Two Girls For Every Boy!

In 1963, the song Surf City was recorded by a young, feel-good band named The Beach Boys.  It was the number one song on Billboard  Magazine‘s Top 100 (according to www.Wikipedia.com).  Some people who are ‘Over-50 Types’ might even remember when the song hit gold. 

What a fun concept for millions (of especially young men) to think about — a place where the girls may have worn an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, AND there were also two girls for every one boy!  Wow!  

First Wave Boomers were not alone in their indoctrination to this song however. It went on to be enjoyed by millions more who were born later and grew up hearing it at wedding dances and theme parties for decades to come. Throngs (not thongs!) of youth heard it for dozens of years and it became a part of culture.

Fast forward 45 years or so. Instead of ‘Two Girls for Every Boy,‘ now we have “Six Seekers For Every Job.”

A recent editorial by Paul Krugman of The New York Times included the statistic that we are now seeing six job seekers pursuing every one available job.  That doesn’t sound near as much fun as Two Girls for Every Boy. This level of competition for work looks like it is going to be with us awhile. It may become part of our culture…

If you are stuck in a job you don’t like, or you are out of work, that culture thought might be depressing.  Don’t let it bring you down!  Three out of five 50-something laid off people I know have recently found jobs! Collectively, they were competing against hundreds of other job seekers. But, they managed to land something despite the long odds.   

But the numbers are still the numbers. We are probably stuck in a “hot mess” with regard to optimal employment for at least the forseeable future. So what do you do?

A short answer is similar to what you may have heard already. If your line of work is clogged with too many competitors for too few jobs, you may need to reinvent yourself. This topic is addressed in many, many good books out there so I won’t go into detail. The short version is this:

  • Take what you know better than anyone else, repackage it, remold it, add a new, big dash of passion to it,  get someone smarter than you to review your efforts, and give it a whirl. 
  • Maybe you now can become a consultant to your former industry, or to a niche you have followed for a long time? Maybe you can boldly approach your former employer with a new “value-add” proposition or TwitterVator Speech? Maybe the time is finally getting close where you can turn your hobby into a small business?

I won’t expand much here, but instead invite readers to comment. Free job coaching by this blog’s participants may be helpful if you are struggling with how to reinvent yourself. But you have to be willing to ask for the help…

Let this group help to conquer your career crisis as you work to catch that perfect career wave and land your surfboard on an ideal beach of a job! 

Maybe comments by this blog’s readers will lead to Two Jobs for Every Boy (and Girl)!

Surf’s Up!

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

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

  

 

Do As I Say, Not As I Do…

OK, OK… I am guilty! 

This community forum is about my facilitation of helpful career advice from cyberspace. The advice is from and for people who are in some form of transition as they enter and go through their fifties.   But here is the problem:

I have failed you!

I have found that the older people get, the more they like routine. We all have those older relatives who want to know two weeks ahead of time what time a dinner event is scheduled for. That way they can mentally prepare for it days in advance and be ready two hours ahead of actual event. 

While I obviously don’t think people in their 50’s and 60’s are OLD, I do realize that CONSISTENCY matters. I don’t know if the elasticity and suppleness of youth is gone by ones’ fifth decade or what it is, but people like routine as they progress in their lives.  Yes, I can show you some anal retentive 22 year  olds as well, but you know what I mean.

Routine matters. Routine matters when you are building a career, a family a fortune, or just about anything. Yes, we can “luck into” something good in those categories on occasion, but with regard to job hunting or career transitioning, the value of “routine” is high. 

I won’t repeat the often told tales of how Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods or many well-known, high profile sports, cultural or business performers have reached their achievement levels due to nearly obsessive levels of drill, repetition and routine. 

But I have failed you, dear blog readers, due to MY lack of routine. You haven’t known when to check back in on this blog because you don’t know when the new stuff is going to be posted.  And with all the noise on the internet, you are unlikely to come back if you don’t know when to do so. 

I have been inconsistent because I too often waited for a juicy, success story of some formerly laid off person.  They may be in dialog with me via this blog or directly with me through  www.americasjobcoach.com. Or, I also hesitated when  “Suzie” was asking me about resume guidance and I waited to tell her story until it was complete. 

No more. I will not make you keep wondering and waiting for these tidbits. Even if the stories are not complete, I’ll throw out relevant, confidential career dilemmas so you the reader can comment on them and hopefully add your helpful comments to this career advice community. 

I will do a better job of “communing” with and communicating to this advice community. No more long pauses between posts while waiting for the other shoe to drop. No more hesitation for “perfect” content before throwing out some relevant stuff. People who need your advice so I will give you the chance to give it. 

YOU can keep this community helpful, relevant, entertaining and inspirational by offering your stories or the stories of people you know who succeeded (or didn’t). I can talk about how Brett Favre was laid off and loving it but I’d rather hear about how your neighbor got cut after 24 years with a Fortune 500 company and then started her own successful consulting company (like the woman did in Laid Off & Loving It For 2010.

I will strive to be more consistent and routine with my content posts here. You’ll see SOMETHING new and relevant almost every day.

Thanks for your loyal following and thanks also for your input and comments which will only make this community more vibrant. 

And speaking of dinner plans, it is time me to execute mine!  

Career Transition hint for today:  Be CONSISTENT in your job hunt efforts. Don’t fluctuate despite discouragement.  More about that later next week…

Layoffs Denied in Omaha, Nebraska?

  

The 50 Over 50 Project is a “community of career coaching” for 50 people over the age of 50 over a 50-week period.

 

Yesterday in Omaha, Nebraska a hi-tech company did a round of layoffs. While people getting the axe is far from new news these days, this firm had a history of fast growth, steady employment, and long tenure.  So this event is a shock to our community and an even bigger shock to those who were cut. Some of those layoff victims fit the demographical focus of this blog–they were over 50. Many had been with their firm for a long, long time. 

Their pressing question then is:  

What does a long-term employee, who is on the older side, who may have a narrow skill set for their local market, who maybe hasn’t kept up with newer technology, and who has above average earnings, DO NOW

The answers are many so we’ll address things over the next several posts. 

The first thing which might help these laid off Omaha folks is to realize their situation has some similarities to cancer. I have been very close to cancer’s worst impact so I am not trivializing it. And, I admit few people DIE from being laid off. So what is the similarity? It is this: How victims react.     

Here are the “Stages of Grief,” from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ book, “On Death and Dying:”

  • Denial (this isn’t happening to me!)
  • Anger (why is this happening to me?)
  • Bargaining (I promise I’ll be a better person if…)
  • Depression (I don’t care anymore)
  • Acceptance (I’m ready for whatever comes)

Do you see how these grief-related steps have heavy overlap for a person who has just been laid off and is nearly frightened to death? 

If you do, tell others who might benefit about these steps so they can start their process of “vocational healing.”

I’ve been laid off many times and have interviewed or led seminars with hundreds of others who have also been cut. So, our next few posts will explore this “teachable moment” we have right here in River City. Circle the wagons with your laid off neighbors or friends and we’ll work through these phases together…

As always, PLEASE offer your thoughts to keep this a “community of career advice.”

Paul David Madsen
Author: Laid Off & Loving It For 2010