Jason Seiden is an independent leadership consultant and career coach. When not working with clients, writing his next book, or performing a highly technical cranial/rectal extraction maneuver, he’s wishing he was skiing.
10.5 QUESTIONS WITH JASON SEIDEN
1. The elevator just closed and you’ve got 30 seconds to pitch the random reader on who you are and why they should read your rants. Go..
Many careers derail not for a lack of talent, but for a lack of proper perspective. People don’t realize when it’s time to shift from being problem solvers to networkers, or from networkers to politicians. Politics are especially challenging: people fight politics, ignore them, complain about them… everything except prepare for them. And then they get sunk by them.
I’ll show you how to have the right conversations, at the right times, with the right people, on the right level. I’ll get you out of your way long enough to create opportunity, then I’ll give you the tools you need to turn opportunity into *results*. And I’ll do it with a sense of humanity, a sense of humility, and a sense of humor.
*That’s* why you’re going to read my stuff.
2. Now for the mundane – break down your location, title, company/firm and what you do for a living..
I the main Leadership & Communications Consultant at Seiden & Associates. I help organizations and individuals achieve better results by focusing on how to hire, manage, develop next generation talent.
Most of my work looks like career coaching, speaking, training, blogging… and writing. I am the author of How to Self-Destruct: Making the Least of What’s Left of Your Career, which is either the funniest career development book or the most substantive career comedy you’ll find.
I’m based in Chicago. Work coast to coast and on occasion, internationally.
3. One more question that everyone expects. What’s the reason you’re in this game? (why do you do what you do?)
Once upon a time, I had a very clear answer to that question. It went something like this: “I love to teach, and I love the arts—the sense of creation, of exploration, of new connections. This job let’s me put these two loves together in a very rewarding way.”
After nearly a decade of coaching, training, writing, and speaking, this answer is no longer enough. I no longer write because I love to write; I write because that’s what I do, who I am. The “reason” is gone… I’ve absorbed it.
I’m not so much “in” the game anymore as much as I “am” the game. I know who I am, and where I want to go, and what it will take to get there. And I intend to stay here now until I achieve my goal to be the best.
4. If you’ve ever been to a professional baseball game, you know batters from the home team get to pick their own theme music as they walk from the dugout to the plate. If we ever have a FOT convention, what theme music will you come out to to pump the crowd up and why?
Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”
Eminem captures the feeling of winning—the excitement, frustration, blind trust, fear, self-reliance—and the sense of simultaneously giving yourself over to your emotions while also perfectly controlling them in that moment when you’re tested.
5. Let’s stick with the baseball theme. If you’ve ever been to a pro game, you also know that the visitor doesn’t get to pick their own music. The home team picks that for them, and it’s usually less than stellar as a means of attempting to crush them. If you could pick theme music for your arch-rival to walk into a conference room to, what would it be and why?
Barbara Streisand’s “Send in the Clowns.”
Do I really need to ‘splain?
6. Finish the following sentence – “When I’m interviewing, I can tell within one minute that this thing isn’t going to work out because _________…”
You tell me, unbidden, that you need this job after you’re last employer just “fired your ass.”
Or that your greatest challenge was going to Mexico for the summer with your family even though you didn’t want to go.
Or that you’ve never fired anyone, instead you’d talk up your poor performers and then “let” your political enemies steal them away from you.
That’s it, we’re done, have a nice life.
7. Name the actor/actress that will portray you in the movie about you. Why the heck is that a fit?
Tom Hanks. As much as I’d like to say that I need to be played with courage (Saving Private Ryan) and leadership (Apollo 13), really, it’s the innocence and wonder (Big) that make the fit.
8. List three of your favorite books to pander to the educated segment of our readership…
I have a list of my favorite books up on my blog… here are three not on the list but that have changed my life for the better nonetheless:
Where the Wild Things Are
A Wrinkle in Time
9. List three of your favorite movies to connect with the segment of our readership that doesn’t like to read…
Also on my blog… I highly recommend you take a look.
Here’s a taste:
Dr. Strangelove… (Worth watching for the scenes in the War Room alone. The conversation between George C. Scott and Peter Sellers about the merits of a pre-emptive strike (”I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed!“) should be shown in every ethics class out there. The scene is as hilarious as it is appalling.)
The Sixth Sense (Perception is everything… this is storytelling at its best. This movie offers a powerful lesson in how the process of revealing information can color the information itself.)
The Princess Bride (Good triumphs over evil, true love transcends death, and Billy Crystal crows, ”To blave…“ Who can argue with any of that? Plus, this movie shows how people bring their own quirks into their official roles; take Inigo Montoya, who is on a lifelong mission to avenge his father, but who also works for Vencini ”to pay the bills.“ We often want people to leave ”themselves“ at home when they are acting in an official capacity, yet watch how refreshing it is to see these characters’ honesty!)
On the Waterfront (Most people think of courage as having the guts to make big, bold moves. Here’s what real courage looks like; the tough conversations, the dirty looks, the tortured souls… and the beatings, emotional or otherwise.)
10. Let’s reach out to what remains of our readership. Who’s your favorite Old-School Rapper and why?
I don’t mean to brag, I don’t mean to boast
But I like hot butta on my breakfast toast.
So rock it out, baby brother…
That’s Sugarhill Gang, n00bs, and hearing that tune the first time ushered me and a whole generation like me into a world where people had names like Kool Moe Dee, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Melle, and Ladies Love Cool James; where Run DMC (and Jam Master JAAAA- EEEEYYYY!) revived a little band called Aerosmith; where hardcore meant NWA, Ice, or Easy; and where Ad Rock, MCA, and Mike D forewent sleep to fight for their rights and mine. Not to put dirt on your shoulder, New School, but if you’ve ever sung “hotel, motel, Holiday Iiiinnnn,” then thank the giants upon whose shoulders you stand.
And while we’re at it, how about a BIG honorable mention to pre-rap funkmeisters Parliament… Is there funk after death, Starchild? “Ha. Is Seven Up?!”
10.5. My first car was a… and here’s how it defined who I am….
My first car was a used, ’86 VW Jetta. It was a driver’s car, a beautiful machine that reserved it’s character for those within it. The car was prepared for anything (with a trunk full of sports gear), had a sense of humor (aka a hand-cranked sun roof), and worked beautifully (the clutch was so smooth, half my friends didn’t realize it was stick). It also never quit, died, or failed, no matter how hard I took it around corners or how many times I gunned it over the tracks. I loved that car.
Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.