5 things bad managers have in common (Blog #12)

Go to work!!!

If you haven’t followed my story from the start, you may be wondering, why am I writing this blog post? Or, maybe, why I’ve started a blog altogether?

One of my biggest motivators was seeing with my own eyes how the same person can change completely in different work environments.

And I mean go from chalk to cheese. Really.

I’ve witnessed a person go out of their way to make sticky date pudding for a staff party in one work environment. To not even wanting to take part in a photoshoot as an extra, in order to help out the marketing team, in another work environment.

And she didn’t make the sticky date pudding because she had to. Nor was she reimbursed for it in anyway. I mean we could’ve easily bought dessert. We bought everything else. She did it because she wanted to. That’s the thing. She loved her job and at the time loved the people she worked with.

However, after the company changed, I went up to this same person and asked for a small favour regarding the photoshoot. Her response, “Nope.” Shaking her head and with a facial expression as if to say “I don’t even want to know.” She did say “Sorry” to me, but at the same time continued to shake her head.

Who does that?

Someone whose morale and motivation at work is that low that they’ll do only what they need to do and nothing else.

Was I surprised by this answer?

No.

That’s just how it was at this particular company. If it was out of their job description people didn’t want to know.

But what’s worse was that this type of culture became a norm within the company, business as usual if you like.

Managers accepted it and some were even convinced that it wasn’t that bad.

5 things bad managers have in common

No. 1 – They’re disengaged with the people and the environment

I believe the sticky date pudding example says it all.

In other words, when most of the people in the company are hating their jobs, are unhappy with things and are simply doing the bare minimum to get by, their managers are walking around thinking one of two things:

1.       Things are going well, or;

2.       Things aren’t going that well, but they can’t be done differently. It is how it is.

No. 2 –  Their comments demotivate and frustrate their employees

It was an event at the Zoo that the marketing team, I was working for at the time, organised. The lead up to the event was catastrophic. People got yelled at and sworn at. Breakdowns happened and about half the team left after the event. Although, the event itself went OK, the lead up to it was a mess.

And then came the debriefing meeting.

Morale was at an all-time low, systems were failing, people were instructed to not speak to each other. And out of all these things that needed addressing, the only thing our senior manager was capable of saying was “We need to get our shit together.”

That was it.

The team manager at the time backed her up by saying “Yep, you can say that.”

These are the managers we had to follow.

Other than making me feel like I wanted to throw up, it offended me and the people in the team.

A person that left the team for another department specifically said, “Mimoza, I had to leave. I had no respect left for my manager.”

No. 3 – They’re unwilling to step outside their comfort zone.

In order to improve work culture what I’ve found is that you really have to put yourself out there.

What do I mean?

Doing things that may feel weird or strange at first and that most people would never consider doing.

How else do we change things if we never try something new?

So, when I took on the task of coming up with some culture building activities to help out the team, I researched companies that were recognised for their work culture. And, yes, most were start-ups.

And for many of the activities a lot of money really wasn’t needed.

I mentioned things like lunch roulette and gratitude sessions.

What did they involve?

Well, lunch roulette was about organising two people in the team to have lunch together once or twice a week to get to know each other, developing closer, stronger relationships. At the time, I thought this was a good way to ensure that people also had their lunch, as many were skipping lunch due to rediculous workloads.

And the gratitude sessions, well, I specifically got this idea from a Business Insider article that featured the start-up Stylerunner. Their founders, Julie Stevanja and Sali Stevanja, specifically mentioned how this was part of their weekly routine. It involved the team getting together twice a week to share with each other things they were grateful for. The aim was to increase positivity, creating a positive vibe in the business.

Trust me. We needed something like this.

And it made sense to me. All you needed to do is more research and you’d find other examples like it proven to improve your mood like Shawn Achor’s TED Talk about “The happy secret to better work”. He talks about how the simply act of writing down every night three things that made you happy during your day, can improve your mood in general.

How did my manager react?

Well, the first thing she said was, “Mimoza, we aren’t a start-up, so let’s not act like we are.”

But if start-ups are getting mentioned in Business Insider for the work culture they’re producing, why not mimic them?

Do we need to be a start-up to put in place lunch roulettes and gratitude sessions?

Of course not.

They’re simple actions. But what is needed is the courage of stepping outside your comfort zone and giving it a go.

What’s the worst that could happen?

No. 4 – They believe that trust and respect are instructions and don’t realise that it’s something developed over time.

How many times have you heard your manager say we need to respect each other?

I know it gets mentioned a lot. But whether it happens or not is a different issue.

And I’m sure you’ve also heard your manager say something along the lines of how “Trust among work colleagues is important.”

But there are rarely any actions put in place to develop these feelings, which is why they don’t exist in certain work places.

This is precisely where culture building activities are needed and if you ask me should be a must and not a “nice-to-have”.

No. 5 – They underestimate what their employees are capable of doing.

And this happens when internal people get overlooked for promotions or when work is outsourced believing that no one in the team has the right skills.

Way too often have I been witness to someone new coming into the team that apparently has unbelievable skills unlike anyone else. And I don’t have one example where this actually proved to be the case. In almost all cases that I’ve seen, their skills were about the same as everyone else’s in the team and there were many cases where I was far from impressed.

The only difference was that the manager had already made their mind up about the people in the team and weren’t willing to give them a go.

What are your thoughts? How many of these traits have you been witness to?

Which one has affected you the most? Tell me about it.

If you liked this blog post subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs today! For more on how it all started click here!

See you next week.

Mimoza

 

 

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Are you a follower or a leader? (Blog #11)

When asked at work, by perhaps a new colleague, “What is it that you do?” Have you ever said “Whatever they give me to do”?

Or, when asked by a fellow colleague why something was done a certain way, have you ever responded by saying “I don’t know. That’s what they wanted me to do”?

Those are the words of a follower. And not only have I heard those words said many times, I’ve said them myself.

In fact, at one of my jobs you could say the whole approach adopted by the company was that of a follower.

And what’s a follower’s motivation?

You simply don’t want to get in trouble. That’s it.

After you’ve dealt with the job, if all hell broke loose you wouldn’t care, just as long as they couldn’t put any blame on you.

Sound familiar?

And these are the types of employees that managers shouldn’t want.

Why?

Because other than keeping out of trouble, their care factor is 0.

And yet I’ve seen it so many times where companies put in place policies and procedures that nurture the development of followers.

What do I mean?

Some examples…

Long, exhausting approval processes. What do you think happens there? You don’t put down your best work. You put down the work that will get approved. And that’s what you become focused on. What will get passed all those approvers? By the time you get it back, you don’t even care anymore. Just as long as it’s approved and you can get it to that person that’s been asking for it for days.

Or, that pathetic task management program that you’re instructed to update continuously but fails to assist you or your team in any real way. So, why are you using it? Because as a follower you follow and don’t ask questions. You know it’s pointless, you hate it, but you still do it.

When I became a follower at one of my jobs, I can safely say I just stopped caring. I had made another career plan and was in the process of putting it in place.

But there are other types of followers that I’ve seen that become this way in a genuine attempt to please their managers as much as possible. Hoping that in some way it will pay off, only to be completely disappointed.

One example I’ve witnessed was with a person in my team who pretty much gave up her life to the job for about nine months under new management. Starting at 7am and finishing at 7pm. And 7pm was early as there were nights that went to 10pm and 11pm.

Although, this was a crazy time for the team in general, I particularly felt for this person as she had two young kids, ages three and under. I could understand. I had two young kids as well, but during this period I worked part-time. Yes, I did overtime as well, but not to the extent that she did – what she experienced was inhumane.

She worked her butt off for the team manager.

Other than working countless hours of overtime during the week, she took work home, came in on weekends and sometimes with her kids. And there were times where she was provided with no option about this. “You have to come in, even if it means bringing the kids along!”

When I heard about this I remember thinking “WTF?” Are we in the movie 2012? Is the world just about to end? What crisis is happening that would justify this type of action?

She’d come to work looking completely exhausted at times and even mentioned how she needed wine to calm herself down after a day’s worth of work. That really made it clear to me how much she was suffering.

Our team manager at the time admitted to me how hard this person was working and said “She had given her blood, sweat and tears for this job.”

I thought, “Great! She’s being recognised.”

But when two managerial positions became available in the team that covered areas that this person was already working on and currently managing – she was overlooked for both of them. And two external people were hired.

Talk about killing any hope you had in getting a promotion.

What more did this person have to do?

About two weeks later the team manager got kicked out of her job due to appalling management of the team. And within a matter of a few days everything changed.

People within the team, who only about a week ago were praising the team manager, changed their opinions about her as well. Now that she wasn’t there, it was easy to say that what she was doing wasn’t right.

So, what was all that suffering for? What did my colleague get in return for giving up her life for this team manager?

NOTHING!

That’s how it felt for her. And that’s how it felt for the people around her.

It felt like we got swept away in the manager’s craziness and when she got booted out I’m sure everyone in the team had a “why the hell did I listen to her” moment.

I know from personal experience that you want to be the best you can be at work and try to achieve this by doing everything they ask you to do. You become a “Yes” person. However, leaders are the ones you want to follow and not all managers are leaders nor should they be followed.

Louis David Marquet in his book “Turn Your Ship Around” talks about how the job of a leader is to take care of their employees.

And he recommends doing this by “giving them every available tool and advantage to achieve their aims in life, beyond the specifics of the job¹.” By “being zealously dedicated in improving the lives of your people².”

Do you notice that he mentions that words “life” and “lives”?

We’re people, let’s not forget this.
 
Before we simply make the decision to follow our managers maybe we should ask the question – are they worth following? Do they even care about me? Or, is it really all about them?

My year 11 teacher in high school said to me once, “Mimoza, if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.”

I think it’s safe to say that everyone in the team learnt this lesson after this particular experience.

If you liked this blog post, please share it!

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever followed a manager so much that afterwards you thought “What was I thinking?” If you have a minute, tell me about it.

For more on 10 Years and 9 Jobs subscribe today! Want to know how it all started? Click here!

See you next week.

Mimoza

¹Louis David Marquet, “Turn Your Ship Around”, (2015), p.135.
²Louis David Marquet, “Turn Your Ship Around”, (2015), p.136.

 

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How to know when systems don’t work (Blog #10)

Whiteboard with sticky notes

I was listening to Tim Ferriss’ book “The 4-Hour Workweek” on Audible the other day.

Have you heard of him?

Well, he’s pretty freakin amazing. You should check him out. Other than gaining a wealth of information he’s so funny. The way he tells his story will crack you up. Just the way he became a Chinese Kickboxing Champion had me laughing for days. Trust me it’s worth a read.

Anyway, in this book Tim Ferriss is all about finding ways to automate systems. He also talks about delegation. But he strongly recommends fixing the work system through elimination (getting rid of crap that you don’t need and doesn’t work) and automation¹.

And only then, if required, introducing people into the process as adding people into a crappy system won’t make the system any better².

This really hit home with me, which is why I decided to talk about the topic of systems in this week’s blog. I know I mentioned last week that I was going to talk about why managers should leave the important stuff to their employees and, although, I do cover this a bit in this week’s blog, I’ll aim to go into more detail about it another time. But for now, let’s take a look at systems.

As I mentioned, Tim Ferriss’ approach really hit home with me. Especially, with one of my jobs, where I saw countless managers come and go. And did anything change as a result of them being there?

No.

Not the everyday system that myself and everyone else had to endure.

High Turnover – especially with managers

A new manager would come in and they’d still be new when you got that email notifying you that they left yesterday. Yep, sent off to “Siberia” somewhere. I tell you, the approach they took in giving you the news reminded me of Russian history and how they deal with their criminals.

Despite this, with every new manager that came in there’d always be some hope that something would change. It was one of the reasons why I ended up staying as long as I did. “There’s a new manager, maybe something will change?” “There’s a new CEO, surely something will change.”

But it never did.

And all you heard was people asking the same question over and over again, “There have been so many changes in management, why is it still the same?”

In fact, you could almost say that about 90% of management had changed and yet it was still the same for me and others like me which involved about 90% of the employees.

Why?

Because the system didn’t change. Even though we had managers come and go we still operated under the same bad system.

A good example of this was the agonising approval process that we had. This alone would add days if not weeks or months onto the time it took to get something completed and too bad if you nearly made it to the end and someone made a change. You had to let all of the approvers know again.

But no matter how many managers came and went there was nothing that was done about this demotivating approval process.

Seth Godin in Seth’s Blog post “Fixing the buffet line” talks about the importance of checking. But mentions the importance of adding a system that allows you to do the work properly then and there, so we don’t over exhaust the checking phase to the point where days or weeks are used up in the process³. And the piece of work ends up getting checked 10 times.

You’d hear comments like, “Why does it take marketing forever to do something?”

And it did.

To produce one piece of work it took weeks and sometimes months. The system demotivated you as you knew no matter how hard you tried factors that were outside your control would take up a lot of time. It was embarrassing.

Hiring externally didn’t help

What didn’t help was the fact that managers were always hired externally. In other words, internal promotions didn’t happen.

We had managers that were completely new to the company come in with no idea of the day-to-day problems that their employees faced. It’d always start with the new managers being quite determined to make a difference, but over time, as with the rest of us, they’d give in to the system around them and just do what they needed to do to get the job done. Or they’d come into their role with a big picture plan, but not address the issues that needed addressing straight away.

I experienced a classic example of this with our new team manager when he was instructing us to ask for a full marketing brief if an employee from another department wanted about four lines of copy on something. The team member he was telling this to, felt uncomfortable doing this. And you couldn’t blame her. It felt ridiculous to make this request. And when it feels ridiculous, it usually is.

Although, the team manager meant well (I think), it was easy for him to give out these instructions as he wasn’t the one that had to action them.

Too much time spent on recording work instead of doing it

And the only solution that managers could come up with to deal with this bad system was to add more and more job recording tasks.

What do I mean?

Well, just before I left, our team manager asked everyone within the team to write down every single task they had to complete from October to March. This was the team manager’s solution in trying to control the amount of unpredicted work that came to our team.

So, you might be thinking “OK. It doesn’t sound that bad.”

But this was on top of other job recording tasks that we already did that included:

  • The annual marketing report.
  • The individual annual review – which we all did and had a list of our jobs, KPI’s etc. for the year.
  • The daily workflow program – that was updated daily with current jobs and future jobs.
  • The whiteboard – which was updated daily with daily/weekly tasks.

So, when adding on top of all this, another list outlining all the jobs from October to March, you were left scratching your head thinking “What the hell? Aren’t we doubling up? How many times are we going to do this?”

I’m very confident is saying that the marketing plan should’ve had all this covered.

When so much emphasis is spent on recording jobs as oppose to doing them, it’s a clear sign that there are major issues with the system. And here the team were already complaining about the amount of work they had and now they had to spend more time on recording the work they did instead of doing the work.

Does this only sound crazy to me?

Have you experienced anything like it? What other crazy requests have you experienced as a result of a bad system?

If you liked this blog post please share it!

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¹Tim Ferriss, The 4-hour workweek, (2007).
²Tim Ferriss, The 4-hour workweek, (2007).
³Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog post “Fixing the buffet line”, (11.01.17).

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3 signs that you’re a corporate dinosaur (Blog #9)

dinosaur looking at you

It was a normal marketing team meeting when someone spoke up about a problem that was constantly experienced within the team.

Workload and deadlines.

A newer member of the team pointed out that 80% of their jobs were made up of work that wasn’t recorded and that wasn’t on their to-do list at the start of the week. Which is why it was so hard to determine suitable deadlines that could actually be met.

She mentioned herself that even when generous deadlines were provided it was always as if in the last two days the work was done in a rush.

Always in a rush.

She couldn’t believe how after more than a couple of months at the job she still wasn’t able to find her feet.

This was something that we all experienced.

The system was a mess. Unexpected work continuously came your way and the approval process was agonising to say the least.

So, how were we going to solve this problem?

I started to get a bit excited.

But I can tell you the excitement got nipped in the bud very quickly with the team manager’s response.

Are you ready for this?

Our “team leader” proposed that we put in place a system of accepting work from other departments that is so tedious that simply starting that process would put them off giving us work and then push them to do it themselves.

The team’s reaction based on facial expressions and body language:
“WHAT??? Did I hear what I think I heard? Aren’t we the marketing team? I’m a bit confused. We want them to do their own marketing work?”

What I couldn’t believe is that he literally explained it in that way and was very confident in his idea as if we were privileged to be exposed to such brilliance.

Two of the managers in the team spoke up, but very softly … “No no, that’s not what we want…” They didn’t even finish the sentence and lost confidence when the team manager started nodding his head implying that it was what we wanted.

The team manager went on to say something along the lines of “We need to push back and that’s how we push back.”

He was adamant that this was the best solution. Our brilliant leader thought that in order to help his team out he needed to make it harder for the other teams to work with us.

This meeting was made up of 11 people. 5 of which were managers. It also went for 2 hours. That was 22 hours of company time (11 people x 2 hours). And if you were to combine all the years of work experience we had amongst us, there was easily 100 years of work experience combined if not more.

What was discussed?

Problems. Workload, deadlines, timelines and other related issues. None of these problems were new problems we all knew about them and talked about them several times before.

What was the solution after 22 hours?

We were going to implement a system that would make other employees within the company squirm at the thought of giving us work.

Out of 11 people, 5 of which were managers, only one manager mentioned culture. And her words were, “There definitely are some culture issues here.” That was it.

If this wasn’t bad enough, I couldn’t believe it when our team manager finished the 2-hour meeting by saying, “This has been a very good meeting. Vey good. Thank you all.”

He continued to say these words around us after the meeting.

He even sent us an email to say these words in writing.

He truly thought that he had accomplished something here.

Other than giving me material for an absolutely kick-ass blog post, I’d say he failed as a manager and as a leader big time!

I’d even say that we failed as a team even with the 5 managers.

Maybe we needed more managers? LOL – NOT!

So, why is it that such a senior level position is given to a person that has no idea about work culture? Why is it given to a corporate dinosaur?

Yep, that’s what I call them – corporate dinosaurs. And I can safely say I’ve come across way too many in my time.

3 signs that you’re a corporate dinosaur

Sign No. 1 – In an attempt to fix problems you add to them by introducing systems that make life harder for those in your team and those outside your team.

And you can’t get a better example than the one I’ve told you about above. I was actually involved in setting up that tedious system of which other departments had to undertake when sending us work. It was a joke.

Why were we using it? Because this system was something the company had. So, why spend money on something else if we’ve already got it?

Too bad that it only complicated things even more by adding about another 20 extra steps to an overly agonising approval process. I thank god that I left in the middle of it all. I truly mean this.

A word of advice – if a system makes your employees squirm, especially the ones that it’s supposed to help, don’t use it! Even if it’s free.

Sign No. 2 – You still believe your customers are the most important thing.

It was another marketing meeting but this time the CEO joined us in his attempt to improve work culture.

We gave him an overview of what we were working on and he gave us an overview of what he was working on.

All I heard was “members, members, members. Did I mention members?”

The focus was on the members, we got it.

What about the employees?

The CEO was well aware of work culture issues from recent surveys being completed and almost a whole department reducing to half its size in a matter of weeks and he openly acknowledged that “Yes, we do have work culture issues.” But that was pretty much it.

He mentioned in this meeting the importance of “respectful relationships” and that we needed to be respectful to each other.

Great point.

Except respect is a feeling that develops over time and not an instruction that we follow. That’s the thing.

Were any relationship building initiatives put in place? None whatsoever.

So what’s going to change? NOTHING!

The most important asset of any company are the employees first and foremost. This is the only way to ensure that customers will get treated how they should.

Sign No. 3 – You use the words “effective and immediately”

Any instruction or information that came to me that involved the words “effective and immediately”, even if it was perfectly reasonable, caused me to have an instant reaction where I’d imagine telling that person to shove it where the sun don’t shine.

Do you speak to your family or friends like that?

Of course not.

They would tell you where to go.

So, why do it with your team members regardless of position?

Simon Sinek, is a firm believer of treating employees like people¹. That’s what we are.

Why would you say the words “effective and immediately” when you could say something along the lines of… “Starting from today we will use…” or “We now have blah blah blah and we no longer need to blah blah blah.”

So unless, you want to sound like a robot from “The Terminator” ditch “effective and immediately”.

If you liked this blog post please share it!

What else would you add to the list? Tell me about the experience you’ve had with corporate dinosaurs in your life.

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Next week …why managers should leave the important stuff to their employees.

See you then.

Mimoza

¹Simon Sinek, “Leaders Eat Last”, (2012).

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The 4 most useless questions I’ve been asked in job interviews (Blog #8)

interview in action 2

It’s an ordinary day at work, when I overhear my manager and the HR manager decide that it’s time to notify the person that’s been successful in getting the new job in our team with the good news.

As I listened to this news, I remember my manager squealing with excitement about this new person. I mean she was smiling so hard her eyes were squinting.

She was saying something along the lines of “I’m really excited about this person coming on board” and how “She’s reeeeeeally good” in a low deep voice as if to really mean to say that she’s found the next marketing star of Australia.

As I was looking at her I remember thinking, “Why is she so excited?” Happy I could understand, but why excited? Anyway, I thought whatever, I guess I’ll see for myself next week.

It was amazing how this new person, who my manager was squealing about at first with excitement, very quickly started to annoy her and proved to be completely different to what my manager expected.

Not only could my manager not stand her, but this person basically needed to be babysat.

Am I exaggerating? See for yourself.

• Only a couple of weeks into her new job she got that drunk at the Christmas party that the next working day she was pulled aside by HR for a serious talk and had to write multiple apology letters to the people she offended at the party. I remember my manager saying that she felt really embarrassed by her behaviour and that she literally felt as though she had to stay there the whole time to monitor her. Yeah, not exactly the kind of person you want to have in your team.

• She had to be pulled aside about how she dressed at work and how she reacted to certain things on more than one occasion.

• She had to be told to pick up her rubbish off the floor. Need I continue?

And we’re talking about someone who was close to 30. Really, there was no excuse.

How is it that my manager got it so wrong?

Was the interview process short or rushed?

God no.

In these corporate companies the interview process is never short. In fact, they make it bigger than Ben-Hur.

It went on for a few weeks and my manager, the HR manager and the department manager were all involved in the interviews. I believe there was even a test of some sort involved. That’s why by the end of it, it was like they found this “perfect” person that was going to change the world. NOT. Maybe just the way the Christmas parties would be remembered.

You know what I think the mistake was?

They focused on the wrong thing.

I’ve seen it a million times where the person doing the hiring is that focused on finding a person with the right skill set that the candidate’s character gets overlooked completely. Yes, she had what was needed. But her character didn’t fit the manager, team or the company, etc. Problems emerged one after the other.

So what happens when the manager solely focuses on skill set? They can ask questions that are useless in determining if the person is right for the job or not.

The 4 most useless questions I’ve been asked in job interviews:

No. 1 – Can you give me an summary of your background/work experience?

And so I would start with… “After completing year 12 I went on to study at uni bla bla bla….” Don’t worry, I wasn’t going to bore you with the detail. It bored them enough.

I remember as I’d start to give an overview of my background the interviewer would take a deep breath that would scream, “I’m bored and I’m not really going to listen to this. But I’ll ask the question as that’s what I’m meant to do.”

Completely useless and a waste of time. They already know the answer. It was all on my resume which they read prior to calling me up for the interview.

Get specific.

No. 2 – Are you willing to do a Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint test?

Early on in my career my answer would be “Yes”. About three to four years into my career it was “No”.

I never saw any logic in these tests.

When asked the question of how good I was at these programs I’d think, “What do you think? I have two university degrees and a few years’ experience.”

“What? Do you think I’ve been hand writing everything all this time?”

How do you get through two university degrees without knowing Word, Excel and PowerPoint in this age?

And how do any of these questions determine the type of person I am?

Whoops, I forgot that’s not important.

And what did these tests prove?

If something wasn’t done how they thought you should do it, as if you couldn’t do it another way. Or google it, or ask the person next to you, whatever. It proved nothing.

The last time I was asked this question was in late 2010. I was unemployed and so my instant reaction when called up for a job interview was to say “Yes” to the test. After doing so I thought, “This is bullshit!” And any manager that asks for something like this is a manager I don’t want to work for. So, I called up and withdrew my interest in the job.

Yes, I had moments of doubt where I thought “Oh my god, I’m unemployed why did I do that?” By that feeling in my gut didn’t let me go ahead with it – I just thought that is freakin ridiculous.

No. 3 – What are the 4 P’s of marketing? (After completing a masters degree in marketing).

Every time I think about it, it still makes me laugh.

I remember a university lecturer telling me about a friend of his that would put him down as a marketing lecturer and tell him that there was nothing he could teach him about marketing as he knew the 4 P’s.

Really? The 4 P’s of marketing.

I should’ve said something like, pianos, pyjamas, piñatas and potatoes.

Given that he made me laugh I should’ve returned the favour.

No. 4 – What subjects did you study in your masters degree in marketing? (After 10 years of completing my degree).

Let me tell you how it works.

When you have freshly completed your degree and you have zero to little work experience, you hang onto your uni degree like there’s no tomorrow.

What do I mean?

You use it like a trophy in your interviews, trying to come up with creative ways to make it look like you’re prepared for the workforce. Even though uni doesn’t provide you with practical experience it’s theory based. When it comes to practical experience you’re pretty much starting from scratch when you finish.

If you’re referring to your uni degree, regardless masters, honours, whatever, after 10 years of work experience – you need to get a life.

If the manager/interviewer is asking about the subjects you studied at uni after 10 years of work experience – I’d say they don’t know what they’re talking about – get out of there!

When it happened to me, it completely put me off. I lost interest in working with that manager then and there. I thought this is an absolute joke. I gave her an overall run through the topics covered and she looked a bit confused. I guess it disappointed her that I didn’t remember the full title of all the subjects after 10 years.

So what questions should be asked? What should the focus be?

Simon Sinek once said, “Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them¹.”

Imagine if this was the focus what the questions would be? Do you think your typing speed would be questioned?

There’s a chapter in Sinek’s “Leaders Eat Last” that highlights the importance of integrity in managers and people in general. He raises the question: “Would I want to be in a foxhole with you²?” to really uncover how employees feel about their managers.

But I think managers/interviewers could use this question when hiring someone as well. And if they did, do you think they would worry about what subjects you did at uni 10 years ago?

Or even Sinek’s quote: “Letting someone into an organisation is like adopting a child³.”

If they thought about it this way, do you think they would worry about the 4 P’s of marketing when the person has a masters degree in the field?

What do you think?

Are there any interview questions that you’ve been asked that you’d like to add to the list? The ones that crack you up every time they come to mind. I’d love to hear about it.

Or, if you’ve been the interviewer, what’s your approach been? What’s worked and what hasn’t?

For more on 10 Years and 9 Jobs subscribe today! For more on how it all started click here.

Next week I’ll be talking about corporate dinosaurs and how to know if you’re one of them.

Speak to you then.

Mimoza

 

¹Simon Sinek, “Leaders Eat Last”, (2012).
²Simon Sinek, “Leaders Eat Last”, (2012), p.154.
³Simon Sinek, “Leaders Eat Last”, (2012), p.23.

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