19 September 2017

Archives for November 2016

Are You Melancholy or Merry This Christmas?

Click on each picture above to relive Charlie Brown’s Christmas story.

Christmas is supposed to be a time of great joy; as the songs say, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” And, “City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, meeting smile after smile.” And finally, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” I remember a high school teacher who asked me if I’d gotten the Christmas “spirit” yet. I hadn’t, and I wondered what was wrong with me. Maybe you haven’t gotten the Christmas spirit this year, and you’re wondering if there is something wrong with you.

Melancholy or Merry?

Many of us experience a profound sense of loss during this season of joy. We may find it harder to be cheerful when we don’t have a job. In addition to being unemployed, many of us are more worried about making the mortgage payment than buying Christmas presents. On top of this, maybe we’ve lost our health, or we’re coping with the poor health of a loved one; things seem overwhelming. Some marriages are at the breaking point; families teeter above the great chasm of divorce. Other marriages have failed. Some of us have relatives deployed overseas. Some will cope with our first Christmas after the death of a child, spouse, parent, sibling or close friend.

Some of us feel hurt, fear and frustration as the days drone on and on without a faint shadow of a job anywhere in sight. All these sensations are often more poignant at Christmas when everyone else seems so happy.

Sometimes the seasons of the year aren’t synched up with the seasons of our life. If you’re melancholy this Christmas, that’s okay! Hang in there! I have good news: you’re going to get a job – it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” More good news: at JobSeekers, we love you and want to walk with you on your journey. Even more good news: God loves you in the midst of your melancholy mood.

If you’re melancholy instead of merry this Christmas, here’s what I recommend:

1. Be your authentic self.

Don’t pretend you’re happy when you’re not. I know someone who took his own life on Christmas Eve; he was the “happiest” person you’d want to meet, or so we thought. Be your authentic self. Bottled up negative feelings are like a cancer inside your body; they will do their best to kill you. Be joyful with most people, but with a few, take your mask off. Tell God and three trusted advisors how you are really feeling.

Healing power is on the way.

2. Never, never, never give up.

Don’t give up; how are you going to find a job if you give up? Many job seekers talk about the emotional roller coaster of job search. On the roller coaster, at least, good days offset some of the bad days. Others, however, talk about the downward spiral. This is more troubling because life gets darker and darker; hope less and less. Fight back! Hope is to the soul what air is to the body; have hope in spite of your circumstances.

Renewed hope is on the way.

3. Think RED For the Holidays.

Rest, exercise and diet form the three-legged stool of good physical and mental health. Articles on conquering the blues consistently list these three items as keys to success. Instead of backsliding during the holiday season, take steps today to make incremental improvements in your rest, exercise and diet patterns. Next week, take another step. I’ve shed 15 pounds in the past three years by making incremental improvements in my rest, exercise and diet. My goal was never to lose weight; my goal is to live healtheir.

Better health is on the way.

4. Volunteer.

Psychologist Joan Borysenko, PhD, says, “Deliver presents for Santa or help at a homeless shelter. This is really the top thing that people can do to turn their holiday blues around. Altruism and volunteerism make you feel better about yourself; they also get you out of your rut, your home and your isolation. This is a time of year where the spirit of helping and compassion is right there. If you can tap into it by helping others, that’s great!”

Fulfillment is on the way.

5. Have faith in God.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see.” You may not see a new job on the horizon or an end to your financial struggles. You may not see an end to other difficulties you are facing. God is at work in your life, even when you can’t see the fruits of his work. Don’t lose faith!

A new job, brighter days and happier times are on the way.

6. Rejoice anyway.

God doesn’t promise our lives will be easy, but he does promise to always be with us. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) And in the last verse of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus promises, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Rejoice in Immanuel – God with us.

Joy is on the way.

7. Remember the best news of all.

If you’re melancholy instead of merry, know this: Christ was born to be with you, especially during the most difficult days of your life. When everything else you hold dear is gone, you still have the love of God. God’s gift to you is his son Jesus. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Christ is on the way.

The Light of the World Shines on Us

Healing power, renewed hope, better health, more fulfillment, brighter days, happier times, greater joy, and new jobs are on the way. Best of all, Christ is on the way. Ask God to have mercy on you. Lay your burdens at the foot of the cross; the cross where he died for you. Lift your eyes to him. Ask him to come into your heart so you can feel the warmth of his presence. Place your hope in him – your strength and redeemer. Ask for his blessings so you may bless others. Thank him for loving you, and for reminding you of his love by sending the Light of the World in the form of an infant son.

See you Friday at JobSeekers, where we rejoice in Immanuel – God with us.

BTW, this is the 51st anniversary of Charlie Brown’s Christmas special.

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

New Job, and Two Job Leads

flight-display-systems-squarelogo-1423178534937I am delighted to share this message with you. Theresa says a lot of nice things below, but I want to emphasize what a great leader she was during her time at JobSeekers. Each week, the same core group of people sat at her table and cheered each other on.

This morning Theresa wrote to say there is an opening for an accountant and a purchasing manager. These are not yet on their website, but they may be by the time you read this. The jobs are in Alpharetta. Contact Theresa if you think you might be a fit.

Congratulations Theresa, and thanks for paying it forward!

– Dave

– – – – –

Dear Dave,

Each week as I continue to receive and enjoy the JobSeekers Newsletter, I think back on my time there this past spring. It is blessing to hear about all that is continuing on in your ministry there. As I write this note, I realize I will have my six-month anniversary here at Flight Display Avionics next Tuesday November 1st. Wow, where has time gone? Since late April, I have passed my PMP Exam, taken a new job, sent two kids off to college, and moved to Cumming for my new position.

In reflecting on the last six months, I remember vividly this past January through April attending JobSeekers and practicing my 60-second introduction each week. It was hard initially to figure out how to shorten and target 15 years of program and project management-related work at IBM into a statement which would not direct people to thinking I was a full blown IT professional.

The practice paid off because I landed the perfect job for me – project management in a technical environment. Since coming on board as the Strategic Project Manager to the CEO and CFO, I have been tapped to lead a long term project retooling the company’s ERP system. I have been challenged professionally in new ways I never imagined and have learned so much. I wanted to thank you personally, Dave, for the work you did on my résumé and for your continued guidance at JobSeekers. I landed in only four months’ time and I credit this program and process strongly in my success.

Many changes and challenges – all seen as blessings from our Lord and Savior. As I read the verse in today’s newsletter, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. – Proverbs 16:3” it really reminded how focused on God I was during my transitional season and how much I trusted Him to show me the new path. Keeping faith and keeping focused on what was really important led to the blessings I am experiencing today. I am one grateful God Girl but also aware that I need to keep this focus now amidst the blessings of this new job.

Thank you again and blessings to all those new JobSeekers out there. Feel free to link me and if you ever see a connection or way I could help you – drop me an email and let’s see what we can do!

In Christ,

– Theresa Yoss

No Meeting This Week


Horn of Plenty

Happy Thanksgiving! Our next meeting is on Friday 2 December. “Closing the Interview: How to Finish the Interview Strong and Win the Job of Your Dreams.”

In the meantime, be sure to read these two blogs:

God Provides to Those Who Are Faithful. Amen!

This is Hiring Season

BTW, congratulations to nine people who’ve already landed job since hiring season began last week.

– – – – –

JobSeekers meets (almost) 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 meeting day, time and location.

See you on Friday!

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

“South Atlanta’s best career services firm.”

# # #

 

This is Hiring Season

Hiring season


Don’t sit on the sidelines during the hiring season.

This is hiring season. Every year I find out that many of you are less active – or not active at all – in your job search in November and December, especially between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. If I hear from you, it goes something like this, “Dave, I’ve been looking for a while and I’m kind of burned out on job search, so I need a break; besides, no one’s hiring around the holidays anyway.”

Have you had thoughts and feelings similar to this?

No one is hiring around the holidays? In the battlefield of the mind, the Father of Lies wants to you to think this way. Friends, NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! On the contrary, many executive recruiters have a higher quota in December than in any other month.

If a company’s fiscal year is the same as the calendar year, budgets are formulated and approved in September and October. Imagine a plant manager finally getting approval in FY2017 for a much-needed new position – let’s say it’s a plant engineer. Candidates are screened, interviewed and offered jobs in November and December. They start their new jobs on the first business day of January.

Satan would love it if you put your search on hold for eight weeks!

Is your competition interviewing for jobs that you’re qualified for while you’re out spending money you don’t have? Will they be starting a new job on Tuesday 3 January 2017 because you were out shopping, or doing projects around the house, or unwinding because of all the stress of your job search?

Companies are hiring right now.

Every year several JobSeekers start new jobs in January because they didn’t sit on the sidelines in November and December. Get in the game now. Today is a workday. You have a full-time job right now – with deferred compensation!

In 2003, for instance, Dave Tripp went home to Kansas for Thanksgiving. He came back with a job offer. Andy Whitlock, leader of the job ministry in Newnan, interviewed for a job the week before Christmas and again on New Year’s Eve; he got the offer within a week. He said, “And I thought the holidays were going to be quiet.”

In 2004 Henry Gregorich went to a company Christmas party; he seized the opportunity to do some job networking and made a great impression on a gentleman who called a couple of weeks later to see if Henry was still looking. He was, and the gentleman offered him a job. Don Apking, Randy Coggin and Ken King also wrote to me late in December to inform me of their new position.

In 2005. Mark Foote, Cliff Barrett, Dennis Szczepanski, Patrick Bauer and Kelly Carroll accepted jobs in the last two weeks of December.

In 2006, Bobby Rose, Bruce Brzoska, Heidi Lesser, Alan Millsaps, Richard Rodriguez, George Smith and Chris Clark interviewed for and/or accepted a job between 13 December and the end of the year. If they had been sitting on the sidelines in December, they’d still be looking for a job in January.

In 2007, between 11/15/2007 and 1/17/2008 (64 days) I received 26 “I got a job” emails, plus some others verbally – one every other day. In fact, eight of the emails arrived between January 3rd and 7th. Wes Hill received three offers in one week. Mike Fowler received a job offer while we were at the Atlanta Bread Company; he’d been unemployed less than five weeks. Aaron Royster interviewed for a job on December 26th; yes, the day after Christmas! He started on January 14th. Don’t sit on the sidelines this season.

In 2008, we had 20 people get jobs in October. Phil Kelley landed a job on November 3rd. This was followed closely by John Thomas, Adrian Neeley, Don Menke, Cynthia Stallworth, Gordon Brown, Pete Wallace, Kelly Sigmon, Donald Augustus and Matt Dukes.

Matt wrote, “Staying in the hunt during the holiday season does pay off. I found this job through an evening newsletter that I get through The FENG (Financial Executive’s Networking Group). I happened to see the posting in the job leads section that appeared on the last newsletter that I would get for 2008. I applied to the position on Christmas Eve, had a phone interview on the 26th and an in-person interview on New Year’s Eve. Before I had left the office on the 31st, I was offered the position and, of course, gladly accepted. I started here on January 5th.”

In 2009, I received 17 emails from people who accepted jobs between 15 November and 15 January: Able Vega, Alan Sibley, Ann Cook, Beth Mulhern, Caitlin Hall-West, Chris Westberry, Dave Bayer, Dennis Szczepanski, Donna Cook, Doug Flatt, Ed Mackiewicz, Mary Reintz, Mike Murtaugh, Norma Manuel, Rolea Palomares, Rose Humphrey and Shelia Garza. One of these 17 people got a $20K raise – yes, back when the unemployment rate was 9.9%.

In 2010, we had our second-best year with 21 people: Jeff Boggs, Pat Behrens, Wade Massengill, Stephen Bachmann, Norm Van Horn, Rodger Purdy, Charmaine Barton, Terri Dull, Matt Iffland, Donna Anderson, Lisa Brown, Gary McDougal, Bert Jermain, Kevin Askew, Kevin Edwards, Dayanara Reyes, Mark Cuneo, Scott Armbrust, Forrest Simmons and David Long.

In 2011, 16 people emailed me during this 60-day period: Joe De Sieno, Cindy Van Wert, Bill Tucker, Travis Raitt, Hans Nielsen, John Bell, Bryan Bear, Paul Johnson, Pat Ebersole, Carl Bissantz, Don Shoaf, Jasmina Jovic, Jeff Liddy, Paul Dickinson, John Roland and Linda Mackey. Carl started his new job on 27 December. Jeff and Bryan had two offers each. I started working with Paul Dickinson as a client on 13 December. He started a new job 28 days later.

In 2012, 13 people emailed me with their good news: Carolina Segovia, Patrick James, Joycelyn Avila, Hollise Bello, Marie Griffies, Rich Braun, Lee Longe, Angela Tavarez, Mike Grimes, Rosie Dove, Carl Bissantz, Richard Hardin and Ken Roberts. The last two started on January 7. Two had a search of 40 days or less. Don’t sit on the sidelines during the hiring season.

In 2013, the final tally for the hiring season (64 days beginning 15 November) was 32. That was a new record, PTL. Congratulations to Alfreda, Andrew, Annette, Bo, Bobby, Bryan, Cheryl, Dan, Daniela, David, Ed, Elaine, Greg, Heather, Jeff, Joel, Kathy, Keith, Kenny, Michael, Mike, Muraya, Pamela, Patrick, Rick, Ruben, Scott, Scott, Tanesha, Tommy, Trevor, and Zaffar!

In 214, the final tally was 39 another new world record: Janine Scott-Ford, Debora Nash, Darryl Mullins, Tom McCutchen, Tim Forse, Stacy York, Dave Tripp, Sonja Sleeper, Jessica Spain, Dean Dunton, Daniel Garcia, Jessica Palazzolo, Ed Mackiewicz, Jim Rudolph, Bryan Warren, Mike Knippel, Alan Burks, Brenden St. John, Darlene Crawley, Nicole Spangler, Eric Miller, Carrie Toth, Valerie Baldowski, Philip Vaughn, Dave Lowry, Emelyn East, Elaine Feinblum, Sharleen Oetting, Adrian Gillies, Jim Goodart, Bill Kendrick, Lecia Laswell, Donna Osbourn, John Chandler, Christian Garcia, Robert Kirby, Stacey Stoykewich, Andrea Brzoska, Charlie Jackson.

Last year, the final tally was 28: Alex Rogers, Andi Shen, Bob Bennett, Chris Fedelem, Dan Tennet, Dana Chitwood, Daniel Boccella, Deborah Jackson, Diana Davis, Drew Spangler, Holly Rafford, Jim Gillespie, Joyce Webb, Karen Gomes, Kate Williams, Kevin Newman, Larry Beuerlein, Lindsay Quandt, Marilyn Robinson, Michael Henson, Paula Bartlett, Rachel Hess, Richard Scarlett, Rusty Ortkiese, Stephanie Taylor, Sydney Maxwell, Tim Robinson, Tom McCutchen.

Don’t sit on the sidelines during the hiring season.

Let’s make this year the best year ever!

Are you equipped for hiring season?

One key concern I have is that you think you have good tools to fight this battle. No you don’t. I’ve seen your résumés. You’re good at what you do – but you’ve got lousy résumés. You’re going onto the battlefield with a butter knife. You think you have a B-1 bomber; you don’t even have a bazooka – or even a bayonet. If you’d like me to rate your résumé as a butter knife, bayonet, bazooka, or B-1 bomber, just email your résumé to me and I’ll offer my professional opinion.

More open positions, fewer active seekers.

And one more piece of good news: as the number of open positions increases during the holiday season, the number of job seekers who are actively looking decreases – because of the false assumption mentioned in the first paragraph above.

Yes, you can get a job if you use the strategy, tools and skills we teach – and top it off with a positive attitude. Is it tough out there in the battlefield? Yes, but with God’s help you can do it. All you need is ONE job. Don’t sit on the sidelines this season.

Here are three things I challenge you to do as the holidays approach:

1. Work on your search 24/7.

Work hard. Work smart. Always be on the lookout for networking opportunities. Don’t make a mistake that will cost you two months’ pay. What would God want you to do ? Sit on the sidelines or look for a job? Look again at Proverbs 3:5-6 from The Message: “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” Notice the phrase, “in everything you do.” It implies action, not passivity.

2. Be joyful always, even when money it tight.

Don’t spend beyond your means. Set a good example for your kids and others. What better time to show that your happiness is not rooted in what you have or in what great (expensive) presents you can give? Your happiness comes from the spirit of the living God. I think of Paul’s words in Philippians 4:10-12: “I rejoice greatly in the Lord … I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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.”

3. Bring joy to others, especially those who are not connected to you.

God desires a sacrifice of our time, talents and treasure. When money is tight, you can still give of your time and talents. We are God’s hands and feet, so put them to work. Back to Paul’s words; this time in Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

I close with this blessing from Paul: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

See you at JobSeekers on Friday, where we rejoice year-round – whether we are employed or not.

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

Holiday Networking / How to Earn $10K Real Fast

Holiday networking: Don't delay! Set your alarm now!


Don’t delay! Set your alarm now!

Our topic this week for Friday 18 November is holiday networking. It’s also about doing what’s best for you and for your family. This Friday you will learn strategies and practice skills that will help you leverage the contacts you make during this holiday season. I will also share the secret to earning thousands of dollars during the holiday season.

– – – – –

But here’s what I really want to say:

Hi friends, Billy Mays here for JobSeekers of Peachtree City! Come tomorrow to learn the amazing secrets of how to earn $8,900 in just six weeks! Yes, you can have it all by using the strategy, tools and skills taught at the exciting, fun-filled, action-packed meetings held every Friday morning at First Baptist Church of Peachtree City!

Don’t delay! Set your alarm now! Don’t miss this holiday networking event! Yes, these methods work like magic when applied with a healthy dose of a positivity and the power of prayer!

And it’s all yours for only $1.00! A whopping $120 value, for only $1.00. Here’s how to order!

– – – – –

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 meeting day, time and location.

See you on Friday!

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

“South Atlanta’s best career services firm.”

# # #

 

Discouraged Workers Are Always Welcome

Discouraged workers, downcast people and depressed souls are always welcome at JobSeekers.

As I talk to job seekers over the days, weeks and years, I learn about people who are going through a period of depression. The depressed people aren’t telling me; it’s someone else who tells me about them. Oftentimes, the most depressed people don’t attend our JobSeekers meetings.

This concerns me for two reasons: first, if you are staying home on Friday mornings because you’re down, you’re making the problem worse. I’ll say more about this in a minute. Second, I’m concerned because the meetings are so upbeat, you may feel out of place.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 4:4–7

Friends, discouraged workers, downcast people and depressed souls are always welcome at JobSeekers! I can tell you with 100% certainty that every job seeker in that room on Friday mornings has battled negative thoughts and feelings if they have been looking for a job for 30 days or more. The only difference between you and them is that they may be at a peak while you are in a valley. When you are in the valley looking up, it seems everyone is better off than you. Come to JobSeekers and we will lift you up.

Mood swings come with the territory. Job search is an emotional roller coaster. If you are down, find someone else at the bottom of his or her curve and lift him or her up. I spoke to a job seeker a few days ago who took another job seeker to lunch; both were in a funk before, and now both are in better spirits. Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” The best way to lift your own spirits is to pick someone else up.

If you get down and stay down, get help. God doesn’t want you there; at least not for long. He will provide resources – including other people – to help you out of the dark hole you are in. Look at what you might be doing to make the problem worse. Examine yourself mentally, physically, socially and spiritually:

1. Mentally.

Read uplifting books. Listen to motivational tapes. Seek wise counsel, even professional help, if necessary. Limit your time on the computer. And, when you work on the following three areas, mental health usually takes care of itself.

2. Physically.

Optimize your diet, rest and exercise. They form the three-legged stool of good health. Depressed people often make the problem worse by changing their habits in these areas for the worse. Eat healthier foods, drink more water, get the proper amount of rest, and exercise more often. You’ve got the time!

3. Socially.

Get out and about. Help someone else. You are making depression worse if you are staying home on Friday mornings – and every other day of the week. Lethargy sets in and depression becomes more and more difficult to overcome.

4. Spiritually.

Admit it. Confess it. Write about it. Pray about it. You’re in good company. David wrote more psalms of lament than anything else. Jeremiah was known as the “weeping prophet.” Old Job had more trouble than any of us will ever see. Yes, you are in good company; the person sitting next to you has been there too.

Depression is not the problem; it’s a symptom of the problem. You’ve got to figure out what the root cause is. Some say they are having a run of bad luck. You can do a lot to change your luck; it starts by laying your problems at the foot of the cross. Trust in the Lord and work wholeheartedly as God directs you.

Chuck Hodges, pastor at Athens First United Methodist, emphasizes that there’s a difference between joy and happiness. As Christians we are called to be joyful all the time (see the “Rejoice in the Lord always” passage above). We are called to be joyful, but we don’t necessarily have to happy. In fact, if you were happy about being out of work, we may need to talk!

When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he instructed them to rejoice in the Lord always; I know from personal experience that “always rejoicing” is tough to do when you are looking for a job. Friends, it is okay to be depressed while you are looking for a job; it is not okay to accept it as your fate. Decide today that, with God’s help, you will not dwell on your present circumstances; you will hope for – search for – the abundant life God has planned for you.

That’s what we do every week at JobSeekers. We rejoice. Always.

I’ve included three pictures from our meeting on 2 November 2012. Mark Hutto came to shares his good news after he landed a great job. He had been through some extremely difficult times in addition to his job search. Tiffany Lust volunteered to help me demonstrate the difference between knowledge and skill. She easily learned the steps to juggle, but couldn’t actually do it. We all fell out laughing. When Marcus Smith introduced himself, he said he wasn’t leaving until he got a good networking referral; he succeeded in seconds when devotional speaker Glen Gould  gave him one.

Dwelling on the abundant life he has in store for you – now that’s something you can be joyful about, even when times are tough! My prayer for all of you is that when you hit the bottom of the joy curve, you will claim this verse – and all of God’s promises – for yourself.

Come to JobSeekers on Friday – especially if you are weary and heavy-laden – and He will lift you up! You will find rest for your souls, hope for your heart, and strength for the week ahead.

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

Stretch Zone? No Way, I’ll Surf the Net!

Stretch zone


“Are you on the right track?”

Have you been in the stretch zone today?

Will Rogers once said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Life is not about being comfortable. God doesn’t want us to be comfortable. He wants us to be learning and growing everyday. He doesn’t want us to be satisfied with the status quo. What if the apostle Paul had been satisfied with converting a few Jews in Judah? If you are sitting still, you are falling behind. Those of us who are satisfied with the status quo will become yesterday’s news. You have to leave your comfort zone every day to be successful.

Getting hit by a train may not be fatal, but it can put you or a Fortune 500 company in the ICU for years. When I had speaking engagements in the mid- to late-90’s I mentioned 18 companies listed in the iconic business classic, “In Search of Excellence.” I described what happened when they sat still. From the late 80’s to the mid-90’s IBM and Digital, two of the stars in the book, were having massive layoffs. They had gotten cocky when they were held up as paragons of perfection to the rest of the business world. You know the story; after laying off hundreds of thousands of employees, IBM heeded their wake-up call and did what they had to do to become a strong business again. Digital didn’t. Compaq gobbled them up, and then Compaq succumbed to HP. Hewlett Packard, by the way, was another company featured in the list. So was Delta Air Lines.

My stretch zone experience.

The farthest I was ever out of my comfort zone professionally was on the day of the 2000 presidential election – the day Bush and Gore tied. That was the day I auditioned to be a senior training consultant for Richardson, a sales training and consulting company based in Philadelphia. I had learned of the position by networking with a friend in ASTD, an association of professional trainers.

After I passed two telephone interviews, they sent their flagship book, “Stop Telling, Start Selling,” to me. They instructed me to become thoroughly familiar with the book before my interview. The interview would consist of a traditional interview with the COO, and then she would give me a training module I had never seen before. I’d have 45 minutes to learn the material, and then I would present the module to the COO and CEO.

I guarantee you I wanted to bail out as soon as I heard that. Wave after wave of self-doubt raced through my mind. My sleep was interrupted immediately. I pressed on, studying the material and rehearsing in my mind despite these visions of “freezing” during the audition.

They flew me to Philadelphia the day before Election Day. I hunkered down in my hotel room and tried to review the material. My mouth was so dry my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. I can tell you with certainty that I had the worst night of sleep in my life due to professional stress. I managed two hours of sleep during the six I was in bed. Thoughts of being so tired I’d be incoherent during the audition faded in and out of view. I wasn’t sure if I could hold my breakfast down the next morning.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

– 2 Timothy 1.7

I’d like to tell you that I prayed my way through this; I simply don’t remember whether I did or not. It’s very likely that I repeated one of my affirmations, “I put everything in God’s hands. I ask for the ability to do my best, and I confidently leave the results to God.” I do know this: God was with me and I was at my best. I was encouraged when Linda, the CEO, remarked after looking at my resume and hearing my self-introduction, “If you don’t like all the travel that goes with this training and consulting job, we could put you on our sales team.”

Now it was time for the audition. Linda asked for me to pretend that she and Dorothy represented two-dozen managing directors from Goldman Sachs, which was one of their key customers. (GS is nowhere to be found on their website these days.) I presented the objection resolution module, which is a key differentiator for them. I knew that interaction was very important to them, so I engaged them as much as I could.

At one point Linda interrupted the action and gave me some feedback – both strengths and areas for improvement – and I immediately incorporated the concepts into my facilitation of the module. Before I knew it Linda interrupted again, gave me more feedback, said a hasty goodbye and left the room. My heart sank to the floor as the door to the conference room door closed behind her.

Dorothy, the COO, slapped her hand on the table and said, “Oh she loved you!” I said, “That was love?” Dorothy said they had interviewed a thousand potential trainers over the past 20 years and hired only three-dozen. Without consulting Linda, she offered me the job and began discussing my training schedule.

Would I go through that misery again? You bet. It was very rewarding to work for Richardson. I traveled as far as Hartford, the Florida Keys, San Diego and Seattle, and many points in between. I trained 2000 sales reps at Dell and over 1000 more at companies like KPMG Consulting, Bank of America, Sears, GlaxoSmithKline and Prudential Bank.

At Richardson, I developed skills and built self-confidence that I will use the rest of my life. Now that I’ve moved on, I use those experiences every day in my career coaching business. I left my comfort zone and reaped great rewards.

God wants you to get out of your comfort zone. He wants you to learn and grow. He wants you to try new things. Here are three steps to help you get yourself out of your comfort zone; if you do number one and two, number three is much easier:

1. Pray and read your Bible.

Vocalize your feelings to God. Ask Him for the strength and confidence to overcome those terrifying feelings of anxiety. Find scriptures that encourage you. Many of the great characters in the Bible (e.g. Moses and Jeremiah) didn’t want to answer God’s call. He persuaded them and look what happened. God didn’t give us a spirit of timidity – He gives us a spirit of power and love and self-discipline. God is calling you to greater things. Answer his call!

2. Use affirmations and visualization.

I believe in was baseball great Curt Schilling who said used visualization to improve his performance before he pitched in the 2004 World Series. Other athletes use affirmations to improve theirs. Picture success. Think positive. I created 20 biblically based affirmations several years ago and used them frequently in my job search. I mentioned one up above. To see the whole list, click here »

3. Just do it.

Feel the fear and do it anyway. Take small steps. Learn to walk before you run. Practice your skills at the JobSeekers meetings. Practice with a friend. Hire a coach. Then do it. I read somewhere that 85% of what we worry about never happens. Friends, when you leave your comfort zone good things happen!

What I want you to get out of this is that you reap what you sow. No risk = no reward. Small risk = small reward. Big risk = big reward. Stay in your comfort zone and use online job boards = long job search. Get in the stretch zone and go out and network = shorter job search. You choose.

Come to JobSeekers this Friday, where we get into the stretch zone every week.

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

 

The 2nd Most Important Thing Every Job Seeker Must Have

Many of you have heard me talk, and have seen articles I’ve written about, the #1 thing every job seeker must have. Your chances of finding a job without having the #1 thing are pretty slim – as in “slim and none (and slim’s on vacation!).” After working with thousands of people over the past 23 years I’ve concluded your chances aren’t a whole lot better unless you have the #2 thing too. The most important thing every job seeker must have is a positive attitude; the second most important thing is great follow-up and follow through.

For example, I’ll call or email a troubled job seeker (or O’Farrell client, ugh) to see how his or her search is going. When I don’t hear back, I call and leave a message that goes something like this: “Jill, this is Dave O’Farrell. I have some good news for you; give me a call.” When Jill calls to hear the good news, I say, “Jill, the good news is that I know what’s standing between you and a new job: YOU DON’T FOLLOW U-U-U-P-P-P-P-P!!!”

Here are some other examples of things I see from time to time:

  1. I hear through the grapevine that someone has missed an interview.
  2. One of my clients forgets an appointment with me.
  3. Someone has a hot lead for someone else at JobSeekers; the other person fails to follow through. In one specific instance that I know of, the fellow had been looking for a job for over a year.

Follow-up and follow through applied.

Follow-up and follow through are vitally important not just for success in search, but in most areas of our lives. JobSeekers’ advisory board member and management consultant JB Kirk says that poor follow-up and follow through behaviors are epidemic in the executive ranks throughout corporate America. The implications for the job seeker are obvious: demonstrate good behavior in this area, and you will certainly stand out.

My first indicator of good follow up behavior (and therefore, job search success) with a new member of JobSeekers is when he or she responds to the welcome message I send to each new person. I ask them to respond to three questions. I also ask them to email a résumé. People who honor these two requests honor themselves. Their response not only helps us to help them; it also indicates the behavior that will lead to success in search, on the new job, and in many other areas of life.

Another key indicator happens on Fridays. I’ll have some advice, information or a referral (AIR) that can help someone and I’ll ask him or her to send me an email with a reminder of what I promised. Guess how many people follow through? About one in five. Amazing.

» Only one person from last Friday!

Some indicators of good follow through behavior (and therefore, job search success) with one of my clients is whether or not he or she completes the exercises that I assign before, during and after the MRMT™ workshop. I assign a lot more work than can be accomplished on the first day of the workshop, so I give clients four days (Friday through Monday) in between the first and second day to follow through on their assignments. Many times clients come in with a list of excuses of why they couldn’t devote any time to completing their assignments over the weekend. I wonder, was that an aberration, or was that a fairly typical four days of job search at your house?

A few years ago a client wrote to tell me about her new job. Julie wrote: “I had four companies interested in me all at once: a couple of contract positions near closure and one permanent position here in Atlanta that I was just waiting on the offer. Then another offer came in. It started when I received a call from the CFO. We interviewed over the phone, and then I went in for an interview (five people in five hours!). Within 48 hours I sent all five people a thank you note that was unique to the interview we had. Within two weeks they had finalized the offer. The use of the materials we developed in your workshop were critical, Dave. When the CEO called to offer me the job, he said that I did an excellent job of follow-up.”

The #2 thing’s bottom line.

Hiring managers are busy; sometimes the job goes to the one who has the best follow-up – someone who is persistent without being a pest – someone who is finding a way to make it happen instead of finding a reason why it didn’t.

The bottom line is this: to improve your job search results, improve your follow-up and follow through behaviors. The solution is simple. Make a decision to follow-up and follow through. Manage your time. Set priorities and stick to them. Here are three relevant verses:

  1. Proverbs 13:18 – He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.
  2. Proverbs 24:32-33 – A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.
  3. Titus 1:8 – Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.

You’ve got to be disciplined. You’ve got to follow up on every networking or job lead just like a crime scene investigator does. You never know which clue may be the one that cracks the case.

If you have an anecdote about follow-up and follow though from your job search (either a good or bad), please send it to me. I’d love to hear it. Thanks.

See you on Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we learn and apply godly self-discipline.

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