Keeping it Real in an Executive Search

One of the friends I picked up in my JibberJobber journey is Mike Schaffner (February You Get It winner of the month). My relationship with Mike started strong because we were introduced by a trusted friend, Kent Blumberg (isn’t that how it works?). As I got to know Mike I was continually impressed. Even my dad (who knows Mike) wonders what this high-level, high caliber person sees in me :p. Anyway, Mike recently landed a dream job. I asked him to share some thoughts about his 15 month (!!) transition, and that’s what this post is. I hope it gives you hope, inspiration and motivation. I found it simple yet powerful. Enjoy!

After I landed in my new position Jason asked me to write a guest post reflecting back on my job search. Well it’s been 2 months which I hope is sufficient time to look back with a more balanced view (Jason would no doubt say it’s been 2 months… What are you waiting for?)My search lasted 15 months and while not uncommon for the type of position I was seeking it did often generate comments regarding attitude – specifically about how I was able to maintain a positive attitude throughout the search.I won’t bother telling you how I came to be unemployed because frankly you don’t care. And that’s the first lesson. In various networking group meeting you could always tell the newly unemployed. They always spent most of their 30-second commercial talking about their situation. It would almost make you want to scream “I don’t care!” It wasn’t that I don’t “feel their pain” and sympathize/empathize. It is just that what happened is past and there is nothing I can do about it. I can only be of assistance in your future and your dwelling on the past is not helping either of us.

The Fugitive - Harrison FordIn these situations I flashback to the movie “The Fugitive.” It has a famous scene where the hero, Dr. Richard Kimble, proclaims his innocence and Marshall Sam Gerard simply replies “I don’t care!” It’s a great reminder to let go of the past and focus on your future. It may sound harsh but no employer cares about what happened to you, they only care about what you can do for them. If I could tell based on that 30-second commercial that people weren’t ready to move on and be productive employees again you can bet a prospective hiring manager can tell it also. Your unemployed, “get over it.”

Between Jobs Ministry - Houston, TexasSounds easy, right? The truth is, of course, it’s not. The second piece of advice I would give is to surround yourself with positive giving people. If you hang out with people that bitch about their old boss, about the unfairness of being outsourced, the bad economy or their company being sold you’ll probably fall into that same trap. Being positive is contagious so hang out with positive people. I was fortunate enough to be in Houston and join Between Jobs Ministries. They offered help, support and advice and perhaps more importantly the opportunity for me to help others. The also formed Job Search Work Teams based on Orville Pierson’s methods. These were tremendous positive influences and greatly aided my job search. Along with this it extremely helpful to get some close job search partners that can help you with your search by encouraging you, buoying you up when your down, offering to act as a sounding board and simply being a friend. I was fortunate to have people such as Jason Alba, Gerry Fusco and Kent Blumberg among others as my partners and friends.

I had a recruiter tell me once that he was more likely to help people he liked. Which when you think about it is not surprising. We all want to be around and work with people that are likable and attitude has an awful lot to do with it. Being unemployed isn’t easy or fun but to get through it you need to have a friend and you need to be a friend. Good luck.

Thank you Mike – congratulations on landing, and more, for having such a great attitude and helping others through their transitions! (if you are in IT, or executive management, you must follow Mike’s blog)

2 thoughts on “Keeping it Real in an Executive Search”

  1. Mike is such a star, and has become a close friend. He was the model of how to approach a career transition, and the results show that he was right. Great stuff, Mike!

  2. You are right Kent – Mike really was a model through this process. What cool, accomplished professional thinks they are really going to be in transition for 15 months?? Mike came out on top and I’m sure his attitude and service had a lot to do with the awesome job he landed.

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