Friday, December 6, 2013
Today, we live in Daniel Pink's "Free Agent Nation," in which we change jobs every five years (this writer is in year 5 at JIU). For this reason, we need to create professional networks that stand alone, apart from our workplaces. Your references, in other words, move with you for they are outside your current, present job context. You can add to this network, of course, from your present job, but do not count on the present job to provide all of the ongoing reference support and job search tips that you need today and tomorrow.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
It's Gresham's Law again. Bad money drives out good money. More and more, Gresham explains trends. American philosopher A.J. Nock, in his autobiography noted how the second and third rate drive out the first rate. The first launch the venture. The second see it working and flock to it. In the process the second drive out the first who had the gifts to launch it in the first place. The result is atrophy - and driving out the first rate. We are living this again, and again, and again. The fake faculty meetings expose, document this atrophy, and, the something-for-nothing customers (students is too kind) compound the mix even further. This is why Nock backed the free market concept, for it gave space, resources for the first-rate to move on and create something new. The free market also lets the second and third rate collapse from their own lack of brainpower. It makes sense to me. Take care.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Dear friend, this is impressive. You have earned such praise. Ask Bill if you can use him as a reference. You may want to weigh using this letter as part of applications. Talk it over with him.
If anybody asks you why you left XYX you can honestly say budget cuts were the cause. Financial mismanagement at the corporate headquarters results in laying off senior managers because of cost factors. This is honest. Moreover, people know it is common practice today.
As I type this, I am wondering if you would be street smart to have Bill serve as a reference as needed and provide a shorter statement of support. Otherwise, it could come across as defensive to some readers. KISS, keep it simple stupid. Or as the old street saying in New York goes, "You can say too much."
The use of this letter, of course, also depends on the job for which you are applying. If it is management, it may be a plus. If it is for teaching, you may scare other administrators as a potential in-house threat. This is why the use of Bill as a reference and the amount of information he provides hinges on the context, job, employer.
I have finished a research study for XYZ. During the process, I discovered hostility on campus against me behind the scenes, since some staff and faculty perceived me as a threat. This is one of the reasons why I have advised creating a separate XYZ Institute, apart from the regular governance system, in order to avoid sabotage and enhance off-campus, online outreach, which is where the real market is, not on campus. Sadly, people behave in such ways. So weigh how you deploy this letter.
Again, it depends on the context, who reads it, the kind of job for which you are applying, and your sense of how much of a threat you may be to the hiring persons, even if it is their false perception.
What strikes me is how your situation reminds me of Harry Pink's classic Free Agent Nation. which came out in 2000. It predicted the loss of loyalty, the social contract, in the workplace. You and I grew up with a strong work ethic, which taught us that if you worked hard you got rewarded.
In fact, organizational politics today have negated the wisdom of yesterday. In fact, they are changing the rules on us, and we must unlearn what we thought to be true. In fact, I have mulled doing a book entitled Unlearn, which would examine this looming disconnect between the rules of yesterday and the emerging Darwinian rules of today.
Yes, it hurts to work hard, succeed, and then get the shaft. I worked as technology planner for XYZ, 1992-1998, and I won awards from the Wisconsin Senate, Governor, and State Telecommunications Association for my work. Yet, after I planned, funded, and set up a $1-million wide are network to connect 28 public libraries across 5 counties to the Internet and each other, I got canned.
The reason was I fought hard to defend the project against attacks, so it was easier for the system to throw me overboard in the end and start over with a new IT guy who had not made enemies in the region. I landed in the hospital twice from the stress of the turf battles.
I promised myself that I would never work for anybody else again. I would work for myself, as a free agent, without any expectations of fair, loyal, ethical treatment.
XYZ threw you overboard after years of loyal quality service. XYZ threw me overboard too after year of loyal quality service. We are, sadly, simply widgets today, disposable widgets. This is why we need to unlearn the work ethic with which we grew up and replace it with a more Darwinian outlook. Above all, if possible, go into business for yourself. It gives more control, income, and security than begging for jobs.
Yes, we are unlearning the rules on many, many levels in our society, sadly. However, the powers are changing the rules; we must adjust to the environment. If it is cold outside, dress for it. If it is hot outside, dress for it. As my PH.D. advisor taught, "The environment is all-powerful." I have seen nothing to contradict him. The environments around us are changing, and we need to change with, adapt to them, Darwinian style.
Yes, "When in Rome do as the Romans do." Or, as I am finding, carve out your own space, agenda, authenticity, and avoid playing workplace games. Go into business for ourselves. At our ages it makes sense.
We need to keep in touch to help each other. One of the rules of survival today is to create support networks that stand aside, outside our jobs, since jobs come and go. I hope this has been of help to you. Paul
Friday, November 22, 2013
Jeanine, you are doing this because you do not want to be "the singer who never sang, or the dancer who never danced." It is also called self-respect, or as Abraham Maslow puts it, "self-actualization." I have an ex-son-in-law who missed himself; it has turned him into an alcoholic. He is a first-class creative persons, e.g. radio show host. However, he became a victim of his surroundings and sought to be a mechanic! Finally, he could not, would not work because it was a terrific mismatch between his creative, verbal side and the rote, routine of taking wheels on and off cars in a garage or welding. This is why his son, my grandson, age 8, is a special project for your humble servant here. The grandson has all of the father's creative gifts, e.g. singing and dancing. We are not going to make the same mistake wit him; this grandpa has already made contact with the scholarship funds in the school of dance at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, grandpa's alma mater. He knows the University fundraiser for the program personally, and we are friends. She has tipped us off that the dance program has the most scholarship money on the entire campus! Today, this writer, grandpa, gave his grandson and his sister, age 6, red stocking caps with the U of Wisconsin - Madison logo on it. He told his grandson that he would need this when he arrives on campus! Yes, Socrates advised, "Know thyself." To which your humble servant here adds, "Respect and develop yourself." Socrates is smiling down on you! Dr. Rux
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Shaun, bravo! Think equity. Think security. Pursue your own business. You are on track in these times of "free agents." Brand yourself through conference talks, publications, and a hard-hitting website, which you need to keep fresh. You likely know all of this already; be sure, also, to protect your intellectual property as you progress. You have the right research topic at the right time to profit financially and professionally. Work for yourself, not others. You clearly understand the times. Also, 30% of consulting time is spent on marketing, so you need to charge enough to cover those times when you are cultivating customers. Also, best practice as a consultant is to demand 50% of your fee at the start, before you start, and 50% at the end after your deliver the work product. Do not make the mistake I have this term. I am working on a consulting project for which I get paid only if at the end the client likes the work product. This is stupid of me; since I am dealing with a state agency, I either play by its rules or sit it out. I prefer to play now. However, I am copyrighting all of my work product as my own intellectual property, a "work for hire," to make sure if they do not pay they do not get the work product. I met with an IQ property lawyer about how to do this. I can easily recycle the research into other outlets if they would back stab at the end. Yes, it is learning by doing. I share these lessons learned to help you position yourself in the market. I am proud of you! Dr. Rux
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Your humble servant here admires your determination, grit as doctoral students to hang on and hang in with your studies despite challenges in your personal lives, e.g. health issues. Your consistent first-class work is even more impressive when you share some of the background to your lives with your humble servant here. Thank you for this sharing. It honors, continues a tradition that began full-force in my life when I had such a sharing relationships with the late Prof. J.S. Moir at the University of Toronto, where I was a Graduate Fellow for a M.A. Yes, our work is professional; it is also personal. This does not mean "personality psycho-babble stuff." It means genuine sharing, rapport between student, teacher. Right now I am studying Confucius; he emphasizes the value of the master-student (teacher-student) relationship as one of the great relationships that we humans can experience. You are going to have such relationships with your own students as professors after your doctoral degrees. Continue the tradition. Dr. Rux
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Although born in a hospital, my last granddaughter's (whose mother is an ICU nurse) birth was monitored by a midwife. We had Christmas dinner, Diana went into labour that night and Macie - Kay was delivered with dad and grandparents in attendance on Boxing day. We all had dinner together that day! The way it should be.
Pregnancy, birth and even death are not diseases.
The protocol for emergencies is very important though.
Keep up the good work,