My Dogs are Jedi Masters

mom and boys

 

Yoda has nothing on my dogs.  They really are the Jedi Masters of peace and tranquility.  They are so good, they taught me to chill out.

 

I got to the point in my life that chaos was the norm. My best friend and I used to joke about how we have this sick tendency to actually enjoy having a full plate. It makes us energized and even perform the competing tasks at hand better than if there was only one to do.

 

Chaos became the norm.  That was okay when it was work, I felt I could handle it.  But it never just stays at work.

 

I used to work for an organization that was simply exhausting.  Chaos would have been a welcome break.  I had over an hour drive from work and would use this time to ‘decompress’ and put myself in a better place for when I got home and was with my son.

 

When I quit that job the first thing he said to me was, “Thank you, you were always in a bad mood during the week when you got home.”

 

So much for decompressing and being in a better place.

 

I used to run around on the weekend trying to accomplish what needed to be done throughout the week in a day. Cleaning, cutting the grass, weeding, grocery shopping, laundry – and by the way, how do two people have so much dang laundry?  Chaos was becoming a norm in my personal time, too.

 

One night I was sitting down, exhausted, and over came one of my pups.  He nonchalantly plopped his head on my lap.  My first thought was “I am too tired to play” but then I looked down at him.

 

If you are a dog person, you will understand the look I saw in his eyes.  If you are not, just go with it. He looked at me as if to say, “really *sniff* you don’t have time to even pat my head?”

 

Guilt by dog.

 

Of course I patted his head, rubbed his ears, and gave him undivided “mom” time.  This brought one of the other ones over and it became a puppy love fest. For that period of time I did not think of any tasks or things left undone, I just enjoyed getting happy mauled by my dogs.  Once they had their fill of attention, they went back to sleep.

 

Just as easy as that.  Fifteen minutes of play time then so relaxed that they took a nap. Seriously?  I want that!

 

As crazy as it sounds, I studied my dogs that weekend.  I was like a modern day doggy Jane Goodall. When they had a task to complete (eat, chase, dig) they gave it their complete and undivided attention.  When they were done, they were done.  They did not go back to that hole and think, “I could have done more, maybe I should dig from the outside in next time.” The threw themselves into the task at hand.

 

Then they napped.

 

They enjoyed the outside, laying in the sunshine, soaked it all up until they sounded like they were about to pass out, then they went in the house and laid on the cool tile floor.

 

Then they napped.

 

On walks they literally stopped to smell the roses…and the grass, and the mailbox posts, and the other dogs poop, and the wind and their own butt…  Even if we just saw that mailbox post yesterday, they were going to sniff it again, you never know what could have happened in 24 hours. Every smell was awesome! They took full advantage of what was around them.

 

Then they napped.

 

At night they nestled close by, getting belly rubs, rolling their little puppy eyes back in their head from sheer pleasure then started snoring.

 

These guys know how to live! Besides realizing my dogs took a lot of naps, I realized they had taught me a thing or two:

 

  • Put all your effort in the task at hand; when it is over, it is over.
  • Enjoy your surroundings.
  • Rest and rejuvenate.
  • Move – play, keep your body active.
  • Every day is a new day, you never know if there is something new in your same old path.
  • Relax, it gives you more energy when you have tasks to accomplish.
  • There is great joy in the smallest pleasures.
  • Treats are good.
  • Take time for yourself.
  • Take time to love the ones you love.

 

I have incorporated my Yoda dogs teachings into my daily life:

meditation pup

 

I take breaks throughout the day to go outside and enjoy the sunshine, birds, clouds, rain – whatever the situation is, I do a mental break and immerse myself in the sights and sounds of the right there.  Recently I put up a couple hummingbird feeders outside my office – I am in heaven during these breaks watching those little guys buzz about.

 

When the work day is done, it is done.  Then it is time for the family, dedicated, quality time.

 

Sleep.  We get sleep now as a regular thing not as a so-exhausted-I-fell-into-bed thing and please let me get just a couple of hours.

 

Daily walks with the dogs and time at the gym to keep physically active helps reduce stress.

 

And treats, lots of treats.  A massage, a manicure, a day trip, a special meal – whatever it is, treats are good!

 

Try following a dog’s life this weekend and see if you don’t get converted by these Jedi Masters of happiness.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

 

Respect the Dog, Respect the Body Language

I love big dogs.  I have had a Great Pyrenees and German Sheppard/Husky mix and currently have a Lab mix and Pit mix.  I am a person that prefers big dogs.

There are three exceptions: Bud the Pug, Brutus the Terrier and Lexi the Puggle.  They are mine, too, but the only exception to small dogs.  I am not a fan of small dogs.  It has been my experience that the little, tiny dogs I have come across are yip-yips and noisy.  I affectionately call them foo-foo dogs.

The other day I took Luke, my Lab mix who is in the accompanying picture, on a walk.  Luke is a big puppy.  He may be over five years old, but he still lives in his world of being a six pound, six month old puppy who is completely oblivious to his strength or size.

We are still leash training.

He was doing very well and I was quite proud, until we saw a foo-foo dog.

Luke is under the impression that ever person we meet and ever dog we see is there for the sole purpose of playing with him.  No exceptions.

Well before the foo-foo dog approached, I began to prepare him for the pass.  When the woman approached, I had Luke sitting, pulled up on his leash, positioned myself between me and her/her foo-foo dog, petting him and repeatedly saying, “No, we are not going to play, good boy stay.”

This could clearly be heard: “No.”

Apparently, not by foo-foo dog lady.

She walked up, brought her dog to Luke and asked him if he wanted to say hi.

Of course my dog wants to say hi.  He wants to play and in doing so there is a very good chance that he will pick up foo-foo dog by the gruff, give it a “love shake” and a little toss.

I, on the other hand, did not want Luke to say hi.  I was making this as clear as I possibly could with my body language.

Once the calamity ensued, I had to tell her that he was not used to small dogs and I did not want him to play rough (or ruff if I want to get cute about it).  I wanted to be very careful in how I told her to basically get her foo-foo dog away because us dog people are sensitive.  You can insult me, but do not insult my dog. That finally sunk in and she pulled foo-foo back and I told her how cute he was and thank you for letting them say hi.  Again, us dog people are sensitive, there is protocol.

As a Career Coach and helper of those looking to advance in their career, I tend to take everyday events and relate them to job searching, interviewing, networking etc.  This is no exception.

I would not have hired this woman for a job.

She clearly missed numerous signals and clues.  How often do we do this in an interviewing or networking situation?

When at a networking event and speaking to someone, do you notice them backing up?  Do you continue to lean forward?  They are giving you a clear indication that you are invading their space and would like it back.  During an interview do you find the interviewer lower their head, start to shake it “no” slowly and avert eye contact?  This is an indication that they are not in agreement or liking what you are saying.  Do you continue to talk anyway without clarifying your message?

On the other hand, when talking to another person, do you find them leaning in and nodding their head slightly “yes”?  This is an indication that they are interested in what you have to say, are you continuing the conversation?

It is important to be aware of your body language to make sure you are sending the right message; however, just as important is to tune in to your audience’s body language.

If you are a hand talker, you are probably aware of the movements of your hand as to not overwhelm your audience.  However, if the person you are talking to is also a hand talker, it is okay to mimic them a bit and use your hands.  This shows symmetry and alignment.

There are numerous articles on body language, some time ago I wrote a blog Don’t Let Your Body Sabotage Your Poker Face.  When reading any article on body language, be sure to utilize the information on how to control yours, as well as interpret others.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

www.CareerPolish.com

The One Super-Powerful Key to Getting What You Want

Luke's BallDo you have a goal, maybe a dream or some desire that you want but have no idea how to achieve it?

Something you really want yet instead of seeing the path on how to achieve it, all you can see is that it seems so far away.

This is not uncommon and it is not an indication that you are failing in achieving this goal.

You just need to employ this one super-powerful key to get what you want.

Before I share this, let me first say it is not complicated.  No 14 steps, no complicated system, nothing that entails mantras, changing your entire lifestyle or howling at the moon.

In fact, it is so easy my pups do it.

The key: ask.

That’s right, simply ask for what you want.

Bold, right?

Might I go as far as saying it is daring.

So often we look at something or envy others and say to ourselves, “I want that.”  But that is as far as we go.

We give plenty of reasons (or excuses) as to why we cannot have it.  Perhaps we think it is too good to be true, we are not ready, we are not worthy or we are too afraid to admit or go after what we really want.

This could be a new job, a new connection, a reconnection, an introduction, an invitation, learning a new skill or improving upon an existing skill.

No matter what your “it” is, the thing that is preventing you is the thing that is the key to achieving it: asking for it.

Start asking.

Ask someone in a position similar to what you want for their time.  Ask them how they got there, do they have any suggestions or advice.  Ask a company what they are looking for when recruiting a certain position. Ask a mutual connection for an introduction.  Ask your lost connection how they are and if they would like to meet for coffee. Ask for help from someone who is an expert at the skill you wish to improve if they would assist you, mentor you or teach you.

The things that frighten me the most are the things I do not ask for.

When I was about 4 my mom took me to her work and I met her co-workers, one of which had a candy jar on her desk and asked if I would like a piece of candy.  To which (according to my mom) I replied, “No, I would like two, please.”

When I was 14 I asked my dad to show me how to hot-wire a car.  Don’t ask me why.  My dad just calmly looked at me and said no.  My little mind told me there was no harm in asking.  Although I think I had my dad worried for a bit.

The bigger things in life, I did not ask because of fear.

Afraid of looking stupid, afraid of being told no, afraid of rejection or afraid that once I gained this thing or knowledge then I would not be able to employ it, keep it up or comprehend it.  Something about fear of success or fear of failure.

I realized one day that being safe in not looking stupid or being rejected or whatever laundry list my little voice in my head gave me kept me safe in an unsafe place.  I did not grow, I did not expand, I did not learn – I remained stuck in my uncomfortable safeness.

I’ve looked stupid, I’ve been rejected and I have forgotten more than I have learned.  But I keep asking.

I keep learning, I keep meeting new people, I keep achieving goals in my persona and private life.

Start with asking, then the doors start opening up.  It is the first step.  It also provides a commitment.  Once you have asked, you have said it out loud, you have confirmed to yourself that you truly do what it.  Once you take that first step, the next comes easier.

The picture attached to this blog is one of my pups, Luke.  Luke is the happiest dog I have ever known.  He is a master of asking.  He is never sidelined by rejection.  If he asks me to play ball and I tell him not now, he spits the ball at me and goes and plays with another toy.  He leaves the ball with me so when I am ready, ten we can play.  He does not see “no” as an uncompromising “never”, he sees it as a “not now”.

For a dog that has not figured out in five years that every time I go into the shower I will not get sucked down the drain and will, indeed, reemerge; he sure is smart.

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

www.CareerPolish.com

 

 

 

Taking a Job You Do Not Want is Choking on a Chipmunk


Oh yes, you read that title correctly.

I did compare taking a job you do not want to choking on those cute little furry rodents that create havoc in your yard.

My point is this: just because something is offered, or attractive to others, does not mean you should or have to want it for yourself; or that it is the best thing for you.  It could do more damage than good.

Let me explain the chipmunk reference.

I have three dogs; two think they are hunters.  Great hunters.  They get on a scent of a furry creature and put noses to the ground and make strange noises.  The reality is, my dogs are not hunters.  Instead of being a stealthy, lean hunting machine, they are more like the three stooges.

This week we had a situation.  Three dogs and two chipmunks meeting in the fenced in backyard.

The two mighty hunters kept losing the chipmunks because they would run between their legs, where Luke would discover it running toward him.  Luke had no idea what was going on and was quite fascinated with these furry little toys that moved on their own.

At one point, a chipmunk went flying in the air and was picked up by the lead hunter, Lexi.  I think there might have been a little fight left in the furry creature because she dropped it and that is when Luke picked it up.  He really had no interest in picking these things up until Lexi dropped it.  Then he wanted it.

This insane desire for something he didn’t even want in the first place was reinforced when I told him to drop it and proceeded to walk behind him as he trotted through the yard staying at least arms-length away from me.

Then he went into a corner, at which point I took a hold of his collar and told him to drop it (again) to which he realized the fight was over and since this seemed to be such a prized possession, he swallowed it.

At this point I was pretty much over wild life.  My first thought, of which I expressed in my out-loud voice was, “Great, now I have to take a dog to the vet because he’s choking on a chipmunk!”  I think I even looked up to the sky and said an out-loud, exasperated, “Seriously?!” 

Luke’s response to this was a loud hacking noise and the spitting up of the intact, yet dead, rodent.

Great, no chocking dog, but we were not done.  At this point, the sky opened up and a storm unleashed on us.  Now I was really over wild life and nature.  The two great hunters were thwarted by their kryptonite: rain.  They don’t like being outside in rain, not even sprinkles.  So in went the other two, which left me and Luke in a weird standoff highlighted with a chipmunk tail hanging out of his mouth.

If he wanted that thing so bad and was willing to possibly chock on it, there wasn’t anything I could do.  So, I used a fur-mommy trick and told him I was going in for treats.  Out spat the chipmunk and he beat me to the door.

The dog never wanted to actually possess the chipmunk until he thought everyone else wanted it.  Maybe, in some strange dog telepathy, the two great hunters told him he should grab it while he can – you never know when another chipmunk opportunity might come along.

In following along what others said even against what he wanted, he choked on a chipmunk.

Don’t chock on a chipmunk.

I understand that sometimes we have to take a job out of sheer necessity.  We have mouths to feed, bills to pay and a roof to keep over our heads.  I get that.

But if you are not in dire straits, if you are just taking a job because other people tell you to or you are just tired of being rejected and want to get hired just to get that feeling of being wanted again – don’t.

You will not like the job, you will be frustrated and you might find yourself in a worse predicament chastising yourself for taking a job and wanting to quit after a few months and thinking of how bad it is going to look for you.

You would choke on the chipmunk you didn’t even want.

Your time will come.  Take the job that you want, that fulfills you, that helps you get to the place you want to go.

Once inside, Luke gleefully jumped on and picked up socky.  This is an old sock tied in a knot which served as a chew toy and item of tug-of-war and was back in his happy place.

Drop the chipmunk, go find your socky.

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

www.CareerPolish.com

 

All I Wanted was a Cool Breeze at Night – and You Think You Just Want a Job….

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If a healthy scale was a teeter-totter, I would never have my butt firmly planted on the ground leaving someone else stranded in the air.  I am not a heavy weight, full force all natural kinda girl.

 

I’m more like a little over average with my feet dangling just above the ground but not quite reaching it.

 

I am ok with that.  Apparently, my dogs are not.

 

I have decided that one of my dogs’ primary purposes is to keep me in shape.  I am not talking about taking them on walks or throwing Frisbees in the park.  They are much more crafty than that, or cruel, it depends on how you choose to look at it.

 

Luke’s latest plan involved a wall.

 

More specifically: destroying a wall by removing a significant piece of it and damaging the wall switches that control the ceiling fan to my master bedroom.  I love ceiling fans.  Due to his latest plan, the one in my bedroom no longer worked.  I decided not only would I replace the switch, I would change out the ceiling fan for one of the other ones that I like better that is in the spare bedroom. 

 

I just wanted a cool breeze at night while I slept.

 

I am the daughter of a mechanic and a granddaughter of an electrician.  I figured some of those genes would come through in times like this. 

 

I figured wrong.

 

Here is a recap of the highlights of my day yesterday.  First, I shut off all electricity.  Good deal, only downside is I was working on the second floor of my home, you know, where all the heat goes and collects to make you sweat by just standing there? 

 

Next, up and down the ladder I went in both rooms to disassemble the ceiling fans.  One piece at a time.  Dropping screws and running down the ladder to pick them up before one of the dogs investigated to see if it was something worth eating.  There are a lot of screws in ceiling fans.

 

Running to the hardware store to get switches.  In the course of my day I was able to damage two others (don’t ask) so I had to replace them too.  There was a lot of “please do not let me see anyone I know” during the drive to the hardware store.

 

Now you would think you would simply rewire the darn switches the same way they were before you took them out.  You would think, and you can do; but it doesn’t mean it will work the same. 

 

I discovered a fun little twist: I could have the light fixture work on my ceiling fan and the fan part itself, if I was ok with none of the outlets working.  Or I could have the light work and the outlets but no fan.  Neither one of these is really an option for me. 

 

Call me crazy, but I want the fan switch to only operate the fan, the light switch to only operate the light and all the little outlets to live merrily on their own without interference.  Resetting my alarm clock every day is not an option either.

 

Here is where the fun really began.  Here was the exercise routine:

 

  • Wiring identical wires (really, why aren’t they color coordinated?  Oh no, we had to have only red wires and black wires.  Really???)
  • Going down the stairs stepping over and around dogs to the garage, flipping the breaker back on
  • Coming in from the garage being bombarded by three dogs who must have thought I was never coming back in, back up the stairs avoiding dogs that can run circles on stairs to see the results, uttering certain words of dissatisfaction
  • Going back down the stairs, telling the dogs is it not a race to get down the stairs, to the garage, flipping off the breaker
  • Coming back in the garage bombarded and tripped by dogs relieved of their certain doom of being left alone forever
  • Going back up the stairs dodging dogs with moves Walter Peyton would be proud of to avoid dogs to start the process over again

 

That is a lot of stairs, and a lot of dissatisfied words. My apologies to my father and grandfather.

 

After some lap in the 20s I realized I was not out of breath or feeling fatigued at all.  My dogs have really whipped me in shape! 

 

I just wanted a fan in my room.  I just wanted a cool breeze at night while I slept.

 

What I should have said starting out this whole ordeal is I want to be able to easily replace the ceiling fan and switch and have everything work properly the first time and every time to create a lovely cool breeze in my room.

 

Many times I will hear people tell me, “I just want a job.”

 

Not so much. 

 

You do not want just any job and in just wanting “a job” there is more to it than that.  You need to identify what you are willing to do, put the effort in to looking for open positions, prepare the information to provide to prospective employers demonstrating your qualifications, prepare and rehearse answering questions designed to vet you as a candidate and be ready to assume full ownership and responsibility of the job.

 

I just want a job.  It sounds simple and easy, but it is not.  There is a lot of work involved, a lot of preparation and a lot of dissatisfaction or rejection.  Not only to you have to prepare for the job, you have to prepare for the setbacks and disappointments.

 

They are opportunities to fine tune your presentation, clarify your objectives and strengthen your resolve.

 

In the end you will succeed and by enduring, surviving or succeeding at the process you will have gain valuable experience, skills and wisdom.  And if you are lucky, you might just be able to turn a ceiling fan on and off without turning off your alarm clock across the room.

 

Lisa K McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist  & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

www.CareerPolish.com

4 Things Not To Tell Your Dog or a Hiring Manager

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I have been a dog owner all my life.  Growing up we had a pack of at least four and as an adult I have had up to five.  My current pack is at three and we are good at this number. 

 

One thing I have learned over the years is that dogs are incredibly intelligent creatures.  They understand more than you know.  This means you must be careful in what you tell them because behind those sweet little furry faces, they are thinkers.

 

My dogs teach me a lot about life.  They teach me joy, unconditional love, patience, kindness and many lessons that equate to my coaching.  I made the mistake of telling my little pack something the other day and I realized that there are just some things you do not tell your dogs.  It also hit me that these same things translate to job searching.

 

Which leads me to todays blog: the four things you do not tell your dog or hiring manager.

 

You Understand.

 

No, really, they do not.  Dogs and people are going to understand what you tell them, not what you intended to tell them.  Telling a dog, “I cannot play with you right now because I am too busy, you understand”  does not equate to them getting the fact that you have a deadline.  What they know is you are ignoring them.  Period.  You might as well tell them that you don’t love them anymore.  Dogs do not connect dots.  Cats chase glowing red dots, dogs are oblivious to dots.

 

When talking to a hiring manager and they ask you about a situation ending your response with “you understand” is the same as telling them “I really do not have a good answer to your question so I am leaving it up to you to fill in the blanks for me.”  If you are asked a question that gives you the opportunity to highlight a skill set or accomplishment for goodness sake take full advantage of it.

 

They will not know how wonderful you are and what a great fit you are for the job if you do not tell them.  Do not assume they are connecting the dots.  You know what they say about assuming…. 

 

I Didn’t Mean To Put That There.

 

My pack has always included big dogs.  I had a Great Pyrenees, Sheppard/Husky mix and currently a Lab.  The thing about big dogs is there is nothing they cannot reach.  My kitchen countertops are clean and bare by necessity, not design.  I learned not to leave a loaf of bread in the back corner of the countertop because as soon as I leave the room it is eaten. 

 

At this point it is of no consequence to the dog in telling them that I didn’t mean to put the bread there and that it wasn’t for them.  They don’t care.  If I put it there and it is within reach then it is fair game.  That means if they can reach it, they will eat it.  Plain and simple.

 

For a hiring manager this equates to putting something on your resume that you do not want to discuss or highlight.  Everything on your resume is fair game.  If you list it and I am a hiring manager than I have full opportunity to explore it.

 

Often I have found people will include items on their resume that are actually weak areas or tasks that they do not want to do. When reviewing these items in resume reviews I am told, “I didn’t mean to put that there, I really did not have a lot of exposure to it but I thought it would look good on my resume.”

 

No, it does not, especially if you cannot speak to it with authority and confidence.  I am not a technical genius to say the least.  If I were putting a resume together for myself I would not mention proficiency in certain applications because the truth be told, I might have worked in them, but it was a slow and painful process. 

 

Trying to make myself look better by listing something I am not proficient in and then going a step further by trying to proclaim I am proficient in it is one sure fire way of discrediting everything that I have said to that point and everything after.

 

If you cannot speak to it as a value add then leave it off

 

Biscuits are Not a Priority 

 

My dogs live for treats, and tummy rubs, but mostly food related items.  Biscuits are a priority for them.  I call all treats biscuits because this is their favorite word.  My dogs are spoiled, they get biscuits for things like going outside and pooping.  What an awesome life they live, they get rewarded for doing what they have to do by nature.  They get treats for all sorts of things and they appease me by doing little doggy tricks for their biscuits.  I would have a revolt on my hands if I proclaimed that biscuits were no longer a priority in my house.  If it is important to them, it is important to me.  It makes them happy.

 

You need to know the hiring manager’s biscuits.  Factors include industry, clients, target markets, skill sets; what are their goals, mission statement, short and long term plans.  If customer service is their biggest biscuit for the position for which you are interviewing then you darn well better come prepared with a box of results, value and accomplishments related to customer service. 

 

If, on the other hand, you tell them that customer service is not high on your priority or proficiency list you have just lost the job.  One, you were not prepared for the interview; and two, you are not the right fit.  I once interviewed a young lady for an investment associate position, she would be responsible for tracking orders in the market, spreadsheets for clients and verifying costs basis.  She was doing fine until she told me that she wasn’t really a math person.  Math was a pretty big biscuit for that position.

 

 I Don’t Have Time.

 

I eluded to this in the first point.  I don’t know about your dogs but when mine want to go play and I am trying to finish something up and tell them that I don’t have time right now I get the look.  One will give me the pathetic look, one will give me the disdained look and the other gives me a look of sheer confusion.  This is important to them, how do I not have the time?  Do I not love them anymore?  Next thing you know I will tell them that I don’t have any biscuits.

 

Telling a hiring manager that you do not have the time to learn a new system, technology or skill set is telling them that their job and company are not a priority for you; now or in the future.  You do not see it worthy to give them extra time to be a part of the team.

 

If you were to tell the hiring manager that you didn’t have the time to do something is another indicator that you are not engaged or interested in the position.  It could very easily translate that you are only looking for a paycheck or just don’t value things in general in life. 

 

For example, if they ask you what you know about their company during the interview and you respond with you did not have time to research the company before the position; well then, you might as well bid them goodbye right then and there.  The job was not important enough to spend a few minutes doing a little research?

 

Or if the hiring manager wants you to learn a new system or earn a certification upon acceptance and you respond with you just don’t have the time to do that; again, bid farewell.  You are letting them know that you are willing to be a part of the team to a point but certainly do not value something that is going to improve our performance and enhance you as an individual.

 

My dogs have taught me about unconditional love, as I stated earlier.  I can be out of the good biscuits and they have to make do with the plain old crunchy ones, but they still love me.  I can have a terrible day and be quite the unlovable person, yet there they are; head on my lap, sappy eyes telling me they still love me.  I learned I have unconditional love for them when I still love them after cleaning up poo in places that poo should never be.  This is just one wonderful thing about dogs.

 

Jobs, on the other hand, not so much.  Start slacking on the biscuits, giving less time or effort and they do not show unconditional love; they show you the door.  You have to put in as much as, or more, than you expect to get back to reach that point of satisfaction, joy and success.   

 

If you are going after a job you have to want it; and wanting it means you have to know the ins and outs and be excited to do that and more.  This is best demonstrated by doing your homework, being prepared, communicating your value and engaging in the process.

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

www.CareerPolish.com

 

So You are a People Person, Great. I am a Dog Person.

Image

 

I mean, c’mon, what does that really mean?

 

You love working with all people? Doubt it. 

You communicate well with all people? Doubt it.

 

When I say I am a dog person, it conveys that I love all dogs.  Not exactly true.  I’m not a fan of little yippy dogs.  I like big dogs, Great Pyrenees is my favorite breed.  Anything under 60 pounds is, in my eyes, a small dog. Two of my three dogs outweigh me. 

 

The third is a Puggle, who reigns supreme over the other two; and she does not yip.

 

Saying you are a people person is an empty statement, a space filler and meaningless.  It truly does not describe you but rather conveys that you are a generalist.

 

Stop making generalizations about yourself.  There is nothing that will tune an audience of 1 or 100 out quicker than making generalizations.

 

Why?  Because they apply to no one.  Therefore, if it is not important, why listen?

 

When you are job searching, advancing in your career, engaging new clients or networking the one thing you do not want to happen is people tuning you out.  Game over.

 

You are not a generality, you are not insignificant; you provide or add value. 

 

The key is you have to discover how.

 

There may be many ways in which you do this so start with asking yourself the following questions and writing down your answers:

 

What do I do?

How do I do it?

Whom do I work with?

What is the benefit they receive from working with me? 

 

Now, if you were to use all the information you just gathered from the above questions you would have quite the lengthy elevator pitch and end up sounding like a yippy dog after the first minute or two. 

 

You don’t want to be a yippy dog; so let’s not stop there.

 

Now is the time to cut it down for impact.  Let me give you a bit of insight about the people you are talking to: we have a short attention span.  Please do not force us to try to politely concentrate for three minutes when we got lost after the first 15 seconds. 

 

It is painful.

 

We need to the point, attention-getting statements that peak our interest.  Give me something to hold on to a hook, a morsel.  If you blurt out everything about yourself what motivation do I have to continue the conversation?

 

None.

 

I already know everything about you.

 

And odds are I have misinterpreted something.

 

Boil it down to the most important value that you bring and how it relates to me.

 

That is how you get my attention and that is how you get me to ask you a question and engage in conversation.

 

Yippy dogs keep yipping; big dogs bark less frequency and with more power.  Big dogs get attention, yippy dogs get ignored.

 

Be your own big dog.  They are awesome.

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach & Brand Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

www.CareerPolish.com

Working Like a Dog – Seriously?

As I sit in my office working this morning, I am buzzing away because it is so quiet and peaceful. Realizing that it is quiet and peaceful makes me look around because in my house quiet is normally not a good thing – first with kids now with my little pack of dogs. Looking around there are five sleeping dogs in my office. And the phrase, “Work like a dog” flashes in my head.

Obviously my pack is not the inspiration for this saying, actually I wondered where it came from and why so I looked it up. Oh yes, that is me. I am very inquisitive to the point that I have Dictionary.com on my phone so I can look up words when away from my computer. Again, I like the color of the sky in my world.

Anyway, apparently the origin is that dogs used to be working dogs, like Huskies for sled dogs or sheep dogs for herding. These creatures worked dawn til dusk just for a bit of food and maybe a pat on the head. The theory is that some employers expect the same of their employees. I’ve met a couple so I would agree. Looking around at five sleeping dogs (I really just can’t get over this) I think they all would have little doggie-strokes if I told them they were expected to work just for food. We won’t even go there with the treats.

My dogs are spoiled and absolutely domesticated being all indoor dogs. The girls have little fits if they have to go out in the rain to do their business, seriously. It’s okay, I kick them out in the rain anyway because I’m mean that way.

So this train of thought led to my kids, and everyone else’s kids for that matter. There are some very wonderful young men and women out there, I know because I’ve met a few. There are more of the “other” kind and that just annoys and frightens me.

You know these kids, they expect what they want just because they want it, they have no idea how to do simple math because they have Excel, they don’t know how to spell because they have spellchecker (no stones there, thank goodness for spellchecker, I am a terrible speller!), they want instant gratification and lose focus immediately. If their cell phone dies they are lost in the world, can’t figure out how to make a phone call or get direction.

They think because they thought about doing something it is good enough. We are to blame for this, it is the generation of trophies-for-trying and it is disturbing. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard something to the effect of “Well, I thought about doing it” and that is their so-called effort so they should not be held accountable for a task not being completed. Yeah, well, I’ve had lots of thoughts about Christian Kane, the actor that plays Eliot Spencer on Leverage but you don’t see any of those coming to fruition.

I think sometimes we are so immersed in world of all the little trophies-for-trying who are becoming legal to drink, smoke and vote that we adopt their attitude ourselves. I mean, hey, it works for them. To that I say “Grow up!” Taking responsibility is hard, it takes work and effort and sometimes you don’t get jack-squat for it but guess what, you do it anyway. Kids are amazed when I give them this little piece of insight during workshops. They look at me like, “What do you mean we have to work for something with no guarantee that we will get what we want?” Kind of like the look my dogs give when I tell them to go outside, “but why, we can sleep better in your office!”

If you find yourself frustrated at something not going your way I suggest that you take a step back and give an honest evaluation of your efforts. Are you putting effort in the task or expecting it to happen simply because you want it to? If you answered the latter than I suggest you get off your butt and stop waiting for someone to hand you a trophy for thinking about it. There is no greater reward or more empowering feeling for accomplishing something that you worked really hard for – truly worked. No trophy can compare to that.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Polish, Inc.
www.CareerPolish.com

Getting Just A Little More Than You Expected

Two of the pack Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW, Career Polish, Inc.
Luke & Brutus
So yesterday I told the story of timing and bringing Bandit back home, but there was one little fact I left out – I brought back a little more than I expected. Brutus. My pack is now up to five. My best friend Jackie said I had to stop because if I needed two hands to count my dogs then I would officially cross over into crazy lady zone.

I couldn’t help it! While I was finishing my paperwork for Bandit in walked this young man and said he found this pup under a car the night before. I looked over and saw the cutest, tiniest version of one of my dogs that I just looked at the kid, sighed, and said, “Oh, just hand him over” and that is how Brutus came home.

It hit me when I walked in my house that bringing home a miniature dog might not have been the best idea since I already had a very hyper year old boxer-lab mix, Luke, who is FULL of energy. Maybe he would squash the puppy or accidently swallow him. Luke’s favorite toy is Lexi, the puggle, he loves to chew on her and they happily tear at each other throughout the day. It was quite possible Luke would swallow Brutus if he tried the same thing, or at the very least snap him in half. And then there could have been the issue of a big dog not liking such a small dog.

As you can tell from the picture, I have no worries. Luke is in seventh heaven. To him, I just brought home two more playmates, and one is a real life toy. Not only did he like him, he loves him. At best I was hoping for acceptance but with the two new additions, I got so much more. What is the saying, hope for the best prepare for the worst?

As it is Friday I encourage you to look back at this week and find one thing that was a happy surprise, it doesn’t have to be anything huge, maybe just something as small as the perfect cup of coffee. I think sometimes we are so frustrated that when we look for something good we look for something big – we get confused. Now, having five dogs that all get along, that is big. But that is not the only good of my week. I also had a lovely surprise after the NAWBO Connections this week.

And that lovely surprise turned out to be more than I expected, as well. Looking back at my week, good and bad, I have decided the good outweighs the bad so I am going to celebrate. I will be finishing early today to go enjoy the Indiana State Fair, even though it is Purdue day, I’m an IU grad and I am going with a Purdue grad – this should be fun! I’ll be making up some lost time tomorrow, but for tonight, I think I will just simply enjoy a wonderful evening and be thankful that I have more than I expected.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Polish, Inc.
www.CareerPolish.com