This is not your ordinary career site. I focus on helping people who work in cubicles navigate the transitions of a career. The transitions center on the three critical areas needed for you to master employment security: How to land a job, succeed in a job, and build employment security.

My viewpoint is of the worker toiling away in the common corporate cubicle, following all of the Cube Rules. Not some rah-rah management site looking to motivate the “mere mortals” working in cubes.

Working in cubicles is hard. Maybe not the day-to-day dealing with managers, co-workers, and the workload. After all, you have job skills. And as a co-worker of mine once noted, “have job skills, will travel.”

Career transitions are not easy

It’s great to have the job skills. The traveling part, on the other hand, is tough. Transitions are never easy and the reason is simple: we so rarely do transitions that we really don’t know how they should be done. How they should be evaluated. What should you consider before making the leap?

What kinds of transitions am I talking about?

How about these:

  • You decide it is time to find a new job and need to update your resume
  • You need to learn how to do a phone interview right
  • You need to learn how to do video interviews
  • You need to learn how to do face-to-face interviews (because it has been so long!)
  • You need to know how to quickly ramp up on the new job
  • You decide your manager is a jerk and need to know what criteria to use to leave or stay
  • You know job security doesn’t exist, but you don’t know how to build employment security
  • You get laid off in a New York Minute. What to do next?

Yeah. Those things. Since we don’t know how to do those transitions well — because we so rarely do them — we often blow the very critical things we need to do to get through the transition we know we must do.

It’s painful. Hard. Frustrating…stressful.

I want to help you with those transitions and relieve some of that pain. You still need to do the work. But you get some help.

My Mission

My mission here at Cube Rules is to help you with your career transitions through articles, products and services that help you when you need it the most.

What I believe

I’m a little cynical about corporations. There are many that do well and treat their employees well. Far too many, for whatever reason, are not like that. I think we too often don’t believe some core principles about corporations. I’ve been burned…and learned…that you need to protect yourself, your family, and your livelihood. I believe that:

  1. Despite your best performance, the company’s management has control on whether you stay working or get laid off. Or fired.
  2. Company loyalty to employees does not exist; to believe it does will harm your life
  3. Personal loyalty in a corporation exists — but corporate policies will trump personal loyalty
  4. A company expects your job skills to contribute to their business goals — not to improve or support your career (and that’s okay)
  5. Performance ratings and rankings are more about budget conformance than career feedback
  6. In order to be promoted, one must already be doing the work required in the promotion
  7. The biggest influence on your career right now — good or bad —  is your manager
  8. A good manager will at least do no harm; a bad manager can destroy outstanding performance
  9. Employees must continually add and support job skill development or be left behind in the market
  10. Employees must continually add and support their own business network to build career and job leads
  11. There is no job security. Period.
  12. There is only Employment Security.

I also believe too many of us still have this idea that companies and their managers will help us. Protect us and our careers. And when we hit that need for some sort of transition, we are woefully unprepared to do what needs to be done. Because we don’t know how.

We are now products we need to sell to corporations

I consider myself a product being sold to do work at a corporation. Corporations now have little loyalty to any person. Yes, there is personal loyalty and a manager will try and protect a particular employee. But when push comes to shove, that same person will have to take your job away in the name of expense control, right-sizing, outsourcing, or any number of other reasons to throw you out on the street in the name of some corporate objective.

Too many people still believe they have no control or influence over their work, their relationship with their manager, and their ability to find meaningful work. They want to do a good job, but they don’t know how to go about doing that in a world where corporations only care about the work you can do to achieve their business goals.

My mission is to help people make these career transitions — landing a new job, getting the performance review right, deciding on that promotion, or making a decision to leave a job situation for someplace else.

We need to counter corporations using us to achieve corporate business goals by creating ourselves as a person who gets business results and stands on our own. We owe the corporation our work – not our loyalty.

Some history about me

When I got my first “real” job after graduating from college, it was pure accident. I received one job offer through my interviews, I took it, and three weeks later I was in a different city with a new job. There was no guidance to help me along the way. No one, save a few great managers, to teach me what I needed to know to survive in the workplace.

I was incredibly naive.

Playing Career Defense

Then I went to work for AT&T. Back then, AT&T was a regulated entity that was the entire phone system for the United States. It was a company that cared for their employees and, if you did okay, promised lifelong employment.

Then came the breakup of the Bell System in 1984. The world changed. I ended up in Ameritech, one of the Bell Operating Companies. The year that company started, there were 105,000 employees. At the low point, the layoffs were so bad that only 59,000 people were doing the work of 105,000. When I left for greener pastures, there were 72,000 employees. For 18-years, all I did was play career defense, trying to hang on to a job and not get laid off.

I learned about performance on the job, office politics, corporate culture and how to change it, building new teams to do new work, and how companies made decisions about laying people off. I learned what people did to find new jobs in other companies because so many people were laid off in so many different divisions.

I steadily moved up the corporate ladder from individual contributor, team lead, manager, to a Director. Because I was a Director, I got to see how all of this was analyzed, executed, and how people fit into budgets from the viewpoint of management.

The Greener Pasture was not so green

The greener pasture was Oracle. In 2001. Right at the very start of the tech bust. I got busted along with a whole bunch of other people and experienced my first layoff. I had no idea what I was supposed to do when the layoff came. I do now. I learned.

Then came the biggest bank bankruptcy in history

I finally landed at Washington Mutual to end my layoff. It was a good run. And then that little housing bubble thing came along and, four months before WaMu went bankrupt, I was laid off a second time. So was my wife, a half hour after I was. Mine was expected. Hers was not. Fortunately, this time, we were well prepared.

But the job market sucked with the Great Recession, so Kate and I reinvented ourselves, moved to our current state, and started consulting. She’s now an FTE and so am I after consulting for about four years.

Consulting really taught me how to look for jobs, interview for jobs, start the new job right and has opened up a whole new world of business networking.

Build employment security

I want to help people be successful in their work and achieve employment security, not job security. There is no job security. Period. Getting to employment security is a desperately needed set of skills to protect our income and our family’s economic security from a totally changed employment environment.

Most people won’t take the time and effort to learn these employment security skills that are executed at career transitions. It takes effort, practice, and persistence. I call those that master these career transitions Cubicle Warriors because they want to succeed both at work and in life.

Reality is that we compete with everyone else on the planet for work. That requires new career skills from targeting companies for employment, writing effective resumes, interviewing, succeeding quickly in your new job and knowing when your new job will end — so you know when to look for another. All the while building your own job skills and performance to increase opportunities for your career.

I want to work with Cubicle Warriors. And those that aspire to become one.

Will you join me?