Interviewing, Leadership, Family Values, and an Anti-Nihilism Warning to Millennials

Interviewing

I’ve interviewed at least 20 or 30 candidates for different jobs over the past few months, and I have some things to say about to interviewing.

First, you have to be interesting. The first question you’ll likely be asked is, “Tell me about yourself,” and you need to have an interesting 5 minute narrative-style story to tell. Good stories are funny, dramatic, surprising, inspiring, emotional etc. Don’t read your resume to the interviewer for heaven’s sake. You have to think about it from the interviewer’s standpoint: you might be 1 out of 6 or more 1-hour interviews on the schedule for that day. IT’S BORING, and if you’re boring you won’t get the job.

Be substantive and concise. Substantive means knowing when to quickly move away from abstract concepts to specific behaviors and actions you have taken or would take. Concise means your answer to any one question cannot be longer than 5 minutes. The amount of rambling people do is inversely related to the amount of practice they put into their answers, so practice, practice, practice (see next paragraph).

Interviewing is a skill, and trust me, you suck at it. Just like you suck at all skills you haven’t practiced yet. I practiced interviewing for about 40 hours before I interviewed for my current job, including videoing myself giving the answers to dozens of interview questions. Insane? Maybe. Do you have to do that much? I don’t know, but good luck to you if you’re competing against me.

Management and Leadership

I’m 6 months into my new job and I’m feeling great about how much I’m learning and growing again. I’ve been challenging myself and my assumptions, letting go of some old ideas that aren’t serving me anymore, and doubling down on executing the tried and true basics, which I’ll talk about in the next few paragraphs.

It doesn’t matter how many times I have to remind myself, the core principal of management remains the same: It’s all about people. Finding, hiring, and retaining great people, and knowing when to move past someone who is the wrong fit is at least 80% of the job. Coaching, training, and believing I can make a difference in others is most of the rest of it.

I’m working on being patient and executing the plan. Ideas and new plans are a dime a dozen, but execution is rare. I heard someone recently say that most people give up on a mission at 40%, and I think that’s true. I’m trying to break out of my old retail mindset (i.e. hit sales this week, today, this hour), and have a more long term mindset, which is to create a consistent culture of execution. We’re getting there.

Leading by example might not just be a part of leadership, it be all of leadership. I mean, I can barely change myself for the better. Trying to direct change in others might be impossible. I think the only way to lead is to aim for the highest possible ideal for myself and march forward forthrightly into the unknown. If I’m lucky, when I look back, a few good people will follow.

Family

Getting married to Kelly and starting a family remains the best decision I’ve ever been a part of. I have to thank my parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles, who I was very luck to have in my life, because their family values stuck with me through my 20s when most people my age were hell-bent on waiting to settle down.

I’m getting a little better at being a dad. The core principle, I think, is to willingly sacrifice yourself for your family. I know, that’s kind of intense, but it’s not a bad thing. It’s something like letting the old ideas of yourself burn away so that you can become the  person you are supposed to be, the one your family needs. I know that kind of sounds intense too, but like I said, it’s not a bad thing. It’s life. A constant cycle of change that is so much better if you take on change willingly. The reward for me has been finding meaning and purpose in my adult life.

With that said, I have some “controversial” thoughts on family I’d like to share, a caution to people in their 20s and 30s who are “waiting to have a family”. I’m talking specifically to the arm-chair nihilists, the faux-intellectual atheists, and the blindly hedonistic millennials who prioritize their 25-30 year old self, while failing to see that their lifestyle may not be so satisfying at 40 or 50 or in the 20 years that they may live after their career ends. Stop waiting.

Has it occurred to you that in ten years you might not have the same outlook on life that you have now? I mean, do you have the same outlook on life now that you had ten years ago? You will certainly feel differently about life in the future, and you will certainly look back on your old self as being far more ignorant than your future self, just like you do now.

Maybe some people can be happy without kids or a family, but not me, not a whole generation, and MAYBE not you. Having a family is not something to be afraid of, it’s a wonderful thing, but not being able to have a family when you want one later in life sounds like hell. The oldest millennials are entering their later 30s and I know a few who are regretting their decision to “wait.”

So, to my sisters’ boyfriends, and anyone else out there afraid of marriage and kids, grow a pair and start your families now, before it’s too late.

big shoes

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One thought on “Interviewing, Leadership, Family Values, and an Anti-Nihilism Warning to Millennials

  1. What a great piece! I, not a millennial,
    Learned a few things and I thank You.
    I will certainly pass this on to all the M’s and some BB’s as well.
    I’ve missed reading your stories and other pieces. Keep them coming!
    I, of course, hope you and your family are doing well but I’m going to bet you are!
    Best regards, Heidi

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