Am I Too Old to Get A Job?

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I got an email the other day.  It came from a person I have never met but he knew me well.

He said he was an avid follower of my videos on YouTube.

If you want to be found today you have to be out there.  Invisibility is not a great career strategy. Sadly many chose to live that way.

He lamented about all the things we have heard since Lehman Brothers went down in the fall of 2008.  Maybe it is old news now but he and the world still feels its repercussions. Continue reading

Surviving the Great Recession

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I was at Starbucks the other day. Starbucks is the official office of the New Normal. It is filled by people who are working all day long without paying rent. There’s free Wi-Fi as well. I walked by a fellow who was talking to some colleagues. The words that came out of his mouth amplified for me in the air. “We survived,” he said. You could see his journey in the crevices of his brow.

I could imagine his conversation: “We survived, but we came out different. We had to make some major changes. Many of our competitors didn’t come out of it.” All true. I have heard it many times. I am often at Starbucks. The great recession changed everybody, everything and most values.

Do you trust your bank? Your mortgage company? Your employer? Your boss? Politicians? Oil companies? Your athletic heroes? Where do you shop now? Do people who drive $150,000 cars look successful to you? Do you buy your kids hoodies at a surf shop or Target? What companies do your children admire? Do you worry less or more? Has what’s important to you changed during the great recession?

Many companies didn’t survive the great recession. Where is New Century? Where is Mervyns? Many logos on office towers have changed many times where I live. I worked at JWT Chicago for 4 years, on the 27th floor of the John Hancock building. It was the show.  JWT Chicago opened in 1891, and closed during the great recession. “The times they are a changing,” a prophet sang.

A whole class of people has been marginalized. They reach out to me. They lost good jobs during the great recession that they can’t replace. Generally, they are 50 plus years of age. They are not in a position to retire. There are probably millions of them out there who have tried everything to get picked, but are continually overlooked. Feeling like the last kid picked in the game of Red Rover - The New Normal’s Lost Generation.

Some can create a job by starting a consulting career, but others don’t know how to productize their knowledge and turn it into a business. One of the jobs that I had in the past with an agency probably doesn’t exist anymore, or there are much fewer of them.

Look into the future. Do you think that they position that you are in will be around in 5 years? If not, then today is the first day of your life. You can become marginalized because of your cost which often increases with age.  You can become marginalized because of your skills. If you let that happen, that is your choice. You have to change as fast as technology. That’s today’s bench mark.

When kids were young, we sometimes told them to act their age. When you are older you have to reflect the age of relevance. Doesn’t make you bullet proof, but it does provide a vest.

You see in the New Normal many things don’t align with the Old Normal. Companies are cash rich, the stock market sings, but hiring lags. Some months the news is all happy and the next month not so much.

In the New Normal you have to be ready for the next change and it will happen.  Hopefully not for a long time but I still remember the dotcom bust of a decade ago.  Some don’t because they weren’t alive in the workforce or maybe because the pain was short lived.

So, where are you today?

Are you ready to be fired?

When is the late time you reinvented yourself?

How have you made yourself smarter today?

How large is your network?

How have you made yourself more marketable today?

There is a train coming down the track. It hasn’t hit us yet, but sometime in the distant future it will. It always has in the past.

 

You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/hankblankcom

Follow his updates on Twitter: @hankblank

Like Blank and Associates on Facebook

 

You might enjoy these articles:

Don’t Let Your Business Cards Weaken Your Personal Brand

Why Reinvention is a Virtual Necessity

Watch She’s Not a Great Networker

Are You A Finder or A Grinder?

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Are you a finder or a grinder?  An inside person or an outside person?   I recently spoke to the Albuquerque AMA Chapter about How to Rise Above the Crowd.  I talked at one point about Finders and Grinders.

A couple of people followed up and said those descriptions resonated with them.  One person came up to me after the presentation and shared that she was definitely an inside person but knew she had to get outside more.

During my presentation I shared something I have learned during the New Normal. We have survived a melting of the financial world and have emerged but in a very tentative place. The fear of what we saw in the fall of 2008 and afterwards has created a lot of caution in the business world and a change I think in how people are perceived within organizations.

There is nothing wrong with being either a finder or a grinder. There are definitely a lot of different types of people in the world and I am a big proponent of networking with diversity in mind or else you will live in a homogenous world.

But finders and grinders can be valued differently when it comes to firing time. The decision of who goes and who stays is often a game of musical chair.  There is only one chair and two very qualified people to sit in that chair but only one person can sit down when the music stops.  It will be a short song.

These two people don’t even know this is happening. They are not at the dance. They don’t hear the music.  Their future is being decided by the perception they have created at their companies.  Some employees are very good grinders.  They work hard. They never miss a deadline.  They do all the right things but in the end it may not be enough.

Then there are people that are outside people.  They connect with people at work and they like to go to networking events and be connected in lots of ways. They are connected. Their networks make them well resourced.  They understand the value of social media to build their brand.  They are not superficial.  They are current with the new ways to engage. They have seen the changes that have come and have jumped on the train and often lead the way.

In this day and age the decision who stays and who goes is very difficult because the easy decisions have been made in the five years since the world melted in the fall of 2008.   One thing that had remained the same in the Old and New Normal is that that a person that offers the greatest chance for incremental revenue gets to sit in the chair when the music stops.  And that person is the outside person.

You see there are fewer outside people than inside people.  There are many more grinders than finders.  All are equally valuable but in challenging times the outside person will get the chair all the time.  It may be right.  It may be wrong. But it is reality.

 

You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/hankblankcom

Follow his updates on twitter: @hankblank

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch a video by Hank on Networking Tips for Young People.

You may also enjoy these articles:

Are Solopreneurs the Future in the New Normal?

Networking in My Hood.

She’s Not a Great Networker.

I’m Just Trying to Figure It Out

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“I’m just trying to figure it out.”

People often tell me that they are trying to figure it out. After all the books, blogs, free and paid webinars and seminars on how to get to the next place – yet the majority of people don’t have a roadmap on where to go next.

Just the other day, I heard a young person say they were trying to figure it out. They were rooms away from where I sat, but their lament traveled through the air to me. They were looking for a magic way, but life isn’t as organized as Disneyland. Young people are the slash generation that many elders don’t see; also the untrained generation. Institutions don’t invest as much in our youth as they have done in the past. The obligation of mentoring and nurturing youth may have been lost or abandoned.

There was a story on NPR recently, which reported the number one psychological issue in campus health clinics today is anxiety. Young people are anxious that if that they graduate today in the New Normal, they aren’t guaranteed a job, even with a college degree – maybe even with an MBA. They have no clue on how to provide the basics for themselves once they graduate with huge student loans. That’s a big worry that can become a heavy yoke.

I can see that. Many “Millenials” have by now spent a quarter of their lives living in the great recession. Their parents may have been downsized; their homes may have been in foreclosure.  They may have lost trust in the safety net of their parents helping them out financially. Some, in fact, may be helping their parents.

I often have a Starbucks and listen to business owners that want to take it to the next level. They tell me they are trying to figure it out. I have some clarity for them on days that can even be blind for me. Such a paradox – or could it be an irony? A metaphor? Do we teach what we need to know?

I have met too many people over the years that have been launched into the world of transition they didn’t anticipate before. Some come to me with the weight of living in the New Normal, saying they are just trying to figure it out. They weren’t trained on what to do when one is jettisoned into transition. When they worked for somebody, they often did all the figuring it out, but nothing further.

Here are some ways to try to figure it out:

1. Stop worrying, because worry won’t make the road clearer. Instead, it creates a fog. The best worry buster is an intense workout, or whatever else may work for you. Anything that disengages you from your brain for just the right time can bring you back to it focused and ready to take on the task at hand.

2. Figuring it out can be simplified if you surround yourself with other perspectives; you’ll never figure it out if you surround yourself with yourself. The best way to train for a marathon is to talk to someone who has run one before. They will tell you that running tight to the curves will save you a lot of steps over the 26.2 miles or 42Km. The best way to figure it out is by talking to people who have walked the same struggle.

What do I know? I have lived in the New Normal all my life. I’m just trying to figure it out.

 

You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/hankblankcom

Follow his updates on twitter: @hankblank

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch a video by Hank on Networking Tips for Young People.

You may also enjoy these articles:

Are Solopreneurs the Future in the New Normal?

Networking in My Hood.

She’s Not a Great Networker.

Why Every Solopreneur Needs an Intern from the Slash Generation

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This is a post that I recently wrote for MENG.

I am a consultant and have used paid interns for the last ten years.  First my kids, then their friends and recently graduates who are looking for their first real career job but need to get some real world experience.

I don’t like the term intern.  It’s from the Old Normal.  I prefer to call them Assistants.  I wish I could come up with a catchier name.  In the New Normal, Assistants are part of the Slash Generation.  In the Old Normal the availability of intern positions is dead as a doormat.

I have written about this from their perspective in an article called Why Graduates Are Looking for Jobs in All The Wrong Places.  In it I wrote that recent graduates who need experience could cross that goal line by working for Solopreneurs like me.  Many of my interns are now in the corporate world.  One of my Assistants recently got married and his wife works for my first Assistant that I hired ten years ago.

They are all different.  Some have their own podcasts, some love YouTube, some Tweet others don’t.   Some love music and play in bands.  All text and use Facebook. They all PowerPoint better than you.  They are all unique.  They are all valuable.

Since I am a Marketer I have found that I have had the best success with Assistants that came out of the PR, Advertising or Marketing school programs.  They know the basics and they know the jargon.  If you are in Washington I know somebody that speaks four languages.

My assistants help me with tasks. These are the things that we need to do but shouldn’t do as consultants as you can’t bill for your time.  For instance repurposing my thought leadership. They don’t write my blogs but they certainly can think of places to post my content.  I could spend time posting my blogs on my fifty Linkedin groups but why should I?  Should I go to the UPS store to send out packages or should they? I would rather pay somebody $12 an hour and pursue initiatives that could monetize me more.

I often speak on Networking, New Business Development, and Social Media.   Many organizations do not pay for speakers.  Should I use my time to chase non paying gigs or use my Assistants for the initial outreach?  We all have too many things to do with less time.

Most Millenials came out of their womb texting.  They were born into technology.  My current Assistant built her own computer.  Why would I sync my iPad and iPhone when they can do it?  Who knows more about Apps?

I love it when my Assistants come to me and ask have your ever thought of doing it this way?  No I say but let’s start. We all need a little realignment.

In the end it is a win win for everybody.   They need you and you need them.

They improve my productivity and I can go back to what I like doing best.  Being an Under Assistant West Coast Promo Man.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin

http://www.linkedin.com/in/hankblankcom

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

You can watch a video by Hank on Networking Tips for Young People.

You can also read some other blogs that may be able to help you.

Why Graduates are Looking for Jobs in All the Wrong Places.

Are Solopreneurs the Future in the New Normal?

How to Create a Job By Creating a Consulting Career.