Nonprofit Radio for June 17, 2024: Gen Z Career Challenges


Ray Sherry: Gen Z Career Challenges

After a deeply personal episode, Ray Sherry devoted himself to helping Gen Z’ers—like the one who saved his life—with their careers. He channels his 40 years of experience in financial services and consulting to share his advice, so younger professionals take charge of their careers. Ray is CEO of Zynd.



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And welcome to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d bear the pain of laryngeal FRAXs if you obstructed me with the idea that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with the highlights. Hey, Tony, I’m on it. Gen Z career challenges. After a deeply personal episode, Ray Sherry devoted himself to helping Gen Zers like the one who saved his life with their careers. He channels his 40 years of experience in financial services and consulting to share his advice. So younger professionals take charge of their careers. Ray is CEO of Zind on Tonys. Take two more chatty gym guy were sponsored by virtuous, virtuous, gives you the nonprofit CRM fundraising volunteer and marketing tools. You need to create more responsive donor experiences and grow, giving, and by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity, donor box, fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor. Here is Gen Z career challenges. It’s my pleasure now to be with Ray Sherry following a liver transplant. And on learning that his donor was a young man. Ray dedicated his work to aligning young individuals with careers that amplify their innate talents. He has 40 years spanning sectors like financial services and consulting. It was recognized in the UK with the best digital start up award in 2022 for ID INFO Limited. He’s now CEO of Zind Zynd. The company is at and Ray is on linkedin Ray Sharry. Welcome to nonprofit Radio Tony. Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be here. My pleasure to have you. You need to tell us the story to get started. Uh This liver transplant was transformational, not only for your body but for your thinking too, not only for your physical body, but your, your, you, you blossomed from there into something new. I think that’s a, that’s a great way of putting it, Tony. Uh I’ll, I’ll wind the clock back a little bit. Give you a little bit of uh history. So about uh 2005, I was diagnosed with a very rare liver disease called primary sclerosing Cholangitis PSC for short. And I was informed at that time by the consultant doctor that I was working with that at some point in my life, I would need a liver transplant. So unlike many people who need organ transplants, I was given quite a long heads up as to what I would have to go through at some point in my life. But the, the unusual thing about PSC, it’s not something that you can predict how quick it will actually evolve as a disease and how quick the liver will deteriorate. So, wind the clock forward to 2020. In fact, March 2020 I was on an interim uh contract with, uh, with very good payments company here in, uh, in the UK. And the pandemic came along and everyone got locked up from, from March uh 23 March 23rd. Uh At that time, I was already um working towards a AAA major, a major goal in my life, which is actually to do an Iron Man for the very first time. I was already, I was already doing half marathons. I was already swimming over a mile and I was already cycling 75 miles on a, on a regular basis. So 2020 was going to be my breakthrough year from a, from a personal sports perspective. Um And in parallel, I was obviously looking at what can I do after spanning a career of 40 years, what can I do to help my community, help my country whilst we, whilst we go through a pandemic. And that’s when I began to think through what are the challenges that young people face. Um As I went through my own personal challenges of working towards this Iron Man, then the pandemic came and everything got canceled. So like many other people, um I had to stay at home. I had to look out for my loved ones and my friends and, uh, make sure that I wasn’t, wasn’t exposed to the, the COVID virus. Uh, like many others. Um, I continued to cycle. I continued doing my sports and that was one of the, one of the great things about, it was a great time to cycle because all the traffic disappeared from the roads around, uh, Cardiff and Wales where I live. Um And it was a great time. And later that year, uh by the time we got into the September period, there’s a, there’s a race that we do here in Cardiff. Uh It’s called what we call T 10. It’s uh it’s what we call Cardiff to Swansea. It’s 100 and eight miles in a straight line from east to west in, in South Wales. And we were due to do that uh in September, but because of the pandemic, it was canceled in October. Uh we decided as friends to go and do a cycle ride. Anyway, we were allowed to. And at the end of that October ride, I, I’d cycled 100 and 25 miles and then everything changed again within literally two weeks. Um I, I became jaundiced, I became unwell and uh I had to go and see uh my consultant to find out what was going on and it transpired that my liver had gone from regularly, you know, evolving in terms of the pace of change based on the diagnosis I had in 2005 but had gone and, and had dropped off the edge of a cliff. Um, anyone that knows anything about liver function test, my bilirubin was over 100 and 60. That’s 10 times what it should be. Normally. Um Within six weeks I had been through transplant assessment and, um, made the UK transplant list, um, December and January 2020 20 going into 2021 was incredibly difficult for me. I, I’m not really sure how I got through it but I fought um mm mainly probably because of my sports strength and my mental strength that came from all of my sports activities, uh my experience and just knowing myself and my body and, and how I was feeling. Were you in hospital at that time? December, January, you were still in hospital. I was still home. You see, you see Tony, this was the height of the pandemic in the UK. So here in the States too, that’s why I was asking if that was the time that you were in the hospital. But you, you were, you were able to stay home or, or you needed to stay home, stayed home. I, I stayed home uh through that, through that December and that January and actually I was still, I was still cycling, although I was the color of a, of a tangerine orange. I was, I was still cycling. And, uh, the weekend, the weekend before I got my first transplant called, uh, I’d been out and I’d done 25 miles with, uh, a friend and had helped relatively good. I’d, I’d had antibiotics for the infection that was causing me to feel very, very unwell. And I’d sort of recovered from that. Um, then by the end of January, which the pandemic was really, really getting to grips, uh, with, with the UK. Um I had a call from my transplant hospital to tell me that they had closed. So I’m on the waiting list for a hospital that’s 100 and 60 miles away in London. And they tell me that they’ve had to close because of the pandemic and they were transferring me as a patient to Newcastle. Now, Newcastle is a good 250 miles from where I live and it’s about 200 miles from London in particular. And I needed to go and have an assessment with the Newcastle Transplant Hospital in order for them to accept me onto their list. So I had to jump in the car literally within 24 hours drive all the way up to Newcastle through the snow, do the assessment and then wait again, I had to come back to, to cardiff and wait again. Um Literally within a week, I was back on the transplant list in London. Um The, the COVID restrictions have been lifted, things had been cleaned up and they were accepting patients again and it was literally within a week of that, that being lifted, uh which was at the end of February that I got my first call uh for um for a liver. Um I was actually out walking in the local park and they called me and said, Ray, we’ve got uh a transplant or potential transplant for you. The ambulance will be with you within the hour, You need to go home and uh pack your bags and go. So to cut a long story short on, on all of that, uh literally within 15 hours of me getting to London getting prepped, they came with the news that unfortunately the liberal wasn’t suitable for me. There were, there were challenges with it and it wasn’t suitable. So I had to turn around, jump back in the ambulance and go all the way back to Cardiff. Um You know, it’s, those are the sort of things that I was warned that would happen. And uh you know, I was feeling better than, than I had through December and January. So I, I shrugged it off said those are the things that happened and I was forewarned. So I wasn’t too concerned about it. My, my time would come in a week, a week later on the third of March, I had a call 730 in the morning and said, right, we’ve got you another liver, but we’ve got you another donor and uh we’ve checked out the donor. Everything seems good. We need to get you up to London for the transplant. So, that was the third of March. It was early in the morning. By the time I got to London it was two o’clock in the afternoon. Um, by about six o’clock, I was beginning to, you know, twiddle my thumbs. Uh I’d been playing games with the family on the, on the phone just to keep me occupied and keep them sort of, uh informed. And around about eight o’clock, I asked my first question about my donor. I said, how’s things going with the donor? And, uh there was very little information about the donor. Uh, and, and to be honest, we being very selfish and very focused on what I needed to get through. II, I didn’t really think much of my donor. I didn’t, I think I didn’t think of what the family was going through. I didn’t think my donor was going through. I, I really didn’t get paid much attention to that. I just had the focus on myself and get through what I was going to go through basically. Um, and I think in the end that was probably the right thing to do. So at one o’clock in the morning, I was taken down, um taken down to the operating theater. I, I said a little prayer, you know, just a few minutes before I asked for a minute from the nurses and just said a little prayer. And 30 seconds later, I was sort of almost hopping. Seriously. I was almost hopping. Um, quite joyful on my way down to the operating theater. I arrived there, talked to the east, the test I could see into the operating theater room. It was a great big white room, lots of machines everywhere, lots of lights everywhere. And I, I didn’t once feel anything other than this is something I need to do. And I’m really happy that I’m going through this because I’ve waited effectively 16 years since that original diagnosis in 2005. So they put me to sleep. And uh about 11 hours later, I was woken up, the consultant plays a little trick, you know, the main surgeon, he plays a little trick. He actually wakes you up for a few moments, takes out the mobile phone number that you gave the family and he calls the main contact number and he has a little conversation to say everything’s ok. The operation went very well. Let me, let me have a little chat with my mother at this point in time. Apparently I swore, which was not a good thing to do at the time, but I have absolutely no recollection of that whatsoever. So they call me back to sleep and I was, I was, I was sedated for a further 24 hours. This was then um late on the fourth of March. So I’d been asleep. I’d been in the operating theater since the early hours of the fourth. Um, gone through the fourth and I woke up on the Saturday morning, um, and was, was chatting quite happily to the nurses who were still looking after me in critical care unit. I asked a question. I asked a simple question. Um, do you know anything about my donor? And no sooner had I mentioned those words? I was, I just collapsed in a pile of emotion. I didn’t know, I didn’t know him. I didn’t know his family. I didn’t know anything about him. But what struck me was the fact that he was a young man, um most likely in his twenties and through the whole course of 2020. And even before that, in 1919, I’d been working in my mind up a story up a journey, something that I wanted to do, having have a very successful career in technology for 40 years. I wanted to do something for people. I wanted to do something for my community. And it was that it was that moment thinking of my donor that it struck me that I needed to do something for young people. I needed to help young people because my donor, he wasn’t able to reach his full potential in his life. Therefore, it’s something that I needed to do for him and in his memory and for the for for as many young people that I could possibly do. Thank you for sharing. Uh That’s, that’s a, that’s a moving story. It’s time for a break. Virtuous is a software company committed to helping nonprofits grow generosity. Virtues believes that generosity has the power to create profound change in the world and in the heart of the giver, it’s their mission to move the needle on global generosity by helping nonprofits better connect with and inspire their givers, responsive. Fundraising puts the donor at the center of fundraising and grows giving through personalized donor journeys that respond to the needs of each individual. Virtuous is the only responsive nonprofit CRM designed to help you build deeper relationships with every donor at scale. Virtuous gives you the nonprofit CRM fundraising, volunteer marketing and automation tools. You need to create responsive experiences that build trust and grow, impact Now back to Gen Z career challenges. So that led you then to Zind and you are taking advantage of the, your 40 plus years and you’re helping young folks embark on and, and grow their careers. Yes, that’s absolutely right. I had been harboring in my mind. These are the sorts of things that you uh you have taken over in your mind all the time that you get an idea. You think about the idea, you part the idea, you then come back to it at some point point in time. And uh 2020 give me, gave me that opportunity to begin to document some of that thinking and it wasn’t until I learned about my donor and his age. And uh the fact that he was a young guy that it really became quite clear to me that helping young people, helping all people who are going through a journey, whether it’s from school, college, university and into the workplace for the first time was the right thing for me to do. Uh Even those people that have been, you know, taken redundancy and, and want to change and move into a different industry. I wanted to be able to help those people to anyone that was coming back to work, whether it was through maternity leave or whether it was long, long term sickness. Um As I was facing, it’s something I wanted to do. So I create in uh along with a, a co-founder uh in January 2023 we started out by um thinking about, well, what are the, what are the, what is the goal here? What is the sort of vision and goal here? And it was really just all about helping young people, helping them navigate what is a very difficult journey from the safety of the educational years or the academic years into the ultimately the crazy world of, of work and the the the 2030 40 years that, that people will face as they enter that for the very first time. So we started researching um in more detail and trying to confirm through research um some of the challenges that young people would be facing. Um anybody would be facing as they, as they approached the workplace for the very first time. Um And there, there may be there, there’s value here also for older folks who might be mentors to, I know you’re, I think you’re, you’re working specifically with or you’re thinking mostly about Gen Z but anybody older who might be uh mentoring Gen Z or even just to be empathetic to what younger folks are facing in, in the, the beginnings or the uh yeah, in the beginnings of their careers. So it may not be the very first job, it might be second job or third job. But you know, as you get yourself launched, uh I think there’s value for folks who are older than Gen Z to understand what the challenges are for these folks. So let’s, let’s again, you know, let let’s go a little broader so that we can help our Gen Z colleagues as they’re as they’re coming along. Um You, you, you say that uh one of the, one of the challenges they’re facing, the early challenge is just un understanding your skills are, are, are folks not introspective enough or do they, do they not understand what skills are needed in the marketplace that they should be emphasizing what, what’s your advice around understanding what your value is, your skills? Yeah, you’re absolutely right. So, so this is, this is probably the the most critical part of this whole process. So when a person writes their CV, for the very first time, um, what, what will they have on there? The question is, what, what can they put on that CV? For the very first time, it will be mostly academic in nature. They will go through whether they’ve been at college, whether they’ve been university and so forth. Ok. So that’s if they’ve got any work experience, they’ve been very lucky. And they’ve done like a, like a, what we call a thin sandwich course where they’ve managed to have a few months in industry whilst they’re going through university, they can put some experience on there and a summer internship as well, perhaps. Exactly. Exactly. That, so, so, so there is a, there is a sort of set of things that you would put on the CV. The last thing they tend to put on the CV is their skills. They don’t tend to identify the skills that they have because they don’t, they’re not trained to think about the skills when they’re going through their academic years. They’re told, they’re told to learn, they’re told to research and, and, and pick up new knowledge, but they’re not really taught about their skills and how to use those skills in particular. Ok. So for that reason, they don’t think about skills when it comes to their, their resume or their CV. And they don’t identify them clearly on the CV. So when you got to be a skills section, very much so, very much so. And, and I would also, I would also advocate that they should identify at least try to determine the level of skill that they’re at. So for someone who’s coming on to the job market, for the first time, I would suggest they probably got a basic level of understanding of communications. OK? Unless they’ve done something in particular to uh forward or improve those communication skills that may have been through work experience, it may have been through a summer internship or it may have been through upskilling and training. OK. So identifying the basic uh or the level of skill that they have is, is incredibly important. It’s also very true on the employer side that they need to do the same. Because if they, if they just advertise a job, we’re looking for someone with good basic uh communication skills, we’re looking for someone with uh teamwork ability, et cetera, et cetera. If they don’t specify the level that they’re looking for, even at an entry level job, then there’s gonna be an automatic mismatch between the expectations of the employer and the expectations of the individual applying for that job. And this is what happens they don’t meet in the middle, they completely miss one another. OK. So what you end up finding is that a lot of young people apply for jobs, a lot of people apply for jobs and they haven’t got a chance even from the outset of matching the expectations of the employer. Not even at that early prescreening prescreening stage. Are they able to meet those expectations? It’s only when the employer shortlists and interviews can they begin to close that gap and understand? Where does that? Where does the applicant sit in relation to the expectations of the employer? All right, I guess if I was gonna summarize that, I would say, know your value, you, you need to know what it is that you bring even, even if you’re right out of, uh, you know, right out of college, you know, what, what is the, or, or even, uh, you know, with a two year degree, four year degree, you know, or even no degree. If it, if, if you’re right out of high school, what is the value that you’re bringing to the workplace and, and, and how does that match what the needs are of the, the organization? So, you know, uh, and I understand your advice from the organization perspective, you know, to be clear about what the needs are, what the expectations are among among applicants. Uh, but there may be some research required as well. You know, you, uh, on the individual side, what does the organization do? What, what do they write about? You know, that, that’s, that’s how you could sort of suss out what, what their needs might be so that you can match your value. To what their needs are. It’s exact, that’s exactly the case. Um uh you know, from experience. Uh and I’ve done this time and time and time again, I’ve picked up a copy of a previous job description. I’ve uh with technology, I’m able to copy and paste it into another job description. I’ve changed a few words here and there and I put it out onto the internet. Haven’t really thought about what it is. I’m really looking for. So the challenges are quite lengthy. There’s quite a long, long list of challenges on the, on the jobseeker side, on the applicant side. But there are failings regularly on the side of the employer as well. They don’t help themselves, they don’t publish enough information about them and their company, their values where they’re going as a company, what their history is, um what their policies are. What do they stand for in terms of a brand? They don’t do enough to publish that information in the right place for the applicants to be able to go? Oh, that looks like a good company. Oh, I would love to work for them. So the applicant is uh, is more inclined to put the effort in to make sure that they get an interview with that particular employer. Ok. So the employer needs to do more. Ok. But, but, and I agree, but the employee, the potential employee needs to work with what they’re, what’s out there. So you gotta do the research, you gotta do the leg work to, to find what, maybe it’s even what other people have written about the organization, you know. Uh, but, um, certainly starting with what the, what the organization says about itself in its, obviously in its website, in its annual report, in its, in its social, uh, networks in the social networks. What are they saying there? Uh You know, you wanna, you wanna, you gotta ally yourself with the work of the organization. It’s time for a break. Imagine a fundraising partner that not only helps you raise more money but also supports you in retaining your donors, a partner that helps you raise funds, both online and on location. So you can grow your impact faster. That’s donor box, a comprehensive suite of tools, services and resources that gives fundraisers just like you a custom solution to tackle your unique challenges, helping you achieve the growth and sustainability, your organization needs, helping you help others visit donor to learn more. Its time for Tonys. Take two. Thank you Kate Chatty gym guy up to it again. This week. You may recall that last week. Uh He gave me a or gave all of us. It’s not just me, he’s not talking to me. He’s, he’s uh bestowing his gift upon everyone in the, in the town gym. Uh Last week, it was a short course on uh motor boat uh engine troubleshooting this week this week. Uh There’s a, this guy, there’s a Blue Marlin fishing tournament which is a, a, it’s a very big deal apparently all up and down the east coast. Uh, it’s at a town about a half an hour from where I am. It’s in Morehead City, North Carolina called the Big Rock Blue Marlin fishing tournament where, uh, mostly guys, not exclusively it, it seems like, but, uh, mostly go out and, you know, in these expensive boats and try to catch big fish and who, who’s, who gets the biggest fish and, you know, you win money. So he’s got, so I’ve known about this. This is not news to me. It’s, it’s, it’s an annual thing. It’s been going on, I don’t know, like 50 or 60 years or something. So I’ve known about it since I’ve been here. I’ve heard of it and I’ve, one year I got stuck in the traffic of it. You know, you can imagine how excited I was by that. Now, of course, you avoid the town anyway. Uh, the guy’s talking about the Blue Marlin. He’s all jazzed up about the Blue Marlin tournament. Uh, and, and, uh, the, the winning so far they, it’s a multi day thing. It goes on mid day. I don’t know, it’s like five or six days or a week or something like that. It’s these guys go out, uh, uh, and you have to go, this is one of the things I learned from this. Uh, this, this, uh, Blue Marlin fishing tournament, uh, Savant that, uh, you know, that you, you go out 60 miles, I think. You, you, you can’t, it’s not near the shore. You, you take your boats out like 60 miles and then you fish and then you have to come back, you know, and weigh your fish, whatever, whatever you’ve withdrawn from the ocean. So, the, the winning fish so far now, so we’re only like four days. I think he didn’t say, uh, I think it’s all this week. So, you know, we’re like four or five days into it or something. Uh, £516. You know, I was, I was very elated to hear that. Uh, someone caught a £516 uh, marlin fish, whatever. Marlo. I don’t know how, I don’t know how you tell the difference between a marlin and a trout. But these guys know, you know, it’s a marlin and it’s not a swordfish or whatever, it’s a marlin. So it’s £516. That’s the winning fish so far. But there are, you know, of course, there’s days more days coming. Um, and Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan, the, um, the, the football star he played for the Mets, um, and he was with them in the, uh, the, the Stanley Bowl something. Uh, Michael Jordan brings his boat out there and, uh, uh, he’s apparently he’s not a winner yet so far, but this, this, uh, this guy. Uh, so Michael Jordan is out there somewhere. Um, you know, it’s all very exciting. So, and then the guy is telling us about, uh, the Michael Jordan boat is, uh, is $8.9 million boat. It’s not a $9 million boat. This, this guy again, he’s a savant. You know, he knows everything about fishing and, uh, you know, he, he shares it. We’re so grateful that he shares all his uh his wisdom and, and expertise with us. Uh $8.9 million boat that Michael Jordan has. And uh oh, it, it, it must have a 2000 gallon tank, which, you know, so that means that uh as, as I learned, uh that every time Michael Jordan fills the tank on the boat, it’s probably about, it’s about $8000 that Michael Jordan has to spend when he, I’m so glad to know this and he has a crew. The crew probably costs Michael Jordan $5000 a week, all the details. Uh So, you know, the II I, meanwhile, I’m just trying to do my Pilates sit ups. That’s all I’m just trying to, I’m just trying to do my sit ups, you know, sit up 11 vertebrae at a time, sit up, lay back down one vertebrae at a time, back down on the mat. That’s all I’m, I, I’m just trying to, I’m in the corner. I couldn’t get any further away from the guy if II, I wait, the room’s not big enough. I am as far away from him as I can be and he still is. Like, it’s, he’s broadcasting in my ear. His, uh, his genius. So, yeah, Michael Jordan, the big rock blue Marlins. That’s a big thing. Oh, you got to catch the Blue Marlins. Chatty gym guy. I, I suspect there’ll be more. II, I can’t get away, you know, II, I go early, I, but I have to II, I wanna work out early in the morning and unfortunately, so does chatty gym guy. You know, I’m not gonna alter my schedule around this gentlemen. I’m destined to hear more of his wisdom. And that is Tonys take two Kate. I think you need a pair of airpods or something to cancel them out. Airpods would work. I have a pair. I have airpods. I just, I’m not accustomed to listening to music. I mean, you’re right. I could put it on just silent or the, the air, the cancellation mode. Whatever. That’s true. I could do that. I could think about that. We’ve got Vuko but loads more time. Let’s return to Gen Z career challenges with Ray Sherry. Ray. I wanna move to uh like the, the uh lack of feedback that you might get uh upon submitting your application to be prepared. Yeah. And I think this is the, this is the cliff edge that I think most people uh when they enter the job market for the first time. Really don’t get, they don’t really understand why. When they send their CV in for a, for a job, it, it just disappears effectively into a black hole, it just disappears. That’s the sense that people get, um, it, they, they rarely get feedback. In fact, there was statistic um published by the recruitment Employment Confederation here in the UK, which is the, they, it was like a governing body for recruitment across the whole UK industry that 97% of all job applicants in July 2021 we’ll come back for a couple of years, but it hasn’t changed a great deal. 97% of all job applicants in the month of July, which is about 66,000 people did not receive any form of feedback. None. Now, that’s probably in my language in Zin language. That’s a little bit of a crime. If you ask me, you know, a young person, any person coming into the job market for the very first time, really motivated to find their first job, really keen. They spent maybe a few good years in, in university having a great time and now they’re all motivated and ready go for it. And they take that first step of applying for a job and that second step of applying for another job on the third and the fourth and the fifth and the 10th and maybe 30 or 40 applications later, they still don’t hear anything, I think, I mean, it’s uh both frustrating, demotivating soul destroying. There’s lots of language that, that you can use as such. So the biggest challenge that’s faced the recruitment market, not just in the UK, but worldwide for decades is this inability to provide useful and helpful and guiding feedback to job applicants every single time. Now, I’m pleased when we worked on this uh through through last year that we can now do this 100% of the time for every single, every single applicant at four different levels. So when they apply for a job, they know exactly where their application is in the process, which is, you know, the first, the first, the first area of feedback because I, if I’ve sent a CV in for a job and I don’t know what’s happening with it. I don’t even know if the process is fixed, you know, but that’s, that’s if we’re using the Zinn platform though, you know, our, as I said, most of our, our, our listeners are not going to be using the Zinn platform, but we’re trying to suss out the lessons, you know, that you, you want to share with Gen Z uh about this process. So, you know, what do you do? You OK. Uh 1520 40 applications later. It is a, it has been a black hole. How do you not get dispirited? Well, I think the way the W I mean, I, I can only talk about Zin in terms of sort of how we’ve solved this problem, how we, how we make sure that people get feedback every single time when they make an application. I think the first thing the candidate can do without, without um using the Zin platform is they can ask for feedback if they’re, if they’re lucky enough to remember where they sent that application to in the first place. And it might have been several weeks ago. They’re lucky enough to remember which recruitment agency they went to with, with that application, they should really ask for feedback just to not do that is just uh continuing the momentum down that path. And it has done for decades. I’m guilty of it. Like, like most other people, you send, you send a CV in you, you wait for feedback, you get no feedback, but I don’t go back and ask for feedback. And I think that’s the first thing people should do is they should go back to that recruitment agency and ask for that feedback uh however small. Uh and however um useful it may be, they should go and ask that question. OK? Because eventually that recruitment agency will get the message that people are asking for feedback. We need to do something about this. OK? I think the second thing they can do is is, you know, share their experiences with their friends as well. I think uh community is a really good thing. Um social media is very powerful in many ways and it can be very positive. Um So if there are organizations out there that are taking literally thousands of applications and no one’s hearing anything, I think, call it out, call it out. These, these companies will soon realize that they need to do better. II I think especially your, your, your second bit of advice around your support, you know, community so that you can help each other recognize that you’re not the only ones each facing this black hole. It’s not, it’s no reflection on your submission on your resume. It’s a reflection of the lack of civility that has emerged over 1520 years or so of. I in the hiring process. Uh in, in long three dates, you submitting your application to XYZ nonprofit. Uh It, it’s, it’s just, it’s become an uncivil process, uh a heartless process. So it’s not just you, it’s not your resume. Uh It’s millions of applicants and tens of millions of job applications um asking for feedback I think is a good idea. I, I, I’m not, I’m not sure in the US what kind of reaction you’re gonna get? You, you might get the same uh black hole uh feedback that you, you got when you submitted the application originally. But I think it’s a gutsy thing to do. You know, you, you’re no worse off with respect to that employer uh or the recruiter. Uh uh I, I think it’s more apt, yeah, more, more likely to be direct to the nonprofit. You, once you’ve been rejected you’re no worse off with that nonprofit for politely asking. You know, how did I come up short? Uh, WW, what, what, what did the, what did the, um, but the person who was hired or the folks who were hired have that I, that I’m lacking, you know, this, this, your feedback could be really valuable for me and I’d be grateful to have it. I mean, there’s a simple email, uh, uh, that, that resumes that you have an email address to send it to. I realize you might not. But if you have any kind of contact, uh, information, it probably is worth asking for feedback. You might only get it in 10 or 15% of the time, but that 10 or 15% could be helpful. And, you know what, you’re also distinguishing yourself as somebody who doesn’t just walk away. But, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m interested enough in this whole process and in your nonprofit that I value your feedback and I’m hoping that you’ll be willing to share it with me. Yeah, I think the, another piece of advice I would certainly give job seekers is that when they do apply for a job, make sure they keep the contact information, uh, whether it’s nonprofit or whether it’s a commercial organization, keep, keep the original application information so they know who to go back to, they know who to go and ask that question. What happened to my application? Can I have some feedback? How do I do keep that information because it is very easy with job boards the way they are today just to submit that CV. And wait. And before you know it, the job post has come down from, uh, from the job board, it’s, it’s gone away and you don’t have that information available to you anymore. So always keep a copy of that original job advert. So you’ve got something to refer to. Yeah, and it’s probably going to give you the name of the recruitment agency on there or the nonprofit organization. Keep that information. It’s vital that you keep that awesome. Yes, valuable. Um All right, let’s say, um le let’s say we’re at the stage, we, we’ve gotten through the application process and we’ve been hired. Uh you, you have some concerns and, and advice around um the job not panning out to be exactly what you thought it was gonna be like broken promises from the employer potentially. Yeah, I think the, the, the problem with um let’s call it, retention of, of employees starts in the application process. When you start looking for a job, it starts with your value you mentioned earlier on to, it starts with the applicant understanding his or her value in this whole value chain. Ok. So if they’ve applied for a job and they managed to you know, use some language blag their way through the interview and they, they, they got a job, they got an offer and they got a job and they, and they started, and they didn’t ask enough of the right questions and they didn’t work out their value and they didn’t check that value against that of the employer. But the time they get into the job, they’ll soon realize that this wasn’t for them. You know, the, the whole process starts with me as an individual understanding who I am, what I am, what I like, what I don’t like what I want. Um, the type of organization I want to work for. Ok. And there’s a, there’s a common thread that always runs through, um, people that leave organizations relatively soon after joining is that they were made promises around training, development, rep, progression, coaching, mentoring, you know, the, the list will go on really they land in this new organization and then there’s a, there’s a little bit of a cost cutting exercise or something’s changed and the manager didn’t get the budget, whatever it might be. But invariably, one of the first things that goes is the training, the, the learning and development. Um, and that’s, that’s quite tough for a young person who may have based their, their half of their decision or a good part of their decision on joining that company based on the fact that they were going to be upskilled further trained and they would have some sort of career progression and, and, and employers. I mean, I’m honest, the, the employers face a lot of challenges these days. It’s not easy for the employers and sometimes they have to, they have to go back on their promises or put those promises off to a later date. I, I completely get that but it’s, that’s no good for the young person who’s now in a six months into a new job career and hasn’t had a single training course. Um an upskilling course, this just this distinguished the difference between the two. So you’ve got training which most employers will provide because that allows the person to do the job, ok? Which is valuable to the, to the employer upscaling is going beyond that. It’s going way beyond that. So it’s, it’s learning above and beyond what you need to do the job and that’s where you are able to go for promotions, um and progress your career upskilling allows you to do that as such. So most employers will provide on the job training. But when it comes to breaking promises, it’s typically around the upskilling because that usually costs money, usually costs time and that usually reduces things like productivity and so forth. That results in a higher attrition rate in the uh in the overall um uh number of employees and therefore the, the retention drops uh as a consequence. So people will then leave their job. Uh typically within 6 to 12 months of joining that company for the very first time. There is a, there is a third dynamic which, um, which is sort of linked to value, which is sometimes, sometimes people just get it wrong. Sometimes people just get it wrong. You know, they, they’re not quite sure about who they are and they just want to go and try a few different things and, um, six months, 12 minutes into the job. I go, oh, this is not for me, this is not something I want to do. I, I I’m more interested in artificial intelligence or I’m more interested in working in the environment. So, so thank you very much, Mr Bank. I don’t really want to work with you anymore. I feel as though the green economy is somewhere where I want to be. So it is normal for people to make those decisions as well. Ok. Well, so we’ve set up the what, what might happen or suppose we’re in the second situation. You, you, you explained where the, the employer is not following through on uh promises around progression that upskilling. Wh wh what’s the, what’s the young gen Z employee to do? I think, I think the first thing is go back, go back to the hiring manager, whoever, whoever that was, it may even not be the same hiring manager. But I think it’s very important to go back and, and uh have, you know, an adult face to face conversation with him about, you know, when I was recruited, when I came into this organization, I was, uh, I was promised that, uh, that there would be training and upskilling. Um, go back and hold them account for that. Ok. They may still get a flat. No, but at least as an individual you’ll feel better for following through on the promises that you were made. I think the second option you can go through is look for ways to upskill yourself outside of your employer environment as well. There are some, there are some really good schemes around today where you can, you can go and get, you know, additional training courses uh on, on careers that, that you may be following through on and, and, and that’s perfectly a viable approach as such. But I think the first thing to do is make sure the employer is held responsible and accountable for any promises that they’re making. And I’ll just make a finer point here. There’s a very good chance if they’ve broken the promise to you as an individual, they’ve broken the promise to a bunch of other people as well. So again, this is where the the community of uh employees can actually have a stronger voice by, by getting together to raise the the lack of training or the lack of upskilling with the employer. So sticking together, it’s also a good way of being safe in that employment environment as Well, if you, if you’re working with a bunch of people that all have the same, let’s say grievance, we’ll have the same grievance. Then, um then hopefully, then someone won’t get singled out for, you know, for being a bad guy or whatever, it helps a lot to have allies in, in whatever, whatever you might be trying to move the organization to do. Um And look, and you, you know, if you get that flat, no, at least, you know where you stand and that may be a different reason than you were describing why this is not the right nonprofit for you. It’s not the right fit. They a they didn’t keep their promises and b they’re not um helping us progress in our careers. And, and if there are more than one of you making this case, then there, you know, we go back to uh an old adage that dates me, I guess, but there is strength in numbers. It does help to help out have allies that there are a number of you that are raising this professional development issue and how the organization is not following through on its promises and not investing in its the future of its employees, not just the job they’re in now, but your futures then, you know, it may not be the right place for you. OK? Go ahead. Well, I was gonna, I was gonna move to maybe the biggest overarching theme. So you, you continue on this. Please go ahead. Thank you, Tony. I was just gonna add one more thing really look, I mean, typically employers will look at the cost of training as a, as purely a cost when you start to look at as a value add to your organization and the ability to grow and scale and develop your organization to be better at what you do to provide better customer service, to buy better products, to buy better services. If you look at it in terms of value that, that training gives back to the company, you might make a different decision. It’s an investment II I, it’s an investment in the people in your most valuable asset, which is the people who are doing the work for you. And if you’re not willing to invest, then maybe this isn’t the place for me to work or even better for us to work. All right, I’d like to wrap up. Well, you know what, before we do that, I, I want to explain what Zzynd, what, what it stands for. Well, uh I know it was like in the, in the US Tony but you know, in, in, in the UK, we have something called company’s house. And uh the first thing you do when you set up a new company is you go to company’s house and you put in a name and you pray and hope that no one’s thought of that name because if that’s the first name that you come up with the company. It’s probably one of the better names that you’re ever gonna have. I did that, I don’t know, a dozen, maybe 20 times. Uh, at the beginning when we started setting up the company in the end, you know, I went to good old Chat GP T and, uh, I asked Chat G BT, give me, give me some options for the name of a modern day company that might reflect uh today’s generation a and came back with a list of 10. I can’t remember. I think the other nine, but there was a list of 10 and Zinn Zynd was the name that stood out and it stands for gen Z youth, no discrimination, which is really at the core of what we’re trying to do with Zind, which is that Zin is for everyone. It doesn’t matter what your background is, it doesn’t matter what your religion is, isn’t what you, your sexuality is Zinda for everyone. OK. And we don’t put any barriers uh in, in front of anyone to, to prevent them from applying for a job. Well, I love that you, Gen Z. The company is uh artificial intelligence derived. I think that’s appropriate that uh that the youngest folks have um have a, a company name that uh was derived by uh chat GP T. Um I, I wanna wrap up with taking control of your own destiny that throughout your career, starting with the very first job. And for the next 4050 years, it’s your life, it’s your destiny. What do you have to say about that? Well, it started for me, Tony back in uh 19 nineties, this whole thing, this whole um area of taking control of my career. Um I was working for a really, really good progressive organization. At the time I had the opportunity to apply for an internally sponsored MB A program. I was one of the top performers within the organization and that my performance reviews reflected that my appraisals reflected that every single year I applied for the NBA. I didn’t get it and the feedback was poor, you know. Uh But I said to myself, look, OK, this next year, I’ll apply again. So I applied again next year and I didn’t get it again and still top performer within the organization. So I said to myself, well, that can’t be right. I’m not gonna let anyone else decide my career from now on. So I immediately decided that over the next five years, what I wanted to be where I wanted to be in terms of my career. So I think I was around 3233 years old at the time. And I said that by the time I’m 38 I want to be an IT director. So I picked the senior guy in the organization said I want to be in his position within, within five years. Um I had to move the organization, I broke all the rules and I applied for a job within the wider organization, the financial organization I was in at the time because my boss was blocking my career progression, which is, you know, she was controlling the shots, not me. Um So I applied outside my division and I got a more senior job than my boss, more senior job than my boss and for more money. Ok. Um Within uh within three years after that, um I was running the second most profitable area of the bank, the bank that I was working with at the time. Uh and I had taken them through all the, you know, all the millennium bug and the year 2000 program changes. And we’d put some new products out to the market. Three years after that, three years after that, I was running an organization with 650 people strong. We were, we’re generating revenues of 40 million a year with a very nice uh uh net profit at the end of it. So I took control of my career because I wasn’t able to make the decisions about my life. That’s what it boiled down to. It was about my life and my family’s life. So I had to be, I had to take some risks. Of course, I did, I had to take some risks. I had to decide what I wanted. And um based on the decisions I made I would have to live by those decisions, good or bad. But I was very, very focused and very, I would say somewhat lucky as well that I chose the right path for myself. And it all boiled down to the fact that I really didn’t want anyone controlling my life. Uh, and since work and your career, there’s a huge proportion of the time that you, you, you, you spend each day very, very important that I had control of that. And that’s something that I would certainly uh advocate to anybody these days is be in control of your own destiny as far as you possibly can. Ok. Sometimes it’s in, you know, the hands of God. Sometimes it’s in the hands of um who you are and what you are. But um if you make those key decisions and um live by them and learn from them as well, it’s very important to learn from them as well. Then, uh I think it can lead to a happier career and a happier working career and a happier life as a consequence. I’d like to add, don’t do something because lots of other folks have done it before. You. You don’t have to follow a career path. Indeed. Even a, a life path, a personal path that doesn’t feel right for you just because lots of other people have done it before you. There’s the, there’s life is rife with people who have made mistakes and done things just because lots of other people did it before them, whether it’s a personal decision to marry, uh, and, or have Children, uh, or it’s a professional decision to go a certain path just because lots of other people have done it before. It is, it is your life, it is your destiny. You decide it, you decide what’s right for you and don’t base it on millions of people that have come before you because that may not be right for you. I mean, that’s a great way to sum it up to me. I’m gonna, I’m gonna sort of just give you one image to, to think about, you know, I, I was in London uh late 19 nineties and I remember this very, very clearly because it was very, very, not long after I made decisions to take control of my career. I was crossing London Bridge. This was during the rush hour in the morning, it was about 830 in the morning. I was crossing London Bridge, pretty much every single person was going in the other direction. And that image has stayed with me for the rest of my life. The whole of my life. I had chose a different path and that sometimes means going against the flow of humankind for a period of time until you find your new flow. So for me, that was confirmation that I was, I was on the wrong path or I was moving in in a different direction, which was, was suitable for me as an individual. And uh I remember it was just thousands of people crossing London Bridge and I was just going in the opposite direction. I was bumping into a lot of people as a consequence, but that’s sometimes what you have to do. Ray Sherry, he’s CEO of Zend. You’ll find the company at You’ll find re on linkedin Ray, our first Welsh guest. We haven’t, we have not had a, a Welsh guest before. Thank you. Thank you very much, Tony. I’ve very much enjoyed it and thank you to all your listeners as well. Thank you. All right. Thank you for sharing next week back to the 2024 nonprofit technology conference with the essential craft of leaving your job and data privacy. If you missed any part of this weeks, show, I beseech you find it at Tony That’s gonna be interesting. Next week, the essential craft of leaving your job leaving it. Yes. Very good one. Well, they’re all very good that, that one’s just ex exceptionally good. Were sponsored by virtuous, virtuous, gives you the nonprofit CRM fundraising volunteer and marketing tools. You need to create more responsive donor experiences and grow, giving, and by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporter generosity, donor box, fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer, Kate T Martignetti. The show social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guide and this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that affirmation Scotty be with us next week for nonprofit radio, big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

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