Friday, October 23, 2009

Money and Real Life

Surprising as it may seem to those who are carrying on about the compensation programs for senior executives on Wall Street, money isn't the key motivator for most people. Career Strategies has used  the same assessment instrument to determine the motivators for our clients for over fifteen years. How people answer has been pretty consistent through good times and bad.

For most people, money is not a big motivator. Even for people out of work. Even for people who work in financial services. What does motivate people is: doing a good job and being recognized for it, making a difference by their work, and learning and growing.

In our experience, people start focusing on pay issues when there is something else going on, like a micromanaging boss, an abusive culture at work, or obvious unfairness. Then people feel they "deserve" more money to make up for what they put up with.

Senior financial services people have certainly been kicked around in the media for the last year. They might be feeling that they really deserve the money as a payback or as a sign that the crisis is over.  My guess is that even for these financial services executives, money is really a measure of how well they are doing in relation to their peers. It's not the money itself; it's competing and winning.

It this is true, it's a good thing. If executives are motivated by winning not money, maybe we could dial back executive compensation so it looks a little more like executive compensation in Europe. In Europe, they don't seem to have any trouble filling executive positions with good people, in spite of their different pay structure. And there would be far less wrath directed against executives and  regulation of their pay in the United States.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Boy in the Balloon and Job Loss

But the boy wasn't in the balloon; he was hiding in the garage! That's the point. By six, most kids aren't that stupid. And it was reasonable for the police to pull out all the stops. But the news media, anxious for another white SUV to chase, took the most hyper approach to the story. It hasn't even taken a couple of news cycles for the story to expand. Maybe the family will be suspected of perpetrating a hoax. Maybe they will sell the film rights for millions. After all, this family is used to living in front of the camera.

The point is that the story wasn't true, but the media made a big deal of it without checking its veracity or reasonableness.

This  is one of those times when what is happening in the media and what is happening in real life are two different things. So, even if you are out of work, don't crawl under the bed covers and cower in fear because the media is going on and on about job losses. Your real situation may be entirely different. Your job specialty or grographic location may actually be doing well.

Forget the media. Talk to your friends. Learn what is actually going on at local organizations. Just as I predicted in September, temporary and contract jobs are starting to show up. The "job market"(see my very first blog) isn't as awful as it is portrayed and will be even better in January. As one of our clients said only two weeks after he was laid off, " The job market isn't that bad for me. I'm going to do OK. I never should have worried so much."

Don't let worrying get in the way of your job search, no matter what the media say!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Quick Tip: Job Applicants Needed!

Headhunter friends of mine tell me they are starting to have new jobs to fill in greater numbers, but the people they call about the openings are unwilling to change jobs. Time to drop a resume on your favorite head hunter!

Also, what I predicted in September in the Metro (see link on the right) is starting to happen. Contract- to-permanent and temporary-to-permanent jobs are starting to appear. This is great news for people who are not employed! Find out which are the temporary/contract placement firms in your specialty, and call them!

Go for it!


Friday, October 2, 2009

People Really Want to Help...

It's true. Most people want to help those who are affected by this recession, whether they are looking for work or trying to advance their careers. Sure, some people won't reply, but don't let that prevent you from asking for help. In this recession, the percentage of people who respond is the highest I've seen it - around 50%. And since organizations are swamped with resumes, it really makes a difference if someone puts in a good word for you.

So, ask the people you know for help. "We all get by with a little help from our friends," to quote the Beatles.

But there's a catch. You have to follow up on what they recommend. If you don't, they aren't likely to help you again. Have a look at this email I received last week:

"Why don't people take the help you offer to them? I did all the job research for this one woman - found several positions here that paid well, with great benefits. She didn't apply for a single one! I just don't get it. I can't stand people who ask for help but don't take action. Do they want a job or not? Why don't you write about that in your blog!"