Thursday, May 24, 2012

What Got You Here Won't Get You There

By: Marshall Goldsmith

The Premise 

"What got you here wont get you there" is a how to be successful guide for people that are already successful. Its a book that points out the 20 (21 actually) flaws that successful people have that prevent them from being more successful and outlines a plan of action. 

The Delivery

There is something about this book that I hated reading. I've never in my life left a book for more than a day if I was in reading it. Fiction wise I am obsessed with finishing a story the day I start reading it, otherwise I think its an offense to the writer. This book broke my rules. 

This isn't to say its a terrible book, or its poorly written or any critic on the writing style. Its actually fantastically written and relatively interesting, appropriate examples from personal and professional life are given, theres a decent amount of humor, and everything moves along at a brisk pace. In fact now that I am done with the book, I actually say I liked the book.

So, I'd give Marshall Goldsmith a lot of credit for writing on a difficult topic with humor and not dragging on in topics that other books. Perhaps the reason I disliked the book was the same reason that I think its a good book, there are a lot of comments in there that point out my own flaws. 


The book moves quickly, it doesn't lag and it doesn't drag.

The author is constantly giving examples of how he practices what he preaches and on his own shortcomings. I personally found this very refreshing and sometimes humorous. 

Everything in the book is within reach, he's not asking for someone to go from being an type A person to being a type B person, just making small specific changes to their behavior. 


Okay, so this is a pro and a con.  A good majority of the things he writes about our things that I agree on. Things I know to be accurate and can see the value add in. However, and perhaps this is one of the things that turned me off to the book in the first place, he identifies certain mindsets and says that all successful people think that way. And I definitely don't think that way, not all the time at least.

This also might be a more personal note, but the action plan isn't practical for my organization. Working in a small company doesn't allow me to solicit 20 of my interactive coworkers for feedback. 

The Take Away

These are details from the book I would share with someone else. 
  • Of the 20 flaws in successful people, there are two main categories 
    1. Communication Flaws - Over sharing, over adding value, withholding information flaws of us lacking communication skills
    2. Emotional Flaws- Acting in Anger instead of thinking things through, attributing bad personality traits to the intrinsic being "me", being a glory hog are all things that can be attributed to Emotional flaws. 
  • Gratitude is an under appreciated art. An genuine apology is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. 
  • The best people see the value in being around the best people. If you want to be successful, you need to design a team thats successful and deliver praise and compensation as it is deserved. 
  • Makings someone feel as if they are important will get you far, making someone feel like they are the most important person in the room will get you anywhere.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Must stop playing catch up.

So sorry my darlings, I will stop playing catch up very very soon.

But for right now, catch up is the name of the game.

If it makes you feel better, I've been doing everything, just not blogging about it.

Thoughts on the job front.

  • I've harvested a list of companies I would like to work for. 
  • My networking list is getting stronger, I've also started drafting up potential emails for networking purposes. "What do you do, how do you do it, do you like it" Its strange how awkward those sound.
  • I'm waiting to get my resume back from Iowa with whatever corrections I can make.
  • I've joined meetup which is a networking site full of different groups. Its interesting, I haven't fully committed to it yet but this weekend anticipate my first real interaction with it.
  • I've been spending a lot of time thinking about my interviewing skills, next week is my big initial interview with Iowa, where they rank us as where we fall in our class as interviewees. I'm really nervous about doing atrociously. I know I'm a decent interviewee under normal conditions, I'm anxious.  
Random thoughts.

Theres so much to do before I move! I am so anxious to get things going. I'm ready to move, I'm ready to pick out an internship, I'm ready to apply for a full time position. Anxious Anxious Anxious.

I'm also really excited that in a very short period of time I will be on a beach with my dear friend Katrina with a Margarita in one hand and a cheap Romance novel in the other. Tybee Island you don't even know what's coming.

And now on to Life Prep

Moving prep is going to be its own category all its own. Picking everything out for my apartment is borderline exhausting. I'm having a really hard time picking a comforter or a headboard. I want everything to be perfect and lovely, because I know once the school year starts I'm not going to have any time to fix things. Basically, I'm creating a lot of unneeded pressure for myself.

Sleep schedule work is still well work. Everything else is well everything else.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life Prep

So, I've successfully changed my sleep schedule. Well, decently successful there have been a few days that I've over slept but its a step in the right direction. 

And, my networking is getting so much better! The thing about networking that I think I have been forgetting is that I love people. I love what  makes people happy, I love learning about their experiences. Some how in the stress of networking with 100s of people I've lost the enjoyment of the interactions.

The rest is kind of a work in progress.

Speaking of things that I enjoy, I worked an adoption event on Saturday for Helping Paws. There is something so rewarding about helping an animal find its way from the street and into a loving home. Cassanova was the dog we worked with this week, he just wanted to lay with me and be loved. For a little dog, he's a keeper.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sundays are the loveliest of all days

So I owe you job thoughts and randoms, so sorry darling fictitious internet readers. 

Where does a girl start. 

Lets go with job thoughts.

So on Wednesday this week I had my first official "sit down" with my Career Center Coach. Her name's Jennifer and she's wonderful. Yes, I know I say everyone at Iowa is wonderful, but that's mostly because they really are great. 

The goal of Wednesdays meeting was to outline what I am expecting and what they're expecting from me. Its already been a lot of work, and I know its only getting started. Things I need to start thinking about:
  1. Where do I want to live when all is said and done? 
  2. What type of companies appeal the most to me and why?
  3. How committed to living abroad am I? And what am I willing to give up to accomplish that.
  4. What functions of my current job can I use to get me to where I want to be?

So this list could go on and on, but you get the idea. Its difficult to spend time focusing on these questions, when I have real work/life/moving questions taking up so much of my time. 

I've been looking up full time positions that interest me, and trying to reverse engineer to myself. 

Is one program that really interests me, and has motivated me to work on my languages again. 

Stay tuned shortly I'll give you some insight into this beautiful mind with random life ramblings. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to Interview like an MBA, the first book review

The Premise

The basic premise of "How to Interview like an MBA" is pretty obvious. The book promises to get your interview, network and resume skills up to par with an top MBA program student through ten different section reviews. 

The Delivery 

I'm a reader, since this is the first book review I'm doing I'll throw that out there. I love information, I love the way different people convey the same ideas, and I love words. I'm kind of a nerd like that. That being said, I really thought  Dr. Shel Leanne did a great job of expressing the nonfiction technical information in a way that didn't bore me to tears.  She also really covered every area of concern, from what your plan of attack for your resume should be to what you're probably going to have to explain to a recruiter (why you had a rough second semester or how your work covers area not generally considered in that function.) 


She's incredibly thorough with topics but very concise when it comes to explanations, a combination that I admire and appreciate.

There are examples given for just about every type of communication you will encounter from cover letters to thank you notes, which is something I plan on referring back to.

There are 100 sample questions, in case you're a little bit nervous about interviewing an need some practice.


I would have liked for there to have been more about pre interview work, ie job hunting like an MBA, but maybe that will be its own book.

There is a lot of stories from professionals who experienced a good/bad situation dealing with the topic. After a while I started skimming those passages. 

The Take Away

These are just some details I would offer to someone else 
  • There are four points of research you should do for any interview. 
    1. Industry (The main characteristics, the trends, any recent shifts)
    2. Company (The main competitors, any recent news, the company's strategies etc etc)
    3. Interviewer 
    4. The Job (Who do you interact with, what are the responsibilities, how much ownership do you have of your products)
  • Questions to ask your interviewer to leave the best impression 
  • How to shape the interview to best demonstrate you as the right fit. 
All and all, definitely worth reading. It may be a bit of over kill for people actually pursuing an MBA who have a full time Career service staff at their disposal but a good reference point. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

I'm not 100% I agree with that statement, but it was the one thing of a two day leadership seminar that sticks out in my mind.  The seminar was okay, I wished I had known going in that it was going to be very basic management notions, I probably wouldn't have chosen it over other options but its nice to have open forum to express the way you lead. 

As for life prep, its going. 

This week I'm dog sitting for a friend and laying on the couch reading "How to Interview like an MBA" seemed like a great way to spend the evenings. 

These are the kinds of things that I'm trying to get in order for school:

  • Build confidence in my abilities as a networker, actually building my confidence outright 
  • Adjust my sleep schedule so 8:30 classes don't feel like torture
  • Establish some sort of exercise habits
  • Review my budgeting and really set goals for them
  • Spend as much time with the people I care about

I've been working on parts one, two and five but the other two aren't so attractive to me. 

When it comes to networking, my current goal is to leave any function thats even borderline appropriate for networking with one new contact. Even the seminar gave me one good new contact. I'm also working up an excel sheet and talking with friends about people they might know that could be people I need to know.

The sleep thing is not going so well, but its a work in progress. 

And I've been having a great time exploring the city with my lovely friends and eating dinners with my family. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I'm a few days late, but here's some job thoughts

When I visited Iowa for their Advanced weekend, I got the chance to talk with a lot of current students and graduates about their company placements and internships.

Companies a few of my classmates are working for

  • Sears 
  • United Airlines
  • Delta Airlines 
  • Unilever 
  • Darden
  • United Stationers
  • Amazon

Well, the list could go on for quite a while but you get the point. The best advice anyone gave me was starting the search early, so ideally I'll have the luxury of being picky. So I went a head and made a bookmark folder called "Internship Search" and took to the web determined to find some good prospects. 

Here's a couple of companies I'm looking into
  • SES 
  • AT and T
  • Verizon
  • Johnson and Johnson (the holy grail of consumer good internships clearly) 
  • Pfizer (also holy grail of consumer goods because there are multiple holy grails)
Thats just a taste of course.

I've also completely revamped my resume into "Iowa Formatting" and set up a starting point interview with the Iowa Career center. 

If anyone else has thoughts or connections at these companies I would love to hear them. I'm hoping that doing the leg work now will enhance my prospects.