Leadership: Your Principles, or Theirs?

In my opinion,  following someone else’s principles does not make you, me, or anyone a leader. Regardless of this type of leadership training, it is still subordination. A true leader learns from his or her trial-and-error—forgive me, if it is cliche to say, but it is the truth.

Unfortunately, no manual or instruction exists in solving personal trial-and-error in a professional setting. That is the beauty of it. You can design your own principles.

For some time, I have been struggling with this concept. Am I truly a leader in someone else’s workplace? Sure, I carry out what it is required of me, but I just do not feel the leader in me rising. Believe me. I stand up for my convictions. At times, I modify them, in order, to integrate with current operations. Still…

Some of these management programs do not inspire me as much as I want them to inspire me. I constantly see errors in those programs. Why would I solve someone else’s errors and not mine? I find it annoying that it comes to this point in professionalism. No longer am I interested in solving someone else’s problems. I have my own!!

Not once have I received a congratulation from someone who sees that I know and do more than average. It is always criticisms that I receive—well, it seems that way. Nothing annoys me more than finding out that former colleagues never knew sh*t, anyway, and continued calling themselves “leaders”. Make the A.

Quantify Resumes

Between functional and chronological resumes, quantifiable resumes must fit somewhere. It seems to be a trend going around in the job interviews. You’d think that quantifiable resumes only pertain to those in financial industries, or numerical data-driven companies. Nope.

In conjunction with my advice on other resumes,  quantifiable resumes will get you in the door faster and/ or hired directly into senior positions. You can talk about your experiences numerically—how much have you improved productivity?

To compute your productivity rate:

tally up the original work you done,

analyze it for any glitches,

develop a plan to fix those glitches if applicable,

implement the plan,

tally up both successes and failures of plan,

and, finally, subtract the tally of plan from tally of original work

and divide the difference into the tally of original work times 100. Wah-lah!

Yes, that’s statistics above. A portfolio plus quantifiable resume will make you the professional that you really are. Make the A.

Reflection on Teaching

At a much, much later date, I plan to enroll in alternatives teaching programs as an extension of my career. Without realizing what these programs really are, this past summer I naively applied to two accelerated and well-known teaching programs for the possibility to have employment by next school year. During that time, I was desperately finding a job just to satisfy the advice of my business advisor. Red flag!

Unfortunately, my applications passed with flying colors. However, the interviews were off…beat. (Then, again, what interview is not off-beat?) Throughout the interview experience, I sensed that something was wrong with each program. For one interview, I would teach a lesson and participate in a group activity. Fine…nothing was out the ordinary. Presentations and panels were common in interviews, but coercing interviewees to agree with your principles before even knowing them was entirely something else. Red flag!

The other interview was over the phone. I partook in a creepy role-playing interview…yuck! The interviewer played the coach and I, the student-teacher. Apparently, I was supposed to sound a bit more commanding when giving instructions. Another red flag! She coached me into it?! I think? In my mind, I was thinking that this was fucking stupid…fucking flat-out fucking stupid. What the hell were the children? Drones?!

Fortunately, I were not selected. After the interviews, I set out to do some research on these type of teaching programs. Be absolutely cautious of  what is called “urban education.” Yes, me, a minority woman said and typed it. Why? Because it would marginalize the low-income communities even more. Make the A.

 

Catch up w/ Me

Happy New Year!!!

Last year, for me, had taught me a tough lesson: letting go. Before, I would hold onto bad memories and grudges apparently for no reason at all. I could not blame anyone else but myself for allowing them to manifest. At that point in my life, I began to fully accept myself—finally! But, that was not what I wanted to tell you.

This past summer I set out to write manuscripts and research literary agents but ended in a writing block. All this content I had led me nothingness. (Currently, I am still in a writer’s block.) Soon, I would be unstuck. However, I wrote my first book proposal on how to style fashion accessories to market my online boutique. It didn’t get picked up, or else I would have heard from a literary agent by now. I submitted it in June! You know that I must start somewhere.

Much earlier in 2014, I attended meetings and seminars about starting and growing small businesses. The information attained from meetings and seminars were no different than the material taught in my former business classes at college. It was great that I received some type of confirmation on what I learned but, not so great, to discover that the information was outdated for my type of business model. I am shocked that there were not much information available about Internet businesses. Plus, another thing, that got on my nerves, was my business advisor telling me to get a job!! Blah. So, I got a job closely related to finances, in order, for me to gain experience in managing and strategizing revenue while I develop and research bioinformatics tools.

None of the venture capitalists would fund-raise my online boutique without me having some income already. Sometimes, I would wonder how did Facebook or Google find the money to back itself without capital during its start up phase.  Successfully, I found a way to lower operation costs—not so much for marketing. I am still learning the ground work for the type of marketing appropriate for my business model. Make the A.

 

Today’s Most Marketable Skill

For honoring the class of 2014, Webucator, Inc. requested me to write a piece on the most marketable skill. The questions given to me were thought-provoking and sought after honest, not mumbo-jumbo, answers. For example, I was asked “what is essential for success;” “what skill is personally important;” and “what is the call for action to…implement it?”

From previous paragraph, in bold, I have highlighted the most marketable skill, which is “implement,” that most job seekers seem to lack, or are unaware of how important it is to have it. “What projects have you implemented?,” or a similar question, will be what stoops job seekers with no or little experience in implementation during interviews. Hence, implementation skills are crucial and can provide an overview of job seekers’ attributes in a nut-shell to the interviewers. Keep in mind that interviewers do not like their time wasted on someone that does not qualify for the job.

What is essential for success?

In your shoes, I have been! I also share the experiences and struggles in finding jobs and matching my qualifications to job preferences. Sometimes, I feel that I am going no where in this job-seeking process. Then, when I get interviews, there are no job offers. The cycle just continues and drives me crazy! Believe me. I know. Hopefully, my experiences can prevent you from wasting energy on job announcements that may not be for you. Here is what you can do:

  • take inventory of your skills
  • explain how you developed and implemented those skills
  • relate your implementation experiences to job preferences
  • decide if you have met more than 80% of job description
  • narrow down your job search based on your implementation experiences
  • be creative and find ways to span your implementation skills

What personally makes implementation today’s most marketable skill?

Without my implementation skills, I may have not been hired as a bioinformatics analyst. My independent research writing project has led me to apply to Innovative Products Research & Services, Inc. based on my prior implementation experiences involving proteomics data management and research. Let your projects do most of the “talking.” To remember what you have done for each project, it is best to keep some documentation referencing the skills used in projects, role you held and results derived from those skills. Also, you may want to record how you troubleshoot some implementation issues. It takes some practice and several rituals later to become familiar with documenting almost every career-related project you have done thoroughly. This practice will truly make you stand out in interviews.

What is the call for action to implement…implementation skills?!

All you have learned leads to how well you can apply what you have learned. Classroom assignments are not enough for implementation, because satisfactory academic performance develops only in a controlled environment. What interviewers really want to know is how have you applied what you have learned in the real world in real-time. Some university programs provide practicums and internships. These entry-level positions are a great way to jump start your career. If you are not sure about your career, they provide tremendous work experiences for potential apprenticeships down the road. At times, you may receive volunteer, or nonpaid work, while you search for jobs or hold a minimum wage job. Every experience counts. Never rule out anything. As daunting the job market can be, opportunities will come sparse and randomly. In preparation of these opportunities, your call for action to implement must include:

  • well-developed skills
  • application of skills in group or self-directed projects
  • documented skills encouraging desired results
  • role held while demonstrating skills
  • date and description of projects

Moreover, implementation involves a set of skills typically variable from person to person. By housing it in a portfolio, you are able to demonstrate your core attributes: leadership, application, computation and communication. Make the A.

 

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While Away, Have a Great Summer

Before I break for the summer, I want to leave you with a thought provoking post until I return in the fall. Have you really thought of how to actually live your life?

At times, I struggle on the question above. There’s so much to take in consideration. Typically, a thought can become an action in no time, but has any of us ever just sit in silence and start to think in future tense, especially, about events we plan in our heads for ourselves to do later?

Sure, spiritual literature says that we must be in the now, in the present. But, that principle is for those wanting to live a serene life. What principle is for those of us already living a serene life? A serene life cannot be the final destiny, or answer to life’s quests. There’s just too much in life to enjoy being almost absent-minded.

No, I will not start a new spiritual awakening movement on fleeing from serenity. Seeking serenity has its purposes and is appropriate on some occasions, just not this summer. I seek serious adrenaline rush—sky driving, water rafting, rock climbing, etc! Make the A.

 

A Tip in Business

One thing I’ve noticed about business is that it requires simple and basic soft skills: reading, writing, speaking, listening, presenting, analyzing, computing, and researching. Regardless of format, these soft skills reside under one umbrella term: communication.

From a LinkedIn forum, a member points out that people in business tends to over think forms of communications, especially, in marketing. I agree. Sometimes, we do in general and forget the basics. If a customer wants and needs it, it will sell!

So, business models shall be based on customers’ wants and needs. To find the wants and needs of any customer, we have to engage in communication with our customer despite scaling.

Projected business plans do not work but agile does. Since there aren’t any real customers in projections, there aren’t any real metrics to be reported. It is impossible to grow a business on what it needs—a totally different business model from customer engagement.

If we are in business, we must build meaningful relationships with our customers as time goes and as our brand progresses. Instead of projecting the potentiality of our businesses, we can evaluate what we already have ourselves and demonstrate what our businesses already offer to bypass the mumbo-jumbo. Make the A.