The Workologist: How to Explain That Lost Job

In applying for a new job, how does she deal with this? Should she describe what happened as a termination and, if so, won’t that make it very hard to find a job? Could it be described instead as a layoff? Her former project manager is a great reference for her. She wants to be honest, and I want her to find a job.

ANONYMOUS Your daughter can (and should) be honest, but she can do it without blurting out “I was fired!” as an icebreaker. Frankly, the episode sounds ambiguous, and she’ll be better off making the details available on a strictly need-to-know basis. So for anything in the realm of opening-round job-search communication — a résumé, an online application — the facts she offers need not go beyond dates of employment.

Save the specifics for subsequent, face-to-face interviews. And even then, make it the interviewer’s responsibility: If nobody asks why the job ended after 10 months, there’s not much upside in telling them. But because it’s likely that someone will ask during the interview process, she should think through the most effective way to answer. “I didn’t have the proper skills” is not effective. “I was laid off” is basically a lie. But maybe: “My project ended and I was let go; the manager I worked with left soon after, as well — and is one of my references.” That’s honest, and moves the subject swiftly from the details of the termination to the fact that her former boss thinks well of her.

If a potential employer becomes fixated on precise circumstances, stay positive: She received an encouraging review — so it was a surprise when the company evidently changed its mind about her future there. In short, your daughter shouldn’t be negative about her former employer, but also shouldn’t be negative about her performance. Managing Micromanaging I work for a customer-support call center.

Recently, my department lost its supervisor and another manager to other units. My former supervisor was a laid-back person; as long as we kept our numbers up, he was pretty hands-off. He kept us No. 1 in the call center by allowing us to do what we do best: servicing the customer. Now the team has been split in two and given two supervisors with differing management styles. One is much like our former supervisor. The other — the one I’m now reporting to — is a micromanaging, spreadsheet-loving person.

She’s big on “coaching,” which means popping in to critique our calls and telling us how she would have handled them, or having us do practice sessions with her and advising us how we could have “done it better.” Better? We were the best team in the whole call center before this nonsense! Now, our numbers are slipping and her “coaching” is more relentless than ever, meaning that we spend more time off the phones.

One of our top performers has left the company, saying she was tired of being “in a petri dish.” I hate being a team player for this team. What can I do to mitigate her micromanaging? P.A., NEW PALTZ, N.Y. You make a brilliant case that you and your colleagues should be spending less time being coached, and more time doing your jobs. It sounds as if you even have the numbers to back it up.

All you need now is the confidence to make this case to someone who can do something about it. Who that someone is depends on how courageous you want to be. One possibility is your former supervisor; that’s a low-risk strategy, but it’s hard to say if he could, or would want to, essentially intervene in a department where he no longer works.

He might be a good strategic sounding board, but probably not much more. The second possibility is the other manager in your department. That person has a deeper interest in keeping the numbers up and not losing good employees. (With both of these options, I’m guessing that you’d want to keep your name out of any discussions with your boss that result; if so, be explicit about that.) The third option is to go to your supervisor.

That’s the boldest move — but it’s worth thinking it through, because in all cases you should take care to frame your complaint as something productive, not mere sniping. Skip the whole “micromanager” critique, and put the best face you can on the “coaching” so far. Say things like, “We’ve learned from it, but...” and “It’s been an interesting change of pace, but... .” Then make exactly the point you’re making here: It’s time to get back to the customers. Seriously, that’s a good argument. The thing is, it doesn’t matter how good your argument is if the right person never hears it.
Send your workplace conundrums to, including your name and contact information (even if you want it withheld for publication). The Workologist is a guy with well-intentioned opinions, not a professional career adviser. Letters may be edited.

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Job: invasion of the annual revisions

In a previous job, I had to prepare and deliver them, and remember that giving a review on one of our publication. It was a glowing review, but I felt compelled to find some area that he could work, having said that an all-positive review would be pointless and that there was always room for improvement. I saw the hair as I mentioned the flaw, and I wondered if that one critique overshadowed all the praise.

Then there are the underperformers. Managers say that anything in a performance review should be a surprise, and yet it is understandable that they would delay raising uncomfortable issues with employee. So problems can fester well until they explode in an annual review.

For many workers, the annual performance evaluation is "this peculiar form that you can fill in every year that has nothing to do with daily life," said Robert Sutton, Professor and organizational psychologist at Stanford University and co-author of the forthcoming book "Scaling Up excellence."

Some companies have left a total of annual assessments. In Adobe, "our annual performance review, eliminated in favor of light-weight check-in discussions that Center in constant feedback," wrote Donna Morris, Senior Vice President of human resources of the company, in a blog post last summer. "We have no Tags, an official tool or regulatory time of year all has to happen-ask people to have conversations."

But many companies feel they need to use formal reviews and scores to create an objective measure of performance and objectives, so administrators to reward and promote good employees and provide poor performance they are going to improve (by creating a paper trail in case should be rejected).

Some companies go so far as to rate employees on a bell curve, a process known as forced or stack ranking. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, proposes a system in which 20 percent of workers considered were rewarded top performers, the Middle 70 percent had coached on ways to improve, and the bottom 10 percent were shown the door.
Classification of forced advocates say is a concrete way for managers to identify top performers and to explain the steps that such a load must be increased in the highest tier. They say, too, can be an effective way to force managers to take the painful step of dismissing the worker subpar.

A problem with the forced ranking is assuming that a company that, in fact, that a certain percentage of parts is faulty, said Professor Sutton. Suppose an administrator works wonders and everyone in the Department improves. Under the forced ranking, he or she may still have to let some workers go, he said. At the other end of the bell curve, only a certain number of workers, say 20 percent, can be singled out for higher bonuses and raises.

But "why can not exceed 20 percent of the people in a group is great?" he asked.
Forced ranking, high ratings should go to people who not only makes great work individually, but also contribute to the realization of the entire organization, "he said. Otherwise, a "dysfunctional internal competition" may lead, with cooperation coming to a halt and workers potentially sabotage one another to stay on top of the leaderboards.

Microsoft recently ended a forced ranking approach; workers had complained for years that this discouraged teamwork, according to reports.

Classification of workers into a curve is one way to force managers to differentiate between employees, but can also create stress, said Jon Picoult, founder of watermark Consulting, a management consulting firm in Simsbury, Conn. ranking can work if it is flexible — for example, if they do not mandate that a certain percentage of workers be dismissedHe said. But if done poorly, he said, can hurt morale.

At the same time, "an egalitarian approach to ratings and rewards are just so poisonous," he added. "Some things are as a disincentive for a workforce and watching the bad performance tolerated and exceptional performance ignored."

Yahoo began a new approach to evaluation of workers last year, and has been tweaking. But contrary to recent reports, there is a forced ranking, said Sarah Meron, the company's spokesman. Rather, he said in an e-mail message, "lets us understand how employees are performing system in relation to the expectations (achieve or exceed missing), and there is no hard and fast rule" around their categorization.

Professor Sutton is wary of ratings and annual evaluations in General. Many organizations, he said, it would be better if they give constant feedback, with formal reviews that comes into play, especially if the employee is being eyed for promotion or to have shown substandard performance.

"If the performance reviews were a drug, I don't take adoption F.D.A.," he said, because "they have so many side effects, and so often fail."

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Gradients: Alpaca farmer: finding greener pastures for a career

Barbara Ronchetti, 50, is an Alpaca farmer in Martha's Vineyard, where he has lived year-round since 1995.

Q. How did you end up living on Martha's Vineyard?
A. after 15 years of working in management for the Boston area companies such as link Brown and Au Bon Pain, I knew I needed a change. In 1995, got a license and moved to of Martha to spend a winter chill and rehabilitation before returning to the business world. Not return never happened. Loved living on the island, and decided to stay. In my first year there, I got a real estate license. Then, I got a position ad sales at weekly hours of Martha, which I found to be a fun and collaborative environment. But after nearly 12 years, it's time to make another change.

When you had your "alpaca aha" moment?
It was in rural vineyard Martha's report in August 2002. The luxurious fleece and gentle nature and prominent personalities captivated. Plus, it's pretty cute.
Read up on them, and I discovered that owning could be a potentially viable, even profitable business. They can reproduce and sell alpacas, at prices that start at $ 500. A healthy woman can give birth to offspring a dozen. Make great pets? don't bark or bite, and is easy to care for. You can harvest them fleece each year and be transformed into yarn and to sell. Or you can have that yarn sweaters, scarves, hats and more to sell. You can even sell the manure as fertilizer, which contains high levels of nitrogen and potassium.

Alpacas are federally recognized animals, so owning has tax benefits. All of them appealed for the entrepreneur in me.

Did you experience some increase in animals?
None. I grew up in the suburbs of Boston. Besides a pet gerbil you had in high school, I had no experience raising animals. It was such a 180-degree shift from farming to sales that my family, friends and colleagues were skeptical. But I've always liked to challenge myself. This keeps life interesting.

What is most interesting to you about this new career?
Coming up on 10 years of turning my life toward this totally new, this project remains compelling, and I feel passionate about the wonders of these serene critters. My heart belongs to this island and animals. It is home for me.

Gradients asks the audience for jobs. Interview conducted and condensed by Perry Garfinkel.

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Corner Office: Lynn good of Duke Energy, effective leaders

Q. you were in leadership roles early?
A. No, I had a childhood that I termed normal. But my parents taught us to responsibility and instilled an incredible confidence in us. My father was a World War II Marine who became School Director. Always had a heart for students who may be disadvantaged or had difficulty of some kind. My mother was also a teacher; both had an incredible work ethic. I was also told that there is no need to follow traditional roles.

Other lessons from them?
Demonstrated accountability for me through activities. When I was growing up, we had a widow living next to us. So the habit was that if we went to the grocery store, we invited the first. If we cut our yard, cut the yard, no questions asked.

When you graduated from College, did you have a clear idea of what he wanted to do?
I went to work in the field of accounting, at Arthur Andersen. At one point it was the crème de la crème. I would like to work there, because it looked like the hardest thing I could find, and I liked to be on a steep learning curve. I proceeded quickly, and two years out of college I a small group of people.

What did you learn from this experience?
The beauty of it was that we worked together around one table. I could see where someone was disappointed or had a difficult meeting, so he could keep in touch with what was going on. I usually stay after they left so I could get is a barometer for the work produced, so I had real-time feedback about whether working an assignment, and I could adjust. The feedback loop was almost immediate, so I had opportunity to practice.

You've heard feedback all these years for you leadership style that you have to make some adjustments?
It can be incredibly focused, and to appear impatient. So I've learned to slow down, get to know people and to provide a more comprehensive view. There is nothing wrong with to get to the point fast enough, but it is also useful to give people the opportunity to talk about their work.

Encountered a fairly difficult task, as a new Ceo-merging of staffs in energy and Duke Energy's progress. How did you decide who was going to be on your team leadership, particularly since there were people that you already knew from the Duke?
There is a comfort level with people you have known for a long time — you've been in the foxhole with them. But when you bring together a body should be agnostic about the background, and to interview for the features and history. So we went through interview processes to get the best person for each role.
So what questions you asked? Let's say you're interviewing me.
What are some of the specific responsibilities? What successes have you had? How do you think? I'm looking for creativity. I'm looking for an opportunity to lead. Will you ask failures. What is some things that have changed and developed over time?

What is your best interview questions?
Why actually coming run in the morning? What makes you passionate about what you do? Why choose the career that you did? How do you want to develop over the next five years? What makes you uniquely qualified for this role? I try to focus their attention around what makes them passionate about what they do, because people who love what they get after it every day.

Other things?
With people at this level of their career, is no longer about whether you're the smartest subject expert in the room. Is whether you can be effective in leading a diverse team. You can customize? As you think about the development of people with their careers, looking that the transition from being the smartest person in the room — and cared so much about this-to be most effective. It is about how to develop a team. This is how I solve something where the solution is not obvious. Efficiency comes from quality ones that give you the ability to network, communicate and lead people towards a result that can not see.

What advice would you give to graduating students?
I had an interesting career in that I was with Andersen when it ceased its activities. So in my 40s, what I had worked for had disappeared. That your changes. This causes you to get back to what's important. So I'd say: "you are passionate about what we do, but is also passionate about your relationships and family and other things in life. This is where is happiness. It's not all about the career. "

The experience of seeing the Arthur Andersen cease your activities do more risk or more tolerant of risk?
Between March 2002 and May 2002, the company disappeared. It was a little crazy, because I really don't have time to think about a career move. He was focused on getting customers and people from point a to point b in a way that preserves as many jobs as possible. Later, I had a chance to reevaluate what I wanted to do.
Risk is an interesting way to think about it, but I will say this again at the importance of the family and where happiness comes from. The lesson was not that orizomai from my career, so should be ready at any moment to go or change career. There's a freedom in that. It's not that you're infidel or don't like what you do or are not passionate about what you do, but it's the asset. It's not who you work for. So who is taking risks, or simply acknowledging a career changes over time and we must be ready at any point?

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Corner Office: Jess Lee from Polyvore, about the value of simplicity

Q. you were in leadership roles as a child?
?. ??. I was very shy, but my mom was a businessman and ran a translation company from our home in Hong Kong. She would always tell me it is better to be your own boss. He was very proud of it, so that was probably an early influence. I always knew that I wanted to do my own thing? I just don't know what it was.

Q. what about after college?
A. I studied it, and I thought my path would be to become an engineer. But I got a call from a recruiter at Google, who said, "you need to come interview for the program Association Product Manager." I didn't know what product Director was, so I went, even though I already had another offer, I was planning to take. I ended up meeting Marissa Mayer. I said to her: ' I don't know if I want to work here. I have another offer. I think it's going to be an engineer. "
He told me: "the best advice I can give you is that when I had to make a choice between two paths, always chose the most difficult one, and this has always been the right decision. So you should think. "that's how I ended up on Google.

Q. what leadership lessons you learned?
A. one was that we should get respect from engineers. There's a reason Google recruits computer science majors to be product managers, because then you really know what they are talking about engineers. When I prioritize what work needs to be done, I can do the mental calculus of how long it will take.

Q. how did you end up at Polyvore?
A. I always knew that I wanted to do something different to my own. One of my friends showed me Polyvore, and I just fell in love with the product. I wrote a note to the founders — I didn't know them — and just said: ' Hey, this is amazing. I have some complaints and suggestions. "I wrote a long list of complaints, and then wrote back and said:" Hey, why don't you fix these things yourself? Why don't you join us? "we met for coffee and pressed. In the beginning, I was writing code, selling ads, washing dishes, what needed to get done. After a few years the founders came to me and said, "we would like to start to recognize you as a co-founder going forward." I didn't have to do that, but the company has a culture of rewarding people who make the difference. A few years later they said, ' we've decided to make you Ceo»

Q. have you heard any feedback since you were Ceo who has done to customize your leadership style a bit?
A. one of the things that I'm really good at coping is unclear — when something is constantly changing, or if the next seven steps are not clear. What resulted was the lack of process and structure that was affecting people in the team, because they did not know what had to happen next. So I started working more in establishing systems for communicating and creating a clearer road map.

Q. tell me about the culture of Polyvore.
A. we have always had a very different culture, but one of the first things I did was to write. We have three values. The first is "delight the user." others are "doing a few things well" and "make an impact."

Q. tell me more about "doing a few things well."
A. we believe that we need to keep things as simple as possible, edit out the things that are unnecessary or any exogenous and focus on polishing the details. This concerns us user experience, as well as the company's processes. A pretty extreme example of this is that we did a month "simplification" in January. Once we asked everyone in the company to make a list of everything, identify the things that are important, and for the rest of the list, simplify, streamline or delete it so we can get the company to the simplest possible situation. It's really important to take the time to clean all the entropy that would otherwise occur.

Q. what else about your culture?
A. one thing that's fun is that we have a worker award-of-the-month. You can get $ 500 to spend in the company. People have picked a foosball table, or hired a food truck for the whole team to eat for lunch, or buy a huge Chair. Also, we had a Scotch-tasting party.

Q. how do you hire?
A. , I try to understand three things. One is their motivation. I wanted to ask, "What is the most rewarding thing I've ever worked on, that you're most proud of?" you can learn a lot about what the person cares about, what these priority, and if they say "I" or "we". Then just drill down a little bit more to understand what actually did the work.
Also, try to figure out if they have the ability to break a big, hairy, complicated problem into smaller pieces, because it shows the ability to solve. You will always be asked to do something which seems impossible or difficult, and should be able to break it down to move. For product managers, will ask a question strange, open-ended design for a unrelated field so the answer is not hyper-obvious, so you need to ask for clarification and to cleave to a simpler problem and then solve the separate parts. I want to understand the process of resolving them, because some people immediately jump to compiling a solution on the Board and some are trying to truly understand the problem first.
I'm looking for people who are going to be Admins, for self-awareness and emotional intelligence. So I would ask questions such as, what is the biggest misconception that people have you? Because that really forces you to think about who you are as a person, and how people understand.

Q: and how do you answer this question?
A. I come across as a pretty nice, but I'm tougher than I look. Really care about things I care about. I will fight for them. I stand up for these things. You can't guess that when you meet my initials.

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Corner Office: Bob Pittman of Clear Channel, on the Value of Dissent

Q. Were you in leadership roles when you were younger? 
A. I started as a radio disc jockey at age 15. I needed a job to pay for flying lessons. That was my passion. I tried to get a job at the men’s clothing store in my small town in Mississippi, because that’s where all the cool people worked and hung out. I was too young. I tried to get a high-paying job bagging groceries for the Piggly Wiggly grocery. There were none. Then I went to the radio station. Bill Jones, who owned it, said: “Do you have good grades? Do you stay out of trouble?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Go read this copy.” He listened to me and said, “O.K., you’re hired.” I got completely hooked on radio, and my first management job was in Pittsburgh when I was 19. I got to program a radio station there.  

How many people were you managing?
 Maybe 10 or 12. I didn’t know how you were supposed to manage people, so I was not bogged down by the conventional wisdom. What I realized I was doing was becoming a team leader, not a general. We were not going to have the military model, because when you’re 19, no one’s going to accept you as the big boss. I was the team leader, so my job was to sell them on my idea, and to keep selling them, and then listen really well, let everybody have a voice and let there be some dissent. That really developed the style that I’ve had forever.   

Tell me more about how you encourage dissent.
Nobody’s in an ivory tower, and let’s figure this out together. Often in meetings, I will ask people when we’re discussing an idea, “What did the dissenter say?” The first time you do that, somebody might say, “Well, everybody’s on board.” Then I’ll say, “Well, you guys aren’t listening very well, because there’s always another point of view somewhere and you need to go back and find out what the dissenting point of view is.” I don’t want to hear someone say after we do something, “Oh, we should have done this.” I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done. It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.  

Lessons from mentors over the years?
Steve Ross, who took his father-in-law’s two funeral homes and turned them into Warner Communications and then Time Warner, took me under his wing. Steve used to say: “You’ll never be fired here for making a mistake. You’ll be fired for not making a mistake. Because if you’re not making a mistake, it tells me that you’re not trying anything new.” I think if you get it right 50 percent of the time, you’re close to a genius. So you’ve got to be prepared to be wrong many times or most of the time. You need to have a bias toward very quick decision-making. If you make the wrong move, then quickly change it until you get it right. Whatever you’re going to do, do it quicker. If we can double up on time, we can do twice as much. Things don’t have to be perfect.  One thing I preach a lot here is, “Weed the garden.” If I try 10 new things and, just for example, let’s say two are clear winners and two are clear losers. That means I’ve got six in between.

What do I do with those?
Most organizations — and when I’m not careful, including me — let everything live except the clear losers. And what happens over time is that stuff in between doesn’t really help you. It takes up a lot of resources. It’s confusing. It’s muddy. If you let that stuff build up — and with the next 10 things you do, there are two clear winners and six that are the gunk — then pretty soon my whole organization is basically mediocrity and gunk. So if you can bring yourself to say, “I’m only going to let clear winners live. I’m going to take the resources I put for the other eight things and try again,” you can keep a crisp organization. That’s why start-ups are so crisp — because they don’t have a lot of gunk yet. But over time, they often build up gunk. So we always talk about weeding the garden. Part of it is being honest with yourself.

What really is a winner?  
It does seem to be a persistent problem in a lot of organizations. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear justifications for keeping certain things going. When you start saying things like, “This sort of helps with ...” or, “Well, it does have a ...” these are all the words that are clues that something is not a clear winner. That’s the danger to an organization. It’s not your clear losers. It goes back to the idea of “don’t be afraid of mistakes.” You’ll make a lot of them. I think a lot of people only want to keep it at two mistakes out of 10, instead of eight out of 10, because they want to keep their batting average better. But nobody’s keeping score. If we’re keeping score, what kind of organization do we have? Are we succeeding a lot? Nobody’s counting how many mistakes you make.  People will ask me in interviews, “What are the biggest mistakes you’ve made?” I have no idea. I make mistakes all the time. I don’t count them. I don’t remember them. The beauty of a bad memory is I never feel so bad.

What’s your pet peeve?
Somebody who takes a very long time to get to the point. Patience is not a virtue of mine. Urgency wins. There are times when people come in with a presentation, and I’ll say: “What is it you want from me? What is the decision?” I find 70 percent of the time, I don’t need to know any of the other stuff. I’ll just say, “Do this or that” and we’ve saved 50 minutes. Although it may come across as impatience, it really allows us to move faster. Or at least that’s my rationalization, and I’m sticking to it.
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Corner Office: Amy Errett of Madison Reed, on Finding Your Genius

Q. What were some early lessons for you?
A. My parents got divorced when I was 7, and that was a defining moment in a lot of ways. It was about understanding how to deal with hard things and staying on track in your life. And there is something in knowing that when you’re an entrepreneur, because the certainty is uncertainty. You have to be able to understand that whatever is happening at this moment will surely not happen again. It taught me how to deal with adversity and really keep a positive attitude.

Q. Were there certain expressions your parents would repeat often?
A. My mother used to say all the time, “The sun will come out tomorrow.” It was that same theme that things may feel not so good right now, but you will get through this and there will be another positive thing. I think about that a lot.  

Q. What were your career plans when you were in college?  
A. I thought I was going to go to med school. But I couldn’t get into one, so that was an interesting experience at that point in my life, because I had been relatively successful in high school and college. And that was a moment when I started to understand, oh, it doesn’t all work the way you’ve planned it. I came to Manhattan and got my first entry-level job as a credit analyst. That was a grind, and I had this challenging boss. He would come out on the floor of this big room, and just yell and call people into his office. So I learned a lot about how some people use fear at work. One of my basic premises about leadership is that people actually divide along this binary decision process of whether you’re going to lead from fear or lead from love. Other people might not call it love. But that’s what I call it.

Q. What was your first management role?  
A. I was 25, and I was put into this huge job of managing hundreds of people in a bond-processing department at a bank. I had no idea what I was doing. There were all these people who had been there a really long time, and I was probably half their age. I was just terrified. I remember walking in the first day and sweating and just feeling like, “Where do I even start?” I set up a meeting with my managers and nobody came. I thought, “Houston, we have a problem here.”  

Q. What did you do?
A. I just started acting on instinct. What I learned really quickly was it was all about the relationships. It was all about trust. It was all about meeting them where they were. It was about including them instead of saying to them, “This is what I want you to do.” During the first couple of months, I met with every person and I said: “I want you to tell me in the most honest way what you don’t like about your job. I’m not wired, and I’m not a spy.” I started to just really understand their ideas and to implement those. None of them had had performance reviews, and they had no feedback loop. I just started to realize very quickly that this really was all about the relationships.  

Q. That’s a pretty provocative question to ask people out of the blue.  
A. When you ask that question, the first onion that gets peeled back is, “Can I trust her?” And it’s a big question to ask somebody who has been sitting there for 18 years and basically no one has paid attention to them. But it was the question that over time started to be the thing that turned this department around. Ultimately my job, with the people who work for me, is to find your genius, and to help you find your genius. And if we can do that, that’s the magic.  

Q. Tell me what’s unusual about the culture of your current company.
A. We have cocktail hour every Thursday, and we do this thing with cards that is really meaningful to me. It’s this deck of cards, and I put them all face down over a table. Everyone’s standing around with their cocktail, and getting to know each other on a different level. The cards aren’t playing cards. They have images and words on them, like gratitude, love, forgiveness, envy, hope, compassion, empathy and anger. They’re all emotion words. And then I say to everyone, pick three cards at random, and then we’ll go in a circle, and say what the words on those cards mean to you. And if it doesn’t work for you, just pass. That’s cool. And so you go around the table. It’s probably been the biggest breakthrough thing we’ve done in terms of culture. The first couple of times, I let people put one back and pick another one, because sometimes people would get one and they’d say, “I’m not talking about this,” which is fine. And now nobody wants to put them back. Everybody is totally in. I’ve had so many people come up and say, “Thank you.”  

Q. How do you hire?  
A. People have to have certain content skills to effectively do their job. But what I’m really vetting for, culturally, is whether they have the same values. So I always ask people this question: “Tell me what you’re passionate about.” So the conversation either goes off the rails there, or it gets really cool. The off-the-rails answer might be, “What do you mean?” And I’ll just say: “Tell me what really makes you passionate. Why do you get up every morning?” It might be their kids, or they love to code, or they’re passionate about the environment. It’s not like I’m vetting their answers against a list. I just want to see that there’s a soul in there, and that they’re not doing this just because they want the job. Is there some way that this person can make this place different, and can we weave that fabric together? And I always ask people the basic question of: “Tell me something that happened in your life that didn’t go so well. What was the outcome of that?” A lot of times, people will say, “Well, I don’t know.” If somebody can’t get to that part, that’s not interesting. Because one of the things that we can be sure of is that we will mess a ton of things up. And it’s definitely not how you start. It’s how you finish.
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Veteran Job Fair in Washington, D.C. on March 20

The military-to-civilian recruitment firm RecruitMilitary will produce a Veteran Opportunity Expo, a hiring event for veterans and other men and women with military backgrounds, at  the Washington Hilton,1919 Connecticut Avenue NW, in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, March 20, 2014 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. RecruitMilitary is inviting veterans who already have civilian work experience, personnel who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life, members of the National Guard and reserves, military spouses, and other military family members.

RecruitMilitary expects more than 35 employers, franchisors, educational institutions, and government agencies to reserve exhibitor booths at the Expo. Already signed up are USAA; Lockheed Martin; Department of Agricultural Farm Service Agency; Intelsat; The Home Depot; DeVry University; U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide; NJVC; Ulta; Stratford University; First Data Corp.; Comcast; Paul Hastings LLP; George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates; Da Vita; Westat; First Command Financial Planning; The Advisory Board Company; Visa; Prudential Financial; Lieberman & Mark; Extra Income Opportunities; Argosy University; District of Columbia Army National Guard; Johns Hopkins Carey Business School; NCI Information Systems, Inc.; Heavy Construction Academy; Aviation Institute of Maintenance; The Art Institutes; and Trident University International.

In addition, USAA’s local Wealth Management team is presenting a seminar prior to the career fair at 10:00 a.m. The seminar is titled “Practical Advice for All Stages of Retirement Planning.” All veterans are welcome to attend this session intended to provide information for veterans and spouses as they consider their future retirement.

RecruitMilitary will produce the Expo in cooperation with The American Legion (, an association of veterans who served during times of war. The Legion has 2.4 million members in nearly 14,000 posts throughout the world.

RecruitMilitary has scheduled the following additional veteran hiring events through 2014: Atlanta (June 26, 2014; October 30, 2014), Baltimore (May 29, 2014; October 2, 2014), Boston (April 10, 2014; September 4, 2014), Charlotte (June 5, 2014; November 13, 2014), Chicago (April 3, 2014; October 9, 2014), Cincinnati (May 29, 2014; October 2, 2014), Columbus (July 24, 2014), Dallas (July 17, 2014; November 13, 2014), Denver (April 17, 2014; September 11, 2014), Houston (March 27, 2014; August 7, 2014; December 4, 2014), Indianapolis (July 10, 2014), Jacksonville (March 27, 2014; November 6, 2014), Kansas City (September 25, 2014), Las Vegas (December 11, 2014), Los Angeles (June 19, 2014; October 23, 2014), Louisville (March 13, 2014), Minneapolis (August 7, 2014), Nashville (August 14, 2014), New Orleans (September 18, 2014), New York (May 22, 2014; September 18, 2014), Norfolk (May 15, 2014; November 20, 2014), Oakland (May 1, 2014; October 9, 2014), Oklahoma City (June 12, 2014), Orlando (April 24, 2014), Philadelphia (July 24, 2014; November 6, 2014), Phoenix (October 16, 2014), Pittsburgh (October 16, 2014), Raleigh (March 20, 2014), Richmond (August 21, 2014), Saint Louis (July 10, 2014), San Antonio (May 8, 2014; September 11, 2014), San Diego (August 14, 2014; December 4, 2014), Seattle (June 5, 2014; November 20, 2014), Tampa (August 28, 2014), and Washington, D.C. (June 26, 2014).

RecruitMilitary has produced Opportunity Expos since 2006.

The company also offers subscriptions (search licenses) to its database of more than 660,000 registered candidates at, retained hiring services, and advertising space in online and print media. RecruitMilitary distributes more than 59,000 copies of each issue of Search & Employ®, a bimonthly print magazine, to military bases throughout the world, National Guard and reserve units, job seekers who attend RecruitMilitary Veteran Opportunity Expos, and military-to-civilian recruiters nationwide. The company was founded in 1998, and is located in Loveland, Ohio (Greater Cincinnati). The CEO and president of RecruitMilitary is Peter Gudmundsson, a former officer in the United States Marine Corps.

RecruitMilitary’s website has received two consecutive User’s Choice Awards from Weddle’s ( for 2013 and 2014. Weddle’s is a publisher of guides and directories that focus on the employment-related area of the Internet. The awards are a result of a year-long annual survey conducted by Weddle’s to recognize “the elite of the online employment industry.” The judges are recruiters and job seekers who have used the sites.

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Year 'Round Houses

Let the energetic owls on this blank chart help organize your classroom and get kids involved! Use for job assignments, class rules, daily schedules, announcements, news, and more. Writing space allows you to customize for your teaching needs. Extra value on back: reproducibles, tips, and teaching information. 17" x 22". Sturdy and durable.

Ideal for teaching:
Pre-Kindergarten to 3rd Grade
Ages 3 to 9
Price: $2.49

Click here to buy from Amazon

Unemployed? Win An Apple iPhone 5S From

The only social networking site dedicated to connecting unemployed jobseekers with employers and recruiters, is giving away one free iPhone 5S and five free customized WordPress sites. Registrants must be unemployed and live in the United States, and answer a short survey about your job search activities.

"We are excited to offer the newest iPhone to an unemployed jobseeker that can really use it as a tool in their job search," said John Ahrens, Inkler founder and president. "The customized websites can also provide a vehicle to promote themselves through blogging."??

Ahrens founded Inkler in 2013 when he realized that larger sites like LinkedIn and CareerBuilder presented nearly insurmountable odds for unemployed job seekers. Since then, it has been his mission to provide a free, easy-to-use, online network that brings unemployed job seekers and employers together. The site is focused on all unemployed jobseekers including military vets and recent college graduates. ??

By connecting to Inkler, unemployed job seekers greatly increase their chances of getting noticed, interviewed and hired. Instead of sifting through endless job listings, and posting application after application, on, unemployed job seekers simply post their profiles and employers come to them! ??

“If you are unemployed or underemployed, there is no reason not to post your profile to,” said Ahrens. “The site is free, the profile takes minutes to complete, and we deliver opportunity directly to users. We are passionate about helping the unemployed get back to work and offer support to assist people with their profiles, and offer several help and tip pages, as well as video tutorials on creating better profiles and uploading video résumés.”??

About Inkler: ??Inkler was founded in February 2013, and the beta site launched in August 2013. Founder and president, John Ahrens, recognized that there needed to be a professional network just for unemployed job seekers, who faced discrimination from many companies. He also noticed that job seekers were at a great disadvantage on the major job search sites.

Combining his lifelong passion for hard work and helping others, Ahrens launched Inkler in August 2013, and since then the network has received overwhelming positive feedback from both unemployed job seekers and employers. For more information visit

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