Jonathan Begley

January 19, 2010

WHO ARE YOU FOLLOWING?

Filed under: Career,Development,Workforce — jonathanbegley @ 3:19 pm

 

What do actions like this say about a leader?  We have all made mistakes and we have all made decisions that have negatively affected others.  Some decisions must be made and others are made blindly, often with no intention of ill will.  This is just a fact of business.

My hat is off to these businessmen who care enough to take off their board meeting blinders to see and get to know the people who make their organizations run. 

Who are you following today?  Examining those you follow is a great indicator of the leader that you will become.  What qualities do you see in your leader that you wish to acquire?  How will you do things differently?

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December 29, 2009

DISCOVERING A COMPANY’S TRUE COLORS

Filed under: Attitude,Career — jonathanbegley @ 7:50 pm

Customer Service seems to be a lost art in business these days.  That is not to say it doesn’t exist but it has lost a great deal of importance among many businesses.  Maybe that is a price that we pay for having a country run by major corporations.  Customer Service at its roots is respect for the consumer; it is respect for the individuals who make it possible to do business. 

I am currently working with a company who provides my agency an internet service.  We have been contracted with them for only a couple of months and our experience thus far has been miserable, to say the least.  The product we were sold is exciting and could really change the way we serve our community.  We were excited.  They have not delivered. 

Their system has been down more than it has been up.  The consistency of the reports is highly questionable when it is up.  Some features work, others do not.   The customer service representative has been active.  She has given great effort to meet our requirements, but often has come up short.  When walking through the product with us in a conference today, she acknowledged that their product is not acceptable, to us or to them.

I understand that things happen in business that makes things difficult and sometimes impossible.  The technological age has created a dependency on this technology to get almost anything done, and when there is a problem its impact is far reaching.  These inconveniences are understood by most of us.  It is in these times when a company’s true colors are seen.  Are their representatives respectful of us?  Are they understanding of the difficulties that their company has created?  Are they being proactive or merely reacting to you only when they must.   Are they okay with a mediocre product?

We will continue to work with this company because of their customer service.  We have spoken with many other groups all across the country who have worked with this group for the past several years and we have yet to hear any negative remarks.  The reports we receive are that this company and their product have far exceeded expectations.  They have also experienced difficult setbacks due to the current situation, but they are confident the product of the future will be worth the hassle.  For a customer who has experienced nothing but disappointment, this is enough for me.

Do you have any outstanding customer service experiences that may help another consumer?  What do you expect from others when problems arise?  What do you expect of yourself or your employees?

December 23, 2009

THE SECRET OF ALL VICTORY

Filed under: Career,Development — jonathanbegley @ 11:04 am

“The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.” – Marcus Aurelius

Doing the little things well can have a profound impact upon your career. It’s the little things that others neglect, making you stand out above the rest. Organization is a skill that comes naturally to some and to others it requires a fair amount of effort. This is a skill that is highly sought by employers even if they don’t know it.

Most people, without even realizing it, would have a certain degree of confidence in the organized worker. Organization creates confidence in others because we are all well aware that these workers are focused and productive. You would have little doubt that the organized person could handle an afternoon meeting. Not to say that this person is any less busy but it is common sense that organization allows people to get more done in less time.

Organized people are able to prioritize their tasks. Employers can depend upon the well organized to take on big tasks that often create big rewards. Those who can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much.

For those of you who are organized, what are your secrets? For those of you who aren’t, why not?

December 4, 2009

SOCIAL MEDIA

Filed under: Career,Development,Social Media — jonathanbegley @ 8:39 am

Not until just recently have I considered social media as an opportunity for success in my life and career.  I stumbled upon a class at the local extended studies program at the local university.  The class, entitled “Google is Your New Business Card” was taught by Dr. Bret Simmons and Ronele Klingensmith.  Dr. Bret is the MBA professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. 

I immediately noticed upon walking into the classroom the different traits and personalities of my fellow students.  I was probably the youngest person in the room (late 20’s).  There were several older folks, an MBA graduate, bankers, yoga instructors, business professionals, realtors, among others.  You might expect that I, being the youngest, was the most comfortable with computers and social media.  If you guessed this you would be wrong. I guess I am somewhat of an anomaly compared to others my age.

Social media has never, until now, really appealed to me.  I had a Facebook account, but wasn’t very active.  I enjoyed seeing people from my past at first, but I have also realized that I have moved on and could honestly care less who is playing what farm game or mafia wars.  It seemed like a giant waste of time.

Dr. Bret described two different types of people on Twitter, and I think it goes for social media in general, the informers and the ME-formers.  This I have found to be 100% true.  Each day I explore social media a little more and realize that there is a vast amount of knowledge to be obtained from hearing people’s thoughts, reading other’s blogs, and just by interacting with other like minded people.  This “informer” truth is something that I feel most people are unaware of.  Most don’t see the benefit of social media.

I honestly now believe that social media, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs (and countless others I learned about) not only can be a fast and efficient method of marketing yourself, but can be an incredible method of self-improvement.  Follow and learn from the experts in the areas you’re interested in.  Brand yourself, show your value. 

It is impossible for me to invision a world five or ten years from now that does not have some advanced form of social media on the internet.  If you are like I was, a skeptic, who is unsure if you can really use these mediums effectively, just jump in.  There is a learning curve for everyone.  These sites are designed to be as simple or as detailed as you want

Why do you not use social media websites?  Or if you do, what do you find to be the most important benefit of this new way of communication?

December 1, 2009

GREEN JOBS ARE COMING…BUT THEY’RE NOT FOR EVERYONE

Filed under: Career,Workforce — jonathanbegley @ 11:31 am

In recent television advertisements Senator Harry Reid claims that current renewable energy projects in Nevada, mainly solar, will create upwards of 41,000 jobs in Nevada.  Studies are not clear as to when and how long these jobs will exist but many expect to see jobs created as soon as 2010 and throughout most of the next decade. 

 A majority of these positions will be in the construction of solar, wind, and geothermal power plants.  With the recent collapse of the housing market, these positions are obviously welcome, and much needed.  In the Reno area alone 12% of all unemployed individuals were laid off from the construction industry.  There is a catch however.  As many construction workers are well aware, these jobs are not permanent.  In fact, estimates are that less than 10,000 jobs will be permanent positions directly associated with the power plants. 

 I am constantly asked “where are the green jobs?”  Well, the short answer to that question is that there aren’t any.  Nevada does not have the infrastructure in place for the immediate creation of “green jobs.”  Progress is being made at the federal, state and local levels.  These changes take time however.  Anyone interested in pursuing a career in Energy Efficiency or Renewable Energy needs to understand that there are enormous possibilities in the future for renewable energy, but this will be a long and extremely competitive process.

 For those of us who have no experience, or skill for that matter, in the construction industry there are other opportunities.  Some of the first jobs that I see created will be that of solar panel installers.  Electrical experience is helpful because panels need to be hooked to the grid, but it is not mandatory.  Other positions that will become available will be energy auditors, sales professionals, appraisers, and inspectors.

 If you are interested in embarking on this career path here are a few tips that I highly suggest you consider.

  1.  Do your research.  Every state and region is different.  There are different opportunities, different certifications, and different laws.  I have found that one of the most helpful places to start is your state legislature website.  Recent laws have been created that directly address issues such as certifications, education, experience and other requirements.
  2. Do something.  It should be no surprise that there are thousands of people interested in employment in the “green” industry. Most people are desperate and are willing to do anything for a paycheck.  Don’t be discouraged by the number of people talking of “green” jobs because most will not actually do anything about it.  Look at this as an opportunity.  Talking well in an interview is one thing, but knowing what you are talking about is something that will separate you from the rest.
  3. Prepare to learn.  Many people are surprised when they ask me about green jobs and I direct them to local training providers, apprenticeships and community colleges.  Any new career or industry is bound to be filled with new skills and knowledge that you will need to have.  It won’t be easy and if you aren’t prepared for training and education, I suggest finding something a bit more traditional. 
  4. Search for assistance.  It should also not be a surprise that many of the community college and other training courses are not free.  Check with your Local Workforce Investment Board, your local employment or job training agencies for training providers in your area. Be upfront about your financial needs.  There is assistance out there but it is not always easy to find. 
  5. Get out of your shell.  It is easy for most people to get up and go to class.  Again, there will be many people taking the same steps, the same courses that you are.  Do not let this be a discouragement.  This is another opportunity for you to show your value.  Make connections.  Network.  It may not look like the typical networking event, but that is exactly what these classrooms can become.  I guarantee you that the teacher of the Energy Efficiency course at the local community college will be an asset to you in future job searches if you are able to rise above the rest.  Build those relationships.
  6. Have fun.  Unemployment is stressful on everyone.  Change is stressful on everyone.  But learning can and should be fun. 

I am interested to hear from more of those people out there who have begun this process and who are committed to this career path.  Please leave your comments below.  I have often found that those who are committed to our nation’s energy independence are some of the brightest, enthusiastic, and creative people.  It is these people who make this country great.

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