How America Will Stay Free


tugofwarIt’s almost the end of academic marking period #1. It’s also the autumnal equinox. Blessed season! You know me; I work in cycles and as with any harvest season, it’s time to harvest a few thoughts about school as a place to learn in the 21st century. To back up a bit…

In the early years of common schooling, the challenge was to efficiently assimilate the flood of new Americans that washed ashore just before the industrial revolution. The American revolution’s Liberty Tree evidenced its bedrock-deep, widespread root system by bearing the fruit of a society based on essential morality and goodness.

The point of schooling back then was to develop a population that would accept as the norm cooperation with (obedience to) a just and benevolent (paternalistic) government, industry, thrift, kindness and all those virtues thought to characterize a “good citizen” of a republic. Contrast that with post revolutionary thinking about a society headed by a monarchy (prince-priest) with the wind of an outrageously wealthy aristocracy supporting it.  John Adams put it, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other”. Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters”. We get educated, then, to remain good and therefore remain free.

As the nation’s social “tasks”/issues came and went, school reforms movements have followed suit. School became the orange rag knotted over the mud-hole pulled back and forth by various thought systems and interest groups.  When I was doing the work for the masters in education, teaching children to read using “phonics” was a cardinal sin. Phonics was the way the “backwards religious right” taught kids to read. As a child growing up in the 50’s and early 60’s, phonics was touted as the best way (right and only way) to teach children to read. I informed a professor I would not be in class one session so that I could attended a Christian women’s conference on the very day everyone else chose their subject for a paper. The next session, I got my subject: the only one left–phonics. There was a noticiable chill towards me in that class for weeks. It’s not nice to be branded the “class evangelical Christian”.

As a result of the “tug of war” school became more and more insular to the place where school today is another planet. It “protected itself” from threat as any organism would by adjusting externally through “education fad-of-the year” antics, but dragged its feet internally. So, the classroom walked 20 years behind business and society.

That is one of the reasons new graduates complain about their “lack of readiness”to join industry as employees and their employers complain about the”lack of quality applicants” as if it were a “quality control” issue. New grads simply have not been living on the same planet as their employers.

However, school is now poised to enter a revolution itself as it lets go of the industrial model…

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COMING OCTOBER 31 – VICTOREE’S INDUSTRIAL MYTHOLOGY


I know I have kept you on tenterhooks about the new look and feel of VICTOREE’S INDUSTRIAL MYTHOLOGY world premier coming October 31st. First of all, why the heck Hallowe’en?

Well, according to Celtic legend, this is a season when the barrier between “what was” and “what is” is most porous. I tell you, I can feel an unusual excitement “in the air” right now. Change is normal now. It’s time to take account of the last season’s labor. Summer has ended. The border of winter is a great time for serious shifts in many areas including consciousness. Look at the new year approaching. Stand in the doorway between today and all you know and tomorrow and what you only envision. What voices do you hear? What visions do you see?

Who’s going to be president?

Why the steampunk flavor? It has been a creeping suspicion of mine that the workplace is way behind the times…far behind the reality of the world we move around in. I was talking to my daughter just this week and I asked her if school ever gave her the option of taking a course in career management. And the answer was…no. There was no course on career management when I was in graduate school or university either. Education is much the same as it was for two generations! We proved it.

The model of education is “the assembly line”. Experts stay at a single, fixed station. The line of students move by according to a set schedule, “get their knowledge” from that expert, and move on to the next expert. This model worked extremely well for the Mechanical age workforce. Guess what? The workplace is still basically functioning back in the age when clocks came into widespread use; still talking about efficiency and productivity using the same terms and meanings as in the age of steam. I call it the “steampunk workplace”.

Our youth are not being prepared to face a changing workplace. Some will adjust and make it. Some will not. Let’s start the conversation. You are here cordially invited to the grand opening of VICTOREE’S INDUSTRIAL MYTHOLOGY coming October 31st, the old Celtic New Year. What you are seeing now is a preview. Tell me what you think.

See you there!

Hang On To Your Hats! Victoree Is Changing


Fruit harvest

Fruit harvest

COMING IN OCTOBER- VICTOREE’S BLOG: NO WHITE FLAG CHANGES
Thank you so much, dearest readers, for supporting Victoree’s Blog: No White Flag all these posts. As the author, I have enjoyed every bit of the ride with you.

As we change cars in life, it is now clear that it is about time to begin the metamorphosis including reworking this blog until it becomes a site. It will be renamed, restructured, but have all the same punch and fun you have come to expect from the irreverent Victoree, the job gypsy lady. I got a taste of writing for business audience with a venture into the LinkedIn blog, Pulse and found it a robust platform for addressing workplace issues. However, Pulse tends to take itself rather seriously in its attempt to appeal to its professional audience and, as you know, the Victoree approach is a little “edgy” and irreverent.

Girl unsure whether or not to be seen or get not seen

What will change:

  • Web address
  • Appearance – some “steampunk-like elements”
  • Potential New Name: Victoree’s Industrial Mythology
  • Movement toward becoming part of a professional author “platform”/media presence
  • Stronger professional-workplace emphasis
  • Less “personal opinion/emo-kid blah-blah-blah”
  • More journalistic style insight into the area of work issues but without the “heaviness” of Pulse
  • Integration with “Fruitivity: The Almanac of Life Husbandry”- inclusive personal development /career management arm of Victoree

Patriotic_USA_Funny_American_Barbecue_Clipart-1(1)What will not change:

  • The Victoree hardcore irreverence and Mark Twain-ish commentary on workforce issues
  • On-point, up to date relevance to current thinking on job searching and changing ideas about work

As you enjoy this wonderful weekend in celebration of workers, please accept my appreciation for your loyalty. Be safe. Happy Labor Day!

From Victoree

Tell Your Story In The Resume!


The Fates At Work

The Fates At Work

On Tuesday, July 21, I celebrated existing one more year on earth. Now, that isn’t news. People do that when they meet the anniversary of their birth every year. However, as you know, I consider birthdays–or whatever day you want it to be–a “personal new year”. This is prime time for stepping back and examining the progress of the grand tapestry of a lifetime. Right now, the pattern of “personal story” is on the loom.

Many of the tales I tell in “Victoree’s Blog” apply directly to the workplace–even the ones thought to be for children. There are several places in the hiring process where telling a personal tale wells can truly make the “personal brand” outstanding to a potential employer.

For example, look at how another of my favorite blogs, “The Human Workplace”, puts an interesting spin on the ancient (moldy) resume using personal story: http://www.humanworkplace.com/how-to-write-your-human-voiced-resume-2

There is an author and speaker I met at my job club, Lorn Epstein, who takes the personal story into the interview with flag flying excellence. One of his books is “You’re Hired!” on Amazon.com

I hated it when Lorn Epstein came to CNM (Career Network Ministries) in my neighborhood, Tysons, VA because good speaker/seminar leader Mr. Epstein invariably led a storytelling exercise. He would direct participants to create S.O.A.R. stories, or S.T.A.R. stories (Situation, Opportunity, Action, Result). These are non-fiction stories about accomplishments at work. Mine seldom made the cut because they usually began with a negative statement. In telling the personal story for the workplace, even ahes-on-the-head tradgedies should have a positive slant. Oh, yes–it goes beyond personality (introvert or extrovert) but has everything to do with knowledge and skill. The nature and acquisition of that skill is grist for more thoughts about the personal story.

Hidden Talent, Crouching Tiger


Crouching Tiger

Crouching Tiger

The Gypsy’s Muse gently repositioned my head to consider all the hidden survival talents people discover and develop when they suddenly fall through the economic cracks in this society. It is simply a sinful waste of brain power and precious energy to spend too much time weeping over a lost job, but blessed are the survivors! One has to have that wealth of pluck, mental toughness, killer instinct and plain old everyday chutzpah to make it through this dark “Tunnel of Lack”.

Who ever knew hard times could create a couponing queen? All the lady knew is that somehow there must be a way to stretch limited finances. Who ever fathomed being a free clothing fashionista? I know for sure that armed with a deep knowledge of how to recognize quality when you see it that it is unquestionably possible to build a banging wardrobe with other folk’s “outgrown” garments. You rock, Second-Hand Rose!

Unfortunately, programs targeted to allegedly help people in dire circumstances sometimes harm more than help by working against creative solutions and punishing people for using their talents. For example, the current unemployment system so wants to make sure people are not abusing the system that it forces clients to report contacting at least 2 potential employers per specific period. We all know the “apply and wait” method stinks, but we are forced to do it to keep the pittance of support coming in while we conduct a “real search”.  Now, we know that finding the right people to contact–people with the power and authority to hire–is a lot like an archeological dig. Unearthing these hiring managers takes time–time the unemployment system will not give, so what happens? We fall into “looking like we’re really searching” to satisfy the requirements of the “helping” program by applying to jobs through websites. It does not matter whether the client is fully qualified for the particular job or not. This game move actually keeps people unemployed longer.

Demonstrated in the “Hoovervilles” of old and the “Occupy Wall Street” tent cities of recent days, creative people display an uncanny ability to use their talents to piece together whole survival systems constructed of little more than prayer and duct tape. However, there is a sting in the tail of the beast. The present helping system makes us work against ourselves. It’s the “crouching tiger” in the bush, threatening to eat up all the product of our newly discovered hidden talent.

A Sense Of Purpose


Purpose

Purpose

“Purpose” is a hot button word these days. Human resource professionals to philosophers are abuzz with it. It’s eel slippery and everything is tied to it. It’s one of those concepts that the closer it is examined, the clearer it is. Then, it becomes clear as ice and disappears into everything. We study and obsess on the subject until it suddenly means nothing. Funny thing: when a strong sense of purpose is in place, everything else falls into order.

In my ministry to the weekly job club in my neighborhood, the number one prayer request is for Heavenly direction. We humans want to have confidence in the “rightness” of our decisions. We want to know for sure that our paths are straight to “the target”. Unfortunately, life is nothing like our left-brained imagination and will not cooperate with any of our straight-to-target plans. Who is brave enough to tell the truth about the real, crooked-as-a-dog’s-hind-leg paths we take to get to “where we are born to be” in life? This is the very reason so many methods to locate life purpose crop up every day–everything from drawing to channeling. The prophets mumble.

We get annoyed to distraction with the “trial and error” methods of discovering, pinning down and hog-tying that one thing we enjoy and do best that the world needs so much people will pay good money to have the service performed.  Remarkably, our perception of “purpose” and that “one thing” are as closely bound together as mace is to nutmeg.

Many look at “sense of purpose” as something that drops down on us from above. Others see it as something that is deeply buried and must be unearthed. Whether we catch it in a bucket or wrestle it out with a shovel, purpose is the keystone of life’s arch.

Help! Help! My Funnel Is Empty!


Leads drive the employment campaign

The job funnel

It’s the bane of every salesman’s existence:no leads.

This is how the story goes: no leads–no appointments. No appointments–no opportunities to sell. No opportunities–no sales. No sales–no income. The end. Believe it or not the one thing that scared the crap out of me when I was attempting to get into sales was facing The Empty Funnel. I tried it with makeup; I tried it with kitchen knives; I tried it with health products; I almost tried it with financial services. Same thing. How exhilarating it felt when I floated to the top like fresh Guernsey milk cream at the end of a series of interviews at one company. No biggie for me. You see, I am a veteran inside retail sales rep and customer service is one of my areas of ability. Yes, I won that rookie sales job but I had to walk away from it on the second day of orientation because the very first thing the company asked all the aspiring salesmen to get was THE LIST.

Not a drop

Not a drop

New salespeople were always asked to come up with a list of 200 or so names, addresses and phone numbers. I did not understand this at first, but, THE LIST to a salesperson is 22K gold. THE LIST for an internet marketer is platinum. THE LIST of names of companies and hiring managers is what fills the all-important funnel of leads. Here is a very good explanation of that idea from, “The Career Sherpa” blog. Also, look at Peggy McKee’s Career Confidential. Once upon a time, I tried to do public relations for a start-up business, but made the mistake of not understanding that my job was prospecting for new customers for the business–filling the funnel up. Believe me, prospecting for leads is not easy for introverted souls because introverts like to keep smallish circles of influence. They often resist networking (building relationships is so energy-intensive). Some companies look at introverts on a sales force as trouble.

Just in case somebody is still thinking that a job search is nothing at all like outside sales, let us step back into the discussion about resumes. A “job hunt” (misnomer) is really a sales campaign and the rules of outside sales apply. I say outside sales because in-store salespeople are another related but specialized kind of sales personnel. For inside sales, traffic comes into the shop location from the street. Not so with outside salespeople. For them (and for job seekers) there always has to be a full funnel of opportunities to present the products–specialties, skills an abilities–to a targeted audience. An empty funnel means a longer time being not employed. Period.

Resume, Resume, Wherefore Art Thou, Resume?


Wherefore art thou, resume?

Wherefore art thou, resume?

Is it possible to add one more word on the blasted heaths about resumes?

Why, of course! Over the years resumes have morphed from roughly hacked tombstones into personal epics. Here’s what I mean: many folk take their names, contact information and data about all the jobs held, slap them on a nice piece of paper in crisply starched, latest fashionable language and call it a resume. Beware of unscrupulous resume writing professionals who do this too (and charge tall lettuce for it!). Feh! Boring,uninteresting, ineffective and just like all the thousands of others recruiters take a 5-second blink at. Having a resume that looks like all the others in the pile on a recruiter’s desk is the fastest way for it to get crumpled into a wastebasket ball.

Consider that the resume is only one move in the job mating dance. The dance is a series of steps calculated to move the seeker closer to the goal–the interview. That is exactly why a resume should be the most wonderful crown of feathers or the sweetest song or something that makes the dancer different and gets positive attention. Look at this: the very hottest place to “do your dance” these days is on a YouTube video. Some headdress!

The 21st century twist on the basic job search mating dance is the addition of social media to the marketing mix. That’s right: marketing mix. “Resume” can be interpreted, “sales brochure” because a job search is at its core a well thought out and executed marketing campaign. That makes the job seeker not only the product maker but the Project Manager as well.  So, today’s effective, hard-hitting job search campaign will include an updated resume, a clean Facebook view, a Twitter feed and a fully optimized LinkedIn profile. Add to that a website/online portfolio for artists and writers. Next time, how about a closer look at the challenges the “new job search” present and how to handle them?

Blessed Passion Week, from Victoree


Blessings of the palms

Hosanna!

As we enter Passion Week, the holiest days of the Christian calendar, I wish everyone all the blessings of the season. The days of denial are ending and with it the days of focused effort to establish a new content writing business. One extremely influential thought leader,Shira Harrington, CEO of Purposeful Hire,Inc. hammered home a truth about the reality of ageism in the hiring process  in one of her presentations at my local job club in the Washington DC metro area. In that speech she related that many “Baby Boomers” as they age are finding it increasingly difficult to find positions as employees. Aye tha’!

My dear brothers and sisters 50+ applicants, you are NOT dreaming. Many companies do have an entrenched vision nobody could pry loose with a crow bar that their perfect employee is in a narrow band of professionals aged 25-45. This is coming from a believable witness. Shira is a “people connector”, otherwise known as a recruiter and a denizen of the HR world. Let me add this one: the workforces of industrialized societies all over the globe are aging. In the USA alone, by the end of 2020, those aged 50+ will be 10% of the population. Big Media is still in denial about it. Some in government and other sectors are getting jittery about the impact on the health care and housing industries. The way-out-in-left-field think “all these old people” are going to be a big drain on society.

Get this: “prime time” workers are not “going quietly into that good night”, but are helping rewrite the script for the third age of life by establishing businesses of their own. This is the path I have decided to take.

This very special Lenten Season; the season I finally decided to “strike out on my own” as an “indie” writer has been all at once sobering, agonizing, and refreshing as my “baby business” is coming forth. Rejoice with me! The gypsy lady has a baby! The new business’ name will be revealed soon.

Yes, of course, the result of the recent Lenten journey also has much to do with our present discussion of the resume, which we will continue in the following weeks. So, until next time, have a blessed Passion Week and eat the chocolate responsibly.

Victoree

A View Of October From The Window Of Memory


Blood Moon

Blood Moon

We welcome October, the fire of Samhain, the final steps in the circle dance of the year and the end of its bright half.

October means the school year is already at least 30 days old. Ah, yes the thrill is gone and so is the scintillating smell of new shoes. The virgin pages of new notebooks have ink blots and the spines of new textbooks are now well broken in. The ground swiftly covering with scattered leaves and the sun becoming gradually disinterested in the earth summons the muses of October. Some people think of this month as a time of shadows. True, it is a time of shadows, but those shadows, remember, are nothing more than the dark outlines of objects standing between the light and the one observing it; a disturbance in vision; an eclipse. As I said, October is nothing to be afraid of regardless of what the popular media says. Gaze out the window in October. Dare to look into the face of the future. In fact, it is time to take a backward glance. Let’s open the gates to a little mischief. Let’s pause and talk about school and the third grade teacher, “the bearded lady”.

A few years ago, while I was being treated for sciatica, my chiropractic therapist said, “A few of us are getting together in a class action to sue our high school. We graduated and started working and found out nothing we learned in school had anything to do with life, so we’re suing the school system for malpractice”. I have no idea how far the suit this idea got, but, it started me thinking about my teaching career. Let me venture to suggest that she was absolutely correct and more disturbing, school is having progressively less to do with life and that begs an answer to the question, “why?”

This is the month I am deliberately choosing to celebrate my last day of work at one school which fell upon a Friday, October 13th. many years ago.  Why not gather around for a tale or two from the gypsy lady about education and work?. Please feel free to chime in with your observations and if there be any, your horror stories.

After all, it is October.