Friday, October 25, 2013

The Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize: Did You Know This?

Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), the rich Swedish inventor of dynamite and the creator of the Nobel Prize, had a rude awakening. His brother had died, but the  newspapers, in error, reported his death, and published his obituary, which they had prepared in advance. They stated that he was known for creating the most destructive force known to mankind, dynamite. He was so shocked about what people thought about him, that he decided to change his public image and do something for humanity. He decided that he didn't want his family name remembered for destruction.

In 1866 Nobel had invented dynamite and built up companies and laboratories in more than 20 countries all over the world. Not only did he hold more than 350 patents, he also wrote poetry and drama and seriously considered becoming a writer.

While science had built the foundation for Nobel's own activities as a technological researcher and inventor, efforts to promote peace had always been close to his heart. As a result, he began thinking about giving away his fortune as a means to recognize those that have made significant contributions in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace. The prize for economics was added later on. The prize for peace was to be awarded to the person who "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding of peace congresses."

Friday, September 20, 2013

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade

Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, a psychiatrist, has written an inspirational book, "The Gift of Adversity". It is a series of autobiographical stories with life-changing lessons gleaned from challenging events. The book's main message is to consider adversity as a gift. It happens to all people and that you need to move on. It does not reflect your personal worth. Upgrade your skills and also learn new skills. Don't compare yourself to other fortunate people which can cause depression. Faith in oneself overcomes temporary turbulence. Let's learn from our mistakes. Excellent advice!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Can We Top This Attitude During Our Job Hunting?

Diana Nyad completed a miraculous swim on Monday, September 2, 2013, from Cuba to Florida, a distance of 110 miles. She became the first swimmer to swim without a shark cage. She was in the water for 53 hours. She finished her swim a day earlier than expected. It was her fifth attempt at age 64. As soon as she emerged from her course, here is what she said: "I HAVE THREE MESSAGES. ONE IS WE SHOULD NEVER, EVER GIVE UP. TWO IS YOU NEVER ARE TOO OLD TO CHASE YOUR DREAMS. THREE IS IT LOOKS LIKE A SOLITARY SPORT, BUT IT TAKES A TEAM." Even during our job hunting process, persistence will win in the end. Agreed?

Monday, July 15, 2013

"Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish"

Steve Jobs in his Stanford commencement address talks about a quote attributed to Stewart Brand of Whole Earth Catalog. In its final issue in May 1974, on the back cover, as a final message, it signed off, Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish. Jobs always wished that for himself. He told the graduating class that he wished that for them.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

How to Get Your First Job after Graduation

The more things change, the more things remain the same!

Why do I say that?

The fundamentals of job search are unchanged!

What do I mean by that?

Regardless if you are a high school or college graduate, you need to sell yourself to a prospective employer as a problem solver, who can add significant value, compared to what they are willing to pay you. In other words, if they do not hire you with your skills, they would lose more money than what they will pay you!

Sounds simple? It is easy to say but difficult to do!

Here are three key pointers:

1.   Know exactly what you want to want to do ( technical, medical, legal, engineering, etc.).

2.   Where do you want to do it (industry, company, etc.).

3.   Find the hiring manager and convince her/him that you will be an asset to the company.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction: From Abacus to iPhone

Let's ask ourselves an honest question and try to give an honest answer.

Have we increased only our level of knowledge or truly gained in wisdom?

My feeling is that we have not truly increased our level of wisdom.

Knowledge: Range of information. Wisdom:  A wise attitude or course of action.

Remember that as children we learned to count with blocks, followed by counting on our hands, and then progressed to multiplication tables, logarithms, slide rules, calculators, and so on to computers.

Human history in computing ranges from the abacus to an iPhone.

The abacus is also called a counting frame. It is a calculating tool used primarily in Asia for performing arithmetic processes. Note that the abacus was in use centuries before the adoption of the written modern numeral system and is still widely used by merchants, traders and clerks in Asia, Africa, and other places. Surprised?

The iPhone 5 developed in the Western world is a touchscreen-based smart phone developed by Apple Inc.. It is the sixth generation of the iPhone. It is amazing how much you can do with it. But there is also a limit to what you can do with it.

Recent studies have shown that multitasking in not as effective as claimed to be. If anything, it can be counterproductive. Along the same lines, if we can push back the invasion of tech gadgets (from smart phones to computers) in our daily lives during certain periods of the day, our effectiveness has proven to increase.

Think about it! It may be wise to do so. Time to put away our tech toys, including my getting away from this computer for a little while!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Hidden Benefits of Attending Places of Worship

After a great deal of thought several years ago, I decided to call myself a Life-Work Coach instead of the conventional Work-Life Coach. My reason may or may not be obvious to the reader. I consider life more important than work, and work as only a means to achieve the life you desire.

I realize that in this particular blog I may be stepping out into an area considered very sensitive in our society - Religion. I have been stimulated to write this piece, inspired by a recent book by Tanya Marie Luhrmann, a professor of anthropology (who also has training in psychology) at Stanford and the author of "When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship With God."

Although Luhrmann's observations and study focuses on Christian Evangelical Churches, I would venture to say that the benefits can be extrapolated to all people who attend places of worship regularly every week. What is striking is the discovery that religiosity boosts the human immune system, decreases blood pressure, and adds as much as three years to a person's life. In addition, stress was significantly decreased, and the quality of a person's relationships while interacting with other people was significantly increased.

Social support obviously has a part to play in it. At the weekly meeting of small groups, the participants talked about their lives, encouraged each other in concrete ways, and also studied their sacred books. It appears that this interaction contributed directly and indirectly to better physical and mental health. Those attending religious services regularly drank less, smoked less, used fewer recreational drugs and were less sexually promiscuous than others. They also seemed to have a stronger moral and ethical compass. 

We would be very interested in your comments.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Why I Love and Respect Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker has been my management guru for the past five decades. I was thrilled a couple of years ago when I had the good fortune to visit Claremont, California, and see Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management. Drucker passed away on November 11, 2005, at the age of 95.

Two of his concepts have had a deep impact on me. One is Effectiveness and the other is Abandonment.

Drucker says: "Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things." This concept is true for individuals as well as organizations.

Abandonment (Purposeful) is a solution which leads to effectiveness. "Choosing what not to do is a decision as strategic as its opposite." Drucker exhorts managers to quickly sever projects, policies and processes that had outlived their usefulness.

These concepts are the linchpins of excellent time management.

Any wonder why I love and respect Peter Drucker?

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Respect for Various Professions in the United States

I have always been curious as to the changing degrees of respect Americans give to various professions in these United States. A typical decade will also show how the hierarchy of respect changes for various professions. Although various surveys exist, what is shown below is based on a recent Angus Reid Public Opinion poll. Some results took me by surprise! I was expecting Priests / Ministers to be No. 1!

Most respected professions are:

Farmers (93%)
Nurses (92%)
Doctors (90%)
Veterinarians (89%)
Teachers (88%)
Engineers (87%)
Scientists (87%)
Dentists (86%)
Military Officers (85%)
Architects (83%)
Police Officers (81%)
Priests / Ministers (76%)

Least respected professions are:

Business Executives (48%)
Lawyers (45%)
Car Salesmen (30%)
Politicians (20%)

What do you think? Please send us your comments and opinions.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Delay in Hiring Qualified and Proven Job Candidates

A new trend seems to have emerged in hiring qualified candidates. Companies have conducted up to seven interviews with a candidate, but have refused to make a firm offer! How sad!

The only reason I see why companies are not willing to hire permanent employees is because they fear that the economy is not as strong as it appears, and they do not want to extend full benefits.

As a career coach, the only advice I can give is that you should not place all your eggs in one basket. Continue to give interviews at other companies, but follow up patiently in the company you are interested in. Stay in the running with a cheerful and optimistic attitude and perhaps after five, six, seven, eight, nine or ten interviews, they will admire your positive attitude and offer you the job. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

MBAs Rate Top Ten Companies for Employment

Universum Communications Inc. recently surveyed MBA graduates to rate employers in terms of top ten companies they would like to work for and here are the results:

1.      Google
2.      McKinsey & Company
3.      Apple
4.      Bain  & Company
5.      The Boston Consulting Group
6.      Amazon
7.      Goldman Sachs
8.      Facebook
9       Nike
10.   J. P. Morgan

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What Mr. Fred Rogers Can Teach Career Coaches

Ten years ago, Fred Rogers, an educator, Presbyterian minister, songwriter, and television host, died on February 27, 2003, of stomach cancer at age 74. He was the creator and host of the enduring show, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood for more than three decades. In every show he let the children know that he loved them for who they are.

This show was my two sons' (Norman and Dale, presently ages 37 and 33) favorite show in the eighties. My oldest son, Norman, around age two or three, refused to call me Dad for quite a while, and every evening when I came home, called me "Mr. Rogers" (something I secretly cherished!). I don't know to this day why he said that. My wife Elizabeth thinks it was because I was kind and gentle with them, and spent a lot of time with them.

Perhaps when a client comes to see a career coach, that person's ego has been badly bruised by the world. In many ways, the client is looking for unconditional love from the coach. Using this hypothesis, I want to share with you some characteristics of Mr. Rogers which we may want to emulate.

These are gentleness, sweetness, sincerity, a voice which seems to lower the anxiety
level, consistency, unconditional love, focused attention (listening), and providing a safe
haven during a counseling session.

Mr. Rogers' philosophy of the show can be summarized as follows:

- Discover something new.
- Listen to people's stories.
- Sing.
- Take your time.
- Be generous.
- Imagine.
- Feed the fish! (Don't forget the little acts of kindness!)

He encouraged the children and us to be ourselves, understand love, the challenges of inner discipline, and that we are all neighbors.

Let's pay a tribute to this great man by integrating some of Mr. Rogers' values and philosophies like non-judgmental listening and focused attention in our practice of career coaching and career counseling, and all of us, coaches and clients, will benefit from them.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Less Demand for Lawyers

In CareerQuest's Newsletter of May 2012, we had an article about demand for new lawyers. You can read it in the Newsletter Archive on CareerQuest's website,

Ethan Bronner, a journalist has written a pointed article in The New York Times of Thursday, January 31, 2013. It's title is Law Schools' Applications Fall As Costs Rise and Jobs Are Cut. Bronner goes on to say, and I quote:

"Law School applications are headed for a 30-year low, reflecting increased concern over soaring tuition, crushing student debt and diminishing prospects of lucrative employment upon graduation.

As of this month, there were 30,000 applicants to law schools for the fall, a 20 percent decrease from the same time last year and a 38 percent decline from 2010, according to the Law School Admission Council. Of some 200 law schools nationwide, only 4 have seen increases in applications this year. In 2004 there were 100,000 applicants to law schools; this year there are likely to be 54,000." 

CareerQuest could not agree more with the contents of this article; it is worth reading.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Best Companies to Work for in Natural Science

Universum Communications Inc. recently asked 60,000 undergraduate students on the brink of graduation to provide employer rankings in terms of companies they would like to work for in Natural Science. The top ten are:

1.    National Institutes of Health
2.    Mayo Clinic
3.    Centers for Disease Control
4.    American Cancer Society
5.    Walt Disney
6.    Peace Corps
7.    Environmental Protection Agency
8.    Google
9.    National Aeronautics and Space Administration
10.  Apple

Well, in a future blog we will let you know the top 10 companies favored by MBAs. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Best Companies to Work for in Information Technology

Universum Communications Inc. recently asked 60,000 undergraduate students on the brink of graduation to provide employer rankings in terms of companies they would like to work for in Information Technology. The top ten are:

1.   Google
2.   Microsoft
3.   Apple
4.   Facebook
5.   IBM
6.   Amazon
7.   Intel
8.   Electronic Arts
9.   Walt Disney
10. Sony

Well, in a future blog we will let you know the top 10 in Natural Science. Stay tuned!