It’s true. Great musical talent needs to be taken to an adoring public. There’s only so much practicing in the parlor – before that world tour has to be undertaken. So a call to action to conduct a paid gig is always welcome. The phone conversation (according to my musical partner) went as follows:
“Could you play a gig for my family?”
“I’m sure we could. What date are you looking at?”
“Next Thursday afternoon.”
“Let me check the diary?” (‘I’m very busy’ is a ruse deployed by musicians and management consultants the world over).
“Yeh – that might work. What’s the occasion?”
Funeral Service: Turns out we were being asked to play at a funeral. Now, normally funeral gigs work fine. In Ireland, funerals are really like weddings, with just one less person attending. The ‘front end’ of the ceremony can be sad – but the back end is normally good craic. Guilty consciences are assuaged by comments like: “This is the sort of party she (the deceased) would really enjoy” and “We’re here to celebrate a life. Another Carlsberg Martin?” But this particular gig had some interesting parameters.
Rock On: The deceased loved Rock music – so the set list was pre-ordained. There wouldn’t be any Partridge Family hits and we’d probably have to put a ‘red-line’ through The Winner Takes it All from ABBA. Given the sensitivity, we couldn’t play The Road to Hell, Knocking on Heavens’ Door or Sorrow. You get the picture! But it was the idea of playing alongside the open casket that really turned my friend off. So he respectfully (and rightly) declined. At this point you are probably saying: What’s all of this got to do with me? Relax now. Be patient!
Telephone Man: Picture yourself sitting at the desk, binding the 49th version of your company’s latest strategic plan when the phone rings. It’s Francis (or Frances) from ‘World-Class Headhunting.’ Apparently, there’s a new company coming to Dublin (or Dubai or Darwin). They have a killer application and need people just like you. They’re distributing free sandwiches (every day), stock options (when they go public) and a wellness program based on the fundamental principles of Hot Yoga. The MD is 28, an IT genius who also has incredibly well rounded interpersonal skills. He ‘gets people’ and he’d like to get you. Could you rock up next Tuesday afternoon at 14:00 to meet him?
Inner Comfort: Somewhere, inside all of us, there’s a small voice saying: “The full extent of my talent will eventually be discovered.” Now, finally, someone has come knocking. Only a fool would by-pass this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure your dream job, to make financial inroads, perhaps even to meet a new life partner in a young, vibrant, dynamic company. How could you refuse?
Front Seat: A call from a headhunter is flattering. It’s akin to being ‘asked up’ at a dance, making us feel important and wanted. It allows us to indulge in the fantasy of standing in front of our boss and telling her to “F**k off” or standing in front of our father and telling him “I told you I was smart.” That’s the upside. But it could also be the wrong job, in the wrong town with the wrong company. In the worst-case scenario, all you are really doing is making your next interview story more difficult.
Your Career: My friend Larry McGivern bangs on and on about the need to be decisive. He says: “Right or wrong, make a call. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels that couldn’t make a decision.” If you buy into the philosophy that you are the CEO of your own life, it follows that you own your career. Don’t be a pawn in some headhunters’ attempt to secure their next bonus payment. Executive Search Consultants are not career coaches. They are sales people – wanting to put your bum on any seat in order to earn a fee. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – provided – you don’t switch off your brain in the process and go along like Dolly the Sheep to an interview for a job that you don’t want.
Sometimes the best response to a ‘call for action’ (like that request to play at a rock funeral) is to ignore it. You have to know when you are 92% happy – because that’s about as good as it gets.
PS Sad Note: I can’t write anything about headhunters without thinking about Paddy Feeney in Orion. In a business world that can be very grey, Paddy was a wonderfully colourful character. He has a brilliant sense of humour and, in his day, was a great judge of talent. Paddy has been sick now for some time – and has moved out of the game. But he was one of the very best in the business. I really wish him and his family well during this difficult time.
PS Lighter Note: It’s equivalent to the 4th Secret of Fatima. Where does Aidan Cahill get his material? Now, buckle in and consider the following…
Saturday Service: At the regular Saturday morning service, the rabbi announced that he was planning to leave for a larger congregation that would pay him more. There is a hush within the congregation. No one wants him to leave, because he was so popular.
Fred Shapiro, who owns several car dealerships in Newton and Brookline, stands up and proclaims “If the rabbi stays, I will provide him with a new Cadillac every year, and his wife with a Honda mini-van!”
The congregation sighs in appreciation and applauds.
Saul Cohen, a successful businessman and lawyer, stands and says: “If the rabbi will stay on here, I’ll personally double his salary, and establish a foundation to guarantee a free college education for his children!”
More loud clapping.
Estelle Rubin, age 88, stands and announces with a smile, “If the rabbi stays, I will give him sex!”
There’s total silence in the room. The rabbi, blushing, asks her:
“Mrs. Rubin, you’re a wonderful and holy lady. Whatever possessed you to say that?”
Estelle’s 90-year old husband, Abe, is trying to hide, holding his forehead with the palm of his hand, and shaking his head from side to side, while his wife replied
“Well, I just asked my husband how we could help, and Abe said: “F**k him.”
Work:Life Balance: This one is actually a true story. Clare Foley (who works with me) has a grandchild, Lucy, who lives in the UK. Lucy is 6 years old. On a recent visit to Dublin they asked her: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She’d obviously given this topic some thought based on her answer: “On Saturdays and Sunday’s I’m going to be a Mermaid. On Friday’s and Monday’s I’m going to be a Doctor. For the rest of the week, I’m going to eat chocolate!” There you go now. That’s you and me sorted on career planning. Best answer I even heard.
Check our website http://www.tandemconsulting.ie or call 087 2439019 for an informal discussion about executive or organization development.