Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 166: Actions, not words

Last Wednesday night was chatting with two friends about the events of Day 160. Both have experience in the job training/job placement field.

Both offered to take a look at my resume and offer feedback. Of course I took them up on it.

One I'm still waiting to hear back from. The other jumped right in and provided me with, basically, several hundred dollars worth of expert analysis. The net effect was a complete re-write of my resume and a new approach. It was a difficult exercise -- forcing myself to think in a completely new way. But obviously, given my near misses (and complete misses!) it was time to try something fresh.

Now I'm really excited about the new format and the way I think it may position me to get the attention of "hiring managers" (such a labored term).

She didn't have to help me. We haven't known each other for a long time. And she basically gave me a lot of free money in the shape of resume counseling and advice with not much benefit to her at stake.

It's pretty reassuring to know that people are still capable of being so nice.

One of my past gigs I had responsibility for a 10-person team and a budget of $1.5 million. It was a great job and I did everything I could to ease the grind on the people on the team. About 40 percent of my time was dealing with personnel concerns; probably another 25 percent was consumed in meetings (this was a meetings-intensive place), and another 10-15 percent was taken up with paperwork-type things. This left about 20-25 percent of time left to do actual work. It was interesting in the sense that "actual work" was kind of no longer what I did in this position. I truly had to "manage" the work of others, not in the sense of sitting on their shoulders making sure things were done, but in coordinating the work of the team and then just getting out of their way, and providing a forum for their concerns and ideas about how to improve processes.

It was fun, actually. I got the most satisfaction out of trying to create an environment where they could be at their maximum efficiency. One person wanted to work from home. We tried it. After a few months, they didn't like it. The main thing was we were able to push the boundaries and see what worked. As a team, we were able to brainstorm ideas and came up with some really good ones, most of which we put into place. It was the best working group I've been a part of.

Naturally, there's always one bad apple, and this malcontent did a pretty good job of being Julie Jerky. But for everyone else, I think that the situation was as close to ideal as you can get.

People can be good, and do the right thing. My friend helped me. Our long-ago work team believed in the team and almost always did the right thing. (Of course there were stumbles, like the time the company intranet post wasn't proofread first and sent out a notice about the fight against Beast Cancer.)

What you do matters a lot more than what you say.

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