Browsing the archives for the Random category.

Ka-Boom! Blowing up this blog!

Overview, Random

Ok, Ok, maybe “blowing up” is a bit melodramatic, but at least I got your attention.  I am not exactly blowing up this blog, but I am going to reposition it a bit.  I mentioned awhile back that I was working on updating the Geek 5

I started with some simple changes in mind.  I ended up in a very different place.

So here are some changes that are coming to Geeks Gone Pro:

  • Re-framing the blog to be about self-driven leadership development.  This means giving advice to professionals who want to move their own careers into leadership roles.
  • Broadening the audience – Don’t worry, geeks – the blog will still apply to you!  The Geek 5 focused on barriers for geeks to become leaders.  Going forward, I’ll include some other groups such as women and minorities and some of the barriers they face to becoming leaders.  Some barriers are shared among groups and others are more unique.  This blog will now provide career and leadership advice for all professionals.
  • New competency model – We’ll also talk about the leadership skills/ competencies that any leader needs once he or she breaks through the barriers and reaches a leadership position.  The new model I’ll introduce has several elements from the Geek 5, but has some new concepts as well.  This model is intended to apply to any leader, regardless of what barriers they faced.

What’s not changing is the domain name and url.  For now I’m sticking with  As these new concepts gel, I’m hoping to come up with a new snazzy title and related domain name.  At that point I’ll move the site.

Over the next few weeks, the blog content will proceed more linearly.  I’ll introduce a few new frameworks and approaches for thinking about your leadership journey.  After that, we’ll get back to developmental suggestions related to the leadership competency model.

Ka-Boom!  Here we go!

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The dark side of conscientiousness

Career Challenges, Outside Articles, Random, Uncategorized

Conscientiousness is usually a good trait, but sometimes  it can be tough to be a highly conscientious person.  In this case, we’re discussing the impact of conscientiousness on unemployment and the job search.  

There is a lot of job search advice floating around out there. Check out Career Alltop to find some of it.  This blog does not normally talk about the job search, but I’m diverging for a moment.  In the last post, I made some suggestions for “mixing it up” during a job search to try and get out of a rut.

Anita Bruzzese at On The Job presents an interesting perspective in her post “Could being conscientious make unemployment worse?”.    She discusses how people with strong conscientiousness may have a harder time with unemployment.  They feel more guilt and shame about their circumstances and are more likely to attribute it to a personal failing.  Usually conscientiousness is a good trait.  It helps people get things done and be responsible.  In this case, it might be detrimental. 

In today’s economy a lot of good and talented people are out of work due to no fault of their own.  Conscientiousness might make some folks suffer more than needed due to circumstances out of their control. 

If you are one of those people, keep your head up, your spirits high and do some things to change your approach to finding a new job.

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The Insane Job Search

Random, Uncategorized

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Job searching is not a normal part of this blog, but I feel compelled to comment on it.  I’ve got a dear friend who is out of work right now.  I try to be supportive in her search.  However, I find it increasingly frustrating that she is using traditional job hunting techniques over and over without having any success. 

She has been unemployed for a long stretch – going on 14 months.  She has always been successful in her career as a corporate executive.  She has changed jobs frequently and always moved up the ladder and made more money.  In the past, she has always found new jobs through head hunters and networking.  So that’s what she is trying now.  But she has been trying that approach for 14 months and not gotten an offer.  She waits for the phone to ring and watches television.

The world has changed.  Work and jobs have changed.  After 14 months, it is time for a new approach.

If you are job searching and stuck in a rut, here are some thoughts on different approaches:

1.   Re-set your expectations – you might have to step into a lower level and lower paying job to get in the door with a new company.  Once inside, you can focus on working back up.

2.  Get education or certifications to make your skill set broader and more marketable.

3.  Find consulting or contract jobs to keep yourself engaged and busy and bring in some income.  One of these might lead to a full-time gig.

4.  Do something with your unemployed time.  Volunteer or teach or focus on a hobby.  You need a good story to tell to explain what you’ve done with your time.

5.  Consider going in a whole new direction.  Maybe it is time for a new career direction.  Explore some options.

6.  Consider becoming an entrepreneur.  Start a business.  There are a lot of options online and other places that you could try.  They all take time and energy, but some of them can be done with a small monetary investment.

7.  Expand your networking.  Reach beyond people you already know.  Find new connections on social sites like Linked In or attend conferences in your industry to meet new people.

8. Become active on the discussion boards and blogs related to your field.  You can find these on Linked In and Facebook and and lots of other places.  Read blogs related to your field, leave comments and engage the blogger.  Better yet – start a blog and start establishing yourself as an expert.

In any case, do something.   Mix it up.  Try some new things.  Maybe you’ll get a different outcome.

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Have a fun Memorial Day!


If you are in the United States, enjoy your extra day off!  Rest, relax and rejuvenate!

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Geek Fun: “Keep your Geek On” T-Shirts

Geek Fun, Random

Over at Wired, the GeekDad folks have a great post on Star Wars themed t-shirts.  That is a tuxedo that any geek can get behind!

Check it out at :

Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

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Smack-down: Scientists versus practitioners

Random, SIOP, Uncategorized

Geeks are people with deep technical expertise.  So most geek fields have a strong research and intellectual foundation.  This often results in having two general categories of people working in the same area – scientists and practitioners. 

The scientists work to advance the field through research and analysis.  Sometimes they work in universities and sometimes in research labs and think tanks.  Practitioners work to apply the knowledge in order to impact people and business and the world.

For example, a medical researcher might seek the cure for cancer by doing research in a university, medical school lab.   The physician in a hospital uses that research to treat patients.

Seems like a healthy, practical and symbiotic relationship.  Both add value.  Both need each other to be effective.

But it does not always seem to work that way.

I recently attended the professional conference for my field, Industrial-Organizational Psychology.  SIOP is about 2/3 academic researchers and about 1/3 practitioners.  There always seems to be an unhealthy competition and disrespect between the scientists and practitioners.

The scientists think the practitioners are sell-outs for going into business and sometimes having to sacrifice theoretical purity for practical reality.  Practitioners see the scientists as focused on minutiae (like obscure statistical measurement) instead of researching practical applications.

SIOP has even been professing for years that all I/O Psychologists should be Scientist-Practitioners.  That would mean that everyone has a theoretical orientation with practical focus – learn to do both.

It has not seemed to evolve that way. 

Is there a scientist versus practitioner divide in your geek field?

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Blogger foul: 10 yard penalty on Fistful of Talent


I’m going to deviate a bit from my common topics today.  I feel compelled to discuss a post from over at Fistful of Talent.  FOT is a blog that I read regularly.  Generally I enjoy it.  The bloggers tend to take extreme views of things and often show some Gen-Y angst, but it is usually thought-provoking.

However, in one recent post, the blogger stated an opinion, like it was fact, about selection testing.  The post is called “I’m not sure I need a test to assess attitude + motivation”. It was very obvious that she threw out her thoughts without having any expertise in the area.  She claimed that selection testing was a waste of time, energy and money, because any good interviewer could tell who was a good candidate and who was not.  She also claimed that she could fake her way to a good score on any test.

Here was my response (similar to responses of several others):

Wow! This post mostly reflects Jessica’s lack of knowledge about proven and validated selection testing. I encourage her and others to do some additional research on selection testing from reputable sources. There is an entire field of study called Industrial-Organizational Psychology that has used scientific methods and data to prove that selection tests work. And they are more accurate than interviews and gut feelings.

The caveat is that the tests must be properly developed, validated and applied in order to be effective.

I also agree with Steve Deighton. I use selection tests extensively in my work as an I/O Psychologist working in a Fortune 500 company. It is hard to fake your results. We catch faking all of the time. One of our tests is specifically designed to search for a profile that has some highs and some lows. If you assume that “more” of a trait is always better, you will do poorly on the assessment.

BTW – most good assessments include many other factors besides personality such as cognitive ability and work style fit.

Check out for more information about selection testing.


 Now, I get the fact that blogging is a more casual form of writing than academic or professional journals.  Even so, I expect that someone writing as an expert in a field like HR would take the time to understand a topic that she is discussing.

Not all bloggers are experts in the topics on their blogs.  I stay intentionally focused on an area in which I can claim expertise.  Maybe we’ll even take a look at selection testing one of these days. 

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Geeks Gone Pro registered on Technorati


Geeks Gone Pro is officially registered on Technorati.  Hopefully this will provide an additional channel for people to find the blog.  Right now, GGP is ranked #44029 on Technorati.

GGP continues to be part of Career Alltop.  We’re not even last on the page anymore!

At this time, the blog has a rank of #14,126,290 on Alexa.

Geekcoach has some work to do to get things moving!

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Going through hell

Geek Fun, Random

For some Friday perspective, we’re going country!

Times are still tough.  Some of us are slogging through jobs that we’d like to change, and some of us have the tougher slog to find a job.   If you find yourself in a tough job situation (or a tough life situation) it often helps to remember that this too shall pass. 

I’m a Texan by birth, and I admit that I still listen to country music.  One thing country music does well is to create a keep on fighting vibe.  So if you are going through hell and need a shot of courage, consider the song lyrics of the Rodney Atkins song, “If you’re going through hell”.   Don’t slow down, keep on going and you might get out before the devil even knows you’re there!

Check it out on YouTube if you haven’t heard the music before.

Well you know those times
When you feel like there’s a sign there on your back
Says I don’t mind if ya kick me
Seems like everybody has
Things go from bad to worse
You’d think they can’t get worse than that
And then they do

You step off the straight and narrow
And you don’t know where you are
Use the needle of your compass
To sew up your broken heart
Ask directions from a genie
In a bottle of Jim Beam
And she lies to you
That’s when you learn the truth

If you’re going through hell
Keep on going, don’t slow down
If you’re scared, don’t show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there

Well I been deep down in that darkness
I been down to my last match
Felt a hundred different demons
Breathing fire down my back
And I knew that if I stumbled
I’d fall right into the trap that they were laying, yeah

But the good news
Is there’s angels everywhere out on the street
Holding out a hand to pull you back up on your feet
The one’s that you’ve been dragginig for so long
You’re on your knees
You might as well be praying
Guess what I’m saying

If you’re going through hell
Keep on going, don’t slow down
If you’re scared don’t show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there

Yeah, if you’re going through hell
Keep on moving, face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there

If you’re going through hell
Keep on going, don’t slow down
If you’re scared don’t show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there

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CIO Delusions of Leadership

Leadership, Random
Pradco published a whitepaper entitled “What it takes to be a CIO” in September 2009, and I just ran across it. It is striking in several ways. First, I have to mention that Pradco is an assessment company that works a lot in the IT space – this is their bread and butter work. Second, this information is based on an ad hoc survey of 36 CIOs at a March 2009 IT Leaders Conference. So the data is not statistically significant, but the tone of the self-report data is interesting.
The CIOs acknowledged that managerial skills are important and 69% of them said that was a key factor for themselves in getting hired. 77% of the CIOs further believe that their leadership skills are as well developed as their technical skills. They are quite confident in themselves and 90% of them are satisfied with their own performance. This is striking, because CIOs have notoriously short tenures (average about 6 years) and one in four gets let go for poor performance. I guess for these survey respondants, those statistics apply to the other guys.
Some of the CIO self-confidence is necessary to perform in a C-level job. There is some interesting research that shows that many C-level executives demonstrate clinically significant levels of narcissism. But that is a topic for another day.
Overall this whitepaper is short on meaningful conclusions, but I took away two things. One is the fact that CIOs recognize the importance of leadership skills. This is promising – they should start expecting leadership from themselves and direct reports. Technical skills alone are not enough. Second is that the group of CIOs lacks self-awareness about their own skills as leaders. If they were all as good as they claim, then IT groups across the country would be functioning flawlessly. Personal insight and awareness is an important factor in career development. I encourage you to look at your own strengths and opportunities more critically. You have to admit to your opportunities, before you can improve on them.




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