LinkedIn, Job Searching, Life and What I Learned From Mom

Did my title catch your eye?

Good!

What do all these things have in common and why am I writing about them?

Glad you asked.

Well I am in the middle of a continually rough and intense job search. Some days I am torn between finding what I want and getting something/anything to pay the bills. Would be great if I could do both. During this job search I have learned a lot about several things such as;

-How to (and not to) conduct a job search, what tools to use and what techniques work.

– How to better manage my time. What to do when you have too much time of your  hands? (Sounds like a song by Styx from the 80’s)

– Re-assess my attitude and how I interact with others.

– What I really want out of a job and life in general. What is important or not.

– What my mom meant with many of the things she would say.

First my job search-

I have realized that one of the best tools for job searching is LinkedIn. It is the largest professional network with 100’s of millions of members learning how to effectively use it has been a process that I believe I am getting better at. Making sure that the title, summary, job titles and descriptions have enough keywords to help me be found by recruiters and hiring managers is very important. A personable, yet professional photo is also needed. I was told that my first one  was too grim and serious and I needed to smile.

Job searching on LinkedIn is also important. besides doing searches for job based on all the metrics; job title, location, company, etc.. it is a great networking tool. Since most jobs are by referral, you can find your target company, look up employees and manager that work there and contact them directly. Many times you can bypass the job application process or at least submit a 2nd resume as a formality. Haven’t scored yet but several positions are in my pipeline and it is just a matter of time.

Time management-

Since I am not working I have time to get everything done right?

WRONG!!

Since my wife is working I took it upon myself to do the housework, cooking, yard work, run errands and everything else that needed to be done along with performing my job search. Well that quickly went down the tubes and caused me a lot of frustration. I learned that I had to set up a schedule and a routine as if I was working and then stick to it as much as I could. At the same time because life just happens in the most unexpected times, I had to be flexible but then get back into my routines as quickly as possible. Once I do that I find out I get a lot more done and I feel better about myself.

Dealing with others-

Well I am the only one in my family that is unemployed. They really don’t have a handle on what it is like. Their comments of “Well just get a job”, sound easy enough especially in our ever improving economy(NOT) but what they don’t realize is that it isn’t that easy.

Retail stores won’t hire me because I am way over qualified and they know I will jump ship as soon as a better job comes along. In the QA/QC field there are many areas that require specific experience that I don’t have such as pharma, food and medical devices. I am certainly willing to learn but that doesn’t help my case.

So dealing with family, friends and community members has been a challenge. Some days I get frustrated and need to blow off steam. I know that I have to wait until the right time and place (home and alone). I have learned to be more positive, more often and find things that help my mood such as my favorite music and exercise. One other thing that I find that is vitally important for me to do is help others. This is one of the best ways to deal with the negative of life. Cheer someone up, help out at church and assist other job seekers are just a few ways I have found to make a difference.

Speaking of making a difference, that leads me to my next section. I have realized that as time goes on it is more important to me to be able to really make a difference in the world both in life and on the job. This also seems to get easier as time goes on. Helping others do their job better, making sure products are safe and perform as needed are just two of the ways I can make a difference on the job.

In life I have learned that the 2 best ways for me to make a difference is to listen and make someone smile. Everyone needs to have someone really listen to them. My unemployment has helped me to be a better listener because sometimes I really need someone to listen to me so I know how it feels. Still have a ways to go but I am getting there.

Making people smile is a goal I have every single day. Whether it is a cashier at the store or bank, nurse at the doctor’s office or my pastor at church, I always try to make everyone at least smile and preferably laugh. It really is the best medicine you know. After all, when you are laughing can you be mad, sad or bad? Of course not.

Lastly… My mom and what I learned from her.

It was just a year ago this week that my mom passed away from a long bout of COPD and I know she went to heaven because she surely endured hell here on earth. No one I have ever known or even heard of had suffered more tragedy than she did.

A quick timeline summary of her life to show you what I mean. Born at home at start of WWII, pregnant 15(me), married at 16, baby girl died at 18, baby son died at 19, had 4 more children by 29. divorced at 30 after many years of abuse, father died at 34, 3 children(ages 13, 12, 9) died in fire at 38, COPD at 45(after smoking for 30 years) and the list goes on….

Yet she always persevered and had a good attitude. She took care of my mentally disabled brother until her health declined so much that it was more of him taking care of her until the end. Even after countless hospitalizations she would still be in a good mood and be friendly to everyone. She taught me to never give up, always keep learning, work hard, be kind and treat others with respect and be the best father I could be. When others would be mean to me she said always consider the source and never stoop to their level, just ignore them. Lately I have been reflecting on her words a lot lately. God I miss her….

Well I hope my words help you in some way with your job search, your relationships with others and in life in general. And if you still have your mom, let her know how much you appreciate all that she taught you before it is too late.

Have a great day!

 

 

 

 

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The Myth of the ‘Law-abiding Citizen’

Before anyone gets crazy about me being a gun control, flaming liberal that thinks that the government always knows best, Let me tell you up front…
I have always fished, hunted, am an army vet and has had mostly politically incorrect views and actions. Many men in my family have done the same.
The last several years I have heard the phrase “Law-abiding citizen’ way too many times.

I say there is no such animal!

Almost 15 years ago I made a very bad and hurtful choice. I didn’t make a mistake. Saying,”I made a mistake”, lessens the action and shows that you aren’t taking full responsibility for it. I paid for my actions, learned from it, made sure I didn’t do it again and tried to move on with my life. isn’t that what is supposed to happen? Well I am no longer considered a good citizen and lost many rights and privileges forever. I look around me and see way too many people with bad attitudes and actions have all those rights and privileges who don’t deserve them. What is the real difference between them and me?…
I got caught!
Now let me stop rambling on and explain why I say there is no such thing as a ‘law-abiding citizen’.
It is winter here in NY and one of the worst in years. On my way to work I have dozens of people pass me and I am doing the speed limit if the roads are clear. On snowy days I usually do 40-50 depending on the roads. The same people pass and streak on to work seldom using signals either.
They are speeding! Not serious you say… Well a speeding car is much harder to control and stop. If they cause an accident and hurt or kill someone (maybe you or a family member) is that serious? So many other traffic laws are broken by hundreds daily just in my rural area. I am sure this happens everywhere.
Next is taxes…
It is tax filing season and how many are lying on their taxes? That is a felony you know.
Then there is drinking and driving. How many of you have had more than a couple of drinks in an evening and then drove home. Most don’t get caught. this IS serious but few people stop after only one time unless they do get caught.
Next is assault.. have you ever thrown the first punch and hurt someone, even as a young man/woman. that too can be a felony.
How about spousal abuse? Guys have you ever hit you wife or NOT taken no for an answer for sex? Spousal rape is a felony also. Also did you know that a woman can not legally give consent under the influence? Have you ever given someone under 21 a drink? Have you drank underage?
How about for anyone 18 and over… have you ever had sexual contact with a minor? A 18 y/o boy having sex with his 16 y/o girlfriend (or visa versa) is breaking the law in NY and many other states.
Have you ever smoked pot? Currently it is still illegal in most states but just a few years ago it was a crime in all states.
How about any other drugs? Heroin, crack, LSD, angel dust, uppers, etc…

How about any kind of fraud? insurance, worker’s comp, etc.. These are felonies.

This is just a short list of the crimes that many people commit and usually never get caught. These people are more criminal than people who do get caught because they don’t learn their lesson and stop that behavior.

So how about you? Look honestly at yourself and your past…or present…

Are you really a Law-Abiding citizen? have you always been? Will you/have you change(d) your ways. Will you give an even break to those that were caught and learned from it?

Have a great day but behave yourself!

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Please Don’t Do Any of These!

Last Saturday I was at a local convienence store and a van pulled in next to me. There was a young woman driving and in the back seat there was a young girl about 3 or 4 years old in a car seat. The woman left the car running and the little girl in the seat. As soon as she entered the store the girl unbuckled herself and climbed into the front seat. I looked on in amazement. This was a disaster waiting to happen. What would have happened if the little girl would have tried to imitate mommy and pulled the shift lever down into reverse. Since the gas pumps were right in back less than 25 feet away the car would have crashed into the pumps and God only knows what tragedy would have occured. When the woman came out, I started to say something but my wife stopped me. She said she knew her and realized that nothing either of us could have said would have made a difference.
Why do people do that?

I live in the country on a state highway that is very busy during both AM and PM commutes. My house is right at the end of a long straightaway. A few weeks ago during dinner a motorcyclist crashed into the ditch right in front of our house. His bike went into the road and he landed in our yard on his back. I did not see it but I heard reving, scraping and crashing noises. Noone could really figure out what happened but speeding definately was involved. His dad and son came a few days after to survey the scene. He said that his son will propably live but has lost a lung and has other serious injuries.
This was just the most recent accident in the area of many over the last few years. Most could be avoided just by slowing down to near the speed limit.
Why do people do that?

It used to be that if you saw a car weaving back and forth drugs or drinking was probably the cause. Not any more. Now it is texting! Almost daily I see people on the phone while they change speeds, weave back and forth,turn without looking or using signals. Woe to the person that tries to point out this behave to the offender. I have even seen a driver pass a stopped school bus while on the phone. All these situations are just a tragedy waiting to happen. Many times careful and alert drivers have to take steps to avoid these people. AND THEY ARE NOT ALL YOUNG PEOPLE!
Why do people do these things?

Driving is a privilige. Yes we all get distracted but to do it regularly especially when it breaks the law and think nothing of it.
Why do people do that?
Why do they put themselves, their loved ones and others in danger just for their wants and desires?

Please don’t do these things and tell your loved ones to be careful also

Have a great (and SAFE) day

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Saying Goodbye to a Great Friend

Tonight I said goodbye to a dear friend.
I met Ed Lakata in 1985 while attending FMCC in Johnstown NY. We were in all the engineering, science and math courses together.
What a character he was.!! In school he was brilliant, such a great student and always willing to help others. Outside of class he was an accomplished musician playing the guitar and several other stringed instruments along with the piano. Ed has always played in a band and was one of the most entertaining people I have ever met. He loved to laugh and make others do the same thing. Ed always made me feel better just being around him. He went on to become not only an engineer but helped others as teacher.
Over the years there where so many great memories with Ed. We went on road trips to check out universities to transfer and had many group drive-in movie parties. I fondly remember a trip to Six Flags that over 20 of us went to. So much fun! I met my wife at a party Ed hosted at his parent’s house back in 1987. The following year we got married and Ed was my best man. He hosted the best ever bachelor party for me, what a great time! When it came time for the big day, Ed played piano while his lovely wife Cindy sang “We’ve Only Just Begun”.

Ed loved to be the jokester and had his own Pee Wee Herman doll. To break the tension and help distract her while Cindy was in labor, Ed pulled out Pee Wee and started his ‘Schtick’. It didn’t have the desired result but that was Ed, always on the go, always making light of the situation. So many loved him for the person he was.

Ed always made me feel important. Over the years with family, jobs and life in general we weren’t as close as before but when I would see him he would not just say,”Hi Don” but ” Hey Don Young, How are you?” If there was anyone else around he would let them know he was the best man at my wedding even after 20 years or more. I had such a high opinion of Ed. I saw him as 1/3 Einstein, 1/3 Eric Clapton and 1/3 Pee Wee Herman. He was truly one of a kind! I know he is going to be jammin’ with Hendrix, Elvis and all the others.

Edward Lakata…. I’m gonna miss you!

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Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and 1000 pieces of ‘advice’ for your Job Search

With that title what would you expect this post to deal with? Hidden, secret tips on how to best find a job in today’s ‘testy’ market? How to use the major social media to find your dream job?

Well not really.. but kinda sorta..

How is that for being vague? Well that is my point….kinda..

I use Linkedin daily to network, look for jobs and update my skills. There is a lot of information there. Most of it is valid and useful but some of it is just plain outdated, does not apply and even downright harmful for your career. I see people complain about their inability to find work yet they do not follow even the most tried and true things shared to help them. They treat Linkedin like Facebook. Now don’t get me wrong, Facebook could be useful to find a job but only if used in a professional manner. Me? I am one of the few that does not have a Facebook account. Maybe someday but right now I am focusing on other things.

I do have a Twitter account. I’m not there daily and I don’t have many followers but I try and keep up with things. I mostly use it for networking, job search and online learning. If you wish to check it out @donyoung48. I am still learning how best to use twitter in my job search.

Any tips?

The last topic I want to cover is dealing with repeated rejection. Nobody enjoys being told no. I know that I don’t. But on a daily basis I get that response. Sometimes it is direct as in a rejection letter. Other times it is a case of them just never telling you either yes or no. Recently I interviewed for a local position. After serveral follow-ups, I spoke to the VP on the phone. It was a Friday and he told me he was speaking to the owner that PM and that they would be contacting me soon. Well I had a hopeful weekend but Monday I received a rejection letter in the mail. Oh Well..:-( Yes I was disappointed but looking at it carefully I saw it was dated on the previous Thursday. If they already decided when I called, why didn’t he tell me. I guess that’s how some people are.

Well I am back to interviewing and have two coming up. I have to prep and give them my best.

I also wish you the best in your job search. Hang in there and

You can do it.

Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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What Did I Do Wrong?, What is Wrong with Me? and other things we ask ourselves.

When things don’t go as expected do you ever ask yourself, ” What did I do wrong?”  or”What is wrong with me?”

I DO!

I have been in the job search for over 8 months now. I have read dozens of articles on how to improve your resume, cover letter, thank you letter, etc. I have done the same with how to interview on the phone, in person, in front of groups, etc…. I belong to many groups on LinkedIn in both my field and job search groups. I have asked many questions many times and took a book full of notes. I have done my best to put into practice everything I have learned. Along the way I have found out that much of the advice is contradictory or at the very least does not apply to my situation. So I try to customize everything and go with what seems to work the best for me.

I work with several recruiters from many of the staffing firms and some independent ones. Along the way I have had some good interviews but nothing to write home about (or even blog about). But last month something happened to me that I just have to share and get off my chest. I was contacted by a recruiter for a position that I didn’t see posted during my daily searches. That’s okay because I know that they have access to jobs that aren’t posted which is a good thing for us job seekers. When he sent me the job description to review, I thought I wasn’t really qualified for it but I figured maybe he saw something that I didn’t so I told him to go ahead and submit me for it.

Well  the next day he called and said they wanted a phone interview. Cool! Now it was with a huge multi-national corporation which shall remain nameless here except to say that they got their start in upstate New York and still have a huge presence here. I had the interview which took about 25 minutes and I thought it went well. When I got a call back from the recruiter 2 hours later, he wanted a little more information. Then later that afternoon he called again and said they wanted me. Cool again! They want to have me come in for an interview.

NO!   They want to hire me and start ASAP! With just a phone interview? Are you serious?

Well after the shock wore off I started all the paperwork, forms, checks and tests that are needed to start job nowadays. All this took a little more than a week which was no big deal. I had a  contracting job making more money per hour than ever and a good chance to go permanent after 12 months. My money worries were soon to be over.

OR SO I THOUGHT!

Well it started okay but went down hill very quickly. It was a supervisor’s position managing craft employees. There was a lot to learn and I thought all was going well. After a 1 1/2 weeks I was called out of a meeting and told I was being terminated but no reason why. He said he couldn’t discuss it due to liability reasons and told me to call my contracting company. After making the call I still did not know why I was being fired. A few minutes after that I was escorted off the property and started the long ride home.

What do I tell my wife? I had let everyone know that I was finally working and now….. Shock, anger, frustration, disbelief and lots of other things bounced around my head on the 53 miles drive back. My wife wasn’t home so I went to speak with my pastor who helped be a lot just by letting me vent. It was a busy day for him (Good Friday) so i then went home and had a very difficult talk with my wife.

Well ever since then many things have been going through my mind. I was trying to do the right thing and it backfired big time. Did I do or say something wrong? Nope. No one said it was me, my skill set or my behavior. Maybe I just didn’t fit in. Whatever the reason , the result is I am still out of work and the federal government just took 10.7% away from my benefits because they can’t come to a budget deal.

So what is wrong with me? Why won’t anyone see what I have to offer and give me a real chance. I have to think that there is nothing wrong with me. The right opportunity just hasn’t come along yet. I hope it does soon because although God has given me lots of patience in my life it is the money that I am running low on very quickly. In the mean time I will keep doing what I believe is the best way to find that elusive job.

Thanks for listening and………….

Have an great day!

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Staying Positive and Dealing with Stress during your Job Search

I have seen this topic on several online discussion groups I belong to so I thought I would take a few minutes and add my two cents.

Staying positive during any stressful time in life is difficult. There are so many stressful aspects of being out of work. Not having enough money is probably at the top of the list. Many people live paycheck to paycheck so when the paychecks stop, there are a lot of expenses that just go unpaid. There is just so much you can do to cut back. Living a spartan lifestyle while working and then losing that job is something that is hard to deal with. Unemployment benefits are usually only 1/2 of a worker’s regular income up to a maximum that differs state by state. One problem with collecting those benefits is that if you pick up anything on the side it has to be reported. This negates the added income so it ends up being a waste of time. This discourages people from even looking for anything unless the pay makes it truly worthwhile.

Another thing stressful about being out of work is the strain it puts on family members. The do without the smallest of extras that are usually no big deal. I know my wife tries to all she can to make up the difference so she works extra hours at her 2nd job.  It bothers me that she has to work this hard and I feel like I am contributing nothing.

This leads to my last area and probably the hardest to deal with. Many people, especially men have a much lower self-worth when they are out of work. If you define yourself by the work that you do then this is especially problematic. I know myself that I am prone to a pity party of one if I am not careful.

So what do you do about it? Well I read about the usual stuff and sometimes feel that little of it applies to me. So I have learned to find what works for me and then develop the discipline to do it regularly.

Make time to do what you enjoy everyday. Regardless what people say, there isn’t enough things to do during a job search that it takes up all your day. Once you get organized the job search takes from 1-5 hours daily. So take some time to go for a walk. I live out in the country with woods in back of my house. A walk up the trail is fresh air, good exercise, peaceful and very relaxing. It clears my head, helps me to think and I can enjoy the beauty of nature regardless of the season. Doesn’t get any better than that.

Listening to music or watching a good movie is  priceless. My favorites are classic rock, older country with some jazzy soul for good measure. My movies are comedies and action films. Can anyone be sad, mad or bad when they are laughing?

I have found that it is a bad thing to isolate yourself when unemployed. Seek out friends and family and do the things that you normally would. Life doesn’t have to change just because you lost your job.

Listen to or watch positive, inspiring and motivational people. Some of my favorites are Zig Ziglar, Les Brown and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Their time-honored wisdom and enthusiasm really is catchy. Remember what Zig said,
“People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Helping people. It takes your mind off you and your troubles when you do something for others. A wise man once said,” Service to others is the rent we pay for taking up space here on earth. Let us NEVER fall behind on our rent”.

These are just a few suggestions. Find what works for you and stick with it. Being unemployed  is just temporary.  Don’t let it define you. Let how you handle it define you.

Have a great day

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