Job hunting. Changing markets.

Today’s guest article on is “A Firm Offer is the Only Real End of the Job Search,” by Ramon Greenwood. Greenwood describes an experience that is all too common in job hunting. You may have had the experience yourself. You’ve had a great interview and the interviewer tells you you’ve got the job. You should expect the final offer and paperwork in a few days. In a few days, or longer, you receive a letter or email saying the job went to someone else.

You’re devastated. You can’t understand what happened. You think your judgement must be failing, that you must have misinterpreted what the interviewer said to you. Or you’re angry that you’ve been misled. Either way, the longer you’ve been looking for a job, the harder the experience is for you. And these days, long job hunts have become the norm.

You can’t predict when something like this will happen to you, nor can you avoid feeling somehow betrayed. But you can be aware that it happens and that it’s not personal to you. In fact, more often than not, it is simply the workings of internal politics. Don’t count on a job unless you actually have the written offer in hand. And don’t stop looking for a job until you have a firm and written start date for an offered position.

Read Greenwood’s article and learn from the experience before it happens to you.

Another guest article I want to call to your attention is by Rhonda Hess. It’s title is “Do Your Next Coaching Clients Want What You’re Offering Them?” Although the article is addressed to coaches to encourage them to think about their marketing process, it actually applies to small business marketing in general.

People’s needs and desires are constantly changing. Granted, they are changing by small increments, but changing anyway. Whether you sell products, information or services, you need to keep up with the changing interests in your niche. You must adapt what you are doing to what your market wants. Hess’ article is a good, basic grounding in how the small business person can do that. Give it a read.

What’s up, Doc

I’ve been promising myself for days to update my blog. I’ve got great excuses for how long it’s taken me to get back to it. Extensive “Fall Cleaning,” preparation for my mother’s visit, entertaining my Mom for about two weeks, projects I took on for one of my brothers — yada, yada, yada. So, finally I’m taking charge and forcing myself to do what needs to be done: I’m not allowing myself to do anything else today until the blog is updated. I won’t even do my daily publishing of an article on the main portion of this site until the blog update is finished. Sometimes the “inner parent” has to grab the “inner child” and say “grow up and take care of your responsibilities!”

First, let me tell you about some articles of my own that I published over the last three weeks:

When You Should Have A Messy Desk. As a performance and productivity expert, I know the value of organization and systemization. I’ve written several articles on this site about how essential they are. But, really, some of folks seem to develop intricate systems for keeping an office so neat that it is sterile and looks as though no one actually would think of working there. Hey, desks were made as work surfaces, not all work is done on computers, and you actually need to see the stuff you’re working on. I don’t actually believe in messy, disorganized desks. I just have a rant going about them being workplace tools rather than surfaces upon which a surgeon could operate.

Patience, Work and Limits. Whether you work for someone else or work for yourself, you will be faced with interruptions, unpleasant tasks and others’ unrealistic expectations. Learning to cope with those events requires you to set limits or boundaries for yourself and others.

Slow and Steady Wins the Performance and Productivity Race. Timing and persistance, supported by organization and a systematic approach, get more done in the long run than intermittent “leaps and bounds.” The story of the tortoise and the hare has some real value for performance and productivity management.

Also, while I encourage you to browse the descriptions of all the most recent articles I’ve published, I’d like to call your attention to a couple of excellent guest articles:

30 Online and Offline Networking Resources. Facebook and Twitter may be the hottest social networking kids on the block, but many businesses both large and small don’t really find them appropriate for their networking efforts. This list by Stephanie Chandler doesn’t even give them a mention, but does give some excellent links.

Winning at Working: Career Stock Rising. Here’s a great viewpoint from Nan Russell on the value of seeing your time use in terms of return on investment. It works for both the employed and self-employed.

Career, employment, small business and personal mix

Over the last few days, I’ve been writing and publishing a mix of articles that hit on more traditional employment, personal performance improvement and transitions to self-employment that are close enough to traditional employment to make the transition easier than other options.

In “Independent Employment,” I suggest three ways you could keep working for the same kind of employer you now serve, but in more independent roles such as through temporary staffing, contract employment and freelancing in your current field. With each of those, you could try out the mode of work while you are still employed. Just do it on a “moonlighting” basis until you’re comfortable with it and know it’s something you want to do. The only investment is your time, so even if you decide you don’t like it, you can stop and you’ll still have made some extra money.

In “Be The Hero of the Story: Expect to Win,” I illustrate how you develop success — whether in business, career or personal life — through managing your expectations. Your expectations tend to be self-fulfilling prophecies. The article is about how well it works to make your expectations positive ones.

In “What’s Old is New Again: Getting Attention to Your Résumé May Be As Simple As This,” I talk about the most effective ways to make your résumé stand out in a crowd, as well as how and where to send it to avoid the crowds.""

And, just today, I published a guest article that takes us back to talking about small business and solo-entrepreneuring again: “Have a Great Idea for a Business? Test the Waters Before Diving In.” It takes up the same dilemma I was addressing in “Independent Employment.” However unhappy a place the job market may be, the self-employment market may be too scary. Valerie Young has a few words of encouragement for trying out various businesses before making a commitment to get into them.