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Posts Tagged ‘Mr. Boffo’

(When) should I start looking elsewhere?

Monday, September 6th, 2010

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In honor of Labor Day, I help examine a question that millions of workers ask themselves on a regular basis.

In addition to the time I’ve personally spent on both sides of the interview desk, over the years I’ve heard numerous stories from clients I’ve either counseled for months during their job search, or just chatted with while designing their resumes.  Certainly, many people are currently out of work and looking for whatever employment they can find right now.  It does help to do a targeted search, though.  Making the best use of your time can improve your odds significantly.

For many people, making the decision to start looking for another job is the most difficult step of all in the entire process.

Is it the right time?  Is there anything better, anyway?  At least what I have is a known quantity, right?  How do I face all of that rejection, interview after interview, before I get an offer? What are my strengths and weaknesses?  I don’t even know where I see myself NEXT year, let alone in five years . . .  Maybe I’d better wait and see if it gets better . . .

Here are some guidelines I give to people, as a sort of mental checklist, to see if staying or looking might be a better move at this time.  Each person has to decide for her/himself, of course:
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What priorities do you have with employment?

Location?  Salary?  Title/Authority?  Benefits?  Training?  (Consider your reaction, for example, if your salary increased by 20% but your commute time doubled.  Would that matter?)  Make a specific list of the top five aspects of a job that you seek.  What are you receiving and what are you lacking?
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Don’t wait until you’re miserable at your current place of employment

ALL job searches take months to complete.  Not only will it make the process seem longer, but it might actually be longer!  Presenting a positive outlook is important when interviewing, and you are less likely to do this if depressed.  In addition, you may be more desperate to leave, so that you end up taking something you typically wouldn’t and are no better off.
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Think ahead about your career and act instead of react

Escaping a bad situation is one reason to leave a position, but that is reactive.  What do you want as the next step in your career?  Can you get that where you currently are?  If yes, list the steps you need to take and begin on #1.  If no, then it probably is time to start looking elsewhere.
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Realize that everything you do and don’t do is setting the stage – or blocking your path – for your next position, promotion, assignment, etc.

This has to do with more than your wardrobe, although that is certainly an element.  Are you punctual – and work more than required hours when that’s what it takes to get the job done?  How good are your writing, spelling, grammar and computer skills?  Do you contribute ideas or wait to be asked?

How many people outside your immediate department know who you are and what you do?  If someone (not necessarily your director) were asked for input on an important project, would they respond, “[Your name] would be great for that!”?  How can you make that a reality?  Many jobs are hired through word of mouth and networking instead of from responses to listings; therefore, you need to be known for your expertise through various channels.
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Invest in yourself

It’s best if your employer has a training budget and pays for you to attend various courses and seminars, but if not, attend these on your own.  (This should also be an indicator to you about whether or not you want to stay with this employer: How much can you grow and learn here?  Will they even care or reward you if you do?)

Many online trainings are available, and you can see a variety of free and low cost courses listed on the Bilou Calendar, depending on what you’re looking for.  Membership in professional societies also provides valuable face-to-face networking opportunities.  How many online publications do you read to stay informed about what is current in your field?  Finally, in this competitive job market, having your resume professionally designed and/or a career counselor can help give you an advantage over other job seekers.

Whatever your final conclusion is, most people feel more assured if they run through a checklist similar to the one above and actually do an assessment, instead of constantly wondering, “What if . . . ?”  Only you can decide to Fix It Or Forget It! in the end.

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Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.
—  Rita Mae Brown

Make Acquisition Even MORE Difficult – Construct Roadblocks At Every Turn!

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Most of us realize that acquisition – while necessary – is a painstaking process that takes quite a lot of time to pay off.  And this is when it’s done well.  The problem is, a lot of it isn’t done very well at all.  Many new donors, visitors, attendees, customers, volunteers, etc., are made to feel that they are definitely not part of the inner circle.  Perhaps, if they are willing to jump through enough hoops – or learn the secret handshake – they can someday join, but why bother?  They’ll just go someplace else more inviting.  That’s exactly what they end up doing, leaving the staff wondering why the response rate is so low.  Often, staff ends up doing more of the same, hoping to get a higher response rate.

Several examples of organizations missing the mark and erecting these roadblocks on our information superhighway:
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No Through Street

When I teach courses about online fund raising, I show examples of what not to do, including sites that:

•     Take up to 13 clicks to complete the sample transactions I demonstrate
•     Insist on my creating a login and password before I can donate (This includes my receiving several error messages: “No, someone else already has that user name,” “No, your user name/password is too short,” “Sorry, your user name and password can’t be the same,” etc.)
•      Ask if I am a new or current donor (Why doesn’t the organization know this?)
•     Require my entering a code number from a mailing, or answering “How did you hear about us?” questions  (It’s the organization’s job to track the gift, not the donor’s)
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Winding Road

I signed up for a listserve with a well known professional organization that was so mismanaged, over half of the messages sent were dozens of auto-responses to an initial message, stating “I’m out of the office until…”  Other members became incensed and confused as to how to get off of the list, since that policy was unclear, so a barrage of emails sent to the entire group followed that ranged from “Stop doing this!” to “Won’t somebody please fix these?” to “Unsubscribe me – NOW!”

A couple of more technical-minded members would try to occasionally post instructions on how to modify one’s settings so that the “Out of Office” emails would not show, or how to unsubscribe, etc.  They were lengthy and more difficult for the less tech-savvy inclined, and the ranting continued.

What started as a fairly large membership in a listserve that showed promised turned out to be a major source of frustration and an abysmal failure all around.  The few messages that did have worthwhile content weren’t read, due to the massive amounts of clutter in between.
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Wrong Way

I was reviewing various email subscriptions and found an interesting story.  The enewsletter lists the first couple sentences of the story, along with a link to read the rest.  Upon clicking the link, I was taken to a site that informed me, “We can not automatically determine your access. Please enter your email address and you will be sent an activation link for your subscription.”  (This is a free subscription.)

At first, I just went to the site and attempted to search for the story based on key words, but didn’t find it immediately, so I returned to the site and entered my email.  Instead of having the link/site opened for me as I expected, yet another step was added for me:

A link has been e-mailed to you.
It is important that you do not share your access link with anyone. Please file the e-mail message in a secure place.
Please note that if you use a web-based e-mail service such as Hotmail or Yahoo Mail, the e-mail may end up in your “Junk E-Mail” or “Bulk” mail folder, depending on your service and mail account settings. If you do not receive your reminder, please contact us.

I didn’t receive my state secret in my email box within the next few minutes, so I returned to the website and continued searching on key words.  This time I found the story – the title in my email was different than the title on their site!  It was clearly the same story upon further examination, however.  If I hadn’t want to read this particular author, I wouldn’t have bothered.  I see no point in returning in the future.  I subscribe to many, many other emails, and the author has her own blog I can visit.
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Road Narrows

My teenage daughter and her friends enjoy shopping for clothes together and photographing one another in various outfits in the dressing rooms.  I learned from them that in certain stores, they have to be diligent or even sneaky about this, as some staff frown upon this practice.  Of course, the girls still manage to take their pictures and post them on Facebook just the same – it simply takes a bit longer and some vigilance on their part at those locations.

Compare the policy of stores who assign staff the roles of dressing room police to Diesel, who has decided to acknowledge and embrace an existing practice, combine it with social media, and use it to its full advantage for further marketing their brand to their target market!  Which is more likely to acquire new customers?
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Detour Ahead, Please?

The web has provided us with many more tools to reach our constituents, but these examples demonstrate that simply putting our message(s) on the web is insufficient.  Customer service still must be combined effectively and efficiently with whatever medium we choose, so that we are best serving our clients’ needs – particularly the ones we have yet to meet.

What roadblocks – as a client, donor, volunteer – have you encountered that are most memorable to you?

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Keep the base of the pyramid strong

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