What if You’re C.) “All of the Above”?

*WARNING: The following post contains a rant. The writer is subject to:

A.) Fly off the handle

B.) Break down in tears

C.) Crawl under a rock

D.) Be prepared for whatever LIES ahead.

I rarely rant (okay, my husband and children would say otherwise) Yet, today I have stewed about a particular situation all last weekend, and it’s time to let it out! WHAAAA!

I am embarrassed to say that I’m looking for a job. I have owned my own business (Emerald City Consulting) for 8 years. It has been profitable at times, and not so profitable at other times. It takes money to advertise in the never ending fragmented ways that exist in today’s ever changing marketplace, and my marketing budget is non-existent. Therefore, since August I have been actively seeking employment.

In the course of my 35 year career, I have accumulated vast and varied skills. Rather than be viewed as well-rounded, I think it’s probably working against me in the hunt for a job. It’s like taking a true/false test, when I have a multiple choice background.

“Yes, I can do all of the above”. Therefore, my search for a job has been vast and varied. I have experience in many areas, rather than 35 years building on just one skill.

For this reason, I don’t remember exactly what the ad on www.Indeed.com said that caused me to apply for a particular job last week. There were likely a multitude of ways I “fit the bill”.  I was happy to receive an email last week from Catherine Smith in HR at Dynamic Concepts, Inc. She was requesting an interview with me. In 10 weeks of submitting over 100 resumes, this would be merely my second actual interview. (Perhaps I should have been suspicious).

Even though I had no memory of placing the application, nor did I remember the job description, I took the opportunity to look at the website for Dynamic Concepts, Inc. Here are a few screen shots from their website.

What would YOU believe Dynamic Concepts, Inc. to be known for?

My interpretation was thus:

They are a company who works with clients to increase the client’s branding and marketing efforts.

It sounded to me as though they had a unique approach to helping their clients manage and market their businesses. I was ALL ABOUT these ideas, and I was excited for an interview. Furthermore, their website touted the following (I’ve bolded the words/phrases that appealed to my skills and abilities):

  1. Success in unprecedented growth for the clients we work with by following a couple of core principles. Targeted outreach programs place branding specialists in front of an ideal buying audience to produce rapid returns. An emphasis on team building allows for the highest standard of service to be duplicated into new markets at an accelerated rate.
  2. The standard of excellence we provide has allowed us the opportunity to partner with nationally recognized name brands. As such, we are committed to maintaining the highest levels of professionalism because we know that we are not only representing ourselves, but the top-notch clients that put their faith in us.
  3. We are continually able to reach new markets and demographics with the help of our global network. Our clients know that we are not alone when marketing their brand. A solid network of marketing executives enables us to become fast and efficient problem-solvers. We can respond immediately should any situation arise.
  4. The most significant factor in our success is the experience of the consumer. We are diligent about following up spectacular campaigns with exceptional support and customer service. Our approach is convenient and cost-effective for the consumer, allowing them more freedom with their time and money without sacrificing on quality.

The Dynamic Concepts, Inc. website was done very well. Large amounts of money had been spent on its engaging and motivating content and layout. I looked forward to my interview in Renton – a few miles from where I live!

A few minutes before my scheduled interview time last Friday, I pulled into an industrial park. Industrial park? The first clue that Dynamic Concepts, Inc. may not meet my expectations.

I found building 10. Amid a sea of doors, I saw one labeled “Dynamic Concepts, Inc.”

Upon entering the door, I came face to face with a young man sitting at a desk. He looked like an adolescent trying to look like an adult. He was wearing a bow tie and a suit jacket that was at least three sizes too big.  It reminded me of this scene in the movie, Beetlejuice:

Okay, he was a nice enough looking young man, but this picture illustrates the thought that came to mind because of his over-sized clothing.

I was feeling uneasy, but took the one-page application form he offered and filled it out. Then, an adolescent-looking girl asked me to follow her into a small, poorly decorated office. She explained that this was a short “get to know you” meeting.

She asked what had drawn me to their ad.

“I actually don’t remember the ad, but I am drawn to some words and phrases on your website – mentoring, management, marketing, and client support”, I replied.

She asked, “What two words describe you?”

“Professionalism and eloquence” I said. (Yeah, corny. Whatever)

She began to describe Dynamic Concepts, Inc. as a company that uses event marketing to support their clients. “Clients”, she said “like Kroger, Costco and gas stations.”

She then showed me a picture of “what our members do”. It was a picture of three young people wearing orange safety jackets standing under a portable pop-up tent behind a table with spray-paint-can-like objects on the table.

“Where are they?” I asked.

“This is at a Kroger store. Right now, we are new to Washington, so we have two products we feature – a car wax and windshield repair. But the company has over 75 products.”

I’m trying to wrap my brain around what I’m hearing. I point to the picture. “Are these Kroger products?”

“No, these are our products, but Kroger, who is our client, partners with us.”

My stomach is getting queasy, and I realize I’ve been duped. This is nothing more than a sales position. A freaking position selling car wax under a tent in the parking lot of major retailers. Retailers who rent their space to Dynamic Concepts, Inc., who call the retailers CLIENTS.

By this definition, my landlord is my client because he lets me use his home to live in. WTH???? (“Honey, did you send a check to our “client” this month to pay our rent?”)

My choice: D.) NONE OF THE ABOVE!

Holy Crap! This company went to a lot of trouble to lie about what they do, so that they could get stupid people to apply for a stupid sales job, who would then be taught how to manage and lie to more stupid people about how to sell stupid products for “clients” who are anything but clients!

On my way home, I began to realize that they saw my resume, and thought I was stupid enough to be taken in by their masquerade. What does that say about me? I’ve struggled with this all weekend, and my ego is bruised badly. I am both angry that there are people out there making money off of lies and dishonest methods, and sad that I was viewed as someone who could be taken in by people making money off of lies and dishonest methods.

My job search has been essentially unproductive, and I’m not sure what to do next. I’ve never considered myself unskilled, but I’m sure beginning to feel that way. Perhaps it’s this way for everyone. I mean, I haven’t looked for a job for more than 10 years. Is this what it’s come to? Lies, dishonesty?

Or, am I simply going about it the wrong way? I have NEVER had trouble finding a job in the previous twenty years of my career. Yet, I am so much more experienced now. I have accomplished amazing feats. I have run a business, and directed a non-profit successfully. But I am under-valued by potential employers.

It seems that when it comes to true/false job searches – false is okay. People make lots of money being false.

It seems that in multiple choice job searches, A or B are appropriate answers, but never apply if your answer is C.) All of the above or D.) None of the above.

Therefore, I have written a 1000 word essay about my job search. Will it help? Will it matter? Heck, I don’t know. I just don’t want to be duped again.

Anyone out there want to hire an “ALL OF THE ABOVE”?

 

 

Being a Singer Leader

My husband and I are privileged to own a Singer sewing machine. We acquired the Singer 221-1 Portable Electric model years ago at a garage sale when I was quilting as a hobby. Oh, the memories….. Ahem, that’s a story for another blog post.

Singer 221-1 Portable Electric Sewing Machine

Many times through the years we’ve thought of selling our Singer. Each time we’ve brought it out of its place on the shelf to consider its value, I am amazed at the well-made, time-tested strength and beauty of a piece of equipment made for such functional reasons – making clothing.

The Singer 221-1 was born in 1946, and may have been the first electric sewing machine. It is built like a tank, and it’s capabilities rival any military instrument. Seriously, this machine is forged steel – not plastic, not fiberglass. Yet it is decorated with classic gold filigree. All the high-tech sewing machines in use today are patterned after the Singer.

It’s also important to consider the stamina of the Singer Company. Since 1851, the name Singer has been synonymous with sewing. The spirit of practical design and creative innovation that characterized the company at its beginning continues today as they develop products for every level of sewing.

The Singer website lists the firsts they’ve celebrated over the years:

  • The world’s first zig-zag machine
  • The first electronic machines
  • The world’s most advanced home sewing and embroidery machines

I learned to sew when I was 15. On my 16th birthday, I received my first sewing machine, and I made all my school clothes that senior year of high school. I even made my own wedding dress on that machine when I married at age 19. I can truly appreciate the functional aspect of a well-made, multiple function sewing machine.

With my bridal party on my wedding day wearing the dress I made myself

I also appreciate leadership in its purest form, and leaders who provide examples of time-tested traits that help them develop strong leadership skills in others.

A multitude of leaders are mentioned in my book, SELF Centered Leadership: Becoming Influential, Intentional and Exceptional. Like the Singer sewing machine, these leaders are made of forged steel and have influenced the lives of others – even empowered the lives of others.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • John Quincy Adams
  • John C. Maxwell
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Tony Dungy
  • Ralph Smedley

If you are unfamiliar with any of these influential leaders, I invite you to study up on them. They provide powerful examples of characteristics of leadership we should all strive for. Characteristics such as consensus, inspiration, action, knowledge, work, engagement, respect, strategy, empowerment, and service.

Like a Singer sewing machine, the value of an exceptional leader will never decrease. The leader will be ever-changing, ever innovating, and ever-expanding, yet the pattern of influence and strength will be steadfast and constant.

Are you that type of leader?

What would YOUR team say about you?

How do you feel when you lead?

Does your influence empower others?

Have you considered your leadership strengths and weaknesses?

Let me know your answers to these questions. Let’s take you down from the shelf, dust you off, and consider your leadership value. Let’s plug you in, turn you up, and help you create a new outfit – a stronger leadership style, and a steadfastness in innovation and empowerment. Let’s make you a Singer – Leader!

Oh, and by the way, are you in the market for a Singer sewing machine? All offers considered…