Is It Just Me?
The Recruiting Game

Just yesterday, I saw a comment online that really disappointed me. It was made by someone who happens to be the VP of Human Resources at a large company I’ve admired for years.     

To paraphrase, the executive said how excited he was to find the number of A-list candidates up dramatically because those who are already employed now see an improving economy and are willing to risk a job change for the first time in years.  

Wait. Seriously? Are there really so few A-list candidates among the millions of people currently not working in corporate America? Are all the people who’ve been consulting, working part-time, underemployed, recently unemployed or, God forbid, among the long-term unemployed, truly less desirable applicants?

While I understand this thinking may have had some merit in pre-recession days when good jobs were plentiful (and not having a job often meant you weren’t looking hard enough or there was something wrong with you), I see it as sadly short-sighted in an economy with simply more highly skilled workers than decent career openings. I’ve said it before in this blog, and I’ll say it again here:

When we stereotype each other—by race, gender, age or any other characteristic that ultimately doesn’t matter to doing the job well—we limit what we can achieve as individuals and organizations, and even as a nation… At a time when American businesses are scrambling to maintain their leadership positions in a chaotic global economy, I see the depth of the U.S. workforce bench as an underdeveloped strength. We need our best and brightest people on the job….”

And I happen to think our best and brightest includes many of the currently unemployed and underemployed, especially those who continue to learn and contribute despite their career setbacks. What kind of courage and resiliency does it take to face such upheaval and yet, persevere? Might this be someone you want on your team? Someone who can truly appreciate and value the privilege of full-time employment?

Frankly, if I were hiring today, I’d have to wonder about the loyalty of other company’s employees who are willing to jump ship only now that the economy is starting to get better. Were they giving their current employers their best efforts the past couple of years or just keeping their heads down and biding their time until the dust settled? If you’re not sure of the answer, are you sure this person is the best fit for your team?

I say let’s STOP with the corporate musical chairs and give every applicant a fair chance for a seat at the table. Let’s do away with limiting stereotypes and outdated assumptions once and for all, start with a clean slate, and simply hire the best people for the job.

What do you think?


This White House correspondent’s report of the President visiting a D.C. bar for a Guinness today is an instant classic:

The president, thwarting any would-be pinchers with a pale moss-green jacket that read “National Parks, America’s Best Idea,” left the White House grounds at 12:46 pm, his…

Happy Saint Patricks Day: Celebrate With Google Doodles [PICS]
[nggallery id=4685] Top of the morning to you! Today is Saint Patrick’s Day and here at Mashable we’re celebrating with a gallery of all the Doodles Google has ever posted on March 17. There’s plenty of different shades of green, a good few shamrocks and yes, you guessed it, a leprechaun o…


You’re a little early but hello spring flowers.  (Taken with Instagram at Ledroit Park Gate)


You’re a little early but hello spring flowers. (Taken with Instagram at Ledroit Park Gate)

Yes, You Can. You Just Don’t Want To.

Recently, I talked with a friend who is upset that her own sister didn’t come to her husband’s memorial service. Yes, the service was in another state and the sister was working a part-time job and busy with a new grandbaby. Still, my friend reasoned, her sister could have come if she’d really wanted to—she just didn’t want to. And although my friend will always love her sister, she’ll never forget how this made her feel.

When you choose not to be there for a loved one or friend who needs you, it can change the relationship in ways you never intend and later regret.

I made this mistake a few years back with my youngest brother who suffers from alcoholism. I was there for him again and again until one day, I just gave up. I helped him clean out his repossessed truck, dropped him off at yet another rehab center and told him it was the last time. Years later, he is recovering, but our relationship? Not so much.   

Say What You Mean & Mean What You Say

What’s any of this have to do with you? Maybe just this… 

The next time you start thinking you have enough of your own stuff to deal with and you really don’t need someone else’s stuff, too, maybe just stop and think carefully about what the other person means to you. If you love or care about the person, say so and figure out a way to be there. Because “I can’t” will almost always be heard as “I don’t want to.”

Is that the message you really want to send? 


On Winning the Lottery

“I’m a winner,” I said to the clerk across the counter as I held out my lotto ticket. He stopped mid-step, several feet away, staring at me, eyes widening. I think it was the first time we ever really looked at each other, although I’d been a customer for a couple of years. At that moment, the young guy to my right who’d been bent over the counter filling out a lottery form with one of those stubby #2 pencils, angled his head up to stare at me.

Whoa. There were probably 10 customers in the store at this point, but I swear time stood still. No one moved and no one spoke. Everyone held their collective breath as I gingerly handed over the pink and yellow ticket with white flamingos to the attendant. I had everyone’s rapt attention.  

In that split second, I realized who we are can change in an instant. No matter the old Pontiac I pulled up in, the washed-too-many-times sweats I wore or my once bejeweled flip flops now missing half their gems. I was a winner! Clearing my throat, I said again, “I believe I am a winner. I think I qualify for a free ticket!”

Instantly, the sounds of life in the little store started to hum again. The tension in the air evaporated. “Free ticket,” the guy next to me joked. “I was just ready to tell you my name was Alex.” The guy behind the counter let out a “whoosh” of air he’d been holding in all this time. He took my ticket, ran it through the official lotto machine and gave me my free ticket. “Have a great day!” he said, as he looked at me and smiled.  

Long story short, my winning ticket didn’t reap any mega-millions. So no rags to riches story as yet. But I did come away with a priceless lesson… what we think about ourselves matters greatly in terms of how others perceive us!

I’ve decided I’m a winner. What about you? 





Working Without Limits

So I’ve been consulting the past couple of years, but I’d really like something more permanent—preferably a full-time position that makes good use of my 20+ years in marketing communications, while indulging my curiosity and desire to keep learning. Yes, I’d like a consistent income. But more than that, I’d like to find the right fit with the right organization and the right people.

Anyway, because I’m interested in new opportunities, I follow the Twitter streams and blogs of many career savvy people who have fresh ideas about the current job market. And recently, I came across a blog post offering tips on how to behave, “When Your Boss is Younger than Your Child.”

Now I don’t have kids, but I’m certainly old enough to have kids who have kids. So I clicked on the article and read the opening paragraph: 

 “By choice and necessity, more older Americans are staying in the workforce. As a result, many workplaces now have multiple generations of employees spanning 40 or even 50 years of age. Odds are that senior workers will end up working for someone young enough to be their child, if not younger.”

*Gasp!* Spanning 40 or even 50 years of age? Does this mean I’m near the end of the employee life-cycle?

The article then gave some pointers for older workers such as:

Don’t generalize. “Be careful about generalizing, and assuming that a young boss is going to behave in a certain way…”

Listen. “Make sure you are listening to your younger boss…”

Change. “Being open to new things is essential in today’s workplace…”

And so on. As I read through the post, it struck me that this is good advice for any age group, not just “older” Americans. And that got me thinking about some of the common misconceptions and stereotypes I’ve found surrounding older workers.      

The truth is many of us in our 40s, 50s and beyond—who are now in the workforce or looking for work due to a layoff—have been learning and earning right along with everyone else these past few years. A lot of us have had more than one career in more than one industry, so we know firsthand the importance of being flexible and open to change. Our deep experience often means we’re less inclined to make quick assumptions, and more inclined to listen carefully to all points of view. It also means we tend to speak up when we think something’s important because if we can help, and don’t, it’s on us.

Now, we may not text as quickly as 20-somethings—or check-in at our locations on a regular basis—but many of us are early technology adopters. What we don’t know, we usually know how to find out. We also tend to know a lot of other stuff that’s pretty useful, too, like: how to write and implement strategic plans; how to manage teams; how to craft and administer budgets; how to provide excellent customer service, and much more.  

Throughout my career, I’ve worked for people who are younger and I’ve also managed several who are older. Keeping skills current is important, true. But after that, I’ve found the key to building a successful organization has little to do with age and everything to do with how well individual team members respect and value each other’s contributions toward achieving common goals.

Older workers shouldn’t assume younger workers are less capable, but neither should younger workers view those with years of experience as having exceeded their expiration date. When we stereotype each other—by race, gender, age or any other characteristic that ultimately doesn’t matter to doing the job well—we limit what we can achieve as individuals and organizations, and even as a nation.

At a time when American businesses are scrambling to maintain their leadership positions in a chaotic global economy, I see the depth of the U.S. workforce bench as an underdeveloped strength. We need our best and brightest people on the job, whether eighteen or eighty. Don’t you agree?



It’s nice to meet you.

There are lots of reasons we’re excited to be launching the Obama 2012 campaign’s new Tumblr today. But mostly it’s because we’re looking at this as an opportunity to create something that’s not just ours, but yours, too.

We’d like this Tumblr to be a huge…


“The English language has some wonderfully anthropomorphic collective nouns for the various groups of animals. We are all familiar with a Herd of cows, a Flock of chickens, a School of fish and a Gaggle of geese.

“However, less widely known is a Pride of lions, a Murder of crows (as well as…