After a career spent working with CEOs and senior managers, helping corporations make systemic changes in the way they reward and compensate employees, Stephen Temlock knows a thing or two about business.
And, with a Ph.D. in organization and leadership from Columbia (plus over 30 years as a Westport resident), Temlock knows a thing or two about what it takes for folks around here to find a job.
So — as he cuts back a group on his consulting work with companies — Temlock offers his expertise to fellow Westporters who have been blasted by the winds of change sweeping through the economy these past few years.
For several months — thanks to the Westport Public Library — Temlock has helped experienced, high-level executives focus and energize their job searches. The confidential, private (and free) 1-hour sessions — up to 5 or so per person, if needed — go far beyond “here’s how to spiff up your resume.”
“Most resumes are a waste of time,” Temlock says. “And everyone always talks about the importance of networking. But effective networking really demands a strategy.”
His sessions — which take place in a private library conference room — cover topics like how to network.
And — once you’re networking, and then interviewing — how to answer questions like “Tell me about yourself.”
“I teach people to tell stories about who they are,” he says.
Last month alone, Temlock worked with 30 Westporters.
“We know there are more people looking than there are jobs available,” Temlock notes. “Nowadays you have to work at finding work at least as hard as you work once you get work.”
Finding a job is a 5-day-a-week process, Temlock says. And “sadly,” he adds, most people he sees are in the 50s or early 60s. Some earned $500,000 a year before their jobs disappeared. Gone too are many opportunities for re-employment.
“Companies would rather hire someone younger who earns less, than someone with more experience who’s been around the block,” says Temlock.
“It’s heart-wrenching. They have financial responsibilities, and they want to work. But their prospects for returning to meaningful work are not as good as they would like.”
Temlock helps such men and women expand their ways of thinking, as well as their horizons. Many talents and skills are transferable to different fields — but sometimes people need an objective outsider, like Temlock, to help them focus on new opportunities.
He also sees younger people — in their 30s and 40s — who are thinking of shifting careers, or perhaps starting their own business.
It’s clear what Westporters get from talking to Temlock — advice, confidence, clarity. But he gets something from them too.
“I love helping people think creatively, about direction or strategy,” Temlock says.
“So I get satisfaction helping people see that there’s a road they can travel — not just 1000 different paths, and they don’t know which way to go.”
[UPDATE] Stephen Temlock passed away in 2016.