ALC Consulting

October 24, 2009

Some Serious Self-Care Here

Filed under: LIfe Balance — Anne Cloward @ 9:27 am
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Many of us job seekers do our best to avoid medical bills, but there are some things we cannot skip. Women, please take care of yourselves.

I am calling today. How about you?

Free Mammogram Guide: Mammograms for Underserved Women

OCTOBER 2009:

PJ Hamel is happy to be alive. As always.

Been Through It

Author, breast cancer survivor

Q. I don’t have health insurance, and I just can’t afford the cost of a mammogram. What can I do?

A. There are a number of resources you can access to receive a mammogram at no cost. Try any of these:

The American Cancer Society. Go to cancer.org, find the blue box on the upper right (“Find ACS in Your Community”), enter your zip code, and it’ll direct you to your local ACS office. They can tell you what resources are available in your area. Or call the ACS toll-free: 1-800-ACS-2345.

The United States Government’s National Cancer Institute can direct you to a local resource for free mammograms. Call them toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). Be ready with your zip code.

The United States Center for Disease Control’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) provides access to critical breast and cervical cancer screening services for underserved women in the United States. Their Web site lets you click to your state to find a local health care facility that offers free mammograms for women meeting the income guidelines.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure provides information on free or low-cost mammograms and other sources of financial assistance. Call toll-free, 800-IM-AWARE (800-462-9273).

Breast Cancer Network of Strength offers peer support, educational programs, local resources, and advocacy initiatives in selected areas across the country. For more information and to take advantage of BCNS’s free-of-charge programs and services, call 1-800-221-2141.

The American Breast Cancer Foundation‘s Key to Life Breast Cancer Screening Assistance Program provides financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured women and men of all ages for breast cancer testing. Call their toll-free enrollment hotline, 877-Key-2-Life (877-539-2543).

Finally, try calling your local hospital. Ask to speak to a social worker. He or she will be the one who’ll know about the availability of free or low-cost cancer screening in your community.

Whatever you do, don’t give up! A regular mammogram is your best defense against breast cancer.

October 16, 2009

A Radical Suggestion

Filed under: LIfe Balance,Passions,vision — Anne Cloward @ 8:03 am
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Several weeks ago, while teaching at the library, I made a radical suggestion to the job seekers. I am going to repeat it to my readers here now.

Remember when you were a little kid while watching TV on a sunny day and your mother would come in and turn off the set?

The conversation would go something like this:

“It’s a lovely day outside. Why are you sitting here watching TV?”

You would give all sorts of excuses, but the bottom line was that you were mesmerized watching the images dance across the screen.

Well, it’s many years later, and you are still sitting there watching the images on the screen. Now they are bigger, flashier and louder, but you are still sitting there passively. I am not going to debate the value of the programs you watch, but I am going to suggest that the activity of watching TV all day is harmful to your mental health. I even worked for one of the big three networks at one time, and learned that the industry was all about ratings and numbers of eyeballs that were watching. The more you watched, they more they could sell to you. Quality of programming was second to earning money for the network. They do not care about you as a person, only as a person who has a wallet with money in it.

Eleven years ago, I moved from one city to another and was only able to bring as many personal belongings with me as I could fit into a 8′ x12″ trailer (that’s all my car could safely carry). There was no room for a TV, and besides all of them in the house belonged to other people who lived with me. So I decided to see if I could live without it, and it was much easier than I thought it would be to give it up. When I moved from Minnesota to Oregon, I moved in with my son, who had also chosen to live without TV. Our household is really a lot more peaceful because of it.

What does that have to do with you and your job search? Right now all of the news coming across the ether is negative. Unemployment is up. This is a “jobless recovery,” foreclosures are up, and conditions are the worst they have been in years. It’s as though we are addicted to the next awful headline that comes down the pike and pretty soon we can be wallowing in it. We can throw ourselves and feel as though we can justify it, one big pity party. It won’t help you get a job, but you can enjoy your misery for a while and feel connected to everyone else who is out of work.

The challenge is to get out there in the sunshine and interact with the world, and not let all that negative energy engulf you. There is not much you can do about the national picture, or even the global one. Right now you are struggling to keep yourself going, to continue your job search in spite of all of the odds that you are told that are against your finding one.

So don’t listen to the news. You need to take a break and fill your environment with more pleasant thoughts. It is up to you to decide what you want to have occupy yourself instead. Whatever gets you going and keeps you finding joy is what I vote for. . For a while there will be an empty hole in you and you keep feeling something is missing. You start to wake up, and sometimes it takes getting used to.

How about trying to find creative ways to meet new people, market yourself, go out into the community and help others?

The national news is not about you, so don’t buy into the group think. Go out into the sunshine and discover the world. You just might find a whole new world to explore and enjoy.

October 9, 2009

There Should Be No Question Here

Filed under: LIfe Balance — Anne Cloward @ 6:18 am
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Note:

There is no question here for me. If you ask me to help you with your résumé, this is the policy I will follow. This is taken from a newsletter I receive weekly. Marc’s thinking aligns with mine, and I feel his advice is sound.

Here’s the dilemma: you’re proofreading your friend’s resume and it becomes pretty clear to you that he is taking more than a little bit of liberty with the truth – saying he conceived the idea rather than just implemented it, calling it a promotion rather than a lateral move, and glossing over that 13-month stint at that crazy start-up back in the dot.com boom.

What do you tell him? Remembering that competition is stiff out there – you know it’s the “Great Recession,” after all – and that he needs to stand out from the crowd.

So what do you tell him?

Well, Readers, I hope you’ll remind him that honesty is the best policy.

That struck me as I was reading this Vanity Fair profile on Harvard-educated lawyer-and-criminal Marc Dreier:

Dreier says he can’t remember the moment he actually began considering fraud. But he acknowledges the decision was made easier by a long track record of what he calls “cutting corners.” As he acknowledges, “Yeah, I took advantage of expense accounts, statements on tax returns, that kind of thing. You know, I discovered once you cross a gray line it’s much easier to cross a black line.”

And once you cross the gray line, it becomes much harder to get on the right side of the truth. The little fib that you inserted into your resume winds up on the website in your biography, so your next employer asks you about it at the interview. Then the press repeats it when you are speaking at a conference. Before long, you’re stuck.

And once you’re stuck, you will be discovered. As we found in this interview with Accu-Screen, even the simplest resume fibs will really come back to bite you.

Honesty is just the right thing to do, you should tell your friend. Not only will you not have to cover your tracks, but you’ll sleep better at night.

So I hope that if you ever come across a friend who is bending the truth a little bit, you’ll send them this 10-page .pdf that we put together on the topic: “To Tell The Truth.”

And finally, folks, while I was researching this topic this week, I came across this page of quotes on honesty and thought I’d share these eight favorites with you:

No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar. ~Abraham Lincoln

A half truth is a whole lie. ~Yiddish Proverb

Those who think it is permissible to tell white lies soon grow color-blind. ~Austin O’Malley

The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold. ~Aristotle

Who lies for you will lie against you. ~Bosnian Proverb

The most dangerous untruths are truths moderately distorted. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

With lies you may get ahead in the world – but you can never go back. ~Russian proverb

Always tell the truth. If you can’t always tell the truth, don’t lie. ~Author Unknown

Credit is due to Marc Cenedella (marc@TechnologyLadder.com) who sent me this article. You might want to check out his website http://technology.theladders.com/?LK_ID=327

Click on Career Advice.

October 4, 2009

Enjoying Life

Filed under: LIfe Balance,Passions,Professionalism — Anne Cloward @ 11:49 pm
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My sons bought tickets several weeks ago to see an award winning flamenco guitarist named Jesse Cook. I had heard several of his albums before, but had never really listened to him. My mistake, for sure. I had no idea what an accomplished artist he is how enjoyable the evening would be.

Last night changed my mind. After struggling to find a parking spot (I declare that can be as difficult a task as it was in St Paul), and walking two blocks on bumpy sidewalks, we made it to the theater, which has seen better days. Inside, though, there was nothing but excitement. Ardent fans assured me I was in for a treat. As the band quickly entered, they picked up their instruments and began to play. Within 30 seconds, I knew something special was happening. Those in the know were already cheering. Jesse’s pictures all look like this, which is misleading, because most of the time he is performing, he is smiling and enjoying himself.

For the next two hours, they played to a most appreciative crowd. They were having fun, lots of it. We bought CDs, grateful they had them there for us. After the show was over, the band members started to pack up their gear, but they were stopped by ardent fans (including me and my son) who wanted to express appreciation and have them sign their CDs. Brief conversations followed, as they got ready to go on to their next stop. They are just regular guys with extraordinary talent doing what they do best, giving of their talents to an appreciative audience.

For more information on this remarkable artist, go to his website, http://www.jessecook.com/#/home/

What has this to do with a job search?

  • Jesse knew at a young age what he wanted to do with his life. He got training and learning his craft. He still does. This tour is in support of his 7th album, which has just been released.
  • He surrounds himself with equally as talented and passionate artists who go out on stage and give all they have to their customers.
  • What do you do with such passion in your life? How can you create that kind of joy for yourself and others in your work?

September 29, 2009

What I Learned from My Grandchildren

Filed under: LIfe Balance — Anne Cloward @ 11:10 pm
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I have four grandchildren, three girls and one boy, and ranging in age from seven to almost 2. For their safety, I will not use their full names here.

But they have taught me lessons that can be applied to a job search. In no special order, here they are:

Go after things that you are passionate about

Granddaughter #1 puts her whole heart into everything she does. Do you bring that same enthusiasm to your search?

Support your family and friends when they are in need

If you are there for them, they will be there for you. This is a time when you need each other. It’s a time to strengthen relationships. (Granddaughter #1 and her brother).

Be true to yourself

Know who you are and what you want. If you don’t know, find out. (Granddaughter #2 who has known who she is from the beginning)

Begin each day with enthusiasm

Be open to opportunities, to help, to learn and to do things that you have not done before. Don’t use the fact that you have never done it, therefore it must not be good. (Granddaughter #3 is always ready to tackle the new day)

What can you learn from your children?

A Little Attitude Adjustment Needed

Filed under: LIfe Balance,vision — Anne Cloward @ 6:16 am

When the job search gets long and you get discouraged, perhaps it’s time to do a little adjusting to your attitude.

I came across this poem recently, by the Sufi poet, Rumi.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

What has this to do with your job search? As a friend of mine who has been laid off recently, said: “I realize what a gift I have been given,”

He went on to explain that he had been wondering for the last month or so if it was time for him to leave his present position and chase after a few of his dreams. He  prayed about it leaving the answer up to God. When he was laid off, he felt it was an answer to his prayer.

Not all of us can see it this way, but there are some wonderful advantages to being your own master of your fate at this time. Some excellent uses of your time might be:

  • Spending quality time with loved ones. My mother has been gone for 20 years now. We were close and I treasured the times we spent together. My grandchildren continue to delight me, now that I have time to listen.
  • Spending time to get to those things that we never seem to have time for, those you are always saying you will get “a round tuit” when you have nothing else on your plate.
  • Spending time on that exercise and diet regime that you need to.
  • Developing interests that have been calling passionately to you.

This does not mean I am advocating abandoning your job search. You are not your job. You are a person of value and you need to remember that.

For more ideas, go to http://www.gratefulness.org/

Until tomorrow, Namaste.

July 30, 2009

Taking a Break

Filed under: LIfe Balance — Anne Cloward @ 9:25 pm
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Sometimes I get too serious for my own good. I get weighed down with all the negative stuff that comes over the Internet and the airways and I start believing it. That is when I need to pull back.

The temperature in Portland this week has been hot, very hot. We reached 107 degrees yesterday, and 105 on Monday. So, even though the air conditioning has been on, I have taken advantage of the pool. You know, you can have a very nice business meeting just treading water. I talked with an associate for two hours while hanging out in the pool.

And to counteract so much of the bad vibes, I have been enjoying this video posted on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-94JhLEiN0

There is such much happy energy here. Check it out and just enjoy yourself.

June 2, 2009

Let’s Get Started

Filed under: Interviewing,LIfe Balance — Anne Cloward @ 5:42 am

Today’s post will be brief. I am posting a link for you to enjoy.  It shows the extremes people will go to in order to get a job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqnJP9G6-3M

The serious stuff starts tomorrow.

May 13, 2009

Life and the Movies

Filed under: LIfe Balance — Anne Cloward @ 10:32 pm
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When I was growing up, there was a movie genre called the Western. Tall men, like John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck and Kirk Douglas sauntered across the screen and saved the town, ranch, or lives, killed the Indians, and got the girl. Somewhere in the 50s, they ran their course and they were not populating movie screens any more. In 1968, version of this type of hero burst on the screen in Hang ‘Em High with the archetypical drifter who comes into town and cleans up and leaves lots of bodies behind. Clint Eastwood claimed this role as his own and produced several more versions of this film for years.

 

To some younger readers, he may be a bit dated, but to many of us, we grew up with this concept of masculinity. I am not going to debate the validity of this stereotype here, but accept it. Many of us were raised with this idea of the strong man. He never had to show any emotion, never had to show any weakness. This is not the kind of man who would sit down and pour out his feelings to a group, and certainly not a woman. Women are supposed to be supported and protected by men; they are the ones who break down and cry.

What does that have to do with careers and job searches?

Clint Eastwood does not get fired. He fires people or terminates them, take your pick.

But life is not the movies. It’s much more complex and not nearly as cut and dried.

Rather than drifting across the plains, most people work in communities, whether it is an office, a corporation, a city. The workers I am thinking of use their brains rather than their brawn to do their jobs. They design widgets, program them, sell them, describe them, and manufacture them. By working together as a team, they produce enough widgets that produce the stream of money for the company who pays the members of the community so they can feed their families. This is oversimplified here, but the principle has been in place for centuries. It is a source of pride for many men to “be IBMers,” or “do things the Intel way,” or be part of the “Nike Family.”

As long as there is a steady demand for these widgets, things went along well. But business runs in cycles, and when a downturn occurs, management finds ways to get more for their money. About 15 years ago, US bosses got the bright idea of hiring people in other less developed countries to make the widgets for them. It would cost them a whole lot less to do business. Thus, the great outsourcing movement began. Men who lived hundreds of miles away, having no compassion for any members of the community, looked at numbers and decided that certain jobs were to filled by someone in a third world country making about one tenth as much as their current employees.

In our society, upon meeting others at social gatherings, the first question asked of a man is, “What do you do?” How easy it is to answer that question when you have a job and can identify yourself by the company name and function. But what happens to a man when he doesn’t have a company to claim, and no title to describe him?

Some men figure things out. Others never do. It depends on so many factors, but a common phenomenon for such men in this situation is to become depressed. This man, the provider for his family, has failed. He wonders how others view him now. Another worry he has is how will his wife view him? Depression in men often manifests itself in sadness or anger. For many men, the displaced target of their anger is those in the family who are weaker or smaller than he is.

One blog (By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog) recently presented this point of view of being out of work. I was amazed at how many men agreed with him, and shared those same feelings. The writer said,

“There is a tremendous amount of cultural pressure on men to be the primary ‘providers’ for their families. While I’ve always been aware of this mentality on some level, I had no idea how deeply it was imprinted on my mind until I woke up one day and discovered to my horror and embarrassment that I was failing miserably. I had no job, no paycheck, and no prospects. In my shallow and shaky mind, this was enough to convince myself that I had unforgivably let down my wife and child, who had put their trust and confidence in me and in my abilities to provide them with everything they need.”

One man I know was an attorney for an insurance company. When this medium sized company was bought by one of the big giants in the field, he was asked to work on a project to tie up a lot of loose ends. He could see an end to the project after about seven years. Telling them he was hesitant to complete a project and be put out on the street at age 55, he was assured that would not happen. When the project ended, one month after his 57th birthday, he was unceremoniously laid off. Fifteen minutes was all it took to tell him he no longer had employment with them. He could not even face looking for a job, made no inquiries talked to no placement agencies. He and his wife have struggled to keep things together, but it has been difficult.

He was totally devastated. For the first year, he traveled and drifted about. Then, he spent months trying to ready his home to sell. Coming on the second anniversary of the disaster, he and his wife are involved in Church work in South America. But when they return in a year, he will have to face the situation anew. But, as his wife says, “He has no self-esteem. He cannot even think of having to go through the process of finding a job.”

Another man, whose whole identity was wrapped up in his being an employee of a large hardware manufacturer, got into some very self destructive behavior that cost him his wife and children. His job skills were so honed in on his company, he found himself years behind the trends that were now industry standards. After three years, he finally found employment. Six months later, he died, at the age of 54, as his system was overwhelmed by a massive infection. The doctors were amazed at how quickly it just took over all of his body.

Next: Women and unemployment.

April 22, 2009

I Get by with a Little Help

Filed under: LIfe Balance — Anne Cloward @ 8:04 am
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I Get By

What would you THINK if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me.
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song,
And I’ll try not to sing out of key.
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,
I get high with a little help from my friends,
Oh I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends.What do I do when my love is away.
(Does it worry you to be alone)
How do I feel by the end of the day
(Are you sad because you’re on your own)
No, I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm I get high with a little help from my friends,
Mmm I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends
Do you need anybody?
I need somebody to love.
Could it be anybody?
I want somebody to love.
Someone in the Beatles
Boy, does this take me back to the days. I had just finished college and was teaching Chicano kids in Whittier California. I was totally enamored with another, group, Simon and Garfunkel, so really did not appreciate the historical significance of the British Invasion and the effect it would have on the world. Oh well, another trend missed in my youth. Only later, did I come to have their lyrics embedded into my consciousness, as did the everyone else on rest of the planet.
This message, hokey, as it is, has rung true for me recently.
We are constantly told to use our friends to network, as if they were another resource, like a recruiter or hiring manager who will help us get a job. I have a serious problem with this. I struggle with the idea that the only reason to have a friend is to use them to help you find employment. In this world of Facebook with the competition to have hundreds of friends, twittering (and having 1,000, 000 people linked to you), Linkedin with its thousands of tiered layers of people, maybe we should stop a minute in our job search and look to our friends, our true friends and look at what they add to our lives.

When I was a teen and in love for the first time, my beloved gave me a book by Joan Walsh Anglund entitled, “A Friend is Someone Who Likes You.” I still have it, with his dedication, packed away in storage. The complete text is printed in this blog. I do want to quote the last two stanzas, though.

And then you think you don’t have any friends.
Then you must stop hurrying and rushing so fast…
And move very slowly,
And look very carefully,
To see someone who smiles at you in a special way…
Or a dog that wags its tail extra hard whenever you are near…
Or a tree that lets you climb it easily…
Or a brook that lets you be quiet.
Sometimes you have to find your friend.

Some people have lots and lots of friends…
And some people have quite a few friends…
But everyone…
Everyone in the whole world
Has at least one friend.

My two best friends are my two younger sisters. They are both married and live in another state from me, but we are still connected so tightly. Between the three of us we have 12 children and have been through life together. We have buried both of our parents, written a novel and laughed a lot together. I don’t know what I would do without them in my life. No matter what rivals we may have been as children, we are there for each other in so many ways now.

I have other friends who I call my soul sisters, who have shared much with me also. I can think of about 10 of them. Not all of them understand my profession, but they are there for me in my life. One is in South America right now, and we Skype. Several are back in Minnesota and we keep in touch by email and phone. Some are new friends who are a part of my life now. I never know when a soul sister is going to show up in my life, but when they do, I almost immediately recognize them for the jewel they are.

There are business friends, those with whom I have worked and shared assignments. Sometimes they blend into my soul friends, and then others stay in the “work only” category. I enjoy their company and respect them for their gifts and the many ways they have enriched my personal and work life. I lean on them a lot. Their honest feedback has been a source of help when I have been floundering around wondering what I am going to do when I grow up. If I don’t know I have a flaw (moi?), how can I fix it?

I have gathered a small group of friends who are technical writers. I met them at a much larger networking meeting and selected eight of them to meet on a weekly basis. We support each other in our careers and job searches. They are a knowledgeable group who understand what it is like to want to write with passion, but need to make money also. I grabbed a name out of the air, CC Writers, since we met at a CCC Job Seekers meeting. Three original members of the group are now employed. We have explored our options, crafted our resumes and shared our experiences. They are an invaluable asset in my career development.

There are my Linkedin friends, with whom there is some familiarity, but to a lesser degree. They are still a valuable part of my life. One of my goals is to get to know some of them better so that we can enjoy a mutually productive relationship.

Will one of these friends help me find a job one day? I don’t know, but I do know that they make my life what it is.

How about you? Who are your friends? Where do you find them?  How many of them are friends beyond the boundaries of work and your “network?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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