Sunday, November 15, 2015

Culture Clash: Silicon Valley Versus Veterans

Normally I keep my postings to the PSYOP world, but as we know, these are not ‘normal times’. As a volunteer for the DOD ESGR I get to visit units and employers. Sometimes ESGR is on the agenda as a major speaker and other times we’re a ‘vendor’ like other organizations whose mission it is to serve veterans.

Last week I had the occasion to attend a “Veteran’s Resource” event hosted by a major Silicon Valley firm. They might it quite clear that this was not a job fair, but a place where veterans could learn skills needed to help land them a job in today’s job market.

Services included resume review, mock interviewing and more.

Before I address LinkedIn and Facebook – I’d like to share two areas where the military culture sharply diverted from the culture of Silicon Valley. One of the more recent 20ish veterans shared the following:

Teamwork – in the military we are used to working together to accomplish a mission and take care of our ‘buddy’.  In Silicon Valley I couldn’t believe it when someone else took credit for my project right in front of me.

Promptness – the military teaches us that timing is critical and you needed to be counted on to be where you are supposed to be on time. This individual typically arrived a meeting 15 minutes early only to find that many colleagues didn’t arrive until 15 minutes AFTER the scheduled start time.

Let me save you a day’s worth of your time: most jobs today are still based on networking and prospective employers will be checking your bona fides on LinkedIn while checking your good judgment on Facebook.

LinkedIn is a recruiter’s best friend and you need to be sure that your LinkedIn profile is optimized. Here are some tips offered by information security vendor FireEye:

1.     Pick a professional and engaging photo. No cuteness – no dog.
2.     Make sure your 120 character headline is accurate and describes what you do in a creative way.
3.     Be certain your e-mail address is correct and is the one you check the most frequently.
4.     Use the summary to provide some additional details about yourself, your goals and accomplishments.
5.     Have a credible but not lengthy work history. Make sure it is in synch with your resume. Don’t go beyond 10 or 12 years.
6.     Get recommendations – they support your reputation and build credibility.
7.     Join Groups as a way to keep up with your profession and build credibility.
8.     Be complete to include your education and your volunteer work.

LinkedIn is for business and FaceBook is a social site. Your integrity and professionalism are on display – so be sensitive as to what you post and others post on your page.

Before closing, let’s take a moment and think about our French colleagues. We and our history owe them a debt.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Can Sarcasm or Satire be effective PSYOP?

Some people say I have sarcasm in my genes. Others like my wife buy me T-shirts exclaiming my prowess. Unfortunately sarcasm and its cousin - satire are not universal and what may be intended as good-natured fun may not be received that way.

Simple geographic differences such as New York ‘humor’ can fall flat in places outside the Big City. We have seen the violent consequences of satire with the Charlie Hebdo shooting.

Perhaps the best use of satire and sarcasm is to help us take a step back and look at ourselves. A positive outcome here is some tension reduction and the ability to realize what is important and what simply is not.

Of course I suspect that if articles from DuffleBlog were taken out of context there would be some people who felt they were true just as ‘commercials’ from Saturday Night Live get a following.

While laughter may not be good PSYOP, it is good for the soul.