Enlightened Conflict

Being a gentleman

November 29th, 2015

gentlemen dying art


I saw this image on weheartit <posted by a young female I believe> and I paused to think about it.



Being a gentleman IS becoming a lost art.



It seems like it may be so as the unintended consequence of the increasing <good> discussion about female empowerment and equality.


The rampant discussion is translating into men stopping being gentlemen.



It’s almost like we use the whole women discussion as an excuse for not being a gentlemen.



The real male assholes say something like “well, they want to be treated equally? Then I am gonna treat them like just another asshole.”




The confused male starts doing … well … nothing. They are not sure where the boundaries are and therefore they don’t do anything.



The overcompensating male starts treating women like buddies and pals.

management stress


The nostalgic male dials up the ‘gentlemanness’ to a point where they seem out of touch with today’s world <albeit a portion of the audience view it as ‘charming’>.



The oblivious male just farts and belches and does whatever they have been doing, or not doing, as they have since Adam decided peeing in the bushes was easier than walking over to the designated sanitation area.



The gentleman … well … remains the gentleman. And you know what? it is just not that hard. And it is almost like guys have forgotten what is at the core of being a gentleman. It really isn’t about treating a woman as if she is some delicate flower which cannot handle the inclement weather of Life unless a man is there to protect her … it is about respect.

Respect of someone’s space and place in the world.



Do I sometimes still open a door for a woman?

Sure I do.


But I also open doors out of courtesy in a variety of situations. But mostly I am courteous to waiters & waitresses, listen when others are speaking and help an elderly person who seems like they could use a moment of help. I don’t treat a woman as a special act of courtesy … I treat women courteously as I do everyone.


And, frankly, that is what I believe a gentleman is.



And, yeah, some women chafe at acts of courteousness because when viewed in isolation it can appear as if a man is treating a woman as someone incapable of doing shit on her own. But a real gentleman isn’t offended … they just keep on being courteous & respectful.


It is the ‘posers’ who get aggravated.



Gentleman get measured by the consistency of our actions and … well … we gentleman know this. We recognize single acts can be difficult for someone to assess and therefore forgive single responses. Mostly because being a gentleman is about seeing the bigger picture. Gentlemen recognize they will be measured by their actual deeds.



What I do know for sure is that being a gentleman is becoming a lost art. And I worry a little bit about it because it is a reflection less of maleness and ‘gentlemanness’ but rather overall courtesy.


If we encourage courteous behavior I imagine there will inevitably be more gentlemen in the world.


But, maybe even more importantly, we would simply have more courteous people in the world.



As for what I believe?


There should be more gentlemen in the world. I struggle to believe there could ever be too many gentlemen. I cannot envision a scenario where being a gentlemen would ever be a bad thing <even if it were not completely appreciated>.



I think this is a man’s world issue.

This is something men need to teach boys and young men should be encouraged to ‘be’ regardless of their situation and lot in life.



And we need to do so despite the fact even some women will be ranting over the archaic nature of ‘gentlemen.’i am a gentleman


And why do we need to do so? Because being a gentleman is not about women.


It is about men … and how they act … and what they believe.



Courtesy is at the core of the concept of ‘gentleman.’ And that is a piece of art which will never go out of style regardless of time & space.

finding a job, recruiters and ignored for your highest value

June 18th, 2015



recruit i want you

“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.”


Chris Grosser


“Recruiters aren’t going to connect the dots for you on how your experience will translate to the position they’re seeking to fill.

They have hashed out with their client company exactly what they are looking for.

Usually, top of the list is “industry experience.”

Taking the risk on someone from a different industry is usually something companies tell recruiters they will not do.”


Online Recruiting Firm







I get a slew of emails and notices and ‘what to do” messages from executive recruiting companies <of which I am not really clear they ever place anyone … they just solicit and receive gobs of resumes online for positions they post> recruit head hurtsbut this one email message really … well … chapped my ass <bet you haven’t seen or heard that phrase for a while>.



Out of courtesy I will not post the entire “dear Bruce” letter <they even personalized the chapping of the ass> but will highlight my issues.







Industry experience.



They have hashed out with their client company exactly what they are looking for.

Usually, top of the list is “industry experience.”







This suggests … uhm … no states … that a recruiter will immediately filter all the resumes they receive into two stacks … first stack is industry experience and the second stack is no industry experience.


The second stack gets immediately filed in the Trash.





Then they say …



Recruiters aren’t going to connect the dots for you on how your experience will translate to the position they’re seeking to fill.

recruiters connect choose





If I have the industry experience I don’t have to connect the dots.


And if I don’t … well … I can try and explain why my lack of industry experience is actually a plus <positive> but then … oops … I run into several huge issues …




1.     My resume is already in the trash. I can be a master Highlights Magazine trained dot connector and all that will earn me is some applause from the other resumes in the Trash.



<in other words … Do not pass Go>




2.      <their words> The burden for that sale in on you. They work for the hiring company, not for the job seeker, so their attention is focused on what their client needs, not on the job seeker’s needs.





I run the risk of being such a good ‘sales person of my own skills’ that I feed a perception of ‘offering industry experience’ <which leads to some expectations from the hirer in how you will act and what you will offer once you walk thru the door> versus ‘selling the value of non-industry experience.’


This implies selling so hard that you stop selling your non industry value <because they have already hashed out what they want … industry experience>.




3.      and they need you to hit the ground running …



Uhm <picture image of me scratching my head here>.



It seems to me I am a senior executive type.



It is an insult to me to suggest that I cannot ramp up fast enough to provide meaningful value.



It is an insult to me to suggest that just because someone has industry experience they can ramp up faster AND that ramping up has a higher value than … well … say … problem solving.



I am certainly not suggesting a slow ramp up is a good thing … but c’mon … this is about priorities as to what is most important.



Any executive who is worth a shit automatically hits the ground running. Shit.


That’s what we do for gods sake.








Problem solver.



“They are looking to hire a problem solver”

Online recruiting firm








Let me be very clear to any executive recruiter <part 1> … any real great problem solver in an industry, therefore “with industry experience,” is not on the job market. They have found a niche and are most likely paid dearly by whomever they currently work for.



Let me be very clear to any executive recruiter <part 2> … any great problem solver in an industry, therefore “with industry experience,” who is on the job market is <a> not a great problem solver, <b> has some other flaw you will have to accept with their problem solving skills, or <c> money is their priority and not problem solving.




Let me be very clear to anyone <recruiters & companies> … if you currently have a problem for which all your problems solvers, with industry experience, cannot solve … well … logic would suggest you need a non-industry experienced problem solver to tackle the problems.




This topic is crazy.


If I were speaking about a ‘doing focused role’ I may be a little less chapped and use some different words but we are talking about problem solving here … and an executive level position.



I am not suggesting someone has to hire non industry experience … but by suggesting industry experience is a priority you have automatically shelved some of your possibly best alternatives. By ignoring candidates who do not have industry experience you are ignoring what some candidates may actually offer as their best value to someone.recruiters candidates








I tend to believe being a recruiter is not only a tough job but can be slightly maddening at times.


Their clients say they want the best for a position and then they put some slightly ludicrous parameters on the position which actually dictate a ‘less than best’ candidate.



The issue is not the recruiter <always> but rather the client or business.






I will never say that I don’t understand why I don’t hear from someone even though it appears I am a good fit.



And I will NEVER say I am a prefect, or the ‘best’, fit <there are a shitload of qualified people out there>.




== perfect for the job post ==





And I do believe as the candidate, it’s incumbent upon me to do some research about the company and assess cultural fit as well as offer some match of the skills I offer to their needs.



Recruiters suggest you be specific which is frankly very difficult.


Most real needs are beyond the obvious. They reside under the surface and need to be mined in discussions and dialogue.



All that said …  let me say “hiring with industry experience” and “problem solver” has a slightly contradictory aspect to it.







I imagine the recruiting firm I just lampooned most likely has some social media expert who lurks online all day searching key word matches and has cruised this post already and that puts me shit out of luck with regard to ever finding a position with this recruiting firm … but … well … sometimes you just gotta say what you need to say … do what you gotta do … and let the chips fall as they may.



What I truly know?




Survival, paying the bills, is a humbling thing.


It can actually be not just humbling but can also chip away at your dignity.


I believe recruiters, businesses and hirers sometimes forget this.



They have a laundry list of ‘must haves’ and forget they are hiring a person.

recruiting cutouts

They have a box called ‘success’ they dangle in front of employees & potential employees which, in their eyes, is a gift they offer … not realizing that I, and most senior type people, would like success defined with some of my terms included.




“If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”


Anna Quindlen





I am thankful I am single with no family or dependents … it permits me some flexibility to hold on to my dignity a little longer than many other people.



I seek opportunities where I can combine pragmatic and creative thinking in a place, or situation, with an entrepreneurial mindset & spirit <they do not have to actually be entrepreneurs> and some larger company vision or purpose <not just selling stuff at the highest price it can>.



I seek opportunities with high-quality products <not necessarily luxury … just say ‘shit with some real value>.



I seek any opportunity in any industry, whether I have direct experience or not, which meets my skills, attitude and sparks me mentally or intellectually.



I’m not really sure that what I seek is that much different than the majority of senior executive search type candidates. Some may, in their desperation for a job. forget these things or put them away in a box placed behind the ‘survival’ box … but all things being equal … I think I am right.




All that said.door closing open



This post took me maybe less than an hour to write once I sat down.



The email I received from this executive recruiting form just seemed to summarize everything that is wrong with job searches and hiring and recruiters <and truly chapped my ass>.



I know not everyone thinks my way or their way.


And I know that some recruiters are worth their weight in gold.



But overall the whole online recruiting platform industry seems, if not broken, certainly dysfunctional. It doesn’t serve applicants or candidates well nor does it serve the hirers well.

greatest person I have ever met (my 300th post)

May 20th, 2010




Today is my 300th post. On my 200th post I amused myself by suggesting people could drop me a note on any topic that they wanted me to write a post on.



Today I will tackle the first one (although the capital punishment, about love, American beer, fate and several other great suggestions will follow).


I wasn’t sure what my 300th post was going to be (the 100’s seem like milestones so I like to treat them that way) and then I knew what I wanted to write about to answer someone’s suggestion for “so, who is the greatest person you have ever met?” and it became crystal clear this should be my 300th.


All that said.


I have been very fortunate in my life in the great people I have “glanced off” throughout my life and career. My parents were interesting people and put me in a variety of situations where I met or was in the same room with a variety of semi famous some well known smart great people. Then my career has permitted me to meet many others and, well, I am a nomad and my friends are strewn across the world so I have had many opportunities to meet some amazing ‘great’ people.

Kofi Anan, Muhammad Ali, Victor Yuschenko, James Patterson, Jean Marie Dru, John McEnroe, Jimmy Johnson, Stevie Nicks, Elle Macpherson, Tom Seaver, Elton John, Spike Lee, several authors, couple of presidents … well … whatever … and a variety of additional celebrity like people.


And the list of CEO-like and insightful business people who are business icons but not household names is even longer. Then I have friends who work in US Embassies, are deans in colleges and are incredibly successful in just living life (being mothers, fathers and serving the public).




The answer to the greatest person I have ever met.


My grandfather. Gilbert Kane.


Hands down.


No debate.


No discussion.



And I am sure of one thing, probably surer of anything else in this life; any of these people I listed above would have been better people for having met my grandfather.


100th birthday party


He was the kindest, strongest, focused, virtuous, ethical most honest and patient man I have ever met. He had a heart of gold.

And I honestly struggle to find any meaningful moment or amount of time he was unhappy.

And I cannot think of a single time he was ever mean. He taught me patience and kindness.


He was an “encourager.”

He was proud of you in the attempt.


As long as you stepped up and did your best he had a word of encouragement.

And if you actually succeeded he treated it as a natural conclusion to the attempt. I am not sure we ever over celebrated any success.

But he never missed sharing his pride in any attempt made (and his pride was an unestimable prize). He taught me to try. And he taught me that failing was okay.

It was the attempt that mattered.


He taught me to play baseball. I think he put a glove in my crib. He was tireless in playing catch and hitting grounders and fly balls until my grandmother would have to drag him back inside. Until the last day we played catch he always wore the glove he played with when he played. One of those old original leather gloves with no basket and almost no padding.

As I grew older he would take one of his handkerchiefs and slide it into the palm of the glove so his hand wouldn’t bruise. He made me the baseball player and athlete I became. Every ounce of my ability came through his patience.


A self taught draftsman he worked for the same company for over 50 years. I am not sure he ever did NOT do what he said he was going to do.

He didn’t invent anything.

He didn’t run a company.

But he may have been one of the most successful men I know. He taught me that success wasn’t measured by a title but by pride in what you do.51 years same company


He was an adventurer (in his own way). He and my grandmother drove my mother everywhere and anywhere to see the United States. He loved to explore.

He loved to see new things. He was tireless in his pursuit to experience.

And when he actually got on a plane for the first time in his life to move to California (maybe 90 years old) while we (the family) worried he took to it like duck to water. He loved it. And I will never forget the phone call we had afterward when he said to me “now I know why you like to fly Bruce. It is nice that all those beautiful women pay so much attention to you … and they have free food.”

He taught me that age never stops adventure. You are never too old to try something new.


He was a man of few words. He was stoic but would cry leaving people he loved but didn’t cry when leaving his home on Long Island after 50+ years.

He taught me to measure words carefully and caring didn’t always need words.

He taught me people were more important than things.


He was the most polite man I knew. Maybe ever.

So let’s say ‘know’ instead of knew.

He always wore a hat (not a baseball hat) and tipped it to woman as he passed.

Opened doors for women. Held chairs in the dining room. Let’s just say he was a gentleman. He taught me to respect. And truly respect women. He taught me to be a gentleman.


He loved jelly beans.


Anything sweet.

I am not sure he had more than 2 cavities in his entire mouth.

My mother and I had to have a “talk” when he was about 91 or so when I was giving him pounds of jelly beans as birthday gifts and she discussed that maybe it wasn’t the best for him. I suggested the man had lived until his 90’s and maybe we could let him live a little for whatever he had left (almost another decade or so).  This man never turned down a dessert. Ever.


And he lived to be 101+ and up until the last 4 months or so he was “the iron man.” He was indestructible. When he passed it was only a surprise because … well … I don’t think I ever believed his battery would ever stop running.

grandfather and grandmother


He made me a better person.


I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without him. I can only wish that everyone has the opportunity to have this kind of greatness glance off of their life.



This post is dedicated to the greatest man I knew. And, sadly, I don’t think I ever told him.

But, in the end, I am not sure he would have felt comfortable hearing it. He just did what he thought he should do. A lesson we could all learn.

Enlightened Conflict