Friday, February 21, 2014

Hob Knob Job: The Best Professional Advice I Ever Got

Do your job. That's what Corey Friend, one of my best friends and best co-workers I ever had told me in the summer of 2010 when we worked at Chippewa camp.

A few years later, I worked at Target for a few months when I needed some extra cash. It was an alright job. I stocked shelves, talked with customers, and occasionally worked the register. I didn't mind it, but I couldn't see myself doing it for the rest of my life.

One particular thing that my supervisors did made me confused. They always began the evening "team huddle" with the greeting "Thank you for coming to work today." I thought, "That's literally the least I could do." They did not say "thank you for doing your job," or "thank you for working hard today." They just thanked me for showing up. Evidently, a few people would just not show up to work. And they would still have jobs the next day.

As Camp Director and Assistant Camp Director, part of our job was to deal with personnel issues. There were some issues with a couple of staff members who didn't fulfill the basic requirements of their job. They were eventually let go.

It baffles me when some people just can't buckle down and do their job. I pride myself in doing just that.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hob Knob Job Search: My brand in GIF form

I've been to a bunch of a seminars given by well-meaning people who implore me to "find my brand." I remember attending one at Saint John's and leaving kind of disgusted. His presentation made me feel like I needed to present myself as an item.

To me a brand is a message that presents a consistent message to a customer. And that's fine for a business, but what about for us living beings?  It's impossible for me to present a consistent message everywhere, all the time.

Some days I am goofy. That was a big part of my "brand" as a camp counselor at Tomahawk. I chugged half gallons of milk, organized coffee making competitions, and screamed camp songs at the top of my lungs. That part of me means a lot to me.

Some days I am conservative, in a traditional, not political way. I believe in dressing for the occasion, and being courteous.

Some days my compassion overtakes everything else. I don't get worked up about a lot, but there are a few things that grind my gears. Like the Michael Sam story. I went on a few passionate rants about the idiocy of some NFL GM's.

Some days I am creative and try to think of the big picture. I love pitching big ideas and brainstorming ideas. (I had fun helping Mal with a message for an advertising campaign she was working on.)

Some days I am a doer. Many times I got sick of sitting on my hands and waiting for something to do when I was working for the park service. That's when I would go grab a garbage bag, some gloves, and headed out to pick up trash. There's ALWAYS trash to pick up.

So if I could describe my brand in a GIF, it would be this one...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Hob Knob Job Search: Finding the Joy In Your Work

When I was a freshman in college I was on the ski team. I was the worst skiier on the team. I wasn't in terrible shape, but I wasn't anywhere close to peak racing form. I didn't care about my race times, my heart rate, or being precise with my equipment. I just wanted to ski. I liked my teammates and I liked that it gave me something to do outside of class.

I remember talking with my ski coach about me not wanting to compete. I just didn't (and I still don't) have a fire in the belly for competitiveness. He told me that it was alright. He didn't mind that I was just there for the exercise and camaraderie. He told me to find the "joy" in skiing. When you find joy, you find happiness, and greater productivity.

I like that way of thinking. It's how I want to view my future job. Cynicism turns me off. (And to be honest, I've come into contact with several cynical journalists.)
Right now I'm listening to Sam Cooke's One Night Stand live album. I love it. He just sounds like he's having so much fun and you can feel that energy on the album. Another performer I've seen do that is Craig Finn of The Hold Steady. He repeatedly thanks the crowd and smiles during his time on stage.

I'm hoping that's how I handle my job. With joy.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hob Knob Job Search: Tell Me About Yourself

\Good news. I've got an interview lined up for Thursday. It's with a non-profit that is focused on corporate social responsibility. It's relatively new and quite small. I would also be doing a variety of things, including writing.

So I'm going to have to figure out some answers to potential questions, but this is what I'd like to say anyone who is potentially going to hire me:

bill murray (337) Animated Gif on GiphyI'm Nick. I'd like for you to take a chance on me. Somebody, somewhere at some point in your life took a chance on you, and I'm hoping to be that person for you.

I am professional, punctual, and personable When I'm on the clock, I know where my focus should be, on my work. I might ask a lot of questions, but that is just because I want to do my job right.

You'll pretty much always get a smile from me when I walk through the door.

I mean what I say and I say what I mean. My integrity means a lot to me. I will go to extreme lengths to make sure it is not tarnished. When I am representing an organization, I feel the same way.

I will be good at this job because I'll listen as much as I talk. I won't pretend to know everything, but I will contribute ideas when and where I can.

Loyalty is very important to me.

Lastly, I'm a fun guy! Seriously. I do standup and improv comedy! I enjoy sports! I run! I love good turkey sandwiches and exploring quiet places in cities.

I'm a hardworking guy who tries his best to bring positive energy with whatever he does.

Hope to hear from you soon.