Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

This posting is both funny and kind of sad.

The mental arms race is on – people that are “repackaging” themselves a little too aggressively in the organizational marketplace.

People are trying to differentiate themselves from the thousands of people that are just like them – both inside organizations and in the floods of people in the job market. It is relatively easy to do if you have two things – something clever to talk about that is new and current, and have a basic understanding of marketing.

I have positioned myself as a thought leader in redesigning HR processes, and in new metrics to align HR with the organization.   I have been trying to re-package myself with some success at the national level, and am working on a book that will make a difference (I hope) and am enrolling in a PhD. program.  Fine.

Because of this, I am always on the lookout for people that are doing either a better job than I (so I can learn) or a worse job (so I can feel a little smug.)  Today, I ran across an amazing example of repackaging that is as fascinating as a train wreck.

Remember Jayson Blair?  He was the journalist that resigned from the New York Times because of plagiarism in 2003.  As you can see from his Wikipedia entries here, he had a life-long history of poor reporting and fabricating important information in his stories.  Simply put, he is a very bad reporter and a chronic user of other peoples’ information.  At his student paper, he got in trouble for 4 stories.  At the New York Times, it was in the hundreds.  Yikes.

Drummed out of the journalism corps andthe subject of quite a bit of national press, I always wondered where he might get a job.  A greeter at Wal-mart?  A drive through order person?

No.  Try personal coaching and career consulting.  I’m not kidding.  I stumbled across Jayson’s web site here.  It looks very professional.

Read his page on Career Coaching.  He is offering his personal experience as a writer and journalist, and his personal experience as a defrocked professional who broke multiple ethical laws, as the reason you should hire him.

Wow.  First, I am not happy that someone can sell their lack of personal ethics as a benefit.  That the fact that they were caught at it as a point of personal pride, and is now a billable part of their package.  Marketing a stinky past as perfume is done often in politics, and I’m disappointed that it is now in the professional ranks.

I’m also irritated that he joins the ranks of career counselors and life coaches.  At the very least, they should keep a very close eye on his ethics….

Whatever.  I guess the moral to my story is that re-packaging is rampant out there, for better or worse.  Be careful, and screen your relationships and new hires well.


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Looking for a job in Human Resources has special challenges.  Simply put, it stinks.

Problem – HR is cautious and may not share.  When you try to network people as a part of your search, HR people generally don’t respond well.  If you are looking for work and approaching other HR professionals, the people you are approaching are often threatened by your request.  “…hey, I want to keep my job, and if I know of openings I probably want to apply myself and don’t want to share that knowledge…

Problem – HR is overwhelmed right now and not in touch.  When people are slammed by administrative work because of a reduced workforce and high work levels, everyone hunkers down.  Therefore, if you ask them for a 20 minute meeting to review trends and current market conditions, they feel that they are out of touch and have no useful knowledge.  Truth is, they are probably right – they don’t.  They don’t have the reserves and they have let their own networks slip.  They won’t take your meeting because they feel they don’t have much to share.

Problem – Everyone knows that conventional “networking” meetings don’t work, yet nobody wants to admit it.  When we are approached for job search advice because we are in HR, we step back to the classics.  “Get a copy of “What Color is Your Parachute” and start networking.”  Yet, we seldom make the time for a classic networking meeting.

Problem – Searching for HR jobs on most job boards is a significant hassle because the boards do a poor indexing job.  If you search for “Human Resources”, you get EVERTHING that has HR as a response point in the ad.  Polymer Chemistry postings, Call Center postings, Insurance Sales postings, and so on.  You have to grind through all of the results.  Aargh.

These are real, and a real problem. Care to add any?  Comments welcome.

At the recent New York State SHRM conference, we had a very lively discussion of these issues, and came up with some clever (or so we thought) ideas around this.  I’ll post some of our answers in the next blog post.

Clearly, someone with a recent bad hire...

Clearly, someone with a recent bad hire...

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Things that are currently hot topics –

Lots of interest in motivation and related issues – that includes total compensation plans and how the money spent creates a positive outcome, and how to make sure benefit plans are motivating the right behaviors.

FMLA.  It never goes away, and still an irritation.

FLSA and all of it’s fringe issues.

Termination and outplacement and workforce planning with an eye to the future

COBRA rules and dealing with the administrative workload

…notice that most of this is administrative, and not that strategic.  The push of the featured speakers at the conference was a push for more of a strategic role.  The average attendee, however, is facing a crushing administative workload upon return to the office, and new ideas are not exactly welcome right now…

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Coming off as a kind of cranky, rumpled professor, John Kotter presented a general session that looked at economics and our nation’s sense of urgency.  Acutally, he is a cranky, rumpled professor at Harvard Business School.  Details to follow – but the big deal to me was that he didn’t use Powerpoint – he was using overhead projector technology and I found it very refreshing.

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