Archive for Work/Office

Kiss Me – I’m a Job Seeker

date nightI am neither the first (by a long shot), nor will I be the last (I can guarantee) person writing about how looking for a job is like dating. I truly think whenever some HR, Recruiting or Career blogger wants lots of clicks they write a post on the subject; guaranteed to be internet traffic gold. These posts usually contain all sorts of advice about creating your online profile (if using an online dating site), and understanding that the 1st interview is like the first date (“just getting to know you!”).

But I have yet to see someone write anything about how, if at all, women approach this process differently than men.  I wonder if they do?

For a number of years the ladies looking for love have been told they need to come out of pretty pretty princess land and learn to “date like a man.” The moony-eyed romance-starved gals have been told:

  • Don’t set out with the intent of finding “the one”; date multiple people to keep your options open
  • Realize that dating comes in stages; it will likely take months to become the girlfriend – not three dates
  • Don’t be so quick to take yourself ‘off the market’
  • Don’t overanalyze every action, word or piece of minutiae from a text message, phone call or in person interaction

Recently a dear friend of mine (female) stuck her toes in the dating waters and launched her online quest for love; she knows what she wants – a long-term relationship – and is clear about it. Good for her. But, like many of my female friends before her, as soon as she began some conversations with one particular guy she scrubbed her online dating profile. This was prior to even meeting him for the first time.

That’s like having a phone screening interview with the recruiter and taking down your Monster or LinkedIn profile. Or holding off on networking for any other job opportunities until you know for sure if you’ve landed this one.

I have another friend (female) who landed a gig, thought it was “the one” and immediately ceased all online activities in the mistaken belief it would demonstrate to this new employer her unwavering commitment. The job ended up not being “the one” and when she was back on the market shortly thereafter she had to start from scratch.

Sometimes these clichés are clichés for a reason; I’ve had numerous girlfriends over the years who’ve met a dude, had one date and immediately began planning for the picket fence and a houseful of babies. Is this solely a chick thing? I’m sure it’s not. There are guys out there who act like this in the dating world although we, perhaps unfairly, think of them as stalkers more than romantics.

So whether looking for a job or looking for love I say keep your options open. Hold hands. Assess kissing ability. Run a chemistry experiment; and then run it again.

Unless you want to go the courtship route a la the Duggar family.

Yeah; I didn’t think so.

Yours, Mine and Ours

don-and-blankenshipI think we can all agree that language matters in the workplace. Often this is a culture indicator; the leadership team at the silk-stocking law firm may (in public at least) be formal and circumspect – “Miss Blankenship, will you please come in here and bring your steno pad?” The dudes running the tech start up down the street however embrace my favorite four-letter word and freely interject this vivid descriptor into any and all conversations – “What the f’ing hell is going on with this f’ing beta test?”

Language also reflects how we view and treat our employees – sometimes in subtle ways.  This struck me the other day after separate conversations with two different leaders from two wildly divergent industries. Fellow A spoke of his team in the context of “we” while Fellow B referred to his staff members as if they were his possessions.

Ours vs. Mine

It struck me that Fellow A came across as inclusive; exhibiting a spirit of “we’re all in this together.”  Fellow B, on the other hand, came across as a total dick. Everyone in his glorified solar system orbited around him; he could scarcely speak of others without relying on his own title and elevated function to describe their jobs.

Do your leaders or managers say:

  • my administrative assistant” or “the department’s administrative assistant”
  • my A/P clerk” or “our A/P clerk”
  • my HR Rep” or “the company’s HR Rep”

Does it sometimes make sense for a bona-fide denizen of the C-suite to say “contact my assistant to schedule that?” Sure. Although saying “contact my assistant Ida to schedule that” (use her name!) recognizes Ida as a self-sustaining and productive member of the team and not merely an entity that exists solely for the continuation of Mr. C-Suite’s exaltation.

Know what I mean?

This isn’t Mad Men anymore – “My girl will take your coat.” “My girl can get some coffee for you.”

Oh well, it’s 2 pm. Freshen up my drink won’t you Miss Blankenship?

Acknowledge THIS

TY cardI think we can all agree that when someone puts in a lot of work it’s important to say ”thank you.”  Not everything requires fireworks, cannons and a corps of dancing Chippendales (or Chippengirls – equal opportunity) of course.  Sometimes it’s enough to send a well-timed email, give a pat on the back, or ring someone up on the phone to merely say “I appreciate all you’ve done.”

People crave personal and heartfelt recognition.  Who doesn’t want an ‘atta boy every now and again?  Am I right?

It seems like something every manager or organization would know is important. Yet, the longer I live on this earth, the more I realize it often escapes a lot of people.  It’s a concept that just doesn’t get pinned down in their brains; like dandelion fluff adrift in the air.  Like tumbleweeds gyrating lazily down Interstate 25.  Like clouds floating in Denver Portland Madison on 4/20.

I recently had a conversation with someone who had worked for an organization for 10 years.  It was not an extremely large organization so his work was known to most every associate.   As he transferred from department to department over the years it only increased his socialization and relationships across the depth and breadth of the organization.

During his tenure he made some pretty major contributions, drove some key strategic initiatives, and contributed to growing success among the organization’s market/customer base. When he retired, with a lengthy notice, he dutifully trained his successor, wrapped up some final items and headed off to enjoy his golden years after a decade of service.

Ten years. A dime. A 10th of a century.

At the end of his notice period he was treated to the standard off boarding experience – “turn in your keys, complete this paperwork and be aware we’ll be changing your passwords at COB today” – and sent on his way.

He wasn’t expecting fireworks, cannons or a corps of dancing Chippendales Chippengirls.

But a thank you would have been nice.

Me Love You Long Time: Managing Employee Departures

miss you MGD©The way in which an employee is treated when departing your company is just as important as how you handled the process when they joined you. (It’s also, obviously, a reflection of your organizational culture).  Remember those heady days?  You wooed and courted and promised them the moon with the ardent fervor of a love-struck teenager until you convinced them to come on board.

But now they’ve decided to leave.  The romance has soured or a more attractive suitor has arrived and lured them away. When an employee tells you “It’s not you – it’s me” (even though it may, in fact, be you) there are a few situations to avoid as you work through the break-up:

Asking them to leave immediately – This has always struck me as about the stupidest thing ever. Ever!  Oh sure, this may make sense for a salesperson who’s not going to be filling the pipeline with new leads if he’s walking out the door in 2 weeks but what’s the point of tossing Carol in Accounting out the door the moment she gives notice?  Yet there are companies who apparently assume all resigning employees are going to gather all the corporate intel they can and sell it to the highest bidder.  I’ve joined organizations where this was the norm; so much so that resigning employees who had to work out a 2 week notice were actually offended they weren’t asked to depart forthwith.

The Shunning – Bob tenders his resignation and is immediately a pariah. He’s no longer invited to meetings and his name disappears from email groups.  He can probably live with all of this but it pains him just a bit when his boss, the division director and, so it seems, the entire leadership team don’t even offer greetings in the hallway.  One step removed from Hester Prynne.  Poor Bob.

The Security Guard with a Box – This is the workplace equivalent of placing your beloved’s belonging on the driveway and calling a locksmith to change the locks.  The neighbors will gawk while furtively pretending to avoid eye contact with all involved and you’ll be the talk of the neighborhood for years.  In the office, I implore you, don’t enlist the services of a building security guard who accompanies the departing employee to her cubicle and keeps a stern eye as she packs up the photos of her kids and her collection of shoe figurines.

The Farewell Party – This is nice, right?  Sally gets treated to cake and punch and her manager gives her a gift card to Outback Steakhouse after he makes a speech about all her contributions and how she was an integral part of the team’s success.  Her co-workers sign a card (funny and slightly ribald because Sally has a sense of humor) and wish her the best of luck.  There are hugs all around with promises to stay in touch and get together for the occasional lunch or happy hour. But Sally feels a bit sad as she wonders “why didn’t they say these things and treat me this way during the 4 years I worked here?  If I knew this is how everyone felt I might not have looked for another job…”

When an employee decides to move on and enter a relationship with someone else you may not be ready to say “I’ll always love you” but you can surely tell him “let’s be friends.”