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Believing the BS

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Ep 596 Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter debunks one of the career myths we all act as though we believe.


I have made mistakes in my career; I suspect the same is true of you, too.

Just to talk about career mistakes of my own, for quite a few years I worked for agencies for long spans of time. Invariably, what happened, was that we got to a point where management start the blame staff pretty regularly because they weren't perfect.

There are a variety of things that happened. For example, at the last agency I worked with, what would happen is the owner would cut back on tools and resources and we had less support to help us. We did more "stuff" and we weren't getting the same results as we were used to getting what we had more of those assets. At a previous firm, we had an owner that, in my opinion, was "nuts" at times. He will become psychologically abusive to the staff. Staff will become sufficiently frustrated but, kind of like an abused spouse, we hung in there because we were all making a living until we weren't. 9/11 happened and Noah can make a living in the aftermath.

When all is said and done, you look at your own circumstances. Many of us focus in on our immediate comfort and try to make things work because we have grown up to believe you go to work for company, you work your way up the ranks, you achieve a modicum of success, and, invariably, things will work out.

Let me let you in on a secret. Even at the biggest firms, particularly at the biggest firms, the ones we've all been propagandized to believe are the bastions of stability, there is no stability whatsoever. All the major banks laid off during the last recession. All the major manufacturers label substantial numbers of people. Every industry, every organization of any size or substance laid staff off.

What stability was there?


But we all believed that we go to work for company, work hard, you get ahead, you work your way up through the ranks. It isn't true. When times get tough, business now, unlike what they did in the 1950s, does what's right for management and shareholders and lets people go in order to survive or last through the storm. I'm not being critical of them. I'm being critical of those of us who believe that working for a large firm means stability.

The only stability that exists is the stability that exists with having the skills and experiences that are desirable. And, I have had this in, learning the skills needed to find a job, different than the skills needed to do a job.

Again, catch that one. Learning the skills needed to find the job different than the skills needed to do a job. Putting yourself in the position to be found. Having desirable expertise. Marketing yourself, or just simply when you are looking for work, but uniformly. It's not like suddenly companies market their toilet paper, for example, on Tuesdays. They are out there marketing all the time. You have to be marketing all the time.

You want to be practicing and rehearsing how to respond if the phone rings and there is a recruiter on the line. Most importantly, you have to break the cycle of BS that you've been brought up to believe and have internalized to believe that you go to work for company and work your way up through the ranks. The fact is, in this economy, in this new economy that has gone into place, I'm not exactly sure whether it was in 2001 in the post 9/11 era or after the economic collapse in 2008… It doesn't matter. The way we are now is that business wants to hire disposable people who they can get rid of at times where it is inconvenient.

You have to think of it in the same way. If they are going to get rid of you, what will the next firm be looking for that you can sell to them? What will make you attracted to the next firm apart from all your competition? What makes you unique? What makes you special? What makes you someone that they want to hire?

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio,” “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.”

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