Thursday, January 29, 2004
Sound Advice for Life

If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

Accept that some days you're the pigeon, some days you're the statue.

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open.

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.

Eat a live toad in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.

Never buy a car you can't push.

Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

The early worm gets eaten by the bird, so sleep late.

When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

Birthdays are good for you; the more you have, the longer you live.

Ever notice that the people who are late are often much jollier than the people who have to wait for them?

If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?

Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.

We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors but they all have to learn to live in the same box.

--Thanks, Lori. That was cute! I agree with them all, except for the eating a live toad thing. ....Yuck!
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Recruiting? Improve Your Interview-to-Hire Ratio.

Why is it, do you suppose, that some recruiters have a higher interview-to-hire ratio than others? All things being equal (same or similar job/company), all recruiters should average about the same i-t-h ratio. Yet, some seem to have a knack for it more so than others. It's not merely dumb luck however. These recruiters have simply learned how to better "qualify" & "comfort" a candidate, and ease them through the process in a way that helps to insure greater success in actually having the opportunity to hire more --while even possibly interviewing less. It's all about communication. (The same goes for retention.)

Sometimes, in one's haste to speak with as many candidates as possible (not to mention all of the other duties one must perform in a day), they can forget that the people they are speaking with may not know diddly about the company they are being attempted to be recruited for. It would be the same as studying someone's resume, and then simply assuming you know all there is to know about that person. Big mistake. A person is multi-dimensional, whereas a resume is not. The same holds true for a company. It should not be assumed that just because a person may know a company by name that they know anything else about them.

That said, be sure to do the following when interviewing candidates, and you too can be the one with a "knack for recruiting":

Be warm and friendly. People searching for jobs tire of being treated as cattle. If a candidate is made to feel the recruiter is being forthright and honest, and would always treat them with respect and with professional courtesy, they will be more apt to be that way with the recruiter. A candidate wants to know that a recruiter has his/her best interests in mind, as well as that of the company. A [good] recruiter will let the candidate know, from the very first contact, that they are seen as a living, breathing human being. This insures that the candidate will be less likely to let the recruiter down.

Be thorough in your description of the company; it's culture, longevity, growth, and main line of business. Let the candidate know of the anticipated degree of success and growth that the candidate may enjoy if employed by the company. Cite examples when possible. Tell them how you got into the business, and why you are happy in your position (how long you've been there, etc.). Too often, a recruiter forgets that not only does the candidate need to 'sell' their attributes, but that it is a two-way street they are traveling. The job and company must also be 'sold' to the candidate.

Enthusiasm is downright contagious! The more of it you have, the more of it you spread. Enthusiastic people tend to be seen as leaders. Wherever an enthusiastic person goes, there will always be people who want to follow their lead.

Don't be afraid to ask for the candidate's complete honesty and candor, and offer the candidate the opportunity to freely ask questions. Anticipate what they might be, and be sure you have the answers (just as a candidate is expected to have them for you).

All of this may sound time-consuming, but in truth, it's not. Using these methods may take 15-20 minutes longer up front, but can save hours of time and aggravation in the long run. Not only that, but in treating everyone in this way (even those that aren't quite right for a given job), you are also in a position to build a network of people who will refer others to you (and don't be afraid to ask them to)... simply because they like your style, and now know tons of info about the great company you are recruiting for.
Monday, January 26, 2004
If I had my life to live over - by Erma Bombeck
(written after she found out she was dying from cancer).

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner." There would have been more "I love you's." More "I'm sorry's."

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it .. live it and never give it back. Stop sweating the small stuff.

Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what.

Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.

Let's think about what God HAS blessed us with, and what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally.

[Thanks for sharing, Kay. We should all follow Erma's advice!]
Friday, January 23, 2004
A real resume found adrift on the superhighway...

  • High school
    I'm a member of the class of 1984 at Maranacook Community School in Readfield, Maine, but I don't receive a diploma because I refuse to take a required course on "Consumer Skills" (you know, important material like how to sign up for welfare -- and yes, we did call this school either Bananacook or Marijuanacook). Therefore I'm rejected by every college to which I apply.

    My first semi-real job, working at the Maine State Law & Legislative Research Library, makes me realize I never want to be a lawyer.

    Among other activities, I take some computer programming classes at the University of Maine, complete a statistics course at Colby College, participate in a statewide seminar for young writers, and get my driver's certificate from Mack's School of Offensive Driving (!).

  • High school continued.
    Needing a high school diploma, I attend the tiny and now-defunct American Renaissance School for a year, graduating #2 in my class but in the bottom 50% (you do the math).

    Start working at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Laboratory under IBM Fellow Jerry Woodall, where I waste lots of chemicals but create a few useful techniques in molecular beam epitaxy.

  • College
    High school diploma and asymptotically-approaching-perfect SATs in hand, I'm accepted at Columbia University intending to double-major in physics and philosophy.

    I quickly drop the physics in favor of Ancient Greek, basically majoring in Aristotle (which seems useless at the time but later comes in handy for object-oriented programming!).

    Do some interesting work at IBM, as well as at an iconoclastic investment bank and an arts journal (both now defunct -- do I sense a pattern?).

    Complete a summer's worth of research on Aristotle's epistemology of value as an NEH Younger Scholar, which sours me on an academic career (my advisor to me: "it doesn't matter what's true, it matters what you can get published").

    Contract a strange mono-like virus for about 18 months and get a lot of incompletes, although why I was taking 5 graduate courses a semester I don't know. Need an extra semester to graduate, but squeak through.

  • Post-college
    Utterly lost with a useless degree in the short but painful 1990 recession, I head off to Czechoslovakia to teach English as a second language to engineers at the Temelin Nuclear Reactor Project in southern Bohemia. Learn Czech, but I'm not sure that my students learn English.

    Return to the States and stay unemployed for 9 months until an older friend calls me down to Atlanta to help him with the management training company he is starting.

  • Early career
    I'm not really into my new job (still suffering from Ph.D. envy), but I work hard and learn a little about the real world.

    Get in debt and take a second job working customer service in the evenings and on weekends (great experience!).

    After 20 months I get tired of Atlanta and head north to the NYC area.

    Initially I'm unemployed but at least I get a job working in the evenings (again in customer service) so I can job-hunt during the day.

    After six months I land a semi-decent job doing writing, editing, and instructional design for a sales consulting company in midtown Manhattan, but again I'm not really into it.

    The company turns out to have revolving doors and it's a bad scene, so I find an editing job at a consulting company in scenic New Jersey.

    It's a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire, especially when a jealous peer becomes my boss. After calling him to account for a highly questionable review, I get fired for insubordination and escorted from the building (another great experience!).

  • Internet time
    Luckily by this time (1996) I've discovered the internet and have already been looking for employment in this budding field.

    The folks at Logical Design Solutions take a chance on me and I don't disappoint: finally I'm working at something I like and that really matches my core skills.
    I work ridiculous hours and knock the socks off the client, going from writing to business analysis to systems analysis/programming.

    Eventually my wife gets transferred to Denver and LDS lets me telecommute, but I get lonely working at home all day with just the cats for interaction, so I start looking for something local.

    The good people at Webb Interactive Services make me an offer I can't refuse, and I reluctantly leave LDS (the president of the company cries when I depart).

    For a little less than a year I work with XML, XSL, and Java on Webb's local commerce initiatives, but increasingly I feel the pull of... Jabber.

    OH MY GOD! Is this a dream job, or what? Starting in late 1999, most of my waking hours have been devoted to Jabber, an open protocol for streaming XML whose first application is an instant messaging and presence network that is widely acknowledged as "the Linux of instant messaging". For a few years I contributed by night to the Jabber open-source community and worked by day as a systems analyst, product manager, and such at Jabber Inc.

    But it gets better...
    Since May 2002 or so, Jabber Inc. has paid me to work full-time on standards initiatives (e.g, the XMPP WG) and on the business and technical affairs of the Jabber Software Foundation. Although I actually receive mail that lists my title as "Patron Saint and Chief Evangelist" (!), I like to say that my job is "Conductor of the Jabber Community Orchestra" because mostly I wave my hands around and good things happen. Well, I also do a lot of work on the Jabber protocol, so maybe I'm conducting from the piano. :-)

    In any case, I have more fun than anyone probably should in their job, which may be why I work so many hours a week. ("Hi, my name is Peter and I'm a workaholic...") So yes, I am extremely fortunate in today's economy, and I appreciate that fact every day. It's a sappy way to end to a brutal resume, but what can I say?
  • Thursday, January 22, 2004
    As the world turns...

    I'm back. I notice my last post was a month ago today (a long time for me to be speechless). Ironic, as both dates (12/22 & 1/22) have a significance for me --one happy, one sad. The balance of life. There is no up without a down. There is no right without a left.

    I dedicate this first post in a month to my dear parents...

    On 12/22/60-something, I became the 'legal' child of my awesome adoptive parents, both 40 years my senior. Though my birthday is actually in April, from that chilly Pennsylvania December day on, 12/22 was always known as my "Special Day". It was like a mini second birthday of sorts. As I grew older, I realized it wasn't just my special day, but theirs as well.

    On January 22nd 1998 (6 years ago today), my mother passed away from breast cancer that had metastisized to her brain --all after a 30+ year battle with severe rheumatoid arthritis. Dad had passed away suddenly from a massive heart attack when I was 14. ...My memories of both of them will be cherished forever.

    Life is bitter, but it is sweet too. Such is the balance of life. It is what makes the world turn. There is no life without death. There is no love without sacrifice.

    When life gets me down --which I work hard not to let it do, I remember the old saying... "I once felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet." ...(Did I mention that my parents were depression-era children?)

    My parents are in large part responsible for my positive outlook on life. For that, I am eternally grateful... (though admittedly, the 20 mg of Prozac daily helps too). ;-)

    I now also know how I may have ended up otherwise after 30+ years of not knowing where I came from... and it's not a pretty story.

    My parents taught me to have dignity and pride, to be giving and forgiving, to be self-reliant though never an island, to be honest & true to myself and to others (among many other things), such as facing the world with a sense of humor.

    They told me I was special. They showed me that they were. I learned, through their example, that everybody is.

    Cool, huh? (Yeah, yeah, I know... but I did mention being a 60's child, right? At least I didn't say "groovy".) ;-)

    Have a nice day!

    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!

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