This is a post by Mike Sackmary. He is a Design Engineer who also runs a boutique investment firm. His products include GPS systems, the AmmoMug and a whole bunch of things that go inside other things. His investment firm focuses on finding pricing anomalies in the technology and raw materials sectors. His piece of financial advice for everyone is to read, live and breathe the book Security Analysis by Ben Graham.
You’re getting off active duty?
You want to come work for me (or any other for-profit company)?
Great! There are some things I want you to know when you come in my door. These are (almost) universal truths when you go to a for-profit company.
Write these on your placemat and every time you sit down to eat, read them. Just knowing this information can be all the difference between me making you a job offer or not.
I want to know if you can address the problems which I need you to solve. You can’t prove your abilities to me until you come to work.
So, I have to use the interview process to assess whether or not you have the initiative, intelligence and willingness to bat homeruns for me. I’m looking for you to help me expand the business.
If you can demonstrate that you know how to apply the following principles you are far ahead of your competition.
#1 You need to show that you respect me even though I am not a veteran.
Please know that many of us served our country as civilians. In my case I was not physically qualified to enlist. Instead of going in I worked on various defense projects.
If you ever used a GPS system, or a guided missile, or called for rain on a field radio, you used one of my produc
ts. The point is that many employers have served in a different way than you did.
When I see USMC or Army Ranger or Navy Corpsman or some other outstanding item on your resume, I know that you have earned my respect. But you need to show me that I have earned yours.
So – find out what you can about your prospective new boss and be prepared to ask a question or two about the things I’ve done.
I’ll be asking about the things you’ve listed on your resume. You’ll be spending more time with my crew than you do with your spouse so I want to be sure that we are a good fit.
#2 Watch your language.
If I hire you, that decision reflects directly on me. If you have a potty mouth, clean it up. I don’t want you swearing in front of my customers or my suppliers. Or in front of other employees.
If the wrong person hears you curse, I could end up having to deal with some lawyer who claims that your language caused emotional distress to their client. I don’t need the hassle. In my day we said things and people did not take offense. Those days are gone.
#3 I need people who have my back.
Never disagree with me in public. The place for disagreement is in team meetings where we are in a small group that is already pulling together.
If there are people in the room who are not on our direct team, keep quiet until you can meet with me later.
#4 We are a for-profit company.
No profits, no company. This means that I want you to always be thinking about how to get our product and services to our customers in ways that are financially efficient.
We operate with integrity and honor, so no cutting any corners! Opportunities are everywhere. The magic happens when your unique blend of talent and experience meets up with a need that is not being addressed.
#5 I do not play a zero-sum game.
Zero-sum theory says that the pie is only so large. I believe the pie can always be expanded. I am looking for you to share your ideas about how/when/where/why to expand our business.
#6 Dress appropriately for the job
This one is for the women. I want you to cover everything from just below your sternal notch (the semi-circle where your collarbones meet below your neck) to your knees.
Seriously. Men are visually oriented and they are half of the human population. I want all my male employees, male customers and male suppliers to see you as a competent professional.
Your willingness to dress professionally makes me look like a genius for hiring you. We both win. There is a lot of leeway here for style, etc. There are millions of work-appropriate clothing options for women. The point is to not show too much skin.
Guys, I want you to read two websites on a regular basis. These are realmenrealstyle.com and gentlemensgazette.com. Both of these sites are dedicated to helping men improve their professional appearance.
The more professional you look the better for both of us. And please gentlemen, don’t wear makeup. I work in Austin, Texas and this is a common issue. If you want to wear women’s makeup, do it outside the workplace. Please.
Last point. I want all of you to know that you will sometimes be around customers or suppliers who hate the military.
Don’t let it get you down. You can win these people over by being professional, kind, focused and polite. And if anyone does ever insult you in my presence I’ll take them down myself with some verbal jiu-jitsu.
I wish you the very best in your job search. You can reach me on my nerdy personal email any time at spocksackmary(at)gmail.com. Just put “HighSpeedLowDrag” in the subject line.