Advice to New Graduates 2016: Be Happy. Today.

 By Matt Conforti

Flux, Boulder, Colorado

One of the most discussed topics within our community is the desire for people to find their purpose and find their passion. I love the topic, as it can lead to great things. But far too often I see people develop a mentality of “I’ll be happy when….”. With a certain mindset, happiness does not have to be contingent on landing your perfect job. Here are some things I learned early on in my “not-my-dream-jobs” that helped keep me energized, motivated, and present as I worked toward my future “dream job.”

Prioritize Mastering Skills: Wherever You Work

More important than the name and industry of the first company you work for are the skills you will be learning. There’s no better way to learn new skills than to be assigned or volunteer for special projects. Get hungry and put yourself out there. For example, my role is focused around business development, but I often put my name in the hat for new challenges . . . including writing this post. Questions to consider about any prospective companies: does the company value cross-departmental collaboration? Is there a rotational leadership program? Will I be able to take on challenging projects outside of my day-to-day duties?

Build an Interesting Life Outside of Work

More than ever, organizations are encouraging employees to follow their passions outside of work. Companies here in Colorado -- and across the U.S. -- understand the benefits of recruiting well-rounded talent to their teams. You’ll thank yourself later for volunteering, learning a new outdoor activity, showing up to that club, showcasing your art. Building confidence outside of the office will spill over into your work. It’s contagious. Before you know it, you’ll be meeting new people, having more interesting conversations, and developing a broader sense of fulfillment.

Your Title Does Not Define You

Your actions define you. Don’t judge yourself by your current title, industry or employer. Through your day-to-day interactions you have an equally meaningful impact on the lives of others. It’s time to stop wishing you had your friend’s job and start being a change-maker where you are right now. Know that if you’re taking action and growing, don’t fret your next-step -- it’s never been easier to change roles and industries, especially if you follow my first two bits of advice. 

Don’t Forget to Climb That Mountain

Literally or figuratively. Regardless, go on an adventure before you turn 30. Now is the time to dream big and check off the things on your life list that, for many of us, will become harder to plan as you get older. I recently returned from a 1200 mile bicycle journey through South America - the journey changed my life in ways that would not have been possible if I remained in my day to day comfort zone. Don’t fear a “resume gap”. Good hiring managers will respect a good story. 

Part II: 6 Things Travel Has Taught Me About Business

By Dominic Moore, President, Flux LLC

Last week, I introduced the idea of all travel being a catalyst for business lessons. Early this year, I had an unexpected chance to visit Patagonia and I jumped at the opportunity I never saw coming. Here are a few more takeaways about traveling - anywhere, really - that apply to building a good business of all types.


Explore and travel light

When I travel, I push myself to be inquisitive about the places and people I am fortunate enough to visit. No matter how uncomfortable it may be. My trip to Patagonia was no different. I was always out of my comfort zone – being in one of the least populated and wildest places on the planet. As I explored, I racked up over 4000 kilometers while in Patagonia.  That’s a lot of distance in a short period of time and I had to think differently about what I carried with me. In a place like Patagonia, simplicity and utility are valued over luxury and complexity. This was a great takeaway for me as we built Flux. Our entire team takes pride in deliberately going out of our comfort zones to navigate uncharted waters of business and recruitment. Operating lean allows for an ability to adapt to changing business needs and try new things – quickly. And in this day of dynamic business conditions, adaptability to your client needs is imperative.    

Take the road less traveled

Seeing the world as just a tourist is an empty way of traveling. Get off the beaten path. Meet residents. Experience local life. In South America, a local merchant we had befriended offered to show us remote lakes he recently came across with “trout so thick he could catch them with his bare hand.” The destination was difficult to reach, but with a 4X4 vehicle we came within walking distance after about four hours. Our reward for the effort was a series of alpine lakes chock-full of trout. We caught more fish in an hour than I could catch in a month back home. More importantly, we saw parts of Patagonia very few tourists will ever see. This applies to business as well: take a chance and make your own path. Get to know and partner with local and industry experts. At Flux, we want to change the way 3rd party recruiters operate - from a commoditized service to a valued business partnership and employer. It starts by creating our own road.

Leave your mark – in a positive way

One of the greatest lessons my dad taught me as a young boy while camping, was to always leave the site better than when we got there.  This imparted on me at an early age, a sense of responsibility to take care of the places we were visiting and a strong sense of stewardship to our surrounding.  The lesson stuck and I feel the same level of responsibility when I am traveling now as an adult.  One of the draws to Patagonia was the fact that it is largely untouched and pristine.  There have been great efforts from the Governments of Chile and Argentina along with conservation visionaries, Doug and Kris Thompkins to retain and restore large tracts of open spaces in Patagonia.  As a guest of the newly created Parque Patagonia, the sense of stewardship to the natural environment was immensely palpable and inspiring.   As we build Flux, I am compelled to operate under the same standards.  As a business, we must be great stewards to the places we are fortunate enough to operate in.  As recruiting professionals, we must be active in our professional community and give back to the profession that has given so much to us.  After all, we are all here for a finite period of time.  What we do and how we do it, matters.  Before we leave, let’s make it better than when we arrived.  

6 Things Travel Has Taught Me About Business – Part I

Patagonia.jpg

By Dominic Moore, President, Flux LLC

Earlier this year I was gobsmacked by an unexpected chance to visit family on a prolonged travel journey in Patagonia. With a little bit of scheduling creativity – and events serendipitously falling into place – I jumped at the opportunity that I never saw coming.

I realize I’ve been very lucky to travel (and fish) remote and scenic parts of the world. But, as I reflect on this trip, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between travel and launching Flux – two hugely transformative events in my life. 

Here are a few takeaways about traveling - anywhere, really - that apply to building a good business of any type:

1. Planning is Never Overrated

Prior to departure, I read everything I could get my hands on and prepared as much as possible for Patagonia. The careful research I invested maximized my travel time and made for a smoother, more enjoyable trek. It’s an obvious correlation, but exhaustive planning also applies to business. You’ve probably heard the phrase - “if you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail.” It’s true.  While my career experience prepared me to successfully launch and run Flux, we needed to build a meticulous blueprint to prepare for our company launch. Fortunately, I had a lot of help from some very smart and talented people. Did we anticipate every issue and success – not even close. But, the process led us to understand what we needed to do to maximize for a successful launch.

2. Be Flexible

Stuff just happens. Even the best-laid plans can unravel and it appears the world has conspired against your itinerary. You can’t get too caught up in “why” something fell apart. The only action that is helpful is “how” you are going to figure out the best course forward. Midway through Patagonia, my companions and I were lost with less than a quarter tank of gas near the border of Chile and Argentina. Remote was an understatement – we hadn’t seen another car on the dirt road in 5 hours. Running out of gas in the middle of the Andes Mountains seemed devastating. We thought through all our choices and determined one thing was certain . . . going back was not an option. We moved forward and resolved to be adaptable to whatever came next. Situations like this surface in business as well; something comes up that was unplanned, the right direction is unclear and a decision must be made. Traveling has taught me to bend, think things through and just move forward. Worrying can end up as wasted time.     

3. Travel (and Work) With Great People

Because of two resourceful travel mates my South American adventure was even better. The three of us had never traveled together before, but when I think about what went right, it’s clear there was an absence of friction. We worked together as a unit rather than individuals. The goal was that we each have the best experience possible and to support one another to that end. It seemed to come naturally, but only because we were all equally committed to the same thing. The people you surround yourself with can make or break the journey – in both business and travel. You need commitment to one another as professionals working together as a single unit. Everyone has to be bought into the same vision, know their role on the team, support one another at all times, and move toward the same destination.

 Next up:

 Part II – 6 Things Travel Has Taught Me About Business

Intel layoffs will strain Oregon hiring capacity, but help emerges for job seekers.

Flux President, Dominic Moore discusses Oregon's Intel layoffs - and Flux's role in local recruitment - with The Oregonian's Mike Rogoway this week:  

http://www.oregonlive.com/silicon-forest/index.ssf/2016/05/intel_layoffs_will_strain_oreg.html#incart_2box_business

For some it came as a complete shock: Routine meetings with Intel managers, joined unexpectedly by grim-faced human resources representatives.

Others say they saw it coming since their last review in Intel's annual "Focal" performance evaluation, when they received ratings they felt put a target on their back.

Nearly 800 of Intel's 19,500 Oregon employees were given pink slips last month in one of the biggest rounds of job cuts in company history. Workers who lost their jobs say Intel promptly escorted them from the office, bringing an immediate end to careers that had sometimes lasted for decades.

Several hundred more will leave their jobs over the next year through buyouts, early-retirement packages and additional jobs cut as Intel cancels projects during a massive restructuring designed to re-engineer the company for the post-PC era.

Altogether, Intel is reducing its global workforce by 11 percent – 12,000 jobs.

While Oregon tech jobs are at their healthiest point in a decade, the sudden addition of hundreds of job hunters – with hundreds more to come – will "strain" local hiring capacity, said Dominic Moore, president of Flux Resources, a Lake Oswego recruitment firm.

"I think it's going to be tough," Moore said. "I don't want to sugarcoat anything. People need to expect it's going to be a process."

The state's flourishing technology ecosystem, though, is stocked with fast-growing companies hungry for skilled workers. Some of those companies are leaping at the opportunity to recruit former Intel employees.

Silicon Florist blogger Rick Turoczy has created a list of more than 100 local organizations that have said they are open to hiring the laid-off workers, and Oregon employment officials created a "rapid response team" to help Intel alumni find new work. Others are posting job openings and inviting Intel workers to apply or get in touch.

Intel employees tend to be well educated and highly skilled, said Sabrina Van Artsdalen, a program manager with Worksystems Inc., a federally funded nonprofit that works with state and local governments to provide job-placement services – including on the Intel rapid response.

However, Van Artsdalen cautioned those skills don't necessarily match up with the jobs available in Oregon.

Most of Oregon's tech growth is in software, whereas much of Intel's employment is related to its chip manufacturing and engineering. And Intel managers' experience at a big company in the suburbs doesn't necessarily match up with what young tech companies are looking for in downtown Portland.

"We do have a really robust high-tech community here," Van Artsdalen said, "but if you look at it, it's not those kinds of positions."

Longtime Intel engineering manager Rick Zucker created the Intel Eliminati online support group last year when he lost his job after 22 years at the company. His group attracted 50 people following last year's layoffs, offering personal and professional support to help workers get back on their feet, and membership has roughly doubled since the fresh job cuts last month.

"Success would be eventually everybody gets in the place where they want to be," Zucker said: In a new job, training for a new career, or embracing retirement. He now runs a blog with tips for job-seekers.

Just seven of the Eliminati's 50 original members have found work. Some chose to retire, he said, but Intel's layoffs skewed older last year and most members of his group worked in hardware or computer chips. Zucker said that's not what most Oregon tech employers seek these days.

"My experience is they usually want people who are doing web stuff or are doing apps, and I'm not sure there are that many" among those Intel is laying off, Zucker said.

LinkedIn data shows the biggest employers of former Intel workers are Nike, graphics chipmaker Nvidia, semiconductor equipment maker Lam Research and Wilsonville-based Mentor Graphics, according to Moore.

"We may not be Silicon Valley, but we do have quite a few companies up here that will absorb most of these folks," Moore said.

Intel gave most laid-off employees at least several weeks of pay and six months or more of health insurance. Some will be paid for a year or more. That gives them time to develop new skill sets, update their resume and learn their way around the local tech community.

"This came so hard and so fast. Nobody was expecting this," Moore said. "It's sort of a lesson for folks – you should always have your resume updated. You should always be networking."

-- Mike Rogoway

 

See all available Flux positions across many industries: Flux Jobs Here

 

Oregon-grown Flux Opens Third Office in Boulder, Colorado

Strong national job growth means expansion to the Rocky Mountain Region for the innovative technical recruitment firm


PORTLAND, ORE. & BOULDER, COLO., April 19, 2016  –  Flux Resources, LLC, an Oregon-based recruitment firm, which debuted to the public in January, announced a third office location – in Boulder, Colorado – this week.

The national firm serves both employers and job seekers in the architecture, engineering, business operations and information technology sectors with existing offices in Lake Oswego, Ore., and Austin, Texas.

The company chose Boulder as its third location for many reasons: the available technical talent, the client potential and the valued outdoor lifestyle. Additional offices in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Seattle are also on the horizon, according to Flux President, Dominic Moore. 

“We have a valued client in the Denver area and that relationship was the cornerstone to creating the next office here,” Moore said. “Combine that with one of the best talent pools and popular cities to live in and we know Boulder is the right place to grow.”

The job market in the Denver/Boulder area is outstanding and the caliber of job-seekers is excellent, but more importantly – people are vying to relocate to the area. In April, Denver was named Best Place to Live, by U.S. News & World Report and a 2016 Mayflower Mover Insights Study showed Denver is one of the most popular places for millennials to move – third only to Dallas and Chicago. The Denver/Boulder office Flux location also fits the internal core values Flux aims to embody: a balanced and active lifestyle.

Flux fittingly chose office space located in the unique Boulder Galvanize campus – an incubator home to a mix of start-up entrepreneurs, skilled programmers and expert data scientists.

“We’re excited to be a part of the Galvanize community – it’s an eclectic mix of entrepreneurs and technical scientists motivated to make an impact. We’re surrounded by like-minded people and the energy in this office is palpable. This is the perfect location to launch Flux in the Denver/Boulder market.”

Flux offers three core services: staff augmentation, direct placement and contract to hire – depending on the client’s need and the candidate’s request. The company provides highly qualified candidates within specified time frames and manages the entire process: recruiting, sourcing, screening, background checks, security clearances, drug testing, education verification, references, onboarding, training and staff management.

Originally part of Portland-based architecture, engineering, and consulting services firm, David Evans and Associates, Inc. (DEA), Flux, began in 2010 as an additional service offering to DEA existing clients.


As of January 1, Flux became a sister company to DEA and a wholly owned subsidiary of David Evans Enterprises, Inc. (DEEI).  


About Flux
Flux is a contemporary recruitment firm with deep roots in professional services. The company specializes in providing careers and high-caliber professionals in the Architecture & Engineering, Information Technology, and Business Professionals industries. Flux works with every level of government, as well private clients, with employee bases ranging from 10 to 100,000. Flux bridges company needs and technical talent, saving organizations time and money. The firm is based in Lake Oswego, Oregon, with an office in Austin, Texas, and aims to be the benchmark in technical staffing. Employees and employers can learn more at www.workwithflux.com.


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Flux Proud to Testify in Support of Austin's Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance

Flux is proud to support the recent passage of the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance approved by the Austin City Council on March 24

The ordinance intends to give all applicants a fair chance at employment by delaying inquiries into an applicant’s conviction history. This policy will apply to Austin employers with fifteen or more employees.

Of the cities that have adopted fair chance hiring policies, Austin’s ordinance is one of the few that guarantees that a background check will only occur after a conditional job offer has been made.

Taylor Frost, a recruiter in the Flux Austin office, testified on behalf of our entire Flux team in front of the Austin City Council.

"At Flux, we already follow fair chance hiring practices and we do so because we feel and believe it is just and - quite frankly - it's the right thing to do," Frost said in a live testimony to the Austin City Council.

"This provides for a more diverse workplace and actually increases the applicant pool - which in turn - helps us to fulfill our clients' needs more efficiently; and arguably, at the same cost, if not less . . . we support the passing of the fair chance hiring ordinance in Austin."


Flux in the News: The Portlandia Misnomer

Flux in the News: The Portlandia Misnomer

By Dominic Moore, President, Flux

"A new study of migrants moving into Oregon from other states shows an unusually high number of them are young and that they tend to be well educated, especially in technical fields. That runs against the popular image of TV's "Portlandia" – a slacker who drifts into the city for a part time job slinging espresso." -- Mike Rogoway, Business Reporter, The Oregonian

Several weeks ago I sat down to discuss Oregon's influx of high tech talent with Mike Rogoway, technology reporter for The Oregonian. Mike was doing a piece on a recently released state economic study showing a majority of newcomers moving into Oregon are young and tend to be well educated – especially in the technical fields.