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The Greatest Explosion Can Only Occur When Opportunity Meets Preparedness

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley

There is probably not a day in America when at least a million employees wonder “When am I going to get promoted?” or “I am so upset that they promoted him and not me?”

On that very same day there are hundreds of managers or employers who, when confronted about offering a promotion would say, “If you want to get promoted, do something and I will promote you,” or, when confronted about a promotion they made would say, “You are simply not ready to be promoted.”

These workplace sentiments happen because employees tend to look only at opportunity, and employers tend to look only at preparedness. The reality of life is that the greatest explosion can only occur when opportunity meets preparedness.

The fact is, millions of employees would get promoted before their counterparts if they were better prepared before an opportunity occurred.

Imagine for a moment how fired up I would be if the Seattle Seahawks suddenly needed a middle linebacker after a serious injury to their All-Pro and 3-time Pro-Bowl Samoan Middle Linebacker Lofa Tatupu. Imagine that Mike Holmgren, the Seahawk coach who will retire after the season and wants desperately to get to and win another Super Bowl on his way out, calls for an open tryout nationally.

Hundreds of wannabe professional football players would show up for the tryout. All of them would have played high school or college football. Some would be very big. Some would be very fast. A very few would be able to take the pounding that you would receive fighting off 300-pound-plus nasty offensive linemen. Even less would be great open field tacklers. A scant 1 or 2 might be able to cover a tight end or slot receiver.

Exactly none of them would have all or enough of the skills to compete effectively in the National Football League or they would already be there. In short, they would not be prepared to take advantage of a great opportunity to succeed in the NFL.

This is an extreme example, but an example nonetheless, of how too often opportunity does not meet preparedness when offered.

So how does one get prepared to meet opportunity in the workplace? The obvious answer is acquire more education and/or training. If you do not have a college degree in an academic discipline, do whatever it takes to get one. If you do not have specialized or professional training in a certain task, get involved in a technical training course at a vocational school.

Make yourself more marketable to be hired at a higher level task, or to be promoted to a higher level task.

Believe it or not, as difficult as it may be for you to acquire more education or training, it will be far easier than accomplishing the second route to getting prepared to meet opportunity head on when it arrives. That will require personal growth.

Personal growth is 100 times more difficult to achieve than professional growth because it requires that you not only learn or become aware of new information, but forces you to willingly change your thought process and belief system. People CAN change but most choose not to.

You will rise higher faster by achieving more personal growth than professional growth.

If you do not believe me, that is your business, but you might want to ask yourself this question:

If it only takes professional growth to get on in life, why is it that there are so many people with college degrees, professional training, smarts and talent that are not promoted, and are also prejudiced, intolerant, judgmental, self-centered, self-absorbed and sometimes even nasty?

Online Hiring Threatens to Do Away With Traditional Hard Copy Resumes – Is It Really True? (Part 1 of a 4-Part Series)

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

The presentation of this story in my Wednesday daily newspaper is dramatic.

A smaller headline in color above the main headline says “Digital Job Searches Gain Ground”.

The main headline says “Straight to the Waste Basket” and shows a picture up top of a resume folded like a paper airplane headed presumably for a wastebasket (if you are wondering, wastebasket is one word, not two).

Is it really true? Well, I guess that depends on who you are talking to and what advice you choose to believe.

The story—and I use the word story rather than article because I believe most of the story is make believe—makes some observations and assumptions that are without substance in fact.

“Instead of reading your resume,” says Daine Stafford of The Kansas City Star, “an employer might ask you to fill out an online form or take an online test that measures how well you fit the job, based on responses from successful workers.”

That is an observation and at least the first part of it is correct, that more and more employers are asking for an email version of a resume rather than the traditional hard copy (printed) version we have used in recent decades.

Stafford says “Google, for example, uses a screening program to measure applicants’ attitudes, behaviors, personality and biographical details. Answers are scrunched in a formula that creates a score, indicating how well the candidate is likely to fare on the job.”

Fair enough, Google probably does so if Stafford says so.

I have often wondered what a screening question like “Which would you rather be: 1) a monkey, 2) a bear, 3) a tiger, or 4) a kangaroo?” actually tells human resources about a person’s personality that they could not better find out by interviewing them.

If you get the impression that interviewers are personnel types who are lazy in the hiring process, you might be right. Anything to get them to the point where they have nothing to do but push paper around, and look important and arrogant in the process (like I have mine, screw you).

Stafford continues: “It’s all electronic,” said Michael Doyle, a 60-year-old job seeker from Prairie Village, Kan. (sic), who recently landed a job through personal contacts. In nine months, Doyle said, he’s spoken to exactly two interviewers as a result of online postings.”

My guess is that Doyle may have submitted an email version of his resume to dozens, if not hundreds, of online destinations.

I could have told Doyle that probably 60% of all hiring is contacts, knowing people in the workplace or knowing people who know people in the workplace. Yes, it helps to have qualifications, but it helps more to have qualifications and know someone who wants to help you.

Reading about Doyle’s experience might lead me to conclude that online posting is not the best method to proceed here given the results. No wonder hiring is so screwed up.

From this and another example, Stafford then draws the conclusion that the applicants “discovered that resumes have gone digital.”

She goes on to say “In some cases, resumes have disappeared from the hiring process completely. Some employers don’t even want them in digitized format. They prefer customized online forms, tailor-made to cull the applicant field.”

Again, anything to make it easier on personnel types, we certainly would not want to put them out for even a minute of their precious time.

From the input of experiences of two applicants this conclusion comes bursting forth as implied truth that a new paradigm has taken place in the America business of hiring.