Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Agenda Item for 6/21/2013

Topic: Learning from the Masters The granddaddy of all job-hunting career-transoforming books is the perennially updated "What Color Is Your Parachute" by Richard Bolles. (amazon link) It's been rewritten every year since the 1970's to adjust to how the job market and employment processes have changed. It includes a number of time-tested exercises to help job searchers sift through their experience and align their interests and capabilities to what employers want. Which is why it's the next book I'm tackling in my research on "career path development".

Over the month of July we'll be discussing the exercises and job search process shared in the book and figuring out how to customize it to our own needs. If you come the the meetings in July you'll be expected to come prepared to talk about the book. (Lazy don't cut it. Yes we're still a support group but we're also a work group.) This week's topic: Introducing the book. How far have you read so far and which exercises you've done so far. (No, we won't be doing every exercise it the book. But we will be sharing with each other which we've done and what we learned from doing them.)  

NOTE: We're taking next week off (June 28th) and in July we'll be meeting on the 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th. (Yes, the day after the 4th we will be meeting. If your employer isn't giving you the day off - because you don't have one - consider it a work day.)  

Other note: Forward this message on to anyone you know that's also looking for work or contemplating a career transition. July is gonna be productive!

Something Intersting: Do Something Today

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Time to learn from the masters (part one)

There were 35,844 books offering "job search" career advice available on Amazon as of 4pm today. That's a lot of advice. Much of it is I'm sure overlapping and complimentary and some of it idiosyncratically conflicting. However the standout granddaddy of them is the perennially updated "What Color Is Your Parachute". (amazon link) Which is why it's the next book I'm tackling in my research on "career path development".

I encourage you to get a copy and read along. Next week I'll no doubt be introducing some material pulled from it.

Something Interesting: Find something.

As you all probably know by now, my "thing" is finding the value at the core of the thing.

What's yours?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Something interesting: Links you should know about.

Link 1: How to Read A Book A Week

Most of you know I read a lot of things. Each week I read dozens of articles, white papers, and blog posts as well as have my nose in 2-3 different books. "If knowledge is power, reading is a superpower" is something I very much believe. If you're having trouble being relevant in today's marketplace It may be because you stopped learning once you found your job or once you lost your job. This short video by Jim Kwik highlights a few tips for reading more.

Link 2: Survivorship Bias

This is a fairly long article with an important point to make. You don't know what you don't know because you don't know you don't know it. (3x fast please) Studying success doesn't teach you how not to fail. But unfortunately success is celebrated and the case studies are everywhere. The case studies in failure rarely get written about and so aren't available for you to not know you don't know about them. (That sentence made sense I hope.)

Link 3: Train Your Brain for Monk-Like Focus

Time is only an asset when you can manage your attention. Sitting down to work only gets things done when you actually focus on the work. Simple, simple. Sorta. It's often easier to let your attention go to something else. Combine the ideas in this article with the ones in "The Now Habit" and super charge your productivity.

Agenda Item: for 6/7/2013

It's About Time: Life comes first

Here's the update promised for our experiment in intentional living. Now with goal prioritizing! (If you were at last week's meeting I emailed this to you already.)

The Now Habit (amazon link) turned out to be a fantastic book and as a result the "week of Intention" exercise got better. Those of you reading along understood the shift, those of you that didn't probably don't. So here's another way to think about the idea: Pickle Jar Theory of Time Management (Brief blog post)

The rewritten "Week of Intention" exercise will be available at the meeting.

This week's continuing topic: Revising our week of intention schedules. Getting real about how we spend our time. New handouts, "hands-on" scheduling help, and support for our efforts to better manage our time.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Post meeting insights: Should I go to that networking event?

A stream of consciousness calculation that came up the other day when contemplating an invitation to attend a networking event downtown.

Play along if you'd like. Your calculations will probably differ.


If the event runs 6-9pm that's 3 hours - Add to that an hour or so for before and after travel and the transition time to adjust from whatever I was doing before to whatever I'll do afterwards - That brings my time cost to 5 hours - If I were paying someone minimum wage to go in my place that would cost me about $50 - but since I'm going myself there will be wear and tear on car and wardrobe (since I'd probably dress nicer than usual) - and since the event is downtown there will be parking to deal with - so I'll add in another $10-15 for that - It'll be meal time so I'll need to grab a bite somewhere and since I won't want to stand around empty handed I'll also probably be buying a drink or two, easily another $20-30 - what am I up to now? $80-95 - Oh, and then there's the ticket cost, say $10-15. This has quickly added up to an $100 investment on my part. (And were I to value my time at more than $10 and hour, and I do, the cost is even greater.)

But you ask, what about the opportunity cost? What else could I get done with that 5 hours? In my case that's a nice chunk of reading, writing, or another meeting. (Or maybe a nice long nap.) Whatever the alternative I should calculate it into the cost of going to this event.

Now let's check the benefit side of the equation:


What's the value of a professional contact (that may or may not be converted into a genuine connection) with one or more of the randomly presented people that I happen to bump into at this event? Hard to say. For the most part I've only met job seekers, muti-level marketers, and HR personnel at these kinds of events. Given that, how likely am I to capitalize on a shallow and fleeting connection with an HR person or one of the later wonderful people? So far the record has been a bit weak. So while "anything is possible" the reality is "not very likely".

In many ways this event is kinda like buying lottery tickets as retirement investing. Certain costs combined with likely low payouts.

But maybe I can fix that.

Improving the benefit:

To improve the benefit side of this equation I can research the attendees and identify in advance which ones I want to talk with. I can send them a message and indicate I'm going to the event specifically to discuss something with them of mutual benefit. I can target events with a higher density of attendees from my field or of attendees that match a particular profile I'm looking to meet.

And I can of course use the event as an opportunity for something other than uncovering opportunities such as practicing telling my story, improving my general social skills, or if I'm feeling cooped up: getting me out of the house.


If I contacted a mentor, colleague, or prospect directly (Say on Linkedin or through a contact) and offered to take that person to lunch (or dinner) to ask them about their career development end employment experience. And If I truly listened to their advice. Would I have a higher probably of developing a deeper connection with this individual? And could I do this at a lower cost than the previously mentioned networking opportunity? And could this give me practice telling my story, being sociable, making friends, and getting me out of the house? And could this deeper contact translate into more value for them as well as for myself than the networking event? I kinda think so. In fact I would be surprised if it didn't.

Your thoughts?