There Will Be Jobs, Projects and Contracts That You Will Hate | The Future of Work: Part 3


Charles McCrumb Human Workflow Developer, Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer, SMB IS Project Analyst, Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

THERE WILL BE JOBS, PROJECTS AND CONTRACTS THAT YOU WILL HATE

I am recently working on a long-term contract that, quite frankly, doesn’t make me feel good. Not about my self-worth, not about my business, not about their business (that I am trying to make better), not about the people there. Not about the drive. None of it. Do I feel right about taking their money?

Absolutely.

I am certainly EARNING it, but not in a way that makes me feel any kind of good. There are certainly lots of loud arguments going on.

People in the area of psychology have learned that it takes at least 5 good interactions (i.e. joking around, “Good job”, “Good morning, nice to see you”, etc.) to erase a single bad interaction (yelling about screw-ups in production, hollering at vendors, etc.). It doesn’t even matter if YOU ARE NOT THE FOCUS of the problem, if you hear it, YOU FEEL IT!

There seems to be some debate on the exact ratio (100:1 vs 5:1)

When Angry Disengage
The Neurochemistry of Positive Conversations

Still: even a 5 to 1 ratio is a terrible ROI (Return On Investment, for those that don’t know).
Mindful kindness matters.

This client’s culture, has raised voices EVERY SINGLE DAY. That is not good. It is not good for any business. If there’s a problem, and yelling is always the way it is dealt with, people will naturally hide problems until they reach critical mass, leading to (you guessed it) more yelling.

That’s not effective management, and it’s certainly burning bridges with the goodwill of people that you will likely need again at some point in the future (à la Seth Godin’s recent post: Weight thrown and the slippery slope).

Are the business’ customers hearing any of that yelling?
The employees certainly are, which brings up the next point.

There is a recent experiment that shows that stress is contagious!

Because of this, it is almost certain that the clients (of the business I am helping) can FEEL what is going on. They may not know what is actually happening, but just walking in, they will FEEL that something is not right.

You want your business to feel GOOD to your clients. You want them to feel safe, and to know that you can handle their needs. THAT is going to be the only thing that differentiates many commodity and finished goods businesses from each other.

If you can deliver the exact same product as another company, that’s possibly closer, why would a purchasing manager ever choose YOUR company?

Next week: The Cult of Youth (and My Advise) – The Future of Work: Part 4

 

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer | Small Business Information Systems Project Analyst | Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Human Workflows | Small Business Information Systems & Projects  |  Office Automation
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
Like us on Facebook for instant updates on what Herbert, McCrumb & Associates is doing, how we’re doing it, and how we’re saving real people time and money!
http://www.facebook.com/HerbertMcCrumbAssociates
email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Twitter: @charlesmccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

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Get Used to Driving Farther Than You Ever Thought You Would | The Future of Work: Part 2


Charles McCrumb Human Workflow Developer, Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer, SMB IS Project Analyst, Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

GET USED TO DRIVING FARTHER THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT YOU WOULD

If you’re over 40, you will likely drive A LOT farther, for less money. There can be a slight benefit to this if you are doing 1099 work (Contracting/Freelancing), as you are able to write-off from your taxes this mileage as “expenses incurred while trying to make some money”. If it is W2 work, you’re kind of screwed for that, but hopefully the benefits (and pay) will make it worth the ride.

Either way, your backside is going to feel the effects. Your temperament will be tested too. Look at it as an exercise in Zazen (seated meditation).

Think about it, pass it around and comment if you like!

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer | Small Business Information Systems Project Analyst | Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Human Workflows | Small Business Information Systems & Projects  |  Office Automation
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
Like us on Facebook for instant updates on what Herbert, McCrumb & Associates is doing, how we’re doing it, and how we’re saving real people time and money!
http://www.facebook.com/HerbertMcCrumbAssociates
email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Twitter: @charlesmccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

Get Used to Lower Pay | The Future of Work: Part 1


Charles McCrumb Human Workflow Developer, Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer, SMB IS Project Analyst, Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Hi Friends!
I’ve finally gotten around to splitting up a VERY long post from 2 years ago.
Your Job, The Future of Work, and the Cult of Youth


I recently had the thought: “How safe is your job? How safe is anybody’s job?”

Then of course, our mentor Seth Godin recently posted: Thirty Years of Projects.

He makes the point that he has always thought of his career as a series of projects.
I have been thinking about this idea for the past year, and should have published earlier (that way, I could have stolen HIS thunder!)

Live and learn.

I believe that project work is a big part of the employment model for the present and future.

I think the model is: Projects (Consulting), Contracts, W2 (Full-Time), and Part-Time work.
Following (over the next few weeks) is a list of ideas that I think will be important as we work our way(s) through this model.


I believe that project work is a big part of the employment model for the present and future.

I think the model is: Projects (Consulting), Contracts, W2 (Full-Time), and Part-Time work.


GET USED TO LOWER PAY

If you are over 40, you will start seeing W2 employment disappearing, either among your friends and acquaintances or personally. The grand experiment in W2 employment is over. Many companies (all sizes: large, medium-sized, and small) don’t want to pay big salaries and big benefits to employees.

When a résumé show 20 years or more experience in “X”, the employer (or recruiter) DOES NOT THINK:
Wow! That is just what I need!“.
INSTEAD, HE OR SHE THINKS:
Old person. Wants a lot of money.
They are RIGHT!
YOU (and/or I) ARE / AM AN OLD PERSON, AND DO WANT A LOT OF MONEY!
We are all in this together.
If you are not old now, God willing, YOU WILL BE!

That doesn’t make it right or fair, it is just TRUE!

None of this is consistent either, which makes it even more frustrting: You never know where age-discrimination will rear it’s ugly head.

You’ll eventually (or sooner) be made an offer that will insult you. It will be W2 work that is beneath you, and for far less money than you were getting previously.

I cannot tell you what to do here. Before acting on it, give it a day to sink in. What will be the opportunity costs (a better offer coming in, your side-business picking up, etcetera) vs. Just getting some income?

In general, all jobs are being commoditized.
Old and young… THAT’S GOING TO AFFECT ALL OF US!!!

When every job is a commodity, like coal, grain, pork bellies, etc., the lowest bidder wins.

Until there’s an emergency!

Then, no price is too high to fix the problem. I am reminded of the phrase:
“You think a professional is expensive? Wait ’til you hire an amateur!”
THIS REASON is why you need to specialize, so you can get out of the W2 model!

Now, you may only be working on “Emergencies“, and your expertise may repeatedly be called into question, and your fee may be disputed, but take heart. Deliver a quote, then if the client balks in any way, politely leave (“I’m only delivering a quote today, I need to check on another client, blah-blah”).

If you are in fact the “go to” person, you will get a call back, when the “Emergency” becomes intolerable, whether it’s within a day, a week, or a month later, and they’ll (grudgingly) agree with your terms.

Think about it, pass it around and comment if you like!

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer | Small Business Information Systems Project Analyst | Office Automator
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Human Workflows | Small Business Information Systems & Projects  |  Office Automation
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
Like us on Facebook for instant updates on what Herbert, McCrumb & Associates is doing, how we’re doing it, and how we’re saving real people time and money!
http://www.facebook.com/HerbertMcCrumbAssociates
email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Twitter: @charlesmccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

Software is Irrelevant


Charles McCrumb Human Workflow Developer, Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer, Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Well, not completely irrelevant, but in a major way at least, systems are broken.

In my experience, here’s why.

When I first became involved with Information Systems (1994), there were businesses that had computers and those that did not. Those businesses with computer systems had a clear advantage over their paper process competition.

These days, everyone has access to computers and software (even free, or nearly free software with Gmail, Google Docs, Dropbox, etcetera).

How are you going to leverage your business against your competition (or your own career) now?

You’ve got to change the behavior of the people (or yourself)!!!

We don’t work for the machines yet, so there’s still time to leverage our humanity.
More on that later.

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Human Workflow Developer, Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Small Business IT Projects  |  Office Automation  |  Workflow Behaviors
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
Like us on Facebook for instant updates on what Herbert, McCrumb & Associates is doing, how we’re doing it, and how we’re saving real people time and money!
http://www.facebook.com/HerbertMcCrumbAssociates
email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

Too Big of a Byte


Charles McCrumb Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Sorry for the pun, but it should read “Bite”.

I heard a hero of mine’s: (Tim Ferriss) podcast recently with our mentor, Seth Godin.

http://fourhourworkweek.com/2016/02/10/seth-godin/

Seth writes a blog post EVERY DAY, and actually writes 4 or 5 each day, and selects what goes into the queue for publishing.

It occurs to me, that when I get a grand idea, I’ve been expecting myself to think up LOTS of material to flesh it out completely. While a long blog post has value, and sometimes Seth posts some very long ones, a short note can also keep the flow going.

From now on, I’ll try to emulate Seth and keep them to a much smaller bite.

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Small Business IT Projects  |  Office Automation  |  Workflow Behaviors
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
Like us on Facebook for instant updates on what Herbert, McCrumb & Associates is doing, how we’re doing it, and how we’re saving real people time and money!
http://www.facebook.com/HerbertMcCrumbAssociates
email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

Why You Should Leave Detailed Messages


Charles McCrumb Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Hi Folks!

It’s time for my long-promised follow-up to “Why You Should Return Calls”.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Too many times in a business environment, and in personal life as well, someone will leave the emptiest message: “Give me a call when you have time” or “call me back”. This type of message puts the burden of THEIR communication on YOU! They OBVIOUSLY have something on their mind, but feel that YOU need to fish for it, and dig it out of them.

This is closely related to a previous post “OMG! I Just Can’t Believe It!”.

You calling someone back to find out what they want is an INSANE waste of your time, and theirs. They’re going to tell you what’s going on anyway, why not in the message that they leave? They are forcing the conversation to be Full-Duplex vs. Half-Duplex, with the added bonus of wasting your time and theirs, with the first empty message. Now, I get it if the communication is confidential, I’ll make THAT exception, however… Most communications are NOT confidential.

FORCING FULL-DUPLEX COMMUNICATION VS. HALF-DUPLEX MESSAGES
Unless it’s CRITICAL, Full-Duplex communication about work items can be a real time waster. I’m not talking about your daily morning meeting with your boss to discuss the items that are your bread and butter, or even social bonding with coworkers.

LEAVING A DETAILED MESSAGE
Detailed messages give the opportunity (time) to work on problems and do homework on the particular issue and the things that are important to your business! I suspect that this may also be why text messages and emails can be effective in certain ways. NO ONE EVER sent a text or email with the body of the message saying “Write me back so I can tell you what I want to say”. Wouldn’t that be ridiculous?

DELUSIONAL
As I’ve stated before, unless the caller is delusional, no one expects you to always be sitting at your desk, or walking around with your cellphone in your hand, waiting for their call. So when it’s your turn to leave a message, make it count. Many people have claimed that they don’t like talking to a machine, (my mother for one). I can understand this, but not leaving a message beyond “call me back” is wholly ineffective.

SOMEONE WANTS TO TALK TO YOU, BUT WON’T SAY WHY.
The only message that is received from an empty message is that someone only wants to talk to a human being. If it’s your boss, you’ll be sitting on pins and needles trying to think of “What’s wrong?”, or “Did I screw something up?”.

THIS SPACE IS BLANK
There’s no opportunity to work on anything important with empty messages. I suppose the particular function of an empty message is the same as the “Your message here!” that’s sometimes seen on the sides of public transit buses and billboards. I always ignore empty messages, and you should too. If your boss leaves one and the issue is really important, he or she will either leave a better message, or request your physical presence. In general terms, 99.9% of the time (or more), what he or she wanted is trivial, or at least way less important than most of what you’re already doing. If it’s a REALLY critical issue, (Administrative, Technical or HR related), then the message should be “Please call me back, it’s CRITICAL!”

YOUR OUTGOING VOICE-MAIL MESSAGE
On you’re outgoing voice-mail message, state clearly that the caller should leave a detailed message. When calling someone else’s phone, and getting his or her voice-mail, you leave a detailed message (whether the outgoing message said to or not). This is being proactive, professional, and leveraging the technology available to your (and the company’s) benefit.

If you have any commentary, please leave it and we’ll discuss!

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Small Business IT Projects  |  Office Automation  |  Human Behaviors
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
Like us on Facebook for instant updates on what Herbert, McCrumb & Associates is doing, how we’re doing it, and how we’re saving real people time and money!
http://www.facebook.com/HerbertMcCrumbAssociates
email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700

Why You Should Return Calls


Charles McCrumb Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates

Hi folks, here’s another post, with my snark in red of course.

There are several great reasons to return calls, versus always answering the phone:

  • Unless your specific job is to answer the phone, you’ve got other things to do.
  • Returning calls allows you to formulate an opinion about what the person left a message about (Next post, why you should leave detailed messages).
  • Returning calls allows you to do homework on the issue the person left a message about.
  • Answering the phone, and having to tell the person a lie or exaggeration to get them off your back until you have a real answer is grossly inefficient, not helpful, and doesn’t inspire trust.
  • Unless the caller is delusional, no one expects you to always be sitting at your desk, or walking around with your cellphone in your hand, waiting for their call. If you are doing phone support however, you will be calling that person back with an appropriate answer fairly quickly.
  • Most calls are not THAT important.

You should return calls in batches. Leverage your time effectively!

For example, If you start work at 7:30 AM, you should have a short meeting with your boss fairly soon in the morning (7:40 AM) to discuss objectives (hopefully it’s a short meeting, you have things to do). After that meeting, check phone messages, do homework and return calls. Next process email (no more than 30 minutes). (I KNOW you have lots, Mark S., Ken H., and Bob B.! Get better at deciphering what’s important, what’s less important, and what’s absolute B.S.).

Your phone will ring. Do you answer it? Do you ignore it? Can you turn the ringer down?

Read this next part twice and show it to your boss, IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT:

Every interruption from your definite purpose puts you a little more behind. Many things that are “urgent” are only important to another person or department from THEIR bad planning. They almost always have NOTHING to do with what YOU need to be doing. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part, DO WHAT YOU NEED TO BE DOING!

If you have an on-site boss, you may be redirected to the unimportant-to-your-established-goals-items, but let HIM or HER direct that bad planning. Eventually, he or she may deliver some push-back to the (bad-planning) department and get you some relief. Or he or she may be FIRED for their complicity in bad-planning (hope springs eternal…).

Okay, back to the scheduled example:

7:50 AM Check messages, do homework if necessary, return calls.
10 AM Check messages, do homework if necessary, return calls.
1 PM, Check messages, do homework if necessary, return calls.
4 PM, Check messages, do homework if necessary, return calls.

In general, it’s much more effective to do tasks in batches, whether they be returning calls, making calls, processing email, or whatever it is you are supposed to be doing. If you are doing sales, you’ll need to return calls maybe twice as frequently, and not answering all the time.

That’s enough for now.

Think about it, pass it around and comment if you like.

Cheers! 😎

Charles McCrumb
Small Business IT Project Analyst, Office Automation Expert
Herbert, McCrumb & Associates
We can make ANY business work BETTER!
Small Business IT Projects  |  Office Automation  |  Human Behaviors
Visit us at http://www.hm-associates.com
Like us on Facebook for instant updates on what Herbert, McCrumb & Associates is doing, how we’re doing it, and how we’re saving real people time and money!
http://www.facebook.com/HerbertMcCrumbAssociates
email: charles@hm-associates.com
Skype: charles.mccrumb
Bus: (626) 593-6700