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The Super Employee Evolution – Part 3

October 18, 2012 1 comment

the tired employee

Without proper management, the employee has more chance to feel alone and under-appreciated.

(continued from The Super Employee Evolution – Part 2)

Bob had had enough.  Overworked, over-stressed and feeling under-appreciated, he asked his boss for a raise.  He was denied.  Citing a poor economy and everyone having to tighten their belts for a while, he was told that perhaps in the future there would be more funding for pay raises but not right now.  He was told how valuable he was to the team and that his efforts had not gone unnoticed.  He was appreciated.

Management began to see glimpses of the danger they were in and began to search for a replacement for Bob….just in case.  There were many applicants and eager personnel eager to take on the job at hand.  Unfortunately, for Management, however, no one was able to take over the existing system as Bob had personalized it.  All his macros and short cuts to make the system efficient and workable for him were indecipherable for anyone else and no one would be able to come in and take over smoothly.  In fact, Management was shocked to discover they would have to hire 2, 3 or maybe even 4 people just to maintain the status quo.

Meanwhile, after working hard to make up for being short-staffed for three years, Bob was no longer satisfied with Management’s response.  Management was in denial and falsely believed Bob didn’t have any place to go.  However, while the job market was not the lush and fertile field of 2005, it also wasn’t the bleak and barren landscape of 2009 any more.  Companies had begun to hire again, albeit very selectively, and Bob was the ideal candidate for the new market; he could multitask, had middle management experience and was never laid off.

Bob received a very generous offer and tendered his two-week notice at work.  To say Management was surprised is a massive understatement.  Suddenly, they realized their mistake.  They had put all their eggs in a basket named “Bob” and for the first time became fully aware of their folly.  If they didn’t keep Bob on staff, there wouldn’t be anyone left to run the IT department and the firm would come to a grinding halt.  They had an emergency meeting and put a counter offer on the table and presented it to Bob.  Finally in a position of power, Bob agreed to stay but with a much higher salary increase.  Bob had basically asked for more than twice his original salary and an extra week of vacation.

Management had no option but to acquiesce.  They were appalled at the position they found themselves in but saw no alternative.  Bob, on the other hand, was finally happy…still over-worked but for double the money, he no longer dreaded getting up in the morning.

Management began to take a look around the company to see just how vulnerable they were in other departments.  Initially, keeping the teams under-staffed was a good thing because it was more cost-effective and added to the bottom line.  However, they now saw the danger in keeping this as a permanent solution.  Fewer employees were actually expendable than Management had believed and the false power Management had over them was now transparent.  The only solution, much to Management’s chagrin, was to hire and add staffing to key areas within the company to prevent another “Bob” situation from surfacing.

Properly challenging and compensating the employee makes for a happy employee.

Is this the only reason why employment is slowly and steadily rising?  No.  Obviously, there are other factors in place.  There is more faith in the banking system again just as banks have more faith in borrowers now than they did four years ago.  Notoriously foolish practices such as approving mortgages for people who did not have the resources to pay them back have been curtailed just as people are no longer borrowing above their means.  Plus, there are other factors affecting the economy and how companies hired/fired over the past five years that I will not get into here.  Suffice to say, The Super Employee Evolution is one of the unique results of the process.  It didn’t happen for every company, but it did manifest itself enough that the topic came up often in my conversations with recruiters, HR departments and the candidates, themselves.  Additionally, it wasn’t just in IT.  The S.E.E. also grew in Sales, Marketing, HR and any other group that required one person to maintain the day-to-day operations of the department over an extended period.

What’s the lesson learned?  For companies, a short-term reduction in force may be fiscally responsible but the long-term effect of keeping a skeletal staff is not worth the risk.  As for employees, the take away is to continue learning and self-education to ensure survival within the company and in the chosen field.

(continued from The Super Employee Evolution – Part 2)

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How My Daughter Marketed Herself And Landed A Job With A Wedding Planner


Part of being in a sales cycle with your prospects and clients is the need to keep them aware of your presence.  It is a crucial and required element but one most people and firms get wrong.  Either the campaign tilts over to annoying or it is non-existent and not worth the effort.  Keeping yourself front and center requires persistence and consistency but it should never be over or underwhelming.

My daughter, Jess, is a junior in college and, like most sophomores, she didn’t have a clue last year what she wanted to be when she grew up.  Wandering aimlessly and simply going through the motions, she decided to help out one of the clubs with an upcoming event.  Well, the light bulb went off bright enough for me to see it 800 miles away and in an instant she decided she wanted to be an event planner specializing in weddings.

I suggested she contact the best wedding planner in her area and just let them know she was available for any upcoming celebration in the event the planner found herself short-handed.  So every Tuesday, she left a simple message saying just that.  She did it for a month.  Then the month turned into two months.  Two months became half a year and we talked about it 4th of July weekend when she was home.

She told me she was considering not leaving any more messages because they obviously didn’t need her.  I listened to her and understood the negative feeling she had developed.  Sales is a tough place and you have to grow a thick skin and not take anything personally.  She hadn’t gotten to that point yet so I offered her some advice.

“First of all,” I said, “you have invested quite a bit of emotion into this but it has actually only cost you 10 seconds a week to leave a message.”  That made her stop and think.  I could see her eyes going distant for a second.  “Secondly, and most importantly, no one has told you to stop calling.  I think you should keep going until something changes.”  So she renewed her efforts.  Every Tuesday.

She returned to school in September and suddenly her phone rang on a Friday night.

“Hello?” she said.

“I hear you’ve been trying to reach me.” a voice replied.  My daughter had the number in her phone so she was fully aware of where the call was coming from.

“YES!  I’ve been leaving messages for you every week!”  Jess hurriedly answered.

“I’ve heard them all.  You want a shot?  I’ll give you a shot.  Be at this address tomorrow at 8am.  Black sneakers.  Black pants.  Black shirt.  Don’t be late.  You’ll be working all day.  Let’s see what you’ve got.”

She immediately told her mom and me and the first thing we told her to do was to go and buy the black clothes she didn’t have.  I told her to relax because this is the best kind of interview.  She wasn’t going to risk flubbing a ridiculous question across a desk in a 10-minute interview.  She was actually being given the chance to prove whether or not she could do the job.  This is the type of opportunity everyone deserves but few truly get.

Jess learned a fantastic lesson in perseverance and determination because not only did she get the job but she is now doing high level work for the company.  She did it by staying on the radar and not going over the top with it.  She kept it short and sweet.

You, as the salesperson, have to determine what is annoying and what would be deemed acceptable by your client.  It is different for everyone and every industry.  A client may not be happy with a caterer asking for business on a weekly basis but an electronics aficionado may be perfectly okay with daily updates of the latest available hardware and software on the market.

However, that same caterer may be better served by simply proving a bit of food education to the customers.  In this manner, there isn’t a sales pitch but the business stays in the forefront of the client should the need for a caterer ever arise.

Remember, don’t give up, don’t be too heavy and be consistent in your delivery.