Posts Tagged ‘Forbes’

  • The Open 24-Hours Diner, the Open Talent Economy, and a Gent Named “Sawbones”

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    Diner

    I love diners – always have. You can eat whatever you want whenever you want. There’s no, “we stop serving breakfast at ten.” I can pop in for eggs over easy and bacon charred to a crisp (the way I like it) at 3pm or 3am.

    Who knew that these culinary establishments would be trendsetters? I read about today’s “Open Talent Economy,” and think that economy du jour is perfect for those of us aged 50+ who wish to work at what we want when we want.

    Deloitte has a nifty report, explaining the nuts and bolts of an “Open Talent Economy,” and Elaine Pofeldt writes in Forbes, Traditional Jobs Keep Fading, and It’s Time to Adapt.

    This is good news for the legions of 50+ year olds who are out of work, many of whom statistics demonstrate can basically forget about getting hired for a full-time job.

    But the remarkable, true story, “On the Contrary: Taking a Tip From Sawbones’s Career,” shared by Susan Jepson, Director of the National Senior Network, SCSEP, in Lowell, Massachusetts, brings to life just what it means to be multi-talented in today’s economy.

    Susan writes:

    I was rushing through the white-tented terminal at Denver International Airport when my attention was diverted by a storefront massage business.  Checking my wristwatch, I calculated that I had just enough time for a 20-minute massage.

    I settled onto the light gray vinyl chair and placed my face inside the cushioned headrest.  The massage therapist introduced himself.  “I’m Lee,” he said.  “But friends call me Sawbones.”

    He must have seen the cartoon question mark floating above my head in an imaginary white bubble — Sawbones? — for he went on to tell me about himself.

    Digging his thumbs into the back of my neck, Sawbones explained that massage was a new line of work for him.

    “Do you like it?” I asked.

    “Yes ma’am,” he said, revealing a slight rancher’s drawl.  “I get to meet interesting people, especially here at the airport.  A few weeks ago, I massaged Timothy McVeigh’s lawyer, who was on his way to the execution…He was a little tense.”

    Although that demanded a smart-alecky response, I could not think of one fast enough.  Instead. I asked Sawbones if he worked only at the airport.

    “No ma’am,” he said, I also have an office by the Stock Show Complex.  I have another business. “Custom cowboy hats.”

    “ The cartoon question mark made another appearance.” Cowboy hats?”

    “Yes ma’am. I sell them at the Grizzly Rose, the country-western bar on I-25.”

    I inhaled the rosemary scent of the massage oil and debated whether to prod Sawbones for more information.  Since I was unlikely to meet another cowboy-hat-maker masseur in the near future, I asked him if his massage business was growing.

    “Yes ma’am. See, I massage horses, too.”

    “Horses?” I asked, feeling like I was being sucked down a conversational rabbit hole.

    “Yes ma’am. Horses like massage.  They can get testy though.”

    “I’ll bet,” I said, picturing a blond Palomino lying hooves up on a massage table.

    As Sawbones kneaded my upper arms, he asked what I did for a living.

    “I’m a writer,” I said. Actually, I didn’t say that because just then, his fingers pushed my head into the headrest, making my answer sound more like “Imamiffer.”

    Sawbones was unfazed.  “Really?! I’m a writer, too!” he exclaimed, as if we were distant cousins meeting at a genealogy conference. I write scripts!”

    “Scripts?”

    “Yes ma’am. See I also perform in Wild West shows.”

    The rabbit hole was getting deeper by the second. “What kinds of things are in your shows?”

    “Shoot-outs.  Stuff like that. I have a friend who looks like Abraham Lincoln.  He’s gonna be in our show tomorrow night.”

    Now, I’ve never been that great at history, but it seems to me the Lincoln didn’t have that much to do with the Wild West. I was about to ask Sawbones how Abe figured into his act when he pulled my arms behind my back and away from my body like he was dressing a chicken.

    Soon, our 20 minutes was up, and Sawbones handed me his business card: ”Massage,” it read.  “For Horses and Humans.”

    “Just for future reference,” he added, “I also do home massage. It’s only 50 bucks, and I bring my own table, oil, and CD’s.” I accept the card graciously, even though I was fairly certain I’d never pay a man named Sawbones to tote oil and soft music into my house.

    It’s been a week since my encounter with the custom-cowboy-hat-making, Wild West show performing, horse- and – human massage therapist, and I can’t get him out of my mind.;  The more I think about Sawbones, the more I think he is ideally suited to today’s work world.  He’s adaptable, multi-talented, enthusiastic, and independent.  Think about it. They say people in their twenties today can expect to have seven different careers.  Sawbones has all seven at once.

    Now, I know there are people who might find Sawbones a little lowbrow and unfocused.  But to me, Sawbones is wise. He can work indoors or out.  He has built-in job security.  The bottom could fall out of the cowboy-hat market and Sawbones would still make it in the world.

    To check my impressions of him as a poster child for the new economy, I referred to Career Intelligence: The 12 New Rules for Work and Life Success, by Barbara Moses, Ph.D.  Here are a few of them:

    1. Ensure marketability: Sawbones has not one but seven fallback positions.  He has a broad network of contacts.  And, with a slogan that reads “Healing the West one massage at a time,” Sawbones clearly knows what creative marketing is all about.

    2. Be able to communicate:  In the space of 20 minutes, Sawbones managed to sell me on his talent, enthusiasm, business, savvy, and manners.  I haven’t been called ma’am so much since I invited a vacuum cleaner salesman into my house—something you should never do under any circumstances.

    3. Think income streams, not salary:  By calculations, Sawbones has at least six income sources, all in which include the potential for tips.

    In fact, Sawbones has already figured out what many of us spend our entire careers learning: how important it is to always try new things.  “Ma’am,” he said, “I do all these things because I promised myself I would never do the same boring thing all day long.”

    Now, most people I know have said this same thing to themselves at one time or another.  But the difference between Sawbones and most people is that he is not afraid to tackle new challenges.  Think about him the next time you’re confronted with a new opportunity.

     

  • How to Frame Your Career So Your Resume Does Not Read Like an Obituary

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    Your resume is your story. To bring it to life you must maximize your focus, relevancy, particularity – and, as always, your authenticity. Keep in mind Ernest Hemingway’s wisdom: “Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.”

    I’ve recently read three unique pieces with key insights for this task.

    The first is NY Times‘ columnist, David Brooks’, The Power of the Particular.” Brooks describes a Bruce Springtseen concert he attended in Spain,

    “The oddest moment came mid-concert when I looked across the football stadium and saw 56,000 enraptured Spaniards, pumping their fists in the air in fervent unison and bellowing at the top of their lungs, ‘I was born in the U.S.A.! I was born in the U.S.A.!'”

    “My best theory,” Brooks says, “is this: When we are children, we invent these detailed imaginary worlds that the child psychologists call ‘paracosms.’ These landscapes, sometimes complete with imaginary beasts, heroes and laws, help us orient ourselves in reality. They are structured mental communities that help us understand the wider world.”

    “We carry this need for paracosms into adulthood. It’s a paradox that the artists who have the widest global purchase are also the ones who have created the most local and distinctive story landscapes. Millions of people around the world are ferociously attached to Tupac Shakur’s version of Compton or J.K. Rowling’s version of a British boarding school or Downton Abbey’s or Brideshead Revisited’s version of an Edwardian estate… Millions of people know the contours of these remote landscapes, their typical characters, story lines, corruptions and challenges. If you build a passionate and highly localized moral landscape, people will come.”

    “It makes you appreciate the tremendous power of particularity. If your identity is formed by hard boundaries, if you come from a specific place, if you embody a distinct musical tradition, if your concerns are expressed through a specific paracosm, you are going to have more depth and definition than you are if you grew up in the far-flung networks of pluralism and eclecticism, surfing from one spot to the next, sampling one style then the next, your identity formed by soft boundaries, or none at all.”

    ***************************************************************

    “Shall I compare thee to a newscast spot?”

    This workshop on how to create one minute radio spots by Phyllis Fletcher and Robert Smith from New Public Radio helps us fine tune other aspects of our storytelling to achieve high impact particularity. You can tell a lot about yourself over a great deal of time, but if you need to capture someone’s attention quickly, you need to capture what counts in a minute.

    Their tips to achieve compelling brevity are:

    • Focus on one subject [in this case it’s you].
    • Use vivid language and concrete examples.
    • And if you can get away with it, make sure there’s a turn in the piece. (Poets call it the volta, a little shift in tone. A question is answered. A problem is solved. Perfect for news [of what you can do as demonstrated by what you have done].

    Now we know that particularity and brevity are important, but they are meaningless without authenticity and relevance.

    ***************************************************************

    Martin Zwilling writes in Forbes about John B. Montgomery’s new book, “Great From the Start,” which highlights Mark Zawacki’s  five rules of relevancy.  Zawacki’s rules, while focused on business startups are equally apt for the startup of your new life:

    1. A startup needs to be relevant and stay relevant.
    2. A startup needs to find a voice relevant to its ecosystem.
    3. A startup must gain traction.
    4. A startup must form partnerships and alliances within its ecosystem. 
    5. A startup must maintain a laser focus.

     

    You’re not ready for a tombstone yet, so chuck that old resume and create a dynamic and vital new blueprint for the next stage of your life.

     

     

  • The Halo or Stepford Effect: Are Your Valuable Skills and Experience Really Being Trumped By Your Appearance?

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    To begin, let’s put this highly over-used concept, the “Halo Effect,” in context. The phenomenon was first studied in the early 1900s by psychologist E.L.Thorndike, who noticed that when an individual is found to possess one desirable trait, that individual is assumed to have many other desirable traits too.

    The matter achieved further prominence in 2007 with the publication of The Halo Effect, a book by business academic Phil Rosenzweig, in which he criticizes “pseudoscientific tendencies in the explanation of business performance.”

    Excellent though Rosenzweig’s critique is, it does not seem to have tamped down the corruption of the concept – rhetorically or scientifically.

    The “Halo Effect” was alive and thriving in Laura Sinberg’s  Forbes article, “Dress for Interview Success” where she asks us to:

    “Remember that Tide-to-Go commercial, the one where an interview candidate tries to explain why he’s the best choice for the job. But the interviewer is so distracted by a stain on the man’s shirt that he imagines the stain talking to him? The message is obvious: One tiny detail can have a big impact when it comes to getting the job. And what you wear has a lot to do with it.

    Although job-related skills an experience rank high in importance in whether or not you land the position, during the initial hiring process they have less power than most of us think. That’s because the first thing we notice about someone is their appearance, and more specifically, the way they are dressed.

    According to a study by Frank Bernieri, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Oregon State University, within the first 10 seconds of meeting your interviewer – otherwise known as the meet-and-greet – that person has decided whether or not you’re right for the job. Those who come across as polished and pulled together are quite simply more likely to be hired than those who are seen as putting in less effort.”

    Sinberg goes on to delineate just what an individual should and should not wear, adding it’s not just sartorial style but those flashy cuff links or run in your hose that can tarnish your halo.

    The article also notes how one woman, Kim Zoller, created a business, Image Dynamics, to advise companies like Moet Hennessy and Louis Vuitton on image and communication skills. Zoller, who used to work at a staffing agency, started her business because “I saw women coming in to this agency, and they had great résumés, but they weren’t getting jobs because they didn’t know how to dress.”

    “If you’re not dressed well, you can say all the right things … but you won’t get the job when you’re being compared with a lot of other capable people who are dressed better,” explains Zoller.

    Sounds a little like Frank Oz’s “Stepford” to me… and isn’t that sci-fi?

    You must decide, but I tend to side with Rosenzweig and his critique of pseudo-scientific theories. To me, dressing well means dressing appropriately – in a manner that befits the organization where you’d like to work and in a manner that reflects the authenticity of your persona. Would you really want to work in an office that “required” suits and ties and conservative shoes when you’re truly a peacock? Do you think you could perform well under those sartorial restraints?

    Wouldn’t it be better to take one of your splendid feathers, dust off your halo and walk out in your own (unreflected) light?


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