[29-Jul-16] Change of my blog structure due to a technical issue.

Due to a technical constraint I have to stop writing on this page and will proceed my blog on the "My Blog" page. Thanks a lot for following so far and in the future. Very much appreciated.

If you have any feedback, questions, comments, ideas for new topics or just want to contact me, please use contact@RethinkAndFocus.com as there is no comment field available.

See, what experts are sharing ...

I have another job interview tomorrow and I am looking forward to it. I am further improving by doing. My blog is still a lot of fun for me and helps a lot to get thoughts straight. BUT it is far away from being professional.

There are great examples out there, like Liz Ryan - Founder and CEO, Human Workplace. See some of her posts at https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_3gCnfnMz0rJFmwsdxWqJxZ?trk=mp-reader-h 

Enjoy reading and the pictures 🙂

[27-Jul-16] How to best describe, what you have done so far ...

Photo taken at "Wonders of Nature" exhibition, http://www.gasometer.de/en/exhibitions/current-exhibition

Yesterday I had my second meeting with my outplacement consultant and we did discuss about my CV, some parts of the introduction letter I used so far and the technical content of my final letter of reference. In all three areas the challenge is to explain, what I have done so far to somebody, who is not on the same level of detail or does not have the full technical background.

The same situation can happen in job interviews. So a lot of interviewers are making use of the STAR interview approach in the meantime. The acronym stands for Situation, Task, Actions, and Results and it simply summarizes the structure of your work experience --> see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-carniol/inside-the-star-interview_b_3310122.html for example.

By taking this approach for yourself and providing enough details in the four STAR areas, you can make your whole story more personal and tangible, for people reading it in a document or listening to it in a job interview. When all necessary details are available, you can summarize the four areas into one or two sentences at the end and use this as part of your CV, introduction letter or letter of reference.

I will look into this in more detail and share my experience afterwards.

Quick summary of my third week.

I did apply for three new positions and did get three times the information that I did not make it to the next round for jobs I applied some weeks back. Besides that I initiated a discussion with another headhunter in two weeks, to discuss several options for my future.

For my Outplacement activities I did get familiar with their website, finished 3 out of the overall 25 steps, did the webcast to prepare for the "nonverbal communication" workshop next week and looked into some self assessments for success and softskills.

Besides that I did make some marketing for my Blog with some former colleagues and friends and really like the feedback I did get so far. Very motivating to proceed with what I am doing 😋.

And I am still enjoying my additional free time to be flexible in just doing things when they come up. Helping my wife with some house hold activities, surprising my mother for her birthday last week and going to the cinema in the afternoon with the family. Small things that should be much more appreciated !!

For next week I am looking forward to my second meeting with my outplacement consultant, the planned workshop on Thursday and some new topics for this blog.

[22-Jul-16] To quickly finish the age discussion !!

Photo taken at "Wonders of Nature" exhibition, http://www.gasometer.de/en/exhibitions/current-exhibition

As for all kind of statistics you can easily find arguments for both sides, if you select the right data.

Looking at the USA (http://www.presidenstory.com/stat_age.php) or French (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_Presidents_by_longevity) presidents, or maybe the Secretary-General of the United Nations for example (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretary-General_of_the_United_Nations), you will find enough data to support the general selection of "older" candidates.

If you take the "40 under 40" (http://fortune.com/40-under-40/) list of the Fortune Magazine or even the Forbes "30 under 30" overview (http://www.forbes.com/30-under-30-2016/), you have enough material to support the opposite position.

In the end the right person with the right skills, expertise and experience, has to be at the right place at the right time. And should be the best match for the hiring company and the decision making managers.

By the way, there can be a large difference between the age in your passport and how you look, feel and are seen by other people. 

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. Mark Twain

[20-Jul-16] What if you are not making it to the next round of interviews?

Yesterday I learned that I did not make it to the next round of interviews, in the company that did invite me last week to my first job interview after 10 years.

So what does this mean to me?

If you look at the pure recruiting numbers http://www.eremedia.com/ere/why-you-cant-get-a-job-recruiting-explained-by-the-numbers/ (see article from 2013), you can be more than happy to make it to any first interview at all, as this means you have done a lot of things pretty well. You made it through the pre-selection and selection process, because somebody did find the right key words and information in your CV and introduction letter and wanted to talk to you in person.

Seeing it from this perspective, this was really a good start and should give me a good feeling, but there is still a lot of room for improvement and work to be done. Let's face it. On the other side, the final email or letter you get to inform you about not being considered for the next round, is not of any help at all. Just general statements that should not hurt or judge you and your capabilities, BUT not really any positive or negative feedback about your application documents and performance that could be helpful to improve for the future. 😥

YES this is additional effort and might be difficult in some countries, but every applicant deserves some hints how to improve, as we are spending a lot of time and effort to prepare our material and the job interviews.

[18-Jul-16] Outplacement high level ...

Photo taken at "Wonders of Nature" exhibition, http://www.gasometer.de/en/exhibitions/current-exhibition

As mentioned yesterday, I will only give some high level insights into the Outplacement activities. There are basically three phases:

  1. Get ready for a new start
  2. Get several job offers and find a new position
  3. Negotiate the conditions and make a final decision

For the new start you have to better understand, why you left or had to leave your current position? All this is key for a successful start into your future. A self-assessment is definitely very helpful and there are a lot of good tools available, see the DISC personality testing for example http://discpersonalitytesting.com/ (I used it with my direct reports and whole team, the results have been very much appreciated) or find some other professional management tools at e.g. http://managementhelp.org/.

When you are done with all your preparation tasks, you can start to search for new opportunities that match your profile and expectations. Job sites, Headhunters, making use of your professional network and social media are only some examples for the possibilities you have in 2016. As we are not doing these kind of activities on a regular basis, you will feel uncomfortable at the beginning, but you will get used to it and better every day, learning by doing.

Assuming you will end up with more than one job offer in the end, the most difficult part starts, to select the right position and properly balance your pros and cons. If facts and figures only do not bring the final decision, listen to your feelings and ask friends or your professional network for advice.

A great second week is over.

I did apply for another interesting position and was invited for a first job interview the next day. The interview was very positive for me and I will see, how this will go further in the next rounds. A new headhunter did contact me as result of my profile in one of the job sites. And for another job I applied some weeks back I got the information that I did not make it to the next round. You can never be a good match for all positions and you should not I would say.

After 10 years I did meet my outplacement consultant again, who will be supporting and guiding me in the coming month. Nothing really changed, maybe some more grey hair on both sides. All the outplacement activities are now web-based, but the main content and key milestones of the process did not change a lot. I will cover some key parts next week, but only on a higher level as it is competitive advantage of the company doing the outplacement with me and cannot be shared. End of July I will do a first workshop about nonverbal communication during the application process. Looking forward to it.

Besides all that we had my wifes birthday. The next day my wife did go with me to the outplacement appointment and we had a nice afternoon in the city afterwards. Friday morning I had to go to the dentist again and lost a tooth, as there was no hope left for it. Yesterday evening I did go out with my daughters to a city center celebration and today I am looking for a summer holiday for early August.

[15-Jul-16] Coming back to the topic, if the age really matters?

Photo taken at "Wonders of Nature" exhibition, http://www.gasometer.de/en/exhibitions/current-exhibition

Directly after the end of the UEFA EURO 2016 soccer championship in France the standard discussion about the age of players started once again. "This guy is too old, he will not come back, he should stop his career in the national team and should not take or block the place for a younger, more promising player for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia". 

Understandable discussion, especially for a team sport like e.g. soccer, but not every player has the same role or responsibility in a total team of 23 players, when only 11 are playing the game. Physical fitness does count and is part of the selection process, but also mental strength, experience and leadership skills play a key role to build a strong team in preparation for and during a tournament.

Looking at the details of Wikipedia's List of oldest professional athletes by sport https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_professional_athletes_by_sport you will quickly realize that this is a good mixture of team and single sports. And there has to be much more than just physical fitness, to be successful in professional sports with 45+ years of age? If you are on your own or part of a larger team.

Another good example for different roles and responsibilities and years of age in teams is the America's Cup for Sail Racing https://www.americascup.com/en/home.html. Looking at the key roles with the most responsibility (e.g. skipper, manager and tactician) you will see that these guys are in general between 40 - 50 and even sometimes above.

So your age does matter. And your expertise, your experience and your managerial and leadership skills and your personality and everything else you can bring to the table. It is just a matter of finding the right fit to the future role and this applies for all candidates, independent from their age.

With the demographic change that the biggest industrial countries are facing in the moment, there is much more expertise leaving due to retirement than the younger people can fill up quickly. 

More to come ... 👍

[13-Jul-16] My first job interview after nearly 10 years ...

Photo taken at "Wonders of Nature" exhibition, http://www.gasometer.de/en/exhibitions/current-exhibition

A great experience today and a lot of coincidences coming together this time. I found the job on a job site Sunday, did apply on Monday and got a phone call Tuesday to agree the first interview for Wednesday. Pretty short notice, but as I have some free time and flexibility in the moment 🙂, we did meet today. As the company site was close by to my home, we could do the standard first phone interview face-to-face, what was a real benefit for both sides.

I did see my outplacement consultant yesterday and we had a short discussion how to prepare for the interview, especially as it was the first time for me to be the applicant after 10 years, but I decided to go there without any special training or dedicated preparation. I did check their company details on their webpage and prepared some questions about organization, financials and their reaction to the Brexit discussion, currently ongoing between the UK and Europe.

I think the interview did go really well and we did spend 90 minutes to get to know each other. I was open and honest and authentic, something I personally like very much, when I am on the interviewer seat. We covered key moments in my past career and what I am looking for in the future. My strength and weakness, key accomplishments so far and what I possibly would do differently, when I would get a second chance? 

We will see how the further application process goes and if I will make it to the next round of interviews? In the moment I am pretty confident and I think I had a great day today.😉

[11-Jul-16] My wife's birthday

Definitely a great advantage of the "Garden Leave" period is you can be at home, when you have to. Today I was together with my wife and family and there was nothing else to worry about.

Great when Work-Life balance changes to Life-Work balance for a defined period of time and you are completely free to set your own priorities. No coordination with the schedule of other people, no coming home from or leaving to a business trip that cannot be moved.

I think everybody should appreciated this freedom and has to remember it every time, when the choice is not only our's anymore. "Garden Leave" will be over sooner or later and I have to go back to work.


[09-Jul-16] Job Search Advantage of Being Over 50


"Don't be discouraged! A job search is never easy, but you'll make it. Your network, knowledge and experience, and solid skills and work ethic will see you through to a successful conclusion.

Good luck!", Susan P. Joyce 

"About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org."

[08-Jul-16] 5 Ways to Beat Age Discrimination in Hiring ...

I think I had a first successful week in Garden Leave ...


The first week is over and I think I did pretty well😀. As I know the situation from 10 years ago, I can directly work on areas for improvement. Besides that my wife and kids are very helpful to focus on the right things and do not spend too much time alone in my work room with the laptop only. "Less is More", Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

I tried to concentrate on three areas:

1. Find a new job

I did setup Skype for possible interviews, I did review and update my LinkedIn, Xing and several jobsite profiles, I did better structure my job applications from previous weeks and applied for three new jobs. I did organize my kick off meeting with my outplacement consultant for early next week.

2. Do something for me

I did go to the hairdresser and dentist, I did download the Ubuntu phone STK to possibly develop an application during the next weeks or month for my phone. I initiated this blog and web site, a lot of fun so far😉. And my wife asked me to think about a voluntary assignment in the school of my daughter after summer holiday, to offer workshops during lunch time.

3. Spend more time with the family

We did look for a lastminute summer holiday, did go shopping and went out for a game of crazy golf today. Besides that we did follow the games of the German team during the soccer EURO 2016.

[07-Jul-16] How technology killed recruiting?

Should I use a photo in my CV and for my application?

First question of my outplacement consultant was, "Do you have other photos, than the one on the CV you shared?"

Do photos really count and are they really required for the application and selection process? Seems to be, depending on the culture and country you are working in!! In the USA for example it is not required at all, as diversity is a driving factor and equal treatment of applicants the ground rule, to avoid any discrimination cases.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html this should be the general direction in most of the countries, but the reality is different.

In Germany for example a "good photo" is still seen as a door opener by the majority of the experts and decision makers. If you do not share a photo with your application package, you might want to hide something? How REAL can my photo be, when I ask a professional photographer to take it according to the known "golden rules"? And what does it really show then?

In my last IT Manager position I did use photos as supporting tool to have a face to a name, what is very helpful when you are working with globally diverse and virtual teams. But it was never a selection criteria for anything, as Experience, Expertise, Self-confidence and Motivation count for me.

So I will have to decide during my upcoming application activities, if I will share a photo or not? Maybe I am not even interested anymore to work for a company that requests a photo for decision making? Might be a good start to make a change? 🙃

[05-Jul-16] How to find new jobs?

Out of several possibilities, I like to focus on Job Sites http://www.jobrank.org/top100-job-sites/, Headhunter http://www.allheadhunters.com/ and Outplacement https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outplacement as example, just in case this applies?

As mentioned earlier, I just selected the URL that I think does fit well to the topic mentioned and came up during a simple Internet search!!

Learning by doing? Do the right things right ...

Just in case you are wondering about my "Garden Leave" statement before, but there are different labor laws around the world http://www.bls.gov/fls/ and separation packages are not common in all countries and for all organizational levels.

With nearly 10 years in my company I could agree a good package and do have enough time now to RethinkAndFocus. Having much more time than before is great on the one side, as it opens a lot of opportunities for new activities and interests. But it can also be a burden, as you might not know what to do, or you do not want to waste it easily?

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” ― Marthe Troly-CurtinPhrynette Married 🤩

[04-Jul-16] New IT jobs

How should I start my Blog? (Introduction and Motivation)

Photo taken at http://www.krefeld.de/en/content/burg-linn/

I am 50+ and start a regular blog now. Let's see how this goes, as this is not my day-to-day technology and regular writing not a familiar area for me so far. But it is never to late to start something completely new and it will be a great learning experience for me and to share this with others in a similar situation? 😉 If you are interested to contact me, please email to contact@RethinkAndFocus.com 

Why English as I am not a native speaker? English is #2 of the most spoken languages in the world in 2014 (http://dailynewsdig.com/top-ten-spoken-languages-world-2014/) and I do not speak Mandarin. It is a good way to practice, a possibility to reach a broader audience and tools like e.g. Google translate (https://translate.google.com/) will only get better and better, when they are used regularly.

Why now? After nearly 10 years working for my company I took the opportunity for a voluntary leave, as I needed a change and was not happy anymore with the current situation as IT Manager. I am in Garden Leave now, having sufficient time to look for new opportunities and to RethinkAndFocus. A Blog or Online Diary looks like a good idea to share my thoughts regularly and to describe, what is happening during my current journey in a central place?

I am not an expert in finding new opportunities, but I have some experience from the past, so this situation is not new to me. I am still very relaxed and looking forward, to what will be happening in the coming month.

There are basically two choices in my current situation, as I see it today (this might be changing during the coming weeks?). The obvious one, to look for a similar position like the one I just left, or maybe even applying for the next higher level in the hierarchy? Or the more challenging and interesting one, to start with something completely new and different?

I will find out in the coming month, which direction will be the better choice for me? Above the age of 50, but still with another 15 - 20 working years to go, until I will reach the current official retirement age of my government.

To be very clear at the end of this introduction. I am doing this for me and not for money. The links and references I am using are there to support my thoughts and arguments and not for any sponsoring or advertising purposes. I know my blog will become public latest 48 hours after initiating this domain, when the search engines start to find this page. This is good to know, but I do not plan to proactively push the distribution.

To avoid any legal issues, I will be applying the Blogger Code of Ethics, only use my own photos and do not allow comments on this page. If you are still interested to contact me, please email to contact@RethinkAndFocus.com  🙂

Blogger Code of Ethicshttp://jergames.blogspot.com/2007/03/blogger-code-of-ethics.html