Market Me First - The Positive Career and Work Action Plan Market Yourself | Make Money | Be Happy

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Since 2005. Market yourself. Find better work. Make a name. Survive Layoffs. Be successful.


10 Years Later..

So where will the job market be in 10 years?

The pundits are full of themselves predicting huge employment in bioengineering, "green" power production, mobile health care, enviro-tourism, and all the other "Trend of the Week" stuff which keeps consultants and trendspotters in business and on TV.

It is not that I don't agree with many of their job growth assessments, it's just that they never describe the critical piece - how people will find and get those jobs in the new century.

To begin, you have to understand the Old Way and the New Way.

Old Way - want ads in newspapers, job fairs, employment agencies, college recruiters, and personnel offices.

New Way - Online work auctions, permanent contractors, virtual employees/HR/recruitment, free agents/hired guns, flex people, affiliate workers, personal trademarks, insourcing.

Employees in the future will look more like contractors. They will browse online job contracting sites picking work with one day to multi-year contracts. In some cases, prospects will farm their resume to smart applications which will select applicants.

In most cases however, prospects will have personal web sites with RSS feeds to hiring sites announcing their availability and skill sets.

(Contracting at this magnitude will require a new set of tax rules as more employees will be responsible their own insurance and retirement plans.
(Not to mention the affect this will have on government as traditional employee withholding taxes fall proportionately).
The sheer weight of health care, liability, retirement planning, workers compensation and disability insurance will kill the ability of even the most successful companies to plan and provide for their employees.

Combine this with flex people and affiliate workers. These people will be sourced work to their home office or in a shared work space electronically. Based upon their skill set, they will be forwarded work such as product descriptions and documentation, web content like articles and advertisements, and other "e-work". Flex and affiliate workers will contract for the work for a bid amount, perform the work by a deadline and then be paid through electronic payments like PayPal.

Personal trademarks will be more exciting. Programmers, artists and creative types will create work which will be available over the internet only for a fixed or negotiated fee. The work will be personally trademarked and depending upon its demand, could be used once or numerous times by the customer.

Now, before the hate mail arrives, there will be exceptions.
- There will still be manufactories producing completed and partial goods.
- There will still be utilities (imagine the controllers working remotely though).
- There will still be service technicians fixing cars, air conditioners, plumbing and other business and residential equipment.

There will still be a host of other jobs filled and worked by people which cannot be completed electronically or remotely.

However, the 1960's office, complete with desks, typing pools, secretaries and managers is dead.
The massive call center with its headsets, supervisors and cubicles is on its way out.
The multi-thousand person office taking calls, completing contracts, making copies, and having meetings in conference rooms will be a thing of the past.

Prepare for a highly mobile and transient workforce which is hard to define, tax, measure or predict.

Scary? Maybe, if you are afraid of change.
Exciting? Highly.
Coming? Definitely.

Hurry. You only have ten years to get ready.

Good work environment

What is a good work environment? What is a great one?

Often this term is juxtaposed with "happy employees" or "happy at work". Then the parade of experts begins.

- Happiness means good reasonable pay, benefits, and vacation all for "good, steady, secure work" - the all the attributes of a successful bee colony or ant pile.

- Happiness means distractions. Video games, parties, catered food, back rubs. Basically, not a job but a frat house.

- Happiness means lots of money. Oodles of green stuff for everyone. Just show up and we all get rich. The Ponzi Job!

Here is what a good work environment is in one sentence: Everyone wants to be there.

If everyone can't wait to get to work and do what they were hired to do and more, than why bother? There are great companies where nearly every employee feels this way.

The disgruntled and dissatisfied are stopped at the interview process or if they do for some strange reason get inside, are quickly extinguished and sent packing.

Are the people you work with excited and happy about what they are doing? Are you?

Is it time to move and find your happy place?

Technical Marketing Me

For nine years, I was an IT manager for three different Internet companies. At one time, I had as many as 65 people working for me, managed three data centers and juggled three different OS's (Windows, Sun Solaris and Linux).

During my tenure in IT management, I filled a number of technical positions, from telephone/help desk to senior database and system administrators.

I survived a few layoffs and managed to move between several companies and industries successfully.

Because of my experience, I learned quite a bit about working and finding work in the U.S. IT market. Much of what I learned, however, is generally new to many IT workers seeking employment.

I consider this to be my "To Do List" for prospective information technology employees.

1. Network - Nope, not an IP based, but people based. Maintain a network of former and current coworkers, employers, and customers. Include college classmates, technical training classmates, fellow attendees of conferences and user meetings.

Your network is the most critical tool you can build. Maintain contact with members of your network through regular emails, phone calls and lunches.

Don't dig a well when you are thirsty! Start communicating with your network now, not when you are suddenly out of work.

2. Use networking websites - not MySpace, but professional sites like LinkedIn and Ryze. Make sure your profile includes that you are open to new opportunities and projects.

These sites are generally full of business contacts, so good technical people really stand out.

3. Build and maintain a professional blog.

a) Your blog should be about technical and professional aspects of your life only - save your personal politics and thoughts on Warcraft for a personal venue.

b) Write and feature reviews on new products, software, applications and languages based upon your own experience. Edit often and invite others to read and critique your work. Make sure you list your blog on your resume and in your online networking profile (see above).

c) Focus on the content, not your layout prowess or snarky comments. Make your blog (and everything you write) easy to read.

d) A successful blog (i.e. you create it and maintain it) means you are published. Very important in some job openings.

4. Unless you have guaranteed employment for life, a generous trust fund or have won the lottery, always maintain a professional appearance and the accessories which go with it.

This means:

a) Proper dress clothes for interviews and meetings - you can wear your ThinkGeek togs on days off or on the overnight shift.

b) Proper hygiene - Bathed; Hair, nails and facial hair groomed.

5. Learn to communicate effectively. For instance, do you use the terms "like" and "you know" when making explanations - i.e. "The server is, like, you know, is not working"?


6. Meet with customers.

This is difficult for the technical person who consider avoiding customers an art form and attaining hermit-hood a desired social status position.

Look, customers pay your salary indirectly when they buy your company's products or services.

If your customer meets you and are impressed, they may offer you a large sum to come work for them directly. It has happened to me and some of the best people I have worked with. Meet with customers soon and often.

7. If your company does not provide you with a business card, have your own made at any printer.

Make sure your card includes your name and contact information. Include a technical title such as "Senior Systems Administrator" or "Senior Oracle Consultant". Hand your cards out freely, especially to business contacts.

8. Maintain your resume.

Not on Monster or Dice but in real time. Keep it on your home and work PC (if possible), your PDA/Phone and on a personal website or two.

Never, ever, ever, hand out a URL when asked for your resume. Have a properly formatted and suitable resume available at all times.

9. Stay current.

On current technology. What your boss will ask you about at your next meeting. What business runs on. I cannot stress how important this is. You will be judged upon the technical buzzwords and jargon the CIO or CEO have picked up and quiz you about. Be ready.

10. You are not Kevin Rose or Philip J. Kaplan and until you are, you don't get to be an eccentric or curmudgeon.

10.5. A final thought.

Online job searches are fine and dandy. As I have written before, it makes you feel like working when you are clicking on those job descriptions and blindly submitting your resume.

The reality is every time you email your resume in response to an online want ad you are devaluing your personal worth. Further, online job applications rarely work.

Personal networking always works.


Stay or Go?

Columnist David Bach makes five valid points about the job you have and love to hate. Check it out.

Have an Ipod?


Relocate? No way! Why?

Here's the deal: You got pink slipped. Hey, it's not your fault. The company is cutting headcount, closing its doors, moving. It was out of your hands.

Your job search however has turned up nothing where you live. In fact, the unemployment rate where you live is higher than neighboring towns or states.

So what do you do?

At this point you have a few choices.

1) Do nothing. Maybe something will work out. In the meantime you can live off your severance, savings, refinance your home and max out your credit cards.

2) Change careers. Maybe there is availability in something you had never considered.

3) Work one place and live another. For instance, fly/drive a significant distance every Monday to your place of employment and return home on Friday (or Thursday if your boss is really nice).

4) Move entirely.

Point 4 is where we run into trouble. Too many don't want to move under any circumstance. Sometimes the reasons are good - children in school, a sick relative to care for, spouse's job...

But all to often, the reasons sound more like this:

- "My old job will come back. I want to be here when it does."

- "I was born here. I don't want to live anywhere else. All my friends are here."

- "Somebody should create more work here. The government should do something about this."

- "Move where? The rest of the country is not for me. How do I know the jobs won't disappear there either?"

If this sounds like you, please consider what you are saying and thinking.

You know your job is gone. And it is gone forever. Nobody is going to reopen that plant, or office and rehire all the former employees.

Further, if you don't work soon, you will have nothing left to call your own.

Sometimes it is hard to let go, but it is worse to be forced out.

Relocation is not the end of the world. Consider it an extended vacation from home.

You are going somewhere for a few years until you get back on your feet. And one things turn around, you can return - a happier and more mature person. Your home town will still be waiting for you. Perhaps after being away, you may not want to return!

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Compensation and salaries

What are you worth? A million dollars I am sure!

Salaries may rise and fall, but there are some simple rules which I have devised over the years.

1. As you get older, your overall compensation should increase.

2. As you move from one position to another, your compensation should increase.

3. If you lose your job unexpectedly, you may have to accept a lower paying job in the short term, but make sure it is temporary.

4. Titles do not make up for compensation. It is better to be a manager making 60K a year versus a vice president making 40K a year.

5. Rule 5 is negated if your compensation package includes equity/stock/commission in the company - you can make up for the difference.

6. If your occupation, industry or geographical area "tops out" at a certain compensation level, be assured, your pay will be at or below that number.

7. Ignore the overall economy; there are people making millions during recessions and others out of work during boom years.

8. Move with the money. If your chosen profession pays more elsewhere, know why; and be willing to go where the money is.

9. Your current salary determines how much you will make at your next company.

10. Two salaries are better than one.

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Pay your debts

Who do you owe? Who do you owe a debt of gratitude to?

Everyone owes someone something.

Who was the coach who helped you land that big position? Did you thank him or her? How?

How about that teacher who helped you understand and learn? Teachers are not only in school, but can also be found in the workplace. What about a certain manager, supervisor or team lead?

What about the manager who gambled on you? Or the sales director who let you carry the bag?

Have you thanked your parents? Your family? Your spouse? You children?

Who do you owe? What have you done for them?


At my last position, my next cubicle neighbor was a Music Head. That is, someone who cannot function without his tunes.

He brought a boom box to work his second day on the job. He carefully set it up in his cubicle, turned it on and went about his day.

He never turned the volume up high, but being in such close proximity, I was able to come to know his various tastes in music. Metal one day, hip hop the next.

Music Head never sang along, he just played his music and worked.

The problem? Broadcast. Suppose I was as helpless without my music? Would the volume of my music cause his to increase and thereby eventually disrupt the whole office? Further, who asked to hear his music?

The solution? Why didn't this guy adapt and play MP3's on his computer with a headset? Why had he not purchased an MP3 player like normal people in the 21st century?

Nevertheless, Music Head did not last long. He was a contractor, so he finished his work and moved on. And took his boom box with him.

Think about this at your current position. Swap out music with something else you bring to work; your perfume, your lunch, etc.

What are you saying to your cubicle neighbors about yourself?

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Update or perish

I was in a training class many years ago. Among the students was an older gentleman who was updating his skills for his technical job.

Although the gentleman was obviously intelligent, he spent most of the class interrupting the instructor pointing out the flaws in their product and constantly comparing it to his older, end-of-life product.

We hear this type of complaint frequently; how good such and such was compared to today's product, version or release.

Think about this: Does your company or organization have an opening for "Difficult candidate needed who dislikes change and complains constantly"? Nope, not likely.

Evolution is not about the strong surviving, but about those who adapt to change best.

Do you adapt? Are you willing to?


New airline rules - so what happens next?

Not a Marketing Me, but a marketing exercise for others.

What happens to the proprietors of the convenience shops at the airport? Who is going to buy all those Cokes, Evians and Rockstars?

Sure, some people purchase and drink in the terminal, but what about the segment which was used to bringing their own on board?

I fly a lot. I (used) to always carry two bottles of water on board (I can't stand getting bottled water over ice, defeats the purpose). Now I have to wait until I am on the plane and take what they are serving?

With all the cutbacks on airlines, which airline will start charging for bottled water and increase the profit margin per seat?

Before, we still got to bring our shoes on board. What next? Fly naked? Or in airline issued coveralls? Luggage delivered by FedEx from the airport?

Extreme Me Marketing

You can "sell" yourself; your talents, skills and knowledge, etc. But "rent yourself"?
Maybe this guy is on to something?

In the InBox

Recently received in the email inbox.


I came across your blog and read through it what a load of krap. just another blog promoting the slave culture of the corporaite world with the false silver linin of success. Puh-leez!

I work in and office. I put in EXACTLY 40 hours a week. Our forefathers fought for equal pay for an equal day's work. If MY supervisor wants me to work ONE MINUTE extra, they had better be ready with time and a half overtime pay.want me to wear an pager or cell phone? better be ready with that EXTRA PAY for EXTRA WORK bossman!

When I leave the office I LEAVE WORK! You want me to even THINK about work? Cha-ching! Open up that cash register!

You are fooling yourself thinking this stuff works. Good luck sucker!

First off, I never encourage anyone to work uncompensated. That's stupid. Check my past posts.

Our mission at Marketing Me is for anyone who works or wants to work, paid or volunteer, public or private sector, to a)be the best they can be at whatever they choose to do and b)constantly network and stay in contact with their network for the best new opportunities.

If you are happy in your office job, then keep up the good work and enjoy life. However, be aware, be constantly aware of whether or not you are truly happy where you are, whether the powers that be are truly happy with you and whether or not you are truly where you want to be.

Otherwise, good luck and keep sending in those emails.

P.S. I have to check my history of the American Revolution about that equal pay thing; I thought it was about freedom and liberty. Oh well.

You are a product

In work -

You are a product - please don't be offended.

You are also a consumer.

You are also a cost center.

You can be a liability - (don't let that happen!).

You can be an innovator.

You can also be a leader.

You can also be a designer.

You can also be an agent of change.

What are you?

You may not be appreciated where you are, but where will you go next?


So, how are you sleeping?

Try this tonight.

Get to bed early tonight. Before falling asleep:

Say thanks for what you have.
Decide what you are going to focus on in the morning.
Make plans to do something good.
Repeat your goal for the next day.
Promise to remain optimistic and hopeful and undefeated.
Repeat until you fall asleep.

Guess what?

You will sleep better and wake up feeling alert and refreshed.

You will not wake up in the middle of the night worried or uncertain.

Try it tonight. What do you have to lose? Sleep?

Looking busy

Years ago, I was laid off from a company I had been with for 9 years. For the first time in my life, I was out on the street unexpectedly without a plan.

So I did what everyone else did:

I started every morning by searching all the job openings on the job boards and submitting my resume to every single one.

I then checked my email hoping to find an interview invitation or an offer letter.

To make matters more interesting, I scheduled interviews with recruiters - often for job openings with 500 other applicants.

One day I had a meeting with an executive. As we sat in his office, he asked me to describe my typical day now that I had been out of work for the past few months.

I ran through the above schedule and he laughed. "You spend all day long clicking on jobs and sending in your resume. I guess that makes you feel like you're working or something, huh?".

It opened my eyes.

I thanked the man for his time and went home. I opened up my email and pulled the contact information for every person I had ever done business with or worked for in the past 10 years. Customers, vendors, former bosses, friends and antagonists alike.

I wrote each one and asked for their advice. "You know me, where should I look? What is a good industry right now? What companies need someone like me?"

The result was amazing. I had a new job in 1 week.

If you are looking for work or looking for a change, quit poking on job ads and spitting your resume down the drain. Contact your network and start asking questions.

And for goodness sake, quit trying to look busy!


AdSense Drawbacks

Like a lot of people, I use AdSense - it's easy to implement. And like almost everyone else, I don't make a dime off of it.

By sticking little ads on my website it make me feel that I have a real website.

I imagine legions of loyal readers dutifully clicking 6.5% of the time on a little ad carefully and thoughtfully placed on my blog by Google.

I imagine checks emblazoned with the Google logo showing up once a week in my mailbox with 3 and 4 figure checks enclosed.

In the end, AdSense is great for Google and not so great for me.

Google has competition now. New companies are going to work harder and more creatively to snag some of Google's business. Check out AdBrite, for instance.

In the end, the current format of AdSense will seem a lot like banner ads in the late 90's - people got sick of X10 ads and Gator popups and the market changed. The same will happen to Google's product as well.


Prepare for the best

For years we have heard, "Hope for the best, but prepare for the worse".

Thus, the insurance industry has been making trillions on this very precept; things will eventually go bad, so get ready.

In the course of our career planning, we find ourselves committed to the same idea; that eventually our companies/skills/ideas will go south and out with the trash we go.

Further, the cynic in our heads tells us "..despite all your little plans and mbas and networking, someone else will get what you want.. not you.."

And so we prepare for failure. "How To Break Bad News To Your Spouse and Family 101" sits atop our required reading list.

What a shame.

The successful prepare for success.

They plan their actions, measure their steps and learn from their setbacks. All the while, they know deep down and believe they will succeed.

Sure, there will be mistakes, failures, and wrong turns. In the end however, there will be victory. There will be success because they desire it and believe it and are willing to work hard to achieve it.

Prepare for success today and stop preparing for failure. Your life depends upon it.

Go for it.


On being an author

Seth Godin as usual puts out another great list. This time on successful book writing. Godin should know, he has written a few himself - see below.

Unfortunately, he stopped at 19.

20. Read books. Read the best sellers and the not so best. Why? What do authors do right and wrong?

21. Write to questions. Self help, technology, doing business in China.. new ideas which pose questions. Write answer books.

22. Re-write. Every good book was rewritten a dozen times before it saw the light of day. Originally, Harry Potter was a girl and Hogwarts was in Spain. Just kidding.

23. Love criticism. From your spouse, friends, family, enemies, etc. about your writing. It only makes you better.

24. Don't spend the money, yet. Most authors make very little from their book sales. Unless you are the next Stephen King, you are writing for love, satisfaction and a tiny amount of notoriety.

25. Practice. Write articles, blogs, letters.

And now...

The Ultimate Seth Godin Required Reading Book List. These are my three favorites.

Best of Seth Godin

Purple Cow - build different and win.
Survival Is Not Enough - Only success is. Good is the enemy of Great.
Permission Marketing - Don't interrupt any longer. Build lists of customers.
(Wait! There's four!) Free Prize Inside - Give extra value and wow your customers.



SUNK - Single, Urban, No Kids.
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