Aug. 6, 2020



It's a surreal time. Millions are unemployed and, for others, work has changed in ways they never imagined. This week we talk with career and leadership coach Karen Gulliford about managing change, what it takes to lead during a pandemic and why NOW could actually be the time to find a job or a career that fits you better than the one you’re leaving behind.

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Cindy Sealls: 0:00Who was I talking to today? Oh, I was talking to my coworker and we were just talking about, I mean, our total system of how we do our work completely changing. Then we started talking about our kids and how their school is completely changing. She has a kid in high school and a kid going to college. We're just like, we don't even know where , you know, things are so up in the air. We have to be flexible. We have to be adaptable. It's the only way we can survive. And that's the only way human beings have survived. Karen's whole talk feeds into exactly why you started this podcast.

Kelley Lynch: 0:42Really?

Cindy Sealls: 0:43Yeah. Because think you're sitting there and you're like, ah , man, I can't go anywhere. And you're like, wait, this is kinda nice. Kinda not having to go anywhere and not having to feel like I have to do something. And then you get to, huh? I wonder if this could make us think differently about a lot of things. Maybe this is a chance for us to figure out a new path and this isn't even a, maybe it's a chance . This is, we will have to figure it out. We don't have any choice. The pandemic is forcing us to go down forks in the road that we don't know where they will lead.

Kelley Lynch: 1:29And it's actually a lot like a creative endeavor. I learned a long time ago, actually in art school that often it's those little deaths and disasters that happen, whether it's on the canvas or it's when you're designing a book. There will always be something, sometimes something major, sometimes something more minor. Something goes wrong and it causes you to have to totally rethink everything. And yet coming out the other side, you say, Oh my God, that is so much better than it would have been if I just carried on down the path that I thought. And so eventually as a creative person, I think you get to where you're actually expecting those things. And what you do is you see them as opportunities. I mean, yes, it kills your old idea and it, and it's a pain in the ass because you've got to go back to the drawing board and you've got to rethink and you've got to spend more hours and spend more time. And often that's time that nobody's going to pay you for. But you know that coming out the other side, there's going to be something so much better.

Cindy Sealls: 2:45See, you as a creative, know that. Me as sort of more an analytical kind of person, we don't like that beause we want to know. Because we want this plan and we want the plan all laid out. You know, What's going to happen when I get to there? You know, you're a person who would go, Oh , I don't know. Let's go see what's gonna happen. And I'm a person who's going, okay, you go up there and see, and you come back and tell me, and then I'll go.

Kelley Lynch: 3:17I'll decide if I want to go up there.

Cindy Sealls: 3:19I'll decide if I want to go up there. But the beauty in having all kinds of people in the world is, yeah, you're going to have a bunch of people who are going to be like, no, this just feels so much more comfortable. We know what's going to happen. And then you have people who are going, let's just go see what's over there. Let's you know, let's just see. That's the beauty of human beings, right? It takes all of us.

Kelley & Cindy: 3:53Hi , I'm Kelly Lynch and I'm Cindy Sealls. Welcome to a new normal, a podcast about how we're adapting to life during the pandemic and where we go from here. Our guest today is Karen Gulliford. Karen is a career and leadership coach based in Richmond, Virginia. We talked to Karen about changes in the workplace, what it takes to lead in a pandemic and why now might be the time to find a job or a career that's better than the one you're being forced to leave behind.

Kelley Lynch: 4:27Karen. It's great to see you welcome to the podcast.

Karen Gulliford: 4:31So wonderful to be here today.

Kelley Lynch: 4:33Can we start by asking you to share a little bit about what you do because you do so many different things?

Karen Gulliford: 4:41Sure. So I have built my career in a couple of different ways. I've been a traditional employee in human resources and many different types of organizations from professional services to law firms to retail. I actually worked with Macy's for quite a while. And then around 2003, I had a major life change. My husband became ill and we decided to basically pack up and move back to Virginia and I opened up my own shop. So I used a lot of my experiences in working in organizations and human resources to launch my own consulting business. Now, when I got to Richmond, it was very difficult because I didn't know anybody. So it's like, how do you start a business and you don't have any contacts? So I did like traditional HR temping myself out and that's how I learned the Richmond Virginia market. And that's where I live now. I live right outside of Richmond. So my business grew and it grew through just making connections, learning about organizations. And I went back, got my master's degree in adult learning and just kind of perfected my craft of consulting skills as well as helping organizations develop their learning programs and how to develop leadership. And then I started this journey of becoming a professional coach. So I do a lot of consulting. I do coaching. I do a fair amount of leadership training. I work in organizations that tend to be traditional. Um, we're talking about state government, we're talking about universities , organizations that have really prided themselves on staying the course. And as we know, in this environment, especially in 2020, organizations cannot rely on their traditions anymore. So I had been pretty busy the last few years. And then when COVID came into our life in March, you know, the world just kind of came to a stop and I thought, I don't know if people are going to really want to use my skills or people are too scared to spend money on consultants right now. But I found that where the need is is "Okay, we have to change now." So I'm doing a lot of change management and like, what do we do? Like how do we run our organizations? And so I'm coaching people around, even things like job loss, coaching people around how to be better leaders. How do I manage people that aren't sitting in my building anymore and they're at home. So I'm doing some of that and I'm still providing some learning opportunities and some workshops. I actually just did a workshop yesterday on emotional intelligence. So maybe we'll have some time to talk a little bit about EQ because that's what we need right now to live through this pandemic and all of the change that we're dealing with with racial inequalities.

Kelley Lynch: 7:39Well, let's go there now. So yeah. Tell us about emotional intelligence and how it fits into what you're seeing in terms of the pandemic.

Karen Gulliford: 7:47Emotional intelligence came around as a term, kind of in the 1970s, thanks to some research and work of Daniel Goldman . And I became very interested in emotional intelligence because as a person who's interested in leadership development, I was trying to find what makes an effective leader. And the more that you look at people who are very successful and people who are able to manage change within themselves and within the organizations and do things like lead people, motivate others, develop people. They have this thing called emotional intelligence, which is very different than intelligence. So I know a lot of smart people. I know a lot of people who've got a lot of PhDs, got a lot of degrees, a lot of certifications, a lot of initials behind their name, but they do not have emotional intelligence. And emotional intelligence is made up of many different facets. It's a skillset and it's behavioral. And that is the key that propels a lot of leaders. And to that next level leaders who have high intelligence, they make more money and they get promoted quicker. So it's not how many degrees you have. It's not smarts. It's not certifications. It is emotional intelligence working in dealing with people, understanding your own emotions and also being in touch with others' emotions and feelings, and having that empathy, having social responsibility, caring about the work, caring about your clients, caring about your staff and your employees as people. Listening, being able to take a walk in someone else's shoes, the ability to be flexible. And it also includes having a good regard for yourself and not getting down on yourself so quickly. But instead, being able to manage through difficulty and failure and use those as growth opportunities rather than continuously beating yourself up and managing some of the stresses that come in life and we're dealing with a lot of stress right now. So emotional intelligence is what is getting, not just leaders, but just getting all of us through pandemic, through stress, through having our lives and schedules disrupted.

Kelley Lynch: 10:11Like you said, part of this is how people actually deal with change. So how does that show up for people? I mean, when somebody's dealing with it well, when somebody's struggling, whether personally, or also in their organization?

Karen Gulliford: 10:26So part of personal change is being able to adapt and also we hear the word a lot resilience. We have talked about this. I have taught numerous courses and here we are where we really need to use those skills. And they're difficult. Change is really a grief cycle. When you lose the way that you used to live your life. When you lose working in an office with your coworker. I'm hearing a lot about people who are very sad right now. Maybe they haven't lost their job, but they've lost that connection to their coworkers and sorry, but the zoom is not doing it for a lot of people. They really want to see their coworkers and interact and brainstorm and have those impromptu conversations they're missing. That is a difficult new way of life for many people, even things as simple as routines, you know, the time you get up the time you make breakfast, your exercise routine. You know, you used to send your kids on the school bus or drive them to school. And now everybody's at home and they want you to cater to them. And Oh, mom's home. She's not doing anything. No I'm working. What are you talking about? Cause they've never seen their parents work before. So this is a grief cycle of losing that routine. That is kind of a rhythm that we naturally get into at home and at work. And it's been greatly disrupted. I haven't talked to anybody who hasn't had some part of their life greatly disrupted. So it it's a grief cycle. And part of the grief cycle is letting go of the fact that you're not going to have that rhythm that you used to have. And you have to let go of what was in order to come out on the other side, which is acceptance. You know, when I study job loss, we basically were taught to look at the Kubler Ross's grief model. And when people lose their jobs, you will see them go through all of those phases. At first, it's like, yeah, I think I might be losing my job, but yeah, whatever. And then all of a sudden it happens, Oh, it's for real. So then you deal with it and you try to let go. Usually the next phase is complete dismay and disorientation and sort of this disorganization, like you just can't figure out what you're doing. Like, I hear a lot of people right now saying that they don't even know what time to eat anymore. Everything's just off, but we have to go through that cycle in order to figure our way out of it. So that's what I'm seeing with coaching clients. I'm seeing that with leaders, I'm seeing that with employees, they're going through a grief cycle. We have to name it. We have to deal with that uncomfortable feeling that we have. And then we have to find some new ways of living and some organizations, I'm finding, are doing that pretty well. And then there are some organizations where I'm seeing a lot of struggle. Some of the more traditional clients who really kind of put their stake in the ground about this is our way of doing things. They're having a lot more difficulty in making decisions and accepting the technology, accepting the fact that you cannot see your employees working anymore. It seems to be very challenging for a lot of managers. And so that's what I'm trying to help people see is, you're going to have to let go of the fact that that's the way you liked it. Now we've got to move over here.

Kelley Lynch: 14:11Can you give me an example of how companies are managing this kind of a change, whether for better or for worse?

Karen Gulliford: 14:19So in March, you know, very quickly, we all had to just make that quick shift. That was the beginning of a new world. This particular client had a very difficult time shifting to, "We need to take care of health and safety first and get people home." That particular organization probably took three to four weeks to finally come up with a definitive plan to send people home. I'm looking at the employees and I'm thinking, if this is a pandemic, we don't know. We don't know about this thing yet so why are we still asking people to come in to work every day? And at least, here's the first thing, we have to communicate. We have to acknowledge, we have a big change coming and we need to lean on our values. So values are very, very important. When they face a crisis, companies have to pull their values out and say, how do we want to live? If you really, really live the values. And they're not just pieces of paper on the wall that will guide you as to what to do. What they should have done is send a communication out to say, Hey, we have a major health crisis. We don't know how this is going to impact our business yet. But in the meantime, what we're going to begin doing is starting the process of moving people to work at home. And you can even tell your employees, we don't know if we're doing this right or not, but this is what we're thinking. And then just kind of share what the plan is. And that way, even if you don't do it right, the employee knows that you were thinking about them and their safety first, and you try to do the right thing. And that goes a long way. My criticism of that particular organization was they didn't say anything in a timely manner because of fear that they might have to change it. That's okay. Part of change is changing. So communication early is what I've seen is the most effective way to retain and keep your workforce engaged during this time that we're in. They didn't do that so well. Now I saw some other clients of mine do a very good job. So for example, another company, which was kind of small, the minute that they heard the word pandemic, they immediately said, what do you guys need to work at home? What concerns do you have before I send you home? Immediately, the CEO, procured, scanners, laptops, printers contacted all the vendors. All the stakeholders, put something out on their website. This is what we're going to do. If you need to reach us, there might be a small delay, but this is what you can expect. Operations are open, et cetera. Those organizations were much more agile in making the shift and it was through communication. So communication is key. You have to use your values. If your values say that you care about people, that should be guiding what the leadership should be doing. If you take care of the people first, instead of first thing you think about is money and profit, the employees feel that they know that money is more important than their life. And so you're not going to get productivity and they're not going to take care of your customers. I was just amazed at companies that would call and say, well, how do I keep people working and keep them productive? And it's like, well, if you haven't been treating them really well up to this point, good luck. You know, when we talk about employee engagement and employee, employer, relationship, those have to be strong all the time. So that when something like this happens, you'll be able to keep that level of trust and communication there. And you can just keep going. So if you call me during a pandemic and say, Hey, can you come in and help me get these people to work harder? I can't really help you with that because if you haven't done the communication, or if you haven't been living the values or you haven't been building a respectful relationship with your staff up to this point, you're not going to get any productivity now because they know that you really don't have their best interests at heart.

Kelley Lynch: 18:48As I'm sitting here listening, I find that that's really also where we are as a country. I mean, you have to have engaged leadership. You know, you have to have a trusting relationship. You have to have accurate and timely information and conversations. Whether we think of ourselves as a family or as a business or whatever we want to think of ourselves as, the parallels were too much to pass up. Oh, also the values leaning on your values.

Karen Gulliford: 19:20Organizations are always touting your values. If you go on any major company's website, there's values everywhere. So there's two types of values. There's espoused values. Those are the values that you say you have. And then there's lived values. The values that we actually see in action. So when I work with organizations, I'm looking for things like values and I'm looking for are they lived or not lived? And I find that organizations that do not live the values, it causes a very dysfunctional kind of working environment because the employees know that we should be doing this and we should be treating people a certain way, but we don't. So they play this game with trying to appease people. They avoid conflict, lots of politics. You know , we call it politics, but you have this dysfunctional kind of relationship between people and organizations that they should be living the values, but they don't and the leader is not upholding them and they don't hold people accountable. So you get kind of this crazy kind of relationship where people see what they can get away with and see if I can throw that person under the bus. You know, you see all these kinds of really crazy behaviors. Managers and directors, they should know when people are not living the values and they have to call people on it and they have to do a course correction. So the organizations that are able to manage change and manage stuff like pandemics and switch and change quickly, they rely on those values and they uphold them .

Cindy Sealls: 21:16We're seeing a lot of people in the streets protesting and becoming very engaged with the black lives matter movement. Is this a new normal that companies and organizations will have to address moving forward?

Karen Gulliford: 21:33Organizations are like families. And again, I look at the value systems in which they are living, whether they're lived or not lived. I look at behavior, I look at roles and responsibilities, and I look at the leadership because that's where companies thrive from is direction from leadership. So we know that there's a societal issue, of course, with racism and the employees and the customer want to know, again, are you just saying that you believe in diversity or are you doing it? So companies not only have they been trying to manage pandemic, Oh my gosh, I've got to send people home. I've got to figure out how to keep my operation open. But now the customer is saying, what are you doing about diversity equity and inclusion? The bottom line is it is what happens day to day and the way that we talk to each other, the way that we listen to each other and those conversations sometimes need to be moderated and they have to be managed because it is a type of conversation that we are not trained or comfortable having.

Kelley Lynch: 22:46So again, because I think the workplace is so much a microcosm of our larger culture. How do you do that? What are those essential skills?

Karen Gulliford: 22:59I had one client who asked me, can you help our leaders become better facilitators of having conversations around things like race. And I thought that was really an interesting request because they want to help people get better at hearing different points of view without going crazy. So I keep thinking about my little workshop that I did yesterday. It was a real quick workshop, but I gave some strategies that I think are very practical that will help all of us build some of that thicker skin and being able to hold our own. And you know , part of emotional intelligence is also assertiveness. So assertiveness is a good thing. Assertiveness is standing up for yourself because you care about an issue. So we have to learn how to be assertive without putting other people down. It's okay to say, I don't agree with you. And I found that statement to be really hurtful, but not tell the other person you're an asshole. Um, but there is a way to say, I don't agree. Let me give you my perspective. And we all have triggers from past experiences. You know, many African Americans have lived through some version of trauma, whether that's from not having a father to living in very difficult, challenging neighborhoods, to not have any resources or educational opportunities or being teased, bullied. I mean, we've had it. So there's a lot of triggers in there. And we just have to admit in a workplace, we have to control some of those immediate things that we want to say or do. At the same time, I do think there's a way that we can have productive conversations, that people can speak your truth. It can be done in a way that is in a learning kind of way in a curious kind of way. And one of the best ways to learn how to do that is to practice something as simple, as active listening. And I know this sounds so simple, but active listening is really a great practical tool because it slows you down. So if you're talking to me about your political views or you don't think black lives matter, or you don't like this, or you don't like this, instead of me thinking about how I want to tell you how much of an idiot I think you are. If I use active listening, instead, my brain goes to let me rephrase what Kelley just said. So it stops me from reacting and saying something that makes the conversation go completely downhill. Again, it's easier said than done, but you have to practice it. So as you're talking, I say, so, Kelley, what I heard you say is that you don't really think this black lives matter movement makes any sense, and you really wish that people would stop protesting. Is that right? So immediately I kind of reigned in maybe my emotions and my feelings and my triggers. And all I did was repeat what you said. And sometimes when we do active listening, when the other person hears what they just said, a lot of times they say, I just said that. So well, Karen, that's not exactly what I meant. Oh, I'm sorry. Well, what , what did you mean? So it just kind of lets the other person know. I'm not saying I agree with you, but I heard you. And once the person hears the way that you heard it, sometimes the whole conversation will change. So I know that's a really, really simple practical tool, but it works. Once you show that you respect them, even though you do not agree with anything that they said, they will respect you and they will let you give your point of view. We've got to learn some of these strategies. If we want to continue to live together and work together. Back to the pandemic. I'm seeing a lot of leaders who are not doing a great job of managing their people remotely. They're being extremely harsh on people. They are not listening to the needs of people and change is very emotional. Like I said, people get used to their patterns. They get into a rhythm. It makes them feel very good. They're very productive. And then all of a sudden, you walk out of the office one day and you don't go back to your office and you stay home and you work from home. And people feel very threatened by not being able to do their jobs to the level that they used to. And it's very scary. So they're going through that grief cycle, but they're also experiencing a sense of loss of productivity and that loss of expertise. Because now for the first time, maybe in my whole career, I'm expected to hold a meeting or training. Maybe they've never even used zoom or had to do a webinar. So they're almost starting over again. And it's very frightening. In addition to that, we have to realize people are trying to now work from a home office, which could be a back bedroom in an apartment. It could be someone's deck outside because they've got a whole bunch of other stuff going on inside the house. We can't have this assumption that everybody loves working at home and they've got this great setup and great wifi and a beautiful office and a window. And that's not what most people have. It's a kitchen table, or they're sitting on their floor with their legs crossed, trying to get comfortable and work maybe with a spouse and maybe a couple kids also at home, this is not normal. So leaders have to recognize, this is a whole person who has had their whole way of working ripped from them. And this is not a happy time for a lot of people. So this is where you need the empathy that we were talking about with emotional intelligence is to be able to say, Hey, how's it going? I know this is so disruptive for all of us. How are you doing? What do you need? And really listen. Let them tell you what's really going on. Now, again, this is why you have to have a good relationship with your people. And this should have been happening before March of 2020. Those things were not managed well before. It's really, really showing up now. And so, you know, I always try to be an optimist and say, it's never too late. So if you realize that you haven't been doing the work, you've to start somewhere. And the best way to do that is to be a hundred percent transparent and authentic with your people in your organization and say , you know what? We s hould h ave done better. And actually one of my clients put a statement out that said, we should have done better. And we will do better. You're seeing some top organizations are putting letters out there to the community to say, Shame on us, but here is what we want to do. And it has to be genuine a nd it cannot be lip service. It's not working anymore. It's gotta be so genuine and so in depth and so authentic. And this time, it's not just something we're going to check off the list, but we're actually g oing t o measure it and say a year from now, this is the way we want to behave. This is how we want to hire. This is how we want to look. This is what our board should be looking like. Here's the type of customers that we want to work and partner with. Again, this is all emotional intelligence, authenticity, empathy, caring, social responsibility. And how about get some of your employees involved in this new change that you want to make and ask them, Have we done a poor job of accepting you? Have we alienated you in any kind of way? Where have we fallen short in equitable treatment? Tell me what it was like when you started to work here as one of the only black people in your department. What was that like? What could we do better? That's the kind of conversation. And so companies are revamping the way that they think about their people. Like these are real people with real feelings, really emotions , and they have families. Now we're seeing on zoom calls, people's dogs, kids, you know, these are like real people. People are so surprised to see, you know, their house. Is that your dog and you have children? Yes, I have children.

Cindy Sealls: 31:59Millions of people have lost their jobs. What advice would you give them about how to pivot to maybe a different way of making a living?

Karen Gulliford: 32:09If you remember 2008, 2009 and 2010 companies were laying off people in the hundreds at the drop of a hat and people were not prepared very similar to what we're going through right now. So I'm not sure how the numbers compare. I think the industries have changed a little bit. You know, now we're seeing airline industries , cruise lines, you know, there's some industries we don't know when they're going to be back to the level that they were. And at some point unemployment and severance packages are going to run out and people have to find a job. And so I'll share a little bit about advice I guess I would give just based on my experience from about 10 years ago, when I was involved in outplacement counseling for Wright management. They were the company that trained me how to deal with mass unemployment. So here's the thing for some people, job loss was actually the best thing that ever happened to them. Again, I look at the whole person, right? We spend a third of our life working, and many of us have worked in jobs that we really don't like, and we're wasting our lives. Yes, the jobs provide livelihood. They pay the bills. Maybe we've sent our kids to college on these jobs that we've absolutely hated. You don't have that job anymore. So you may be crying over the money, but you're not crying over the job. So you gotta be able to distinguish between what you're really grieving over. Are you grieving because you don't know how you're going to send your kid to college or take that vacation next summer, or are you grieving? Because that was my career. That was my job. So I think that we have to first determine, are you working in the area that you were meant to be in? Because I really see our careers as sort of our mission in life? Yes, it provides income. Yes. we need to eat and pay bills and all that stuff, which is very important. At the same time, your work is an expression actually of yourself. And so one thing that we always did in outplacement coaching is we would give people career assessments because career assessments are designed to help you take a look at your natural tendencies and your interests and how you like to be managed, which is so important to having a fulfilling job. You can have a great job and have a horrible boss. That's not a good job. You can also have a great boss and a great culture and great work environment, but they've got you like sitting in a cubicle, just like stamping papers all day and you hate it. So that's not really a great job either, even though the people are really nice. So you've got to find out what is that environment in which I thrive and what kind of work should I be doing that is really an expression of myself that I can get up every morning and feel like I have a purpose; that I feel that I'm going to make an impact on the world in some kind of way. And that's what keeps us going as human beings. I don't know if you all read anything by Daniel Pink, but you know, people have been doing motivational research for years and everybody thinks that money and titles make people want to get up in the morning. And he's like, no, that's not what it is. It's three things, autonomy, sense of purpose, and feeling like an expert in something. Those are the three things that make us want to go to work every day. The more that you are in line with how you work and what you're good at the better job that you'll do. Guess what the better job that you do, the better relationships you have at work and the more successful that you'll be, and you'll be in high demand, people will be calling you for job offers. You will never be without a job because you love it and you're good at it because you love it. So they go together. You have to really enjoy the work because every day is not going to be perfect. You're going to have stress. You're going to have crazy coworkers every now and then you're going to get a boss you don't love, but you got to love what you do and you gotta be doing it in the right industry and the right environment or it won't work. So I really believe in career assessments, I've been using Birkman for many, many years and Birkman's a wonderful assessment. It is always spot on. I start giving it to people's kids around age 15 when they even are thinking that they might want to go to some kind of school or college, or it's like, Hey, don't waste your money on four years of college. And you're going to end up in a job you hate. Let's see how you're built inside. Let's see what your personality is like. And then we'll build your learning and your training and your education around that. I believe it's never too late to find that place where you can have both. Youcan have it all. You can have a job that takes care of all of your financial needs and you feel like this is part of my life. I'm going to be spending, you know, 30 to 40% of my time at this place. It better be pretty decent place to go to every day. And I want to feel like I'm making an impact. So I think that if you're facing job loss again, you know, that that money is going to run out, whether it's unemployment, severance, or some kind of combination of the two, there are a few things that I think will really help you land that spot. And this is good for anybody. Actually, if you are in a job and maybe you think your job's pretty secure and you might be feeling a little stuck, this is also what advice I would give you. So the first thing is you want to be really good at what you do. You need to have a craft. So if I ask you Kelly or Cindy, what are you really good at? You should be able to tell me I'm an expert in this, and you need to continue to develop that craft. So if you are a really, really good, IT engineer that craft is changing and you have to go get more training about every three to four years, or you're not a good it engineer anymore. So you have to know what that craft is. And you have to be really good to the point where people say, now, if I want to know about network engineering, I should go see Kelley. That's the kind of reputation you want to have for how good you are. So that's the first thing. If you don't feel that you've really been developing that craft again, it's never too late. There are ways that you can get some pretty free or cheap training and get yourself up to speed. So if you were in a job and you're not getting laid off, don't let your skills go to the wayside. Constantly be working on making yourself a better employee. Secondly is you have to have a network. Most of the jobs that are out there are not going to be posted on Indeed. Now everybody thinks if you need a job, you go to and you put the keywords in there and you find a job and you apply for an application and surely somebody's going to call me, right? It's actually only about 10% of people get jobs that way. Most people get their jobs through word of mouth through having a strong network. Now you may not be a social media person and you may be very private, but I'm telling you if you're not on LinkedIn, no one's ever going to find you. They're never going to network with you. And it's going to be very difficult for someone to hire you without seeing your LinkedIn profile. Sorry, but that's just the way the world is. Now. This is a very connected world. If I get your job application or your resume, whether it's through an online portal or through another friend, I want to look you up. So you're the best way to get a personal website on you is So you have to know people. You have to constantly connect and socialize with people and you think, well, how can I do that now we're in a pandemic? Everybody's at home. It's called zoom. It's called texting. It's called email pick up the phone. So you have to stay connected. And then if you're looking for a job, tell your network what you want to do. Tell them that you're looking, you got to come out and just say it. Don't beat around the bus. Say, Look, I think I might be getting laid off or I'm on unemployment right now. And I got to take a shift. Um, this is what I'm thinking about doing. Do you have, do you know any other people that I should be talking to? And so I know this might be hard for introverts. I know introverts are like, Oh, I don't do networking. Okay? You don't have to like call 10 people a day. We're talking about it can be email. It can be just checking if you are on LinkedIn, you can send people, send a person an InMail and just say, just want to let you know my status. What's going on. This is what I'm I'm looking for. I see that you're connected to people at this company that I'm really hoping to get into. Could you give me some insight? You gotta do that. And the third thing, guess what? We're coming back to emotional intelligence. You have to be a person that people enjoy working with. You have to be a good listener. You have to have empathy for other people. You have to care about other people on your team; help other people get better. So it's not all about you. You can't be one of those people that blows your lid and gets mad and angry and demanding and forceful on people because people will remember that. And that is your reputation. Once your reputation is ruined, the other two factors that I just mentioned won't mean anything. So you can be so good and such an expert and so well trained and such the go to person. You can also have a very strong network and people love connecting with you and you're always out there and you're everywhere. But if your reputation is someone that does not have high emotional intelligence, someone that is unreliable inflexible, not a very good listener, very harsh mean to their employees. That reputation is going to supersede those other really good traits. And you wonder why you're not getting a new job, or why is somebody calling me or how come I've been at this company for 12 years and nobody is recommending me for that promotion. It's one of those three factors is missing either. You haven't been keeping your skills up. You do not have a network. Nobody knows you, nobody knows what you do. Or three, you have a reputation of not having very good emotional intelligence, and you're not a good person to work with. If you can get that full package together, you will find that people land jobs quicker and they keep the jobs that they want longer. They actually avoid being laid off. Those are the people that they keep. And if you're looking for a new job, it will come out in your job interviews because you'll be interviewing very well. So those are kind of my three things that I have found work every single time, whether you have a job looking for a job or just want to make a change.

Kelley Lynch: 43:42I have known a number of people who age is a real concern. A. It's a pandemic. B you know, I've got my kid in college or whatever else. And so I don't have the money to just make a lateral move or make any kind of move. I've got to sit here, change my desk and just, you know, just ride out the rest of my years, doing whatever I can do to survive. I can understand that people really feel that way and that that's a major impediment. And at this point, if you're somebody like that and you are threatened with losing your job. What do you say to people like that?

Karen Gulliford: 44:24So I went through this back in 2008, nine and 10, where a large portion of my clients at the time were in their fifties and were not expecting to be laid off. Now at the time I was probably in my early forties. So I was thinking, Ooh , I'm glad I'm not 54, but now I know what that feels like and here's the thing. And I'll be very honest. One mistake that the middle-age professional makes is they talk about their age all the time. Talk about, I wish I could retire. And , I wish I could just get something to get me to age 62 and then I'm going to retire. Like the whole dialogue is around how old I am. And you know, when you're looking for a job and you start interviewing or just start networking to start telling people what you want to do, that's what people hear is age, age, age. And it sounds like I don't have any runway left or it sounds like I just want to do a little something so I can just kinda like make it until I just get a little bit to that age. And again, that's not what employers want. They want people, it's not an age thing. It's an energy thing. Employers want people, who've still got some gusto and some energy, a lot of ideas. They're still innovative and they're open to learning. That's what an employer wants to hear. I don't care if you're 19 or 70, everybody wants somebody with some energy and some ideas and that, Hey, I want to do something kind of mentality. So I had like, no, no words in interviews that they could not use. Can never say the word retirement. You can never say I'm old. You can never say I can't. I'll be honest with you. And this was for men and women, you are competing with 36 year olds. So you might have to spruce up a little bit. I mean, let's be honest. This world is built around image and the way people look, especially now, you're going to be doing interviews on zoom. So care about yourself. I'm not saying you got to go out and get a plastic surgery and go dye your hair. What I'm saying is look alive and in your mind, see yourself as still viable and that you still care about yourself. That means that as you age, you have to get more rest. You have to take vitamins. You can't eat the way you used to eat anymore. You need to get some exercise and some fresh air, because it shows through. Now that I'm in that age group, myself, I have to kind of coach myself and say, Karen stopped talking about, Oh, we have nine years left. Not , you know, I had to stop talking that way. And instead, talk more about the value that I want to bring. What I still want to accomplish in my career. That might be a great way to start an interview is to say, you know, I'd been working for blank. Number of years, here are the things that I am so good at that I would love to share. And maybe I would like to mentor and support younger colleagues. So you have to talk in terms of value, what you can offer, what you still want to learn. I want to develop my skills. It's never too late to get a certification. And people like to see that. They like to look at resumes and see something probably in the last five years that you've received. So that's what companies are more interested in than your gray hair. They want people that are energetic that have high emotional intelligence, but also I think as you get older, one of the best things that you can offer is that mentorship and leadership. I think that as we get older, we make better leaders. We've seen more, we've done more, we've had more stress, we've seen pitfalls. We can help and mentor other people. So it's not too late. You can switch careers. So what have you done in your life that applies to something now? And I think that you should do market research and see where the jobs are. Look up jobs and read job descriptions and see what people do. Because again, if you've been working for 30, 35 years, you know, job titles change and companies change, and there might be, you're like, what are you do? What does that go? Research it, go find out, ask people what do they do? And find jobs out there that maybe you never even thought of that are perfect for your skillset. If you need some of the qualifications, find out how to get them. There's lots of ways to get training that are inexpensive and short and not having to go back to college. One thing that I do believe in is going back to your community colleges. Community colleges have wonderful certification courses and short programs that help you get licenses or qualify you for the workforce. Here in Richmond, Virginia, they have something called Community College Workforce Alliance, CCWA, and I've taught for them before. And basically what you're doing is you're helping working people keep their skills fresh and you're helping job changers. People who all of a sudden have decided they want to become a chef, or they want to be a real estate agent. Or, you know, maybe you don't want to go to college. Maybe you're 19 years old. You just got out of high school. I don't want to do the four year thing. You can get your license in plumbing, electrical. You know, these are careers that you can have for a very long time and make really good money or even start your own business. And one last thing I want to say about career job change. As we get older, also, we make great consultants because of all this experience we have. Over the years, you've probably done more than one thing. The average person now has four to six job changes. So think about all of those different roles and jobs that you've had. You've picked up different skills. And by the time you're in your mid fifties, you know what you don't ever want to do again, and you know what you love to do. And so you can offer those consulting skills and you can package those skills and open up your business. This is the gig economy. The world of work is changing, I believe, forever. So thinking about a nine to five, you know, with the golden watch at the end, and they're going to throw me a party and get a cake, it's changing. If you're young in spirit healthy, energetic, have a lot of great experience and skills and people are always picking your brain and always asking you how to do something. It's a business. You can charge for your expertise that you've gained over the years. So that's my advice. I know it's a tough environment. I know it's hard. There's not one answer that I have. I think every person has to individually find out what their next place of life is going to be. But again, we have to change and we have to accept that there's a new way to go to work.

Kelley Lynch: 51:41Tanvir. We missed you last week. How are you?

Obaidul Fattah Tanvir: 51:46I'm okay.

Kelley Lynch: 51:49You're just, okay.

Obaidul Fattah Tanvir: 51:51Yeah. Well, we have a heat wave now that the pandemic is still going on at the same force we have about a quarter of the country underwater. This is like one of the major flooding in decades. And imagine with this pandemic going on, how difficult it is to reach people or get relief to people . Wow. What I gather from the news that you have a different kind of flooding.

Cindy Sealls: 52:24Yes, we do. We have a flood. A flood of misinformation, corona virus , people loosing their unemployment benefits, maybe people losing their homes, people losing their jobs. It's just, we have all kinds of floods going on here.

Obaidul Fattah Tanvir: 52:44Man, you are in trouble. We never thought you'd get to that point.

Kelley Lynch: 52:50Well, you're the self proclaimed disaster expert. So give us some tips. How do you guys manage this all the time?

Obaidul Fattah Tanvir: 52:57You see for us, what dependent it brought is nothing new to us. It's a different kind of disaster, but it's something that we already have seen many times either it's a flat or it's a site loan . Something will come maybe tomorrow, maybe day after tomorrow, or maybe next month. You know, when you talk about losing unemployment insurance, we don't have anything like that. So the day we start earning, we start saving because we know that next day I may lose my job or this source of earning would vanish because of any sorts of disaster, whether it's a manmade disaster or a natural disaster, that is always on the back of our mind. So we start saving for the rainy day and it goes from, you know , the lowest segment of the society to the highest segment of the society. That's why, when a person gets a job, you'd want to buy something that is secure, that he can in cash when he is in trouble. So the idea of savings is even built into our purchase decisions. We have this system of buying things that are actually a kind of savings. Like for people in the lower tier of income group, they would buy a television, not to entertain themselves, but the television would be an investment that they can liquidate when they need money.

Kelley Lynch: 54:49Does that mean they don't use it?

Obaidul Fattah Tanvir: 54:51They use it, but the second hand reason has value. But the primary goal of buying a television is not the entertainment. It's one sort of savings. You have an item that you can sell it off. When you need the money, look at how we buy cars. You know, we only buy Toyotas because they had , you know, they have a very good resale value. Any other brand you buy, you know, when you go to sell the next day, people would not buy that car more than half the price. But if it's a Toyota, even after using for two, three years, you probably would make same amount of money or even sometimes more. When people build their houses in the villages, even if they can afford a concrete built or brick built house, they prefer a tin house because you can take out the tins and sell it off if you need it.

Kelley Lynch: 55:52It's kind of like what you told me when I was there. And you know, at that point I thought I was going to be staying with you for probably the duration of the pandemic, having no idea that it would last this long. And I said to you, but have you got enough food? Have you guys, you know, stocked away enough to make sure that we can all eat for the next month, at least. And you were like, don't worry about it. And you told me about the handful of rice. Do you remember?

Obaidul Fattah Tanvir: 56:26Yeah. Yeah. It's like, this is a habit that's kind of so ingrained into our culture. You know, the women who take care of the family, every meal, they cook, they take a handful of rice, put it in a separate jar. That rice is like her savings for the rainy days. When, especially in the villages, you don't get rice all the time. So in those days that in a safe jar is like the main course. So it's this , this idea of bit by bit, you keep on saving. And same thing goes with the household expenses, especially in the villages, the women, they take out a small section of the household expenses and then put it away. Sometimes it's like as much as 10 Taka.

Kelley Lynch: 57:21So how much is 10 Taka these days?

Obaidul Fattah Tanvir: 57:23a quarter it's like 25 cents. Yeah. And they would do it every day , you know, three 65 days a year. And those small bits and pieces becomes quite a handsome amount. The other thing that they do is like they form groups within the community, like 10 women or 15 women or 20 and get together, they all bring in their savings, put it together to make a substantial amount. And then they loan it out to members within themselves or to their husbands to start a business. And then they get a good return on that. Sometimes they invest the money themselves. Like they buy chicken, they buy a goat or a cow. And for them it's cheaper than taking a loan from a formal institution. And it's there right within them. And they're the ones who are deciding where to spend the money and how to spend the money.

Kelley Lynch: 58:25And so if you have a disaster, if you want to start a business, if you have an illness in the family, if you need to pay for a wedding, anything that comes up, you can access that money that you've collectively saved these other people.

Obaidul Fattah Tanvir: 58:42Yeah. Yeah. That's that that's like their insurance for the rainy day. We don't have any formal government back or insurance, unemployment insurance, but that's like a very good insurance within the community. And it's really okay.

Cindy Sealls: 58:59So Bangladesh is a libertarian country. I've just decided. The Republicans and libertarians would love this story. I'm telling you. You should make YouTube videos. I'm serious, man. You'd be on Fox news. I mean really, because that's what I talk about all the time. But I think the difference, I think the difference is you guys understand that you have to be in community. So it's not about the individual, it's about the community. So you're doing this as individuals to help the entire group.

Obaidul Fattah Tanvir: 59:45As much as we like the individual freedom. If you, if you don't have the community, you can survive.

Kelley Lynch: 59:54I wonder if with climate change with the pandemic, one of the new normals that we're looking at is a new reality. That looks a lot more like the reality that maybe Bangladesh knows or our grandparents knew living through the depression,

Cindy Sealls: 1:00:15think about it are the taxes that we pay or a portion of the taxes that we pay, basically our community fund to help people who are struggling. So we have an institutionalized version of their micro economic system. Right.

Kelley Lynch: 1:00:34Right. I guess I hadn't really thought about it that way.

Cindy Sealls: 1:00:38Yeah . Because our taxes go to support emergency management. It goes, It was to support people who have had, You know, tragedies in their lives. Um, hurricanes, tornadoes. That's our community fund that we pay into and where we contribute to. And then when these people over here needed, they get it. When those people over there have something happened to them, they get it. You know, as human beings, we don't all like each other. We don't all get along And they're taking that money or whatever. And then they might give it over to Suzy or Sally Sagitta, she's a pest, but that's the rule of the group. Everybody contributes. And then when Sagitta has a problem, you help her out. So this whole idea of, you know, I don't want my money to go and help those people, or I don't want my money to go to that thing as a community, we have to realize that community decisions might not always be what we, something that we agree with, you know, but, but we've agreed to be in this community. So this is the way it is. And if we want to get out of the community, we can certainly go and live in another country. But in this community, we've agreed that we all put into this pot and the government makes decisions, the government, which is us because we vote in the representatives that are in the government and the government, you know, makes decisions. That's just how it goes. I don't know if we all realize that.

Kelley Lynch: 1:02:30I never thought of it that way. And you know what, that makes me a lot happier about paying my taxes.

Cindy Sealls: 1:02:36Yeah. You're putting your all, you're doing, putting a little rice in the cup, throw it in there. Never knowing when you might need it.

Kelley Lynch: 1:02:44That's a good way to think about it.

Cindy Sealls: 1:02:46You know, it's really about a mindset of community, right? We're all in this together. Sometimes we don't all agree, but it's like 10 veer said it's impossible for an individual to make it in the world on their own. We need community. It's the only way to make it through anything. Especially a pandemic.

Kelley Lynch: 1:03:15Speaking of work, next week, I have a gig .

Cindy Sealls: 1:03:19That's where the gig economy is that where it comes from chapter is a gigabyte economy.

Kelley Lynch: 1:03:27Gig . We're not singing and dancing, but you've got, you've got a gig. So that means I'm not going to be here. That means neither will Cindy and neither will Tam bear , but we will be working on the podcast is just that it won't come out till the following week. We've got an awesome episode planned with Steve. The historian cannot wait to hear what Steve, the historian has to say. We hope that you'll join us for that one. In the meantime, we hope that you'll subscribe to the podcast because that means you get notified the minute that I upload it. And sometimes I'm a bit late on the upload. So it's best to subscribe. That means, you'll know it's there. You don't have to wait 24 hours for it to show up in iTunes. Review. There's a little review button down there. I know it's hard to find, but it's down by the stars. You can hit some stars, but we really also love to hear from you and hear what you think about the podcast. I mean, there's no point doing all this work and I'm telling you great fun, but it takes a lot of time.

Cindy Sealls: 1:04:29And we were actually gonna hire some people to write reviews for us, but since we don't make any money on the podcast, we didn't want to waste money doing that. So we would rather have people who actually listened to the show and weren't just paid $5 per review by us to write that review. So we're an honest podcast too.

Kelley Lynch: 1:04:53That's right. We're honest. And we would honestly love to see you back here in a couple of weeks until then take care and do follow us on Instagram. It's a new normal podcast. Bye bye.