Networking not working? Hint: It's not the virus

We have all heard it:

  • 80% of jobs are captured through networking
  • I’ve never advertised, it’s all networking
  • I’m not an alcoholic, I’m networking

Every human being thinks more about himself than anyone else. Dale Carnegie said, “Remember that a person's name is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” 

Can networking be the best way to win friends and influence people?

It can be all about networking. Many times it isn’t.

Like the Griswoldesque neighbor who briefly feigns interest in what you have to say only to let you know how wonderful his life is. He is smarter than Biden and Trump put together and his great ____________ (fill in the blank with anything he describes as awesome) can’t be found in any store or Amazon. Let’s call him Norman Networker.

Norman is a walking, breathing Facebook post of his best breakfast with his best sunrise in the best venue on Earth. Networking for Norm is an opportunity to shine a bright light on himself. He craves the Likes, Hearts and an alphabet of smiley emojis.

Exhale Norman! Networking in a job search isn’t meeting for coffee without a plan for more than bagels. Sliding your resume across the table and sheepishly asking, “what do you think? Know anyone who’s hiring?” Norman, Norman, Norman… it’s YOUR job to figure out what you want to be when you grow up.

Norm isn’t networking at all. After the obligatory response, “if something comes up, I’ll be sure and let you know” Norm will have a tough time getting a follow-up meeting.

I’d like to share these tips with Norman Networker, but he doesn’t listen:

  • Find a WHY for both of us. Research how a networking meeting could be of value to both parties. Networking is not just about you.
  • Treat a networking meeting like it could be worth a million dollars. Send a formal meeting request, forward simple agenda clarifying expectations. Confirm every appointment, you make the reservation, be early.
  • Have a stop time as well as a start time. You may have nowhere to go and a long time to get there but respect others’ schedule.
  • Prepare an advance list of people and companies that you can help with. Then share your needs.
  • Ask smart questions to position yourself as someone who knows what matters.
  • Don’t ask to pick my brain, that’s creepy and gross.
  • Take notes. It’s a sign of respect and creates an easy follow-up on who committed to do what.
  • Execute on recommendations and every next step. Do everything you said you would do.
  • Copy or BCC your source on every referral outreach. Keep them in the loop.

Norman Networker won’t follow any of these recommendations. He hasn’t stopped talking.

Mark Gonska is the Career Accelerator. For his super-secret networking hack, reach him at

Tagged With: Expert Knowledge

Working from home - will we ever go back to the office?

Work from home? Me? Never!

That’s always been my thinking.  I love my office and the people who work there.  I sure hope we’ll be back there real soon.  Nevertheless, I’ve kind of enjoyed sitting at my dining room table working away on my Surface and taking calls while stretched out on my comfy couch. 

While I’ve read much about how remote work has accelerated in the U.S. over the last decade, my personal experience working from home has enlightened me through my own “real-life” experience.  I’ve read many articles and heard from friends and colleagues about what it’s like to manage and work with their teams remotely.  The pros and cons of remote work seem endless.  So, what have I learned and what do I think about the future of remote work?

Well, one thing is for certain.  When several people in the family are working from home lots, be sure to give yourself some personal space to work!  How do I know?   Let’s just say I’m kind of loud when talking on the telephone - my wife and her employees can attest to that.  You see,  she’s working from home now too.  When I get wound up you can hear me throughout the house.  Kathy was having a Zoom team meeting.  One of her people asked, “is your husband having a party?”

But over the last five weeks as I’ve worked with my own team remotely every day, talked to many clients, and read about the situation in general, I’ve formulated some other thoughts on what this forced WFH may mean in the future.

  • People may become so proficient working from home that they’ll wonder why they ever had to go to an office in the first place.  They’re discovering right now, under forced conditions, that working from home doesn’t change day-to-day work, it just means working from a different environment. Some people, even on my own staff, think that you can actually be more productive when working from home
  • Companies that embrace remote working during this crisis may find it sticks around as normality returns. It is harder to say no to employee requests for working from home.  Especially if it means cost savings in monthly rent and reduced office space.  We’ve talked endlessly about the importance of work-life balance.  Perhaps companies will finally build a culture that allows long-overdue true work flexibility.  Those perceived barriers about managing people remotely may be challenged, and rightfully so, going forward
  • Remote work is indeed different work. Managers will have to get better at judging productivity.  Instead of relying on mere presence in the office, it will be more important than ever to set and monitor specific goals.  Employees, as well, may have to set new work habits for time management and documentation
  • We may evolve to a more sophisticated and flexible use of technology.  For the most part, technology capabilities exist to make it easier than ever for remote workers to work from anywhere. In fact, my own company is taking advantage of that right now.  For true work from home capability for all, there are situations that may require more data security capability than we have today

What is the most important thing I’ve learned about working from home as I’ve lived it every day over the past few weeks?  One size does not, and probably will not ever, fit all.   For many, the work from home exercise we are going through now may be their preferred way to work for the future as companies and workers recognize the inherent benefits.  For me, the social bonds and creative energy that develops when working side by side in an office with colleagues overrides that comfy couch!

Tagged With: Expert Knowledge

Make this setback your comeback

When will this lockdown end? What can I do? 

You can’t answer every question. No one can. You CAN decide to snatch this time away from the Covi-geddon disruption. With a crisis comes opportunity. Seize the day! Ask questions only you can answer.

  • What do you want your career to look like post-Lockdown?
  • What do you enjoy most in your chosen work?
  • With a return to “normal” do you see a bright future for your career?
  • Why would or should you consider doing something else?
  • Do you know what you’re looking for? Can you describe it to others?
  • What would you need to get there?
  • Assuming you will never have more available time, what can you learn to jumpstart your career?
  • If you have said, “some day I’ll…….”  how can you begin to make some day today?

You may be homeschooling kids, fighting cabin fever, wrestling with technology, Youtubing home repairs, etc. Despite these challenges, what if you decided to take action rather than march in place?

Draft your action plan:

  • Make a list of the Top 20 people you’d like to talk to - SME’s, influencers, or smart people who you can learn from may be easier to connect with than ever before
  • Networking is expected. Ask: “how are you keeping safe?” “how’s your work going” Ping former colleagues you have lost touch with; Join new LinkedIn groups in your chosen field
  • What skill could you work on? Update your chops on QuickBooks, SolidWorks, Spanish language, healthy cooking, art/craft work, chess, organic gardening
  • Brain Power - draft a business plan for the start-up you have dreamed about; Share it with others and make it better
  • Read, listen, learn - books - what are we saving them for? Create a reading list. Start or join a Zoom book or learning group

Make this set back your comeback. Isn’t it up to you?  Dise & Company has great tools to get you on track. Today, we are making these resources available at no charge. Contact: Mark Gonska at  (job fit scorecard available)

Let’s talk – by phone video chat platforms or email. 

Tagged With: Expert Knowledge

From Lock-Down to Lift-Off - What do you want to be when you grow up?

Make this lock-down a positive experience for your career. 

Wash your hands, sit down and ask: “What’s the best I could hope for in my next job?”

  • Be called back from my previous employer?
  • Same job, different place
  • Engage in a mission I was meant for?
  • Start or buy my own business?

Crazy or smart at such a time of uncertainty? For most, there is incredible pressure to get a new income stream as soon as possible. Bills, healthcare, 401-K, eating…the list doesn’t end. it’s hard to turn off your brain and think about anything else.

Assuming this Covi-geddon dies a well-deserved death... you WILL go back to work. Employers will need to make up for lost revenue and you will need to rebuild your savings.

This could be an opportunity of a lifetime. You have the time. Use it.

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” – H. Ford

On average, you’ll work about 85,000 hours in your career. An incredible investment! Work dominates your waking hours. Have you asked yourself, “what do I really want to do next”? What’s stopping you?

No time? No money? No degrees? No clue?

Many people have overcome even bigger obstacles. They probably aren’t much smarter or better looking than you are. One thing’s for certain, they decided to decide.

  • Ask yourself: what skills have I learned?
  • What are my God-given abilities?
  • What are my strongest interests and passions?
  • What do I value regarding workplace culture?
  • What possible employer needs can I meet?
  • Who has problems I can solve with my skills?
  • Who is doing this job right now? How can I meet them?

This crazy Lock-Down can be a Lift-Off for your career. It’s up to you to decide. For help: Contact Mark Gonska – Career Accelerator, Dise & Company 440.452.4398

Let’s talk – by phone video chat platforms or email. 

Tagged With: Expert Knowledge

15 days into lockdown. . . what have we learned?

15 days into lockdown. What have we learned as a business at Dise & Company?  

On a personal level, COVID-19 has influenced and reinforced my thinking about how to make more time for the people and things that are most important to me and should never wait for my attention ever again. I have always tried to live my life that way but realize that I may have fallen short at times in staying connected enough to those that have been important in my life. Today’s challenges have reminded me to always keep that as my primary way to live.

In this lockdown period, as I think about my business and how important relationships have been in sustaining our success at Dise & Company, I have also learned that reaching out and staying connected is critical now, today, and going forward as we are really all in the same boat.

I have been overwhelmed with positive responses from our clients as my colleagues at Dise & Company have reached out to past and current search and outplacement clients and candidates, letting them know that we are thinking about them and hoping that their critical businesses continue forward successfully. As we reach out, we have realized how many candidates have been placed over the years through our efforts and continue to be successful at so many companies and nonprofit organizations throughout Northeast Ohio.

We are grateful to have had the opportunity over so many years to contribute to the success of so many organizations in the greater Cleveland community and beyond. More than that, we are grateful to hear about the positive and creative ways our clients are dealing with the challenges that are facing our business community.

Remember to stay in touch during these critical times. You may learn some things about yourself and will learn about the good work going on all around us.  Stay safe everyone.

Tagged With: Expert Knowledge

Is Covid 19 killing the war for talent?

Is COVID 19 Killing the war for talent?  

Don’t bet on it.  The American economy is a vast organism that has bounced back quickly from devastating events in the past.  Baby boomers are exiting the workforce in ever greater numbers.  These vacancies will still need to be filled.   

This period of economic slowdown is unknown.  We all hope it will be brief but we all realize and accept that the timeframe is unpredictable.  We do know that demand for talented employees will increase at some point as the economy begins to rebound from the effects of the COVID bomb. 

Our national unemployment rate hovered around 3.5% prior to COVID.  That number is real.  Ask anyone who was trying to fill any job whatsoever.  We acknowledge the unemployment rate is rising during this time, but we also believe that once the first group of employees gets called back to work the multiplier effect will kick in as everyone starts meeting their pent-up demand for goods and services.   

So, what do we really know during this uncertain time and what are we doing about it?  We know that many candidates we talk to every day are still interested in exploring what the future holds for their next career move.  We also know that our clients still and will have important roles to fill in the future.   

Watch for our next comments on what to do about it. 

Tagged With: Expert Knowledge

Providing job search assistance is more than doing the right thing

Providing Job Search Assistance, Outplacement, is more than doing the right thing. 

You have worked hard to establish your brand. You have invested years, sleepless nights and many, many dollars to make your brand stand out. Do employees you lay-off remain brand ambassadors for your organization? Can laid-off employees impact your brand? Yes, now and for years to come. 

Your company name never leaves their resumes or LinkedIn profiles for the remainder of their work lives. Time and time again, they’ll be asked, “what was it like to work for” YOUR company? How will they say you treated them during the great COVID Crisis of 2020? 

Do The Right Thing

No one has to provide Outplacement/Job Search Acceleration benefits for laid-off employees. Why choose to? Why spend the money at this uncertain time? If doing the right thing is part of your fabric, choosing to take extra care of employees when they need it most demonstrates who you are.  

Meaningful help with social distancing approach to securing employment faster. 

Displaced employees need help. Dise & Company delivers it. 100% virtual job search assistance is available now throughout the US. There is no quick fix for what were facing. Job search is growing tougher than anything we have seen. Dise & Company is here to help.  

Let’s talk – by phone video chat platforms or email. 

No one can fully imagine what’s next for your organization. Many people will be impacted. We can and should make contingency plans.  

Call: Mark Gonska: 440-452-4398  

Tagged With: Expert Knowledge

I was fired . . . Now what?

The shock is tremendous when you first learn that your job has been taken away from you. Stunned, frightened, angry-these are the first feelings you’ll experience.

Losing your job is one of the worst feelings there is. Yet, you are about to enter a potentially interesting, challenging and liberating life experience. How you respond and the actions you take can determine your financial health, career direction and happiness of your family for the rest of your life.

Commit yourself to these 12 things and you’ll experience a much quicker and more satisfying resolution to your job transition.

Tagged With: Expert Knowledge

My leadership stinks . . . NOW WHAT?

My leadership stinks … NOW WHAT?

  • Micromanagement is not leadership. It’s higher pay for lower level work.
  • Delegation is emancipation. Nothing else helps you see organizational strengths and weaknesses. Delegation frees you to work on your business not just in your business.
  • Shooting down ideas assassinates the best minds on your payroll.

Tagged With: Corporate Outplacement

I fired Frank - he roasted my company on social media . . . NOW WHAT?

I fired Frank, he roasted my company on social media… NOW WHAT?

  • Terminating employees stinks.
  • Procrastinating is bad leadership.
  • Just “getting it over with” can ruin your Corporate reputation.

Tagged With: Corporate Outplacement

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