This Is Not About Mark And Julie


When Mark was first approached with the offer of help finding a job over a couple of weeks, he accepted the invite, but openly expressed his doubts that I could teach him anything he wasn’t already doing on his own. You know what? I relish that honesty in people; I wasn’t insulted in the least.

Now Julie on the other hand? While her feelings were similar, her choice of words and her decision to decline the help offered was received quite differently. Not only was she sure I couldn’t do anything to help her, she said two weeks with me would be a complete waste of her valuable time.

What made Julie’s reaction and decision all the more puzzling at the time was that a highly respected colleague of mine had referred us to each other and Julie was touted as a ‘Superstar’; someone I’d absolutely be impressed with. Well she made an impression. I can’t convey in words the tone of voice she used on the phone, the emphatic disdain she communicated for the help offered.

So you should know, what both Mark and Julie were offered was to be one of twelve participants in a two-week intensive job search group. All twelve have to have: 1) A résumé 2) Basic computer skills 3) A clear employment goal 4) strong motivation to find work 5) Give me permission to give them honest feedback and 6) come dressed daily in business casual clothing ready for interviews – because they will get them. Beyond making the self-investment of time to realize their financial independence, the cost to attend? Free. In fact, I’d see they got money for clothing and grooming needs, full transportation costs to get around, funds they could use for lunch if they chose to and when they did get a job anywhere up to $500 to buy whatever they needed to get off to a good start.

Now to me, this is a pretty easy choice to make. After all, Mark, Julie and the other people I extend this offer to are all unemployed or severely underemployed; sometimes working part-time outside their field of training or volunteering. Now I know that most people are already doing a job search on their own, and that some of what people are doing already is quite good. However, if the results are not forthcoming, doesn’t it seem sensible to take advantage of free help from someone recognized as a professional helping others find work?

My accumulated years of experience has told me that when most people don’t seize such opportunities, something – or some things are going on beyond what is known. Yes, they could be secretly working and don’t want to be found out, but that’s not typically what’s going on. One of the key things I do actually is work with people and after establishing mutual respect and trust, make it a point to get at what barriers they are facing which prevent them from moving forward and realizing their goals.

Now you might not think this approach is necessary; if you help somebody write a cover letter and resume, prepare them for the interview and wish them the best, they’ll get work soon enough. That may be true of course, but if this is all you do, you’ll be puzzled and disappointed when they lose their employment in short order. Some will contact you and ask for more help, while others will feel embarrassed and not contact you as they don’t want to let you down.

You might wonder then how far I can get with twelve people in only two weeks to set up the trust required to have each person open up and share what they would otherwise keep buried. I tell you this, the faster a person opens up and the more they share, the better the counsel I can offer, and the more effective the help will be they receive. In the end, what most end up with is a job best suited to not only their education and experience, but in an environment where they’ll not only survive, but thrive. Now as an unemployed person, doesn’t this sound enticing?

The most significant factor in achieving success is wanting what you’re after with enthusiasm. If you want it – I mean REALLY want it, that inner motivation and enthusiasm will be exactly what it takes to get you through when the roadblocks pop up. Instead of throwing up your hands in exasperation, you’ll roll up your sleeves and dig deep. Make no mistake, the job seeker has to want work more than the person helping them find it.  If it’s the other way around, lasting success won’t come.

Here’s the thing about Mark; recall if you will he’s the guy who expressed doubts but accepted the offer. When we wrapped up our time together, Mark told me that he was really suspicious but it was at noon on day 1 that he realized how thankful he was that he got the offer and accepted. His is a success story in that he did find work. He ended up moving from Ontario to British Columbia, accepting a full-time job at $120,000 per year. Quite a significant change from receiving social assistance and feeling frustrated, low self-worth and getting less than $15,000 per year.

When opportunity comes your way, make a change; say yes if you typically answer with a, ‘no thank you’. There’s a lot of great help out there to seize!

#1 Desired Trait? ENTHUSIASM!


If skills, experience and academic education alone were all it takes to impress upon an employer that you’re the right person to hire, there wouldn’t be any need for interviews. Employers would simply look over the resumes that come in, and presumably the first one that checked off all of their needs would get selected and the rest put aside. That is not how it works.

Interviews are held of course, most often in person, but in some cases are held over the phone, via a video link, or in a screening test or questionnaire which both lead up to an in-person get together.

The reason those employers set up meetings between applicants and their own representatives – pegged as interviewers – is to size up the person in areas that aren’t indicated on the résumé. Essentially the employer wants to meet to assess your personality, attitude, friendliness, ability to engage with them, your communication skills, first impression; all in an attempt to decide as best as possible if you’re the kind of person that will fit into their organization.

It might seem obvious to you that you want the job. I mean, otherwise, why would you have applied? People who apply for jobs however have varying degrees of excitement and enthusiasm for the work to be done. Some apply out of desperation, some are just kicking tires, seeing if they get any response, others are genuinely interested in the jobs while others are running away from the jobs they have now and almost anything else would seem to be preferable. So one’s motivation for applying in the first place is often a key question for an interviewer to determine.

This idea of determining ones motivation is why questions like, “Why are you applying for this position?”, “What do you know about us?” and, “Why are you leaving / Why did you leave your current / last job?” of interest. These kinds of questions are designed to have you respond in part to your motivation for wanting to work for this company you are being interviewed by.

So if for example you don’t know much about the company you are applying for, this could show you don’t actually know or seemingly care if the job and company will be a good fit for you or not. Your lack of interest in putting in any effort to find out before applying tells them you might just be on a fishing trip – trying to see if you can get a job offer by putting in a minimal effort. Is this an indication how you’ll go about things if they did hire you too? Probably. After all, if you aren’t investing much energy in finding out something that should be pretty important to you personally, you’re not likely to invest much energy in the work the company expects you to do on their behalf now are you?

Showing a high level of enthusiasm for the opportunity before you is first and foremost what an employer wants to hear and see in the people they hire. When you are genuinely enthusiastic about the job or career you’re interviewing for, you send a very appealing message. You’re going to work with enthusiasm, enjoy what you’re doing, make an investment of your physical and mental capacities and in short, you’ll be connected to the work you do.

So you’ll show up on time, be present mentally when you’re there physically, get along with your co-workers, and your overall energy and work ethic will add to and not draw from the overall goals of the organization. Let’s sum things up by saying you’re going to be an attractive addition to the team.

How do you convey enthusiasm? Ah, good question! Look and sound positive, sit slightly forward and make good eye contact. Ask questions throughout that show a real interest. Mention things you’ve discovered through your earlier research about the job, their clients/customers. Identify any opportunities you’re aware of that your uniquely qualified to respond to. Ask about future challenges, culture, expectations and reply to what you hear by thoughtfully adding how you will enjoy engaging with these same things.

You can tell when someone isn’t really engaged in what they’re doing and so can an interviewer. Ever been on a date where the other person doesn’t seem invested but is going along until they can finally get away? You can tell by their glances elsewhere, their lack of conversation about anything meaningful and their posture that this isn’t a good fit for either of you. Pretty much the same thing with a job interview.

You might actually see the word, ‘enthusiasm’ in a job posting or you may not. It’s never a bad idea to bring it out right from the first moment of contact, all the way through to the handshake you respond with as they say, “Welcome aboard!”

Having said that, continuing to show enthusiasm for your job on a daily basis will help keep you in mind as a positive person and influence on others you come into contact with. Who knows? Could be that your genuine enthusiasm for what you do will gain you respect and perhaps even lead to being considered for advancement as opportunities arise within the organization in the years to come.

With Enthusiasm as always,

Kelly Mitchell

“So Tell Me About Yourself.”


You’re fortunate if the job interview starts off with this question. Not everybody agrees of course; in fact, this question seems to rank pretty high up there on the list of questions people dread in an interview. So let’s look at this question; why it’s asked and most importantly how to answer it intelligently so you get off to a positive start in the job interview.

To begin, imagine yourself as the interviewer; sitting on the other side of the table and meeting job applicants for the first time. Presumably the number of applicants has been reduced from all of those who applied down to a few people who – at least on paper  – meet your stated qualifications. After all, whether your company used applicant tracking software or human eyes, it’s highly probable that the reason you were invited in to meet with company personnel as a potential new hire is that you have done a good job matching yourself up with their needs as stated in the job posting.

At this point, you as the interviewer are coming face-to-face with people for the first time. Your job is to meet these candidates, listen to them respond to your questions, confirm their credentials, expose any liabilities and in the end, determine the best of those you meet in terms of finding a fit for the organization. Make the right choice and you add to the overall strength of the company; choose the wrong person and you have two problems: a) you let the right person walk away and b) you’re going to have to release the person you’ve hired and return to the interview and selection process costing you time and money.

As the interviewer, you can look at the resume of the 5 or 6 finalists for the position you are interviewing people for and compare education achievements and professional development. If the job requires a diploma or degree, presumably all the people you are meeting will have this credential. Not much point wasting valuable time confirming that in person, unless of course you’ve requested they bring in the original document for confirmation. Even so, that would take less than a minute to verify.

What you’re really interested in is getting information from the meeting itself which you will compile in order to form a complete picture of the person you are interviewing. Your ears will pick up the person’s vocabulary, ability to express themselves, hesitations and uncertainties and quality of their answers. Your eyes will provide information you’ll use to form a first and last impression based on their clothing, their grooming, posture, facial expressions, gait, smile etc. Your hands will note their handshake quality and will relay information you’ll interpret as their confidence, nervousness, confidence etc.

Leading up to the interview, you’ve no doubt sat down either alone or with someone else and come up with the questions you plan on asking in order to best extract the information you want and need to know in order to make the proper job offer to the best candidate. Some of these questions will focus on technical skills, past experiences, future plans and all the while the interviewer is listening and gathering information they’ll need to determine the right person.

In addition to the objective education (your formal schooling), experience (have you previously done the work required of you now) and skills (how well or poorly have you performed) the interviewer is focused on determining the right personal fit. From your words, tone of voice, visual cues, body language and your own questions, they are sizing up your attitude, values, personality and visualizing how you might fit or not in the environment that makes up the workplace. They know the other employees in the department you could be assigned to, the supervisor you’d report to, the qualities of the best employees they currently have who have made a success of the work. They are in short, measuring you up against this unique knowledge they possess, trying to determine not only if you have what it takes, but the impact of your hiring on the existing workforce and ultimately the services and products they produce for their end-users. Whew! No pressure there!

Okay, so upon first meeting you and the other candidates, they only know what they’ve read on your CV or resume and in the 23 seconds they first eyed you and you took your seat across from them. They are now ready and take the lead on the conversation welcoming and thanking you for coming in to meet them. The opening question is really the ice-breaker; the in-depth questions are yet to come but in the beginning there’s one question that’s really just designed to hear you speak and give them some lead data from which to add to a first impression.

To answer the question intelligently, respond to their stated needs as outlined in the job posting. Get them checking off their own needs based on your answer. You’re a proven professional in your field with the required years of expertise. You’re passionate about your industry and identify your strengths as they relate to the job at hand. Ensure your body language and words reflect your enthusiasm for the opportunity.

Personal hobbies? Avoid these unless they add to the position. Family situation? Irrelevant and could expose liabilities. What’s your motivation, what will you add?

Look at the job posting; don’t wing your opening answer or you may find by their reaction you’re going to be spending the rest of the interview in damage control.

What Do Employer’s Want Most? Enthusiasm!


In the employment workshops I run, I often ask those in attendance what they believe is the number one thing employer’s are looking for in the people they choose to hire. The most common answers are dependability, honesty, working hard and being a quick learner.

Those are all desirable qualities I acknowledge, but the number one thing that I hear from employers themselves is that they are looking for employees who demonstrate enthusiasm. Enthusiasm for the job and what it encompasses; for the organization and most importantly the customers, clients, end users – whomever benefits from the services and products the company creates and delivers.

The thinking goes that if each individual in a workforce is truly enthusiastic about the work they do, then collectively the organization becomes a motivating place to work. As the environment and the culture becomes one of enthusiasm, it attracts new people who are similarly motivated and energized and the organization takes on a dynamic spirit where people want to be, want to stay and want to grow.

When you have the above you have higher productivity, better products with fewer defects, services are delivered with personal ownership and people take pride in what they do and want to do better.

Ever worked in an organization like that? Is that the kind of environment you thought you could only dream of? Some people who are looking for work have an attitude that seems to suggest they’ll only believe it when they see it, and they never see it because in the interview and selection stages, they don’t exhibit any indication that they themselves will bring enthusiasm to the workplace and as such are passed over.

So how do you communicate professional enthusiasm? First and foremost use the word itself. Introduce the word when you compose your cover letter. I personally use it as my trademark sign off instead of words and phrases like, “Sincerely”, “Regards” or “Yours truly”. Typically I write, “With enthusiasm.” At the outset I might commence with, “It is with great enthusiasm…”

If you have a look at my LinkedIn profile, you’ll note that how I am marketing myself is not simply as an Employment Counsellor, but rather, “Your Enthusiastic and Empowering Employment Counsellor.” The inclusion of these two descriptive words tells you I’m excited and motivated about assisting and I’m at your service. Sure my business card and title at work is Employment Counsellor, but LinkedIn is where I create my own identity and my employer doesn’t govern how I identify myself on my own profile.

As for my resume, I have the word enthusiasm prominently inserted near the top of the document so it becomes one of the key first things a reader takes in. As for the job interview itself, I make sure I communicate my personal enthusiasm both in my choice of words and in my body language; my smile, eye contact, sitting slightly forward and varying the tone of my voice so it consistently communicates and commands interest.

A number of people; no, a very large number of people don’t believe employers care much anymore about the people they hire. They get passed over for jobs or can’t keep the jobs they do get for very long, and as a result they have a jaded and decidedly negative attitude when it comes to the whole selection process. They’ve come to believe that employers don’t care anymore about investing in people. Unfortunately for those who have this viewpoint, they grow to have a distrust of organizations and their hiring practices. They come to believe based on their own experience that good jobs and good employers don’t exist anymore and worst of all they spread this to others.

Actually the exact opposite is true. Employers take great pains to find the right people who will contribute productively to their products and services. They agonize over choosing the wrong person; take extra time in many cases with 2nd, 3rd or event 4th interviews in order to select the people they feel will best fit and bring enthusiasm with them to the job. Selecting people takes time and money; selecting the right people takes more time and money and it takes skill to differentiate between those who are genuinely the right fit and those who are faking their way through the selection process. The more they can rule out those who are faking their way into a job the better they’ll be off in the long run.

Someone who is enthusiastic about a potential opportunity behaves in certain consistent ways. They find out about what the job is really all about before an interview. They only apply for jobs they sincerely wish to take if offered and they learn about the people who work in those organizations in order to determine how they will fit if hired. Enthusiastic people are positive, engaging, interested and come prepared with some well-thought-out questions of their own; things they really care to know.

Look, if you walk in with a forced smile, scowl and sigh heavily when you’re kept waiting 4 minutes after your scheduled appointment and then ask, “Will this take very long?” as you sit down, you might as well be okay with the answer, “Absolutely not; why you can be on your way right now actually if you’d like.” This job you applied to is no longer available.

E N T H U S I A S M

The Single Thing Employers Want Most


Dependable? Team Player? Hard-working? Qualified? Experience?

These are some of the desired traits employers look for in their applicants. You’ll see in job postings and want ads a number of key qualities which come up again and again. Each requirement is in its own right necessary and desirable to be sure, but is there a single quality which is universally desired by employers? That one quality that every employer would like to see in every person they interview for the job?

I believe there is one quality, one characteristic which separates some applicants from the rest, and that quality is enthusiasm. I’ve written about this before, but it seems to me that this is one item that can’t be shared enough.

Of course you must have a licence to operate a Forklift, and you must have your Real Estate licence to sell Real Estate. If the job posting says you need a Bachelor’s Degree or you must have 5 – 10 years experience then yes that’s a must. However, when any company – even those with these kind of stipulations – gets right down to their shortlist of candidates to interview, they’re looking for that one individual who shows some honest drive and enthusiasm for the work to be done.

You see, if your enthusiastic about your work, you’ll put real effort into it and do more than the minimum required. You’ll show up with some positive energy, you’ll interact with your co-workers, customers and clients with enthusiasm, and if an employer can attract such people in a majority of their vacancies, the entire culture of the organization becomes one of enthusiasm, positivity and energy. In short, it becomes a great place to work, and the reputation of the organization rises as everyone who deals with the people who work there will think and speak highly of it.

Now think of your current or past workplace(s). Have you ever experienced the kind of workplace where people shuffled into work like they were part of a chain gang? Your co-workers had long faces, the very air seemed stuffy and the work was truly a monotonous drudgery? Did you ever feel like you were imprisoned at your desk with a ball and chain around your ankles? That kind of environment didn’t promote any real enthusiasm for the work, and anyone who tried to inject some was quickly shuffled off to another department or discouraged and ‘whipped’ into submission.

Contrast this picture with the kind of workplace where employees genuinely greet each other each day, smile naturally and find humour in their day and go about their work with real pride in what they do as being valued and contributing to the organizations goals. If you are wondering if such workplaces even exist anymore that alone is telling. Yes they do, and in abundance.

Now not everyone smiles naturally, and not everyone interprets humour in the workplace the same, and it’s not vitally critical that you be a ‘morning’ person and join all your co-workers at the water cooler for hugs and singing of kumbaya. If you find yourself more in this kind of demeanor you can still be enthusiastic in going about your daily activities.

From the employers point of view, enthusiasm in the workplace is staff showing up ready to work on time daily. It’s everyone pulling in the same direction to meet shared goals and targets. It’s minimal absences, harmony in the workplace, happy workers and workers who are engaged in the work they do. No matter what your role is, you should know how what you do contributes to the overall goals and purpose of the organization, and you should ideally take some personal pride in that work, meaning you do it to the best you are able.

So when training opportunities come up it means taking advantage of them. If the company offers to send some staff to a conference – sign up. If the company is launching some new initiative, get on board with enthusiasm rather than reluctance and apathy or even resistance.

If you get a chance to volunteer to work on revising some workshop, procedural manual or policy review, why not say yes every so often instead of saying no and then complaining about the result later?

The single biggest thing you can do of course to demonstrate some enthusiasm in the workplace is just to be positive. Being a positive force doesn’t mean being phony or insincere, but it does mean walking around and not being the energy drain in the office. You don’t want to be the cancer that everyone avoids because just speaking with you leaves people emotionally zapped.

Most employers tell me that specific skills can be taught, as can specific company policies and procedures. What is impossible to impart is genuine enthusiasm and a positive personality. Sometimes when employers have 2nd or 3rd interviews, they are no longer looking at your skills and qualifications, they are assessing your impact on the chemistry of the workplace you’ll be working in. If they deem you will upset or negatively impact what they are trying to work toward, you may not get the job offer. If on the other hand they see you as a positive contributing influence in the direction they are heading, welcome aboard!

Enthusiasm is something you should consider embracing in how you carry yourself. Not mandatory of course, but perhaps extremely desirable.

What does enthusiasm look like in your workplace?

Message Received: Bring Enthusiasm!


After having spent two weeks supporting a group of 10 job seekers, one of them presented me with a token of her appreciation. Her gift was a folding panel of 9 framed windows, in each of which she had hand-written a quote or made a comment about enthusiasm. It now sits on my window sill in my office.

Now the significant thing here is that for those two weeks, I kept driving home the point to everyone there that employers want to see enthusiasm from their employees and applicants. I myself was driving home that message by being enthusiastic myself. So when I found this on my desk in the room we were using on the final morning, I was sincerely touched by her generosity.

Now earlier in the week – in fact even the day before, I’d mentioned to all the people in the group that I in fact was not allowed to accept gifts from them. No, the only thing permissible would be perhaps a card of thanks. It’s an odd thing to tell a group of people that you can’t accept gifts, because it suggests to some that they should be getting you something when possibly they weren’t thinking of it at all. The reason is that those in the group are unemployed whereas I am not. So when the gift was given nonetheless, I had to get it cleared by a Supervisor in order to keep it.

I am thrilled to tell you her story because not only did she land a job, but something unexpected in addition to the job happened. Read on then, see what she did to put herself in a position to be successful, be happy for her but most of all, take the lessons yourself.

I’m going to gloss over some details just enough to give some context. The woman came to the class with emotional baggage, lots of outside stress and while she had education within the last year, practical experience in her field was a key barrier to employment. In her 40’s, she dressed like she’d been in the profession for years, looking the part she wanted so desperately to play.

Job searching daily from 9 to 2:30p.m. is mentally fatiguing, but that’s the nature of the program I was running. On two consecutive days, I was pleasantly surprised then to see her remain behind and put in an additional 30 minutes with me getting 1:1 help. She was tired to be sure, but she persevered and then the next days would show me what she worked on at home in the evenings. Now that’s a focused commitment to success.

In addition to revamping her resume and cover letter, we worked on her research, LinkedIn profile and interview skills. By working on these, there was a noticeable improvement in her self-confidence, self-esteem and self-image. As much as we were job searching together, we were also working on the reflection of the woman in the mirror.

Now she put out solid applications, each targeted to specific jobs with similar yet different requirements. No mass-produced one-size fits all resumes without cover letters here! She saw others in the group get interviews and jobs. She herself eventually got an interview, then a second and then a job offer. Oh she accepted it all right. She even negotiate a slightly higher salary than that originally presented by the employer.

When she and I last met in person, there was a change in her. She had a new stress she didn’t have before in starting a new job and wanting to succeed yes. But gone was the frustration of a fruitless job search. The, “somebody out there wants me!” feeling of being hired has taken hold. With that objective 3rd party validation, she is able to now shift from looking for a job to keeping a job; anxiety and hopelessness are replaced with positivity and growing confidence.

Now just yesterday she sent me two emails. One was a note of appreciation and to related how nice people are in the workplace and how she’s happy. The second email was a further request for guidance.

You see the LinkedIn profile we had improved both with a change in content and photo, had attracted a Talent Acquisition Specialist for a large well-respected organization. Here she had gone from someone who was unemployed and begging for a chance to show what she could do, to a woman with a job who was now attracting a second employer.

In short, going about her job search with enthusiasm herself, acting on the suggestions made to her and putting in a sincere full-time effort was yielding real measurable results. My enthusiasm had rubbed off on her for sure, but she herself had made the conscious choice to embrace going about her job search with renewed enthusiasm when she could have gone about her job search and my suggestions with skepticism.

If you are unemployed, control the things you can. Choose enthusiasm, add details to your LinkedIn profile, research employers and employees where you want to work. Get out of your sweatpants and hoodies and take pride in your appearance. Look at that photo you’re presenting to the world – would you be motivated to interview the person you see?

When you are enthusiastic you can still be a realist; just go about your day throwing yourself into what you do with your best effort. Make sure you don’t become the biggest barrier to your own job search.

 

 

 

 

Work A Drag? How Come?


There are a number of reasons why people don’t fully invest themselves in the work they do and the people they come into contact with during the course of the work they are paid to do. I’m not talking about an odd day or two, I’m talking about day in and day out. So if you aren’t giving 100% it’s in your own best interest to know why.

Some people by nature just don’t do much of anything to the best of their abilities; home projects are started and dropped midstream, not really committed to a partner the way you once were, maybe picking up a hobby and letting it slide. Others of course tackle home projects and get them done, work at their marriages constantly and commit to their hobbies because they love them so much.

But let’s look at the person who knows they could be doing more at work and for whatever reason is just coasting along, putting in enough effort to stay hired, but not enough effort to stand out or excel. This is a dangerous person.

Dangerous? Absolutley. You see depending on what they do, they may be making your car minimally safe, your home minimally well constructed, your kids minimally educated, and your job search minimally assisted. I think if I was looking for work, I’d want somebody fully enthusiastic and committed. If I were in school myself, I’d want a teaching similarly enthusiastic about what they are teaching and fully invested in my learning.

Still though; dangerous? Well, look at the possible outcomes. Someone on the vehicle assembly line is doing the bare minimum and not an ounce more. Could your vehicle’s performance suffer as a result? Maybe. Better your car than mine if you don’t agree. And job search-wise; someone helping you only minimally because they are no longer putting in their best might mean you miss opportunities, you stay unemployed longer, banks foreclose on your home, you find yourself in despair and depressed. Dangerous? Oh yes.

So what about you or someone you know? Why aren’t they, or YOU, doing your very best in your job? For some it’s the frustration that the person beside them at work puts in minimal effort and still gets paid the same, so why bother? Ah the race to the bottom of the gene pool is underway. These people are motivated by the external rather than the internal rewards. Give them more money and supposedly they will suddenly perform better. Does that work over the long haul though? Does 30 cents an hour more result in increase efficiency? Could an independent observer tell who makes 30 cents more every hour based soley on observing two employees?

Maybe you’re hanging around because you’re not old enough to retire, but you are old enough to be unattractive to a new employer and the risk that switching jobs brings. Besides, it takes the effort to really look for something you’d find stimulating, and it’s so much less work to just go in and do what you’ve done for the last twenty-seven years. Hmmm…. does this sound like a teacher you might have had in school?

So ask yourself this; if everyone was hiring for the next two months only; if you could have any job, or back to school and learn something new at no personal cost to you, would you stay in your current job or leave? If you think you’d stay right where you are, you must be getting more than a pay cheque out of it. I’d think you are staying because you like what you do and you’re good at it too. On the other hand, if you’d leave and take another job, isn’t your happiness worth the risk?

Suppose you were in your late 40’s or your mid 50’s even. If you really sincerely aren’t finding satisfaction in the job you are doing, you’ve got 20 or 10 more years possibly to grind away every day doing this work you find so hum-drum. Why would you expect to start really living after 65 years old instead of really living right now? Surely life isn’t about doing work we don’t really love only to be, ‘free’ at 65 with maybe 15 years of ‘living the good life’ to look forward to. That’s sad.

Find out what’s really behind your reluctance to put more energy and effort into your work. Is it the atmosphere of the workplace? You might find others feel the same way and maybe together you could do something to change that but everybody thought they alone felt the way you do.

Is your lack of effort stemming from a long commute? Would you be willing to move closer, carpool, lose the wheels and take transit, or get some funky little car that makes the drive fun? Maybe even varying your route would stimulate you differently and provide some visual diversion.

At work, maybe you could transfer to a different job but at the same pay level, change work locations with a co-worker. Even making an effort to be friendlier with co-workers can make them friendlier to you in return.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. Find out what’s holding you back, change things up and regain the pleasure from the work you do. You spend many hours of your life doing, ‘work’, so it only makes sense you find work you find meaningful and satisfying!

Why The Word, ‘Passion’ Is In


Look at any on-line or on the wall job board these days and you’ll see the word, ‘passion’ or ‘passionate’ in many of those postings. Why is that and what’s really being sought by the employer? How passionate can a person be after all about selling socks or working on a line?

There are a number of ways to look at this. First of all there are many people looking for work today, and it’s a fairly known thing that few people stick with companies for decades anymore. When someone in their 20’s takes a job and launches their career, neither the employer nor the employee themselves plan on the person staying until they retire. The employer wants to ensure however, that the people who do work on their behalf work with enthusiasm and commitment while there to ensure the success and longevity of the company.

That doesn’t come as a surprise does it? I mean if you started up a business yourself, you’d have a tremendous investment of money and your future prosperity locked up in that enterprise. So don’t you want people who you hire to be strongly committed to making the business successful? If the people you hire are truly motivated themselves to succeed, the business has a high probability of being profitable and standing the test of time. On the other hand, if employees view their work as a job until something better comes along, they are less likely to put forth the extra effort that being outstanding requires.

Employers want to attract people who are enthusiastic about the work they’ll perform. Enthusiasm and passion come from wanting to perform at a peak level. If you can demonstrate some of that passion in an application and subsequent interview, you’re off to a good start. But how to demonstrate passion?

For starters, look and sound engaged and glad to talk about the work you’ll be doing. You know how all you have to do with someone in the early days of a relationship is mention the name of the person they are smitten with to get a dreamy look or a smile? It’s like that; the person’s body language changes instantly at the name because there is an emotional response. When you are talking about an opportunity before you, do likewise. Sit slightly forward in the chair, smile, vary the pitch and tone of your voice, emphasize or stress certain words in your speech. In short, sound enthusiastic when you talk.

Be cautioned however. Can you generally tell when someone you are speaking to is phony or over the top? Think of those infomercials on television where someone is absolutely bonkers over their plastic food containers instead of struggling with their old rolls of wrapping paper. Really? Does anyone really get that happy about leftover plastic containers? Those are actors who we tend to laugh at more than identify with. That’s not genuine passion. If you act excited about jobs you really don’t have an emotional investment in, people will see through you too.

Emotionally invested…hmmm… might be on to something here… So suppose you got to the interview and in wrapping things up you got that tired old question, “Why should I hire you over the other people we are interviewing?” Now further suppose you answered, “I stand out because I’m emotionally invested in the success of the business. While others might be looking for A job, I’m not; I want THIS job. This job is a good fit because I’m committed and personally motivated to succeed, and the opportunity to work with others who have a similar passion for this work is exciting.”

If this sounds crazy to you and phony, then the job you are going for isn’t the ideal one for you at this time. That’s just my opinion mind, but again, if you put yourself in the position of an employer, you want people who are truly committed to perform at their best – especially when they work without being supervised. People who are genuinely enthusiastic about their work require less supervision because they regulate themselves and excel because they enjoy what they do.

This win-win situation benefits both the employer and the employee. Ultimately, if the company succeeds and you are part of that success, your chances of reaping some of those rewards increases. Many companies, (though not all) who either fail completely or have to down-size, have an employee force that see their work as just a job; no more or less important than another job.

Here’s a little nugget for you; there is an endless supply of people who can competently do the same work you are capable of, but there are only a small number of people who are genuinely passionate and invested about doing the same work. So replacing people is easy on the one hand when an employer needs to. On the other hand, finding exceptional people who will find fulfillment and dive into their work with enthusiasm is much more challenging.

Do you wish you could stand out from the crowd and truly grow with a company? Good advice therefore would be to prove your self-motivation for the work to be done, exhibit some enthusiasm and passion, and tie your future success to effort you put forth each and every day. Your passion will make you both memorable and valuable.

Passion never goes out of fashion.

Why Is Passion In Fashion?


The word, ‘Passion’ is a word that I’ve heard used with growing frequency over the last year and a half with respect to employment and job searching. “Find something you are passionate about” is what many people are saying. So what’s with that?

Well, some of you might have thought that passion was reserved for the love of your life, the person of your dreams, what you share when your behind closed doors in private.

With respect to a job search or building a career, passion has to do with finding a career or job that you can bring real energy and enthusiasm to on an ongoing basis. It’s a position that you look forward to being in everyday, doing things that bring you happiness and satisfaction, where you can truly feel at the end of the day that you’ve done a good days work and leave looking forward to coming back and doing more the next day. Do you have a job or career like this? If you’re not employed, are you seeking a job like this? Or are you just looking for money and don’t care what you do?

Employers, Job Coaches, Employment Counsellors and Career Advisors are using the word, ‘passion’ these days to sum up all the positive things I noted above. After all, from an employers point of view, you’d be happy to have your entire workforce show up each day with a smile on their face, enthusiasm to get down to work, happy to work with co-workers, focused on solving issues and satisfying customers resulting in a healthy bottom-line for the company.

So first and foremost, all those professionals who are trying to help you land your next job know what it is that most employers are looking for. It’s like this…if you are passionate and enthusiastic about your job, you’ll be on time, you’ll be happy, you’ll be productive, you’ll be good to be around, you’ll be counted on to resolve problems, and you’ll stick around for years.

Now the other thing that all those career advising professionals know is that for you the individual, being happy and satisfied each and every day is something to strive for, especially when you have the luxury of time to consider what it is that you would most like to do. After all, if you can identify what would make you happiest, then determine what you need to do in order to get THAT job, there is a tremendous possibility that you’ll not only be hired, but you’ll succeed personally, and everybody wants that for you.

Still, every day, I know I speak with people who have put their happiness way down the list on requirements for their next job. At the top of their lists are two things many times: money and looking for what they’ve always done. This is true even if the last jobs they’ve had they hated. Odd.

However, the real reason people don’t often pursue what they are passionate about, (or would really find fulfilling) is fear. You might have to return to school, take a course, get a loan for your schooling, upgrade your education, move, start at the bottom, accept lower pay etc. In other words be vulnerable.

As you only get one life to live, why not spend the majority of your waking hours on this planet doing the things that bring you the most personal satisfaction and fulfillment? If you change direction in your adult life and for example go to College or University to get a Diploma or Degree in something needed to get a job in a field you really want, you’d be demonstrating courage, conviction, and your self-esteem will soar. And if you are the 40ish person in a class of 20 year olds what an inspiration you’ll be!

If you don’t like the word, ‘passion’ and want to reserve that for your better half, substitute words like, ‘enthusiastic’ and ‘fulfillment’. “What are you enthusiastic about? In what do you think you would find fulfillment? After all, passion is something you might think is sustained over a short period of time. Enthusisam and fulfillment are things that are generally longer lasting and that after all is what we all as Employment Counsellors want for you our clients; jobs and careers that you can find fulfilling and that bring you happiness.

If you sit outside a company and watch the employees walk onto the company property, how do most of them look and act? Do you see slumped shoulders, heads lowered, defeated expressions, anger, resignation, indifference? Or on others, do you see smiles, heads raised, bounces in steps, laughter, friendliness? I bet you don’t need me to tell you which of these characteristics go with those who are passionate about their work.