Yep, that’s right. Our very own Google Guy Jason Warner is doing Coachology this week. For those of you who don’t know, Jason has interviewed a bazillion candidates as an in-house recruiter at Microsoft, Starbucks and now, at Google. And he has strong opinions about what works.

This week Jason is offering to coach one of you on what to do in an interview so that you get the job. Jason will spend an hour on the phone with you practicing strategies and techniques you can use to shine.

When I was asking Jason to do this week’s Coachology, he agreed immediately, but he said he wanted to do follow-ups until the person got the job. This is something I love about Jason – that he genuinely wants to help. So in addition to the initial phone call, next time you’re interviewing for a job, Jason will talk with you again, to prepare for that specific interview.

If you want to work with Jason, send an email to me with Coachology in the subject line and include three sentences about why you would be good to work with Jason. Deadline is Saturday, March 30. Jason will pick the winner.

I am fascinated by self-esteem because it’s such a huge differentiator among everyone – even among the smart and talented. And I don’t think people can fake it. Maybe it is my own, overzealous self-esteem when it comes to my ability to read self-esteem, but I think people reveal their own levels no matter how hard they try not to.

And I don’t think I’m the only person who is fascinated. I read commentary about Paris Hilton, (that I have spent way too much time trying to retrieve online,) that said that the reason we are fascinated by her is that she has an unshakable sense of self. You can argue that you don’t like who she is, but it’s hard to argue that you’ve ever seen her feeling insecure about who she is.

A lot of self-esteem is dependent on self-knowledge. Knowing what you want and what’s important to you. This is why the infamous Starbucks memo is infamous — because the chairman of the company outlines the company’s weaknesses so clearly and accurately. The memo shows unabashed and on-target self-reflection.

I want that. I want what the chairman has and also what Paris has. One of my biggest worries is that I project an image of myself that I do not fully understand. And this is, of course, a career issue. The people who do best at getting the career they want are the people who understand how they appear to others.

But you don’t want to put too much stock in how others view you. Hold on to yourself in the face of peoples’ opinions; this is what I tell myself all the time. And then I think about how Seth Godin does not accept comments on his blog because he thinks he reacts too strongly to how other people see him. Maybe Seth could take some lessons from Paris in this regard. Meanwhile, Seth’s idea that he can only hold on to his self-esteem if he is not exposed to other peoples’ direct input seems a tenuous spot to be in during the era of Web 2.0.

I think self-esteem will be different soon. After all, millennials are the self-esteem generation, and maybe they will commodify self-esteem in a way that is not even accessible to Seth or me. Their parents brought them up with the idea that the most important thing was self-esteem – they played soccer games where everyone’s a winner because everybody played. Some people call millennials narcissists, but I think those people are taking their own self loathing out those bursting-with-confidence twentysomethings.

There is a sense of celebrity that permeates millennials. They have been online for so long that they assume everyone is looking at them, no matter where they are. In this way, millennials have a strong sense of self that they assert constantly. And when I was interviewing Rebecca Blood (a celebrity in her own right – at least in the blogosphere), she said that celebrity is so mainstream among kids today that young Hollywood debutantes may be better role models for how to act than the kids’ own parents.

Soon after that, I saw a very public scene of a girl getting dumped, and I realized that it’s a great example of a seemingly mainstream young person being able to hold onto her self-esteem by adapting to celebrity status in a matter of minutes.

Some of you will argue that celebrity status has nothing to do with self-esteem. But I can’t help thinking there is a connection between one’s ability to live in front of a web cam and one’s ability to hold onto a sense of self no matter what is going on around her.

So maybe the best training for being successful at work is to learn to think about yourself in terms of celebrity before you get there. Because the people most secure with themselves are the ones who stand out in the workplace.

The barriers to entrepreneurship are crumbling, and every six months, technology makes starting a business easier and easier.

As a result, entrepreneurship has become more appealing to a wider range of people. If you measure success in terms of personal growth and flexible work, their success rate is sky high.

Here’s a list of the old and new ways of thinking when it comes to starting your own business:

Old: Entrepreneurs are born with a specific set of character traits.

New: Entrepreneurship is learned.

There is no single way to be an entrepreneur, according to research by Saras Sarasvathyof the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. There are actually many different types of personalities that can succeed because there are so many different ways to structure a business.

The key is to pick a business that plays to your personality traits. For example, someone who has lots of charisma and leadership skill, but little interest in day-to-day details, should probably run a larger company than someone who’s capable of doing all the dirty work required for a one-man show.

Old: Raise money and spend a lot of it on advertising.

New: Raise no money and spend no money on advertising.

The viral efficiencies of Web 2.0 make today’s Internet very effective for spreading good ideas quickly. You can think of an idea and test it right away, and if you get traffic to your site the idea is good. If there’s no traffic, that’s not a sign to spend money on advertising, it’s a sign that you don’t have a good idea.

Reddit, for example, was started by two twenty-somethings who emailed their friends and invited them to use their new online tool. Their friends liked Reddit and passed the email on to their own email lists. No advertising budget whatsoever was required, and two years later Conde Nast acquired Reddit.

Old: Women will get power in corporate America and change it.

New: Women are getting what they want by leaving corporate America to start their own businesses.

While a steady stream of press releases touts the increasing flexibility of corporate jobs, it isn’t happening in practice. But instead of pounding their fists against the doors of corporate human resources departments, women have put their energy toward growing their own businesses.

More businesses are started today by women than by men, and most of the sole proprietorship businesses are run by women. This tells us that women have won the fight for flexible jobs by creating them for themselves.

Old: The self-employed are happy because they’re doing what they love.

New: The self-employed are happy because they have control over their work and they have a flexible lifestyle.

The idea that you need to do what you love is more of a platitude than solid career advice. Instead, the best advice might be to do what fits your life best, and create a life that you love.

Rebecca Ryan, CEO of Next Generation Consulting, writes about how instead of living to work, people today are working to live. In this context, self-employment is a very effective way to create a life you want.

Old: Climb the corporate ladder, learn the ropes, then start a company.

New: Start a company to get out of climbing the corporate ladder.

Learning the ropes at a big company is sometimes slow going. You often only learn what your own department does, and if you have a really bad job, you only learn what your department does from the perspective of the copy machine. This is no way to learn about business.

The fastest way to learn about business is to try it. And since there’s very little cost to starting an Internet business, you can try one, fail, and start another, and another, as a way to teach yourself about business.

Eventually something will stick, and even if it doesn’t, you’ll probably get enough experience to skip the drudgery of the bottom rungs of the corporate ladder.

Old: Entrepreneurship is all or nothing.

New: You can test the waters by starting a company while you have a corporate job.

Setting up shop online is a matter of using your mouse and clicking on the kind of features you want in your store. And there are new ways to do business online that didn’t exist even two years ago. For example, you can buy and sell web sites on 24-hour message boards, and you can set up an arbitrage business around buying and selling web traffic.

Many new types of businesses are ideal for pairing with a career you already have. Marci Alboher wrote a handbook for starting this kind of life: “One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success.”

Old: Starting a business is risky.

New: Staying in corporate life is risky.

Most businesses succeed, most jobs end. The statistics about most companies failing assume that most entrepreneurs want to run the next Microsoft. In fact, most people don’t. They just want a flexible, fun, rewarding job.

In that respect, if a company provides fun, flexible work for even a short period of time, you can say it’s a success even if it fails soon after.

Old: Do a lot of planning and make sure it’s going to work before you start.

New: Forget the big plan — just try it.

If it doesn’t work, just try again. This is not true for, say, starting a restaurant, but for a company with little cash outlay there’s little risk to running without a set plan.

Did you ever notice that in most Starbucks there is art on the wall? In hyperly competitive New York City, where I used to live, the waiting list for putting art on the wall at Starbucks was two years. Really. But I signed up.

I know, you’re thinking, Penelope was an artist? The answer is, sort of: paint and collage. And every once in a while, someone would say, “Do you sell those?” and I’d say, “Okay, yeah, I’ll sell one.” And then I’d think, Well, in that case, then I’m an artist.

So I did what other artists do when they are beginning. I put my name on the list to put my art on the walls at Starbucks. And a long time later, there was a message on my voicemail from the manager of Starbucks asking when I would hang my art.

The answer was — never.

There are two ways to do art: by yourself, in your home, for no one but yourself, or in public, to be a rip-roaring success. Of course, I wanted the second. I tried to want the first, but I keep wondering how well I could do if I tried really hard with the art. And then I thought, if you’re going to be a critical success, you probably don’t want to be known as the person hanging her stuff in Starbucks. Starbucks is for dilettantes.

I think I was a dilettante five years ago, when I put my name on the list. But during the two years it took to get my name to the top of the list, I decided I wanted to be more serious. I had started calling my art collage, and I glued stuff back on when it fell off instead of just throwing it out. I recognized that people who are serious do not let high school kids pick at their paintings in the back corner of a coffee shop.

When you’re on the cusp of dilettantism, but you want to be taken seriously, it’s embarrassing. Because you still look like a joker, but you look like an extreme joker because you’re a joker who no longer wants to admit to being a joker.

I remember the point when I decided that I was a serious writer: I reorganized the folders on my desktop so that the Writing folder was inside my Work folder instead of below it. But I didn’t do that until I had been supporting myself writing for more than a year. It’s a big step to take yourself seriously. The move away from dilettantism is slow, and nervous. Today all I can muster in the art department is to tell Starbucks no.

But I know it’s a step in the right direction because research conducted by Herminia Ibarra, a professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD, in France, shows that the most effective way make a serious move in your life is to do it in a not-so-serious way. It’s more effective to try something out for a few hours a week. That way if you don’t like your new self, you can go back to your old self. And if you like the two hours, try two more. Or maybe use your vacation time to test out your new self.

I did that. I told myself I was an artist and I set aside a week to pretend I was a full-time Very Serious Artist. And this is what happened: I wrote. Because I’m a writer, not a visual artist. But still, I like the idea of doing art. I just have to figure out how it fits into my life. So I’m taking the advice of Ibarra and imagining myself in different situations until I find one that fits.

Change in one’s life does not require a career change. In fact, a career change should be last. After lots of experimenting with small steps in an effort to find out who you really are. That’s how I found out, again, that I’m a writer.

By Bruce Tulgan – Instead of avoiding small problems and hoping they’ll go away, solve them as they come up. You’ll avoid disaster and you and your employees will get good at dealing with conflict.


(requires the Flash 9 Player)
iPod Video – Download

By Jason Warner – One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is that they get caught up in the tactics of their job at a particular company, and they then don’t do anything to advance their career beyond their current employer. This is a significant error in life strategy.

I see people all the time, maneuvering inside a corporation to reach their goals. In the old talent economy, it was sufficient to network inside the company, and work on extra projects outside your department in order to be well positioned to earn the much coveted “consistently exceeds” on your annual review. In the new talent economy you have to take that one step further, and make yourself valuable outside your company as well.

Here are five ways to advance your career beyond your current employer:

1. Set aside a significant amount of time each week.
It’s important to realize that in a corporate environment, there will almost always be more work than time and resources allow. In fact, many companies manage expenses by employing an N-1 strategy to control costs. If the company needs N resources, they’ll only resource to N-1 (or N-10 sometimes). For a variety of reasons, this tactic controls costs, creates flexibility in managing expenses, and forces some degree of prioritization.

If you are the one willing to make up for the lack of resources, knock yourself out. I’m not suggesting that you do the bare minimum at your job, but I am suggesting that you spend a little of your weekly efforts towards advancing your career beyond your current employer.

2. Network for the sole purpose of building relationships.
Building a network has to be an ongoing, authentic pursuit. I recommend at least an hour a week of tactical, outbound, relationship-building efforts. Focus on trying to find ways to help other people. But make smart choices about who you network with.

Also, if you wait until you need a job, networking is largely ineffective. Nobody wants to hear from you only when you need something. I’m always trying to network, not because I’m looking for the next great job, but because it’s part of my overall life strategy.

3. Be online.
I recommend that everyone have a blog, and I predict that for top talent, blogs will become more important than resumes. (In some ways this may already be true.) If you’re going to blog, I recommend writing at least one or two posts week, and more if you can swing it. (Admittedly this is hard to do unless you are exceptionally talented or have no life.)

If a blog isn’t for you, at least become active online, either by participating in discussion forums, writing on distribution lists, or commenting on influential people’s blogs. You never know what connections will develop that might lead to career opportunity (or maybe you’ll even meet your mate).

Overall, online pursuits should be at least one hour a week. I probably do four hours a week, which consists mostly of writing for my blog and commenting on other blogs.

4. Understand the space you’re in.
Get to know whatever segment in whatever industry you are choosing to exist in. You need to know who the players are in the space you want to play. This understanding will help augment and align your networking efforts.

Some people actively make lists of the people they want to meet in their industry, and then start a targeted connection campaign. I prefer a more organic approach, and I simply try to authentically make human connections when there seems to be a reasonable opportunity to do so. You should spend an hour a week reading and exploring the industry you work in.

5. Give back.
Find ways to give back to the industry in which you work, for at least an hour a week. This can comprise many different efforts, from speaking at conferences, writing for journals, or simply attending industry events. Get involved in an industry-related non-profit organization. If there isn’t one in your area, start one, and it will give you an excuse to meet lots of people. Giving back to your industry is a way to further your career, and also to make yourself feel good.

The topic of my column in the Boston Globe this week is management issues. If you want to talk with me about how you manage, or how you like to be managed, and you are not older than twenty-seven, I’d love to hear from you. Today. By 3pm eastern time.

Big caveat: You need to be in New England on Tuesday or Wednesday so that a Globe photographer can take your picture.

If you’re interested, please send an email to me with Boston Globe in the subject line. Please write three sentences about yourself, and include a phone number where I can call you.

Climbing to the top of corporate America requires near complete abnegation of one’s personal life, not in a sacrificial way, but in a child-like way. In most cases, when there are children, there is a wife at home taking care of the executive’s life in the same way she takes care of the children’s lives.

This is not a judgment on whether people should have kids. It’s fine to choose not to have kids. This is a judgment on whether people with kids should be CEOs of large companies.

I have already laid out the argument that Fortune 500 CEOs, like Howard Stringer, who work 100-hour weeks and have kids at home, are neglecting their kids. Not neglecting them like, that’s too bad. But neglecting them like, it’s totally irresponsible to have kids if you don’t want to spend any time with them.

I have also laid out the argument that men who have these top jobs can get there because they have a wife at home, running their personal life. Women get stuck in their ascent up the corporate ladder on the day their first child is born. Because women end up taking care of the kids. Women do not choose to compartmentalize kids and work the way men at the top of the ladder do.

Eve Tahmincioglu recently published a book based on interviews with CEOs: From the Sandbox to the Corner Office. She says that usually, “the wife is handling the marriage and the family. She is the one who keeps it all together.” Most of the female CEOs that Tahmincioglu interviewed did not have kids, and Tahmincioglu says they attributed their success to their lack of children because the demands of a CEO are not compatible with taking care of kids.

Meanwhile, let’s take the job hopper. The job hopper does not stay at the same company forever. So while the climber gets his identity from a corporation, the job hopper takes full responsibility for forging his own identity. The job hopper focuses on the time in between jobs to gain increased flexibility. He can make himself available to take care of a sick relative, to fly overseas to adopt a baby, and to travel when a spouse is relocated. A job hopper can take on loads of responsibility to create family stability because a job hopper is flexible.

Additionally, a job hopper can find passion in work more easily, because job hopping keeps ideas fresh and learning curves high. So whereas many ladder climbers work more than sixty hours a week to get that workplace adrenaline rush. Job hoppers can get the rush by starting something new. No need to give up family in order to get a rush from work.

This means that a job hopper can have fulfilling work and take a hefty load of responsibility for adult life. There will be time to buy birthday presents for nieces. There will be time to plan surprise parties instead of delegating it to an assistant or a spouse. There will be time to worry about household issues and marital issues and all the things someone who works 100 hours a week has no time to be responsible for.

The corporate climber, meanwhile, is isolated from the complications of real life. For example, business is full of measurable goals, acknowledgements for success, teambuilding, constant ranking, and societal pats on the back with big paychecks.

Home life has none of this. We still do not know what really makes a good parent. There are no measurable goals for getting through a day with the in-laws so there is no reward system for it either. There is no way to measure who is a good family member. There is no definition of successful spouse. Home life is murky and difficult. Work life is structured and predictable.

People who create careers that allow them to assume large levels of authority in their personal life are living as responsible adults. People who concentrate on work and delegate maintenance of all other aspects of their personal life are not truly living as adults.

Adult life is difficult, challenging and full of ways to actively give our hearts to others. The world will be a better place when careers do not shield people from taking responsibility, but instead, facilitate it.

The reason I spend so much time telling you to have someone else write your resume is that I have done it before, and it worked out really well for me.

I thought of myself differently after getting help with the resume. This is because a good resume is not a list or a work history, but rather, a story. And the way we tell stories about ourselves really reveals who we are, but it’s very hard to craft a story about our work when we are so close to the details day in and day out.

Stories are powerful. If you have a coherent story of yourself, then your resume reads like an organized plan. If you have no idea what your story is, your resume reads like a disjointed list. The most effective resumes show a timeline of progression in your life in a way that creates a story that will stick in the reader’s mind.

It’s hard to sift through all the resume writers and figure out who is good. So people ask me all the time for the name of the company I used. The problem is, that company is no longer in business.

However a bunch of the people from that company continue to do the resume work as freelancers. And one of them, Elaine Basham will rewrite two peoples’ resumes for free this week.

If you want to have Elaine take a crack at your resume, send a three-sentence email to me by March 25 that says what is wrong with your resume now, and what you want to accomplish with a new resume. Elaine will pick the two people who are most able to benefit from her service.

For those of you who don’t end up working with Elaine, you might end up having to write your resume yourself, so here are some of the most common mistakes.

Today’s careers are made and broken by one’s ability to network.

Please don’t post comments about how unfair this is — I know that people who are bad at networking think it’s not fair that the world rewards networking so much. But that’s the way the world is. You’re not going to change it by whining.

Instead, be giddy: Networking is actually a lot easier than you think. Here are five reasons why:

1. You don’t have to be a manipulator.
Networking is about being nice. It’s about figuring out what someone needs, and determining how to help him get it. Be aware of what people are trying to accomplish in their lives so that you can help them reach their goals — either by helping them yourself or putting them in touch with someone who can help them.

People who are ineffective at networking think you have to manipulate people to get what you want. These are the same people who fail at office politics because they don’t understand that office politics is about being nice. Networking is what you do when you’re doing office politics well.

Networking is about adding value to peoples’ lives. If you do that as much as you can, people will be happy to help you. Be generous with your time and energy as well as your contacts.

You should understand what you have to give, and then look for people who need it. Not only is that the place where you can add a lot of value, but those are also the people who likely have skills and connections that you don’t have, so they’ll be able to help you. The more diverse a group of people you can help, the more diverse the type of help you can get.

2. You don’t have to be funny and clever.
The people who are most afraid of networking think they have to open up a conversation with something really smart or witty. You don’t have to be either of those. The best way to start a conversation is by being nice.

If you pontificate on your brilliant ideas you’ll seem smart, but you won’t necessarily connect with people. And if you tell a lot of jokes you’ll seem funny, but that, also, is not necessarily inviting more conversation. Being nice, though, makes people want to talk. By being nice, you’re saying, “I’m safe to talk to. I’ll listen.”

People want to be listened to, and they want to feel interesting. So you can be good at networking by caring about other people. And you can’t fake being interested — it’s almost impossible. That means you have to genuinely care about other people.

The best networkers understand that everyone is interesting if you ask the right questions. So ask someone an open-ended question, figure out what they’re interested in, and ask them about that.

Your job is to discover what you can learn from people, and you can learn something from everyone. If you really try, you’ll be genuinely interested in what they have to say.

3. You don’t have to network when you’re job-hunting.
Don’t talk to me about job hunters who are networking. Let’s be real: When you need a job, you’re not networking, you’re calling in favors. You’re asking people for jobs.

Networking is something you do when you’re feeling great about your work. After all, who wants to network with someone who either hates her job or doesn’t have one?

This is how networking works to get a job — you make friends. Real friends. Not like the 46,000 “friends” Barack Obama has on MySpace, but the kind of friends to whom you’ve revealed something significant about yourself, and who have revealed something significant about themselves to you.

If you have 30 such people in your life who have diverse networks of their own, you’ll be able to get a job when you need one. So focus on making real connections with people instead of trolling the Internet for jobs. It’s not only a more effective use of your time, it’s a more fulfilling one.

(Wondering if you’re good at it this kind of job hunt? Test yourself.)

4. You don’t have to be agreeable.
Connecting with people doesn’t mean agreeing with them, it means growing with them. Personal growth is one of the best things you can get from a relationship. So it’s fine to disagree with someone you’re getting to know. You send the signal that you’re the type of person who challenges friends to think more clearly. Just be sure to disagree in a non-confrontational way.

A couple of weeks ago I met Annalee Newitz, editor of the book “She’s Such a Geek: Women Write About Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff.” In the short amount of time we spent together, we managed to disagree on a lot. For example, on the question of whether little girls’ affinity for pink is an issue of nature or nurture (I say nature).

But I liked Annalee. She was easy to talk to and full of energy. That we could disagree on a wide range of topics means that we both think about the same wide range of topics.

So don’t assume that networking requires you to agree with everything someone says. It just requires you to care about what the person says. Caring is how you make a connection.

5. You don’t have to get off the sofa.
Here’s a big secret about the blogosphere: The people who are blogging seriously aren’t college kids writing about beer parties. In fact, college kids are generally mystified as to why someone would spend four hours a day writing a blog entry.

That’s because the serious bloggers are professionals, and they’re investing four hours a day on their blog because it’s an incredibly effective and efficient networking tool.

If you want to start a blog, here are some quick and easy steps to get started. But most of you won’t click that link, because blogging is, after all, a big commitment.

Nevertheless, most of you can leverage the blogosphere to do your networking in a way that never requires you to leave your computer. Instead, you can comment on other peoples’ blogs.

This is a very effective way to meet people who wouldn’t normally give you the time of day. For example, companies like Yahoo! and Sun have thousands of blogging employees, and CEOs of small startups often blog as well.

Liz Strauss explains on The Blog Herald that many bloggers focus primarily on building relationships. So find people you admire who blog, and start reading their blog every day. Leave intelligent comments. Most bloggers know the people who leave thoughtful comments on a regular basis. And bloggers like to help people in their blog community.

So you can sit on your sofa and surf all night, typing your opinion on your favorite topics. And after that, you can call yourself a great networker.