Seasoned HR and recruiting consultants Liz and Kat help you navigate your career and get through your work day. Go beyond the employee manual for some real job talk!
Episode 53: Landing a real job in this virtual world with Jason Levin
Welcome Jason Levin, founder and CEO of Ready, Set, Launch. We’re talking with Jason about launching a job search in a virtual world.
Jason grew up with a happy family whose lives changed dramatically when his father lost the only job he had ever had in New York's garment district. Suddenly Jason and his brothers were the kids getting free lunch in school, and the family was struggling. Jason was always the person who would help with mock interviews and resume review in school; later his MBA program asked him to be a coach, and that became the foundation of his career.
Job searching has always been a mindset game, but with Covid, it’s about maintaining the mindset to get through the day -- and to deal with the job uncertainty as well as career and financial uncertainty.
Jason tells people to follow their energy; for him, he needs to laugh, for someone else, it might be sports. He wants people to approach change from a place of strength vs a place of fear. His advice is to work through roadblocks to focus on the good behaviors you do have. We discuss avoiding things that suck your energy in order to build your energy towards the positive.
He distinguishes between people who help you and people who mean well... Identifying the people who help vs the ones who project onto you without help allows you to know who to reach out to, and who will build you up.
Jason reminds his clients that “Waiting is the Hardest Part." You can do things while you wait, but waiting is part of the process. It’s easy to tell yourself stories while you wait -- to imagine what is going on or why the process is taking a long time; but instead, keep trucking and don’t try to figure out why things are dragging. Your goal is the next job, and spending time wondering doesn’t help you towards your goal.
Ready, Set, Launch is Jason’s career coaching business. He uses the principles of consumer marketing for outplacement, resume writing and speaking. He helps people go from point A to point B. He sees career decisions as purchasing decisions -- a two sided marketplace.
One service Jason offers is Outplacement, which is a benefit given to people when they are laid off to help them transition to their next role. If you get this benefit, USE IT! It’s paid for by your current employer to help you find your next position, and it is free career coaching.
We asked Jason what he is telling people about job search after a layoff during this pandemic. His first piece of advice was to write out what gives you energy, strength, and joy, and then to practice articulating those strengths. He looks at industry, employer, and role around where you want to go, and having the pitch that addresses all three.
Once you define what you want to do, then get your pitches in order. Number 1 rule: no complaining. Number 2: know how much time you have to spend looking and hold yourself to it. Number 3: Lists are your friend; they help you stick to your plan.
Jason tells people to put together a list of people who have been most influential in your career and reach out to ask advice, which may just lead to jobs (vs asking for jobs, which may lead to advice).
Networking will get your resume seen faster and by the right people, more than "posting and praying." Jason says to spend the majority of your time networking, and then when you see a posting, think of who you can network with to get close to the job. If you have 60-70% of the job spec, you need to apply by seeing if you know someone at the company.
Employee referral programs are awesome, so are Diversity/Equity/Inclusion officers. Employees want to refer you and get the bonus, and DEI want to hire you because it helps their numbers. These folks are your ins!
“Your life is not in danger because of this interview." This is what Jason tells people who need to psych themselves up for interview
Episode 52: Coming Together to End 2020 with David Campt
Dr. David Campt is a national expert on inclusion and intergroup dialogue. David has worked with groups from large corporations to the White House, and has appeared on The Daily Show. He speaks about about how we talk with each other, and how to help people come together. In 4th grade, David had a teacher tell him that “People are more alike than they are different,” and in his critical work, David shows audiences how to use dialogue in order to connect and come together.
David tells us about how the world has changed over the last 20 years. When he was in the White House in 1998, black people took on the unpaid job of trying to talk to white people about racism. Now black people are saying, “You do the work -- it’s not up to us.” And 55% of white people think that racism experienced by white people is just as important as the racism experienced against black people. The work isn't helping people to understand the importance of that question, it's to hel the 45% of people who do believe racism is an issue to talk with the 55% who do not -- that's the basis of David’s important work.
David encourages conversation, and has been inspired by the growth of the ally movements across all areas.
We talked about "race method"and "reach method": in difficult conversations, in order to be productive, you want to do two things up front. First, move from facts and beliefs to experiences; and secondly, ABC: "Agree Before Challenging," meaning establish common ground before inviting people to new thinking.
RACE is David's acronym for racial conversations, and REACH is for other conversations.
R - Reflect (get centered) and think of stories you want to tell.
A - Ask questions (vs attacking).... ask about their experience (vs their beliefs) that inspires their point of view.
C - Connect; find something you can agree with in their position and tell a story about that.
E - Expand their view... by telling another story where you had a different experience
R - Reflect
E - Enquire (British spelling)
A - Agree
C - Confess
H - Harmonize
David wants people to invite each other to a place of new thinking vs coercing or forcing them to it. David’s methods have people first coming to agreement before they try to teach people to think differently. According to David, people on the Left are “too woke” and treat the people on the Right like they don’t know anything. In David’s book, Compassion Transforms Contempt, he talks about moving the country forward by treating each other with more compassion, which is more persuasive.
Compassion is key to personal change. Moving towards something vs fighting something you hate is so much more effective. If you want to be effective, finding common ground is a good thing.
These are skills to practice, but you have to want to do it.
2020 has been an eye-opening year in terms of race. We’ve opened our eyes to experiences like George Floyd’s gruesome murder, unconscious bias, and mircoaggressions (or as David says, Inadvertent Dignity Violations), and now it’s up to each of us to do better. David’s tips can be helpful in this.
Moving on to our work lives -- the key to building and maintaining diverse teams? We have to support people in a reasonable way so that they can be themselves.
We asked about David’s approach to handling unconscious bias and microaggression situations with peers and leaders at work, and how to handle them as a bystander. David’s #1 strategy is to say to either person, not that one person is wrong or even that you're offended. Instead, David recommends: “When [the thing you're bringing up] was said, I felt weird.” This phrase doesn’t make presumptions about how someone should feel, or show malicious intent, but instead invites people to talk. This can work with both peers and leaders, and can be followed with, “I don’t belie
Episode 51: Imposter Syndrome with Joep Piscaer
This week we welcome Joep Piscaer, who has grown his career by moving up the ranks in a technical organization, from sys admin to CTO, and now is an independent consultant focused on creating content in the devops space.
Throughout his career, Joep has struggled with Imposter Syndrome, and despite numerous indications to the contrary, he has had to work on how to control his impulses to hold himself back. We invited him on for this very open conversation to help listeners understand that imposter syndrome can happen to any and all of us.
Joep’s definition of Imposter Syndrome is “the feeling that you’re not as good as the people around you”. He realized that he compares his life with other people’s Instagram lives, and has learned how to use his imposter syndrome to drive success. Imposter Syndrome rears its head when you’re asked to be an authority. Joep knows that when he’s doing something new, he’s going to feel that Imposter voice.
When he hears that Imposter message in his head, Joep now leans in to do the thing. So if he’s worried about going to a conference, he goes. And then he writes down all the compliments he gets and reads them to fight off the negativity. His hope is that by reading positivity, it will combat the negativity.
Joep teaches about giving compliment; they’re not all created equal! Make compliments specific, timely, and show that you’re paying attention to the person you’re complimenting. We compare Joep’s compliments to the Nurtured Heart parenting approach, both to show people when they are seen., but also, if you don’t mean it, don’t say it. False compliments are the worst!
Learning to give compliments helps with receiving them, but sometimes it’s not easy. Joep still struggles. He writes them down to take the emotion out and make it into words, which are easier to absorb. No matter what’s happening in your head when you get a compliment, the best response is always, “thank you”.
We all have an internal measuring stick, and people with Imposter Syndrome have unrealistic measuring sticks. Joep talks about shifting it a tiny bit every day, and how that will help you retrain your brain and your measuring stick. Our bodies react to imposter syndrome as well, and Joep recommends physical activity and getting away from the technology or social sites that make you feel like an imposter.
Joep fought imposter syndrome with drones; he started flying his drones and learned to get better at it over time. He’s now learning to cook and he’s exploring getting better at things as hobbies, where the stakes are not as big as in his career. When he saw himself pushing himself to be the best at his hobbies, he challenged himself to pull back and just enjoy the learning and process of doing the activity. And in his hobbies, practicing at failing in is one of the keys!
When you feel like an imposter, being vulnerable with yourself and others is even more difficult. Joep says that vulnerability is about knowing what you need and when you need it. Joep now works with a coach. and we talk with him aboout learning to practicie vulnerability without destroying trust. Joep also relied on his Board of Advisors to help him explore vulnerability without feeling too vulnerable.
Joep Piscaer on Twitter: @jpiscaer
Joep’s NextBuild talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl21zya4i0g
Episode 50: Quitting your job to balance multiple jobs, multiple roles with Adam Bertram
This week we welcome Adam Bertram, aka Adam the Automator. Adam wrote a post called “I told my boss I quit and……” which went viral, so we invited Adam to join us. Our goal for having Adam on RJT is to learn from his personal journey of career discovery.
Adam’s a tech pressional/sys admin, blogger, and content creator.
We asked Adam to share his journey before he quit. At the beginning of Adam’s career, he hopped jobs for money. He started a side hustle selling used books on Amazon. With the freedom of making extra money, he realized that he could take his side hustle contracts and make them his full time job.
Adam started taking contracts writing blog posts, which he loved, and doing projects, which he loved, which led him to realize that he could build a satisfying career around writing and project contracts.
We talk through multiple income streams and balancing different roles, family and more. Adam gives his wife a lot of credit for helping him to focus on work by managing their home and family. He is conscious at his different roles: contract/consulting for automation/devops, content creation and community building, and personal brand enhancement. When he looks at them, Adam makes sure he’s consistent and knows what the vision he's heading for in the end.
Adam brings his talents into everything he learns. For example, he’s started learning about stock trading and he already started a blog go share his process and help others benefit. Building content helps Adam build his brand as a content developer.
Adam has multiple resumes: writing/content creation, consulting and systems administration. He focuses on different roles for each resume so that he can find a variety of work and have more open options.
When we know our patterns, we can make choices that work for us. When Adam gets bored, he finds something new and gets obsessed and tries to learn everything about it. Knowing his own patterns allows Adam to know when he needs to pick up something new, and also that he’s going to need lots of time to dive in deeply.
Exploring being your own boss with Adam, we learned about his entrepreneurial spirit. Adam looked at his happiness when he had great jobs and still wasn’t happy, and realized he needed to make a big change to working for himself. Knowing this, he realized he needs the freedom of consulting and building his own schedule. Knowing himself and that he’s “unemployable” has helped him tailor his career and consultancy.
The move to consultancy happened by dabbling in consulting while working full time. His past as a job hopper helped Adam know that he CAN find a job when he needs to. Having an exit plan helped Adam to navigate the unknown. The boundaries and parameters around the exit plan help to assess.
Not everyone has freedom to decide on work without money being the driver, but Adam has worked hard to build his FU account in order to make the best personal choices for his career without the pressue of needing the next paycheck. He chooses work, clients and colleagues based on work and team fit vs paychecks. His happiness is tied to his ability to choose the work he does.
Adam advice to others who wanted to get started is to monetize a hobby. He started selling books on Ebay and Amazon, and then started a blog about how to do it, and then wrote an ebook, which became a lucrative side business that had nothing to do with his day job.
We discussed using community to power a career. Adam has always been a documenter. He blogged about what he did, and used it to help him manage projects. He ranked on a post in Google and heard that he was helping others, which really motivated him to be a part of the community and make connections. The connections grew at conferences, on Twitter, on Linkedin, and then as he grew as a MSFT MVP and learned from others. He saw his impact
Episode 49: Should I quit my job to be a consultant?
We have a letter!!! Our writer (Ready to Be Independent) asks about being a consultant: what does it take, what do they need to do, and what is the pros and cons list? We break it down.
Some of the things to consider as you're looking at making a leap like this: to consider are: inconsistent revenue as a consultant vs a regular paycheck and salary. What’s your brand and what do you uniquely offer? Are you ok with instability? If you’re a consultant, you’re a small business person and you have to assess your risk tolerance.
Are you ready to take on the expenses of running your business? We talk about doing soul searching around risk tolerance and not knowing where the money is coming from. You have to believe in yourself.
It’s time for your Board of Advisors to fish around to see what they would hire you for. What’s your pitch?
Put together a business plan: sometimes people do side gigs to build cash and a customer base.
The costs are there, and you want to be in a place of financial stability so that it’s not financially uncomfortable.
Be clear on your mission, vision and values to make sure you can decide who you are so that can communicate that to your customers. Think about marketing and if you’re going to be comfortable with your marketing plan. Are you ready to go into a pitch meeting? If you can’t sell yourself, don’t go into consulting.
Rely on your experts. Know what you’re good at and who you will need to hire (attorney, accountant, etc.).
Are you organized, consistent and reliable? If it’s not you, you need to have others do it for you, Figure out how to make it work or decide if being independent isn’t for you.
Something to think about: as a consultant, you’re an outsider and not actually on the team. Sometimes you’re left out of conversations.
Consulting gets lonely. Not everyone’s made for that and it can be stressful. Also, vacations as a consultant usually mean a dip in revenue, and client work still needs to get done. So as a consultant, you don’t have a boss, but you also don’t have co-workers to cover for you, or even to have coffee with and talk about what you're working on.
Career growth is possible as a consultant. It’s about relationships you make and the value you deliver. How strategic are you and what value do you bring? You can grow in many areas based off your core competencies. If you’re not want to be where you want to be professionally, it may not work.
Kat’s favorite part of being a consultant is working from everywhere, and being able to see if a role will be a right fit for her and her client. Liz likes that she’s had an impact on a number of companies according to her values.
Thanks for the question, Ready to be Independent.
So listeners, are you ready to make the leap and be a consultant? As always, feel free to reach out to ask your questions or talk through your current situation.
Episode 48: Navigating Politics at Work
The US election is heating up, and Liz and Kat want to help you navigate politics, voting, and all related topics at work.
First of all, know your company’s rules around voting and if you have time off to vote. Make a plan to vote! And do it within your employer’s rules.
Know that social media is public, and if you are choosing to be political on social media, our advice is to be as minimalist as your integrity allows and you feel that the situation calls far. Being aware of what you’re putting out there and that your words can get back to your co-workers. If your opinions will make someone uncomfortable around you, it can affect your career.
Our goal for discourse at work on all topics is to allow people to be who they are, to not shame anyone, and to feel comfortable participating as you choose to in company events, like company representation at parades and protests. And at the same time not to shame someone for not participating in social activism.
If politics come up at work, you should come from a place of inquiry, understanding and conversation -- rather than a place of defensiveness. Try something like this: “I haven’t heard great things about that candidate; can you tell me why you like them?”.
As far as your workspace environment, try to keep it neutral at work. And try not to check the news at work, especially if it's something that's likely to rile you up or make you anxious or distracted or otherwise nutty.
To create a postitive impact, rather than just adding ot the flames of political fighting, try to focus on how alike we are, and what we have in common -- vs zooming in our differences.
People who pick fights unnecessarily yat work can be assholes. Our a*****e episode- see RJT Episode 6 for more tips on how to work with assholes, but don’t be one!
Our basic rules around politics at work:
Ask open questions about political and policy topics
Stay away from the biggies like abortion and same sex marriage if that topic is going to make someone uncomfortable
Walk away or change the topic if you feel uncomfortable.
Don't poke the bear. Or ask someone "why do you support xYZ?"
Be honest, but answer with tact and facts. Try "Education is my hot button belief, and I believe that candidate XYZ will do more to support modernizing education than the other candidates, so they have my vote." instead of "Only idiots will vote for candidate ABC, "
Don't try to win a debate... you're most likely not going to change someone's mind in either Slack or the break room at work.
If you're in the US, make sure you have a plan to vote!
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Possibly the best Podcast Ever
Adam gives an excellent perspective as a Gig employee. The ability to balance a portfolio of gigs and separate interests is THE pathway to success in the knowledge economy‼️
Lively and Fun informational podcast
Kat and Liz make this podcast an easy and great listen. Voices are easily heard and full of life.
Content is long term relevant and explored from multiple points of view.
Guests fit in well with the personality of the hosts.
Great podcast- even if you’re not looking!
I just started a consulting company so this wouldn’t seem like a podcast I’d be listening to, but there are so many great tips on using LinkedIn, crafting an elevator statement, and focusing on what you REALLY want in your career that I can’t help but tune in for the great advice. Thank you guys!