Showing posts from October, 2009

It's Not You

Speaking with a wise old career coach a couple weeks ago, I was struck by his bracing point of view about the reality of today's job market. He said:

"It's not you. You're doing all the right things. You're not the problem. It's the market right now. There are very few openings in your field. Companies are moving very cautiously on hiring. And tons of competitors, with skills like yours, are vying for the same few spots."

So what do I do, I asked.

His answer: "There's nothing you can do. It's the market."

Not being the "do nothing" kind of guy, I received his wisdom with gratitude, but decided to continue doing a few things, especially networking.

At her blog Your Search Lights, coach and consultant Janice Lee Juvrud writes about the importance of networking:

~ "...many of us have learned an awful lot about networking. Now we know that continuous networking is essential to our professional development. I've learned net…

Body of Work

Lately, I've been pondering the lessons that Life is trying to teach me right now at this stage of my life.

One of the questions that has been sounding in my head is, What is your body of work?

In graduate school, back around 1980, my adviser suggested I read a book called Love's Body by Norman O. Brown. I think I gave my copy away years ago. But not until I had read and re-read it.

Love's Body is a strange and wonderful reading experience, like hurtling through a landscape of fragments, aphorisms and quotes on a tour of history, Freud, politics, philosophy, the soul, poetry and mythology, in a quest for . . . the meaning of life.

I'm not sure I understood what Brown was ultimately trying to say, but I loved following along with him, and listening to him paint his vast mural of ideas.

Thinking of what I have accomplished this year, and what I have contributed to my unfolding body of work, I would have to say that I have added a few brushstrokes to the mural of my life,…

The Striptease Job Search and other exotic ideas for job hunters

Kenny Moore has some decidedly different ideas for job hunters.

Yesterday, during his talk at the St. Matthias Employment Ministry mini-retreat, he was asked for his recommendations on resumes. Well, if you read my prior blog entry, you'll understand that his first response was, "You're seeking answers to something that is less a problem, and more a predicament."

Appreciating the need of many in the audience for some takeaways, Kenny relented and offered some unorthodox ideas for job hunters. Here are a few:

Use The Striptease Method - Kenny asked the audience, "In the old burlesque shows, did the stripper take all her clothes off at once?" The audience answered No. His point is that as job applicants, we should never reveal all, about who we are, all at once. Instead, give one little strip at a time.

Use A One Page Resume - As a former HR manager for a large utility company, Kenny used to get thousands of resumes. His advice: keep your resume to one page…

Specializing In the Impossible

For me, it's always refreshing to spend a couple hours with Kenny Moore. Yesterday, I had another such opportunity.

The St. Matthias Employment Ministry had invited Kenny to be the guest speaker for a mini-retreat called "Keeping Your Sanity, Your Sense of Humor, and Your Soul in Today's Workplace." Attracting an audience of the unemployed, as well as some who are employed, Kenny shared his wisdom. Here are a couple of his points that deeply resonated with me.

Stop looking for answers - Most of us have been trained in problem solving. And we are good at it. We know how to find solutions. Trouble is, however, that the situations we are facing in today's economy (such as protracted unemployment) are not problems that have clear solutions anymore. Now we face predicaments, dilemmas that are ambiguous, uncertain. Stop looking for answers, Kenny says. They don't exist. Instead, look for movement.

Ask better questions - So what to do in the face of predicaments? Ask…

Change One Thing

In the comedy City Slickers, the hapless hero Mitch(Billy Crystal) learns an important life lesson from the grizzled old cowboy Curly (played by the incomparable Jack Palance):

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [pause] This. [holds up one finger]

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.

Mitch: But what is the “one thing?”

Curly: [smiles] That’s what you have to find out.

Great scene.

Fast forward to another gem from Peter Bregman, whose recent blog entry about change says:

"Everyone has one thing. Typically, people overwhelm themselves with tasks in their eagerness to make a change successfully. But that's a mistake. Instead, they should take the time up front to figure out the one and only thing that will have the highest impact and then focus 100% of their effort on that one thing."

Great point.

But like Mitch from City Slickers, how do you find out the one thing to focus on?

Bregman offers an interestin…

Highly Engaged Parishes

Have you ever wanted to boost the engagement level of the people who belong to your church?

What would do it? Better sermons? Better building facilities? Greater use of technology? More (or less) music? Shorter services?

I've been asked by my pastor to work with him, his staff and other lay leaders on a parish-wide engagement initiative. We are tackling a huge question:

- How to energize and mobilize more of our parishioners to get in the game and contribute more of their time, talent, and treasure to the mission of the parish

To help get everyone's thinking juices flowing, we are all reading a book called Growing An Engaged Church by Rev. Albert L. Winseman, published by Gallup Press. The book's subtitle is good: How to stop "Doing Church" and start Being the church again.

The other day on the ODNet listserv, I was reminded of a humorous old saying about involvement and commitment:

"Question: What can you learn about "involvement" and "commi…

Journey Coaching

In my preparation to teach a class on leadership for supervisors this week, I came across an old favorite, the GROW model of coaching. It's been around a long time, and even has a wikipedia article devoted to it, where the authors trace its lineage back to the book The Inner Game of Tennis by tennis coach Timothy Gallwey.

The GROW coaching model works like this:

G = Goal - Start with the goal. What is it you want to achieve?

R = Reality - Then look at where you are now, the present reality. Assess the gap between the reality and the goal state.

O = Obstacles & Options - In looking at the gap that you'll need to journey, identify, as best you can, any obstacles you can see or think you are likely to encounter. Then generate alternative options for ways to deal with the obstacles and successfully traverse the gap.

W = Way - Finally chart your course, the way you will go from where you are now to where you want to arrive.

Very simple and elegant. Just the kind of model I like best.

Meeting With Kenny Moore

Blogger Dick Richards wrote a great book called Is Your Genius At Work?

Best-selling author, former Catholic monk, and present-day business consultant, Kenny Moore could write one called Is Your Soul At Work?

The answer, of course, is Yes. But for many people, there is a deep disconnect between their jobs and their spiritual dimension.

To help address this, Kenny is blogging, consulting and speaking all over the place, including at my parish, St. Matthias in Somerset on October 24. It's a free, interactive, and entertaining afternoon of reflection, designed to explore the spiritual side of earning a livelihood while living out one's vocation in the marketplace.

His irreverent perspective is refreshing, and his wisdom is insightful.

If you are in the central NJ area and want to attend, here is the info you'll need:

Where: St. Matthias in the school cafeteria - 170 JFK Blvd. Somerset, NJ 08873
When: Saturday, October 24, 2009 from 1:00 - 4:30pm
To Register: Contact me at thseamon@…