My Blog

Welcome to my blog! Here you will find my experiences, hopes, details of my current job hunt and sometimes silly nonsense. You can access each blog post on the right hand side of the page under “Recent Posts”.

Please come back often, read, comment share my site on your social media….and enjoy!

Interviews and Gaps In Employment

I found this article on LinkedIn and would like to offer my own thoughts on explaining gaps in employment when in a job interview.

In my experience, interviews can be a delicate dance. You should be approachable and friendly, but not overbearingly so or you will appear to be “faking it”. Its a good idea to use the interviewer’s name at the end of the conversation but it can be easy to forget it. Its important to present yourself as having the skills necessary for the job, but to be honest and not overstate your ability (a sticking point for me…I always accurately represent my skills to avoid getting into a bad situation).

Add to this the fact that you need to explain gaps in your work history. What if you quit a job to care for a sick loved one or to take care of some medical issues for yourself? The interviewer might think that since you or a loved one have health issues there is a good chance you will have to take time off if they hired you. If you quit a job because you and your boss didn’t get along, or you didn’t like the work, or there was too much stress, and you were out of work for awhile before your next job, how do you convey that without sounding as if you are hard to please or flighty?

The article gives great advice and a lot of information that I was unaware of. First, recruiters and hiring managers generally understand that sometimes you need to take time off for medical issues either for yourself or a loved one. It points out the obvious, that they are human and have their own experiences. This sounds like a no-brainer but I know that for me, it was something that just never really occurred to me because I get so nervous in interviews.

Second, there are ways to tactfully explain reasons for leaving a previous job. Without saying anything really negative about the prior company or manager, you can say things like it wasn’t a good fit because you wanted more autonomy than they offered, that you “didn’t fit in with the competitive and bureaucratic culture” of the company (per the article). I think that’s great advice. And since its always good practice to turn a negative into a positive, you can say something about how you see the qualities in the company you are interviewing for are much more aligned with your desires.

I highly recommend this article, as it goes more in-depth than I will here. I will end by saying that interviewing with agencies is always low stress to me, as you can be very honest with them about your background and experiences. This serves two purposes; it enables them to have a solid feel for what you are looking for in a company, and it will allow them to help you phrase things and represent yourself in a positive light.

Whatever tools you use when interviewing, be yourself, be honest, ask questions and most of all….RELAX.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Living in Sacramento, I am TREMENDOUSLY excited to spend Thanksgiving week at my daughter and son in law’s house in Santa Barbara. There was a massive wildfire (the Cave Fire; google it to see the terror we lived with for the first day) but a huge storm rolled through and put it out. Pretty nifty.

Yesterday was wonderful. Blue skies, puffy white skies, comfortable temperature. We walked through the UCSB campus where my son in law is working towards his PhD in History, then walked on a path that took us up to a bluff overlooking the ocean.

This morning we awoke to a torrential rainstorm. It even rivals the famous Seattle rain. But we were going to stay in the house anyway and watch movies so I suppose its not that bad.

On to Thanksgiving gratitude. I am SO grateful for my children and their significant others, my home…all the things that most people are grateful for. But I’m also grateful for things like the smell of bacon as my daughter makes breakfast, my peace of mind, puffy blue skies, autumn, birds chirping in the morning, hot coffee in the morning and so many other things.

What are YOU grateful for? Comment below and as always, please share my blog on your social media.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now, THIS calls for a celebration!

people making a toast with wine glasses

Well, folks, it happened. I got my first spam comment! It appears I am officially a blogger.

Seriously though…”I don’t get no respect” (adjusts tie like Rodney Dangerfield) Speaking of Rodney Dangerfield, did you know that his wife keeps little perfume bottles of his sweat in a tupperware container in her refrigerator? No, I’m not joking. Don’t believe me? Here’s the article.

According to the article Rodney came up with the idea, saying since Elvis’ sweat on a handkerchief went for a lot of money, his should, too. His wife Joan began collecting his sweat in little perfume bottles.

Now, there are lots of celebrities I love…Chris Martin of Coldplay, Woody Allen, Cameron Diaz and Mark Wahlberg to name a few…but not enough to keep their sweat in my refrigerator. In fact, as much as I love my sister, my brother in law, my children, I still would not keep their sweat in my refrigerator.

Now, I’m not one to judge. Whatever made the Dangerfields happy is none of my business. But if it was me, given the opportunity, I’d snip a few strands of hair or maybe a (non-sweaty) t-shirt one of them wear. I generally keep bodily fluids out of my kitchen.

Like Rodney, I guess I finally got some respect.

“The State of Remote Work”

woman-in-grey-jacket-sits-on-bed-uses-grey-laptop-935743

I came across this article on LinkedIn about remote work and it spoke to me. My goal is to work from home and according to this article, I’m not the only one.

Many people say that working from home causes loneliness, a feeling of disconnection from their coworkers and the inability to unplug after the workday is over. I’ve not only heard that from my peers but have read it in this article as well. I can understand these points.

For me, however, it would work. It reduces my carbon footprint, saves on gas, lunch and work wardrobe. If my schedule was also flexible, it would allow for me to take care of personal business without taking PTO. There are so many advantages that I’d be willing to sacrifice some things.

To combat loneliness, for example, its important to only keep in touch with coworkers not only about work matters, but casual chat as well (as long as it doesn’t affect productivity). I believe that the way to feel connected to others is to talk about things that aren’t necessarily work related. We get to find out how others are similar to us, how they differ, and decide who we feel connected to. Work needs to be part of our life; not our entire life. Everyone needs people in their life.

It’s also important to nurture relationships in your personal life. This is another reason I think working remotely is important; it allows you to spend more time with your family and friends. A person with a thriving social life is usually a happy person.

I can understand having trouble unplugging after the workday when you work from home. Its like the difficulty I have unplugging from my job search after spending most of the day searching online and submitting applications. I have no simple advice for remedying this problem other than the obvious…knowing its healthy to unplug at the end of the workday and practice doing it.

I still seek a remote position because I know it will work for me. I’ve done it before and hope to do it again.

When I do, I will have to be sure to heed my own advice!

“Six Verbs That Make You Sound Weak”

woman in interview looking worried

I came across an article this morning titled “Six Verbs That Make You Sound Weak.”

I’m curious what you think.

While I do believe language and choice of words make an impact on how others see you, and while the article is very well written and has value, I’m not sure I agree with all the points made.

For instance, the article word “want” is said to ‘make the speaker seem to be lacking in some way.’ “I want you to improve the quality of your work,” that statement suggests the boss is not getting what she wants–which maybe she isn’t. But the better way to get what you want is to simply set forth facts: “Your work on this report needs to be higher quality.” That puts the onus on the employee.‘ To me it seems the latter statement might put the employee on the defensive. It could be construed as bossy. The employee might develop a resentment which would probably negatively impact the relationship.

The article also mentions that the word ‘need’ “conjures up a feeling of dependency on the part of the speaker, rather than of obligation and responsibility on the part of the team.” I see the word ‘need’ as saying…well…something is needed. Is there really something wrong with saying “I need you write this report for me”? In my mind its simply conveying that the task needs to be completed.

Again, the article is well written and some of the points have great value, I question these two points.

What do you think? Please comment below and share this site on your social media!

Fires!

firefightes in front of raging wildfire

The 2019 fire season is turning out to be particularly active compared to last season. Experts say abundant rain earlier in the year caused significant vegetation growth, providing more fuel for wildfires. The hope was that this season would simply be “challenging” but its turning out to be much more.

The Kincade fire, the largest fire currently burning in the state, is ravaging wine country in Northern California, and is twice the size of San Francisco. It has burned 74,000 acres. 90,000 people have been evacuated. Homes and businesses have been destroyed. Its only 15% contained.

The Getty Fire, northwest of Los Angeles, has burned 658 acres but is only 5% contained so I expect that will rise. The Getty Museum is in danger, and UCLA and Santa Monica College both closed campuses Monday. Several celebrities have had to evacuate and one of my news sources reported that LeBron James and his family fled the fire but were unable to find a hotel room.

The Tick Fire in Santa Clarita has been estimated at 70% contained, but not after burning 4,615 acres and displacing tens of thousand residents. Another round of the famed Santa Ana winds are expected today which, hopefully, will not reduce the containment estimate.

I am a California native. This is the most active fire season I remember. There are over 5,000 wildfires currently burning. To complicate matters, we have been experiencing high winds across the state, and firefighters will be battling wind gusts as well as challenging terrain while fighting the fire.

If you ask me, firefighters are the bravest people I know, and I pray for them all to be safe.

Need a free ride to an interview?

Lyft is offering free rides to and from job interviews and work training programs. My jaw hit the floor when I read this. It can’t be real, I thought!

It looks like I was wrong. It’s real!

The article says, in essence, that they want to remove the barrier that prevents those from low income areas who do not have a car from finding work. I do not live in a low income area. The only bus that serves my neighborhood is a commuter express that runs to downtown in the morning and from downtown in the evening. This benefit would be huge for me until I get another car.

I’ll be checking into this service and will update my findings to see if living in a “low income area” is required. Hopefully it isn’t, because there must be more people like me who are “between cars” and looking for employment.

For more information see Lyft’s blog:

https://blog.lyft.com/jobs-access-program

Plugin fun!!!

Being a WordPress newbie, I’m having a blast with plugins.

I installed the Ultimate Social Media PLUS plugin to create and customize my social media icons. It was SO easy. The interface is clear and easy to understand, with explanations of what each option will do. I highly recommend it!

Musings

While writing content for this site, I had a compelling thought.

I am a voracious lifelong learner. It occurred to me this morning that we are all lifelong learners. Life is one long learning experience.

As children we learn things like self restraint, self esteem and social grace and norms as we grow. We begin to learn how the world works.

As teenagers we learn what our likes and dislikes are. At jobs and in life experiences we learn what our passions and interests are, how to treat people and how we want to be treated. We define a moral code for ourselves. We learn how to interact with our peers as well as with adults and those in authority.

As young adults, some of us enter school and the workforce and learn even more about our preferences and desires. What college student hasn’t entered general education courses with no idea of what they want to do with their lives, then as they learn different topics and about various career paths, manage to make a decision about what they want their life’s work to be by the end of their first few years? During this time, some of us also determine our sexual orientation and what we believe in and stand for.

As adults the learning never ends. Interaction with our peers further teaches us about ourselves, others and what our dreams and goals are. Some of us learn to raise children, some don’t get the opportunity, some choose not to raise children at all. Hopefully we learn to accept and love ourselves regardless of what our role in the world is.

My message is to enjoy the ride. Be kind to others. Keep your mind open and be accepting of new experiences. Dare to be yourself.

As my favorite meme says, “Don’t regret growing older. It is a priviledge denied to many”