the screw you fund

I have a friend that believes strongly in the idea of the screw you fund. She once had a professor advise her and her classmates that it was important to their adult life to obtain such a fund for that day that you say, well you know, and quit your job. I always cringed at this story when she would tell it. It went against every logical piece of information I believed and worshipped as a recruiter, you never EVER quit a job without a back up job. Without a plan. Without at least an updated resume. Until you do. Then suddenly this magical “F YOU FUND” would solve all your problems. Real life has made me realize that sometimes you have to let go of a job before you can find another job. It’s a risk and it’s not appealing on a resume, but if you have a job that’s eating up all of your waking minutes then it’s not realistic to think that you can find a job before you leave your job. And no matter what shape the economy is in you never can be certain how long it will take you to land your next gig. What happens if you find yourself in a jobless scenario without a back up job or an F YOU FUND…? Sometimes you wait tables or bartend. Sometimes you do work you never thought you were going to do again. Sometimes you eat your words. So maybe I’ve found myself as a supporter of the f you fund… get you one!

Dave Ramsey always talks about our generation and how we are so quick to think that we need to start our adult life with everything our parents have: a nice house, nice cars, all the furniture and home decor, etc. when in reality our parents accumulated things over years and saved and worked hard and purchased things as life progressed. So don’t feel like you have to decorate your first house from top to bottom when you land a nice job, instead start an f you fund. You honestly never know when you are going to need it-worst case scenario, you never use it.

On the other side of that, I have once had a job where we all came in and were told that “today is our last day” as in they were closing the doors to the business at the end of that shift and that was it. If you already have your f you fund in place then you don’t have a huge need to panic (yes I realize that you should be eligible to draw unemployment in this scenario, but seriously, who can live off of just unemployment?). There are multiple scenarios where an f you fund is logical. My recommendation as a recruiter is to avoid leaving a job without having one if possible, but if you’re going to leave  without one have a solid case for it and have your f you fund.

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I told you so!

i told you soSometimes I lack a filter and it’s okay, I embrace it mostly. Sometimes my lack of filter gets me in trouble… and that’s okay too. It ultimately means that I learned a lot of lessons the hard way (for example, maybe you shouldn’t call someone at corporate an @$hole in an email to the VP? ehhh… that’s not really a good example because I didn’t really get in trouble for that one. I do however, realize that probably wasn’t my best idea). What I struggle with the most, filter wise, is the “I told you so”. Pretty much my entire adult life has been spent as a recruiter, yet a lot of times my knowledge and abilities are underestimated. For a lot of reasons like I’m a young, adorable female; my experience is mostly in the staffing industry and that industry as a whole is under valued and because I have no filter. I can tell you all day why I’m good at recruiting and I can even teach you how to recruit-the truth is, I know my #@!%, so when someone goes against one of my hiring recommendations the majority of the time I’m going to get an opportunity to say I told you so. I realize this isn’t always the case, I am aware that I am not 100% right. The point isn’t that I rock, the point is that I’ve also learned the hard way to not say I told you so. The recruiter version of me 6 years ago took every opportunity to say I told you so, the recruiter I am now knows better. I can’t expect the [customers] to respect my experience and recommendations if I don’t respect their perspective. I have to step back and look at things from all angles and to think of how I would want the news delivered to me. When I go against a hiring decision I provide the reasons why, all of them, and document them. I also find out as much information as I can as to why they want to hire this particular person and ask do their likes outweigh my dislikes. When a hire goes south we revisit that file and see what I saw and how it relates to where the hire went wrong. I help the customer see what I saw just like they help me sort through the job description and determine what is necessary/important to them and what isn’t in the beginning of the process. You not only have to be able to communicate this information, you have to be able to communicate it across generations and communicate it well.

Some important lessons that I’ve learned from my “I told you so” moments:
-Someone will always be around to also tell YOU “I told you so”
-No one likes a know-it-all
-It’s immature
-It’s not worth it

Your 1st job should suck

My 1st job  (that you read about here) didn’t suck that bad, but it kind of sucked. I had to work with my arch nemesis for starters… on a team…ick. Your first job should teach you teamwork. Teamwork with people you don’t want to be on a team with. Your 1st job should suck because you should work for people who piss you off, but it’s your 1st job so you can’t afford to quit. Your 1st job should teach you patience. Your 1st job should suck because you should have to work harder than you thought you would ever have to. Your 1st job should teach you appreciation. Your 1st job should suck because your parents will get a call at 12:01 when you’re not there yet, ya know because you were scheduled to be there at 12:00. Your 1st job should teach you to be punctual. Your 1st job should suck because you don’t understand the decisions the boss man makes, but you’re not in a place to speak up. Your 1st job should teach you trust.

I believe your first job should suck. You have to work some sucky jobs to appreciate a good job. And you can learn a lot from crappy jobs to apply to good jobs! I know this for a fact! If you haven’t had a crappy job, you’re really missing out on some good lessons and probably not appreciating your good job as much as you could. So go out there and get you a crappy job and learn as much as you can … and then… move on.

The 30 Day Update!

update

We have all had someone in our lives tell us that it is a good idea to keep your resume updated and as HR professionals we have probably given this advice to others, however too often we do not take that advice. I firmly believe in the 30 day update (now). It is much harder to remember all of your AWESOME achievements (say over the last 7 years) than if you were to have just updated your resume every 30 (or at least SIXTY) days. It is also fairly easy to forget how much you’ve grown in your position (again, maybe over the last 7 years?) if you’re not constantly updating.

Sometimes we tell ourselves this silly little line “I’m not really planning on going anywhere so I don’t need to update my resume…” [pffffffft!] While this may be true, what about if an internal job opens up? Won’t you need to submit your resume when you want to be considered for an internal transfer? In most organizations the answer to that is YES.

BUT- I KNOW for a fact that I am not leaving my company. Well, do you have a LinkedIn? Keep it updated. I believe that an up to date resume or LinkedIn profile is good advertising for your company if you truly believe you aren’t going anywhere. Having a document ready that showcases your skills can be an asset to your employer. It could be just the thing they need on hand to win a contract or to set their business apart from a competitor?

But I don’t want to OVER UPDATE my resume. Listen-it’s easier to cut out the unnecessary when it comes time to pull your resume off your jump drive than to add all of the relevant tasks you’ve done over a career. I still think it is important to keep your resume at a reasonable length, so if you are finding that your resume is growing into a novel you should pick the top achievements and cut the other ones into another document for reference down the road if necessary.

I can’t tell you how many times in my recruiting career I’ve talked to someone who said something along the lines of “I haven’t had to do a resume in over 10 years… I don’t even know where to start.” That has to go. Scarily enough, some of those comments have come from HR professionals. We take for granted that we spend a lot of time looking at resumes and critiquing them that we will have no problem doing our own. That is not always the case. Resume writing can just as easily be overwhelming to HR professionals as anyone else.  You never know what is going to happen, your company could close its doors in 60 days, you could get laid off without notice, you could get angry and quit (hey, everyone has a breaking point). The job hunt can be a lot less stressful if you have your resume almost ready to go! Again, I know 30 days sounds kind of often, but you’ve done a lot in the last 30 days. Maybe you just wrapped up an audit. Maybe you just learned a new line of business. Learned to operate a machine you haven’t operated before. Joined a committee. Created an award-winning presentation. Earned a certificate. Do you get the point yet? Now get off my blog and go update your resume!

Changing the Game

Lets just jump right in to opening day since #MarchMadness has become a huge disappointment for me…

How the Oakland A’s perfected the Applicant Tracking System…Remember the 02 season for the Oakland A’s? They finished 1st in the American League West with 103 wins and 59 losses. They were essentially a Cinderella team. Beane was able to produce an unexpected record with an unexpected team on an impossible budget. Often times you hear that necessity is the mother of all invention and that is probably the case here as well. Beane’s predecessor was forced with the task of fielding a competitive roster on a limited budget and turned to sabermetrics for help. He used sabermetrics to measure on-base percentages and target undervalued players. He eventually taught this system to Beane and he continued using it and tweaking it (and still uses it) to maximize a minimal budget and put together teams worthy of winning. The incredible thing about this is that someone had to step out and say “let’s try something different… no more recruiting the way we have just because it’s the way we have always done it…”. Other teams began utilizing this system and it began to change the recruiting of the entire league, not just one team. And hey, a good movie was born through the process somehow too 😉

The point isn’t really that the Oakland A’s decided to use evidence based metrics when assessing players, well.. yeah, that is part of the point. The other part is that someone was willing to change the way of doing things. They were willing to change the way they recruited in hopes to change their organizations output of a finished product. It’s kind of like our ATS that we turn to in HR. A one stop shop that shows us work history, education, skills and all other good to know evidence based info about candidates and employees. At one point, that wasn’t the norm (note: I am too young to know a time when that was not the norm in case you were curious). I did however work for a company that chose to utilize the paper way instead of maximizing the abilities of their ATS many years ago and it was foolish. I can only imagine the fights that sabermetrics brought in comparison to the pushback I got from charging forward on the oh so obvious one stop shop ATS that was being underutilized. What did we find when we started using all the bells and whistles on the ATS? We could suddenly work far more efficiently than we ever imagined. We could get lots of great things done, everything was in one place, everything was easy to get to, easy to measure and easy to assess…Ultimately, we could change the game. We improved our efficiency and overcame the fear of not holding a handwritten application in our hands when assessing candidates.

There will always be room for improvement, but if we aren’t open to change and improvement we will eventually get left behind. If HR professionals allow their organizations to fear change or fear it themselves I can promise you the organization will eventually be outperformed by competitors. What are some changes you are fearing in your organization? What are some changes you are heading in your organization?

"...how much you don't know..."
“…how much you don’t know…”

Entitlements?

On our AL SHRM Hill visit this past week one of our topics we chose to discuss with our Congressmen/women and Senators was Tax Reform. Naturally, we threw in our own opinions on the topic as the day went on and I was disgusted when someone brought up that he couldn’t find any employees because everyone would rather stay on their “entitlements” than work for min wage, 8, 9, or $10/hr. This guy works for a temp service and considering that’s the majority of my background I couldn’t help but size him and his service up as a less than par “temp service”. I’m being judgemental and very cross in my summary, but I think that temp services would rather project that answer to their clients, network, employees and apparently congressmen than take some responsibility for this issue.

I’ll tell you one of my clients in my previous job started the majority of their temps at minimum wage. We were often greeted with sighs and grunts when trying to fill their positions because of the pay. And yes, a lot of times they said it would interfere with their food stamps/unemployment/cma/etc. So we had to start thinking outside of the box. I happen to believe that when “You know better, you do better” and took a shot at informing applicants. Communicating clearly where they could start with this position and where they could end with this position. What the pros and cons were for the programs they were depending on and the pros and cons for taking a position that may interfere with some of these programs. It was more time-consuming on the front end, but gave us far better results in our hiring process, eliminated walk offs and reduced turnover. There were still candidates that turned the positions down, but there were far more that accepted the positions and were able to maximize the opportunity to ultimately better themselves. Why so often do we underestimate the power of communication? #SPEAKUP

its not who you are

The mindset has to change, not just in the temp world, but in HR as a whole. On the hiring project I’m working on now I’ve recently had to send out almost 500 emails to candidates that we have not chosen for a position. I made a case to my employer that when people respond to those emails that we answer their questions. When they want to know why they weren’t chosen, we tell them. As HR we need to capture that opportunity to enhance the candidate pool in our own community. Sometimes people are making mistakes that they don’t even know are mistakes #KnowBetterDoBetter. Of course you still have the ones that will be angry or out to get you and you have to decide what you can pour your efforts into, but I don’t believe HR is only valuable to its current workforce, I believe HR is valuable to its past/present/future workforce and that means we have to offer advice and coaching to people who don’t work within our organization now.

Where are you missing communication? How is your HR team enhancing your community?

Living life down on the [cube] farm.

cube farm

Did you ever want glasses or braces as a little kid? I can remember wanting them even though kids I knew that had them hated them… I kind of have had the same feelings about working in a cubical; I always wanted to even though friends of mine that had hated it. I wondered often how it would be to work in an open environment with cube mates. Would it be like Office Space? Maybe like Two for the Money-you know before Al Pacino moves Matthew McConaughey up. Well I finally had the opportunity to scope out this cube farm life… and just whoa. There are not a lot of cubicles where I am, but there are enough and because we are in a more open environment I have this daily anxiety that I’m disturbing everyone else. I’ve always been able to work/study in loud environments, but I don’t want to disturb others when they are working. My biggest challenge in this setting is not letting others distract me. When you are sitting in an open environment like this for some reason everyone wants to stop and chat. I’m so lucky to have the cubical that is by the entrance to the break room and the entrance into the plant. This means two things, everyone walks by me at some point in the day and if they are going into the plant they STOP and set ALL of their stuff on my desk while they put their hair net, beard net, hard hat, ear plugs, safety goggles and lab coat on. How do I cope with that? I put my ear buds in-even if I have no music going and focus on my computer screen, flash a smile and hope they keep moving. I have no personal items on my desk as I know they would never last with the constant storage my desk has to offer others. With this experience under my belt I cannot help but question who thought cube farms were a good idea? Where is such an environment the best setting for high productivity? Don’t get me wrong, I still get my work done, but some days it’s an extra challenge that I could do without.

How do you stay focused on the cube farm?