Ive been getting his misdirected phone calls and e-mails for years, which is not surprising, since were both New York-area writers who share the same first and last names. While I work full time at Sm@rt Partner, the other Mark Mehler wears multiple professional hats. Hes a lecturer, university teacher and consultant to Fortune 1000 companies on their Internet recruiting strategies. His book, CareerXroads, is a seminal guide to job hunting in the New Economy.
I figured this story on surviving career failure was a good excuse for finally making his acquaintance. After some preliminary, personal chitchat—his familys from Brooklyn and mines from the Bronx—the other Mehler offered some thoughts on learning from failure.
Like every HR expert, he sees the long-term job outlook as remarkably sunny for IT professionals.
"We know that for the next 20 years, there will not be enough people born to fill all the [jobs]," he says. Moreover, he notes, the "gold-watch days" are gone, with workers now averaging just 3.2 years per gig. Thus, there is no longer any stigma attached to short-term employment or, for that matter, to being downsized out of the workforce.
Mehlers advice for bouncing back from adversity:
> Get better at listening than talking.
> Network till it hurts (it takes a certain amount of guts just to show up at a networking meeting after getting canned).
> Understand the culture of a prospective employer, as well as the job itself. Some of this info can be obtained from a Web sites recruiting section, but much of it involves getting the company to sit down and explain itself to you.
> Zero in on the niche that youd like to fill. This is the time to select, not settle.