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May 13, 2014

60: The Only Constant in Your Career is Change: Learn to Embrace It (Part 1)

60: The Only Constant in Your Career is Change: Learn to Embrace It (Part 1)

Neal provides his advice that he recently gave LinkedIn on career change and learning to adapt to - and thrive on - the constant change that is part of our everyday life.

 

Transcript

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welcome to maximize your social actionable 10 minute advice on how your business can maximize your social media presence. Now the host of Maximize Your Social Social Media Author, speaker, consultant and founder of Maximized Social Business Neal Schaefer. Hey, this is Neil Shaper. This is maximize your social welcome to my world of social media today. I'm at my home office here in Irvine, California, be doing a lot of travelling lately, but for the next few weeks have a lot of downtime. And I'm actually preparing for my next project, really excited to announce that, hopefully over the next few weeks, But until then, I wanted today to get very personal on this podcast and share with you what I recently shared with linked in if we are friends on Facebook or if you follow me on Google. Plus, you probably saw recently that I posted that I was invited by linked in to Block as part of what they call a career curveball. Siri's What are the curveballs that you've had in your career and how did you handle them? And when they asked me, I was obviously honored and definitely wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. But it also gave me a chance to really look back into my past into my entire career and analyze not the one curve ball but the many curveballs and how it has affected the way that I look at social media in the way that I hope you look at social media as well. And even though this may not be directly on target as far a social media for business advice, I do believe and you've probably heard it from any others that those that were successful in social have a certain mindset. And this is what I teach is well. And I'm hoping that once you understand more about my world in my mind set, it's going to help you develop a much keener mind set for social media. So this block post was already published on Linked In already published on my own personal linked in publishing page by the time you hear this, but just like many of you who have written back to me saying that you enjoyed my audible audiobook for maximize your social because I was the one reading it, I also wanted to do the same thing with this block post and read it in my own words in my own voice and give you some background on things that might not be in that blood posts up. Here we go. The only constant in your career is change. Learn to embrace it. And I didn't talk about it in this post. But indeed, those of you that have read maximize your social or see me speak know that I love to talk about social media is being an experiment and that you always need to be doing different things and changing things because it's always changing. I think a career is the exact same, but I learned to embrace it, and I hope you do as well and embrace change in social media. So because, you know, Curveball in baseball, I begin with a really, really famous baseball quote by a gentleman named Rick Maxine. Funny thing is, I did a little digging for who this person was online. I really couldn't find it. So if you can tell me the history of Rick Maxie in and in what context and when he said this, I really appreciate the feedback. But anyway, regardless, it's a really famous quote. Life will always throw you curves. Just keep fouling them off. The right pitch will come, but when it does be prepared to run the basis, I often talk about one's career. Even in social media, when you are reaching out to people, engage in two people blogging, publishing contents. It's a marathon, and every time you do it you may not see immediate feedback. But it's all part of if we were in a role playing game of building up that experience meter to get to that next level. And I think life is like that as well. The Maur of that experience and all the various experiences that we have, the better it prepares us to run the basis. So I begin and you all know that I don't really talk about my Children or my wife and social media, but actually bring them into this story because, as you know, family is an integral part of everything. We d'oh. So looking at my young Children, I have two Children that are actually elementary school age. If you're curious, I realized that we also all grew up with dreams of what we wanted to accomplish in our future careers. whether it be becoming an astronaut, fighting fires, making cupcakes or becoming a teacher. My daughter wants to be the next Gabby Douglas. My son wants to be the next Cristian Renaldo. Either way, we seem like we were in control of her own destiny, right, and no one could hold us back. And we we're going to create our own future. So when I entered the workforce, it was no different. I had the master plan I was going to start. My crew in Japan were after learning Chinese in college. I was going to master five Asian languages by the time I was 30. For what purpose? Well, I thought I'd be cool in all honesty, but that was sort of the path that I was on when I graduate from college. Believe it or not, Mandarin Chinese, I learned in college Japanese I was learning at the time and eventually mastered Korean. I got as far as Korean. I did take three months of introductory lessons of career while living in Japan had a chance to do some business there. Unfortunately, outside of being able to take a taxi to the airport, say the food was delicious and how much is the meal? There wasn't much more Korean that I learned, but it's a beautiful language and wonderful people, and I hope I have a chance to learn it someday. And then Cantonese, because Cantonese just seemed like one of the hardest languages. Toe learn very different than Mandarin Chinese and then tie, which once again was just another completely different language. So I only ended up studying tomb or out of Mandarin Chinese and mastering one more out of Mandarin Chinese. But the very reason my career began in Japan was from the first career curve ball that I was thrown. And this is when I was still a college student. Political unrest in China. Now this is where I talk about that China retreat. I majored in Asian studies at Amherst College, which is a small liberal arts college in Massachusetts, and I plan on starting my career in China. I was going to be one of those Americans who was gonna go out there, become a pioneer, do amazing things out there for business, and I went there for my junior year abroad, right? I was in Beijing, and the problem is that when I was in Beijing, it was 1989. The Berlin Wall was collapsing and there were incredible student demonstrations and political unrest that resulted in what we call the Tiananmen den. Demonstrations in the aftermath. And I could do a separate podcast about what I experienced during the Tiananmen demonstrations, which I won't for now. But needless to say that right after that, foreign companies really just pulled away from China, stayed away, really afraid to invest any more there. And my dream of sort of graduating a year later and working in China was gonna be very, very hard to accomplish. So when I came back from Beijing for my senior year, I realized I had to alter my course because I knew that finding a job in China would be nearly impossible. It's It's rolling with the punches, right? It's fouling off some balls knowing that when your time comes, you're gonna do something. But it's also creating your own career while this happens while you get these curveballs of readjusting your batting stance right. Fortunately, I had a Japanese roommate while in Beijing and befriended a number of Japanese foreign exchange students. It was also a time when the Japanese economy, if you remember 1989 1990 was peeking at it straight than many American companies were trying to learn more about how Japanese companies were becoming successful in the global market. So this just goes to show, you know, when I was in Amber's college, the Japanese class had, like five times more students in the Chinese class, and it's probably, you know, flipped around now in terms of numbers. But during our lifetimes, there are ebbs and flows in the strength of economies, industries, companies. You know, Google now is sort of like everyone wanted to work at America Online or Microsoft back in the day, right? Nothing is static. And I learned this, fortunately at a very early age, as a senior in college to accept the reality, to embrace a long term approach and subsequently plan to temporarily start my career in Japan, where, after working there for two years, I was gonna move on to China and achieve what I wanted to do there, moving on to my next chapter of my life, which is called Accounting for a Job I interviewed with the Japanese company that ended up hiring me during winter break in my senior year. Company's name is Rome Semiconductor, R. O. H M, headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, which is really how I started this whole Japanese experience. Now I wanted to start my career in sales and marketing. I love business. I did some things during junior high school in high school that gave me a flavor of business, and I loved to meet people and I was very out. We're going. So that's where I wanted to be within a company. But I had one little problem was at Amherst College. Being a liberal arts school didn't really offer any business curriculum. As my father said, business is really about learning how to communicate with people and learning how to communicate your own ideas to other people from various cultural and historical backgrounds. And I think Amber's college did very well preparing me for that. And you can imagine how that's really helped me in social media and really to speak internationally as well. But you know, serendipitously. And there's always these serendipitous curveballs that come at us as well. For reasons known unknown in my senior year, they did begin offer class in accounting. Now I knew that having knowledge of the subject would help me in my business career, even sales. It's about numbers marketing your crunchy numbers. Accounting is sort of the basis of business, right? Little did I know that taking that class would determine what department I would start my career in, because when I graduated from amours to 1990 Japan had become this global economic power, and it started to establish both sales as well as manufacturing operations in foreign countries. This drove Japanese businesses to push for internationalizing, and I put that in quotes, internationalizing their companies internally. So it turned out that I was to become part of the internationalizing plans for Rome Semiconductor, my first employer. The man who turned out to be my first boss had just come back as director of finance for their American operations, which happened to be in Irvine, California, where I live as well, amazing how things happen in life. But anyway, he had the needs to both internationalized his own department as well as keep better tabs on the accounting of their foreign subsidiaries. So, just as with this retreat from China this beginning of my career, in finance and accounting. I learned to take a long term look at my career and took the position and finance in the belief that it would be a temporary stepping, stone, invaluable education that would help me get to the place and the position that I wanted. So moving on to the next chapter, becoming the China sales pioneer, I had already created that road map for my career that would push me towards both sales and China. Despite the changes in my career that I accepted. Until then, I was still focused on reaching these goals as part of my long term strategy. But how long can you or should you wait for these same changes to work in your favor? I created my own internal deadlines, and I do this now. And when I talked with other people in social media, I tell them, or, you know, small business owners. Entrepreneur, self employed professionals like myself make Internal Deadline's almost on a quarterly basis and try to stick to them, and in both cases I dealt with them or change that would eventually help lead me to my goal. So the very same day, and I sort of put myself out there in the job market in order to hit an internal deadline. If it wasn't gonna happen at the company I was working at, I was forced to move elsewhere. But the very same day. And I'll never forget this, that I received an offer from a trading firm specializing in metals to pursue my career in China. Sales was also the very same day that an executive at Roma Semiconductor had transferred back to Japanese headquarters to begin a new business development department, which I was going to become a member of. I was thrown to career curve balls on the same day and just like the fork in the road. Seeing that the Business Development department was going to be in charge of our future China strategy, I decided to make an investment in my current employer, similar to how they had made an investment in me. If you go through some of my Lincoln recommendations, you'll find that one executive really wanted to hire me away from another company, and the fact that I did not join him actually made him feel even higher esteem for me because of the loyalty I don't know what it is, but I have an emotional bond with people and things and companies that invested me. I want to reciprocate that investment, and at the end of the day, I think we're all human and I think a lot of us share that, and it's always greener on the other side. But I wanted to give this company another chance, so hopefully that better explains that mindset. And maybe you're nodding and you have felt the same way. Or maybe you're in a similar position right now. So this new position let me closer to both doing business in China as I was part of the team, which decided both where we would invest in China as well. It's actually negotiate with Chinese officials, a joint venture partner, to potentially build a jointly owned factor in Shanghai. Well, we ended up not doing the jayvee, although we ended up investing in a 100% own factory in Dolly and China. But I also have the opportunity to work at our sales subsidiary in Singapore for six months and get to understand what our foreign sales office is doing. What is the work they have? What other challenges and how as a company, we as a Japanese company, we are engaging with our customers there. That was a great experience and the friends I made in Singapore, I still meet. I got to meet them last March when I was in Kuala Lumpur and I hope to meet them again in the near future. But anyway, after returning from Singapore, my boss was put in charge of our overseas sales department and once again I was getting closer to realizing my goal despite all these constant changes in my job. But unfortunately, while I was getting closer to my career goals, I failed to hit the new deadline I'd established for myself to start doing sales inside China. I decided that I had to be the instigator of change this time and well, last time I decided to stay with the company. This time I decided to resign from the company. Now things happen for all sorts of different reasons. We never know the master plan that we all have one were born. But when the CEO found out and this is, you know, $3 billion.12,000 Global Employees company at the time when he found out that I wanted to quit solely to be able to focus on China. He decided to make it a reality for me if I was that passionate about China. And I was so bent on generating success there that this CEO up until now or the people working for him to not see he was gonna give me a chance. And to this day, I'm still very fortunate for that. So a few days before the day that was supposed to be my last day. I think it was literally, you know, 4 to 5 working days before that, my boss called me in, told me what was gonna happen. I was promoted to launch our China sales operations and at 27 years old, would become the youngest Ka Tho, or assistant manager in company history. It was quite an honor, and I was finally able to do what I wanted to dio. And this is really where my career excelled to a new level. In a few years after starting from scratch, I was generating business for more than 60 Chinese, Japanese, American and European manufacturers. And while the sales continued to grow, the region had become our company's most profitable in terms of profit margin percentage. I had 15 people reported to me across three sales offices and our team in Japan headquarters. I had achieved everything I wanted when I was faced with a new reality, and this new curveball came from my success. In order to elevate our sales to new levels, I realize that I would have to move to our Shanghai office and work there on a full time basis. Now, hopefully you agree with me that sometimes we go through life so quick that we forget to take a break and smell the roses. The constant curveballs in my career, combined with my long term perspective in the short term deadlines that I had had, brought me the success that I yearned for. But one day I realized that as a sales professional living in Japan, I had no track record of actually selling inside Japan. I had lived there for what, 89 years, and yet, Wow, I did not have that track record that I wanted and that I should have if I was going to be an international sales executive. It was at that point where I closed the chapter on my success in China. I did everything I wanted to do. I achieved what I wanted to dio. I wanted to reach a new level and in order to reach that new level, I firmly believe that I had to do that in Japan. So I focused now on the big picture of replicating my China success in Japan because if I can do it in two very, very different cultures, two very, very different business environments, I can do it anywhere in the world. So to do this I would end up leaving my company. And although I gave the company a chance to offer me a job, that would be satisfying, we agreed that it just did not exist. So ended up leaving on very, very friendly terms. I still keep in touch with a lot of people from that company. I'll be seen some of them in July when I'm back in Japan. So there were a few job offers that actually came my way, and I don't really go into this in the blood post, but this is really another fork. In my career, I was actually offered a job at Procter and gamble in product marketing. They had their Asian headquarters in Kobe, Japan, and I was actually interviewing also with Dell and FedEx to do enterprise sales there in western Japan. But I ended up working with a small well. I won't call them a startup because they were listed on the NASDAQ at the time, but they were One of these dot com startups actually had been around for decades, but they were involved in what we now I think, call the Internet of things. They provided the embedded operating system for that. Before we had something called Lennox or Android. They provided something about VX works company called Wind River ended up getting bought out by Intel. Win River had some success in Japan. They were looking to build out a Western Japan sales office in Osaka. I was looking for a job with foreign equity companies in Osaka and I wanted to help him launch that be successful at it, so I took that opportunity, made it successful. Shortly thereafter, I was offered the opportunity to establish an Asian sales operations for a start up out of Ottawa, Canada Company called SPL, a challenge that I ended up taking and thriving at despite a near disaster in my first few weeks. Well, what was that disaster? That disaster and the name this next chapter of my career is called Losing the Big Customer. Well, you know, it's funny because this block post ended up being more than 3000 words. And I had a conversation with someone on my Facebook wall who said, Why don't you cut it up into two parts? And and and I answered then, as a lens, you now I really don't like to artificially slice and dice my stories. The stories have an intentional beginning, unintentional ending. But I did make a brand promise on this podcast that every podcast would be approximately well, I began with eight minutes because I was recorded on an iPhone, and then when I moved on ahead, right, I said 10 minutes. So I do like to keep this short and sweet. I do believe there were more effective when they're a little bit shorter, understanding attention spans and just how busy we all are. A CZ professionals in our careers and our families. So I'm gonna do something that I wouldn't do in the written form, but I'm gonna do on the podcast, which is I'm gonna take a pause here, and I'm gonna sign up for today and we're gonna continue this story next week. Don't wait until next week to send me your feedback. I really enjoy hearing from you. It's what gives me the fuel to keep sharing content and to keep this podcast as well as everything else I do. Going So looking forward to hearing from you, I hope this already provided you some insight. Next week we're gonna close off in part two and some specific take aways for you if you haven't read the post. If you haven't You like it. I hope that you share with your friends. But for today, that's it, everybody. It's a wrap. Wherever you are in the world, you make it a social day. Bye bye, everybody. Thanks for listening. To maximize your social. We appreciate your iTunes inscriptions, ratings and comments. If you would like to appear on the show or recommend content, please contact Neil Schaffer at Neil at maximize your social dot com. Make it a social day