Archive for ‘Career’

July 25th, 2017

The Purpose of Life

by persadv

Dear Reader,

Quite often -working with Colleagues and Executives- a few questions pop up regularly, so I decided to post some Q & A’s here for everyone’s benefit:

Q:  Ok, so what you are really asking me is who do I want to be when I grow up?  And the truth is, being a 50-some-year old Executive, I’m not sure…
A:  We are here to help you figure that out.

Q:  What is my Purpose in Life?
A:  To Learn and Grow.

Q:  I sometimes wonder if my prayers are being heard?
A:  Yes. The real question is: Are you listening?

Q:  Who is holding me back from/is responsible for my ultimate dreams to come true?
A:  You are (the sole master of your destiny).

Q: Why do I, people around me (and sometimes it seems entire nations) go through and suffer so much pain?
A:  Because you/they refuse to listen and learn.

Q:  What is the secret for (my) ultimate success?
A:  You are the secret.  If you believe in yourself and what you do, nobody and nothing can stop you.

 

Sincerely, Sage

PS: The little bit of wisdom I shared with you above is not based on any (religious or political) beliefs I may or may not have, but solely based on observations working with thousands of my peers over the decades.

February 10th, 2012

Is the American Sprit broken?

by AskSage

Hi Sage,

I watched Suze Orman the other day and she mentioned that the American spirit was broken due to all the hardship so many of us are facing, do you agree? Looking forward to your response.

All the best, William


Dear William,

Interesting week, wasn’t it? I pondered the same question, because first we see

  • the Super Bowl,
  • then Clint Eastwood coming alive on the big screen during halftime with an amazing commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PE5V4Uzobc (yes, I’m aware of the “political controversy”),
  • then we have Suze Orman on a number of TV shows mentioning that “the spirit of Americans has been broken” and then we have
  • a Brit (Piers Morgan) declaring that it’s only the American Spirit that can get us out of this mess.

Question is, who got it right? Well, this might probably the most important questions of all, William. Because when you get to the bottom of it, we can (and should) ask ourselves, what has made us succeed in the past?

What/who helped us to

  • write the declaration of independence?
  • win the war against the Brits (who had the world’s biggest navy at that time)?
  • get through the Great Depression?
  • win two world wars and
  • become the world’s biggest industrial and military power in the process?
  • invent the internet?
  • overcome 9/11 and become a stronger country for it?

No, William, our spirit isn’t broken. I believe it was the philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) who wrote that “Where there is spirit, there is money!” and I couldn’t agree more.

The problem is not that there isn’t enough money or success or spirit in America, the problem is that the system is broken. The money didn’t ‘disappear’ it was ‘transferred’. It’s still there.  Just no longer deposited in your or my savings account/IRA/401K/home value. It’s in other accounts now.

As we bear witness to on TV every night, it’s not corporations nor governments nor armies that make a country strong. It’s always the people. The American Spirit is just coming alive and I would never bet against it. Nor would I ever advise anybody to pick a fight with Clint Eastwood.

Our future is bright, William, we just have some stormy seas ahead of us. No other nation is better equipped to handle them and thrive during difficult times. That’s simply what we do and who we are.

Or – borrowing from Clint’s commercial: We find a way through tough times, and if we can’t find a way, then we’ll make one.

This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines.

Yeah, it’s halftime America. And, our second half is about to begin.”

Sincerely, Sage


February 8th, 2012

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

by persadv

Last weekend I watched a documentary about/with Ted Turner, the founder of CNN. During the interview his desk came into view. Very prevalently there was a plaque displayed saying “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” -which, we all know, was originally published by Thomas Paine.

One thing I found a bit surprising was that Ted Turner displayed this quote proudly on his desk (given the politically correct times we live in), but then something interesting happened: I started asking myself how many times in my life I had been falling into either category.

And I found that -while I do have a clear affinity for one of these three categories, there were/are times when I find myself in either one.

Now, the first two are perfectly OK, the third one isn’t: Because being in the way means being an obstacle to others and oneself, whether it is life in general, business, relationships etc.

So I asked myself:

What would happen, if we all were more conscious about whether we might occasionally be falling into the third group –and therefore hinder our own and other people’s progress, growth and overall positive development?

Would it change our behavior, our actions, maybe even the world in general?

I think so. Quite often most of us have a tendency to block growth –mostly due to our ego, angst, hurt feelings etc. etc. Every time that happens we not only miss a chance to grow (most importantly), but we also slow down the world and people around us (albeit not deliberately).

So even some 200+ years after Paine published this quote, it is still valid and obviously triggered these thoughts and Email.

I have hence decided to get one of these plaques for my own desk –with a little twist: Instead of it facing the people coming into my office, it will face me, so that I will be more consciously aware to which group I belong at any given moment –to assure that I contribute positively most of the time.

Hope this wasn’t too philosophical, but I felt compelled to share my little epiphany with you (knowing that at the very least my beloved wife will be delighted reading this).

Sincerely, Sage

May 13th, 2011

What Can I Tell My Wife?

by AskSage

Hi Sage,

My wife doesn’t understand why I haven’t gotten a job yet. It never took this long in the past. What can I tell her? As you might imagine, I’m really struggling with this one. Looking forward to your response.

Best, Chris


Dear Chris,

I/ we get this question quite often. Most times even the executives themselves don’t know why their job search is taking so long and believe there is something wrong with them, that they might no longer “have what it takes”. This is not what I/we have been seeing when speaking to many tens of thousands of our peers since this company was started almost a decade ago.

Here is the simple (& hard) truth you may share with your better half:

  • Since year 2000  job search times for execs have skyrocketed –to about 23 months at the present  while
  • average tenures  have decreased to about 18 months and
  • age  discrimination starts now at about 42 years of age (versus early to mid  fifties a decade or so ago).
  • Millions of  American jobs were outsourced permanently to countries like China,  India, Mexico etc. -and the executive positions with it.
  • The new jobs  that are being created are non-executive/ often low wage jobs
  • un-and underemployment amongst  senior-level-execs is around 40+% nationwide.
  • For every advertised VP and C-level job  opening companies & recruiters see now many thousands of applications  –versus maybe one hundred or so some 10 years ago.
  • A typical executive today (calculating a  median base salary of $150K+ and the above mentioned job search times and  tenures) makes less money than many truck drivers do in this country.
  • Waiting for that job interview that might or  might not come is simply no longer a smart way of allocating ones resources  (considering the money you burn through during your search with nothing to  show for it).
  • Pursuing alternatives to employment (with or  without our help) and being (again) in charge of your own destiny and earnings  power is incomparably smarter, Chris.


Sincerely, Sage

 

April 14th, 2011

What is your Hybrid model about?

by AskSage

Dear Sage,

What is your Hybrid model about? How does it differ from VC’s and Angel Investors? Looking forward to your response.

Regards, Tim

 

Dear Tim,

Great questions.

1) A venture capitalist’s (group) purpose is to invest into promising companies in exchange for as much stock, control and profit share for their capital investment as they can get.

2) An angel investor’s purpose is (typically) to invest into promising young companies he/she falls in love with, believes in their product/service and/or founder(s) and enables these companies to take their business from ideation to conceptualization to being ready to either go to market, or to attract the next round of investors (i.e. VC’s). In exchange they receive stock and- the eternal gratitude of the founder(s). Often angel investors can also be friends and family. Some invest in a multitude of different businesses in order to ‘spread their risk’.

3) Personal Business Advisor’s hybrid model purpose is to identify (typically) younger companies with a promising product/service who are in need of executive talent, and additional working capital to take their company to the next level.

These executives provide their experience/expertise/industry contacts PLUS “skin in the game” in exchange for becoming a partner and six-figure-salaried executive in that company.

As you can see, all three concepts are very different in nature, purpose and approach. Personal Business Advisors invented the hybrid model almost a decade ago and is the only firm in the U.S. to offer these opportunities on a broad base.

If you are interested in learning more about the specifics and explore those hybrid positions that might be a good match for your background and expertise, feel free to contact your/a Personal Business Advisor to set up an appointment for an introductory/matchmaking call. He/she will provide this service at no cost to you.

Sincerely, Sage

Ask Sage A Question

April 7th, 2011

What are my options?

by AskSage

Sage,

I’m a 53-year-old Sales & Marketing Executive, cannot find a job in my area and prefer not to relocate. What are my options?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Mike

 

Dear Mike,

OK, let’s first understand your challenges, and then discuss your options:

Your  Challenges:

–       It sounds like you are living in an area where the demand for execs with your skill set is low(er).

–       Given that you are 53 years old you will compete with younger (and less expensive) peers for the same positions, which will most likely lead to age discrimination.

–       The job market for senior-level execs in general can only be described as catastrophic (un- and underemployment of 42%+).

–       The longer your search takes, the more of your own capital you lose.

 

Your Options:

–       Start your own business (just make sure it isn’t consulting, this is what everybody does)

–       Buy someone else’s business (2.5 Million businesses change hands in the U.S. every year and sell typically at 4 to 8 times EBITDA)

–       Become a partner in a business

–       Consider franchising (chose from approximately 2,500+ different franchise systems in the U.S, plus roughly the same in Europe and Asia)

–       Determine if perhaps licensing and/or distributorship is for you. There are thousands to choose from as well.

Discuss with your spouse if she is ‘on board’ with your decision to do something on your own. This is a point that’s very important, because very often spouses don’t understand how bad the job market really is and therefore prefer their partners to ‘keep looking’. Unfortunately this results in burning through their savings –with nothing to show for it- and often end up with little to nothing left to invest into their own future (I call it ‘the point of no return’ and have seen it (too) many times).

As far as cash needed for a six-figure income opportunity, this will range from a low of $15K to “the sky-is-the-limit”, depending on what one wants to and can do.

Once you have made up your mind, “readied” yourself emotionally and mentally, look for someone who can help you through ‘the jungle’ of the tens of thousands of options out there. It’s an adventure worth taking and often will allow the executive to truly live your dreams –while controlling your own destiny.

Mike, most importantly, remember you DO have lot’s of options to chose from. You may want to reach out to your Personal Business Advisor or write to [info @ personalbusinessadvisors.com]

 

Sincerely, Sage

 

April 5th, 2011

Isn’t franchising basically the food industry?

by AskSage

Hello Sage,

I received an Email yesterday from Personal Business Advisors, which made me think about franchise opportunities for the first time in my career. I have one quick question:

Isn’t franchising basically the food industry?

Best, Louis

 

Dear Louis,

I believe the perception that franchising consists mostly of restaurants is wide spread.  Their high visibility locations and advertising dollars make us more aware of their existence.

However, they only represent the minority of the franchise opportunities. Most (60% plus) of all franchises are NOT in the food or retail industry. They are service franchises; many of which are white collar with a six-figure income opportunity.

I recommend you share with Senior Advisor what your background, needs, preferences, strengths and weaknesses are. You may be surprised to find out about the number and different nature of franchises that are available that may be a good match for who you are and where you are in life.

 

Sincerely, Sage

March 31st, 2011

Where do I go from here?

by AskSage

Hi Sage,

Many of my former colleagues and I (all Senior Executives and laid off during the “Great Recession”), cannot secure employment at the career/salary-level we have enjoyed for decades  and have the same question/concern:

Where do I/we go from here? Most of us have kids in high school/college, mortgages to pay etc. and are VERY qualified but cannot find a job –while our savings and 401Ks are literally disappearing in front of our eyes.  What do you suggest I/we do?

Best Regards, David

 

Dear David,

What you are describing in your Email has become the new norm for today’s Executives. A survey conducted by Netshare.com shows that 42% of our peer group is un- or underemployed –nationwide. Our own experience indicates an even higher number than that.

Many become ‘consultants’ -but are without projects or clients- while actively seeking full-time employment. They are flying and dying under the radar -and are not accounted for by the Labor Department.

When you add to this a current average executive job search time of 23 months, an average tenure of 18 months –and do the math- you’ll find that today’s average VP or C-level Executive makes no more annualized income than a full time truck driver. Add to this rampant age discrimination and you get the picture. It just doesn’t make sense.

Becoming an independent business owner, partner in an existing business, buying into a franchise etc. has become a much more viable strategy for senior-level executives.

You can find many credible six-figure-income opportunities with a good historical track record, that start as low as $12K and can go as high as you wish -or can afford.

David, you and your former colleagues DO have options. They are simply different from what you were used to in the past. You may want to reach out to your Personal Business Advisor or write to [info @ personalbusinessadvisors.com]

 

Sincerely, Sage

March 31st, 2011

What happened to my job applications?

by AskSage

Hello Sage,

I’m a former CFO for a large IT company, have sent out 6,000+ job applications over the last 22 months, yet have only heard back from a dozen or so companies. Most of them simply thanked me for submitting my résumés and few invited me to an interview (needless to say, none of them offered me a position).

My question is: What do you believe happened to all these job applications? Are they being read? Do they disappear in cyberspace?

Respectfully, Ken

 

Dear Ken,

First of all, I’m very sorry for your experience, which unfortunately has become the new norm for most of our peers. On average, hiring authorities and recruiters today receive more than 3,000 job applications for every advertised senior-level-executive position. Nobody can sort through this onslaught of data.

Most recruiters then sort through these by ‘boiling it down’ via electronic key word search, so they end up with some 100 (0.03% of all submitted) résumés.

They then read the first (electronically formatted) paragraphs of each of these résumés, to find out if the summary of qualifications meets what the client company is looking for. Then they narrow it down quickly to half of that (50/0.016%), so it becomes a more manageable ‘mass’.

Of these 50, they typically are not interested in interviewing more than 15 or so via telephone (0.005%) and it’s only those who normally get some sort of notification. The rest goes into/stays in one big database…

The issue is obvious: Too many (qualified) candidates and not enough positions.

Ken, you DO have options. You may want to reach out to your Personal Business Advisor or  write to [info @ personalbusinessadvisors.com]

 

Sincerely, Sage

 

March 31st, 2011

Is Age a Factor For Not Finding a Job?

by AskSage

Sage,

I’d like your opinion on age discrimination. After eight different job interviews and no offers whatsoever, I wonder if my age is the reason for that. I have never had this kind of experience before during my 27-year career.

I’m a 52-year-old VP of Operations with a successful track record in public and privately held logistics companies.

Best, Gary

 

Dear Gary,

The old saying “If you feel it is true, it probably is” applies –unfortunately- here as well.

Even though age discrimination is illegal in this country, the reality is different -especially for senior-level-executives. When executive recruiters get retained or contingency searches, they hear all too often “don’t bring me anybody with more than 15 years of experience”. In other words, don’t bring me anybody older than forty.

One might argue that this is shortsighted (from a company’s point of view), but as long as quarterly (and annual results) are the only measurements we use to judge a companies’ performance, that won’t change any time soon.

So yes, if you are a senior-level-executive and have reached the tender age of 40+, you will start experiencing some (a lot of?) age discrimination.

Gary, you DO have options. You may want to reach out to your Personal Business Advisor or  write to info@personalbusinessadvisors.com

 

Sincerely, Sage