Friday, January 30, 2015

Daily Post: Take care of yourself...

Trying to be a martyr, to get along with less, is a noble but unworkable enterprise. If you are losing a situation that nourishes you, finding other nourishment should be at the top of your priority list.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Female Paradox: Women Prefer to Work With Men

I thought this was so interesting and might spark conversation.  So I am reposting this article written by Terina Allen.

What do you think? -

  • What is your take on the questions outlined?
  • Do you have a preference of working for men over women? Why or why not?
  • Is working with and for women really different than with men?
  • We know the preference bias exists, but why do you think this happens and what should we do about it?
Here's the Article:
We spend a lot of time talking about, reading about and writing about gender diversity, pay equity, the glass ceiling and the lack of women in executive and leadership roles. We hear about how there is movement and change happening in this area and that women are advancing the ball by "leaning in" more to accept executive responsibilities.
So here's the pressing question I couldn't shake that led me to write this article seeking answers: If there is this huge movement to support and advance professional women, why do both women and men report not only that they prefer male bosses but that they just prefer to work with men in general more than with women? What's the real issue of working with women?

Can we create more female executives without actually wanting to work for them?

Can we support and advocate for the advancement of women and for crushing the glass ceiling without going all in? Who are female leaders supposed to lead when even women prefer to be led by men?

I think we have to ask ourselves - Are women, albeit sometimes unintentionally, keeping women down?

I'm not sure if it is a lack of advancement opportunities, societal norms and built-in expectations, some sort of professional jealousy or something else, but certainly there are strong underlying factors to contribute to these statistics and research.
  • According to this Forbes article, authored by Matt Symonds, "Today, women occupy just 4% of CEO spots at Fortune 500 companies, and fewer than one in five corporate board seats is held by a woman."
  • This Daily Beast article with data from a new Gallup poll, authored by Lizzie Crocker, informs that "40 percent of women prefer a man in charge, compared to 27 percent who prefer a female boss." The article goes on to say that "These numbers don’t exactly show a groundswell of women adopting Sheryl Sandberg’s “lean in” attitude, nor have they budged much over the last decade."
  • This article authored by Olga Khazan and featured in The Atlantic reviews a Pew research survey that indicates "In fact, more women said they'd rather work with men than men did." The article goes on to confirm that this dilemma gets worse - not better - with younger generations.

We have to do more to support professional women; we have to WANT to work for them.

We often have this discussion about breaking the glass ceiling and resolving pay inequities as if it is a male-driven phenomenon, but clearly it isn't. From what I can tell, it is very much, or at least equally, a female driven phenomenon.
When women say to women: we want you to be promoted and to get paid more, but we just don't want to work for you, we are part of the problem.
I posit that until women actually want to work with and for other women, these statistics will not change. Until women stop viewing leadership as a mostly masculine concept, these statistics will not change. Unless women match words to deeds and develop supportive workplace relationships with professional women, these statistics will not change. Until women report at least an equal preference for working with and for other women, nothing will change.
Why? Because of supply and demand. Women increasingly make up more and more of the professional workforce. We have the dominant voice, and our voice and actions are sending the message that men should be in charge. So long as the employees themselves prefer to work for men, wouldn't is stand to reason that more and more men would be elevated to positions of authority and get paid more for the privilege? I think so.

It's not just male bosses that women prefer; women prefer male colleagues in general.

Why would we ask organizations to design and administer proactive measures to develop female executives and promote diversity if we don't. Women are reporting they prefer working with men in all position levels and capacities.

Some questions I have to ask to learn - does some of the resistance to women come from one or more of these factors:

I think it's fair to say we can't explain all of this away by pointing the finger at organizational policies and male dominated practices without at least looking at what's going on between women that creates this result.
In hopes of getting some answers and feedback from you, the readers, I pose the following questions. These are questions we don't tend to discuss in the workplace, but maybe we need to start.
  1. Professional jealousy - especially when the other woman gets promoted fast beyond us or gets her work and projects noticed more than others. Do women find that they are competing with other women for professional recognition and acknowledgement and find it difficult to be happy for what we view as the competition?
  2. Limited opportunities - Since we are competing for such limited roles, are we intentionally or unintentionally backbiting and sabotaging one another because there is not enough for all of us?
  3. Different standards for different women - Do women have different standards for women with children and those without them? What about married versus single women - are we applying different standards?
  4. Discomfort working with smart, beautiful women - History shows that men didn't take beautiful women seriously, but is that still the case, or is this now more a women on women problem? Are women "still" viewing the workplace as a dating pool and competing for male attention? When a women is beautiful, are women the ones questioning her competence and intelligence and hence, showing her less respect?
  5. The marriage and motherhood factors - Do women look negatively on women who are not married and/or not mothers? Is there a problem working for or with women who don't have aspirations for marriage or motherhood?
  6. Balancing politeness and assertiveness - If the woman is polite and friendly, do we view her as too polite and too friendly, but when she is assertive and direct, are we viewing her as tempermental, above herself, or even bitchy?

I could go on, but the ultimate and final question here is -

How do we overcome inherent gender biases that not only men have but - women also have - against women? As it stands today, both men and women report a preference for working for men and with men. So long as this stands, we can't expect that more women will advance to the c-suite, and we surely can't expect that the inequalities in pay and promotional opportunities will increase.

You tell me -

  • What is your take on the questions I outlined above?
  • Do you have a preference of working for men over women? Why or why not?
  • Is working with and for women really different than with men?
  • We know the preference bias exists, but why do you think this happens and what should we do about it?

Daily Post: Break Society's Expectations...

Right now, many of us feel an immense shift in the way humans live in this world.  That shift, while benevolent, comes from within, rather than from our culture. That means your inner compass will inevitably tell you to break society’s expectations. 

Maybe that’s happening right now. If not, wait a few minutes. It’s coming.

~Martha Beck

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Daily Post: Do What You Love...

Do whatever work feeds your true self, even if it’s not a safe bet, even if it’s like a crazy risk, even if everyone in your life tells you you’re wrong or bad or crazy.

~Martha Beck

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Daily Post: 8 Things Happy People Do in the First 5 Minutes of Their Day!

One of life’s greatest mysteries is happy people in the morning. Most of us don’t get it. They seem to bounce out of bed with bright smiling faces while we’re still blindly grunting for our morning cups of joe. It’s not fair! How do they do it? 

Well, it turns out, those delighted smiles aren’t necessarily preordained. Yes, genetics and life circumstances can account for up to 60 percent of variations in happiness, but the remainder is 100 percent up to you! 

Even if your default setting is low, positivity is something we can foster in ourselves through our thoughts and actions. Comedian Groucho Marx (who had arguably the grumpiest name on the planet) once said, 

“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” 

In honor of Groucho’s inspiring declaration, I did some research on what happy people do to get their days off to a cheery start. Each of us can rip a page from their handbook — and become one of the shiny happy people in the process.

You hit snooze every morning in hopes of a few extra rounds with the world’s most sensual lover: sleep. But unfortunately scientists found that hitting the snooze button can actually make you more tired. Abusing the snooze (great name for a band) is usually the symptom of a larger issue: sleep deprivation. To solve that problem, turn in 30 minutes earlier on the reg, impose a tech curfew 90 minutes before bed — and if all else fails, hide your alarm clock out of reach! Nothing like a crack-of-dawn scavenger hunt to get you up and at ‘em.

Say something positive to yourself — an affirmation or something you’re grateful for — to set the stage for other positive thoughts to join in throughout the day. Each day is a new opportunity to live your life to its fullest, so allow yourself to wipe the slate clean and not drag past regrets into the future. 

Because, DUH. If you need science to tell you why this is an awesome idea, you haven’t been doing it right. A morning shower is a great time for meditation, self-reflection, or just plain zoning out. It feels so good you’ll forget the meaning of the word drought… Oops!

Don’t reach for your phone!! Placing a morning moratorium on electronics is a wonderful way to buffer your awakening into the “real world.” Instead of greeting the day with emails and texts, start with a coffee and crossword, or by taking an extra 10 minutes to cuddle with your boo. It’s your moment of Zen before the inevitable bombardment. Not only will the delay serve as a mood booster, but allowing yourself a break from technology will help you feel more in control of when and how much you choose to use it later in the day.

Adjusting from blissful slumber to the demands of the day can be a jarring experience. Do yourself some favors! Get a jumpstart on the day by making a list or laying out clothes the night before. Try to sequence your tasks most efficiently (i.e., let your hair air dry while you eat breakfast), and once you’ve automated the habit, you don’t have to think about it anymore. What’s more: A relaxing, low stress morning routine sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. 

Research has tied morning exercise to better sleep, and exercising before breakfast can help keep you trim. Exercising early has other observed benefits, too — like feeling more productive, energized, and less stressed. Plus, if you get it out of the way first thing, it’s not hanging over your head for the rest of the day. 

“I don’t have enough time!” syndrome is common with morning exercise, so let me suggest a perfect solution: The Under 20 Workout. Each video is less than 20 minutes, the trainer jokes around and keeps it fun, and the fast-paced workout will get your tired blood pumping! 

Fuel up and make your stomach smile. Getting your a.m. nosh on will improve your mood and reduce fatigue later in the day. Okay yummy, you had me at “food.”

Starts with “s” and rhymes with “Tex” is definitely my favorite doctor-recommended way to make the morning — and the rest of the day — happier. An early romp with your partner will leave you feeling more upbeat and bonded, but that’s not all! You’ll also improve your immunity for cold and flu season; grow more luscious hair, skin, and nails; and decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke. Talk about a sexy panacea!

Written by Courtney Kocak

Monday, January 19, 2015

12 Good Books You Must Read in 2015! ~By Andrea Bates

I love reading. Pretty much any time I can squeeze in with a good book is time I’ll do so – happily. So when the opportunity came up for me to write a list of good books you absolutely must read in 2015, I jumped at it.

Because reading and me? Perfect together.

Some of these books I’ve read. Some I haven’t. But I plan to read them all. You should, too.

If you are new to making reading goals, don’t let the idea of 12 good books overwhelm you. You don’t have to read all of these at once, think of this list as one book to read each month. (And note: This post includes affiliate links!)

Hand is a NY Times bestselling author whose story of love, loss and mystery looks to be a book we’re all going to want to read this year. Popular for her young adult books, this novelappears to be breaking her out of that demographic. I, for one, plan on checking it out!

Gillian Flynn is no stranger to being recognized in the must-read world. Her hit Gone Girl was all over the place last year. I’m going to recommend you pick up a copy of Dark Places before the movie comes out this year. I read it recently and I just might have liked it better than Gone Girl. At the very least I wasn’t ready to toss the book out from a ten-story-window when I finished.

Sarah Pekkanen is one of my favorite fiction authors. Her novels have entertained me and captured my attention one after the other. Her writing style is realistic and down-to-earth, and I expect nothing less from this next release. Things You Won’t Say has a release date at the end of May 2015, and should absolutely be added to your spring or summer reading list.

I stumbled across A Fall of Marigolds as I was digging through some possible book titles for this list. Though it was released in February 2014 it didn’t hit my radar until late in the year. I’ll be honest, I’m still not sure I’ll be able to read it as there’s a primary character who was impacted by 9-11, and because of that I’m hesitant. However, the story connecting women across a century with the primary touchstone being a scarf? I’m drawn to it.

I am a huge fan of Anita Diamant. Her latest release came out in early December, and I’ve already seen favorable reviews. The Boston Girl, a tale of a grandmother telling her life story to her granddaughter, sounds touching and quite possibly like required reading. I’m not sure what else to say except that I’ve been a long-time fan and look forward to getting my hands on this one.

Sarah Addison Allen has been one of my favorite authors for years. Her latest novel, First Frost, comes out this month (the 20th) and I can’t wait to grab a copy. Addison Allen’s literary voice is a beautiful one. She’s got a mystical way of writing that captures the heart and mind. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a big fan. I look forward to reading First Frost this year.

I’m not sure exactly what is is that draws me to The Book of Unknown Americans, but I’m pulled in by the brief details of these immigrant teenagers in the midst of turmoil and hatred, hope and love. I look forward to learning more about Henríquez and reading her work. The paperback version of this book comes out this March.

The synopsis of Before I Go brings me to tears, so it might not be the kind of read that everyone would recommend. And since it’s not out yet and I haven’t read it I obviously can’t say for certain how it will be. But the story of a woman who is looking to find her replacement for her husband before she passes on seems captivating. From what I can tell this is a definite tear-jerker and we should have tissues handy should we decide to pick it up when it comes out (currently scheduled for early January ’15, so really soon!).

Lisa Genova is one of my favorite authors of ever. There are a small handful of people who I automatically purchase their books when they come out no matter what. As in, I don’t wait for the paperback version to come out. Genova is absolutely one of those authors. Her debut novel, Still Alice, is one I mention frequently when people are looking for powerful read. Never one to shy away from important topics, Inside the O’Briens: A Novel, is a story about a family man with Huntington’s Disease. I’m keeping an eye on the April release date with hopes of getting my hands on a copy sooner.

Landline has been getting mixed reviews from my friends. I’m not sure if it’s because Rowell has ventured into writing from an adult perspective and we really tend to prefer her young adult style, or what it is exactly. I was introduced to her writing when I learned about Eleanor and Park this year and am thinking she is going to be the kind of author I need to follow no matter what she writes. So, pick up Landline. Or wait for her next book coming out this year. Except I think it is going to have monsters and be more YA, so keep that in mind!

I’m a big Amy Poehler fan. And I think every year you should pick someone you enjoy and maybe adore just a little bit and read their book. And so – in this case – it’s Amy. (Yes, we’re on a first name basis, of course!) I haven’t read Yes Please yet, but she’s entertaining and hilarious, and from what I’ve read about the book – real – like a real person we’ll want to know even more. And so, I plan on getting my hands on a copy this year.

A mystery that has been described as a psychological thriller, The Girl on the Train, looks like a must-read for the coming year. Hawkins’ debut novel seems like it will be the kind of book that keeps you up at night until you finish it – and everyone needs that kind of read now and then, right? I can’t wait to dive right in – but I’ll have to because it doesn’t come out until next week.

Let me know if you have any you’d add to my list. – and I hope that these will help push me to that this year!

*I'll check back frequently and mark off what I read!

Happy reading!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Daily Post: Setting Your Vision...

Many of my friends are redesigning their vision.  This might help you out.  Some characteristics of a vision are: 
1. Clarity and specificity 
2. Vivid and clear picture 
3. Description of a bright future 
4. Memorable and engaging imagery through words and pictures 
5. Aligned with personal and organizational values and culture  

~Kandee G.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Daily Post: Quit while your Not Ahead...

The gambler is no more likely to win on the 500th roulette spin than on any of the previous 499. But a huge amount of effort goes into attempts at redeeming things—lemon cars, money–pit houses, horrible relationships, wars—that just aren’t working. 

Learning to quit while you’re not ahead, when the dull ooze of depression tells you things are not going to get any better, is one of the best financial and life skills you can master.

~Martha Beck

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Daily Post: Remain Calm...

Fear – including all varieties of anxiety and rushing – causes a tension that chokes off what wants to happen.  Remaining calm, as calm at the end of an event as at the beginning, facilitates a smooth relaxed completion.
~Martha Beck

Monday, January 12, 2015

Daily Post: Letting Go...

There is an old story about a Zen monk who was waiting to greet the emperor of Japan.  Just before the emperor arrived, he turned to a fellow monk and said, “I’ll be back later.”  “Later” turned out to be 12 years.  When his peers asked where he’d been, why he’d left, he explained, “As I waited for the emperor, I felt my palms begin to sweat.  I knew that I was attached to social roles because my body was tense.  I’ve been meditating to lose that attachment.  I came back as soon as I could.” 

In our culture, we often think that detaching from something means that we are less devoted to it, that we love it less.  

The monk’s story comes from the opposite perspective; when we are attached to people’s roles we cannot see them from a place of simple compassion.

~Martha Beck

My Writing Process...

Today's writing assignment is a bit tough, as I sit here in front of a blank page on my journal, having all kinds of great suggestions to go with. I know what I want to write about, but resist it. Am I being stubborn to even SHARE it? "You can do this girl!" says the little voice in my head. "Don't do it," says the ailing one instead. "please keep going" says my writing coach, nudging "go ahead."

5 Tips for Today!

1. Live inspired.
2. Live honest.
3. Live in the moment.
4. Live with purpose.
5. Yesterday is over and tomorrow is not a guarantee.

Daily Post: Job seeker's ticket to success.

As I apply for jobs to get me reset for the venture and transition in our lives.  I am finding all sorts of good articles to help me develop my job search strategy.  Here is a good one that helps us 'seasoned' peeps, with successful tips.
The 'Interview Bucket List' is a job seeker's ticket to success. by J.T. O'Donnell, CEO, CAREEREALISM
An 'Interview Bucket List' is a set of companies you admire and respect. Ideally, they're located in your commutable area, or in a place you desire to live. But, more importantly, the companies you choose can only be on the list if:
  1. The company's product or service is something you believe in.
  2. You can explain in detail, what experiences you've had in life that have taught you the company's product or service is worthy of your admiration or respect.
The goal is to come up with a minimum of ten companies (twenty would be better), that meet the above criteria.
Your list = problems you're care about solving.
When you create a list of companies that evoke your admiration and respect, you are connecting to their purpose. Since companies are in the business of solving a problem for their customers, then there's a good chance you are interested in solving that problem too. This is a very important part of identifying good potential employers for you. Here's why....
When the work gets challenging or boring, the passion sustains you.
Working for a company who does something you value makes the work more meaningful. You will find your job more satisfying and fun. More importantly, on the days when the work feels boring or challenging, your passion for what the company does will sustain you.
IMPORTANT: It's not about how good an employer they are.
One important thing I must remind you of is that an Interview Bucket List isn't a list of employers you heard are great to work for. We shouldn't choose companies based on their benefits and perks. If you don't feel connected to the company's mission, then those things are merely bribes. When the honeymoon period of your new job wears off, and you get used to the benefits and perks so they no longer feel special, you could end up with a job you don't really like. Especially, if what they do for customers doesn't inspire or impress you. [For example, here' a post that gives you five reasons you may not want to work for perk-packed Google.]
You may feel a little uneasy at first...
Creating your list can feel a little daunting in the beginning. We're so used to going to job boards when we think it's time to look for a new position. It's automatic. It's easy. The companies are served up to us and we sit and try to fit ourselves into their roles. But, if you step back and think about it, that's like forcing a square peg in a round hole. It's also like going to the used car lot and being told you can only buy what's on display - very limiting! Even still, the idea of creating our own customized list of ideal employers, as smart as it is, may feel a little intimidating - maybe even a bit indulgent. Nobody's ever given you free reign to choose your employer before, have they? I'm here to tell you it's the best way for you to find a good employer efficiently. Keep reading and see why...
How to get started on your list:
There are lots of ways you can start to identify companies worthy of your Interview Bucket List. The key is to be mindful and aware that every company in your vicinity is a potential employer. Don't get hung up on the fact that they can or can't use your skill sets. Companies hire all types of people. For now, just stick the ones that do something you admire and respect. Here are some ways to get the prospects flowing:
  • Drive around town and through business areas and jot down the names of companies and then go home and check them out online.
  • Reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce and get a list of their members s so you can research what they do.
  • Make a list of all your hobbies and interests and then use a keyword search on the Internet to find companies related to them that are located in your area.
  • Flip through print and digital magazines. As you find products and services that interest you, look into the companies that make them and see if similar companies are in your area.
  • Spend time on your local news sites reading the business sections. Some regions even have special business magazines that feature companies in the area.
  • Visit industry websites related to your field of interest and look for companies that are featured there to learn more about them. Then, see if you can find similar ones in your area.
Once you start training yourself to look for companies you admire and respect, you'll be amazed at how much better you'll get at building your list. It's like any new habit - a little conscious repetition and you'll find it easier in no time.
Once you've got a list, it's time to start building your network.
The list is the foundation for your networking. The goal is to identify five people at each company and find ways to connect with them. Obviously, a referral by a shared connection is your best bet. But, if you don't have a shared connection, you are going to have to step out of your comfort zone and try to connect with strangers. This is not as hard as you think. You can customize a request to connect on LinkedIn, or even use an Inmail to write a longer email asking to connect. The goal is to ask them to connect in hopes you an learn more about the company and what it might take to earn a position there. Stress to them that you aren't looking for them to help you get a job, just some insight as to what the process is like. Not everyone will connect, but this is a numbers game. All you need is one person to connect and speak with you and you'll be on your way.
The more people you connect with, the closer you get to your next job.
As you connect with people at companies on your Interview Bucket List, you may think you have nothing in common with them, but you are so wrong! Think about it, you share a passion - you both admire and respect the company the connection works for. This means you could have a meaningful conversation around the company's products or services that could help you get to know each other better. This is what networking is - a chance to exchange thoughts and ideas to build mutual trust and respect. If you approach your networking with the mindset that you are just looking to have interesting conversations with like-minded professionals, you'll find it easier to develop relationships with your connections. Better still, these conversations will lead to discussions about other companies (i.e. previous places the person has worked at, competitors, etc.), which you can then research and potentially add to your list.
Now, here's where the job search gets easier:
80% of all jobs are gotten via referral. The process works like this: A person you know, knows someone who is hiring and refers you. What you may not know is most of these types of referrals are from second level connections. It's not usually your direct friends and family that refer you to your next job. More commonly, it's a friend of a friend, or in this case, a connection of a connection, who refers you to the job. Why does this happen? People who aren't as deeply connected to us have an easier time referring a stranger to a job. It actually makes sense. If you refer a person you don't know very well but comes recommend to you by a colleague or friend, you can easily say to the hiring manager, "____ recommended her for the job. I don't know her very well, but she seems like someone worth checking out."
Based on the above, can you see how having a targeted list of people at companies you admire and respect might be the smartest way to expand your network and get referred to a company you'd like to work for?
I will admit, there is one hard part.
While the process above isn't complex, I will be fair and tell you that the one place you can feel some frustration is in the research phase of the companies. Sadly, companies just don't share enough information about themselves so job seekers can determine if they feel connected to the business. I tell my clients to study the company website, follow them on LinkedIn and Glassdoor, and do a thorough internet search to read articles on their accomplishments. But even then, it's not always enough. [In fact, I've been so bothered by this challenge for job seekers that my company decided to start a program to let employers know when job seekers want more info from them. It's FREE to job seekers - you can learn more here.]
I can tell you this: if you don't do your due diligence, you won't be able to generate the admiration and respect you need to put that company on your Interview Bucket List. You need to feel an emotional connection to the company that only comes from getting to know them on a more personal level - that can take some effort.
But, don't give up! It's that connection to what the company does that will make networking, and ultimately, interviewing with the company easier.
If the above sounds like too much work, let me just say this...
When it comes to job opportunities, we get out what we put in. If you can't be bothered to take control of your job search and focus your efforts on the kinds of companies you'd be most excited to work for, then you don't deserve to work for them. You may feel that's harsh, but it's true. You are a business-of-one. Your marketing efforts will determine the kind of clients (a/ka/ employers) you land. Which means, if you believe you deserve a good employer and a great career, then make the effort. Nobody's going to hand it to you. Otherwise, accept that you've taken the easy route and be happy with what you get. Although, if searching on job boards is your approach, you may want to watch this video series on why you are being tossed from the online application process (no matter how perfect a match you are), 8 out of 10 times.
A final reason to start your Interview Bucket List today!
There's lots of evidence to support hiring is on the rise and companies are going to start competing for talent. However, that also means more people who have been working in jobs they hate will start to look for new employers. The competition for the best jobs will heat up. The sooner you start your list, the sooner you an network your way into a job with an employer of your choosing.

Daily Post: Revamp your resume...

As I apply for jobs to get me reset for the venture and transition in our lives.  I am finding all sorts of good articles to help me redesign my portfolio, resume and vitae.  Here is a good one that helps us 'seasoned' professionals revamp our portfolio to ensure everything in our career is looking good on paper.

5 Resume Building Tips You Won’t Get From Your Typical Career Counselor by Nicholas Wyman CEO at Institute for Workplace Skills
If you’re about to finish high school, or have been out for some time but haven’t quite figured out your next move, a tall stack of college brochures and student loan applications may be crowding out a wealth of other information about the myriad alternative educational options for next September. That may because your guidance counselor – like the majority of today’s guidance counselors – has recommended college as your next step after high school graduation – without stopping to consider if it’s the option that’s best for you. Or it might be because your parents are convinced – wrongly – that a four-year degree is all that stands between you and a life of low-income, dead-end work. Or maybe it’s simply because the societal myth of “college for everyone” is so pervasive, pursuing another alternative has never even occurred to you. That’s a shame because with the serious financial investment a four-year college degree requires, it’s a decision that should not be made lightly. And in truth there are many ways to begin building a resume and jumpstart a career without necessarily heading straight to college. A liberal arts degree is the perfect choice for some people, but if it is just a default choice because you aren’t sure of what to do next, it may be a big investment that doesn’t deliver on its return.
In today’s job market, gaining hands-on experience is often the far better way to build a resume. Moreover, work experience can also inform career decisions so that if you do decide to continue with school, you have a better sense of exactly what path you want to pursue, ensuring that no investment made in your education is wasted.
Transferable workplace skills like problem-solving, team-building and critical thinking are a huge commodity in today’s job market. Here are some ways to get these skills and build up a great resume, instead of simply hitting the default button and going straight to college
1 Take a “gap year” and make the most of it
For people who know exactly why they are going to college and what they have to gain from their degree, college is a great choice. But many young people are uncertain about what they want to study, or how relevant their course of study might actually be in the job market. In this case, taking a year off school to explore other opportunities can be invaluable. The key is using the gap year to gain self-knowledge, as well as some practical experience.
Use this time to try out different things. Travel if possible, but see if you can do more than just go backpacking. There are numerous opportunities to do volunteer work overseas, building houses or libraries, working with children, cultivating land, language tutoring—you name it. Many apprenticeships and traineeships offer these kinds of opportunities as well, along with a paycheck. Structured travel is a great way to not only build confidence, but all the soft skills that come with working in a professional environment as well.
2 Follow your passions, not just a paycheck
For some, the gap year might turn into three or four years, or more. A life-changing apprenticeship could lead to rewarding work in a particular field for several years before deciding to pursue a degree, as it did for me. It’s important to see one’s career as constantly evolving, and take advantage of the many opportunities to acquire stackable credentials. By choosing opportunities that genuinely reflect your interests, you’ll add experience, knowledge and skills to your resume naturally.
3 Pursue online courses and certifications
Offered at many local community colleges, these can be an inexpensive way to explore an interest without making a huge commitment. Many are offered evenings and weekends, so you can work and earn a living while gaining practical skills to add to your resume.
4 Try out an entry-level jobs related to your field
Often, a year or two of experience on the ground floor of a career or field can be a huge competitive advantage – and accelerate your ascension up the ladder. For someone interested in hospitality or customer relations, a job in a restaurant or café would be a great place to start. For someone with an affinity for architecture or design, work on a construction or painting crew would make more sense. Seek out entry-level job opportunities in your field of interest and use the experience as a springboard.
5 Take your online reputation seriously
In a world where technology has increased our ability to connect and be visible, the use of online platforms can work to our advantage…or disadvantage. Every day, we are building or damaging our online reputation. Hiring managers and employers will notice, so it’s important to be deliberate with the use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms. Consider them part of your resume, and be as careful to manage the image they project.
These platforms can also be a big help in building a network of potential employers or clients. Create a sharp, well-written LinkedIn profile that demonstrates your practical, real world skills and experience, and update it regularly. Be sure to list all your specific unique skills and abilities –whether they be a certification in mixology, the knowledge of HTML or a programming language, or the ability to wire a circuit board – not just your work history or educational experience. And remember that thoughtful, diligent network building with other skilled professionals can lead to job opportunities you might not hear of otherwise.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Recipe for Today: Cauliflower & Kale Lasagna

What You Need?

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, thinly sliced
  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 c. Whipped Cauliflower
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 4 c. coarsely chopped kale (microwave 90 secs)
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded Gruyer / Swiss Cheese
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley

Whipped Cauliflower:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup crumbled feta or blue cheese

Whipped Cauliflower:

  • Cut 1 head trimmed cauliflower into 1-inch chunks. Put in a large pot with 2 cloves peeled and crushed garlic and ½ cup whole milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until cauliflower is very tender, about 20 minutes. Purée cauliflower and cooking liquid in batches in a food processor until smooth. Fold in ½ cup crumbled feta or blue cheese and serve. Serves 4.

What To Do?

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and cook, uncovered, 10 minutes.  Cover and cook until caramelized and browned, about 15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.  Place 1/2 cup whipped cauliflower on the bottom of the pan.  Arrange 2 lasagna noodles on top.  Layer on 2 c. kale, half the onions, 3/4 c. cauliflower and 1/2 c. cheese.  Arrange 2 noodles on top.  Layer on remaining 2 c. kale, remaining onions and 1/2 c. cheese. Arrange 2 noodles on top.  Layer on remaining 2 c. kale, remaining onions and 1/2 c. cheese.  Arrange 2 noodles on top.  Spread remaining 3/4 c. cauliflower over noodles, then sprinkle on remaining cheese.  Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes, or until bubbly.  Uncover and bake 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and garnish with chopped parsley.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 4.

Make every day your Chooseday

A husband had just finished reading a new book entitled, "You Can Be The Man Of Your House."
He put the book down, stormed into the kitchen, and announced to his wife,

"From now on, you need to know that I am the man of this house and my word is Law.

You will prepare me a gourmet meal tonight, and when I'm finished eating my meal, you will serve me a sumptuous dessert.

After dinner, you are going to go upstairs with me and make love to me in the manner of my choosing. Afterwards, you are going to run me a relaxing bath, wash my back and towel me dry.
Then, you will massage my feet and hands ...... and tomorrow, guess who's going to dress me and comb my hair?"

"The funeral director," his wife replied.

We tend to focus too much on titles, expectations and qualifications, and not enough on the impact we make on the lives of others.

When we choose to peel away some of these generalizations, kiss goodbye to the labels we've been given and instead project our passion for what we do and why we do it, we attract all the people, resources and opportunities we need to succeed.

This year someone will choose to let go of their past, rewire their present and rewrite their future.
This year someone will choose to turn pain into power, fear into fortune and confusion into clarity.
This year someone will choose to trust themselves, take bigger risks and be so good that they can't be ignored.

The question is not so much can you, but will you?

Make every day this year Chooseday.

~An excerpt from Sunil Bali

5 Tips for Today!

1. It might take a year, it might take a day, but what's meant to be will always find its way.
2. Ambition is the first step to success. The second step is action.
3. By being yourself, you put something in the world that was not there before.
4. Listen to your heart!
5. The only difference between those who threw in the towel and quit and those who used their energy to rebuild and kept it going is found in the word "hope" and "faith".

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Daily Post: How to Set Powerful Goals...

Over and over, researchers studying happiness have found that the situational elements people crave—money, social status, possessions—don’t reliably lead to an experience of well-being. By contrast, learning to find joy in the present moment (a.k.a. focusing on experiences you truly want in your life) increases life satisfaction, improves health, and allows us to live longer, more fulfilling lives.

~Modified version from Martha Beck

A Typical Entrepreneur Weekend

Entrepreneurs are not really like other people. We see things from different angles, we operate in different ways, and we have a different gears. We are passionate people, and once we’ve found an idea worth pursuing our work becomes our life. We look at time off as if it were a disease.

You will be hard pressed to find an entrepreneur who doesn’t currently, or at some point in their career, work until 3 am and get up at 730 am every day.

Why? Because we try to maximize our time. Once the family goes to bed, we can really get things done.

For normal people weekends are a time to relax and unwind, visit with friends and family, or simply just veg out. Not if you’re an entrepreneur. For us, weekends are still full of work, but in another gear. There is a different energy and pace to the weekend so your mind works differently, which allows you to make progress in new areas.

As an entrepreneur you must be a master of time management. You must be able to spend time with your loved ones and get your work done without missing a beat. This is crucial to early-stage success. So how do you do this?

There is no clear-cut answer to this question, but here is a good rundown of how I use my weekends, which I consider to be a typical entrepreneur weekend . It’ll probably sound familiar to other entrepreneurs..

Generally speaking, most of the world is done with work and totally clocked out by 5 pm in your city. Friday night is and always will be a social time, so use it as such. I use the time on Friday in the following ways:

Friday 5-7 pm
Turn off my phone
Shut down my computer
Spend quality time with my kids
Reflect and rewind the week mentally
Write down all the things I need to do over the weekend

Friday Night
Take a contact, and preferably their spouse, to dinner. Push work to the back burner and make sure the evening is socially driven. You must like the people you do business with, so make sure you get to know them well.

Come home, unwind and enjoy some quiet time with my wife. Once she goes to sleep I open the laptop and begin to plan actions for next week.

Wake up early, exercise, read in peace and quiet, and then have breakfast with loved ones.

Personally I belong to a group of influencers from the Entertainment and Technology sectors and I attend meetings to learn about the latest trends while interacting with friends, colleagues and contacts for 3 hours every Saturday.

After the meeting on Saturday I always try and have a one-on-one meeting with someone new. This time is crucial for building relationships and growing your network. Those that will spend time one-on-one on a Saturday at 1:30pare your birds of a feather.

After this meeting, for me, it’s all about family time. My phone goes on vibrate and I take the family somewhere fun for a while and spend quality time together. However, I always bring a small notebook to capture ideas as they come, and they always do because my brain is totally relaxed and not distracted.

Once I put the kids to bed I get to spend time with my beautiful wife alone. Ahhhh peace and quiet. We watch a movie or sit and talk, but either way we have quiet time and appreciate it.

Once the entire family is in bed and sleeping my second half of the day begins. I use this time to work on SEO, social campaigns, contact organization, writing, or anything that requires a small to medium amount of brain power. I do this until my eyes cannot stay open any longer.

I always call Sunday Trep Day and for good reason. This is the day in which my brain is raging at full power with no distractions. I always begin Sunday with some exercise and reading to get me going. Then I spend time with my family and somewhere around mid-day I start really charging hard.

I start with wrapping up anything that I am behind on from last week. Old emails, new emails, internal communications, fundraising paperwork, etc. Once this is out of the way I start to get creative. I use a ton of voice-to-text to dump all of the thoughts I have going through my brain into a single document.

After this brain dump, I set about applying these ideas and making them actionable. I think and strategize in silence. I revisit the things putting off to see if they make sense and if I should move on them. I usually come out of this session with a few blog posts, a new twist on our messaging, tons of new prospecting ideas, and a bunch of useful ammo for the coming week.

Later in the night, after everyone is asleep, I begin writing emails and preparing for the day to come. I use the Boomerang app in Gmail – it is 100% a must use tool for entrepreneurs on the weekend. I can write emails to contacts and set a time for release, usually on Monday in the morning. This is important because it won’t upset people if when their phone pings them during the middle of the night.

What are some of the things that you do on the weekend?

I would love to hear.

~ Modified version that was written originally by Eric Rice Founder & CEO at TrepScore