Posts Tagged ‘job’

“A man with a toothache”

January 12, 2010

Sigmund Freud once stated, “A man with a toothache cannot be in love,” meaning simply that the attention demanded by the toothache doesn’t allow that person to notice anything other than his pain.  In working with people going through job change, I often find Freud’s principle to be confirmed.  I see grown men who have lost their jobs ignoring their wives, hiding out to avoid seeing their friends, watching too much TV and eating foods that blunt their minds.  I see women embarrassed about yet another layoff who then stop going to church, spend money they do not have, read romance novels rather than inspirational material, and snap at their kids when asked an innocent question.  The “pain” of the job loss seems to mask the health, vitality and success they have in other life areas.

Yes, a crisis will scream for our undivided attention.  However, diverting your focus may in fact be part of the solution.  A couple of years ago I worked with a young man who had just lost $3.2 million in a business deal.  He was totally in the tank financially and in his career.  But rather than focusing on his career crisis I first suggested that he go to the YMCA each morning for 2 hours.  His intense focus there initiated the vitality, clarity and inspired thinking that allowed him to quickly spring back to success financially as well.

Going through an unexpected or unwelcome change in your life provides a great opportunity to take a fresh look at your success in other areas.  Don’t let other critical components of your life deteriorate as well.  Make additional deposits of success in your physical well-being.  The energy and creativity that can come from a sharp mind and body can generate the very ideas you need at this time.  Organize a pot-luck with a group of your friends – you’ll be surprised how many of them are going through a similar experience and providing one dish will cost you no more than eating your own meal.  Pick up a great book to read.  If you read only 10 minutes a day you can read a new book a month – and that can transform your insight and preparation for new options.  Stay connected spiritually.  You’ll realize that in the scope of eternity, this event is probably a tiny spot on the timeline.

What is the toothache in your life that is demanding your undivided attention?  How can you continue being “successful” in other areas of your life anyway?

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Gimme that job!

January 4, 2010

Ever wonder why some people get the cool jobs – even if you have better experience and credentials?  Here’s an example of a guy using creativity to snag a great opportunities. 

HeadBlade President Todd Greene was looking for someone that could handle social media for the company.  He said he was looking for someone like himself, someone who was passionate about the product.  He posted the job on Craigslist and got tons of resumes. But one stood out above them all, by far. Eric Romer was himself a “headblader,” and had been using the product and even blogging about it on his own. Within a day of the Craigslist entry going public, Eric put up the following web page:  HireMeHeadBlade. Now that’s a creative way to get the attention of an employer!

Want to guess who, out of the hundreds of correctly submitted resumes got the job?  Yeah – it worked.  Eric now has a new site up:  HeadBladeHiredMe  where he’s continuing to tell the story.

So what are you doing to stand out from the crowd?  I’m hearing of people sending resumes wrapped around an ear of corn, on a business card DVD, delivered with a dozen roses, or by standing in the boss’ parking spot at 6:40 AM.  Now is the time to be creative – pull out all the stops and let potential employers know why you are someone they won’t want to miss. 

Thanks to 48Days.net member Brian O’Keefe for alerting me to this story.

Remember the Sabbath?

February 7, 2009

A day of Sabbath is more than just a spiritual suggestion – it’s a necessity for balance and restoration.

A reader writes:

Hi, Dan. I feel like I am on the verge of a breakdown. I want to take a short leave of absence from my job to try to get things under control. How do I handle this without my employer thinking I am cuckoo? I just need a break. I am a wife, mother, work full-time, take care of an elderly parent, you name it. ~Signed, Very Overwhelmed in Georgia

Is it “cuckoo” to want a break from the typical worklife?  In the “busyness” of modern life, I see people who have lost the rhythm between activity and rest.  “I am so busy.”  We say this as a badge of honor, as if our exhaustion were a trophy, and our ability to withstand 70 hour weeks a mark of real character.  We convince ourselves that the busier we are, the more we are accomplishing and the more important we must be.  But is this really so?  Does more activity really mean more accomplishment?  To be unavailable to friends and family, to miss the sunsets and the full moons, to blast through all our obligations without time for taking a deep breath – this has become the model of a successful life.

The Sabbath was designed as more than just a day to rush to church, cram into a restaurant, and then hurry home to get all those odd jobs completed before Monday.  Hopefully it’s a day of rest for you.  Embrace Sabbath days and times in your life.  Wisdom, peace, creativity and contentment will grow in those times.  Take a walk, give thanks for simple things, bless your children, take a bath with music and candles, turn off the telephone, pager, TV and computer – carve out those times for restoration and spiritual breathing.

University professors typically get every seventh year off – to think, write, travel and re-energize.  Pastors should get the same.  In Mosaic law, every seventh year, the land was to remain untilled to give it time to rebuild its resources. 

Maybe your job loss or business failure is really an unexpected “sabbatical.” 

And incidentally, in today’s times your company may welcome your request for a 1-2 month sabbatical.  Rather than seeing you as “cuckoo” they may embrace the reprieve in paychecks and see you as a more valued employee.

Just Doing My Job!

September 30, 2008

Henry David Thoreau once said: “A man had better starve at once than lose his innocence in the process of getting his bread.”

Just doing a job cannot justify doing something unethical, immoral, or dishonest. The guards in the German concentration camps, after becoming friends with the prisoners, would often justify walking them to the gas chambers with, “I’m just doing my job.”

I know we have all been inundated with the messy details of the unraveling of Wall Street so I won’t bore you with more of the same. However, hopefully we will learn the lessons from this blatant example of what’s wrong with the common corporate mentality. Greed, deceit, and a “culture of corporate corruption” can never be justified.

Unfortunately, this is just one more historical example of moral meltdown. When people at the top justify one little breach of integrity and then compound it with another to cover the first, there is no limit to what can be encouraged. Adolf Hitler, Jim Jones and many others have served as models for leading “normal” individuals to lose all ethical perspective for the good of the cause. And the end result seems to be very predictable — devastation to thousands of innocent people.

Thomas Stanley, in his landmark book, “The Millionaire Mind,” lists the top five factors most often displayed by millionaires in explaining their economic success: (1) Integrity – being honest with all people, (2) Discipline – applying self control, (3) Social Skills – getting along with people, (4) A Supportive Spouse, and (5) Hard Work. Notice the number one characteristic – Integrity. Without that, any “success” is likely to be short-lived.

What is it that you are justifying doing just because it’s part of your job? Just because you have the ability to do something well is not enough reason to continue doing it – if it violates your values and common sense.  If in the completion of your job or business, someone else is ultimately made poorer or taken advantage of, you are in great danger.  (Prov 22:22-23)  Stop immediately, no matter what it takes.

If your work doesn’t express your true values, you’re setting yourself up for deceit in other areas of your life. And for the invasion of ulcers, migraines, cancers as evidence of a less than authentic life. In the movie Cool Hand Luke, a guard says, “I’m just doing my job. You gotta appreciate that.” And Paul Newman responds: “Nah, Calling it your job don’t make it right, boss.” I agree.

(Incidentally, we all had to say goodbye to Paul Newman this week.  He appeared to be an actor with unusual integrity in real life as well.)

Did You Lose Your Horse Today?

September 23, 2008

Like most of you, I have been hearing a lot of personal examples of “disaster” this week.  No gas, no job, no retirement fund, worthless stock, cancelled vacations, and general uncertainty.  Rather than trying to create something profound I’d like to share this old story.

Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, because he owned a beautiful white horse. People offered fabulous prices for the horse, but the old man always refused. “This horse is a friend, not a possession,” he would respond.

One morning the horse was not in the stable. All the villagers said, “You old fool. We told you someone would steal that beautiful horse. You could at least have gotten the money. Now the horse is gone, and you’ve been cursed with misfortune.”

The old man responded, “Perhaps. All I know is that my horse is gone; the rest I do not know. Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can’t say.”

After fifteen days the horse returned. He hadn’t been stolen; he had run away into the forest. Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses back with him. Once again the village people gathered around the old man and said, “You were right – what we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us.” The old man responded, “Perhaps. Once again you’ve gone too far. How do you know if this is a blessing or a curse? Unless you can see the whole story, how can you judge?” But the people could only see the obvious. The old man now had twelve additional horses that could be broken and sold for a great deal of money.

The old man had a son, an only son. He began to break the wild horses. Unfortunately, after just a few days, he fell from a horse and broke both his legs. Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and said, “You were right. The wild horses were not a blessing; they were a curse. Your only son has broken his legs and now in your old age you have no one to help you. You are poorer than ever.” But the old man said, “Perhaps. Don’t go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. We have only a fragment of the whole story.”

It so happened that a few weeks later the country went to war with a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he had two broken legs. Once again the people gathered around, crying because there was little chance their sons would return. “You were right, old man.  Your son’s accident was a blessing.  Our sons are gone forever.”

The old man spoke again. “You people are always quick to jump to conclusions. Only God knows the final story.”

And so it is with our lives. What we see as a blessing or a curse may simply be part of God’s preparation for what lies ahead.  Be careful in seeing “disaster” in any change.  Just recognize it as change – which opens the door for good as well as bad – for gain as well as possible loss.

I’ve spent 20 years seeing people go through unexpected and unwelcome change – and have enjoyed seeing most move on to more opportunity, freedom, fulfillment and income.

Futile Job Search Sparked Church Shooting

July 28, 2008

Todays’ USA Today shows this headline for the horrible shooting that took place at a church in Knoxville, TN yesterday.

“It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that, and his stated hatred for the liberal movement,” Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen IV told reporters on Monday.

Authorities also discovered a letter from the state government telling Adkisson he was having his food stamps reduced or eliminated, police said.

“He did express that frustration, that the liberal movement was getting more jobs,” Owen said. “And he felt like he was being kept out of the loop because of his age.”  The gunman, Jim Adkisson, was 58.  He had been working as a truck driver but neighbors didn’t think he had been working steadily in the past six months. 

There are so many ways to respond around this dreadful incident.  Obviously I believe there are still opportunities for work in America.  They don’t look like the old jobs — but they are opportunities nonetheless if we can reframe our thinking and expectations.  I know owner-operators have been hit hard with the current gas prices – and it may be wise to move on to something else.  But trucking companies are simply raising their prices and are still paying their drivers well.  Yesterday, I drove a truck back from Indianapolis to Nashville and spent a lot of road time reading the back end of trucks where the companies are looking for more drivers – at $.49 a mile.  At 400 miles a day, that’s still $1000 a week. 

Landscapers and construction managers are telling me they can’t find enough people to keep up with their work commitments.  Many of them are working their available workers 12 hours a day in an attempt to keep up.  I have a construction project that we would love to have completed, and the contractors I have bidding on the job are saying they are 2-3 months out in work committed. 

Change can lead to frustration, anger and murder – or it can lead to seeing new options for different, but meaningful and profitable work. 

At the risk of sounding too simplistic, let me end with this:

“When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.”  —Alexander Graham Bell

Why Morning Interviews are best

April 29, 2008

Research shows that 83% of executives are more likely to hire AM job seekers.  And 70% of all hiring decisions are made before 11:00 AM.  So obviously, if you can help suggest the time of an interview, make it before 11:00 AM.       

Avoid Mondays and Fridays.  On Monday, people tend to have too much to do and on Friday they are anticipating the weekend and ready to get out of the office.  So the very best times for interviews are Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday mornings between 8-10:00 AM.  The little things can tip the scale in your favor.

Am I gifted to be self-employed?

March 20, 2008

Each week I select some of the most interesting questions submitted and answer them in a 48-minute podcast.  Here are a few of this today’s edition.  You can listen immediately here on 48 Days Online Radio

1. Over the past few years I have lost over 200lbs through a self-developed regimen. I wrote a book that is for sale on my website, http://www.iweighedmorethanjared.com. I would like to become a personal trainer with the niche in helping people over 150lbs overweight. Do I need to be certified? What do you suggest as far as a certification approach?

2. I have children’s stories I would like to get published. I read that it could take up to 2 years for a story to get published going through a MEGA Publisher. Can you recommend a self publisher?

3. I’ve heard you talk about how your son works full-time for you as an independent contractor. How can he do this and still be classified as an independent contractor by the IRS? I thought you had to have a business that was open to other clients.

4. What is the best way for someone to determine if they are truly gifted to be self-employed? Is it true that some are better suited to be employees than to be self-employed?

5. You mention a lot of times about putting a business plan together, that having one is essential. What if you truly don’t have a clue how to do that? Do you have a step-by-step how-to on that?

6. Our church is fund raising parallel to the story of the servants who were given talents and returned double to the master. We were given $25 to invest for the Lord for 3 months. Ideas?

7. My husband’s miserable with his job. He’s focused on his passion and wants to transition to self-employment. We live paycheck to paycheck and don’t think we can afford this. We follow Dave Ramsey. Does he need to wait until we eliminate our debt in 3 years to transition or is there something he can do now?

Just Shoot Me

March 10, 2008

Police detectives in Franklin County, Washington say a man had his friend shoot him in the shoulder so he wouldn’t have to go to work.  Daniel Kuch initially told deputies he’d been the victim of a drive-by shooting.  But when his story details didn’t quite add up, he admitted that he had asked his friend to shoot him so he could avoid work and a scheduled drug test.  Now the friend has been arrested for investigation of reckless endangerment.  And Kuch is expected to be charged with false reporting. 

Somehow that doesn’t seem to be a very brilliant plan.  What ever happened to just pretending to be sick.  I know lots of people who call in when they really just plan to go fishing or need to take the car in for an oil change.  This dude is definitely over the edge. 

So he has the obvious pain of a gunshot wound, medical bills and charges of false reporting.  How do you suppose his employer is handling this information?  I suspect that an end result will be losing his job anyway.

Moral of the Story:  if you hate your job enough to take a bullet instead of having to show up for work, maybe it’s time to start a new job search.

See the story clip here:  shooting-friend.doc

Someone’s Got To Do It!

March 4, 2008

What would be the perfect job title for your current position?  How would you title the perfect position?

I resist using the Department of Labor’s “Dictionary of Occupational Titles” for mature adults looking for new careers.  Any categorization of a person’s skills may overlook unique personal characteristics or interests.  And also, I’m frequently amazed at some of the titles actually listed there.  Here are just a few – I am not making any of these up.  They are listed in the 660 pages of DOL job titles.  You can check them out yourself in the new edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook

Check these out:  Ear‑Muff Assembler, Ecclesiastical‑Art‑Metal Worker, Drawstring Knotter, Dope Mixer, Doorshaker, Doll‑Eye‑Setter, Dinkey Operator, Butt Maker, Breast Buffer, Brain Picker,  Asparagus Sorter, Head Switcher, Toe Pounder, Umbrella Tipper, and of course Easter Bunny.

These are more creative than I could make up.  So, obviously, you can give yourself most any title.  When required to list my position in my company, I write “Creative Thinker.”  What do you want to be when you grow up?