The Job Search: What I Learned

Posted on: July 23, 2013, by :
Dick McCracken
Dick McCracken
Photo Credit: Taken at Harper’s Ferry, WV,
June 2013
by the lovely Marcia.

Perspectives from Dick McCracken

Allow me to briefly introduce myself.  I am recently retired from the nationally ranked Kelley School of Business, Indiana University-Bloomington, where I was charged with supporting the job search of top-tier, rising MBAs who had quit good jobs to recharge/advance their careers through challenging graduate education.  Before that I had 30 years of corporate background, including a 5-year stint as VP-Human Resources for a large subsidiary of a publicly traded corporation.  There was also a stop as Compensation Director and Director, Human Resources Development for the most profitable division of a Fortune 50 corporation.  This quick history is offered to make a reference to widely different stops along a 40-year career.  Interestingly, the last stop was the best, the most enjoyable.  One never knows.

Twice along the way I suffered short periods of career uncertainty.  There was a downsizing; there was a management takeover.  I know what it’s like to look for a job in a tough market.  I also was blessed to make upgrades after setbacks.  There are proven ways to recover, grow, advance and achieve.  For this professional blog, I will share a simple thought to support Tuesday Strong’s loyal readers.  This thought has never failed to carry me through challenging times.  Most career advisors don’t mention this theme.

 Making Friends through Wisdom & Contribution

This sounds so simple:  Make Friends.  As you might know, new job opportunities most likely develop through people who know and trust you.  Therefore, starting from day-1 plant seeds of high ethics, diligence, team player and problem solver.  As you leave a department, a team or a business, there is one overriding, lasting goal: the positive impression people have of you.

Dan Dalton, Dean Emeritus, Kelley School of Business invariably advised talented MBAs to always leave this mark,“Be missed.” If your presence is missed, you will have done well.  You made your mark.

Once, when I lost a job through a change in management, those that remained granted me a full share of their annual bonus pool, taking money out of their pockets to divide evenly with one leaving the company.  It’s good to be missed.  I expressed my lasting gratitude.

Friends help others, including bosses, peers and those who may hold lesser titles.  When you help the leader win, it will be known if not expressed.  If you volunteer to lead successful teams, you will be held in esteem even if not acknowledged.  Diligence, patience and modesty are too often underrated.  Be humble, make friends and engage every opportunity to make tasks enjoyable.  The complainer losses; the problem solver advances.  Patiently teach the newcomer.  Say thank you often.  Praise others when appropriate.  Be reliable.  Be fair and honest in constructive, supportive ways.

Forgive me if I seem old fashioned.  But making friends actually works when done naturally and without ulterior motive.  I attained my first job through a reference from my spouse’s uncle; that was in higher education.   My second job, a fast-track corporate opportunity, came from a trusted executive, a business friend of my late father.  The next change was made possible because a prior boss had moved to another corporation and asked me to follow.  Lastly, my move to the Kelley School, came as a result of a lifetime, active love affair with Indiana University, even when living outside the State.  My subsequent consulting roles, post-retirement, were with the Kelley School and professionals who had reached for my support.  Even now, in retirement in a new hometown, I have assumed community leadership roles by responding to those asking for help.  At all levels and all the time, caring matters.

Dick McCracken

Retired, still working and learning

Madison, IN


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