There’s good news for those of us who think we can’t sell. The salesman as we have known him is becoming extinct.
The unprecedented access to information that is available at our fingertips on the Internet and elsewhere is causing his habitat of hype, bravado, and manipulation to shrink, and soon he will disappear.
He’s met his match—the educated consumer.
Every summer at the Nauset Regional School here in Eastham, Massachusetts, the Cape Cod Institute hosts a number of important thought leaders in the fields of psychology and organizational development.
When I moved here seven years ago, I didn’t know that this exciting educational venue even existed, much less that it would turn out to be almost in my back yard, even closer than the beach!
Although the dream of finding and holding on the right job with the right company and never having to look for work again is still alive, there’s an increasing number of people who need look no farther than the contrast between their own and their parents’ employment histories to see that it is more myth than reality.
They have learned the hard way that security is no longer tied to a single company, no matter how impressive its corporate headquarters, stock price, or benefit package.
I was catching up with a dear friend, talking about all that had happened in her life since she was laid off from a company where she’d worked for many years. Although she had been restless long before the layoff, she had postponed taking action (despite my urging), hoping that seniority, a track record of glowing reviews, and being well-liked in the company would allow her to hang on for a few more years, long enough to cross the retirement “finish line.”
Today, as we all know, work comes in two basic varieties. It may be a conventional employment arrangement, traditionally known as a “job”.
Or it may take the form of a contracted service, consulting assignment, preferred vendor status, etc., traditionally known as freelancing.
When I started out as a career counselor, the job was the coin of the realm, and the complicated rituals associated with getting and keeping one took place on a strictly person-to-business level.
On the other hand, consultants, subcontractors, and other types of freelancers have always built business-to-business relationships by providing services directly connected to the needs and goals of the clients they serve. By virtue of the value added by these services, they are granted “temporary” admission to the organization.
In my experience, it’s highly unusual to find a young person just starting out who is able to recognize when his career is not going in a direction that will ultimately lead to work that is fulfilling, and who has the courage to change course early on. Josh Siegel is just such an exception.
Some of you may remember Jack LaLanne, whose exercise show on daytime TV was helping people stay fit long before anyone had ever heard of Richard Simmons. (he’s still at it, at the age of 90).
For many years, he has been in the habit of celebrating his birthday by doing some amazing physical feat, like swimming across San Francisco Bay with his hands and feet tied, pulling a boat with his teeth.
I’m not quite that athletic, but I do like the idea of marking a milestone occasion in a way that is personally meaningful.
This year I decided to celebrate my sixtieth birthday by attending a workshop in Chicago entitled, “ The Second Half of Life: The Best is Yet to Be,” led by a teacher of mine, William Bridges.
A journey is the trip after you've lost you're luggage.—Anonymous (quoted by William Bridges)
This winter marks the official beginning of a book I have decided to write which will explain my approach to work search to the world. For weeks, I’d been trying to come up with an outline that satisfied me, but without success.
I’d been telling myself that I could get it done—scratch it off the list!—if only I had a large block of unstructured time.
A workshop in Chicago, conducted by a mentor of mine, William Bridges, would provide the perfect opportunity: rather than fly out, I booked a sleeper on Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited, because there is absolutely nothing like long-distance train travel for providing large blocks of unstructured time.
It is popularly believed that men are not as willing to seek help in dealing with challenges in their professional lives as women. How true this is in general, I don't know. I can only say that my own clients are pretty well equally divided between men and women.
My experience has convinced me that men are just as capable as women of staying the course in a transition process. Just like women, they are not looking for the next job that is simply a rehash of what they've already done—they are seeking a genuine new beginning.
Several years ago, my husband and I visited Gettysburg National Military Park. As we were making our way around the battlefield on bicycle, we came across a marker indicating the place where three divisions of General James Longstreet's corps set off on what has come to be known as Pickett's Charge.
There we noticed that a wide path had been mowed through the tall grass to allow people to trace on foot the route of that ill-fated attack. We got off our bikes and walked them up the hill in reverent silence.
It was hard to believe that this beautiful spot, where we were surrounded by cornfields and gently swaying wildflowers and the hum of summer insects, could have been the scene of so much carnage.