Sunday, June 2, 2013

3 things I learned from getting fired

First a little background. I was working for a company called NuStep in Ann Arbor Michigan. I was a marketing analyst and I thought I had my career strategy in place. I had recently started my MBA and had planned to finish my degree and then move into a marketing manager position for a fitness manufacturer and to work my way up the chain in the fitness industry. Than all that changed when NuStep hired a new marketing manager, up to that point I had reported to the VP of Sales and Marketing and was primarily a sales analyst and occasionally did some marketing. This new manager started us doing true traditional marketing and planning. I quickly realized as did my boss that this was not my calling. I was terrible at the details of marketing and I was miserable. These two things being terrible and miserable led to my being let go from that job.
Luckily I knew the time was coming and had been preparing by looking for a new job. I was also given the gift of learning that traditional marketing is not something I want to do with my career. Sadly I know far too many people who hate going to work every day but they do it any way because they feel stuck. I do not want to be that person. So now I come to what I learned from getting fired:

  1. Look to do something that you love and makes a difference. During this time that I hated going to work I started to pray and seek God's help in knowing what he would have me do. One Sunday while I was in church I remembered a plan I had several years earlier but had never seriously considered it an option for me to become an entrepreneur. As with many young men and women who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I served a mission for the church. I was blessed to have served in the Philippines.  I met amazing people who lived in extreme poverty and I wanted to go back and start small business in those areas I had served to help create opportunities for these families to move out of poverty. I also remembered a video I had watched about a company called Krochet Kids International about the founders of that incredible company. They built a business where women in Uganda would knit hats and these friends would sell the hats online.  All these thoughts came to me while sitting in church and I realized this is what my long term goal is. I want to build a business that makes a difference in helping people come out of poverty in a country I came to know and love while I was living their as a missionary.
  2. The keys to getting a job.  I have had the opportunity to been under-or-unemployed 4 times since graduating college in 2007. I started out with Marriott and realized I wasn't happy in the hospitality industry so I left to go to Borders books as an analyst and I loved the company and what I did but was laid off. than I took the first job I could that I thought had growth potential with FranklinCovey as a retail store assistant manager. This was also not the job or industry for me. (As a side note for those that make hospitality, retail or restaurants their career I am deeply grateful to you because I learned these are not where I am supposed to be.) All this experience of looking for employment I have learned some key points:
    1. Figure out what job title or company you would be the best fit for based on your experience and pursue that position with with laser like focus.
    2. Use Linkedin to it's full potential. Post a picture fill out every section and if possible purchase the job seeker account that allows you to reach out to professionals.
    3. Use the job description to write your resume and cover letter. I read the job description and than if I have experience that fits the job responsibilities or requirements I copy and paste into my resume and than use true facts to back up that claim. A cover letter is a great way to talk about what things qualify you for the job. 
      1. I have a list of about a dozen well written paragraphs that give a key experience from my career. each of these paragraphs state a problem how a solution was reached and the results of that solution. Use quantifiable data when possible. Here is an example of one of mine. 
        "As Assistant Manager, responsible for 160 employees at a highly respected Fortune 500 hospitality company; took initiative to develop and maintain databases, using MS Access and Excel, to track employee performance and evaluate customer satisfaction surveys. Based on this analysis, I created an employee rewards program, which led to increased employee morale and a dramatic 14% improvement in guest satisfaction surveys. This system allowed management to focus on specific problem areas and saved more than 728 hours of management time annually."  

    4. Use the Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters book to really land a dream job. It is full of amazing ideas.
    5. Use your network and reach out beyond your network and simple ask professionals for informational interviews. People love to talk about themselves and most love to give advice so use those that are where you want to be to learn how to get there.
  3. I learned what I don't want to do or be. I have been laid off twice and fired twice and when getting fired I learned what kind of boss I don't want to be. I know I want to be a boss that understands people and wants to to help and love them. Does that mean I wouldn't fire them No! Sometimes the loving thing to do is to let someone go. I was never comfortable approaching either boss that fired me to ask for guidance or help in improving my performance because of the wall they they created of I'm the boss and your the subordinate. I am not one who blames others or wants a pity party I simply learned that a great boss and I have had great bosses that held me accountable and I appreciated that but they did it in a way that I learned and was inspired to be better. While after I had a conversation with my "other" bosses I came out wanting to swap stories with another co-worker thus creating a toxic environment. So I learned what type of boss not to be when the days comes for me to lead a team. I am glad I got out of those situations and I have learned from them. Also remember when you are looking for a new job you are interviewing the boss and company to make sure it is the right fit for you.  
In conclusion don't feel bad for me I have a great job with TRW an automotive supplier that is a truly global company with lots of future opportunities and I have a great boss. I am still pursuing my MBA but with an emphasis in International business. My goal is to begin setting up my business once I am out of school and move into it full time in about 10 years.

-Nate Shepherd 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

General conference.

During the first weekend in April and October every year The Church of Jesus Christ has a General Conference where leaders speak to the members all around the world on a variety of topics. I love this conference it uplifts me for the next six months. As I review and re-read or re-watch these great talks I am inspired to do better and be better. I wanted to share 2 of my personal favorites with you in hope them will help you want to do better and be better.

The first is a talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland about letting our faith lead us. If we are willing to state Lord I believe than stop dragging your feet and act upon that belief.

The second is by a man I believe to be a prophet called of God in our day his name is Thomas Monson. He speaks to us about obedience.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Life is full of love

The statement that God is love is so very true. I have witnessed great amounts of love recently. I want to begin with a video I watched this morning with my little girl. I was deeply moved by this video which tells the story of Abraham sacrificing Issac. I learned 2 things from this video the first was the point of it, which was the necessity of obedience and teaching our children to be obedient. Isaac does not struggle but willing obeys his father and is willing to give himself up to the will of the Lord.
The second thing I learned was how great love one can have for their children. I saw Abraham's struggle greatly with this commandment because he loves his son so much. Since this story is symbolic of the saviors sacrifice I felt the pain of God as he allowed his son to be killed for us. The reason being he loves us so much.
I thought about my little girl and cried at the thought of having anything ever hurt her. I love her deeply and I know that God feels the same for each of here on earth.

I also have been the witness of countless others loving examples for me and my family. My parents were willing to give up their car for us. They have worked hard and they did not need to give of their car but because I know that they love me and my family they made a huge sacrifice when our car died.
I saw another friend give of her time as she came and helped my wife finish a project when my wife would not be able to finish it by herself in time.
Today we had a great women that is a member of our church offer us of her resources and money because she knows that is one thing she has the ability to help us with as I am currently unemployed. I saw that love in her eyes as she offered to give of the hard earned money she has made over years of work. What an example of sacrifice and love.
I am grateful for love and pray that I may give of mine worthily, as I have seen so many other do for us of late. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

The peace that God can give us!

I just wanted to share my testimony about my experiences this week.  On May 14 and 15 there was an incredible stake conference where our local leaders truly shared inspirational messages. The first meeting was with leadership that I was fortunate to attend and we discussed President Dieter Uchtdorf's talk from the last General Conference.  It was about living below your privileges as priesthood holders.  It was an amazing talk but we had even more amazing instruction.  During that session I felt inspired to call two members in our ward (congregation) both of which were in need of contact, and I know that God truly works miracles through us.

Then that evening was the adult session of the conference where, even though I learned very little from the actual talks, the spirit was so strong and both Mari and I felt a great peace after the session.  Then Sunday morning was the general session of the conference where we heard from church leaders, and especially Elder Eyring spoke on being wisely optimistic.

Now a little background:  I have been looking for a new job since mid January.  My job at FranklinCovey was not working out and not paying nearly enough to support our family. So we had been praying and fasting about a new job.

Now back to our story: That Sunday evening we were both talking about the incredible peace we felt that things would work out soon.  I would find a new job and God was in control and not to worry.  This feeling of peace was incredible for both of us.  We also decided to have family scripture reading and prayer in the morning with Isabelle every day rather than at night with just the two of us, and we have given up a couple media choices that distracted from the spirit in our home.

Monday morning we had family scripture study and it was a really great morning.  Then as I walked into work my boss was there with a security guard and she asked for my key and told me that it was no longer working for me to be working there because I caused contention on the team, which anyone who knows me and even the other employees would agree I am one of the least contentious people they know.  It really came down to the fact that it was time for me to move on from that position.

As I walked out of the mall to my car and called Mari I felt that same peace we had felt the entire weekend and we both knew this was right.  This week has been incredible. We have spent time as family, we have been consistent with our scripture study; we have just felt wonderful all week.

I want to testify that God truly does love His children and when we put Him first and turn over our problems to him He will carry us through these times of trouble.      

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Savior and Redeemer

I know that my Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ lived on the earth and the atonement was the pinnacle of his life and human history.  Through his atonement I can be cleansed because Christ suffered all the demands of justice, for my sins which bring me further from God my Father. I know Jesus Christ truly lived and is the only begotten of the Father.  As his atonement was the pinnacle the resurrection was its apex.  Christ came forth to do the will of the Father.  He would come down in the humblest of circumstances.  He would be raised in a loving home learning as all children but as he learned he never disobeyed the laws of God. He then stepped forward at the age of 30 to teach and lead his people.  In 3 years he established his church, showed mercy and compassion as well as incredible power.  He taught his higher law and did this by word and action.  This is why he is known as the Prince of Peace, The Light of the World, The Word, The Lamb.  He is the great I AM, Jehovah.  He was perfect in his obedience and example.  All of this culminated in the 3 most important days in history where he took on our sins was crucified and than raised himself from the dead brining the gifts of overcoming physical and spiritual death to all people.

I love my Lord and have shared a couple of other testimonies on this page for your enjoyment.  

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Christ is the Bread of Life.

This phrase has been with me recently as I studied John chapter 6 as Christ taught his apostles that is is the bread of life and the living water.  I know that when I come to Christ and rely on him things will go right but when I seek to take things upon myself without his help they fail.  At this point in time I am looking for a new job for many reasons.  I have done everything I can think of and now I need to rely upon the Lord to take me where he would have me go.  I know that God does look down with love upon his children and wants to bless them.  His blessings often come in the form that we learn something and that is a very hard lesson to learn some times.  I have to learn to go where he would have me go and understand it is not about money but providing.  I am learning that lesson through my three jobs since graduation that I need to seek one that brings the most blessings to my family which is not money but time and benefits for them.
Back to the bread of life. only by partaking of what he has to offer which is peace and love and guidance can we be filled.  I have learned that my body can go longer than I thought without food and be okay but my spirit needs Christ daily in order to stay healthy.  He is like bread and water in that as we seek him and obey his laws and commandments we will be filled with things we didn't know we had before.
So on at this Easter season as you partake of a great bounty please remember the bread of life is Christ.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A day of Miracles

The power of Fasting is real and wonderful.  God truly will grant unto us what we need when we need it.  Yesterday was a wonderful sabbath day.  To start at the beginning Saturday we started fasting for several different things and while I was practicing the piano I had an idea on how to go about paying off what we will owe in taxes. It was a peaceful evening. Then Sunday morning we had a truly wonderful sacrament meeting where many got up and shared amazing testimonies about prophets and the Savior.  I was greatly enriched.  I want to share the two stories that most impressed me.  The first Brother was able to attend general conference and he gave the example that when a high ranking official enters an area in the military everyone is called to attention or when the president of the United States enters congress he is announced and all arise.  But at conference when president Monson entered no one announced him but all of the sudden 21,000 people stopped talking and everyone arose until he ushered them to sit. What an amazing experience and what respect all these people have for the mantle of prophet.  The second experience was told about an experience after a particularly tough men's church basketball game.  Many people were upset, there were lots of hard fouls and the game was not filled with an atmosphere of love.  After the game was over a large player walked over to the audience and stretched forth his arms wide open and said, "The church is still true".  As soon as he said it a peaceful spirit settled over the gym and the rest of the tournament was much more peaceful.

Now on to our evening.  Mari, while playing the piano, received an answer to her prayer and she now has an idea of what she needs to do to help support our family.  She will begin teaching art classes next month dealing with painting, puppetry and acting. What a miraculous blessing.

Our last prayer to be answered last night occurred while we were outside on our deck enjoying a beautiful evening reading and working on projects.  Alex our cat jumped off the deck, which she frequently does, but she always goes under the deck and then comes back up.  Tonight she did not come back.  Mari worried so she got a flashlight and looked but Alex was not under the deck!  So we spent the next 2 hours calling for and looking in the dark for our cat Alex, who is not an outdoors cat and not the brightest either.  We prayed and prayed for help to get her home knowing she was lost somewhere in our neighborhood.  Then Mari went out on her bike at about 11:00 pm and for some reason she  rode the opposite way than where she really believed Alex might be.  While riding she saw Alex walking about a 1/2 a block away and she was running away from our house looking very lost.

We are grateful for spirit building days such as yesterday.