Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Silver - Make New Friends

Making friends seems like it should be easy, doesn't it? Some how it isn't always. Maybe you're shy, or quirky, or just quiet. Maybe you're new to town and haven't found your niche. Maybe your best friends moved away, or you had a falling out with your not-favorite-any-more-friends.

You could complain about it. It can be quite satisfying to complain. I do it a lot (just read this blog!) But, complaining doesn't really make it better. In fact, complaining about not having any friends is often counter productive to making new friends. So what's a person to do?

Get out there. What do you like to do? Go do it. What do you have to do? Do it with a smile, and ask for some company. What do you have to offer the larger community? Everyone has skills and talents that can be used somewhere. Consider joining an activity group, a social action group, a volunteer organization, a charity group, or a church. These are all great places to meet people who share your interests, passions and intentions.

I've posted about this before. I'm on several on-line lists for homeschooling, parenting, etc... and at least once or twice a year some one posts about the difficulty in finding/making/keeping friends. This may indicate that I hang out on line with some pretty socially inept people, but I don't think that's the case. I think that having a community is a very real human need and that it's difficult to find that community if we don't fit societal norms. It's up to us to find or create our own community.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

To Job Applicants

I've recently had to hire someone. I can tell the economy is still not really what it was. There were 20+ applicants in less than 12 hours for a rather low paying job. Looking over the cover letters (emails) and the resumes sent, I think I have something to share with job seekers.

First of all - don't irritate the potential employer.

Read the instructions first, then read them again. If the job advertisement says "email resume" don't think that a phone call will get you a response.

Again: READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. If the job ad says "email resume" then include a resume with your email.

In your email - include some words. Do not send a blank email with a resume attached. I've got too many things to do to open every document. (That's why I'm looking for help!) The email is your cover letter. I'm looking for a hint in the email that you're a good candidate. Even something as simple as "Attached is my resume. Thank you for your consideration." is better than nothing. Better yet "Attached is my resume. I have experience pertinent to this position (description of pertinent experience). I am a hard worker, capable of independent work, and would very much like the opportunity to discuss how I can make your life easier." I'm all about anything that makes my life easier. (You can word it better than that!)

In your email - don't include too many words. I don't want to know about any hobbies or interests that aren't pertinent to this job. Your desire to camp every weekend this summer won't get you a job with me. I don't care how much you really, really need this job, how it would be perfect for you because you don't want too work hard or often, or how this might be a good fit for you only if ___ .... Sometimes less really is more.

Make sure all the contact information is correct, especially phone numbers and emails. I can't respond to you if your phone is disconnected, or if you gave me the wrong number. I also have to wonder about your attention to details. Get someone to proof your work if necessary.

Speaking of details, make sure your resume is pertinent to the job you're applying for. It's pretty easy these days to edit documents. There's no reason that your resume's job objective should be "Being the best babysitter this church has ever had" when you're applying for a gardening position. It kinda makes me think you don't care about the gardening thing.

If you get called for a phone interview, don't tell me how what you're really looking for is a babysitting position, or a waitressing position, or any other position that I'm not hiring for. If you're driving when I call, just let it go to voice mail. If you do pick up, something like "I'm so sorry, I'm driving now. May I call you back at this number in X minutes?" is a good response.

Look, I was the world's worst secretary back in the day. I know it's a pain to get these details right. But as an employer, I don't have time or energy to weed through the chaff to find the wheat. If you want a job it's best if you can shine. If you can't shine, at least wipe off the mud so that the potential employer can get a glimpse of what you're capable of.

Update 5/18/11

Grr... interview candidate today had 4 references, I can only use 2.

So here are some more suggestions regarding references -

No relatives. Your father is not a good reference. Like I'm going to believe him when he says he's not biased and you're wonderful? And then, what if he says you aren't?

Call all your references in advance of listing them. Let them know you are using them as a reference, make sure their contact information is correct. The first name of your manager at Blockbuster from 3 years ago just doesn't cut it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

New Paradigm for Artists

Successful musicians and artists have relied on sponsors and patrons to make their living. From Bach and Beethoven to WPA artists support from persons of means, the government, or other non-profit motivated organizations and individuals have allowed artists the breathing space necessary to survive and create.

The paradigm may be changing. Locally artists like Ryan Marvel and Vicki Pompea work independently producing and promoting their amazing work, while still maintaining a normal family life. And then yesterday I got to listen to an interview with Jonathan Coulton. It talked about how, unable to make money from his music he wrote computer code, and kept at the music on his own, self publishing on his website. Now he's pulling down serious money doing what he loves, all without the support of what has become the traditional system of music production and promotion. Eric Whitacre recently became a youtube superstar with his astounding virtual choir performances, reaching an audience that had previously been completely unaware of his genius.

This maybe the wave of the future. The internet and World Wide Web are changing how we interact, and who we interact with. It is now possible for creative people to reach their comrades and their audience without the intermediary. I can't wait to see where this is going.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Things I want my children to know

I've been thinking about how short a time we have our children, and how much we want them to know before they leave our care. Our exchange student will be leaving soon, and my oldest son will be having his coming of age ceremony soon; both of which makes such concerns more urgent. We'll have had our exchange student for only 10 months and there so much I wish he could know. My oldest we will have for at least a few more years, and yet I know there's no way we'll have enough time with him.

Even though I want a good life for each of them - I find I have a different message for each. It's very different to write a letter to a child you've raised from birth and will have for a while longer than it is to write a letter to an adolescent you've only come to know recently, and whom you may not see again.

If you knew you were saying good-bye to a child, possibly forever, what would you want to say?

Friday, May 6, 2011

April's books