I’m Mad As Hell And I’m not Going to Take it Out On You Anymore!

“You do not have to be good,” is a line from a poem by Mary Oliver (Wild Geese). When I first read that line I was shocked. Growing up an Irish Catholic in Boston (yes, home of the Puritans), I learned early in life that ‘being good’ was required.

Over the years, I learned that while being good is an important part of ‘being a good person,” believing that I had to be good all the time caused problems. Why? Because it meant that I had to pretend that I never got angry. And anger is a normal part of a person’s range of emotions. It’s not getting or feeling angry that’s a problem; it’s what we do with that anger.

To release my anger appropriately I learned to:

  • Hit the bed with a tennis racket (try it, it’s great!)
  • Scream loudly while driving in the car (alone, of course- on the highway is best)
  • Exercise and play sports
  • Listen to really loud music (and dance around)
  • Talk to a friend, who will listen and not give advice (second part is really important)

In times of stress, we all find ways to cope. At this time of the year, particularly with New Year’s resolutions flying around, I want us to talk about this emotion. I can be a hidden enemy since there are a lot of unhealthy ways to cope with it. And worst of all, when I don’t deal with it, it comes out sideways in the form of overeating,unnecessary shopping and yelling at the people at inappropriate times. I really don’t want to do any of those.

I dislike new year’s resolutions so I’m not making any. I do like focus and I have my eyes on the prize for 2010.

Mine are:

1) Live one day at a time, just this day right here.

2) Tell the people who mean the most to me how much I love them, everyday.

That’s it.

Got constructive ways of dealing with anger? Please share them so we can all learn to cope better.

Why is This A Great Place to Work?

This is my favorite question to ask when I’m interviewing for a job. I say, “I’m looking for a great place to work.  Why is Xyz Company a great place to work?” The range of responses is revealing.

Some hiring managers have already answered this question in the way they talk about their work, their team and the company. It is apparent from their enthusiasm that they like where they work.

Others are not as comfortable. I look for body language to read between the lines. Slumping shoulders, a lowering of their voice, eyes to the floor (maybe all in a split second) tell me that they are not as convinced as they’d like to be.

I liked this article on, determining the corporate culture of a company. While jobs are tight (and they won’t be forever), the ability to assess whether a company is a good fit for us is an important skill.

Think about answering these questions for the last place you worked and then think of the answers you’d like to have for your next employer.

  • What 5 key words or key phrases best describe your company?
  • What would you guess would be the 5 key words or phrases that your (husband/wife…) would use to describe your company?
  • What is your favorite day of the workweek? Why?

By the way, turnabout is fair play. I am always prepared to answer their question about why I’m the kind of employee who would contribute to making their company a great place to work. Happy Holidays.

Ok, Now That’s Funny (Did You Really Say That During an Interview?)

Tis’ the season to neoh no you diint emued a laugh and here you go.  This link will take you to stories of  things that people have said in job interviews. They simply couldn’t have made them up. To tell a funny interview story on myself; I once called an executive by the wrong name (his name was Leo I was calling him Bill) during one part of a job interview. Why didn’t he say something? (I got the job anyway, phew.) Here are a couple of my favorites to get you started.

Hiring managers report:

  • When I told a college student that the position would not work with his schedule, he asked, “Can I hire an assistant?” No.  Goodbye.
  • Candidates have asked me if they can work under the table. Huh?
  • We had an applicant who put down as a qualification that he had his haircut by Charles Worthington and had done some hair modeling. He was applying for a financial analyst. That hair thing is so important in the numbers game.
  • Q) A goal you worked very hard to achieve?
    A) My Girlfriend! Umm.
    Q) Your scores on the resume don’t match from what you just said?
    A) Oh! I might have sent you the wrong resume. This resume was for XYZ company! Speechless.
  • An applicant said she was a “people person” not a “numbers person” – in her interview for an accounting position. Perfect.

And my favorite…

I once had a friendly well-dressed guy fill out his application with sparkly purple ink. I asked him about it and he said that he felt the purple would help to make him more memorable. Memorable? Yes. Employed? No.

Please share your funny interview stories; I’ll post them after the first of the year.

You’re Doing It Right – The Lemonade Movement

Chris Brogan blog & newsletter inspire

There’s a new movie coming out called the Lemonade Movement. Lemonade Movie.  I don’t know much about it except that I watched this video trailer for it and found it inspirational.  The clip shows people who have lost their jobs who are now doing new, fun and fulfilling work. Not what they planned on… but much better. So I say, they’re doing it right. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a minute to watch this short video of people who lost their jobs and found themselves.

I’m just like these folks and many of you; I’m out there finding my way. I know that though there are many risks and a lot of uncertainty; there are also some very cool rewards. Each of us can find our way. That’s what makes it good. What’s even better is that we can stand by each other and offer encouragement. I hope you’ll take a minute today and encourage yourself and someone else.

And speaking of doing it right; if you don’t know or follow Chris Brogan, I suggest you check him out. Chris is the co-author of a terrific book call Trust Agents. Check out his book and blog and my favorite, his newsletter. He writes it like he’s talking just to me.  He reminds me to help and promote others, not to take myself too seriously and to always do good work. I appreciate that because I know he is walking the walk.

You are on the verge of something something big. Let me know what it is…

The Gift of Giving: Changing How & What We Give

www.Heifer.org

www.Heifer.org

My ‘twenty-somethings’ were home for Thanksgiving.  We had a wonderful time eating and playing with the dogs. We talked about all kinds of things including how we want to celebrate the Christmas holiday this year. We decided that we were not going to buy any gifts for each other and we were all happy about this.

For those of us who are unemployed, the holidays can produce increasing financial stress. We want to be able to give our family everything they want. We feel if we limit what we give them that we are depriving them. I ask that you think about this.

Instead of buying ‘more’ – why not buy less. This article, Telling the Kids: We Need to Spend Less; talks about how to involve your children in your job search process. These are special teachable moments (see this LiveStrong article) that remind us about the true meaning of giving. I have a friend who told stories about how proud he was of his children each of whom offered to forego things and activities they wanted in order to ‘help the family’.

This could be a good year to start new traditions with your family. Instead of making it all about getting; how about concentrating on giving:

  • Cookies or home made breads
  • A small donation to a favorite charity
  • The gift of time
  • Gently used clothes (especially warm ones)
  • Home made cards or e-cards

One of our favorite charities is Heifer International. Donations provide livestock (everything from flocks of birds to sheep and cows) to needy families. The animals provide food (eggs and milk) and a source of income when the family has more than they need.

Please share your gift of giving ideas.