Posts Tagged job hunt

Sunday Column (481)

Spring is in the air. If you listen carefully as you board the early morning train, you can hear the birds singing. Our cats got a lovely mouse I rescued from them, and there is a ‘new beginning’ in the air. I signed another advisory role for a blockchain and ICO/ITO (Initial Coin/Token Offering). This is exciting for many reasons. On the one hand I get to work with some very smart people and on the other hand, I am able to learn a lot from them and the product/offering itself. There is no doubt this part of technology is going to be big, so getting involved early is never a bad thing. Exciting times ahead, and more info will be shared on LinkedIn when appropriate.

So as you can see I keep myself busy. That is essential. It is interesting how weeks evolve and things happening out of nothing and your week just gets a different spin. For example I spoke to a company one day which after only 30 minutes thought I wouldn’t be commercial enough, despite my experience definitely being able to do that. Then just a few hours later I was in knee deep discussions how to help a business to structure their sales and account management team across EMEA. Wowsers. Let’s see. I am hopeful.

I won’t, for obvious reasons, discuss any details here, and I am deliberately vague. However, the point I am trying to make is that with every interview you learn. I even discussed my education and went back throughout my whole career. I enjoyed the thoroughness and the chat, being very reflective, it helped me to focus on what I enjoyed in each job, which is what my interview partner wanted to know. It is somewhat fun this journey, to explore opportunities, technologies, and meeting very interesting people. Yet is can also be tiring adhering to time lines, chasing etc. I am hoping that at the end of this journey, besides a job, I will come out with a position that will last me for a few years. And as of the paragraph above, people see and spot different things in different people. The reason that’s the case is because everyone has their own filter of the world, I am going back into NLP here now, but if you are someone that is keen on finding X in someone, then that’s all that matters. Chin up.

On top of that I recorded 2 of 4 scheduled podcasts this weekand, and I scheduled another 2 to be recorded next week. Amazing conversations, each of their own kind. Maybe I need to increase the frequency and the best thing is, I so love doing them. The thought crosses my mind to build my own media company in years to come. Producing podcasts, events and venturing out into new areas. There is no limit to what you can achieve in life, is there? And I am still trying to identify the perfect way, but to be honest, is there ever going to be something that is perfect? Is there something ever going to be the life you dreamed of? As my wife pointed out, life isn’t a straight line, and once you accept it being up and down, ride the wave. F* it. Easier said than done when you are the breadwinner. Who knows what life holds. One interview this week might have lead to some media deal – oh I love those days in media really LOL – Don’t I?

I am trying to figure out bigger questions in my head, and to be honest, my question supporting those thoughts are around ‘why did we dream of the perfect life in the way we did’. Maybe I should have studied philosophy and psychology, but if we imagine for a moment, and I discuss that in my podcasts, that our dreams are influenced solely by upbringing and parents. So success, and however you want to define that, is based on what ‘seed’ was planted for your dreams. Did your parents suggest you dreaming big or small? In colour or black and white? Were they taking risks or not? One of my podcast guests coined the phrase of ‘entrepreneurial GM’ which I like to adopt for myself. Fits the bill, dont’ you think? He made me a great compliment too 🙂 . And he made me think whether I am already at the right place at the right time, but I haven’t noticed it yet. You ever thought that sometimes you step out of the future you dreamed of, to be sidelined into what you should do (or what seems right to do), but not realise it?

My other theory which goes in line with that is that life is constantly changing. So if I discuss what my career looks like in 5 years time, there is no point. I believe that in 5-10 years our lives would have changed so much, that we essentially work and live completely different to the now. I shared Elon Musk’s theory this week which suggests we all live in a simulation. Maybe we do. Stephen Hawking died this week, one of the greatest philosophers based on physics/science of our time. How is the universe and the universal conscious putting things together to move you forward as an individual? How do we know what is right or wrong, and can our intellect really rely on our gut feeling at all times?

I am drifting again. And people keep telling me that my blog is getting too long. So apologies. Feel free to reach out – with jobs, contract work or for a chat or feedback re the blog 🙂 – as someone said the other morning when we both met on the train ‘Volker, feel free to reach out anytime for a chat, things will be fine, but happy to listen’. Thanks, and you know who you are. And for anyone out there going through the ups and downs as well, ping me, I am always happy to help if I can. Life is about giving back and rising with the tide.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (480)

It has been an interesting and very intense week. I don’t really know where to start but I had a few experiences this week I’d like to share. As someone pointed out to me this week, my blog is very detailed, yet as I explained, I enjoy writing it and it is my creative outlet. And usually I write on the train or during my son’s karate lesson.

I published another podcast and recorded my first 90 minutes long podcast. If there was a way to earn enough money doing that I would consider that full time, maybe one day. For the time being it is a great hobby. If you haven’t seen or HEARD it, Dominic Joseph speaks about his story, and I believe there are lots of learnings you can take from him. Thanks for being my guest!

The main thing this week was my wife’s laser eye correction. I am quite squeamish, so don’t want to go into detail, and whilst I shouldn’t complain as I don’t have the pain, she couldn’t sleep and it kept me awake too. Just to be sure we don’t have a misunderstanding here, I am not cursing her for it, but having had an 8 am interview on Friday, a 6.23 train and being awake half the night knocked me out on Friday afternoon. How did I cope when we had babies?? I remember going from hospital and night feeds straight into interviews in 2009. Maybe a good omen?!

At time of writing she is getting better. And that’s the main thing, and I caught up on some sleep too. It feels a bit like Dusk till Dawn at home, as all the shutters are closed to avoid sunlight coming in. No, she hasn’t turned into a vampire 😉

On Wednesday I tried a new massage therapist. Mine had to cancel and since the meeting didn’t get re-arranged, I figured it was time to try someone else to keep my muscles entertained. I am believer that change is good and that you need to change things on a regular basis to keep yourself or your body from being complacent. For someone who doesn’t get massages on a regular basis this might sound silly and odd, but the massage I got was a mixture of massage and physio which my body responded very well to. If you need a recommendation, I am happy to refer you to her.

Recruitment or job search was another topic of course and I know some people read this hoping for some news. So do I 🙁 I got some new leads, had interviews, managed to schedule some really good interviews for next week, awaiting some more, and of course got some rejections too. It is difficult to balance chasing without annoying the recruiters, so any job that comes direct is so much easier to manage. I feel things are moving forward and definitely I found one job I would love to do. Fingers crossed. Any of my recruiters reading this, let me know if I annoy you, yet most say call me whenever you want….some say every four weeks, others just don’t answer or bother. The industry is an odd one, but hey, I also made some friends in the process. Having this extra layer in between allows you access to the bigger jobs. But on the other hand, it comes with less control. So finding the balance with the middle man can be hard sometimes. Anyhow. I have some interesting discussions at the moment, and I am so curious where I end up in a few weeks time. Or I hope it is weeks and not months anyway. I keep you posted.

Oh, and after some contemplating and meetings, I have now decided to take on another advisory role. I heard headhunters saying I am too young to do that. Other would question whether I am too old to work for a 20 something entrepreneur? Neither is true. I quite happily work for a young entrepreneur and have done so in the past, as that is how the industry rolls. At the same time, I am not too young for advisory roles, yet depends which start up and what area. I have, and that wasn’t intentionally, found one where I am curious to learn more about the topic (it is about blockchain and crypto currency) and at the same time can add value with my experience. It happens to be run by a very smart and young entrepreneur too. I announce it formerly once the paperwork is signed.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that a job search has an impact on one’s mood, and one’s surrounding. My kids keep asking when I go back to work and luckily I got some contract work which keeps me sane. I want the right job (fingers crossed), not any job, and I am keen on keeping it that way. Patience is getting less, but on the other hand I need to keep on going, filling the pipe until things are sorted. And of course they will. The next job should be 3-5 years ideally, so better make it a good one and I am keen on staying somewhere longer to make a proper impact.

Now, coming to another experience I wanted to share. My youngest is wearing contact lenses for a couple of weeks now. They shape his eyes over night and he takes them out in the morning. On the one hand they stop him from having to wear glasses and on the other hand it stops his eyes from getting worse. Fingers crossed that will be the case. I am so heartbroken seeing my seven year old putting contacts in, his struggle when he is tired. I am so very proud of him doing that whilst myself I am too squeamish to even consider it. See above, the eye problems run in the family (that’s my wife’s line btw, just saying 😉 ) and I am glad we have the possibilities to make things better moving forward. It all will be good in the end. But it is a struggle to make things better sometime and putting this on children early is balancing pushing and understanding. Not easy to be a parent sometime.

I have been networking this week too, and my Instagram followers would have noticed, I have a new drink of choice: an Old Fashioned. A drink that lasts longer than a pint and taste nice and is still ‘cool’ after the Mad Men era. Having said that, depending who you are speaking to, Mad Men is a thing of the past. The right comment given it was IWD this week (International Women’s Day). This could be another post in itself, I think it is great that the world wakes up to equality, but as I have said here and elsewhere before, I am still buffled that people would treat others differently based on gender, or race, or age, … Anyway, we as a global society are on the way to improve things.

With that hope and wish, my wife being on the mend, and a roast dinner in the oven, I hope you had a great weekend too.

All the best for the week ahead.

Volker

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Sunday Column (474)

I thought I start differently this week. The weather: cold, yet warm. Sunny yet rainy. Lack of Vitamin D (supplements!) and it all seems slow. But, there is energy. Positivity. Fun times and conversation with people that make you rock. A hot chocolate with a neighbour who just gets it. A benchmark to mastering life and to understand I am not alone with the problems I face. The challenge with the kids to make their bed, wash their teeth, get dressed in the morning and eat breakfast. Being at home brings those things into focus. It is good to be home, and it has been a fun time, but it is time to go back and work, to contribute, to make a difference.

Anyway, next week Tuesday, my 2nd interview goes live on my podcast. I cannot wait. I got loads of feedback (shoutout to Debbie, Anna and Spencer) and the third episode will see some changes; from the 4th episode onwards the quality should improve. I am recording 4 (!) podcasts next week. So this week it is going to be a different angle on Stories of Success. Another great industry friend, a fun conversation about life. As I investigate jobs I think about what he said:

1. Can I make a difference to the job?
2. Can I learn something?
3. Is it going to be fun?

I found a few jobs where that is the case, e.g. where I can say YES to all of those questions. Some are more formal, some are more fun, and at some I will learn more, others I can make more of a difference. Weighting, values, priorities and what I learn more and more, there is an emphasis on meeting your manager early on. If the chemistry sucks, you are out. For both parties this makes a lot of sense.

However, the companies need to want me first. And I am not at the stage yet where that’s necessarily the case, and I update you as I go along. I am hopeful though, and everything else would be worrying. The pipe isn’t as big as it could be but things only started to pick up. When I first left my last job I had one verbal offer which turned into a ‘no more recruitment before Christmas’ and another where I lost against an internal candidate. Things happen for a reason and things will work out in the end. I am very positive about things and I am keen on moving on.

That’s my update. Or is it?

The most important part happened over the weekend. My youngest got a red belt in Karate. Only a few months in, he managed to get the first accreditation. He was chuffed and proud, and so should he be. And I am too. I am very pleased he enjoys it and keeps going at it.

We also saw my mate who recently had twins. It is somewhat weird to see these small babies. It is as if it never happened to us. It seems so long ago, I feel so old ;-( No, actually I don’t, but I am glad the days of nappies are over. It was a great afternoon with lots of industry friends.

Weekends can be super to chill, spend time with family and friends. That’s how it should be!

Have a great week ahead,
Volker

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Job Hunt – a roller coaster ride

finish-line I reached the finish line. I am back in full employment, hence I thought I summarise what my thoughts have been over the past few months. It has been a roller coaster ride to be honest.

Where should I start. I started the race for a new job quite well but soon realised a few things: just because you get down to the last two or three out of 20 or 30 or more candidates won’t guarantee you a job. Even after seeing many people, companies might decide last minute to change the profile they are looking for and rule you out. I have been lucky with some interviews where they noticed after 1 session that I was short of experience in one criteria (out of 20) but as the weighting for that criteria was much higher than the other ones: I wasn’t a match.

All of this is of course fair enough, as you don’t want to start in a company where you aren’t a match. And sometimes you find that recruiters put you forward despite you missing that little bit extra, just to fulfil their quota. But never mind. I believe that I cut down the amount of recruiters I would work with in the future to approximately five. This seems like a good number. And the ones that are, know. Thanks for your support!

In our industry the supply of senior people is greater than the demand, so companies get hung up on one criteria. Big brand names, agency contacts, a black book of publishers and all that for a graduate salary. Digital is a flat structure. Between director level and MD/CEO there aren’t that many positions. And everyone seems to wait for a 2014 earn out. Will it happen?

The ultimate choice for me was again to do what I do best: fast pace, high energy and exciting start up! The title is not relevant, as it is the role that is the exciting bit.

For me it was important to go for the right role:

– Exciting product (tick)
– Healthy business (tick)
– Start up feel and environment (tick)
– Within programmatic (tick)
– Responsibility (tick)
– Smart guys (tick)
– MacBook Air (tick)

I need to be enthusiastic about a role and be ready to roll up my sleeves and get on with the job. Leading from the front and knocking on doors. After all I am a trained sales guy, the management part comes later. I believe I found just that role, in a start up, with some awesome, industry leading, cutting edge tech and ideas. Yeah!

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There are a few things that are key to finding a job. I am a natural networker and if I didn’t do anything else I met and caught up with a lot of people over the last few weeks. Some offered me a part time job (Thanks Admonsters!), some offered me commission based jobs and some are interested in me being involved as an advisor. I believe I came out better at the end with a more stable, more connected industry friend network, having shared ideas that might take off one day.

But after all it came down to decide between a full-time position and a part-time / consulting position. Since I got a family, a mortgage and big bills to pay each month, I opted for the full time, the more secure position. A consulting or free-lance position could be an option further down the line, maybe in a few years. We shall see.

However, making those decisions is easy. But the whole period of finding a job (which is a full time job in itself) is actually very stressful. Interviews, preparations, rejections (yes, not everyone wants you) and lastly waiting to hear and get official confirmation. The moment you stop looking because someone verbally told you that you are the next hire, you loose. Never ever take your foot off the pedal until the ink is dry on the paper. And, keep believing. Some company pulled their verbal offer after 10 days – leaving me in a bit of a limbo.

What made it hard for me is that I was always believing things work out, and given my Buddhist conviction on Karma. Having said that, you start doubting yourself, you start exploring other areas, but then things turn around again. Things will work out. They just take time. A week in recruiting is nothing. You get paranoid, you cannot relax, you cannot enjoy your time off. These are existential fears. What if you aren’t able to afford food for your family? What if you cannot keep up with the mortgage payments.

Finding a job in 3 months is hard. I just managed and ideally you need 6 months to evaluate all the right options and compare each opportunity against each other. Particularly during the summer months when companies are not recruiting, people are on holidays. Your mind starts playing games with you sitting around not being able to do anything but not being able to enjoy your time off either. Comfort food, take aways and bottles of wine help to calm you down. Herbal tablets, lots of exercise and a good support system help too. However, the times my wife and I were fighting because you are on the edge were a lot more often in the last few months than over the past 6 years of our marriage altogether.

These periods of fear and stress are periods to test you. You come out of it stronger, with a stronger determination to make things work. Even if it wasn’t your fault that you don’t have a job, even if you got a package to leave, even if it is all down to others, you will be more determined to do better. And you will. Everyone I ever spoke to came out of these periods with a smile and a better position and more happiness.

A time of reflection. A time you want (and I did) to give to charity. You need to keep yourself occupied and help others. Consulting offers, small projects, helping out for free but being busy. I wrote a book, so that is something good that came out of it already. You reflect on what is really important in life.

There are no tips but to be patient as the right opportunity will (eventually) come along.
Plan for 6 months and hope it is shorter.
Enjoy the time with your family; this time never comes back.
Look for a hobby to enjoy: read, write or work on the house: use the time.
It all comes down to timing, karma and belief….and yet, a bit of luck.

If you read that and need some advice, please contact me. I am happy to help, consult and show you tricks how to get through this. I was never worried of not finding a job, I was only worried to go crazy in between and loosing faith. Luckily nothing like that happened, and my wife is still in love with me too. I saw more of the kids, had a great holiday and about to start my newest adventure. I cannot wait!

Good luck to you.

Volker

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