English - Your Native Tongue

The English language is tough.  I am not a grammar snob but some of you people need to go remedial for a moment.  Look, I have my own who vs. whom dilemma so I can empathize.  Fortunately, 99% of the population has a who/whom prob.  My grammar issues fly below the radar unless an English scholar stumbles across this brilliance.  My risk of exposure is low.

Back in the ...rather a long time ago, I recall a fraternity brother coming in the house late one night - visibly frustrated.  He was an education major and now a school principal in Louisville.  On this night, he was bemoaning his grade in an essential English course.  Verbatim he says, "I am getting a fuc%ing D in English.  I have a D... in my native tongue."  It was hilarious then and is still funny to me. If he can become a principal, you can solve your issues with to and too, affect and effect, and the other 39 common grammar issues. 

Because from what I see when you ask me to proof emails or cover letters - many of you did not excel in your native tongue either.  Please understand - I love that you send them to me - these touch points are too valuable to squander.  Conversely, when you don't send them, I get to witness employers bask in the rays of your poor grammar, getting off on typo sex just before they say, "Do you have additional candidates?"

My fraternity brother now principal dropped the course and took that class the next semester.  I so wish you could drop that interview and retake it in the Spring. No - your choice is to drop your interest in that job you want. 

Let's do this - let's improve your English in 2 days with Prime shipping.  The Goof Proofer is your reference resource. 

It is an old book - yes.  Apparently, our professional foremothers and fathers in 1999 struggled with these same issues.  The book gives you the background that you missed and now need.  Take the shortcut, please.  For your written words, you may also consider downloading Grammarly.  Let's stop this cycle because I "don't never" want to discuss this again.

Spell Check likes you the way you are.  Poor English can keep you where you are.  The world is judging whether you like it or not and you are not above the game.  Study your words.  Where the apostrophe goes is important if you want to call that gig yours.  Or is it your's?


Play The Game Better

We are walking around asking, "Am I okay?"  When you are between gigs that is what those placed in your path of judgement want to know.  They want to know but they don't ask.

Hiring folks are looking to see if they can reveal some bitterness, entitlement, a little defensiveness or desperation in you.  If that isn't enough - the next layer is luring you into resenting their questions.  Please don't go all cynical - you know this game can be cruel and difficult BUT we gotta play.  We gotta play well.  We gotta play better.

First though - let's get some affirmation out of the way.  You are okay.  You have value.  You have skills.  You solve problems.  You are going to solve this problem.  You have the power.  (You have probably forgotten these nuggets or don't know how to quite package you.)

I know one thing - you need affirmation and you aren't getting much of it now and damn! - who wants to ask for affirmation.  We can talk about affirmation another time.

I can't even remember where I was going with this.  Hmmm...

Maybe it was how do I get affirmation without asking for it.  That sounds right..oh..yes -  YOU have to play better.  You know on your way to the next career episode the people you encounter are vital.  Thus...here is what you have to do - 

  • Engage people.
  • Ask for opinion or perspective.
  • Put your LinkedIn url on your resume so they can click it.  (They are petty and most often their profile settings are such that you will see they clicked.  Proving that they have a proclivity for pettiness over their privacy.)  
  • Realize their stuff is more important than your stuff.  Ask about THEIR stuff.

I know you just want a job.  I know you need to go back to work.  Go engage people.  

Back to affirmation, YOU are okay, YOUR game is not.  That is a bit of the what - I am happy to help you with the how.  You gotta help yourself with the WHEN.  (HINT: NOW!)

A Brisk Walk With Your Boss

"I have a confidential search for you, Andy.  We are going to replace our _______."

Candidly, as a recruiter, I love this call.  Sadly, this guy is about to lose his job but before you think I am mildly heartless - KNOW a confidential search is more about someone not fitting in with the culture and more often than not - he just does not mesh with the boss. 

Client says this and I launch into questions about what they are looking for, why do they want to manage this individual out and my normal questions in taking this assignment.

Sure enough - they just do not see a future for him - he is not part of the succession plan any longer.  Why?  The answers were initially a little evasive and I kept asking.  What was at the heart of it though?

A lack of awareness.

How do I know?  The client shared a lot but one behavior stood out, "When he is following the boss around the office and the plant - "he walks too far behind."  Really?!  Yes.  On the surface, a bit petty but the inference was based on a behavior 

You probably have the competence and the training; the hard skills.  What about the soft skills?  If you are going to succeed your boss, engage, be aware, follow along closely - even when walking.    

A Bettering Conversation

One thing I have always tried to do is steal from my clients to benefit you - the jobseeker.  I can assure you I can never get in trouble stealing from my clients like that.  It's my own career ponzi scheme.    

In fact, it is biblical.  Check this out from 2 Corinthians 3-5 (The Message) - All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. 

That may be a little bit of a stretch but having the career conversations I do, especially with those between jobs, you see new wounds and old wounds exposed.  Many times the loss of a job is the band-aid ripped off that begins the unraveling of a person's life.  

Solid career counsel isn't the only answer in some cases - but for most - you need to get on with it using this time to improve yourself.  The collected opinions of my clients from behind-the-scenes real conversations have been bettering for many and I have enjoyed the thiefdom.  Thus, the majority of the career crux blog will be devoted to stolen property from real conversations translated into idea energy for this search of yours.