Going to Work for Google: The Career Equivalent of Going to DisneyWorld

This is one of the huge welcoming signs for Go...

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There are very few places that offer better benefits than the government. Now imagine this place valued its employees, developed them, promoted talent, and only hired the best people to work with. Add in an incredible mission, forward thinking, world changing technology, and lots of perks. Then imagine this place is real and hiring.

Oh wait, it is real.

Working for google or similar (if there are) top-rated places to work does happen for some people. The question is, how to become one of them? How does one find employment in an amazing place?

I once spoke with a google recruiter I’m networked with from California a few years back. He politely explained to me that as that I did not attend an ivy league school and had not worked or consulted for one of the major firms, I had very little chance of being considered. Sigh. Was very discouraged, especially when I saw on the application you have to check off how long you worked at either: apple, bain, amazon, mckinsey, bcg, ibm, pixare, adobe, oracle, ebay, etc. It made me want to go get a job with one of those places to increase my chances of google wanting me.

Fast forward a few years later…I actually met people who work for google, people who went to good but not ivy universities (hey like me!). They never worked for those big reputation places, and they were hired fairly through their application system. When I mentioned what the google recruiter told me back in the day they were surprised, said it’s just not like that, and that people like me get hired all the time. Dare to dream.

And so I do dream, that one day I’ll find a great position in a place that doesn’t do things ‘the way they’ve always been done’, that might appreciate me and my talents, and hey, while we’re dreaming it’ll let me have a healthy work-life balance so I can see the kids once in awhile.

So I’d love to hear from you, faithful readers. Do you work for a great place or know of an amazing employer? Why do you love it? Are they hiring? Let us know!

For public notice post a comment here, for private requests please email: amazingemployers@sharon.cc

Shortlink to this article: http://wp.me/pWfpN-7R


12 Steps to a Career You Deserve

Hi my name is Sharon and I’m in a dead-end career/unemployed/underemployed….
All in unison: Hi Sharon.

Remember that you’re still the seller and that etiquette, manners, and patience will bring you much closer to your career goals than bitterness, laziness or rudeness.

1. Figure out what you’re actually qualified to do that you’d potentially enjoy, and reach within your bounds, overshooting them will be a wasted effort and give burn-out

2. Decide what type of position would suit you ideally, p/t, f/t, consulting, internship, etc.

3. Create a consistent, professional brand and profile for yourself: resumes & cover letters for various industries/target audiences, business cards, online web presence, thank you letters, elevator pitch, etc.

4. Apply to advertised jobs with targeted cover letters – I’ve seen many resumes thrown out because the objective or cover letter is targeted to a different job – make it crystal clear why you want THIS job, and why you’re qualified for THIS job, but feel free to mention what else you’d consider or to keep things broad

5. Send your resume to places you want to work, explaining why you want to work there & what positions you’d like, even if they don’t have advertised positions

6. Network with people in the industry you want to be in

7. General networking: make sure everyone you know or meet knows what you’re looking for and why

8. Follow up with sincere, personally written thank you notes to everyone who does anything for you in the process from introductions to interviews – but NEVER give a deadline or imply one, i.e., “I hope to hear from you regarding your decision by September 1” – it’s in poor taste, and perhaps it takes a month for the company to come to a decision – do you want the company to think you’re not longer interested because they couldn’t accommodate you?

9. Present your very best: have an excellent dark suit, pressed collared shirts, and classic bags/shoes/accessories/portfolios to present at interviews. Have something a little more daring for networking events to look professional but stand out of the crowd.

10. Confidence works: Interview and network like you’re everyone’s favorite person, try to figure out culture of others and tailor all responses and actions to where you are – when in Rome, do as the Romans

11. Realize that different strokes work for different folks: just because a technique landed your last job, don’t expect it to automatically work again

12. Negotiate offer, unless it’s clearly set in stone. Never expect to get more than you’ve asked for previously, and don’t expect much more than a job was advertised or offered at. Most companies figure nowasdays that they can find someone to do the job at the salary they want to pay, and they’re OK if that person isn’t you – but generally it doesn’t hurt to ask if a little more is available due to your extraordianary skills, value and talents you bring to the company. Reinstate why you want this role, why you want to work for the company, but is there any room for flexibility?

It can’t hurt – if a place rescinds your offer because you asked to negotiate you probably don’t want to work there anyway…that’s not nice!

Short link: http://wp.me/pWfpN-61

Generation Y Should We?

Image credits: 7reasons.org

Image credits: 7reasons.org


Everyone has their opinion of what each generation wants, what the generation is defined by, and what they’re headed towards. I’ve seen some really interesting articles on this, and I’ve seen some poor ones. The articles run the span from “Engaging Gen Y in the Workplace” to “Bridging the Generation Gap”.

But as I sit in my large, pretty cubicle in my flipflops (ok, thong sandals, but close enough) wishing I had more to do, more challenging work that I knew the purpose of – like most of my friends do as well – I start to think, maybe they’re onto something.

I think I’m part of the laziest generation possible. We take little or no initiative, and when we do ANYTHING we expect it to be applauded, because hey, we put in the effort and we didn’t have to.

My birth year is considered the cutoff for generation Y – therefore I’m one of the oldest Y’s. My mom’s a boomer (hi mom!) but my father’s actually considered too old to be in that group – so perhaps that’s why I understand all of the generations and their conflicts. My friend’s older siblings were gen Xer’s, with their huge hair and huge ruffles and huge depression. I never felt part of that crowd. The angst seems a bit much, and perhaps today’s hipsters are an ode to the stereotypical Xer’s – but we can revisit that another time.

Back to ME. Because in gen Y, it’s all about me. We’ve been fostered with ideas that “We can be anything that we want to be, we can do anything that we want to do,” (Yes, actual lyrics from a Blue’s Clues Song), and that’s great. That there are no stupid questions, trying is just as important as achieving, there are no losers, and blah blah blah *insert white noise as we tune out.

Somewhere down the generation line we’ve been progressively losing respect for elders. It used to be believed that the older someone was, the more they knew. But that idea was from back in a day when most people died well before their 80’s.

The stereotypical knowledgeable elder had gray hair, read a lot of books, retired and lived off good investments, and perhaps smoked a piped. Then he died, either from a heart attack from all the rich foods he ate or from an unknown cause.

It wasn’t today’s pitied grandparents living 75-100+, generally with memory decline, poverty, and little to no desire to adapt to technology. No one’s going to great grandpa in the nursing home every day with a notebook to collect his musings on the state of the world. Today’s youth believes that knowledge increases with age, then it plateaus, and then it declines.

We also have lost the respect for protocol. I’ll never forget the trouble I stirred up at my first job out of college. I was bored out of my mind, and had a nasty supervisor. She led a bitter life and took it out on her coworkers. When I was ready for my next challenge, I knew I’d never get it from her, so I went to the friendly owner/CEO of the company who I saw regularly to ask if there was anywhere else in the company that I could move to. I was promoted and given a new assignment with a happier team.

Then next morning as I went to collect my belongings I was greeted with sneers and nasty comments. I had no idea that I might have done something wrong, but apparently it was a no-no to go out of the chain of command (but it was fine to act like an unprofessional petulant teen-ager – I also learned to learn office culture for ‘what flies’ where).

According to protocol, I should have asked my supervisor, who would have brought it up with the manager, who would have brought it to the attention of the CEO at the next monthly meeting, and then I would have been promoted and kept everyone happy…as if that could have actually happened. It never would have made it past my nasty supervisor’s head, and no one would have felt one person at the bottom of the totem pole wanting to do more would have merited visibility at a meeting. Unfortunately this company has since closed, but to me this type of process is seen as archaic to my generation – not logical.

Perhaps that’s where the divide truly lies. When the Boomer’s were in their 20’s in the workplace, they respected and revered those closer to retirement age, and learned everything they could from them. When Yer’s see someone close to retirement, we start fixing up our resume for their position, because we believe we could do their job better and more efficiently leveraging technology – which is often the case.

As was pointed out in a great article from the Harvard Review, the Yer’s are living in the most unstable generation yet. I entered the workforce post 9/11, then saw the tech bubble burst, and now am seeing the 3rd round of mass layoffs with the current recession in my less than 10-year work life-span.

Now for the flip-side, as that I have no pity for my generation – we’ve also seen the birth of start-ups succeeding wildly, and the young getting very rich very fast. It’s now not seen as an unrealistic ambition to start and own your own company well before 30. Write some software, invent an app, get on a reality TV-show & behave disgustingly shocking (*yuck) and you’ve made it.

So learn what you will from those of us under 30 – even those that don’t make a ‘30 under 30’ list, but we want progression. We want growth. We want to work intelligently towards a logical goal. We don’t care for how things always have been done. We get bored quickly (which some of us love and some of us loathe). We want to be allowed to text, tweet, facebook, myspace, and work productively at the same time. We want to use 2.0, if not 3.0 technologies in the office for work. We want our office to be at home if there’s no reason we need to be in a centralized location for it. We want to work flexible hours, not watch the clock – if our work is done, why does it matter how many hours were sat in a seat?

*Sigh* dare to dream…

So now for words of advice to my younger brethren from someone who understands you – respect your elders, not for their knowledge of technology, but learn from their street smarts and experience. Obey the chain of command at work, managers tend to have big ego’s and not like it when you go over their heads. Will you be stuck in a dead end job then? Suck it up and move place of employment, and leave on good terms. Never burn bridges with former employers, or anyone for that matter. Be conscious of everything you post online everywhere, because someone is watching, or will be when you grow up.

And get a job, move out of your parents’ house, support yourself, and figure out who you want to be. Don’t let anyone else do that for you. Stop wearing jeans, sneakers, and t-shirts to work. And stop playing Farmville & do something productive!

Shortlink to post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-3y

Throw Down Your Professional Gang Signs

So this morning on my usual miserable commute to Brooklyn from Queens I was dangerously cut off by a 10+ year old red Ford Explorer. What’s the only thing worse than that? It had stickers on the back that it was part of an SUV driving ‘riders’ group like motorcycle gangs have. I forget the actual group name, but the car was named “Apple Bottom,” as in the trashy clothing line.

Wow, there’s a group of people who have banded together because they recklessly drive SUV’s for kicks? Then about 20 minutes later I see another one, guy driving a different color SUV, also not a nice or new one, different SUV club.

So in today’s salute to trash, let’s learn a few things – like drive safely or you might end up being called out on someone’s blog (or killing yourself or someone else, but don’t let that stop you, ride on sister, ride on).

And learn and harness the power of groups. Gather a gang of your own that supports you and your goals. Most people have friends and family, but a lot of times these people may be knowingly, or unknowingly sabotaging your current or future happiness. These people may have known you most of your life, and they may love you more than anyone else ever could – but they also may be holding you back.

When you’ve played a certain role in your life, those around you expect you to keep filling the same role – and that can be hard to break free from, especially if you’re looking to make any change that involves an element of risk – which most major changes do.

So if you know you’re ready to start your own business or practice, or want to change careers at the age of 50 – start slow and try, and find people to help and support you with it. By the way, I’m not saying it’s OK to be reckless and throw away a career on a whim and ignore everyone around you either. You may have resistance also because you’re embracing a really bad idea – so heed warnings of those close to you, but don’t let them hold you back if it’s a logical decision.

Luckily nowadays finding people to bond with is easier than ever online. From craiglist.org, facebook, myspace, or whichever industry you’re looking to bond with people from – there’s an online group. Meetup.com and eventbrite.com also have specific types of meet-ups for different industries and hobbies all over the world as well.

So if you’re ready for change, but those close to you aren’t onboard – join or start a new gang. Find people who also love and believe in your mission, and embrace it. Just screen them really carefully before meeting in a public, well-lit area. You want to cover your bases in case the crazy comes out.

Now you don’t need gang colors, gang names, or gang signs, but hey, why not. It’ll help you bond and identify others just like you. I doubt the dangerous jalopy SUV drivers’ mothers are thrilled with them ‘riding’ for kicks. But I’m sure it makes them happy, or they wouldn’t be doing it.

Once you have a team to support you, it’ll be easier to pursue your dreams.

Get a Great Career – Buy a Book

Lion Cub Job Search: Practical Job Search Assistance for Practical Job Seekers by Lavie Margolin

Without reading this I can comfortably recommend it to job seekers as that Lavie provides sound, logical advice on his blog for job seekers & career changers that I completely agree with.

Lavie’s blog helped inspire my own – so if you’ve been enjoying http://sharon.cc you’ll love this.

$20 is a small investment in finding a long-term career.


Shortlink: http://wp.me/pWfpN-2r


Action: Aspire

Today’s Action Item will be an excerpt from a long post on my blog (one that every mother should read if you haven’t already) that may have been lost at the end of a very long train of thought, but I hope people can appreciate, be inspired, and focus on this excerpt:

My way to find more, to aspire to do better things, is to dream. Everyone once in awhile both on my own, and with my husband, I make us sit down for a brainstorming session. We discuss our dreams and goals. I ask him to let his creative mind wander, and ask the following questions of ourselves:

  • What would we do if we could do anything? If money, time, and resources were of no issue.
  • Where would we live if money, politics, and family weren’t keeping us where we are?
  • What would our ideal lives look like?

By focusing on those main questions every few years, we come up with a mental list of unofficial goals. I have yet to write them down. This way they stay in our minds and hearts, and stay flexible. Our wants and goals evolve and grow as we do – as should yours.

Take some time to dream, even if it’s only one hour once every few years – so at least you know why you’re hustling, what your working towards, and what will make YOU happy (oh yeah and your family/friends too).  Don’t let yourself become the aimless rat in the wheel – run for a purpose, and pat yourself on the back for all that you do.

What’s the Big Deal About Superwoman? Let’s be Friendrepreneurs instead.

I’m much more successful, and accomplish a lot more that she did.

All my not-single ladies – yeah fellow mom’s & doers out there – why do we idolize Superwoman? Why is she the proverbial role model? All she did was hold down an impressive job.

Did she balance work, a husband, children, guests, friends, a clean home, diet, exercise, live on a budget in a recession, stay on top of the news, culture, and technology and make sure everyone around her was happy – on high heels?

Oh wait, I do all that. It hit me while I was studying for the GRE’s and doing grant writing for grad school scholarships while pumping at work (yes I’m a nursing mother in addition to all of the above) that Superwoman has nothing on me.

I’m still the one who makes sure everyone has new socks when they need them and clothes that are seasonally appropriate in their closet with food they like in the fridge (thank you online grocery shopping) with fun filled weekends with careers and schools they enjoy and benefit from and and and…

I’m the person everyone I know turns to when they need anything from advice on the cheapest place to buy boots through how to get a new job or new husband – and expect this on a volunteer basis, because hey, what else does Sharon have to do?

I think Belle said it best in Beauty & The Beast, “There must be more than this provincial life.”

Women have ceiling to uphold, glass or otherwise.

We all work, whether for pay or raising a family – it counts. Don’t forget about taking care of yourself to avoid burnout, even though I know you don’t have the time for it.

I’m a firm believer of working smarter, not harder…just then why am I working so hard? Why do I need more hours in the day? Why is sleep so far down on my list of priorities that it doesn’t even faze me that I need 3+ cups of coffee a day to stay alert?

I’m probably only one of the many women out there that are constantly brainstorming new ideas for businesses, just hoping one will stick. I’ve invented a phrase for my entrepreneurial friends like me:

Friendrepreneurs. Let’s work together.

I’m hoping that I’ll find a lucrative enough idea for a business that I’ll be able to feel both fulfilled, able to pay private school tuition, work less hours to be around more for the kids, employ every talented person I know, and have time to do the laundry for a change.

When you walk into my cluttered house you can tell artists live there, not just by the cinnamon bark colored walls with the buttered popcorn crown molding and art. Our home is the epicenter of the creative beings who inhabit it and visit it frequently.

Yes we hope to upgrade said home to something suburban with parking and more room for those visitors and a backyard for the kids, but it will remain the same happy, peaceful haven that people enjoy being at. I’ll make sure of it, just another part of my job.

It helps that I have an amazing husband who knows what I need and supports me and every eccentric whim of mine, and that I have staffed incredible strong women in their upper 50’s to watch my children and do  my laundry as that I’m at the office 9-6ish. Those are my supporting actors and actresses that help me be the rockstar I am, who I love and know benefit from the strength and skills that I provide.

I’m frequently asked by those who know me why I speak so quickly, why I’m always ‘doing so much’. Why my handwriting is so fast and rushed, why my signature only has time to be 4 letters. Why don’t I slow down?

It’s been quoted that Abraham Lincoln said, “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” If I took more time to do the things I do, much less would get done.

I do wonder from time to time if it’s all appreciated or worth it. Not from a self-pity, low self-esteem point of view. Rather I just wonder what would happen if I stopped. If I woke up one morning and said I’d rather go for a day at a spa than being productive. My nails and makeup are always done while I drive, after all what other good uses are there for all that time spent at red lights? And why waste money on manicures if I can do a fab job myself. More money to take the family out to dinner instead. Oh wait, I cook better meals than most restaurants, so we don’t go out to eat much…so maybe more money for vacations? So we can go somewhere fabulous for the weekend? Nah we’ll go on a priceline budget trip to Connecticut, but take as much of the extended family as we can afford with connecting rooms instead.

Now if anyone is still reading this rant, which I’m guessing many of you are, you might be having various trains of thought, but I’m hoping you’re wondering how you can do more. And you can, because you’re a woman, and we’re amazing. We’re beautiful each in our own ways (now if only you’d all believe it and stop starving yourselves and put down the wrinkle creams)!

My way to find more, to aspire to do better things, is to dream. Everyone once in awhile both on my own, and with my husband, I make us sit down for a brainstorming session. We discuss our dreams and goals. I ask him to let his creative mind wander, and ask the following questions of ourselves:

  • What would we do if we could do anything? If money, time, and resources were of no issue.
  • Where would we live if money, politics, and family weren’t keeping us where we are?
  • What would our ideal lives look like?

By focusing on those main questions every few years, we come up with a mental list of unofficial goals. I have yet to write them down. This way they stay in our minds and hearts, and stay flexible. Our wants and goals evolve and grow as we do – as should yours.

Take some time to dream, even if it’s only one hour once every few years – so at least you know why you’re hustling, what your working towards, and what will make YOU happy (oh yeah and your family/friends too).  Don’t let yourself become the aimless rat in the wheel – run for a purpose, and pat yourself on the back for all that you do.

Superwoman couldn’t handle all of this, trust me.