Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Now That We’re Networking….

Sorry about taking some time off the running aspect of my blog. But hey – there are tons of running blogs out there. And without a job, we can’t afford the races and travelling that we all love doing. We *do* love travelling to huge races don’t we?

When I left off last week, I talked a little about getting networking in order – set some metrics and meet the right people. But, meeting the “right” people is only the first step in our journey.  Most people who I was meeting at networking events were in the same boat as I was in. We were all unemployed trying to find a job or other opportunity. We need to drive networking to the next level. I’m sure there are a bunch of ways to do that, but here is what worked for me:

  • At each networking event, when I found that person that I had something in common with, I got agreement to meet in one on one for coffee or lunch.
  • Within a couple days of the event, I would contact each person and set up coffee or lunch to meet. The whole purpose of the meeting was to get to know each other better and figure out how we might be able to help each other. 30 minutes. Nothing else. No commitments. No promises.*
  • We’d meet over coffee and just get to know each other better. Find out what we were doing individually to further our situations. Engage in some knowledge transfer.
  • Then, important interchange #1: “You know, I attend <<insert name of networking group here>>’s meetings. I find that there is a good mix of employed people who attend who are willing to help. Let me email you the specifics. What about you?”
  • And important interchange #2: “I have this contact who I’ve known for a while who might be able to help you. Let me give you his/her info.” I think you can now see where this is going.

The bottom line here is that, just like setting up a training plan, I set up a networking plan for myself. That plan currently looks like this:

  • Attend 4 networking events a month.
  • At each event, meet 1 to 3 people with similar backgrounds.
  • Set up at least 3 coffee/lunch meetings per week lasting at least 30 minutes each
  • From each lunch/coffee, get one networking group suggestion and two referrals for other people to meet.

And just like that, I started meeting with 12 people a month with similar backgrounds. Some were employed. Some weren’t. But – they all wanted to help!

Speaking of training, I’m going to make another attempt this week:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest.
  • Tuesday: 3 miles.
  • Wednesday: 4 miles
  • Thursday: 3 miles
  • Friday: Scheduled rest
  • Saturday: Scheduled rest
  • Sunday: 8 to 10 miles
  • Total mileage: 18-20 miles

It may not all be running, but it will all be moving!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ch ch ch changes….

As I mentioned in my last blog post, lots of things have changed since the last time I looked for a job. But then again, Al Gore had just discovered the Internet.

The thing that has changed first and foremost is the tool that is used to find a job. Back then it was the Classified Ads in the Sunday newspaper. Today it’s all about networks - your collection of friends, family, and acquaintances.

Back in February, I wrote a little about networking. And I got to it. I started attending networking groups. Went out to coffee. Lunch. Got to know people. And promptly wasted a lot of time. If you look, you will find a bunch of networking groups in your local area (If you are having trouble finding some, start with LinkedIn, go to a local networking group, and ask around). People will point you in the right direction to other groups in your local area. Now you have a list of groups to attend. And, like me, you will meet a bunch of great people, drink a lot of coffee and have very little to show for it.

Now, you’re probably asking, “So what does this have to do with running?” Well – here’s the tie in. How do we approach a race? 90% of the blogs I read say the following: “My A goal is hh:mm:ss, my B goal is…”. Why is it that we approach a race with metrics but don’t approach our livelihood the same way?

Well, it all became clear one day over coffee with a person that I met at a networking group. I was talking to her about suggestions for other groups when I let it slip about my frustration with the fact that my network was taking me no where. That’s when she give me her words of wisdom – metrics. Have in your mind what you are looking for in a networking session that would signify success. For me that became:

  • Meeting 1 to 3 people with a similar background to mine who are on the same career track (i.e, looking for the same opportunities) as me. This gives us something to share and a reason to develop a relationship past the initial meeting.
  • If I am unable to achieve this metric in two meetings of the group, then I cross them off my list.

This little gem helped me get focused on what I needed to get accomplished when networking. It’s not just about meeting people - it’s about meeting people who can help each other. And just like that, things started getting unstuck. To be continued….

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Big Fat Zilch

Zero. Nada. Zippo (not the lighter). That’s been this week’s running output.*

I know. No excuses. It’s all about desire. But, each of us has a different reason for running. I use running as a release from the day’s trials, tribulations, and stresses. Which naturally means my running takes place near the end of the day. It used to be a ritual that I used to wrap up the day.

Well, a few months back, everything started changing. Back in January (has it really been that long?), I blogged about a big life change. Yes. I was going to be unemployed. I blogged about Marketing for a Job, using LinkedIn as a resource, and establishing a personal brand for differentiation. I then talked about getting out and networking. Meeting people. Having coffee, lunches, and getting the job search on track a la 2011.

I went to work. Met a lot of people. Started establishing/re-establishing my network. And nothing happened. Week turned into months. And nothing continued happening.

It took a little introspection to realize something. If this was a training cycle, and my training was getting me nowhere, what would I do? I’d be looking for a change. Why is it that when we’re talking about our hobbies, we are always capable of figuring out what to do, but with our livelihoods it’s a different story?

Well, I did just that. Went for the curve ball. Tried different things. And in these past two weeks I’ve had four interviews. Including a phone interview Monday afternoon, a lunch Tuesday afternoon, a phone interview Wednesday morning, and another call planned for Wednesday afternoon. Which means I’m spending my time late in the evenings studying up. Getting prepared. So – sorry running – my attention is required elsewhere for the time being!

Over the next couple of posts, I’ll talk a little about some of the things I changed to get some traction in the job search. Let me tell you – things sure have changed since the last time I went on the prowl for a job back in 1996!

* Well – not really. I did get 2 miles in on Monday evening. And will be out and about Friday. And Saturday. I need to get some release from the trials, tribulations, and stresses of the job search!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Speaking of Shoes*….

After reading through a couple of the comments that were posted, I wanted to tell a story about how I figured out that the ASICS GT2160’s were the shoes that made sense for me.

Being an old fart, I can empathize with one of our ex-Presidents:

When I want to avoid getting fooled, I go the tried and true conservative route. That meant that the first time I realized that running shoes were not the ones that you pick up in the sale rack at a discount retailer, I decided to head down the street to Road Runner Sports.

To be honest, they do a great job for beginning runners. They put you on a pressure pad and then do a treadmill, look at your footprint and watch your gait, and then put you into the most expensive shoe they can based on your analysis. Oh well.  They’re entitled to their profit.  After my first visit, they put me in a pair of ASICS Kayanos (maybe like the 13’s or 14’s back then). And they were heaven…

Until I reached about 250 miles and started having all these aches and pains. I went back to Road Runner and they put me in a new pair of shoes. I was in heaven again. For another 200 or so miles. Needless to say – this was beginning to become an expensive proposition. By this time I had joined a running club and after talking to some of the folks in the club, I was pointed to a local store that was run by a guy considered to be reputable. Long story short, I visited the store, took my shoes, and he gave me the entire rundown on ASICS. He then suggested I get into a pair of ASICS GT-2130’s. Basically the same support, a little less cushion, but a lot more wear. And I was in heaven. This time for 450 miles. I replaced the 2130’s with 2140’s. 400 miles and repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

These days, shopping for shoes involves sitting at my computer and finding the best price on a pair of ASICS GTwhatevers. But – I couldn’t have done that without that first trip to the big store that set me in the right direction to begin with.

*Sorry about the inconsistent posts these days**. I am going to try to make an effort to be more consistent in both my training and running. Lots going on these days, but if I told you about that, I wouldn’t have anything to post about later this week.

** And thanks for reading! Even with the inconsistency and the lack of real content, I am floored every day when my Google analytic reports come in.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Something Exciting Happened…

Okay. I guess I lied yesterday. Maybe there are exciting things that can happen during the boring miles. I’m being Imelda Marcos now…


Yup. Shoes. It was time to replace the old GT 2150’s with ASICS newest version the GT 2160’s. In case you missed the changes between the two model, here’s a photo of the GT 2150’s to compare:


You get my drift…..

In all seriousness, our shoes are the one thing that we, as runners, should be especially strict about keeping tabs on. They are the tools by which we ply our trade. We wouldn’t dream of not having the best fastest computer, or newest tablet, but I’m surprised at how many people have no idea how many miles they have on their shoes!

I know it’s time to start looking when I start getting little pains in places that normally don’t hurt. And last week, I started getting some new pains in my shins and hips. I checked my log and sure enough – 400 miles on this pair. Time to start shopping.

These shoes work for me. Firm fit, no blisters or hot spots, and good wear. It’s a relief that I don’t need to head over to a retail outlet to get or look at a different show. Instead I just settled in behind my keyboard and shopped for the best price – currently on sale at REI for $69.93. That’s $30 off standard retail price. If you run in these shoes, beat a path over to REI!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sliding into a Training Regimen

Me and my big mouth. An ultra next spring. Yeah right. The problem is since I let is slip, I’d end up with egg on my face if I decided it was all part of a weak moment of temporary insanity and pretend that it didn’t really happen. That’ll teach me….

In all seriousness, I’ve been putting in miles, but not much else exciting has been going on. 3 miles here, 4 miles there, 6 to 8 miles on the trails on the weekends. I’ve been in the 15-20 mile range for the past few weeks, just kind of mind numbingly going through the motions. This does not lead to events that are especially blog worthy – hence my recent absence from these pages.

I have more of the same (15-20 miles per week) for the next four weeks until I slide into my ultra training plan. What I guess I’m saying is don’t hold your breath waiting for a lot on this blog. I’ll be lucky to come up with something insightful once a week for the next month. Maybe a 30 minute video of me putting one foot in front of the other?

This week:

  • Monday: Scheduled rest
  • Tuesday: 3 miles easy
  • Wednesday: 4 miles easy
  • Thursday: 3 miles easy
  • Friday: Scheduled rest
  • Saturday: 8 miles (if the weather cooperates – supposed to be cold and wet next weekend)
  • Sunday: Scheduled rest.
  • Total: 18 miles

Rinse and repeat….

Just an fyi – in case you really do miss me during the next month – you can probably catch me over on my other blog – Poker Perdition. Some exciting stuff going on there (like what to not do if you want to win…)