Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Landing a GREAT Job Fast

Several years ago I developed and taught a course on how to land a great job, fast! through the Learning Annex. It was based upon my experiences as a recruiter and as a coach.

Working as a recruiter, I learned that looking and finding a job had very little to do with the traditional techniques I'd been taught. You know, write a GREAT resume, check ads in the newspapers, be prepared for those tough questions (So, where would you like to be in 5 years?), etc.

Nowadays, we'd hit Monster.com, Yahoo, Dice and a few other major job boards as well as keeping an eye out on Craigslist.

Nothing much very different doing that than there was to responding to jobs you saw posted in newspaper ads.

Do you want to be one of 100's or 1000's of people applying to a very interesting ad, a potentially GREAT job? Good for you!

Personally, I don't like those odds at all. And, if my career as a recruiter had depended on competing having my candidates compete "fairly" with 100's or 1000's of other candidates- I probably would have starved to death.

Fortunately, there are other, better ways of landing the job(s) of your dreams. And once you learn those techniques and more importantly- the mindset of a recruiter, you will truly be in control of your career.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

Spent much of the day getting ready to see my Dad, travelling to him, spending time with him and then driving back. All in all, 2 hours with him out of 8 hours!

Got some photos of him using my new nokia cell phone. Now I have to learn how to upload them to my computer.

However, what was important to me today was that in writing a few lines to him in his Father's Day card, I was reminded of how much I owe him. More often my thoughts & memories are of what he didn't do or some "bad" things that he did.

Over lunch he told Barbara and I that he'd lived a happy life. He shared some memories and stories (that I've heard many times before).

Dad, here are some of mine- the best of what I remember growing up. I remember in grade school doing homework assignments with you. Particularly math. You'd sit down at the table after dinner with a yellow legal pad and write out 20 problems for me to solve. Then we'd work on them together. Almost always an impatient man, I remember you as being very patient with me at those times.

I remember very cold mornings waiting in the car for our swimming workout to begin, that you'd drop my brother and I off on your way to work. When we swam in the evenings you'd be there to pick us up- for years. And you were there at our swim meets, often working as a timer.
You were so very concerned that Albert, Nicole and I learn to swim...fearful of us drowning in a pool somewhere.

Then there was the weekend I tried out for a job as a lifeguard at Laguna Beach. You drove us down, cheered me on and brought me back home at the end of the day. I made it in terms of meeting all the standards but...was about 50 or a 100 on a list of 20-some openings. I didn't make the cut. Yet you never made me feel bad about that. In fact you were proud that I'd tried and done so well. I can remember you telling people many times over the years about that experience.

As an engineer and machinist you taught me how to draw up a plan and then build to that plan. Teaching me how to hammer nails, use wrenches and screwdrives and how to saw wood correctly- after measuring it twice! There was the fence, patio and sidewalk we built for our first home in Fullerton from scratch. From picking up loads of gravel and sand, to mixing our own concrete, "trucking" it out to the forms we'd built and leveled, pouring it in place and then smoothing it out. Oh yeah, and cleaning out the concrete mixer at the end of the day. Those skills and others have helped me to build a half-dozen patios, landscape yards, plant trees, paint homes & apartments. To do what needed to be done around the house except for serious plumbing or electrical work.

You encouraged me in my love of reading and science from kindergarten or first grade. I got chemistry sets, a microscope, telescope and trips to the natural history museum as gifts. I got to stay up late and watch the moon through my telescope. (In summer of course and only when school was out.) Then there were the many Saturdays you dropped me off at the Orange library on your way to work or other chores.

You believed in right and wrong and instilled that in me. Today we have very different views about politics, to the point that we really can't discuss our views. Yet we share the same passion about politics and justice.

When I started my recruiting company in Ventura you were proud of me and told me so. You enjoyed visiting and sleeping aboard my sailboat. And when it came time to move on, to close that business down, you commiserated with me.

As I sit here now, I wonder...just how much more could be expected of a man? Were you perfect? No, far from it. You were a human being, trying to support your family and still reaching for the brass ring. I know you were terribly disappointed by your own business failures, many times.

And yet today...you still try. Your mind is active and creative and still dreams up new ideas and inventions. You're disappointed by your failures and lack of financial success but...YOU KEEP TRYING.

I admire you for that. I admire that you went to university at the age of 30, 48 years ago! with a newborn son, and for 5 years worked hard and graduated at the top of your class. You wanted to be an engineer, loved engineering, loved to solve complex difficult problems. When I meet other engineers, I compare them to you. Dad, you are the BEST engineer I know.

So for me, today has been a wonderful Father's Day. The best of my Dad lives on in my memory and in me. And I'm glad that I can appreciate him for who he was & is and for all the good that he has given me.

Dad, I'm proud of you. And... I love you.

Say hi to your dad. He deserves it.

Friday, June 15, 2007

On keeping one's word...

Have you ever "promised" someone you would do something and then not do it?

LOL Does the person exist who hasn't done that?

What about a commitment, what about saying that you would but not doing it? Choosing to do something else instead?

It doesn't seem like a big thing, does it?

This can be a problem for a lot of people. It's certainly not a rare happenstance in the world of AD/HD.

In analyzing my own life, I've come to realize that it's very easy to keep commitments when I "want" to. That's easy to do. It's when something comes up, maybe better or just different, that there's a challenge in keeping my word. And I can "change my mind" in a heart beat.

What's the value of my word if I keep it when it's convenient to me but not when it becomes inconvenient or if I have changed my mind?

I think that the true value of a man's word is measured when he keeps it despite the fact that it has become inconvenient or perhaps dangerous. .

As a coach, part of my role is to keep my clients accountable for what they say they want to do and/or achieve. One area where I get the greatest push-back is in holding them accountable to do what they say they will do. No one likes to be reminded that they said they would do one when they want to veer off and do something else- me included.

I've found that adults are no better than kids when it comes to this. Sometimes worse!

It seems to me that keeping such agreements is important for several reasons:

It builds our belief that we what we say we'll do is done. And that's the first step to accomplishing our goals.

Many creative bright people, with or without AD/HD, can't stick to the plans they've devised. Not just once or twice but over the course of a lifetime. This really beats down on them.

This leads to another reason. The people in our lives don't find us trustworthy. Sometimes we do what we've committed to and other times not. They just don't know when. Barbara calls it "crazy making."

So, now you don't trust yourself, the people who love you and work with you don't trust you and you don't accomplish what you've set out to do. Most likely you end up feeling pretty bad about all of that.

A big price to pay for "such a little thing..."

Monday, June 11, 2007

Adult Support Group Meeting

Last Thursday night was our CHADD group's monthly support group meeting. It was the best meeting in the 2 1/2 years that Barbara Cohen and I have been facilitating it!

Very often an adult with ADHD comes alone, without their spouse or partner. They're usually struggling alone. Their partner's unspoken message is "It's your problem. You fix it."

Some of the issues we covered were:

1. ADHD as a positive difference in how our brains work vs. a disorder. How to take advan- tage of the differences and manage the elements of the disorder.
2. Organizing space and materials.
3. Getting to clients and meetings on time. (I'll share Barbara's strategy for this tomorrow.)
4. In passing, issues about intimacy, sex and remaining connected as a couple.

That night there were 10 of us, 4 couples present. The other 2 people were also in relation-ships. Virtually all of us worked in creative fields (TV, music, therapy, teaching, multimedia, etc.) Not one of us with ADHD worked in a standard corporate environment.

Initially, the supportive attendees were all there just to provide "support" to their ADHD partner and learn more about ADHD. As they got more comfortable, they began to open up. It was really interesting to hear the questions the non-ADHD partners had.

Granted, it's not always easy having ADHD. Imagine though what it's like for someone who doesn't, to have a partner who seems to function very well in some/most areas and then not in others. They raise the same kind of questions all over again that I heard as a kid. "Why can't you focus or just try harder?" "How could you misplace/lose the keys/wallet/glassess/ cellphone/bankbook, etc. AGAIN?" "Why did you buy that xxx?" "Why were you late?" "Honey- you forgot the kids!"

Oftentimes we get into an unhealthy relationship where the non-ADHD spouse begins to act like a parent. Go to any ADHD conference and talk to those spouses, they'll tell you that it's like having another kid. And they usually aren't happy about it! Over time, that kind of imbalance and inequality can erode and damage the best relationships.

Frankly, my answers (your answers!) usually don't make sense. I didn't have any good explanations for my actions. At the time I didn't know I had ADHD. And when I was diagnosed I was EXTREMELY SKEPTICAL. I was not one of those hyperactive kids you read about who bounced off the walls and who couldn't sit down for 10 minutes (that was my brother).

The most effective action you can take to treat ADHD is to become very well-educated about it. It's going to take a lot more than reading a magazine article, a book or two or even attending a conference. Sadly, the vast majority of mental health professionals and doctors you will come in contact are woefully ignorant about ADHD. And what they may have learned about it 5 or 10 years ago is out of date.

If you're just beginning to take control and manage this difference, there will be a lot of gaps between where you are today and where your life will/could be tomorrow. Like virtually everyone in our support group meeting, you're probably trying to find the answers and solutions to those gaps.

For you to live the life you dream of, to achieve the success that may have eluded you up until now- you MUST learn HOW ADHD affects you as an individual. You will have to become your own advocate.

In the kind of open environment that our meetings are held, people can ask those kinds of questions. Whether they get satisfactory answers or not, and oftentimes there aren't any, they leave feeling that they aren't alone.

That may not sound like much if you've never attended such a meeting. If you heard what was in those voices as I did- it would be a very big deal!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The CHADD Regional Conference in San Diego is coming up soon... Saturday, June 23rd. Plenty of time you say to register for it? That depends on how many times you'll "forget" between now and then...

Why not spare yourself and your memory "bandwidth"? Just click and register for it now!

Barbara and I will be there as will a number of our clients and members of the San Fernando Chapter of CHADD. Let us know if you'll be attending, we'd enjoy meeting you.

Speaking of which, our next Support Group meeting is Thursday, June 7th at Temple Judea in Tarzana, 7-9pm. It's open to parents, spouses/ partners and adults with ADHD.