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Monday, September 5, 2016

Well Tuned Work

Today’s Labor Day blog features an interview with my friend Jeff Carroll. In general, Jeff defines himself as a Career Strategist, speaker, and radio host. Recently, he became Vice President, Client Partnerships, at Success Wise Consulting. Previously, he served as the Director of Leadership Development in the College of Business at Northern Illinois University.

A few years back, Jeff hosted a very creative talk radio program built around hit music that featured work themes in some fashion. Today’s conversation focuses on that interesting radio concept.

Mark Elfstrand: Jeff, explain how you developed a radio program around popular music and work?

Jeff: The original idea was “hatched” when I was in transition in 2002. I was sitting in a conference room meeting with a good friend who was also in a job search and I said, “If we rocked n' rolled through adolescence let’s rock ‘n roll through middlescence”! That began my journey of taking rock music/lyrics and coming up with career principles that could help people rethink their careers for the 21st century. Specifically, I went back through the 25-30 books I read on careers and took the best of the best and created a 5-Stop Career Transformation Model. Once I developed the model, I aligned music/lyrics from Tom Petty, Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, and other rock artists with each of the “stops” in the model. For example, the first stop is called “Get Real” and I choose Tom Petty's song called Runnin' Down a Dream because of the chorus. . .runnin' down a dream, that never would come to me, working on a mystery, going wherever it leads.

ME: What were some of the songs you used and what was the significance of the message in these?

Jeff: A partial list would include…

Already Gone, Eagles
Land of Hope and Dreams, Bruce Springsteen
Refugee, Tom Petty
Runnin' On Empty, Jackson Browne
Peace of Mind, Boston

Contained in each of these songs are lyrics that provide a relevant career principle that can help people think differently about their careers and help them better navigate this uncertain and chaotic marketplace.

ME: What is your thinking on whether music reflects our attitudes about work or whether music influences those attitudes?

Jeff: I think it’s both. No doubt all these songs were written out of personal experiences and therefore reflect a certain view of life. On the other side, music lyrics can definitely influence our attitudes toward many aspects of life. . .relationships, work, innovation, commitment, feelings of doubt, love, and courage.

ME: Have you seen any shifting in the mindset about work between older workers and millennials? If so, what’s different?

Jeff: No doubt, the millennials are bringing a very different view of work to the marketplace. Probably the most popular seminar in corporate America today is called Managing Across Generations in the Workplace. I think this reflects the need for each generation to try to understand each other’s needs and perspectives. The phrases I used to best reflect the difference between the boomers and the millennials asks the question, “Are you working to live or living to work?” In addition, the millennials are really attracted to work or companies that they perceive to have meaning, purpose, and significance, as well as aligned with their value system.

ME: Do you have any plans to develop more radio themes in the future?

Jeff: Absolutely. As I become aware of more songs that people recommend, I continue to write articles, develop content, and create new radio themes. Although, I must confess that classic rock provides a limitless supply of themes that resonate with most of the listeners.

Thanks, Jeff!

The Biblical book of Psalms were actually written as songs. Here’s one work lyric to remember… “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:17, NIV)

Nice. A work lyric featuring the Rock of Ages.

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app. 

PS: Jeff Carroll has had some discussions about reviving a radio show. I’ll let you know if that happens.

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