Category Archives: job search work teams

You learn from being with others who pursue similar goals

If you are focussed and committed to achieve a goal, you generally try to surround yourself with people pursuing the same, or a similar, goal.

In martial arts, you work out together, to achieve the next belt color (level).

In training for a marathon, you establish a routine to follow (with others). (How many miles to run?  Which days?  Which route to follow?  What diet to follow?  What time to meet in the morning to run?)

In SCUBA diving, it is always recommended to stay with a companion while underwater.

Yet, many unemployed folks don’t embrace this approach regarding their job search.

Public Domain Image

Public Domain Image

For job search, the most effective ways to decrease the duration of your job search, is to routinely meet with others in job search, as a group, to discuss their progress and activity toward finding their next job.  (Reference R. Bolles, ‘What Color is Your Parachute?’, 2012.)

I often heard folks, who’d been in job search for a long time, say “The people that I talk with are all unemployed: I REALLY need to be talking to employed folks!”

Friends of mine have trained for marathons as part of a group, and it took months of preparation.  Over that time, some group members encountered situations which kept them from training one day, or forced them to run a shorter distance than scheduled.  For others in the group, uphills were more of a challenge, while downhills were more problematic for a few.  No two people had the same set of challenges throughout their training, and this is expected.  It was how each person approached, and then worked through each challenge, that determined if she was successful or not in reaching (first the starting, then) the finish line, of the marathon.

Similarly, no two people in job search should expect to see similar progress from their efforts.  If someone’s LinkedIn profile is not generating as many hits as desired, it is a temporary situation that can be tweaked: it should not be seen as a personal judgement or failure.  It is important to seek out help from those in your group, for those areas that you want to improve.  Most importantly, keep being active within your job search network!

I found that being amongst people interested in my success helps helps me to be my best.  The value of being within a group of people who actively share your goals, remains just as important in job search as it is in any other undertaking.

Allan Channell is a new ‘Blog to Work’ contributor.  He has experience in software development, project management, and has interests in communications, Tai Chi, and humor.

© 2015 Blog to Work | Blogging your way to a job, All rights reserved

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Is your job search agile?

There are valid, non-linear approaches to projects that are used every day in many businesses. Could such a structure assist you in your job search?

In an Agile methodology, people are valued over process, change to the initial plan is treated as a ‘given,’ and iterating back (and back again) to update and improve a deliverable (such as a resume, LinkedIn profile, etc.) is expected.  You aren’t expected to know how useful something will be, until you first make use of it.   If you’d like to bring more of these dynamics into your job search, please read further.

Agile’s first tenet is that “People are valued over process.” This means that people should not be put under too much stress, as that will make them less productive.  Although you won’t get away from all stress in job search, the emphasis is that YOU (and your sanity,  well-being, etc.) are valued over, say, staying up extra late just to update your resume for the 10th time because it may not be perfect.

Also, a team-based approach, and being physically co-located with people on your team, are highly valued Agile aspects. These types of work environments enable the high amount of communication and information-sharing necessary for a successful Agile approach.  You may have heard that staying in touch with other members of your Job Search Work Team, and “networking”  with others to share information, is critical to helping your transition.  Those points are very consistent with Agile.

Many ways to climb the mountain

Many ways to climb the mountain

Building something that is ‘good enough’ for now, realizing that you can return to improve it later, is another dynamic of Agile.  To me, editing an existing document is always easier than trying to make the first draft perfect. For your (Agile) job search, you first have to complete an iteration of something before you can go back and improve upon it.  Trying to “hold something back until it is error-free” tends to hide errors that you aren’t seeing yet (because you aren’t using the deliverable).  Only by completing an iteration can you learn what works, and what isn’t working, so complete an iteration, no matter how small it may seem.

The more traditional form of project management is called ‘waterfall,’ and is much more linear in approach.  Here, a full project plan is created for the project, and  the emphasis is upon executing to the initial project schedule, and large changes to that plan are discouraged.  Waterfall works best for projects that have been done previously, such as building a house, or planning a banquet. Although you may led a job search previously, the dynamics can be significantly different each time.

Agile is recommended for projects whose details are not sufficiently clarified at the beginning of the project or journey.  We know that job search, and uncertainty are very good friends.

I witnessed many folks in transition beat themselves up for not having the ‘perfect’ resume format, credentials, or interviewing techniques.  Agile methodology may provide a good structure to build your job search efforts and progress, as it seems more aligned with handling the dynamics of job search.  You can find out more on Agile with an easy online search.

Allan Channell is a new ‘Blog to Work’ contributor.  He has experience in software development, project management, and interests in communications, Tai Chi, and humor.

© 2014 Blog to Work | Blogging your way to a job, All rights reserved

On Teamwork

In the past, I have worked at a number of employers as a Computer Programmer. In terms of the number of people these companies employed, my employers ranged in size from small to large. The Information Technology departments within these employers was directly proportional with their size, so I can safely say that I have worked in departments of varying sizes, from small to large.

In the larger departments, the employees were grouped into teams. In smaller departments, there were only a few teams, and in one case, the department was so small that there was only 1 team.

No matter what the size of the Information Technology department I was in, I was always a member of a team. Once I was given an assignment, the boundaries between working as part of a team versus working independently became harder to identify. It was up to me to determine what parts of my assignment were dependent on other team members, as opposed to those that were my responsibility. And of course, when working as part of a team, I had to be ready to help other team members whenever they were dependent on me.

I am pretty sure that this is the case in almost all other fields of employment. It is the same when one is out of work, although the “team” that a job-seeker works with is not as clearly defined.

But the important thing is to be able to work on a team. Anybody can work independently. An example of this was when I was in grade school. Back then, there was one thing I did constantly. It’s called homework. I had to do my homework, and not have someone else do it for me. Oh, I asked for help when I needed it, and I usually got it. But again, most of the time, like all of us when we were in grade school, I worked independently.

The team sports that I played in back then gave me some experience being a part of a team, but it was an experience I had some time later that gave me a valuable lesson in teamwork. For 5 years, early in my adult life, I was a member of a square dance club. I knew virtually nothing about square dancing when I got my first lesson. I discovered I liked it, and several months later, I found myself signing up for lessons at a square dance club.

 Image

In square dancing, you have a partner. You and your partner are in a square with 3 other couples. This makes for a total of 8 people in a square. In a way, you are part of a team. When you are just learning how to square dance, the best thing for you is to be in a square where the other 7 in the square know more about square dancing than you do. You will make mistakes. (That’s what all of us do when we are “just learning” something.) There will always be at least 1 person in that square who will be willing to help you, and show you the right way to perform a square dance move. There are reasons for this. One, square dancers are generally very helpful people. And two, they want to keep the square going, and not have it break down. (Also, they are practicing their square dance moves, as well as showing their teamwork.) As a result of this, I became very good at square dancing.

It has been a few years since I last went square dancing. But the lesson in teamwork that I learned from that experience is something that I have kept with me. I hope that I can display that teamwork in other areas of my life and in my job-search experience as well.

 

Dave Vandermey is a web developer.

“Hello World ” and 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Favorite Beers of America in order of popularity:  Blue Moon, Bud Lite, Yeugling, Sam Adams, Miller Lite, Coors, and Corona.   How do you get rid of a 100 bottles of your favorite beer down off the wall quickly?  “You take one down, pass it around, 99 bottles of beer on the wall” of course.   And rarely have all the verses of this old song been sung. 

You’re tasked with getting a job.  Do you choose to accept it?  How do you get a job?  Using the drinking song plan:

Keep the task simple

List what you want

Laser focus on your objective, get a system

Enlist others for support

Start

Remember – Keep the main thing, the main thing

Persist

Sanity check

Steve Jobs, Apple Google

Steve Jobs, Apple Google

This is the same system as “Hello World” in computer programming.  It is a simple program that can be used by a beginner and it can be used to verify that you’re operating correctly.  The list above is a practical tool; useful and real.  This system is simple, it requires you make a decision, define a goal, and there is little chance of indefinitely effort.  Success will come.    

People will let you down; a system will not.  In computer language persisting, looping, and evaluating, control flow, is just as important as the beginning.   Be repetitive.  Looping back will need to be ingrained in process as well as the people for assuring success.   Control flow is as important a step because it requires you pay attention and notice unplanned for variances in your system.  I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.  – Steve Jobs

May you see “The operation is a success” come across the computer screen of your mind.

Deb Bryan has 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry.  She has a passion for writing and ToastMasters International.

© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job.  All rights reserved