Mentors & Champions

Last night I got to do what I love to do and am good at for the first time at a job I have been doing for nearly a year. The good news is that it was successful, then again why wouldn’t it be? I have been teaching experientially for over two decades and a lot of time, effort and thought has gone into developing the skills and techniques that I use to facilitate people’s learning.

My big take home point is that I came to the job wanting to do this; it was always my stated goal. I want to work in development for a big company whose values I admire so I came in at the ground floor to learn a business that I knew nothing about. That way I was able to learn what truly goes on, while having time to think of ways that I can apply the skills I have to the benefit of the company and people that work there. Now in many ways this has not been easy. I have often felt underutilized and there has been frustration at the amount of time that the process has taken.

Last night I realized why it had taken so long and this is a lesson I will carry with me. Following my hour with a newly forming mentor group, examining what it is to be a mentor through games, activities, laughter and reflection my manager came up to me. After thanking me she said she could not promise anything but she was going to make sure that other managers in the region new of my skill set and what we had accomplished that evening. Without being asked she had stated she was going to promote my talents. Now this amused me because for the last week I had been pondering the idea of attracting a champion and here was one manifesting herself effortlessly.

For nearly a year I have hidden my talent and while I have asked repeatedly for opportunities to demonstrate it, I have not been approaching it in the right way. I had not  made sure that I had a mentor at work, I had not made sure that I had a champion for my worthy cause. Moving forward, I will make sure that people know what I can do for them. I will make sure that I demonstrate my skill set and I will find a person within the organization who has the rank to make things happen and who will benefit from what I have to offer. I will actively look for a champion and mentor?

How will you find your champion?

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Brian & the Perfect Job Hunt

One of the things that I really enjoy about Coach Joan’s Career Cafe is meeting some great people and hearing their stories.  These are certainly interesting times when I meet so many smart, erudite people brought together in a room because they are looking for work. The wonderful thing about this group is that it is a safe and nurturing place to share the tale of my search process which I confess has ups and downs. By sharing I formulate a better plan and I know my peers want to hear fun stories with happy endings so I focus on making some each week. Another great thing is that others bring their success stories to the (breakfast) table and I want to share the most inspiring of these as a model for job hunting in the current climate.

Brian is in the process of demonstrating the most important skill of the modern job hunter; reinvention. Leaving Michigan to relocate was only one part of the equation, he has also left the automobile industry and is now working in wind energy. Brian is an engineer; close your eyes for a few seconds and imagine what these folk do on a daily basis. For me it is summed up when we take notes side by side. Brian, captures all the details. His writing is a testament to the benefits of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; you can read it from 5 miles without glasses. At the cafe he knows (because it is written down) everyone’s name, what they do, what leads they are looking for and he graciously sets out to help them.

With regards to his job search he used the meticulous attention of an engineer and chose exactly what he wanted his end product to be. He broke it down into component groups and then worked on each carefully making sure that each part was ready before bringing it all together.

I confess to being glad to meeting him a number of months into the process; he is only human and like most of us, it took a while to define a vision of his end result. Once he had the concept drawing on the wall and a list of the features he wished to include there was no stopping him. He mapped out all the component parts he needed to put in place and consequently everything he did took him closer to his picture, every action was intentional.

So what were these component parts? It started with a lot of research, what skills did his target industry require? Trust me when I say Brian is extremely skilled, he packs more into his career in 5 years than many do in 20. He is also smart enough to know that looking at what a company wants is far more productive than selling what he has already.  Brian went back to school to make sure he catered to the needs of future employers, he also cataloged skills he already had that fit their criteria and promoted them.

More importantly he recognized that he was in a new town and he needed to meet people. This former wall flower practiced until he became the consummate networker. Brian connects with people and gives of himself, he comes from a place where he knows a relationship is made by finding what he can offer that will be of use to the person he is getting to know. He makes sure that he comes through and he follows up. The other thing I love about Brian is that he does not judge whether someone will be useful because he knows some of his leads have come from unexpected places. He looks for the best in people and gives of himself to everyone.

These tactics helped Brian to find his dream job with a salary to match. I know I am now closing my eyes and daring to dream about what I really want my job to be and I am putting these simple steps into play.

Thanks Brian, you have modeled a wonderful, humane approach to moving forward in difficult times and I want you to know I appreciate it a great deal.



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