Archive for April, 2009

Ever feel like just storming out the door and telling your boss to pound sand?

Read the lyrics of this famous Johnny Paycheck song and see if they sound familiar:

Take this job and shove it — I ain’t working here no more
My woman done left and took all the reasons– I was working for
You better not try to stand in my way — As I’m a walking out the door.
Take this job and shove it — I ain’t working here no more

I know I’ve felt that way a few times and I even did it once. Unfortunately, it’s a really bad idea for your career. The first time I felt like doing it I was working at Data Terminal Systems.

The Snowman and Butterball

Back in 1977, I was working at Data Terminal Systems and decided to apply for the job of Manager of Sales Administration. It was big bump in pay and it was great way to move out of a dead end job in manufacturing and get a solid start in sales and marketing.

All went well until my first day on the new job. That’s when I discovered that the guy who had hired me, we’ll call him The Snowman, had double crossed me and lied to me about the job he was giving me.

I know this is hard to believe, but the day I showed up for my first day as the new Manager of Sales Administration, I discovered a memo that had been written by The Snowman announcing that was the new Scheduling Supervisor! It also said that instead of having this guy I’ll call Butterball — the Order Administration Supervisor reporting to me, I would be reporting to Butterball!

This was horrible on so many levels. There was no promotion, the job was a lateral transfer, I was now working for Butterball, a guy I’d never work for in a million years, and worst of all, I was working in an organization that was run by a deceitful little man (The Snowman). A man I hated.

Unfortunately, I was 24 and had no options, so I was forced to suck it up in a “hostile work environment” for 15 months until I was ultimately able to win the job I thought I had in the first place – The Manager of Sales Administration.

30 Reasons Employees Hate Their Managers

Dr. Bruce Katcher's Book

Dr. Bruce Katcher's Book

When I got screwed by The Snowman, I felt violated, I felt betrayed, and worst of all, I felt like fool. But as we learn this week on The Career Mechanic from Dr. Bruce Katcher, the majority of workers hate their boss and their job. Katcher wrote the book 30 Reasons Employees Hate Their Manager.

My Jimmy Stewart Moment

Almost 20 years after my encounter with The Snowman and the dark side of office politics, I found myself getting screwed again. This time it was by friends of mine at Concentra. I had left Computervision and joined Concentra to be the Chief Marketing Manager, but in an effort to boost slumping sales, the President and CEO reorganized the company into two divisions and took my staff away and put them in the divisions.

This led to my “Jimmy Stewart Moment,” when I addressed the management team and told them not to mess with me and my career.

Once again I felt violated and betrayed, but this time I didn’t hate anyone, I just got even. This time, I had a good career network and within a few months I landed one of the best jobs of my life – Chief Marketing Officer, Aspect Development.

Lillian Bjorseth — The Network Expert

Lillian Bjorseth

Lillian Bjorseth

We’ve been talking for some time about the rise of “social networks” and why you must play on them for the good of your career. One of our guests this week on The Career Mechanic – Lillian Bjorseth, says that these Internet based social networks fall short on a human level. Bjorseth lays out a game plan for using good old fashioned face-to-face networking to build a career network that can actually help you find a job when you need you.

If you find dealing with your boss a growing source of angst in your life and you’d like to start building a network to protect you when the day comes that you say: “Take This Job and Shove IT,” be sure to listen to this week’s episode of The Career Mechanic.


The Career Mechanic This Week  – Take This Job and Shove It!

Hate is a strong word, yet it’s right there in the title of Dr. Bruce Thatcher’s book “30 Reasons Employees Hate Their Managers. Dr. Thatcher will join Dave Horne this week to discuss the intensity of emotions building in the workplace and what you can do about it. Dave will tell a couple of tales of his own corporate abuse and how he survived. Dave and his second guest, Lillian Bjorseth will discuss the strategic importance of building a career network that will reliably help you find a job when you really need one. Lillian has been dubbed “The Network Expert” by the Chicago Tribune and she has also been featured on Fox News critiquing President Obama’s etiquette on his recent global tour.


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At the end of his poem – The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost wrote: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

How many times have you thought about taking that other road; the road not taken in your career. I began my career in materials management within the manufacturing department of a cash register company. Today I’m an author, blogger, and talk show host for The Career Mechanic radio show.

To get from there to hear, I moved my family seven times, I made a number of wild moves across professional disciplines and even relocated to London and San Francisco. I can tell you a few things about these out-of-the-box career moves:

  • Every one of these moves helped my career move forward.
  •  Although my family suffered some angst at first, in the end, they agree that these moves improved their lives. 
  • We have made many more friends along the way than we would have simply staying in suburban Boston for three to four decades.

What constitutes an out-of-the-box career move?

Like many things in life, it’s in the eye of the beholder, but in all cases, out-of-the-box career moves almost always entail stepping off the natural job path for of your current career.

Why do it? I think everyone has a different reason. When I discovered that my job experience at the electronic cash register company Data Terminal Systems and pigeonholed me into the vocational box of “high tech.” And while it’s true, Boston has a decent high tech job market; it is very minor league when compared to Silicon Valley. So, I moved to the Bay Area to open up a world of opportunity for my career.

Where do you truly belong?

This week on The Career Mechanic – Out Of The Box Career Thinking

A career is a very fluid thing. For most of us, we start at the bottom and go up from there. For some it looks like a rocket climbing to the heavens. For others, it’s more like a donkey climbing a mountain on a zig-zag dirt path. Regardless of the trajectory, most people follow some kind of career path — but not everyone. Sometimes people make out-of-the-box career moves and propel themselves over to an entirely new career trajectory. Not only do many of the people who make these bold moves do well, they also end up feeling much better about themselves. This week, Dave will talk about out-of-the-box career moves with Penelope Trunk; a nationally syndicated career columnist and founder of the Gen Y career web site Brazen Careerist. He will also be joined by John Susko – former auto worker turned hypnotist.

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We live in a big country. We have the world’s biggest economy, the world’s biggest federal budget, the strongest military, the world’s most generous foreign aid budget, and the world’s greatest trade deficit (the difference between what we buy overseas and what we sell).

Interestingly enough, we also have the wealthiest poor on earth. I know, this sounds like an oxymoron, but look at the facts.

Poor in the United States

Here’s what the Swedish think tank Timbro says about being poor in the United States:

“Poverty in the United States, in an absolute sense, has virtually disappeared. Today, there’s nothing remotely resembling poverty of yesteryear. However, if poverty is defined in the relative sense, the lowest fifth of income-earners, “poverty” will always be with us. No matter how poverty is defined, if I were an unborn spirit, condemned to a life of poverty, but God allowed me to choose which nation I wanted to be poor in, I’d choose the United States. Our poor must be the envy of the world’s poor.”

And here are the facts on the US poor:

The Wealth of America's Poor

The Wealth of America's Poor

Why am I bringing this us and what does it have to do with feeding the pig?

My point is, as a nation, we must generate new money – call it national wealth, to fuel all of the things we have and want in this country; feed the pig.

Stimulus Spending and The Pig

Just as we start to come out of our national recession, we begin the greatest federal government spending program on the face of the earth. Will it work – will it even help?

The experts seem to think that it might help a little in the next year or two and then actually weaken the US economy over the longer run. I have to agree, because this budget doesn’t feed the pig.

We have all sorts of jobs in the United States and many of them are good jobs. We also have a lot of good jobs that come from the government and union shops. The question of the day is – are these government jobs really good for the nation; do they feed the pig?

Well, you probably figured out that the answer is no. Government workers do pay taxes and spend money on the economy – and that’s good, but at what cost? Their employer – the government, pays no taxes, and for at least the next 10 years, must borrow money and pay interest to fund these jobs. The net effect is that government jobs don’t feed the pig – they are the pig!

Creating Good Jobs That Feed Pig

On the other hand, new private sector jobs do feed the pig:

1. They’re funded by private money

2. Like government jobs, the people they employ pay taxes and spend money in the economy

3. Unlike the government however, these employers also pay taxes on the profits they make, real estate they own, and countless other fees.

But the private sector jobs that really feed the pig are those that come from new businesses that come from new ideas, new products, and ultimately create new industries in the United States. I’m talking about new businesses like Microsoft, Starbucks, Walmart, or Google. Not only do these new businesses create great private sector jobs – for all income classes, but also, the investors who risk their money to start these companies ultimately pay huge taxes in the form of capital gains once their risky investments pay off.

Venture Capitalists – Building Pig Feeding Machines

I think that the reason the US enjoys the wealth we have is because of our well developed venture capital industry. Money flows from wealthy individuals and institutions into the hands of brilliant, ambitious, and hungry entrepreneurs who hustle to build new companies and industries. And something like 19 out of 20 fail and lose everything.

Tax Policy and Venture Capital

The final piece of the pig feeding puzzle is tax policy. History has proven that raises taxes in a recession only makes things worse. History has also proven that cutting taxes, particularly capital gains and corporate taxes jump start the economy every time.

This week on The Career Mechanic, we discuss the history of tax policy and feeding the pig. We’re joined by big time Venture Capitalist Bob Fleming from Boston and explain the details if the VC industry.

Please click HERE to listen

The Career Mechanic – Feeding The Pig

To jump start the 2009 economy, we must “feed the pig.” Who’s the pig? Unfortunately in many cases – the pig is us! We want good paying jobs, we want cheap goods, and a lot of people seem to want a government that gives them lots of good stuff for free. To feed this pig, we need to create new businesses that employ people, who spend money in the economy, and most of all pay taxes to the king of all porkers – the government. This week we’ll discuss where the companies “who feed the pig the best” come from. We’ll be joined by Bob Fleming, a highly successful Boston based venture capitalist and talk about how the venture industry raises money and funds these vital new companies. We’ll also discuss the role of tax policy on helping or in some cases hurting the process.

Next Week: Out of the Box Career Thinking. Our guest will be Penelope Trunk, author of the book Career Brazenist, syndicated columnist and big time career blogger. We’ll also be joined by John Susko, an automotive design consultant who changed careers and is now successful Hypnotist.

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Sue and I have driven across country six or seven times. Our favorite state is Oklahoma. A lot of people never give Oklahoma a chance. They hear songs like Merl Haggard’s “I’m Proud to Be an Okie from Muskogee” and they say to themselves – why would I ever want to go to Oklahoma – it just a bunch of rednecks!

I never gave red necks much thought until I saw the movie Easy Rider.

Easy Rider Red Neck

Easy Rider Red Neck

That was really scary – first they beat up Jack Nicholson and then they shoot Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper right in the face, while they’re driving down the stinking road!

Boy did I hate rednecks after that movie.

Then about two years ago I saw Jeff Foxworthy do a stand-up routine about red necks where he makes wacky statements like:

” If You’ve been married three times and still have the same in-laws – you may be a red neck”,

 “If you think TACO BELL is the Mexican Phone Company – you could be a red neck

So I’m yucking it up with the rest of the California hillbillies and I’m starting to warm up to rednecks, when the he says:

 “If someone can tell where you’ve gone on vacation for the last 3 years by looking in your tee shirt drawer – you are a redneck”.

That hurt, that’s me, and I didn’t think that was very funny

So I was thinking about that when I came up with my own stand-up bit called

Are You A Dinosaur?

What am I talking about – hang with me another minute and you’ll find out

As I’ve mentioned in the past, my career has followed the rise of the tech era in US industry

When I went to school, there was no major in Computer Science, and no such thing as a personal computer or any personal technology at all. I had a typewriter at U-Mass and when I got my MBA, my wife typed my project papers for me.

I think this was the case for most all Baby Boomers, I mean I didn’t get my first laptop until 1993 – 17 years after I graduated.

So the net of all of this is that most of us baby boomers have had to pick up our tech know-how “from the streets.”

But here’s the thing, some learn faster than others, and some never seem to learn!

Are You a Dinosaur?

Are You a Dinosaur?

When I was working, we called these slow learners Dinosaurs.

So here’s my new career stand-up routine — Are you a dinosaur?

“If you have your secretary print out your emails just so can read them, you are definitely a dinosaur.”

“If you share the same email address with your wife or husband — the odds are pretty good that you are a dinosaur.”

“If you’re still putting film in your camera, I’m afraid you may be a dinosaur.”

You starting to feel a little nervous – did that one hit close to home?

“If the only thing you do with your cell phone is make calls, you definitely have some strong dinosaur tendencies.”

“If you’ve never used text lingo — that new US dialect — like OMG for Oh My God  LOL for Laughing Out Loud  or BTW for By The Way  in an email, I’m afraid you could be a dinosaur.”

But here’s the big one for 2009…

“If you don’t have a page on FaceBook, Linkedin, and Plaxo yet, I regret to inform you that you’re a dinosaur.”

And if you’re not using twitter to tell all your friends what you’re doing every waking hour, you better clean up your act before it’s too late.

The fact of the matter is, social networks like Facebook have become a parallel universe in today’s society.

And guess what? They have also become one of the hottest career building tools in 2009.

Bigger Than Brazil

If Facebook was a country, it would be bigger than Brazil. This enormous social network, and it’s career building little brother Linkedin, have changed the way careers are made or squandered. As we come out of this recession, you will need to work a little harder to get ahead and these networks are the place to start.


Job Seekers Turning to Online Social Networks

While Facebook has become a true social phenomena, the real career action is now with career social network Linkedin. Unless you’re counting down the days to retirement, you just have to get registered there for the good of your career.

Last week there was a great story in the LA Times about using these networks for your career. Here are a few highlights:

Websites such as LinkedIn help employers and job candidates find one another through common bonds.

“As people are feeling less secure and more concerned about their careers, they are really investing in their professional network,” Hahn said.

They’re still heading to traditional job sites such as CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com and Yahoo HotJobs. Traffic to such sites is among the fastest-growing on the Internet, according to research firm ComScore Inc.

But job hunters also are blogging and reaching out to friends on general networking services such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as to narrower communities such as TheLadders, which is for people seeking salaries of more than $100,000. It’s all about making connections and building a personal brand, said Forrester Research senior analyst Jeremiah Owyang.

There’s at least one downside: The trend toward online networking could hurt job seekers at both ends of the age spectrum.

Older workers may not be entirely comfortable with the technology, said Celeste Calfe, president of the Assn. of Career Firms of North America. And younger workers know their way around social networks but don’t necessarily know enough people with the connections to get them a job.

“Most of my contacts on LinkedIn I made through my work life,” said Calfe, 54, owner of Calfe & Associates, an outplacement and human resources consulting firm in Pittsburgh. Young people “don’t have that many. That’s what’s hurting them in the marketplace today. They don’t have the network.”


It’s Time to Get With The Program

This week, The Career Mechanic will show you how to take advantage of these emerging social networks. We have a power recruiter, Toni Hooper, who will reveal secrets about how executive search firms are using social networks. We’ll also be joined by Ed Sykes who will give you a crash course in how to tune up your career for the new world order of social networking.

The Career Mechanic (4-6-2009) Career Building in the New Tech World Order

Hallelujah! On Thursday CNBC announcer Jim Cramer, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, and Intel CEO Paul Otellini all declared that the market and the economy had hit bottom – Hallelujah. That’s the good news, the bad news is that the good times will take some time to come back and the new good times will undoubtedly be different than the old good times. This is particularly true when it comes to career building. Join us this week as we talk about the most important career strategy for 2009 – Social Networking. Dave’s guest will be Executive Recruiter and Social Network Power User Toni Hooper, and Career Tech Expert Ed Sykes. They’ll shine a light on where this new social phenomena fits in your career plans.

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