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The Gorilla – Ego In The Interview

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 15, 2013 in Executive Coaching, Interviewing Skills, Self Improvement, Thinking Positive

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Conflicts among gorillas are most often resolved by ritualistic displays intended to intimidate without becoming physical. These displays can include chest beating, ground stomping, and other showings of strength.

Gorilla-like behavior can surface under a wide variety of circumstances in the workplace. Perceived “threats” such as:
• authority being taken away
• new policies and procedures
• company reorganization

can cause the “gorilla” to emerge by making individuals feel self-doubt or under appreciated. Skill sets might be stretched into previously un-treaded territories, new responsibilities can trigger inner feelings of self-doubt, or the person isn’t feeling as challenged in a new role which they feel is beneath their abilities.

Consider this interview scenario; a management level person is participating in interviews where the new employee will become their peer. How will they view the interviewees if they are experiencing self-doubt about themselves and their own work?

It’s important to know as much about whom you are interviewing with and how your level of experience compares with them so you might be able to spot areas that would cause the interviewer to pound their chest and try to intimidate you. If you find yourself in this Gorilla’s cage, seek common ground where you can show how you will be a supportive experienced member of their team working towards a common goal.

But don’t be afraid to pound your chest a little in the interview. For example, I recently had a conversation with someone who had performed 4 general ledger systems conversions in his career and they were interviewing for a job that required that type of experience. Having successfully completed this work “only” 4 times before had left this person feeling that there were other, more qualified consultants in the world who perhaps had far more experience. The truth of the matter was, that in the interview setting they were the expert in the room because no one in that company had ever completed more than one system conversion. So, while you might suspect you aren’t the “most” experienced at something, it doesn’t mean you aren’t the most experienced person at that moment and, therefore, the immediate subject matter expert in the eyes of the hiring manager.

Be proud of your accomplishments and achievements. Prepare for every interview by researching the individuals you will be interviewing for and do a personal inventory of what you have made, saved, or achieved in the past and how your accomplishments will benefit your potential new employer in the future.

Have a bit of the gorilla’s confidence while steering clear of threatening territory!

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The Bobcat – An Adaptable Predator

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jan 23, 2013 in Job Search, Thinking Positive

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In an ever-changing world, job seekers need to become adaptable in order to succeed. Just because opportunities may be limited in your current locale, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In order to become successful, some creature comforts may have to be sacrificed. Ties that may bind you could be holding you back. There may also be other aspects that could improve your chances of finding a lucrative position in your career of choice.

1. Locale – Much like how the bobcat will alter its location in order to hunt, the job seeker may need to look in other areas to score the job he or she is qualified for. The bobcat will hunt prey that is in abundance in any given location. If the opportunities are slim in one area, this lynx relative will simply choose an easier target or move to an area that has a better supply of what it wants.

Family and friends are important in your life, but being able to support yourself and/or a family has to take priority. If the opportunities are slim for what you want, expand your hunt to encompass areas outside of your city or perhaps even in a different state. You need to survive and if the meal is better in a different location, that is where you need to hunt.

2. Resilience – Although the bobcat has been widely hunted for a variety of reasons, the species stays resilient and continues to flourish. Although you may not land the job of your dreams, your continued resilience will keep the goal in focus. While you may have to accept work in a separate field of study, it doesn’t mean you have to commit yourself to it for the rest of your life.

Obtaining a degree from college can open a new world of possibilities for employment and career choices. However, many students don’t experience that career in their chosen field of expertise. Although you may have to flip hamburgers or bag groceries for a while, it doesn’t mean your aspirations have to be any less. Put food on your table with menial jobs while you hunt for the career you want. Stay resilient in your beliefs of being something more and continue to strive for your goals.

3. Prey – Although the bobcat will prefer a larger dinner, smaller animals will suffice if the game is lacking such delicacies. As stated above, there is nothing wrong with having to settle for a small job if it keeps you alive. If you have to accept something lower than your standards, pounce on it as you would with larger game. A good reference from a present employer can greatly help your chances for furthering your future career options elsewhere.

If it is edible, the bobcat will eat it. View your job seeking methods in the same manner. If you can do it, you might as well. There is nothing binding you at any job if a better opportunity comes your way. However, treat each job like it’s a meal for a starving cat. It may be a rabbit, but it will sustain you until that juicy deer comes along.

Many employers find tenacity a good trait to have. The attitude of never giving up shows that you will continue to strive even when the odds are against you. By being adaptive to your situation, you can flourish while others dwindle. Go into the position with confidence that you are the best candidate for the job.

This guest post was contributed by Allison. Blogging for was a natural progression for Allison once she graduated from college, as it allowed her to combine her two passions: writing and children. She has enjoyed furthering her writing career with http://www.nannyclassifieds.com/. She can be in touch through e-mail allisonDOTnannyclassifiedsATgmail rest you know.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Underbrush – New Nannies Navigating The Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Oct 16, 2012 in Career Path, Job Search, Thinking Positive

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In a jungle there are many layers. The top layer is the canopy, where birds flutter from treetop to treetop. A little farther down are the branches. They are a bit harder to move through but still navigable. Then you get to the lower layer. Shadowed by the treetops overhead and tangled with underbrush, this layer is full of snares and entanglements that can trip you up.

The job market is like a jungle. You have the top layer of well-educated and experienced job searchers who seem to flit and fly from job to job landing where they please. Then you have the middle layer of individuals who are either well-educated but not experienced or experienced but not well educated. These job seekers have a little bit of climbing as they grasp and swing from branch to branch collecting experience and education. Then you come to the bottom layer. This layer can contain job seekers who may only have a basic education, little or no experience, or have decided to change fields and are starting from scratch. It is the most difficult layer to navigate and not for the faint-hearted explorers. Experience will come with time and many in this layer are also pursing higher education, but challenging and rewarding employment opportunities may seem few. Someone on this path in the jungle who loves children may want to consider becoming a nanny. You get to spend time one-on-one with a child and really get to know them.

Being a nanny is very different then working in a day care facility or even as a teacher. You get to spend time with one child or maybe a couple of children inside their home, where they feel comfortable. Typically, nannies are also paid more than a day care worker depending on the number of children they supervise and the family. But how do you become a nanny?

Nannies do not generally need any special qualifications. A degree, for instance, is not necessary to get started. What you do need, however, is a clean criminal and driving record. If you are or wish to be certified in CPR or other childcare related things such as early education, it is certainly helpful but not necessary.

The lives of many nannies involve traveling the world and making money. Some nannies vacation with families while others look specifically for work overseas. Job seekers who enjoy children and are interested in exploring can take steps to prepare themselves for a career as a nanny.

1.Consider Your Skills

Nannying seems similar to babysitting, but parents take the job very seriously. You should list all qualifications that make you capable of caring for a child like your educational background, volunteering experience or aspects in your personal life. Miscellaneous jobs and hobbies may also be relevant. If you know how to play an instrument or had a job cooking, then your experiences can add value. Taking the initiative and being CPR certified or learning a families’ native language also shows you are serious.

2. Applying

Taking the time to consider your skills and build the strongest resume helps for the next step. The easiest way to find opportunities is to join an online agency. Nanny boards appeal to families because they usually require ID verification and a background check. You can search through families and apply to good fits, and many sites cater specifically to opportunities abroad. Applications will vary, but most will require a resume, personal statement and references. Agencies usually charge a fee. Ensure the site you choose is easy to navigate and can send applications to as many available jobs as possible.

3. The Fine Print

When vacationing with a family or residing in a new country to nanny, various details should be considered. Find out if you have to pay for airfare, dining, or other expenses. If residing in a country, research the specific requirements for work visas and nannying. Pay rates may be different than what you are used to in foreign countries. You may also be paid less if the family provides accommodations. Not all nanny jobs are lucrative, but you are given spending money and a chance to visit foreign locations.

4. Meet The Family

Impressing the parents with an application and interview sets you on the right track. However, the real challenge is meeting the child. Communicate honestly with parents because you may not meet the child before traveling. You and the parents will have to decide if your personality and skills will work well with the child. You may have plans, but do not be afraid to make changes. Start friendly and tailor your approach to the child’s attitude. It may take time for them to see you as an authority and trust you.

Patience, adaptability and determination are crucial when nannying overseas because you cannot back out easily. Considering your skills, researching, and finding and communicating with families that you work well with will make the process rewarding.

To look for a nanny job close to home, simply contact a local agency or go online to a site like enannysource.com or nannypro.com. There you will be walked through the application process and your resume and application will be seen by families in your area that are looking for a nanny. If you have any previous childcare experience, like babysitting or even taking care of younger family members, that is a plus. Parents also love multi-lingual nannies.

Being a nanny can mean different things to different people, so be very clear on what your expectations are and what the parents expect from you. Some nannies also do light housework, like picking up after the kids, or even some tutoring. It all depends on what the parents want and what you are willing and able to do.

Being a nanny can be an extremely rewarding job. If you love children, then you may want to look into becoming a nanny.

This guest post was contributed by Ken Myers. Ken is an Expert Advisor on multiple household help issues to many organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance.  He is a regular contributor of www.gonannies.com.  You can get in touch with him at kmyers.ceo @gmail.com

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Ostrich – Head In The Sand With A Criminal History

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 10, 2012 in Interviewing Skills, Job Search, Lessons Learned, Thinking Positive

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Ostriches will attempt to avoid dangerous situations by burying their heads in sand and pretending the threat does not exist. Although this saying comes from a false legend about Ostriches, it is true that you cannot avoid risky situations, such as a criminal history in a job search, by pretending that it does not exist.

A criminal history is one of the most difficult things to overcome when it’s time to find a job. Many employers require criminal background checks, or at least self-disclosure of criminal history on applications, and the thought of losing out on an opportunity due to even minor charges lurking in your background can be nerve-wracking. But, this is no reason to lose hope for future employment or faith in your career. In fact, there are many steps you can take to overcome a negative background check during the interview process and even give off a better impression than you would have otherwise. Read on for some steps and ideas:

1. Address it head-on.

If you already know that you have some criminal history on your record that could potentially affect your employment, then it’s a very good idea to address the issue head on. This is something that you have to balance, though. If the charges are light enough, such as a few parking tickets, then you may not want to bring them up at all. If there are some serious misdemeanors or felonies on your record it is never a good idea to stay silent.  Rather than waiting until your interviewer brings it up or (even worse) hoping they don’t notice, take the matter into your own hands and let him or her know in the initial interview stages. You will look much more professional by addressing the issue clearly and honestly than by skirting the possible hesitations of the employer.

2. Tell the truth.

This is probably one of the most important pieces of advice when it comes to dealing with a negative history during a job search. It can be tempting to simply keep this information off your application or make certain charges seem less serious than they really were, but this is almost certain grounds for dismissal if your employer ever learns the truth. If you are honest about your past, many employers will take your honesty into account when they are considering whether to hire you. If you are dishonest, an employer would not be wise to ever consider you for hire. Besides, it is much better to approach a job interview knowing that you are being forthright. Getting through an interview based on lies will only mean that you have to keep up those stories to your boss and everyone else who works there.

3. Discuss what you’ve learned.

If you need to bring up some criminal history during a job interview, try to turn this potential negative into a positive. Depending on the charges and how long ago they occurred, you can use this as an opportunity to discuss your own life with a potential employer and what you’ve learned from past experiences. Everyone has a past, and no one is perfect. If there were issues in your life that caused you to go down the wrong path, own up to them and express why you are a different person now than you were then. Learning from your mistakes does not make you less of an employee, it simply makes you human, and every successful person has gone through trials to get to where they are today.

4. Don’t be picky.

Even though the thought of a future employer uncovering a less-than-stellar background in your past makes you cringe, there is no reason to feel like your life and opportunity for success is over. However, knowing that you have a record that would make many employers look the other way, you have to be prepared for multiple rejections. But, there is always opportunity to re-build and start again. If you have to work in less than desirable positions for a while, then that is what you have to do, but there is always a way to come back from a criminal past, as long as you have a true desire to work hard and continue moving in a positive direction. So keep your head out of the sand!

This guest post was contributed by Jane Smith. Jane is a freelance blogger and writer for http://www.backgroundcheck.org/. She specializes in career issues, managing an online reputation, and making healthy life choices. She welcomes you to email her any questions or comments and can be reached at janesmith161 @gmail.com.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Elements of the Sea – Traversing the World of First Time Employment

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Aug 16, 2012 in Building Confidence, Job Search, Thinking Positive

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There are few things more terrifying to a 20-something than entering the world of “real” employment. You’ve obtained your degree, put in the classroom hours, stayed up late in the library, written that final essay, and walked that final trip from campus to the ever-looming “real world”. While the working world has always been a challenging aspect of growing up for young adults throughout the year, 20-somethings today face several new (or seemingly new) challenges. With a job market that values experience, an economy struggling to survive, and a youth society burdened by hefty student loan debt, the waters of the “real-world” are turbulent and harsh at times. Many new graduates are either struggling to find work and struggling to stay afloat in the working world. That being said, the waters of new employment don’t have to be overwhelming. As an educated, intelligent, and passionate young professional, you are equipped with the wits and ability to swim the employment sea—and even enjoy the waves.

Jumping In

The first step to succeeding in the world of first time employment is to fully commit to the process. The water might be cold and uninviting in many ways, but you’ve got to just jump right in. Throw yourself out there. Send out endless resumes. Network with everyone you can. Make the job search your first full time job. Trust me—you’ll succeed eventually. Once you land that first “real” job, dive in head first once again. You have to commit. Your first position may not be that dream job you’ve always wanted, but it is a start. Commit yourself to completing the best work you possibly can. Diving in full force will help you make the most of your experience. Try not to be the reserved and timid new kid. Take charge (in the appropriate ways of course) and own your work.

Head above Water

As a first time employee, it can be easy to feel in over your head at times. Just as swimming in the big waves can be scary the first few times, a new job can take some time to find your footing. But, never underestimate your ability to stay afloat. Those first few weeks at a new job can be a struggle. You’re meeting new people, learning new tasks, familiarizing yourself with new procedures—it can be a lot to take on. Even more so, new grads have the added challenge of being new to the employment waters completely. It will take some time to feel comfortable among the waves and choppiness, but you’ll eventually find your way past the break.

Going with the Motions

As a newbie employee in the workforce, things can be choppy at first. The working world isn’t going to be exactly like college. But, even with the changes and challenges, you are well prepared to succeed with your professional pursuits. Think about the things you did in college to succeed and translate those pursuits to your professional life. Your drive, motivation, brains, and goals drove you to succeed in school—and will drive you to succeed in a career as well. While making flashcards and staying up all night in the library may not be the right plan of attack anymore in the working world, that dedication is still essential. You’ve got to learn to go with the motions when you enter the working world for the first time. Things are going to be different. Think of it like this—college was like swimming in the Gulf and the professional world is jumping fresh-faced into the Atlantic (it’s a different pond). Learn to go with the motions. Don’t fight to try to do things the same way you always have. Sometimes you’ll have to let yourself just move with the waves and learn as you go (and with some help).

This guest post was contributed by Samantha Gray. Samantha is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about career advice for college students. She enjoys spending time with her various pets, reading poetry, and traveling to off-the-beaten-path countries and regions. She welcomes questions or comments at samanthagray024 @gmail.com.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Fertilized Soil – Putting “Power” Back In Empowerment

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Aug 13, 2012 in Building Confidence, Thinking Positive

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As busy professionals looking to move our practices and careers ahead, we can lose sight of how important empowering others around us can contribute to our own success.  Sometimes, we view training someone on a task or area of technical expertise as a time consuming activity when ultimately it can be a timesaving investment if we give that person responsibility for something that we don’t necessarily have to do ourselves and empower them in the process.

In the planting technique known as “companion planting”, three complimentary crops are planted close together in a cluster which fertilizes the soil and helps the plants grow stronger. For instance, grouping corn, beans, and squash is the traditional planting method of certain Native American groups. The corn acts a natural pole for bean vines to climb, while the beans add nitrogen to the soil improving the fertility of the plot. Bean vines can also help stabilize the corn stalks which keep them from blowing over in strong wind. Squash acts as a living mulch that provides shade to emerging weeds and helps to retain soil moisture. The prickly squash plants also help discourage predators from approaching the corn and beans. The large amount of crop residue from this planting combination can be incorporated back into the soil at the end of the season, to build up the organic matter and improve its structure. The plants, in effect, empower each other to grow.

In the traditional situational leadership model developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, empowerment is used as a cooperative form of personal power as compared to competitive or self-protective power. It is also proactive, positive, and constructive. An effective leader should actively seek to increase the readiness level or capabilities of those around them and within the groups they are leading.

Empowerment is the power to accomplish your own goals, or helping others achieve theirs, through the process of group potency, meaningfulness, autonomy and impact.

Groups, as a whole, profit from their members gaining the ability to succeed together and be effective as a team. The team also needs to have the perception that the tasks they perform are necessary and valuable, not menial and trite. For a group to accomplish their goals, independence allows members to voice ideas and opinions that will aid in the ultimate success of a task. Autonomy does not imply that you abandon supervision entirely, but that such supervision is not constraining to the group. Finally, the thoughts and reflections of outside individuals on the group and its accomplishments are also significant and if sentiments of the group and its work are not positive, this will eventually duplicate in the minds of the members and can withdraw empowerment.

Business owners and leaders have often withheld empowerment because they have concerns about employees having the confidence and skill to leave and take the business with them. The question becomes, if those people felt empowered by their leaders, would they leave in the first place? People need to learn and grow, no matter their job title or level. Empowering someone could take the form of transitioning a simple activity like a weekly or monthly report from your workload giving the employee responsibility and accountability for that action. Or, it could be something more daunting like turning over a portion of client service on a large account. No matter what specific tasks you choose to relinquish, helping someone else learn and grow in their current position will help your practice learn and grow over time.

What steps can you take this week to empower someone around you, fertilizing the soil, which will ultimately increase your own productivity and personal success?

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The Healing River – Affordable Health Insurance Options for the Unemployed

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jul 24, 2012 in Thinking Positive

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If you recently lost your job, you may have also lost your health insurance. You have a choice to go without health insurance or to purchase it on your own. If you go without it, you could still visit local, low-cost clinics for your basic healthcare needs. However, if you develop any serious conditions that clinics don’t have the ability to treat, you could find yourself in a terrible financial situation trying to pay back your medical bills.

In most cases, it’s best to have some kind of health insurance at your disposal in case things with your health go seriously awry. Unfortunately, paying for health insurance when you’re unemployed isn’t always easy, especially when you consider that health insurance is typically more expensive for individuals than it is for employees. If you’ve lost your job and are looking for health insurance that will fit into your tight budget, here are a few options you can consider:

High Deductible Health Plans

High deductible health plans, or catastrophic health plans, generally cost less than regular health insurance plans, and they come with much higher deductibles. For instance, you might be able to pay around $50 a month for a high deductible health plan, and your deductible might be around $10,000. A deductible like this may seem pretty high, but signing up for this sort of plan when your options are limited could be worth it. If you needed your appendix removed, for instance, it could cost you around $150,000 without health insurance. With a high deductible health plan, it might only cost you your $10,000 deductible.

Short-Term Health Insurance

Short-term health insurance offers health coverage for a set number of months in exchange for relatively low monthly premiums. You can sign up for short-term health insurance arrangements that cost you as little as $30 dollars a month and that last for up to a year. These temporary health insurance plans generally come with relatively modest deductibles of around $2,000 to $4,000 and allow for a few doctor visits that are mostly covered by the insurance company. If you think you’ll start a new job with health benefits in the next year, this type of insurance could definitely be a good option.

COBRA Continuation Health Coverage

If you previously worked at a company that employed and insured 20 or more workers, you may be eligible for COBRA Continuation Health Coverage. COBRA health coverage is mandated by the federal government. So, insurance companies must offer most displaced workers who were employed at medium and large businesses access to health plans. These plans are a little more expensive for you than other options, however. They generally cost around $250 a month, but they do provide you with all the health coverage you benefited from as an employee, including low-cost doctor visits and a low deductible. In most cases, you’ll be eligible for COBRA Continuation Health Coverage for up to 18 months after you lose your job. If you lost your job due to disability or you lost your health insurance due to divorce, you may be eligible for a COBRA plan for up to 36 months.

There’s no need to go without health insurance, even if you’re unemployed. Allow the river of low-cost insurance to carry you through your unemployment, and protect your health and your finances!

This guest post was contributed by Susan. Susan is a freelance blogger who enjoys writing about automotive and health news, technology, lifestyle and personal finance. She often researches and writes about automobile, property and health insurance, helping consumers find the best insurance quotes online. Susan welcomes comments.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Long Trek – Navigating The Concrete Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jul 20, 2012 in Thinking Positive

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If you live near a big city, chances are that you have to commute there several days a week alongside thousands of your fellow workforce members. You might make the ride into town for your office job, or maybe you’re commuting to a nearby college campus to take the classes necessary to complete your degree. Either way, you are in the car for the long haul, and there’s not much you can do to get around that simple fact.

Many people have a tidy commute of half an hour or less (extremely tidy in heavy traffic areas), but some poor folks have to drive over an hour and a half to get to their destination. If that’s the case for you, consider these four tips to help you go through your day without stressing about your travel time.

Audiobooks and podcasts

I don’t know about you, but I can’t listen to more than a few minutes of most of the radio stations in my city. When I’m stuck in traffic trying to get to my destination, I much prefer listening to an educational podcast or an audiobook version of the latest novel I’m reading to help me get by. If I have to sit in my car for nearly an hour, I might as well stimulate my brain with some thought provoking material to make the ride more worthwhile.

There’s a wealth of podcasts and audiobooks out there that cater to every interest and niche. The industrious college student can listen to scholarly podcasts on their favorite subject, while the office employee can choose innumerable “Did you know?” style podcasts on topics ranging from history to pop science.

Carpooling

Some people enjoy their solitude during a long commute, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who wish for company in the car. Have you ever considered how many people you’ve seen on the road driving alone but with their ear glued to their cellphone? They’re probably just trying to kill time the best way they know how.

Carpooling is the economic and environmental way to socialize during your commute. If you have a classmate or coworker who shares the same route, why not pick them up or alternate driving schedules so you have some company? If anything, it’ll help you and your friend save on gas money by splitting the difference.

Plan alternate routes

How often have you seen a car peel off from the congested highway to take a side street you wish you had thought to take? It happened to me all the time until I had the sense to plan out my commute the night before. I used all the navigation tools at my disposal (Google Maps) to plot out a route that shaved nearly fifteen minutes from my average commute. It was a process that took all of ten minutes, and it was totally worth it. You may have thought (like I did) that the major highway is always the best way to go, but there may be lesser-known routes that are speedier due to the enormous amount of jams that rush hours bring to the main road arteries.

Get comfortable

If there’s no way to significantly reduce the time of your commute, the best thing you can do is simply get as comfortable as you can during the ride. People turn their cars into a comfortable space in different ways.

You can make your sitting arrangement more bearable with ergonomic attachments meant to support your back and your neck. You can delay wearing your normal everyday shoes and put on comfortable slippers during your ride. Or you can simply bring a blanket and crank up the AC. Do whatever it takes to be more comfortable in your car, because the fact of the matter is that you’ll be in it for a while. Don’t get so comfortable that you risk dozing off, but you might as well enjoy the time!

What do you do to make your commute better in the concrete jungle?

The guest post was contributed by Katheryn Rivas. Katheryn is a freelance education writer and blogger. She loves to dabble in a variety of education topics, although her main interests include online learning and trends. She welcomes your comments at katherynrivas [email protected]

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Freeze – Perspective and Expectation

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jan 5, 2012 in Self Improvement, Thinking Positive

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It’s 60 degrees today in Miami, Florida.  People are shivering in the streets wearing seldom-used fur coats and heavy winter boots.  In the winter months in Florida, it is generally accepted that it will still be summer-like temperatures compared to the northern states. Today, on the 3rd of January, Floridians consider it to be freezing. 

In Virginia, it is floating around a true freezing temperature of 30 degrees and people are probably wearing the same winter clothing that the Floridians have donned at double the temperature. If it was 60 degrees today in Virginia, people would be driving with the tops down on their convertibles, playing golf in shorts, and wearing light sweaters thrilled about such warm weather in winter.

Your perception, how you view situations and circumstances, is based on your experience combined with your expectations. If your experience tells you that it should be 70 degrees in Florida all winter, having the reality be 10 degrees cooler than your expectation will cause you to feel colder than you would if you had been expecting cooler weather. In Virginia, if you expect it to be below freezing and 3 feet deep in snow, a cloudless sky and twice the anticipated temperature will have you perceiving it to be quite a “warm” day!

Consider your relationships with regard to your experience and expectation:

As a manager, do you expect your employees to rush to meet your stated objectives so your group can grow as a whole? According to your experience, have you empowered them to do so or are there unforeseen barriers to their success that you would be able to anticipate or circumvent?

As an employee, are you capitalizing on opportunities at your workplace to exceed your manager’s expectations and help your team to reach their annual goals?  Or, are you someone who is looking for areas where your manager should do more for you in your career and goals? 

These situations are based on your perspective. If you spend all of your productive time waiting on other people to meet your expectations, your life, and your career opportunities may pass you by. 

Please take a moment to share a positive example where your expectations were not being met, and how you took the initiative and the responsibility to improve the situation and facilitate efforts for the team rather than waiting on other people to meet your needs. 

Rather than simply wishing the weather were warmer, take out that fur coat and warm yourself up from the freeze!

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The Path – When there’s no “Path” to your Career Path

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 22, 2011 in Career Path, Job Search, Thinking Positive

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Those of us who reach a certain age with a resume full of professional disconnects are going to be in for a hard sell.  If you’ve cut a path through the jungle over the years, it’s OK if that path has a lot of twists and turns as long as it gets you from A to Z without encountering flooded rivers or giant waterfalls.  But if your path starts under this tree and then stops one hundred yards away, only to continue from a fresh starting point over on the other side of yonder savannah, it’s going to be tough to get a recruiter to talk to you.

There are several posts on this site that talk about assembling relevant experience to address this sort of issue; my suggestion is that you turn your resume into a theme park with clusters of job experience wrapped around a single skill set, such as marketing or advertising or regulatory affairs or whatever fields you’ve delved into more than once.  I’m assuming that you’re a serial career changer like me, with the resume of a dilettante.

To me the resume and cover letter is all about getting in the door.  What I have gotten results with on a couple of occasions is a resume that stakes my profession firmly in the ground where the recruiter is searching, and then leading with all of the experience I had with the various employers I’ve worked for.  I generally flat list prior employment companies and titles, going back as far as I think is necessary to establish my credentials.  Then I’ll list my accomplishments by function: twelve years of marketing experience in this role for Company A, five years as marketing director for Company B, providing marketing analysis for Company C.

The next mini-paragraph might list my accomplishments in advertising: managing the annual media buy for Company A, closing X deals with product distributors for Company B, launching the online sales and marketing effort  for Company C fifteen years ago.  And the following cluster might talk about another skill that I’ve developed as the result of employment requirements: working with governmental agencies on policy and rules as they relate to my employer.

All of that adds up to what I discuss in the cover letter, which is management in multiple environments for various functions involving public and commercial outreach.  Given the hand I’ve dealt myself – working with media companies, for mayors in two major American cities, for a professional baseball team, for a multimedia development startup – that’s the closest I can come to a thematic approach that (hopefully) shows a path through the jungle with one stretch connected to another.  And what I’ve found is that the more programmatic HR professionals will hit the delete button, but the recruiter who is intrigued by such a mix of experience might just give me a call.

This guest post is contributed by Bob Hartzell. Bob has been writing for five years about education and other life essentials on a variety of websites.  He writes about continuing education, career oriented degrees, both the baccalaureate and the graduate degree online, in recognition of the fact that the job market has undergone tremendous changes in the last twenty years.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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