Posted: August 05, 2009
When in Denver…
8 tips for non-locals to land a job in ColoradoJohn Heckers
There is an old saying: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” With the economy the way it is, we are getting an influx of people from both coasts but especially the hard-hit East Coast. Unfortunately, many of the people who are relocating to Denver will have a very hard time finding a job here because of certain destructive attitudes and behaviors.
Many folks from Los Angeles, the Bay Area, the East Coast, D.C., Texas, and the like come here and expect Coloradans to conform to their expectations of how business should be done. Many of them bring an arrogant attitude and a hard-hitting culture that just plain does not work in Denver and the Front Range.
As a nearly native Denverite (I moved here when I was 3 years old and brought my parents with me), I have a few tips for those of you from other cities if you ever hope to be employed in the Denver area.
1. You must adapt to Denver culture, not the other way around.
Our culture works for us and has for decades, and we take a very dim view of people who try to bully us into behaving the way that people behave in various other, less wonderful places. You are going to need to change your culture, not try to cram it down our throats.
2. We are nice people.
Denverites really, really dislike pushy and obnoxious people. Many people from either coast are highly demanding, pushy, impatient and “get it done now” types. This is not Denver culture and you’re not making friends. And, boys and girls, the only way to get a decent job here is to make friends…lots of them. Over 90 percent of executive jobs are never advertised, never given to headhunters and never posted. They are obtained through networking.
3. Denverites won’t usually tell you that they won’t help you.
Denverites tend not to like to say “no;” instead they just won’t give you good networking references. They’ll just ignore you, not return calls, or connect you with people who aren’t very helpful. You might, for example, find yourself networking with a bunch of other transplants who don’t know lots of Denverites, either. If you’re finding that you’re getting referrals in networking, but none of them are terribly helpful…it is probably your way of relating to other people. You could use some help.
4. Things are not going to get done on your time schedule.
And if, like many transplants, you get pushy and demanding, you’ll be helped even less. Your job search is not the priority of CEOs, for example, in Denver. Their jobs are. Being demanding and “holding people accountable” just makes those people angry and unhelpful.
5. We’re nice to everyone.
We don’t appreciate people who are pushy and rude with our receptionists or admin staff. In fact, I have refused clients who have been rude to my wonderful receptionist, Keisha. I figure that, if you’re rude to a receptionist, you’re going to blow interviews, anyway. Besides, everyone deserves respect regardless of title or position. And this is also a Denver value.
6. Don’t push or demand.
Pushing on a true Coloradan is like pushing on a string. You won’t get anywhere. We don’t like bullies here. Keep in mind that this is a very small town in many ways and the grapevine is unbelievable. If you are pushy and demanding it will get around within days. Most of us who have been here for a while know one another…and we talk.
7. Slow down your speech patterns.
And reduce by at least 50 percent the number of words coming out of your mouth. Coloradans speak more slowly and deliberately. And stop interrupting; it’s a very rude habit that simply turns people off. Hear what others are saying fully and don’t bully your way into a conversation.
8. Quit yer bitchin’!
Coloradans don’t like negative people, so stop complaining. Let positive words come out of your mouth. And never, never, never criticize or badmouth a Colorado business, sports team, institution or, especially, a well-networked individual. It will completely kill any chance you have of getting employed and staying employed here.
For free executive networking join John Monday, August 10th. More information at www.heckersdevelopmentgroup.com/events.html.
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.