Giving and taking advice

Published on Sep 13, 2023 by Matt Bud, The FENG
Human Interactions

It is well understood that men don’t like unsolicited advice. It is for this reason we tend not to ask for directions at the gas station. It is a macho thing driving around for hours, lost beyond hope, and yet not stopping for help. (Thank goodness for GPS!)

One of our many fine traditions at the Westport Chapter used to be a little coaching on 90-second announcements and resumes that we did as we went around the table. Our goal was not to put anyone down, but rather to search for ways to improve the message being delivered. Having regularly attended our meeting in Westport every month since 1996, I have heard more than my fair share of these pitches.

Perhaps my ears are getting tired, but it was my belief that they were getting better. I rarely heard a really bad one at most meetings. Most were good, and most got better with the passing of each meeting. It is still true that practice makes perfect and anything you practice is bound to improve.

Although I consider myself to be a resident expert on all things job search, it is still not without some fear and trepidation that I ventured forth with my “tough love” program of suggesting improvements here and there. You walk a fine line.

As all of you are out and about in our new virtual neighborhood, showing your resume around and trying out your 90-second pitch, the goal on your side is to keep an open mind with respect to the advice you get. While men don’t like getting unsolicited advice, they do enjoy giving it.

Even though you may be a regular “mister know it all,” try not to let others find out. I learned a long time ago that I don’t know everything, even about job search. This is why I try to ask a lot of questions, even ones I think I already know the answer to. I am often surprised myself and have been heard to comment: “Why didn’t I think of that?”

While I suggest you present an open mind to all the advice you get, I would also suggest you exercise your own common sense when it comes to implementing this advice. You honestly don’t have to take each and every suggestion that comes your way to heart and modify your 90-second announcement or your resume to suit the latest advice you have gotten. Take what makes sense to you and that which you are ready to accept as true and use that. The rest can always wait for another time.

Everyone should go through outplacement once. The skills you learn there are hard to acquire totally on your own. That said many outplacement counselors treat you as if you were an emergency room patient, completely incapable of making any decisions on your own.

Stop me if I am wrong, but all of you are adults. Not only that, you are functioning adults. There is a lot that these folks can teach you, but there is also a lot you can learn on your own by reading a few good books on the subject. After all, that IS how you got your education.

The skill of job search is one you need to acquire and hone for the rest of your working life. As you know, all jobs are temporary.

Ask lots of questions. Seek lots of advice. And, keep growing in your knowledge and experience.

Regards, Matt