I am not a strong swimmer, but I don’t always wear a flipper or mask. And I got into some trouble in the water, last week.
It happened quickly. The experience was quiet. There was no thrashing or waving of my hands. I couldn’t get my mouth and nose above the water line. And I couldn’t really make eye contact with any of the other swimmers around me.
My husband pulled me to shallower waters. I would have drowned without his help.
- Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
- Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
- Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
- Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
- From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.
Drowning isn’t dramatic, which surprised the hell out of me. So I am going to take swim lessons (again for the billionth time) and always wear a stupid floaty jacket in the water.
This experience changed my life. I wanted to tell you about it.
“Good work gets noticed.”
I know you don’t believe me. You think you are doing an awesome job and lighting the world on fire. But no one notices. And you feel jacked by the system.
This is important: You are not doing good work. I’m sorry. Someone needed to tell you. Good work gets noticed.
Maybe it’s not noticed right now. Maybe not tomorrow. But building a solid foundation of knowledge, skills and abilities — and having a work ethic — will always pay off. You will always win by doing good work.
If you are not winning and you are always a victim, maybe it is time to look internally and assess your skills. Maybe you are not as smart as you think you are. Maybe you have a horrible attitude. Maybe you should find a new career. I’m not sure. But don’t buy into the myth that you have to be engaged to do great work. I have plodded my way through many weird and sketchy employment situations by hunkering down and focusing on the work.
Some jobs suck more than others. That’s no excuse. Every job offers an opportunity to learn and grow. And if you have a work ethic and produce great results, you will be recognized and rewarded.
Everyone wants to know how to get a raise.
- Don’t ask at the wrong time. If your company has an annual review process, ask then. If you don’t have an annual review process, try to sync your request with your hire date.
- Have the right kind of data. How have you made the company money? How have you saved the organization money? How are you measurably better than some schmuck off the street? Those points matter. You know what doesn’t matter? Salary data from the internet. Nobody cares.
- Ask nicely. HR doesn’t negotiate with terrorists or people who are threatening to leave.
- Advocate on behalf of other people. Labor costs aren’t fixed even when we say they are fixed. If you see someone who is working hard and isn’t earning a fair wage, say something. Equal pay for equal work benefits everyone in the long run.
- Make it hard for them to say no. Be an awesome human being. Have good ideas. Be genuine and helpful. And in a separate conversation that has nothing to do with your raise, provide your leaders with clear ways to save cash and build the business. Ingenuity goes a long way.
- Ask the right person. More than likely, your boss cannot give you a raise. It has to go through an approval process. Even though you’re asking your boss for a raise, try to remember that you are really asking the CEO. Figure out what motivates him to say yes.
I still think the best way to get a raise is to quit your job. Unfortunately, it’s easier to quit a job (and avoid internal politics) and bump your salary 10% than stay and fight.
Who has time in life to fight?
Being a psychic is a full-time job that can pay pretty well. I thought it might be helpful to tell you how Sylvia Browne makes money. Beyond lying and being a total piece of shit, she employs another technique. It’s called cold reading.
Cold reading is a series of techniques used by some mentalists, psychics, fortune-tellers, mediums and illusionists to determine or express details about another person, often in order to convince them that the reader knows much more about a subject than they actually do. Without prior knowledge of a person, a practiced cold reader can still quickly obtain a great deal of information about the subject by analyzing the person’s body language, age, clothing or fashion, hairstyle, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race or ethnicity, level of education, manner of speech, place of origin, etc. Cold readers commonly employ high probability guesses about the subject, quickly picking up on signals from their subjects as to whether their guesses are in the right direction or not, and then emphasizing and reinforcing any chance connections the subjects acknowledge while quickly moving on from missed guesses.
Psychics size you up. Quickly. And because the human condition isn’t tremendously complex, they often get important things right. Love. Loss. Heartache. Death. Financial struggles.
Recruiters use cold reading, too. If you are lucky enough to actually pass the six-second resume test and meet with a recruiter or HR professional, many will judge you based on the same criteria listed above — even if those judgements are illegal.
I wonder why we have interviews at all. HR professionals could easily do background checks to verify data on a CV. We can do assessments to determine competencies. We can test for values and work ethics. And we could actually meet a candidate via Skype or HireVue before the first day of work.
But no. Recruiters want to see you in the flesh. They want to look you in the eye and make sure you’re likable and you are a good cultural fit.
I get it . . . . but I think it’s a version of cold reading. It seems unreasonable to believe that someone can meet with you for 30 minutes and judge your motivation, aptitude and ability based on a simple conversation. To me, it feels nothing more than an unsophisticated psychic trick. And I think that technology can solve for bias and discrimination in the hiring process.
But my opinion is not widely held among HR and recruiting professionals.
So what can you do to protect yourself from cold reading and have a fighting chance?
I dunno. You can follow the shitty career advice you see out there.
- Do your research on a company.
- Wear clean clothes.
- Don’t smell.
- Don’t be too ethnic or too religious.
- Don’t be too fat, too old or too expensive to employ.
- Don’t talk too much.
- Don’t stutter.
- Sit up tall.
- Don’t say anything negative about your previous employer.
- Be cheap.
- Be available.
- Show loyalty without being too desperate.
If you can pass the cold reading test and get a job in 2013, you let me know.