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Posted: August 11, 2011

Do you really want a job?

Or are you just going through the motions?

John Heckers

I get it. Things are brutal out there. It is the summer time. Finding work is hard work. It is very hard work. But I am very, very puzzled at some of the things I am hearing and seeing in the job market right now. Here are a few of the things that are making me shake my head and wonder if job seekers are at all serious about working or are just taking the summer off (not bright with the coming second dip of a recession!)

1). Not connecting. We have a monthly Speed Networking session, like speed dating for suits. I have heard from client after client that they've told people from these events that they can help them. They've called people with good leads. And they don't get return calls! Sheer idiocy! This is like turning down a job, people. What is up with that?

2). Not attending networking events. We have people sign up for this same, very effective event, pay, and not show. I hear the same from colleagues who put on other effective networking events. They have trouble getting registrations, then, of the registrations (paid ones) they do get, they have a 20 percent - 50 percent no-show rate. Most of us have a "no refunds" policy, so it isn't the money. Get to these events. It is the ONLY way to get employed in Denver and most other cities, too.

3). Not showing for job interviews. This one I really don't get. I've heard from several great employers I know that people haven't bothered to show for job interviews. When I was interviewing earlier in the year, I had four no-shows for a good job I had at an entry level, and another one at a higher level. You'd think this was 1999 instead of 2011, and that unemployment was at 4% instead of a real unemployment rate of over 12 percent. Not bright.

4). Going on staycation. I hear of people who don't even have the (bad) excuse of having paid for a vacay when they were employed and deciding to take it anyway. Get off the couch and get out there! The hiring bubble in September and October is going to be very short and not terribly big this year. If you miss it, who knows what January will bring? You don't have time to putz, Putz.

5). Wanting everything for free. Just because you're unemployed doesn't mean that you can or should get everything for free or very cheap. Free and cheap things may not help you and may not be good quality. Pay for quality help in your job search and stop mooching and expecting everyone to just give you everything!

6). Just "working your own network." Get help with your network. now. Unless you've been keeping up your "own network," it is not sufficient. Unless you've had three or more networking coffees a week for three or more years, you don't have a Denver network. You have golfing buddies. Get help and/or buy a network if you're looking for work, or you'll be unemployed a very, very long time.

Here is the reality: The "bipartisan debt deal" that our lovely president and useless Congress crammed down the throats of the American people included a very poisonous pill. There is no extension of Federal unemployment benefits. Come 1/1/2012, millions of people will have no more unemployment checks. Don't count on Federal benefits extensions getting through the Tea Party Congress. I doubt they will. This means a double dip Recession or full-blown Depression. As even subsistence money ends, there will be a real downward economic spiral. Go here to learn why.

Contrary to any advice I've given in the past, my advice now is to get employed and stay employed now, even if you have to take a step backwards. Since August 2nd it is a brutal new world. Get work. Don't wait. Get off your duff and get serious now while you still can, even if it costs money, takes all your time and leaves you totally exhausted. You really have no choice.

If you're serious about finding work or just building a great network, join John Heckers and his partners on Monday, Aug. 22 at the Denver Athletic Club for "Surefire Networking: 10 Ways to Rapidly Build Your Professional Network." More info and required registration here. If you truly cannot afford the (minor) registration fee and truly need to attend this class, call me at 720.581.4301 and we'll arrange for a very discounted fee for you. We're trusting your honesty in this, and only a very limited number are available. We are NOT selling our services at this class!
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John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC was an Executive, Relationships, Life and Spiritual Coach in Denver with 30 years of experience  helping people with their lives, relationships and careers.

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Readers Respond

Hi John H. - My knee-jerk reaction to your "where would we find such a NOBE candidate" would be to suggest Tom McClintock from my formerly great state of California. He's been complaining about the direction we as a state (and a country) have been taking for a LONG time now...living outside of our means, and kicking the proverbial financial can down the road, ad nauseum... Sadly however, with the recent CA re-districting, McClintock's re-election opportunities will probably continue to dissipate, as it will for most of the other thinking adults currently in elected office here in the PRC (People's Republic of California). However, we have other EMERGING bright lights interested in fixing California such as the Mayor of LA-LA land, Antonio Villaraigosa ( http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0817-lopez-lossoffaith-20110816,0,7458557,full.column ) I CANNOT get out of here quickly enough, and my preference is to be voting in the 2012 Presidential election from Douglas County, Colorado, the Good Lord willing.... I need to get back to a Red (or at least bright PURPLE) state, to help lower my blood pressure & maintain my sanity... Again, best of success to all, and it only takes ONE... By Scott T. on 2011 08 17
In a way, I must admit that what's happened is our fault because we really haven't held these fools accountable. That's one of the premises for the TEA party that I hope holds up. we MUST get involved and active By John Wray on 2011 08 17
LOL Scott! I'm up for starting that party, but there's a problem....where would we find a politician who doesn't spout the effluvium to carry the party standard? If we could, tho', I'll bet it would garner a majority of Americans who are as fed up with both sides as you and I are. By John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC on 2011 08 17
Yep, yep, yep and yep indeed...ESPECIALLY on the "bovine effluvium" observation... Hey, since the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party got its start on that platform, maybe WE should start our OWN third-party, and call it the NOBE Party (NO Bovine Effluvium)!!! I'm right there with ya, John... and then there's article like this to back up your hypothesis (Is the IHS Global Insight firm the same one located there in the Tech Center?) http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-nohiring-20110814,0,7476876,full.story By Scott T. on 2011 08 17
John, You do fine UNTIL you get political. You just can't resist can you?? Your liberal bias just rears it's ugly head. too bad you had to ruin one of your rare good columns. By John Wray on 2011 08 17
Congrats, Scott, on landing! Too bad you had to take a cut, but that is becoming more common, unfortunately. Unless you're one of the 1% of Americans who owns 90% of the wealth in America (I'm not, are you?), you're in middle of the Great Reset. Salaries are going down. Housing prices are going down. Food prices are going up. Hours you're expected to work are going up. This isn't going to change anytime soon. It sure isn't going to change because of an election, as both parties are owned and operated by the same banks and corporate interests. For those of us who can't buy our own politicians by the package, try to operate in survival mode, downsize as much as possible, and try to work at the grassroots for real change. Just realize that change will never come out of the plutocrats (of "either" party) in Washington, regardless of the bovine effluvium they feed you while trying to get your vote. By John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC on 2011 08 17
Excellent wake-up call, John! Your tough-love approach appears to be working, as you have initiated a spirited round of follow-up commentary. I took your (earlier) advice to heart about this time last year, and while I've taken a SIGNIFICANT pay-cut to get into my current role, it's gotten me back "into the game and off the sidelines". I keep reading article after article stating the IMPORTANCE of appearing "hireable", even though it's meant some significant belt-tightening to do so...these are surreal times that we are experiencing, and require a different mind-set than only 3-4 years ago... Without appearing all doom 'n gloom...remember, it only takes ONE...I had to keep telling myself that as I endured a protracted "in-transition" experience throughout 2010. I had several promising offers, but one by one they went to "the other candidate"... Just keep in mind that it only takes ONE... Best of luck and success to all from the People's Republic of California... By Scott T. on 2011 08 17
Fair enough, Mark. But introverts are only 28% of the world, and the business world is even a higher percentage of extroverts. Given that, I give my introverted clients some tips to get out and behave like extroverts so that they can reach the hiring authorities they MUST reach to get employed. This is especially important at the upper levels. And that, folks, is mostly the demographic in CoBizMag that I write to. My articles in other publications that cater to a different demographic give advice geared to that different demographic. Please also be aware that it is difficult for a columnist in any publication to give an exhaustive treatment of a subject. I am always happy to sit down with anyone and have coffee to discuss your career issues. Just call me or email me. I'm very easy to find. By John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC on 2011 08 15
Interesting information here, and a wake-up call for what's required in today's job market. But chastising people for not living up to your standards will only attract others who are as obstinate as you, and repel people who have issues your article does not address or mischaracterises. Googling "how to network for"... suggests "jobs" first, "introverts" third, which produces a number of useful articles, including: http://www.businesspundit.com/how-to-network-for-introverts/ http://integrative-leadership.com/pdfs/Network_Successfully_as_an_Introvert.pdf Just an FYI for any fellow introverts. By Mark Martin on 2011 08 15
A very real clarification I should make regarding my article. I do NOT think people are lazy. I think they are overwhelmed and terrified. I want them to get back out there, overwhelmed, terrified or not. Push through it. It is hard, I know. But do it. By John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC on 2011 08 12
JOhn, You said it much better than I did. Bush started ok and then swung to the entitlement business. That was the beginning of the disaster that faces us. It's difficult to get your finger on it, because much of it is a general feeling. People grow to expect the gov. to take care of them and then when it doesn't work out, you see it flare up like London. Most of the people that complain the most seem to be young though. I hope Tony doesn't take it personally. I've been a businessman for forty years and don't like the direction of our country. By John Wray on 2011 08 12
Well, let's come back from Tea Party la-la land to the land of reality for a moment, if we may. Even if every single person on unemployment took the lousiest job that they could find. Even if they were completely mobile and would move to East Mule's Breath Alabama for a job. Even if every unemployed formerly $200K/year exec would take a minimum wage job shoveling horses***....(assuming that these people could even get hired for these jobs) there would still be millions upon millions of unemployed because there just aren't enough jobs out there. American jobs have been offshored, eliminated, & downsized. People have been asked to "do more with less." Automation has taken over many jobs. And the economy itself has eliminated many positions. As to these "studies." Please cite them. And please cite studies that are not either a). in your own heads or b). by some highly partisan "think tank" that has a major agenda. I constantly read the employment literature as it is part of my job, and have seen NO such studies. I have heard plenty of anecdotal "evidence," but have seen NO scientific, controlled studies to this effect. Also: be aware that unemployment in America is MUCH higher than reported, due to people dropping out of the job market, running out of unemployment, etc. Go to http://www.ceojobexpert.com/let-me-explain-unemployment-to-you for more info on the real unemployment numbers. Finally, be aware that the lower level jobs often will NOT hire older people nor people who have had higher level jobs. They're rightfully afraid they'll take off when the economy gets better. So....are these people supposed to just starve and, as Scrooge said, reduce the surplus population? Ah yes. A perfect, small government, Tea Party solution. By John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC on 2011 08 12
Tony, it has also been much more than a decade of job-killing policies and neither side of the aisle can escape blame. The liberals only want to blame Bush and give Obama and Clinton a free pass. By John Gimple on 2011 08 12
Tony, The point is people being motivated to find work. Yes there are many who truly want to get back to work and EARN money. That is what UI is meant to cover. What we have are too many people that want all the pay and benefits without the work ethic or responsibility. A job opening may not be ideal, but sometimes the ego has to take a backseat. By John Gimple on 2011 08 12
tony, you missed the point completely. Perhaps you should try to keep your own anger out of your analysis. I DID NOT trash unemployment benefits; I simply said that people get jobs QUICKER when the benefits STOP. Now that has been proven in a bunch of surveys. There IS something there that needs to be addressed. I don't mind someone going on unemployment when they lose their job, but I DO pay attention to how long they've been on benefits if they apply for a job with me. The longer on benefits, the less likely that they will be a good employee. Nothing is carved in granite, but employers just go with the percentages and they say that the longer on benefits, the LESS likely that the applicant will be a good employee. By John Wray on 2011 08 12
To John Wray and John Gimple: As a sales executive who was in a job transition earlier this year, I'm disappointed (but not surprised) by your insensitive comments. Why is it conservatives are fond of trotting out the shibboleth that says unemployment benefits foster laziness? The myth of lazy unemployed folks among us averts our eyes and minds from the harsh realities of job-killing policies over the last decade. “Nothing to see here citizens...move along, move along.” Economists from Paul Krugman to Alan Greenspan (hardly a liberal) agree our nation’s joblessness is not caused by unemployment benefits. The problem, simply, is the lack of available positions. It’s not uncommon to hear of dozens if not hundreds of applicants for single job openings across the country. In additon, a 2010 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco determined that extended unemployment insurance benefits have not been factors in the increase in the duration of unemployment or in the elevated unemployment rate in our country. Don’t forget...millions of our nation’s unemployed are NOT collecting unemployment benefits and are NOT eligible to do so under laws in their state. Despite historically high unemployment, and record levels of long-term unemployment, only two-thirds of unemployed workers in the U.S. were collecting unemployment insurance in the fourth quarter of 2009. In Colorado, only 69% of unemployed were receiving benefits. In the last year, I’ve met hundreds of unemployed professionals across the Front Range – some fortunate to be eligible for unemployment; others not. I have yet to meet anyone who enjoyed making, on average, only $300 per week. They’re trying to figure out how to stretch that money far enough to put gas in their cars to make it to the next job fair, interview or networking event. By Tony Peccolo on 2011 08 12
ALL of the studies done on the liberal approach of paying people not to work PROVE that the time after benefits stops is TREMENDOUSLY shorter if the time on benefits is shorter. These studies apply all over the world. When people get off unemployment they find work and facts are facts. By John Wray on 2011 08 11
John, I find it odd that you are amazed by people's lackadaisical attitude toward's finding work, yet you think we must extend unemployment benefits. Their motivation is likely to go up once the free ride is over. By John Gimple on 2011 08 11
btw, I have NO hope of changing YOUR mind. I only want to expose your extreme left, liberal bias. I'm happy with that By John Wray on 2011 08 11
Your political bent shows itself again. I resent that Cobiz allows you to publish such a radical liberal bias. You know NOTHING about the Tea Party and you just proved it. Obama was the first tea partier in theory because he was elected because the American public was sick of government and he realised that. The main difference is that Tea Party people want RESULTS and obama just promised them. I know that this won't change your radical bias, but the tea party is SIMPLE; They don't like ANY Congress members for the most part and want to replace them all if they don't stop spending. You're just regurgitating the Democratic "talking points" that I hear on MSNBC. You must have gotten your "talking point" list because you just can't resist throwing them out (or up). It won't work. Obama is a one term president and you'd better find another candidate if you want to keep the presidency. He's done because he's lost the middle of the road people. They wanted change but had no clue just how incompetent this president was. What did we expect from a "community organizer?" By John Wray on 2011 08 11
I used to think that the "tea" in "Tea Party" was the kind of tea that one drank hot or iced. The more I hear from those who belong to the Tea Party, the more I am convinced that it is the kind of "tea" that one puts in a pipe and smokes....the kind that is seized at the Mexican border on a regular basis and is the main cash crop in California. I'm just wondering how stuff this good is able to be afforded on the Social Security checks that most of those in the Tea Party live off of.....and where **I** can get some of this great stuff.... ;-p By John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC on 2011 08 11
First I must mention that our president is more useless than Congress. The tea party is a SMALL minority in Congress and your Dem's had complete control of Congress AND the presidency and they did nothing. Now, for jobs' You have good ideas for upper class jobs. If someone wants a good paying job, they MUST be willing to move. NE Colorado is BOOMING because of energy jobs (oil, gas, ethanol, wind) and you can't find workers out here. Usually a lot of travel is involved but the pay is great. It's about time that unemployment benefits stopped. All studies show that people tend to get work when the benefits run out. The large majority of "jobless" people out here in the real world don't want to work and everyone here knows it. You have to show that you WANT to work. I look at the period of unemployment with great attention and listen to the excuses for it carefully. The "fancy" approach with "networking" etc is worth doing but primarily for upper lever jobs and then I'm not sure. I wish everyone luck in their search, but get off your butt and get out there. By John Wray on 2011 08 11

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