Archive for March, 2008

Change Your Stars?

March 24, 2008

I’m in Reno, Nevada this morning.  Joanne and I joined some friends in Grass Valley, CA and then rode the train up from Colfax to Reno.  Walking through the casinos last night reminded me of the many poorly thought-out ways people try to improve their position in life.  I’d like to think that the people here are just having a little harmless fun – maybe spending $20 in the same way you would ride the roller coaster just for the thrill of it.  And yet I don’t see that simple enjoyment in these people sitting in front of the slot machines hour after hour.  The desperation in their tired faces clearly shows they really do believe that “luck” may smile on them and give them an unexpected and underserved payout. 

What if they spent the same time and money in a direction that had more planning and a realistic chance for success?  What if they had taken the $500 they blew last night and purchased a lawn mower and started a landscape business?  Or if they spent that on a six week course to learn the eBay business model?  Or the tools to fulfill your lifelong dream of being a wood carver?  They could print up some flyers to announce a delivery service for the elderly like my Dad did until he was 88 years old.  The list is endless of real opportunities for “changing your stars.”

No matter how limited our resources, we all make daily choices.  Are you just spending your resources on consumptive living, gambling them away on risky ventures, or investing them in carefully laid out plans for the future you want?  Those decisions you’re making today are setting the stage for where you’ll be five years from now.  If a slot machine or roulette wheel play any part in determining your future, you have likely thrown your chances for a meaningful, fulfilling and profitable life into the wind.

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A Blog Coach?

March 20, 2008

I recently did an interview with my blog coach — yes my blog coach.  Whenever I explore a new opportunity I look for someone who is already an expert in that area, and then I engage them to coach me.  I’ve posted that interview with my blog coach Bill Seaver right here on the 48 Days Online Radio Show

In this podcast I ask Bill questions like:

Why should anyone care about blogging?

How can a person use new media tools to promote what they do?

Who are a couple of common people you’ve seen this work for?

How does someone begin their own blog?

How can listeners get more information?

Am I gifted to be self-employed?

March 20, 2008

Each week I select some of the most interesting questions submitted and answer them in a 48-minute podcast.  Here are a few of this today’s edition.  You can listen immediately here on 48 Days Online Radio

1. Over the past few years I have lost over 200lbs through a self-developed regimen. I wrote a book that is for sale on my website, http://www.iweighedmorethanjared.com. I would like to become a personal trainer with the niche in helping people over 150lbs overweight. Do I need to be certified? What do you suggest as far as a certification approach?

2. I have children’s stories I would like to get published. I read that it could take up to 2 years for a story to get published going through a MEGA Publisher. Can you recommend a self publisher?

3. I’ve heard you talk about how your son works full-time for you as an independent contractor. How can he do this and still be classified as an independent contractor by the IRS? I thought you had to have a business that was open to other clients.

4. What is the best way for someone to determine if they are truly gifted to be self-employed? Is it true that some are better suited to be employees than to be self-employed?

5. You mention a lot of times about putting a business plan together, that having one is essential. What if you truly don’t have a clue how to do that? Do you have a step-by-step how-to on that?

6. Our church is fund raising parallel to the story of the servants who were given talents and returned double to the master. We were given $25 to invest for the Lord for 3 months. Ideas?

7. My husband’s miserable with his job. He’s focused on his passion and wants to transition to self-employment. We live paycheck to paycheck and don’t think we can afford this. We follow Dave Ramsey. Does he need to wait until we eliminate our debt in 3 years to transition or is there something he can do now?

Somebody threw up here

March 19, 2008

No this is not the intro to another South Park episode. Yesterday I was on a short flight from Nashville to Cincinnati.  I had just gotten settled in my seat when a couple sitting directly across from me began complaining to each other that with their excessive carryon luggage they were cramped in their seats.  They then called the flight attendant back and stated rather loudly that it smelled like someone had vomited in their seat.  The attendant was gracious in listening and offered to allow them to move.  They quickly stated they would like the two vacant seats in the very front of the airplane. 

I’m convinced they simply wanted to move.  But immediately other passengers began to notice the foul smell as well.  The flight attendant returned with some great smelling air freshener – and allowed a few other people to move where they wanted.  I then had an entire row of seats all to myself – plenty of room to spread out and work – and never could detect the slightest unpleasant odor of any kind. 

Then I opened my copy of USA Today to see the front page headlines: 

3 in 4 think USA is in a recession.   Could it be the same effect with little more basis in reality?

Do you remember the time a few years ago when a little girl in a school in Florida complained that her sandwich didn’t taste right; she felt nauseated, and came back from the restroom reporting that she had thrown up.  Within 40 minutes, 63 children were sick – more than 25 had vomited.  Ambulances were called and the children had to be divided up among three different hospitals.  But within an hour it wall all over.  Every examination and test performed on the children showed nothing abnormal.  The sandwiches were analyzed and everything was fine.  No one became ill at the 68 other sites at which the exact same food was served. 

Be careful about getting caught up in mass hysteria.  The sky is not falling.  You can see opportunity or disaster in the same setting.

Business Chaplains

March 19, 2008

One of the fastest growing career areas I have seen in the last few years is that of business chaplain.  Topics ranging from family suicides, child-rearing, caring for aging parents, marital problems, depression, drug use and finances are being addressed by these workplace chaplains.  We are used to seeing military chaplains and hospital chaplains.  Many police and fire departments also have ministers, priests and rabbis who serve the same function.  Some employee assistance program coordinators estimate that they spend at least 20% of their time dealing with spiritual issues.  

This is just one of many new work opportunities that we are seeing.  And it’s an example of how if you have your eyes open you will find new doors opening – that also integrate fulfillment, meaning and purpose in your work.

To check out education requirements, pay and opportunities for business chaplains, see these sites:

Websites of Interest to Chaplains:  

Industrial and Commercial Ministries

Inner Active Ministries:  

Association of Professional Chaplains

Just keep in mind, having a heart for “ministry” can take you in a lot of creative directions to be fully engaged in that particular calling.

“We all need somebody to lean on”

March 19, 2008

Remember this great old song from the 70s?  When I was in graduate school studying psychology, my classmates and I decided to have this as our theme song.

One of our primary needs as human beings is to feel the support of those around us.  Ideally, that will mean we are nurtured and encouraged by our nuclear family first and then by an ever-widening circle of relatives, friends, teachers, etc.  Without that support, we tend to be less and less willing to try new things or to go down non-traditional paths.  Too frequently the gifted artist does not hear, “I really think you can do it” but rather, “You know artists don’t make any money” or something to that effect.  The guy with a critical wife stays in a job where he is “underemployed” because he doesn’t feel the freedom to stretch his wings.  An employee who is punished for making a mistake will ultimately do the very least to maintain her job, not willing to risk the disapproval again.

Not having someone to lean on, adding other’s fear to his own, the next Bill Gates or Thomas Edison settles into the twilight world of could-have-beens and regrets.  Without encouragement during the many falls, a baby would never learn to walk.  I fear that the current environment of isolation, where we no longer have sidewalks and community churches, has crippled the creativity of this generation.  Lack of support leads to minimal effectiveness.  That’s why one of the critical characteristics of very successful people is that they spend time with people who are performing at the level at which they want to perform.  Find those people in your own life and watch your success soar.

No wonder the ongoing popularity of the 1972 song, “Lean on Me.”  Here’s the chorus:

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
For, it won’t be long
Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on*

*For complete lyrics:  Lean on Me

And for a group to encourage your new ideas, check out our 212ºConnection.   You’ll find a growing group of people who are getting encouragement to pursue their unique dreams. 

Just Shoot Me

March 10, 2008

Police detectives in Franklin County, Washington say a man had his friend shoot him in the shoulder so he wouldn’t have to go to work.  Daniel Kuch initially told deputies he’d been the victim of a drive-by shooting.  But when his story details didn’t quite add up, he admitted that he had asked his friend to shoot him so he could avoid work and a scheduled drug test.  Now the friend has been arrested for investigation of reckless endangerment.  And Kuch is expected to be charged with false reporting. 

Somehow that doesn’t seem to be a very brilliant plan.  What ever happened to just pretending to be sick.  I know lots of people who call in when they really just plan to go fishing or need to take the car in for an oil change.  This dude is definitely over the edge. 

So he has the obvious pain of a gunshot wound, medical bills and charges of false reporting.  How do you suppose his employer is handling this information?  I suspect that an end result will be losing his job anyway.

Moral of the Story:  if you hate your job enough to take a bullet instead of having to show up for work, maybe it’s time to start a new job search.

See the story clip here:  shooting-friend.doc

Jobs Plunge – Opportunities Soar!

March 7, 2008

USA Today reports today that employers cut jobs for a second month in February while the unemployment rate fell as more people quit looking for work in the weakening job market, the government said Friday in a report that led to further calls of a 2008 recession

Yes, lots of ironies here.  Jobs lost yet hourly wages are up and unemployment is down.  There is no way the government has of tracking those people who have “quit looking for work.” 

I talk to them every day and they are not all discouraged and sitting on the curb – many of them have discovered new and innovative ways to create income and have joined the growing ranks in non-traditional work.  They got tired of expecting any “security” as employees and have moved into successful income generation and increased “security” as consultants, independent contractors, contingency workers, temps, electronic immigrants and entrepreneurs.  They also fall under the radar for U. S. Labor Bureau statistics and thus are categorized as “unemployed and discouraged.” 

No – don’t worry about us.  We are out here enjoying the new opportunities.  Keep your measly paychecks and shaky pensions.  We are the new workers – and firmly in control of our time freedom and unlimited income potential.  Thanks for the shove!

Someone’s Got To Do It!

March 4, 2008

What would be the perfect job title for your current position?  How would you title the perfect position?

I resist using the Department of Labor’s “Dictionary of Occupational Titles” for mature adults looking for new careers.  Any categorization of a person’s skills may overlook unique personal characteristics or interests.  And also, I’m frequently amazed at some of the titles actually listed there.  Here are just a few – I am not making any of these up.  They are listed in the 660 pages of DOL job titles.  You can check them out yourself in the new edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook

Check these out:  Ear‑Muff Assembler, Ecclesiastical‑Art‑Metal Worker, Drawstring Knotter, Dope Mixer, Doorshaker, Doll‑Eye‑Setter, Dinkey Operator, Butt Maker, Breast Buffer, Brain Picker,  Asparagus Sorter, Head Switcher, Toe Pounder, Umbrella Tipper, and of course Easter Bunny.

These are more creative than I could make up.  So, obviously, you can give yourself most any title.  When required to list my position in my company, I write “Creative Thinker.”  What do you want to be when you grow up?

False Resumes – You Did What?

March 4, 2008

dan-blues-brothers.jpg 

Robert Irvine, the star chef of Dinner Impossible has acknowledged fabricating parts of his resume that got him the position as host on The Food Network.  It seems he just added a few impressive details like cooking for Britain’s Royal Family and several U.S. presidents.  The Food Network said the chef has “challenged the trust of our viewers” and his contract will not be renewed. 

It turns out the B.S. in his “B.S. in Food and Nutrition” stands for something other than Bachelor of Science.  I know that in today’s competitive workplace you need to stand out and I am the first to say that a resume is a place to brag on and embellish accomplishments.  However, we are seeing a blurring of embellishment and downright misrepresentation.  The rule of thumb seems to be – exaggerate and confuse. 

Rather than reporting being a greeter at WalMart, the new information is “customer service coordinator for Fortune 500 company.”  The grease monkey at Jiffy Lube becomes a “petroleum distribution specialist.”  Yesterday’s taxi cab driver appears on the resume as a “transportation logistics manager.”  The 18-yr-old McDonald’s worker suddenly becomes an “Engineer for meat inspection and preparation”.

Keep in mind that today’s “VP of Personnel” was a likely a struggling college student herself a few years ago.  She probably knows the tricks of the trade, having presented herself as a “human resource specialist” rather than a babysitter.

The bottom line is this:  the purpose of a resume is to help you get an interview.  But it plays only one small part in the hiring process.  Be prepared to present yourself with confidence and to discuss your ability to contribute.

Incidentally, I suspect that Robert Irvine would have gotten the opportunity even without the misrepresentation.  Now instead of riding high, he is the butt of talk show jokes, rasing the money for his partially completed restaurant in St. Petersburg, FL is in jeopardy, and his reputation is forever tarnished.  As always, it would have been a whole lot simpler to just tell the truth.

Hey did I ever mention that I spent some time with Jake and Elwood of the Blues Brothers? They had all the time in the world for me — never seemed distracted and appeared genuinely interested in my story

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