Category Archives: Jobs

Keep Your Hair Down Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Having FunFor any woman out there going through mid-life crisis and wishing you had buckled down and partied less, Hillary Clinton has come to relieve you of any regrets. This week photos broke out showing Hillary downing some beers (straight out of a bottle it was noted) and dancing with her girls from work flashing a massive smile on her face. The result of this one night mess was a new love for the Hilly. Websites everywhere started taking a look at Clinton’s surge in popularity, and on KPCC’s Madeline Brand show, guest Margaret Carlson said she believed Hillary could even win the presidency in 2016 now that people have seen her let loose. So what can the rest of us gain from one woman’s move from the bottom of popularity to the top? Stop shunning your inner party girl ’cause she’s your ticket to getting ahead in your profession!

As women, many of us are made to feel that we need to seem serious and grounded to succeed in our careers, which is a huge shift after being raised to be cute and giggly. Soon after leaving the nest we learn that joyful giddiness is not a sign of heart-melting enthusiasm but rather an obnoxious trait signalling a lack of self-esteem. I even had a freshmen high school teacher and nun we called Big Bird who was so worried about this transition for her students later in life, that she made it part of her curriculum to make our lives hell. Each week she’d pick on a different student and if you survived her taunts without whining, she’d leave you alone the rest of the year. If you couldn’t handle her telling you things like, “If you keep stuttering when you read I’m gonna throw you out the window and hope a truck comes by,” or, “If you keep saying “ax” instead of “ask” I’m gonna get an ax and ax your head off,” then she’d badger you until you stiffened up and grew up.  She knew about the pressures ahead of us, and believed as so many women do that we need to become stern and dour if we ever hope to be taken seriously.

I wonder if men ever go through this need to be taken seriously? When they’re growing up they’re never encouraged to be bubbly, but they are encouraged to know how to play with other guys and have fun through activities like group sports.  Sure women play team sports as well, but they’re usually the exception and not the rule. Which is a shame since group sports are one of the few areas where you can experience the balance of fighting hard to achieve something while bonding with others and having fun. No wonder there’s a boys’ club mentality, it’s ingrained in men the minute they play their first game of football.

Now most women talk about the boys’ club mentality like it’s a bad thing, but I say why don’t we just learn from it. After all people just want to work with people they get along with. Instead of suffering our way through life trying to be a boring overachievers, why not take note of those CEO’s in suits playing golf, grabbing drinks with their buddies and having a good time? If only more women did this they could also experience the kind of confidence that comes with being able to enjoy what you do because you’re enjoying life. I mean sure you’ll see department staffs here and there go out for lunches and happy hours, but it’s usually to let off steam rather than play. I want to see top-level female executives getting together laughing over champagne, having fun discussing money while, I don’t know, going out sailing. Does it not happen now because we’re afraid that we won’t be seen as hard-working? Well guess what hard-working gets you, ladies…Secretary of State. Want that grand prize of President…let go Hillary Clinton and keep having fun!

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How to Survive Extreme Interviewing

Hunger GamesFor those of you like me who were ashamed to admit they were reading the Hunger Games trilogy, you can put that shame away. The story it turns out is not fun fluff; it is a serious guidebook for how to survive job interviews today… without blood… yet. Employers are finding more extreme ways to mess with the jobless, which may be fun for them, but for the unemployed looking for a way to pay for food and rent, it’s a fight for their lives. According to the LA Times article “Job Interviewing to the Extreme” there is still a glut of job seekers in the market. As a result, employers are able to take extra precautions to hire the right people while having some fun at the expense of hopeful candidates.

After watching enough reality TV, recruiters are learning that resumes, references and regular interviews don’t give them all the information they need; it’s better and more entertaining to throw job seekers into unexpected obstacle courses with no tools or preparation. After all, work life is like a reality show–you are always given random deadlines, everything is made out to be a bigger deal than it is and there is always someone who is waiting to throw you off the island. So what can we–the desperate for work–do to get back into the workplace? Train yourselves job seekers–we have become contestants in our very own reality show with amateur producers.

Be Creative

Companies like Google and Zappos know you’re expecting the one dreaded question, “What is your worst trait as an employee?”  But are you expecting questions like:

What’s your theme song? What super hero would you be? How weird are you on a scale of 1-10? Out of 25 horses, pick the fastest 3 horses. In each race, only 5 horses can run at the same time. What is the minimum number of races required?

Did those throw you off? Don’t let them! Believe it or not, you’re the one in control in the interview. Recruiters will try to tell you that these questions are a way to learn how creative you are and if you’re left-brained or right-brained. But like every amateur reality show producer, they just want to know if you thought their challenge was creative and clever, so treat it as such and play the game.

As you would for any contest, arrive prepared and have a simple answer that will work for every random question that doesn’t pertain to the job, like the word oneOne is a perfect answer for math problems and personality questions because although it’s not always right, it’s just as random. After saying, “One,” make sure you have a reason for your answer should they ask for it. I advise coming up with something that takes as much effort as they put into making your fun senseless question. This is where one really shines. With so much implied meaning behind the number, the bullsh** possibilities are endless!

My theme song is “One” because I’m a passionate team player that believes we should all work as one for your mission here at X Company and because I’m as amazing as Bono and I will save the world.

Or…

The minimum number of races required is one because I run the track and I said so!

When creativity is what they think they’re looking for, try thinking like a kid who has gotten into trouble. Kids come up with the worst excuses but always have the most entertaining stories to back them up.

Think On Your Feet

People love talent shows. That’s why we love America’s Got Talent and Top Chef. So before you go in, think about your special talent and have it in your bag of tricks. Should you get a question like:

Just entertain me for five minutes; I’m not going to talk.

Easy peasy. Sing your favorite karaoke tune. Dance a jig while sitting down. And if you’re greatest talent is throwing back things in people’s faces, hold up a mirror to the interviewer for five minutes. I’m sure he/she will be entertained. Just be sure that no matter what you’re good at, only present it with as much enthusiasm as your interviewer is showing you. No more, no less.

Sociology Experiment / Work Well Under Pressure

Sometimes recruiters want to see how you play with others and take the interview process out of the office and into unexpected environments like a restaurant or bar. Then without notice they add other candidates to your interview time to see who may turn out to be catty and who plays well with others.  What?! You might be thinking… This isn’t what I was expecting. I’m already run down and scared because I haven’t had a job in over two years and these interviews mean more to me than just a silly game. I don’t know if I can handle this. I don’t know how much longer we can afford rent and I just want to be able to feed my husband and kids. And now I have to face other candidates for the job who may be more confident or have connections I can only dream of?

SNAP OUT OF IT! Extreme Interviewing is always waiting for one psychological breakdown. Of course you can unravel with other unemployed people because they feel your pain, but those with jobs never will. After all, interviews are about making the other person believe you’re one of them, so be psycho for a day and pretend you’re like them: employed, well-off and with little regard for how much this job means to you.

The Truth

In the end, there is one thing all of these interview processes that are meant to keep you off-balance can’t do, and that is determine which applicant will really flourish in the company. So to see how well someone will do in the job before they get the job is nothing more than a game for game’s sake. Some job applicants who excel in playing “Choose Me!” are great at interviews, but once given the security of a job and paycheck, may spend more time on Facebook than delivering top-notch ideas and productivity. And who knows, if you offer a job to that person that wasn’t as interview savvy but had great references, you may find yourself with someone who will give you more than you asked for once they can stop worrying where their next paycheck will come from. Does approaching job seekers this way sound fun, exciting, challenging or mind-bending? No. But neither should it be. Messing with people’s minds is a great way to find other people who are good with messing with people’s minds, but during this recession, it would be considerate of recruiters to stop messing with people who feel messed with enough as is.

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