Looking for work is always challenging, but sometimes, "challenging" isn't really a strong enough word. Still, we must carry on. In the first part of this series on finding work, we examined strategy. In this part we look at infrastructure and management issues.
Finding work is much easier if you can acquire and manage the necessary infrastructure. By infrastructure I mean the conceptual, physical, and space requirements you need for the job of finding a job. Managing your infrastructure and managing your expenses are part of that.
Infrastructure doesn't have to be fancy, complex, or expensive; indeed, a common error is excessive emphasis and investment in infrastructure and its management. Get what you really need; no more, no less.
Here are some suggestions for infrastructure acquisition and management.
- Know your run rate
- Monitor your spending rate. In a severe recession, regular paychecks might be some time off in your future, so monitor your spending. Calibrate your remaining liquid assets in days or months. Adjust spending accordingly.
- Practice thrift by reducing your run rate
- Selling off the family ranch creates cash, but it also hurts, so take no drastic steps unless you need to. It's the dozens of little decisions that make the least painful difference. If you're measuring your run rate, you can control it more easily, and even reduce it. Rent DVDs instead of going to a movie theater; if you go to the theater, don't buy the popcorn; jog in the park instead of on a treadmill at a health club.
- Dedicate some space to your office
- You need an office: desk, file cabinet, comfortable chair, computer, stationery, supplies, and so on. If you can't dedicate a room, dedicate space. Use an electronic calendar to keep appointments straight.
- Get first-rate phone facilities
- If you're measuring your run rate,
you can control it more easily,
and even reduce it
- Callers should never get a busy signal. When you're unavailable or on the line, voicemail or an answering service is essential, depending on the stature of the position you seek. Your home phone is not a business line. Get a dedicated line and use a headset.
- Have a mobile office
- Even when traveling to interviews, networking meetings, or professional society meetings, you need to stay in contact with your office. If you can manage with a smartphone, fine, but get what you need. If you're still using a bulky day planner, rethink it: go smaller or go electronic.
- Consider having your own domain name
- If you need email access, gmail is free and has a clean, professional image. But if you have a common name, your gmail account name might be somewhat unprofessional: jsmith2027 for instance. Consider getting your own domain name for email service.
For more on finding work in tough times, see "Finding Work in Tough Times: Strategy," Point Lookout for July 8, 2009; "Finding Work in Tough Times: Marketing," Point Lookout for July 22, 2009; and "Finding Work in Tough Times: Communications," Point Lookout for July 29, 2009.
Love the work but not the job? Bad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? This ebook looks at what we can do to get more out of life at work. It helps you get moving again! Read Go For It! Sometimes It's Easier If You Run, filled with tips and techniques for putting zing into your work life. Order Now!
Your comments are welcomeWould you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenSscexdSivXjYiFBXner@ChacKfFusYwhKqkIgdsMoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.
About Point Lookout
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.
Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.
Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.
More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:
- Games for Meetings: II
- We spend a lot of time and emotional energy in meetings, much of it engaged in any of dozens of ritualized
games. Here's Part II of a little catalog of some of our favorites, and what we could do about them.
- Business Fads and Their Value
- Fads in business come and go, like fads anywhere. In business, though, their effects can be so expensive
that they threaten the enterprise. Still, the ideas and methods that become fads can have intrinsic
value. Where does that value come from? Where does it go?
- The Reification Error and Performance Management
- Just as real concrete objects have attributes, so do abstract concepts, or constructs. But attempting
to measure the attributes of constructs as if they were the attributes of real objects is an example
of the reification error. In performance management, committing this error leads to unexpected and unwanted
- Managing Hindsight Bias Risk
- Performance appraisal practices and project retrospectives both rely on evaluating performance after
outcomes are known. Unfortunately, a well-known bias — hindsight bias — can limit the effectiveness
of many organizational processes, including both performance appraisal and project retrospectives.
- How to Find Lessons to Learn
- When we conduct Lessons Learned sessions, how can we ensure that we find all the important lessons to
be learned? Here's one method.
See also Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming August 23: Look Where You Aren't Looking
- Being blindsided by an adverse event could indicate the event's sudden, unexpected development. It can also indicate a failure to anticipate what could have been reasonably anticipated. How can we improve our ability to prepare for adverse events? Available here and by RSS on August 23.
- And on August 30: They Just Don't Understand
- When we cannot resolve an issue in open debate, we sometimes try to explain the obstinacy of others. The explanations we favor can tell us more about ourselves than they do about others. Available here and by RSS on August 30.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrengzYCyLYOmuQIwVZFner@ChacyiaezCOyMEWkIlGIoCanyon.com or (617) 491-6289, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.
Get the ebook!
Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:
- Get 2001-2 in Geese Don't Land on Twigs (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2003-4 in Why Dogs Wag (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2005-6 in Loopy Things We Do (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2007-8 in Things We Believe That Maybe Aren't So True (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2009-10 in The Questions Not Asked (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get all of the first twelve years (2001-2012) in The Collected Issues of Point Lookout (PDF, USD 28.99)
Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info
- The Race to the South Pole: Ten Lessons for Project Managers
- On 14 December 1911, four men led by Roald
Amundsen reached the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, Robert F. Scott and four others followed. Amundsen
had won the race to the pole. Amundsen's party returned to base on 26 January 1912. Scott's party perished.
As historical drama, why this happened is interesting enough, but to organizational leaders, business
analysts, project sponsors, and project managers, the story is fascinating. Lessons abound. Read
more about this program. Here are some dates for this program:
- The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center, 4535 Commerce Street,
Virginia Beach, VA 23462: September 13,
Monthly Meeting, Hampton Roads Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Register now.
- CTCPA, 716 Brook Street,
Rocky Hill, CT 06067: September 20,
Full-day Workshop, Southern New England Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Register now.
- The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center, 4535 Commerce Street, Virginia Beach, VA 23462: September 13, Monthly Meeting, Hampton Roads Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Register now.
- Creating High Performance Virtual Teams
- Many people experience virtual teams as awkward, slow, and sometimes
frustrating. Even when most team members hail from the same nation or culture, and even when they all
speak the same language, geographic dispersion or the presence of employees from multiple enterprises
is often enough to exclude all possibility of high performance. The problem is that we lead, manage,
and support virtual teams in ways that are too much like the way we lead, manage, and support co-located
teams. In this program, Rick Brenner shows you how to change your approach to leading, managing, and
supporting virtual teams to achieve high performance using Simons' Four Spans model of high performance.
Read more about this program. Here's a date for this
- Baci Grill, 134 Berlin
Road, Berlin, CT 06416: September 19,
Monthly Meeting, Southern New England Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Register now.
- Baci Grill, 134 Berlin Road, Berlin, CT 06416: September 19, Monthly Meeting, Southern New England Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Register now.
- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
- Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.