Monday, February 28, 2011

Does This Qualify as a Progression Run?

When I started this current training cycle, a "training run" was a walk followed by a run (about the same duration each) done three times. Then, the next week was a run followed by a walk (not the same duration) done three times. This week, it's going to be a run followed by a walk (definitely not the same duration) followed by a run. Shouldn't this qualify as a progression run? LOL!!

The best part is by Friday, the walk portion is officially out of the plan. Well. While it's officially out of the plan, I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that it will still unofficially make an appearance here and there. Oh well. It's a heck of a lot better than where I was a few weeks ago!

On the calendar this week:

Monday: 15 minute slow run, 2 minute walk, 15 minute slow run
Tuesday: 30 minutes on the ergometer
Wednesday: 20 minute slow run, 2 minute walk, 10 minute slow run
Thursday: Scheduled rest day
Friday: 25 minute slow run
Saturday: 30 minutes on the ergometer
Sunday: 30 minute slow run

Now, if I can only get back to 30 miles a week so my diet can catch up!

Have a great week everyone!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Two Days in a Row

Yup. I was up on the ergometer last night for 30 minutes to mark the first time in a while that I’ve actually worked out 2 days in a row. I wasn’t quite sure how my back was going to react, so I kept it relatively easy, doing a series of 15 rep stroke building exercises (15 strokes arms only, 15 strokes at quarter slide, 15 at half slide and 15 at full slide) to get in 5.4 total kilometers. The good news is while my back is a little stiff this morning, there is no pain. Yea! My legs on the other hand? Well – let’s put it this way. I’m outta shape. Jeez!

I’ve had something come up that I need to attend to this afternoon/evening, so today’s run and tomorrow’s rest day are going to be flip flopped. But, for the first time in several weeks (months?) I’m actually looking forward to getting some exercise.

This weekend *may* be a challenge. The NOAA is forecasting a once every five year style storm for Southern California, with high temperatures in the mid to upper 40’s and moderate rain Friday evening into Saturday. There is talk of snow down to about 1000 feet in elevation. Snap! That is still about 500 feet higher than anything around here. If the snow were to fall here, it would call for some hot chocolate and a lounge chair out by the nearest intersection to watch Southern California drivers handle the snow and ice. Now THAT would be entertainment! In the meantime, I may have to break out the tights….

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So That Really Blew Over

The weatherman (I know – not PC, but someone needs to take the blame) had forecast a weekend of doom here in Southern California. Rain starting on Friday. Up to 6 inches by the time the storm blew out on Monday. I was ready to face the elements Sunday. The total upshot? About a quarter of an inch Thursday night, and six tenths an inch Saturday night. So, as ready as I was to face the elements on Sunday, I ran in cool temperatures to blue bird skies and big white puffy clouds. How boring can it get? Hmmph.

My wogging is on track. My back is still a little tender, but about five minutes into a run, everything seems to warm up and the pain goes away. I’m relieved it seems to only be a muscle strain of some type. I’m hoping to get up on the rowing machine by the end of the week.

Speaking of training:

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: (2 minute walk, 8 minute slow run) times 3
  • Wednesday: Cross train. I’m going to attempt a 30 minute rowing session
  • Thursday: (10 minute slow run, 2 minute walk) times 3
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: (12 minute slow run, 2 minute walk) times 3
  • Sunday: Cross train.

I’m slowly working my way back. The really good news is my knee and groin are 100%. I’m hoping my fragile psyche doesn’t shatter during the next few weeks. I really miss things like this this past weekend. Grrrrrr….

Friday, February 18, 2011

I’m Starting to Get Tired…

Of this crap. Grrrrrrrrr!!!!!!

Somehow, Tuesday, after my restart of my restart of my restart to training, I’ve done something to wrench my lower back. I don’t think it had anything to so with my running, as much as the way I slouch in my chair when sitting*. What I *do* know is that the lower quadrant of my back has been painful since I got up Wednesday morning. It is very painful to move from a sitting to a standing position. Two months ago it was a knee. Two weeks ago it was a groin. Two days ago it became a back. It’s like I’m getting old or something……

As a result, I haven’t been on the rowing machine yet this week. I *am* heading out later today for the second “run” (5 min walk, 5 min LR pace times 3) on the plan. I’ll wrap up the week on Sunday with a 3 min walk, 7 min LR pace times 3.**

* My wife says I “sit on my back”. I say I’m just stretching across the Ottoman. Of course, it must be the Remote Control’s fault for tempting me in the first place.

** I’m heading out rain or shine. A word of warning for all who live to the east of the West Coast – we’re in for what is supposed to be a cold wet storm this weekend here in California. You know what that means for the rest of you in a couple days.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thank you!

The blogosphere is awesome! I asked a simple question last weekend and got some immediate answers. This week I am starting the Pfitzinger Recovery program. I’m going to modify it a bit to give me a couple rest days during the week, and will supplement non running days cross training on my rowing machine.

For the next couple of weeks, my running regimen will be pretty slow and boring, and a lot of other things are happening in life in general - so the blog updates will be few and far between. But I’ll be stalking reading all of your blogs – so don’t be surprised when you hear from me.

Thanks again blogosphere!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Need Some Advice

This post is going to be simple. I did a slow (11:30 pace) and easy three miler last night. This morning I woke up with a sore right adductor. Not good. As the day has progressed, it has gotten better. Two questions:

(1) Is this my body telling me to start slower?

(2) For those of you who have been shelved due to injury/laziness for an extended period of time, where do you pick up your training? Do you have a training plan that you followed so you didn’t over do it the first few weeks?

I’m eager to work myself back to some modicum of respectability. Yes – I’m aware that it takes time. I hope you can help me with a foundation to get started. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Case Study

Sorry folks! This post was supposed to happen over the weekend, but things got a little got a little crazy. Even though I am in the job search phase, my business is still running and required some TLC.

When I started this whole topic a week or so ago, I started by telling you about my last experiences finding a job back in 1996. Once I decided it was time to get serious, I fell back to what worked before. That was in September. But, after a month and about 40 resumes sent  out in response to online job ads, I got absolutely *zero* response. Not one. Not even a rejection. Something told me that I was going about this all wrong.

I contacted a old client who was in the outplacement business (Networking!). In the past couple of years, his business has been pretty brisk as he helps and coaches executives that have been laid off from the corporate positions. We went to work right away on redoing my resume (Branding!). Believe me - it was a tough transition to go from tasks to accomplishments. What we ended up with is a great resume that differentiates me as someone who has had *both* past Management Consulting experience and experience as a CEO/CFO (Branding!). Cool!

I then attacked the job ads with renewed vigor. I probably sent out an additional 30 or so resumes over the next two weeks. At least one thing changed. I got some rejections. We were now into mid November.

The next thing my “coach” had me work on was building my network. Like many old farts, I had pretty much ignored my professional network for the last decade. As I was finding out, this really put me behind the eight ball. He had me join Execunet – a networking group especially for executives in transition. There are three chapters that meet in the L.A./O.C/San Diego area. I started attending meetings and added a few contacts here and a few there. It was at Execunet that I first learned about LinkedIn’s power as a networking tool. I was off and running (Networking!). It was now mid December.

I was pretty low around the holidays. Things just weren’t going right. My knee was flaring up and I wasn't running. Every time I stepped on the scale, my weight was up. I had had an incredibly bad run at poker the last month. Business was down. And the job search was going nowhere. It was time to make a bunch of changes.

So, in January I consulted my coach and he had me make a few changes. The #1 change I made was to make it a point to either lunch or coffee with three people per week (Networking!). Shortly afterwards, things started popping.

First I received a call from an old grad school buddy working for a boutique consulting firm (Networking!). They are looking for people to staff an upcoming project. I sent my resume and got a call shortly afterwards. (Branding!)

Then, I was having coffee with one of my new Execunet contacts. One of the cool things with these type of meetings is it becomes a mutual “How can I help you?” session. In this case, I had an old friend who might be able to help my contact. I went home and got in touch with my old friend to set up lunch. In the ensuing conversation, I find out that the company he is working for has two positions opening in the next two weeks for Project/Program Managers. Score! Lunch interview next week! (Networking!)

I haven’t quit searching. Far from it. But using this approach of networking as the driving force, I’m starting to see results. Oh. And my poker game has improved too – it’s providing my Starbuck’s money. Now if I can just do something about the running thing….

Friday, February 4, 2011

Establishing Your Personal Brand

If you’re still reading after three days – thank you! I hope some of my experiences will help you in what, these days, should be your non-ending search for your next position.

Today we’ll start with a walk down the detergent aisle in the grocery store. So many selections! Tide. Cheer. Sun. Gain. Powder. Liquid. Don’t they all do the same thing? How do you choose your detergent?

Today’s job market is much like that. Hiring managers are walking down the aisle. They literally have their pick from all the boxes on the shelf. How are you setting yourself apart?

Here’s another way to ask the same question. You’re at a race. You’re in your starting corral and are making small talk with people around you. You mention that you’re looking for a new job (why not?). The person next to you says, "My company is hiring. What are you looking for?" You have about 30 seconds to respond before the start gun goes off. What are you going to say?

Our ability to land that dream job is based on our ability to set ourselves apart from our competition. It’s about establishing our personal brand. That’s a lot more than just listing some accomplishments on a piece of paper and calling it a resume. I’m still working on establishing my personal brand, but here are some things that I’ve learned (in order of importance):

Elevator pitch (or starting corral pitch): You *will* get a phone call when you are prospecting. So are at least a few dozen other people. What are you going to say about yourself and what you are looking to do in the first 30 seconds to make sure that the person on the other end of the line is going to be interested in talking to you for 5 minutes? Get you pitch down pat. Practice. It’s not a speech. It’s from your heart. It has to be.

Accomplishments: What have you accomplished in your career. Here’s where things get tough. It’s not what you’ve done, but what the impact of what you have done was. I’m a member of a couple of networking groups for “executives in transition”. I can’t tell you how many resumes I see where the accomplishment is, “I managed a group of 5 accounting professionals.” I’ve got news for you. So have about umpteen million people out there. So what? An accomplishment is, “I managed the accounting department at XYZ where I had responsibility for a department budget of $750,000. I streamlined processes that resulted in an increase in efficiency of 10% from year to year.” See the difference? You’re no longer just a box of detergent. Think of the impact that your work had to the bottom line of where you worked. Write each of the points that are on your resume down on a sheet of paper. Quantify the results of each. If you can't, don't put it on your resume. Remember - your resume is your reflection. Give your interviewers something compelling to talk to you about.

Recommendations: In two words - get them. Here's where the value of networking really comes into play. If someone is going to vouch for you, have them do one of two things - either make an introduction to the hiring manager (along with a personal recommendation) or have them leave a recommendation for you on LinkedIn. People want to be comfortable with their decisions. A recommendation from someone they know goes a long way to making them comfortable. In fact, one of the comments yesterday from fellow blogger Naomi says a lot, " I also know of some recruiters and hiring managers who refuse to consider candidates because their LinkedIn resource is not "robust" enough." Get those recomendations.

A couple words of caution. Just like poor quality can destroy a brand (anyone drive a Jaguar?), poor "quality" will destroy your personal brand. Anyone want to guess another website that recruiters check when looking at you? Just be aware - what they find on Facebook or through a Google search will *not* be used as reasons to hire you. Think about that before you post a scathing diatribe attacking your boss or your company, or before you decide to share those photos from the strip joint bender last weekend.

There is one thing that should never leave your mind during your job search - the person who is interviewing you *really* wants to fill that position. Think about it - would you really want to have to spend hours of your day interviewing people to fill a position? Why don't you help them walk through the detergent aisle?

Tomorrow I'll use myself as a case study.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, February 3, 2011

LinkedIn - *Your* Career Search Resource

I need to come clean to you folks. I ran the idea for this post past my son (3rd year student at UC Irvine) late last week. His response was very much the same as I think I’m going to hear from a lot of people – “Why do I need to do LinkedIn? I already have Facebook and Twitter. And I don’t even really understand Twitter!”

Let’s start with my favorite explanation of the differences in social media (I apologize in advance if you are one of my Twitter or Facebook friends – you’ve heard this one before):

  • Twitter: You tell people what you are doing. Twitter is all about the moment. There is no timeline of events. You use twitter to let everyone know you are peeing. Like right now.
  • Facebook: You tell people what you did. Facebook is all about memorializing and then discussing. You use Facebook to tell everyone that you peed. Then you all sit around and discuss the color of your pee.

But neither of these social media gives you a place to tell everyone how well you do things - where you can brag about your accomplishments – and gather recommendations from those who witnessed and agree with you. Enter LinkedIn – where you can tell the world how well you pee, and your friends can leave recommendation letters corroborating your accomplishment.

Seriously though – LinkedIn is your resource to brag about your past employment accomplishments (more on this over the weekend when we discuss personal branding). Recruiters actually use LinkedIn to find people to fill positions*. More importantly though, LinkedIn is your resource to find people in companies that have access to the hidden job market – that market that we talked about yesterday where a job posting never sees the light of day. So let’s talk about that aspect of LinkedIn for a bit.

Remember yesterday’s little experiment? I asked those who might be interested to connect to me in LinkedIn. Here are the results – 11 people connected to me yesterday. Those 11 people now have access to my 92 other connections. Likewise, I now have access to their total of 1,292 connections. Think about that. 1,292 people I didn’t know about yesterday morning. 1,292 potential job leads. And that’s not counting all of the connections that the other 92 people that I was already connected to. Starting to understand?

Let’s look at using LinkedIn in the big scheme of things. Here’s where the use of a job board is required. I use three job boards – SimplyHired (more of an amalgamation of job boards),, and The Ladders. I also read the business pages at the OC Register, and scour Now – I’m  not looking for specific positions – I’m really looking for companies that might be hiring. The companies that are hiring are those that may have dozens of jobs posted (yes – they do exist – look at Delloitte&Touche or IBM Business Services), companies that just landed a major contract, companies that might be moving into Orange County (like Experian did not too long ago), or companies that just had a major cash infusion. This tells me that there is opportunity to be had – positions that might be available or opening soon.

Next, I start using LinkedIn. Say we read about how business is booming at Ingram Micro – a large electronics distributor and channel reseller here in Orange County. Now – I know *no one* at Ingram. If I just send a resume in responding to a posting on SimplyHired, I’ll just be one of a few thousand doing the same. But, maybe one of you can help. The first thing I’m going to do is a company search:


I get the following results:


Just in case you thought I was lying – I really have *0* connections at Ingram. But I do have seven first level connections that know people who work there. And look at the top two! One of my connections is connected to the CEO, another is connected to a  Senior Director. I never would have known without LinkedIn. Time to pick up the phone and arrange a couple coffee or lunch appointments! And – who knows what else might come out of those appointments with my connections?

I hope at this point you’re starting to grasp the importance of LinkedIn in a search for a job. The best part of this is if you spend a couple hours a week doing this, you won’t need to wait until you’re out of work to land your next job!

By the way – if you still haven’t done so, please feel free to connect to me on LinkedIn: If you did connect to me and you perform a search and find that I’m connected to someone who might be able to help you – please please please let me know. I am more than happy to help however I can. That’s what networking is all about!

Tomorrow I’ll talk a little about differentiating yourself – establishing your own personal brand. And then the final post in this series (before getting back to the boring running stuff) will be a real live case study of how I've managed to pull things together and get some activity in the last three weeks. Thanks again for bearing with me through these off-topic posts.

*Note: A good family friend’s daughter actually just landed a job in the Fashion Industry in NYC through her LinkedIn resume. Honest truth!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Marketing for a Job - Networks and Brand

The last time I looked for a job, a Democrat was President and Al Gore had just invented the Internet. It was 1996. The economy was on the upswing and the unemployment rate was running around 5.5%. Monsters lived under your kid's bed. Newspapers were still king when it came to finding a job. It was right around Halloween 1996 that I opened the classified ads in the Orange County Register, browsed the four or five dozen ads and sent out eight or nine resumes. A couple weeks later I started a job running a System Integration practice.

Fast forward 15 years. About the only thing that is the same is a Democrat is President. We are coming out of the worst economic downturn in a couple generations and the unemployment rate is close to double what it was the last time I looked for a job. But the biggest change to the job search these days is the Internet. The job boards like Dice and Monster allow access to scarce jobs evenly across the board. That "perfect job" you are eyeing is open to all comers - recruiters from the opposite coast with clients who want to move, over qualified candidates, under qualified candidates, etc. I can only imagine how many applicants must submit their resumes for that one job posted on Monster. And have you looked in a newspaper for serious job ads lately? They are non-existent.

Not only have the times changed, but so have the rules. it's no longer possible to reply to classified ads and expect to get a call. After consulting a couple of "career coaches" recently (i.e., out of work HR professionals who have figured out how to make a living providing advice and counseling), i found out that only about 20% of their clients find jobs through job postings. And much of that relies on luck - being in the right place (in front of your computer) at the right time (the day the job is posted) with the right resume (includes the key words that make it through the scanning software).

In today's market, even with the economy looking up, we need to rely on two other things to be effective in our job search:

() Our Networks, and
() Our Personal Brand

Let's start with the whole area of networking. The reality is that the majority of jobs out there as the economy starts making it's way out of the doldrums will be in small businesses. The same ones that were hit pretty hard when credit was rolled back and profits were squeezed. These are the businesses that were sensitive about spending a buck foolishly even before the recession. Many have some pretty critical needs that they would like to hire to fill, but they lack the time and dollars to post their jobs. And then, even if they post the job, the hiring manager will not have the time to read through the thousands of responses they will receive from a job board posting.

This means that if you want that job, you need to find it. How? By knowing someone who knows about the position. The only way to do that is through your network of friends and acquaintances. And here is where things start becoming uncomfortable for most people. How many people are comfortable asking people for "stuff"? Well - if you are a successful sales professional maybe not, but for the vast majority of people, asking others for "stuff" without anything apparent to give in return is not a comfortable thing to do. But (coming back to the running motif now) - was training for and running your first half/full/ultra comfortable? Success is about forcing yourself out of your area of comfort and taking a risk or two. You know - nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that stuff.

Seriously though, establishing and maintaining your network is more important than ever in today's job search. The good news is we have the tools for this at our fingertips. If you stop and think about it, our running groups, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook provide us a wealth of contacts that would have taken a lifetime to amass back in 1996. And when it comes to a successful job search, the grandaddy of all networking social media, LinkedIn comes to the rescue.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about how I am using LinkedIn. In the meantime, if you have a LinkedIn profile, please connect to me! In fact - let's do a little experiment. Bop over to LinkedIn. If you don't have a presence, go ahead and create a profile. It's free and far more secure than Facebook. Then, connect with me! Just search "people" for Glenn Jones. You'll see my smiling face. I'll report back tomorrow on how many new connections I make today. Don't be bashful! (Back to the running motif) Just do it!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad