Background But No Skills. Is This How The Mums Feel?

As mentioned previously – one of the reasons for this blog is to make an up to date digital footprint out there in the ether. My CV is located here.

The reason for this post is that I have been turning over and over in my head the remarks a supposedly good recruiter made to me. He said, “the problem you face Dominic is that you have a strong background but no skills.” Go figure.

I am in a be nice to all mode – hence not naming him – but I was speechless. How exactly is this possible, to have a background but no skills? Did they just up and go one night while I slept?

I guess this was his way of saying “no thanks mate, you’re not for me” etc etc. I guess the time I have taken off to look after my daughter has rotted my brain and in true homeopathic style I just have an imprint left by my background, that’s all.

I now have a previously unimagined level of empathy with the skilled and competent mothers who come back to work after a child-rearing break and are gently side-lined into roles far below their capability. I have had it suggested to me on more than one occasion that I need to take several steps back. Obviously my brain is mush and this is a safe thing to do.

People are still people. Customers are still customers. They have the same basic needs, hopes, aspirations and desires that they had 3,4,5 or even 50 years ago. There seems to be a view amongst some recruiters – often the males I am ashamed to say – that looking after a child is some easy opt out and really means I am work-shy and yes; my skills have vanished.

Oddly, I retain the skills that I acquired before selling my firm. I think I have acquired more as I didn’t spend my spare  time watching Jeremy Kyle/Jerry Springer.

Quote of the day

Made me laugh out loud.

The author Shalom Auslander being interviewed on Amazon…

If you could recommend just one “must-read book” to anyone, what would it be and why?

I would recommend anything by me. This is because I’m self-centered, and broke.

The Emperors New Clothes

When you employ an expert – because you aren’t an expert in an area – like an agency, then you invest your belief as well as your money. After all, to pay for a service and then not have faith in your ability to choose is unlikely. This makes it very hard to see if you are being given good service. Who here is a fan of sticking their hand up and coughing to making a poor choice? Not me and I’d call you a liar if you said otherwise.

I am seeing a friend getting messed around in this way at the moment and am trying to balance the “cruel to be kind” bit w. just butting out. They are starting a business, have invested huge amounts of time, energy & I daresay money and they are getting v. poor service and advice on their website. 9 months after conception they go live today and the site isn’t functioning in Firefox and Chrome. After IE the most popular browsers out there. I thought this was Testing 101 to make sure the 3 main browsers were supported. When over 50% of browser users will have problems it just isn’t good enough.It looks like a tweaked WordPress template – nothing wrong with that – and yet it is still being messed up.

English: Browser usage share on Wikimedia Foun...
Browser market share

I’d big them up on this blog as I think it is a great business idea and really addresses an untapped market niche. However, I don’t want to have anything to do with driving traffic to a flawed site as it’ll hurt and not help at this stage.

I point out some errors on p.1 of the site (multiple) and now feel like I am the little boy saying that the emperor is naked. What do you suggest?

I want to suggest they fire the developers – have 2 days of pain sorting this mess out now and go with a good agency. side-a for example. Simon Ashley would do them proud with quality work and advice.

Steam in and share my experience or butt out?

Regards; The Sales Department…

A customer engages with you via email. You reply. The email obviously has an automatic signature. So what? For pity’s sake use a real name. Hank, Bill, Zachary, Claire, Emma, whatever. A pseudonym will do as I have no idea.

I just received an email signed “Regards, Sales Dept”. I wrote back – politely – suggesting that they use a name and the person at the other end, with no irony whatsoever , offered a reply to my original query and signed off “Regards, Sales Dept”. It’s enough to make you start looking for the hidden cameras. Or weep with despair.

The learning?

Email is accepted as a person to person medium so whatever the size of your business make your customer feel like they are dealing with a person. It shows a good deal of contempt for the customer not to bother to engage them on a personal level. What’s more, this is a no cost way of making your service personal. Who’d miss that one?

Messing About In Golfs

I dropped in to see Simon Ashley of Fatdaddy fame from side-a today as he is my old smoking buddy, before I quit. Still a good friend though – in case he reads this!

Simon was very diplomatic in telling me that the current theme was rubbish and then immediately set about educating me in taste – a thankless and unrewarding task for him. Given that I am not keen to chuck money at this enterprise quite yet I left agreeing to change the free theme on WordPress. Voila, I hope you like it Simon because I don’t intend changing it every few days.

As this is a blog about the many facets of the customer I felt I ought to pay an homage to Apple with the previous theme as they have excellent customer service. This is obviously the result of a customer focus ethos that goes to the heart of their business. I think they are just as obsessed with the end-user as Johnny Ives is with product design. Although I am an Android user with an iClone I appreciate the aesthetic beauty and simplicity of the Apple designs. They seem to set the way and everyone else is falling over themselves to be “like Apple”. Reminds me of the great VW Golf ad we have in the UK. It ends with of car salesman demonstrating his wares and ending by assuring the prospect that, “it’s just like a Golf“.