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Like many, I’ve been working on improving myself personally, professionally, spiritually, etc. over the past number of years. (If you’ve found your way to this blog, I would assume you’re trying that too.)  My path has taken me many places and having to deal with many aspects of my life, including those I really would rather not have dealt with. Granted, I’ve still a long ways to go, but it seems like recently I’ve come to a nice resting place. The lessons I learn in one part of my life spill over into others. In many ways, how I’ve developed as a career consultant has shown me what I need to know elsewhere.

I’ve been single now for 4 1/2 years, and I think that I’ve learned more about what I’m looking for.  But more importantly, I’ve discovered more who I am at my core and what I bring into a relationship. I can see now that I was presenting myself pretty poorly before, and that’s probably why I wasn’t getting what I needed.

Now that I’m better equipped with that information, I can be more efficient in getting things done. I’ve been having better success at that since I’ve been meditating and just acknowledging what’s in front of me, and then making better choices about what to do next. Thus blog is a testament to that.

The one area I haven’t been good about is my health. As many of you know, I had a big health challenge when I caught an infection in the hospital while we were waiting for my mother to pass on after we took her off life support in September, and I’ve been fighting the uphill battle ever since. I’m about 97% better, but am still dealing with fatigue and not able to workout and accomplish everything I think I should. I’ve been fighting my body in that I should be better, and not looking at the reality that I’m still on the mend.

So, another growth experience for me. I need to be at ease with this and just let it be what it is.

What do you need to be at ease with?

Every two years, I get sucked into the Olympics. It doesn’t matter whether it’s speed skating, curling or crew, I’m fascinated by it all and will spend hours watching the events (which unfortunately also means I have to endure hours of commentary also).

Now, I was formally a decently competitive race walker and coach, so I know first hand about the amount of training that it takes to perform at the highest level (which is to say a lot more than I ever did). What really pulls me in is the hours of practice, focus, dedication and sacrifice to get to the proficiency that you need to compete at that level. The intensity in their eyes, the planfulness of each action; each action speaks to the focus of the goals they’ve set and the determination to achieve.

Too often, we all set goals, but don’t put in the plan the actions that we need in order to achieve them.  We see on the TV screens at the Olympics the coaches that support these athletes and motivate and train them. They are usually the difference between a talented athlete, and a talented athlete that excels.

I’ve recently hired a coach to help with my own goals, and I have to say it’s been incredibly helpful for me. (Thank you Richard!  Check out his website.) What I do with people is also coaching, but I don’t tend to call it that. I don’t get people jobs, but I help them clarify, plan, focus, and execute.  I do many of the same things as now as I have done as a track & field coach.

So, what are your goals, and what are you doing to move towards them?  If you don’t have a plan, you probably won’t get there. Let me know your thoughts below.
Ken

PS – There are still open spots for my career exploration workshop for gay men at Easton Mountain entitled Finding Your Calling: Making Connections Between Spirit and Vocation on February 26-28, 2010.  Call up soon and get the homework and plan for setting the plans for your life!

Many times, people come to see me to have their resume reviewed.  When this happens, the first question that I ask them is “Who’s the audience for this resume?”  Many times, this question is answered with blank stares.  In most of these cases, we end up talking about so many other things that we don’t even talk about the resume.

This gets to my premise about resumes:

Your resume is not about you.  It’s about the person reading it and what they need to know about you.

The resume is an advertisement about you and your qualifications, and like any advertisement, you don’t tell everything about yourself, because the reader won’t care and it will be just a waste of time.  You need to know what that person cares about (i.e. the skills, knowledge, and experiences needed for the position you’re looking for) and present those in a clear, persuasive manner.  Otherwise it would be a short story (or longer for some of us) and for that you’d probably use a CV (otherwise known as a curriculum vitae, which is Latin for story of your life).  As the resume’s job is to speak for you when you’re not there, you need to make sure it tells your story well enough that someone wants to talk with you to find out more about you, which usually means calling you in for an interview.

So, if you’re got more than one target market, you can have more than one resume.  Granted, I don’t think you need to have a different resume for every job, but maybe a different resume for each type of job. For example: if you are looking for a advertising account executive position, most agencies are looking for the same type of background, so you probably don’t need a different one for each.  But, if you are also looking for work doing public relations at a non-profit, you might want to highlight different experiences that you have.

It goes without saying that you should do your research on your different targets.

So, where do you want to be?  That’s the first question.

On Valentine’s Day, everyone who don’t have a partner tends to be a little obsessive (and possibly desperate) about finding a mate. As most of us know, nobody wants to be with someone who comes off as needy. You kind of wonder what’s wrong with that person. You don’t want someone who you expect is going to suck the life out of you because you will embody the answer to that person’s prayers and make life complete.

I’ve recently had come conversations with Greg Halpen (The Gay Guy’s Love Coach), and we were talking about the similarities in the type of work we do. This conversation reminded me of how I talk to a lot of people about looking for a job, and that it’s a lot like dating. You’ve got someone who’s looking for a job, and someone who has a need. It’s about making the match.

I like to say that most people think that job search (like dating) is like baking a cake: you follow the directions and in the end you come out with cake. Obviously, life doesn’t work that way. You can do all the right things, and you still can come up with a gloppy mess.

The analogy that I like to use is that getting a job (or finding a mate) is more like getting hit by lightning. You can’t make it happen, but you can put yourself in a situation where it is more likely to happen.

The conditions that you can effect are threefold: being in the right place, having the right conditions in place, and being there at the right time.

  1. Being in the Right Place: Well, where do you want to be?  There are lots of great places in the (work) world.  What’s perfect for you might be a bad place for others.  Figure out where you want to be, and then hang around that place.  If you want to work in the film industry, go to the place where all the film people hang out (e.g. film festivals, workshops, professional associations, etc.)  If you’re looking for an athletic partner, go to someplace where there are active people you’re attracted to.
  2. Having the Right Conditions in Place: For the job search, you need to know what the position is that you want, know what the hiring manager needs for someone in that position, and make sure that the manager knows you have those skills.  Don’t know what the job title is? Don’t know who the hiring managers are (or the people they know)? Don’t know what skills are necessary for that position? Don’t know what you have that would convince the hiring manager that you’ve got what’s needed in the job? Well, you better do your research and find out.  Once you find out, better figure out how to make sure the people in the know know that you are one of them.As for dating, do you know what you’ve got that others think is cute, sexy, attractive, etc.? Better figure that out and start showing it off.
  3. Be There at the Right Time: When’s the right time? You never know.  When will they have a new client and need more help? When will that employee announce she’s moving across the country and they need a replacement?  When will the man of your dreams be attending your friend’s birthday party? Damned if I know.  This is why it’s so difficult.  This is why you need to have the other two attributes in place.  Hang around the places you want to be, and make sure everyone knows what you have to offer (either as a potential employee or a potential date).

This takes some thinking and planning, but if you do it right, you’ll always be there at the time when someone is thinking “So, who do we know whom I’d want to work with?” or conversely “Who do you think would be a good match for Dan?”

And as a side note, don’t appear desperate in either situation.  Be happy where you are now, and others will be attracted to your magnetism and charm, and they will want to be around you.  Confidence is attractive!

In support of my weekend workshop Finding Your Calling: Making Connections Between Spirit and Vocation, I’m doing a tele-workshop (Easton Mountain’s First!) that I’m calling Career Planning for Gay Men, and it will be on Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. This will be a free workshop to find out more about what my philosophy of career development and what I’ll be covering in the workshop. If you’re interested in my program, or just want to get some career advice, all gay men are welcomed (Sorry women and straights, but this is a focused program. I have lots of other programs for the general population!)

You can see the Facebook event page for this at http://bit.ly/d7u3yc.

Note: There is no charge for the workshop, but you are responsible for the long distance charges to call into the access number.

Welcome to February! The year is 1/12th over. In this time we have gotten halfway from Winter Solstice to Spring Equinox. The amount of light is growing and, at least in Boston, sunset is finally after 5 p.m. Whether you celebrate this as Candlemass, Imbolc, or Groundhog Day, this has traditionally been the time that cabin fever sets in and we just want to be in the warm weather. People in earlier times work get crafty and prepare for the coming season by fixing up things and doing crafts or creative works of art. (Remind you of all the gardening catalogs coming in the mail now?)

What are you creating?

Also this is usually the time that the initial push of a New Year’s Resolution has waned and it’s out of your mind. As it helps to keep things in sight in order to succeed, here are some of he best writtings on resolution keeping that I found on the web this year.

So, what are you fixing up or creating now? Please share you thoughts in the comments!

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

I am a career consultant who specializes in the connection between what your spirit wants to do in the world, and how to marry that to the work that you do in order to support yourself. While I work with people in all fields, I specialize in working with "creative entrepreneurs" and the LGBT community.

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