Category Archives: recovery

Dan on Dan

Can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve written on here. I must have been busy, but here I am sitting down, renewing my relationship with my old friend… the BLOG… It’s literally been years.

It’s a great release though, so here I am.

Redundant again. My “job for life” didn’t really live up to the hype. Just like the “Never ending story” it came to an end. Sad, frustrating, scary, disappointed, helpless, angry, numb, thirsty, hungry, grateful, hopeful and resolute. All the emotions I felt after I had the conversation with my old business when I was informed via MS teams and a script that my position was redundant. (mental note… THE POSITION… must remember that Dan)

This won’t be a “woe is me” type blog, not will it be an uplifting “all the things you can do once laid off” blog. This will be a little more real.

Like everything challenging in life, you tend to think this won’t happen to you. Watching the news, reading all the reports, people getting sick, losing jobs, care packages, stimulus packages from the government, industries crippled, confusion about rules, risks of people our parents age, travel bans (from even your house). I mean how is this crap happening? Did I flip onto a movie channel?

How can you feel sorry for yourself when there is so much worse happening in the world than losing a job? Thousands are being killed by this invisible bitch. You’re above the grass (as my Dad would say) You’re stuck in lock down (or what ever it is officially called in Australia) with your wife and kids, there’s no wallowing. You need to be an example. Right?

“It’s business, not personal” I wonder how many times that little idiom has been said over the last few weeks. That’s BULLSHIT though. It’s personal to the person hearing it. The person who’s the primary bread winner, the provider, the protector. It’s earth shattering. I’ve been on both ends of this conversation, telling people their position isn’t required (in the business’ opinion) sucks, I know. BUT, I guarantee you that hearing it and facing that stark reality of being unemployed is WAY worse.

My process for this? Firstly, disbelief, I mean “what the f*$#”??? Looking the family in the eye and telling them, that their Dad and husband is a statistic now. He’s not the first or the last that this will happen too, but we need to adjust our life for a while whilst he gets his shit together. Reality check. No one is sure how long this will take. You could say I was a stoic mess. Worse case scenarios ran through my head all night, it was a long night. I hit solution mode. Man I scrambled over job boards, updated my LinkedIn, started doing my resume, looked at CentreLink (it was down at 2.30am ??? not a great sign), I was on fire.

I decided in those wee hours that the next day had to be one of action. Once I awoke, after falling asleep on the laptop in some weird angle on the couch. I showered, shaved, put product in my hair and decided to get back to work. This was BIG as I’d already been working from home for almost two weeks so I was a little scruffy and the hair on my face and top of my head had been sadly neglected. See, ACTION! SOLUTION MODE!

I was humbled and a little emotional from the response my LinkedIn change of status delivered. The messages and calls I received from our Recruitment community, and people I’ve worked with or dealt with over the years was amazing. Thanks to all those who did this. I truly am blessed.

That said, whilst uplifting and beautiful, the wind got sucked from my sails fairly quickly. The dark cloud resettled over me like they did in those cartoons we watched as kids.

It’s an interesting battle between the intellectual me and the feeling me (yes there is both). The intellectual me understands the global situation, knows it isn’t just me, and (something that is really hard for me to believe) knows it isn’t just about him. He will begrudgingly accept the umpires decision and will get on with life. Breathing in and out, one step after the other, watching the sun come up and go down as we know it will every single day. The feeling me however, plays a little different. He’s enjoying the time with the family, getting to spend time in the garden, happy to finally get to those little jobs which always get pushed to the bottom of the list in our busy lives. This is a fulfilling thing to do. But, he battles the darkness, those thoughts of “why me?”, those impostor voices that get a hearing in the quiet hours, and the black-hole of emptiness when there isn’t a job or purpose to really invest yourself in.

It’s a battle, daily. Don’t think it isn’t. Switching between positive and negative mindset, almost hourly at times. It’s exhausting. And yet, Nanna naps are not an option for me. They feel like they’re a sign of giving up. So that won’t happen.

It’s already been almost 2 weeks. I mean holy crap how did that happen? The world hasn’t stopped. Everyone has their own shit they’re dealing with. Kids are still on school holidays (god help us) and life goes on.

I’m pretty lucky I have a wonderful driven wife to give me focus (or to do lists, call it what you will), and keep the dark clouds at bay. Whilst the days are melting by we’re working through stuff. We’ve actioned the banks, the government, other creditors to ensure some breathing space. The resume is re written and we’ve registered on a range of different job boards and have begun working the network. I’m a realist. I’m not convinced this will change quickly, so I need to not focus purely on the job hunt. I’m not convinced this is a recipe for mental happiness.

There are jobs to do around the house, I’ve gardened, attacking long neglected areas, I’ve tried to fix a leak in the roof (ie I’ve tried, but need another downpour to really see if I succeeded or not), I’ve even washed windows. Desperate times people.

I’ve given myself time to think. I’ve always wanted to write something of substance, so I have given myself permission to have a crack at that. The allowance of thinking is a blessing, I’ve had other ideas which I’ll work on fleshing out. This is all really exciting.

I’m working on giving back and helping others in similar boats, more on that another time. However, it must be noted that the demons are fighting themselves in my head. How can I give advice and a sense of calm for people when I’m in the same boat? I know my experience can help others, fingers crossed it can.

There you go, Co-vid 19 sucks. A popular thought i’m sure. It’s tough on most people. I don’t think any one is immune to this.

You do you. What is best for you and your family, is best for you and your family. Help others if you can. Don’t be too hard on yourself, this is shit. But the sun will keep rising (yes even in Melbourne) and one day I know my kids will be able to use this time as a “when I was a kid story” . I was worried that their worse story would be the day in 2019 when the wifi went off for an entire day.

Those days that are sent to try us… Suck it UP!

You ever had one of THOSE days? I know you have.

One of those days where nothing worked, where everything you tried failed, your ideas were crap (or so it was explained to you), your star candidate declined or worse, disappeared, and because of a decision you made an urgent meeting has been planned tomorrow which includes every C level executive in your company.

Oh they are bad…. you leave the office with that knot in your tummy, you relive the decision or action ALL night, wondering what could I have done better? What did I so wrong? What are they thinking? IT wasn’t that bad was it?

Dad always said, it’s not how many times you get knocked down… it’s how many times you get up that counts

You lie down in bed, and it’s like an instant replay in your head… I did OK didn’t I? That wasn’t me was it, surely that other guy did that? Then the little red demon on the shoulder outweighs the white angel. “IT WAS YOU! YOU STUFFED UP! WHAT DO THEY WANT TO SAY IN THIS MEETING? IT CAN’T BE GOOD

Surely tomorrow is a sick day in the making? That feeling in the tummy must be the onset of gastro doesn’t it?

I’ve had a couple of days like this in my career, the worst one happened when I was away on a conference, away from my support structures etc. In fact I think I even called home and had a serious conversation about quitting. My wife, however if pretty wise herself (if anyone tells her I said this I will deny… I promise I will). Told me to take a deep breath, OK take a few. Sleep on it. Stewing won’t help.

I really wasn’t in the mood to hear it, she didn’t know how I felt or what I’d been through that day. Pish tosh I thought! That’s right. I said PISH TOSH!

Here’s the kicker… She was right… ahhhhhhh (again if you tell her I’ll deny it)

Surprisingly I got some sleep, dragged my sorry bum out of bed and decided on a course of action. Forthright and to the point.. I was taking control. I owned the mistake, and I started to take ownership of the solution. THIS was a powerful feeling.

I then realised (with a little more help of those around me) that the people I was worried about facing, were actually there with the same goal in mind, to help the company succeed. They were looking for solutions not excuses and were present to help. (after the obligatory “What happened?” “Why?” “Are you serious?” “Why would you do that?” “Oh crap!”)

Luckily all these questions (raised voices, red faces and ruffled hair aside) How are we going to fix it? Did you pick the important word there? “WE” I had buy in. They were there to help.

This was years ago, and I’m glad to report, we kicked some real butt recovering from this stuff up. I don’t recommend the stuff ups, seriously they aren’t something I’d want to do again. But my advice… if it counts for anything Stand Up, own it! take your licks (you probably deserved them), suck it up and work on the solution. Getting that solution will make you stronger. Listen to people and TAKE ACTION and fix it.

Wanted: Inspiration… DEAD or ALIVE


Well, here we go again… doing my nightly blog reading, and it seems it is the same stuff, different day. Hold on… did I just see a Groundhog?

Articles on Gen Y, v Gen X v Baby Boomers. Gen Y’s “you just don’t understand us!” Baby Boomers “and we really don’t care!” Gen X’s where is the money in this debate?
Articles on Thought leadership, who is one? how do you become one? and just because you say you are one…. are you really?
Articles on the next big technical advance (AKA twitter me this Batman! Does Twitter work for you)
Articles on the Recession. Are we close to the end? Of life as we know it or the Recession… depends on what you read.

Or variations of the above…

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Honestly, I’m getting a little jaded. I must be, I’m getting into conversations about the validity of a cover letter in a job search (again).

John Sumsers TOP 100 INFLUENCERS in the HR/Recruiting world may spark some interest, some great reading and some high level debate (or some low brow name calling, Jerry Spring style, which we all love). Hopefully John will have a good mix of the generations and where they sit in the HR/Rec value chain. Having been an avid reader of John’s over the years, I’d expect nothing less in what will prove to be a huge excise for John. (But will make him a great resource for those people Recruiting in the HR/Rec niche!)

Maybe it’s me. My life seems to have hit 4th gear, with holiday finished, commitments with the children and work commitments firing up across the country. Don’t get me wrong I am so appreciative for this and I value every minute. It’s just that I enjoy this part of my life, the late night blog reading, the learning about Recruitment and the frivolity between the participants. I seem to be missing that. It has left the building Elvis style.

Maybe it’s the missing chat area from one of my favourite sites. Maybe I’m a little more tired at the moment and don’t get around as much anymore, so only see those certain discussion/blog topics.

I’m obviously not a thought leader, as I cannot at this time of night come up with something fresh or alternative to what I’ve said, although a new kids book article could be on its way soon.. be warned.

I am happy, comfortable and challenged in my life and work.

So herein is the challenge blogoverse, give me something new! Get me thinking, inspire me… please.

Would you hire this guy?

Just saw this video on Youtube. It shows a young man trying “something different” to get a job.

My question is… what does it really say about his personal brand?

Would you hire him? You have to say though, as a Marketing person, he sure created a buzz!

"Greed is Good"

A catch cry of the 80’s! A time of opulence, bad style and probably even worse music. It was the predecessor of the last recession, a time most famously known in Australia as “the recession we had to have”. We may look back and snicker and scorn, but what will the next generation say about us? I think my hair and suit will stand the test of time, but who knows 🙂

Did “Greed is Good” make a comeback? Like the fashion? If not, what will people in the future see as the straw which broke this economy’s back. Is it the “I want, therefore I get it” attitude of consumerism? or is it leaders asleep at the wheel? Does the global corporate players burden the blame for this, or our leaders, for missing the indicators? Or will we await the movies to tell us what we were/are? Will we find the answer on LinkedIn, Youtube, Facebook or Twitter?

Thinking back 18 months ago… There was a cockiness about the world again, a swagger in business leaders step, share prices were skyrocketing, the next generation was assured. Was to world too confident and self impressed? I saw it in the tech wreck of the early 2000’s. Man IT in pre 2000 was great, BMW’s all round (well not for me unfortunately, I was just getting into it), long boozy lunches, claim them on expenses or not? And that was just the recruiters. IT was THE place to be. If you could spell IT you’d be a millionaire, or so it seemed. Then… BOOM, the old bubble burst as it will, Share options not worth the paper they were written on, IT people out of work, uni students bailing from IT courses, and the IT Recruiter community re-group, get rid of dead wood and wannabe’s and start again.

The last few years have been littered with stories of a “War for Talent”, heaps of attention given to attracting staff to your company, a prevailing feeling of good was in most places, the world seemed short staffed. If you had a bad day, had a disagreement with your boss, got a poor review or someone else you saw as inferior got more money… that was fine… there will be another job, that will pay more, and respect you more… just around the corner, or on the next job board you looked at. tick tick tick.. BOOM, what was that? Ouch.. that was 2009 biting you in the butt.

I wrote in my last blog post about my fear for Gen Y’s…. I wrote

Whilst you cannot discount Gen Y’s, you cannot build an organisation around just that demographic. You will need experience to get through the current climate, you need battle scars, people who have survived downturns in the past, and you need mentors for those entering the workforce. I think now is going to be more important than ever. We are going to have people entering the workforce, already confused as to their part in this world.

Gen Y’s have gone through university with a certain feeling of entitlement, there was a skills shortage remember, the war for talent was well and truly underway. Their career was already mapped out, one company as a stepping stone to the other, 20% increase min each new company, companies falling over themselves to hire them. Now, the world of 2009. Graduate programs getting scrapped, wages getting frozen, job losses everywhere… how did we get this surplus of people? (Recruiters must have been doing one hell of a job!) Their picture of self must have been challenged greatly.

It is not the time for employers to get too excited and get even with the talent market, no matter how tempting it is. We still need to nurture the talent of tomorrow, we still have to keep the stars of today and respect the greats of yesterday. Maybe this new world post 2009 will get rid of these tags, and will work together as survivors of 2009… until the next generation comes along that is.

What we do now is how we will be remembered I think. Take your time, consider everything and act accordingly. The most important word is ACT! Be bold, have conviction, and DELIVER. I know I want to make a difference. I want my kids to look at me as a representative of my generation, and say, “Wow, look at his cool hair, and amazing fashion sense. Boy I glad he did what he did in 2009, 2010, 2011 etc!” (Although realistically 2 of those three won’t happen.) I hope the right one does!