I Love a Parade

It was a day I will never forget. A day 800,000 – 1,000,000 Royals fans will never forget. It was the largest gathering of people in one place in city history. Bigger than the ’85 celebration. Bigger than Woodstock. All we needed was Hendrix to end it all with our National Anthem.

Our Story.

My oldest son had to work and he was very disappointed. My wife, youngest son, and a family friend left Lees Summit at 8:45am. We were very fortunately to have a relatively clear I-70 all the way to Manchester where we exited and took a completely clear Highway 40 all the way to the Paseo before hitting the early log-jam. Rather than join the masses, I turned north and went to 19th street where we were able to get unencumbered to within ½ mile of the parade route. People that left the house an hour later abandoned their cars on the interstate in order to get downtown in time. People that relied on the shuttles walked 3+ miles rather than wait in a 3+ hour long line. After we returned to Lees Summit and heard about the transit nightmares I was very, VERY thankful of our good fortune getting to and from the event.

From our parking spot 1/2 mile east of Grand on 18th we walked and eventually staked out a parade view on the East side of Grand between 17th & 18th at 9:40. The small gap we saw at 9:40 had completely filled in by Noon and had moved us forward until we were right up against the fence. The parade got to our location shortly after 1pm and I took some AH-MAZING pictures of  our World Series champs. We even ended up on a video from Johnny C’s Instagram account. As you can plainly see, he’s video taping…..

Egress after the parade was shoulder to shoulder and moving very slowly. It took about 15 minutes to walk 50 feet but once out of the logjam we were part of a herd going East on 18th back to the car. We were very lucky to avoid most of the traffic so it only took about 10 minutes to get on a once again fairly clear I70 heading east. Can’t believe how lucky we were going in and out and avoiding the transportation nightmares I saw on the news.

All in all there were only 3 arrests, and very few (if any) flaring tempers on the road or among the masses. We were there to celebrate a happy occasion and patience ruled the day. I’m so proud of this community right now. I wish we treated one another in this fashion every day. Today, we were all Royals. We were all Champions. I will never forget.

Can’t wait to do it again next November

Best Night in Kansas City in a Generation

Game Two

First complete World Series Game pitched since 1991. THAT is why Dayton Moore traded for Cueto.

GO ROYALS!

Patient Planning

Tonight is Game One of the Kansas City Royal’s second trip to the World Series in as many years. Any fan of the Royals can tell you how excited they are to see their team finally contend.

The Royals resurgence is largely the work of one man – Dayton Moore. His years in Atlanta taught him how to scout and develop players – the key to building a great farm. After taking over GM responsibilities in KC he combined Billy Bean’s “Moneyball” strategy with a mandate to put quality human beings who would be TEAM players on the club’s roster. It’s taken nearly nine seasons to pull it off, but here they are – repeat American League Champions and another shot at the title – because of Dayton Moore’s plan and the patience of the Royals owners and front office who were committed to the plan from the beginning.

There are many parallels to this story when searching for career opportunities. There is no overnight solution to finding the right place. You need to know how to apply your God-given abilities and education and/or experience to the market place. You need to bring passion, a strong work ethic, and a desire to win to every aspect of your search and career. You need to think critically about what you’ve done, what you’re capable of doing, and what will ultimately make you a happy and engaged member of the workforce.

Before Moore the Royals seemed happy with the status quo (no need to compete when you’re making money.) If your job puts food on the table and not much else consider making the same move Moore did with the Royals and change your career playbook. Just because you’ve been making or selling widgets for twenty years doesn’t mean that’s what you should be doing for the next twenty years. Sometimes pursuing the same career with a different employer is an easy move, but it’s not the right move. If your status quo isn’t fulfilling make a change.

Moore took the Royals helm in the midst of their fourth straight 100 loss season and in his first full season (2007) they broke that streak with a 69-93 record. While still a miserable record in baseball terms, Moore laid the foundation of a plan that has taken the better part of a decade to come to fruition. I’m certain that by exercising some patience you can put together a plan that will bring you to your ultimate goal much quicker.

What Book are you Reading?

I’m interviewing to fill an internal position at RiverPoint right now and the title of this post is a staple interview question. What are you reading and what are you learning? Personally, I just finished “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Stinek which is a book about leadership and building a great company culture. If you want to know what I learned you can go to my Shelfari profile and read my review.

Which brings me to the point of this post. YOU NEED TO READ!

I like Shelfari because it’s a portal not only to remind me what I’ve read and learned, but it also can be viewed by others as part of my “personal brand.”  What you read is important. What you learn is more important.

If you haven’t read a book in a while I challenge you to visit your library and grab something that looks interesting. Take an hour a day away from social media, television, or sports and read. Your brain will thank you.

Tolstoy never wrote a resume

I received a 10 page resume today. While not unprecedented, it is unusual. I get 6+ page resumes at least once a week, but pushing into the double-digits is something that happens only once or twice every three months. The worst offender in my 15 year recruiting career was a 26 page resume complete with a Table of Contents.

I have to review dozens of resumes a day. Without getting into the finer points of how to get my attention, I will tell you a 10 page resume gets enough attention to deserve a post. I won’t read it, but I will give you some pointers.

One: A resume is not going to get you a job so you don’t need to regurgitate every experience you’ve had since you were in junior high school.

Two: A resume is designed to spark interest. Figure out how to get my attention, build some curiosity about finding out more about you, and leave it at that.

Three: LinkedIn & a Blog are excellent places to put additional content that can build interest in your background.

Four: If you’re a fresh college grad your resume will have a different “voice” than if you have 20 years of experience.

Five: Most resumes are a recitation of tasks. I’m more interested in what you can do for us.

Six: Ditch the objective. They all sound like “Desire to use (talent / skills / background) to (add value / advance at / benefit) my next employer.”

Seven: If you can’t say what you need to say in 2 pages or less I’m out.

Eight: Ditch the business speak and use some of your creative writing ability. Read every sentence aloud – if it sounds off in the natural course of speech re-visit how you’re expressing your thought on paper.

Nine: Spell check doesn’t catch they’re / their / there type grammar issues. Proof read it, have someone else proof read it, then proof read it again.

Ten: Challenge yourself to get a job without using a traditional resume. There’s no rule that says you must have a Word document at the ready or there is no job for you.

Send a well thought-out and written one to two page resume targeted to the specific job and employer and you’ll be amazed at the results.

Cover Letters

I had a friend ask my advice on cover letters today & wanted to share the thoughts I sent to her.

Cover letter advice will be like resume advice. 10 people will have 12 different opinions. Here’s mine:

  • Most importantly keep in mind that much like a resume, a great cover letter isn’t going to get you the job, but a bad cover letter can cost you an opportunity. Ask yourself “do I need a cover letter in this situation?”
  • TARGET your cover letter to the company & specific job – if you know the individual who will be reading it even better.
  • If you’re emailing your resume the cover is the body of the email, not an attachment.
  • If you’re putting your resume into an ATS is likely does not matter because its 50/50 at best it will be opened.
  • In the rare case someone wants resumes snail mailed you want a cover.
  • If you are at a job fair or networking event you DO NOT need a cover letter. YOU are your cover letter in those situations.

This article from the MUSE has a comprehensive list of things you need to be considering when you sit down to compose a cover letter. Cover letters and resumes are only a piece of the overall marketing puzzle. Your LinkedIn profile & a blog are underutilized resources that can help you tell your story.

Off the Beaten Path

I wrote a post today over at my personal Fifty Again blog sharing a bit about a motorcycle ride yesterday. The Cliff Notes version is we left with a destination in mind, but no specific route. The ride ended up being a lot of fun and we ran across a couple cool places that will be worth checking out in the future.

The more I think about the ride, the more parallels I see between my time “in the wind” yesterday and a job search.

We knew our destination but we did not have a hard deadline to get there. As much as I know you would like to have a great job tomorrow, the process takes time. Keep moving toward your final target, but don’t get anxious when it doesn’t happen according to your schedule. If you’re in a big hurry you’re going to miss out on the good stuff.

We took a map. There are a lot of options to get to Excelsior Springs from Lees Summit. The direct route is up 291 to 65, but that’s no fun on a motorcycle.  You take the indirect route on a bike because Missouri is full of fun to ride county roads – some of it will challenge you, some of it will be a lot of fun. It’s easy to get lost on those roads – that requires a map so you can make adjustments in the middle of the ride. There generally is no direct route to a job. You’ll ride through a lot of curves and have a lot of ups and downs – some of it challenging, some of it fun. The ups and downs of the ride are necessary to get to the destination. You’re going to need a map (or at least some advice) when you get to a turn and aren’t sure which way will be your best move.

Discovery. I’ve found plenty of neat little places riding the back roads. These are the places that don’t advertise and they aren’t conveniently located off I-35. You would be amazed at the number of great mom & pop diners, lakes & beaches, parks, and other interesting attractions scattered across our state. If you’re searching for a job on the internet super highway you’re going to miss out on much of what the market has to offer. Get offline and seek out the places that aren’t advertising.

Gravel. I don’t like gravel. It’s loose. It’s unpredictable. It doesn’t take much to put you in the ditch. Inevitably riding means you’ll run into gravel. You can run away from the gravel (i.e. turn around) but that would have closed the door to a discovery yesterday. The more I ride dirt roads the better I get on gravel and the less likely it is to put me in the ditch. You’re going to have to do some uncomfortable things in a job search: Interviewing / Networking / Cold Calling. The more you do these things the more comfortable you’ll become and more doors will open.

Lunch. I could focus on the difficulties. I was pelted by bugs (big and small) for 100 miles, ran on gravel for 5 miles which got dirt all over a bike I had just spent several hours cleaning, got a sunburn because my sunscreen expired, and had a sore rear end from sitting on the bike for 2 solid hours. If that was the story I shared you’d wonder why I subjected myself to such torture, right? Well, all those things were true – but that’s part of riding and does nothing to detract from my joy in the journey. It was a great ride that ended up in a nice lunch where we got to watch the Royals walk off another win against the Twins.

Looking for a job is tough, frustrating work. You’ll have some battle scars. Rather than focusing on the wounds – focus on the victories (big and small.) Be thankful for what you learned, who you met, and what you saw along the journey. Before you know it lunch will be served.

Grandmother Approved

Social media and the internet has become our de-facto forum to offer opinions, vent, debate, and say things without thinking first.

I stand guilty as charged.

Typing words into a social media site or a blog has expanded life’s certainties by one. We are all going to pay taxes & die and EVERYTHING you post online will be there FOREVER.

I have posts on Usenet from the 90’s I want to take back, but there it is for all the world to find. If it were possible, I’d travel back in time to have a conversation with 23-year-old Dave about ranting online. Frankly I should probably visit 47-year-old-Dave as well.

There’s a rule of thumb to follow before hitting send. You may have heard it before – is this something I want my grandmother to find? Now I realize some people’s grandmothers might be downright nasty people themselves so this isn’t a universal rule, but you get the picture.

Before you post something think.

  • Am I contributing to a reasonable discussion?
  • Can my response be misunderstood?
  • Am I being mean to a person or group of people?
  • What benefit will myself and others get from my contribution?
  • Is my response argumentative?

Donald Trump went on a rant about illegal immigrants last week which all but guarantees he’s wasting his money running for President and cost his beauty pageants and The Apprentice their TV deals. Pundits on both sides of the gay marriage debate have been blowing up Facebook (again, guilty as charged.)

Everything you ever have written or will write online can be found – even if you delete it. Your next employer is going to be looking. You might want to run some of that stuff past granny.

Roadblocks

Murphy’s Law for Traveling – when you are in a hurry to get somewhere you will hit a roadblock. Returning from Iowa I hit a closed road this morning and happened to be in a hurry for two reasons.

  1. I told my team I would be at work by 11am.
  2. I was on a motorcycle and rain chances went from 25% at my planned arrival time to 40% just an hour later.

Allow me to share some lessons about dealing with roadblocks from this morning.

1. Give Yourself Some Margin for Error.
Best case scenario was 3 1/2 hours from the time I left West Des Moines until I walked in the office. I gave myself 5 hours because rain dramatically slows safe interstate speed on a bike. Even though there was only a 1 in 4 rain chance at my scheduled arrival time I assumed that it was going to rain. The roadblock did not impact the rain factor – I encountered rain – the only difference is I would have gotten wet 10 minutes sooner if the road had been open. Without a margin for error I would’ve been nearly 90 minutes late.

2. Ask for help.
There was no detour sign but a worker happened to be present. I did something very uncharacteristic, I stopped to ask directions. His solution was one mile back. West Des Moines roads have dramatically changed since I left in 1997 and the alternate route I would have taken was 5+ miles back. When you ask for help someone may improve your Plan B.

3. Accept Your Current Situation.
Life would be so much easier if it was 100% in our control, but it’s not. Accept things aren’t going to be 100% to plan. Whether it’s a closed road, repeated unreturned calls, or lost opportunities – there’s not much you can do to get someone else to remove a roadblock. Rather than take an Eeyore approach (Oh Bother) start to look for alternatives.

4. Don’t Lose Focus on End Game.
I ran into an obstacle but I didn’t turn around and spend the day at my parents house. You might have to adjust your timeline a bit. You may have to put off some others things to meet your objective. You probably are going to break some eggs, but you can’t forget you’re there to make an omelet.

5. Look for the Positives.
I don’t seek out opportunities to ride in the rain so I’m not a terribly experienced rider on a wet road. I am, however, more experienced today than I was yesterday and that makes me a safer rider. The experience also inspired this post and I’ve been struggling to find something to write about. Dwelling on the negative is never good. When you don’t carry much baggage your burden is much lighter.

Roadblock shouldn’t keep you from fulfilling the promises you’ve made and the goals you’ve set. My roadblock had no impact on anyone else’s morning.

Yes the road was closed. Yes I got wet.  Yes. I made it to work on time. If I hadn’t said something no one would have ever known.