Archive for the ‘Careers and Human Resources’ Category

Coach-onthego wants to know your Career song.   Add YouTube video for people to experience it live  http://on.fb.me/CareerSong


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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.


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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).


What happened to my forest?

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I wrote this on my other blog back in September of 2008 right during the last financial panic.

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

FDR 1933

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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.

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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.”

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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.


Mrs Potato Head

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