19 September 2017

Archives for March 2017

When Someone Shatters Your Dreams

When Someone Shatters Your Dreams


Joseph’s coat of many colors.

When someone shatters your dreams, make new ones. Joseph is a case in point. Things were going well for him. The favorite son of Jacob, he had his father’s favor far more than any of his 11 brothers. His dad loved him so much he gave him the well-known “coat of many colors.”

Things were going well for him until he told his brothers about a couple of dreams he had. In one he dreamt that he and his brothers were sheaves of wheat and all the other sheaves bowed down to him. In the other the sun and moon and 11 stars were all bowing to him. His brothers were so angry that they threw him into a pit and left him to die. Right before they left Joseph, a group of Ishmaelites came by. Seizing the opportunity to make a buck, they sold him for 20 pieces of silver instead.

Joseph’s brothers shattered his dreams, so he made new ones.

We’ve all had times in our life when things were going well. Then our dreams were shattered. Maybe it was the loss of a job, a home, a loved one, a marriage, or other intimate relationship. For Joseph, it was the loss of his family, his security and his way of life. So he made new dreams.

The Ishmaelites sold him into slavery in Egypt to serve one of Pharaoh’s officers, Potiphar, the captain of the guard. Joseph won favor there and received promotions to head of household. Things were going well again; Joseph had a good job and a comfortable life. Then his dreams were shattered again. Potiphar’s wife took a liking to Joseph and tried to seduce him. After many unsuccessful attempts, she framed him for attempted rape. Joseph was thrown in jail.

Potiphar’s wife shattered Joseph’s dreams, so he made new ones.

He was in jail at least two years. Instead of whining and complaining, he won the favor of the jailer. During this time two other prisoners, who had also worked in Potiphar’s household, told Joseph about dreams they had. Joseph accurately predicted that within three days, Pharaoh would free one prisoner and hang the other.

Some time later, Pharaoh had a dream. He called all the wise men and magicians he knew of and no one could interpret the dream. The prisoner who had been released told Pharaoh about Joseph. Joseph was called from jail and interpreted the dream to mean that Egypt would have seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh was so impressed he removed Joseph from jail and promoted him to ruler of all of Egypt, second in power only to himself.

Joseph had a job again. He’d received what might have been two knockout blows in his life so far, and yet he picked himself up off the canvas and made the best of a bad situation. That’s what God wants us to do too; make the most of our bad situations. I’ve received two big blows in my career – in 1992 and 2000 – and in both cases things have turned out better in the new situation than the old. Things are going well for me again.

Faith-based, God-inspired resilience is the key.

I want to challenge all of you to make the most of your situation. Be resilient like Joseph. Faith-based, God-inspired resilience is the key. I want you to be able to look back one day and say you like your new job better than the previous one; or that you like your new life better than the old one.

The story of Joseph concludes with some sweet revenge and a reunion with his family. The seven-year famine struck Israel too, and 10 of his brothers came to Egypt to buy grain. When they appeared before Joseph, they didn’t recognize him. He spoke through an interpreter to complete his disguise. He put them through all kinds of misery until all 11 brothers threw themselves on the ground before Joseph and begged for mercy. At that point Joseph revealed his true identity and the whole family, about 70 people in all, were reunited in Egypt and spared from the famine.

That brings me to my last point. Joseph didn’t get even; he got ahead. He could have gotten even with his brothers by throwing them in jail and leaving them there; or he could have sold them into slavery as they had done to him. Instead he chose the high road. He taught them a lesson in humility and then used his power to make things better for everyone.

So, instead of thinking about getting even with your former employer, and instead of dwelling on whatever bitterness, rage or anger you may have, look for a job or career that is pleasing to God, good for your family, and rewarding for you.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
– Ephesians 4:31 & 32

See you on Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we make new dreams!

Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Articulating Past Achievements

Rat_Eating_Cheese_1


Be a STAR,
But think “RATS.”

Our topic this week, “Articulating Past Achievements: How to Create an Explosive Résumé” will help you to turn it up a notch in your next interview; it will also help you strengthen your résumé. You’ll learn why RATS are so important to a job seeker — in fact, you’ll learn to love RATS and will want them running around you all the time.

Bring your resume so you can immediately apply what you learn.

When I taught this topic in October 2003, one participant cited this as the turning point in his job search. Greg reworked résumé as a result of this topic. When I spoke to him on 2/4/2004, he was on his third day on his new job. “The phone started ringing when I took your advice and focused on results. The less you say in a résumé, the more interesting you sound. Use the bare essentials, no more than what you need.”

– – – – –

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.”

# # #

How to Ride the Emotional Roller Coaster

One of my clients recently asked me about the emotional roller coaster of job search. I told him and my other two clients that when I got into the career management business 24 years ago, I was taught that job seekers would have good days and bad days. This has not been my experience. What I’ve learned when I’ve been in the midst of the most difficult times in my life is that I have good minutes and bad minutes; joy one moment and despair the next. They concurred.

When my kids and I rode eight roller coasters at Six Flags during Spring break a few years ago, I saw more clearly than ever why roller coasters are such a great metaphor for the ups and downs of job search (and for life in general). There are a lot of ups and downs, stops and starts, twists and turns, light and dark. Here are the eight roller coasters we rode:

  1. Batman: The Ride – Soar like a bat out of Hades, through, above – and even underneath – Gotham City, suspended from the rails of one of the most innovative coasters of all time.
  2. Superman: Ultimate Flight – Face down your fear – face first – as you fly above Georgia at super speed – just like the man of steel, Superman.
  3. Georgia Cyclone – Fasten your seat belts. You’re in for some heavy turbulence aboard Georgia’s one-and-only Cyclone – a wooden coaster for riders with nerves of steel.
  4. Mind Bender – Go on a thrill bender – let North America’s original three-loop coaster blow your mind.
  5. Ninja – The thrills are awesome, but you won’t see them coming till it’s too late on Ninja –the black belt of all steel coasters.
  6. The Georgia Scorcher – Put your feet to the fire on The Georgia Scorcher – one of the Southeast’s tallest and fastest stand-up roller coasters.
  7. The Great American Scream Machine – There’s nothing like a wooden coaster for bone-jangling jitters and the Scream Machine is a living legend – once the tallest coaster in the world.
  8. Goliath – It’s big, it’s mean, and it wants to take you for a ride. Meet Goliath—the gigantic steel coaster the other rides call “Sir.” Top speed: 70 miles per hour. Elevation: over 20 stories tall. [They didn’t publish the G-forces on this ride, but another (Ninja) hits four G’s, so I assume this one is greater.]

We went on Goliath first. I remember hitting the bottom of the first curve and realizing that my spine doesn’t enjoy the G-forces quite like it used to. Prior to that, I thought of roller coasters as more of an up-and-down event. Now I think of loop-the-loops, inversions and other disorienting experiences – sort of like job search.

On Superman, for instance, you are suspended face down looking at the ground to start. Click here to see what I’m talking about. (Warning: don’t get bogged down surfing this site, like I’m prone to do.) When the ride ended they had a mechanical problem, and we spent about 15 minutes staring at a red metal floor. It was uncomfortable and boring – sort of like job search sometimes.

Many years ago I learned about, and then taught, the grief cycle to my classes. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross found that people go through five stages of grief when they learn of their impending death. Job search and other life changes follow a similar pattern. They are:

  1. Denial. “No, not me! I can’t believe this is happening to me!”
  2. Anger. “Why me? How dare you do this to me!”
  3. Bargaining. “If I do this good deed, maybe I’ll find a job within a week.”
  4. Depression. “It really has happened. I can’t bear going through this.”
  5. Acceptance. “I don’t want to fight this anymore. I’m ready to move on.”

M. Scott Peck says we go through similar stages every time we’re about to grow in psychological or spiritual maturity. So there’s the good news. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

With all this in mind, here are some tips for riding the emotional roller coaster:

  1. Train for the event. People with heart problems, bad backs and expectant mothers shouldn’t ride roller coasters. Since job search is more of a mental and emotional battle than a physical one; make sure you do the things that help you perform at your best. Diet, rest and exercise form the three-legged stool of good health and peak performance. I recommend “Body by God” by Dr. Ben Lerner. Lerner offers a comprehensive plan for getting in touch with our bodies in four areas: nutrition, exercise, stress management and time management.
  2. Pull the safety device down. It’s going to be a wild ride; you can count on that. Ephesians 6:10-12 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Job search is one of the toughest spiritual battles you will ever face, so put on the full armor of God.
  3. Keep your arms inside. Listen to the advice of experts. We know what works, and we know what can harm you. Don’t panic when several networking efforts appear to produce no fruit. If you don’t heed our advice and you surf the net for the majority of your day instead, you could lose an arm and a leg.
  4. Don’t jump out. The worst thing you could do would be to jump off a speeding roller coaster. Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Giving up will only make the problem worse.
  5. Scream. Scream if you have to. Better yet, write in a journal. It’s a way of communicating with God; it’s great therapy, and it’s free. Find a few people you can confide in. (I’m thankful for my advisors, they hear from me often.) Get professional help if necessary.
  6. Breathe deeply. On my second time on the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney MGM Studios, I tried to keep my heart rate as close to normal as possible. I did this by taking deep relaxing breaths throughout. This is what wellness instructors teach and what good athletes do. Find something that relaxes you. This not only smoothes out the bumps, it will improve your performance when it counts.
  7. Enjoy some other attractions. Roller coasters may not by your thing. True, you are probably not on the roller coaster by choice. Find some attractions you do like. Ride them in between. Succeed at something; that way you can claim some victories along the way. For example, “I didn’t have much luck with my search this week, but the Adobe Illustrator class I completed will position me for some opportunities that I am really interested in.”

Here’s one more similarity between a real roller coaster and the emotional roller coaster of job search: the roller coaster will arrive safely in the end. And so will you, my friend.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s website used to have 12 tips for dealing with grief and bereavement. I couldn’t help but notice that the first tip is to attend support groups in your area.

Sometimes I speak to someone who is too discouraged to come to JobSeekers on Friday. All of us on the Ship’s Crew have had times in our lives when we were too discouraged to get out of bed, or to go somewhere we didn’t want to go, even though we knew it would do us some good. We can empathize. Get out of bed anyway. Come to JobSeekers anyway. Get that big stone, which is full of inertia, rolling again.

We look forward to seeing Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we hang on tight during this wild, wild ride!

Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

How St. Patrick Saved Ireland

St. Patrick


St. Patrick

St. Patrick’s day is a national holiday as far as I’m concerned! Here’s the story of how St. Patrick saved Ireland.

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity’s most widely known figures. He was the missionary to Ireland much the same as St. Paul was the missionary to the gentiles in the northern Mediterranean. He was fulfilling God’s mission for his life, just as God wants all of us to do. I noticed that he had a career change much the same we are experiencing. Listen to the Lord’s leading in your life, especially during this time of transition, just as St. Patrick did.

St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D.

One key event in his early life in Britain happened at the age of 16. Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. During this time, he worked as a shepherd (like David), outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, and became a devout Christian. It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.

After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice – which he believed to be God’s – spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo to the Irish coast.

After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation – an angel in a dream telling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than 15 years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission – to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish.

Christianity did not become the national faith of Ireland in Patrick’s lifetime. He ministered there for 30 years. He is credited with founding hundreds of churches and converting thousands of people to our faith. Today 93% of the Republic of Ireland’s population is Catholic.

# # #

My dad has this well-known Irish blessing on the back of his business cards:

Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rain fall softly upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

See you this week at JobSeekers – the place where we receive Irish blessings every week.

Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Improving Your P&L Skills (Questioning Skills)

questioning skills


To get more of this: $, do more of this: P&L.

Want to be a more effective networker? Want to be more engaging when you score a big interview? Want to move your campaign forward and uncover the hidden job market? Then come to JobSeekers this week to improve your questioning skills.

This week’s session on Friday 17 March – “Improving Your P&L Skills: Improve This and You Will Improve Your Personal P&L!” – will make you more effective in your networking and interviewing of course, but it will also make you more effective in all your communications – as a parent, spouse, salesperson, entrepreneur or whatever. Come to JobSeekers to learn and apply the principles of good probing and listening. You’ll be glad you did!

– – – – –

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.”

# # #

Changing Careers? Even Jesus Changed Careers

Messy-Spirituality


May you experience God’s grace in the midst of your brokenness.

Our topic at JobSeekers recently was “Changing Careers.” Even Jesus changed careers.

When I teach this topic, I ask members of the audience to raise their hands if they are thinking of making a change in their function or industry (or both) during this transition. One-half to two-thirds of the audience answer in the affirmative.

Jesus changed from being a carpenter to being a teacher, rabbi, healer, miracle-worker and Savior. After he changed careers he faced many challenges. Almost everywhere he went he was met with a warm reception only to be rejected by the establishment soon thereafter. Sometimes he was almost killed.

Jesus narrowly escapes death.

According to Luke 4:14-30, the first attempt on Jesus’ life was made very early in his public ministry. Verse 29 says, “They [the men in his hometown synagogue] got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.” Matthew and Mark also mention that Jesus was rejected in his hometown on another occasion (Matthew 13:53-58 and Mark 6:1-6).

John says there were three unsuccessful attempts on Jesus’ life. The Gospel of John mentions the first attempt in 5:18, “For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” In verse 8:59 John says, “At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.” And in 10:31-33 he says, “Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.'”

Jesus kept his wits to stay alive and fulfill his mission. Like William Wallace in Braveheart, he had to keep his wits about him just to stay alive. Yes, in the world’s eyes Jesus faced some serious challenges in his career, but he stayed focused on his goal. His mission here on earth was clear: to overthrow the corrupt power structure of the Jews, to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy, and to offer himself as a perfect sacrifice for all mankind so that whoever believes in him will have eternal life.

Jesus has empathy for us because he faced death and many other rejections throughout his ministry.

Messy spirituality.

A while back I heard a devotional that brought this point home. The devotional centered on a story in “Messy Spirituality,” by Michael Yaconelli (p. 36). It’s about a young boy who talked his mom into giving him an advance on his allowance so he could buy a puppy he’d seen at a nearby pet store. Here’s the excerpt:

The little boy went back to the pet shop to buy his new puppy. After determining that the boy had enough money, the pet shop owner brought him to the front window to choose his puppy. The young boy said, “I’ll take the little one in the corner.”

“Oh no,” said the pet shop owner, “not that one; he’s crippled. Notice how he just sits there; something is wrong with one of his legs, so he can’t run and play like the rest of the puppies. Choose another one.”

Without saying a word, the boy reached down and lifted his pant leg to expose a chrome leg brace to the owner. “No,” he said firmly, “I’ll take the puppy in the corner.”

It’s amazing how few of us believe in the unqualified grace of God. Many of us believe that God loves us long as we’re free of sin and whole. But like the boy and the dog, what most qualifies us to be chosen by Jesus is our crippledness.

Like the boy and the dog, Christ has empathy for our situation because he has experienced rejection – and much worse. As the boy loved the dog, Jesus loves us because we are broken. God in his grace looks down on us and says, “That’s why you need me; I’ve sent hope and help and healing – and a support network to provide for your needs as you go through this transition in your career.”

See you on Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we experience God’s grace in the midst of our brokenness!

Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

Preparing for an Interview

InterviewHave you ever been called in the morning for a face-to-face interview in the same afternoon? Our topic tomorrow is “Preparing for an Interview.” The purpose of the session is to review and discuss some very important things you can do to get ready for an interview.

We’ve had terrific success lately at my office preparing clients for interviews. Two gentleman and one lady have final interviews this week. One lady we trained last week received a job offer this week. Another gentleman has an interview next Monday. My all-time favorite story was with a gentleman who hired us to do a full-scale, three-hour role play with him. He landed a job as president of the U.S. division of a Dutch company.

Come this week for a taste of this successful strategy.

To be better prepared for the meeting, bring your preparation notes for an upcoming job interview. If you don’t have an interview scheduled, bring notes from an interview you’ve already been to, or, bring a job lead for a position at a target company.

– – – – –

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.”

# # #

How to Make Your Own Luck

 

Want to know how to make your own luck? Yes, St. Patrick’s Day is almost here and I’m thinking about the luck of the Irish. In job search, luck has a lot less to do with happenstance, and a whole lot more to do with the choices you make.

Chuck Hodges, former baseball player and now pastor of Athens First United Methodist, shared one of his life’s lessons during a sermon a few years ago: “The will to prepare is more important than the will to win; because when the athletes step onto the field, everyone has the will to win.”

As I write this, in my mind’s eye I see Lynn Swann making that amazing catch in the 1980 Super Bowl, David Justice hitting a solo home run and scoring the game’s only run as the Braves won the 1995 World Series, Michael Jordan winning the 1998 NBA championship with his last shot in the last seconds of the last game of his career (we thought it was his last game; it was his last game as a Chicago Bull), and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Santonio Holmes making an amazing catch in the back corner of the end zone to win the Super Bowl following the 2008 season.

Every athlete in each of those games had approximately the same desire to win as every other athlete on the field or court. They didn’t make great plays simply because they wanted to make great plays. What set Swann, Justice and Jordan apart was not just their level of performance in the most critical moment of a championship game; what set them apart took place months or even years earlier. The best athletes in the world are the ones who combine their God-given talents with relentless practice and a laser-like focus. For example, Tiger Woods was the best golfer in the world – until he lost his focus and cut back on his practice time.

Mickey Mantle, by his own admission, was the antithesis of a Lynn Swan or a Tiger Woods. He had great God-given talents but a totally different work ethic. In an interview just before he died, he commented that he had done less with his God-given athletic talents than perhaps any other athlete of note. He said if he had worked and practiced, i.e. “prepared himself,” he might have been the greatest ball player of all time instead of just a really good ball player. He said his lack of preparation was the opposite of Ted Williams’ all consuming preparation. He went on to say he had let himself, his family, his fans and God down by not making better use of his talents. (Thanks to Kevin Cheney for this information.)

How to Make Your Own Luck

I cannot stress to you enough how important it is to be prepared before you go into an interview. Five things that come to mind:

  1. Plan what you are going to say in response to five very predictable interview questions.
  2. Practice giving those answers in a clear, concise and powerful way.
  3. Be prepared with several questions that you’ve developed specifically for them.
  4. Know the organization’s business; their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).
  5. Know who’s going to be interviewing you and speak to their needs and concerns.

I used to have one of my favorite quotes on the back of my business card: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” The quote is attributed to the Roman philosopher and historian Seneca, who was a contemporary of the apostle Paul. Maybe they met one another and talked about the great athletes of their day during Paul’s house arrest in Rome around A.D. 60.

Winning a job is not just a matter of desire; because all the candidates who enter the interview room have roughly the same will to win. The question is: “Are you thoroughly prepared to win the job you want?” Your competition is not using a homemade résumé and off-the-cuff responses; are you?

One of my clients sent this to me a while back:

If it seems a bit depressing that the most important thing you can do to improve performance is not fun, take consolation in this fact: It must be so. If the activities that lead to greatness were easy and fun, then everyone would do them and they would not distinguish the best from the rest. The reality that deliberate practice is hard can even be seen as good news. It means that most people won’t do it. So your willingness to do it will distinguish you from the rest.

Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin, p. 72

It’s not the best-qualified candidates who win the jobs; it’s the ones who are the best prepared. Get prepared. Win the job.

Some people tell me they don’t believe in luck; well I do. I believe we create our own luck by the choices we make. The best choice you can make in your life is to choose Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. The best choice you can make in your job search is to get thoroughly prepared. You have a choice today; you can take your chances, or you can make your own luck. Be proactive. Make your own luck.

– Dave O’Farrell

Copyright © 2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved