3 Goals for 2013

On January 1st, even if we have fallen off the fiscal cliff, many of us will be living the first day of a new year in a new world where we have made resolutions to do or not do something. We will make resolutions intended to change our lives, intended to make us more money, intended to make the world a safer place. So I exaggerate a bit… however, every year we make resolutions…. and how many of those resolutions are kept past February 1st?

If only I’d bought that Apple stock 20 years ago or Oracle way back when. Or in the 10th grade told Sally Harris I was crazy about her, or actually taken that trip down the Amazon, or turned right instead of left. Life’s full of “if-onlys” and “what-ifs” and there ain’t diddly you can do about it but let it go and move forward.

As I write this post on Thanksgiving evening in my “bathroom” office, full of Food, Football and Family there are less than 50 days remaining in 2012. On January 1st even if we have fallen off the fiscal cliff many of us will be living the first day of a new year and a new world where we have made resolutions to do or not do something. Resolutions that will change our lives, resolutions that will make us more money, resolutions that will make the world a safer place. – So I exaggerate a bit… however, every year we make resolutions…. and how many of those resolutions are kept past February 1st?

As a longtime resolution maker and resolution breaker, I have learned not to depend on them to change my behavior or to accomplish some impossible task. . What I have learned to depend on is to set Goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time based or SMART Goals.   Goals unlike resolutions can be set at any time of the year. And if your goals are made openly either to a trusted advisor or to the entire world they have the added value of accountability.   Which can be a marvelous impetus to get the “thing” that you want to get done. Avoiding at least some of the “if-onlys” and “what-ifs” that hamper our lives and keep us from moving forward.

So today embolden by the power of my Aunt Tina’s lemon pound cake I would like to share with you 3 of the many goals some personal some professional I have set for 2012. I do this not as a narcissistic exercise but as a true example of what goals can do if they are SMART and are shared with others.

 

Goal❶:Launch a Reimagined Blog Site by 4/1/2013

By April 1, 2013 design and introduce a new blog site. The site will have enhance video capabilities, greater conductivity for blog readers and a cool new look.

Goal❷In 2013 Run At Least One 5K Race Per Quarter

Reignite my passion for running by committing to take part in at a minimum of 4, 5K races in various parts of the country this year.

Goal❸In 2013 Devise Various Ways to Discover What My Blog Readers Want

I am proud to report that you are one of over 4,000 weekly readers of this blog. My efforts started out as a way for me to share job search information but it has become much more. I am extremely grateful for your readership and I want to produce content of interest to you. This survey link is designed to get your feedback, please take a moment complete this simple 5 question anonymous survey.

I hope you will take the remaining days of this year to think about what you want to accomplish in 2013. If making resolutions have not worked for you, please consider setting goals. In a demonstration of the power of goal setting I will share my progress on the 3 goals outlined in this post. Until then Happy New Year and happy goal setting!!!!

How Strong Are Your LinkedIn Contacts?

In this video post Marben Bland serves up a great tip on how to handle your LinkedIn contacts.

5 Shades of Thankfulness

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday bar none. Along with the food, the football and the family, Thanksgiving is my favorite because it is a time for all of us to reflect on the wonderful things we should be thankful for. In this blog I recap 5 things I am thankful for.

This week, we celebrate my favorite holiday…Thanksgiving.  Yes, I favor it for the food, the football and the family.  But more than that, I favor it for the reflection…the reflection on the shades, if you will, of thankfulness that wave over my life.   For this year these are five of my many shades of Thanksgiving thankfulness.

❶I am thankful for my Faith.

God is my anchor.  His teachings are the guidepost of my life.  His love has given me peace; His grace has given me perspective.  And, His mercies has given me my life, my joy, and my stability.

❷I am thankful for my Family.

My family is a constant source of joy, wonderment and pride.  Joy, that comes with the privilege of every moment I get to spend with my magnificent 86-year old mother.  Wonderment, when I look into the sparkling eyes of my granddaughters while seeing my son growing into becoming an excellent father. And, pride in being the third child born into a remarkable family parented by Benjamin and Mary Lois Bland.

❸I am thankful for my Friends.

My friends–new, old, and more numerous to name, have been an endless source of intelligence, advice, and unconditional love.  But what my friends really are a source of a great deal of silliness and fun!!!  And for that, I am truly thankful.

❹I am thankful for my Country:  The United States of America.

Yes, I know we have just experienced a bitterly contested election where money, lies, and voter suppression substituted for ideas, honesty, and leadership. However, despite of and because of its faults, I am so thankful to live in this country–a country that is the beacon of liberty for the world; a country of innovation and hard work.  A country where despite our tinged racial history a child, born in Hawaii to a white mother and black father, can grow up to become the President of the United States.

❺I am thankful for my Work

During a time when millions of my fellow citizens are out of work, I am thankful to have work.  I am extremely thankful that part of my work has been to assist those looking for work.  I am thankful to never forget that work is more than just a paycheck; work represents the dignity that comes from using your talents and skills to support yourself and your family.

The bottom line

These are only five of the many shades of thankfulness that I am grateful for.   I hope, amidst the food, football and family, that you will spend a moment reflecting on your shades of thankfulness.

A final word of thanks

Finally, thank you for reading my weekly blog post.  Your comments week after week are a heartwarming affirmation that the words written and the stories told… matter.  I am forever amazed and grateful for your readership.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. 

A Soldier’s Last Letter Home

Private First Class Jesse Givens had been in Iraq for a less than a month. The 34 year old married with a stepson and a new son on the way was unable to shake a sense of dread – and a need to say goodbye to his family. A month later Melissa Givens, Jesse’s 27-year-old widow while going through her husband’s personal effects fond a letter that simply said “Open after my death”. This is Jesse’s goodbye to his wife, Melissa, his stepson Dakota and his unborn son Bean.

On this Veteran’s Day as we wind down the longest war in American history the war in Afghanistan.  I would like to share with you the true cost for those who served in uniform and their families in a soldier’s last letter home from the war that just ended the war in Iraq.

Private First Class Jesse Givens had been in Iraq for a less than a month.  The 34 year old married with a stepson and a new son on the way was unable to shake a sense of dread – and a need to say goodbye to his family.

On May 1, as he helped to snuff fires set by insurgents, his tank crashed through a berm and fell into a canal off the Euphrates River. The rest of the crew escaped through a hatch, but Givens was trapped inside. Of all the dangers they were warned about, of all the terrible scenarios that went through the minds of his family, it was a scene nobody imagined:

Jesse Givens husband, father and father to be drowned in the desert.

A month later Melissa Givens, Jesse’s 27-year-old widow while going through her husband’s personal effects fond a letter that simply said “Open after my death”.   This is Jesse’s goodbye to his wife, Melissa, his stepson Dakota and his unborn son Bean.

My family:

I never thought I would be writing a letter like this, I really don’t know where to start. I’ve been getting bad feelings though and well if you are reading this . . .

I searched all my life for a dream and I found it in you. . . . The happiest moments in my life all deal with my little family. You will never know how complete you have made me. Each and every one of you. You saved me from loneliness and taught me how to think beyond myself. You taught me how to live and to love. You opened my eyes to a world I never even dreamed existed . . .

Dakota, you are more son than I could ever ask for. I can only hope I was half the dad. You taught me how to care until it hurts, you taught me how to smile again. You taught me that life isn’t so serious and sometimes you have to play. You have a big beautiful heart. Through life you need to keep it open and follow it. Never be afraid to be yourself. I will always be there in our park when you dream so we can still play together. I hope someday you will have a son like mine. Make them smile and shine just like you. I hope someday you will understand why I didn’t come home. Please be proud of me. Please don’t stop loving life. Take in every breath like it’s your first. I will always be there with you. I’ll be in the sun, shadows, dreams, and joys of your life.

Bean, I never got to see you but I know in my heart you are beautiful. I will always have with me the feel of the soft nudges on your mom’s belly, and the joy I felt when we found out you were on the way. I dream of you every night, and I always will. Don’t ever think that since I wasn’t around that I didn’t love you. You were conceived of love and I came to this terrible place for love. Please understand that I had to be gone so that I could take care of my family. I love you Bean.

I have never been so blessed as the day I met you Melissa. You are my angel, soulmate, wife, lover, and my best friend. I am sorry. I did not want to have to write this letter. There is so much more I need to say, so much more I need to share. A million lifetimes’ worth. I married you for a million lifetimes. That’s how long I will be with you. Please keep our babies safe. Please find it in your heart to forgive me for leaving you alone. . . . Do me a favor, after you tuck Toad and Bean in, give them hugs and kisses from me. Go outside look at the stars and count them. Don’t forget to smile.

Love Always

Your husband

Jess

Private First Class Jesse Givens – Thank you for your service.

5 Tips for landing a job this holiday season

In less than a month we will be knee deep into the holiday season packed with lots of heartwarming holiday get-togethers, wonderful food, and great family fun. Most job seekers see the holidays as lousy months to look for work, and at first glance that is probably true. However, it does not have to be that way. An analysis of the last 4 holiday seasons revel that 90% of job-hunters assisted by my company, The Marben Bland Group who keep at it during the holidays actually found work as a result of those actives as quickly as 3 months after the start of the new year.

In less than a month we will be knee deep into the holiday season packed with lots of heartwarming holiday get-togethers, wonderful food, and great family fun.

Most job seekers see the holidays as lousy months to look for work, and at first glance that is probably true.  Potential hiring managers are distracted by festivities, travel and family obligations.  Plus they are often overwhelmed by year-end deadline pressure, and reduced budgets.  Finally companies are often in “slowdown mode” with employees taking time off and decisions being delayed until the start of the new year.

Add all of that to the feeling of many who have been job hunting for a long time that the holidays present the perfect opportunity to take a break from the discouraging task of looking for work and it is clear why the holidays can be lousy months to look for work.

However, it does not have to be that way.  An analysis of the last 4 holiday seasons revel that  90% of job-hunters assisted by my company, The Marben Bland Group who keep at it during the holidays actually found work as a result of those actives as quickly as 3 months after the start of the new year.

Those successful job seekers and their job search coaches have compiled a list of the best practices they have found most helpful in mounting a holiday search.  These 5 tips are presented to you now as our per-holiday gift.

There’s less competition.

Lots of people give up looking over the holidays, and that means you’ll have a better chance.

The holidays put people in a receptive mood.

The focus on family and fun makes people more open to conversation, even with job-seekers.

Holiday parties are great for networking.

In addition to parties thrown by family and friends, professional associations and offices host their own fêtes.

Respond to holiday leads quickly.

If you get a job or networking lead at a holiday party, act on it right away. Momentum is always important in a job search, so don’t wait until the new year to send that e-mail.

Hiring Managers have more time to take your call.

Workloads often lighten up during the holidays. If a hiring manager isn’t out of town, he’s more likely to chat with you than he would be at another time of year.

Bonus Tips

Everyone likes a bonus and because it is the holidays these 3 tips are our bonus to you!!!

Hiring managers must meet end-of-year deadlines.

Some managers have quotas to fill, like hiring 15 marketing staffers by Dec. 31. If they’re behind on hiring when you present yourself, you could get lucky.

Holiday cards offer a great way to stay in touch.

The hiring process often takes weeks, if not months. If you’re in protracted talks with a potential employer, a holiday card can be a great way to remind him or her that you’re available and eager.

Holidays offer time to polish your résumé.

Employed job-seekers looking to make a switch are often too crazed at work to spend time on their résumés. The holiday lull can offer precious time to fix up one’s C.V.

The Bottom Line

The holidays is a time to count  our blessings, yes you may be unemployed or underemployed  however, all is not lost you have a family that loves you and a cadre of people who are rooting for you and willing to help you find that next job.   Our work with thousands of job seekers clearly shows that those who express confidence and are resolute that they will find a job despite the difficulties, setbacks and the time it takes are untimely successful.   So use the holidays to renew your appreciation of all that is good in your life that can help you pursue your search with an attitude that’s most likely to get results that you so richly deserve.   — Happy Holidays!!!!