Yes! Get Excited About Getting Stuff!


I’m sure by now you’ve come across those social media posts where there’s a lovely picture in the background and some famous quote or suggestion someone has for living your life in the foreground. I see this on a regular basis and if you enjoy these, just type, “quotes with pictures” in your favourite search engine and you’ll see thousands.

So yesterday evening, I happened to come across two such items and in both cases, they were broadcasting a similar message; don’t get too hung up on acquiring stuff because one day you’ll realize it’s people, not owning things that’s important. Now these random quotes that pop up unexpectedly have become for many, the words of wisdom which in generations past, you’d have received from the revered and older members of your family; i.e.. pre-internet, pre-computer world. Someone you greatly respected would tell you to live your life a certain way and you’d think about that seriously, because of your respect for them. Not only that, you didn’t have too many people giving you this sage advice way back when.

However today, all you have to do is go online and it seems everyone is not only sharing such quotes they like with the world, they are creating their own words to live by and taking or finding pictures they feel convey the right mood to go with them. It’s not like these are being passed on by the elders of a village, a wise man nestled in some mountain retreat, or a woman who has lived a long, rich life having traveled the world several times over and experienced life to its fullest. No often these quotes on how to live your life are coming from adolescents who haven’t reached their 14th birthday yet, troubled people looking for an outlet and/or audience to make them feel validated, heard and followed. How much living have they done? Based on what are they in a position to prescribe how you and I should live our lives?

I thought for a moment and paused over this post that came into my evening unasked for. There it was, reminding me that wanting and getting things in life isn’t important, and that one day I would realize that it’s people I should be going after, not things. And I thought, “no; you’re wrong.”

There’s nothing wrong (in my opinion) with going after things in life we want, surrounding ourselves with objects and possessions which bring a smile to our face, that make us feel good and that just by owning, make us happy. We can still get and have these things in our lives AND have positive relationships with people if we so choose, at the same time. In fact, for those that don’t enjoy being surrounded by people in their lives, owning things that make us feel comfortable and good – well, that’s a good thing.

Take the 4 or 5 year old at their birthday or Christmas. We encourage excitement, happiness and good feelings as they open presents. If such a child said, “Well thanks, but you know, none of these really do it for me, I’d rather just go over and spend a few minutes with dad”, we’d be both amazed and question if we got the wrong thing. We might wonder why they aren’t happy and as excited as we’d have expected. No, we set our kids up to be excited when given a gift or possession. As they get older, we get excited when they show us something they’ve bought that makes them feel good; we say things like, “Well done! I’m so proud of you!”, when they buy their first car, rent their first apartment, get handed their diploma or win some competition in school or community sports.

For most of us, surrounding ourselves with the things we want means needing to exchange money for those goods; money that typically comes from employment. Whether it’s a souvenir from a trip, the latest technology, a dress, shoes, new tattoo, comfortable bed or a new car, all these things bring us some measure of happiness. There is nothing wrong about going after them and being excited to acquire them. Nor should we feel we have to hide our accomplishments, like getting our Masters, passing a course with great marks, or getting a promotion or raise at work. These are THINGS to share with pride and yes, we who hear of others good news should just applaud their accomplishments and be happy right along with them.

Somehow though, a warm and cuddly picture of a puppy with the quote, “Get a job, get money, buy stuff”, wouldn’t go over as well I don’t think. So perhaps it’s the balance of acquiring things that make us feel good (and feeling good is what we’re all after) and having people in our lives (if this is what we want of course) that we strive for? Just perhaps. The thing is this… no one person has ever come up with a quote or way to live your life statement that universally applies to every person who has ever been, nor who will ever be, nor who lives at the moment.

Live your own life, go after the stuff that makes you feel awesome inside. An outfit, new wheels, toys, trips, a job, furniture or an address. Go for it! Get excited about that stuff!

 

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Carrying Too Much? Headed For A Crisis?


Let’s suppose three conditions exist:

  1.  You’ve got problems.
  2.  Your employer tells you to leave your personal problems at home.
  3.  Your other half tells you to leave your work problems at work.

So you’re not to unburden yourself at home or the workplace. But the message society is broadcasting in 2019 is that talking about your problems, stresses and general mental health challenges is highly encouraged. So who will listen to you if the people in your daily life with whom you have the most contact apparently won’t?

This is the situation many people find themselves in, and with no one they know prepared to listen to them – really listen to them – most people end up carrying an increasingly large load each and every day. Every so often, that load becomes unbearable and then something happens where you shut down completely and take an extended medical leave of absence after experiencing a mental health crisis.

If you saw someone carrying a heavy load, you’d offer to help. The same person carrying too many problems on the other hand is harder for us to see.

If and when you do break down the Management team where you work might say they saw it coming. Well, if they saw this coming, what did they do to reach out and try to head it off before it developed into a full-blown crisis? Was there any offer of counselling? Did they sit down and try to get at your work-related or personal concerns as they impacted on your work production?

Now some employers do have Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). These provide employees with access to confidential counselling services. For those that access this help, it’s a good opportunity to talk openly about the pressure you’re under in both your personal and professional life. You’re given a number of sessions to participate in; and you set the frequency of those talks. It’s just the two of you; you and your Counsellor.

WHAT you talk about is pretty open. Don’t expect however that this Counsellor will hear you out and then tell you what to do to fix your life. That might be nice to envision for some, but in reality, they listen, offer support and yes do make some suggestions on various strategies you might find helpful. They will share community resources if and when appropriate for you to take advantage of, but what they won’t do is lay out a plan for you to follow that solves all your issues. That after all, would be their plan for you, not your plan for you.

Okay so this sounds good if you work for an employer with this counselling service to access. But, for the many who don’t have such services paid for to access as part of their benefit plan, what’s a person to do?

Well, you can opt to pay for counselling services out of your wages. While you might feel this is money you can’t afford, consider that your own mental health is at stake and perhaps you can’t afford NOT to get the help you’re after. If you have a complete break down and have to quit or get fired, you still have all your issues to deal with – plus loss of income and loss of employment.

I think it’s fair to say there are a lot of people these days who are carrying worry, grief, anxiety, depression, bitterness, fear, hopelessness, low self-worth, phobias and pressure with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some have learned to hide it so well, you and I would be completely shocked if they ever shared what they carry. We’d likely say, “What?! You? No way. I don’t believe it. I’d never have guessed. But you don’t show any signs of that!”

Now we all experience stress and worry; it’s not confined to a few. For the majority of us, these worries and pressures are things we can work through using the skills we’ve acquired and practiced while resolving other challenges and similar situations in our past. As we work through problems and worries, we gain confidence in our ability to work things out, we might have learned to see the bigger picture; to know with great confidence that these problems will eventually pass and life will go on. This perspective and these growing skills help us manage the problems as they arise.

However, equally true is the fact that many people don’t have the knowledge of resources to draw on, they don’t have good role models in their lives helping them learn the skills to resolve problems. They may therefore fail to resolve their problems on a regular basis and all these failures just compound their problems because they repeat the same behaviours which result in the same problems arising. Tragic, sad and a vicious circle.

You may opt to talk things out with a trusted friend. Good for you if you have a friend you can in fact trust, and if that friend listens without jumping to the temptation to tell you what to do. Saying, “here’s what I’d do if I were you…” isn’t really helpful but it sure sounds like what you want to hear.

So how do you access counselling? Ask your employer if there’s help. Ask anyone who works in a community agency for a phone number of such services or use the internet to look up counselling services in your area.

To your good mental health.

Those Across The Table Struggle Too


Have you ever thought much about the people you deal with every day who sit or stand across the table or counter from you and provide a service? Far from robotic, these too are average folks who get up, go to work, do the best they can and go home. They have personal struggles, mental health issues, real-life disasters, hopes and dreams, wants and needs just like me; just like you.

Not many of us care to know quite frankly. When we go in to renew our licence plate stickers and get in that 12 person deep line, shunting our way up to the counter, we just want to pay our dues, get the sticker and leave. We may even share with those we meet for the rest of the day our complaint about the long line, the inconvenience of the process and high fees, and to finish off our rant, complain about the attitude and tone of voice of the man or woman who served us.

And this lack of thought isn’t confined to someone at the licencing centre. No, we likely don’t give much of a thought to the well-being of the Bank Teller who handles our transactions, the person who serves us in the drive-through, the shopkeeper who sells us an item in their store. If you’ve got something – some things – on your mind that worry, stress, preoccupy and keep you from focusing on what you’re doing with a 100% positive attitude, why is it hard to understand that the other people we interact with daily have similar challenges?

Now, to be clear, when we are dealing with such people, it’s inappropriate for both you and I to stop and ask with sincerity how they are doing and whether or not they’d like to open up and share their problems with us. We don’t all have the necessary training to start with and there’s that growing line behind you that you’re now holding up and in doing so, you’re compounding their stress to serve others. And surely, you don’t really expect them to honestly share much of anything with you in that public setting, nor expect them to fully trust you whom they don’t know much at all?

What you and I can do however is our very best to be everything we’d expect in return: courteous, respectful, kind, pleasant to deal with and yes, smile which makes us nicer to deal with.

You might think this is a given; it’s known, basic, interpersonal skills 101. However, I see many people approach those behind the counters and treat them poorly. Raised voices, a lack of manners, scowls at the outset, seemingly looking to provoke an altercation, foul language, animated faces and drama more suited to a theatre stage than a bank reception area. I’ve even found myself apologizing for someone else’s rude behaviour when it’s my turn. Just acknowledging the difficulty they had providing service to the previous person goes a long way.

The thing is we expect the people who serve us to be 100% focused on us. Some would say, “That’s what their paid to do so yes, just do their job.” And honestly if that’s your reaction, you’re likely one of the people who doesn’t care to think about other people as, well…. people. Why would you assume they shouldn’t be working if they’ve got problems on their minds? My goodness, many people would sit home for long periods were this the case.

The truth of the matter is that a great number of people with problems, worries, stressors and mental health challenges find the inner resolve and strength to go about their work day each and every day. They do bring their problems with them to work, then to the grocery stores where they stand in line served by others, then to the gas stations or bus stops where they are surrounded by more people and served by the Cashier or the Bus Driver. On the outside they may look like they’ve got it all together; not a care in the world. On the inside, hidden away from the public, they too may be dealing with all kinds of things we’ve no idea of.

So it’s important therefore to be kind, respectful and yes, even empathetic when we don’t get the absolute best from whomever we are dealing with. If the Waitress neglects to bring us the ketchup we asked for, it’s surely not something to make a big deal over is it? Ask a second time and be kind about it. Maybe she’s worried about getting a call from the school about her child’s behaviour, perhaps she received an eviction notice just before coming to work and she’s conflicted with being here at work serving you so she holds on to her job, but really would rather be packing up or planning to fight it.

To close, I often suggest to you readers that you take advantage of counselling services to unburden your load, share your troubles and in so doing, move forward. That person listening to you, for all their expertise is a human too. As you pour all your feelings out, you’re one of 3 or 4 to do so that day and every day. That’s a huge responsibility they take on gladly, and while they are paid well, they also pay a price you can’t measure.

Be kind, show gratitude, be understanding. Every day with everyone.

You Only Have So Much To Give


You have to love working for a Manager who demands you give it all you’ve got; then when you empty the tank, they question your commitment and willingness to go above and beyond. Where exactly do they think that extra energy is going to come from when you’ve nothing left to give?

Imagine an hourglass if you will, just turned upside down and the grains of sand rushing out the narrow opening and spilling into the bottom half. When those grains are falling, let’s see your productivity at it’s highest. There’s so much sand in the upper half, pressure and gravity come together to keep the sand moving quickly. However, as time elapses, so too does the quantity of sand remaining. Much of the sand is spent and collected in the bottom half, and there’s less pressure being exerted on the remaining grains. Some might actually adhere to the glass and not fall through without a gentle tap on the sides. Eventually, all the grains drop and there’s no more to be had; your productivity is similarly spent.

Like that hourglass, you’re energy is done, you’ve left it all on the work floor. While it’s easy to reach over and flip that hourglass so the process can be repeated, people don’t work the same way. Oh sure we all have some reserves to tap into, but those reserves are also finite. You just can’t keep expecting an inexhaustible amount of energy to be exerted of anyone. People are not perpetual motion machines.

Here’s where the hourglass analogy fails though. When looking at the hourglass, we can visually see how much sand is in each end. We can then at a glance tell how much is left for the upper half of the hourglass to give. People on the other hand; you and me, not so easy to tell at a glance how much we’re holding back and how much we’ve got left to give – if any.

When you go out to buy an hourglass, you’ll find big ones, small ones, and some timers that look like an hourglass only have enough sand to fall for a minute. Others are 3 minutes, 30 minutes etc. In other words, while we might mistakenly ask for an hourglass, we don’t actually want one where the sand will fall for an hour. We still might call it an hourglass. It’s really a sand timer or sand clock.

In your workplace, you can probably think of people who seem to have an abundance of energy. They are productive when they first arrive to work and they seem to pick up speed as the day goes on and when they leave at the end of the day, they still have a bounce in their step. Just as easily, you know the other types of people where you work who start off productive and in short order they need a break to recharge. They go in spurts, needing breaks or their lunch/dinner time to find the energy needed to complete their work and then they race out the door at the end of the day, entirely spent.  Different people, different sizes of hourglasses if you will.

Poor managers don’t get this though. They see some employees as if they were intentionally holding back, tipping their hourglass at a 45 degree angle so some sand remains lodged in the upper half and not giving it their all. Even when someone looks exhausted, the poor manager has a pep talk or cracks a whip expecting more; expecting the employee to jump up and be fully productive as if they just flipped that hourglass. But each employee is a varying size of sandglass. What some supervisors fail to understand is that by the time someone arrives at work, they’ve already spent some of the energy they had earlier. Not everyone arrives fresh, fully ready to go, and not everyone works at the same pace. Some have to work conservatively if they are to make it through the day. Unfortunately, some in management hold up the one employee as a shining example for the rest and compare each employee to the one with the seemingly endless energy. “I need you to be more like ________.”

Rest, sleep, drink, food and time; these are some of the typical things people need to re-energize. We can only give so much and then if we aren’t provided with ways to build our energy back up – or we fail to take measures ourselves to increase our stores of energy, we’re in trouble. Our bodies will take measures into their own hands and either illness or total exhaustion will shut us down. Our brains might be willing, but our bodies only have so much to give.

So we have to look out for ourselves and for each other. When you work for a good manager or supervisor, they get this too. Sure there are times when the old, “we all have to give more” speech rally’s us for a short-time. But when that short period evolves into our everyday work environment, don’t be surprised when staff start failing; calling in ill, taking time off more often, perhaps leaving for other jobs, or taking mental health leaves. The accumulative impact of this is the same workload spread even more upon those remaining. You can’t get more out of those already giving it their all.

Thoughts?

 

Job Hunting When You Have One


Looking for a job to replace the one you have now makes a lot of sense. When you’re looking at the postings out there, you aren’t as desperate as you might be were you not working at all. You can afford to be selective, choosing to put off applying to jobs that don’t fully interest you; jobs you might actually have applied to in your unemployed past.

This job you’re on the hunt for has to pay you more than what you’re making now, be more stimulating, more meaningful and more of a career than a job; any or all of these possibilities. It might have to be closer to home, closer to the cottage, perhaps nearer the person you’re dating, have benefits or growth opportunities etc. Your next job has to in your view, be better than the one you have now.

And there you have it, the reason for looking for some other job; you’re seeking something better than what you have at the present. Lest you think you’re the only one looking for work when you have a job, let me assure you there are a great number of people who job hunt while working.

If you’re out of work, or you’ve been out of work in the past, perhaps you can identify with the anxiety and desperation you’ve felt in past job interviews. The increased pressure to get a job and stop the financial bleeding of your resources. Maybe you remember telling people you’d do, “anything” too. Hopefully, now that you are actually working, you’ve dropped, “Anything” as a job you were willing and happy to do. When I hear people say that – and just yesterday I heard that from 3 people – it’s a sad message to hear. I’ve yet to find the person who will actually do anything by the way.

One problem of looking for a job when you have one is your level of motivation. Most employed people don’t work at getting a new job with the same vigor they’d apply if they were not working. So many skim a few job websites daily, maybe apply to the odd job every couple of weeks or more. You know, there are other things to do that seem like more of a priority. The out-of-work person is more focused, determined, desperate, hungry – take your pick of words.

The upside of looking for work is coming from a position of strength; as you’re already employed, an employer interested in your services has to present something better than what you have now if they truly want to pry you away. But don’t delude yourself into thinking that just by telling them your present circumstances they are going to open the vault and ask you to name your salary. That might be the case in movies or if you’re the potential CEO of a company, but for most of us, it’s just not the case. Still, there’s a reason applications often ask you to state your current employment status and present salary.

One thing you need to address is whether to tell your current employer you’re looking for another job or not. There are clear advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, you might work for an employer that doesn’t want you using company time and resources to look for work, send emails, go to interviews etc. Then again, some employers encourage their workforce to grow as individuals whether that means advancing internally or sincerely wishing them the best as they move on.

At some point you’ll need to inform your employer. Maybe when it’s down to you and one other person for a job and the potential employer wants to speak with your references. That call to your current employer might not go as well as you’d like if it blindsides them completely. Then again, you might be imagining the scene when you just walk in and announce your impending departure.

I’ve found that people who are looking elsewhere for jobs – for the most part – mentally check out to some degree. As they look for a future with another firm, they stop investing themselves 100% in the job they have at present. If you listen to their words, watch them in team meetings or as they go about their day, they just perform differently. That may be only logical, but your present employer isn’t paying you less as you invest less in them, so you’ve got a responsibility to still deliver on your responsibilities.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to share your thoughts, you might even want to confide in a colleague at work; someone you can trust with your plan to leave. If I can give you one piece of advice on this, be respectful of that person. You might be putting them in some emotional conflict and divided loyalty. Is that fair?

Hopefully you work for the kind of boss who promotes personal development; who wants to see you move up and yes, sometimes move on. These Supervisors invest in the people they work with and share your enthusiasm for something new. They are the kind of people who appreciate a heads up that you’re looking, and give you the time to go to interviews etc. By setting the right climate where you can share without fear, they can better plan ahead for your possible departure.

Good fortune with your search. How’s it going?

 

Think You May Lose Your Job?


There are several reasons you might find yourself thinking more often about losing your job. Has your company been downsizing and your seniority eroding so quickly your long-held belief that it couldn’t happen to you is eroding right along with it?

Maybe it’s restructuring, poor performance on your part, a change in Supervisor and it’s pretty clear they want to clear house and hire their own people or for some reason, the boss you knew and liked has changed and their new behaviours and actions have given you reason for concern. There are many reasons you see, for being worried about your employment. So what’s a person supposed to do?

For starters, and this is nothing really new, find your resume and start updating it with all the training, additional education and employment you’ve had since you last looked at it. Open up that drawer of certificates you’ve earned at work, or that computer file with the courses you’ve taken. Now is the time to get those things on your resume; and take these certificates home!

Why now? Okay let’s get to the worst case scenario. Suppose some people come to your work area today about 15 minutes before your lunch and tell you that you’re being let go. Suppose too they tell you they are here to walk you out, that your things will be boxed up and ready for you to pick up in a couple of days. You’re to take nothing but your coat, your lunch and they’ve brought backup just in case by the looks of it.

Not very nice I admit, but my point is to make it clear that you may not have the time to get things before the axe falls. Oh and by the way, employer’s walk you out not because they feed off the power of humiliating you, but rather they want to protect their assets, and emotional employees (and you will be) sometimes don’t act fully rationally, nor do employers and employees always agree on who owns what. While your personal photos and knick-knacks are clearly yours, other things that aren’t so clear might be materials you created on behalf of the employer, USB sticks, cell phones, personal computers, keys, access cards, etc. Yes, the escorted walk out off the property might be embarrassing but it could have you later wishing you’d taken the time to gather your things personally.

So it comes down to two things; is your looming departure beyond or within your control? If you feel your performance is the cause for your worry, then you must ask yourself if you’re interested and motivated enough to change your ways and up your performance. If you don’t care whether they fire you or not and you plan on behaving exactly the way you have been, that’s your call.

Now, another thing to consider is whether you’re up for a personal, closed door chat with the boss. Knowing where you stand is important for many people; even when the news is bad, a lot of people actually feel better knowing the situation they are truly in rather than stressing over the situation they think they might be in. You might not be called on to use your imagination much at work, but it will be working overtime creating all kinds of possible scenario’s in your mind until you know the truth of where things are.

Why does imminent loss of employment worry people so? Well it’s more than just the loss of a job. It’s the loss of a reputation, the loss of an identity as an employee and whatever your job title is at the moment. It’s financial worry too, and depending on your age and job prospects, it could have you fearing your days of having an ongoing income are done if you lose this job. When you fear this, you fear the future and however you imagined it is now in jeopardy.  There’s also the stigmatism of telling family and friends or doing what some do; leaving for work as usual but having no job to go to while they job search so they can avoid upsetting others in the hopes they’ll get another job immediately.

When you really feel the axe could fall any day now, best to start taking home whatever personal possessions you’ve got in the workplace. The last thing you want is to suddenly recall 4 weeks after being let go, some item you believe you left at work and having to contact the employer in the hopes of getting it. If they tell you it’s not there, you may be convinced they threw it out or possibly even kept it and this will just result in more anxiety, more bitterness and this isn’t healthy.

Start getting your references together too. You know, the phone numbers, job titles and emails of the people you trust at work will speak well of you if/when you’re gone. It’s so much easier now rather than later.

Whatever you do, don’t start stealing company property. This is one way to get fired for sure. Do check into your financial situation. Cut back on your spending now to buffer the possibility of a loss of income. If you have benefits, think about a dental or optical visit now too.

Start looking for other employment; put out feelers and network. Wouldn’t you rather leave on your own terms?

 

 

How Long Should I Wait After Applying?


One question I often get asked by job seekers I work with is how long should I wait to follow up with an employer after applying for a job.  So today, let’s look at this question from both your point of view as the applicant, and the employers point of view.

First however, let me ask you to honestly think about your own comfort level in general with picking up the phone and making the follow up call. Are you comfortable doing this and just want to know when, or are you uncomfortable making the call no matter when the time is right? You see, there are many applicants I’ve worked with who don’t really want to make that call and would put it off indefinitely unless I sat right next to them and gently pushed them to make the call. Okay, so you know deep down whether you’re likely to make the call in the end. Good.

As to when is the right time to make the call, I’m sorry to disappoint you but the answer is a very unclear, “it depends”.  Oh keep reading though, I’ll give you more guidance than that!

Looking at the job ad, are there any indicators of a deadline date? When you know the closing date to apply to a job, you have to assess how close it is coming up or indeed if it’s past. Knowing where you stand on the calendar with respect to this date guides you as to what to say when you make the call. If the deadline date is another two weeks in the future, you can still call to confirm they received your application and you can go further and ask if you might be able to pick up a more detailed job description, additional information on the organization or perhaps an annual report. The smart thing of course would be to inquire about the more detailed job description prior to submitting your application so you can include more relevant information on your resume that others will not. Just a hint.

Should the deadline have passed just recently, you should definitely make the call now. You may not have ever been someone who hires for a company, but I have and I talk with others who do. Many employers receive resumes up to the deadline date and then wait a couple of days or more. Why are they waiting when there’s a position to fill you ask? While they sift through the applicants to determine possible candidates, they also heed who calls and who doesn’t. Their assumption is that the go-getters, the ones who are really hungry and want the job the most are the ones who will call. Not desperate you understand, but they are viewed as determined, professional, show initiative and the employers are then also able to hear the applicant’s voice, their ability to express themselves and now they have additional information which they don’t on those who just sit home and hope for a call.

I bet you’re argument however is that today many job postings clearly state no calls; that only certain applicants will be contacted. This is one frustrating thing for those who are good at following up and it’s the best argument possible for those who hate picking up the phone and talking to an employer. It levels the playing field for those who are glad not to have to call. Well, guess what? Do an experiment and call some employer’s anyhow. What!? Seriously? Fly in the face of the employer’s wishes and call when they ask you not to?

Here’s a strategy to try. (And after all, if your current way of going about things isn’t working, continuing to go about things the way you are up to now just might continue to end in no positive results.)

Determine that you’re going to call. When you do, don’t just say, “Did I make the cut?” and then hang up. That’s what the employer asked you not to do. Try this:

Hello, my name is ______ and I’m competing for the position of _____. I understand and respect your wishes not to be contacted for an interview, so I’m calling just to introduce myself so I stand out from the competition, and want to expressing how grateful I’d be for the opportunity to demonstrate my strong interest in person. If there’s any additional information you’d like, I’m only too happy to deliver that to you.

So, you haven’t actually called with the lame, “So, are you going to interview me?”, and you acknowledge you’re aware of their instructions not to bother them. Is it a gamble? Sure it is. So is applying for a job in the first place. You might like it and you might not; the whole application is a gamble. You will succeed with some employers in showing them how polite and professional you are – determined to succeed where others are not. Or you will turn off an employer who doesn’t want anyone to show initiative, tenacity, determination or resolve.

Keep track of the jobs you apply to and which ones you follow up with a phone call and which you don’t. Look for patterns and what works over what doesn’t. Do more of what works.

When you do call, be in a quiet place, resume in front of you, pen and paper ready, know your calendar. Good luck!