New Measures of Success for the New Normal.

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I meet with a lot of people.  I am a networker.  I speak on networking across the country and get to meet with a variety of different people from lots of places.  Networking creates the path in my life journey. Occasionally networking sessions can be more like therapy sessions when people who are adrift are searching for alignment. The New Normal has caused a lot of changes and disruption. Unfortunately, I am not a Yogi.  Then there are networking meetings with people who have greater clarity on what defines them and where they stand.

I was talking to a journalist the other day about reinvention and the need for re-creation in today’s journey of lifelong learning.  She shared her mother’s formula for success.  Her Mom is 90.  In her MOM’s world you worked for one company as your career job for the majority of your life and then retired.  When I present and ask people today if they will be working for their current employer for the rest of their life, they laugh.

In the new normal I know 28 year olds that are on their 3rd job.  I also meet 27 year olds who work but have no meaningful career job.

I met a very successful career driven woman the other day whose measure of success was climbing the corporate ladder and competing in a man’s world. That was her comfort zone.   Then her ladder was knocked out from under her and there were no steps to climb.  She was adrift.  She wanted her ladder back. She had no measure of success in the New Normal.

In the Old Normal the measures were very clear.  Promotions, Peer Recognition, Raises, Company Cars, Expenses, larger offices.  For many, the office of today is their local Starbucks.

I still remember vividly meeting with somebody during the .com bust. The precursor to the Great Recession.  It was probably 2001 or 2002.  I met with a person in transition at the place where I was working at the time. She shared what happened to her.  I still remember her words.  She said she was devastated that she had lost her job.  She was clearly defined by her job. Her job was her measure of self worth.

I remembered even then thinking that you aren’t defined by the company you work for.  You are defined by your character.  That leaves a more lasting impression than your accumulation.  So what is your measure of success?  How do you define achievement today in a world where there are no gold watches?

Career currency, financial currency, or social currency.  Which pays a higher yield in the end?

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 his video on YouTube on The Power of Networking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-dSNVAN9FU&list=UUEigDTyDiFGXVfyg7sRErOg&index=10&feature=plcp

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Lessons from the Great Recession.

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I learned a lot from the Great Recession. A lot. It was a very difficult time for many people and continues to be for many that haven’t emerged.

I have spoken to many transition groups multiple times and have met with countless people during those years. It is not difficult to feel and see despair and frustration.  In those days nobody would even dare ask at the beginning or end of the meetings if there were any good news stories about people landing because there weren’t any. Everybody was running for cover when the world was melting and we were losing 500,000 jobs a month.  Today some people are able to raise their hands and say they have landed or secured a consulting gig.  There is more hope in the air.  Guarded hope.

You don’t find out about the economy in the paper; you learn the true economic reports on the streets and during the great recession many people including me felt at times that we were licking the sidewalks of life.

I learned many things being one of the founders of Laguna Niguel Connectors a group that grew from 4 people to over 3200 currently on Linkedin.  I learned about the power of people, the blessings of serendipity and the engine called Linkedin. When you had over 100 people meeting for endless months on the third Friday of the month in Laguna Niguel who were in transition it wasn’t too difficult to see that the recession had touched every community and every street. The miracle of Laguna Niguel connectors was the quality of the people that attend and the pay it forward helpful attitude of the vast majority of its attendees.

I learned that there are Angels of the recession. People like Cindy Pickens who founded Café Net and has helped thousands of people in transition without ever asking for a dime.  Many people who volunteered their time to speak on Linkedin at various venues to help those in transition master its power in the job search. People like Sven Johnston, Ted Robison and Tim Tyrell-Smith. And there are many more.

Although the recession was very painful for many I think it provided great lessons for today’s youth.  Prior to the great recession many were the enabled generation with high levels of expectations of entitlement.  Today I believe that the Millenials are a very responsible and industrious group who has learned through the pain of many of their parents that many institutions can’t be trusted any longer and that hype is just that.  Hype. They also understand that the employer-employee relationship is much different these days and for the future.

I have learned that business had changed forever.  That you need many more irons in the fire than before if you are hunting for a job or a project.  Decision making and approvals can take much longer. Budgets are tighter and every dollar must have a return.

I have also learned that the benefit of social currency that you get from networking can be even more powerful than that of financial currency because your network of people is what truly enriches you life.

So what have you learned?

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 his video on YouTube on How to Rise Above the Crowd.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkO7efleWX4

The Opposite of Networking is Not Working.

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I network and speak on networking often.  I included a truism that somebody sent me years ago in a recent blog I wrote on The Currencies of Networking.  It was that “The Opposite of Networking is Not Working.”  My thanks to the person who sent me that a few years ago.

I think it created a light bulb moment for a few people who seemed to enjoy its simplicity and its truth.

Yes the Opposite of Networking is Not Working.  If you don’t network your career as well as your life is not aligned. Continue reading

Hot and Cold Networking Doesn’t Work

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Hot and Cold Networking Doesn’t Work.

The new Jobs Report came out yesterday and the report wasn’t too cheerful. Very tepid job growth. That’s life in the New Normal. We live in a world with an unemployment rate of 8.2% in the U.S. My friend Lynn Marie Hammond reminded me that the Euro Zone’s stagnant economy has left 17.4 million people out of an active population of around 156 million people without a job.

I read in this month’s issue of OC Metro that even the well educated and diverse Orange County, the land of desperate and over indulged housewives only added 12,600 jobs in the last year. Not much growth for a county of three million people. Continue reading

The New Employer Employee Dance.

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While travelling recently I read a new survey in USA Today Snapshots on Loyalty Gap perceptions between Employers and Employees.  It shared that 59% of employers in 2011 felt that they were very loyal to their employees and that percentage had increased from 52% in 2010.

At the same time, only 32% of employees believed that their employer was very loyal to them and that percentage had declined from 40% in 2010.

Clearly employers and employees are not on the same page.

When I share these stats with some of my peers virtually no one feels that employers are loyal.  I don’t think that anyone who has been through the great recession wouldn’t be skeptical about those findings.  We live in times in the New Normal where companies are cash rich and employee lean.

In one generation of working we have moved from an employer-employee relationships where thirty years ago it was the norm for a person to be hired into an organization out of school and then remain for the next 20 or 25 years or longer with that company and then retire.  The term gold watch has disappeared from the work lexicon.

But now we are at a Mexican Standoff so to speak where employers need top talent and people want jobs but at the same time employees don’t trust their employer and would move to a better opportunity at the drop of the hat because they know that employer would fire them at the sign of any economic downturn.  They have shared many beers with friends and associates or spouses who texted them that they had just been let go a month after being told by their boss they were great.  I know of many Millennials who have had three jobs already.

I also recently read a very interesting blog by Sarah Miller Caldicott on the definition of progress for Gen Y’s. She outlines that Gen Y’s are looking for flexibility in their work environment including access to social networks.  She wrote that “Gen Y seeks participation in collaborative activity that involves sweeps of people including-but also lying beyond-those co-habiting their office space.”

I share the same belief and have posted some blogs recently on my belief that the most successful companies in the future will be the ones who train their employees to be the best networked.

Smart companies will foster smarter employees and make them more marketable.

Recently I heard about one Fortune 500 company who was actively training their employees to have optimized profiles on Linkedin and had implemented a four week training program with prizes such as iPads.  I have heard whispers of similar activities with other companies.

Here is the New Employer -Employee Win Win.  Smart companies will start by training all their employees to rock on Linkedin because of its business focus and allow them to access to social networks during working hours.  They will provide them with Linkedin recommendations for their employee profiles.

Employers will also work hard to make their employees more marketable while they are with them.  That will be today’s curriculum of professional development and a definition of a company that is best to work for.  They will also train them how to network.  Employees will appreciate that and as a result they will be better equipped to do their jobs and if things should change, more marketable, and it will be quicker to find a new job.

In return employees will recognize that to a degree their employer has their back to a degree and will channel their network to help them and their employer succeed.  A tenuous dance and new employer-employee contract perhaps but better than the Employer blah blah outlined in the USA Snapshot.

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 his video called How to Rise Above the Crowd.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkO7efleWX4&list=UUEigDTyDiFGXVfyg7sRErOg&index=5&feature=plcp

Has Your Job Search Passed Its’ Expiry Date?

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Although the employment outlook is getting better, many great people remain on the sideline.  Some are getting increasingly frustrated as they see others get hired.

As a Co Founder of Laguna Niguel Connectors and a person that has spoken to numerous transition groups throughout Southern California I have heard many stories. I also see a lot of people making mistakes in their job search.

As a consultant who has to create a job for himself each and every day I can relate to the journey of the job hunt as I am perpetually unemployed.

So here are some thoughts.

First. Stop Making Sense.  This is the New Normal and many things don’t make sense.  Banks are more liquid than they have been in decades and yet don’t lend money to businesses.  Companies have more cash on hand then ever and don’t hire.  I ran into somebody last week who spent the majority of time during our interaction telling me why the company’s decision not to hire him was a mistake and didn’t make sense.  Waste of energy.

Don’t consume rejection. You have to be clinical not emotional about job search. Focusing on what you can’t control is counterproductive.  In the Old Normal, if you had four leads you usually could count on closing one deal.  In the New Normal, you need ten leads in your pipeline. It is the same with job hunting.  That is the reality.

If you have been in the job hunt for a long time it is time for a personal remodel.  You need to regain your edge. It is time for renewal.  Time to lose those ten pounds you have been talking about.  It’s time to get your haircut styled in a new way, start wearing hats, wear scarves, and try new colors. Do something different to change your appearance.  You need to look edgier and unique to create impressions. Time to go to Banana Republic and find somebody much younger than you and ask them to dress you. Do it.  If your kids think you are boring you are.

Reinvent yourself.  Eight of the ten things I do today I didn’t do ten years ago.  What new product offerings or skills do you have that you didn’t have five years ago? If the answer is none, you aren’t going to succeed in the New Normal.  The iPhone is five years ago.

Stop Wasting Your Time.  I see countless people in job hunting mode wasting their time.  Recently somebody connected with me because I was Linkedin with somebody at a company that was looking for an AE.  An AE is a person who has about five years experience in the advertising game.  This person had twenty years marketing experience and had not been an AE at an agency in 15 years. After all those years in the game that’s what they had learned about targeting?  Total waste of time.  Have a high probability strategy in your job hunt.

Don’t retreat.  Advance.  Many people start retrenching the longer they job search goes.  They stop going to networking events because they think they cost money.  Are you crazy? They become Marketers who are afraid to spend.  They retreat to hide behind their computers and chase job posts on job sites like millions of other people.  Don’t fall into that trap.  Get out more and show everyone your new look.

Disrupt your routine.  If you don’t stretch you don’t learn.

Mentor.  You have great skills to share.  There is no other measure of personal success than to contribute to the uplifting of our youth and they need some help these days.  A thriving Society is defined by how much it invests in its youth.  Mentoring today provides mutually beneficial social currency and it could lead to financial currency.

Hank Blank started his career in Canada working on McDonald’s at DDB.  Hank then worked at JWT in Toronto and Chicago where he worked for ten years.  JWT’s Chicago office opened in 1891 and closed a couple of years ago during the Great Recession.  Hank now works in the New Normal.

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 on How to Create a Job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMSFqT9M_FQ

Job Hunting Tips from the Perpetually Unemployed.

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I am a consultant. I have to create a job for myself each and every day.  In many ways I am perpetually unemployed. Like a Shark who never sleeps. I often speak to transition groups and am one of the Cofounders of Laguna Niguel Connectors. I meet lots and lots of people in transition.

As a marketer I see many of them pursuing a number of futile job hunting marketing tactics. Yes you market yourself into a job and marketing is a science.

During my advertising career I spent a lot of time being a New Business person. I am a Hunter. There are a lot of similarities between New Business hunting and Job Hunting. Continue reading