Job Interview First Impressions


In my experience as an Employment Counsellor, I’ve come to note that those who make good, positive first impressions don’t mind for a minute accepting that other people form opinions of them spanning the first 30 seconds to a minute when they meet. Equally, those who tend to make poor first impressions feel that its entirely unfair that others judge them in such a short time. Well, honestly, whether you like or dislike it when others form first impressions in such short timelines, the reality is, that’s…well…reality.

It’s not just employers and interviewers that form these quick first impressions, and quite frankly, as a species, humans have done it for centuries. It’s survival 101 you know; this innate ability we have to quickly take in whatever sensory information that’s available to us and then in mere seconds, assimilate all that data and form an immediate impression that then guides if or how we interact with others.

Walking on a sidewalk we look ahead and see a stranger approaching us. Based on extremely limited information, we might continue on with a smile and nod as we pass, or we might see a swagger in their walk, a scowl on their face, see their eyes set on us and with all this we choose to duck into a store or cross the street. We judged the situation to be uncomfortable at best, dangerous at worse, and best to be safe and not sorry. Were our actions justified?

Similarly in a subway if every time we look up we notice a person looking at us with a smile and fleeting eyes that look away and we see them bite their lips, we might interpret this as a shy, embarrassed, “you caught me looking at you, and I’d like to meet you but I’m too shy to start a conversation” look. Maybe we’re right and maybe we’re not; maybe we introduce ourselves on the off-chance they are interested in us, or maybe we bury our heads in a book because we might be wrong.

It’s in these everyday interactions with others that we form impressions of others while they of course are doing the same thing with respect to us. The data we take in might include someone’s choice of clothing, it’s cleanliness, their grooming, body odour or fragrance/cologne, their height, weight, shape, health of their teeth, colour of their eyes, posture etc. All in mere seconds mind you – our brains process all this data and we form opinions from which we judge them to be safe to approach, intimidating and to be avoided, etc.

In a job interview situation, take heart! For starters, always remember that this first meeting you’re about to have with some company representative is one you know is going to happen. In fact, you’ve got the time and place as two knowns, so it’s not going to catch you off guard. If you ask the right questions when offered the interview, you also know how many will be interviewing you, their names and their titles. This information can be of comfort, especially if you use social media to look them up and get a visual on their appearance and read their bios in advance of meeting them face-to-face.

You have the further advantage of choosing your outfit for this first encounter, deciding which clothing will be likely to make the best impression on them; be it formal, business casual, etc. The things in your control continue as you can make sure your hair is clean and brushed, your deodorant working, your teeth brushed and a swig of mouthwash will ensure any lingering offensive smells are absent. You can shine your shoes, choose your accessories with care as well.

In addition, when you arrive is in your control. Sure you might run into unexpected delays – that’s why their called unexpected! – but, you can almost guarantee your arrival time will be appreciated by leaving early and planning your route. A dry run on another day will likely give you a good measure of the time you’ll need.

Whether you bow, shake hands or not, smile or not, maintain eye contact or not when actually meeting during the first 2 seconds; again in your control. Even the way you sit or pace back and forth in reception, your posture as you wait and then your body language as you get up to introduce yourself to the interviewer(s); all this within your control and therefore up to you to choose how you wish to act.

These first few seconds are critical as those you meet form first impressions of you just as you are of them. The thing is though that you might be feeling so much pressure on yourself to do well and get a job offer that in the moment you aren’t thinking a great deal about them – being so worried about yourself and what you’re communicating.

Positive or negative, that first impression is the initial point from which all further interaction either reinforces or works to change one’s first impression. The more you put some effort into ensuring the first two minutes shows you as you’d like, the more you can feel confident done your best to get off on a good note. A poor start and you’ll feel the pressure to alter their view of you.

First impressions; vitally important and worth paying attention to. Oh and on the subway? Just go up and introduce yourself!

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Be Nice


You may have big plans on where you see yourself in 2, 5 or 20 years from now. Conversely, you might not have a clue where life will take you; you have no idea what you’ll be doing in 3 weeks let alone years into your future. No matter what might be ahead in your future, one of the best things you can do now and along the way to wherever you land, you can do no better favour for yourself than to be nice along the way.

Now, already the ‘A’ type personality folks are assembling and some among them are saying that being nice gets you nowhere; that it’s a dog eat dog kind of world. Nice people are fodder to be chewed up and spit out, walked over and left on the lower rungs of the corporate ladders. They might say that nice guys finish last, that you’ve got to claw and fight your way up to every hand-hold you can clasp on the way up because nobody but nobody who amounts to anything will reach back and give you a hand up.

I suppose there are people like that; well let’s be entirely honest – there’s no supposing about it. Yes, there are people and professions that attract those kind of people with those kind of mentalities.

For the majority of us however, what is the price of being nice? Weigh any answer you come up with against the question, what is the price of not being nice? There’s the little gestures and the big ones of course. The big ones are the ones that most often make the headlines; the customer who drops a $3,000 tip for the waitress, the celebrity television host who treats the entire audience with gifts and goodies, makes wishes come true for ordinary people on the shows etc. They’ve got the untold wealth and corporate backing to be the face of niceness.

You and me though? Well, we’re likely just your everyday people; folks who work regular jobs, won’t ever gain widespread recognition. The emergence of social media has given us a platform to share our smiling faces with the world, and that’s likely the most public exposure we’re likely to garner.

Being nice can be self-serving of course and let’s be honest, it sure makes us feel good to do good for others. Drop some coins in a panhandlers cap, open a door for someone, give praise to someone who guts out a personal challenge and part of us feels good inside for doing so. Nothing wrong with making yourself feel good. Do more of it I say.

When you’re nice it can have some ripple effects too. You smile at me and I smile back. A few steps later, I give that smile to someone else and like the wave at a sporting event, it catches on and gets shared. Being nice is like that. I’ve seen first-hand people in cafe’s buy a drink for a stranger in line behind them and then that stranger do likewise for someone else. These aren’t just stories of the goody two-shoes types; these are real people. Sometimes the beneficiary of an act of kindness isn’t thankful true enough, but then again sometimes the beneficiary receives an unexpected act of kindness right at the moment when they needed it most; that reminder of the good around them. It can pull people sharply into the moment if they’ve been wandering around in their own little world, feeling ignored or invisible.

Being nice doesn’t have to cost any money whatsoever though. It can mean asking a co-worker how they’re doing and actually stopping long enough to show you really want to know. It can mean recalling something they told you two days ago and then following up with an inquiry about how that evening went or how that trip with the kids to the theme park turned out. Being nice could mean investing a tad of yourself in what that other person shares as important to them or meaningful to them.

Being nice might mean things that never get seen, never get recognized but nonetheless make things better for others. Maybe you do up a few dishes that aren’t yours at work, you make sure the toilet seat is clean every time you leave the washroom, you sharpen a few pencils at the Reception desk or keep the stapler stocked each morning so someone never gets frustrated looking for a pen.

I was saying to a colleague just yesterday that it was ironic that I was interviewed for a job years later by a woman whose children I supervised while working in a Boys and Girls Club decades ago. Good thing I was nice to both her and her kids! Who could have predicted that life would bring us back into contact that way in a completely different city and context?

Want to shock the person you’re in a relationship with? Send them an email or instant message that reads nothing more than, “Thinking of you just now.” Nice!

Yes, what if you did the odd thing or two simply with a goal and nothing more beyond being nice? You’d better watch out; you might develop a reputation for being a nice person!

Should you find that your acts of kindness go unnoticed or you get taken advantage of, be nice anyhow. We need more people like you.

 

Bulletin Board Of Inspired Quotes


Last week I had a moment of inspiration while spending some time in our Resource Centre. Just like you; just like anyone I suppose, that moment came where I thought, “I wonder if other people will think as much of this idea as I do; it has a lot of potential.”

Now ours is a place to go exclusively for those in receipt of Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program social assistance programs. So essentially those who make use of it may be there for a number of reasons. Some look for jobs, housing, attend workshops and seminars or get help finding community services. Others use it as a place to network, socialize, have someone they can trust hear them out, make a phone call or use the fax/copy services. We attract a variety of purposes, even though our centre is at present limited to these two groups.

At the rear of our drop-in Resource Centre are 5 boards we’ve typically used in the past to put up the latest job postings. Observation of these boards has suggested that while some people continue to scan them for employment possibilities, more and more users tend to sit down at one of the 20 computers we have and look for jobs themselves; finding them as they are posted throughout a day.

This has led our team to re-examine the effectiveness of having all 5 of these boards filled with jobs and duplicating what people find themselves. I stood looking at an empty board the other day and thought about what I or we could do with that board other than job opportunities. Then it came to me. I’d search online for motivational quotes and stick them up on the board with the invitation to take whatever a person wanted or needed. But would it work?

I began by turning to the internet and went to Bing. Sorry Google, but I’m a Bing man. I searched, “Quotes with pictures” and clicked on Images which gave me the result of photographs and illustrations with various motivational or insightful quotes overlaid on them. These I scanned, choosing the ones I thought might particularly appeal to the audience they would attract.

Characteristically, the people who would stand before this board might be unemployed, anxious, perhaps lacking career direction, feeling despair, loneliness, isolation, depression, dwindling hope, low self-esteem, medically and mentally fragile and frustrated. On the other hand they may also be resilient, determined to succeed, need support, adaptable, hopeful, open to change and thankful.

When I found a quote I liked and hoped might speak personally to someone in a public space, I saved the photo to the computer I was on and then copied and pasted the photo/quote to a Word document I called, “Quotes with pictures”. Yes, painfully obvious; but that’s what file names are supposed to be right?

Then it was left to me to print several pages of these gather quotes with pictures and make sure they were of various sizes, so they’d appeal more to the eye as a collage and not looking too institutionalized. With 7 or 8 pages of these quotes, I cut them all to size and pinned them to the board, taking care to ensure they were randomly placed by theme, size and image. In the center of the board I placed, “Please Take What You Need”; an invitation to help yourself to anyone looking.

That was just Friday last and yesterday combined. With anything new, you’ve got two choices; direct people who don’t notice to what you’ve done or allow people to discover what’s new on their own. In a place like ours, people can get robotic; come in, do their thing, leave, return, repeat. I opted to let people go the self-discovery way. After all, I didn’t want people to feel they had to compliment me on the board, nor did I want people to feel they should take something just to please me.

I was delighted to later have a fellow come up to me with 7 or 8 of the quotes in his hand and double-check to see if he really could take them with him or if he was expected to photocopy what he took and replace them. When I told him to help himself; that they were there for the taking, he smiled and appeared quite happy. I could have asked why those 7 or 8. I could have looked at them to know which ones to replace. I could have started data collecting to see what speaks to people and then use that information to start conversations with people on whatever they wanted to talk about. I didn’t do any of these things. I replaced the quotes with more.

If you like this idea or some resemblance of it, feel free to duplicate it all or in part and adapt it to your space and your audience. You can also search by topic: leadership, hope, goal setting, courage, team work, strength, wisdom – the list is only as long as your own imagination. There’s other ways of arriving at the same finished products too; you could make your own quotes and insert them as text over your own photos. You could also use a colour printer. Or what about one colour photo in a sea of black and white ones – just to see the impact?

Conversation starter or source of inspiration; my share with you to start August 2017.

Job Searching And Job Websites


Times have changed significantly when it comes to looking for a job with the introduction and permanence of technology. Yet, I would argue that technology alone isn’t responsible for making the job search more confused than ever. If you take the increasingly variety of jobs and the many job titles that exist out there for essentially the same work, it can be overwhelming for some.

Get a few people together who are looking for work and you’ll find no doubt among those assembled at least one person who knows exactly what they’re looking for. They’ve got that title down; a Waitress for example. Of the others, you may have some looking for 2 or more specific jobs; an AZ Truck Driver or a Courier. These two are related and have transferable skills but remain two distinctly different jobs. Then there are those who are looking for employment but who have yet to come to a specific job. These people might name as many as 4 or 5 possible jobs, or worse yet, say they are looking for…”anything.”

Now, for those who know exactly what they are after, search engines on the internet work well. Enter the job title you’re after and the city you wish to search in and you’ll get results for that title in your city and perhaps the surrounding 25 km or so area nearby. It’s quick and easy.

Now for the others; those without that single title to guide them, it becomes a little more challenging and frustrating. Sometimes you can opt to enter the name of the city you want to work in and leave the job title or keyword section blank of course. This will upon searching, produce results for all the jobs in that area. Now many of those you’ll not be qualified to do or even remotely interested in either. The one advantage however is that you’ll get advised of jobs that might interest you, but for which you might have missed had you put in a single job title or keyword.

Take the Waitress. In addition to searching for waitress, other titles that might crop up are Server, Food and Beverage Server, Hostess, Host, Attendant. Back in the 80’s the terms Waitperson and Waitron were floated but these never really caught on.  So maybe the clever job seeker starts searching for food service instead; attempting to capture all the possible job titles. This can have unintended consequences too; returning delivery drivers for fast food outlets, catering positions and even the job providing beverages on local golf courses scooting around in a modified golf cart. Yeah that might not be what you had in mind. Then again…

That’s where we’ve evolved to at the moment though with job searching. You not only need to have computer basics down to job search and then apply online, you have to have the patience and tenacity to job search using your mind to play detective and get into what the employer might have thought when they came up with the title of the job.

Some organizations these days actually have bizarre and attention-grabbing titles for their staff, even though the work itself is identical to that performed in other organizations. There is a real job out there now for, “Minister of Talent” which as it turns out is the head of Human Resources. Or how about, “Senior Magician of Intellect”. Would you guess this job is Vice-President of Innovation  and Design?

Not only are these creative and somewhat playful titles confusing for those not in the know, but when the time comes for those holding them to job search in the future, what will their resumes look like when they put these titles down themselves? Whimsical, fun perhaps, but perhaps not best suited if you apply to traditional organizations with, “work inside the box” thinking.

I can tell you that as an Employment Counsellor, I often track down jobs for the unemployed people I work with who while job searching themselves, miss such jobs. How is then that I can find what they cannot? Some job seekers believe that Employment Counsellors, Job Coaches, Career Advisors etc. all seem to have access to these hidden job sites where the jobs are found. In truth, we all have access to the same internet and the same job sites. The difference must therefore be in how we search which in turn lands what we find.

Sometimes I’ll intentionally leave a title field blank. The return is a buckshot of all the jobs in an area. Sometimes I’ll narrow the search not only by city but narrow down the geographic surrounding area to include the city only, not the neighbouring 10 km’s or more. Searching by type of job – contract, part-time, full-time etc. or by seniority level is good too. After all, why frustrate an entry-level job seeker with senior-level positions or vice versa?

Now you can approach a Head-Hunter or Recruiter these days and let them match you up with employment. This can be beneficial or not depending on the person’s connections. Many people are in this game with no more qualifications than the job-seekers themselves. Tough market conditions always bring out some people scrambling to do what they aren’t entirely qualified for.

Job searching is easier if you have a good idea what you’re after and you’ve got the technological skills to navigate job search websites. Good luck out there in your job search.

Share A Favourite Online Resource


The internet is full of YouTube video’s, TedTalks, famous quotes, personal blogs, satirical cartoons, animated shorts, etc. And themes? Think and search for a theme and you’re highly likely to come across all kinds of resources on that subject. So, what single online resource is your personal favourite and why?

Perhaps you favour an inspirational video showcasing someone who has and continues to overcome tremendous personal challenges. Is it a funny clip that brings more than just a smile to your face no matter how many times you see it? Conversely, is it a real tear-jerker; one that has you getting the tissues ready now before you dare watch it for the 50th time?

It would be valuable to know in addition to why you love it so, how you make use of this item. If in your professional capacity you include it in your presentations, what kind of audience do you introduce it to and how? What’s the response like from your audiences? Is it included in some larger presentation of yours on a speaking tour, a workshop, best used when working one-on-one with people and if so, in what capacity are you working with them?

By sharing this one resource with me in the comments section, you and I could be part of a long string of people having a shared experience. The contribution you make by sharing a single resource could result in not only sharing that one item with others, but you in return might realize a gift of many more. No guarantee of course, but the awesome thing about sharing just one resource this way is that it takes up little of your time to copy and paste a URL with a brief explanation, and someone on the other side of our beautiful planet might in turn love it as much as you.

To get things rolling, here’s something for you from me. This is a link to a video clip but you could also search, “World’s toughest job” on your favourite search engine and click on video’s to find it.

http://bit.ly/ourworldstoughestjob

The reason I find myself liking this one so much is because in many of the career direction and employment workshops I lead, there is a least one if not a few women in the group who feel underqualified. They live and breathe low self-esteem because they made a choice to stay home and raise children in the past and are coming to job searching later in the game. When they hear others in the room speak of the many jobs they’ve had or the many years they’ve had in a job or two, they come across as apologetic when they say they have ‘just’ been a mom.

This video is one that then comes to mind. The clip is about creating a fake job but then holding real interviews with both men and women. As the applicants learn of the job responsibilities and expectations of them, they become increasingly shocked at how much is demanded of them in this job. When they learn the job will pay exactly zero, they are incredulous, one going on record saying that no one would do this, another saying it’s cruel and inhumane. Only at this point does the interviewer say that millions of people are doing this job every day and then reveals it’s being done by moms.

Now the impact on those in the group is typically that the women who were saying they are, “just” moms, now see themselves through a different lens. They feel better and many in the group think of not only themselves but their own moms. Often there’s a few with wet eyes in the group as they recall their own moms.

Now it doesn’t always have a universally wonderful feel for everyone in the room. Maybe someone who is adopted and never knew their mom or who had a rough upbringing wouldn’t respond positively. However, there is a shift in the room when I show it; with more respect for the moms in the room from those who might have felt superior with years of employment to draw on behind them.

So there’s a contribution for you to check out and see for yourself. What would you like to add? I’d rather you felt generous and give out of a wish to share than feel in any way compelled to reciprocate. I know a lot of you out there have a very deep reservoir of media clips, cartoons, quotes, TedTalks, infographics, images, comics, etc. Sure would be fantastic if you’d take the time to share just one of these gems.

For this is what the internet is really all about isn’t it? Sharing. When you search for some article or resource, you’re really tapping into someone else’s creation. They put it out there for anyone to view and benefit from. Maybe you’re a creative sort and you’ve made a masterpiece of your very own for all I know. Sharing whatever you wish here with me by way of your reply would be most appreciated!

This is one way we improve, grow, stay fresh, learn and educate not only ourselves but others. So educate me and your fellow readers.

By the way, this blog falls on my birthday, June 13; so my birthday request is one of the best kinds of gifts where we can all receive in the end!

A Valuable Workplace Activity


Passing on ideas to each other in the workplace is a pretty easy activity that accelerates learning and does so quickly and at relatively low-cost. The fact that its quick is important because reducing time increases savings, and if others already know information you’d have to hunt down, it can make you more productive in the short as well as long-term.

Over the next week one of my fellow employees and I are co-facilitating a workshop on building a virtual tool box. What’s in the toolbox? Cartoons, quotes, videos, articles, Prezi’s, speeches, lectures and more. Facilitating the process of collaboratively building our toolbox is the method we chose to go about it, and not presuming to be the only experts in the room and sharing only what we know.

By way of example, here is what we’re doing. We’re bringing together hosting 6 groups of about 20 staff each who hold various job titles; seating no more than 5 people at a table. On each table we have a laptop with internet access and MS Word. If you haven’t got access to Word, you don’t need it specifically; but you’ll need some word processing program to copy and paste to that will allow everyone to save their work on.

The first thing you should know is that we’re gathering these people together for in our case, an hour and fifteen minutes. While the time could be longer, its sufficient time for people to get into what we’re talking about and then end the session while interest is still peaking. The last thing you’d want I imagine is to drag out an exercise to the point where the audience is bored, ready to move on but the facilitators don’t seem to be in sync and what was fun and new turns into something akin to tooth extraction; painful.

First the two of us introduced the idea of the virtual tool box which one can carry wherever there’s internet access and computer availability. Carry a phone around with you and it could work, but ideally we’re talking laptop, desktop, large fixed monitors or I suppose tablets etc. In other words, large enough a group of people could see a screen without too much straining around a tiny screen.

In our presentation, we shared the idea of what we were doing and that in the end there would be a real tangible benefit for each participant. Each person receives no handouts during the presentation, but will in the end get the total of everything the 6 groups produces. Think of that; in our case we have six groups of 20 people – so 120 people’s collaborative work produced in a unified document and available to all. If 2 heads are better than 1, imagine the impact and value of having 120 people come together! Not bad considering everyone is contributing just over 1 hour of their time.

We begin with inviting each group to think of an audience in their workplace; will it be their colleagues at a team meeting where they are making a presentation, a client group, customers, maybe a management team. Wherever you work, think of those you might come into contact with; don’t neglect to think of yourself too. After all, you can benefit from watching a video, being drawn to a quote, finding meaning and relevance in a speech, being motivated by someone’s story etc. as much as anyone else.

Now once those at the table agreed on a potential audience for this exercise, (giving each group 30 seconds to decide on one), everyone is ready for the next stage; thinking about what you’d like to share with that target. So are you looking to motivate, help them problem solve, dress appropriately, work better together, understand a concept, aspire to consider possibilities etc.?

With your audience and what you want to communicate with in mind, each group is then turned loose on a single laptop on their table to explore the internet and find things having to do with what they want to share with the audience they selected. Maybe they find a TedTalk, an image with a quote, a cartoon or still image that is the inspiration for a conversation; anything that will spark dialogue, start a conversation and help deliver a point.

Now the MS Word document I referred to near the beginning is really for each group to copy and paste the URL’s into; noting the subject of the link as well. At the end of the hour and 15 minutes, each group may have 3 – 10 links which they’ve found, settled on and saved in the document. With 6 groups of people contributing, we could well end up with 18 – 60 links to ultimately share to the collective participants in the coming days after the last group participates.

We are encouraging each person upon receipt of this to spend some time opening up the links to see what’s there. Some will speak directly to them and they’ll find them helpful, while others won’t strike a chord. The ones that are helpful would be good to save in their personal, ‘Favourites’ on the internet. Why? These can then be accessed when wanted and quickly, grouped by topic in folders.

Now they have tools to use for the next team meeting, their own training events, working 1:1 with a client or customer, participant or a management group.

Feel free to copy our example, change it for your own workplace. Shared knowledge is a good thing.

Curb That Venom You’re Spitting On Social Media


It’s not a new phenomena but I have been struck of late with the rather unfortunate rise in rude, offensive and provocative language some people are using with a high degree of regularity on social media when providing their comments. Unfortunately, how they are expressing their views often says much more about the person than what they are actually commenting on. We’d all be wise to remember this.

Now debating is good as is expressing one’s owns views. Hearing varying viewpoints gives one perspective; often we say to ourselves as we read someone’s thoughts, “Hmm…I hadn’t thought of that myself”. When we hear a contradictory point of view or even a varying point of view, it gives us more information; an opportunity presents itself for us to learn something new and with that other information we might shift our point of view or not. Sometimes that other person’s views only reinforce our own of course and that’s perfectly fine; we are entitled after all to think for ourselves.

What I don’t particularly understand however is when people respond on social media which are in their nature public platforms, using strong, offensive language, cursing others with viewpoints other than their own. They use derogatory words that spew outright hate and refer to others who think differently than themselves as idiots. I imagine – although I have no way of knowing – that these same people wouldn’t dare use the same kind of language in person, and more importantly they wouldn’t talk as such in their workplaces.

Here of course we hit upon a subject of great debate which will no doubt bring people down strongly on one side or other. When we aren’t at work and we are on social media at the local coffee shop or in the comfort of our own home, is what we post on social media impacting us alone or does it extend to the reputation of those organizations to which we are employed? Some think they should be able to say whatever they want as freedom of speech issue; and further they should be able to say it with whatever words they feel like using without repercussions. However, as I say there are always others with varying perspectives.

Yet, when we hear someone’s point of view, it’s often significant to learn where the person is coming from which gives perspective to their commentary. Part of figuring out what their agenda is that shapes their point of view is knowing what political party they represent, what company they work for, what part of the country they live in, what their cultural background is etc. This background information often enlightens us who read their comments; knowing where they are coming from ‘explains it’ so to speak.

The thing one always should bear in mind though is the impact of the words we choose to use in expressing our points of view. Why? Simply put, while we might not care what others think of our views, our vocabulary or even us as people, the companies we work for care immensely. So much so in fact that they may go so far as to choose to disassociate themselves completely from us which is a kind way of saying we could be parting ways. That angry, venom-spewing tirade we post one day could be viewed as damaging the reputation of the organization we work for the next by association and we find we’re fired.

Again, some people strongly believe that what they say away from the workplace shouldn’t be anybody’s business but their own. That viewpoint however isn’t shared by everyone and if you’re relying on your employment for your livelihood, you might be best advised to check out the extent to which you can say what you want outside the workplace.

In Ontario, there was an announcement just a couple of days ago about the minimum wage rising to $14 on January 1, 2018 and then to $15 on January 1, 2019. While some applaud this move to strengthen the income levels of the impoverished, others lament the increases. That in and of itself seems only logical; varying viewpoints on an important issue. The impact of this decision affects low-income earners, business owners, taxpayers and politicians. In short, there is almost no one this decision won’t impact in some way.

Of course, many people have taken to social media, letting anybody who cares to know, exactly what they think of the move. Swearing, exclamation marks that imply shouting, profanity, insults, mud-slinging, defamatory remarks, put-downs; unfortunately the worst of us collectively is there on display. Why do we feel we have to assert our views while putting the people who hold contrary views down? Can’t we just express our own views civilly and leave it at that? Are all the other people who don’t believe what we believe automatically reduced to being devoid of a modicum of intelligence? What happened to respect for those with varying views?

I’m happy we have vehicles to express our points of view; happier still that we have social media to bring us views of others world-wide. Prior to the internet we were often confined to news organizations exclusively to expose us to others points of view: newspapers, radio, television and / or town halls and soap boxes. Hurray for progress.

Speak your mind of course, just mind your speak. Your reputation and by association those around you ride on your words.