23 July 2017

Archives for September 2016

Hurricane Opal Strikes the Heart of a Job Seeker

100_0716Hurricane Opal Strikes: 4 October 1995

I’ve had people asking me about how to apply for jobs at Chick-fil-A since I worked on a big project at Delta Air Lines in 1994. In 1995, I was on a big outplacement project at UPS up in Sandy Springs.

I was working with a client named Rocky H. Rocky lived with his wife and two kids in Naples, Florida, but he was conducting his search up here in the Atlanta area. He stayed in the attic apartment of his brother’s house, which was located in the Morningside area of Decatur.

One day Rocky told me he wanted to work for Chick-fil-A. I told him he needed to read “It’s Easier to Succeed Than to Fail” first. It’s a book about Truett Cathy’s journey of faith as he and his brother started and grew Chick-fil-A. They opened their first restaurant in Hapeville in 1946.

In the first paragraph of the book Cathy says, “Not even God can change the past, but He can do a lot of wonderful things about the future if we’ll let Him. Each person’s destiny is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice. It’s determined by what we say, what we do, and whom we trust.”

Rocky took the book home and began to read it that night.

Hurricane Opal had rocked the Florida panhandle between Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach the previous night – the night of October 4, 1995. As the storm passed through Atlanta, he sat in bed reading the book until the power went out. He said, “Dave, I couldn’t put the book down. I sat in the pitch dark, with the fury of the storm all around, reading by flashlight. At 2 AM, the batteries were so weak I could no longer see the words on the page. I fell asleep empowered by the testimony in the book. About an hour later I was awakened by noise and violence like I had never experienced before. A huge tree cut through the house like a giant axe and landed in my bed – along with the roof. I was stunned, but otherwise okay. I had a bruise on one leg and a small cut on the other.”

100_0719 -- water damageRocky told me that another tree landed on the other side of the house, but still everyone was okay. When daylight broke, they could not believe the damage. As Rocky looked at the bed where he slept, he was convinced that God’s hand had protected him. The tree, the roof and other debris covered the queen-size bed where he’d slept. Only a foot of clear space remained on one edge – which is exactly where he was when the tree hit. Even though rain had poured into the house all night, the book, which was on the nightstand, suffered only slight water damage to the glossy jacket. Come to JobSeekers on Friday to see it.

Rocky continued his story, “Dave I grew up in the church, but my family and I had drifted away over the years. Now that my life has been spared, I am dedicating my life to Christ and I will lead my family to the Lord as well.” He cited the slight damage to the book as a note from God that it was a miracle – not luck – that saved him.

Friends, don’t wait for a tree to land on you before you change your life. Choose Christ today. Your destiny is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice. Seek the Lord with all your heart, work hard every day, and trust Him to direct your paths.

In the pictures above, you will see the 100′ tall tulip poplar that cut through the house like a hot knife through butter. You will see the bed where God spared Rocky’s life, and you will see the water-damaged book.

Truett Cathy: 14 March 1921 – 8 September 2014

We lost one of God’s great servants when Mr. Cathy passed away. Truett Cathy left a legacy in all of our hearts – some more than others. Many of whom he never met.

I met him three times. One time I had the chance to tell him the story above about Rocky Hartman.

I also met his son Dan, President of Chick-fil-A. He spoke at the Newnan FUMC Job Networking meeting a few years ago. Cathy said the key to success for Chick-fil-A is simple, “We don’t get our management philosophies from Jim Collins or Peter Drucker, we look first to the inspired word of God.”

And from the Bible, the inspired word of God, they learned about service. He gave some great examples of going the extra mile to provide great service. At one store in Virginia, for instance, they serve chicken nuggets that have passed their consumption time to their customer’s dogs. Cathy said there are a number of dogs in Virginia that bark and get very excited every time they pass a Chick-fil-A restaurant!

At the conclusion of his remarks, he showed a training video that was shot at the CFA in the Kedron shopping center in north Peachtree City. I recognized Alan Murray, who runs that restaurant. The video shows people entering, dining and ordering their meals. Beside each person is a message about something they are struggling with. In one, for instance, an elderly black woman sips coffee and reads a book. The word cloud says, “Husband of 49 years passed away last month; today would have been their 50th anniversary.” Another shows a seven-year-old girl, “Mother died during childbirth. Dad blames her.”

Let’s look at one another through Jesus’ eyes as best we can. I’m not as good at it as I would like to be, but I’m trying.

At the end Cathy took questions. One was about the company logo. In 1946 years ago his dad paid a fellow $75 to design the one they still use today. When it was my turn, I asked Cathy what advice he would give to all the job seekers who were in the room that night. He said to go on the website and apply. Talk about a straight-from-the-handbook answer! Ugh.

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See you on Friday at JobSeekers – the place where we all experience the miracles of God!

Copyright © 2016 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Need a Better Social Presence?

logos-hopeFeatured Guest Speaker

Marketing and social media strategist Jeff Sheehan will be our guest speaker: Jeff Sheehan

Jeff is a well-known speaker nationally and in the Atlanta area on the use of social selling, LinkedIn, personal branding, social media, and marketing. Clients include Intel, Apple, HP, IBM, AT&T, and Cisco, to name a few. He is also the leader of the career ministry at Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

Devotional Topic and Speaker

For the devotional, we have a special guest from Operation Mobilization in Tyrone. OM USA is a global missionary organization with 6000+ people deployed in 100+ countries around the world.

Richard Sharp will share his “One Wish” message of hope. He serves on the OM ship Logos Hope. This ship travels around the world sharing the love of God. Right now they are docked in Tema, Ghana. Richard will share information about OM in general, and the ship ministry specifically: OM Ships

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JobSeekers meets every Friday morning at First Baptist Church in Peachtree City from 7:30 to 10:00 am. First Baptist Church is located at 208 Willow Bend Road.

Click here for directions and agenda.

See you on Friday!

– Dave O’Farrell
Corporate Recruiter, Outplacement Consultant
O’Farrell Career Management

“South Atlanta’s best career services firm.”

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Stuck in Your Search? Try This Revolutionary New Strategy!

Your advisory team can help you weather the storm. This is Weyerhaeuser’s BoD in 2011. Despite the troubled U.S. housing market, the company boosted revenue 18.5% to $6.5 billion in 2010. (Look at their nice shoes!)

Stuck in your search? One of the toughest things I see in my ministry and business is someone who has been searching for several months without success. At any given time, I can name several people who have been looking for a long time – some for over a year.

If you’ve been a participant in JobSeekers, or a reader of this newsletter for a while, you can probably list the litany of challenges these folks face as well as I can. I won’t go into that today; it seems I’ve heard it all. I don’t want to focus on the problems today, and I won’t propose any solutions. What I want you to “get” today has to do with the process of identifying your obstacles and developing your own unique solution.

When I ask someone what he or she is doing to get unstuck in his or her campaign, the most common response is, “I’m doing everything I can.” What usually follows is that litany of challenges I mentioned a moment ago – with no solutions. Then I ask, in the most gentle and safe manner I can, “Have you formed an advisory team?” Everyone knows the “correct” answer, but when I ask whether or not they’ve met with 3-5 people all in one room, all at the same time, to brainstorm, the answer is “no” 98% of the time.

If you haven’t gotten a group of advisors together to brainstorm, then you are not doing everything you can.

Successful people have great teams.

King Solomon, one of the wisest and wealthiest men ever, said in Proverbs 15:22, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” The more career coaching I do (20 years so far), the more important I see an advisory team as the cornerstone of an effective job campaign. People who use an advisory team get better results in less time.

Whether your search goes well or poorly, you will get the credit or the blame – just as an athlete, businessperson or politician would. Lance Armstrong is [was] the seven-time winner of the Tour de France, yet he wouldn’t have won a single race without a team of advisors behind him and a team of racers beside him every inch of the way – and maybe a team of pharmacologists! Warren Buffet is a modern-day Solomon – wise and wealthy, because he has a board of directors to help him grow his empire. The president of the United States has a cabinet of loyal advisors to help him govern; when things go wrong he’s held responsible, and when things go well he receives the accolades.

Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor.

Even Jesus had a team. The Lord of All Creation had a team to help him accomplish his mission while he was here on this earth. Come to think of it, his team helped accomplish his mission after he left the earth in human form. Like a management team in a company, he had an executive committee made up of Peter, John and James; he also had the rest of the board, which was made up of the other nine disciples. He had a group of courageous women who supported the mission. He even had “middle managers” represented by the 72 he sent out in pairs to prepare the way for his journey to Jerusalem, heal the sick, and drive out demons.

Jesus is the “Wonderful Counselor” prophesied in Isaiah 9:6. Our Wonderful Counselor often works wonders through others to accomplish his work in us while we are on this earth. The Holy Spirit puts people into our lives who can guide and direct us. The question is, “are you building and using your team, listening to their advice, and putting the plan into action?”

Stuck in your search? Try this revolutionary new strategy!

I remember speaking to someone who is stuck in his campaign a few years ago. Gary had been looking for eight months at that point. He’s a sharp guy with a good background and a very professional presence. He was networking and interviewing, but just hadn’t gotten the ball across the goal line. I recommended a brainstorming session with 3-5 folks. About two weeks later he had that meeting.

It turns out that several people had been praying for him, including his pastor. In fact, his pastor was so in tune with the Holy Spirit that he suggested a brainstorming session too. The three men that met with Gary and the pastor were people Gary had not met before. He reported that it was a very good session. For instance, said was going to broaden his scope to include more than healthcare sales, and he was going to place more emphasis on his Spanish-speaking skills.

He said, “It was uncomfortable, to be honest, but I’m getting my pride out of the way.”

Gary asked me for feedback too, and we identified one particular area where he might be getting hung up in interviews. He worked on his ‘exit statement’ and his results began to improve. Two months later he accepted a great job that was just what he was looking for; he still holds that job today.

Schedule your brainstorming session now.

Gary said he wished he’d done this sooner. I want you to feel that sense of urgency and meet with your team now – within two weeks. No excuses. If you don’t know anyone, or don’t have anyone, get some help forming your team like Gary did.

Surround yourself with savvy, supportive, spiritual people. You need fair and balanced feedback from people who will help you map out a strategy, practice your interviews, debrief you afterwards, encourage you when the chips are down, and see the greater good that will come to you if you yield to the Holy Spirit.

Don’t go through your job search alone; don’t rely on only one person either. My job as a coach is easier when I am only one of several advisors to a client. We have advisors (bosses, peers, subordinates) when we are employed, now create a virtual team while you are searching for a job. Surround yourself with those savvy, supportive, spiritual people I just mentioned and you will get better results in less time.

One good example of an advisory team involved a gentleman who’d been looking for three years and three days when his job offer finally came in. Things started to accelerate for him in June when he got his résumé updated. In July he had a tough-love meeting with our board of directors, and in August he found a great lead by networking with a friend. That friend is now a co-worker because, praise the Lord, he’s been on the job for over a year now.

Friends, with God, all things are possible, even if you’ve been looking for three years. Our friend and advisor Jesus won’t let us down. See this success story for more evidence of God’s strength and power.

See you this week at JobSeekers, where plans succeed because of our many advisors!

Copyright © 2016 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

​A Visit to Someday Isle

When I lived in Tampa many years ago, I had a Sunday school teacher who talked about ‘Someday Isle.’ Terry was vice president of Jay B Rudolph, a fine jewelry retailer that rented space in all the Maas Brothers department stores in Florida. He left them to form his own management consulting firm.

I thought about Terry and ‘Someday Isle’ as I read “Unconditional Excellence: Answering God’s Call to Be Your Professional Best.” Alan M. Ross, who is Founder and CEO of Kingdom Companies here in Atlanta, wrote the book. He’s an entrepreneur and Christian business leader.

Ross writes about the “when I … then I” life, as in: “When I finish this course, then I can spend more time with my family.” “When I close this big account, then I can take some time off.” He compares our life to a spinning top: “I watched in fascination as it began to rotate, smoothly twirling around and around, faster than the eye can follow. My toy kept doing that until it hit an inevitable bump (IB), careened out of control and fell over.”

Friends, you hit an IB when you left your job suddenly. I’ve learned that when some of us hit that bump called unemployment, our lives careen out of control – just like a top. Job loss puts stress on our relationships, our finances, our health and our walk with God. If you are careening out of control, surround yourself with savvy, supportive and spiritual advisors who will be with you, along with Christ, all the way. God never promised us it would be easy; he did promise that he’d always be with us.

If I had the time, I would…

Now back to ‘Someday Isle.’ Think back to when you were working full time and how you would have finished this sentence: “If I had the time, I would …” Now you have the time! Work hard on your job search AND make sure you take the time to do some things that you won’t have time to do when you are back in the rat race. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Spend more time with your family, with friends and with God.
  2. Take care of important, but not necessarily urgent, things life like financial planning, medical check-ups and writing or updating your will.
  3. Lose some weight, build some muscle and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
  4. Do projects around the house, spend more time on a hobby or read good books.
  5. Acquire or improve a skill (e.g., Microsoft Word and Excel); get a credential that will help your career (e.g., Six Sigma Black Belt or Project Management Professional).

The key is discipline. About 20 years ago, a fellow career consultant said a job seeker shouldn’t spend more than six hours a day working on his or her job search. I disagreed with Blanca at the time, but have come more to her way of thinking in the meantime. The caveat I’d put on it is that you have to be ready and willing to work all day and all night to prepare for an interview if necessary. Over the past 23 years, my experience has shown that six hours a day, five days every week would be a significant improvement in the amount of time most people spend looking for a job.

Someday is today! Now is the time! Don’t waste this opportunity! Invest the added time in one of the things I mentioned above – or in some other high payoff activity.

What I’ve always wanted to do is…

Another way to look at ‘Someday Isle’ is much bigger and broader. Maybe it has to do with your career. In my job search in 1992, I worked through a recruiter and received an offer for exactly the position I was looking for – same industry, no relocation, good compensation and benefits. Everything was just right, and yet my wife (now my former wife) noticed that I wasn’t excited about it. She pointed this out to me (I hadn’t really paid attention to my feelings on this), and the next day I withdrew my name. I remember that Ann McKinsey, the recruiter, took it with a lot of class, even though that call cost her about $25K in commissions.

Starting from scratch, I began another job search for the position I had been thinking about for two years. In April 1990, I decided I’d like to be a trainer and consultant after I attended a public seminar on behavioral interviewing. Dr. Robert B. Means was having a great time and I wanted to do what he was doing. About three months later (October 1992) I accepted my first position in the training and performance industry.

Please don’t read this and abandon your logical career target without advice from your board of advisors and plenty of prayerful consideration. My wife gave me some great career advice, but we paid a price for it. Finances were very tight during the three years it took me to work my way back my previous income level. That put a strain on our relationship. We had our first child during this time, and the second came a couple of months after I received a promotion and a raise to my old salary level. Although I would do some things differently in the relationship, I wouldn’t change my career decision.

As you go through your transition, think about these two dimensions of ‘Someday Isle.’ Take care of important, but not necessarily urgent, things you need to do. Think about what you’d really love to do if money were no object and you had the time to pursue your dreams. Maybe now is the time to go exploring.

Whether you change careers on not, as you target companies, evaluate opportunities and negotiate offers, make sure that you will be able to maintain some reasonable balance in your life. Failure to do so may result in attacks on your heart in the form of threats to your relationships, your health and your walk with God.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” – Proverbs 4:23

See you Friday at JobSeekers, where someday is today!

Copyright © 2016 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

God Blends Distasteful Experiences Together for Good

For most people, one of life’s most distasteful experiences is looking for a job.

I meet several JobSeekers each year who’ve been searching 12 months or more. Along with unemployment, there are usually other complicating factors involved. Things seem to go from bad to worse. There have been times in my life that have been pretty rough too. I have learned and witnessed that God can use all experiences for our good.

Rick Warren uses a great analogy in The Purpose Driven Life: “To bake a cake you must use flour, salt, raw eggs, sugar and oil. Eaten individually, each is pretty distasteful or even bitter. But bake them together and they become delicious. If you will give God all your distasteful, unpleasant experiences, he will blend them together for good.” Warren uses Romans 8:28 as his text: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

In the midst of job loss, financial hardship, stress and strain on relationships, health issues, waning self-esteem and other challenges, I encourage you to do these three things:

1. Do a checkup from the neck up.

This great piece of advice from Zig Ziglar is especially important for job seekers. On my list of the top 13 job search variables, attitude is number one. If you don’t project a positive attitude, your search will become much, much more difficult. Ziglar says, “Your attitude determines your altitude.”

Abraham Lincoln said, “People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Decide right now that you are going to have a positive, expectant attitude. Paul did. In Philippians 4:12b-13 he says, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” If you want to compare what you are going through to what Paul went through, click here: 2 Corinthians 11:16-33.

2. Ask God what he wants you to learn from all this.

In elementary school, kids aren’t supposed to get promoted to the next grade unless they meet certain standards. In life, we may not get promoted until we learn the lessons that God wants us to learn. One of my clients taught me that God loves us so much that sometimes he won’t let us move forward in our careers until we learn (finally) what he wants us to learn. Let your defenses down, open your mind, listen to feedback, and yield your will to God’s will.

God is the Master Chef; he may not want you to bake cakes until you have mastered making waffles from a box recipe. Do whatever is necessary to gain the necessary experience, and to develop the attitude, skills and knowledge you need to move on to cake baking. With God’s help, you will learn how to blend the ingredients of your life and bake them into a productive career.

3. Trust God that good things are happening.

This was true in my own transition in 2000. I got pretty frustrated when I came in second on several interviews. What I didn’t realize – and couldn’t see – was that God was working in the background all along. I teach folks to ask God for what they want, but to be willing to take what God gives them; it will be better than what they ask for. In 2000, I received something much better than what I asked for – at just the right moment in time.

Now that all the ingredients are mixed together, it’s time to go to the oven. It gets mighty hot in that oven! It appears that nothing is happening at first, but the cake is going to be warm and delicious in about an hour. Your life and career will be back in order soon, though it will likely take more than an hour!

View your present situation from the perspective of your future good condition, just as you would view the raw ingredients of a cake in their future state. God can use all of your experiences – good and bad – for his purposes. It takes a willing spirit on your part. Lay all your cares at the foot of the cross. Ask God what He wants you to learn as you go through this transition. Then pray for guidance. And the peace of God will be with you.

See you Friday at JobSeekers – God’s cake-baking school.

Copyright © 2016 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved