Shopping for Perspectives

I just wrapped up my grocery shopping, and I am checking out the pre-owned books for sale in the corner by the service desk. One dollar for softcover, two dollars for hardcover. It uses the honor system. You’re expected to put your money inside the decorative treasure box that they have. I scan over the books, looking at the different titles. I also look at the different covers. I in fact do judge a book by its cover. I am often pulled in by an interesting cover as well as an interesting book title. And, there it is. “A Year of Fog”.

I immediately laughed softly to myself. I think I may have even spoken aloud. I say “that’s like this past year in New Haven. You see, recently, I’ve been looking at other jobs. In fact, I have an interview tomorrow. It’s a sure bet. My current job that I’ve been at for a little over year has been what I describe as challenging. My 10-year-old son says that “challenging” is adult talk for “this job sucks”. I was at my other job previously for 13 years, and really enjoyed the work. So, adjusting to a new job with new people really has been challenging. My reason for leaving the long-term job was for a promotion.

So, a year and some change later here I am. I feel like I may be starting to come out of the fog. So, with this quickly developed connection to this book, I look at the description on its back cover. It talks about a parent walking on the beach with their child holding their hand and seeing something in the sand, and letting the child’s hand go for what seemed to be a brief moment to see what was in the sand, only to turn around to see the child gone. What happened after that I can only guess, as I quickly put the book down. I cannot deal with children being hurt or separated from their parents. This gave me an instant dose of perspective, and a very big one. I don’t know if this book is fictional or not, but that story is one that is all too real in the world. Parents losing their children; horrible, hideous, awful. Me being at a challenging job truly pales in comparison. There, a healthy, hefty dose of perspective.

March 2014

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Finding My Calling

Recently, during an e-mail discussion with a friend, he inquired if I had “found my calling”. Our most recent thread was about his moving onto another job. I was struck that he’d found a good match in his career, had found what he was missing, as he described it. He asked me if I had found my calling. I thought about his question for a while. I work hard, and feel that I contribute at my job. But, found my calling? That did not seem to fit. My thoughts went beyond work, career, to a larger domain; life. Then, it came to me. I easily answered him. Yes, I have found my calling, in motherhood.

I am blessed with my two gifts, James and John. Motherhood is so impacting to me. My world is now divided into two distinct time periods; before kids and after kids. I have learned so much from my children and this experience. I cherish it so.

I delight in the smallest of things. Recently, my youngest, James, age 7, took his father’s hand and led him away, off to their next adventure. They paused for a moment, and James turned around to speak to me. He said ” Mommy, you have had Daddy for 21 years. I’ve only had him for seven. It’s still my turn.” I am still lingering in his sweet sentiment.

The thoughtfulness of my 10-year-old, John, warms my heart as well. We were visiting a friend who has a dog, Xena. My younger son took to licking ice cream off of the table where it had melted onto. My older son, John, addressed this with his younger brother. “James, you are licking the table like some kind of….of…..of…hamster.” John did not want to offend Xena, the dog, or her human mother. His forethought and kindness I so treasure.

Raising my children has given me a window into my own childhood, a window most often covered with a dark heavy curtain. How empowering and healthy it has been for me to be able to give in a loving and healthy way. And, how blessed I am to have found my calling.

It is my hope that each person finds a calling, something in which you can both give of yourself and your gifts while receiving satisfaction, appreciation, and joy from giving.

2013

About the contributing author:

Robin enjoys a variety of interests and activities, including writing, making jewelry, volunteering for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, creating note cards, photography, spending time with friends and family, and, of course, being a mother. Please take a moment to visit her blog at robinswetz.com.

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Finding My Calling

Recently, during an e-mail discussion with a friend, he inquired if I had “found my calling”. Our most recent thread was about his moving onto another job. I was struck that he’d found a good match in his career, had found what he was missing, as he described it. He asked me if I had found my calling. I thought about his question for a while. I work hard, and feel that I contribute at my job. But, found my calling? That did not seem to fit. My thoughts went beyond work, career, to a larger domain; life. Then, it came to me. I easily answered him. Yes, I have found my calling, in motherhood.

I am blessed with my two gifts, James and John. Motherhood is so impacting to me. My world is now divided into two distinct time periods; before kids and after kids. I have learned so much from my children and this experience. I cherish it so.

I delight in the smallest of things. Recently, my youngest, James, age 7, took his father’s hand and led him away, off to their next adventure. They paused for a moment, and James turned around to speak to me. He said ” Mommy, you have had Daddy for 21 years. I’ve only had him for seven. It’s still my turn.” I am still lingering in his sweet sentiment.

The thoughtfulness of my 10-year-old, John, warms my heart as well. We were visiting a friend who has a dog, Xena. My younger son took to licking ice cream off of the table where it had melted onto. My older son, John, addressed this with his younger brother. “James, you are licking the table like some kind of….of…..of…hamster.” John did not want to offend Xena, the dog, or her human mother. His forethought and kindness I so treasure.

Raising my children has given me a window into my own childhood, a window most often covered with a dark heavy curtain. How empowering and healthy it has been for me to be able to give in a loving and healthy way. And, how blessed I am to have found my calling.

It is my hope that each person finds a calling, something in which you can both give of yourself and your gifts while receiving satisfaction, appreciation, and joy from giving.

2013

About the contributing author:

Robin enjoys a variety of interests and activities, including writing, making jewelry, volunteering for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, creating note cards, photography, spending time with friends and family, and, of course, being a mother. Please take a moment to visit her blog at robinswetz.com.

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The Lunch List Users

Today I went to the Subway shop to get lunch. I was pressed for time, and, admittedly, I thought about scooting in ahead of the woman that I saw coming into the shop. You see, I saw it. There, on top of the pile of money she was carrying; a list. Yes, written on a brightly colored sticky note, three or four different lines. Clearly, this woman was buying lunch for herself and others back at the office. I decided to do the right thing, and held the door open for her and let her go through. As I settle in behind her in line, I notice the woman ahead of her already being helped has two lists, one atop of each of the piles of cash that she is holding in each hand. I said to the woman in front of me, “well, at least you only have one list”. Unfortunately, she did not find this to be funny, and gave me a serious look, asking if I wanted to go ahead of her. I said no, that I was only joking, even though I wasn’t. Trying to do the right thing again. Next, a woman settles in behind me in line. Yes, she too has a list. I in fact am now sandwiched in between to list carriers. Oh, I’m sure their good deeds of getting the lunches for folks back at the office will be appreciated by their colleagues. But, for now, I wait, and wait, and wait. Without a list.

The Lunch List Users

Today I went to the Subway shop to get lunch. I was pressed for time, and, admittedly, I thought about scooting in ahead of the woman that I saw coming into the shop. You see, I saw it. There, on top of the pile of money she was carrying; a list. Yes, written on a brightly colored sticky note, three or four different lines. Clearly, this woman was buying lunch for herself and others back at the office. I decided to do the right thing, and held the door open for her and let her go through. As I settle in behind her in line, I notice the woman ahead of her already being helped has two lists, one atop of each of the piles of cash that she is holding in each hand. I said to the woman in front of me, “well, at least you only have one list”. Unfortunately, she did not find this to be funny, and gave me a serious look, asking if I wanted to go ahead of her. I said no, that I was only joking, even though I wasn’t. Trying to do the right thing again. Next, a woman settles in behind me in line. Yes, she too has a list. I in fact am now sandwiched in between to list carriers. Oh, I’m sure their good deeds of getting the lunches for folks back at the office will be appreciated by their colleagues. But, for now, I wait, and wait, and wait. Without a list.

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Red Coffee Mug in the Mailroom

Red coffee mug in the mailroom

The e-mail alert just came through

Please come claim it at reception

Apparently it’s traveling like lost coffee mugs do.

I wonder if the red hue is bright or deep

And is the height of the mug tall enough for a long steep?

And hey, how do you know it’s for coffee, not tea?

Not every mug’s life-calling is coffee.

Maybe the residue ring on the bottom proclaims

It’s well known aroma, and not only it’s stains.

I have a naughty thought- I’ll go say it’s mine and take it home with me.

Wait, I cannot do that- that’s what leads to breakdowns in society.

Like taking the credit for my beautiful red crocheted poncho when asked by a stranger ,

Ignoring the next step – an inquiry of what stitches and size hook I used-the ultimate danger.

No, no, I will leave it be.

For its owner I am sure it hopes to see.

For now we will leave society in tact.

And follow the rules, for that I don’t lack.

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I caught my husband……

I caught my husband doing something today. Dusting. Now, don’t jump to conclusions. He was dusting my son’s baseball trophy. Sometimes I even catch my husband dusting the PS4. Hey, I’ll take it where I can get it. Love that guy. 🙂

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Interviewing and BFF

BFF- Its not what you think. We are talking interviewing!! And we are talking Best Foot Forward!!! Read on for Tips and Tricks for putting your Best Foot Forward during the interview process.

Great news! You’ve been called in for an interview. You are one step closer to getting the position. And more great news. There are tangible things you can do to increase your chances of being offered the position. Read on.

Interviewers often have a question that requires you to “sell yourself”. This is an opportunity to spotlight your skills, strengths, special qualifications; often things that may not be found on your application or resume. This is your chance to really spotlight why you are the best candidate. Avoid selling yourself and elevating yourself by putting others down. This leaves interviewers wondering if this is your Best Foot Forward as you introduce negativity. Interviewers don’t want to invite negativity into their organization.

For candidates already employed by the organization, this certainly can be awkward. There are pitfalls to avoid.
Never sell yourself as the best candidate based on how many years you have been at the organization. Although company loyalty is valuable, it is essential to identify the professional experience, skills, and strengths you have and the accomplishments you have achieved. “Putting time in” is not what potential employers are looking for.

Let’s talk acronyms. Do use acronyms that are commonplace in your field if that’s the field you’re interviewing for. If you do not know the full term that the acronym abbreviates, the interview is not the place to try to recall it. Interviewers take note when a candidate is stumbling to recall what the letters in the abbreviation stand for, especially when the candidate initiated their “self test” by playing recall during the interview.

Always always always ask questions when interviewers open it up for this. People who have no questions look as though they are not prepared, haven’t been paying attention, know everything, or just are not curious or interested. It only takes a few moments to google questions on the Internet. Also, usually something comes up during the interview that you’re wanting more clarification about. Be sure to bring a notepad to jot these down, as nervousness tends to strip your memory.

Bring at least 3 copies of your resume, even if you have sent it in with your application. If you’ve been called in for an interview, rely on your preparation to ensure interviewers have all the information you want them to have. Also, if you are bringing a resume, be sure that it is a finished copy- i.e., has your current position on it, is stapled together, and is in neat condition. It is counterproductive to present a resume that you have to explain to the interviewers that doesn’t have your current position, is wrinkled because it was at the bottom of your bag, and comes across the table in two or three stages with the various pages not put together.

Always bring a note pad and pen or pencil. Going to an interview empty-handed, or worse, with only you’re fresh tall iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, can be perceived as casual and under-prepared. Grab the note pad and skip the drink, or at least consider a bottled water off to the side.

Stay focused with your answers. Rambling unfocused answers that may or may not hit on what was asked leave the interviewer wondering about your focus, attention, organization- all qualities employers are looking for in an employee. All parts of the answer should relate back to the question in a fairly clear way and should provide an answer to the question.

Use “I” statements while answering questions posed to you. This demonstrates examples of your view, your work, about you. “People should ” talk does not clarify that this is your practice and view of the work. Own it with “I”.

Certainly have your thoughts and opinions, owned with “I” statements. Never argue or debate with an interviewer. Remember, Best Foot Forward. Demonstrating you are an argumentative employee will send potential employers running the other way, no matter how much experience and/or education you have.

When asked the reason for leaving on an application, be honest and be tactful. Writing reasons such as “Non-supportive management” or “lack of leadership” ends up reflecting on you. “Looking for a change, new challenge” likely is also an accurate way to reflect your reason for leaving. Never ever memorialize in writing something less than flattering about a former employer, former supervisor, or former colleague. This holds true for within the interview. A 10 minute presentation on the pitfalls of your previous employer’s policies, colleagues, managers, supervisors, and the like is a ship-sinker. We all have war stories. It’s just that the interview is not the place to tell them. Focus on what you bring to the table, your ideas, your perspective, your view of the work.

An interview is an amazing opportunity to sell yourself. If you are sitting across the table from the potential employer, you have already been selected as an individual they can envision in the position. Make the absolute best of this opportunity. And, always put your Best Foot Forward. They are expecting that.

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Encouraging Each Other

Today I saw a most wonderful sight. At my oldest son’s cross country meet, there was a runner working really hard to finish up. Well, runners from his team and other teams who had finished the race themselves joined this boy to run the rest of the way with him, providing encouragement and support each step of the way. This filled my heart with joy. That, to me, is what life is all about, that right there. Community, collaboration, support, encouragement. We are all in this together.

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