Monthly Archives: September 2009

Memory Lane from a Michael Jackson song…

My kids have been caught up in the Michael Jackson tributes and my son in particular will harass me every day in the car… “Daddy, can you put on Michael Jackson please?”

I’m not sure how, but I didn’t know this song. “PYT… Pretty Young Thing” it amused me. When I did a really, REALLY short stint as a R2R person, this is one of the key phrases one particular (short lived) client would use to describe what they wanted me to find for them. Sales history, consistent record of surpassing budgets? nah, Knowledge and Network in the industry? nah not so important. A dynamic ruthless cold caller, who will build business no matter what? not so much.

For those about to get the sexist outrage happening, I can feel the heat rising already, this was from a mature aged woman. She said (and some license must be given due to the fact that this would be 10 or so years ago)

“Find me a pretty young thing, please” “Someone who sounds young and chirpy on the phone. The majority of leaders in this industry are middle aged males, they rarely turn down a chance to meet up with someone like this!”

She was serious! I am rarely lost for words. I didn’t take the brief. I couldn’t imagine the conversation to those unsuccessful.

Dan talks to Dave Mendoza some more :)

I’d forgotten about this part of the interview when the RSS feed from hit my inbox. I was pleasantly pleased, more so to see the great pictures of my family up on his site.

To see the second part of the interview, please click here.

Thanks to Dave for taking an interest and for the awareness he creates for all of us in the Recruitment industry across the world.

The Nice Guy

“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice” was a sign a colleague of mine used to keep on his desk.

What a crock!

I should know… I’ve been labeled as this. Nice! It’s horrible, and normally comes with the word “too” in front of it!

Being known as “nice” doesn’t do ANYTHING for you in your career. Apart from give people he perception that you will do whatever they want. Do nice guys actually finish last?

I see it as kind of like the “You’re a great friend, but not boyfriend material, more like a brother” quote heard in high school. Hmmmm, well give me that pen so I can just stab myself in the eye. It’s nice to have you around, but don’t try anything serious OK!

Are “Nice Guys” taken seriously in the workplace? or in the world in general? A boss of mine once said, I can’t have the most popular sales guy in the world here, the guy who has everyone in his Rolodex (yes I am old) but can’t close.

The smiling, affable guy, who gets things done, without complaint, rarely gets anywhere. They get lumped with more and more work, because they’ll do it and not complain. A doormat if you will.

I’m thinking in cliche’s at the moment. Sorry. When I started dating my wife, way back when I was a skinny 18 year old, she would say, “you’re such a nice boy” and I’d respond with (in jest) “no… I’m a bastard! I’ve read “All men are bastards” and I’m a man, ergo.. I’m a bastard!”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you have to be a total contrary pain in everyone’s behind to be successful (although I know a couple who fit this description), however, I know you cannot be the continuous, affable, jokey, easy going, “no worries, I’ll do it” person either.

You have to be able to say no! You have to have the cojones to push back, to question things, to make things the problem of someone else, to openly disagree in meetings, and passionately defend your point of view, no matter who it is against (P.S also know when to back down 🙂 )

I’m not traditionally a confrontational type of guy, but after some feedback generously given to me from a colleague a number of years ago, I decided to make some changes. She effectively put that mirror in front of me, told me of some perceptions and asked me to have a good hard look at myself with my career goals in mind.

Let’s just say, I didn’t like what I saw and heard. And set out on a course of action to rectify. I began thinking of some of my sporting idols and what made them successful. (You may notice, I like to tie most things back to scenarios I understand) Most looked like nice guys when talking to the public, but once they were on the field or training, they were single minded. They wouldn’t be side tracked or allow someone else to set their moods. Once engaged in the contest, they worked harder, fought harder and achieved for longer that their competitors. My dad says they all have a level of “mongrel in them”, they don’t settle for anything less than what they expect from themselves and others, which is why them win more often that not.

Armed with this new found knowledge and self realisation, I started using the word “no” in meetings, I started putting agenda items in other peoples realm, I challenged, questioned and I made people justify/back up what they said. By doing this I became present in the organisation. Perception, slowly changed and my frustration levels dropped.

So shake off the idea that you need to be liked by everyone. You have to stand for something! You don’t get paid for popularity, you get paid for productivity, effectiveness and solving business problems. Push back if you need to, say “no” if that is decided to be the best course of action, but continue to focus on the business. That will move your career in a positive fashion.

Six Degrees from Dave

I was lucky enough to meet Dave Mendoza, an icon of the Recruiting industry a couple of years ago at the Australian Talent Conference. Recently we caught up via email and he featured an article about me on his website.

Find out more by clicking here

Is Work over rated?

Oh that was nice to write, however if my boss is reading this.. please read beyond the initial title. It’s nice though isn’t it?

However, I am talking about the “office” environment, that place I disappear to 7ish each morning after kissing my kids and wife goodbye and mystically return from 11-12 hours later.

Today I did something I have not done for lots of years. I had a day working from home. Dropped the kids off at Kinder and the grandparents respectively, picked up a coffee and headed to the dining room table, my laptop and my cordless phone. To quote a great Australian movie.. “Ahhh the Serenity!”

And that is it. I sat down at that table, didn’t move for 5 hours, I powered through stuff, phone interviews, conference calls, candidate searching, advertising, finding a rich talent vein (look out #auteched I’m coming for you!), reference checks, read cvs, made an offer… ohhh it rocked. All for what would be 17 second commute.

OK, so my phone bill may look a little crazy, and I’m sure my team really missed me, but it was pretty cool.

That said, my last efforts of working from home weren’t as successful. The last time I was doing this under the guise of running my own business. People kept dropping to say hi, looking for a coffee and a chat.

I have to say this day rocked! I powered through the day, barely noticing the hours passing until I started feeling a little cold…. I hadn’t had the heater on all day (and I’ll tell you, it’s definitely not summer here)

Do I need to be in the office to be effective? Why would my company care? Am I that good looking that they need to see me every day? I surely doubt it.

Why? well my bottom line…..

It is hard to replace the face to face contact, real relationships (which is what makes a successful business person) aren’t forged without them. So even though this is great for me to live in my mind. This is first life, not Secondlife people, but wouldn’t it be nice once in a while?