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Archive for July, 2011

This blog was first written in July 2011, and has received many positive comments. It originated from a few times when I would facilitate HAPPEN meetings at various locations around the Toronto area including North York, Burlington, Mississauga and downtown Toronto. We all know that looking for a new job can be a real roller coaster. So it’s only natural that sometimes we need a “pick-me-up”, something that will encourage us and assure us that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that’s it’s not an oncoming train and that your next great job will come soon. I have often had the chance to lead our weekly networking meetings and as a way of bringing some humour to the audience, I sometimes did an abbreviated version of this subject as part of my facilitation duties. People really enjoyed it, to the point where several HAPPEN members suggested I write something more substantial. So I did. I have tweaked it a few times since that original publication, but always made sure it stayed true to its origins as a comedic piece at our meetings. I hope you all enjoy it.

Hi everyone:

As many of you know, I have a part time relationship with HAPPEN – Canada’s largest executive network. Since our founding in 1991 we have helped thousands of senior managers, executives and others at similar employment levels find their next job. It’s all about networking and helping each other. You can learn more about us by visiting:  the HAPPEN Web site

This involvement with HAPPEN has given me a unique insight into the job hunting process for a couple of reasons. First, because it is only part-time, I constantly need to keep looking for other income opportunities that can supplement my work with the organization. And in a shameless plug to advertise myself within my blog, if you would like more info about yours truly (especially if you would like to use my services, or you have some other ideas I should consider regarding additional income sources), have a look at: A Personal Marketing Strategy paper. Would love to hear from you at any time!

Second, because I feel it is important to help those HAPPEN members who are out of work and are looking for their next employment opportunity as much as possible. I am always delighted to do that for many reasons – not the least of which being that I am a passionate networker and believe in the “pay it forward” principle. During my time with HAPPEN I have made many wonderful friends who have in turn helped me in ways too numerous to mention here. And if you are one of those friends and are reading these words today – thank you. It means so much to me!

All this helps me understand that the job hunting process has many ups and downs. Something which I am sure many of you reading this blog entry can relate to. It’s easy to get discouraged and depressed at times. We go through a million different thoughts and feelings. We wonder where our next paycheque will come from. And that’s only the beginning. But job hunting also means that at times we need to have some fun and enjoy life even though it may not be easy to do so. In that spirit, may I present to my readers why listening to the Rolling Stones is just like job hunting.

To explain this, here’s the fictitious story of Jack Jones, who works in a corporate manager role at ABC Tools and Widgets. Or at least he does as our story begins. We’ll discuss what happens to him, with the Stones songs noted in UPPER CASE letters. Ready? Here we go!

It’s a beautiful summer day and you’re hard at work as usual. Or at least you have been. You come back from lunch and there’s a message on your phone’s voice mail. The boss wants to see you right away. No big deal, right? She probably just wants to go over some things with you. You arrive in her office and notice that someone from the Human Resources Department is there as well. Seems a bit odd, doesn’t it? Until she tells you that as of the end of today, your services are no longer required. Yes, you’ve had a great ride and you have been a valuable employee of ABC Tools and Widgets company. But no more. The HR rep is there not only to act as a witness, but also to help you get the termination process underway. By the end of the day, you have cleaned out your desk, said good-bye to your now former colleagues and go home.

I’ll bet that right now you’re feeling just a bit SHATTERED. You’re still coming to terms with losing your job. What you are going to tell your family and friends? And if it takes a long time to get that new job, and your family’s financial picture gets a bit perilous, does this mean SPARKS WILL FLY because you need to cut back on things? Guess that BRAND NEW CAR you were thinking about buying will have to wait for another time. No more living in LUXURY – at least for a while. But your finances have always been pretty good, and you know things will be fine. You tell yourself: “TIME IS ON MY SIDE”, and you’re confident that you’ll never find out if you AIN’T TOO PROUD TO BEG.

Regardless of how you say it, there’s no denying that IT’S ALL OVER NOW. You also realize that your boss can no longer tell you that “You’re UNDER MY THUMB” But you also made some great friends, and as you cleaned out your desk and got ready to leave, you told all of them that “I will MISS YOU, but let’s keep in touch!”

As the reality of life sets in and you start the task of finding a new job, over time you realize that you have MIXED EMOTIONS. On the one hand, you accomplished many great things in your time at ABC Tools and helped the company achieve many valuable goals and objectives. On the other hand, you need to find a new job and it’s not easy. But you’d be a FOOL TO CRY and really let this get you down. You have to keep it together and concentrate on the task ahead. You may not feel like JUMPIN’ JACK FLASH anymore, but life goes on and somehow you will make it through. You know that LOVE IS STRONG – and that the love and support of your family and friends will get you through this, no matter how long it takes.

Your wife, ANGIE, is especially supportive of your situation. When she hears that you’ve been terminated she tells you: “Jack, we’ll make it through this. I’m not like those other HONKY TONK WOMEN. I will always be here for you, and always come to your EMOTIONAL RESCUE. You’ll never be WAITING ON A FRIEND because I will never leave you”. You thank her and reply: “Honey, I’m so lucky to have you in my life. You don’t have to worry about SOME GIRLS who may be STEALING MY HEART. From the moment I saw you, I was BLINDED BY LOVE. We’ve always been SWEETHEARTS TOGETHER and I will always love you. WILD HORSES couldn’t drag me away from you. LET’S SPEND THE NIGHT TOGETHER”. The next day, the two of you decide to take some vacation time to help you come to terms with all this and determine next steps. You leave town UNDERCOVER OF THE NIGHT, and return home a few days later feeling energized and ready to get that job hunt started.

Weeks go by and you are still looking. It’s getting pretty tough out there. You apply for several jobs, send out resumes and cover letters, go to networking meetings like HAPPEN or more informal gatherings like The Burlington Coffee Group, but nothing is happening. You haven’t even had a reply to any of your applications. You begin to wonder: “Am I LOSING MY TOUCH?” You feel like you’re going under. Panicking. Scared beyond belief. You’re between a ROCK AND A HARD PLACE. It’s a TERRIFYING feeling. Everything inside you is crying GIMME SHELTER. You’re afraid of developing a MEAN DISPOSITION that will alienate everyone in your life. You ask yourself: “Am I SLIPPING AWAY? Is this job hunt going to be my BEAST OF BURDEN? Is this THE WORST that life can be?” While it’s easy to feel down and depressed, others tell you: “DON’T STOP trying because one day things will work out for you.”

And then one day at long last, it does. A recruiter calls you. He saw your Profile on the HAPPEN Web site. One of his client companies has a position that he thinks is a great fit for you. The recruiter wants to see you. How about next Tuesday afternoon at 2:30? Great! And you can’t wait. It’s going to be a RUBY TUESDAY because you can combine that morning’s HAPPEN meeting with your recruiter session in the afternoon. And as luck would have it, the speaker at HAPPEN is doing a full morning workshop all about interview techniques that will really come in handy.

The HAPPEN meeting turns out to be a great workshop with lots of useful tips, and on the way over from the Living Arts Centre to the recruiter’s office you stop at Tim Horton’s for a coffee with BROWN SUGAR and a ham sandwich. Good choice. You don’t want to have a Danish and end up with STICKY FINGERS. It’s a short drive from Tim’s over to the recruiter’s office, and you’re there in plenty of time. After announcing yourself to the receptionist, she encourages you to have a seat while she lets the recruiter know you’re waiting for him. As you sit there reading the latest issue of “Rolling Stone” Magazine (what else?) you notice that there’s music playing in the background, but you can’t figure out what it is. When you ask the receptionist, she replies: “I know, IT’S ONLY ROCK N’ ROLL – but I like it!”

By this time, he’s ready for you and the recruiter calls you into his office. After some small talk to help you relax, it’s time to get to work. He shows you the job description and it really is a perfect fit. In fact, it’s very much like your old job, but with one of ABC’s competitors, 123 Tools and Widgets. The salary and other benefits are pretty good – what they are offering is a bit lower than your old compensation, but there’s room for negotiation. And it’s only a 10 minute drive from home, practically in your neighbourhood.  Sure beats that one hour commute you had back at ABC. No more rush hour traffic hassles – among other things.

The meeting is over and it’s gone really well. You tell the recruiter to send your resume over to their HR people and ask him to keep you posted. You leave the interview feeling like a STREET FIGHTING MAN. You’re pumped and excited. Look out world, cause you’re HOT STUFF. There’s a company out there that really wants you – and you haven’t felt this good in a long time.

The recruiter calls you again two days later. The HR  manager at 123 Tools and Widgets has seen your resume. She really likes your credentials and would like to interview you on Monday morning at 10:00 a.m.  You tell the recruiter to book the meeting, and you’re feeling great.  That leads you to research the company on LinkedIn. Turns out you have some connections within your LinkedIn network that know all about 123 Tools and Widgets, and they prove to be of great value.  Saturday morning just happens to be a Burlington Coffee Group meeting, so you go over to Williams Fresh Cafe and tell the gang about Monday’s interview.  Someone there just happens to know the company President – and after the meeting ends the two of you talk further. You’re getting more info all the time and this is great! You sense that you’re really making a CONNECTION with these folks.

Monday comes and the interview goes well. Really well.  You walk out to your car feeling really good and thinking: “YOU GOT ME ROCKIN’ – what a great meeting!”  On your way home, as previously arranged, you go back to see the recruiter and he tells you that the HR manager just called. She tells the recruiter that you’re the leading candidate. And there’s a good chance that you will get an offer soon.  Tuesday morning finds you at the HAPPEN meeting, and during the Good News segment, you tell everyone about the interview and potential offer. They offer encouragement and wish you well. As one of the members says: “This could be THE LAST TIME we see you at a HAPPEN meeting”. And you reply: “This may be the last time, I don’t know”.

The offer arrives on Friday morning.  Hmm – not bad, but you were hoping for something better. You think of it as a negotiation starter and indicate this to the recruiter, who now goes back and forth with the HR manager. And as things happen, especially at times when it all seems much more COMPLICATED than you thought it should be, you begin to realize that when it comes to negotiating your next job, YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT.

Ten days after that first offer, the recruiter calls you again. After some haggling and other fine-tuning, you have an agreement. To finalize everything, you need to see the HR manager tomorrow morning at 9:30.  The next morning, it’s all taken care of. You sign the offer sheet and it’s done. You’re now officially an employee of 123 Tools and Widgets. She gives you a quick tour of the office and you get to meet some of your new colleagues.  You’re asked to report to your new job next Monday morning at 8:00.  As you leave the office, you tell the HR manager:  “START ME UP! I’m ready to get to work and be the best employee this company has ever had”.  She smiles and says: “Welcome aboard. We’re HAPPY to have you as part of the 123 team. See you next Monday!”.

And so the job hunt is over. After many months of frustration, depression, feeling TORN AND FRAYED, this close to feeling OUT OF CONTROL, and on the edge of your 19TH NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, you’re back in the workforce. You know that this is a job that you can really get into and will let you make a strong contribution to your new employer. Something that you can get a lot of SATISFACTION from. In the end, isn’t that what really counts?

Well, that’s the story of Jack Jones and his job hunting episode. Thanks for reading this – I hope you enjoyed it because I had a lot of fun writing this entry (as you could probably tell, right?). I can’t end this, of course, without offering my special thanks to Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and the rest of The Rolling Stones – the world’s greatest rock and roll band, for giving the world so many amazing songs that for many people are part of the soundtrack of our lives.

As it says on The Rolling Stones Official Web Site, they have had 92 singles, 29 studio albums, 10 live ones, and more songs than you can count. Yes it really is all about the music (to borrow a tag line from their site).

And thanks to the guys for giving many of those songs and albums titles that worked just perfectly for this blog entry – over 40 are mentioned here, in case you were wondering. Or to borrow the title of the Stones “Greatest Hits” CD released in 2002 – we’ve used “40 Licks”.

See you all again soon!

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