Be Skilled But Be Liked

Don’t be so arrogant about your ability, skills, background and education that it makes you unpleasant to be around.  After all, all of that stuff means more to you than it does or than it could to anyone else.  So try not to go around prancing or someone will try to knock you off your horse.  This is universal.  You will confront this everywhere.  Envy is man’s default position.  So be wary of it and learn how to negotiate it with others.  Find a way to be pleasant, to be fun, funny, and interesting. This may be more important than the very skills for which you were hired.

Don’t believe me?  Read here:

companies work most efficiently when its employee base is happy. Have you ever heard the term demoralized? And how does that happen?

It happens when employees poison the well. What this means is an employee, or group of employees, sways attitudes, on any variety of topics. This decreases productivity company wide when it gets bad enough, and then fires need to be put out.

Remember this–

If you have to choose between selling yourself out and taking a very controversial side, sell the [. . .] out of your soul. There’s no salvation in “being your own man” when you already work for the man. You are a cog, you already sold your soul. The best you can get from this is the ability to work with company mechanics that far exceed what you could likely ever do on your own.

“Get the job. Look around for opportunity. Identify the opportunity. Exploit it. Work it. Get good at it.”

h/t Entrepreneur

Seek opportunity, not your passions.

A degree does not mean you’re going to find your dream job, Rowe explains.  “Dream jobs are usually just that–dreams. Their imaginary existence just might keep you from exploring careers that offer a legitimate chance to perform meaningful work and develop a genuine passion for the job you already have.  Your happiness on the job has very little to do with the work itself.”  With what, then?

Get a job.  Look around to see what other people are doing.  Get good at your work and prosper.  Get passionate about winning. Septic tank expert learned that he was passionate about other people’s crap.”  Meaning someone else is setting the mark or parameters for what’s valuable to you.  That’s something that you’ve got to find. English, history, math, and science teachers will tell you how important and valuable their subject is.  It is valuable.  To them!  And since you’re learning of its value from them while sitting captive inside a tax-funded classroom, they might be able to persuade a percentage of kids minimally by attrition.  They will wear you down, particularly if you’re in the system for 12 years.  So there’s that.

Polite society calls professional jobs “good careers.”  Maybe they are.  Try one on for size.  Try serving the public, every one of them.  Employers are struggling to fill 5.8 million jobs that no one is trained to do.

Skills gap: when people follow their passions, they miss out on kinds of opportunities they didn’t even know existed.  So they never take the time to learn the skill.  They only invest time in chasing down their passions.

Can still be a tradesman but only if you get yourself a different kind of toolbox.

“Staying the course” only makes sense if you’re headed in a sensible direction.   And while passion is way too important to be without, it is way too fickle to follow around.  Never follow your passion but always bring it with you.

In general, Rowe’s advice is quite good.  It is sobering.  It would be rare to hear this pragmatism from a tax-funded, high-school teacher.  But Wall Street Journal writer, Dr. Peter Cappelli, points out a few other reasons why kids are opting for those “good jobs.” He argues that “Some of the complaints about skill shortages boil down to the fact that employers can’t get candidates to accept jobs at the wages offered.”  Perhaps.  Employers should treat each hire as an investment with a measurable plan of increase wages and responsibility.  But they don’t.  They don’t want to talk about future responsibility or performance in an interview of positions currently held by tenured employees.

Here is a list of difficult-to-fill jobs for 2016.  How many of these are manual labor jobs? Not many.  Which makes Mike Rowe look like an oracle for the working man.

Essentially, it looks like healthcare, education, and technology is where job shortages are. Then fill them.  Want to be a writer?  Fine, just be a healthcare writer or tech writer and so forth.

A decent graphic on where the job shortages are.

Skilled Jobs Are Available Everywhere & They Pay Well

Mike Rowe does a nice job of contrasting skills with schooling. Unfortunately, the skills you learn in school are, what’s the word, academic and not lucrative.

Kids are taught that manual-skilled jobs are not good jobs.  Talk about a disservice the schools are doing to kids.  With the help of guidance counselors, parents, etc., “We almost indoctrinate them to avoid a whole category of perfectly legitimate occupations.”

Want a Great Networking Strategy? Try Conferences

from Gary North’s, May 08, 2017, article titled “A Not-So-Obvious Strategy for a Career Change.”

This was posted a few days ago .

Coincidentally, after a few years I realized that I have the necessary experience to get into medical sales. I have registered to go to a convention next month and will do this very thing before biting the bullet and getting involved in medical sales. There are always going to be cons to each industry, but it’s better to know what you’re getting into than to not know at all.

A few days later, he posted again.

As I mentioned, I went to a medical device conference. It was definitely well worth the trip. Everyone there was friendly and couldn’t believe that a guy from another industry spent his own money to fly out and network for a job. They answered any questions I had and were all willing to point me in the right direction. I actually got some emails on LinkedIn recommending me to talk to people that might be interested in using my experience dealing with Japan and Asia to help sell their devices. Since I wasn’t in the industry, I was also able to negotiate a discount for the convention fee itself with the host.

Other than the actual effort of showing up and taking time off work, it wasn’t difficult to meet people at all. Not only was this more effective than just sending out resumes, but no one there even asked about my resume. One person said to send them a 5 sentence paragraph on LinkedIn (essentially an elevator pitch of who I am and what I’m looking for) and they will see if they know anyone that can help. I was also pointed to the larger conventions in this field and what cities in the US are key in this field.

Another interesting note is that the host of the conference emphasized that people need to be blogging about the industry. This validates Dr. North’s advice about having a blog for your field. There were a few people there that had a company business card and their own personal blog business card. Youtube channels were also emphasized.

The discussion is here.

This is a very good strategy. First, it lets you get a sense of what is required in the industry. Obviously, at a convention, everybody puts his best foot forward. Or, to switch metaphors, all the pigs are wearing lipstick. But if you get the sense that you really would not want to be in the industry after going to a convention, you probably should not be in that industry. Reality is going to be worse than it appears at a convention. At a convention, everybody is either trying to sell you something or sell himself.

Second, it is a form of networking. You pick up business cards; you hand out business cards. I think it is interesting that what he did was considered unique by people who were attending the convention. Here was an outsider coming to a convention to do networking. Yet, from the point of view of information gathering, this ought to be an obvious strategy. But it isn’t. Here is one more case of what seems to be obvious to members of this website turns out not to be obvious to anybody else.

Third, you get some sense of what the competition is going to be. People who attend the convention are probably in the top 20% of the people in the industry. They have spent money to attend. They have allocated time to attend. They probably will pick up brochures that will help them, and it is at least conceivable that they’ll come away with three or four ideas from the lectures. Any time you can come away with three or four ideas from anything, it’s worth your while. Getting good ideas dropped in your lap is not a normal experience.

Fourth, you should take some kind of action within 72 hours after you get home. If you wait longer than this, the opportunities will still be there, but your willingness to follow through is not. You have to discipline yourself to take some kind of action. It may simply be contacting somebody. It may be writing for more information. But you should do something.

Fifth, you really do need a website, and a YouTube channel would not hurt. But the website is more important. The website should have videos that are embedded from the YouTube channel. A website is more comprehensive than a YouTube channel. There are things that you can do with a website that you cannot do with the video. There is nothing that you can do with a video that you cannot do with a website.

Sixth, if you are looking for a job in a new industry, and you don’t want an entry-level job, you need to create a website related to the industry you want to get into. Initially, you should not voice any opinions. You should use the site as a clearinghouse of information: summaries with links to articles. This site will persuade a potential employer that you know more than you really do. The very fact that you have a website that serves as a clearinghouse of information indicates that you are on top of things. You may not be on top of things, but the website testifies otherwise. It’s not exactly false advertising. It is lipstick on the pig. Oink, oink.

The above article originally appeared at, reprinted here with expressed written permission from Gary North.

UPDATE: Google conferences in your area.  Start with general search, then narrow it down to entrepreneur or tech conferences, or medical or teaching conferences.  You will definitely find something you like.  The conferences are not free, and some are outright outrageously priced.  But no matter.  You go to a conference to network.  Even networking is not free.

What Does That Job Pay?

One of the challenges to finding the right job at Craigslist is the fact that the posters very rarely post the wage for a position, unless it is a customer service or driving position that might pay $12 to $13 an hour.  But if it is a sales position or a tech position, the usual refrain is “EARN $50k to $240k.”  That’s so large of a range that it is nearly meaningless. This means that you’re going to have take your salary negotiating skills to a whole new level while you’re in the middle of a job interview.  But there are places where you can find what certain jobs pay.  Business Insider has done some of the work for you.  See it below. Also, when you search for salaries or top paying jobs, be sure to specify your industry, like “top paying jobs tech industry” or “top paying jobs IT Manager.”

Glassdoor just released its list of the 25 best-paying jobs in the US for 2016, and, as usual, tech jobs dominated the list.

Glassdoor sifted through the salaries reported by employees who have these jobs, limiting its search to salary reports from the past year, to come up with median salaries.

The website also looked at the demand for these jobs, based on the current number of job openings on its site.

No. 11: Information Systems Manager, $106,000

Median base salary: $106,000

Number of job openings: 147

An information systems manager is an IT job for a corporation, a person who is responsible for various tech and tech projects used within a business.

No. 10: Analytics Manager, $106,000

Median base salary: $106,000

Number of job openings: 988

It is the analytics manager’s job to gather the data that business leaders use to make business decisions, and it runs the gamut from choosing and managing big data/analytics systems to finding the important insights to share.

No. 9: Product Manager, $107,000

Median base salary: $107,000

Number of job openings: 7,758

A product manager guides a team responsible for producing a product for the company. Tech companies frequently structure themselves with product managers who act as liaisons, translating what the business wants from its new tech products into instructions for engineers.

No. 8: Data Architect, $113,000

Median base salary: $113,000

Number of job openings: 762

A data architect is a role that once belonged in the world of databases but has grown because of the big-data craze. Data architects design data-management systems, looking through all of a company’s potential data sources from inside the company and other sources and then figuring out how to gather, store, manage, and update.

No. 7: Data Scientist, $115,000

Median base salary: $115,000

Number of job openings: 1,985

The data scientist has become a super-hot job as companies look to store more data and use it for more insights. The data scientist’s job is to run the systems used to store data and to find those insights in massive amounts of data.

No. 6: Systems Architect, $116,920

Median base salary: $116,920

Number of job openings: 439

A systems architect designs complex IT systems for companies, which may include rolling out a new huge software system including the new computers and networks needed for it to perform well.

No. 5: Applications Development Manager, $120,000

Median base salary: $120,000

Number of job openings: 263

An applications development manager supervises a team of application developers who may be writing software for PCs, enterprises, or the web.

No. 4: Solutions Architect, $120,000

Median base salary: $120,000

Number of job openings: 2,838

A solutions architect is a role that is often at the consulting arm of a software provider or IT company. This person helps design the IT systems that meet the customer’s need.

No. 3: IT Manager, $120,000

Dan Frommer, Business Insider

Median base salary: $120,000

Number of job openings: 3,152

An IT manager is responsible for the technology used by companies such as their PCs, servers, and the software the company buys.

No. 2: Software Architect, $128,250

Median base salary: $128,250

Number of job openings: 655

A software architect designs complex computer software.

No. 1: Software Development Manager, $132,000

Median base salary: $132,000

Number of job openings: 3,495

A software development manager manages a software project from the design phase through completion.

“. . . measuring does not apply to writing, other than direct-response copywriting.”

Dr. Gary North has an article at his site, titled “Prove You Are Better Than All the Job Applicants in Two Steps” that is about positioning yourself stronger as the coming recession increases the number of qualified applicants exponentially.  He points to speaking and writing.  Speaking is the real skill.  Writing, well, every junior editor who edits mocking commentary in his head a la Beevis & Butthead fashions himself a writer. But it was actually a comment that North made in one of his forum posts that nailed it.  IT came upon a question from a member about how to measure one’s writing.  Dr. North wrote “. . . measuring does not apply to writing, other than direct-response copywriting.” That’s exactly it.

That’s exactly it.

In high school, kids are taught to write essays–expository, persuasive, narrative, poetry, book reviews, short stories at best.  But these exercises have only for their audience their teacher, who to many I am sure is either tiring, a clown, or a task manager.  Not the ideal audience.  And that’s what is required for anyone to get inspired and create decent work.

Direct marketing suddenly gets the boys involved, boys are fired by the prospect of making a profit and turning a dollar with their talents.

The forum member recommended the SMART approach, fashioned by Michael Hyatt, to measuring one’s writing.  SMART is the acronym for 1) Specific, 2) Measured, 3) Actionable, 4) Realistic, and 5) Time-constrained.  This is too close to what Michael Masterson taught as well; in fact, this is the standard formula for goal setting, not so much for measuring one’s writing abilities. The best way to do that is to write and then work to publish, either through Kindle or sell your writing through direct marketing clients.

To produce a book or write copy or sell ads, review the insights of these gentlemen here: Bill Myers, Bob Bly, or AWAI.


After 10 Years on the Job, What Next?

In answer to the question of what one should do after 10 years in your field, leave or find ways to advance, Dr. North writes this:

Once you’ve hit the 7-10 year mark in your field, should you keep on getting those hours of experience for master status or should you switch to another field touching yours and start that experience clock over?”

If you quit 100%, you will get rusty. The new field should be complementary to your main field. Alternative: become a consultant. You will then be forced to learn marketing. Or become a writer/consultant. Inside the firm, become a teacher.

“On the other side of the table, if you hire for a job that needs a journeyman but not a master, would you rather offer a master a journeyman salary assuming an excess of masters or look only for journeyman candidates?”

Go for the journeyman. You may get a hot shot. The master has seen his day. But if the master could be a teacher or mentor, hire the master at a wage in between. A good teacher is worth paying for. He will get journeymen up to speed.