The First Thing That People in Transition Need to Do Is to Lose Their Minds


Yes you need to change your wiring and learn a new way to land a job these days. It is the New Normal.

People in transition try to figure out their new life by what worked for them when they were successfully working and how they got a job in the past.

If they have been working for 10 years at their previous job they may have found it in a newspaper. Think that works today?

Job hunting is the farthest thing away from working unless you know how to turn your job skills into knowing how to market yourself.

I had a coffee the other day with a person newly arrived in the out of work game. I’ve been out of the game for a long time. It was at a Starbucks I really like. Right across from the Mission in San Juan Capistrano. People were at restaurants for a late lunch and the Swallows Inn had a number of folks at the bar. The Farmer’s Market was starting. Continue reading

The Hardest Transition For People in Transition to Make.


Yes there are still people in transition but the press doesn’t write about them much anymore.

If you live in the New Normal you know the truth.

When people get launched into the world of not having a job there is often pain, disappointment, surprise, anger and the idea of changing what they do.

The only thing that matters is your own self-determination. The rest is noise but it is difficult to get clarity and silence when you are in such a spot.

When people lose their jobs, half of them are surprised because they weren’t looking. Continue reading

Do You Help Your Friends Who Have Been Fired?


I do because many people that I hardly know have given their friends to me.

You get a call or an e mail from a former co-worker or a friend.

“Hey buddy I just got let go.  No way. That sucks. You are great. You will find a job soon. They will miss you and be sorry soon that’s for sure.”

“Can you have a Starbucks with me?”

“I would love to but I have a convention or something else coming up but I have a guy you should connect with.” Continue reading

Are You Connected or Disconnected in the New Normal?


We have all read the stats.  A billion people on Facebook, hundreds of millions on Twitter and LinkedIn.  Billions of blogs including this one.

I was reading an article in the New York Times this morning on my iPad while lying in bed. I had to make sure I wasn’t missing any e-mails at 6.30 AM. The article was about the anxiety of the unanswered e-mail.  Yes we have all had it happen to us.  We send out an e-mail and there is no response.  We wait a few days and then try again.  Nobody home.  We agonize if we should send a third e-mail to a post box called rejection when they clearly aren’t listening to us.

It reminded me of a conversation I had with somebody yesterday who was lamenting how personal interaction protocols have been breaking down.  I have heard the words many times before.  It’s rude they say.  It’s just not right. It’s unprofessional.  All of the above.

Now in today’s New Normal when I listen to somebody who is expecting to hear back because they sent their resume to a company I just shrug my shoulders.  My expectations are very low but when you looking for work you want the elevation of the courtesy of a response.  A little career reassurance. Maybe an e-mail saying you aren’t right for this position but you sure have done a lot of nice things in your career.  Sixty seconds that can lift a weary soul, create a company ambassador and put a smile on a human face.  But then again I have low expectations today.

People sometimes reach out to me by phone.  I am pretty easy to find on Google. They call me on my cell. They can be from other cities, other countries even. My Canada. They committed time to finding me.  I make a reciprocal effort to contact them, maybe spend some time researching them before I call but not too long because I have to get right back to them.  We chat and I follow up with some thoughts, maybe some free ideas, maybe something more.  And then I wait.  I wait and then I call.  I e-mail and then I wait and then I stop. I have changed my expectations. Chasing rejection is futile.

I have been listening about a lot of recent books about the impact of the internet on our lives. There are Ted Talks on being Connected but Alone.   Many people have a hard time getting to the gym but we have no problem accelerating our response time to any electronic stimulus to instantaneous in an over busy world.  We could probably solve a few problems if we all put a similar commitment to a few of the world’s problems.

Yes protocols, politeness, and even plain manners have to a degree disappeared in the New Normal.  Maybe we all have to remember the echoes of our mother’s voices that we did when we were growing up.  That benchmark of never disappointing was seldom breached. It embedded a pattern of behavior in the future but there are no mother’s voices echoing in e-mails.

There is your reputation. That tends to endure.  Maybe even more so in the online world of today.

So at the end of the day how well connected are we in the New Normal?  As connected as you want to be if you put down the phone and walk away from the computer and talk to somebody in your Starbucks line. It might lift your expectations when they write your name on the cup.

You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn:

Follow his updates on twitter: @hankblank

Like Blank and Associates on Facebook

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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

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