Katie Hnida, a 1999 placekicker for the University of Colorado
Hat tip to Kathy, who alerted me today of the Salon.com article,
She works too hard for the money: The authors of Womenomics challenge professional women to say no to overly demanding jobs — even in a recession.
We are in tough times indeed. Jobs are scarce. Unemployment is more common, and potentially more devastating, than ever. Folks already at a career disadvantage (mothers returning to the work force, for instance) are at a greater disadvantage than ever, too.
And along with the increase in unemployment is an growing deluge of career advice.
How should a person navigate these ever-deepening waters? At the risk of adding to the flood, Almostgotit would like to propose that
Take the Harvard-Business-School-Approved“Best alternative to negotiated agreement (BATNA)” approach, for instance. What if you really don’t *have* a great alternative plan, nor the confidence to act as if you do? What if you are, as increasing numbers of us are, so depleted by fighting a series of losing battles that your ability to follow — or benefit from – ANY standard plan of action has all but vanished?
Do you then settle for the idea (whether objectively true or not) that you have no other choice but to accept a low-paying or otherwise exploitive job, thus feeling like even more of a failure?
Perhaps a change of metaphor is called for here, instead, (or a “reframing,” if you prefer cognitive psychology talk.)
For many women, this may mean acting more like the stereotypical ballsy male. According to many of my own career advice books, sports metaphors are very popular with men. Perhaps they should be more so with women, too… especially in what is still a male-dominated workforce. Why not try it and see if it works better than drumming up a demoralizing “Plan B”?
Well-behaved women seldom make history.
- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Professor of History, Harvard University
Imagine you are the star quarterback. If that feels too arrogant, Get Over It! When it comes to furthering your own career, you SHOULD consider yourself a star, so that you can also present yourself as such.
If you are a woman, imagine that you are the most badass, muscular female quarterback ever to hit the pros, and that you’ve made it all the way to the Super Bowl!
You are on the verge of winning it all!
And here’s the thing: star quarterbacks play to win. They intentionally don’t HAVE an alternative plan.
Can you imagine a coach telling his team before the Super Bowl that they should play hard but also be prepared to lose? And what if the coach also insists on a time out so he can tell your team how long the odds are, not because he expects you to beat those odds but because he insists that you all be prepared to graciously concede the game to the stronger team?
Would a badass star quarterback on the verge of winning the Super Bowl really put “Being a Good Sport” at the top of her agenda?
And would she still want to play for such a coach?
If imagining yourself as a star quarterback is not a helpful metaphor for you, then by all means throw it out.
But if it resonates at all, then you might want to consider: what are your friends, colleagues, coaches, and even family members telling you about your own merits and abilities? Are they supportive, or are they really counseling you to lose?
As if you needed any more discouragement, come on now!!
Play to win. Men play that way, and so should you.
HEAD COACH – FOOTBALL-Men’s Athletics- Pay Grade 45, DOE&Q, Extensive experience as a Professional or Collegiate Division I football coach. Knowledge of NCAA rules and regulations. Possesses extensive experience in collegiate athletic recruiting. Ability to interact with the public and at necessary functions to promote good public relations for the football program. Highest degree of honesty and integrity in dealing with student-athletes, coaches, media, public and administration. Knowledge of SEC and University rules and regulations. Extensive ability to recruit student-football athletes and ability to maintain knowledge of applicable NCAA and SEC rules and regulations. Interested candidates should contact Neinas Sports Services, 6630 Gupark Drive, Suite 200, Boulder, Colorado 80301. (303) 530-5566. Fax: (303) 530-5371.
Is it possible that Tennessee’s athletic program is finally sharing the pain of the state’s massive budget cuts?
While there are hundreds of people at UT, mostly women, who are still willing to work full-time for considerably less than $20,000 per year, I somehow doubt the Vols are going to replace Phil Fulmer for an insulting $45K.
But maybe the athletic department is plumb out of money following the $6-7 MILLION buyout for ousting Fulmer – and maybe the rest of UT won’t lend it to them this time, either, after footing the bill for the previous enormous buyout for the previously-ousted football coach.
Or maybe this ad is a pro-forma piece of HR gobbledegook which isn’t fooling anyone.
Dear Assistant Dean of Fun Stuff,
Thank you so very much for meeting with me last week and introducing me to a few of your partners in crime. What a great group. While we won’t be coming to Utah after all (TITSNOB actually pulled out a decent counter offer for my dh– the rats) I wanted to let you know how exciting it was to get a glimpse of the many possibilities for *me* that are there. I wish you every success and fully expect to see your campus innovations written up in The Chronicle very soon.
With all good wishes,
Almostgotit – it was so fun to meet you, even briefly. And I’m so sorry you won’t be coming here; we were all beginning to get excited about the possibilities, both for the XX Center and for other efforts on campus we could drag you into
Very best of luck there at TITSNOB!
Assistant Dean of Fun Stuff
Dear Unit Supervisor at TITSNOB
with the crappy job on offer,
Thank you for your kind email. Yes, I would very much appreciate a meeting with you about the job in your unit
that I have no intention of taking, and if you could get TITSNOB Hiring Big Cheese in the room too as you’ve suggested, that would be grand. I’d be willing to come by at your convenience, including this afternoon if you are still available.
Dear TITSNOB Hiring Big Cheese,
Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with Unit Supervisor and me today. It was a pleasure to finally meet you
after you’ve already rejected so many of my applications.
attention input was very helpful, and I especially appreciated your flattery frankness. I agree with you that the particular vacancy we were discussing would be a total travesty probably isn’t a good fit for me right now, and appreciate your offer to consider me for future TITSNOB positions that may be much better jobs more suitable. If I get a sex-change operation, will you marry me?!?! Attached is another copy of my resume: I’m also grateful for your offer to circulate it.
Thanking you again,
Both Republicans (situationally) and Democrats (legislatively) believe in forcing people to do the right thing.
Maybe there are few definitive solutions at all.
Maybe most of us are getting poorer.
Maybe that will break our hearts.
Or maybe that will force us to discover how to love what we do, instead.
So says David Rendall in his online manifesto, The Freak Factor: Discovering Uniqueness by Flaunting Weakness.
How do I love this man? Let me count the ways.
Ask A Manager wrote a nice post about rejection letters yesterday, and gives several examples of truly stupid ways that rejected applicants respond to them.
I still don’t like emailed rejection letters, though, and here’s why.
Email feels hasty and is too provocative
An email is too sudden and surprising. It even raises my hopes up, just a minute, when I first see it in my inbox… a request for more information, perhaps? The memo-like nature of email lacks a certain sense of closure, too. If it says “no,” is that REALLY their final answer??
Email also is more provocative than a letter, and therefore much more likely to invite a response from the recipient. As AAM points out, this is rarely a good thing.
Email shows how cheap you are
The cost of postage and paper may be rising, but it’s foolish to quibble over 45 cents when your company’s public image is on the line. Nor does it require much more staff time to use mail-merge to semi-personalize a form letter than it does to correctly enter a bunch of email addresses.
Job searches cost money, and they should. They are one of the most important thing any organization does. The real cost of job searches are retraining costs, particularly if a company did a poor job of hiring and retaining good employees to begin with. Appearances matter here, so don’t make your company look like it can’t even afford stamps, let alone decent salaries for its employees.
Email feels disrespectful
I am never hasty, cheap, or disrespectful when I apply for a job, and I think I deserve at least a tiny bit of time in return for my own investment. You asked for my application, after all, and your rejection is painful enough.
Bridges can burn in either direction: “Employ” is a transitive verb
I’ve been beating this point half to death lately, but I need to make it one more time. Ann Bares at Compensation Force has made it even better than I by pointing out that it is not the bad employees but the good ones who will leave a company if they are unhappy. The costs of a poorly-run job search will only multiply. To keep good employees, you need to attract them in the first place.
Word gets out. Just as employers and recruiters share information with each other, you can be sure that employees and job applicants do as well.
At least the best ones do, and those are the ones you want. Right?
I am willing to concede a few exceptions to my no-email rule. Among them:
Please send me a letter. I want to see it and touch it. I will know what it is right away, but I want to be able to decide when to open it, and how to digest it.
And then I want to be able to crumple it up with great flourish and throw it away.
Employers: It’s Your Turn to be Fabulous
Un-Fabulous Employers: Asking for Too Much Upfront
Blind Box Ads: Bad-Ass, or just Bad?
I’ve developed a pretty keen sense of smell in my old age, and it’s nearly always “right on the nose.” Last year I turned down a management job at one company just months before the entire company went under; seven months ago I resigned my directorship of another and have watched them lose acres of ground since — as I’d warned them they would. Nor have the latter found anyone willing to be my replacement.
Many years ago, I ignored an “icky” smell at another job, until I had to leave that position when we moved to Canada. I later found out that my boss had sexually assaulted my predecessor.
My nose knows.
I don’t really want the news my nose is bringing me now, because it’s making me too picky. I need a job. I could persevere and take one of these stinky jobs anyway, but I already know the likely outcome: been there, done that. So for now, I’m sticking with the schnozz.
More articles from the ongoing “First 90 Days” series on CareerJournal.com, and how I do love them!
90 Days: Successful Summer Internships
How timely! Internships are more popular than ever among college students. And landing the perfect one is just the beginning. Here’s how to make the most of your summer internship.
90 Days: Mixing Work and School Requires Planning
I’ve been thinking of this one: whether returning to school to move up at work or to make a career change, being a working student can be intense. Here are some ways to smooth the transition.
90 Days: After a Problem at Work
No matter how careful you are, at some point in your career, you or your subordinates are likely to mess up. Except for me, of course. In any case, what can prove more important than the actual mistake is how you and your staff react. Here are some tips for recovering after a misstep at work.
Other articles in the “First 90 Days Series”:
The First 90 Days: Strategic Career Planning 7 terrific “First 90 Days” topics
The First 90 Days: More on Career (or Life) Planning And here are 7 more!
Many thanks to ALL the folks who responded to my post yesterday! I appreciated every comment you posted. Additionally, Deb replied to me on her blog, 8 hours & a lunch, as did Ann over at Compensation Force, . Ann made the good point that it’s a buyer’s market out there, so (of course) job seekers like me have to hustle.
I agree: yes we do. But.
Recruiters may feel justified in abusing potential employees, given the current job market. If they do, they are making a mistake, and their organizations will suffer for it as much as any individual employee ever will. Which is my whole point.
Also, I am not making this up: employers really are employing more bad hiring tricks than I’ve ever seen before. At the very least, they give me pause, and in some cases have kept me from applying altogether. Nor am I the only one.
And who knows? One of us might have been the player who turned your company into Microsoft.
“Employee needed. No Calls Please! Send application to P.O. Box ###.”
One last gripe: blind box ads like these that proliferate in the paper. No employer or company name is listed, no contact information (other than a post office box) is provided. And I’m supposed to respond with full personal detail in return? No f-ing way.
Now I have to confess something. I interviewed last week with an organization that had posted a blind box advertisement. I’d seen the ad and had already ruled it out, when a person in my network called me about the same job. I submitted my resume and got an interview, but it wasn’t a good fit, and I think both sides figured this out in short order.
But I still have no idea why this particular organization, looking for a PR person no less, was afraid to list its own name in public. Two reasons employers may choose blind ads are (a) to covertly oust a current employee or (b) to hide their hiring activities from competing employers. Do you want to work for a company that may fire and hire this way? Do you want to work for an organization that may be trying to underbid its competitor for your paycheck? The listed job may even be your own!
I still have no intention of responding blindly to blind box ads in future. There remain some intriguing work-arounds, however, which I may try next time a blind box ad catches my eye. I do like learning how to play a player! And if this is a new game, I am going to have to learn how to play it, albeit on terms I can also live with.
I’ll keep trying to be fabulous.
It’s just that I haven’t seen a whole lot of “fabulous” coming from employers these days, and damitol, can’t it be someone else’s turn to be fabulous for a change?