This Second Career May Be For You!

By Jerry Lambert

(Author’s Note:  I originally wrote this article not long after I launched TBPC.  However, because of my association with Primerica at that time, I wasn’t able to publish it.  Since I have broken ties with Primerica, I can now post it.  I hope you find it enlightening and enjoyable.  – JL)

This week I am going to talk about one of the Side Hustles I tried fairly early on in my forced retirement.  Primerica (Primerica Financial Services).

Financial advisor sitting with coupleYou may, or may not have heard of Primerica.  It is one of the top financial services companies in the country.  The Primerica business model is unique.  They actually put the needs of their clients first.  That business model enabled Primerica (PRI) to go public with one of the most successful IPOs of 2010.

The business has two sides to it.  The client-side and the opportunity side.  The client-side offers products that range from investments to debt reduction, insurance, legal protection, and much more.  The opportunity is to own a small business, with Primerica’s help.

Primerica is a solid company that has been in business since 1974 and has built its reputation by helping out families that have been ignored by the larger financial services companies.

That’s great you say, but how is this an opportunity to own my own small business?  A good question!  Primerica has grown the company by always being on the lookout for sharp people who want the freedom of running their own business.  If you meet with a Primerica Representative, and they are impressed with you, you will be invited to an interview.

Overhead view of business people talking

If you join Primerica as a Representative, your business is grown entirely on word of mouth referrals and your ability to recruit others onto your team.  You join the business as part of a team, then you start working on building your own team.  To build a client base and recruit potential Representatives, you will be asked to contact your friends and family.  This is to see if they are properly protected financially and/or looking for a way to start a small business.

This is where a lot of people will shy away from Primerica.  Nobody wants to tick off their family and friends by “ratting them out” to Primerica.  However, what it all comes down to is that every family should know where they stand financially, and where they can do better.  This is where you can help, with the financial products I listed above, and the prospect of earning some extra money.  If you decide to join the company as a Representative, there are some small startup costs.  $99 to join the company and $25 per month for website access.  That’s it.

Now, for the not-so-rosy part of the picture.  The targeted demographic age group for clients (and prospective Representatives) is 25-35, married, kids, job, and homeowners.  Since we are in the 55-65 age bracket, unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to us.  However, if you have a large family, who might need some of the services that Primerica provides, you may be on your way.  Plus, some of your family members may be interested in becoming Representatives.

Man using two telephones

I’m not going to lie to you.  Unless you are a naturally outgoing person and/or have a large group of family or friends in the demographic I mentioned earlier, Primerica may not be for you.  I worked HARD for 9 months and came away with 2 clients and 1 recruit onto my team.  I am one of the clients and my recruit dropped out of the business before really getting started.

That said, this may be an income stream for you to check out.  If you are able to create a decent sized team, it will take on a life of its own.  Keep in mind that the time commitment to be successful at Primerica is substantial.  If you are the type of person who is willing to bust your hump for a few months, or up to a year or two, then Primerica may be for you.

HERE IS MY GIGANTIC DISCLAIMER!  During the whole 9 months I was trying to build my Primerica business, I was bringing in Zero Dollars of additional income!  This added a level of pressure that was not conducive to success in the company.  The opportunity is designed for you to start part-time and eventually go full-time.

Couple on red carpetThat said, if you are the type of person who would like to give it a try, I would definitely recommend using one of the other income-producing Side Hustles (possibly driving for Uber & Lyft) to bring in some cash.  This will relieve a lot of pressure to succeed right off the bat, with Primerica as your only income stream.  I only wish I had approached Primerica this way in the first place.  My results might have been different.

Well, there it is.  If you live in the Detroit metro area and would like to learn more about Primerica, please contact Heidi McCarroll from the Troy office at 586-619-0123.  If you live outside the Detroit area, contact the Primerica Main Office at 770-381-1000.  Ask to be put in touch with a Representative in your area.

Hopefully, this article has helped point you in a direction you may not have considered before.  If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoy talking with people, this may be the opportunity you have been waiting for.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

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Your LinkedIn Summary

Why it’s Replacing Your Résumé!

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  I hope you enjoyed last week’s post Back to School.  It still cracks me up that my neighborhood Big Lots has the “Back to School” supplies out already!  I think they put them out the day after school let out.  Wishful thinking for lots of parents, I’m sure!

Students using tablet computers in classThis week I am going to discuss the Summary part of your LinkedIn Profile and why it’s so important.  Somebody recently pointed out to me that my Summary was really lacking and needed to be revamped.  Looking at it, I agreed, but where to begin?

When I wrote my article on LinkedIn, I completely overlooked the Summary.  However, as experienced LinkedIn Members know, a powerhouse Summary is essential to showing the world what he or she is all about.

In the article I wrote about Networking, I mentioned a story I came across in Forbes magazine: Three Steps To Writing The Perfect LinkedIn Summary.  In this piece, the author (William Arruda) shows you how to write a Summary that will blow people away, and hopefully get you noticed by the right people. Arruda points out that a well-written LinkedIn Summary is becoming more important than your résumé.

The three steps he mentions are Setting the Scene, Gathering Your Raw Data, and Putting All Together.

Setting the Scene: This is the part where you figure out who you are trying to reach, what you want them to learn about you, and how you want them to feel.

Gathering Your Raw Data: In this section, you list all of your accomplishments, values, and areas where you really shine.  This is where you brag on yourself.  If you don’t do it, who will?

Putting It All Together: This part shows you how to grab the reader, show them what you’re all about, then tell them what they should do next (HIRE YOU!).  It also shows you how you can include pictures and video to make your Summary really pop!

IS09AK4FKThere is also an article by Maggie Graham on  It’s called: Three Tips to Slam Dunk Keyword Optimization on LinkedIn.  What’s with all the threes?  I guess if you go up to four you lose the reader’s attention.  Don’t want to do that!

If you read my article on Age Discrimination, you will remember I mentioned that evil Résumé Database Scanner.  The one that makes it a personal mission to toss your résumé into the junk heap before any human eyes can see it?  Keyword Optimization is what that evil sucker uses to either pass you through the gateway or toss you in the junk heap.

Her article shows you how to use the right keywords in LinkedIn.  That way your profile will turn up in LinkedIn searches by a prospective employer.  The article also includes a YouTube video by the author at the bottom of the page.  Nice.

Both of these articles have invaluable information that will make your LinkedIn Summary stand head and shoulders above the competition.  I have been dragging my feet when it came to updating my Summary.  I wanted to have something a little bit more impressive than Uber and Lyft Driver to WOW people.

Sunset at coastal resort, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, CaribbeanThankfully, my procrastination has paid off.  Funny how that works sometimes!  The payoff is in the form of a job!  Alleluia and Praise the Lord!  I have been hired by Global Discovery Vacations.  My wife and I have been members of this Travel Club for 18 years and I have accepted a position with the company in Sales.  If you live in the Detroit area and are interested in maximizing your vacations, please call the Livonia Office of Global Discovery Vacations (734-462-6301) and ask for Jerry Lambert.  Or, check out their Facebook page for more information.

This leads me to the end of this article, and this blog.  I started writing this blog last October. My intention was to share the trials and tribulations of trying to find a job on the other side of 55.  I have had a lot of fun writing the articles and there has been a positive response from readers of the blog.  Now, however, I have decided to stop writing additional articles.  I have covered all of the topics I felt would be of interest to a job seeker in The Brown Parachute Club.  With my new position, I just don’t think I’ll have the time to continue writing it.

To all of you who have been following this blog, Thank You!  It has been a pleasure to share what I have learned on this journey.  I will leave this blog up and running as I intended it to be: a reference library for people our age.  For all of those who have been laid off and need to find work, along with finding a renewed purpose in life.  I hope these articles have been, and will continue to be, helpful.

While listening to some music the other day, I heard a song lyric that has become my new personal mantra.  Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow.  Or, as that great philosopher Ferris Bueller once put it, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  Sage words.  I wish you all the best and good luck in your job search.  Don’t give up!!


College vs Vocational Education

Does College Really Rule?

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  This week I wanted to share an article I wrote for a blogging service.  The article wasn’t picked up, so it’s their loss.  The article talks about the College versus Vocational forms of higher learning.  While the focus of this article is more for our children and grandchildren, it’s something you may want to share with them.  Especially if they are feeling like a square peg being crammed into a round hole.

Photo Credit:

Mike Rowe, from the famous show, “Dirty Jobs” was recently on Fox News.  He was talking with Tucker Carlson about a letter he had written to President Obama.  A letter that he has now also forwarded to President Trump.

In this letter, he stated that the lack of Vocational Education in high schools has created a huge skills gap. The gap is between College-Educated students and the students who SHOULD be in Vocational / Technical Education.  There are over 5.6 Million Jobs that need to be filled, 75% of which do not require a 4 year degree.

Vocational / Technical Education is a field of study that prepares a student directly for the career he or she wants.  Think about cooking school, beautician school, truck driving school, heating and cooling school, etc.  Not to mention all of the plumbing, electrician, and carpenter apprenticeships.  You get the idea.  These training programs prepare the student for their new career immediately, and generally cost thousands of dollars less than heading to college.  Vocational Education has been removed from many high schools, resulting in this huge skills gap.

Boy dressed as repair manDo many of these jobs require a 4 year degree?  No.  Do you have to rack up over $100,000 in student loans in order to get these jobs?  No.  Are these glamorous jobs the average college kid would dream of having?  No.  However, are these jobs that need to be done in order for America to remain a vital, growing nation?  Absolutely, Yes!

Have many students have been sold a bill of goods when it comes to getting a college education?  It would certainly appear so.  It doesn’t take an Einstein to realize the soaring cost of a college education is not keeping pace with reality.  Drive by any college campus and you’ll see at least one new building under construction.  While many times, the dormitory conditions for students are outdated, cramped, and deplorable.

New Football Stadiums and Basketball Arenas that cost millions of dollars are being built to attract the nations’ top prospects.  This brings in thousands of dollars in TV revenue.  However, outside of a boost in school spirit, these facilities do very little for the average student.

is09an5qdThe amount of money pouring into our Universities borders on the insane.  An article that appeared in The Huffington Post reported that since they started keeping track in 1978, the costs for Tuition and Fees have risen 1,120%.  Ironically, the costs for Medical Expenses have risen only about half as much during the same time period, 601%!  Forget about Obamacare or Trumpcare, how about Collegecare?

What does the average student get for all those thousands of dollars spent on his or her education?  A piece of parchment? With no hope of paying off the mountain of debt piled up in pursuit of that elusive degree?

Over the years, manual labor or skilled trades’ jobs have been looked down upon by the college-elite and business professionals.  Plumbers, Electricians, Carpenters, Carpet Cleaners, Janitorial Staff, and other jobs are looked down upon by most business professionals.  “Hey, we’re doing the real work!”  That is the attitude pervasive in business today.

Industrial worker in plantAll of this belittling of good, honest work has caused many of today’s youth to shy away from these decent paying jobs.  Plumbers, Electricians, Carpenters, and Construction workers can earn a very good living!  These jobs might not be very sexy, but they need to be done, just the same.  Many of these jobs don’t have a corporate ladder to climb, but they can provide a comfortable living, for someone who is willing to do the work.

Mike Rowe’s show on The Discovery Channel is called “Dirty Jobs”.  It is an extreme example of some jobs that are on the far edge of the ick scale.  These jobs need to be filled, but employers are having a hard time hiring people to do them.

Somewhere along the line, hard work has only become acceptable only if it is taking place in an office building, a hospital, or a court house.  Rowe has a great quote about President Obama’s “Shovel Ready” jobs.  “I pointed out that President Obama’s promise of 3 million shovel ready jobs sounded great, but I worried that filling those jobs would be challenging – especially in a country where fewer and fewer people aspired to pick up a shovel.”  Rowe’s recent five minute testimony to Congress (before he was cut off) can be read by following this link.

DictionaryWhat this all comes down to is that High School Counselors and Parents need to realize that not every kid with decent grades is cut out for college.  Somewhere along the line, college has become the only “acceptable path”.  When offered “Higher Education” versus “Alternative Education”, which system do you think most parents want their precious little snowflakes enrolled in?

Clearly, not everyone is cut out for college.  Just like not everyone is cut out to be an electrician.  So let’s stop trying to cram square pegs into round holes and get back to giving each student an honest evaluation of his or her abilities.  Otherwise, we’ll continue to have ridiculously expensive Universities.  That, along with a national infrastructure that will continually need repair, because there is nobody to do the work!

As Rowe closed the segment with Carlson, he signed off with, “If you want to make America great again, you’ll need to make work cool again!”  Sounds like a t-shirt slogan to me!  I’m sure he can find a bunch of out-of-work college students to crank them out for him.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

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Sunken Costs

When is Enough, Enough?

By Jerry Lambert

Hey!  Welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  I hope you enjoyed last week’s article about Automation.  What an uplifting piece that was!  This week I decided to cover a topic I have been thinking about recently, Sunk (or Sunken) Costs.  These are defined as a past cost that has already been paid and can’t be recovered.  Like that vacation in Hawaii.  You had a great time in paradise, but the money you spent on that trip is long gone.

IS09AJ7GJThere are many ways to look at sunken costs.  Financial, obviously.  However, there are more personal ways to look at it as well.  What if you spent 3 years working on a degree in a field that is no longer viable, or of interest you?  What if you have a friend who is a constant drain on your time and energy, who provides nothing to you in return?  Those are other ways that sunken costs may be controlling our lives without realizing it.

The main category is Financial, of course.  The biggest sunken cost for most people is their house.  Cars come in second, but your house is the one cost that will actually increase in value, instead of depreciating at an alarming rate.  If you want proof of this, buy (lease) a new car.  Then drive into the McDonald’s parking lot next door and check the value of your new “used” car on TruCar or Kelly Blue Book.  That little jaunt to the McDonald’s just cost you thousands of dollars in depreciation!  Yikes!

Sunken costs are a very emotional thing.  You bought that old Model T years ago, with hopes of restoring it and driving it in the Woodward Dream Cruise.  If you sold it for 25% of what you bought it for, you wouldn’t just be losing 75% on your investment.  You would also be taking a hit to your pride and feel guilty you didn’t take the time to restore the car to its original 1910 condition.  Loss of investment and guilt are not a good combination.

Businessman looking at telephone book in sunken phone boothSunken cost avoidance runs rampant in the business world.  Due to the time and money already spent on a project, companies who spent the past 2 years getting updated to the latest and greatest technologies often find they are unable to shift gears fast enough and make changes when they should.  Never mind that all the “New Tech” became obsolete about 6 months ago!  How would you like to be the Project Manager explaining that one to the CEO?  Queue the flop sweat.

From your Career perspective, sunken costs can cripple your decision making.  You know you should start to learn new skills.  However, you just completed your “Data Processing” degree last month, and you are loathe to start all over again.  That’s why staying up to date on the latest trends is so important.  As I mentioned in my article on Automation, you’d better see the handwriting on the wall and upgrade your skills.  Otherwise, when it all hits the fan, you’ll find yourself out of a job with no end in sight!

The silver lining about the times we live in is that there is no end to the amount of learning you can do!  I don’t know if you have heard about TED Talks on YouTube.  These have historically been the realm of Uber-Nerds (not the rideshare service).  Nowadays, these talks have spread out to a number of different topics that range from tech to motivational speeches.  Really worth checking out, if you want to stay ahead of the “next big thing”.

!workingHowever, this is where many people get stuck.  They have made a commitment to reaching a goal.  The amount of time, money, and effort required to reach that goal may no longer be worth it.  This is a very emotional issue for many people.  Nobody wants to feel they have just been spending the last year and a half spinning their wheels.  Worse, the goal they were trying to reach has just been eclipsed by new technology.  “Now, what do I do?” you may ask.  I’m not sure, but there’s probably a TED Talk for that.

People are another issue altogether.  Without turning this into a therapy session, we all have friends in our lives we may be better off without.  The big question to ask is, “If I just met this person today, would we become friends?”  That’s a very important question.  Because if the answer is “no”, you have to give some serious thought to what you are getting out of that relationship.  Again, emotion plays a huge part in this decision.

I suggest you sit down and make a list of all of your sunken costs: Financial, Career, and Personal.  Then do a Pros and Cons evaluation whether you should keep the item (or person), or let it (or them) go.  If you’re honest, this list can grow pretty long.  As I wrote in my article on Procrastination, it’s easier to ignore the sunken costs, than taking a hard look and determining whether you really need it!

I hope this article has helped illustrate what sunken costs are.  How to really look at them with blinders off, and make an honest evaluation of them.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

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The Robot Revolution is Coming!

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  I hope you enjoyed last week’s article on Networking.  I did go to the Networking Event I referenced in the article and had a good time meeting folks and swapping business / networking cards.  There were quite a few folks in our age group, so that was inspiring I guess.  If they’re in the same boat we are, they’re all unemployed and trying to put a good face on things.

But I digress.  I have decided that this week’s article is going to be about Automation.  For many people (unions, lawyers, and politicians), it is the REAL Elephant in the Room!  After every economic downturn, the politicians all claim “We’ll bring those jobs back!”  What if there are no jobs to bring back?  I’m reminded of that song by Bruce Springsteen, My Hometown.

Now Main Street’s whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain’t nobody wants to come down here no more
They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain’t coming back

Retro robots, artworkThat last line is what ran through my head as I was thinking about this article.  Jobs are going and they’re not coming back.  No matter what any politician says.  The Age of Automation and the Rise of the Robots is upon us and we’d better wake up to that fact.

From 1760 – 1840, the Industrial Revolution destroyed jobs. But it also helped to create many as well.  Hopefully, the upcoming Terminator Invasion will leave more behind than the corpses of jobs formerly done by humans.  Hopefully, those corpses will be reborn as new jobs, done by humans!  By using Science Fiction as our guide, it certainly doesn’t paint a rosy future for us humans.  We may be turned into batteries, as shown in The Matrix, or like in The Terminator, we might be hunted mercilessly, as SkyNet becomes “Self-Aware”!  Just kidding, or am I?

An article from the PBS NewsHour website states that by 2025, roughly 1/3 of the jobs in this country will be replaced by “Smart Robots”.  This isn’t only factory and manufacturing jobs.  That’s been going on for years.  These “Smart Robots” will take over office, medical, legal, and financial analysis jobs as well.  Wonderful.  Good thing I got that Accounting Degree.

However, all may not be lost in our battle with the Titans!  On the website, they have a list of Robot-Proof Jobs.  Jobs they feel won’t be replaced by C3PO.  They found out that there are actually only a small percentage of jobs that are “100% Automatable”.  They also include a list of “0% Automatable” jobs.  Some of these are: Dancers, Clergy, Sports Athletes, and Working with Animals.  I guess they figure Fluffy and Rover might be spooked by a robot.

IS09AK2A6Greg Gutfeld from Fox News is always talking about the “Robot Apocalypse”.  A lot of it is tongue-in-cheek, but he brings up some good points.  Mostly, he feels that people are not taking the threat to the job market seriously.

Then there are the bizarre legal issues popping up around all of these “Robot Workers”.  Lawyers are claiming these “workers” must have their “rights” protected.  Unions are saying that they’re okay with robots, as long as there is a human worker “supervising”.  Really?  The unions are terrified their rank and file may be replaced by an army of robot workers.  An army with no political agenda or the ability (or reason to) pay dues!

Yep, it’s going to be a “Brave New World”.  But the big question is, where do we fit in?  If robots have taken all our jobs, what do we do?  Movies always create a Utopian view, like in I, Robot.  Naturally, it all hits the fan, and Will Smith has to save the day.  But what if it doesn’t hit the fan?  What if robots manage to take over all of the menial, manufacturing, and some not-so-menial jobs?  What do we do with all our free time and more importantly, how do we make money?  That’s the BIG QUESTION!

Like the Industrial Revolution, it could be that all of this technology is bringing us bigger and better things.  However, if we lose the ability to work in this new world, what happens then?  Unemployment rates of 80-90-100%?  A world-wide Depression that never ends?  At least we’ll all have plenty of company in the unemployment line.

Robotic hand, artworkThe challenge becomes, “How do I prepare for, and thrive in the new robotic future?”  With almost total unemployment, how are WE supposed to survive?  The obsolete workers that have already been tossed into the scrap heap.

According to an article in Business Insider, there are jobs that will survive the Robot Revolution.  Of course, that article could be way off.  We have no way of knowing.  I guess from my standpoint, I’m just looking for a job that will bring in money this week, this month, and hopefully, this year.  When I was driving for Uber and Lyft, I saw the handwriting on the wall when it came to self-driving cars.  I knew I would only be driving for a few years before I was replaced by a robot.  Much earlier than most workers.

I’m sorry to paint such a gloomy picture, but I wanted you to be aware of what’s coming.  It’s not just Age Discrimination we’re fighting, but possibly robots that look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Be on the lookout!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

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Why it’s Become the New Classified Section

By Jerry Lambert

Hi, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  I hope you enjoyed last week’s article about Setting Priorities.  I know it helped reinforce what I should be doing every day!

Overhead view of business people talkingAnyway, today I thought I would tackle the topic of Networking.  No, I’m not talking about those rooms full of servers that you see in your typical tech commercial.  I am talking about Networking between Humans!

Bing appropriately defines Networking this way: “Interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career”.  That pretty much nails it.  However, if you are a disciple of Dale Carnegie, he would take a slightly different approach, but more on that later.

Back in days of old, when you were fired from a job, you grabbed the Classified Section of the Sunday newspaper.  Then you circled some promising ads and hit the bricks first thing Monday morning.  It wasn’t uncommon to have a number of interviews and maybe even have a job offer by the end of the week.  Those days are over.  Yesterday’s newspapers have been replaced by job hunting websites like Monster, Career Builder, and (my personal favorite) Indeed.

However, as I mentioned in my article about Age Discrimination, many times your résumé isn’t being seen by human eyes.  Instead it is perused by a heartless database scanner that will throw your résumé into the garbage can before anyone has a chance to see it.

How do you get your résumé past these robotic gatekeepers?  There are some forms of trickery you can use.  As far as your résumé goes, leave off the dates of service for each position.  Also, use a single space after your sentences, since that’s what all the cool kids are doing nowadays.  Then, set up a new Gmail account for your job hunt, since that’s your safest bet not to be labeled a fuddy-duddy.

is09ao1ykIf you manage to get past all of those roadblocks and actually get an interview, you have a whole new set of “upgrades” to consider.  Younger, hipper glasses for one.  Also, you may want to update your wardrobe, but hey, you don’t have a job!  For us guys, there’s always hair coloring, which should cause any red-blooded American male to shudder.  And so on.

But what if you don’t want to do an online and personal makeover just to get a shot at a job?  What do you do then?  That is where the Magic of Networking comes into play.  In today’s job market, it’s much more about “who you know”.  Like when your uncle got you that job when you were fresh out of high school with one of the Big Three (Ford, Chrysler, or GM).  Ah, you were going to work there until the day you retired.  Those were the days!

As I have already mentioned in my previous article, LinkedIn is the lynch pin in your Networking portfolio.  However, there are also other ways to get the word out that you’re looking for work.  Facebook is an option.  However, for many people, this amounts to taking out a front page ad in your local paper telling all of your friends and family that you got fired and need a new job.  A little too personal and embarrassing for some people.

Businessmen shaking handsAnother option is attending Job Fairs and other Networking functions.  As a veteran of some Job Fairs, these can be a little intimidating.  All of those folks in their business suits, carrying their leather portfolios, can make you feel like small potatoes.  Especially when you realize you have most of them beat in the age department by at least 20 years!

An excellent presentation by Wilf Flager shows the “Mature Worker” the ins and outs of Networking for people our age.  It is a great resource and I highly recommend that you check it out and download it for future reference.

There is also another excellent article in Forbes about writing a Perfect LinkedIn Summary.  I was recently informed that this should be the main focus of my LinkedIn Profile.  I never gave this a lot of thought, but as I bounced around LinkedIn and read some other member profiles, I realized that mine is lacking.  I am in the process of using that Forbes article to help spruce it up and make it stand out to anyone who reads it.

A lot of the focus in Networking seems to be “Me, Me, Me”.  While I understand you want to put your best foot forward with your fellow networkers, I have always thought this approach is the opposite of that classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  He said that people love to talk about themselves, so let them!

A StopwatchHowever, since the goal in attending a Networking Event is to put yourself out there, you need to work on your Elevator Pitch.  The theory behind this quick presentation is simple.  If you found yourself in an elevator with The Grand Poobah of the company of your dreams, what would you say to this person to make a good impression?  You are supposed to be able to hit all of your talking points in 30 seconds or less.  This way, as you work your way around the room at the Networking Event, you can leave quick impressions with the people you speak with.  As well as your Networking Card.

What’s that you say?  You don’t have a Networking Card to pass out?  You only have business cards from your last job.  You know, the one you were fired from?  Have no fear, Vistaprint is here!  They have a wide variety of Networking Cards, starting at only $7.99!

This Tuesday evening, I will be attending my first Networking Event.  I joined a great group called Network After Work, that sets up Networking Events all over the country.  To be honest, I have avoided these events in the past mainly because I felt that they would be full of nothing but Millennials.  However, since I knew I would be writing this article, I have signed up to attend this event.  Hopefully, it will lead to some good connections outside of LinkedIn.  I encourage you to check out Networking Events in your area.  You might meet someone, who knows someone, who is looking for somebody with your skills.  You never know!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

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Setting Priorities

Otherwise, You’re Just Spinning Your Wheels!

By Jerry Lambert

Welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  I hope you enjoyed last week’s article on GCF Learn Free.  It really is quite an amazing website.  This week I wanted to talk to you about Setting Priorities and why it is so important in getting things done.

Man using two telephonesIf you read my articles about Procrastination, Goals, and Discipline, you will remember that you’re not going to get anywhere in life without Goals, and the Discipline to take the steps to reach them.  However, Discipline without Priorities is like a video I saw on Facebook the other day.  This guy was trying to line up 10 kittens in a row.  Needless to say, it was an impossible task!

That’s what happens in our daily lives.  We have great ideas we turn into Goals, but we’re unsure of where to begin.  We have a list of tasks that need to be done in order to reach that Goal.  However, we’re not sure “what order” those tasks should be done in to reach that Goal.

This is where Setting Priorities comes in.  It allows you to perform a sort of daily triage on the tasks that need to be accomplished.  By completing these tasks in the proper order, you get one step closer to achieving that Goal.  However, it’s not just Goals that need to be prioritized.  Your day-to-day jobs need to be arranged as well.

IS09AN5K3What’s more important?  Calling a plumber to fix the leaky pipe in your basement, or picking up your suit from the dry cleaners?  Unless you WANT an indoor pool in your basement, I would recommend calling the plumber first!  That’s an extreme example, but figuring out which task needs to be done first is essential to getting things done!

In my article on Procrastination, I mentioned a book by Brian Tracy called Eat That Frog!  It is all about tackling your ugliest tasks (or frogs) first thing in the morning.  It is essential reading for anyone who wants to finally stop putting off ‘til tomorrow what they can do today.

There is another section in the book where he mentions something called the “ABCDE Method”.  As Tracy describes it, there’s more to your life than just ugly frogs that need eating.  There are a number of other chores and Goals that need to be completed.  This is where the ABCDE Method comes into play.

The method is relatively simple:

“A” items are tasks that “Must Be Done”, like getting that important report to your boss on time.  NOT forgetting your Wedding Anniversary, and other critical items.

“B” tasks are “Should Do” tasks.  Stuff like getting your dog to the groomer (unless she just had a run in with a skunk, then I would move that up to an “A” task, pronto), getting an oil change, picking up your suit from the cleaners, and generally stuff that won’t stop your world if you put it off for a day.

“C” tasks are jobs that you “Can Do”.  Stuff like meeting a friend for lunch, donating blood, helping out at your church, going to the movies, etc.

“D” is for “Delegate!”  If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you might want to delegate cutting the lawn to your shiftless teenage son.  That way, you can finally fix that leaky faucet in the bathroom.

“E” stands for “Eliminate”.  These are tasks you have on your to-do list that you may have already completed and forgot to cross off the list.  Or, they may have been relevant at some point, but are now obsolete.

_S4A0210Ok”, I hear you say, “that’s great, but what if there are more than one of these A-E tasks on my list?”  That’s where sub-prioritizing comes in.  For example, look at all of your “A” tasks and attach a number to the “A” for each one, based on the importance of each item.  Like “A1”, “A2”, “A3”, etc.  You get the idea.  Depending on the size of your to-do list, this might take you a while, but the benefits will be enormous.

There is something called the 80/20 Principle, or the Pareto Principle  This principle states that 20% of your completed tasks create 80% of the impact on your job or life.  You can see that all of the “A” tasks naturally belong in the 20% group.  Everything else should fall into the 80% category.  The 80% or “B-E” tasks should be worked on only when all of the 20% or “A” tasks are completed.

This same prioritizing should always be applied to your Goal Setting and Achieving.  You may have a list of tasks that are necessary for you to achieve a particular Goal, but you realize they might not really be in the proper order.  Either re-sort these “Action Steps” into a logical order, or apply the ABCDE Method to them, whichever is easier.

I hope this article has helped you see how your to-do list can be organized more efficiently.  There’s one more point I want to make about Priorities.  Make sure that you don’t fall into the “80% Trap”!  That’s where you wind up spending all of your time working on the 80% tasks instead of the 20% tasks.  Why?  Because the 80% tasks are easier!  That’s why they’re in the 80% list!  Remember, the top 20% of your tasks create the greatest impact and will help you to achieve your Dreams and Goals faster!  Are they tougher?  You bet!  That’s why you keep putting them off!  However, these are the tasks that will really get you ahead in the world!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

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