How do you mastermind a career transition & enter the remote work style at the same time? How do you enter the remote workforce as an older worker? How do you make sure the company is addressing the most important social issues that affect you?
This week on the show we chat to Benné Rockett whose name alone indicates the fire starter she is. Benne is a remote social media marketer in her 60s, 61 to be precise, who began this stage of her career only a decade ago, putting to bed the myth that you can ever be too old to start something new.
When kickstarting a new career she focused on her transitional skills. Life as an artist was first paired with training as a mental health professional. And she knew that Digital Marketing, from content creation to growth hacking required many of the same skills shared in both of these professions – namely reconfiguring paradigms, listening deeply, and pivoting quickly. Trained to let imagination flow as an artist, and trained to be in the moment as a therapist makes her particularly effective as a marketer, where you have to have creative & agile responses to a unique situations & real time opportunities. Plus she brings along with her a big, fat, sexy brain.
Benné is about to launch her own company with 2 co-founders to engage and encourage support between women-owned businesses in the social media space. They are building an algorithm that matches women in business based on personality, values, demographics, and personal/professional goals! You can find out more at www.rockett-launcher.com. Enjoy the episode.
Key highlights from this episode include:
Make sure at interview stage you ask the right questions about the important things that concern you personally & professionally, especially when it comes to diversity & day to day operations.
“…what ended up not being the right thing, were all the questions that I wish I had asked during the interview process is, how are your values? Aligned throughout your processes with your employees? For example: Do you have a career path? Do you have mentoring? What’s the procedure for any number of problems that can come up? Is HR on the employee side? Or on the business side? How do you feel about an older workforce? When I started, I was 51. So I really should have asked those types of questions: Are you going to continue to promote younger people? Or will you value what a more experienced, professionally experienced and life experienced person has to offer to the company.”
Some companies are still struggling to answer questions about diversity & inclusion, so it’s our job to make sure we ask them ’til they get their answers straight & walk the talk on their websites.
“… I can tell you that the three companies that I had multiple rounds of interviews with (three [interviews for each], were absolutely shocked by my questions. You know, lots of stammering about. [But I said], okay, well, really tell me about how you’re doing diversity and inclusion. I’m looking at your website, everybody’s 20. Everybody’s white, the majority of them are white males. So how are you really taking care of that and addressing that issue?”
One of the most important skills as a remote worker is learning to ask the right questions, and being a better listener.
“… And part of that [finding a remote job] strategy is taking more time to find out about the culture of the employer, because it is very unique. The particular company that I worked for was one 100%, everyone was remote. And there have to be different kind of measures put in place than when you walk into an office. You can’t gauge an atmosphere, a culture atmosphere. In the same way, there’s no water cooler chat, there’s no lunchroom break. There’s no let’s go to a restaurant in the neighborhood. Um, no face to face meetings. Yet, certainly you continue to have, you know, hangouts and zoom and that type of meeting, but you missed out on a lot of the visual cues. So it means you have to be a better listener. And you have to become better at asking questions.”
Transparency in remote companies isn’t a given. Even when it’s part of the company values it still has to be consciously created & fiercely protected.
“… companies use transparency, the word itself as a way to actually hide what they’re doing. They’ll say they’re being transparent. But I’ve watched that, particularly with managers, that they really are not practicing the values of the company. And in some ways that can happen with side conversations side calls, outside of the system. So that the [rest of the] corporation doesn’t actually know what they’re doing. And that that’s a big clue in that the remote system they’re using is, is having a breakdown.”
Having a blended remote portfolio of freelance or part-time roles can sometimes be the turning point for starting your own business, if that’s your inclination.
“I was picking up remote contracts with smaller businesses throughout the United States and one in Mexico. And now I actually have to in Mexico so I was taking all the skills that I had learned in this position and applying them to these other companies. And then I realized, I’ve just started a remote business.”
If you’re feeling too old or too whatever to apply for a role, re-imagine how your skill set will help a company achieve their goals. And find out what tools they’re using, and learn them.
“I think one of the best things you can do is if you reimagine your skill set, and how that could help a company advance, you know, increase sales, whatever it is reimagine yourself doing the remote lead. And then go and look at their websites, study them, looking at jobs, you know, job descriptions from all kinds of companies that are related to what you think you want to do, then you can prepare yourself ahead of time. I did that with one of mine. They were really big on using sprout. And so I did a little bit of research played around with the tool before I applied and I really, I really believe that that helped me advance through the interview process. And now I have a new skill set.”
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