When I was a child I wanted to become an astronaut; so did most boys my age at that time. The Apollo astronauts had landed on the Moon in 1969 a couple days before my 10th birthday. Then, I wanted to be an paleontologist – Louis Leakey had discovered in Africa the fossils of an ancient hominid millions of years old. ( i knew about a lot about science and the world from a magazine; when most kids were reading comic books, I had a subscription to National Geographic) While I was still a preteen, I was fascinated by old bits and tools that I found in the barn behind the pre-Revolutionary War Cape Cod colonial house I lived in.
The people I did odd jobs for to earn spending money, and several of the teachers I had in high school were World War II , Korean or Vietnam veterans. By the time I was a high school sophomore, I had taken the military qualification test, the ASVAB, and upon graduation entered the Navy. In all my various jobs and hobbies, I was always more interested in the people than technology, but I knew skill in computers and electronic technology would be a steady income.
Fast-forward thirty years to 2006. One of my tasks as a Senior Chief was as interviewer or recruiter for my Navy Reserve unit. Now, in 2017, with four decades of experience in school, in the service, and in industry, I learned what was needed to be successful in each environment, and to assess that in others. I have interviewed new technical candidates at work.
After work yesterday I was chatting with an acquaintance who was preparing for a job interview today for a technical position. He had extensive technical experience but had not worked in the industry for several years due the economic downturn. It was mutually invigorating to coach him on strategies to be successful with the on-site interview, particularly how to answer and ask questions. I quizzed him on his preparation and how to win the interviewer manager and engineers over. In the age of digital scrubbing of resumes, then screening by phone over- and under-qualified candidates, and navigating the personal interview, it still is a combination of a ‘first-date’ and a chess game to win an offer of employment. All my years of working with people in different occupations, with various interests and experience, has helped broaden my understanding of people. I coined a term “becoming simpatico” with the interviewing team. You must see yourself, and they, more importantly, must see you, as part of their “team” to win a contract or complete the project; you must project “value”.
If I were to engage in a new career, it would be as a coach. Over a cup of coffee, a walk in the dog-park, hiking, or blogging. I wonder how many of our post- X generation, Millennial and post-Millennials are equipped for interpersonal relationships? Even Facebook, which may seem personal in all the activities and emotions shared to the public is not personable.
My dad had given me a paperback when I was in high school that I see in reprint from time to time. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie is a classic read that everyone can find value in reading. My mother, however never understood the point why my father gave that to me. Life is always about salesmanship. Life experience is only valuable if you can communicate value: to yourself (self-image), your closest relationships, and in