Tag Archives: Analyze

Have we really simplified some things during the last few decades?

I believe there are some instances, in job-searching as well as in other things, where the following statement applies. “The more we try to simplify some things, the more difficult they become”.

Allow me to explain.

Below is a picture of 2 television sets. One television set is new, and the other one isn’t. It shouldn’t be too difficult to determine which one is the older of the two. (Here’s a hint; it is the one with the 2 circular dials, and the 2 small knobs on the front of it.)

CaptureOf_2014_0908

The purpose of this week’s blog post is to comment on the changes in the way we do certain things today; as compared to the way we did those same things about the time that the television set on the left was bought.

The television set on the left does not have a stand attached to it, (and never needed it) while the television set on the right cannot stand on its own without one. This leads to the fact that anyone purchasing a TV set today is at the mercy of whoever writes the instructions on how to assemble a TV stand, and then, to connect it to the actual television set. While I can claim to be at least a little bit mechanically inclined, and to have studied a few foreign languages between high school and college, I haven’t quite been able to translate those small pictures and symbols that appear in an instruction manual. A few more words in the illustrations that are in manuals would help.

The television set on the left was simple. After you bought it and brought it home, you simply hooked it up to your antenna, plugged it in, and started watching it. Cable TV came a few years later, and sometime after that, we began using a “remote” control.

Now, with the new television set, I have to use another “remote” control in addition to the one I used for the old TV.

Just as things have changed in the way we set up our TV’s, so have things changed in the way we search for jobs.

I was “in transition” for one month during the year before I bought that old TV, and because I still have a good memory, I also have a pretty good idea about what a job-seeker had to go through back then.

The most prominent difference between then and now is the way a person looked for a job that actually existed. Back then, a job-seekers’ primary source for job leads was in the classified section of the local newspapers. When you found a job that you liked and felt you were qualified for, you looked at the contact information in the ad, and either called the phone number that they listed, or you mailed them your cover letter and resume.

In today’s world, the equivalent operation for a job-seeker going after positions that exist goes something like this. You now have to look for those jobs on the internet, and then submit your resume electronically. If you have an account with a job board, you might even have an electronic “agent” which can send you an alert when jobs are posted which ask for those same skills you listed with your “agent”. And if you are lucky while responding to one of these job postings, the company receiving your information might not swamp you with a whole bunch of behavioral questions.

Maybe my opening statement should have been, “The more someone tries to simplify some things, the more difficult those things become for everyone else”.

Dave Vandermey is a web developer.

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This One is Just Right

Goldilocks had major boundary issues and made quite a mess of the Bear family’s house, but she was expert at knowing exactly what she liked and needed.  Couldn’t we all just use a bit more of that?

 

photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, 1912 Goldilocks image

photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, 1912 Goldilocks image

We grow up with that question of what we want to be when we are grown and working – a ballerina, a fireman, a teacher.  How do we really land on our profession?  Sometimes by random narrowing – this class fit into the rest of our schedule better than that one, a charismatic person talked about something and made it sound really good, a friend of the family knew about a job opening.  And a career was born.

 

Even more haphazard might be the place where we work and practice our profession, the last department we were part of, the team, the boss; how did that culture suit us, and how well did we fit?  Was it too hot, too cold, too hard, too soft – too demanding and intrusive or too loosey-goosey without clear parameters?  How well did we fit, which begs the question do we know the environment and culture where we will fit best?

 

Have we each asked ourselves some important questions to define our ideal fit?  Such as:

  • What team roles have we held successfully – leader, idea person, detail person, etc.?
  • Where do we feel comfortable – cubicles, open concept?
  • What sort of boss best suits our needs – authoritarian, collaborative, etc.?

 

A friend was recently relaying a story about an intense job interview cycle.  Each person that she spoke with made it clear that there was a strict, authoritarian structure at this company.  Clearly they had learned the hard way to be quite open about the culture so they didn’t wind up with someone who didn’t fit.  Plenty of other companies could learn from this method and we could all be saved some grief.  There are dangers on both sides if someone who is a bad fit fills a position.

 

While few of us can afford to forego that paycheck for too long, we can still channel our inner Goldilocks to make sure that we land somewhere that is just right.

 

Beth Anne Reed has a background in Customer Relations, Process & Project Management and a deep interest in Written Communications.

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

Distractions

I had a driving experience one day last week, which I would like to use as my theme for today’s blog post, which deals with those minor distractions that we encounter during the course of our job searches, and how to deal with them.

The experience went like this. I was driving southbound on a road on my way to a networking meeting, about to make a left-hand turn at an intersection with a stoplight. At this point, the road has 3 southbound lanes, including a left turn lane. Ahead of me in the left turn lane was a car with its right turn signal blinking. That’s right! The car had its right turn signal blinking. I didn’t think much about it at first, because, after all, how many times do we see a car whose driver uses the wrong turn signal. Some drivers don’t even use their turn signal at all. And then there are those who don’t turn off their signal. So, I was paying more attention to what this driver was doing, and not what he was signaling.

The light was red. Since there was no one in the center lane, this driver managed to get the car into that lane. I pulled up even with this driver. There were no cars in front of either of us. I stopped (the stoplight was red). Suddenly, I saw this car moving backwards.

Image

Now, imagine how you might feel if, when you are at a stoplight, you see, out of the corner of your eye, a car you’re next to moving backwards. What are you going to think? Aren’t you more likely to think that YOUR car is moving forward? (For a brief second, I did.) I’ll bet your first reaction is to check and make sure YOU are stopped. (I did that, too. And I found, to my relief, that my car was stopped.)

This was a distraction. And it was a minor one at that. But then again, isn’t a typical job search full of minor distractions like this?

Distractions like this come up every day in life, so they should not be too difficult to deal with. What matters here is how we deal with them. For this incident, being observant was a good idea. Also, being quick to decide whether or not to take some action helped. It’s the same with a job search. Every day we job-seekers have to make decisions such as whether or not to go to a networking meeting, or to choose between any number of positions to apply to online. We also have to make decisions on any distractions that come up, such as running an errand, or going to do some exercising.

Oh, and by the way, the reason the other driver was backing up in the center lane? He eventually went into the right turn lane in order to make that right hand turn. I’m sure glad this other driver is not in a position to have any more influence on the direction of my job search.

On the Social War Front – Employer Reviews

By Cynthia Simmons

Recently I had a concern about an agency… Something that I was told was “The Plan” suddenly changed.  I felt very disappointed. And while I was feeling disappointed, I considered the whole process I had gone through and my relationship with them. These days, reputations and expectations are built up very quickly. And may also disappear quickly. When I first decided to sign up with them, I went to Google and found worker reviews on Yelp. The reviews were very positive, even glowing, for my area of the country. I looked at the agency website and I liked what I saw.

But recently, as part of my re-evaluation, I decided to go to the website GlassDoor.com to check the employer reviews. What I saw was interesting. The agency was rated highly by the reviewers (current or past employees) when averaged out.  But I did note that most of the positive reviews came from current employees.

Expedia - screen shot (05-05-2014) crop

That caused me to write this blog post, because I asked myself whether the data  was skewed. Was this a covert PR campaign, and had the agency seen a few bad reviews and decided to raise the overall ratings by having current staff post very positive reviews? Probably.

In the past, I had trusted the Glass Door website because when I was employed by another company I had read those company reviews, and they seemed very truthful. They mirrored what I had seen of that particular corporate culture and events over the ten years while I was employed there. But now, I read the employer reviews asking more questions and looking for patterns.

Anonymous - Employee Reviews (05-05-2014)

The Glass Door website has three other sections: job listings, salaries, and comments on the interview process. I still highly recommend this website overall.

 

Cynthia Simmons has a background in publishing and publications.

© 2014 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job. All rights reserved.