Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Networking - The new "N" word.

You hear it all the time, in order to get a job you should "network". Reach out to your "network". Network marketing, networking, social networks.... its as if the the word "network" has become the magic business catch phrase of our generation. I guess it makes sense. Its usually through people, that we get introduced to great Doctors, mechanics, lawyers, and restaurants. I mean, without our "network" of family, friends and associates, where would we be? How would we gauge how much we can trust this person or experience? At least we can put it into some readily available context when someone we know and trust says something about someone or some service.

Networking, makes sense. The thing of it that is somewhat broken, however, is that most people only go to their network when THEY need something. There in lies the rub.

I got an in-mail recently (which is like an email) from a Linkedin contact who responded to something I sent him maybe a year ago. He is an IT Director at a very well known company. Anyway, he starts the message by appologizing for not getting back to me sooner (one year). He also offers to introduce me around to a few hiring managers who might be looking for a recruiter. He then says that he's looking for a new opportunity which is why he's beeing doing more of a "deep dive" into his linkedin messages. Hrmmm. Ok, so when I contacted him for something, he completely ignored it but a year later now that HE needs something, he's responding and even offering to assist me.

I admit, when I contacted him originally, I was the one who needed something. However, in my defense, I regularly and continuouly try to network regardless of my own situation or needs. I think its good practice when you've got a few minutes to simply reach out to people and share something in common. When I'm actually recruiting on an open position then of course I specifically reach out to people I think might be interested. When I'm NOT working on a position, then I reach out to managers who might have hiring needs. When neither is the case, then I reach out to people who are generally within the sphere / industry / geographic region or who share some other commonality with me for the sake of expanding the "network". The idea is in the numbers. The larger the scope of the network, the more likely you are to run across someone you can connect with or share a common interest or in this case, make a business deal happen.

However, some people flat out reject networking. They think its some dirty thing you do to use people. They think somehow you're going to infultrate their inner circle of trust and break relationships and lie and cheat your way into their world. I guess on some imaginary level I can understand the need to protect what you hold as valuable. Actually, I kind of respect that. I mean how many Facebook "friends" do you have? Are they really "friends"? I digress. On the other hand, how can you actually grow unless you allow yourself to experience new things, new people, new situations? You have to take a chance.

Anyway, networking...... do you do it often? Do you value networking even when YOU yourself don't have a present need?

My rules of thumb.

1. Always Be Networking.
2. If you don't have a need, then perhaps you'll connect with someone who will help you when you do have one in the future.
3. If you do have a need, perhaps you can reach someone who can help you now.
4. Either way, perhaps you'll connect with someone who YOU might be able to help or who might be able to help someone you know.
5. If nothing else, perhaps you can enrich your understanding and simply learn to embrace new ideas.

If you want to connect, find me on linkedin http://www.linkedin.com/in/joshuaylee and ask me to connect. I'll likely accept. myrecruiterjosh@yahoo.com or josh@topresourcescorp.com

Friday, September 30, 2011

The New Economy

It's the end of September, 2011 and you've woken up to yet another day in the ongoing gloomy job market, chaotic stock market bumping along the bottom, and a slow recovery in the economy. On the bright side, the new iPhone 5 is about to come out with projections of the most sales ever in consumer electronic history!

I've written previously about how we've sort of made our bed and its time to sleep in it (in so many words). I mean all the benefits of a robust economy were enjoyed via the artificial manufacturing of complex mathematicaly delayed consequences initiated by the government and blindly rubber stamped by the consumer. Come on...we all liked the free flow of money. Very few of us if any asked any questions back then. Times were fantastic and we all enjoyed them but those days are now gone. It's over.

Are you one of those people still waiting around for the "rebound"? Let me tell you today the harsh reality. The "rebound" you are hoping for isn't going to occur as you want. It's not going to suddenly swing up in a rush the way we crashed so rapidly. Life, somehow, just doesn't work that way. See, the crash was sudden only because we were holding back the inevitable for so long. Kind of like the kid plugging the holes in the damn with his fingers....now that the damn is broken do you think that it can be rebuilt as quickly as it can come to be destroyed? Not so. It will take years and perhaps decades.

Today, you have to work 30% harder at the same job to get paid 20% less money. Why? Because, quite frankly, it is likely you were overpaid for mediocre or subpar work. The difference is so was everyone else. Supply and demand. Jobs were plentiful, money was abundant and cheap, and so there was no reason to expect more from you. That bar has now been raised. There are 50% fewer jobs available and you are competing against 300% more people looking for work. Think about what that means.

Work hours should be expected to be longer and there is a higher degree of uncertainty, stress, and general unpleasantness.

Buckle down. THIS is how things are SUPPOSED TO BE, to some extent. Everyone has the right to demand the best. We do all the time as consumers. When a product we buy doesn't live up to our high expectations of quality and performance, we easily complain, write letters, write blogs, etc. However, when our employer demands more from us, we gripe about it.

The underlying infrastructure is broken, not because we are in a financial crisis, but the financial crisis, instead, is the symptom of what's broken underneath it all. Our banks are broken. Our stock market is nothing more than a chess board for the wealthiest 1% while the 99% of the public are collateral damage. It means you have to work for what you want and reconsider that maybe we should just focus on what we need (like everyone else in the world). Check what I said above about the iPhone.

What to do and expect?

1. Take a deep breath. We've been sort of brain washed in a way to believe that the status quo in the past was normal. Reasses. Reconsider the "value proposition" that you bring and everything you decide to buy.

2. Realize that our sense of "reality" or our "moral compass" as Americans is somewhat skewed.

3. Buckle down and work hard. Let's "earn" back our respectability.

4. Plan ahead but don't have uneralistic expectations. The ride up is going to be painful and slow.

5. Be able to sperate what we need and what we want.

6. Brush up our skill sets. Learn, grown and challenge ourselves to be better.

7. Be grateful.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A warning for the 16-20 year olds out there.

This is February, 2011, about 3 years since the Mortgage debacle really started. The first signs of a crisis were felt in 2007. The rest of the population really didn't feel it until early 2008. First Ameriquest closed its doors (voluntarily) and then New Century Mortgage went bankrupt after some belated SEC investigations. Then there were all the Investment Banks that went through their meltdowns and the government bail outs that followed.

The truth is, no matter what we think, its probably going to happen again. It may not be through subprime "no docs required" loans but its going to be something. Someone really smart and even more greedy is going to come up with something else that we're all going to jump on yet again.

Fast forward 10 years and all of a sudden that 16 yaer old is 26. Fast forward 15+ years and they'r;e around 31ish. Think about that. What's so significant about those age groups and how is that correlated to a financial crisis? What do you remember from your 25 to 30 year age bracket?

When I was 25 I got a crappy job but it was my first "real job" out of college. Like a lot of my peers, I lived at home to save money. My mom helped me save 50% of my earnings that year.

When I turned 31 I got married and bought a place to call my own.

I've purchased 3 cars since college.

I don't think my life is realy too different from others.

My theory:

1. 25 - 35 are the post college, first real job years.
2. This is the age they move out of the house (rent or purchase?)
3. This is the age they start buying their own cars and sometimes make some significant upgrades (sports car or entry luxury?)
4. This is the age they eat out ALL THE TIME

In short, this is the group that is eager to spend their money and constantly looking for more and easier ways of doing it. Not only that, now a days this group might spend even more because the internet affords even fewer obsticles than previous generations.

The biggest factor? These kids have no memory of an economic downturn. They may have heard about it or been taught it but you and I know there is nothing that can repalce experience. Remember, they were 16 or so when this stuff was happening still living with mom and dad.

This is for you guys. Be aware. Lets see what creative new financial miracle technique is thrown at us in 10-15 years.