Thursday, July 30, 2015

...talking to the Swiss National Bank

"At times, the risk-capital culture in Canada feels like talking to the Swiss National Bank"  Steve Blank in conversation with Anthony Reinhart from Communitech ow.ly/Qhs5S

Monday, July 13, 2015

How to ease the pain of your job search and thrive


What aspect of work is exhausting, difficult, and often demoralizing? The micromanaging boss, the back-stabbing co-worker, or the rankled customer justifiably angry because the product you support fails to install (again)? You may be facing a Medusa of issues in a Greek tragedy called the work world, but when you decide it’s time to leave, the real odyssey begins—your job search.

Fortunately, there are ways to navigate the journey and you don’t have to do it alone. In April of this year, Communitech members filled the Crown Plaza Ballroom to hear Johanna Rothman explain how to hire the right person for cultural fit. Admittedly, finding a job is not the inverse of hiring[i]. Rothman addresses this in her book Manage Your Job Search. It’s organized with the same lucid and agile-based clear methodology she uses when discussing hiring.

Johanna Rothman is the owner of Rothman Consulting Group, Inc. in Arlington, Massachusetts. She’s a management consultant who helps firms transition to agile development. She also helps companies with other hurdles, such as managing geographically distributed businesses or handling numerous projects, and one many of us in tech are familiar with—transitioning when part of the company is still in waterfall.[ii]

I particularly like her view: “I help you identify and solve the problems that prevent you from releasing systems, hiring the right people, deciding which project to work on next.” I’m sure we can think of a few tech companies needing this kind of help.
 
In her book Manage Your Job Search, Rothman helps the individual. She defines the toughest issue and the wholly ignored issue:

 
1. “Finding a job is dependent on other people. It is an emergent project, where you cannot predict the end date.” [iii]

 
2.      “…managing the rejection in a job hunt is part of your job search project. And, sadly, that’s the part of the project that most job seekers miss.”[iv]

 
Rothman solves the job search problem by turning it into a management project. She helps you create a system for finding a job.

Why a management project?

“You add these emotional highs and lows to an already intricate, non-linear project with many interruptions and what do you get? A complex project where you can become easily overwhelmed and lose your focus.”[v]


What tools should you use?

First the collective sigh of relief: you will NOT be using Microsoft Project. Rothman strongly recommends using a Kanban. With a job search you need a visual cue of seeing movement, that is, progress from your efforts to keep yourself motivated.

You can use a large sheet of paper, a whiteboard, or even an open notebook to create a board on which you add sticky notes that define very small tasks. For her board, Rothman divided an open notebook into four columns with the headings:

·         Ready to Do - You're ready to take on this task

·         In Progress - You're working on it today

·         The Pen - You're waiting for a response (maybe a return phone call or an email)

·         Done – You’ve completed the task

I used a large white sheet of paper and changed the headings to phrases that resonated more with me.

·         On deck

·         Today

·         Waiting for Response

·         Done

  


Rothman recommends keeping the tasks to one week intervals only and keeping tasks small.

“Finish one thing. Then another. Take small steps and you will make progress. You’ll feel energized as you tackle your job search.”[vi]

Based on cited research and common sense, Rothman warns against doing too much: “…you will make mistakes: call people by the wrong names, send your resume with the wrong cover letter, sound like an idiot on a phone screen.[vii]

Who needs to know?
There’s a connection with the visible movement in the Kanban and job searcher. You must make yourself visible to the work world. Rothman recommends starting with LinkedIn: “…the first hurdle of job searching is networking. You have to be found if you want to find a job.”[viii]
She emphasizes the need for a good LinkedIn photo and profile and to consider all your connections. I asked her if a Premium account was necessary. She explained, “you want to consider doing more in-person networking than LI networking. In person is more effective, even though it takes longer. It’s easier to develop a warm connection.”[ix]
Nevertheless, she contends that LinkedIn is a good tool and recently Harvard Business Review recommended using it for career transitions. (See How to Use Your LinkedIn Profile to Power a Career Transition by Jane Heifetz  May 28, 2015.)[x]
Rothman’s book includes special chapters for new grads, those considering career transitions, and for people over 50. She’s also able to include the point of view of a hiring manager during the interview process and reiterates many of the ideas on cultural fit she made in her April talk. For the job searcher, Rothman provides advice on how to reframe irrelevant or bad interview questions.
The book feels like you have a coach on your journey and describes easy tools for staying on track and motivated.

Highly Recommend:

172 pages

For sale: http:// leanpub.com/ manageyourjobsearch

ISBN for EPUB version: 978-0-9854820-5-3

ISBN for MOBI version: 978-0-9854820-6-0

  

Quotes:




[i] Johanna Rothman. Manage Your Job Search (Kindle Location 48). leanpub.com.
[iii] Johanna Rothman. Manage Your Job Search (Kindle Locations 48-49). leanpub.com.
[iv] Johanna Rothman. Manage Your Job Search (Kindle Locations 55-56). leanpub.com.
[v] Johanna Rothman. Manage Your Job Search (Kindle Locations 62-63). leanpub.com.
[vi] Johanna Rothman. Manage Your Job Search (Kindle Locations 107-108). leanpub.com.
[vii] Johanna Rothman. Manage Your Job Search (Kindle Locations 101-102). leanpub.com.
[viii] Johanna Rothman. Manage Your Job Search (Kindle Locations 290-291). leanpub.com.
[ix] Email query Wed, May 20, 2015 with author.