Wednesday, May 29, 2013

You Can Bank On It

One of my contacts works for a commercial bank here in San Antonio.  We met for lunch today.  The first thing I learned was that I should double check the location, because I went to the wrong restaurant.  Luckily the actual location was only a few minutes away and I did not disrupt his day by being really late.  I think when you network you just have to be congnizant of the time you are taking up from your contact, who is not making any money while talking with you.

His perspective was great.  First of all he's a parent so talking with him about some of his concerns about career planning and what he might expect of someone working with his daughter was helpful.  He definitely wanted to make sure that she would come away from the meeting with options.  He was not particularly locked-in to her having a final answer but that she would have a general direction to go in.  That was good feedback because once concern I have is about unrealistic expectations on the part of clients and their families.

Dropping Everything

Some people are gracious. I made a contact with someone who owns a small business based in San Antonio but whose clients range from small to large companies nationwide.  She has a unique perspective because her primary focus is on educating organizations and groups within organizations.  She also was a start-up and has been through all of the stages of development to finally, a very successful business model.

I contacted her and she was going out of town for an extended time but was able to see me that day.  I was able to make that work and we had about an hour long conversation about some of the career goals and possibly start-up ideas that I have.  As I said, her taking time from her busy schedule, just dropping things and meeting with me was very gracious and I appreciated it.

More than the time her ideas and feedback were invaluable.  From reminding me of a business model we were both familiar with that failed to providing thoughts on where I might go to "mine" potential clients she was very helpful.  Her flexibility was important and my willingness to drop everything to take advantage of the opportunity was key.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What's in a Job Title

I am exploring a possible transition to the corporate world so I had lunch today with a colleague and friend who made that transition.  She was quite helpful in pointing out some areas to be aware of.  One of them was that some of my interest areas, recruitment, training, and internships might not have a job title specifically with any of those things in them. Often they are HR titles that have those responsibilities as part of the job.  It's important to have your nomenclature down -  what do organizations call someone who does the job you are interested in?  A classic example is that geologist is rarely in the job title for geologists so persons searching for those jobs need to be aware of what the job titles are.

So my task is partly to research not only where these opportunities are but what they're called.  Related to that, in planning a small business what names could work for the business.

Friday, May 24, 2013

It's a Small (Business) World

I attended an interesting workshop with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UTSA.  This workshop is pretty much required if you are going to work with the SBDC.  The topic was creating a business plan.  That was a good topic for me, since I've never had to do one before.  Most of the services of the SBDC are free, but to get you started there is a small fee attached to the first workshop.  I guess the reason for this is determining how serious you are and also so you have some skin in the game to make sure you show up.

A business plan is not rocket science but it definitely provides a lot of opportunity to identify areas of business that are important, but for which you might not be familiar.  It gets you to start thinking about who your audience is and how you will communicate with them.  It asks you to create a mission statement and to identify markets.  All of those things seem important if  a business is successful. It also asks you to look up some data related to what you want to do.

The facilitator did a good job of walking us through the outline of the business plan and I was able to fill in a few of the blanks, but clearly this is going to take some time to draft.  Not part of the business plan outline but required is a financial pro forma -- basically how much money you will need to start-up, where it comes from and how it will be spent.  Our facilitator recommended starting by doing the main outline before tackling the financials.  I will gladly do that.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Meeting with a former colleague is a great thing, but it can be a bit uncomfortable as well.  Today I met with a former co-worker and it was great.  We met at a really good restaurant called the Boiler House for lunch so that by itself was worth the time.  The food was really good and it was very reasonable for lunch.  Beyond that she had some great insights into some of the work we did together and some great feedback about what she saw as some of my strengths.  Getting feedback from people with whom you've worked, especially about strengths is a good thing.

The biggest takeaways were that she felt I was very collaborative and open to working with areas outside of my own and even my own division.  I appreciated that because it was exactly what I was trying to do.  Now I need to consider how those skills and attributes fit in with other possible work and organizations as well as how best to communicate those things.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Blahs

This is my first "real" Monday after leaving the job.  One thing I know is that getting into a routine is important so I approached today as if I was going to work.  I caught up on my email, began to map out who I need to contact going forward, and did some research on the Small Business Development Center.  I also did some updates in LinkedIn and began to explore their job postings.  I will be looking at other job posting sites in the future keeping in mind you can spend a ton of time online but the thing that moves you forward is the networking.

Friday, May 17, 2013

First Networking Contact

I had a meeting this morning with a recruiter from a large and fast-growing company in San Antonio. I had met this individual several times and he impressed me with his energy and professionalism.  He's actually rather new to this particular organization but has a lot of recruiting experience.

We talked about some of his observations of recruitment as a field. He also asked me what my plans were and my response was that I am exploring different options at this point. Some things I mentioned were:
  • Transitioning to the corporate sector as a recruiter
  • Exploring opportunities in corporate training
  • Going out on my own in career coaching
He had positive feedback for all of those areas.  He also suggested that I look into working with interns or internship coordination in some way.  I liked that idea as well.  I appreciate the generosity and his willingness to take the time to meet with me and provide feedback.   I will be sending him a follow-up note shortly.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Can I Take My Own Advice?

For the past 19 years I have worked in higher education.  The vast majority of that time has been spent advising students and alumni on how to decide on career paths and then formulate a plan to follow that path.

One of the interesting things about the adventure that I'm on is whether I can take my own advice.  Let me begin by saying that right now I am not entirely sure what I want to do.  One piece of advice that I share with students is that what we are going through is a process; we won't wake up one morning and the light will suddenly go on.  Instead this is a research project and it involves learning about things that interest me, things I'm good at, and things that I value -  those things should be work-related in this case.

Over time, I will be doing a lot of reading and researching in areas related to careers, human resources, recruiting and such.  I will be getting feedback from a lot of people with whom I've worked over time.  That seems like a pretty good way to start the process.  Hopefully, I will remember to compare what I learn, and the feedback I receive to what I know about my interests, skills, and values.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Welcome to the Great Job Adventure

I am a fifty-something, mid-life career changer.   I recently decided to leave my job at a University and pursue other options.  My greatest interest is in assisting others with their career success and helping people to realize that since we spend more than a third of our time at work, it is perhaps the greatest place from which we can serve others.

This blog will chronicle the process that I am following to pursue my next adventure in my work life.