What “they” don’t want you to know about finding a job…
Because I had the audacity to self-publish an ebook on how to find a job I was consigned by cosmic justice to never work again, like some subterranean marketing PUA guides out of his mom’s basement.
Elmer, the internet’s guru on male employment game, dispensing advice to a rapt manosphere on how to position yourself as an industry alpha expert and make those bitches cry, was actually unemployable.
So I had to double down with Employment Game methods to prove that a man can find decent work by contacting influential men in a target industry and selling them towards a job.
The Cruel Age Market
My last posts described the age hurdles I encountered attempting to get defense work and the need to pivot to another industry.
It came to pass I found work but not without fumbling on some basics that I warned against in my book. It was a real struggle. At my advanced age it began to look like the best outcome would be to limp along until I could draw social security. Not something I wanted when there was lots of available technical work I was thoroughly capable of doing.
Once again media concern hilites older worker anxiety. Of course companies actively commit age discrimination. Nobody even has to tell the staff, it is innate and everyone does it, women especially so and they dominate HR. Women also love social media. If a corporation’s job outreach is through social media, as an older man by the time it shows up on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn you have already lost the game.
Even if you somehow get past that filter by tweaking your resume to sound 10 or 20 years younger (I did this, I ain’t lyin’) they will sniff you out in the interview or simply on their required diversity data collection exercise (the employment aplication) and you will get coldly rejected.
Yet I found professional work by identifying a specific industry or niche demand, developing a targeted marketing campaign, rehearsing a sales presentation, and delivering for the sale.
You Must Play a Long Game
In retrospect the method worked exactly as designed. But going through the process was tough work as I endured inevitable disappointment and failure. Much soul-searching and rememberance of all past failure. Eventually realized I would have to play the “long game” and develop many contacts over time that would need to be worked on a continuing basis before squeezing a contract out of them. That is how the whole industry works and I needed to mirror that attitude. They have to win a contract before you can win a contract.
The winning sale came through finding a prospect by researching companies in a specific industry, reaching out to that person by email or phone, setting up an appointment to make a presentation, and selling myself as a consultant. Exactly as described in my book.
Yet I also fumbled hard on a couple basics I warned against in my own book, mainly letting ego creep in and worst of all spouting off like a fool by offering a boisterous anecdote that had exactly nothing to do with the meeting. This at the end of the meeting after I had beautifully structured and executed the sale.
Once Again Elmer Snatches Defeat From the Jaws of Victory
I had gotten an audience with the prospect early on after having honed my marketing tools : resume, website, business card, and narrative. Before the meeting I practiced the narrative several times a day on video, then refined and simplified it. This paid off well during my sales presentation.
This time I did not bring in a portfolio or PowerPoint. So it was more of a casual interview, and they worked with consultants often. Now while I didn’t launch into a grandiose presentation I did start the meeting by taking the floor and talking about my capabilities, was careful to avoid irrelevant personal job history, then reiterated specifics about my services.
This I had practiced and they liked it. They liked that I was marketing and selling which is a skill that commercial industries need to survive.
Having practiced and practiced my narrative, bits and pieces came out credibly during our talk. Again they responded to my salesmanship orientation. But selling must be delivered without ego or you will crash and burn. For he who reveals the most about himself loses.
The Killer Blow Lurking In Your Subconscious
The meeting went great, I hit all the right notes. The prospect (and decision maker) was in my corner and advocating for me. We would begin a small contract ASAP, let me know in a couple of days. It felt as if I knew all along it was going to happen. It was like being in a vintage youtube video about a textbook salesmanship example.
And that’s when I loudly blurted out a stupid personal story, for it was Elmer Time. I gesticulated wildly. They saw my dental work when we all laughed heartily and shook hands. Probably blasted them with foul breath as I continued talking loudly until I got vocal fry.
Leaving I felt great though, a true corner pocket experience. From their parking lot I texted my wife, they will give me some work. She was so proud of me. Employment Game was real. I was vindicated.
They Never Call Back
When you lose the gig nobody calls you back or even sends an email saying thanks but no thanks. Many people get pumped up after an interview then wait for weeks before it dawns on them they won’t get the job. I have been through this too many times and know the truth : they never call you back.
In the days following the meeting days I realized my blunder, made worse by the fact that I had executed everything close to perfect. The proposed job was an ideal situation for me at good pay. But I had blown it and that hurt like hell.
It took a couple weeks to get over it. But I struggled on and started attempting more contacts. Finally a month later got another sales meeting. It went great. That afternoon was contemplating this latest opportunity. Things were looking up again. I had put the botched sales attempt behind me. I was working the long game.
I Was Merely Operating by the Law of The Sales Cycle
And that’s when the first company called me to come in the following Monday. I really had gotten over it and was incredulous when they called. My angst and defeat were pointless because the prospect was simply juggling his own contracts and projects before he could work me into his operation. It was simply the sales cycle lag between initiating the contact and progressing to paid work.
So I have started working an interesting project at good pay. The experience proving that an older man can find work if he develops and executes a targeted marketing strategy instead of submitting through corporate HR.
There are funnier aspects to this story that I won’t divulge here even though I want the ego gratification of sharing my awesomeness on the internet. Here’s a review of what worked in my quest to find gainful employment:
What I Did Right
Through study and practice I projected salesmanship. Salesmanship is the lifeblood of small to midsize companies and your prospect will appreciate your attempt even if you aren’t too polished. There are lots of books at your library written by guys who figured salesmanship out and succeeded. Find ones that provide practical methods over motivation fluff.
Focus Marketing on a Specific Industry
I targeted a specific industry and focused my marketing materials to it. I simplified my resume emphasizing salesmanship and technical capabilities on first page, with chronological hilites on second. No more than two pages total.
I put together a simple consultant’s web page that reinforced my narrative. There are millions of wordpress themes. Find one that is geared for personal consultants. Don’t have flashing banners with “warfighters” and other junk, just a static home page and links to each tech specialty you offer. My initial web page was too general and got no interest until I refocused to a specific industry. When I hit the right message it was good for putting in my intro email attempt; visually appealing product information instead of a drab resume.
Practice and Repractice Your Narrative on Video
I refined and practiced my narrative on video to hit just the right points. At first it was ghastly and a struggle to perform. Worse it was too damned long and tedious. My wife expressed concern about my mental health. I soldiered on and it got better. The camera was on a tripod and I delivered my act several times a day.
Use Tools for Working Your Prospects
To find work I used google maps to make a database of related companies in my vicinity that I found by searching specific industry terms. I researched who was the CEO or president of those companies. Used an email finder tool to dig up email addresses at target companies.
I put the data into a spreadsheet so I could track who I contacted and would have to follow up.
Contact Your Prospect Directly and Set Up a Meeting
Finally I started working through the contact database and managed to get an appointment.
I arrived at their facility to deliver my sale after reconning their site and planning the commute. My low bar was simply getting through the ordeal without any major screwups. For the most part I achieved that thanks to the preparation I had put into it.
What I Did Wrong
I interrupted the customer when he was talking. Of course a little of this happens in any conversation but when I get excited I want to share my fascinating take and start babbling at the prospect. Throttle that tendency if you have it and let them talk. Get them talking about their pain and they will almost assume that you are the man to reduce it.
I shot off my big fat mouth with a riotous personal anecdote, revealing unrelated personal information and thus blowing the sale.
It really is a tough spot to be in. You must convince someone of your abilities so it is an hour of talking about yourself. Any amount of bragging will shut them down yet you are under pressure to toot your horn. The fact that your customer is probably more talented and successful than you makes this setup even worse.
Focus on What You Do Not Who You Are
Keep it on track about what specific capabilities and attitudes you can provide that will help him grow his business.
Ask questions that get your prospect talking and show you understand his pain.
Restate how your capabilities will reduce his pain and bring in business.
And when you have closed out the meeting or even gotten a sale you need to watch your damned mouth. This is salesmanship 101, maybe the easiest and most painful blunder to make.
For someone like me who has a profound need for attention and approval, ego truly is the enemy. After realizing my mistake I cringed for weeks about what an amateur blunder I had made and what future glories surely had been lost.
Keep Working Your System
The only recovery is to learn from this mistake is to continue working the prospect list. Another chance will come and you will sink it into the corner pocket. In this saga they finally called me back long after I had let it go. That makes sense in the long game because companies seeking vendor services often take a long time to make a final move. You have to let things percolate and try to serve many customers.
So that’s Elmer’s Happy Ending story. At the age of 60 I found high-paying work when the specter of jobless oblivion loomed. It happened because I continued executing Employment Game even in the face of my own stupid blunders leading to rejection.
And that proves to the entire internet that I am a real player and don’t live in my mom’s basement. If I can do it you can do it.