Featured Post

Don't Be a Part of Workplace Gossip

Unfortunately no matter how nice the job is, you may still encounter workplace gossip. What exactly is gossip? Although by definition gossip...

Everybody Has a Story! What's Yours?
I would love to hear your story, positive, negative, and yes funny stories too!

Why I Deliberately Botched My Job Interview

Yes, over the years I have deliberately botched a few of my interviews.  Perhaps you are wondering why would I do that. The answer is simple.  I could tell within a few minutes of exposure to the office setting and/or interviewers that it was a bad fit over the top.  There is a bit more, however, to this explanation.

An interview is a two-way street. While a prospective employer is giving you the scrutiny of a lifetime, you should be checking them out to see how they line up with your criteria of a suitable employer.  Here are some things you should consider early on in the interview:

  • Does the employer or designated representative have good communication skills that will allow you to express yourself? 
  • Is this an employer that has rigid rules or do they appear to be reasonable in what they are asking. Listen carefully and read between the lines.  Life experience may  help you pick up on this.
  • Does the interviewer have good eye contact?
  • Does the interviewer smile?  And, do they have a sense of humor?
  • Probably the most important thing you can pick up on is the atmosphere of the office or company space you see or are exposed to before the interview.  A silent environment with little employee expression may at times denote the employer runs a "tight ship."

Obviously, no employer is perfect; nor, is there going to be a perfect environment.  The question  that you must ask yourself is whether or not you will be happy and comfortable working for the prospective employer. Will you feel like a square being shoved into a circle? If it appears the fit isn't there--then most likely it's not.

There are plenty of jobs with the right fit.  Life is just too short to pigeonhole yourself into a tight jacket every day.  Your time and skills are valuable.  Have self-worth in YOU.  Not all employers are equal.  That's why I threw some interviews.

Perhaps it's the rascal in me.  I couldn't help myself. Over the years I ran into some of the nastiest people conducting interviews.  I knew immediately that I could never work in their space. So, throwing the interview was easy.  How?  Say what's on your mind, be the authority, and ask a lot of questions about the company, the job, the employee/employer relationships...you get the picture.  It's easy...

That being said, don't give up finding your "fit." There are great employers that will appreciate you and what you bring to their company.  Just remember when you find them, don't throw the interview!

Starting a Small Business - Timing is Everything

So, the first of the year is upon you and your thinking should I pursue my idea to start a small business now?  Many people may think that the first of the new year is the best time to sharpen your skills as an entrepreneur.  However, there are several factors to consider that may move your project well into another time of the year.  What are those factors?

Factor 1:  Is the nature of your business seasonal?  For instance,  are the items you sell or the service you provide strictly focused on the time of year?  Or, can you profit from your business throughout the year? This factor is pretty much self-explanatory.

Factor 2:  The area of the country wherein you start this business is an essential element.  If your area of the country feels the effects of seasonal bitter cold, then you should consider if your service or product will do well or not.  An example of this is residential pressure-washing.  In the mid-eastern part of the states pressure-washing might be profitable in the spring and summer.  However, in Florida, it might be profitable year-round.

Factor 3: Is your business or service indoor or outdoor.  Outdoor elements would need to be considered. Can your product and/or service withstand the outdoor elements?  Or better yet, what is your physical stamina if the weather elements are extreme or always fluctuating?  Again, timing and consideration of the environment are mandatory.  Don't forget indoor services. Many people do not like to spend time at home in the summer months.  As such, they may or may not be interested in a service that will keep them home for a specified period of time.  Or, the opposite, wintertime might serve to keep many folks near the fireplace.

Yes, timing is an important aspect of starting any business whether big or small.  In any event, whenever you decide to begin your small business remember to be licensed properly, save those receipts for year-end deductions, keep good records, and above all be honest and have fun.

If starting a small cleaning business, don't forget to take a look at my short-read
How to Start a Cleaning Business on a Poor Man's Budget.

Unemployed--Get Up and Move

Yes, it may be time for you to get up and start moving.  Don't get me wrong, I know you have been trying to find the right job, etc. etc.   However, the fall of the year has some unique benefits that can actually get you moving, not backward, but forward.  What do I mean?

Everyone gets sluggish from time to time.  It's even worse when you have more time on our hands, energy drained.  For many people, the colors of fall such as the bright oranges and shades of red and violet serve to energize. Research indicates that the body pumps more adrenaline as you observe the more vivid colors.  This explains, at least for me, why in the fall of the year I feel more creative and a drive to physically work.  So take advantage of this time to once again look at your job choices with a fresh perspective and clearer focus.  You may be surprised what opportunities may open up for you. Take action and move.

Another thing that I have noticed in the fall, is that the air feels crisp and the skies can be so clear. Personally, while walking outside I feel that I get greater mental clarity; yes, I think clearer. Try it. If this is your experience, then use this window of time wisely.  Get rid of clutter (both mental and physical), revisit your priorities, make small mini-attainable goals, and balance your life. Keep it simple. Just move while the iron is hot.

Unemployed...Don't Give Up

Today's weather was stormy and black.  However, within a few hours the bad weather had lifted and the sun was shining brightly.  I thought...this is life.  I know it sounds corny.  Yet, whether unemployed or even employed, life will continue to throw you some tough curves.  Don't give up. If you are patient, you will see the sun shine again!

How to Be Happy Unemployed

Can you be unemployed and happy at the same time?  Of course you can.  You may not be thrilled with the fact that you have lost your job, bills still need to be paid, resumes galore must be sent out and the third-degree type interviews are bound to happen.  However, as I have said several times on this blog, life does go on. How can you be happy while unemployed or underemployed in a world based on financial success is all in how you view your success in life.

Do not measure your success or happiness by what you have or don't have.  Success should be measured by your character and your integrity.  Good character and integrity are priceless. Oddly though financial success, or striving for it, has given way to the broken character of many men over the centuries. So what does that mean to you?  You may have lost a job, or are very under-employed, but it is your integrity along with positive character-building qualities that count. Take inventory. How does your inner core values stand up to these questions?
  • Although unemployed, would you take a job that was against all your core principles or values because the money was good?
  • Would you tell the truth about a matter if it meant losing your bonus?
  • What comes first in your life?... God, family, money, or self?
  • Do you believe good honest work at a lower pay rate is honorable if it is not illegal or immoral? Better yet, how do you view people working these type of jobs?
  • Do you find yourself losing your temper more often since you lost your job?
  • Are you less patient at this time in your life with your children, or your spouse?
  • What positive character traits, i.e. honesty, loyalty, commitment, and sincerity do you value the most?
  • Are you so consumed with your own situation that you cannot or have not shown compassion to ones in need?
Just points everyone, regardless of being employed or not, should consider. Your view of success goes hand-in-hand with happiness.  Sticking to your true core values (hopefully, they are good ones), and recognizing them, will give you contentment which equals happiness.  If you get a chance read this poem I wrote a while back. It sheds light on who we really are...  Inside Out

Yesterday's Opportunities Should Be Today's Special Moments

Well, this year looks promising. The economy appears to be turning around.  However, if you are reading my blog you no doubt are recently unemployed or are still reaching out for that great job. What's interesting about life though is that it is in constant transition.  Things will always be changing around us--whether it's the job market, your health, or personal issues.  Over the last year significant events in my own life have required my attention. In processing this, a reminder jumped out loud and clear--put priorities first not problems.  What do I mean?

Solving and dealing with problems is just part of living.  Somehow you will continue to work through issues that arise from time to time in your life.  However, will the anxiety of handling daily problems dominate your very being?  When you become consumed with your problems, you may miss out on more important issues, opportunities and moments that you would have otherwise taken care of or happily indulged in.  Here are a few reminders:
  • Have you recently called your sibling/s or parents to see how they are doing?  How much more special this is if they live many miles away?
  • Have you recently checked out your pet's current health?  When you are consumed with problems, you may not recognize your beloved pet is not up to par.
  • Have you neglected to carry out a promise you made to someone?
  • Have you taken a walk with someone you love?
  • Have you checked out your own health?  Are you taking better care of yourself today than yesterday?
  • Have you visited anyone ill, elderly, or just needing encouragement? These may be moments you will never forget or get back again.
  • Has spirituality been an avenue you have been putting on the back burner?
  • Have you made a Living Will?  Hopefully, this doesn't sound morbid. However, it is common for many people to put this off when really it is a vital document.
  • Have you recently taken a mini-vacation somewhere to relax and restore your sanity?
  • Have you adjusted your eating habits to accommodate your needs and not just that of the entire family? Again, it is common for a parent to put their own needs secondary to that of the family.
  • Most importantly, have you recently told your family and friends how much you love them?
Yes, you will be able to solve some but not all of your unique problems; but, do not let them consume you.  Do not miss out on the more important things.  Whether it is work or family issues, life has a way of working these things out.  Just remember yesterday's opportunities should be today's special moments.

Not Employed Might Be Your Fault Now

You are still not working despite your best efforts to find employment.  Granted, the last few years have been rough for millions in a sick economy.    However, before you get too defensive, let me tell you what I am talking about.  If you have been unemployed for a number of years and you do not collect unemployment anymore, it is time to kick-start some type of work in your life.  Why?
The longer you are not generating work for yourself, the harder it is to get back into the routine of things. As time goes on, you may even begin to doubt your own self-worth.   Stop now.  You are valuable in so many ways. Each and every human being has honorable qualities and positive skills that are beneficial to themselves and others.  That being said, what are some options you can explore?

Besides temporary jobs, self-employment, and going back to school, there are other opportunities. Stop looking for the same type of work in the same fields.  Don't look at the pay scale either. What? For instance, look at what type of things you like to do outside work.  Do you enjoy shopping, swimming, or cooking?  There are jobs in all of these fields you may want to consider. A person who enjoys shopping might enjoy working in a retail store that sells fashionable clothing. Or, if you like sports, what about some type of job working at a health club? Do you see where I am going with this? It's more important that you get back out into the workplace despite the salary you may have made before. This would be a positive and forward direction.

Let's say for example that you get a job working at Starbucks Coffee Company.  Not your field of work; nevertheless, you are working.  What could be some benefits to consider?  Here are a few: 
  1. Meeting People Again
  2. Learning a New Skill
  3. Making Some Money
  4. Ability to Network 
  5. Self-Esteem Soars
  6. Realization That Your Life Isn't That Bad After All!
  7. Breaking the Couch-Potato Syndrome
  8. Establishing a Routine Again
  9. Happier 
  10. Additional Employment to List On Your Resume
I wrote this post not to upset or offend you.  No doubt you truly have tried your best to no avail when it has come to work.  I wanted to encourage you to try something different, perhaps not part of your mindset.  Although I am retired, I have recently been working as a companion caregiver. This is totally different than my experience in administrative work.  However, it has been great--a real eye-opener to the world of the elderly,  I have a learned a lot of new things I didn't have a clue about.  

You have nothing to lose at this point.  Be bold and adventurous!  Happiness can come from the least suspected areas...