Archive for April, 2011

The Unhealthiest meal – and I’d do it again

April 29, 2011

The wordpress blog challenge for today is to describe your unhealthiest meal.  Easy.  It was something we had once each summer when I was growing up.

Background:  it was a no-nonsense family with basic midwestern food; some items I remember fondly, many I don’t.  The meat loaf, mashed potatoes, butterscotch pudding, and omelettes were overshadowed by mushy cauliflower that caused one  to have to stay at the table until it was eaten, tough pork chops, pickled beets.  My mother did what she thought was right, but she never did like cooking and felt that cake mixes were a major triumph of the twentieth century.  Once a summer, she came into her element.

One glorious night in June, she would surprise us by serving ONLY strawberry shortcake for dinner.  And I’m talking real biscuits topped with butter, loads of sugared strawberries, and absolute mountains of real whipped cream.  Each person had a whole dinner plate full of this.

It was quiet at that table, just choruses of “mmmm” every now and then.

Unhealthy?  Sure.  Wonderful?  Definitely.

It was a family that didn’t believe in much indulgence.  So what possessed her I’ll never know and it is too late to ask.  I assure you that I used to spring this on my family once a year or so, and they were equally blown away.

When I read other bloggers’ descriptions of their unhealthy meals, I think of how much they missed.  Their  terrible meals seem to have the element of secrecy to them.  And most seem to involve stomach aches.  But not my family’s annual strawberry shortcake festival.  No secrecy, no stomach ache, no guilt, just contented smiles for the rest of the evening.

It’s a wonderful memory, this unhealthy and relatively unbalanced summer feast.  And June is approaching – must make a note on the calendar to surprise some people with the Headley Annual Strawberry Shortcake.  Thanks, Mom.

Thoughts on using social media

April 26, 2011

I came across a well-written blog posting today, by author Shawn Graham, who is known by me as the author of Courting your Career: Match Yourself with the Perfect Job.  Shawn has just launched a beautiful website promoting his career and marketing business (I hope I said that right), and his site has been nominated for an award for its design and content.

Here’s what I liked about Shawn’s blog posting:  in discussing the prominent social media sites, he reminds us that we need to be where our customers are.  He says we need to have specific goals before participating in these sites.

I’m really happy on LinkedIn.  It works for me.  I understand it.  I check it.  I rejoice to read status updates from friends and colleagues.  I even add a few updates myself from time to time.  And Shawn’s posting gives me permission to do that.  I take from him that I should know where my customers are and meet them there.  I need to remember that when potential customers are no longer contacting me, I will need to check out these other resources, but that’s not for today.

Thanks, Shawn.  Now I realize that I’m not just stingy with my time and energy.  I prefer to stick with one resource that is working.  That’s a clarification that’s important for me.

Career Day – Help!

April 25, 2011

I’ve been invited to be a guest at two elementary school Career Days this spring, and the first one is coming up in two days.  I’m thinking.  And I’m soliciting advice.

How do I present the field of career counseling?  How do I talk about running my own business?

I consulted my 13-year-old grandson and he had plenty of advice:

  • Speak slowly to the little kids.
  • Don’t use big words.
  • Bring some neat-o stuff to show.
Well, that’s a bit helpful.  About the neat-o stuff, would business cards suffice?
Maybe I’m wondering what I wish I had been told in elementary school.  It’s a blur – was there such a thing as career education in the 1950s?  Was I listening?  Did anyone bring in neat-o stuff?
 I’m open to advice.

3 Goals for Blogging – Name Them!

April 18, 2011

The wordpress weekly blog challenge has posed a question:  do you know what three goals you have in mind for your blog?  Is it obvious to your readers?

Well, let me try to meet the challenge.  What are my three reasons for blogging?

1. To address career concerns of the day.  If there is a news story about the economy that will directly/indirectly affect your job search, I want you to know about it.  I want to help you strategize around it.  If you follow my tag tough times, that should take you to posts addressing the challenging times in which we find ourselves.

2. To share basic career information about the three stages of readers’ career development:  assessment, decision-making, and job search tools.  To this end, you can consult the tags assessment, misc. career, resumes, job interviews, on the jobin-house interviewing, and networking.  And if you wish to schedule a consultation in person or on the phone, this blog is a way for you to get to know me a bit first.

3. To share stories, strategies, resources, and unique problems of people in the arts.  If you are in this categories, you can consult inspired by the arts,Anne’s book reviews, and anything else on the list that you might need.

So why do I have so many other tags?  Well, because in three and a half years of blogging, clients and students have presented unique situations that turn out to be not so unique.  I want information and inspiration to be accessible as quickly as possible.  A wise fellow-blogger, Maureen Anderson, once observed that visitors to her blog deserve not to have their time wasted in finding what they came for.  Amen to that.

Online Career Help Right Now

April 17, 2011

Would you like a fresh look at your interests and where they can take you?

Having identified those interests, would you like to see what you might do with another layer of education or training?

I discovered a resource which I’ll be recommending to clients and blog followers (the price is right – free!).

It’s an assessment called My Next Move.

While browsing The Career Clinic, one of my favorite sites, I happened upon the podcast of a recent interview with Margaret Riley Dikel, known to so many in the career world for The Riley Guide. The Riley Guide is one of those sites that you visit to be surprised, updated, and inspired by what you find there.  The author of the site does her homework:  she keeps up with what’s happening, and I’m grateful.

Back to My Next Move.  It uses the familiar RIASEC code to identify career options for those who answer its 60 questions.  I’m here to testify that my own answers came out as expected (I’m Artistic, Social and Enterprising).  The examples of jobs in that field did kind of surprise me – along with social service positions, I might be interested in being a professor of architecture, which I find a scary thought, as well as clergyperson, almost as scary. In short, I found the assessment accurate in the large concepts of identifying my interest groups and fun in its illustrations.

So thank you, Maureen, for highlighting the work of such a distinguised guest.  And thank you, Margaret, for all you do to enlighten the rest of us.

Budget Impasse, Job Impasse – same or different?

April 14, 2011

Just when I’m happy that several clients are getting interviews, others are fired up about a new business idea, and someone is in the final round of interviews for a great job, I see on the evening news that doomsday is right around the corner.  Stop, networks and politicians.  You’re bringing me down!

I’m sure there is a connection between the federal budget crisis and job opportunities.  I’ve seen it, I’ve heard about it.  I know two people who are on hold in the federal job process because no one knows if they can hire for empty positions.  I’m not arguing that connection.

But I do protest that the bickering around the latest budget feuding (“shutdown averted.” “bankrupcy ahead”) is detracting from signs of economic recovery that are all around.  The unemployment rate is coming down – slowly, but in the right direction.  People who work hard at it are finding work.  It may not be the job of your dreams, it might not pay what you’d like, but you are working.

Here’s a salute to my niece in Florida, who is refusing to listen to “there aren’t any jobs” and is now cleaning condos for a decent hourly wage.  I believe her proud father told me that she decided to get a job, saw the ad in the paper, called them, and was working the next week.  D, I’m thrilled for you.

I agree that the big picture of our economy is troubled.  Compromise and sacrifice looms ahead.  If/when we reach the spirit of cooperation that we need, let’s celebrate that, along with our recovery and improving employment rate.  What do you think?

Stuck in an elevator with whom?

April 7, 2011

The question has been raised – with whom would you least like to be stuck in the elevator? Samples posted by other bloggers include the obvious (those with poor personal hygiene, someone with obnoxious political views), and of course, those are valid points,  But honestly, but came to mind for me is a whiner.

Please!  Spare me the following:

  • why does this always happen to me?
  • misfortunes comes in threes,
  • this is the kind of bad luck that I attract.

Why does this annoy me so?  As a career counselor, I have observed that a client will not move forward until he or she is ready to take action.  Whining about layoffs or bad luck or prejudice or age seems to feel good in the moment, but it definitely doesn’t hasten the process of getting a job.

I was recently in a similarly uncomfortable situation.  Not in an elevator, but on a subway platform in Washington, DC.  It was during the morning rush, and something (never actually determined) had delayed the arriving train.  So the crowd built and built on the platform to the point where you could not move.  Not retreat, not move ahead.  And then the train came in.  People could not get off because of the crowd.  Yes, truly.  The people who wanted to leave the train were shouting for us to move and there wasn’t anyplace to move.  Finally, the train took off, taking those morning commuters to the next, wrong station.  It was tense.  Then someone said something funny and all around me, people started to laugh.  They started joking about what they were missing at work.  I ventured that I was on my way to make a presentation, and someone said, “want to practice on us?  We’re not going anywhere”.  And when I said the topic was new trends in resumes, fifty people said – yes!  I didn’t do it, because new trains arrived and we finally got on, but I am grateful to those witty ones among us who keep things light.

If I must be stuck in an elevator, make my companions comedians.