Robert Godden’s musings and rants

I muse. I rant. This is my outlet!

Archive for July 2008

Dreamer’s Ball

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Today we – that is, my vastly better half and myself  – registered a new Australian Proprietary Limited Company.

Why? It seems we must be stark raving mad.

After eight years in recruitment, steadily aiming at a general management role, I had two offers on the table – but instead, we’ve bought a restaurant.

Other than being a fair cook and a big fan of Gordon Ramsey, I’m not qualified in the least to run a restaurant. My wife has a similar lack of restaurant experience, and our son once worked for Hungry Jacks(that’s Burger King for any non-Australians reading this).

Personally, I’ve lost a third of my body weight in this year. I still have more to go. That’s going to add to the challenge – discipline will be paramount.

So, we have bought a restaurant with a proud history – and it’s a little run down. We’ll be attempting to bring it up to a higher standard of service delivery and earnings.

We’ve got plans; dreams; ambitions. We’ve got ideas. We’re dreamers.

So today, we celebrate the birth of Dreamer’s Ball Pty Ltd.

Written by robertgodden

July 28, 2008 at 7:11 am

Posted in Business, Family

Keep Yourself Alive

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Last week, not long after writing my blog, I resigned from my job.

If you re-read “Spread Your Wings” below, it seem pretty obvious that I was about to. It’s not going to be announced until later today – I’m counting on the fact that this blog is not exactly mass communication of a message, but twitter me if you have a comment on that!

So, why leave an interesting and exciting job with a great start-up that has taken the Adelaide market by storm?

After several years in the planning stages, it kicked off last year, and I was employee number one. For eighteen months I’ve put in huge weeks and we’ve achieved a lot. The staff levels have grown exponentially. Our first trading year has been a multi-million dollar smash hit success. The directors are very happy.

But I’m not happy.

Several managers have described me as a butterfly. I flit frm interesting task to interesting task. For any micro-manager out there, you might see that as a weakness.

But without small, flittering insects who pollinate as they go, we would not be here.

In a start-up, a butterfly is invaluable – there’s just so much to do. People who can work on a revolving schedule of twenty projects – and deliver about 90% of them – are actually a great asset, as more methodical people will be overwhelmed with a need to make everything perfect, as opposed to make everything happen.

When I’ve worked in big, big organisations, a butterfly is pretty useful there too (For example, the entirely fictitious story “Intestinal Fortitude” in my book 1001 Nights is a thinly-veiled recounting of my experiences doing just that). You need to have a few agitators for change, or you become stale.

The problem is, butterflies aren’t that useful in an organisation that is consolidating. So, I’m leaving.

I have no complete plans. No definite job to go to. I am considering buying a business, I’m shortlisted for a role outside of recruitment, I’m considering running my own consultancy and I’ve been approached to head a division for a major recruiter.

All jobs for a butterfly?

Written by robertgodden

July 21, 2008 at 7:09 am

Spread Your Wings

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When is it time to leave your job?

What a great question that is.

It used to be that people would hang around in a job they hated for years, because leaving was such a big deal. But times have changed.

So, what drives us to change?

I think the lack of challenge is the easiest and most positive reason to cite. “Well, I’m bored, so I’m off” sounds good, but it’s amazing how many people who say this go into fundamentally the same job elsewhere.

Opportunity is a better reason. An opportunity to explore something new, make a wad of cash, to work for yourself. To test yourself, to put your family in a better position, to work with someone you admire – there’s opportunity to be found everywhere.

But there’s two schools of thought – was Jon Mitchell right – “You never know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” or is it true you can’t grasp something with both hands if your hands are already full? In other words, do you sit back and slowly find a better deal or just say “to hell with it”, quit and blaze forward?

I would have said, at one time, it depends on the kind of person you are. I now think it depends on the kind of person you are now.

We all change, and opportunity and risk abound.

The work environment can play a major part in your decision, and not always a positive one. If you are overworked and/or underpaid and/or bullied and/or part of a culture that puts you under stress, then you might not see the picture clearly until you resign.

That will sharpen your thoughts!

But it’s easier to get a job if you’ve got one, according to conventional wisdom. Well, conventional wisdom has been wrong before!

Ultimately it’s down to the individual, with help and support from those closest to them. Omen and portents, faith (in anything, including oneself), further opportunity, all play a part, but at the end of the day, it’s a big decision.

And it’s up to you. Play it safe or leap of faith.

You’ll know when it’s time to spread your wings.

Written by robertgodden

July 14, 2008 at 7:22 am

Don’t Stop Me Now

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I’ve never been busier in real life.

I’ve often been more of a behind-the-scenes worker. Whilst I have never had a problem with making a sales call or undertaking  business development tasks – and I am reasonably equipped to be successful at this, and enjoy it – I’ve not been in sales full time since 1993.

As a researcher you tend to hide behind a PC or other info sources, but lately, I’ve been out and about with alarming frequency.

The difference is, I am now catching up with people whom I either met on-line, or who are connected with me on-line.

When we go on line, even with the limitations of social networking tools like LinkedIn or Facebook, we still put more of ourselves in the public domain than ever before. When I catch up with a supplier for a chat about business, I now might know where they grew up or went to school. Or what their previous role was. Or the fact that they were photographed in fishnet stockings at a Rocky Horror-themed party last Saturday.

It adds a whole new dimension to the conversation. You could meet the same person once a week for a year and not know much about the person behind the corporate face, but if they’ve got 714 pictures of themselves in various states of inebriation over the last year, you start to get a bit of a picture.

A real issue is that spammy stuff that turns up on Facebook – you know, when your mini-feed says you did something you didn’t do.

I’ve apparently just joined something called “Be a Billionaire”. Except that I haven’t. I hadn’t even been on Facebook for a month or so before I logged on last night to see some photos my son pasted. And there it was.

A few months ago, a good friend of mine was talking about me to her other half, and bought up my Facebook profile. The mini-feed suggested I’d joined some sort of “photos of swingers” application. And we’re not talking about people swinging on a tyre on a rope here. (Well, some of them might have been!).

So, my point here is that I use on-line networking as a research tool before I meet people – suppliers, clients, candidates, anyone. Have done so for some time. It also helps to track down a photo of someone you’ve never met before; though the person photographed on Facebook wearing a fairy costume may not look the same in a Hugo Boss suit. But never assume everything you see is real.

Even confusion between two people of the same name can have hilarious results. So it always pays to check. Particularly if you are say, a professional hit-man or a recruitment consultant. You want to get the right guy!

Anyway, my original point is that, confirmed geek that I am, I’m now finding my business network is getting stronger, and more personal.

Around the time I was born, hippies were sitting about discussing ‘the interconnectedness of us all, man’. Now, 43 years later, the boat the hippies were looking for has sailed into the harbour.

We are all interconnected. Perhaps not as connected with a sparrow, a blade of grass, Mt Everest or our inner purple love-child as the hippies would have liked, but nevertheless, we’re heading there fast.

Love, Peace and LinkedIn, Man.

Written by robertgodden

July 7, 2008 at 7:22 am