Category Archives: Employment

Become the Interviewer in Your Job Search

Job-Interview-jpg-V2Make the decision that you will not stress out or over think your next job interview. Keep in mind that the interview process is a two-way street — a win-win situation for both you and the prospective employer. Realize that once you’re invited to interview for the position, you have crossed the employer’s threshold of phase one. Know that you were selected because you represented yourself as experienced, skilled, and qualified for the advertised position.

Nailing phase two is up to you. This is where the transformation begins. You must become the interviewer. Mentally switching places — changing from interviewee to interviewer — means being adequately prepared, having confidence in your abilities, and keeping your eyes on the prize. There might have been hundreds of resumes and applications for this one position. More than likely, the search was narrowed to three finalists, which included you. Now is not the time to do the proverbial war dance. Now is the time to ratchet up your research of the employer and do due diligence on every aspect of the organization, its board if there’s one, and its leadership/executive staff. You cannot duplicate similar mistakes as in past interviews, in which you were not successful in getting a job offer. You must do more than reread online advice or listen to your coach dictating how to present yourself. You must compartmentalize all the instructions given about what to say and what not to ask during the job interview. Know that the do’s and don’ts of interview preparation are only reference points. Harness your heightened level of anxiety to quash unnecessary nervousness.

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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Employment, People


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Motivating Gwen in the Workplace

I have traits that I understand may not seem amenable to some supervisors. I’m opinionated and determined, but I’m also a talented employee. Since I know who I am, I also know who my perfect boss needs to be: strong, intelligent, fair, ethical, team player, objective, humorous, role model, and confident. I have been fortunate over my 40-year career to have been supervised by three people in leadership roles who possessed those extraordinary qualities: Dr. Isabel Sawhill (former senior fellow, Urban Institute); Sol Pelavin (former President & CEO, American Institutes for Research); and Dr. Peggy Carr (Associate Commissioner, National Center for Education Statistics). For the supervisors who didn’t have those qualities, I perceived as lacking in leadership skills, albeit good people to know in a social environment; however, not the kind of leader who could motivate subordinates. These supervisors have other undesirable traits that employees have come to detest: no people management skills, micromanager, and play favoritism. And, I’m not just talking to hear myself. In 2006, research by Harvard Business School showed that individual managers’ behaviors and styles contribute to employees’ demotivation.
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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Employment


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Will the “Real” Executive Assistant Please Stand Up?

iStock_000019154392_ExtraSmallThe role of an executive assistant (EA) has evolved and morphed over the last few years, but in a downward spiral. The salary for an EA decreased while menial tasks and additional responsibilities increased. Since EAs are classified as administrative positions, they are categorized as administrative assistants (AAs) and lumped together. Both positions then have seemingly related titles dependent on the salary employers want to pay for such positions. This discrepancy, however, causes employers to advertise for an EA when in fact, they may be looking for an AA. So, when prospective EA applicants are searching for a job, they cautiously sift through a slew of classified ads to find the diamond in the rough. These administrative vacancies are labeled senior executive assistant, executive administrative assistant, or senior administrative assistant. There are even different levels of EAs (I, II, or III). And, of course, there are different duties and responsibilities for each — ranging from an experienced, mature EA to a newly college graduate with two years experience. The latter is the employers’ fault, however, believing they can get a comparable skill set based only on one having a bachelor’s degree. Read more


Posted by on January 27, 2013 in Employment


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Is Sitting the Smoking of Our Generation?

I was excited when I saw Nilofer Merchant’s article, Sitting Is the Smoking of Our Generation on the Harvard Business Review Blog. I wanted to know the angle that would be presented in comparing sitting to smoking. However, I was disappointed because the article really focused on the benefits walking has on health and the death rate associated with obesity. I don’t have anything against getting up off your butt and moving, but I already know the stats — 10,000 steps a day — of incorporating walking into one’s daily regimen. I was hoping for an eye opener behind the statement, which didn’t materialize. Merchant said, Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on January 25, 2013 in Employment, Health


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Employers that Hijack Employees’ Downtime

I read an article, What Happened to Downtime, which basically stated that “we’re addicted to distraction and it’s holding us back.” The author warrants that being constantly connected to technology, i.e., email and the Internet, is the culprit. “We are losing hold of the few sacred spaces that remain untouched,” he notes. Well, I have a counter argument regarding downtime, especially as it relates to employees in today’s workplace. I will play devil’s advocate and forge ahead with a totally different scenario of why I believe and have witness employees who relinquish their sacred spaces and/or time to anything and everything. And in these situations, employees can only hope to scavenge a morsel of freedom in order to savor an uncluttered minute for those rare “a-ha” moments. Unfortunately, however, many employers view downtime — any time where an employee is not visibly busy — as a time to reorganize and clean house. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 17, 2013 in Employment


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The Double-Edged Sword of a Layoff (The Chosen One)

It was the first roll call your organization has ever had. As you’re at the coffee machine preparing your morning wake-me-up cup of coffee, you hear your name announced a little too loudly over the paging system to please come to the conference room. As you run back to your cubicle to retrieve a pad and pencil in preparation for an impromptu meeting, another coworker is leaving the conference room carrying a thick white envelope with the word “confidential” emblazoned across it in typed red caps, and with what can only be described as a smirk on her face. Then, almost immediately, realization slams into you like a ton of bricks. OMG, you’re being fired! Oh, it doesn’t matter what the technical term for it is called — a layoff, a reduction in force (RIF), or a reorganization. The bottom line and the only thing that matters are that you are one of the chosen ones.

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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Employment


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