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Jobs has left his job as CEO of Apple.
The tributes flow in and from a business standpoint the guy deserves every but of applause he has received.
I never wanted to work at Apple even when the chance was there. I was worried about that moment when Jobs and I would be in the elevator together and he would verbally whap me with one of his famous gotcha’s.
A Jobs gotcha was exemplified years ago when he was CEO of Next. He was walking out to parking lot on a Friday evening with a colleague of mine when a new employee who was just getting in his car waved and told Steve to have a nice weekend. Turns out Jobs had met him at the new hire orientation the prior Monday.
Job snapped at him.
Who the hell are you?
The employee smiled weakly, reeling from shock and told the CEO that he was a new employee.
Don’t talk to me until you have done something, Job pasted him.
The rumor at Apple was that if you were headed towards the elevator and Jobs was on a beeline for the same conveyance, alter course and take the stairs.
There are two Steve Jobs.
1.The innovator and visionary.
2. The leader
He has been a rousing success in the first role. A misunderstood exemplar in the second.
Does that mean he is a failure?
Just a flawed human being like the rest of us.
But for me, it is better I was not heading for that elevator because I would have taken it. And if he decided that I was one of his worthy targets (Never ask of him. He will ask of you) then I would have told him that he had me mistaken with someone he could dump his wrath on.
That would have been the end of my time at Apple.
But in a strange way I understood him. He once raged at HR upon his return to the company in 1997, How could you have let this happened!
Apple was in bad shape after years of mismanagement.
He then proceeded to wipe out 2/3rd of the people in that department. In less than a year they were changed out.
Most of my HR friends were on the good-bye list. They didn’t understand what Jobs meant. But I did.
He was uncompromising in his expectations of employees and he probably felt that they should have immolated themselves rather than let the company die in agony. He did not forgive them for it.
And in that, I understood the man more than most. He is what Ayn Rand called the heroic man. He saw things in his own way and pushed on until his vision was a reality. He is that character she created in her books. The Howard Roark’s, the John Galt’s, the Hank Rearden’s. How often I searched for this person among the many leaders I worked with and for over the years. But here was one and I could not have worked for him.
It is still a good idea that we never met.
It would not have been pretty.
As of now, I only belong to one group on LinkedIn. It’s Coachonthego. It’s a group dedicated to the art of networking.
If you have read my blog you know that Zoo Animals have 2 major problems with networking.
1. They don’t get that you don’t really have to ask for a job.
You just have to meet with people and talk. If they find out that you’re out of work or just looking for the next gig, they will help. Just ask him them who else they would recommend you talk to. That’s their network.
2. They don’t get the part where they have to do this for the rest of their career.
This is true unemployment insurance. EDD is nice but if you want to keep working then you need to help others and pay it forward. Some of them in turn will help you.
The lion kills the prey and eats. That does not mean that the lion doesn’t have to hunt again when it gets hungry. That is the life of the beast of prey. The zoo animal sits in its cage and waits for the daily feeding. If the zoo animal is kicked out of a zoo it does not know how to hunt.
Okay, I guess I have hammered this enough.
Thought for the day
You’ll do best in your job when you remove two things from your modus operandi.
1. Concern for yourself including your career, your job title and your pay.
2. Trying to lengthen the period you work at a job.
These create fear and fear makes you a vanilla mediocre employee. If you work with the company in mind, the good things will come and if they don’t you can always move on (very painful option for zoo animals).
I didn’t start out as an asshole. In the beginning I really cared about people I worked with. I was always a bit of a lone wolf but that didn’t mean I had to be the alpha work male pissing on the carpet to let others know where my territory began and ended.
I have admitted that I was better at getting jobs than staying in those jobs. Laid off 4 timer, fired twice and escaped another half-dozen times before the axe fell. Blah..blah..blah!
Besides being good at getting jobs I eventually became very good at handling confrontation. As one of my former colleague said about their present boss, he doesn’t have any balls. Eventually that becomes the trade of a guy like me. Trafficking in confrontation. I can’t believe how it used to choke me up to deal with tough issues. It was like asking out that new girl on a date the first time. If I didn’t get the words out my voice might crack. Later on, nervousness aside (and eventually there was no nervousness at all) I could deliver and receive the though messages.
I became good enough at it so that I could do it dispassionately but not cruelly. What’s scary is layoffs. I can do those at a drop of a dome (or less). People in companies over prepare for layoffs. Not to benefit the employee being laid off but rather to cover up their own fright at having to confront that same employee and tell them that their services are no longer needed.
POW! You’re fired!
POW! I am fired! Yeah, did that too.
I became good enough at the truth that Boards and CEO’s began to ask me to come in and give them my evaluation of their situations. I did quite a bit of this between 2002 and 2010.
The Truth (or at least the truth as I saw it).
You strip away concern for yourself and what is politically safe to say and what you are left with is the truth. I once told a CEO, don’t hire me if you don’t want to hear it. You can choose to use what I say or not use it. That is your choice but shoot the messenger and I will stop telling you what I see.
Once you tell the truth you are a verified asshole. You have broken the cycle. Too many of the people who do what I do try to prolong their job so that their role becomes some sort of quasi-employee who run up big hourly rates.
I run into to them all the time.
You should be gone by now, I think.
But they stay on trumpeting their quasi-independence but in truth they are not free at all.
The only ones who are free are the ones who will chance losing a job in service of the truth even if it is only the truth as they see it. The ones who do the work, not the ones who prolong their work beyond any usefulness.
This article appeared in Yahoo today.
You’ll have to read the article but the words that resonated were Network, network, network!
• ”Network, network, network. I can’t say it enough,” wrote E.S., from San Diego, Calif. “LinkedIn is awesome, but enlist your Facebook contacts, or join a networking group. I know it’s horrible to ask your friends to keep their eyes out, but in the end that’s how I got hired. When you know someone who knows someone, who can vouch for you, you have a much better chance of getting a job with the company you want/in the field you want.”
Maybe I shouldn’t have gone off on Herman Cain. He isn’t really worth it. His anti-Islamic Mosque stance is antiquated and let’s face it, he is looking hard for a way to differentiate himself from the myriad of candidates on the GOP side of things. As of the year 2000 there were around 2,000 mosques in the USA and about seven million people who follow Islam. Most of the Islamic people I have gotten to know were as co-workers in the many jobs I have had over the years. Many have become good friends. They knew my background was Jewish (even though I am an atheist) and never cared. Except for one Egyptian colleague who believed that Egypt won the Yom Kippur War of 1973, I have never even had a single extended political discussion with any of them. We talked work and sports and family just like everyone else.
But I worry when I see groups like anti-Gay and anti-Muslim issues become centers of a political platform. It bothered me, in the last election, that Palin wanted to ban certain books in school. In Texas, history is already being rewritten. Inaccurately may I say. Bachmann is ripping black farmers who received financial settlements from the government while she and her family receive government aid and subsidies. Very selective attacking from the Iowa born bigot.
Hitler banned books, rewrote history and went after homosexuals and Jews.
Good company for those who include those sorts of issues in their platform.
A stones throw from a world where white, Christian oligarchy tell us what is acceptable and not acceptable.
Scares the Hell out of me and I don’t scare that easy. But then I don;t like anyone telling me what I can believe or not. Do or not do.
And yet, I say let them have at it. Let the Bachmann’s and Palin’s and the Cains of the world run for office. Let them try to enact their policies. The population of this country needs to feel what these folks are really about. Feel the pain of Bachmann and Palin and Cain. Fear and hate. Tail Gunner Joe all over again. We seem to have a national amnesia and forget what hate does to this country.
So bring it.
Then we can tear the hate down and relegate these disciples of fear to the scrap heap of our history. When they topple they topple quickly.
We think the budget is the big issue. It is big but not as big as the FUD that these people are spouting.
If one of my posts never angered you, then this your opportunity to get royally pissed off.
Over the years I have done a great deal of pro bono career coaching and have on occasion even spoken at career events.
One of the constant complaints I hear from older workers is that they are being discriminated against. I always ask for an example. Usually once they describe it to me, it comes across at best as subliminal but they feel it is there.
Yes, younger people want to work with other younger people. If you ever see groups go to the trough (oh, I meant lunch) they are usually groups of a like age. In my younger years I ran at lunch (I was a competitive runner) so my socializing was after work going from bar to bar.The group I drank with tended to be in their 20′s and 30′s. We just sort of naturally came together.
In my last job if I went to lunch it tended to be with folks in the 40′s and 50′s. I could see the younger people going out to eat but there was never a rush on their part to flag me down and ask me to join them. And by the way, I didn’t expect it. We often talked at work and I was fine at that. If I wasn’t seeking them out they were coming to see me. HR tend s to be like that.
As I moved from my 40′s into my 50′s, I never really gave a thought to ageism. I network pretty heavily so job opportunities always seem to come up. I also intuitively knew to stay away from “Fountain of Youth” companies unless the work was consulting. You know. You are there but you aren’t really in there. Sort of like cyber sex.
I have never danced around ageism though. Yes, as you age some doors close and others open but if you don’t see the other doorways opening then all you’ll see are doors closing. This is typical of many of the people I have met with over the years.
It’s like my running buddies who were very competitive racers in their youth but as they aged, began to run out of gas. Now they are coaches. They made the shift which allows them to stay involved in the sport (often manically) and live vicariously through their runners.
Someone once corned me into giving a talk on how you stay competitive. I told them I would be glad to do it but that I would not pull any punches.
As the older folks in the room gasped and threw their arms in front of their faces in horror, I rattled out the truth according to The Silicon Valley Warrior.
Stay current on technology. This has become even more critical with the technological advances over the last twenty or so years. You had better be conversant in mobile phones, email, texting, twitter, computers and whatever else is floating around out there. There are no excuses not to and if you are not fluent, you will lose jobs.
Dress like the people you are going to work with. Don’t show up looking like old uncle Fred if you are going to work in a technology company. On the other hand, don’t show up looking like an old hippie if you are interviewing for a job in an investment company. Do your research, figure out what is appropriate and dress that way.
Don’t spend a great deal of time talking about the way things used to be done. Generally “they” (the great “they”) don’t care. Be current with what is being done now. Once again you may have to research this but if you come in sounding old and out of date, you will be.
Okay, this is the tough part but it is important.
If you look old you will lessen your chances of getting a job, plain and simple.
It helps to be fit which means as lean and mean as you can be. Show up fat and out of shape and you’ll give that first non-erasable impression that will make the interviewer pass on you. I am not talking about whether you have hair or not or whether you have lines on your face. Plastic surgery is not necessary (unless you yourself choose it). But if you are woman you can color your hair (seems that most women do that anyway). If you are a guy and you are follicle challenged either cut your hair short of shave it to the skull. My hair still has the disheveled look it had in the 1970′s but for some reason it works for me. I get jobs so why change the formula.
If you are fat, lose weight. If you are interviewing with younger people they are probably going to be leaner than you. They just haven’t had as much time to slab on the weight that you have. They’ll catch up but neither you nor they will care by that time.
Fat cats can’t catch the prey. Enough said.
Get past you indignation about being passed over because of your age. The world doesn’t care. You want a job and they have a position open. Your job is to get on the beach and win that job.
Companies like Google and Facebook with vicious youth cults may never be a landing-place for you but there are plenty of jobs where the company sees age and experience as an asset. Besides, even the Google’s of the world will age. Why? Because people like to hire people about their own age. So as they get older, so will their employee profile.
There are many looks to the older, experienced worker.
I would put my picture in here but I look like a hippie.
So you can be indignant and right (sort of) or you can be competitive.
Michelle Bachmann who is anti gay marriage lost control of her very homophobic husband who went very public with his definition of Gays as barbarians. Yes, there are probably opportunities for a guy like this to come out with such definitive statements but not during a presidential campaign. Luckily we have freedom of speech so this jerk could puke all over himself and his wife’s run for the oval office.
It’s good that this has come out early on. Of course we all ready knew it but being anti-gay marriage is very different from calling gays, barbarians. NOW WE KNOW WHO WE ARE DEALING WITH. If you wondered what level existed below the Catholic Church’s homophobia (plus covering up their viral molestation problems), this is it.
In 1863 Lincoln made his famous Gettysburg Address.
“that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Note that this means that the government is of, by and for the people. Not some of the people. It includes everyone who is a citizen (and some non citizen’s too).
When do we get very tired of righteous folk telling us how we should live our lives? I am long past tired and so they don’t tell me how to live my life. We are sliding backwards. Even many of the Indians tribes accommodated homosexuals in their tribal organization.
As I said, Bachmann has lost control of her husband (or did she?). I am not asking her to like or agree with the gay lifestyle. What I am asking is that she understand that the word barbarian conjures up all the homophobic and hateful emotions that little people carry around in their hearts of hearts to make themselves believe that they are bigger than they actually are.
I would have been impressed if she had come out and said the remarks were out-of-place.
She certainly did not repudiate the remarks. No courage in that quarter.
Of course few politicians said anything. After all, next year is 2012. An election year.
Bachmann is just one of the cowards that exist in our government. She may not be the worst but until she repudiates the statement that her unfeeling, myopic husband made, she is the coward of the week.
My hope if that she has polarized those that were riding the great middle. The few (the very few) will agree with her and scurry over to the right. The rest will look for someone else come next year.
Let Minnesota deal with her. States Rights. I certainly support that concept.
Alaska found a way to deal with Palin. They ejected her. Well, she quit the state. But then she quits everything. Bachmann is made of sterner stuff.
I get really bored with zoo animal types who are unhappy at work but just can’t just can’t find it within themselves to go get another job. Since most of the people I know are unhappy at some level with work, I wonder why they just don’t go to another company. I mean if you are happy, then by all means STAY in the zoo you presently inhabit. I really liked my 6 years at Sun. I admit it. I am ultimately glad I left to go make my million, but for six years I was in love with work. It wasn’t perfect all the time but in the morning I actually looked forward to going to work and often stayed late in the evening rather than rushing home. My wife understood that this was a rarity for me. She supported my endeavors.
I rarely felt that at the myriad of crappy pie holes I worked at over the years.
The fact is most people hang on to jobs like bad relationships.
One friend told me that he just can’t seem to market himself. He just can’t seem to network. It is too painful for him. In his case he has no job at all. He hasn’t had one for about 5 years. He is living on unemployment and credit cards.
“I just can’t do it,” he whines his head dropping down.
“I’ll coach you to a new job,” I told him.
I just can’t do it.
In the meantime he knocked up a girl and got her pregnant.
I just can’t do it.
I remember what it was like to be up against the wall financially after the three witches ran me out of Borland. I had some severance and a bit of savings. I had 2 months. I wanted to give up too.
But working my ass off, like a hungry cheetah who has lost their kill to the lions, I hunted until I found my next job. I didn’t blame the lions. I didn’t blame the three witches. Witches have to be what they are.
They might still be out there. Whatever world they inhabit, I left it behind when I left Borland. I knew their hate would eventually consume themselves in the end.
It is the way of it.
You move on. You MUST move on.
It is too easy to be paralyzed by what is happening to you. It is tougher to move on.
If you find yourself in Hell, keep moving. Churchill said that and he was right.
It isn’t the job or your boss or what others think of you that is important.
It is that you posses skills and ability. Your gifts. You can take those anywhere you want.
But more often than not, I hear those words.
I just can’t do it.
I am working on my resume.
It isn’t a good time for me to move right now. It is however a good time to let people beat the crap out of me at work or in my personal life. Yes, it is an excellent time for that!
“But you see, I have, let’s say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. I’ve chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I’m only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards–and I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.”
- Howard Roark
If you are truly unhappy, try going out the door. What you will find is another door. One that is waiting for you. A door to be opened.