QUESTION: What should I do if I lied about previous work experience on a resume when getting hired for a job? Rocco, Bronx, NY
I have encountered these issues more than once in my search and coaching career. Understand that the advice I am about to give is in no way a judgment on your integrity — at least not at this point.
I would withdraw from the job search immediately.
OK, you made a mistake, hopefully one that you will never make again. But if you move forward with this job, there is a good chance you are going to be found out. It is better to withdraw now and minimize the reputational damage.
If you have already been hired, I would admit my mistake, ask for forgiveness and offer to resign — in THAT ORDER.
This is all about your integrity. Fix it now and do not go there again unless your reputation is of no value to you. You can replace this job and recover.
QUESTION: Do you think is it good to help your co-worker to excel in the company where you both work?
That kind of corporate selflessness is, or should be, valued mightily. This is the kind of commitment from the workforce that can make a difference between a company’s ability to achieve excellence or settle for just getting by. That said, not all poor performing employees want help from anyone. I have seen terrible employees, when confronted about their performance, responded angrily with, “What is your problem?” In one case I had an employee that we had spent way too much time trying to coach to a better performance and attitude. When I got the “What is your problem?” response I finally decided I had had enough. “Go look in the mirror,” I told the employee. “That should clear up any questions you might have about my problem.”
Poor performing companies are typically, not always, but typically, loaded with mediocre employees who, for whatever reason, are not engaged or inspired to do better than their best.
Be a good colleague. By all means help another colleague who may be struggling, but make the approach thoughtfully. They may not agree with your assessment.
© 2019 John Gregory Self
An executive leaves an organization, one which he had served faithfully for eight years. It was part of a for-profit hospital management company. What happened next was a real shock to his system and faith in professional networking.
Join me today for the rest of this disturbing story.
Hello everyone. Thanks for joining me for our regular Wednesday video blog with information and insights to help you manage your career.
During Robert’s tenure with the organization, he built up a fairly robust network of contacts within the operating division. Many in his network spoke regularly, sharing ideas and advice. Socializing at corporate meetings and trade association gatherings seemed to cement the bond they all had.
Overall, his network was fairly large but many of his contacts worked for the same company across the state and the nation.
Robert’s departure was of his own choosing. A new divisional president radically altered a market strategy that Robert and his former boss, who died suddenly, had worked to develop over the past two years. There were numerous meetings with civic leaders and the medical staff. What Robert felt was an exciting new vision for the organization was developed. There was a unity of purpose throughout the community and the hospital began to make notable progress towards its business plan goals.
But now these changes in strategy would undo that hard work. What concerned Robert most was that it felt like a break in trust with the physicians and community leaders who worked hard to help him recruit new doctors and support personnel who would provide services the community needed and wanted. Now, the new division president saw Robert’s hospital as nothing more than a catchment of care location, a place from which to redirect patients to their own larger partner hospital 45 miles away.
When Robert broke the news regarding the changes to his local team there was, as expected, a lot of frustration. For Robert, it was also a decisive moment in his career. He felt as though he could no longer work for the company. After a lot of thought he quietly announced his resignation to pursue other career opportunities. There was a nice story in the newspaper. There was a community reception for Robert and his wife. He was touched by the large turnout. Throughout his transition, Robert kept the real reason for his departure to himself. When pressed by community leaders and colleagues, he took the high ground.
After taking a month off to get past this emotionally taxing decision, he began to reach out to his professional network, placing numerous calls and sending emails. His message: I hope we can stay in touch. If you hear of anything in your network, please let me know. Could we connect for coffee… That sort of thing.
Save for an occasional perfunctory email, all he heard were the crickets. The close camaraderie he had enjoyed was as if it never existed. His was treated as if he had an infectious disease and everyone was told to keep their distance. Of course there was no formal corporate directive to his colleagues to avoid contact, it was just a collective cultural response: you are no longer in the family. You must have done something wrong. Why risk the ire of the divisional executives by trying to help Robert?
Across the country, on a Monday morning when Jerry, a Senior Vice President of Operations for an inner-city medical teaching hospital came to work, he discovered he had a new CEO. The hospital’s board of directors had met over the weekend and decided to bring in a new leader. Someone who could right the struggling ship.
From the outset, Jerry, who had worked for the organization for 15 years, sensed that he and his new boss were not on the same wave length. Jerry’s two divisions were performing at, or better than budget, a neat trick Jerry thought, given the terrible economic conditions in the community, a problematic and very costly EHR implementation, and cuts in Medicaid reimbursement. Jerry’s performance did not seem to matter to the new CEO. There was friction from the outset and some outright confrontations. It was if someone had placed a target on his back.
Six weeks in, Jerry was summoned to the CEO’s office on a Friday afternoon. Two security guards were present in the waiting room. When Jerry was ushered into the CEO’s office, his new boss was not there. The CHRO was and he handed Jerry an agreement and insisted he sign the document on the spot. When Jerry declined, asking for time to review it, he was given a document detailing his scaled-back severance benefits. The security guards then led Jerry to his car in the parking and told his personal effects would be shipped within two weeks.
That was it. Fifteen years, over. No time to tell his long-time assistant and his direct reports goodbye. They were in a meeting with Jerry’s replacement who informed his team there had been issues and Jerry was no longer with the organization.
Later, Jerry recalled, “You know when there is a new CEO, not succeeding or surviving is always in the back of your mind, but when you walk in to a meeting and they say the words, it is shocking. It rocks your world and if it doesn’t you aren’t human.”
Nine weeks into his job search, Jerry discovered he, too, was persona non grata in his network of contacts – those with ongoing business ties to the organization, especially those who continued to work there.
Unfortunately, this sort of treatment is fairly common. You leave and suddenly no one has time to talk with you.
Just when Robert and Jerry needed their professional network, their friends and colleagues the most, they were treated as if they were somehow damaged goods, or had somehow betrayed the organization.
This type of behavior is not uncommon in healthcare and most other industrial sectors, and that is really a crummy reality.
If you have never been fired, chances are you may finally become acquainted with that reality in this new normal economy what with corporate or divisional consolidations or changes in business model fundamentals. You will be like what the late Bum Phillips, the colorful Texan and one time head coach of the Houston Oilers said of the reality of being an NFL head coach: “There are thems [sic] that have been fired and thems that are gonna be.”
When you are pushed out – laid off or terminated – it is horrible. In many cases you are are shocked, angry and isolated.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
When a friend or colleague loses their job, call them. Remind them how much you enjoyed working together and sharing ideas. Remind them that they can call you whenever they need an emotional jump start or some market intel. It’s lonely and it’s tough to be looking for a job today. Your former colleagues need you and, one day, you may need them.
Today, I hope you will share this video blog to help support a colleague who may need a kind word. Reach out. Be the servant leader or good friend you always claim to be and stay in touch. Make an occasional call with words of encouragement that could provide that little emotional push to help them get over the finish line and back into the ranks of the employed.
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We are here to help.
Thanks for watching. I hope to see you next Wednesday.
© 2019 John Gregory Self
Editor’s Note: With thanks to Fr. David Luckenbach, Rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Tyler, Texas for the inspiration for this blog
As you navigate through your career, especially if you find yourself between jobs the result of a layoff or termination, it is important to keep your eye on the prize, the goal for what you want to achieve: finding your next job. In this hyper-competitive market, it is absolutely essential that you stay focused lest you get discouraged and give up hope.
I have found that when getting people to focus on the importance of a universal goal like this it is helpful to share a relevant story.
Florence May Chadwick was a renowned long-distance swimmer. As a young girl growing up in San Diego she was quite accomplished. She scored her first win at age 10. She was someone who liked to win, but she also craved a big challenge. So, she graduated from pool swims to something a little more challenging – swimming in the ocean. At age 10 she became the youngest person to swim across the entrance to the San Diego Bay. Still not satisfied, and looking for even greater challenge, she entered rough water events. She won the 2.5-mile race off La Jolla 10 times in 18 years.
In 1950, after failing on the her first try, she successfully swam the English Channel. Then she swam from France to England in 13 hours and 20 minutes, breaking the women’s record held by another American swimmer.
In 1952 Ms. Chadwick attempted to swim the 26 miles from the California coastline to Catalina Island. At 15-hours into the swim a thick fog set in. She could not see ahead and she began to doubt her ability. She told her mother who was in one of the boats escorting her through the shark-infested waters that she did not think she could make it. With encouragement from her mother and the others escorting her, she swam another hour before giving up because she could not see her goal, the coastline.
As she sat in the boat, the fog lifted and she discovered she had quit just one-mile from her destination.
Two months later she tried again. A thick fog set in again but this time she was successful. The secret to her success on the second try – she said that she kept a mental image of the coastline in her mind while she swam. She kept her eye on the prize.
In other exploits she enjoyed some great successes but her quest to reach Catalina Island is most significant — for her determination to try again and for her success achieved by never losing sight of her goal, even it was a mental image.
Looking for a job in today’s job market is challenging. In healthcare, retail and other industries, there are more people looking for executive positions than there are opportunities. Dozens, even hundreds of executives line up for consideration for every position. Turnover is those industries is at a record low. It is easy to lose focus. It is easier still to become intensely discouraged. “I am so worried that I may never work again,” one exceptionally talented executive told me in an emotionally charged conversation. That fear, unchecked, can paralyze a job seeker.
The truth is there is no silver bullet that will magically produce success. Only hard work such as strategic networking, making telephone calls, scheduling get-acquainted coffees or lunches and posting on LinkedIn, are examples of the work you must do every day.
You will work as hard, or harder, in finding your next job than you will doing the next job. In this market, looking for a leadership position is not a part-time gig.
One strategy that might help is to begin each day by being mindfully thankful for something or someone in your life. And you must, as you go about the essential duties of looking for a job, keep your eye on your goal.
You should also find a transition coach who will stay with you and provide encouragement and technical support. Someone who will tell you things you may not want to hear – like work harder, make more calls, speak with more people, all the while holding you accountable for not losing sight of your goal, even when the fog of disappointment and discouragement obscures everything.
© 2019 John Gregory Self