Monday, December 21, 2009

P-cubed

This week's exciting news is that - ta-da! - I have received and accepted an offer at a Fortune 1000 software company selling IT Security solutions. After I received the formal offer, I was reminiscing on the journey to get to this point and decided to share some of these thoughts.

In any business endeavor, whether short- or long-term, it is foolhardy to "just do it" without any forethought regarding the consequences. From personal experience, I have had a few times in my life where I've said or done things and then (sometimes immediately) wished that life had a Backspace key or that I could somehow press Control-Z (Command-Z for you Macheads) to undo what just occurred. Therefore, if you are going to set your mind to accomplishing a particular goal, you should keep the following three things foremost in your thoughts:

Planning. Planning is a necessity regardless of the importance of the task, and I wrote about this in Be Your Own CEO of the Decade (November 23, 2009). Without planning, you won't have given any thought to what can go wrong; what to do if something does go wrong; how to maximize a successful result; etc.

Persistence. It's very easy to get frustrated when things don't go according to schedule. In fact, frequently things will not go according to plan. (Forget worrying about a schedule!) Yet as long as your execution is salvageable you should still carry on until you've reached an end point, successful or otherwise.

Patience. If you are doing something that provides instant results and/or feedback then you are fortunate. However, there may be times when all of your efforts will not yield a tangible harvest until some time in the future. Just because you've planned and executed does not mean that there is not still some work, or at the very least oversight, that needs to be done.

Applying these three principles to my job search over the past 7 months, my plan was to ensure that I was successfully selling myself when people either read my LinkedIn profile or my resume and then to successfully promote my personal brand by blanketing to the greatest extent possible the entire LinkedIn site with reminders of my existence. (Think of that last statement like a bunch of prairie dogs that keep popping their heads up out of their holes. Whack-a-Me? No way!)

After I had a plan, my persistence was tested when, month after month, things got more dismal. I still believed I could get a job that I wanted and not just a new source of income, but with 127 resumes sent out in two months and only 5 replies it wasn't looking good. My wife kept telling me how her father, in a similar situation, took a job at Home Depot stocking shelves and the guilt of thinking how I wasn't providing for my family like her father did for hers certainly shook me to the core at times. Yet I did not abandon my goal, and I carried on.

I've been talking to my new employer since the end of August. In the third week of September, the head of the Sales team for this division and geographic region said to my new manager that he was satisfied and that my manager could proceed to negotiate an offer. Yet my new manager wanted more things to be done and checked before moving to the final stages of the interview cycle. It is the end of the year and other people at this company are busy closing deals and such, so expecting them to find time to speak with someone they've never heard of before is difficult at best. Patience? Jokingly, I'll say that I should be beatified. It finally took an additional 3 months for me to get the offer. Had I no patience, I would have been looking elsewhere; would not have continued to follow-up with them; and who knows what my employment or financial situation would be right now?

I've applied those principles to the experiences of my job search, but I am sure you can find other business situations where they are equally applicable. Let these be your guideposts to success in all that you do.

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