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J. A. Rodriguez Jr.

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Not Intuitively Obvious - Transition to the Professional Work Environment
by J. A. Rodriguez Jr.   

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Publisher:  Xlibris Corporation ISBN-10:  1441515410 Type: 


Copyright:  March 16, 2009 ISBN-13:  9781441515414

Barnes &
Not Intuitively Obvious

Not Intuitively Obvious - Transition to the Professional Work Environment is a concise senior manager’s memoir of lessons learned from over twenty-six years of experience in the professional work environment. The book identifies the mindsets professionals must embrace in order to jump-start their career and is written from a boss’s viewpoint and an organizational perspective. The concept of perception management is also introduced as a tool to create and sustain a great reputation in the eyes of the organization. During economically strained times, only those informed professionals who master the noted approaches are offered the best opportunity to secure and preserve their jobs within organizations.

Not Intuitively Obvious - Transition to the Professional Work Environment is a book directed at one goal: to provide the new professional with the knowledge required to excel in the professional work environment without devoting many years learning from mistakes. J. A. Rodriguez Jr. helps those entering the professional workplace better utilize these critical years by revealing the often unwritten and unspoken expectations. This priceless knowledge is Not Intuitively Obvious and is offered from the memoirs of seasoned professionals who have learned these lessons through years of trials and hardships.

The book reveals how to manage the organizational expectations that guide professional destiny and is written from two perspectives: 1) a senior management perspective and 2) an employee’s perspective that sheds light on the reasons why some professionals do not succeed while others excel.
Your challenges, situational circumstances, and your conditions will vary; nonetheless, the concepts of expectation fulfillment and performance are everlasting. Apply the approaches described in this book and you will increase your chances of succeeding in your professional endeavors. Rodriguez dispenses well-timed advice during difficult economic times, while also including a thought inspiring workbook. Informative and engaging, his insights will help guide the new professional's destiny towards success by offering the keys previously only available to the seasoned professional. During economically strained times, only informed professionals who master the approaches are offered the best opportunity to secure and preserve their jobs within organizations. 

2009 New York Book Festival Winners List: "How-To" Category, Honorable Mention  

Perception is Reality

Perceptions, in the context of this book, are defined as those impulsive thoughts others experience when they think of you. When glancing at a window, most people simply see that view that is beyond the pane of glass. This view is only as wide and as tall as the window itself. Those attuned to a broader spectrum of stimuli and relentless pursuit of awareness glance at the same window and visualize much more. They see the view beyond the pane of glass in harmony with the reflection of all that is in the room, in front and behind them. The ability to visualize the different views from the same window that others have merely looked through defines the level of awareness an individual possess. A high level of awareness allows you to see what the organization thinks of your work and how the organization views or perceives your contributions to the business. In the professional environment, perception is more important than you think—it’s everything.

Reputation stamps are noticeably invisible and legible marks that are unilaterally and indiscriminately awarded by employees to employees in organizations. Customers also award reputation stamps to companies in direct response to how they view the company meeting their expectations. The concept of perception determines the polarity, popularity, size, type, color, and texture of your reputation stamp. Everyone in business is attached to at least one reputation stamp that is visible across the organization. Very often, the reputation stamp is invisible to the adorned employee but blaringly visible to everyone else. They appear impulsively when others think of you, hear of you, and/or see you. The reputation stamp can be awarded by anyone in the organization and can read “professional” or something much less appealing. If a negative stamp is awarded, you will wear that reputation stamp until such time you prove yourself worthy enough to have it removed. You do not have a vote on removal rights. If a positive stamp is awarded, you will wear that stamp until such time you prove its message to be wrong in the eyes of the organization. Reputation stamps can help or hurt you professionally. Choose to manage your stamp carefully. The alternative is not advisable.

Most professionals understand that there is a difference between credibility and reputation. Credibility is established by the things you do to help others form an opinion of your actions. Reputation is established by the frequency at which you do the things you do. For example, meeting a commitment you made establishes favorable credibility. Predictably and consistently meeting all the commitments you make establishes a favorable reputation. Credibility is linked to single performances. Reputation is linked to the collection of performances and the trends anticipated based on those performances. Young professionals establish good credibility every day by exceeding the organization’s expectations. Seasoned professionals establish reputations over the years by demonstrating reliable value to the organization. Losing your credibility destroys your reputation, always.

Reputation is perception, perception is reality, and both are indistinguishable relative to their role in professional advancement. The organization’s perception of you significantly influences decisions that affect your career advancement. The organization’s decision on whether to invest in you is highly dependent on how it perceives you will help the organization grow and prosper in the selected marketplace. Generally, help can only come from those whom are perceived can offer the assistance. For example, in the game of tug-of-war, two competitive teams pull a rope from opposite ends with the ultimate goal of overpowering their opponent to win. To win means to meet or surpass the objective. Successful teams hand select team members based on their ability, demonstrated or perceived, to significantly contribute in meeting or exceeding the objective. Team members require a set of playing rules, confidence, willingness, strength, endurance, and a team purpose to be successful. In business, the rope is the customers, the opposing teams are company employees, and the rules are the regulations and ethical standards the organizations elect to adapt or are required to adapt. As in the game of tug of war, organizations select only those employees it perceives will help the company beat their competitors. Characteristic traits are evaluated by management when looking at you as the person that will help pull the objective past the goal line. Your ability to project respectful confidence, willingness, expertise, and endurance helps convince the company to place you on their team. Perceptions of weakness help convince the company to remove you from the team. Perceptions of weakness can materialize in many ways, often so subtle that you do not realize that the perception is in place. The following are examples of several of the perceptions you do not want your employer to believe are reality as they are viewed as weaknesses:

• Introducing your personal problems to the work environment and causing productivity distractions
• Suspected substance abuse resulting in financial risk to the organization and the causation of injuries or other undesired events
• A cluttered and disorganized office indicating your lack of organizational skills
• Office romance causing distractions and productivity issues among the other employees

Very often, professionals have a difficult time distinguishing the difference between the perceptions of being liked and being respected. Both relate to the kind of impressions you leave with other professionals. Both are related in that, if the conditions are right, one can lead to the other. There is, however, a major difference between the need to be liked and the need to be respected. Each focuses your attention on a very different path professionally.

The need to be liked is natural and demands a behavior that fosters external acceptance at any cost. Most people enjoy and actively seek the benefits of socializing and friendships. The need to be liked reinforces and validates acceptance and belonging. The excessive need to be liked in the professional environment can derail the chances for advancement and growth if left unchecked. The following are some of the effects than can materialize if the need to be liked controls your behavior:

• Your decision-making process is altered. Rather than formulating decisions that are based on the facts, you base your decisions on whether they will be viewed as conforming or popular. This approach leads to many reinforcing organizational dysfunctional behaviors, including group thinking and status quo operational expectations. Organizational dysfunctional behaviors, if not corrected, typically lead to loss of marketplace share and eventual self-destruction of the organization.

• The perception of organizational respect for your performance and abilities is impacted. In business, reputation and respect are everything. Nice guys are viewed as nice guys but incapable of compelling the organization to the next level. Competitive professional organizations desire employees with traits that exhibit aggressive pursuit of the objectives with a focus on innovation and the competitive edge and the wisdom to motivate others in the same direction. The ability to deliver is rewarded with the concept of professional respect.

The need to be respected is also natural and demands a behavior that is multifaceted—encompassing prioritization, expertise, and performance. Professional respect is mistakenly expected often and demanded as a matter of course rather than earned. In the simplest terms, respect can be aligned under two general categories: organizationally expected and professionally earned. Organizations are established with layers of management, each designed to work in unison in support of the vision and mission. Employees are generally expected to respect their employer and their management structure as a matter of unilateral course. A vice president walking into a meeting has a different effect on the population of the room than an entry-level employee entering the same room. This phenomenon is an example of an organizational expectation of respect. A highly regarded, highly productive, and highly touted employee speaking at a meeting has a different effect on the population than a similar speech offered by an employee who is simply liked but not respected. This phenomenon is an example of professionally earned respect.

There are many other situations that can affect how you are viewed and the perceptions that are derived from your actions, including that of your personal associations. In some cases, personal associations can prevent you from obtaining a job. This scenario is especially true if your job requires a security clearance. Personal associations can help or harm your career if they are comingled with your work environment. The classic example is that of a spouse, partner, or friend that you invite to a work-related social gathering. If your guest exhibits professional behavior during the event, the likelihood is high that you will be viewed in a similar light. If, however, your guest does not impress, the organization may question your ability to make the right choices.

Professional Reviews

Kirkus Discoveries Book Review: Not Intuitively Obvious
Rodriguez Jr., J. A.
Xlibris (180 pp.)
$22.99; $15.99 paperback
August 12, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4415-1542-1
Paper: 978-1-4415-1541-4

The first in the Not Intuitively Obvious series of business books is geared toward helping prospective candidates transition to a professional work environment—and thrive.
In a crowded business-nonfiction market, how-to resources are as rare as grains of sand on a beach. However, it’s rare indeed to find a business guide that combines brevity, precision and practicality, all in under 200 pages. How does someone with little or no experience in a professional setting avoid the pitfalls, booby traps and slippery slopes endemic to that world? For Rodriguez, the answer is simple—listen and learn from those who have succeeded and don’t make their mistakes. Not only does the author list these mistakes, he offers the best practices to nip those errors in the bud, saving newbie professionals much angst, missed opportunities and bruised egos. The road begins with developing a foundational mindset. In less adept hands, the definition of this thinking would be punctuated with platitudes and business-speak, but not here. Rodriguez offers readers nuggets of hard-learned lessons and pithy advice that will speed any wannabe professional toward their goal. Not Intuitively Obvious jampacks an incredible amount of good sense, actionable lines of attack and business best practices into a small yet powerful package. This is not just a booklet of bullet points and action items though. Each chapter is written in concise, well-considered prose that does not waste space or the reader’s time. The author’s suggestions are valuable and relevant to today’s workplace environment, and the book provides no-nonsense, no-frills advice designed for quick assimilation and even quicker execution. New entrants into the workforce—and experienced workers hoping for a leg up—will find this an indispensable guide.
Engaging, concisely written and exceedingly accessible.

Midwest Book Review
A fine addition to any business collection focusing on management, October 9, 2009

By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)

This review is from: Not Intuitively Obvious (Hardcover)

Common sense can get you far, but it isn't the answer to everything. "Not Intuitively Obvious: Transition to the Professional Work Environment..." is a combination memoir and business manual from one J.A. Rodriguez, a senior manager of a highly successful company. Offering perspective from the middle management, he gives readers much advice on honing their craft to inspire the most from their employees. "Not Intuitively Obvious" is a fine addition to any business collection focusing on management.

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Reader Reviews for "Not Intuitively Obvious - Transition to the Professional Work Environment"

Reviewed by David Skocik 8/22/2009
The theme of this book is the absolute need for professionalism.

As an adjunct professor at a university, I can attest that this book would make a great gift for a student who will be entering the workforce.

Mr. Rodriguez underscores the importance of preparation, teamwork, personal organization and attitude in today's competitive workplace.

He explains the power of making an outstanding first impression, creating trust, and as the book is titled, of learning things that are “Not Intuitively Obvious.”

He takes the successful job seeker through the reasons for forming alliances, building a solid reputation, proper dress, and even workplace etiquette both within and without the company.

It is a must read for anyone entering or reentering today’s highly competitive job market, especially in the corporate setting.

David Skocik, author of “Practical Public Relations for the Small Business: Tools and Tactics for Competitive Advantage.”
Reviewed by Reginald Johnson 7/12/2009
"Not Intuitively Obvious - Transition to the Professional Work Environment" by J. A. Rodriguez Jr., is an excellent reference source for veterans and novices in the twenty-first century work environment.

It underscores in just a few pages what took me years to learn through trial and error. It is a marvelous book, passionately written ... in a language that is easy to internalize.

Reginald V. Johnson, author, "How to Close More Customers"

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