, filing resumes does very little to increase revenue.  One of the many youngsters I hired to "file" resumes came up with a brilliant idea; "Don't file them alphabetically, but file them according to the applicant's primary skill, alphabetically of course".  She did not last long.  I found her a better job, using her brains rather than her physique which was quite obviously, the reason she had been hired.

Which brings me to an important part of dealing with resumes (IMO*), never, as in not ever, attach your picture unless the enterprise to which you are sending your resume, is specifically looking for beautiful people.  A word of caution, firms that hire on the basis of the applicant's good looks will continue looking for someone more beautiful than you.   Remember, looking for opportunities in the glamour business is an entirely different process. 

However, there is a much better way of using your photogenic talents.  One of my applicants tried the following idea and wound up with an even better offer than the one he was seeking, originally.  He recalled pictures that had been taken of new machinery being installed by his former employers, two of which had shown him as an operator.  So he went to the newspaper that published them.  They provided him with copies of the pictures and he turned them into an advertisement for the company and sent copies to his prospective employer, one to the HR department and another to the attention of the person who would be making the decision as to who would be hired.  The cover letter included the thought, "... this would be another good reason to hire John Doe" (obviously, not his real name).

For many, submitting resumes is a waste of time and a costly process.  I tend to agree as your resume might be evaluated against dozens of others, many of whom are just looking for a job.  If that is all you are doing, be prepared for the proverbial "long day's night."  Of course, the best alternative to waiting on possibilities is to take a lesser paying job locally so that you are not using up your hard earned savings.  Yes, I know, that might make you ineligible for un-employment benefits. but being out of work might seriously effect the possibilities of maintaining a career in the areas in which you are best qualified.  Hiring managers are a strange breed.  They look for perfect resumes.  Your task always, is to make their day easier, so don't clutter up your resume with data they cannot use. Remember, the task of hiring people is not a career field.  They excel at what they are doing so that their boss will get them back to what they were doing, or could do better.  Remember also, hiring people is not the best way for an enterprise to increase earnings.  One of my friends who wound up in as the "go to" guy with regard to available job openings, related it to the guy they hire to shovel away the snow in the winter.

At all times, think.  Seriously, consistently, especially as you see the sun rise in your rear view mirror as you drive to work.  That is where you will find what we once knew as "Careers".  Today, you are hired to make a difference and if you can't prove that is what you are doing, be prepared to dust off the resume you used to use and prepare a new one.

Oh yes, IMO"?  "In my opinion,,," and I hope you realize that all of what I am writing is my opinion, based in the decades I have worked, always wearing a bridle in my mouth.  You know the saying, "It happens."  All I am doing is using the shovel I used to earn my way from day to day.  It is a good life, much better than taking up space in a cemetery plot.

Tomorrow, we'll talk about research.  That is where the fun begins. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How to locate "your" job - phase two

OK, so now you have a stack of cards or a list of names - your choice, and we need to evaluate what you have at hand.  You may be surprised.  

The first cards of importance are those that have the names of your immediate family.  They are the loved ones who were going to head you in the right direction and for years they would not even think about a vocation for you.  However, they will probably think of "jobs" for you.  As you started school, you probably noticed that they were now asking you to make up your bed, put your dirty clothes in the proper hamper and get dressed by yourself.  Up until then, unless you have a lot of others in the house, Mother (or Dad) have been cleaning up after you.  Now, it was your job,   Your first job and now was the time you started thinking about how you might like being "bossed" for a living.  Much like your parents, probably, your first supervisors expected you to listen carefully and to do what you are told to do.  That is why, if your parents recall their own experiences, they reminded you of why it was important to carry out your assignments - at home and later, as you start working for a living,

You may have had siblings to consider.  The older ones may even have given you a hard time when you started on your new routine and the younger ones may even have thought they are being left out. The more opportunities you had to learn about your responsibilities as a "fellow" worker, the better off you will become in the future.  Sometimes, depending on the environment, it wasn't easy but you began to realize, it wasn't going to be any easier. You were learning how to think seriously how to work. When your "bosses" were your parents, they probably made it easier for you, but the sooner you learn how to carry out your responsibilities in the home, the easier it becomes in the future.

Those are some of the foundation moments in our lives that we often overlook in establishing a career, but they are important if you really care about your future.  The fact that you may have resented helping your parents often carries over in attitudes towards a new employer and other employees.  Examining how they started out makes it easier for all of us to correct our personality flaws. And cheaper.  If you ever have an employer suggest you see a Psychiatrist to help you become a more productive employee, those are some of your earlier experiences they will want to investigate.

We all have certain personality traits and most of them started in the home or one's early educational experiences.  Examining them early on eliminates the embarrassment of having them exposed in the workplace.  For example, my own earlier experiences in marketing revealed traits that I had developed as a child where I tended to be afraid to make decisions on my own because I had no one in my family to teach me.  We all tend to have them and experienced interviewers look for specific instances as he or she is searching for the best possible candidate to recommend for a job.

That is why it is important to look into the lives of our families, friends and associates so that we understand where our own personal tendencies started and wherever appropriate, to correct them.

It is also important to know the names of previous co-workers and supervisors so that in referring to previous employment experiences, you make it known that you are willing to give credit to others for your success.  When you are leaving one employer in search of a greater opportunity for personal advancement in your career, you really do need to know such names as they will confirm your best intentions.  The problem that we face in growing older is that we tend to forget names and experiences that, if known, often solidify the chances of being hired by others. 

The key to getting hired by any company can be traced to the Boy Scout's motto, be prepared.

Your next step in finding employment opportunities will be found in the cards you have prepared for the adults and older school friends you have known.  As soon as you are prepared to actively search for employment, you need to be renewing such friendships.  You call them up to remind them of your previous relationship and let them know you are actively looking for opportunities, by first, asking them about their own.  Don't specifically ask about possible job openings.  Inquire about the potential for advancement with their employer or others they might know about.  If they suggest that there are real possibilities where they are employed, ask for the appropriate person in Human Resources for you to contact.

If you are successful in obtaining a name, make certain your cover letter transmitting your resume refers to your friend's name by letting then know how pleased  your friend is in his/her job.

So now, let's talk about resumes, tomorrow.

How to locate "your" job - phase one

Hopefully, you are beginning to wonder where is this leading you to?  Good question.  For your best answer, examine the fact that you live in a nation of 230+ million others, almost half of whom are in competition with you - searching for their best opportunity to earn a living as well.  All you have to realize is the fact you are on your own dedicated path   Do not let the opinions of others detract you.

By now, you have a group of 4x6 cards (or your own system) with the names of those closest to you as children, posted as well with your own personal evaluation of their qualities.  Now, take a second look at each one.  Make certain you have entered legitimate responses.  They must be completely honest as far as you are concerned.  Take whatever time it takes to make certain you have an accurate assessment.  These are the key factors in your search, because they represent YOU as YOU start YOUR search.  Anything less and you can be certain, you are starting along the wrong path. 

Let's go back to your circles.  Now, consider the children you met in your first eight years of your educational process, and post the names of those you met in school and in the school activities you participated in outside of your attendance in class.  In your next circle, list the names of the teachers you remember and on the cards you will prepare for each of them, list the qualities that you can recall from the experiences that led you to remember their names.  Next circle will contain the names of the other adults remembered from these years and on your card, the qualities that you can recall. Now, recall the children from your first eight years as you played in your neighborhoods or met in church and other outside activities. Of course, create a card for each one and list the qualities you can recall.

Moving on, reserve a circle for each of your high school years, add the names of the students you met and others you can recall, as well as the teachers and instructors and list their qualities in the system you have created - either on 4x6 cards or the record you have fashioned for yourself.

The next circle is for the names of the people you recall from those years who you met outside of school and its related activities.  Possibilities could include the person who delivered your mail, the store clerks you met along the way, the police, firemen or other public figures.  List their names (if you can recall them) and again, the qualities you remember.

Now, we move on to your college years and again one circle for each of those years and a card to note the qualities in each of the individuals you recall, including teachers. assistants and others you have met along the way.  If you have not attended college, then use the next circles to list the people you met and remember from jobs you may have worked at and of course, the qualities you noticed in each.

Throughout this practice, I have to assume you have only listed positive qualities.  If you did not recall any, but recall their names, list the positive reasons that caused you to remember them.

Maybe you need an explanation for this process.  We all start with the genetic factors inherited from our parents.  Then, in our own fashion, we modify each.  The way you walk and talk, the way you listen, the anger you create when you do not get your way, your attitude when you start your day, etc., etc.  In my own life, I was raised on a farm and when I was able, I was expected to get up and help milk the cows.  That meant I had started each day by 5:30AM and eighty-five years later, I am still awakened at that hour.  It does't mean I have to get up, and since there are no cows to milk, I just roll over and go back to sleep.  The fact is, for many, the habits they experienced as youngsters often go to the grave with the one who created them.

That was certainly true with my ow life.  I was sent to the farm  to live with my grandparents as my own parents had a new baby, my sister, and it was the "Great Depression" years and, apparently, they could not afford another mouth to feed.  I would live with my grandparents until I was old enough to quit school and join the USAF.  Along the way, my father died and I was not told about it, nor the illness that caused his death.  My mother was a beautiful lady and had lots of boyfriends, but I had no father and I was angry.  It took me years to get over it.  All the while, I had a grandfather who was - in fact, a GREAT grandfather and a loving grandmother.  I was blessed and had no idea of just how blessed I was.

My experience has taught me that life is a process, everything beyond those factors we inherited at birth, is a process and we are in control.  We do not have to act out as adults just because that was what we practiced as a child.  The gray matter between our ears is always on the alert, able to facilitate the changes we earnestly seek.  Now, many will claim that physical infirmities place limits on what we can or cannot do, but modern science has almost eliminated this thought.  For proof, consider how we have treated our wounded veterans injured on our battlefields.

Today, I have a best friend, born some seventy years ago, his body affected by cerebral palsy, and he married a lady with the same infirmities and lives with his brother-in-law with the same limitations. In  spite of all of this, he is the most truly positive thinker I have ever known and I have known many you would know if I mentioned their names.  His secret?  Very simple.  He lives each and every day with a honest concern for his limitations and an awareness of all that life has to offer.  I have known many able bodied others and none that I know of,  live in the reality he has created for himself.

So, you might ask, why do so relatively few excel while some others seem to be born with the proverbial "silver spoon in their mouth"?  You are about to learn why.  Stay tuned. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

How to locate "your" job - phase one

The reason I talked so much about myself yesterday in the previous two segments was to let you know that what follows is not a figment of my imagination.  I have read most of the books on the subject and have listened to more tapes that I care to remember.  Reflecting on life as it was fifty years ago when I was paying closer attention to who hires and when, I realize now that I was missing the most important phase in the process.  From my perspective at the time, it really boiled down to who hired who and when.  In those days, the hiring process were mostly "hit and miss" with the companies I dealt with.  As an old friend used to say, ..."if you could walk straight and did not chew gum, your chances of being hired were good."  He was wrong of course, but the prevailing counsel in those days was not much better. Then, testing job candidates became the rage and about all they did was weed out the better qualified candidates,

It was then that I got involved with the motivational "hucksters" and wound up with more tapes and albums than I cared to admit.  I began to realize that while they were typically impressing folks with an interest in their future, their techniques were generally ignored by those who signed off on the job offers.

When I got tired of going home frustrated, day after day, I decided to seek other opportunities.

That led to a few years, doing whatever I wanted to do as long as I got paid by the week and in the process I discovered the missing ingredient in most hiring interviews and eventually the real reason that most people do not work at the optimum level they were created to achieve. 

It all starts long before a person fills out his or her first job application.

You may have heard the expression, most people waste away their lives going around in circles.  That is partially correct.  They never discover the opportunities for which they were created because they have wasted away their lives in what we used to call - "fool's errands".

Let's put this new and improved use of circles in writing to work and demonstrate how it will work - for you!. Find a few sheets of blank paper and an instrument that will help you draw concentric circles, each one about a inch larger that the first.  In the middle of the first circle, write your name. In the next circle, write down the names of your parents; mother, father, step father, step mother, etc.  

In the next circle, write down the names of brothers, sisters, step brothers, etc. The next will be reserved for aunts, uncles, both those who were around when you were born or those added to the family later on. In the next, write in the names of people you knew personally at the religious organization(s) you attended as a young child.  The next circle will contain the names of the youngsters you played with as a child.  The next should be reserved for the names of their parents or guardians that you knew personally.  We'll get back to the circles in a few minutes.

You can discuss this with your parents if you wish, but all the information you are about to collect should be considered strictly "don't touch" personal  This is very important.

For the next step, I suggest using 4x6 lined file cards or, if you are more of a whiz at computers than I am AND your computer is secured so that others cannot review it, that ought to work.

On each card, write down one of the names you have listed in the circles and create two columns. For you parents and siblings, in one column list their qualities that you have most admired about them and in the other, the problems you may have experienced with them.

Now, with all of the other people in your circles, write down the qualities you have most admired during your experiences with them.  There could be more than one.  Do not include the opinions of others   If you personally have not noticed positive qualities, set those cards aside for future evaluation

Yes, this will take time, but if it is any consolation, you can multiply the hours by the increased wages you will be earning from the opportunities you gain by paying close attention to this system.

There is more to it, so stay tuned.  If I have confused you, let me know as the questions you might raise could help others who might be a bit bashful.  See you tomorrow.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Finding Opportunities

After years of being in and out of the so-called employment business, my only regret is that I did not stay where I belonged, but the fact is, I had lost all of the momentum I had created in the previous twenty-five years.  It had all started with an opportunity to become a file clerk in the Personnel office at the USAF base in Southern part of Japan.  I was a raw recruit, had just turned 18 after the first year of my enlistment.  I was hired because I knew the alphabet and my predecessor did not.  Max Miller was impressed and offered me his job when he would be returnig to the States.

I had gone from being what we called Privates in those days to Staff Sergeant because Miller knew that I could do the job and real opportunities were coming my way.  The first was the fact we were going from being a part of the Army and became the United States Air force.  Then, we were part of the move to become a integrated force; accepting blacks into our ranks and I was to be assigned the responsibility of making certain our men were integrated without any problems.  There were no problems and then I went sent back to the States to learn about our new USAF classification system and supervise its implementation when I returned.  All the while, I had developed relationships with locals and was enjoying life, learning more and more about their culture.  I was about to return to the States when the Korean War broke out.

They decided to form an all volunteer group to be based in Korea and when they decided to assemble it on our base, I was selected to coordinate the organization of the enlisted personnel assigned to the task and was awarded the USAF Commendation Medal as a result of my efforts.  On my return to the States, I had a number of assignments including the development of a new Armament Career field, a investigative assignment interviewing enlisted personnel improperly called to duty in the Korean War and finally, teaching a basic management class for senior Sergeants.

Realizing an opportunity to leave the USAF and enter college in September, 1953 , I chose to do so and graduated with a BBA Degree in Business Management from Georgia State University in May, 1956.  It had been my intention to return to the USAF upon graduation, but my wife at the time changed her mind about being a military wife and we were eventually divorced.  After two jobs in the Atlanta that had become more boring than I had envisioned, I moved to  California and would join an employment agency that I thought was more to my liking.  I did like the job, but disliked the attitudes towards their applicants.  It took me three different agencies to realize, there was no future for me, but they led to a much better opportunity in the "temporary" help business.

There is where I thrived as a salesman and confidant in many of the people working for us.  It was here I learned of the futility that so many of our "temps" faced in securing profitable jobs without possessing formal education credentials that were becoming a essential for people seeking permanent employment.  We gave them a opportunity to work 90 days on a job, while being paid, and as they proved their ability to do the work and the employer chose to hire them as permanent employees, they were released from our rolls.  I saw hundreds of people get permanent jobs on this basis, people who otherwise would probably been been rejected by the HR offices.

It changed my attitude as to what makes a good potential employee.  There may be social factors, the ability to get along with management and co-workers that cause many employers to restrict their hiring to certain classes of people, but profits are developed by production and people who are willing to work and show up every day become the most consistent factor in the creation of profits.  I readily admit that as technology is developed, the need for such "workers" lessens with every day. But as long as there are need for the semi-skilled among us, the plan that we developed proved to be a God send for many who could not even find full-time opportunities elsewhere.  

Unfortunately, for me and others, the top management of our company were caught manipulating the Federal taxes they had withheld from our employees and our own opportunities came to a end.

As did my marriage as while I was busy working, often 50-60 hour work weeks, our marriage came to a end and I moved out of State, eventually deciding against returning to California.

More to follow, stay tuned....

Let's get back to business

OK, I know, I have been away for awhile, but life throws curve balls occasionally and if you don't realize that it's your turn at bat, the game moves on, relentlessly.

So, here we are, February 21, 2015, ready and raring to go.

Before we start, my old faithful computer is beginning to show signs of wear and tear and you may notice that - occasionally, you will find an 'n' missing here and there.  Whenever it makes me misspell a word, the computer catches it, but - for example, the word - and.  Leave out the 'n' and you have ad and the computer moves on, doing what it supposed to be doing. 

OK, I'm done with that.

Laying on my desk is an order for a new book, The Art of Work, and you should know, I have a basket full of articles on what others think about work and working.  My brief opinion is that what most of the others think about work and working miss the most important part.

I did not realize what I will now write down as my theory; we miss a lot in just believing we can train people to do our becking and calling in the work place and where ever and whenever we find them.

It all starts on the day we were born.  Do you remember?  Of course not.  You had just spent nine months in the warmth and comfort of your mother's womb and now, you are cast into the cold and soon to be, fear filled world.  You don't notice it at first.  The first thing you did begin to realize is that you are hungry, following shortly afterwards was another realization.  You have filled your diaper with something new, waste matter, and more than likely, it stinks.

So, you express your opinion the only way you know how, you whine and cry and if that does not get these strangers attention, somehow you know how to turn up the volume.

At the appropriate time, they move you out of your sanitized environment where you had just learned how to welcome and trust the attention of those white clad angels, into the place will you will soon be calling, home.  The colors change and you are now learning to trust the lady called "Mother" and maybe, Sister, or if you are really lucky, you meet - Grandma.  She will be the closet thing you will ever recall as being similar to the angels you had learned to trust.  Occasionally, if you are boy, you will also notice the other picture in your limited framework, the one they called Father, or Dad. 

And so it goes.  In the early days, you only have to sleep and eat and occasionally scream when the waste matter starts to overflow the dimensions of your diaper.  Life is good; life is comfortable.  You are blessed and have no understanding of that emotion we like to call - love.  Later, you will come to understand that it was the motivation for others to respond to your every cry and whimper.  It is, at least, it should be, a wonder filled life.

Now, I must digress a bit.  Not all children are as fortunate, to live in a pleasant environment and be treated like royalty.  Some will never get over the original feelings of hunger and being ignored whenever they sensed a need for attention.  Some will learn to walk and talk and never understand the process that was assumed by parents who recognized the need to help their children "get ahead" in this miracle, we call - life.  And write this thought down in large and easily understood words, I am not implying that neglect only happens in families whose poverty is the standard.

Back to those we like to refer to as normal families.  They teach the young ones how to eat and should make certain they are not imposing their tastes on the young ones.  If all goes well, Dad and Mom watch the responses they see in their youngsters and encourage them to make their own decisions as to whether they like or dislike certain foods or activities.

Interviewing job candidates over the years, I have paid a lot of attention to the food choices they enjoyed - or not, as youngsters and the influences their parents imposed in those early years.  The answers to "How do you make personal decisions?" more often than not reflects their ability to have made the hard choices along the way and might suggest that a Mother's (or Father's) "apron strings" are quite often, still tied to their children.

The same rationale can be applied to a child's first steps.  If they are raised in an environment where the parents encourage the children, rather than imposing a fear they may not succeed, they should realize that confidence is critical to their natural evolution.  They have legs so they were created to walk. That they fall in their attempts ought to be looked at as an encouragement - as long as they are not harmed, of course.  But life involves lots of "falls" for most of us and knowing that they are not an impediment for natural growth, is critical to their individual process.  On the other hand, a parents "fear" that the child cannot or should not do this or that often stunts their natural development.

Blessed is the child whose parents continue their love and counsel as the youngsters (no longer just children) continue their growth into adulthood.  They need to prepared for the realities of life after the joys of childhood.

Of course, such counsel should apply as the children prepare to leave the family "nest".  As the eagle literally pushes her offspring out of the comfort of the nest, so we must teach our children to prepare them for the eventual eviction notice.  That does not mean that they are not to be welcomed when the opportunity develops to renew the relationships developed over the years.

I say all of this having evaluated my own life and the lives of the thousands I have interviewed in the employment process.  I would estimate that over half of them had not been provided the environment I would consider essential to enjoy a prosperous life.

In retrospect, I never had the opportunity to enjoy the life I consider to be essential for others.  I lost my father, never knowing him.  I was raised by grandparents who literally showered me with love, but never attempted to address the reality of the life into which I was born.  I have no regrets.  In my opinion, I have done well as I have always had good friends fortunately, but unfortunately some might suggest, I lacked the maturity to realize how much better life could have been if only, I had learned how to love others.  Sadly, I grew up envious of the success of others that took me decades to overcome.

And overcame that fear by a process I will best describe in the next issue.  Stay tued