Thursday, August 19, 2010

How to get a job or assignment

One of my colleagues recently wrote about her difficulty in landing consulting assignments. She has some great unique models, but, as she says, ...

The Problem

Most large companies (w/ no R-D labs) have the resources to take risks but refuse to.

Small companies have the guts to take the risks, but do not have the resources or the macro set of processes to do it. ...

What do you think?

Some Solution Ideas

It's one of the paradoxes of the consulting business.

Sometimes, the trick is to choose medium-sized companies. :-)

Seriously, people retain your services only when they know you enough to trust you. Consequently, my preferred method has always been to have a stepped-variety of offerings so they can start to know me in safe, tiny steps (books, keynote addresses at conferences, blogs, comments on blogs, ) ...

Then have medium steps (like workshops, tutorials at conferences, ) ...

Then larger steps (consulting visits)

Then really big steps (consulting contracts ).

Then retire rich.

Solution Ideas for Getting Hired on a Job

These days, it's not just consultants who are having a hard time finding the work they want. In the same mail, I got the following email from Liam, a recent PSL grad:

"As you were advising me to start looking for a new job in the Spring of '09 at PSL, you won't be surprised that lost my job at XYZ at the end of last year."

Not surprised, but disappointed. Still, in the long run, these changes usually work out for a much better situation. Losing the job is just confirmation of a lousy situation.

"I am still looking and would welcome any ideas or advice you might have."

The Problem of Getting Hired on a Job

Well, I just finished an email to another grad who's trying to establish his consulting business (which is getting a number of jobs, so there are many similarities). I'll quote what I told him:

Sometimes, the trick is to choose medium-sized companies.

***[Liam: this might apply to job-hunting, too. In any case, whatever you're doing now, change something--bigger, smaller, more or less medium, you know.]

My preferred method, though, has always been to have a stepped-variety of offerings so they can start to know me in

- tiny steps (books, speeches at conferences, blogs, comments on blogs, ) ...

- Then have medium steps (like workshops, tutorials at conferences, ) ...

- Then larger steps (consulting visits)

***[Liam: interview visits, but also visits to help you show off by
doing something for them that's specialty of yours, just a talk, maybe]

- Then really big steps (consulting contracts).

***[Liam: hiring, which is a really big step these days, so perhaps hiring for a trial period, to minimize their risks]

Then retire rich.

Applying My Own Advice

Well, I'm already rich, haven't wanted a "job" for half a century, and have more consulting requests than I can handle. BUT, I'd like to be "hired" more often in my new "career"–writing fiction that entertains while teaching, or teaches while entertaining. I'm trying to apply my own advice to this new situation:

- tiny steps (books, speeches at conferences, blogs, comments on blogs, ) ...

***[Jerry: A book is already "tiny" for your consulting business, but in the book business, that's it! Well, no it isn't, so I'm trying to make samples available (see one example below in the Appendix, my email signature, which is another tiny step) ]

- Then have medium steps (like workshops, tutorials at conferences, ) ...

***[Jerry: I offer workshops and tutorials for writers (writers are a small part of my potential audience, yet can be quite influential). I set up a book table at conferences, where people can actually put their hands on books. I've tried book-signings, but they're pretty painful when nobody shows up. And larger samples.]

- Then larger steps (consulting visits)

***[Jerry: I haven't really figured out how to do this. Well, I've just become a member of Book View Café, a writers' cooperative, where I have serialized one of my books for free, and will blog pretty regularly]

- Then really big steps (consulting contracts).

***[Jerry: I've had some offers to write books-for-hire, but that's too much like a job. I suppose I'm fantasizing that some huge publisher will see one of my books and offer to make it into the next Harry Potter, but that's just a fantasy. And if they offer me a movie option, I'll turn it down. I used to live near Hollywood, and the smell of it was more than enough for me. (but I do love going to movies, but I saw what they did to the book of a friend of mine--and no thanks. He now wears a t-shirt that says, "Don't judge a book by its movie.")]

Then retire rich.

***[Jerry: You already did that, so take $$$ out of the equation. Write for fun, but get as many readers as you deserve, neither more nor less.]

A Cry for Help

After sending those two replies to my students, I immediately realized I had failed to mention the most important possible solution. (Isn't that what always happens when you hit the SEND button? Maybe I should sell SEND buttons to writers who need inspiration.]

What's that solution idea? Obviously:

- ask your friends for solution ideas.

So, friends, any ideas for my fiction business?

- And, oh, yes, you can ask your friends for jobs/assignments.

So, friends, I wouldn't object if you bought a book or two.

- Motivate them, or why would they want to do it.

Well, I believe my books ought to be self-motivating, but I have to motivate potential readers to actually look at them. So, perhaps because you know my non-fiction, or my teaching, you might be motivated to buy one of my books (either e-book or paperback). And, if you read it, and don't like it, I'll personally refund your money.

But if you do like it, I wouldn't object at all if you told me, and even wrote a review of it for Amazon, Smashwords, Powell's, your blog, or any other place that accepts reviews. If you do, I'll give you the free book of your choice, as a small thank you. Heck, I'll even give you your money back, if that's what you prefer.

And, yes, I really mean it.

Appendix: My Email Signature Inviting Sampling

How to sample my novels (try before you buy):

Suggestion: Go to the CreateSpace website for each of the books below and see a short description of the book.

Or, if you want a sample, click on , then click on a title you're interested in sampling, then "buy" the book and ask to see the sample.

Or, for most of the books (not fully updated yet) you can read smaller samples on my website (below).

Or, if you prefer them as quality paperbacks:
First Stringers:
Second Stringers:
The Hands of God:
Mistress of Molecules:
Freshman Murders:
The Aremac Project:
Aremac Power
Earth's Endless Effort

1 comment:

Markus Gärtner said...

At the local gym I go to to exercise my belly, there is a trainer, Willy, who says the following after one of his courses:

If you liked the course, tell others [so they come here, or to my course, or to my course again], oh, and if you didn't like something, please tell me [so that I can improve my course].

I think you could also apply the same lesson for your friend's help on book reading, and their respective feedback.