Tag Archives: Inspiration

“Maybe?” — Another Way to Consider Job Descriptions

By Cynthia Simmons

Perhaps I should start this blog post by saying what I do professionally: I’m a content professional. I write, edit, research, acquire, and assemble content. To produce information that is clearly structured, consistently treated, and predictable. Predictable means the reader can easily access, find, and understand the information.


As I look at job descriptions online, I make copies of ones I like. Some I mark as “Apply.” Others I mark as “Almost.”

But more light-hearted for me are the jobs that I put in my “Maybe” folder. They are jobs that call to my heart, but which are impossible because… I don’t have degrees in archeology, art history, chemistry, or….

You know, the paths not taken somewhere in my past. The decision points for those was long ago. My degrees and professional certificates are in other fields.

But if I could go back in time, would I have made some decisions differently? Maybe. Probably.

(For those of you who are now frowning, let me state that when someone tells me, “That’s history, get over it!” I say back, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it!” And I am in very good company.1)

So instead of being grumpy or regretful, I cherish things that I am not but which I can imagine being. Instead of scolding and telling myself that I am wasting my time to stop and read, I save a copy in my “Maybe” folder and later I can look again. To see what it was that called to me. And to still keep on schedule with my goals for the day.

My recent “Maybe’s” included job descriptions for a digital catalogue designer at an art institute and an architect/epigraphic artist taking photographs and making precise line drawings of tombs at Luxor, Egypt.

For me, it’s about balance. There is work to be done, a job to be found, and all of the related, surrounding, and sometimes congruent tasks. But there is also the noting of things to be dreamed about, later.

  1. Some notable references to repeating history may be found at http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/doomed-to-repeat-it

Cynthia Simmons is a publishing and communications professional.

© 2014 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job. All rights reserved.

Lessons from the Olympics

By Tim Klepaczyk

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/timklepaczyk/

I have been enjoying the winter Olympics.  Yesterday evening it was great to see U.S. skaters Meryl Davis and Charlie White persevere in ice-dancing.  They have a great rivalry with Canadian skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.  Tessa and Scott won gold four years ago in Vancouver, with Meryl and Charlie taking silver.  They traded podium positions in Sochi.

Public Domain Image

Public Domain Image

I’m struck at every Olympics about the consistent narrative.  There’s always an impressive champion, predicted to dominate, who follows through.  There’s always another strong competitor who falls short of promise, and must “settle” for silver or bronze.  There are stories of people whose perseverance is just in being there, who have no realistic chance of medaling.  And of course there’s always an underdog story, the outsider who transcends previous performances and wins to surprise even the experts.

To me, the inspiring common element among most of the athletes is their dedication and perseverance.  A young child is transfixed watching Kristi Yamaguchi, or Eric Heiden, or Shawn White, or one of many other Olympic champions.  15 years later it is that same child now representing the United States!  The innocence of a dream is something to be treasured and remembered.

Certainly it can be tough to deal with a lay-off, and a struggle to get back to work.  Remember what inspired you when you were young, and be confident that while real life is often different than a dream it’s still worth more dedication and perseverance, and many people are still fighting for you.

Tim Klepaczyk is an RF & microwave engineer with over 20 years of experience in applications & sales and product design & validation.  He also loves writing.

© 2014 Blog to Work | Blogging your way to a job, All rights reserved

No One Was Betting on Them

Yulia Lipnitskaya - Internet

Yulia Lipnitskaya – Internet

Just who are Yulia Lipnitskaya and Jimmy Fallon?  They are both contenders for the prize in the ring of their professions.  They perform before the world and have the guts to say, I am the best and I will prove it. 

Yulia, 15, and Jimmy, 39, are also both comeback kids from life’s difficulties.  You say, what can anyone that young know about difficulties?  At what age is adversity not possible and painful?  Yulia was out of the competition last season with a brain injury.  Her body may be what we see gliding across the ice so effortlessly but it is her mind that drives those body signals.  Jimmy started out on well-known Saturday Night Live and shortly after, worked on two films that went nowhere and his career began to collapse.  Bounce back to the heights of the Olympics and The Tonight Show?  How? What? Who can do that?

First they were not trying to do it alone.  They had someone else in their lives saying, ‘you’re not done yet’.  Then they said it, started the learning process it takes to recover, and then they believed it could be done.  Part of that process is learning to work through fear and frustration as you have to learn new things and shake lose the pain of past hurts.  There is no security on this earth, there is only opportunity. (Douglas MacArthur, WWII General)  Then there is the just doing it; practice, practice, practice until it becomes your skill.  You see, no one escapes the pain of hurt, failure, and disappointment and no one is an overnight success.  And in our determination to obtain the new position we must not contemplate anything but success. 

No one was betting on Yulia and Jimmy yet there they are in the forefront, with the world waiting breathlessly to see them win.  You have work to do, retooling that must be done, and a stage that has a spot just for you to stand on.  Never, never quit. 

Deb Bryan has 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry.  She has a passion for writing and Toastmasters International.

© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job.  All rights reserved

“Hello World ” and 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Favorite Beers of America in order of popularity:  Blue Moon, Bud Lite, Yeugling, Sam Adams, Miller Lite, Coors, and Corona.   How do you get rid of a 100 bottles of your favorite beer down off the wall quickly?  “You take one down, pass it around, 99 bottles of beer on the wall” of course.   And rarely have all the verses of this old song been sung. 

You’re tasked with getting a job.  Do you choose to accept it?  How do you get a job?  Using the drinking song plan:

Keep the task simple

List what you want

Laser focus on your objective, get a system

Enlist others for support


Remember – Keep the main thing, the main thing


Sanity check

Steve Jobs, Apple Google

Steve Jobs, Apple Google

This is the same system as “Hello World” in computer programming.  It is a simple program that can be used by a beginner and it can be used to verify that you’re operating correctly.  The list above is a practical tool; useful and real.  This system is simple, it requires you make a decision, define a goal, and there is little chance of indefinitely effort.  Success will come.    

People will let you down; a system will not.  In computer language persisting, looping, and evaluating, control flow, is just as important as the beginning.   Be repetitive.  Looping back will need to be ingrained in process as well as the people for assuring success.   Control flow is as important a step because it requires you pay attention and notice unplanned for variances in your system.  I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.  – Steve Jobs

May you see “The operation is a success” come across the computer screen of your mind.

Deb Bryan has 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry.  She has a passion for writing and ToastMasters International.

© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job.  All rights reserved

Try a Little Appreciation

By Cynthia Sutherland

Deliberately adopt an attitude of appreciation.  When you intentionally appreciate aspects of your life, it starts you on your way to feeling good. 

And when you feel good, you will be inspired to positive action.  Others will notice.

From Wikimedia Commons, Scroll, in the public domain

From Wikimedia Commons, Scroll, in the public domain

This time of year, many of us are automatically led by the holiday season to focus on our blessings.  We’re told to identify positive circumstances, family members and friends, and what they mean to us.  We may or may not “feel” those blessings. It can be just an exercise, but what if you take it seriously?

As a catalyst, there are always stories about someone worse off than we are who has a positive attitude and achieves against great odds, or someone better off who shares their blessings with others less fortunate.

Yet here you are: still unemployed as you move into this season of Thanksgiving.  So it may make it a little harder to imagine the light at the end of that tunnel.  Or to appreciate the job search, or other aspects of your life right now.

But I say that not feeling appreciation promotes a very conditional view of life. “If I get this job, I’ll be happy.”  “If I achieve that success, I’ll be happier.”  “If I have that relationship, then I can love life.”  If…if…if.

It often is that way, though, a learned behavior from the time we were very young.  We cried our eyes out for the truck or doll that we wanted at that moment.  And when we got that toy, it made us happy for a minute.  Then we moved on to the next item we had to have to be happy.

Have you tried recently, just for kicks, to act happy, or to appreciate certain aspects of your life, just to see what would happen?  I have.  It really starts some positive juices flowing, you begin to feel better, and your outlook on life shifts – even if it’s just in the moment.  And your outlook about your job search will shift to a more positive view as well.

Make a list.  List the things, situations, people, foods, anything that you like.  Then think about why you feel good about the items on your list.  When you do, more reasons, and more things will come to mind. And you will start to feel some real appreciation.

You could do the same thing about all those things you don’t like, but that will make you feel bad. Our normal analytical selves assist us in doing this every day.  But we’re not looking for a pity party, or pros and cons, just a way to uplift your spirits.

A feeling of appreciation builds on itself if you let it.  Return to the list the next day and add to it, or start a new list each day.

After a time, you will move more automatically to think about how great your life is, how blessed you really are.  And you will realize that you are gaining more knowledge about yourself and others as a result of what you experienced in your job search.

Next year, your list can be a retrospective about what you learned in your job search process, and how wonderful people were in helping.  And you will be ready to help the next person who may just be starting their search process.

Cynthia Sutherland is a senior human resources professional, focusing primarily on diversity and inclusion and work-life.

© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job, All rights reserved

The Ultimate Measure of Success

By Tim Klepaczyk

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/timklepaczyk/

How do you measure success?  Perhaps the most commonly cited yardsticks are corporate advancement and financial wealth.  This is reinforced by the economic indicators most often mentioned on the nightly news, including GDP growth.

I’ve never been persuaded that these are the best measures of personal or national success.  We’ve all known people who’ve toiled long hours in jobs that they do not enjoy.  Besides, even the most fun job is less than ideal if its demands prevent you from going to junior’s recital that was so important to him.

I read a book I really liked many years ago called “Your Money or Your Life”, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.  They talked about how there is a trade-off between “fulfillment” and “money spent”.  The money you spend depends on your salary and work hours.  Another way to look at this is life energy – where a job you really like requires less life energy per hour, but even the most rewarding work if it also has excessive hours requires a lot of life energy.

Public Domain Image

Public Domain Image

They go on further to say that our survival needs require relatively little “life energy”, comforts a bit more, and true luxuries even more.  To a point, fulfillment increases with more life energy invested.  However, the less introspective among us – for example, those too easily influenced to “keep up with the Joneses” – start sliding back down the fulfillment scale as the blind pursuit of additional luxuries compromises other things that are important in life.

The leaders of the small Asian country Bhutan have an alternative to GDP called GDH – Gross Domestic Happiness.  I think they’re really on to something, and I hope we find a way to incorporate their insight into our own national measures.

The Ultimate Measure of Personal Success is happiness, and more particularly happiness with emotional health.  Don’t lose sight of this when seeking work at any point in your life.

Tim Klepaczyk is an RF & microwave engineer with over 20 years of experience in applications & sales and product design & validation.  He also loves writing.

© 2013 Blog to Work | Blogging your way to a job, All rights reserved

Basic Beliefs in Job Search

By Cynthia Sutherland

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”

-Bruce Lee   (From www.brainyquotes.com)

Peace, love and happiness From Wikimedia Commons (in the public domain)

Peace, love and happiness
From Wikimedia Commons (in the public domain)

The first thing I learned about job search is not job search techniques (I learned those, too), but that job search involves solidifying – or shifting – beliefs about yourself.

I learned the following ten basic beliefs for a successful job search from the Job Search Circle. This group is the primary collective that I participate in to enhance my job search skills, and to remind myself how important it is to stay grounded during the search.

Most importantly, the networking and teamwork gained from participating in a job support group builds understanding about the intangible aspects of job search – about yourself.  I would never try to go it alone.

This list comes directly from the Job Search Circle:

  • Believe in yourself.  You are not your job search. (That’s a constant necessary reminder.)
  • Believe in your uniqueness.  You define the job; the job doesn’t define you.
  • Believe that you are a winner.  Convey this by your positive attitude, energy and enthusiasm.
  • Believe that you add value.  Know how your accomplishments and experience have positively impacted the organizations you have worked for.
  • Believe you are successful.  Success is all about what you can contribute.
  • Believe in your ability to make a difference. Cultivate a mindset of helpfulness and help others regardless if they help you in return.
  • Believe in your ability to learn.  Improve yourself; update your skills. (Now is the time to focus here.)
  • Believe in the gift of transition.  You have been given a gift of time – don’t waste it. (You may not see this right away, but this time allows self-reflection and re-connection.)
  • Believe in the abundance around you.  Be grateful for what you have.  (An attitude of gratitude is what will create resilience and positiveness.)
  • Believe you will land the right job.  Trust the process.  Embrace ambiguity and learn from it.  Stay positive. (Landing the right job is a by-product of your positive beliefs.)

Cynthia Sutherland is a senior human resources professional, focusing primarily on diversity and inclusion and work-life.

© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job, All rights reserved

Glass Half Full

By Cynthia Sutherland

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

-Albert Einstein  (from brainyquote.com)

Half full or half empty? from Wikimedia Commons (in the public domain)

Half full or half empty?
from Wikimedia Commons (in the public domain)

I re-organized my home office this week.  I found a memory card for a former work colleague who passed away in 2010.  The card was tucked away among some items that I designated as “in process.”

My colleague had a chronic illness for several years.  She continued to work until a few weeks before she died.  It wasn’t so much that she was devoted to work, or even that she had to continue working.  Like most of us, though, she did need to continue working for practical reasons.

Yet I remember that she said she continued to work mostly because she really liked her job, and work projects kept her mind on things besides her illness.  It was a grace she gave her family, friends and co-workers. It allowed all of us to view her as more healthy and happy during her physical evolution.

I say all this because seeing the card again made me reflect about what I liked about Shari:  She really saw her glass as half full, always.

And that made me think about whether I see my world that way.  And also, that it is important to feel positive.  That’s true particularly now, when I’ve been in job search mode for some time.

I realized that often I do see my glass as half full, but not always.  When I let myself get drawn into doing whatever it takes to “find a job,” my glass feels half empty.  But when I see job search as a life growth process that is leading to the next great step, I become energized, and then my glass IS half full.

It seems as if job search is a process that encompasses two ends of a stick.  One end involves getting “a” job, and the other end lets the search process flow forward in a way that is true to one’s personality, values, needs, and the direction you want to move towards.  To me, this end of the stick means not just moving to “one” destination or the first job that comes along, but remaining open to better possibilities.

I really feel positive when I let things take their course and take action when I’m inspired to.  When I listen to others’ opinions or let myself get swayed by the view that finding a job is about taking as much action as possible, or settling for whatever job one can find in this tough economy, I don’t feel quite as positive.  And that’s my signal that my success involves focusing on how I feel.

So over time, I’ve realized that I need to stay true to myself and tune out the chatter.  Then I can trust the process to lead me to the best destination for me.

Cynthia Sutherland is a senior human resources professional, focusing primarily on diversity and inclusion and work-life.

© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job, All rights reserved

Take Us Up, Mr. Sulu: The Dare

By Deb Bryan

Starship Enterprise

Starship Enterprise

My brother and I were not bad, we were quick, energetic, and had a passion for exploring. What one of us thought of the other one was soon to do, approaching our exploring with small differences. Today, my brother’s idea of exploring is to drive up to an island in upper Michigan and explore while camping for two weeks; the more primitive the camping the better. I like to explore new towns as I drive out to one of America’s beautiful coastlines and when I finally get tired, sleep in the back of my truck. We don’t take anyone with us because there is a more heighten sense of awareness when we are on our own. It makes me smile just thinking about hitting the road again.

When my company downsized in 2010 and I was a part of the group that was cut free, I was in shock for long while. I buried myself in a myriad of activities that were suggested and worked at not freaking out. I read somewhere to do normal activities. What was normal, for Pete’s sake? The vista before me was huge and uncharted territory by anyone I knew well! The fear radiating out from the people in my job search circle was almost tangible. I felt a strong need to survive when suddenly, the desire to explore my new surroundings came over me. It was almost like I was being dared to make something of myself in my new reality. My numb soul was being dared to be brought back to life again.

That dare brought me full circle to some people and things I had left in my past but it also took me to new faces and new places. I had a desire to do more than survive, I wanted to thrive. My risks at first were small but those risks were the building blocks I used to say, “I can more than this” and meant it. There was no arrogance, no false sense of ability, just a calm that came from being aware of my own accomplishments and new capabilities.

This poem means a great deal to me as I am my journey:

After a while you learn
that love doesn’t mean leaning,
that kisses aren’t contracts, and presents aren’t promises…
And you begin to accept defeats
with your head up and your eyes open,
With the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child.
So you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul,
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you can endure…
That you really are strong
and you really do have worth,
and that with every new tomorrow
comes the dawn.

Are you stuck in a job search lurch? You know this doesn’t have to master you. Courage my friend; be the Star Trek Captain, James T. Kirk, of your own life. I simply dare you.

Deb Bryan has 20 years of experience in office management in the pharmaceutical industry. She has a passion for writing.

© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job. All rights reserved

Crocodile Hunter Returns (Well, maybe)

By Deb Bryan

Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin

Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin

A couple of well known dads have been in the news lately; Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter and Brett Favre of Green Bay Packers Football fame.  Their stories were about how dad’s careers impacted their kids.  In Steve Irwin’s case, his son, all of 9 years old and a bit of a chip off the old block, is to start co-hosting a show called, “Wild But True” on Discovery Kids Asia in 2014.  (Now, how cool is that!)  Brett Favre’s daughter isn’t faring as well due to her dad’s multiple head trauma issues; perhaps from the 525 sacks he experienced on the playing field. 

Steve Irwin died in 2006 from a sting ray injury.  Prior to his death, he regularly had his family on his television show but the thing they remembered most about their dad was his passion.  They remembered his job because they have an opportunity to follow in his footsteps but it was his passion they hold as a valuable memory.  Certainly, we all witnessed Brett Favres’ passion for the game of football during the 20+ years he played.  Whatever you think about these men’s professions both had passion on display that affected viewers, co-workers, and their families.  I would dare to venture to say passion even affected their talent and skill to do their job. 

An old Indian fable, Tale of Two Wolves

            One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.  He said, “My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all.  One is evil.  It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good.  It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

             The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”  The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Which of the two wolves do you think would create passion for you?  It may surprise you but I believe both will.  Gangster passion?  Missionary passion?  They are the stuff of legendary story but the first wolf will eat you alive. 

So how’s the job search coming?  Leaving any memories of passion even in this part of the job? 

Deb Bryan has 20 years of experience in office management in the pharmaceutical industry.  She has a passion for writing.

© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job.  All rights reserved