Commentary

This is my first blog so I am learning as I go along.  I know that part of the purpose of a blog is to promote a dialogue with the readers through the options to leave a comment.  Since this is just a relating of my opinion I am fine with hearing the opinions of others and maybe learning something from them, so I enabled the comments when I set up the blog.  Based on the suggestions of the e-learning I took on how to set up the account, though, I made the comments moderated so I could weed out the inevitable troll or spam post.

What took me by surprise was the sheer volume of spam comments that have come in with suspect links and garbage content.  Wow.  I shouldn’t really have been surprised considering the amount of junk that ends up in the spam folder of my email every day and has for years but most of that is caught by the spam filters in my email which makes it a background process.  Out of sight, out of mind.  By setting my account to email me with a request to moderate each comment as it is added I opened the floodgates for email overload.

After a day of coding comment after comment as spam I decided I need to halt the floodwaters for a bit and have turned off the comments options for future posts.

I would still like the opportunity to hear other’s comments and to enjoy some of that resulting dialogue and learning.  I need to learn more about security settings and auto-filtering of commentary first.  My message for anyone who is reading this blog: Thank you.  I do appreciate your time and attention.  I will welcome your commentary – in the future.

 

 

 

Courage

 

 

At Christmas my department head gave the whole team calendars that she had put together with photos and inspirational sayings.  The entry for June was a quote from Winston Churchill – “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak.  Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

I think the coming change is going to require both kinds of courage and the second is definitely the harder one. 

The first is about stepping forward, offering yourself and your ideas to resolve problems.  It is about identifying something that is wrong or unfair and making sure that those who need to hear about it will hear about it so that it can be addressed.  It isn’t about whining or whinging, but about bringing concerns forward in an appropriate manner. Make no mistake, I recognize this as difficult.  It is easier to ignore problems that don’t directly concern you or to keep quiet and let someone else deal with it.  It is also easier to fall into patterns of passive-aggressive behavior or to loudly complain without actually proposing or even wanting solutions and justify that as standing up for yourself or others.  It is a hard line to walk.

I think part of what Mr. Churchill was referring to with the second statement was about listening to your opponents and how they perceive the problem instead of just assuming you are right and your way is the only side that matters.  He was a diplomat and had to do a lot of that type of work. Sometimes, though, you also need to really listen to the people who are trying to help you.  It is easy to assume you already know what you need which prevents you from hearing new ways of doing things or learning them.  There is an old zen saying to the effect that you must empty your cup so that it may be filled.  It takes courage to tamp down your ego and let go at least long enough for someone else’s way of doing things to take root with you.  None of us are so wise and skilled that we have no need to learn anything new.

Another part of listening is having the courage to listen to your heart or your gut and take actions that may seem a little crazy or which will take you out of your safe place.  That is the kind of courage I am trying to work with now.  There is a large part of me that says that I need to immediately find another job, any job, and be working as quickly as possible.  But that is fear talking.  I need to listen to the other part of me that says this is an opportunity to take  the necessary time, let go of my fear and find a place where I can contribute and learn and feel satisfied with the work I am doing.  I need the courage to stand up for myself and to listen when my heart tells me I am in the right place doing the right thing.
Whether I want to or not I am stepping into the unknown. May my courage rise to help me face any obstacle.

Readying for Flight

One of the more important tools a job-seeker has is their resume. Even when you are finding a position through word of mouth, personal recommendation or other connections, at some point you will need to provide a resume if only “just for the record”.

I am not happy with my resume. In fact I haven’t been for years, not since I reached the point in my career where I had more experience than I could comfortably list in the recommended two pages. At first I handled the problem by narrowing my margins and dropping my type size, but that quickly became ridiculous.

I tried different formats – the chronological resume, the functional resume, the resume formatted as a marketing tool complete with endorsements. Nothing was quite right. I know the basics of putting together a resume. I know that I need to be aware of appropriate keywords, of targeting a resume to each position I apply for, of formatting for easy scanning and OCR of the content. I just haven’t felt myself to be very successful applying that information.

When I was laid off from Boeing part of the package was job search coaching and that included help with re-writing my resume. That’s nearly 20 years ago now and I’ve had a wide variety of jobs since then. I’m very happy that part of my current severance package also includes job search coaching, although I have to wait until the week before my final day to get started with it.

I am looking forward to getting help making sense of all the data I need to condense into a document that can truly be called a resume – a summary of experience, not just an information dump. I’ve tried several re-writes on my own in the last couple weeks but I don’t think I am going to come up with something to please me until I actually have some outside help.

At the same time I am glad to have the opportunity to post a full listing of my experience and the multiple responsibilities each job has represented in my LinkedIn profile. I started with just a simple summary, but finally decided to expand it and be thorough since the profile isn’t limited to any specific number of characters or printed pages.

I don’t know exactly what kind of job I will end up in this time. I’m open to the possibilities and as I noted earlier this is a grand adventure. I do know that I have a lot to offer to any employer. I’m hoping that at some point my resume will properly speak to that knowledge and experience and will represent me as it is intended to do.   When that time comes it will help me find the place where I am intended to be.

I’m getting ready to fly. Revamping my resume is just another piece of the foundation from which to lift off.

Time to go review some sample resumes. I did find a whole web site full of examples. That’s a place to start…

Waiting

The waiting really is the hardest part.

When I was laid off from Boeing it didn’t seem real.  Corporate headquarters was moving to Chicago and many of us were not invited to go with it, not that I would have due to family responsibilities here.  But there were several months between the announcement and the date that I actually handed off my job to my replacement in Chicago.  Because of the long wait it somehow didn’t seem real that job would actually end.  I prepared as best I could and I was always aware intellectually of the end date, but I didn’t feel it.  I had to wait and wait.  In the end it still felt like a surprise.

By contrast, my second layoff was quite quick and easy to believe in.  With the economic troubles of 2009 the company was in difficulties and my workgroup had already been dropped to part time hours.  When I was laid off I was told it was happening and had my few remaining personal items at the desk packed and out the door with me about 15 minutes later.

 This time the gap between announcement and my end date was about 2 months.  I like having the time to make sure I can hand off my job properly and make sure all my procedure documents are fully up to date.  I also like having a few extra paychecks to plump up my bank accounts.  At the same time it does feel a bit unreal having to balance between continuing the work, training someone else to do it and preparing to let go and leave.  As one of my coworkers said “I wish I could just leave now and get on with my life.”  Of course if we leave early we forfeit the severance, so that isn’t happening.  Instead I have to keep reminding myself to keep up with the balancing act.

 In a way the job end date is like the whale just starting to surface in the distance.  When you first see the spout it is hard to tell if it will breech or just break the surface and sink down again.  You just have to wait for it.

One month to go.  Back to my preparations…