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Blog Entrepreneurship My Favorite Things Process Improvement

Gusto Makes Paying Payroll & Contractors Magical

I have used Gusto* twice now to run my payroll in my business ventures and, in the 8 clicks or so that it took to pay my contractors and employees today, I thought I should write about it. Partly because, for some strange reason, I avoided using them during my current venture even though I loved them before. Looking back, I put myself through a lot of pain this go-round. Don’t do that to yourself. #learnFromMyMistakes

Managing payroll and compliance with Gusto makes my small business or solopreneur venture even more awesome. Key benefit for me? Paying contractors any amount with direct deposit with no extra fees or transaction charges. ? ⬇️ Finally, I can stop using Venmo!

Gusto definetly goes on my list of how to run a business smarter, not harder. Three years (and $20k in tax issues later), cough up the comparative pocket change to do this right.

The OLD WAY of paying contractors for me included trying to find their venmo account, ignore how many times they bought tacos last week (really?) negotiate on if they wanted payment from Cash App instead or maybe paypal… and then haggle over who paid the transaction fees. This worked “great” until I had enough business I bumped up against my venmo transaction limits, and my people will attest that the waiting around for payments SUCKED. I had two contractors getting paid by venmo, one on Cash app, a bunch I had to hoodwink into reactivating their PayPal accounts (and I coughed down the fees most of the time). P.S None of this included the accounting gymnastics I got to do monthly when I had to parse out which payments went to whom and for what work

The cost of using Gusto to pay yourself + 9 employees is the equivalent of 58cents an hour. If your billing rate can’t choke that down, I seriously recommend you find a regular job ?.

If you are going out (or already out) on your own or taking on a side hustle, or partnering with some colleagues at a joint-venture, it’s alluring to run everything on your own and go lean, but after three years of trying and making mistakes at this, I am learning to automate the things computers can do so I can do the things I do best — which is recruit and lead and support my team.

Things Gusto does very well (the top three were enough for me to stop kicking myself and sign up)

  • Manages payroll for W-2 employees seamlessly.
  • Send payments to 1099 Contractors direct deposit, and for no extra fees.
  • Run as many payroll or expense reimbursement runs per month as you like, for no extra fees.
  • Ability for your employees to get “instant” paychecks if they like or are short on cash (no cost to you).
  • Ridiculously quick and friendly support.
  • Awesome, simple user interface.
  • Access to benefits and other nifty features such as charitable contributions, 401k, 529 accounts, life insurance and more.
  • Helps you process 1099s and W-2 statements at the end of the year.
  • Know before you submit payroll exactly how much will come from your accounts and when.
  • Automatically handles state and federal tax requirements, sending the right tax amounts to the right withholding accounts so you can rest easy knowing the tax man cometh, but not with a scythe. They even got my account numbers for me. I did zero paperwork.
  • Onboard and offboard employees, even sending offer letters!
  • Sync magically with all accounting packages.
  • Causes your accountants to regularly break out into song.

Plus, they’re giving you $100 Amazon gift card to try it just for signing up at my recommendation (after you run payroll). I mean, I would recommend it anyway, but, if they’re going to front you a hundred bucks, that’s 2.5 months worth of their fee if you (yourself or others) are a W-2 employee. That’s 4 months free if you have no W-2 employees and 4 contractors (16 months free if you have just one contractor).

Full disclosure, I also get $100 if you try this. I’d recommend it anyway, so, if you feel strange about that just go to gusto.com yourself and sign up, or ask your accountant to refer you if you want to keep the cash “in the family”, so to speak.

Either way, I ran payroll and paid my contractors and ticked off a bunch of tired old tax-compliance boxes using Gusto this morning in way less time than it took to write this.

Or, keep doing payroll the hard way.

Gusto is part of my accounting stack for small businesses, which includes:

Tell ’em I sent ya ?

*This is a referral link. If you go here and buy stuff, I may or may not get a small something in return. It might be money or a gift-card or a discount on my service. It’s usually not much. And, I am a paying customer of all these services, so its really just soda money in the end. I am not living off this, lol. If this makes you feel strange, feel free to run over to that website all by yourself or ask someone else to refer you. No problem. But if you feel like my advice helped you, clicking this link is one way to say thanks. I mean, that or five pound box of $50 bills would work, too… but clicking the link is easier. #justsayin

Categories
Blog

People AND Recruiting? Why Not Both?

Spoiler alert: Most startups do it wrong

Photo by me, on Unsplash

A lot of entrepreneurs talk about the power of “and”. It’s a mental shift where you walk someone through the journey from “I hate work. I need better life balance” to “What work can I do AND have better life balance?”

See that? Subtle, but powerful.

We do it all the time in our lives. Eggs AND bacon. Dinner AND a movie. Peanut butter AND jelly. Two is better than one, economies of scale and all that.

So it’s natural when i see companies who need their first HR teams/experts because they need good policies, but they’re also hiring a ton so they need good recruiting, so they naturally combine these roles into a People AND Recruiting function! Problem solved!

Right?

Not so fast.

Reality is, in our bacon and eggs example above, you would never ask the chicken to make both eggs and bacon. They are fundamentally different things.

(Follow my logic here one more second)

We love the outcome of the combo. But precisely because they are so different do they pair so well together! “Eggs and Chicken” is just not as appealing, although the supply chain and scaling opportunities would be exponentially simplified!

In the end, it’s a little silly to ask one person to be in charge of such vastly different things and do them all well:

  • Care about all employees. Make them feel valuable.
  • Write policies for all employees. Make sure things are fair and everyone’s rights are maintained.
  • Hire new people to the team. All the teams. Make sure they are the best people, too.
  • Onboard and hire everyone. That employment paperwork is the worst. Make sure we don’t get in legal trouble.
  • Oh, make sure we cut costs, too. Gotta keep and eye on the bottom line.
  • We have to keep up our hiring in sales or we won’t hit our sales numbers.
  • An engineer left. Can you find another replacement?
  • We think an internship program would be great. Mind slapping one of those together. Has to be awesome.
  • Ah, there’s some questions about remote work and office expenses. Can you do a thing about that? Make it fair but not too generous.
  • This person needs a work visa renewed? Can you make that happen?
  • We always did annual reviews around this time of year. But they suck. Can you fix that and make them not suck, but make sure we also do them?
  • I think we need a better PTO policy. Will you get me some options?
  • Are we paying people fairly? We can’t break the bank, but let’s check into that.
  • I want to hire this person in Minnesota. No problem, right? I told them you’d get them the offer. Oh, they started last Monday, actually.
  • I’m not sure the employees are getting enough attention. Can you make sure that happens?

Going a little bonkers yet?

Though this is the life I see many “startup” HR, people and talent individuals go through. (And burnout from)

It’s mind-numbingly complex and each of the above scenarios is fraught with legal, logistical and other socially complicated issues.

Do you really want to hinge the legal liabilities AND success of your company’s growth on asking one person to be an expert in employment law, interpersonal relationships, management coaching, all the whole sourcing, screening, attracting and closing top talent across your company?

Would you ask your operations leader to also sell and do tech support? Of course not. But HR people are tasked with these disparate duties all the time

In short, having one person do all these things well is, ridiculous.

For years now, my team and I have been helping companies manage these complexities through a blended, hybrid model of embedded/external consulting and work.

For example:

  • We provide a proven Senior level HR person to directly work with the founding team/C-suite on high level issues. This is often your “point person”, allowing one-point of contact to drive progress and get results/reports.
  • Backing them up is a team of HR certified professionals who have their hands on all the best, state of the art policies and procedures across the spectrum of “full stack HR”. From vacation policies to workers compensation. Soup to nuts.
  • We also can consult with your HR system vendors (or find you one) and implement systems and tools to automate your world.
  • We can work with your attorneys (or ours) to ensure you and your people are compliant and protected.

AND

  • We are a very, very good recruitment agency too.
  • Your hiring managers get ONE PERSON to work with, a senior recruiter with many years of experience recruiting the people they are looking for.
    • Engineers? We compile the best .
    • Accountants? We’re all credits and no debits.
    • Operations? We’re well documented leaders here.
    • Sales & Success? We’ve got your number.
    • Tech support and customer service? We’re standing by.
    • C-level executives? We’ll corner-office the market for you.
  • We can place one-off or multiple roles.
  • We work under various models ranging from hourly or retained to contingent direct placement, all with an eye on growth, speed, agility and cost-controls.
  • Got your own internal recruiters? We’ll augment your team and even train them up if you like.

AND

We can start providing you all these services immediately, with a cost structure that would be comparable to hiring just one senior person to your team.

Need more flexibility to control cash? No problem. We start with what you need. AND can provide everything else on demand.

Your company AND ours, we can do great things for your people AND you can get back to business.

Ready to have your cake AND eat it, too?

Let’s talk.

Categories
My Favorite Things

Kindle Paperwhite

It goes without saying that, for me, the Kindle Paperwhite has been a truly excellent product. Made by Amazon, the Paperwhite fits a niche within the Kindle e-reader family that I think is truly great.

According to wikipedia, the Kindle e-reader started as a project by Amazon’s 126 lab back in 2007. Today, the king of all e-readers, the kindle boasts the ability to read more than 6 million kindle ebooks as well as any number of compatible file formats such as PDF and other files.

For a limited time only (as of this writing) it also looks like you can trade in an old kindle device and get 20% off a new one. Nice.

Why the Paperwhite?

The Paperwhite, specifically, fills a niche I love in the reading space. Some of the “features” I enjoy include:

  • Looks nice. I am not a snob, but I like my devices to look well made and feel well-constructed as well.
  • NO notifications! I can finally read interrupted!
  • The gentle screen lighting works for night reading (even in bed), on airplane flights, and even in bright sunlight.
  • Audiobook listening with whispersync! with any bluetooth headphones (I pair my airpods) or your car stereo to listen to your books when your eyes are busy.
  • The weight is perfect. It feels lighter than a book, about the same as a phone, but balanced perfectly for one hand to use.
  • It’s waterproof, too. Just feels better when reading poolside.

The Case

I also enjoy the blue case from INFiLAND, which uses magnets to stay closed, and automatically wakes/sleeps the device on open/close. There’s several colors/options to choose from as well and they feel really great in the hand.

Tips and Hints

Pro-tip: The whispersync feature connects any kindle devices, including your phone, tablet or computer, but the real killer-app comes in when you link an audible audiobook with whispersync to your kindle books. Then you can swap between reading and listening with the flick of a button.

Add the Audible Narration to Kindle books

Pro-pro tip: If you own the kindle book already (or just bought it), often you can get the audiobook for a discount! Nice. For example, if you bought the timely Just Mercy book on Kindle today, the combined discount between the book’s selling price and the discount for adding the Audible Narration for the Just Mercy Book is about the same as buying the book at full price. NICE!

? Don’t tell amazon that this actually drops the price of the audiobook to less than one monthly credit for being an audible subscriber. Shhh.

Check It Out!

Check out the Kindle Paperwhite (Waterproof) on Amazon’s Kindle Page. Great father’s day gift for your favorite guy who can’t catch a break to read a favorite book, or who might need a slight nudge to relax or learn something new ?.

Mahalo!
Robert Merrill

Disclaimers & Links

I am not a professional product reviewer, but I have been blogging about pro-tips, hacks, tricks, apps and other things I love since 2004 (Remember Blogspot!?).

These are some of my favorite things, and I like sharing them. Often, I will share a referral link or, affiliate link and if you purchase something after clicking the link, I might generate a little cash from it. This isn’t a trick, but if they will give you $5 for trying a product and give me $5 for taking the time to mention it, I’m in.

As always, none of the things I share are “secret”. The links I share do not add cost to products you might buy, but the companies selling them might send along a few bucks my way which I will use to pad the vacation jar. If you don’t like this idea, then feel free to rip open google.com and find direct links on your own for these at any time.

Should you ever want to simply thank me for advising you on something you liked, or just buy me lunch, my Square Cash app link is $rahhb (get $5 for signing up, lol) or Venmo me @rahhb.

Categories
My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things

Call me sentimental, but I like sharing my favorite things. Apps, tools, processes, books, whatever I like. I will share them in this category

Categories
Blog Hiring Process Improvement Recruiting Industry Recruitment Process Automation Workplace

Recruitment Automation 101

A trend that is becoming pretty exciting right now is recruitment automation. Likely accelerated by the tools that are more readily available like integromat and zapier, and more open APIs between HR apps and Applicant tracking systems, recruitment automation is a brave new world of growing and improving your HR and Recruitment Systems and keeping your human interactions exactly that, more human.

The most important item to stay focused on when considering recruitment automation is the candidate. What is the end-result, and what is the purpose of what you are trying to automate.

Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing

Picture of Steven R Covey
Steven R Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People

Steven R. Covey, of 7 Habits of Highly Successful People (Amazon) fame is accredited with the famous line “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” #

As you consider what you are trying to automate and why, this is an important piece of the puzzle. Just because something can be automated does not mean it should.

Another way to look at this has become my unofficial axiom for recruitment process automation in general:

Automate the things computers do well, so you can do the things humans do well.

This means rethinking the old standbys like calling candidates personally to book calendar appointments, but then sending blind, generic emails from “noreply” email accounts when they are no longer considered in the process.

Perhaps, automating your calendaring time could help candidates feel in some control of the process as well as allowing you to let candidates know they are not being considered any longer for a role with a personal call, not a heartless “thanks but no thanks” message.

Categories
Blog Jobseekers Networking Recruiting Industry Relationship Working with Recruiters

How to Ask for Help on Linkedin

Linkedin, as a social network, is different than others in that it was created around connections and networking, and the purpose of it, generally speaking, is to connect people together professionally.

To that end, since people go there to ‘Network’, there is a tendency for people to be willing to help you professionally, if you ask for it correctly.

There’s three ways I can think of to immediately ask for help on Linkedin:

  1. Give 10x more than you receive
  2. Ask for specific, actionable help
  3. Go out of your way to be thankful

Give 10x More Than You Receive

Nobody likes a beggar. Especially a persistent one. The old rule in networking is to give ten times before you ask once. My friend Jason Alba taught me that principle and he turned me down when I offered him a job 12 years ago only to create his own company (JibberJobber) literally helping people get jobs (his amazing 6 week Job Search Program currently is on sale at more than 60% off with this link—and a JibberJobber subscription is included!) . He’s also an accomplished Pluralsight author if you’re a member of their great program.

His advice, to give 10x more than you receive, has been a cornerstone of my personal and professional philosophy. As I have built my company, and my network of thousands of hand-picked first level LinkedIn connections, i have tried to maintain this posture of helping 10x before asking once. It focuses my efforts on being good and kind as well and that helps in the most challenging times.

Be sure you are helping others more than asking for help. It’s good for your soul and your reputation.

Ask for Specific, Actionable Help

The biggest thing you need to do is ask for something specific. If you just yell out “help!” but you don’t provide some kind of direction, you will hear nothing but crickets.

Ask for something specific, depending on where you’re posting.

On your feed, asking for leads on a new job is totally appropriate. Or perhaps “anyone know companies that are hiring?”

In a private LinkedIn group, you can do the same but be more specific, and know that your request isn’t public for the world (or your employer) can see.

Finally, in a personal one-on-one message, you can also directly ask for a connection to a specific person or company. For example “Hi, Mary. I hope you’re well. I am looking into this role (link) at your company. Do you know who I should talk to? My resume is attached.”

Also, Say Thank You!

Finally, go out of your way to thank those who help you. Publicly or privately, let people know you appreciate any help they provide.

Paying it forward by helping others and crediting the help you’ve received along the way is a great way to show your appreciation as well.

Pro tip: If someone gets you that dream job you wanted? Surprise them with $200 gift card to their favorite restaurant or store once you get your first paycheck or signing bonus. If they don’t want the money, ask to donate it to their favorite charity in their name and send them the receipt for tax purposes.

Categories
Allyship Blog Commentary Life Workplace

You Are ‘Amy Cooper’ & So Am I. Now What?

A confrontation in Central Park sparks outrage about privilege and race in the United States

A few years ago, my teenager asked if we could watch The Hate U Give, a movie based on the book of the same name. I knew the subject would be controversial, and I wanted her to watch it, though I was adamant that we watch it together because I wanted to talk with her about it.  I am glad I did, and I highly recommend this movie to you so you can better appreciate other’s lived experiences if you have not lived them yourself.

Why This is Relevant

The very real and needed debate that is happening right now where, in the same week, a white woman named Amy Cooper called the cops on a black man who asked her to obey Central Park Rules and leash her dog, though she claims she was in fear of her life, and George Floyd, a black man suspected of forgery in Minneapolis, who died after being taken into police custody when a police officer knelt on his neck (video: MSNBC) for an extended period of time, even when Floyd repeatedly noted he could not breathe, of course, hearkening us all back to Eric Garner’s death in 2014 under similar circumstances — circumstances in which no federal indictments were brought.

There are many debates, and I would say changes, that need to happen in our society that these two incidents, so close in time and so terribly visible on camera show, but in the more narrow scope of this writing, I think one question needs to be asked, in terms of Amy Cooper, what do you do when someone in your company is spotlighted like this. How do you react?

Kate Bischoff, an employment attorney, poses it this way on linkedin and further follows up on her website:

You’re in #HR . Over the weekend, an employee engages in racist behavior that’s caught on video. The video goes viral. What do you do?

Do you immediately fire the employee? What do you say to other employees? Do you tell everyone not to talk to the media? Should you just let it be?

Doing nothing is disastrous. HR needs to take the lead in addressing employees, holding forums with staff, drafting talking points for leadership and managers, and fostering an environment where employees feel safe to raise issues stemming from this incident and others.

Do you ultimately fire her? Abso-fricking-lutely. Not only is there a legal risk for her employment decisionmaking, but the organization’s commitment to being a fair, harassment-free workplace is now squarely in the spotlight. Keeping her will forever damage the organization for both employees and customers.

What do you think?

More important than that, the reality is that ALL of us have faced real situations where either we are ‘Amy Cooper’ or we behave in a way like ‘Amy Cooper’ toward others.

Those of you in leadership positions, this becomes especially tricky because, what if ‘Amy’ is someone in your team? Even more, what if he/she is your top performer?

As I noted on Katie’s post, “what do you do if there is NO video and the employee in question has ‘always been a team player’ and ‘consistently ranks above average on evaluations’?

No. Really. When there’s no spotlight, what do you do?”

This is not an easy thing to grapple with, and likely is more real than any of us want to admit.

Allyship Requires Action

Jodi-Ann Burey, a writer and speaker, poses the following suggestion to each of us who look in the mirror and realize the problem may be more “us” than we wanted to otherwise believe:

Please Note: Central Park Karen is not the exception, she is the rule. You work with women like her… everyday. You care about women like her. You may very well be her. Allyship requires action. If you want to exercise your allyship, talk with each other as white folks about what you all can do to help each other stay accountable to being better.

So… Now What?

So, today, May 27, 2020, what are you going to do differently, seeing so much that needs to obviously change?

Part of the answer, as Jodi-Ann notes, is Allyship.  This means getting clear about what your part in all this might be, and realizing you may be complicit more than you know.

Tolerating even a little racism or sexism leads to cultural challenges personally, organizationally and, as we see too frequently, nationally.

People will do what they see their leaders do. Actions > Words. Serve and care for those around you and, if you are a leader, then lead from the front and from the back, cheering those on who are struggling, and carrying those who otherwise could not make the journey.

Resolve, today, to be part of the solution.

Is That What It’s Really Like?

A few days after we watched The Hate U Give movie, my teenager asked me openly, “Is that what black neighborhoods are really like, or was that just for the movie?”

The question set me back a bit, I admit.  We don’t live in a glitzy, fancy neighborhood. Our homes are very moderately priced. Even underwhelmingly priced. Yet, our quiet community South of Salt Lake City is markedly different from the streets depicted in the film.  But, they were not too different from some of the streets I knew as a kid in Indianapolis (though I lived in the quiet suburbs, I spent a moderate amount of time in the city).

I relayed back to her that I thought it was a pretty fair depiction of what life in black communities was like in a lot of the country.

She thought about it and said she appreciated the chance to see things through the eyes of the teenage girl in the film — torn emotionally between her black roots and the predominantly white prep school she attends — and then a secret witness to the death of her friend at the hands of a police officer.

She has been different since we watched that movie together. These stories and other lived experiences have helped her want to lift up and care about people around her in ways I think most teens would not spend time on.

I hope she will continue to be an ally to those around her. I hope to continue helping her have those experiences as well.

Categories
Blog Life

Waste Hours —> Save Years


I’m writing this near a hideaway campground I found near Capitol Reef National Park. I took a few days off this last week, not just physically but mentally as well — something I haven’t done in six months and something I think I have never actually done well.

So, I am nostalgic. Bear with me.

Someone I highly respect said once that as you get older you start experiencing what he calls “long days and short years.”

I am starting to understand some of that.

I wonder if this same sentiment is echoed in Robert Frosts’s Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening where he laments how many miles to go he has before he sleeps, and in Five for Fighting’s “100 Years” (YouTube) remarking how he is chasing the years of his life and speaking back to his fifteen-year old self telling him he’s got plenty of time ahead.

I saw this sentiment come up again in a different way recently when @ShaneAParrish quipped “We waste years because we cannot waste hours.” *

And I am reading Four Hour Workweek for the first time (yes, late bloomer, I know) and considering his admonition that we should take Fridays off, even if we “work” but focus on self-work or learning new things, and that compressing our work is better for us than relentlessly trying to hustle for more, more, more and more.

So, as I pack up to take my remote trailer office home today, I am pondering the value of just unplugging and letting things that I have built on over weeks and months and years “fend for themselves” for a few days.

And nothing blew up — that I know of.

And I am fresher and more excited about the good things I need/get to do.

And I am also more keenly aware of the endless loops I get myself into where there is a lot of hustle but no production — a lot of noise but little signal.

And a resolve to do better about breaking that cycle. Now.

Partly by forcing myself to waste some hours in the week. On purpose. So I can ALIGN myself better with what I want to DO, which I am decoupling from (and still appreciating the overlap in) what I do for money.

What are you doing to not waste your years?

— — —

By Robert Merrill, written near Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, USA

*The debate in the comments to this tweet point to the idea this sentiment was previously noted by the late Amos Tvsersky, whose Nobel-prize winning work I love, though I admit I like Shane’s packaging better.

Categories
Blog Communication Life Relationship

Be Interested, Not Interesting

Here on the corner of my computer screen, I have a little piece of a sticky note with the following on it:

Interested > Interesting

Meaning, being interested is better than being interesting. And, if you’re in the people business, or have any personal relationships that are important to you, this is good advice.

It comes from Mark Goulston, Author of Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.

This is a great book and, for me, has been instrumental in me trying to really deepen some personal relationships as well as going farther to develop connection with the people I work with, both as candidates, hiring managers and as just other great humans I want to know better.

The whole book is interesting. Mark, who trains hostage negotiators, opens the book with a pretty intense confrontation between a man threatening to commit suicide in a mall parking lot. You see two kinds of negotiations take place. The “Hey, you’re in big trouble so put the gun down” kind that we see on TV and a much different approach that diffuses the situation and brings a peaceful resolution — listening.

One challenge I admit that I have in listening better is, well, asking questions. It sounds funny, but I sometimes get stuck just knowing what I should be asking someone!

So, from my notebook to yours, here are some fantastic tips you should hold on to. Let me know how it goes? I am definitely curious! ?

Great Questions You Can Ask Anyone To Show You Are Interested

As quoted from the book Just Listen by Mark Goulston. See the snippet here on Kindle.

Professional:

  • “How’d you get into what you do?”
  • “What do you like best about it?” 
  • “What are you trying to accomplish that’s important to you in your career (business, life, etc.)?” 
  • “Why is that important to you?” 
  • “If you were to accomplish that, what would it mean to you and what would it enable you to do?”

Personal:

In personal relationships—for instance, at a party or on a first date—questions like these can often trigger a heartfelt response: 

  • “What’s the best (or worst) part of (coaching your kid’s soccer team, being away from home, etc.)?” 
  • “What person has had the biggest influence on your life?” 
  • “Is that the person you’re most grateful to? If not, who is?” 
  • “Did you ever get a chance to thank that individual?” (If the person asks, “Why are you asking these questions?,” you can say: “I find giving people the chance to talk about who they’re grateful to brings out the best in them.”) 

FTD Delivery

Mark goes on to talk about how he tries to get people to respond to questions that include how they feel, what they think and what they did or would do. He mentions in passing that you can use the initials of those phrases, FTD, and the name of the popular fast florist delivery company of the same initials as a way to remember the formula.

“I know that when people ask me questions that generate all three of these answers, I feel known by them in ways that I usually don’t if we’re talking exclusively about what we feel or what we think or what we did or would do.,“ Mark continues.

He finishes with these sage words that I am trying to take to heart day by day.

Much of who we are is composed of what we feel, think, and do, so when we’re in conversations where we get to express all three, we feel more satisfied. Eventually, one of your questions will click and you’ll see the person lean forward eagerly to tell you something with enthusiasm or intensity. When that happens, do the right thing: Shut up. Listen. Listen some more. And then, once the person reaches a stopping point, ask another question that proves that you heard (and care about) what the person said.”

Try this tip out and let me know how it goes!


Read The Book:

Editor’s Note: The links to Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston in this article reference Amazon.com with an affiliate code. Using this link helps to support our services. However, if you’d prefer to go directly to the book page on Amazon, this link is affiliate free !

Photo Credit: Priscilla du Preez on Unsplash

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Categories
Blog Economics Jobseekers

Let the Adventure Begin

image_11798ab3-6a86-48e3-bcbf-064a13b092e3

I have a mug that says this on the side in cute, right-aligned, lower case serif letters:

let the
adventure
begin

The alignment, the blatant disregard for conventional spacing, capital letters and punctuation give it a playfulness I love and I find makes my heart smile a little each time I read it.

Does ‘work’ feel adventurous to you?

In a small way, isn’t this what work could feel like, too? I can hear the voices of droning mall-store bosses lecturing well-rehearsed ted-talks on the merits of hard work and thats-whats-wrong-with-your-generation speeches, but aside from all of those sounds, let’s just ponder for a moment.

What if work actually did feel adventurous?

I think, if you look around at the people you admire in your field*, the ones who make it look effortless, I think you will find one thing they have in common is, almost a sense of wonder that they get to do what they do and, perhaps, a sense of awe as if the things that seem to just “go right” for them, they never would have expected.

*Side note: If you don’t see anyone in your field you admire, that might be your sign ?

Now Is the Best Time to Have an Adventure

The world is freaking out right now, and, well, they should be. There are some seismic shifts happening in the world today.

But you don’t have to freak out and wring your hands

Let me show you why:

As I write this, the world is trying to re-awaken economically from the COVID—19 pandemic. We still don’t know what will happen and, in the United States, with official unemployment numbers topping 14% (as of May 8, 2020), people estimating the real number is much higher and could climb as high as 25% before this is said and done, there is a lot to be mindful about. The first part of that is it means we are undergoing a once-a-century forced reset of how our economy works at all.

During this unprecedented time when, in the US, many people are earning more on unemployment than they were at work, what this strange, strange time in history may become is the perfect seed ground for whatever it is that you want to do next.

Many of the great companies of our time have come about during times of economic downturns. Facebook, Microsoft, Disney, Trader Joe’s… its a long list. And, look, you don’t have to be the next Warren Buffett to see an opportunity to work on something you feel passionate about and, since some of the people you trust to work with you are also out of work, why not!?

Passion Doesn’t Mean Travel OR Entrepreneurship. It Means Being On Purpose

Don’t get me wrong, there’s something deceptively alluring to packing your bags and moving to Taiwan for a year and hoping everything works out financially, but you don’t have to start a company or go traveling the world to match your work with your passions.

If you can choose, purposefully, the things you will do and will not do in your life from this day forward, you will have a singular advantage over every other person working for a buck in the world who does whatever they’re told, won’t say no, then complains to everyone about how their life feels soul-sucking and useless.

Your advantage? You will be doing things on purpose.

But—that doesn’t mean glamorous, either.

But it does mean actively choosing.

I know plenty of people who purposefully do very difficult things today so they don’t have to do those things forever.

I also know several who gladly give up certain perks and benefits of a cushy white collar lifestyle so they can have other things more important to them, like family time or being able to volunteer when and where they want.

So… What Do You Love?

For me, this question surfaced recently in a raw and powerful way. I made the choice in 2005 to fully dive into recruiting as a way of life and I have not looked back.

Now, 15 years and recruiting for fantastic companies and meeting thousands of incredible humans later, I find myself asking what is next? The next job req? The next placement? Those things still bring passion and fire in my belly, but I find myself scratching at something more… something just beyond that which I still have not quite uncovered but it has me, and this is critical—

It has me CURIOUS.

  • I realized a year ago that I want to be truly helpful to the world and one way I can do that is to help 1 Million People get Better Jobs in 5 Years. I am 9 months in and have not scratched that, it seems. But each Resume Review I do and each webinar or newsletter I send out seems to do a little more, and I expect the results to be compounding.
  • I realized that I have mastered a series of recruiting behaviors in my career that can both help anyone become a master recruiter and can help any recruiting team do their best at keeping hiring more human, solving the problems of bias in their workplaces, being more inclusive, and welcoming.
  • Finally, I realized that my true passions lie around recruitment automation and helping companies minimize the processes that computers can do and instead maximize the things humans are best at doing.

All of these things do not take me away from recruiting, and I will never stop having candidate conversations as often as I can to fill those interesting roles, but I do think I can have even more excitement in my work as I follow these paths to more adventurous outcomes than simply keyword searching for candidates and repetitively busting out linkedin messages will get me.

These are the things I love… now your turn

Perhaps you need to take a walk or a hike, sit on a mountain or in a quiet room and think about the things you want and the things you love.

How can you marry those things with the things you do?
When you step back, what is it about the things you get very excited about which you can replicate? Is it process management? The chance to be creative? Closing a deal? Seeing the balance sheet work out perfectly? Consider these signals and follow them closely.

Now What?

Follow my lead and work to proactively choose to say YES to the things on your list of things you love and NO to the things you don’t.

Write down your things. Each time you feel you are forced to sacrifice one of your long-term loves because of a short-term necessity, write it don on a sheet you can recall. Go back in a month, three months or six months. Have things changed? Ask for them to change again and see what happens.

If you consciously push on these boundaries of things you’re asked to do versus things you love doing, and do this for five years straight, you will be living a MUCH DIFFERENT LIFE than you are now.

Which is good, since the world has changed, too.

Welcome 🙂


Written by Robert Merrill 5/18/2020 from near Salt Lake City, Utah
#blog #askrobertmerrill