Hire of the Week: Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford

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What does it mean to get your hands dirty for your job?

Take congressman Hartford as an example. He worked a day as a UPS worker to get a feel for the average laborer.

Yes, we know a (sizable) motivation behind the stint was to get favorable press coverage. But now Hartford actually has substance behind his representation: he’s experienced minimum wage work while most other politicians haven’t.

The same goes for a sales rep. Trying out your client’s job–called “shadowing”–gives your pitch real substance. After all, you’ve done what they’ve done, so you must know what’s best for them.

 

 

 

In a Creative Field? Let Your Resume Reflect it

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Uncle David has gotten every job he has ever gone for, so when he gives job-hunting advice, you better listen up. Join us every week for Uncle David’s 100% Successful Job Hunting Tip. 

SHOW DATE: FEBRUARY 26, 2014

Your resume needs to reflect who your are, your skill sets and the type of job you’re going for.

If you’re a designer or in some other creative field and your resume is the humdrum list of qualifications, you’re not showing the employer who you are or what you’re capable of.

You should be using various fonts, white space and negative space, and actually let the resume be a piece of design that reflects your aesthetic.

If you’re in the run-of-the-mill corporate setting, ease off on trying too hard to stand out from others. Otherwise you just look like the song-and-dance salesman who just overdoes it.

While we’re on the subject of getting the job you want, check out this excellent list of tips for scoring your dream job by Rachel Zarrell from Buzzfeed.

GETTING CONTROL-HUNGRY? YOUR BUSINESS WILL FAIL

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SHOW DATE: FEBRUARY 26, 2014

Whatever industry you’re in, let your co-workers do their job.

OK, that sounds like pretty humdrum advice, but you wouldn’t believe how many companies stagnate because control-hungry employees won’t let their co-workers do what they specialize in.

Let’s say you’re the computer guy and you did all the tech work necessary to launch a business and attract customers. We can’t tell you how many techies told us their businesses failed because they wouldn’t let their marketing people do their job. They’d hoard responsibilities just to get some control over what they established.

This led only to ruin. This is why you have experts working alongside you: so you can focus on getting done what you do best.

Let go. The more you try to control everything, the more it slips through your fingers. AKA the more you resist, the more it persists.

Just let the experts do their job.

IS COLLEGE WORTH IT? GOOGLE’S BOCK SAYS NOT REALLY–WE SAY BS

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SHOW DATE: FEBRUARY 26, 2014

We were reading a Thomas L. Friedman opinion article yesterday in the New York Times regarding the shocking statistic Google’s Senior VP for People Operations Laszlo Bock threw out about their employee pool: Google has teams where 14% of the group doesn’t have a college degree.

Bock said that college degrees aren’t necessarily vital for getting a job. We say that’s bullshit.

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We get what Bock’s saying about putting technical skill over an official document.

At the end of the day, though, you have to understand the breadth of the world, the history of World War II, how to speak another language and what to make of Leaves of Grass to bring that creativity to the workplace.

No matter what happens in life, you’ll have an easier time transitioning from job to job with a college degree.

We can’t tell you how many people have written Auntie Evan about Bock’s comments. What most of us have come to believe is that having a college degree is a $200,000 expense that doesn’t serve anybody.

It’s a big commitment, we get it. There’s a multitude of ways to tackle the money problem from a financial aid standpoint, but that’s another article entirely.

Thing is, Auntie Evan can spot a person without a college degree a mile away. Do you need to have a degree to be in sales? Of course not. But when you’re sitting across from a marketing major and they’re talking about Sophocles or they’re reading the paper about a problem with the whip (a political party’s assistant leader), and you’ve never taken a class on ancient playwrights or political science, it shows in your presentation.

How is a political science degree going to help you sell a house? If you can’t be dynamic, on your feet and ready to adapt to any subject or conversation on a sales job in order to better connect with your potential customer, you’re going to fall behind as a salesman. Or as anyone else, for that matter.

This is not true for everybody, of course. We’re just saying having a college degree is going to bump you up in any job you’re going to take on.

On the Flip Side…

You may not need to have a degree. Are we contradicting ourselves? No. We want to look at the flip side and assess for whom a college degree is unnecessary.

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College made Uncle David’s entire life. Yet, he understands that college, for many people, is a drain on their finances, their resources and their life.

What got Uncle David excited about the Bock interview was that Google doesn’t look at GPAs and standardized test score exclusively anymore; they look at leadership, humility, flexibility—they’d rather have somebody on their job who’s a flexible thinker and who can adapt to changing circumstances than somebody with a high GPA.

Back to heads

Now, granted that some positions don’t exclusively look at your diploma, let’s get back to a real world example: Tom, one of our star essay coaches at Forster-Thomas, got a degree in theater and later in film and went on to be in the television. He didn’t necessarily need his degree, but when he was out of a job he came to Forster-Thomas and excelled—he was able to think laterally on his feet and came to us with a stack of innovative ideas and potential products for the company.

We say it’s his liberal arts degree that helped him bring so many new ideas to the table. It’s the same story with our office manager, Roberto. He knows how to speak to people, how to sell, how to present in front of a room full of clients—and it’s thanks to his theater degree.

Our conclusion? Don’t go for the dropout life. Take the high road and become a better employee in the process.

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If you decide to go the path of college-less digital vagabond-ism, here is more info about Enstitute, where entrepreneurs (most of whom didn’t get a college degree) are apprenticed by mentors as they work together to get their startups in full gear.

 

 

Job Talk Daily Live – Feb 19, 2014

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Joke of the Year – I’m in charge!

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I’m in charge!

All the organs of the body were having a meeting, trying to decide who was in charge. “I should be in charge”, said the brain, “because I run all the body’s systems, so without me nothing would happen”.

“I should be in charge”, said the blood, “because I circulate oxygen all over, so without me you’d all waste away”.

“I should be in charge”, said the stomach, “because I process food and give all of you energy”.

“I should be in charge”, said the rectum, “because I’m responsible for waste removal”.

All the other body parts laughed at the rectum and insulted him, so in a huff, he shut down tight.

Within a few days, the brain had a terrible headache, the stomach was bloated, and the blood was toxic.

Eventually the other organs gave in. They all agreed that the rectum should be the boss.

The moral of the story?

You don’t have to be smart or important to be in charge … just an asshole.

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Why Coming Out At Work is So Important

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The other day on “Job Talk,” Uncle David told a story about coming out during a final job interview in the 90s during the Internet boom. The company was called Deja.com and the job was to basically be the automobile section editor. If memory serves, the site did something like rate and rank products—like Consumer Reports. Needless to say, it was a very testosterone-driven environment. Though it was based in New York City, this was still pre-partner privileges and pre-gay marriage—and boys will be boys, be it in TriBeCa, Tinseltown, or in Texas circa now.

On air, David told me how scared he was when I demanded that he go in and require domestic partner benefits—like health insurance—for me.

While I might have had right on my side, he had fear ripping through his. I never knew it at the time. Why? Because I don’t have my own “coming out at work” story. Why? Have ya met me?! At the risk of stereotyping myself, I am by all standards a little cliché—three snaps up and all.

So everywhere I ever worked, one of two things was true: You either just knew, or you were a moron. On the other hand, unless Uncle David is going on and on about Night of a Thousand Stevies or American Horror Story: Coven (both involving his beloved Welsh Witch Stevie Nicks), he can pretty much pass for straight. (He fooled his ex-girlfriend—for years, that beotch. #IWillCutHer.)

But being able to “pass” didn’t help him, his team at Deja, or later at Individual Investor magazine. I feel horrible that he was scared, but being the elegant, powerful man that he is, he looked across the radio booth at me and said “Thank you. Thank you for pushing me to come out at work, whatever the reason.” He went on to say that in that moment during the interview, everything shifted—for him. Turned out, the boss didn’t care and, in the years that followed, he would often ask David about me… just like any co-worker might ask about a wife.

What a shock! Gays are people too. And everyone needs to be able to share a little bit of the personal during the professional. After all, work and life collide. It’s just that simple. Mixing the personal and the professional makes for better teams, coworkers, and companies. It makes the bottom line better for everyone.  Even me. Uncle David got promotion after promotion, recommendation after recommendation, and went to the next job out and proud. (And he bought me a condo in Brooklyn.)

Here are some reasons why it’s so important to come out at work:

  1. Honesty is the best policy. One lie just leads to three. How long can you keep coming up with reasons not to be fixed up with the boss’s niece when you’re currently dating his nephew? How do you keep that story together? And why are you and Paul constantly hanging out on the weekends? Why did you both show up at the rodeo together—without dates? What a tangled web we weave, etc., Shakespeare quote yadayada. It’s just tiring. Isn’t your job hard enough? Do you really need to moonlight as a different person?
  2. Worry time eats up work time. If you’re worried, you can’t do your job well. As Wayne Dyer said: “…The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized.” (Who’s Wayne Dyer? I don’t know, but thank you Google.) Whoever he is, his words ring true.
  3. When you come out, everybody comes out. About everything. There will be a giant sigh of relief among your coworkers, your project team, the boss. And then everyone can get out of your business and attend to the business of doing business. That means mo’ money fo’ everyone.
  4. The life you save may not be your own. One of your coworkers is struggling with this too. It may even be your boss. Yes, just like NFL football players, bosses are gay people too. And what if your coming out meant your boss had someone he or she could talk to? Now who’s getting promoted? Jews keep it in the family, so do Asians, so do African-Americans—why not LGBTI? #sorrynotsorry

I get it. It’s not New York City everywhere—not even in NYC. And not everyone’s gonna be okay with it. You might be living in Baytown, Texas, where Uncle David grew up—and you might be a middle-school teacher in a very Christian world where being gay is something that can be “cured.” (Homophobia is far from over.) I know you’re afraid you’re going to get fired. And that’s a real concern. But that’s when bravery comes into this picture. There’s a little boy or girl in that class or in your town who needs you to be brave so that they don’t end up as the one in five teens who commit suicide because he’s gay (or has a brother who’s gay). You might have just given rise to the next Michael Sam—especially in Texas.

#everyonealreadyknows

– Auntie Evan

Follow Auntie Evan on Twitter: @AuntieEvanSays

Hear Auntie Evan on the radio: Job Talk Daily Live 

FIRE/HIRE OF THE WEEK: COPENHAGEN ZOO DIRECTOR BENGT HOLST

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Every week, Auntie Evan and Uncle David scour the news to find a Hire or Fire of the Week. Hires display impeccable aplomb and go above and beyond what they’re expected to do on the job. Fires do the opposite. Tune in every week to see who’s getting Hired or Fired next.

SHOW DATE: FEBRUARY 12, 2014

Our hire and fire of the week is Bengt Holst, Copenhagen Zoo director, who allowed the autopsy of a giraffe in front of a live audience, subsequently feeding the remains to the zoo’s lions.

Naturally, animal rights groups went ballistic and Holt was showered with death threats.

He responded by claiming that if it was a pig, nobody would have lifted an eyebrow.

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But it wasn’t a pig. Holst didn’t think through how others would perceive the autopsy, and, as a consequence, his job (and technically his life) is now threatened. You have to consider how others will perceive your actions on the job before you act on them.

Truth be told, Holst is also our hire of the week.

The display was meant to show children the more visceral and non-Disney side of nature. He put real-world education above the threat of controversy.

Sometimes taking risks on the job under the threat of scrutiny will make you stand out from tepid co-workers who always play it safe. But there’s a thin line between smart risks and getting fired.