What’s Your Obligation If Somebody Helps You Find a Job?


I had a Starbucks with a stranger the other day.

I asked him how he got connected to me.

He said I helped one of his friends get a job at a great company.

I didn’t readily recall her name but her photo on LinkedIn returned her to my memory.

I never got any business leads from her after she got the job but I got a lot of nice projects from her company. Any connection?  Who knows?

I helped her during the Great Recession. Remember the Great Recession? It started a year after the first iPhone was introduced almost to the day. Continue reading

News From the New Normal: #2


In case you missed it the New Normal was created by a unique convergence. Like many changes do. The first iPhone was launched on June 29th, 2007, Lehman Brothers collapsed on September 15th, 2008 as social media platforms became mainstream. The big bang happened and the world changed forever.

I got a LinkedIn invite from somebody I didn’t know the other day. I get a fair number of those and like connecting. She had worked for a large company in OC. You have all heard of them. Publically traded. She had a great title and experience so I readily accepted.

I followed up with a note saying how did we connect? Was it a blog or did I reach out? I try to follow up on LinkedIn invites.  What do you do?

She said that she was part of a large lay-off at her company. Continue reading

Am I Too Old to Get A Job?


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


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:


Follow his updates on Twitter: @hankblank

Like Blank and Associates on Facebook


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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?


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:


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.