Personal Competencies

There are a tonne of resources under the Penna Sunrise program. I intend to work through this although the total estimate of the time required seems large to me. We’ll see. Currently, I’m on the tools they have to identify Skills & Achievements. I’ve just done the Personal Competencies test which gave the Results below.

To use the results, one should:

  • Bring out Strong Competencies in CV and Interview
  • Reflect on how to turn important and weak competencies into strengths

The importance was based on my past job. I think it would be useful to review this list based on the job I apply for when targeting CVs/prepping for interviews as the importance may be different depending on the role.

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Week 3, Day 1 : Happy Anniversary Again

Hmm, so I’ve discovered that you start a blog and then one week later, stop. Is that normal? I guess it is. I’ve been a bit busy with life which I suppose is a good thing. Life including my daughter’s birthday, a family party for that, my niece’s birthday, a family party for that, my Wife and other daughter going away to Barcelona for the weekend, a Bank Holiday, a trip to London for a Doctor’s appointment. Stuff like that. And also to be honest a bit of a rebound from the initial enthusiasm about losing my job. Yes, a bit of grumpiness, anger and ‘I cannot be arsed now’ with this finding a job/career/next step thing.

So where did I get? Well, the main thing is that almost immediately after the last post, a career advisor, John, from Penna got in touch with me and we met up at the end of last week. That was a good 2-hour wide-ranging get-to-know-you talk-about-finding-a-job session. It generated lots of notes, that I’ve been too scared to go back to, which I will blog about in due course.

Plus the nice HR lady sent me a bunch of feedback ( and praise ) on my CV so I spent some time producing some more versions.

  • Kick off meeting with Career Consultant
  • 1:1 Consultancy End Date will be July 29th so USE IT OR LOSE IT
  • Produced 2 more CV versions with HR feedback and Personal Statement

The article of the day is the rise of the middle-aged intern which mentions that Goldman Sachs, MetLife, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Barclays now have internship programmes for older workers. Not sure I want to be an intern but some of the qualities of more experienced workers resonate with me like ‘resilient and adaptable’ and ‘sounding board and a mentor’.

Day 6: If yesterday was about writing, today is about reading

If yesterday was about writing, today is about reading. Again, plotting your next step is a little daunting and you can get easily distracted by other things like reading interesting articles about Amazon Web Services. One of my friends who has started his own company, now there’s an idea, thinks this is the best thing since sliced bread.

There’s also good news. Dr. M has pulled it out of the bag and managed to fit me in before the health insurance runs out and my face rots off. The HR lady had offered to look into whether they could extend the insurance a day or two which was very nice of her but this is a weight off. Plus the penny dropped the over the weekend that Dr. M and I have a mutual friend so that will be something to talk about when we catch up.

  • Emailed CV to HR, Requested Jira list and tech cheat sheet
  • Emailed CV to outplacement Firm. Planned travel to meeting tomorrow
  • Read article of the day how-to-get-your-interview-meeting and added notes to MindMap
  • Read through LifeWorks article on  ‘Getting Going on Your Job Search’
  • Made notes on:
    • ‘Identifying your skills and goals’
    • ‘Networking’
    • ‘Job Adverts’
  • Added my own review comments to my CV in Google docs.
  • Reviewed open roles sent by HR. Checked skills on interesting ones.
  • Had a serious think about working abroad.

So the last bullet was an interesting one.  A review of global IT jobs that HR sent me confirms what I knew already, all the interesting IT jobs are not in New York, London or Hong Kong, but Budapest (BP). Conceptually there is nothing stopping me applying for these jobs. Likewise, if I was to go after a similar job at the same Firm it would have to be in BP. Ironically there was even a role in the same somewhat niche business process I specialised in, although in a different division. Can’t say I’m not interested.

Big step? What a great excuse for an awfully big adventure. I was lucky enough to move to New Zealand  when I was seven. It was a great experience in my life. Jeez, I practically owe it to my kids to drag them to another country! Learn the Hungarian language, live in a vibrant beautiful city, rent out your house back home, have an adventure. It’s sounding like a great idea. A quick scan show’s schools and further education are covered. Plus I’ve been working with people in Budapest day to day for the last two years, and on and off for 4 or more? The reason Firms operate in Hungary is that it has a good education system and churns out lots of 1st class computer scientists. This is definitely something to THINK ABOUT.

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Day 5: The CV

It’s Monday. The FIRST MONDAY. Bit disappointed to find that Sunday night still comes with a bit of “it’s Monday tomorrow” anxiety when you are unemployed. Feel it’s best to ESTABLISH A ROUTINE quickly. So start with STICKING TO THE ROUTINE. Up at 6 am to work out , do some chores and then start work by 9. Can’t you get up a bit later now” says the Wife. “No I blinkin’ can’t”. I’m too afraid of a slippery slope that ends up with me still in my pyjamas at lunchtime.

Nonetheless the normal routine seems to take longer than usual and when I finally find myself at my study desk I suddenly have an insatiable need to dust the shitake mushrooms out of it. I realise this is all a symptom of the dread surrounding writing The CV.

Fortunately Google docs have a reasonable template. On goes the Name and the Personal Details. There. We’re off. And that’s also about as far as I got on my 1st year Maths paper at Cambridge where I discovered the gap between state school maths and university was pretty much the same as that between an abacus and a computer.

Coffee. Post box. Chemist. COME! ON!

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Day 4: Now I’m an archetypal cliche I might as well start a blog

I’m slightly conscious I am a bit of cliche. 40-year-old ‘career lifer’ who’s fallen short of early retirement but with zero experience of doing anything else. With the kids and the mortgage. Hell, we even got asked to be in a National Trust photo shoot the other day we’re so blinking model family. I have in fact also already started my mid life crisis. My Wife brought me a body building book last year and I’ve become quite addicted to it. I’m probably only one spliff away from going full Lester Burnham.

With that in mind, I thought I’d try blogging. Not done it before. Never kept a journal. Losing your job is about as clear a line in the sand as you can get. So if you are going to record something you might as well record the next steps in figuring out what to do after that. So here it is. My first blog brought bang up-to-date on Day 4.

  • Reviewed CV making notes from HR meeting and looked at the CV builder on the Penna site

Decided actually writing up a CV was ‘work’ and thus, should be done on a Monday rather than the ‘day of rest’. Plus a blog offers a splendid outlet for procrastination. Hmm, I wonder if I can monetize it with adverts, links and publishing deals when it takes off … best not to put any hope on that one.

Day 2: I went to London as Me and came back an Unemployed Cancer Patient

Off to London today for a couple of appointments. The first is with a doctor as I have a basal cell cancer on my right cheek which needs to come off. The second is with HR at the office for the first redundancy consultation.

The doctor was very nice and seems strangely familiar. He will remove the skin cancer using Mors Surgery. “However small it is it feels huge to the patient”, he says. “Don’t worry”, I say, “I told my wife I would be coming back with half my face missing”. “Probably only a tenth”, he dead-pans. Oh the japes we are having. Now for the punch. He can’t do the op until May 22nd. I’m pretty sure my health insurance will have run out by then. I will check with HR.

It’s now lunchtime so I stop for a bite in Pimilco Pizza Express. It’s very nice and has wifi which is what us modern day job seekers require. For 30 seconds I feel like crying but then an excellent calzone arrives and I soon start feeling better.

I then go to a vodafone shop and look at phones as the scrubbed blackberry still works but not for long. I’m torn between the Blackberry PRIV at one end of the scale, and the 10 quid Alcatel at the other end of the scale. Luckily for me the display blackberry has a wonky space key which makes writing INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING. Hate shopping. Leave.

I meet a good friend (Ex-colleague, contractor, entrepreneur, and ‘Man On The Inside’ at the old company) for a very civilized mint tea. He reads out the roll call of the those that have departed. I feel better again. I’m in illustrious company.

I make a point of meeting him in the lobby of the office. I’ve learnt from bitter experience that its best to knock that one down as soon as possible. Firstly, the security guard does not rugby tackle me to the ground. He’s not even holding a list of names like you sometimes see. Secondly, absolutely nobody I know appears as I’m enjoying the fine leather arm chairs. Lastly my longest standing client does not come sprinting over to poach me out of IT. It’s all a bit disappointing quite frankly.

Finally I’m off to the meeting with HR. I’m ushered into the inner sanctum of HR and into the private office of a very nice lady, who I suspect may be the BOSS. It feels like I am getting the VIP treatment. I’m flattered. She lets slip that this round is less than 100 people so I probably am. Lucky me.

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