Happy Thanksgiving

We at Franklin Paterson Company Inc. are thankful for so much this Thanksgiving.
We are incredibly grateful for your support, good counsel, excellent comments on our posts, and continued friendship. We appreciate you. Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving day, and all the best for the upcoming holidays.

Don’t try to change everything when embarking on your job search.

Most folks seek to change everything when embarking on a job search process. Many believe they will be more satisfied in a different work environment, company, industry, or even a different location. We seek a significant definable change as we embark on our job search, all the time hoping our change everything approach will fix what is wrong in our current work situation!

We also tend to dwell on the negative things that affect us and overlook good things. If you are anxious about a change in your career, here are a few things to consider before leaving your current position.

We often fail to go granular in our research of why the current job or the company is no longer a fit. For example, we do not consider the employment conditions currently working for or against us.

1.      Is it our discontent with the team politics or undercurrents of general team dissatisfaction? Or is it workload stress, undelivered promotions, low wages, unaligned vision/goals, or work-life balance? Is the lack of management support, training, or the increasing cost of benefits causing your unhappiness in your current role?  

 2.      It is a good idea to look at all these factors to ascertain the root of your frustration. Use what you learn in looking at these factors as benchmarks as you review and interview for new positions.

 We often forget to do a self-evaluation. Are you a top performer? If not, seek feedback from your supervisor or trusted teammates regarding your competencies. Then brush up your skills with the needed training or classes to beef up the skills that could be key for securing your next position.

 Here are a few other areas to consider.

 1.      Investigate the option of job searching within your current company. Job searching within your company makes good sense—research job opportunities within your company, its branches, or sister companies. There might be an opportunity at another local branch in other cities or states. Could this be the case for your organization?

 2.      Consider going forward in your career by going backward. How about job searching within one of your former companies? Is there support from former colleagues for your new adventure? This is vital, as many seek their next job through secure networking with former colleagues.

 3.      Plan out your internal and external job search; both can run in parallel. Develop and write down your goals, actions, and feedback steps. Track and evaluate your progress in these areas, and make reasonable adjustments to the “got to get out of here” timeline.

 4.      The job search process is often overwhelming, time-consuming, and sometimes devoid of favorable feedback. Breaking your job search into steps will help you identify and evaluate your progress or possible stumbling blocks.

 5.      Do a bi-weekly assessment of your outcomes, and commit to a bi-weekly review of your job search status. Give your job search quality time, and remember to nurture the other parts of your life, family, volunteer work, and hobbies.

Now may also be the time for an attitude adjustment. It is crucial to assess and monitor your attitude. Be methodical and deliberate in your job search and fight the temptation to grab the first reasonable offer because you are anxious to leave and are concerned about missing your completion deadline. And although difficult to admit, you may need to accept that while you are ready to make the job or career change, the emotional investment of your nearest and dearest may be bordering on ambivalent, disinterested interest.

Finally, be prepared to discover that job searching and career exploration can be a lonely business, so be kind, supportive and nuturing towards yourself as you hit unexpected bumps. As Neil Barringham, Mental Health Expert and Manager of A Place to Belong, once said: “The grass is greener where you water it.” 

The Stay Where You Are, Job Search.

So things are not going well at your current job. You have outgrown your current role. And besides, every day, a new happenstance threatens to add to your six grey hairs (yes, you counted them last weekend, and you are now up from five). Should you indulge yourself and just quit or continue to work at this dreadful place as your job search?

No easy remedy exists for hapless employees who quit their current company before they have lined up a superior replacement job. When it comes to job leaving, you had better have a plan and an exit strategy, or there will be no meaningful sympathy for the rash move job-quitter. So, before handing in your notice, consider if there is any unexplored potential in your current job; that could make it worth your while to stay. Well, at least until you have formulated a proper leaving plan! 

 Here are a few other things to consider. Start with arranging a career status chat with your boss. Hiring is costly in terms of energy, time, and money, so companies are keen to keep their existing teams intact. Your manager will likely be receptive to meeting with you to work out remedies to help re-fashion your job in a new way that reflects your career interests. Talk to your boss about the possibilities for enriching your role and adding to your experience.

  Very few people use all of their skills in their current job. Consider what under-utilized skills or potential you have that could be of benefit to your current employer. Talk to your boss about the possibilities for augmenting your current role, and remember to ask a lot of diagnostic questions to ascertain whether your manager is in support of your goal.

The company will benefit from using more of your talents. You can build experience in the specialty areas that interest you, which you can use as leverage when applying for a new role later. Consider a lateral move to a different department. An internal move will enable you to leverage your existing knowledge of the business, its processes, and its culture. Besides a new learning opportunity, an internal move can create another vertical advancement ladder. 

 Try to ensure a smooth transition and minimize the disruption to your current team. You can do a range of things to accommodate the handover professionally. That includes completing ongoing projects, working out the project priorities with your manager, leaving clear documentation, or training your successor in processes or software.

If your only avenue for career advancement option appears to be the exit door, after considerable thought. I would recommend that you seek the help of a Career Strategy Coach. To be clear, Career Strategy is not the same as Interview Preparation or Interview Coaching, job search coaching processes that focus on answering fact-based interview questions precisely. The downside is that these performance-directed coaching processes often turn anxious, goal-oriented candidates into boring talking heads and often obfuscate the candidate’s personality.

A Career Strategy Coach can advise you on your relevant referential and replicable skills that will enhance the possibility of success in your job search. And help you fine-tune your interviewing tactics to ensure that you convey the complexity of your experience and your determined long-term goals to interviewers. Your coach can also help you to clarify and adjust your career decision-making criteria so you do not give answers at the interview that may succeed in getting you the job but do not convey your career goals.

Your Career Strategy Consultant can help you help change your interviewing approach from a spirited tennis match to a thoughtful, strategic, and goal-oriented chess match!

Dealing with Irascible Managers or Co-Workers

I have worked with and for quite a few problematic characters throughout my long career. Some are still friends and confidants, and a few continue to be valued as mentors.

Many of these irascible managers or co-workers lack social grace and a sense of control, so they cannot communicate well under stress. They also appear to forget that a timely apology can be a fallback position.

You see them coming from a mile, so the choice becomes whether you rise to and meet the verbal challenge or obfuscate. But, since nobody wins in these confrontations, you seldom try to deal with it.

They are unaware of how their behavior impacts others because they need to elevate themselves above others in a group situation. They do not hesitate to exploit their leadership role by insulting others because they are often insecure and quick to attack to assert their leadership.  

So they seek to maintain their position in the hierarchy through criticism, humiliation, and camouflaged insults, in a kind of unconscious narcissistic way.

The second group of tough characters are those with narrow interests and vapid sympathies. These folks say and do the same cruel things regularly as if on cue. I worked for one manager who lobbed the same petty insults at every group meeting but never in one-to-one meetings.

The worse part is that you feel bad for the manager. And deliberately avoid connecting with the “Oh No, Not Again” apologetic looks directed your way by the other team members. You think, “well, somebody has got to pull up the weeds.” Feeling all the while like the embarrassed parent of a preschooler misbehaving in public!

There is a stunning lack of creativity when someone overuses the same petty insult. If you must be regularly petty, try to be creative and offer variety. Unable to rise to the occasion, then stop it, the exercise of watching a manager or colleague try to diminish a coworker publicly is tiresome and embarrassing for everybody!

The Unexpected Reference Call.

Have you received an unexpected request or a call for a reference for a friend or former colleague? You knew your friend was thinking about job searching, but you wonder, how could they put you in such an awkward situation? You do a credible job, but you believe your responses lacked actual content.

This reference checking incident jolts you into thinking – how are YOU sorted for current and relevant references to validate your qualification and suitability for your dream job should your dream interview arise?

Most employers will request references when the company is seriously interested in you as a potential hire. So we should all be prepared to provide a list of employment references who are knowledgeable regarding your expertise in the qualification and skills required for the job you are seeking.

Remember to get your references in order before you need them. It will save time scrambling to put together a list at the last minute. Quickly forwarding your references upon request to a potential employer can help you secure the job offer.

Once you start the interview process, be mindful of informing your references, and unless you have their permission, do not use someone as a reference.

1) Asking for a Reference: Update the potential reference giver about the type of positions you are applying for, so they can tailor their recommendation to fit your circumstances.

2) Whom to Ask for a Reference: Former bosses, co-workers, customers, vendors, colleagues, and college professors are good references. Recent graduates may use a personal connection.

3) Company Reference Policy: Some employers will not provide skills verification references. They may only provide a job title, dates of employment, and salary history. So find alternative references.

4) Create a reference list of three to four people, containing their name, title, and email in addition to the telephone number. When emailing the reference list, paste the list into the email rather than sending it as an attachment.

5) Request a Reference Letter from soon-to-be former colleagues: Create a file of recommendations from people you may not necessarily be able to track down later.

6) Keep Your References Up-to-Date: Let your references know where your job search stands and update them on who might be calling for a reference.

A prospective employer should ask your permission before contacting your references. And, it is perfectly acceptable to say that you are not at ease with the company contacting your current employer, and offering a list of alternative references available.