The first article I authored on mid-life career strategy seemed to really strike a nerve, so here are a few more tips. If you want all of my career advice, you can buy my book "The Godfather's Career Guide: What To Do If you Get Whacked!" on Amazon. For the record, every penny from the book sales goes to charity.
HUGE Disclaimer -- I only represent a handful of executive candidates. People I know personally. The last article generated several hundred resumes, however as a one man show, I'm not able to represent candidates that I don't know personally. No disrespect intended! For the record, I'm in my 50s, so no hate mail about ageism. Hopefully these tips are helpful!
Background -- My name is Mark Wayman and my 15 minutes of fame was two software companies -- one went public on the NASDAQ and the other (counter-terrorism software) was acquired by IBM. For the last ten years I have owned an Executive Recruiting company focused on gaming/casinos and high tech. Placed 600+ executives, typically at compensation of $100,000+. Although most of these tips are aimed at more senior level executives, they pretty much apply to all jobs. And away we go!
The Company is All About the Company -- OK haters, I will give you exactly one good long... whine. The company is all about the company. Always and forever. Decisions are made in the best interest of the company -- NOT you. They could care less about your mortgage or that you have a kid in college. Yes, your career is important, but your family and passions are MORE important. Your job does NOT define you or your purpose in life. Going forward, consider yourself a consulting company of one that just happens to be on someone's payroll, because when their done with ya... they are done with ya.
There are no Second Changes for First Impressions -- Multiple HR professionals told me last time around that I missed a big one... how a candidate presents in person. There are candidates that come off as "old" (lack of energy, somewhat bitter, etc.) and others that come off as "young" (enthusiastic, always learning, optimistic). Companies prefer to take a chance on high talent/positive attitude/minimal experience versus a seasoned professional who is disgruntled and feels that they know it all (and have nothing else to learn).
We Like Happy, Smiley People -- This was in the last article, however it is so important I just had to mention it again. Number one reason you did not get the job? They don't like you! No one wants to hire a bitter, angry executive that is still obsessing about being laid off from their last job.
Relationships Trump Talent -- Another repeat from part one. Why do so many mediocre executives get great jobs while talented people sit on the sidelines? Because relationships trump talent every day of the week. If you burn your bridges, you reduce your opportunities. As Walt Disney said, "It's a small, small world."
Show Up -- I have a saying: "You can stay ahead of 90 percent of the people just by showing up." Many people in this world make no effort to get ahead. I see unemployed executives that are "too busy" to interview. Others take a week to respond to my questions. That is very good news for you, because YOU are going to make your job search a priority and put in the effort necessary to be successful.
YOU are Responsible for Your Success -- Not your boss, not your spouse, not your kids, not your parents. Your success and happiness are completely up to you. Only 10 percent of your life is based on circumstances; the other 90 percent is based on how your react to your circumstances. Be a victor...not a victim. Yes, we are right back on the attitude thing. I'll get a dozen emails that "this is pretty straightforward", however I see million dollar executives with bad attitudes on a regular basis.
Success = Hard Work -- One of life's certainties is that the foolish always want what the wise worked hard to get. News flash! There is no return without investment. Who came up with the ridiculous idea that life is easy and that you don't have to work hard to be successful? Let me tell you something -- they are WRONG. Success is hard work.
Spend Time with GOOD People -- Some people jump on your bandwagon; some don't. Spend time with those who want to be on your journey -- family, friends, peers, and business partners. The world is full of toxic, negative people. You can't solve their problems, and they will just drag you down to their level if you try. You are not General Manager of the universe. Let go and let God. Focus on the good people in your life!