Thursday, August 28, 2003
When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose

Isn't that the truth? ...I applaud a man I recently read about in my local newspaper that became exasperated with his current (un)employment situation, and decided to do something about it. He no doubt had attended his fair share of Job Fairs to no avail, and decided to organize his own Reverse Job Fair, and as a result of his ingenius idea, actually is now blissfully employed.

When people aren't sure what to do, too many times they just do nothing at all (like the 500,000 people that the DOL reported recently have simply given up on looking for a new job). Sometimes drastic situations call for drastic measures, and the RJF organizer certainly proves that point.

If I were looking for a job right now, for instance, I think I would likely put on my best duds, and stand at busy metro intersections holding a sign that says, "Will Work for Money", and then hand a resume to anyone that looked to have the potential of helping me to meet that goal. Of course I may feel a little silly, but hey, if I were unemployed and getting nowhere with traditional methods of finding work, what would I have to lose, really?

In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, I may do just that to see what would happen, and how many (legitimate) people would actually offer their assistance, by either; 1. Delivering my resume to their boss, or, 2. Calling me in for an interview themselves. (Of course, for safety reasons, I wouldn't use my address or phone # on my faux resume ...just email. And I would have 2 guys named Bruno and Thor keeping an eye on me from a not-too-safe-for-thugs distance.)

Of course, a woman on a street corner holding a sign that says, "Will Work for Money" could have it's drawbacks. I guess my plan may need a little more thought put into it. I imagine it is extremely difficult to blog from a jail cell! :-)

Obviously, my point here is this... Don't give up. If what you are doing isn't working, do something else. Always use that noodle in your head to come up with new and creative ideas, and something good just may come of it. Do nothing, and you can rest assured, that nothing is exactly what you'll get for your (lack of) efforts.
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Just the facts, please.

The Bare Bones Facts About What Gets Us What We Want In Life...including, but not limited to, a new job, or promotion.

Have you ever noticed that there are some people in life who always seem to land on their feet, and get exactly what they want? (Cats are like that too, but for now we'll stick to people.) Then there are others who, no matter how hard they seem to try, always seem to miss that brass ring? ...This is no accident, or luck of the draw.

There are some basic truths about what makes some people more successful than others. The good news is that it is within everyone's power to become a person that wins more than they lose. Here is the short list of what it takes to be that person:

Intuition Successful people tend to be extremely in tune with what others think and feel, and are thus able to respond to them in a way that makes the other person feel comfortable in whatever situation they may be in. They know what to say, and when... and maybe most importantly, when not to say anything at all.

Confidence When a person demonstrates confidence in themselves (mannerisms, speech patterns, etc.), others feel more comfortable with that person's level of competancy, than they would with a fidgety person of lesser self-confidence. ...It's all about presence.

Deliberate Action When a person does and says and writes things with deliberation, it demonstrates that they are focused and knowlegable. A 'deliberate' person doesn't ramble, or use more than they need to make a point, or accomplish a task. They have done their homework, and therefore are rarely left without a good answer to a good question. They also show a steady progression in their lives and their careers. They know what they want, and how to get it. This also makes others comfortable when in their company.

Reliability If a person consistently does what they say they are going to do, and when, they are not only demonstrating good time management skills, but also showing respect for others by quietly delivering the message that they know that everyone's time is as valuable as their own. People are more comfortable with those they know they can count on.

Integrity People that have all of the above traits tend to be honest and ethical, but that isn't necessarily always the case. People of high morals will always also tell the truth, even if the truth is sometimes a little painful. A successful person will deliver 'painful truths' with as much tact and diplomacy as is needed, and never cross the line of ethics. People may not always like what is said to them, but will feel confidence in the person who always shoots straight with them.

OK, so basically, success all seems to boil down to one thing... making other people feel comfortable. This, no doubt, is where the following sayings come from; "No man is an island", and, "You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours", and the yearly June ad, "Buy your dad a Lazy Boy this Father's Day".

But seriously, the tips above can help anyone to catch that brass ring (at least most of the time). Practice them in all of your relationships, not just job interviews, and you will begin to see a change almost immediately in the way others perceive (and treat) you.
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
In the Grand Scheme of Things...

(as my therapist explains the phenomenons of anxiety), "Do you realize how small you are?", his point being, I think, that nothing matters so much as to stress oneself out about much of anything --as he compared the earth to a speck on one of his acoustic ceiling tiles. (At this point, I half expected him to say, "Don't worry. Be happy.", but of course, he didn't thank goodness.) He also taught me something that I imagine would cost you a lot of money to find out on your own, and it's so simple. ...All anxiety comes from the future, and all depression comes from the past. Duh. Why didn't I think of that? And of course, I had a past (though we won't get into that), and if all goes well, I expect to have a future... just like everybody else. My conclusion was then, that everybody who has had a past and also anticipates having a future, suffer from depression and anxiety. My, isn't that a happy thought? (And here I was thinking it was the therapists job to cheer me up.)

So anyway, if you were born pre-1982, you know the GI Joe saying, "Knowing is half the battle." I was, and I do. The paradox for me is this... The world is a paradox. Whew... wait a minute, I'll need to gather my thoughts a little better on that one before I continue. (It may just be the medication... the label did say, "Do not operate heavy machinery, or write published articles, until you are sure how this drug will affect you.") Well, I'm pretty sure that it is beginning to affect me in a positive way, so I will go on. Maybe at lunchtime I'll have a martini. The label also said that use of alcohol enhances the affects. I wonder why my doctor didn't recommend that?

I just wanted to conclude by saying that, according to my therapist, if you are reading this (which means you are alive), you are likely a depressed and anxious soul, as we all are, who have had a past and anticipate having a future, "Hang in there. Think of those who have had no past worth remembering, and those who will have a bleak or limited future. If you have your health, people who love you, and memories worth keeping, your life may not be as bad as you imagine."

Don't worry. Be happy. ...In the grand scheme of things, that is all that really matters.
Sunday, August 24, 2003

As the line moved along at it's own slow pace, the man knew he was but one mere contestant in yet another race. As applicant after applicant was called through the door, he knew but a few would be chosen, and not one more.

Mortgage check late and car payment overdue, he couldn't help but wonder how he ended up in this stew. He had done everything right and had kept his cool, even graduating mid-life with all A's in school.

With most family deceased and his savings depleted, he prayed to God that this was the place he would finally be needed. He'd been out of work for quite some time, and was terribly close to spending his last dime.

He had lived a good life, and contributed plenty, yet he found himself now feeling so sad and empty. He had made lots of accomplishments and had good references too, so it seemed quite unfair to be feeling so blue.

The line kept on moving with no end in sight, and when the door finally opened, he saw the light. A gentle giant of a man welcomed him inside, and he began to wonder if he'd been in the right line.

His heavy heart became lighter, and his stress disappeared. A little voice inside told him he had nothing left to fear. He'd done all he could, and had done it quite well. He knew he had just escaped from "job hunting hell".

The desk they assigned him was shiny and new, and he discovered thereafter that he could even fly again too. He caught a glimpse of his family, and even some friends. He knew from that moment that life has no end.

The big man told him that because of all the good things he'd done, he had earned the ultimate promotion, and it was time to have fun. His new assignment was now to give hope to others ...another thing he did well, as he called them his sisters and his brothers.

So the next time you find yourself waiting in line, you can never lose Hope, because he's right at your side. A new job will come, with a promotion to follow. Keep up your chin. ...With hope in your heart, there is always a tomorrow.

Though it's hard to say exactly when opportunity knocks, it's always best to be ready, and wearing clean socks! Don't miss any opportunities to stand in a line... at some point, eventually, it all turns out just fine.

Hope doesn't always come naturally, especially in tough times. If you have it, give some of it to someone who really needs it. If you find that you are short in your supply at the moment, find someone who is willing to share theirs. ...We truly are all in this together.

There are angels wherever we go... and sometimes it's you, though you may not even know. Though we may not always find ourselves where we want to be, we are all where we are meant to be. Have faith that there is a reason, and hope will never leave you.

OK, OK, so I haven't made an entry here for a while, but it's early Sunday morning and I am feeling inspirational. ...(My 'Pledge of Allegiance' still includes "Under God", and the US currency in my wallet still says, "In God We Trust"... and I still do too.)
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
Where the heck is the 'reality' in Reality TV?

I don't get it. (Of course, I don't watch it either, but that's beside the point.) I have seen enough commercials about Reality TV to understand one thing... There is no semblence of reality in a bunch of total strangers meeting (on an island, in a hotel, on the moon, etc.) and participating in what appears to be little more than 'elimination sex' and group humiliation. Since when did watching total strangers date become entertainment for the viewer, and sport for the participants? ...This has got to be one of the singlemost stupid things I have ever heard of! Wouldn't you agree?

Don't parents have enough trouble keeping their kid's feet planted firmly on earth, without now having to also explain that Reality TV is as bogus as the boogeyman? But of course, what 'kid' between the ages of 11 and 22 believe anything their parents tell them? Ask any seventh-grader who knows more about life than anyone else they know, and they'll each name 2 eighth-graders, and a 16 year old named Slug. (After all, what could any adult possibly know about life?) Kids always tell each other the truth. Parents merely conspire to confuse their offspring about REALITY. (Seriously, I believe that's what they think!)

Well, I don't care if they listen to me or not. I don't have my own TV show, but if I did, it would be a real reality-based show. Nobody under 25 would want to watch it, because it's just easier to live in a fantasy land than to face what life is really about.

Since I haven't had any recent calls from the network producers about my many ideas, I just may use this forum to dispel some really stupid myths, for those who are interested in the real deal about life. ...Look for future columns titled, "In Reality", and though there won't be any pictures of scantily clad people in it playing (what they think is) grown up, it may prove to teach us all a thing or two that we can share with our 'kids', after they begin having kids of their own... when life smacks them in the face, and 'reality' takes on a whole new meaning.

Stay Tuned... I REALLY mean it! :-)
Monday, August 18, 2003
There really are only two types of people...

There are those that energize you being in their presence, and then there are those who zap your energy being in theirs. It doesn't take much time spent with someone to figure out which of these two types of people they are. (Race, sex, or nationality make no difference.)

If you want to be happy, befriend happy people. If you want to become successful, associate only with successful people. ...If you want to be a miserable, unhappy, emotional drain on others, hang around with others who are like that. There are plenty to be found (and misery does love company, just like they say).

Don't get me wrong. We all have our bad days, and can't possibly walk around smiling all the time, but some folks thrive on being wretchedly and chronically unhappy. (And I'm not referring to clinical depression. There isn't a medication available to reverse pessimism, especially if being pessimistic is what makes a person tick.)

Have a hard time spotting these kinds of folks before you're in too deep with them? Here are a few warning signs you may look for, prior to deciding to give someone your phone number, and calling them your friend...

1. If a person has been married multiple times, and believes that each of their marriages have failed because of some flaw in each of their ex-spouses (never themselves), don't think marrying them yourself will make life any different for them. You can't save them.

2. If someone seems to live a life filled with drama (problems with family, coworkers, bosses, neighbors, etc.) that never seems to end... you guessed it! Run in the opposite direction as fast as you can, and don't look back!

3. If a person always only sees the negative side of things, and never has anything good to say about somebody else, don't imagine they'll ever have anything good to say about you when you aren't around. They won't.

You get the idea. ...If life doesn't go your way most of the time, take a good long look in the mirror, and be honest with yourself about what you see. It's never too late to give yourself an internal makeover to become the person you want others to see when they look at you.

It's not about our outsides, but our insides, that matter. Be generous and kind, soft-spoken and fair, honest and considerate ...and you will find that others will treat you that way too.

There really are only two types of people. ...Which one are you?
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Saying goodbye to a dear friend is never easy

For those of you that come by daily to see what "the nutty woman" has to say, you will notice she hasn't had much to blog about this week. Tuesday morning, as I was getting ready for work, I discovered that my dear friend, Max, had died in his sleep. 'Maxie Bear', as I affectionately called him, had been one of my closest friends for almost 10 years. When he was 8 or 9, his family abandoned him when they moved away. (I really despise those who would do such a thing to a defenseless animal. He didn't even have any front claws to protect himself from the dangers of the world, but that's another story.)

So anyway, after a proper burial, and some tears, I said, "So long, my friend, until we meet again." As such, my heart has been heavy this week, and I just haven't felt all that witty.

Next week, I promise to resume my regular blogging schedule, for those who may have wondered what happened to have rendered me silent for the week (which as you may have surmised, if you follow this blog, happens only on very rare occasions).

PS... For those of you who are not cat lovers, you may not understand my remorse. But guess what?... I heard some interesting news, just this week. Cats have now surpassed dogs as "America's Preferred Pet"! I say, "Well, it's about time." My dog, however, thinks otherwise, but her sad little face lets me know that, she too, misses her good buddy Max.

For those of you who have written, and been waiting for my reply, I promise to answer you all next week. Thanks for understanding.

Monday, August 11, 2003
Live and Learn...

Or, continue to make the same mistakes again and again. But if you do, don't look to me for sympathy. Generally, of others, I am patient, forgiving, understanding, and compassionate, but I seem to lack those characteristics for those who never seem to learn from their mistakes. ...Make all the new mistakes you want to, and I can empathize with you every time. Make repeated mistakes, and you're on your own, bud!

I get many inquiries from people who wonder why it is that they can't seem to get along with their coworkers wherever they work. HELLOOOO!?!? Do you suppose that it ever crosses their minds that it could be remotely possible that it is something in their own character that could cause this to happen again and again? Nope. It never does. Sadly, it probably never will. It is always someone else's fault.

So, if you are one of those "coworking conspirators" that do nothing but stay up nights thinking of ways to not get along with that person in your office that rubs everybody the wrong way, shame on you. I guess that's why you have only had 3 jobs in 15 years, while that poor soul has to change jobs every 6-8 months (if/when they can find one).

I just had to get that off my chest, and, that's all I have to say about that.
Saturday, August 09, 2003
I'm no math wiz, but...

One of my associates received an email from saying that they are running a fantastic special for two weeks... "Buy 1 job posting and get a 2nd one free". Is this some reason for celebration or something? I mean, we ( offer unlimited job postings, including resume access (which isn't included in Monster's price), etc. for just $120 a month --regularly priced, and we distribute those jobs throughout our network of over 5000 job banks, colleges, etc., and we even auto-refresh them every day until the positions are filled.

It's my guess that anybody who goes for Monster's offer is like me... "No math wiz". That, or they are spending somebody else's money other than their own (which is most likely the case). If Monster is considered the 'Cadillac' of the job board arena, we would, I suppose, be a 'Buick Riviera'. The difference is... Monster charges full dealership sticker price to lease their vehicle, whereas we charge more like Budget Rental.

So I ask myself... "If it were me (and the $ were coming out of my pocket), would I prefer to lease the ever-reliable Riviera for less than $125 a month, or the flashy Cadillac for several times that amount?" (After all, both carry the same special features... leather seats, power windows and doors, etc.) Well, we can't all go by what I would do, I guess. --I have been told, on more than one occassion, that I am a "thrifty" shopper (even when the $ I'm shopping with is not my own).

I'm guessing that if more of the people who's money it actually is were to do their own "car" shopping, we'd see a lot fewer Cadillacs, and a lot more Rivieras, tooling down the highway.

Besides this little gig (writing this blog), one of my main responsibilities at IYJN is in sales & marketing. The people who hold the purse strings here want to know why we aren't getting more Cadillac trade-ins for our Rivieras. ...You now know my theory. What's yours? Let me know, and I can let you drive --with no obligation-- one of our Rivieras FREE for a whole month! ...(Click the link to your right, "IYJN Employer Services", to pick up your key!)
Thursday, August 07, 2003
The Art of Recruiting, Part 2

One of my associates visits a number of Recruiting Forums (message boards) on a regular basis, to help us to keep abreast of what's on the minds of those we serve --among others, Recruiters. She shares certain posts with me, and one thing strikes me as odd... How many recruiters there are that question the ethics of what they do.

Certainly, a Corporate Recruiter (see definition in post from yesterday) may have some legal issues to think about, as they are actual employees of their company. It may or may not be "right" for them to directly contact employees of their employer's competition to recruit them for their own company. However, that certainly wouldn't be the case for 3rd party recruiters, as they work independently, but the same question(s) seem to surface on a regular basis... "How can I morally steal from one company to benefit another?"

The answer is, you can't. Stealing is never right, no matter what it is you do. The thing is, recruiting is not stealing (not even in the loosest sense). Recruiting is simply making others aware of an opportunity that they may not otherwise have a means to learn about, as many job openings are not openly advertised to the general public. (If they were, the company would have little need to engage a recruiter to find the right candidate for them.)

Also... things can be stolen, people cannot. (Of course, people can be kidnapped, but recruiters don't do that either.) When a person is contacted by a recruiter, they have the free will to either decline the call altogether, or decline the opportunity the recruiter has called them about.

Of course, there is a certain finesse to recruiting from a client's competition. It could be considered tacky for a recruiter to call on someone and say, "I have a client who wants to fill a job with someone like you. Are you interested?" It is far better to let a person ask that question of themselves. Here's how to make that happen...

Example: The recruiter's client has a manufacturing plant in a remote area of (let's just say) Alabama. They manufacture heavy denim jeans. Their current Plant Manager has informed them that he must move back to Georgia to be closer to his aging parents, and therefore must resign his position within 6-8 weeks. Obviously, they would like to replace him with someone who has a similar background, and ask a recruiter to find them a replacement.

Obviously, a recruiter will want to satisfy his/her client by finding a replacement that not only has plant management experience of a similarly sized facility that manufactures heavy denim products. They will also want to try to find someone as close as possible demographically, to keep relocation costs at a minimum (not to mention that the best candidate will also be accustomed to living in a remote area, if they are to remain happy there long term).

The recruiter will begin their search by identifying every heavy denim manufacturer within a 200 mile radius, and begin calling those closest to their client's facility, and working their way out from there. A typical conversation will go like this... "Hello, John Smith? I understand you are the Plant Manager there." John confirms this to be true. The recruiter continues, "My name is ___, and I am a recruiter for ___ Recruiting Agency. I was hoping you could provide some referrals for me, as your company makes similar products as my client (and we do pay referral fees)." The recruiter continues, "My client is a Fortune 500 company, with a plant located about 75 miles from where you are, that manufactures heavy denim jeans. They have recently learned that their Plant Manager must resign his position for personal reasons. They are a terrific company to work for, and I was hoping you may be able to tell me who you know that would be qualified for, and interested, in pursuing such an opportunity."

One of 3 things will happen at this point...
1. John Smith will tell the recruiter about someone he knows.
2. John Smith will tell the recruiter that he really doesn't know anyone for the position, or...
3. John Smith will say, "I may be interested. Let me give you my home number so that we may discuss this opportunity at length."

If after speaking with John at length, John chooses to nominate himself for the position, has the recruiter "stolen" him? ...No, of course not. If John Smith were happy and content where he was, the recruiter would have never been invited to call John at home in the first place. In fact, the recruiter never even asked John if he would be interested. The recruiter simply asked for referrals.

So, if you are a recruiter who questions the ethics of what you are doing, you may not be in the right business. Or, you may just need to take a look at the way you currently initiate conversations with those you call on. If you do it as described above, you are no unethical, immoral person. You are just someone doing your job, and a darn good job at that!

I can't promise exactly when, but there will be more on this subject to come in the near future. After all, this isn't a book, just a blog (weblog)! :-) In the meantime, Happy Recruiting!
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
The Art of Recruiting

Recruiting seems to be one of those things that is poorly understood (sometimes even by those who call themselves Recruiters). I thought it may be a good thing to define their functions here, for anyone who is interested. There are several types of recruiting, but the mechanics and psychology of it are all the same.

First, let me explain, for those who don't know; there are Corporate Recruiters (those who are employed by a company for the purpose of finding and qualifying new employees for the company). And there are 3rd party Recruiters (those who are subcontracted to by a company for the same purpose).

There are a couple of different types of 3rd party recruiters, but the main difference lies in how they are compensated.

Both are paid by the hiring company, but Retained Recruiters typically have an 'exclusive' with the company and are paid a portion of their fee upfront, and the balance paid when the search is over. Retained recruiters are typically used for executive level positions.

Contingency Recruiters don't typically have an exclusive relationship with the company, and are paid a fee only if the company hires a candidate through their efforts. (Most 3rd party recruiters fall into this category.)

I do some (volunteer) interviewing skills training, among other things, and am often asked about recruiters by job seekers. Among the comments/questions I hear the most are;

1. "Recruiters often call and ask for my resume, but then I never hear from them again."
2. "A recruiter sent me on an interview, but I can't seem to get any feedback about how I did. ...They say the company is still interviewing, so I can't assess where I may have gone wrong (so that I may do a better job on my next interview)."
3. "I have sent out dozens of resumes (sometimes 100's) to recruiters, but I never hear from them, and can't get them to return my calls."

There are various reasons for the above situations, but many of them boil down to one thing... money. To successfully work with recruiters, one must first understand that they are not working for you (the job seeker), but the company. It is the company that pays their fees. It is the company they must ultimately satisfy if they are to get paid for all of their hard work. 3rd party recruiters are typically compensated 20-30%, or more, of a placed candidate's first year annual salary. (If a job seeker could pay them $10,000-$25,000 to find them a job, the job seeker may find a shift in attention from a recruiter, but that's not going to happen, so forget about that.) A company wants what they want, after all they are paying well to get it, and if a recruiter were to bombard the company with resumes of people who just don't fit the job, they would find themselves not being called by the company the next time there are jobs to be filled. Don't take that personally. If you fit the job they are actively recruiting for, you can bet your bottom dollar that the recruiter will do everything in their power to be sure you are successfully hired by the company.

However, there are ways to determine whether your recruiter is a seasoned professional, or an amateur. An experienced recruiter will always get feedback from a company following an interview they have arranged. They won't continue to send applicants to the company without knowing why the ones they have already sent didn't cut the mustard. Without such critical feedback, the recruiter also has no way of knowing where they are falling short, so that they may do a better job at sending the right kinds of candidates.

Another sign of an amateur (or a fisherman) is if they do nothing but collect resumes for no apparent purpose. If you are contacted by a recruiter about sending them your resume, don't be afraid to ask questions about why they want to see it. I would ask the following questions --"Is there a specific job you have in mind for me?" --"Once you have my resume in hand, when can I expect to hear from you again?" --"Will you ever send my resume to one of your clients without my knowledge and/or consent?"

If a recruiter ever contacts you and asks for a resume before knowing anything about your professional background, don't do it. Your resume could land in places where you don't want it to be. A 'good' recruiter, though as I said is working for their client, not you, will want to insure that you are a 'good' candidate. They will ask questions such as --"What is it that you are seeking in a new employer that you don't currently have available where you are presently working?" --"Would you consider relocation for the right job, and if so, where?" (If you say you would consider relocation, they should also ask about your family situation.) --"Does your spouse work?" --"Do you have children still in school?" This will help them determine whether or not you (and your family) will be happy, and stay with the job, should moving be a necessity.

A professional recruiter will want to know that they have not only done a good job for their client, but they will also have your best interest in mind as well. (When I was recruiting, most of my referrals came from candidates that I had done a good job for; treated with respect and gave them the courtesy of thorough communication, even if I didn't necessarily place them on a new job for one reason or another.)

This post is getting rather long, and I'm not even close to the end. If this has been informative, drop by tomorrow for more on this subject. Understanding your recruiter, and being sure they understand you, is the first step in successfully working with one.
Tuesday, August 05, 2003
Will Work For Food (but $ is preferred)

FR from CT writes:
"I ran across your web site in looking for somewhere to advertise some job openings. Can you please tell me what the advantages are of advertising them at your site [IYJN]?"

My associate answers:
"Hello, FR. You can post unlimited jobs at our web site, that are then distributed throughout our network of over 5000 niche and general job banks, newsgroups, colleges, and military bases. Your jobs will never expire until you choose for them to, and will remain 'fresh', and getting top visibility in all of those places, until you hide or delete them."

My associate went on to explain all of the many other subscriber features we offer: Applicant Tracking, Broadcast Email, Resume Search of our extensive database, Candidate Agents, Results Tracking, Reporting, etc., etc, etc.

FR replied:
"And I have to pay for that?"

My associate responds:
"Well, of course, but it's only $120 a month for our Basic Subscription, and your first month is free, so you can be sure you are satisfied with the results." ...For a point of reference, FR was reminded that charges something like $300 just to post one job (without anything extra).

NOTE: Keep in mind, FR is an Executive Recruiter who likely makes 25-30% of each person's annual salary who they place on a job.

FR's last email:
"Well, thanks, but I'm looking for somewhere to advertise for free."
To FR, if you're listening (from me)....
"Yes, friend, so are we. When you start recruiting for free, we'll give you advertising for free. ...Maybe it will catch on, and the supermarket will also give us all our food for free, and the electric company will give us our power for free, etc. (because we're going to need it using your fancy economics). Please get back in touch with us when all of that happens. We want in on free stuff too!"
A positive attitude may not solve all of your problems...

...but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. :-) (I love that saying. I just wish I could remember where I heard it, so I could give the person who originally said it proper credit.)

It never ceases to amaze me how many people don't recognize that "we are all our own worst enemy". When one comes to that realization, it sure makes life easier to skate through. So it just surprises me that so many never seem to "get it".

Most people recognize that the pursuit of knowledge and/or higher education is a good thing. The more we expand our minds, the more open we become to many good things... greater opportunity and wealth, enlightenment, etc. ...So why do so many otherwise intelligent people make the same mistakes over and over again? I think it's because they just plain aren't smart. Intelligent, yes. Smart, no.

I guess that's where so many neat quotes, common sayings, and cliches come from. Here are a few of my personal favorites (though I'm not sure they are word for word)...

--Sometimes it is better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

--You can't have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

--You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

--Sometimes it's more important to be gracious than to be right.

Here is an example of the point I'm trying to make... I used to work with a man, many moons ago, that was far more knowledgable than most of the people in our office about the industry we all worked in. Ones first impression was that he was a decent man --a good father, husband, etc. He was also the most difficult person on the face of the earth to work with! He argued with nearly everyone he encountered. (He could always find something to be disagreeable about.) He could be very intimidating at times to some of the younger people on the staff. Nobody really wanted to deal with him, because if anybody disagreed with him on anything, he would simply get louder and louder, until the other person would declare him the winner (under duress, and just to get away from him). ...He was sooo intelligent. I just couldn't understand why he couldn't see that if he would change his attitude and demeanor, his life would go a lot smoother. Coworkers would be more cooperative with him. Customers would be more receptive to him. And he wouldn't have had to work 12 hour days just to accomplish what everyone else did in 8 (as long as they could avoid him for the day).

If his goal was to annoy people (and I think it may have been, because he was so good at it), he could have at least had the common courtesy of doing it with a positive attitude!
Monday, August 04, 2003
"Never, never, never, never give up!" ~Winston Churchill ...Yeah, right.

Over 500,000 people who were searching for jobs have simply given up, reported by the muckety-mucks who crunch such numbers in Washington. I worry about these people (but they can't all stay at my house). ...How will they pay for their mortgages, kid's school clothes, car payments, or even food?

I can just picture the credit reporting agencies going nuts with new claims, and bill collectors employing people around the clock, to call on these folks every day. (You know how those bill collectors are... They can be relentless.) I can just hear the following conversations going on all over the country; "Hello, is this the Smith residence?", some friendly voice asks over the phone. When the reply comes, "Yes it is. How may I help you?", the nice person on the other end suddenly isn't so nice, and begins their POW Nazi interrogation techniques... "This is Mrs. Phillips from PayOrDie Financing, calling to inform you that your payment is 15 minutes overdue, again." Mr. Smith, "Well, like my wife told you yesterday when you called, we will be making a payment in about 10 days." ...Mrs. Phillips (The Interrogator), "Fine. I will make a notation on your file, and we will call you again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that."

And this is where I say, "What's up with that?!" Do these folks really think that calling the Smith's every day is going to make them pay sooner than 10 days? Here is how the conversation should go, and this problem would be solved in no time...

"Hello, Mr. Smith. I understand from the notations on your file that you are finding it difficult to make these payments. I see that you told the last representative who called that you have been looking for work for the past 14 months, and that you have finally just given up. You have my deepest sympathy and our company's utmost understanding, and I have great news!... There are over half a million people just like you, which has caused us to be busier than we have in the history of our company. We can't hire people quickly enough. I was calling to offer you a job in collections."

Eventually, all 500,000 people would be gainfully employed (in collections), and they could hound the folks who haven't given up yet, but can't pay their bills on time anymore either. ...So, the next time a bill collector calls on you, let them know that their next payment from you will come out of the first paycheck you receive from working for their company. ...Another problem solved (and it isn't even 9am yet)! I'm on a roll.
Friday, August 01, 2003
The cat's out of the bag

My darling son just graduated high school [thank God that's over with], and is moving onward and upward. He just joined the US Air Force, and I couldn't be prouder of him. He was an A/B student all through school, and it never ceased to amaze me. Why? Because throughout his entire school experience, important information was always withheld from him.

I didn't want to believe it at first, but began to realize that there was some really big conspiracy going on that kept him uninformed and in the dark. I know this for a fact, because any time there was any kind of deadline for him to do something (bring money for a field trip, etc. ...that sort of thing) the entire school body knew about it, that is, everyone but my son. His friends knew. His classmates knew. The faculty knew. But not my boy.

I couldn't help but imagine mornings in the office, just before announcements. "Well, Sid, we need to let the kids know that the deadline for signing up for [fill in the blank] is next Friday. But if we announce it over the intercom, that boy Travis is going to hear it." Sid's reply, "Just tell one student in each class to pass it on. If Travis is in any of their classes, be sure they know to skip him." Of course, Travis always did find out, usually at the 11th hour. (Most adults knows that if you want everybody to know something, tell any 16 year old girl that you have a secret. In short time, everyone will know what it is... even Travis.) But again, I digress. I'm not sure what any of this has to do with the following, but I am happy to finally get that off my chest. School officials never listened to me. They always tried to say it was Travis' fault. His attitude about the whole thing? ...No sweat.

Anyway, yesterday a call came in to our office from a potential customer. He asked a few of the 'standard' questions about us. I thought the conversation was going quite well (as we seemed to have everything he needed, and then some), when suddenly he seemed to turn on me. "Well, if you guys are so great, how come I've never heard of you?" What can I say to that? How should I know why he's never heard of us? It made me wonder if 'The Conspiracy' was bigger than anybody could have imagined (not limited to just the schools that my son has attended).

After chatting for a couple more minutes, I learned a little about this man... He has been an Executive Recruiter for nearly 20 years. He's been married for 25, and he has two daughters. To my surprise and relief, one of them is 16. I suggested that surely she knew about us (because at that age, they really do know everything), and that if he hasn't heard of us by now, it could be her fault for failing to 'share the secret'. He told me that was just plain ludicrous. ...Ah, a parent's denial. (I know. I've been there.) At least I know it wasn't my child's fault. Nobody tells him anything.

Formerly FROM THE INSIDE OUT was primarily a work-related blog, but as of 4/24/04, the sky's the limit! (Written anonymously, by someone you don't know anyway.) Old posts have been left in place, in case anybody has nothing better to do than read our archives. Well... there just might be somebody, right?

LINKS... To some truly fascinating places, really!
More coming soon!

ARCHIVES... What did she say? Was it about ME?
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