I am often surprised by what people choose to send as cover letters. Typos, broken links, and rambling emails. I also see messages like this one: “I was looking for work-from-home opportunities and I came across your company. Below is a copy of my resume. Please let me know if you have anything available.”
Think back to your high school years. Remember that one kid who just seemed to have “it”? The classmate who everyone was sure would be a great success. Mine was smart and well-liked. He was a great athlete too. Let’s call him Stan to protect his identity. Stan talked a lot about his big plans.
Let me set the scene. It is sometime after noon. The hypnotic hum of fluorescent lights, the drone of hushed conversations, the rhythmic tapping of keys. The thermostat nudged up to a cozy 75 degrees. Row after row of glowing screens. ZZZzzzzz……
I once worked for a boss who had a Ph.D. in time-wasting. This person’s signature move? Pointless meetings. I would spend my days shuffling from one to the next. Few were productive. Most made me feel frustrated. And the more invites I received, the longer my to-do list grew. I finally realized that we were doing his work at the meetings and with the follow-up tasks.
I really cannot think of a company that wants to hire a jack-of-all-trades. I learned this the hard way early in my career when I was speaking with the VP of the group at a company where I was interviewing. I told him that I had done a bit of everything at the marketing consulting firm I worked at in Chicago. He smiled a sly smile.
Ever had a bad boss who seemed to fool everybody? I am sure you have. You know the type. They fire off indiscernible last-minute requests. Play favorites. And take sole credit for the team’s efforts. But here is the most frustrating part — they keep getting promoted. And that hurts.
There was the boss who yelled at me for doing what she asked. There was the CEO who threatened my career when I told him that I was leaving for a new company and a major promotion. If you work long enough, at some point you will encounter people who treat you poorly — out of malice or just plain ignorance.
Do you suffer from ophidiophobia? It is a common phobia — the fear of snakes. Before you answer “no” take a moment to think. Because although you might not be afraid of a harmless garter variety, you may be alarmed by an unusual specimen found in many workplaces: the office snake.
There is probably no workplace department more maligned in popular culture than human resources. Remember Catbert from the Dilbert cartoons? What about the laughably dull corporate trainings given by Toby Flenderson from “The Office”? It seems HR is an easy target for comedy.
I cringe whenever I think about commuting to work. The time spent thinking about actually getting something done. The bumper-to-bumper traffic and pollution. It is depressing to think that millions of people endure so many wasted hours each day. Wasted hours because businesses think work must be done in a maze of cubes.
Resumes take time to craft. I know that. And smart job seekers invest great effort in getting job descriptions and career highlights just right. But in spite of that hard work, your resume is likely landing in the “NO” pile. Why?
Is there a compulsive updater in your life? You know who I’m talking about — the one who seems to be in a constant state of “reaching out” with a stream of near-daily LinkedIn notifications. Check out Beth’s updated profile! John has a new skill!
Old habits can be hard to break. For years, a friend of mine was required to blind carbon copy (BCC) his boss when sending out emails to other executives. Even after he joined a new company that discouraged backdoor communications, he had to make a conscious effort to stop doing it. The practice was that ingrained in his thinking.