Career 11 June 2018
We're sure you've all heard stories of how hard it was in “the olden days" to do a variety of things we do today with the push of a button, or maybe you've heard about how someone walked five miles in the snow to go to school. You needn't journey back that far to imagine the pure nightmare it would be for you without your cell phone, internet or GPS.
For those of you who grew up with these gems of technology, these tools are as ordinary as bottled water. But for those of us growing up in the 60s and 70s, before they were commonplace, we never felt the lack of something we never knew.
Let's journey back a little to the 1970s and take a glimpse at life without these tools. To make it more fun, how about doing some job-hunting? I've been through this process both in the 70's and currently, and I couldn't be more appreciative of how much easier the process is now.
1. You wake up and immediately scan LinkedIn or Indeed.com to see what's available, right? Uh-uh! You've no internet, so you must get dressed and go pick up an actual newspaper to check out the “want ads."
Remember, even before the advent of the internet, networking was always important when job hunting. If you know it will be kept confidential, let your friends and business associates know you're looking. Most of the jobs I landed were actually through referrals from former bosses, co-workers or friends who had moved on to other companies. It's a lot easier now to contact those sources by email or text than when I had to play telephone tag before I reached them!
2. After identifying some prospects, you write a quick cover letter with a resume and email it to your prospects. No, No! Without email, you'll manually type a cover letter and prepare a resume. No computers yet.
Ugh, I remember when I had to do this. You might type your resume and then realize you wanted to change or reorder part of it, or maybe you wanted to experiment with different fonts (yes, Selectric typewriters had a changeable typeface). There was no cutting and pasting or selecting and changing. You had to start all over again. Then we had to take a perfect original and have it photocopied. You protected that original as though it were a world-changing document. Now you may go to the printer and have them run off some copies right from your phone. Also, if your job entails a portfolio, you can have it shown right from your iPad instead of carrying around a large, difficult-to-carry presentation.
3. Now, you'll either hand deliver or mail the hard copies. You may prefer hand delivery to insure they'll arrive more quickly.
4. For the next few days, you wait at home for a response, because without a cell phone you can't be reached if you're out and voice mail is still waiting to be invented.
That was terribly inconvenient, but unless you had a telephone sitter at home while you did some errands, you might miss that call.
5. One of your prospects finally calls to set up an interview. You usually Google the prospective employer so you'll have some input during the interview. Without the internet, you'll have to go to the library and use their reference books or buy some business magazines.
I still believe it's important to know as much as you can about a company before an interview. Besides helping you to ask the right questions, you might find something that makes you change your mind about pursuing this job. Remember, they need your approval as much as you need theirs!
After identifying some prospects, you write a quick cover letter with a resume and email it to your prospects. No, No! Without email, you'll manually type a cover letter and prepare a resume. No computers yet. (Photo by REX)
6. The day of the interview arrives, and you're eager to create a good impression, so you head out early to make sure you have no trouble finding the office. Uh! Oh! No GPS. You'll have to get a paper map. Maybe you can find a gas station that carries them.
Since I worked in New York City for most of my career, it was always finding the quickest mass transit route to take. Sometimes, I would make a dry run before the interview day just to see how long it would take. Besides the GPS, you now get this information right online, both the route and the average time it will take, whether by car or public transit.
7. Now you're on your way, armed with a genuine paper map, and you find yourself in a huge traffic jam. You'll just call your interviewer's office and explain, but there's no cell phone, so you search frantically for a pay telephone. None in sight. After all, you're on a busy highway. Then it starts to rain, and you realize you should have waited for the weather forecast at the end of the news. No, there's no weather app to scroll.
Besides no weather app, there was no cable, thus no weather channel, so the weather was always at the end of the news. Who had time to wait for that when you're getting ready for an interview?
I want to highlight something that was better in the "olden days." After interviews, the company always contacted you, either by mail or phone, to say whether you got the job, or they hired someone else.
8. An hour late, you reach your destination, a bit disheveled from the stress of it all and quite soaking wet from walking from the parking lot with no umbrella or raincoat.
You probably should still come prepared for the unexpected by throwing a few extras in your bag: i.e., umbrella, extra copies of your resume, etc.
9. It's difficult to stay confident and positive when you look like a drowned rat, but you do your best to ace the interview and just hope for the best. Despite the anxiety-ridden start, the interview does go well, and you're told you will be called in a few days.
I want to highlight something that was better in the “olden days." After interviews, the company always contacted you, either by mail or phone, to say whether you got the job, or they hired someone else. If you're a writer, you may spend your weekend doing a week's worth of articles and edits as part of the interview process, or you might go on 5 interviews with one company, and they don't get back to you either way! I remember just such a time, I had at least 5 interviews with the same company, and on the fifth one, when I stopped at the security desk for a pass, the guard recognized me but thought I worked there and just forgot my pass. That company never got back to me, and when I called for the status, they always said they had made no decisions yet. So maybe, that's the one facet of job-searching we wish would have remained in place.
10. Again, you wait for a call and even answer the phone with your normal voice whenever it rings.
This is opposed to the fake accent I used when I wasn't expecting any calls and didn't know who was calling. Without caller ID, you didn't want to take any chance of being trapped by a salesperson or someone else with whom you have no interest in talking.
Halleluiah, you got the job! Now come back to the current world and use all your tech tools, because you have been hired as a marketing director, and we won't even scare you with how you would have to do this job without them!
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3 min read
"More grapes, please," my daughter asked, as she continued to color her Peppa Pig drawing at the kitchen table.
"What do you say?" I asked her, as I was about to hand her the bowl.
I shook my head.
I stood there.
"I want green grapes instead of red grapes?"
I shook my head again. I handed her the bowl of green grapes. "Thank you. Please don't forget to say thank you."
"Thank you, Momma!"
Here's the question at hand: Do we have to retrain our leaders to say thank you like I am training my children?
Many of us are busy training our young children on manners on the other side of the Zoom camera during this pandemic. Reminding them to say please, excuse me, I tried it and it's not my favorite, I am sorry, and thank you. And yet somehow simple manners continue to be undervalued and underappreciated in our workplaces. Because who has time to say thank you?
"Call me. This needs to be completed in the next hour."
"They didn't like the deck. Needs to be redone."
"When are you planning on sending the proposal?"
"Did you see the questions he asked? Where are the responses?"
"Needs to be done by Monday."
Let me take a look. I didn't see a please. No please. Let me re-read it again. Nope, no thank you either. Sure, I'll get to that right away. Oh yes, you're welcome.
Organizations are under enormous pressure in this pandemic. Therefore, leaders are under enormous pressure. Business models collapsing, budget cuts, layoffs, or scrapping plans… Companies are trying to pivot as quickly as possible—afraid of extinction. With employees and leaders everywhere teaching and parenting at home, taking care of elderly parents, or maybe even living alone with little social interaction, more and more of us are dealing with all forms of grief, including losing loved ones to COVID-19.
So we could argue we just don't have time to say thank you; we don't have time to express gratitude. There's too much happening in the world to be grateful for anything. We are all living day to day, the pendulum for us swinging between surviving and thriving. But if we don't have the time to be grateful now, to show gratitude and thanks as we live through one of the most cataclysmic events in recent human history, when will we ever be thankful?
If you don't think you have to say thank you; if you don't think they deserve a thank you (it's their job, it's what they get paid to do); or if you think, "Why should I say thank you, no one ever thanks me for anything?" It's time to remember that while we might be living through one of the worst recessions of our lifetimes, the market will turn again. Jobs will open up, and those who don't feel recognized or valued will be the first to go. Those who don't feel appreciated and respected will make the easy decision to work for leaders who show gratitude.
But if we don't have the time to be grateful now, to show gratitude and thanks as we live through one of the most cataclysmic events in recent human history, when will we ever be thankful?
Here's the question at hand: Do we have to retrain our leaders to say thank you like I am training my children? Remind them with flashcards? Bribe them with a cookie? Tell them how I proud I am of them when they say those two magical words?
Showing gratitude isn't that difficult. You can send a thoughtful email or a text, send a handwritten card, send something small as a gesture of thank you, or just tell them. Call them and tell them how thankful you are for them and for their contributions. Just say thank you.
A coworker recently mailed me a thank you card, saying how much she appreciated me. It was one of the nicest things anyone from work has sent me during this pandemic. It was another reminder for me of how much we underestimate the power of a thank you card.
Apparently, quarantine gratitude journals are all the rage right now. So it's great if you have a beautiful, leather-bound gratitude journal. You can write down all of the people and the things that you are thankful for in your life. Apparently, it helps you sleep better, helps you stay grounded, and makes you in general happier. Just don't forget to take a moment to stop writing in that journal, and to show thanks and gratitude to those you are working with every single day.