Fully Investing Yourself


I’ve changed my answer to the question people ask me regarding my strengths. In the past I shared my enthusiasm for innovation and creativity; pushing myself to always look for new ways of presenting material. I love morphing what exists into better versions and by better I mean bringing content into a fuller understanding and buy-in for and by those receiving the content.

I like to believe that my peers still see me as innovative and creative so it’s not that I’ve plateaued and stopped innovating, it’s just that I’ve found something I’d rather share as a personal strength. What I offer in response to this question now is an unwavering, complete commitment when it comes to investing in others. Honestly, I don’t think I personally could choose anything more rewarding to do, and I’d hope that participants of my workshops, coworkers and supervisors would back up my words if/when called upon to attest to my actions.

As an Employment Counsellor, my role brings me into contact with the unemployed and the underemployed every single day. As I work during the day with a population exclusively in receipt of social assistance, I also have the great privilege of coming into contact with people when they are most vulnerable; a low point if you will in their lives. Their lack of financial independence is far from being the only problem they have when their lives and mine intersect. Believe me, those in this population would love to believe that finding a job was their only problem.

By the time I meet them, many are dealing with homelessness, abusive relationships, dysfunctional families, marital and custody battles, poor landlords, interaction with several other social service agencies, loss of self-esteem, self-confidence and rising debt. Some have poor education, under-developed social skills, poor self-awareness, weak problem-solving skills, poor role models, questionable decision-making abilities, limited vocabularies, and others have legal issues to contend with. The lack of a job is just one problem, and not often is it the number one concern.

My coworkers and I understand that to be effective, we have to address more than just the lack of employment to give those we serve the best opportunity to move forward and keep the jobs they land. I suppose this is one of the key factors that defines us, (and others who work in similar roles with this population) from organizations which exclusively address unemployment as a stand alone issue.

Not all people understand this; nor do all people in decision-making levels of government. The mantra of “Just get them a job and move on to the next person”, is short-sighted and doomed to fail more than succeed. Those fortunate to get employment will often lose it quickly and return to the safety net provided by social services if they don’t have the multiple barriers to employment addressed and the required skills learned to work through these other presenting barriers.

So herein comes the need to invest in others; completely. I don’t believe you can be effective if you only invest partially in people. Well I for one can’t at any rate. To be truly effective, it takes a complete investment. I’ve also learned over time that this investment is simultaneously both energizing and draining. For it’s not just investing in one or two people here and there. Fully investing in my work environment means there are only seconds between people asking for and needing aid.

When someone comes to see you as trustworthy and helpful, you move in their estimation into a place where you’re the go-to person when problems arise; which they do with regularity with this fragile population. Some folks are very considerate of our capacity to hear their stories and help with arriving at potential solutions, while others dump all their problems out expecting us to own them and fix them because it’s what we’re paid to do. “It’s your job to solve my problems.”

I love this role. I embrace all that being an Employment Counsellor means and it continues to be a privilege and honour to hold this position. I’m not always successful in connecting and forging a deep connection; no one of us is for that matter. This is one key thing new staff in the field must come to appreciate; you’ll not succeed, not connect, fail to help and you’ll be questioned openly about your suitability in the role from time-to-time; the volume of people we see daily, weekly, monthly and yearly guarantees we won’t always be successful. Investing nonetheless and doing so fully to the extent we are able is still to be strived for.

Yesterday a woman dropped by unannounced and I was called to reception. She literally ran to me, wrapped her arms around me and jumped up and down with the excitement of sharing her news of landing a full-time job with her employer of choice. It’s taken her about 5 month’s and two jobs to get to her landing this plum job. In that embrace, I soaked up all the energy, gratitude, joy, exhilaration and emotional relief I could. That hug and her smile was her simple way of expressing her sincere appreciation for my small help along her journey.

I implore you to consider upping your own investment in the people you serve. Whether those are customers, junior staff, volunteers or the vulnerable; invest without reservation. It. Makes. All. The. Difference.

Job Advice: Less Computer Time


Sitting in front of a computer screen for days or weeks on end, searching job postings and applying for the occasional one with your standard resume is not the best way to go about looking for work. It’s not that looking for jobs online and applying for the odd one here and there isn’t a good activity, it’s just there’s so much more you could and should be doing to find work.

I’ve come to believe from the many conversations I’ve had with job seekers, that many do sit for hours each day, scanning their favourite job posting websites. There’s a certain irony that while they wonder why their job search isn’t successful, they keep returning to this daily routine, repeating the same behaviour that isn’t generating results. Not only is this hard to understand therefore, there are real dangers to be aware of if you’ve fallen into this pattern of behaviour.

One key danger is the solitary nature of the online job search. When it’s you and a computer screen for hours, day after day, week after week, your human interaction is restricted. About the best you can expect is a computer-generated, auto-reply from employers confirming receipt of your resume. Well, and there’s the also the computer-generated pop ups that suggest you upload your resume to the job search website so you can be notified of jobs matching your recent searches.

This lack of human interaction can prohibit the development of your people skills; and it’s these interpersonal skills that are so vitally important when you find yourself taking a phone call or being granted an interview. A prolonged job search when you only go about it 2 feet away from a computer monitor also means you have to be fairly sedentary. In other words, you’re not as physically active as is healthy. This is even more the case if, when you do set aside the computer, you pick up the remote and sit for a few more hours watching television,  troll the internet or playing a video game etc.

Eroding your people skills through lack of use can and often does increase your anxiety when you do get into situations requiring social skills. Your lack of practice might even develop quickly into panic attacks, and you’re left thinking, “When and how did I suddenly find just talking to people so nerve-wracking?”

One odd reality I’ve noticed is that today more people carry a cell phone with them than ever before. Yet, the functionality of the phone feature is not one they often use. The device is used far more for texting, using apps to interact with others by tapping on ‘like’ buttons or using handy pop up auto-generated prompts so you don’t even have to think about what to say anymore, just tap one of the word bites offered up.

Ask a job seeker to make a call to a potential employer, a reference, a contact in their network and often the reply is, “I don’t really like talking on the phone.” Unless pushed, many will do their best to put off phoning anyone but a friend. An email is far preferable than potentially talking to the same person live on the phone.

This skill of communicating effectively in a dialogue was originally thought of as being enhanced when our world shrunk with the wide-spread use of personal computers, cell phones. Some of the most prolific communicators on the web are in fact largely one-way communicators when you stop and realize much of their presence is in sending out blogs, posts and carefully edited articles. Their thousands of followers may comment and reply to comments by other followers, but real dialogue between the follower and the originator of the post is scant at best, and often non-existent.

Now to you. When did you last get out and go talk in person with someone in an effort to gather more information that would help you eventually land an interview or job? You know, dropping by a potential employer to pick up a full job description, a quarterly or annual report? When was the last time you introduced yourself to a stranger and initiated your pitch? If it’s been a while, does the prospect intimidate you? How then are you going to fare when you do land the interview you’ve been hoping for? My guess is that those dormant people skills are going to be rusty at best and you’ll wish (too late unfortunately), things went better than they did.

Pick up the phone and make some calls. What’s the worse that can happen? Cold calling is more than just phoning to see if someone is hiring. Talk with the people who have agreed to be your references. Tell them how you’re faring, and how you genuinely appreciate their support. Maybe ask if they have any leads, offer to buy them a beverage and catch up for 15 minutes during their work day.

Call someone who does what you want to do and ask for a 20 minute chat to better understand their role from the inside. Get advice on how to get in, ask them about their job and what they find interesting and rewarding. Get into a few workshops or networking events to mingle and practice conversing.

A lot of jobs are never even posted on the web – anywhere on the web. They have fewer applicants too because of it.

Must A Short-Term Job Be In Your Career Field?


I had the opportunity yesterday to listen as a 22 year-old woman explained to her fellow classmates what job or career she was after. She cited her long-term objective in Policy Development and went on to say that in the short-term she would do just about anything but it absolutely had to be related to her long-term objective or she’d feel it was a waste of her time.

So how do you feel about that statement? Would you agree that short-term jobs should be related to your own long-term goals in order to be a valuable use of your time?

It’s commendable of course that she’s got a long-term career objective. While it’s not mandatory in order to have a rewarding career, having a vision of what you want and knowing how you’re going to achieve it is one way to successfully move forward. It is, and I say with personal experience, not the only recipe for success.

This I hope comes as good news if you feel anxious about what your future holds. If you should be undecided about what you want to do on a long-term basis, it can feel paralyzing as well in the short-term should you feel you can’t apply for jobs not knowing if they’ll help you or not in the long run.

Allow me to share a little of my own experience in the hopes you might find it comforting. It wasn’t until 13 years ago, back in 2006 that I became an Employment Counsellor. That would put me at 46 years old as I embarked on what has been a rewarding, successful and fulfilling career. Prior to this I’d held a variety of different positions; some of them careers and others I’d call jobs. Whichever they were at the time didn’t really concern me as much as enjoying each I had, finding the pros and cons of each once in them and moving on when the cons outweighed the pros.

I didn’t have a long-term goal to work towards. I didn’t in my early twenties, even know that Employment Counsellors existed, so it was impossible therefore for me to have aspired to be one. Further, I suspect that had I graduated out of University and immediately had the fortune to be hired as an Employment Counsellor, my effectiveness would be very different without my life experiences to draw on.

Looking back in no particular order, I ran my own New and Cooperative Games business for 16 years after a year-long position working for the Province of Ontario; sold shoes and clothes; worked at a bowling alley; a video store; worked as a Programme Manger for a Boys and Girls Club; have been an Executive Director for a Social Services agency; worked for two municipalities as a Social Services Caseworker, and another for years in the field of Recreation. I have also worked in the private sector as an Area Supervisor, leading those who provided care in schools before, between and after classes. I’ve sold photography equipment in a mall, worked in a toy department of a major retailer, even spent one day filling in for a friend in a hot plastics factory. I’ve got summer residential camp experience, sat on volunteer boards and committees too. One year I was asked to lead an International Drug Awareness team in St. Lucia.

Whew! All over the map and one of the best examples I can think of where there sure doesn’t appear to be a linear history of progressive experience in the same field. I’ve worked for a province, two municipalities, the private and non-profit sectors as well as having been self-employed. My work has been in Retail, Recreation, Social Services and the Education sectors. I’ve also been on the front-line, middle management and senior management. I’ve had employment ended, quit, been promoted, been on strike, had to reinvent myself, and build up skills I didn’t know I had, use transferable skills and learn job-specific skills. In short, I’ve become resilient.

Now, here’s the best part. If you can believe it, all of these experiences have shaped who I am, how I think and act, given me empathy and understanding for a wide diversity of people with whom I partner. In short, I’m a decent Employment Counsellor today at 59 years-old BECAUSE of the path I took to get here.

My 22 year-old woman will likely change careers and jobs over the course of her lifetime. Jobs she eventually holds and loves might not even exist in 2019; maybe they’ll appear in 2032. Who knows?

Advice I believe to be sound is to gain experiences; paid and unpaid. Learn from what you do not just about the work, but how you feel as you do it. Always do your best to reward those who hired you and best serve those you call customers, clients, etc. You never know where life will take you; which job you may return to having left once (as I did). Treat employees and your Supervisors well for these are your future references.

All of the combined experiences I’ve had – just as you are collecting your own – are the things that are going to uniquely position us for jobs moving forward. “Why should I hire you?” is my favourite interview question. I can draw on all my past experiences; both the pros and the cons. Nobody out there has the same path as me. Or you for that matter!

Been Out Of Work For Some Time?


One of the challenges for someone who has been unemployed for a growing period is when, at an interview, they are posed a question that asks them to give a recent example of their time management, organization and/or prioritization skills.  Now come to think of it, it’s a challenge to come up with a recent example of any skill if you’ve been out of work for some time.

And here we’ve hit upon one of the key reasons employers most often cite when they say they have a preference for hiring people who are currently working or have a small employment gap versus those with long-term unemployment. Recent experience using the skills you’ll be using in this new job is attractive to employer’s because your skills are likely more polished. When you’re trying to convince an employer you have the skills required but can’t back that claim up with recent history, you’re asking them to take a leap of faith.

Now, for a moment, let’s sit on the other side of the table; we’re the employer. From the many who have applied, our interviews have brought us down to three candidates. Of the three, one is currently working, one recently laid off due to downsizing of the company, and the third hasn’t worked in 4 years. As the interviewer, we know our own Supervisors have high expectations that we’ll select the right candidate; typically one with experience, skills, the right attitude and work ethic.

If we’re being honest here, that third candidate; the one who hasn’t worked in 4 years? That applicant has to have something, or some things,  that set them significantly apart from the others. It’s just too easy to eliminate them from the running as the other two have more recent experience; they have proven examples of recent work history. When making a recommendation to management that the third person be hired over the other two, their own credibility is on the line. If they work out, the interviewer looks great. If the third candidate is hired and is a bust however, fingers will start pointing and whispers about their lack of good judgement are going to start. Playing it safe seems the better way to go.

But hold on. Okay, now back on our side of the table. So, we’ve got this shot at a job, and for the moment, we’re still in the running. Walking into an interview in such a situation, it’s a good idea to imagine your up against people with recent experience; using the skills on a daily basis that you know you’ll need everyday. Imagine this because it’s highly likely the case.

We have preparation on our side though. We should be ready for the interviewer to ask about that gap. To stay in the competition, we need to not only convince them our skills aren’t rusty, we need to demonstrate that as a person, we’re the right fit. The things we can control have to shine through; our eagerness, friendliness, likeability, appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity, our ability to get along and be productive with co-workers.

There’s a shift in hiring going on at the moment which is growing in momentum. More companies are coming to understand that hiring the right people is the best option. The best people aren’t necessarily the ones who have more experience, more education, more proven work history. Sometimes the right person has less experience, but their attitude and how they go about things gives the employer the belief that they are highly trainable. Train the right person and you may have a long-term winner. Hire someone with a questionable attitude or work ethic based solely on their year’s of work and you may regret your choice.

Now, if you are currently unemployed and that gap is growing daily, this comes as good news. Still, consider taking some action now to address things. Volunteering, taking an online course, or even some free online training will put things on your resume. A Health and Safety course or First Aid training are two examples of transferable assets you could easily take and add as well.

Anyone who is unemployed for long will tell you it’s a mental struggle more than a physical one to stay competitively at a job search. It’s mentally fatiguing to constantly strive for work with an upbeat, all-in philosophy. Self-doubt, frustration, let-downs, flat-out rejections; all of these come at you and yet still you’re expected to be positive and optimistic. We’re talking stamina, focus, resiliency and tenacity. Say…. stamina, focus, resiliency and tenacity; those are some of the very qualities an employer might be impressed with, and these are the SKILLS you are using over this employment gap.

Now, whatever has happened in your personal situation that has you were you are today, you’ve got this chance to start a new chapter; and there’s no time better than now. It’s up to you of course, but why not get going on things here and now?

If you’ve been stuck and not done much, honestly it will take effort to get going. Do it. Momentum can’t be built on if you don’t start. When you get moving, you can build on the little things you do each day. String together some of those little things and you’ll start creating behaviours that lead to better results.

You can do this.

15 Resume Mistakes


Have you ever worked on something important, felt it was perfect, submitted it with confidence and only then discovered you made some fatal error? Too late, you frantically search for some recall feature but alas, there’s none to be had!

Your resume could be just such a document. The only thing worse I suppose is being totally oblivious to your mistake(s) and continuing the practice of sending out flawed resumes. Yikes! Could this be why you’re getting very little or no positive results?

Having no way to provide feedback on your personal resume without seeing it, I’ve listed here some common mistakes I see on resumes. Check your own resume and see how you compare.

  1. You mistyped your email. Just last week I came across a resume with the word, ‘professional’ as part of the email but it was on the resume as, ‘professinal’. No one had caught it as they reviewed her resume, as the mind sees what it thinks rather than what the eyes see.
  2. Bullets don’t line up. Get out a ruler if it’s a hard copy or click and hold down the left mouse button on the ruler in MS Word to draw a straight line on your resume where your bullets are. Do they line up or are they off?
  3. Inconsistent use of periods. Look at the end of each line on your resume which starts with a bullet. Do you have periods at the end of some lines and not on others? Get in the habit of not using periods; period.
  4. Irregular capitalization. Nouns should be capitalized and so make sure any job title has a capital letter at the start of each word if there is more than one as in, ‘Customer Service Representative’.
  5. Dates don’t line up. Look at the dates on your resume. Are the dates all over the place or are they uniformly lined up on the extreme right where they should be? Lining these up makes it easier on the eyes; your resume is less cluttered.
  6. It’s all about you. If your resume starts off talking about what you want, stop! Employers want to know how you’ll benefit them, not the other way around. How is hiring you profitable?
  7. You added the dreaded, ‘s’. When you add a simple, ‘s’ to the end of a word, it can change the language from 1st to 3rd person. Suppose you communicate effectively as a skill. See how there is no, ‘s’ at the end of the word, ‘communicate’? That’s you talking about you. Add an, ‘s’ and it reads, “communicates well” and this is 3rd person; someone else talking about you. This suggests you didn’t write your own resume; someone else is talking about you. The entire resume now comes across as less than authentic.
  8. ‘Responsible for…”. Don’t start a line with, ‘Responsible for…”. Being responsible for something doesn’t indicate whether you are or were actually good at whatever you are referencing. It only indicates you are/were responsible for it. Maybe you actually performed terribly, but hey, you WERE responsible!
  9. Photo included. Get your photo off your resume and do it now! A growing number of people in Human Resources automatically dismiss resumes with photos included because they don’t want to expose themselves to claims of bias or personal attraction based on appearance.
  10. “References available upon request.” It’s a given that you’ll provide references when asked to do so. Including this on your resume is outdated.
  11. Repeating yourself. Look at the first words that begin your bullets. If you see the same word repeated, (sometimes even on consecutive lines) alter the words. It’s boring to read when you start multiple lines with the same words.
  12. Your qualifications don’t match. Job postings for the most part list desired qualifications. So pull one out that you applied to. Look at your resume and see if what they asked for was what you gave them. If yours don’t mirror the ad, no wonder you didn’t get an interview.
  13. Spelling errors. I get it. If spelling is an issue for you, it’s hard if not impossible to know when you make a mistake. Using a spelling and grammar check is good but a second pair of eyes is also recommended; as long as those eyes belong to someone with excellent spelling and attention to detail themselves.
  14. You included personal data. Get your age, sex, marital status, religion and nationality off your resume. By the way, is your age easily guessed in your email of all things? Yikes!
  15. You named your resume what? When you send your resume, people at the other end see what you called it as they move to open it. You didn’t call it, ‘My 2nd best resume’ did you? Someone I worked with did. Let’s go with a combination of job title and company name.

Okay 15 general tips for you to read over and more importantly use to improve your own resume. Maybe cleaning up your resume can be your goal for today. Resolving a job search barrier every day is a great way to feel you’re making positive moves to increase your odds of getting interviews and getting hired.

The biggest mistake of all continues to be mass producing a resume and handing it to many employers rather than targeting it to jobs you apply to. No matter how many times I say it, for some this comes as shocking.

How Do I Explain A 10 Year Gap?


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Today I sat down with a woman who hasn’t worked in the last ten years. “This is a huge problem for me. I mean, what do I say?” The look she gave me as she asked this question flooded poor self-image, a lack of hope, embarrassment; take your pick.

Well, I replied with the same reply I ask anyone who has been out of work for a period of time. I asked her politely to confide in me and tell me the real reason she’s been out of work so long. You see I have a mindset which is that there isn’t a problem I can’t solve or an issue I can’t strategize for when it comes to overcoming a dreaded question and performing well in an employment interview. That may sound cocky and I don’t mean to. What I mean is that anytime I sit down with someone who presents with a problem – big or small, I go in with a mindset of being able to provide this person with a viable solution at the end. If one doesn’t work, I’ll come up with another possible answer. The one that works for the person I’m helping is the one they choose and the one they feel they can pull off.

Maybe you’ve got a problem issue that you dread coming up in a job interview too. That question that inevitably gets asked just when you thought the interview was actually going well for a change. Take heart, maybe you benefit too.

So the reason? “I raised my girls.” Hmm… I’ve heard this before. Heard it before yes, but never from this woman. And this is crucial for anyone reading this who also helps others with interview preparation. You will hear over and over again the same tough questions people face, but please, never lose sight of the fact that this person sitting before you has never raised this issue of you. If you never lose sight of this and tune in like you’re hearing this for the first time, the person feels so validated and connected with just by your response, they’ll actually tell you more.  And this was the case today.

In just a moment or two, I arrived at the real reason she’d been out of work for 10 years. It went something like this:

“So what’s the real reason you’ve been out of work for 10 years. Tell me.”

“I raised my girls.”

“That was important for you. (Pause) Any other reason?”

“Well, my ex; he was abusive.”

And there it was; the answer to the question. Well, if not THE answer, it was at the very least one possible answer she could consider giving if and when asked. The key in finding out if the answer would work for her is in letting her actually hear it delivered as she might deliver it so she could gauge the strength of the answer. Hence, I asked her to reverse our roles, and pose the question to me as if I was her.

“Okay, so why have you been out of work for 10 years?”

“That’s a fair question and I wish I had a better answer. The truth is I was in an abusive relationship with a controlling partner who refused to allow me to work. He kept me at home raising our children. I’m no longer in that relationship and it took some time to relocate, rebuild my self-confidence; something I’m still working on. I tell you though I’m mentally and physically ready to work and I will arrive each day with a willingness to learn, grateful for the opportunity and you’ll have a worker who does their best.”

“I like it” she said. When I told her this was just one possible way to answer the question and offered to give her other suggestions, she stopped me. This one resonated with her because of the honesty, and she felt for the first time she wasn’t on the spot to make something up, like totally fabricated employment, which she said she’d been told to do by someone else.

Do you know how I could tell this answer will work for her? I read her face. Whereas I’d seen low self-image, hopelessness and embarrassment at the outset, now I saw hope, possibilities, relief.

Now, here’s the hard part if you yourself have a sticky situation that makes answering some interview question a major problem. You have to find someone you can confide the truth in – whatever it is. Only when I know the real reason behind your problem can I offer up a possible resolution that you might adopt. If you hold back on that truth, any possible solution will be based on what you share, for how could it be based on what is kept hidden?

So, criminal record, abuse, fired, exploited…what’s your issue? What is the question you dread in an interview? Whatever you fear won’t be diminished until you come up with a solid response that puts fear in its place. The only way to come up with that solid response is to lay it out and that takes courage.

For the record, I’m confident that wherever you are in the world as you read this, there is someone with the empathy, understanding and most importantly the expertise to guide you and counsel you through your own situation.

Reach out in your neck of the woods and all the best my friend.

 

Be Punctual


On the last day of each workshop I facilitate, it is a practice of mine; for all of us who work where I do, to give each participant the opportunity to provide us with some written feedback. It is this feedback which gives us the necessary information to improve on future presentations. Every so often someone suggests there should be implications for those who consistently run late.

Make no mistake; having peers who run late on a consistent basis is one of the most frustrating things for punctual people and for those who lead presentations. Facilitators like me are always in an awkward situation; do we start on time and leave others to catch up on their own when they arrive, or do we fill in the time with some alternate activity which doesn’t appear to be a filler but is, so that no one misses the essentials? Quite frankly, another issue is one of concern; is the person okay, are they delayed for 5 minutes, 15 minutes or perhaps not coming at all?

Well, if you’re someone who feels those consistently arriving late are being disrespectful and that something should be done, let me assure you there are in fact implications. But wait, some of you might run to the defence of folks with such behaviour. Perhaps they come from a long distance, (leave earlier), have childcare issues (work them out in advance and have a backup), stop for a coffee or tea (make it at home) or some other such problem. Yes, very possible. However, would such behaviour be empathized with by an employer – everyday – where they’d allow one employee to consistently show up 5 or 10 minutes late? Not a chance. So how then is a person being prepared for the world of work if routine tardiness is allowed? Oh, and if it’s allowed, where are those implications?

Well, the biggest implication is that your personal reputation is being tarnished as you run late on a regular basis. You see people watch and take note. Whether it’s running late everyday, giving no explanation or apology when you do arrive, not really engaging fully in what’s being taught, failing to participate fully in discussions, taking longer breaks than given, or getting up to leave early at the other end of the day, people watch and remember. Your reputation is something you are 100% in control of through your observed behaviours and words. If you believe no one is watching and / or even if they are, you feel it doesn’t matter, you’re quite mistaken.

During my work I learn of job opportunities, and working to assist so many unemployed, I often inform many of these people with the jobs I hear of. It’s not likely I’m going to recommend someone I have extremely little faith will  show up on time, tarnishing my future recommendations in the mind of the employer’s I speak with. Should I be asked about the person, their attendance, their strengths and weaknesses, I would find myself in a conflict of interest; wanting to help of course but at the same time not want to mislead an employer into thinking they are getting someone with good work behaviours. No, I’d just as soon recommend someone else. Voila; observed and experienced behaviour has its implications.

Now, I do understand we all have Life (with a capital ‘L’) going on; you know…the stuff that just happens and gets in the way of our plans. These things come at us at the worst times it seems; but with every challenge there’s an opportunity to showcase our problem-solving skills. And if those problems are too large or complex for us to solve alone, there’s always the option to reach out and ask others for their ideas and help.

Problems come to everyone; no one is exempt. How we respond to these is often what comes across as more memorable however. So, when we’re late, do we walk into the room with or without an apology for being late? Do we try to engage and get caught up or do we plunk ourselves down and then get right back up to go and get a coffee? As I say, people are watching.

Now, everybody deserves a break. Supposing we’re late – and yes, all of us from time-to-time will experience things we have no control over such as traffic delays due to accidents etc., – it’s what we do in the face of these delays that define us. If it’s a job you’re late for, phone your boss or whomever you are to report to that day. When you arrive, get down to work and if your absence affected anyone such as a team member, thank them for filling in. More importantly, don’t repeat being late. An apology is good, but changed behaviour is best.

I tell you this: one of the qualities which employer’s value highly is showing up on time and being productive when you’re working. So make an effort to get where you’re going on time; make this a regular, routine practice and you’ll be establishing your brand and reputation. 

And if you can’t be on time, be early.