Monthly Archives: October 2011

Career Networking Step #1

OK, I know the steps of networking. I’ve been too reticent in using them up to now. I’m sick of navel-gazing introspection and quiet desperation, so I’m going step-by-step.

Career Networking Step #1: Tell your friends and relatives that you’re looking for a job.

Maybe it’s my misguided sense of good ol’ American self-reliant, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps rugged individualism that has hindered my full-blown admission until now.

I’ve submitted, I’ve interviewed, I’ve second interviewed, I’ve anxiously waited, I’ve scoured job sources, I’ve met with career counselors, I’ve updated my LinkedIn page, I’ve revised and rewritten and customized my résumé. For months, I’ve been suffering this quiet desperation of being fully functional, willing, eager, and ready for employment, to no avail.

I’m tired of it.

So today, I stand up, raise my hand, and, like 9.1 million Americans or more, proclaim, “I need a job. I am a person of great skill and expertise, and your company or organization would be well-served by hiring me.”

I’ve been a helpful, capable, and knowledgeable resource for others seeking a career path.

It’s my turn to use my network.

Next: Career Networking Step #2: The person asks you, “What kind of job are you looking for?”

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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Hire me Already!


10 Things About Me

Ten Things about Hugh Vandivier

1. I grew up on a farm in Franklin, Indiana, that my family has cash rented for more than a century. My brother and I are the fourth generation to run Midway Farm.

2. I went to Space Camp the second year it opened in Huntsville, Alabama, and I saw the third shuttle mission take off in Florida.

3. I am related to two Indiana governors: Ralph Gates, my mother’s uncle, and Roger D. Branigin, my father’s cousin.

4. My senior year at Wabash, I was student coach on for the swim team that placed 8th at NCAA Division III National Championships at Emory University.

5. I have visited Veere, my family’s ancestral home in the south of The Netherlands.

The port of Veere, a tiny village outside Middelburg in southern Holland.

6. At the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where I studied media management, I interviewed Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, covered the futures markets in Chicago, covered Capitol Hill, and attended the White House 25th anniversary ceremony honoring the astronauts who first landed on the moon. 

7. I have driven cross-country to Arizona twice and have visited Oahu twice.

8. I have an older sister and a younger brother who both live in Washington, DC. I visit quite often and have attended the Millennial Celebration on the Washington Mall on New Year’s Eve 1999 and the ceremony for the National WWII Memorial. This last trip in August, I visited the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. I also have another older sister, who lives outside Sacramento, California, and a younger sister who lives in Jerusalem.

the new Me at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in August after the earthquake and hurricane!

9. I interviewed Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. in 2002 and spoke at the opening of his library in January 2011. (The interview and my story about getting the interview.)

10. I am editing and writing a biography on my father’s cousin Norman, who was lost of the Battle of Midway in WWII. I am writing a proposal for a book on swimming. I’m also tinkering with a short story, a novel, and a screenplay.

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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Hire me Already!


Facilitating the Network

For the past four years, I have stepped in to help the chapter of Phi Delta Theta at Wabash College. So far, it’s been challenging and rewarding.

Lately, I’m starting to see some positive results.

The house passed a new scholarship program, is working on a new house cleaning initiative, and is developing new community service projects. They’re currently the second cleanest house on campus, they hosted a reception for the Phi Delt Trustees, and they just won the intramural football trophy.

The biggest improvement has come with rush. The house added a larger pledge class this fall to bolster its membership. We’re also working on refocusing our pledgeship and adding in a career component.

One idea I’m employing is to connect start the pledges networking now, while they’re still in school and still exploring careers and majors. I asked them for their intended majors and minors and current career goals, and I matched them up where I could with alumni willing to give them some advice.

Before I hook them up, though, I developed a way for alumni to learn more about them and to supply content to the chapter blog. Rather than write a short bio, which can get kind of boring, I asked them to bullet 10 things about themselves. These could relate to accomplishments, ambitions, family, hobbies, anything. To set an example, I wrote one up about myself  to give them an example.

It’s in the next post.

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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Better Practices, Hire me Already!


On Loyalty

If I were writing myself into a Greek play, my tragic flaw could well be loyalty.

Jon Tumilson, a Navy SEAL, was one of 30 Americans killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 6 when a rocket-propelled grenade took out a U.S. Chinook helicopter. He was mourned at a service in Rockford, Iowa, attended by 1,500 family members, friends--and Hawkeye, Tumilson's dog.

Am I loyal to a fault?

A while back, The Diane Rehm Show featured Eric Felten, writer of the culture column “Postmodern Times” for The Wall Street Journal. (I would link to his column, but apparently the web person at the WSJ isn’t smart enough to provide a convenient link to all of his columns.) His new book, Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue sounds like an interesting read. One of his conjectures it that even in those instances where loyalty is justified, it often leads to conflict.

Is loyalty a bygone virtue, like chivalry? After all, no one retires from a company with a gold watch. Hell, I think in a very short time anyone retiring of their own accord after 50 years of service from the only company they have ever worked for might make national news.

Unless they happen to have been elected to Congress.

In this cynical world, can we still be loyal? Or do we inevitably end up feeling like cloying romantics, clinging intently to any shred of sentimentality of ideals that remind of us of our once bright-eyed days?

I think a lot about Indianapolis sports fans when I muse about loyalty. For a self-proclaimed “sports town,” we sure have some fair-weather fans. Anyone remember the Pacers? True—or maybe I should say “TruWarier“?—the antics of the team in the middle Aughts did a lot to drive away fans.

Now that Colts fans face a season without future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, will we soon return to the days where we’ll have to beg fans to meet the attendance number so the game isn’t blacked out?

When Bob Irsay stole the Colts from Baltimore and whisked them to Indy via Mayflower trucks in the middle of the night, my dad bought season tickets. He finally gave up his Purdue season tickets out of frustration. As a non-alumnus, the University gave him worse seats each season he had them. Talk about loyalty.

A small group of DePauw fans remains in the end zone bleachers during the fourth quarter of the 47-0 loss to Wabash College Saturday at Hollett Little Giant Stadium in Crawfordsville, Ind. MARGARET DISTLER/THE DEPAUW

For the three or four games he’d take my brother and me to, I witnessed our fans, Colts fans. The majority came to the game straight from church, still in their Sunday finest. They would sit politely for three quarters and then file for the exits at the start of the fourth. At this point, the two lubricated guys sitting behind us would start chanting, “Oh, ye of little faith!”

Yes, the new Indianapolis Colts were terrible back then. At one point, our best offense was Rohn Stark…the punter.

So the team’s recent travails will truly test the mettle of our current crop of fans who insist on wearing their jerseys to work on Fridays like it’s Homecoming week back at Carmel High School.

I have to give it to the Detroit Lions. 4-0 and their stalwart fans deserve to relish in some success.

Maybe I can trace my recent crisis of faith to my longtime love of the Chicago Cubs. I mean, when you give up on your team in late June, just how loyal a fan are you? 103 year without a trip to the World Series, and “Wait ’til next year” loses its luster. At some point, you start feeling like an Old Style swilling yutz out there in the bleachers.

I’m also wary of any company any more that waves the chestnut: “We’re just like one big family.” It seems like some companies use loyalty as a salve to assuage the sting of longer hours, doing the work of two other departed employees, or the bonus that never comes.

Companies should be more realistic about loyalty. No, strike that. Employees should be more realistic about loyalty. When the company I worked for in 2001 downsized me, the very helpful woman with the outplacement firm—who my former company hired to “transition” us—said that “you should be loyal to your career, not to your employer.”

I’ll keep that in mind.

The bottom line: Yes, it’s good to be loyal. It’s a noble virtue. Just don’t be a yutz about it.

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Posted by on October 6, 2011 in Standup Philospher