Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | May 7, 2009

Job Search: Time to press the RESET button

Like everything in life, I think there comes a time when you need to press the RESET button.

I think I’ve reached that with my job search. Obviously, it is a limited Reset because I don’t want to stop the few things that are in progress, but with Graduation close, it is the perfect time. I am going to redo or definitely revise everything in my job search portfolio and press reset.

So, over the next few days, I’m going to treat my job search with few exceptions as if I were taking this on new and from scratch. That includes getting an email back to my friends and contacts, revising my UVP, re-evaluating salary and compensation needs/desires, etc.

It also includes trying to recommit to my web presence and making sure I am doing the little things.

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | May 6, 2009

Lagniappe: Oprah and the Big Turkey

Ok, I have toyed with this idea for a while and finally decided what the heck, I would do it.

So this morning, though I’m sure I didn’t do him justice, I submitted the Big Turkey himself to the Oprah Winfrey Show. Mr. Turkey, whether this ever amounts to anything, consider it a small token of thanks.

Here is my submission:

Several years ago I was laid off for the first time. During my search I met an individual named John Reinke. Mr. Reinke was helpful to me in many ways from advice on my resume, to cheerleading, to the proverbial kick in the butt when I needed it. I quickly came to find out that he is one of the most dynamic and caring individuals you can ever find. Not only did he help me, but he has helped hundreds with sound advice, caring, and a hands on perspective of the world that is rarely if ever found.

John’s devotion to helping not only includes his advice and blog, but also led him to create a website just to help members of his “Turkey Farm” , which is how he defines those of us looking for work. It can be found here .

One can only imagine the number of people John has helped find their own way through the maze of job loss, recovery, career development, and many other issues.

His devotion to his wife, family, and Baby Turkeys is unparalleled and leaves me speachless.

A while back, John wrote a book and self published with The book titled “CHURCH 10-19-62” can be found at this site

He once mentioned in passing that maybe one day, someone would read the book and deem it worthy of Oprah’s Book Club. The book stands on its own, I only ask that it be given a review.


G. Lane Cavalier

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | May 1, 2009

Lagniappe: Project Graduate – 4 classes completed – 1 left

After yesterday and today, I have now completed (thought I don’t have grades back) all of my classes except HRM.

I now have my HRM group project due next Tuesday and my final exam schedule for the Tuesday following.

Provided I make the grades, I will be a Graduate – Yeah!!!

So it took 4 Colleges – Nichols St University, University of North Texas, Harper College (Associate Degree) and Western Illinois University, three Tuition Reimbursement programs (thanks Moore, WorldTravel, and Fujitsu), two kids as cheerleaders; a few well placed kicks in the butt by a Giant Turkey; a ton of early support by a former boss S.S., and some much needed inspiration from my Niece who graduated herself recently. – But the end is near.

And before I forget, I also owe more debt than I can ever repay to the two most important women in my life:

The one who taught me “it isn’t where you start, but where you end” – MOM!


The one who reminds me every day that I continue to be the most fortunate person on earth. My Wife.

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | April 30, 2009

Lagniappe: Project Graduate – Less than 2 weeks to go!!!

When I was out of work at the end of the year, My spouse had the foresight to realize this one might be a while, so she and I agreed that we would bite the bullet and I would take my LAST 5 CLASSES this spring towards my Bachelor’s Degree.

Well now we are getting closer though no less easier, the final countdown has begun. The thing about Internet courses is they come in so many shapes and sizes from self-paced, to highly regimented.

Here are the remaining obstacles between me and a Degree (only 24 years in the making )

Marketing – Took my final yesterday ( need a 20/100 for a C, need a 64/100 for a B, NO A 😦

Geogology (Polution and Resources with a business perspective),- Took my final Monday ( class will probably be a B )

Management (Organizational Development) – One short paper ( need 4/50 for an A )

History ( Crime and Punishment in England, France, Germany, and US) – Take Final Exam Tomorrow (currently have a 98% in the class)

Human Resource Management (HR for a Competitive Advantage) – One group Project (due Next Tuesday); One more Exam (on 5/12); and one Quiz (today). So far I have a 95% in the class.

So this week has really been the big PUSH to finish up. It will definitely be something to have a degree, not sure what I really expected it to be, but at the same time, I guess I had resigned myself to never finishing.

So like my Chicago Blackhawks, it’s time to close the deal 🙂

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | April 27, 2009

Stone Arch Bridge and Columbia Photos

The Stone Arch Bridge from Minneapolis.

You may be able to see the rainbow in the picture. This is taken from the Stone Arch Bridge as none of the pictures of the bridge came out acceptable.


And here is Columbia – Quite impressive isn’t she?


And last but not least if you look at the upper left corner, you can see an eagle’s nest in the wild. This is one on the west bank of the Mississippi River just south of Wabasha, MN. Unfortunately the picture doesn’t do the size of it justice, but to put the size in perspective, the large one’s can be roughly the size of a Volkswagon Beetle or at least big enough for a Bear to hibernate in.

eagle nest

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | April 27, 2009

Cold Turkey – Day 3

Today is day 3 of my cold turkey attempt to quit smoking.

Last Cigarette: 9:37PM CST, Friday, April 24th, 2009

Estimated cost Savings at end of day: $15

It’s cold turkey (for the most part) because I have had allergic reactions to both Wellbutrin and to the Nicorette Gum. Didn’t really have an issue Saturday, was cranky yesterday afternoon.

So far today, I feel more lost than anything. I guess it is the breaking of routine as this would be when I would go study in the garage and have my first (and probably second) cigarette.

FJ R – I’ll get the pictures up from the last post today (but probably late tonight).

After several months of school and job searching (and a lot of hours of work for my wife), we chose to take a weekend away to start off spring break.

Being as we are extremely cost concious, we chose to drive to Minneapolis, stay for points in a Marriott hotel/waterpark, and then drive back down the Mississippi River Valley before cutting back over to Chicago.

The waterpark at the Rennaissance Depot was small but clean, not crowded, and well staffed. As is my history with Marriott properties, the staff was outstanding, friendly, and helpful both in the waterpark and in the restaurants. Housed in the old Minneapolis train depot, it has a lot of history and time period pieces that more than make up for it’s lack of size, as by Marriott standards it is a fairly small hotel.

The kids had a blast at the Mall of America Nickleodean Universe, as my 11 year old said, “it was awesome.” They actually said they had more fun than on our last trip to Disney because they didn’t really have to wait in lines for the rides.

We had Brunch on Saturday at the Fire Lake Grill in Downtown and it was one of the best dining experiences we ever had, food was exceptional with some of the best service we have had in years. Overall the City of Minneapolis is clean and has a very ‘safe’ and ‘relaxed’ feel to it. The car stayed park from when we arrived Friday night until we left Monday as we were able to walk to everything and take the train to the MOA. Walking over the Old Stone Arch Bridge and through the park was a great family event for us as we like both history and natural wonders. I learned that the falls seen from the bridge is the only natural waterfall anywhere on the Mississippi.

On Monday, we drove back down the Mississippi River Valley stopping to spot eagles and viewing the eagles nest. The highlight was a stop for a class and viewing at the Eagle Conservation Center in Wabasha, Mn. There we were able to meet a Bald Eagle named Columbia with a wing span of 7 feet. We learned a lot of little insights like a Bald Eagle can see and determine a rabbits from 1 1/2 mile away and can see any type of movement for an estimated 45 miles (yep that’s forty-five) when flying. On the way from the center we were able to view part of a ‘mating reunion’ between two eagles, though we weren’t able to stop to watch we were told that soar up high, lock talons together, and tumble as a couple back towards the ground before finally letting each other go a few hundred feet off the ground and soaring back up on air currents without as much as a flap of their wings.

I plan to put a few pictures up in the next day or two of Columbia and the view from the Stone Arch Bridge.

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | February 24, 2009

JOB SEARCH: Sigh!! The Beat Goes ON

Here is an actual response to from a Recruiter to a job I applied for.



Thank you for the interest. For this position the client is not willing to consider candidates who do not already have their Bachelors Degree, however they are targeting candidates who have their MBA or MS in Computer Science as well. We will certainly continue to keep you posted when new positions do become available that you may be interested in. Also, you may view all our positions on our website: Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns; I am in the office Monday through Friday 8AM – 5PM. Thank you again,


The funny thing is that in a seperate email I was the “EXACT” candidate they were looking for (well until they found out I don’t have a degree yet!)


Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | February 9, 2009

Lagniappe: Are your goals SMART?

As with a lot of post, this was inspired by some of my recent school readings, you can find out more about SMART goals in almost any good Management Textbook.

The concept of a SMART goal is to define the parameters of the goal you are trying to make. It helps me to lay out each component of the acronym and write them down.

SMART stands for Specific, Meaningful, Actionable, Reachable and Time-framed. It is the basic five absolute components for a goal to be achievable. My target for a good SMART goal is a success rate of between 70% to 90%. Lower than that and it might not be deemed reachable and you will get frustrated, higher than that and you may not be focused enough to make it happen.

Specific – The goal needs to be specific, if you cannot actually know you have reached your goal, or even if you’re uncertain, then the goal is harder to obtain. ie: I am working towards finishing my last 5 classes and getting my degree by the end of this semester in May.

Meaningful – If the goal doesn’t have meaning for you, you will not work towards it. I think getting my degree has meaning on multiple fronts, including helping in my career and showing my children how important I do take the degree.

Actionable – You need to be able to take specific actions, in a sequential or non-sequential manner that will achieve the goal. I registered and am completing the necessary course work.

Reachable – The goal must have a realistic component to it. If I had 30 semester hours left instead of 15, I could not have realistically set my goal to graduate by May while meeting my other life commitments

Time-Framed – If a goal-doesn’t have a time frame, it will be to easy to put off the actionable items needed to reach it. One example of this is my “BOOK” project, I write when I feel like it. I have been working on it for several years and have not made significant progress, so I think until I put a date on when I will finish it by, I may never finish it.

So remember, define a few goals for yourself and make them SMART.

Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | February 6, 2009

Web Sites: Is Execunet Worth the Price?

I had an email in my inbox from a really close friend last night asking if Execunet was worth the fee. This is someone I spend a lot of time with, so you can pretty much assume that I’ll give them the straight scoop as I see it. As such, I thought it would make a good SITE REVIEW.

Here is my response:

Overall, I think the investment has been worth it for me, but everyone’s experience will be different, because I think it relates to how you use the tools they give you.

Execunet doesn’t seem to have as many jobs as some of the others, but the jobs there tend to be real ones and the response rate for me has been much better than any other site I’ve dealt with. I’ve got an actual HUMAN RESPONSE (email or voicemail) from about 80% of the postings I’ve responded to. So though I only find 1 to 3 jobs a month that fit my specific needs, I have high confidence that they are “REAL”

I have used the direct networking components twice and both times ended up making extremely good contacts, but you do have to be able to reach out on your own.

At one time I was extremely active in the forums and have a couple of really strong network contacts from other parts of the country that I still have to this day. As a matter of fact, I met the “BIG TURKEY” on the Execunet forums, as well as some really good people who helped me with coping with being out as much as with my job search.

On a side note, I have asked Dave Opton (the CEO) for help on a couple of occasions and have found him to be really responsive and take a true customer first attitude. I’m sure Dave probably sighs every time he sees my name in his inbox.

For what it’s worth, Execunet is the only PAY site that I still have an active membership to at this time from a Job Board perspective.

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