Are You Sacrificing Enough?

OK.  This post might be the one you show your unemployed spouse…or maybe not.  Do you have a 50-something or 60-something spouse who is in a job / career transition and just not doing enough? 

What does that mean? It means that job hunting or career changing or job transitions may get even harder in the near future and extra effort or sacrifices may be required. It means people may have to make some sacrifices about what jobs they may or may not consider or accept. Some “experts” are predicting that 2010 won’t produce a hotter economy for job creation than 2009.

That could mean that some of the “chronic” unemployed may have to make some sacrifices. I am not referring to the sacrifices typical of a newly laid off person. Most laid off people immediately trim the family budget to the bone.  

No, I am referring to “the T word.”  T is for tradeoffs. We all have them. Maybe we sacrifice by working in a field or company we prefer to be in but do so at the cost of lower compensation. Maybe we chose a job we dislike but stay in it because of the pay. Maybe we commute a total of four hours a day in exchange for stability.

What tradeoffs are you making or ready to make? Is it time to consider doing some other kind of work while you wait for your dream job to come in? This question is practical for both working people and non-working people. In his book “Winning,” Jack Welsh the former General Electric CEO says most all workers make some kind of tradeoff. 

Using Jack’s famous philosophy of candor (with yourself) may help you to assess what internal tradeoffs you are willing to make in order to achieve progress in your career or work. 

But remember, you only need ONE job…and you CAN find it!

* * *

News:  Keep checking back with this blog as an announcement should be coming in a week or so about an exciting event which will benefit one lucky reader/contributor!

America’s Job Coach

Did He Get the Job? Also, Job Posting Scams

In my last post I discussed a young man who was interviewing for his first job out of college. The job was for a sales position and he was wondering if in fact the niche he was exploring was good for him. I mentioned  how some industries in the current economy are looking for people like him: young, techno savvy, moldable and cheap. 

None of that is new news to you who are “decades into” your careers and maybe months into your job search. Employers are flooded with applicants and some are taking advantage of that. There was an article in the Omaha World Herald on 10/26/09 which described how formerly hard to fill hands on care giver jobs were now doing just fine due to some factory closings in a Nebraska community. Before some jobs in that town vaporized, the health care facility had a hard time staffing these positions. Now it has a surplus of applicants. Ah, perspective.

Perspective is what the young job seeker had too. He was “wax” just ready to be molded by his potentially future employer. He didn’t have an entitlement attitude and his small dose of arrogance was more attributable to his youth than any entrenched “in your face” cockiness.

Yes, his potential employer wants him back for some “job shadowing.” That is where our young applicant will sit and listen to the current staff while they make their daily spate of phone calls. Not just anyone or everyone can sit in a cubicle and make 70+  phone call attempts a day. I don’t know if our young hero will want to but that employer has invited him to find out if he wants to. And there is a fairly handsome base-plus-commissions to go along with it. I’ll keep you posted on his progress. And keep remembering his child-like interview exuberance while you do your job hunting.

Speaking of commissions, I saw a listing of “The Top Twenty Most Helpful Job Hunting Websites” or some such similar title the other day. I immediately thought that would be a logical link for this blog. And of course, I clicked through on many of the web sites listed.

Well, you won’t see me linking to that list anytime soon. I found many sites I had never heard of. And the ones toward the top of the list had many “jobs” posted. The problem was, most of these “jobs” were work at home schemes. Nothing wrong with working at home…millions of people around the world work for thousands of legitimate companies in a remote fashion. Online technology allows and encourages that.

But so many of the “jobs” posted were all about multi-level marketing businesses. Many have an investment required or involved some marginally shady types of plans. The rise of this kind of “noise” out there has tracked and kept pace with the rise in the number of unemployed.

I have nothing against legitimate multi-level businesses. I have been involved in some in the past myself and have learned from them. I am just saying use caution when you “apply” for jobs within this world. Most are not jobs with a regular paycheck. Growing your own business is great but just know what you are getting into when you start. Will your new “job” require you to buy inventory?

Have any of this blog’s readers ventured into this area?  Again I have no problem with these legitimate marketing businesses but I do dislike it when these outfits dress themselves as “jobs” on what were formerly job boards. Who has a story to share on this?…

Next posting will be about a 50-something “coachee” who was recently laid off, DOES know a lot of people to network with, but is stuck in the 1990’s regarding using those contacts.

America’s Job Coach

Author: Laid Off & Loving It For 2010

The Young (& Old) & the Restless Job Seeker

Paradigm shift today!  I gave career advice to a 23 year old. That would put him at half the age of many of this blog’s readers. I remember where I was when his mother told me she was pregnant with him.  Now 23+ years later I am giving him advice on how to ace his first professional, post-college “real job” interview.

What does that have to do with you, the “mature” person who is in or considering a job transition? Just this: Perspective.

Here I was, chatting on the phone with this fine young man. He was headed to his first interview in an industry I know a lot about. I was working in the field before he was conceived. It was weird and almost unsettling to realize I have worked for the length of this person’s whole life in a specific niche, and now I was tasked with building his competitive knowledge of the field.  

He has only gone through high school and college and worked (hard) in jobs typical of those ages. He has not yet become jaded by office politics, layoffs, recessions, business closures or stolen territories (he is pursing a sales position).  Instead, he was engaging, friendly, an excellent student of his parents’ careers, and optimistic.   

It is hard for those of us who have decades of work experience under our belts to approach an interview with “child-like” exuberance.  We may tend to come at it with a jaded tone:  “What will you, Ms. Employer, do for ME–I am important, you know…” Or, “Word on the street in our industry is that you pay 20% under market norms for this job. At my level, I could never consider that kind of move…”    What employer wants to be around that kind of attitude 8 hours a day?

No, we may not ever SAY those things to a possible new employer, but, we may “radiate” them by accident! My young “coachee” today didn’t need to be guided away from built in negativity. If anything, the interviewee needed to be reminded that even though he had a strategic college class or two, the new employer would mold and train him in their own image anyway.

I had to educate him that the employer’s interest in him was that he was the raw material for them to indoctrinate in any way they saw fit…and for a very reasonable price.  

How many of us “seasoned” job hunters have that “innocence with a dash of hubris?” 

  • Sure we have mortgages and kids and college costs and car payments and health issues that this young man hasn’t dreamed about yet.
  • Sure we know what we know because we have seen what we have seen. Yet, the young and the restless (and the cheapest) may be scooping up some of the jobs that the “seniors” ( I hate that word!) are willing to do! 

But I contend that you’ll get a job because of your knowledge, skill, history, connections, niche expertise, people skills, technical abilities AND your willingness to come off as eager and innocent. This will get you the job long before someone who verbally or non-verbally says, “Here I am. Make my day.”

Did the whippersnapper get the job offer?  I know the answer and you will too when you tune back in for the next blog post in a day or two. 

In the meantime, please share your thoughts about the benefit of hiring a seasoned person versus a greenhorn. Use the comments section below to tell how one hire may not be better than another, please. Let this (growing!!) community know how YOU feel…

Paul M.

America’s Job Coach 

Laid Off & Loving It For 2010

But I Get No Feedback From Employers!

The 50 Over 50 Project is a “Community of Career Transition Advice” for people over 50 years old over a 50 week period.

Put your summarized career dilemma in the comments section so the group can offer their tips to you!

Here is a gentleman who appears to have some good ideas about self marketing and follow up.  His advice applies to all ages.  

Please come back after you watch and tell the community what you think!  Thanks to for making this available!

Paul M. America’s Job Coach

 Here is the link for the video: 

 Step 4. Contacting Employers.

I hope YOUR follow ups are positive!

The Dow is at 10,000…Who Cares?

The 50 Over 50 Project is a ”Community of Career Advice”     for 50 folks over age 50 who are in a career transition.  

Summarize YOUR career dilemma in a comment below to gain job hunt pointers from this blog community. 

So the Dow Jones Industrial Average got over the psychological barrier of 10,000 points last week. I wonder if it will go to 11,000 this week?  Probably not. But do people care?

Well, I do care actually. And the investments of millions of people as well as the well-being of millions of companies across this great land do care.  So why the headline above? 

Last weekend, Seth Rogan of the Weekend Update skit on the perennial  Saturday Night Live TV show perhaps summarized the feeling of millions: Rogan mentioned how the Dow broke 10,000 and how 15 million unemployed people at home, in their pajamas in the middle of the day, who were eating Twinkies, cheered with delight. 

That isn’t a perfect quote but you get the idea. The talk is that the recession will end and the recovery will occur sometime in the next month to the next two years (it depends upon who you listen to).  I don’t know who to believe but Seth was right: Recovery or not, too many people are still stuck unemployed or underemployed and know the NBC TV schedule way too well.

If the Dow goes to 20,000 and there are still 6 people for every 1 open job out there, the unemployed just won’t care what the stock market looks like. Granted jobs are always a lagging indicator during a recovery because firms want to be sure things are improving before they add to their payrolls again. 

And the most strategic unemployed people WILL care about the stock market and the recovery. Because we attract what we expect into our life. And if we stay negative, we’ll keep getting negative. 

How about you? Do you think the economy is picking up out there and that there are more jobs now that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has reached this level? Or do you feel stuck on main street despite Wall Street’s success?

Share your thoughts below and keep the faith!

Paul M.

America’s Job Coach  

Fast Times at ‘Expert High’

The 50 Over 50 Project is a ”Community of Career Advice”     focused on 50 folks over age 50 who are in a career transition.  Summarize YOUR career dilemma as a comment to get helpful pointers from this blog community. 

If you are old enough, you remember the semi-entertaining movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It was a big milestone in Sean Penn’s early body of work. I twisted that movie name into the hopefully catchy title for this post which pertains to “quick self promotion.”   

All people in career transition or folks who are trying to sell their expertise need to be “comprehendable.” I don’t know if that is a word, but I ran into someone the other day who sells professional services. I asked him what he did. Ten minutes later I was bored and confused. 

The small business services person (he is the one who provides the actual consulting services) rambled for minutes upon minutes about what he could do or has done.  What he didn’t know is that I tuned out to his rantings after about 30 seconds of vague generalities.

Because I have interviewed thousands of people I was able to ask pointed questions to extract from him some specific examples of his work. But that is the point.  I shouldn’t have had to “work so hard” at pulling out of him what he does and how that might remotely help me. 

He also had a written piece which included a 30-word description of his offerings. But he works in big, big niche and his description was so vague I still wasn’t sure what he did. In a glance, (which is all any of us get–my book calls this “your 15 seconds of fame”) I just wasn’t sure what he could do for me.

So dear blog readers, the old formula applies as you position yourself as an expert:  ‘Keep It Simple Stupid.’ And fast. No matter how good you are and how tightly you address your specific niche, you are still competing daily with the hundreds of emails, messages, texts, calls, tweets and friend/connection requests, etc., etc., etc. (to quote Yul Brenner). 

I remain eager to see your drafts of your elevator speech, Unique Selling Proposition, or TwitterVator Speech (the combination of the elevator speech with your USP in 140 characters or less).

You can offer them anonymously here as a comment and the community will help you to craft your pitch. Or, you can contact me privately outside of this blog for free help on this. 

Social media is great. But, as you have noticed, there are a few (million) folks out there using it. Let this community of career advice help YOU stand out….

 America’s Job Coach



Can You Sell Yourself In 30 Seconds?


The 50 Over 50 Project is a ”Community of Career Advice”     for people over the age of 50 who are in a career transition.  Just list your career-improvelment related question as a comment to get helpful pointers from fellow blog readers! 


The Atlanta Journal Constitution (my new favorite newspaper–I’ll tell you why below…) ran an article on October 9 about how Atlanta firms were hiring again. 

The article mentions that firms are hiring more consultants, more people with specific, not generalist skills, and the importance of candidates/job applicants needing to sell themselves in a short, 30 second story.

America’s Job Coach agrees with the above–especially the need for your own personalized TwitterVator Speech.  Here is the short version of what a TwitterVator Speech is: 

  • List your strengths in short phrases
  • Figure out what your tight niche is (what you know better than most anyone else)
  • Focus on what the problems, needs, goals, and opportunities are within your present industry or the one you want to enter
  • Shake all these up in big jar and write it down in 140 characters or less

Why 140 characters? The twitter world knows. And the linked in status update box knows too: You can send out tweets or updates OF THAT LENGTH as often as you like (but don’t wear our your public or spam them!!). 

There is much more to my concept of a TwitterVator Speech (the blend of the old fashioned Unique Selling Proposition, the Elevator Speech, and the restrictions/opportunities available via today’s social media tools like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, etc., etc., etc.

You have what you need to get started on your own TwitterVator Speech above. If you want to learn more, check out my web site or book but I’m not linking to them here because I am trying to be a helpful voice here, not a shill for services. 

I’d be thrilled to see you take a stab at writing YOUR TwitterVator Speech HERE in this blog where it is safe and free. The readers will help you and the exposure can’t hurt. We’ll craft it together so you have a sharp “pitch.”

Oh yeah…you must be able to back up your pitch. Sure we can together write a strategic summary for you but don’t be a clanging bell only. You must have the goods or the track record to back up what you are “hawking.”

Give it a try and I hope to see your TwitterVator Speech draft in the comments box below…

Paul David Madsen

PS: I like the Atlanta Journal Constitution because their logo is AJC. Can you guess why that acronym is interesting to me?

Are YOU an Expert?

The 50 Over 50 Project is a “Community of Career Advice”  for 50 people over the age of 50 who are in some form of career transition.

There was a new question and comment dialog going today on a popular social media forum. I read with interest as the author ranted and raved about how awful it is that some “coaches” out there are charging up to $500 to help people build their profiles on the social media tools. He railed against these self-appointed experts for their skullduggery against the poor, laid off and out of work people.  The author made it clear he was much more helpful than these opportunists and HIS blog was free and pure and helpful etc. 

Well, in fact, his blog IS full of good information and helpful data. A ton of data, much of it relating to job seekers and much of it not.  But here is the funny part: While he disdains people who charge $500 for career strategies and who claim to be experts, his web site states that he charges slightly more than that for his own coaching services! Pot. Kettle. Black.

What’s the point as it relates to you, the over 50 job seeker? It is two fold: 

1. Are you an expert? How is an expert or expertise defined? I’ll bet that you know more about something than most anyone else. That sort of makes you an expert. You need to define that and market that as you look for employment or for income as a consultant  or SME.  

2. Are you an expert at bringing your assets to market?  The angry blogger mentioned above doesn’t like “experts” who exploit the powerless. None of us do. But do give some thought about what your strengths are and are not. I have interviewed thousands of professionals and about 2/3 of them don’t even recognize their own strengths relative to the job market they are trying to penetrate. Some mature job seekers have been in a job or a company for decades and might benefit from an economical, cost effective, second point of view. Visit “Who Needs Job Coaching”  here for more thoughts on this: .

The short version of the above link is that NOBODY needs it. Most all the information is out there if you have the time, the ability, and most importantly the objective ability to apply it strategically

Bottom line? Two heads are better than one. If the services you are contemplating is 100% satisfaction guaranteed (like mine are), what do you have to lose?

Paul M. — America’s Job Coach



Can You Teach An Old Dog New Tricks?

The 50 Over 50 Project is a 50-week Career Advice

Community for people over the age of 50 who are

in some form of career transition.


Today’s 22-year-old who is just now entering the workforce has never known a world without computers. Born in the late 1980s, he came into this world after Microsoft and Apple had gone public.  His parents may have used a brick-sized cell phone to call their parents when little Junior emerged into this world. So wireless is the norm for him. He grew up ON video games, laptops, and probably never loaded a roll of film in a camera. Wouldn’t know what a flashcube was if it burned him on the finger. Heck, he has really only known two presidents B.O. (Before Obama).

This is all fine and normal.  Junior’s different educational experience enables him to feel very comfortable in a technology-driven workforce.  IM chat and social networking are no big deal because they were always there. He is not afraid of any new technology and conforms and embraces to new versions, tools, and trends like warm Silly Putty.  

The Over 50 Folks however remember the glee and awe that ran through the office when the fax machine was introduced. “No more putting stuff in envelopes and typing out an address on it and putting a stamp on it and running it to that blue mail box on the corner in time for the last pickup and, and, and…”

So where does that leave us ‘oldsters’ when we have to compete for too few jobs with some of these tech-savvy snot nose kids who are quicker to adapt and cheaper to hire?   I won’t rehash the two most recent posts to this blog because they do give you some good ideas on this theme.

What I will do is remind you about resources which can help you compete. The President has allocated, according to a recent US News & World Report article, 12 BILLION NEW dollars to support the mission of the nation’s community colleges.  This funding will support the schools which are projecting 5 million NEW (as in added) community college graduates by the year 2020, according to the magazine’s September article.

So, fellow Baby Boomers, it may be time to follow Rodney Dangerfield’s example and go Back To School. His wealthy character the 1986 movie of that name had a few advantages due to his money. One perk was the direct tutoring of Dangerfield BY Kurt Vonnegut HIMSELF for the former’s English paper!  We can’t expect that level of tutoring under President Obama’s plan but we “get it” that ongoing technical training is just plan mandatory for a high percentage of future and present jobs. 

Colleges are booming now due to the nearly 15 million unemployed people out there. Even if you are working full-time, it is vital to learn more to keep your skills sharp. The government is supporting the mission of those schools because it knows that practical training will get America working again. And many schools and training programs are catering their offerings to those who are old enough to remember where they were when President Kennedy was shot.

 Consider being part of those statistics–the people who are enrolling and graduating from public and private, PRACTICAL and TECHNICAL education.

Please share YOUR story of how you got some new practical education and how that has helped your career or that of another person.

If you are thinking about picking up some training, but not sure what to study, share your thoughts here in this Career Advice Community!

We are eager to hear your successes and your fears and possibly help. We won’t even discuss how to load actual film in a camera!

America’s Job Coach

10 Things to Consider If You

Here is a helpful post for older workers. It is from the Interns Over 40 web site:

10 Things to Consider If You

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Published in: on October 12, 2009 at 1:07 am  Leave a Comment