Monday, October 31, 2011

Need Therapy? Try to get a new job.

I have decided that interviewing is really therapy.

I have never had a therapy session so I could be a little off in my comparison but in my job search experience over the last few years, it has felt more like therapy. If you make it pass the gated phone interview and are invited to a in-person interview and this is where the magic happens. Your interviewer will take you back to where your career started and bring you up to the present time. As you begin to describe your responsibilities, you take a trip down memory lane but something unexpected always seems to happen.

As the interview progresses, a question will be asked that requires some deep thought. You begin to run through your experiences in your head and then start to answer the question and then it happens! You have an Oprah Ah-Ha moment. You realize that your whole life changed based on one occurrence in your childhood or one interaction with a co-worker. Or you realize that the reason you act the way you do is because your first boss or a school mate treated you a certain way.  Or you realize that your parents raised you to think a certain way and that is why you grew up to be good or bad at something.  Each interview opportunity causes a person to have a different story come to life for them.

One moment you are talking out loud about something related to the job and all the sudden you have a moment of clarity about something in your life. It is usually something so simple that you can't believe this is the first time you have ever made the connection. When the interview is over you are thankful for the opportunity to be considered for a job but that isn't the only thing you got out of it. You are secretly grateful because you just had a break-through moment in your life that would not have surfaced any other way.

So the lesson here... the next time you feel like something isn't right in your life maybe it is time to start looking for a new job. You will get the answers you need during one of your interviews. It is a lot cheaper than therapy. When the interview process is over they could end up paying you or you may never have to see them again.  Either way, you will feel a little more complete.  It is a win-win.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

RSVP Yes means you are coming, right?

I discovered a pet-peeve. I usually don't sit around thinking about what kind of things bother me but when something happens that catches your attention in a bad way, it can raise that issue to a whole new level of awareness. It causes you to clearly define the offensive behavior for future reference.

This newly discovered pet-peeve is something that everyone does usually without any harm or bad intention.  We do it to try and not hurt or disappoint people but it always runs the risk of doing just the opposite.  So what act could be so damaging?  Not saying no.

How many times do you get invited to go somewhere, do something, or participate in an activity that you really don't want to do?  How many times do you come up with some excuse about why you can't go?  All the time, right?  We do it so we don't hurt people's feelings or disappoint anyone. Here are some classic scenes from the movie, Yes Man starring Jim Carey to help illustrate this: and 

Sometimes people say yes and then don't show up.  Sometimes people will say yes and then, at the last minute, have a conflict conveniently pop-up.  Sometimes people show up but they can't stay long.  It seems like we would rather feel guilty about lying than mildly disappoint someone.  Where is the good in that? Doesn't this fall under the two wrongs don't make a right category? Why is it that we can't just say no?

What makes this phenomena the worst is when you are on the other side of the invitation. When you invite people to do things and you know they are lying to you in order not to participate. It feels gross and it cheapens your relationship. For acquaintances, this behavior isn't welcome but it seems to be more easily forgivable. Where it really crosses the line and this action becomes unacceptable and very harmful is when it happens between close personal friends.  When it is someone you have known for a long time and trusted, and they tell you a lie to get out of something, it really hurts. What does it say about your friendship when you can't be honest with each other?  What else are they not being honest about with you? Can you trust them moving forward?  What ends up as an attempt to not hurt someone's feelings ends up really hurting the friendship.  It is a major withdrawal from your friendship bank account and it is very difficult and time consuming to try and replenish the situation.

Is it worth it?  Just two little letters can prevent this pain, n-o. Saying no means you don't have to lie.  Saying no means... you don't have to do anything you don't want to do and be stressed about it.  Saying no means... you don't have to feel guilty about making up an excuse.  Saying no means... you might disappoint someone in the short term but you actually enhance your relationships with people because you were being honest with them.

Be real. Be honest. Just say no... or yes, but follow through.  You will be surprised what happens.  The more genuine you are with people the better your relationships will be and that is what life is all about in the end.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Worst Game Ever Invented

You always hear people saying they are playing a "waiting game."  Everyone plays this game at some point in their life.  Based on my own experience, I believe it is the worst game ever invented.

Most likely if you are waiting on something and it feels like time is standing still, it is a situation that you want to have resolved as soon as possible.  It could be exciting news or news that could possibly change the direction of your life. The longer time goes by and you don't know the news, the longer you live in a state of complete distraction.

Other than not being able to move forward, the worst part of waiting is the situation is totally out of your control.  If you are waiting and feeling tortured about it then someone else probably holds the answer to your situation.  You can't call and bug them, sending nagging emails, or try to rush things along without the risk of sounding desperate, being annoying, or possibly influencing the outcome to not be in your favor depending on the situation.  So you have to wait.

Here are some tips on making the wait more tolerable:
1. Find something else to do during the wait.  This will help time go faster and keep you productive.  It is amazing how many chores you can accomplish or how satisfying it can be to check off some of those home projects. Find something that will tie up your thoughts or go get lost in a movie or conversation with friends.

2. Take a moment to acknowledge that you never had control of this situation in the first place.  God has a plan for you and His will is better than anything you can come up with or desire. Even if you get the answer you have been waiting for and it isn't what you had hoped you can rest easy because all things work together for good for those who believe. So no matter what, everything will be just fine.  Just believe, really believe, and you will be able to relax.

3. Take what ever step you can take. What is the next step if you get your answer?  Can you research anything? Can you get ready? Can you plan the next step without implementing anything?  Maybe take a moment to write things down.  Drawing a decision tree, make a plan A or Plan B diagram, create a list, and just let your mind and thoughts progress.

Waiting can be a great training tool for developing patience.  God could be working things around during your wait time to make the answer better for you.  Waiting is the worst game ever invented but you don't have a choice in whether you experience it so you have to try and make the best out of the situation. You will wait for something important at some point so choose to make the situation as good as it can get.  So what are you waiting for?