The Desk

March 22, 2015

Developing Good Mini Habits

Filed under: Career Tips,Education and Training — Yvonne LaRose @ 5:16 AM
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There was a recent question posted on Quora where the person wanted to know some “mini habits” that can be practiced everyday for about five minutes. Now that was definitely a good question because it focuses on building in small steps to be more efficient.

Read more of Developing Good Mini Habits in the “Ask Yvonne” folder of Entrances Bulletins.

March 18, 2015

Fitting into the Environment

Having a good relationship with the co-workers (whether autonomous work or team) is important. Being mindful of how all of the processes fit together to create a cohesive whole unit is useful for making sense of the job and what you do there. Getting along with your co-workers means you have the rapport to be considered part of the team.

Read more of Fitting into the Environment on Career Coach Corner.

December 24, 2014

When in the Course

Filed under: Career Advancement,Career Tips,Management — Yvonne LaRose @ 8:12 PM
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Maybe you’re also a fan of The Amazing Race, a TV reality show that has contestants conquer tests and obstacles around the world in order to win $1,000,000 (in addition to various segment prizes).

A few years ago, a middle-aged couple had the task of counting beads and reporting to the gatekeeper the number they’d reached. Mind you, there was a factory room filled with these beads. Just the sight of them would make your head swim. Counting them, while daunting by the sheer volume, was doable. The husband of the middle-aged team began counting. He kept getting the wrong number and had to begin again. In one clip, there was a record of his losing count by ten beads.

So it goes when you’re standing alone and dealing with an overwhelming amount of content. Things need to be brought into perspective. Things need to be organized into manageable chunks. Some things need to be delegated, if possible, to teams that have more hands, more ideas about how to effectively organize things, more experience in managing the scope of the project.

Sometimes it doesn’t really matter where you start nor what you choose to put first. It’s simply a matter getting an idea of how to organize the project and then choosing what will be the first line of attack. Just stick your hand into the mosh and make it the starting point. There are many great examples of dealing with the jumbled chaos of a huge project.

Bringing order from chaos.

Bringing order from chaos. (from

There will be times when the greatest distraction proves to be external circumstances that need to be resolved before starting the project. If they’re ignored, they prove to be like an elephant in a 4 x 3 room. Every time you try to do something, you find yourself bumping into a blockage. Clear up some of the distractions. Take care of the external; resolve it. Handling it in small bite-sized chunks won’t do because it’s still there being a distraction that needs to be settled. It’s like a burr in your shoe. Just not having it waiting in the wings will be a relief and free your mind to focus on what needs to be done.

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December 15, 2014


Filed under: Career Advancement,Management — Yvonne LaRose @ 6:15 PM
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As we look at the close of a year of striving to fulfill our desires of reaching our goals, as we consider the steps necessary to do something about turning the goals into accomplishments, there are a few other things we need to examine and ask.

Are you guilty of taking the road less traveled?

Quandaries of the road less traveled.

Quandaries of the road less traveled.

There was this detour sign on my road. I took the detour and kept the map. Then there was another detour so I took it and kept the map. A whole bunch of detours kept coming up and I kept taking them while keeping the map.

Now the map is weather worn, travel worn, and just worn and there’s this new detour sign in front of me. I’ll admit it; I’m lost. So now I have a few questions for you and for me:

  • Just when do I get back to the highway?
  • Where the heck is it or did it run out?
  • What happened to my map?
  • Do you still have yours?

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November 28, 2014

Attitude Adjustment

It takes a lot of nerve to be controlling and to marginalize another. But it happens. Those measures are used to discourage what could be perceived as competition or merely one who has a better edge that will result in dampening the esteem of the controller.

Controlled Identity

Controlled Identity

On closer inspection, the lack of control and authority will be discovered. The control, manipulation, and threats of various types are simply masks used to play on one’s vulnerabilities that were discovered during harmless interaction. When the source of the discouragement is discovered, it’s easily overcome. There are several effective techniques. A few will be discussed today.

A simple objection to the impediment will result in attempting to create guilt. The goal is to shame one into accepting the pressure. Ignoring the pressure is not an effective way to handle it. It’s important to acknowledge the subterfuge in a very subtle way. To do more would be overkill. Tactfully brushing aside the attempt to plant fear or doubt by talking about the ineffectiveness of cowering in fear or avoidance tactics doesn’t help one reach the goal.

Avoid making accusations of attempted harm. The result will be aggravation of an already negative situation. However, do not cave to accepting the abuse. Speak softly; be assertive. Say “no” in an indirect way, such as, “That doesn’t seem like a good option. I think I’ll try something else.” It isn’t necessary to define what “something else” is. In fact, being abstract can work as well; simply say you haven’t thought of an alternative you want to use just yet. It will take a little more consideration of the circumstances.

Getting upset and losing control is a sign of weakness. It also lowers one’s professional image (unless, of course, you’re in a drama). If you’re not delivering an emotion-packed motivational speech or not in a dramatic play, losing your temper is not effective for talking through the sticking point. Point out what is unacceptable and refuse to accept it as your normal.

These are just a few ways to avert being stopped or have your growth retarded while others pass you in attaining a similar goal. Get an attitude adjustment. Assert yourself. Then be glad of yet another opportunity to rise to being yourself.

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November 20, 2014

Career Tip: How Am I Doing

Filed under: Career Tips,Job Search — Yvonne LaRose @ 12:35 PM
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A young woman who had attended a class with me happened to mention a group interview where she was one of the candidates. She shared her concern about how she did and whether she would be called back for Step 5 of the six-part interview screening.

What she expressed was trying to figure out what the interviewer was thinking and their reaction to her. The interviewer seemed to have a skeptical posture and kept looking at her while covering their mouth with one hand, almost as if to hide a sneer.

One thing the young woman shared was the impressions of one of her competitors. That person commented on how articulate and well spoken she was during the interview. They admired her for those talents and expressed a desire to be that capable.

So how did this young woman do and what could she have done to feel she’d won over the interviewer? My suggestion hailed back to my days of competitive speech.

The competition in the speech rounds was the other five orators and the judge. The other speakers were also audience. It was my job to deliver my speech as well as possible, as convincingly as possible, with good expression (physical, verbal, appearance), good interpretation of the message, and win over anyone who appeared to be hostile while addressing everyone in the room.

My technique was to speak to everyone in the room, making eye contact with each one. But I would give a little extra eye contact or emphasize a particular point while looking at the one person who appeared to be the most hostile toward me or skeptical of my ability. If I saw their attitude melting, I was certain that I’d won over the entire room and also placed well in the round. Each time I employed that tactic, I placed first in that particular round and usually came away from the competitions having won first or second place in that category of speaking.

Win your detractor to your side by knowing your subject extremely well. Make good eye contact. Definitely avoid staring; be amicable. Ask good expositive questions that concern matters that could not be ascertained online or through research.

Close the interview with courtesy, a friendly hand shake, a thank you for having been able to have the meeting (it could have been cancelled) and the opportunity to learn more about the opportunity and the company.

The Other Things

Did you notice the people you passed as you went to the office where you were to be interviewed? Did you pay attention to what they were doing, how they were interacting with others, what they were saying or how they were saying it? All of that comprised just some of the working environment and culture. In addition to thinking about whether you’ll be called back for the next phase, think about whether that culture and atmosphere is what you want for your work life or how you can make a positive impact there.

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November 8, 2014

Telltale Signs: Company Profile

A young man stood on the bus stop wearing a navy blue suit. He held a notebook-sized portfolio. His attire was impeccable. I ventured a guess and decided to test it.

“So how did the interview go?”

“Okay. But I’m not sure about them.”

“Just okay? Do you think you’ll accept the position?”

The more he spoke, the more I noticed excellent articulation and vocabulary. There were some physical features that were not very attractive. However, they were quickly dismissed as he continued his discussion of the interview and his analysis of the company and how he would fit into the organization, if he chose to. It was a restaurant and he was to be the host.

He talked about the glowing interview and the very attractive offer that was made. He expressed uncertainty about the acceptance and I questioned him, again.

“I’m not sure about them. There’s a lot of talk but they make me nervous. They’re cutting too many corners.”

Just as important to the recruiter is not only the candidate’s appearance on paper and in person but also how the client looks. And just as the candidate needs to present a good appearance and profile, so does the client. Care needs to be devoted to the quality that goes into the product in addition to the running of the company. Selection of those who appreciate those imperatives and can deliver in a professional, ethical manner is what needs to be reached.

The recruiter is looking for the best match for both sides. Very important to their livelihood is the client who has desirable attributes. A savvy executive management candidate, as well as the recruiter, will consider things such as amount of time in business, success record, office atmosphere, profit and loss statement, vision, planning, industry ranking and reputation, management, turnover rate, timely payment of debts and debt management, to mention just a few factors.

Cutting corners shows, no matter what the corners. When recruiting for the best, it’s important to put forth the best image possible. In the long run, you’ll attract the best and most loyal customers as well as the best candidates who will serve them to keep your business alive and profitable.

What is your interviewing style saying about your company?

Additional Resources:

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Republished from Career and Executive Recruiting Advice (October 31, 2002)
Republished from (June 5, 2001)

November 2, 2014

Do the Research

Entrances is a 360 networking forum on LinkedIn. It’s for an exchange of information and for networking with others in order to develop new connections and awareness of new opportunities. The purpose is to gain better insights about another part of the employment sector other than your own space so that better choices are made based in feedback from the other players. One goal is developing relationships that can lead to referrals.

Entrances-Faces of the workplace

Entrances – Making sound choices based on informed networking

While it isn’t a forum for political speech, there are a series of videos running that are produced by based on their #IfTheySpeakForMe theme . They show by various examples of what ensues if others make choices for you because you didn’t do your research; instead, you were passive and took whatever you got. In this weekend before midterm elections, the videos emphasize the importance of doing good research before embarking on an endeavor or entering into relationships.

With those compelling ColorofChange messages are scenarios of hair care dictated by a stranger and being hijacked in a taxi. Those are similar to taking on employment with a client or employer you haven’t researched.

I encourage you to do the research this weekend that will help you make the right choice for you in the voting booth. Remember to vote. Exercise your rights.

Who Is This

That being said, remember to do some research, ask meaningful questions, about where your livelihood is or will be. Find out who the potential employer is. Determine whether the recruiter is the right one for you. What does the recruiter want in terms of a “qualified candidate” and how can the resume writer or the career coach help you them reach your goals. Maybe they simply are not the right fit. Maybe their philosophies are (and never will be) in consonance with your own ethics or beliefs in good practices. Consider the video wherein the hairstyle of several women is determined by a total stranger who contravenes the women’s wishes and relationship with their hairdresser.

We’ve talked about hair in Entrances from the perspective of what is accepted by the other side of the employment desk. It was intended to look at the various styles, colors, whether it constituted good grooming, and whether hairstyle is a valid hiring criteria. A few interesting views were expressed.

Making Impressions

Has someone impressed you with their words? What did they do to make that impression? How reliable are they? Would you be willing to refer them to something that may be a good match for what they have to offer?

Bottom Line

Which is the more important emphasis? Know who the employer is. Know their product or service before going on the interview or taking them on as a client. Recruiters are held liable for the misdeeds of their clients. It is a recruiter’s duty to guide a client along the more ethical path if they are erring in their decisions or execution of their business practices. But it’s imperative to know all of these things before getting involved or else having a delicate but compelling reason for taking a different, better path to open the right door and make better entrances.

October 30, 2014

Having an Impact – Appearance

Do looks matter when vying for a new position or even when seeking acceptance? The larger man and ‪woman face many challenges when they endeavor to ‪dress the part and be accepted as a leader in their industry. It can become a challenge in many ways. In particular, finding fashion that makes the right statement, is affordable, and flatters the physique can be difficult.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a new job interview that requires the right attire. It can also be a matter of commanding the necessary level of respect when making a presentation, teaching, doing public speaking, or just appearing before cameras.

To what extent are we missing one of the best by ignoring the larger sized person? This isn’t a constant phenomenon but it is an obstacle that confronts much of our population. Perhaps it isn’t so much the size of the person that becomes a hiring deterrent as much as the health risks the larger person carries and the resulting impact on health insurance premiums. It could be that a subsidized fitness center membership could be included among the cafeteria benefits offered in order to allay those issues. Just a thought.

Let’s consider the special challenges women face when it comes to vying for upper management and leadership positions. We’re told that they find it useful to dress for power, the better to gain the influence they seek. The more likely they will not become mired in a support position they outgrew decades before. A New York Times article considers this proposition and concludes that the higher one climbs, the more limited the fashion choices become. After all, there are only so many ways to wear a suit (or especially a dress) without a masculine cut and avoid having a soft, pushover image. Women, by necessity, are forced to make bolder strides in fashion so that their voices, identity, and authority can override the traditional perspective of being weak and subservient.

Notice where this feminine fashion dynamic is happening in the NYT article? There are an important lessons to be derived from this. It isn’t “sexy”, per se, that’s driving the advancement. Being attractive, even alluring, gains attention and a desire to have this person around. But those aren’t necessarily the same magnets that garner respect and regard for being extremely talented. They’re merely part of marketing and branding. But the overriding emphasis is on knowledge and ability. A woman’s attire needs to communicate those skills without her making exaggerated demonstrations of them in other ways. They become part of her brand.

In this instance, brand represents gaining success and being able to have improved status by association. The critical ingredient to all of this is having and using good knowledge and wisdom. Then fashion is merely the window dressing for the ultimate prize.

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October 18, 2014

Career Tip: Time Management

Budgeting and budgetary control

Budgeting for control.

Someone recently asked about how people manage their time. The focus was on achieving balance among the many competing priorities of living a full, complete, and satisfying life. After going through a long a very tedious response, a brief summary occurred to me. Perhaps you can benefit from the concepts.

It comes down to time management, prioritization, and supply chain management (what others call multitasking or running several things simultaneously, allowing some activities to fill dead time while another activity is started or completed in the interim).

  • Plan: put your activities in groups so that more can be accomplished in one trip.
  • Incorporate: put activities in bundles so that work can also serve as play, reading as research and learning, social activities as enrichment and networking.
  • Schedule: certain things are done at a particular time or on a specific day of the week/month/year.
  • Allocate: A certain amount of time for each activity. As the activity becomes outdated because of, e.g., technology, devote less time to that and more to the newer version – or stop doing it as it is no longer effective.
  • Discriminate: allow yourself to be among people who are gracious to you. The more courtesy and respect, the richer you will be in many ways. Don’t waste yourself or your time on people who cannot accept you for who you are.
  • Appreciate: Become acutely aware of your surroundings and enjoy the favorable elements. The negative are also there and serve a purpose for growth. Become attuned to what those are.

It’s all about making a plan and using that as your guide. It’s all about making a budget and living within that budget. It’s all about achieving balance.

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