Friday, August 10, 2012

Why Can't I Find A Job?

Dear Job-seeking Friends,

From a great article entitled "The Four Key Principles of Successful Job Seekers"

1. Use job search strategies that work. Two of the biggest challenges job seekers face are knowing which job search approaches are the most effective, and figuring out where to start in finding job opportunities. Successful job seekers know that any approach that helps them find and connect with the right people will eventually land them the job they want. Answering want ads and Internet postings have only marginal value. Developing relationships through networking, referrals, informational interviewing, and recruiters gets them closer to, if not right on top of, their ideal job. They know that in a competitive job market, they cannot rely on looking for positions already advertised passively. They actively market themselves to the people who are likely to hire them.

2. Stick to a step-by-step, action-oriented process. The typical job seeker quickly becomes overwhelmed by his or her job search. There are million of things to do, places to look, and people to talk to, but they don't have a system for putting the pieces together. Job seekers who know the score, design and implement a game plan that includes setting a specific and attainable goal, actions steps to take every day or week, and a system to track their progress. If they don't realize the results they want to achieve, they don't abandon this plan. Rather, they make adjustments that get them back on track.

3. Stay motivated in face of frustration and rejection. Rejection letters, no return calls, and outdated information are all part of the normal working day of a job seeker. Most people get frustrated and angry with this every-day occurrence and give up. The successful job seeker sees this as opportunity or a positive learning experience. They don't let the fear of rejection get in the way of their progress. By sticking to their plan, they don't give up during the job search. They are motivated by the goals they've set and nothing will deter them from that accomplishment.

4. Know when to ask for help. Looking for a job can sometimes be the loneliest job in the world. Uncertainty and doubt set in with many a job seeker when things don't go right. Perhaps even a sense of pride sets in and the thought of asking someone for help makes them feel like a charity case. Conversely, successful job seekers know that they cannot do this alone. They stack the odds in their favor by adding some outside help to their job search campaign. They want to be accountable to someone other than themselves. They need to get a different point of view, or perspective, on their progress or challenges. And, they seek out support from people who care about their progress or help them develop the tools they need to win.

The next time you ask yourself or someone else, "why can't I find a job," you now know all is not lost. Implementing a solid action plan, sticking to your goals, and seeking help when you need it most, puts you in charge of your destiny.

Simply put, you are just a few steps away from being a success.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Do You Have Any ??? for Me?

Dear Job Seekers,

I found this great article outlining 5 questions GREAT candidates ask during the interview:

"Be honest. Raise your hand if you feel the part of the job interview where you ask the candidate, "Do you have any questions for me?" is almost always a waste of time.  Thought so.  The problem is most candidates don't actually care about your answers; they just hope to make themselves look good by asking "smart" questions. To them, what they ask is more important than how you answer.  Great candidates ask questions they want answered because they're evaluating you, your company--and whether they really want to work for you.

Here are five questions great candidates ask:

What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?
Great candidates want to hit the ground running. They don't want to spend weeks or months "getting to know the organization."  They want to make a difference--right away.

What are the common attributes of your top performers?
Great candidates also want to be great long-term employees. Every organization is different, and so are the key qualities of top performers in those organizations.  Maybe your top performers work longer hours.  Maybe creativity is more important than methodology. Maybe constantly landing new customers in new markets is more important than building long-term customer relationships. Maybe it's a willingness to spend the same amount of time educating an entry-level customer as helping an enthusiast who wants high-end equipment.  Great candidates want to know, because 1) they want to know if they fit, and 2) if they do fit, they want to be a top performer.

What are a few things that really drive results for the company?
Employees are investments, and every employee should generate a positive return on his or her salary. (Otherwise why are they on the payroll?)  In every job some activities make a bigger difference than others. You need your HR folks to fill job openings... but what you really want is for HR to find the right candidates because that results in higher retention rates, lower training costs, and better overall productivity.  You need your service techs to perform effective repairs... but what you really want is for those techs to identify ways to solve problems and provide other benefits--in short, to generate additional sales.  Great candidates want to know what truly makes a difference. They know helping the company succeed means they succeed as well.

What do employees do in their spare time?
Happy employees 1) like what they do and 2) like the people they work with.  Granted this is a tough question to answer. Unless the company is really small, all any interviewer can do is speak in generalities.  What's important is that the candidate wants to make sure they have a reasonable chance of fitting in--because great job candidates usually have options.

How do you plan to deal with...?
Every business faces a major challenge: technological changes, competitors entering the market, shifting economic trends... there's rarely a Warren Buffett moat protecting a small business.  So while a candidate may see your company as a stepping-stone, they still hope for growth and advancement... and if they do eventually leave, they want it to be on their terms and not because you were forced out of business.  Say I'm interviewing for a position at your bike shop. Another shop is opening less than a mile away: How do you plan to deal with the new competitor? Or you run a poultry farm (a huge industry in my area): What will you do to deal with rising feed costs?

A great candidate doesn't just want to know what you think; they want to know what you plan to do--and how they will fit into those plans."

Smooches, Adam

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dear God (totally channeling my inner Celie),

My 37th birthday is right around the corner.  As you know, I enjoy OTHER people's birthdays more than mine.  I think it is due to all of those years of joint birthday parties with my younger sister.  I didn't have a problem with sharing the spotlight with her...more often than not, I would have preferred attending her party as opposed to being the focus of mine. 

A few years ago, we shared our birthday party Rapids Water Park.  As a "person of size", water parks provide an all-day reminder that a beached whale is a closer cousin to me than a minnow.  After spending most of the day on the lazy river and in the wave pool, I begrudgingly agreed to go on one of the slides. 

As a "person of size", I am very aware of the scales at the top of these water slides.  If you are not familiar, most of the rides at a water park have a weight limit.  Personally, I am not offended by this discriminatory practice because it gives me a great excuse to float along in the lazy river all day.  In fact, I saw several people in my party who thought they might lose that extra weight in the 3-story climb to the top of slide, only to be screened by the in-shape lifeguard, then sent to the scale which dings like that carnival game with the over-sized hammer is you exceed the weight limit, and then forced to do the walk of shame back down the stairs.

Leave it to Rapids to have a water slide with no weight limit.  I was a trooper...I climbed the stairs...I went down the slide like a missile...I received a standing ovation from all of the spectators...Everyone cheers for Shamu once he/she has completed a trick.

When it was all over, I said never again.  Later that week (as an extra bonus), I got pink eye for the first time in my life.  Yes, it was a birthday to remember.  Let's hope this year's celebration is dry and disease-free.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Simple Joys

Dear Readers (oh ye few),

Its been a while since I have posted.  All I can say is life had other plans for me over the past few months.  However, I am back and have decided to make a few changes to the blog.  I will continue to explore the many crazy things that seem to happen in my life (especially when I am wearing my "band geek" hat).  However, I have become a huge fan of the "open letter" Facebook status update.  It has become quite cathartic as I am compelled to sarcastically comment on pop culture, politics, etc.  I look forward to using this medium to offer longer (and perhaps loftier) observations of the crazy world we live.  Thanks for sticking with me.  I promise to deliver my candid impression of everyday minutia (including, but not limited to, Lady Gaga, the host of SNL, Rick Santorum, the Walking Dead, the women of Mad Men, the men of RuPaul's Drag Race, etc.).  This is going to be a ton of fun.

Smooches, Adam

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Greetings to my blog followers...have you missed me? I started this blog 3 months ago, around the time I started working at Broward College full time. I am definitely more settled, but still very busy. Over the past few weeks, the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Inventory has been popping up at different times. I took the MBTI for the first time in 1995 and found out that I was an ESTJ. If you really want to know about me, keep reading...

The Guardian

As an ESTJ, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you deal with things rationally and logically. Your secondary mode is internal, where you take things in via your five senses in a literal, concrete fashion.

ESTJs live in a world of facts and concrete needs. They live in the present, with their eye constantly scanning their personal environment to make sure that everything is running smoothly and systematically. They honor traditions and laws, and have a clear set of standards and beliefs. They expect the same of others, and have no patience or understanding of individuals who do not value these systems. They value competence and efficiency, and like to see quick results for their efforts.

ESTJs are take-charge people. They have such a clear vision of the way that things should be, that they naturally step into leadership roles. They are self-confident and aggressive. They are extremely talented at devising systems and plans for action, and at being able to see what steps need to be taken to complete a specific task. They can sometimes be very demanding and critical, because they have such strongly held beliefs, and are likely to express themselves without reserve if they feel someone isn't meeting their standards. But at least their expressions can be taken at face-value, because the ESTJ is extremely straight-forward and honest.

The ESTJ is usually a model citizen, and pillar of the community. He or she takes their commitments seriously, and follows their own standards of "good citizenship" to the letter. ESTJ enjoys interacting with people, and likes to have fun. ESTJs can be very boisterous and fun at social events, especially activities which are focused on the family, community, or work.

The ESTJ needs to watch out for the tendency to be too rigid, and to become overly detail-oriented. Since they put a lot of weight in their own beliefs, it's important that they remember to value other people's input and opinions. If they neglect their Feeling side, they may have a problem with fulfilling other's needs for intimacy, and may unknowingly hurt people's feelings by applying logic and reason to situations which demand more emotional sensitivity.

When bogged down by stress, an ESTJ often feels isolated from others. They feel as if they are misunderstood and undervalued, and that their efforts are taken for granted. Although normally the ESTJ is very verbal and doesn't have any problem expressing themself, when under stress they have a hard time putting their feelings into words and communicating them to others.

ESTJs value security and social order above all else, and feel obligated to do all that they can to enhance and promote these goals. They will mow the lawn, vote, join the PTA, attend home owners association meetings, and generally do anything that they can to promote personal and social security.

The ESTJ puts forth a lot of effort in almost everything that they do. They will do everything that they think should be done in their job, marriage, and community with a good amount of energy. He or she is conscientious, practical, realistic, and dependable. While the ESTJ will dutifully do everything that is important to work towards a particular cause or goal, they might not naturally see or value the importance of goals which are outside of their practical scope. However, if the ESTJ is able to see the relevance of such goals to practical concerns, you can bet that they'll put every effort into understanding them and incorporating them into their quest for clarity and security.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sharing is Caring...

This is a re-post of a great article entitled "Create Your Best Future: Three Ways to Shape Your Life for the Better".  I have been incredibly busy with my own life, but I will be back to blogging my own thoughts and experiences VERY soon...

Because the future is created by our actions in the present, it’s in the world’s best interest, and our own, that we focus on becoming better versions of ourselves each and every day. We are born to be mediums of love and kindness. And we all have it in our power to shape the future by the choice to let loving and just, or hateful and destructive things happen through us. The future depends completely on the way we act now.

Look at the Choices You Make
Every day we are given the opportunity to do things that either lift one another up or put one another down. We can be kind and generous or mean and selfish, judgmental or accepting, forgiving or not. Every choice we make works to create or destroy the sense of goodness in life and the experience of peace on this earth. Our choices serve to unite or divide, to make others and ourselves better or worse. So pay serious attention to the choices you make. A better future depends on it.

Nourish the Capacity to Do Good
In becoming better human beings right now, we are called upon to nourish the capacity to let only good things happen through us. This means there can be no hate in our heart at all: no self-righteousness, no meanness, no discrimination, and no selfish disregard for the poor and suffering in our world. If we are not more kind every day, more understanding, more patient, more loving, and more fun to be with, then we are not nourishing our capacity to do good. The future we create will look like the world does now, agonizing for the presence of better human beings. Nourish only the capacity to do good.

Respect What You Can’t Understand
There is no way we can become better human beings by condemning what we can’t understand, whether it be someone’s religious, sexual, or political preference.  There is no way we can create a better future until we treasure the differences among us as a strength binding us together, not a weakness tearing us apart. Better human beings respect all the diverse mysteries of life, especially those we can’t yet understand. If we love what we can’t understand, divine understanding will be ours.

Until the next blog, think about this:  Goodness speaks in a whisper, evil shouts. -Tibetan proverb

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

10 Habits of Highly Organized People

I have been spending a ton of time scouring the internet for interesting articles and resources for my new job.  Last night, I came across this list on (although I believe it was first posted on  Say what you want about Ms. Winfrey...however, when CNN cites your website as a credible news source, you are powerful.  I have always been told that I am very organized, so I thought it would be fun to see how many of these habits I truly exhibit.  Here goes:

1. Walk away from bargains
  • I am not one to buy in bulk, although John is a huge Costco fan.  His "bulk-buying" mentality has definitely been tempered since I moved in, however I do spend quite a bit of time searching for bargains, particularly online. SOMEWHAT
2. Make peace with imperfection
  • It has taken me MANY years to achieve "moments" of peace with imperfection.  Not total peace...that seems about as possible as ice cream lasting more than 24 hours in the freezer. NO
3. Never label anything "miscellaneous"
  • Miscellaneous is one of those words that I never learned how to spell (in fact, I had to look at it twice in the statement above while I was typing...LOL).  Everything has a space, place, and name in my life. YES 
4. Schedule regular de-cluttering sessions
  • When I was single, this happened weekly.  Now that I am married to a man with quite a bit of stuff, this happens less often.  However, we do schedule time to go through stuff in the house.  I remember going through the closets after the earthquake in Haiti.  John works with several women whose families were devastated by this tragedy.  I think we ended up donating 6-7 bags of clothes.  I joked that my shirts and pants alone could clothe a whole village or at least serve as sleeping bags...John was not amused. YES
5. Stick with what works
  • I have subscribed to this philosophy my entire life.  Organized people are not usually filled with wells of creativity.  Just look at the show Hoarders.  Those "organization experts" are not creating art from the clutter.  They are loading trucks from 1-800-GOT-JUNK.  The only space in my life where creativity comes out is playing in the band (although sticking with what works has served me well me in band for over 10 years). YES
6. Create a dump zone
  • This is essential.  John and I use our "office".  This connects with "schedule regular de-cluttering sessions".  The dump zone (or Bermuda triangle of recently acquired clutter) is typically the go to place for missing items until you find a permanent space and place for them.  YES
7. Ask for help
  • Another challenge for me.  My delegation skills have definitely improved over the past few years, but I still struggle with asking others for help.  This is especially true as President of the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble.  As I wrap up, delegation will be my number ONE suggestion to the next band president. NO
8. Separate emotions from possessions
  • Done.  I am not a highly emotional person anyway, but I am definitely NOT emotional about items.  I used to ask my students "If your house was on fire and you could save one item (assuming all of the people and animals were safe), what one item would you choose?"  What a struggle they had.  My answer is French Horn.  Not for sentimental reasons...HELLO, I have band practice every Wednesday! YES
9. Foresee (and avoid) problems
  • Another one of my strengths.  I prefer "hoping for the best, but planning for the worst"!  This has definitely helped in my personal and professional life.  However, it has made me a terrible passenger (especially in airplanes and cars).  Years ago, I finally opened up to my doctor about my fear of flying.  She quickly handed me a prescription for Xanax.  Problem-solved.  YES
10. Know where to donate
  • Living in south Florida, there are so many places to donate "stuff" the biggest struggle is finding the most appropriate place.  I prefer places like Povarello and Out of the Closet, as this directly impacts the gay community. YES
7 YES, 2 NO, 1 SOMEWHAT.  In a classroom, 75% is a "C".  Maybe I am not as organized as I once thought!

As we get older, priorities shift and evolve.  If I was to analyze this list 10 years ago, my answers would have been completely different.  For me, the 75% means that I have eased up the OCD tendencies for 25% of my life.  In terms of time, that is 6 hours a day, 42 hours a week, 2184 hours a year.  In terms of relationships, this has opened up space for my husband, family, friends, and blogging.