Younger, thinner, more interesting looking is the new oatmeal look. After 136 years, the Quaker Oats
guy logo has been updated to appeal to a new generation of young adults as well as appeal to age-phobic baby boomers. If you compare the two logos, yes the one on the right is the new one, the new one shows an updated font style too that is a brighter white and not "old timey" looking.
According to the Time Magazine
article, Quaker Oats owner PepsiCo introduced the changes in an effort to make the brand “fresh and innovative,” which might take a bit of doing, given that their product is a dessicated cereal grain.
You may not be going on 136 years old, but when it comes to staying viable in the global talent marketplace, well then consider an update of your personal brand.
How do you do that? Well it is less the wording in your content which focuses more on branding/rebranding. Rebranding positions you to move into new fields, business sectors, and industries. A brand refresh is gives your current brand a younger, more vibrant, newer, fresher appearance. That is more about image and look. At the warp speed of business and the Internet, a professional look evolves much more rapidly. Digital Documents in 2012 look different from those in 1998
Well, theoretically they should look different but some professionals are still using resume formats and layouts since before the faxed resume. Resumes, websites, blogs, or social profiles are built now to look great on a screen as that's where they are read. In fact, if you go to the Way Back Machine
(Internet Archive) and check out early Linkedin, Amazon, blogs sites, you will see how different and dated they look now.
The fonts now must take into consideration how well a font renders online and on a screen. Just look at the different in readability between the two Quaker Oats logos. Modern sans-serif fonts look younger and fresher. Serif fonts like Palatino render better onscreen than the traditional Times Roman, making for a crisper, fresher look. The layout and design of all documents are moving to a lighter, more open look. Just look at the new Google Blogger
with dynamic, open blog that is image focused versus the blog you are reading now.
The older you are, the younger your photo style
Most executives use their photos provided by their company's PR department on Linkedin and for other business requirements. If you are over 50 and not working in government and financial services, this is not a good idea. More stable, traditional business sectors like seeing their executives in suits and business attire as does consulting services. There is a reason for the slang referring to "the suits".
Using photos taken outdoors, in natural light, preferably in business casual will create an image of health, vitality and youth as well. Business formal creates age aura. If you have substantial career credentials and achievements, then you don't need to look the part as well.
Take the photo one step further and be in dressy sports on a wind swept beach with a Golden Retriever. Lacking ocean, use a park and a poodle, or ski slopes, etc. Just don't look too much like you're into extreme sports. Remember how the category "interests" was put at the bottom of your resume and you got to list things like: biking, skiing, marathon running, etc etc? Well, one well done photos creates the better impression of you without the ubiquitous laundry list.Update your look, wardrobe, and appearance
There is age discrimination and it is subtle, unconscious, and hard to prove when practiced in hiring and firing. In a media marketing driven, consumption based culture, we are manipulated by the image and look of products which are presented with an emphasis on sex, power, fun,and excitement. Yes, we like functional too, but we get sucked in by looks first. Think how many people wear those ergonomically uncomfortable, auditorially poor, and, basically, cheesy Apple iPod earbuds because they look cool and recognizable in white.
A style makeover may not be annually necessary but every five years it is mandatory. This includes product: skin care, hair care, and body maintenance. There is a reason sites like Dermatologistrx
is thriving online, and why both men and women no longer consider facial peels and lifts optional. It is not about looking younger which may be hard to archieve, especially after a certain age, but looking fresher, more vibrant and vital.
The Quaker Oats guy looks thinner, healthier, and a bit younger and you should too!
Is it fear and loathing? Being a creature of habit and learned behaviors? A lack of imagination? Or do we just tend to just take the path of least resistance?All of the above, depending on the individual. What qualifies as low hanging fruit when it comes to job opportunities?
- You follow your boss to the next company
- A colleague reaches out to bring you into their company.
- A headhunter calls and sells you on a position they want to fill.
- You see one posting, apply and they hire you.
Except for the last bullet, these are options driven by the needs and wants of others, not you. They all save us the big effort it takes to conduct a real, live job search. You don't need to strategically think about your career direction, identify your aspirations for the future, and...oh dread...reach out, grow and extend your network. We are creatures of habit and learned behaviors so if you got recruited out of college and search people "placed" you in all your jobs, then we assume the past predicts the future. It doesn't in career advancement. As we climb to the top, there are fewer jobs and the competition is fierce. We don't just get "placed" as easily. And as we age, there is younger, less expensive
talent competing for the same opportunities. Your business sector may become commoditized and there is no room to grown professionally.We don't realize that the best fruit can be harder to find, be at the top of the tree or hidden under leaves and branches.Often our mentors, bosses and colleagues can be our undoing. They may as they move on bring you with them but that may not be the best option for you. I have seen professionals in a beleaguered companies and business units actively solicit their colleagues to join them. Did misery need company? Did they want to be rescued from their drowning struggles?
Were you misled or did you just not even expend the effort to find out about the mess you were getting into?When we buy fruit at a stand or market it is often green and unripe, or bruised in the picking.Today, the savvy professional, especially if not having conducted a search in the past 5 years, must:
- canvas the marketplace for talent in their business sector,
- find out about the current job market and new technologies used in search
- identify several options and directions open for their career now
- not just take what's handed to them but take the time to look at all options
- look in advance of needing to look to avoid being pressured
Low hanging fruit may be easy to reach, grasp and take but it may not be in the long-run the best option. There are not many take-backs in a reset economy, so pick wisely and well
These trends may seem not new to many in the career coaching field or in Silicon Valley but this article does an excellent job of covering and updating the take on these dynamics in global work:5 Trends Driving the Future of Work by Chris JablonskiSummary: From legions of independent consultants to cities dotted with coworking facilities, the future of work is virtual, online and global. Trend 1: Independent consulting to see hockey-stick growth curve Trend 2: Order books, movies and now … workers online Trend 3: Coworking moves beyond early adopter stage Trend 4: Adaptive lifelong learning the norm Trend 5: Jobs of the future will either retrofit and blend existing jobs, or solve entirely new problems. Read more at ZDnet.com
Yes, we know that the jobs of the future will be different, even with the same title, from what they do now. Who would have thought that a car mechanic would need some computer skills to diagnose and repair the inner mechanics of an automobile 50 years ago? But they do now. Certainly, marketing exists more and more online than off. Challenge: predict where your job/field/function is going and how going are going to mutate into those changes yourself. One solution includes applying #4 and being continuously learning new skills before you need them.Coworking suits the Contract Nation USA
just fine as more and more of the labor force is on a just-in-time basis. Banding together for company, economy of scale, and collaboration yet remaining independent entities is one very useful technique to survive working as Me Inc.Challenge: finding the right co-habitation work space with people who create synergies of opportunities and networks with yours. This is more critical than finding your soul mate.
But the article does well in painting in tangible living color brushstrokes just how fast we are moving to that Me Inc. world with the visceral image of the hockey stick. Fan that I am, it also brings to mind the brutality of that game as an apt analogy to the sometimes cutthroat competition for projects and gigs.Challenge: to differentiate yourself and keep from becoming a commodity price-driven member of a herd of contractors chasing business. This is another place where #4 learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge would help.
We know everything will be online as it seems like most of it is now. Of course recruiters live on Linkedin and deploy Google searches to find talent. Resumes are rapidly becoming obsolete in favor of more copious dossier on you in the interweb. Workers online using the various sites such as guru.com, elance, etc is now the norm.Challenge: to by-pass the 3rd party brokers that add on 20-30% to your hourly rate and market yourself directly to potential employers making copious use of online branding and marketing. Using a website, blog, social profiles (lots of them), etc, build visibility to promote Me Inc. Good trend spotting means good responses on all our parts. If we see it coming we can do something about it.
Moreover, these trends are global. We compete, work with, network and collaborate across borders, timezones and countries. Opportunities can be anywhere and so can you.Email me if you want to find out how I can help you be a guru consultant and look like a thought leader online. I have done it for others and can show you how too. firstname.lastname@example.org
FB move from Palo Alto to Menlo Park
Here is an excerpt from an article about Facebook moving to Menlo Park and the hardship to the city
"On the other hand, Sun used to generate annual sales taxes of $431,000 to $827,000 for the city. That's because the state levies taxes on physical goods like computers that it doesn't levy on virtual services like online ad sales. Having more employees on the campus means the city is going to have to expand services to accommodate them, such as hiring more police officers or clerks. And while new high-income Facebook employees moving into the area might send property assessments soaring, Proposition 13 will limit the amount of additional property taxes."
Read Chris O'Brian's story
in the San Jose Mercury NewsYou want Facebook to move to your city right?
Think of all the job creation and tax revenues! The City of Menlo Park has mixed emotions about Facebook bringing its entire workforce into one mega campus formerly occupied by Sun Microsystems. Yes, there will be some upfront fees and revenues collected with the move-in but the long term liability is increased demand on city services with little increase in ongoing sustainable tax revenues.What is Menlo Park doing? Why asking Facebook for a handout to subsidize low-income housing in one of the most expensive cities in the Bay Area. Facebook is more than obliging. It is truly being a good citizen and why not? It certainly is getting off virtually scott-free compared to actually paying taxes. The issue is one of unequal and unfair burdens of taxation on different types of industries and sectors in the California economy. This is an antiquated tax code that does not respond to the realities of a new economy and the Bay Area's economic base moving from computer and semi-conductor products to the Internet.The State of California is fighting to get Amazon to charge sales tax to residents of the state. But compare that tax income, to the revenues that could be generated by the virtual services of local Internet companies. Facebook is a $500,000,000 company (I put all the zeros in to make a visual point). Why are they, and Linkedin, Groupon, Yelp, Zynga, and others not paying tax on their virtual revenues as Sun did on their computers and Apple does now on its iPhone, iPad and iPod? The law needs to change and now. How ridiculous that a city is reduced to begging for a handout from a company.
Let Facebook hire its own fire department, police force, street maintenance workers.
There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.Donald RumsfeldI laughed when the then Secretary of Defense made that statement as it sounded like a military-speak aphorism. But, it rings with profound wisdom the more I deal with career management and employment issues in this economy. How do we deal with the business and career issues we don't know we don't know?I advise my clients to do deep research on companies for interview preparation, but that never, within time parameters, uncovers sufficient information to make a well reasoned decision on an offer if one comes. Sometimes it is the luck of the draw that you land well. What do you do with networking referrals devoid of context or personal engagement? You are left in a vacuum to deal with the referral and in the dark as to how to proceed. Time is so precious. You know it if you are in a driven high-pressure position, in career transition, or an entrepreneur. There isn't enough of it, and your living comes from the finite amount of time that you can dedicate to your business. We don't have time to be sidetracked with the unknowns that we don't know.What's worse is that we don't know what we don't know until it is past tense. Often in retrospective, we can look back at an entire situation and see what we needed to know at the time. I believe that is the Monday morning quarterback syndrome personified. Unfortunately, I don't know what to advise you as I don't know what you don't know. But I do have a few mental guidelines that help me and I am happy to share them.Everyday is Groundhog DayRemember the Bill Murray movie where he relived the same day over and over again until he actually had no unknowns left to figure out.
Seriously! He ended up knowing everybody in the town and everything they were going to do that day. His level of response by his final rerun day was masterful. I try to remind myself that every day is essentially the same. Within each day there will always be unknowns that are unknown. The result of that attitude is not ending up feeling blindsided as I have already factored that in.
When I stay very attuned and mindful I can almost sense them coming out of left field. It is comforting at least.Belts and Braces
The British, bless them, had an unspoken rule about being prepared for the unknowns in life. Back in Victorian times and the early part of the last century, men work both a belt and braces (suspenders). Over time and the era of spandex and jeans below your butt, the braces have fallen by the wayside. But belts and braces represented a way of approaching life.The
message is clear, expect catastrophe and be doubly prepared: keep an umbrella in the car, hide a house key under a rock, back up your files...twice. You may never need to implement plan B but it's good to know that you can. Think about it. That's why we have a Vice President of the United States. The Morning After the Night Before
Letting decisions stew a bit is a good thing. Figuratively, "sleeping" on business problems and issues allows time to have more information unfold and it diminishes the number and size of unknowns.
There are certain Myers Briggs personalty types that are really in their comfort zone when they get things decided, goals set, and marching orders relayed to the troops in an expedited fashion. They rush to judgement and freak out when the other shoe drops with unforeseen catastrophes. Other personality styles prefer to put off decisions and just let things unfold. Often that is the best remedy for those blindsiding unknowns. Just let them sort of slide
into view rather than dropping on you. Embrace the UnknownThe greatest adventures, opportunities and joys in life are most sweet when they have not been predicted, expected, and factored in. Aren't the unknown unknowns often some of the nicest, best surprises that come upon us. We just think that any unknown will be necessarily be bad, negative and undesired. If life is like a box of chocolates then it helps to be
an epicurian with a broad palette. Thus you are delighted with whatever you find in the box.
The unknown unknowns will always show up in our lives. The impact they have depends on how we choose to experience them.
What is worse than job interviewing in person? Interviewing with a bad webcam using a poor SKYPE connection. You end up with the goldfish bowl look because of the camera distortion. Or your eyes are always looking down at the screen at the interviewers to whom you give no eye contact.
The fine art of interviewing is not improving anytime soon. It can still be a painful, dreaded, nerve-wracking experience on both sides of the desk. Everyone has a nightmare story about the "interviewer from hell", someone who was so bad at asking questions that you absolutely knew you were never going to be hired.
What about the interviewer who doesn't ask questions but rather just chats as the new best friend that you never hear from again? Or, the interviewer who asks questions so unrelated to the job you wonder if you applied for the wrong position? Then there is the distainful interviewer, who acts as though it is a supreme imposition just having you in the room. I could go on and you can in the comments section to this blog.
How Do You Ace It?
Yes, bad interview stories are abundant. However, it still is on you to acquit yourself well during the interview. What does that mean?
- Should you ace all the questions with absolutely appropriate answers?
- Should you offer great, relevant examples, facts and figures with glib ease?
- Should you mirror the interviewers body language to make him/her comfortable in your presence?
- Should you create a dialogue to interact in easy conversation, thus putting your interviewer at ease?
- Should you provide business solutions to demonstrate the compelling value in hiring you?
Yes, of course, to all of the above!
But, while that will certainly go a long way to getting you hired, that's not it. If you do everything above, unless you are a glow-in-the-dark java software developer, it is not enough to be hired. And, if you do just some of the above with a less than stunning acquittal of your expertise and you successfully do one more thing, odds are that you will be hired.
The World Economic Forum ended on a dark worried note about the future of the worldwide workforce. The Davos gathering didn't doubt the numbers or projections. It is the means to the end that gave them consternation.
According to Vikram Pandit, CEO of the global bank, Citigroup Inc., "The world needs 400 million new jobs between now and the end of the decade, not counting the 200 million needed just to get back to full employment, so "that should be our number one priority".
It is not a simple scenario to just materialize 600 million jobs in 8 years. It is a real and dire problem with the nothing less than the world economy at stake. The financial leaders and heads of corporations spent time finger pointing across national boundaries, but they came away without a tangible solution how to grow worldwide GDP and therefore jobs.
That there is no concerted and coordinated global response to a looming work crisis may indicate a fundamental problem with how our worldwide economic system functions with implications that impact all class and economic levels.
We Aren't Entitled to Work?
Is there such a thing as a right to work in a free market, capitalistic, global economic system? Are we as a population in the USA entitled to earn a living if we are sound of mind, able bodied and skilled? It was easy to ignore this issue when unemployment numbers were composed of the poor, uneducated and unskilled. However since 1980, every recession has generated unemployment creep upwards from manufacturing, to white collar, to now the executive suite.
This has resulted in a substantial ongoing dislocation of the socioeconomic structure of the US population . Today the 12+ million "officially" out of work is about the size of Illinois and that fails to account for the underemployed and those not looking. At the same time, the employment agency, Manpower, reports that 75% of its revenues are now from outside the USA. In America, we know where the jobs have gone and continue to go-- elsewhere.
But that begs the question as there still won't be enough work to go around worldwide with an emerging, educated, skilled, global middle class. Are we entitled to earn a working living at the expense of another somewhere in the world? Doesn't everyone deserve the opportunity to make a contribution and be paid for doing it?
The essence of work is contribution. You do a day's labor and are paid a living wage. But what if there is not enough work to go around anymore? Does that mean that those that want to work and can't find it are facing life as an underclass of people who are going without the basic necessities of survival, and are deprived of being contributing members of society?
Will work, especially highly skilled, intellectual work, become an entitlement or privilege? Wherever you are in the world, you got your job because of a set of advantages. Call it luck, fate, geography, position, status, connections, or price-point. The others who missed out on the opportunity didn't quite have your unique set of advantages but they were just as smart, talented, hard-working, earnest and yet unemployed.
This does not explain why I continue to drink this stuff but it does make an analogy to
the act of appreciating. When we appreciate and acknowledge others it has the same corrosive effect on rancor, resentment and grudges as the dissolving of a mouse in a cola can. Appreciation dissolves low morale, under performance and obstructions inside a company.This article in the Harvard Business Blog describes this in more detail. One quote sums it up how appreciation is an antidote to a toxic organization: "
The impact of negative emotions — and more specifically the feeling of being devalued — is incredibly toxic. As Daniel Goleman
, "Threats to our standing in the eyes of others are almost as powerful as those to our very survival." Read the entire article here.
The Mountain Dew soft drink brand dissolved a legal challenge from a customer who claimed a mouse was found in his can of the "Dew". The company argued that would not be possible as their product would have dissolved the mouse in less than a week. Coca Cola has the same reputation with pennies.
These traditional axioms have embedded in them an expectation of deserving or being entitled: if we study hard, get good grades, work hard, meet our goals and objectives, dot the "i's" and cross the "t's" then great opportunities and career success will come to us.
It is difficult to believe that there is an expectation of entitlement in those beliefs until for some reason they are not fulfilled. The shock of realization arrives when we find that exemplary performance is simply insufficient. Nowadays that can often be the case.In Lewis Carroll's children's story, "Through the Looking-Glass", when Alice was running with the White Knight through the woods
, she asked him why they were running. His puzzling reply was that running was done to stay in the same place and to get anywhere they needed to run twice as fast.The essence of pursuit is to not expect that benefits will come to us if we do the right things. They don't anymore. There is too much competition for job openings, promotions, and
opportunities. We need to be in active aggressive and continuous pursuit of our dreams and desires. We need to do it purposefully, with focused intent, and clear deliverables in mind.
It is an interesting article:One of the most often overlooked aspects of leadership is the need for pursuit. Great leaders are never satisfied with traditional practice, static thinking, conventional wisdom, or common performance. In fact, the best leaders are simply uncomfortable with anything that embraces the status quo. Leadership is pursuit – pursuit of excellence, of elegance, of truth, of what’s next, of what if, of change, of value, of results, of relationships, of service, of knowledge, and of something bigger than themselves. Smart leaders understand it’s not just enough to pursue, but pursuit must be intentional, focused, consistent, aggressive, and unyielding. You must pursue the right things, for the right reasons, and at the right times. Perhaps most of all, the best forms of pursuit enlist others in the chase. Pursuit in its purest form is highly collaborative, very inclusive and easily transferable. Pursuit operates at greatest strength when it leverages velocity and scale.
Read more at Forbes.com
Below is an extract from the Forbes article, " This One Leadership Quality Will Make or Break You". From the perspective of managing your career, this message resonates as well. Too often, we expect that all good things will come to us out of a expectation of deservedness.
Now it seems with many professional seeking opportunities out of their home countries that this type of hostage employee is global.
The term wage slave has has taken on a new meaning with a scarcity of good employment opportunities in some countries while more plentiful in others, greater numbers of job seekers are being held for visa ransom by some company in Brazil, Singapore, Canada.
The worse offender used to be the USA but more professionals are seeking opportunities elsewhere now given the decline of the US economy. Interesting I met an Indian executive who wanted advice on a job search in India from the USA. He had spent the last 12 years in the US working for the top Fortune 500 companies. He was finally just getting his green card and decided to just leave it all behind and go home for better opportunities. He was fortunate as he loved the company he worked for.
An engineer from Slovakia has loyalty to the American company he works for in Australia because he is waiting for his Australian green card. This is the global twist on the job=citizenship situation that has run rampant in the USA for years with immigrant professionals.
The funny thing about employee loyalty is that it is engendered by either a scarcity of jobs or a devotion to the employer and the product. However, if a professional needs a company to employ and sponsor them to obtain a visa to stay in a country then enforced loyalty is tantamount to being held hostage to the job. Most professionals I have met in this situation felt powerless to control their destiny but I have a few simple suggestions to at least mitigate the impact of visa situation on your employment.
- Do not rely or depend upon the company's lawyer regardless of what the company says. Get your own advice and help.
- Do whatever you can to expedite the process from your end and that includes research in advance to use when you speak to the company lawyers and HR to sway the negotiations.
- Ask them to outline their entire process. The questions to ask during the interview should not be about the job or the pay but the visa, period. Too often once you are hired I have heard a company say that they have other employees ahead of you so you have to wait your turn. This needed to be clarified before you accepted their offer.
- If a company questions that your motives for taking their position is about a visa, tell them you want to be free to stay not coerced to stay because you work better that way.
- Negotiate the entire visa immigration package with the company as part of the job offer and write it into your contract or acceptance letter. Have your attorney review the wording and have the company sign it.
- You may not be able to completely force them to keep their promises but you may be able to guilt them into it.
- Do they threaten to rescind the offer if you do all this? Well that's a very good indicator that they would have held you job hostage and that's not a good situation. Better to keep looking.
We live in difficult time but that doesn't mean you have to roll over and accept the terms of engagement carte blanc.