In Flanders Fields
 In celebration of our veterans on Veterans’ Day in Canada, US and elsewhere, I am dedicating this article to our brave, selfless veterans who gave their lives for world peace. May they rest in peace.

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 
  • We are the Dead.Short days ago
  • We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
  • Loved and were loved, and now we lie
  • in Flanders fields.
  • Take up our quarrel with the foe:
  • To you from failing hands we throw
  • The torch; be yours to hold it high.
  • If ye break faith with us who die
  • We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
  • In Flanders fields.

“In Flanders Fields” is a war poem written during the First World War by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. “In Flanders Fields” was first published on December 8 of that year in the London magazine, Punch.

It is one of the most quoted poems from the war. As a result of its immediate popularity, parts of the poem were used in efforts and appeals to recruit soldiers and raise money selling war bonds. Its references to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the world’s most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict. The poem and poppy are prominent Remembrance Day and Veterans Day symbols for soldiers who have died in combat.

Veterans’ Day is an official United States, United Kingdom, and Canadian public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans who served in their countries’ Armed Forces.

Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.

God bless our veterans for their services and sacrifices they and their families make year-round. How do you plan to honor our veterans?

Ways to Honor Veterans

– Organize a care-package party. But first learn what deployed troops want in their care packages.

– Visit a veterans’ hospital or facility. Visit an injured vets to help brighten their day.

Teach children about veterans contributed to the country encourage them to create a small a meme for a veteran.

– Encourage your child’s teacher to develop a Veteran’s Day lesson plan or project. Invite a local veteran to speak to your class about some of his or her experiences,

– Wear a red poppy to show support for veterans and active duty service member. T

Acknowledge veterans in your workplace. Consider a special coffee break, themed snack or poppy cookies.

– Support veteran-owned businesses. Your local chamber of commerce may be able to help you identify these.

– Express thanks. When you see someone in uniform, extend a simple word of gratitude or small kindness to show how much their service means to you.

– Send a card. Compile a list of names and addresses of veterans you know and send them a thank you card.

Military Careers

Today’s military offers a breadth of opportunities where those with STEM skill sets can lead, thrive and succeed now — and in the future. STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math occupations. Of course, there are several other occupational fields in the military including Arts, Communications, Media and Design; and Counseling, Social Work and Human Services. Explore the varied military occupations:

Realize you can join the military to get training work for a specified time, then retire and use these skills in business, community or other settings.

 Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life by Carole Kanchier offers guidelines to help you evaluate occupations’ suitability for you.

Author Bio

Carole Kanchier, PhD, is an internationally recognized newspaper/digital columnist, registered psychologist and author of the award-winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life and the forthcoming Arouse the Force WithinYou!  Dr. Kanchier has taught at University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz and University of Alberta, and served as visiting fellow at Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, and other institutions of higher learning. Dr. Kanchier is known for her pioneering, interdisciplinary approach to human potential.;





When Search is Tough, Try These Tips


Maintaining a positive, self-confident attitude when letters and phone calls are not returned or interviews bring rejection letters can be disheartening, particularly during prolonged job search. But perk up. There are ways you can stay enthusiastic and optimistic.

– Know what you want. It’s very important that you have clear career goals that represent your passion, not what others think you should be doing. It’s difficult to maintain enthusiasm when you’re applying for positions you’re not excited about.
Review your goals periodically. If necessary, modify them to represent what you’ve learned about yourself and the market place during the search.
– Investigate growth industries to determine how your skills fit. Creatively investigate ways in which you can transfer your skills to a new industry. Brian, a former account manager in the meat packing industry, found a job using his accounting skills in the biotech industry.
– Explore all job search avenues. Try executive recruiting firms, temp agencies, college placement offices, trade and professional associations, accounting firms and chambers of commerce. Explore the internet.
– Take charge. Don’t passively answer help-wanted advertisements or send out resumes to personnel departments. Find out who the hiring managers are in the departments at companies you’ like to work to determine jobs available and skills required. Then, if appropriate, revise your resume to fit their skill sets.
Develop a different resume for each job target. Make certain that your resume reflects a clear career objective, summary statement, and focuses on your accomplishments — what you did in previous positions that made a difference.
– Enhance your network. Keep abreast of new developments in your field, and add to your list of colleagues and acquaintances by joining professional, trade or civic groups.
– Develop a routine and stick with it. Even if you’re unemployed, get dressed like you’re going to work every day. Make a daily list of things to accomplish. Ask yourself, “What can I do today to move my job search campaign forward,” or “What follow-up steps need to be implemented?” Activities may include mailing targeted resumes to the project manager at companies M and N to determine job leads, or follow-up on resumes you sent to companies A, B, and C a month ago. Tangible, daily accomplishments will provide stimulation and help maintain enthusiasm, energy and motivation.
– Secure the maximum number of interviews with potentially interested employers. Make as many contacts as your information and time will permit. Follow-up every telephone interview or meeting with a letter. A polite, pleasant note indicating your appreciation of their time, assistance and consideration will encourage the recipient to remember you.
– Write and state affirmations. Say, “I’m an excellent programmer (or whatever) with many special skills to offer.” Say it regularly, with conviction. Confidence (in your eyes, your words, your gesture, your very being) transmits to others. Having faith in yourself and your abilities is related to confidence.
– Develop a support system. Stay in contact positive, supportive people to keep your spirits up.  Many withdraw during job search because they don’t like to answer questions like, “How’s the search going?” If this happens to you, respond with a brief, “Everything’s great,” then shift the focus to something else.
Sometimes, though, it’s good to have someone to commiserate with, who understands you and can function as a sounding board for frustrations. Although partners are helpful, they may lack the intimate understanding of how painful a job search can be. Professional career counselors or coaches can be helpful. Check the experience and credentials of professionals including education, philosophy, tools and techniques used, and years of experience.
-Take breaks periodically. Reward yourself for accomplishing a certain number of goal-directed activities.
– Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, get at least seven hours of sleep daily and exercise regularly.
Develop your spiritual self.  Allow yourself quiet time to meditate or pray. Enjoy nature. Take walks in nature including parks or by the water.
– Stay focused on your goal. Believe you will attain it. Creating a life worth living and finding the courage to risk pursuing your dreams isn’t always easy. But you, like thousands, can do it!
Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life by Carole Kanchier, offers additional job search suggestions:

Cutting Costs During Transitions
Cutting Costs During Transitions

Are you considering a career transition? Are you unemployed? If so, you’ll need to manage money wisely. Here are some tips:

Planning and the willingness to live on less temporarily will stretch the time you can go without a full-time job. You’ll not only have more time to fin that ideal position, you’ll also eliminate a financially controlled deadline.

Before making a career shift, determine how long you can live without an income. How much can you live on and where will you get it? A careful review of expenses and potential income may disclose that you can manage several months without a salary.

Create a Budget.
Identify your monthly income. List all current income sources like salary, unemployment benefits or severance pay (if applicable), interest/dividends, savings, and partner’s income. Also itemize assets that an be converted into cash including pension funds, insurance policies, and stocks. Identify future income sources such as student loans or assistance from relatives.

Next, identify expenses. Include housing, education, furniture, clothing, dry cleaning, medical and other insurance, entertainment, car, utilities, food and restaurants, taxes, job hunting and miscellaneous costs. Add 15 percent as a cushion.

Identify ways you can lower your standards temporarily. Look for ways to cut. Involve family members in financial discussions. List a lower figure for each expense.

Conserve cash.
Live frugally. Saving early in the process will enable you to have enough for essentials later. Will your old car do? Do you need to eat our as much? Discipline yourself. Use coupons. Look at your needs, rather than wants. But do treat yourself sometimes.

Identify additional income sources.
Get a part-time survival job. Work as a sales clerk, waiter, delivery person. Register with a temp agency. Can a family member help? Any income helps.

Contact your creditors. Work out interest-only or reduced payments early. Most will cooperate. Reduce credit card purchases. Pay cash to save interest charges and prevent overspending. If you must credit, pay the full balance each month. Cash in “luxury” assets. Comparison shop for insurance and other necessities. Trade down to a less costly home or share a residence.

Deduct job hunting expenses from your federal income tax if you’re moving to similar work.
These “miscellaneous deductions” require receipts. Allowable expenses include employment or career counseling, resume costs (typing, duplicating and mailing), phone and transportation. If you’re relocating to another city, you can deduct some moving expenses. Education costs are also deductible if you’re upgrading your skills to maintain or enhance your present job or salary. However, if you’re changing fields, establishing a business, or have been unemployed for more than a year, you can’t deduct these. Contact and accountant or the IRS for more information.

Review health coverage.
Under the COBRA law, if you’ve worked for an employer that provided medical coverage and had 20 or more employees, you can continue your coverage. Call US Labor at (866) 487-2365 or check their website at If you’re not insured, investigate other options at the same site. Many local clinics provide services on a sliding scale fee. Better, stay healthy. Attend to minor ills.

Some debt is okay provided it excludes mortgage payments and doesn’t exceed 10 to 15 percent of your income. The easiest loan option to negotiate comes from parents. To maintain family harmony, agree on an interest rate and repayment schedule. Consult an accountant to determine if it’s taxable. Credit unions are often cheaper and easier than banks. If you deal with a bank, shop around. Consider borrowing from your 401K, your company profit sharing plan, your life insurance policy or stock investments. Check the feasibility of a home equity loan or reverse mortgage to tap your home equity.

Research financial assistance options.
Check The National Center for Financial Education (NCFE) website at

Numerous state and federal programs offer financial assistance for post-secondary education and training. Contact the student or financial aid department of the institutions you are considering for additional information.

Review your employer benefit programs to determine what services they provide employees to manage transition and education expenses.

Keep abreast of changes in your job, industry and geographic locale. Adult and continuing education is required for employment in changing times.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life shows how Questers cut costs to achiever desired life career goals.

Dr. Carole Kanchier, registered psychologist, career and personal growth expert, and author of the award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, has cut costs many times to navigate her life career transitions.


Self-Discipline at Work

Carole Kanchier —  October 22, 2018
Self-Discipline at Work


Referring to our ability to succeed at any life endeavor, Aristotle once said, “Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.”

At the root of any successful person, is self-discipline. Whether it’s success in their personal, professional or other life activities, it starts with an intention to be self-disciplined. Thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and habits, must all be kept in check!

Successful people have learned how to use self-discipline to attain desired goals. So can you!

Do You Have Self-Control?
Answer yes or no.

  1. I’m pretty good at resisting temptations to go out for lunch when I need to complete a project before leaving work.
  2. I have a hard time breaking bad habits such as chewing gum when I meet with clients.
  3. I often say things at work without thinking.
  4. I behave inappropriately at employer social gathering, at times.
  5. If something at work is fun, I’ll probably do it, even if I know my supervisor may not approve.
  6. I refuse to eat junk foods at coffee breaks.
  7. I’m good at working toward long-term work goals.
  8. I sometimes I call in sick even if I’m not.
  9. Occasionally, I can’t stop myself from taking home office supplies even if I know it’s wrong.
  10. Co-workers say I have amazing self-discipline.
  11. Computer games sometimes keep me from getting work done.
  12. At times, I do more than my share of the work so tend to get burned out.

Scoring and Interpretation: 1 point for each ‘yes’ statements 1, 6, 7, and 10; and each ‘ no’ statements 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, and 12. Add your scores. The higher your score the more self-control you seem to have. To strengthen self-discipline, try suggestions below:

Until recently, research on self-control focused almost exclusively on the benefits of having a lot of it. People who are good at keeping themselves in line also tend to be more successful in school and work; they also have better physical and mental health.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to be quite so perfect all the time and some newer studies are now investigating the negative side of having too much self-control including the tendency of supervisors to have high expectations on workers with good self discipline, and people dumping too much work on colleagues with higher self control.

How can one person be so conscious of what they do daily while others simply throw caution to the wind? The answer to this question lies in our habits. Since about forty percent of our behavior is habit-driven, you must break bad habits.

We spend years etching neural pathways in our brains. These pathways take on specific functions such as cycling, smoking, or preparing coffee lattes. Neural pathways automate repeated behaviors in an effort to reduce the conscious-processing power in the mind. This allows the mind to focus on newer things rather than the mundane.

Developing Self Discipline

  • Think positively Think and talk about what you want. View setbacks as learning opportunities. Every time you hear your inner voice criticize, think of something positive to say such as “I’m learning.” Listen in inspirational tapes; read motivational books. Begin each day with positive thoughts. Associate with optimistic, supportive people.
  • Strengthen confidence. Know and accept yourself. Prepare a list of positive achievements and personality characteristics. Post this where you can read it daily.
  • Reward yourself. Each morning think of something positive to do for yourself. Every time you pull through a challenging or negative experience, give yourself a treat.
  • Enjoy success. Measure yourself by what you have done, what you are doing, and what you can do. Keep a daily, weekly, or monthly record of your accomplishments and build on these. Each day do something a little better than yesterday. The exhilaration of achievement will make you feel good.
  • Build desired self-discipline habits. Start small. Repeat desired habits daily. Instead of promising a full 45-minute work out every day, commit to a 5-minute walk around the block. But ensure the workout is exercised every day. This is easy to do because it’s small.
  • Set short and long-term goals. Write these down. Ensure they’re specific and measurable. Develop a plan indicating how you will attain these. Track your progress towards goal attainment. It’s harder to get distracted when you can see the results. And your subconscious mind will find less ways to lie to you or help you cover up the truth. Every morning, create daily goals, identify the most important task that needs to be done during the day. Act.
    Ensure your goal is consistent with your purpose. Intend to achieve these. “I intend to lose 10 pounds by February 15, 2019.” “I’m enrolling in a computer programming class offered by Institution X on January 22, 2019.” Visualize your goals. See yourself completing the computer programming course with competence and confidence.
  • Make choices in advance. If your goal is to pay attention at meetings, choose to leave your phone at your desk. You can’t play with it if it’s not there. If you want to become more self-disciplined about food, ask the waitress to box up half your meal before she puts It in front of you or choose to always eat just half of the sandwich.
    If you want to get on top of your emails, decide how many emails you’ll respond to before doing something else. Just decide before the situation presents itself and you’ll find it a lot easier to remain steadfast.
  • Make lists. Start your day with a list of daily tasks you need to accomplish. Everything from emails to grocery shopping can go on the list.
  • Use technology Some technology tools can help build self-discipline. Additionally, you can set timers hat limit the amount of time you spend playing a game, or on your favorite time-wasting website. Fitbit, for example, motivates people to reach health and fitness goals by tracking their workout activities, exercise, sleep, weight and more.
  • Plan and practice. When you make decisions in advance, you reduce temptations. If you want to stay sober and professional at the office holiday party, decide in advance that you will limit alcohol intake. If you want to eat healthily, grocery shop when you’re full.
    Identify ways to make the things you struggle with less available. For instance, if snacking on salty carbs is a disaster for your diet, don’t buy the potato chips.

If you know you may have a challenging time talking with your boss about a particular topic, plan what to say in advance. Then, schedule the discussion for the time of day when you both have the most stamina and self-discipline.

You will not make yourself perfectly disciplined overnight, but, if you focus on the forgoing, and keep mind, body and spirit in top working order, you’re on your way to success.

Living a self-disciplined life gives you feelings of accomplishment and confidence. You’ll gain a sense of purpose, inner peace, and greater control over your personal and professional life. Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life by Carole Kanchier, offers additional ways of strengthening self discipline at work.

Finding the Company Culture That Fits Your Personality

Do you like working for your current organization? Does it enable to express your purpose, satisfy your needs, and use your interests, skills and other characteristics? Do you know what kind of company culture would best fit you?

Organizational culture is defined as the underlying beliefs, assumptions, values and ways of interacting that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization.

A good company-culture fit is important for job satisfaction, and personal and professional growth. It’s a critical but often neglected element of the job search process.

Organizational cultures
There are numerous way of categorizing company cultures. A simple way of classifying a company culture is bureaucratic, innovative or supportive. 

To clarify your preferred organizational culture, indicate the importance each of the following characteristics has for you, using the following criteria: 0 – not important, 1 – somewhat important, 2 – very important.

My ideal work organization
a. Has written procedures and policies.
b. Promotes individuality and creativity.
c. Encourages close working relationships.
a. Emphasizes systematic, efficient operation.
b. Has active, dynamic people.
c. Has friendly, warm people.
a. Has clear lines of authority and responsibility.
b. Develops a competitive, challenging environment.
c. Has people who trust and help one another.
a. Has rules that specify appropriate behavior.
b. Drives people toward excellence.
c. Fosters cooperative behavior.
a. Is prestigious and well established.
b. Is enterprising and entrepreneurial.
c. Is comfortable and secure.
a. Has a formal management style.
b. Has optimistic, progressive leadership.  
c. Has supervisors who give encouragement.
a. Stresses position, title and rank.
b. Encourages risk-taking and high expectations.
c. Emphasizes fair and equal treatment.
a. Has well structured work roles.
b. Has a stimulating atmosphere.
c. Has harmonious work relationships.
a. Is organized and business like.
b. Exerts pressure to get things done.
c. Has a team approach.
Scoring and interpretation
12 or more A points, suggests you’re motivated by power and prestige. You like bureaucratic, hierarchical companies that have clear lines of authority, fixed divisions of labor and a solid standing in the business community. You’re comfortable in structured, stable, power-oriented companies with written rules and guidelines.
Twelve or more B points indicate you’re motivated to accomplish challenging goals, are willing to risk, and set high expectations for yourself. You’re individualistic, ambitious. You prefer innovative cultures that are stimulating, creative, adventurous, competitive, enterprising and achievement-oriented.
Twelve or more C points implies you like developing relationships and friendships. You like supportive cultures which emphasize harmony, trust, equality, security, warmth and safety. You value colleagues who are sociable, friendly, cooperative, and encouraging.
Finding the right organization
Although bureaucratic, innovative, and supportive cultures exist in all organizations to varying degrees, many have an overall company culture as well as distinct subcultures. The overall culture of a large company may be bureaucratic but it may have an innovative research and development subculture, and a supportive clerical and maintenance subculture.
The type of industry also contributes to the company culture. What types of workplaces attract you? For example, would you want to work in a manufacturing company, hospital, airport, bank, museum, hotel, police station, university, retail store, your own business, private home, library, engineering firm, or other? Check the internet and telephone directories to identify the types of organizations that appeal to you.
Additional information about organizations can be obtained from a variety of sources including printed materials, the internet, informational interviews and company visits. Consult company annual reports, newspaper business sections, trade journals, business magazines, and directories such as those published by Dun and Bradstreet (Million Dollar Directory) and Moody’s Investors Services. Chambers of commerce, libraries, and your business contact network are valuable resources.
When researching companies identify: 1) mission statement; 2) structure, including number of employees, departments and hiring managers; 3) products made or services provided; 4) type of employees and your compatibility;  5) problems that need attention and how you can help; 6) supervisory, decision-making and communication styles; 7) promotional policies; 8) benefits, wage structure, and potential salary range; 9) history and growth prospects; 10) image, rank among competitors; 11) work space and employee morale; 12) professional development opportunities; 13) political environment; and 14) concern for employee health, safety, family and well-being.
If you do your research, you’ll find a company that has a culture, mission statement and other characteristics compatible with your personality, career goals, and desired organizational requirements.
Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life by Carole Kanchier, offers additional suggestions for finding a good person-company fit.


Do your attitudes advance your career?

Do your attitudes toward your career advance your career development? Are your beliefs and behaviors positive, growth-oriented, or negative, constraining? Are they in harmony with the real you, and the 2030s?


Career Advancement Attitudes
Answer “yes” or “no.”

  1. I learn from my mistakes.
  2. I’m too old to compete with younger job applicants.
  3. I know and accept myself.
  4. I prefer the tried and true ways of doing things.
  5. Career success is defined personally.
  6. I do what I “should” rather than what I want.
  7. I welcome criticism as a way to grow.
  8. I won’t consider relocating for an attractive job elsewhere.
  9. My successes are the result of hard work, determination and some ability.
  10. I’ll accept a promotion to a job I don’t like for money or prestige.
  11. My job gives my life meaning and direction.
  12. I’m looking forward to retirement so that I can do what I want.
  13. I’m flexible, self reliant and optimistic.
  14. Career success means having social standing and money to buy the good things.
  15. I’ll take a salary cut to further my career.

Scoring: 1 point for each “yes” to odd numbered statements, and each “no” to even numbered ones. The higher your score, the more you possess positive, growth-oriented career attitudes. If you scored less than 6, consider reevaluating your career attitudes.

Advancing Your Career

Reevaluate your definition of career development. View career growth as a lifelong process of personal and professional development — a continuing quest to maintain harmony between who you are and what you do. Also see career as an opportunity to express yourself and pursue your mission. This gives you a sense of direction, inner peace and joy.

Know yourself and options. Identify your skills, major accomplishments, needs, purpose, and other attributes.  Specify your ideal job; include field or industry, title, tasks, type of company and location.

Don’t choose an occupation because experts predict it will be in demand or to please others. Rather, select alternatives that are in harmony with personal qualities. If you follow your heart instead of “shoulds,” money may be a by-product.

Take charge. Restructure your thinking to that of creating a job rather than applying for one. Reevaluate your career goals periodically. Modify these as you learn more about yourself and your changing environment.  Embrace and grow with change. Be flexible, resilient.

Recognize you do have options. Testing your options may mean tradeoffs, but usually they’re worth the inconvenience.

Continue to learn. Welcome opportunities to discover new technologies and enhance transferable skills, such as computer literacy and verbal communication.

Know how to market yourself (your product) to prospective buyers (employers).

Think out of the box. Develop and use your intuition. Take quiet time dally to tune into your inner self. Meditate on an object, such as a candle flame or mantra. Ask your dreams for direction before going to sleep. Keep a journal. Communicate with nature.

Enhance optimism. Believe good things will happen. Every time you hear your inner voice criticize, stop and think of something positive to say such as “I’m making progress.” Write down things you like about yourself such as “I’m flexible and creative.”  Post the list where you can see it often.

Strengthen courage to risk. Start with small risks in daily activities. Then proceed to more challenging ones. Think of an important risk you’d like to take. What’s the worst thing that would happen if it turned out badly? Where could you get information and support to make the goal less risky?  Break the goal into small steps. When can you take the first step.

Live in the present. Don’t worry about what might happen. Depersonalize failure. View setbacks as learning experiences. Persist.

Believe you’ll attain your goal. Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life offers numerous examples of Questers who are living their goals well into their 90s;

Author Bio
Carole Kanchier, PhD, is an internationally recognized newspaper/digital columnist, registered psychologist and author of the award-winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life and the forthcoming Arouse the Force Within You!  Dr. Kanchier has taught at University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz and University of Alberta, and served as visiting fellow at Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, and other institutions of higher learning. Dr. Kanchier is known for her pioneering, interdisciplinary approach to human potential.


Unemployed? Count These Blessings

Are you unemployed? Has your partner been laid off? Do stories about layoffs worry you?

Don’t despair. Unemployment can be a blessing in disguise. Regardless of age or occupation, people who have positive attitudes, work hard, and take time to reevaluate goals usually come out ahead. They become stronger, wiser, more confident and fully employed.

Weathering unemployment 

1. Understand basic psychological principles. Accept and come to terms with the layoff. Your mind and body need time to digest it. The five emotional stages dismissed employees typically go through are shock and disbelief, fear and anxiety, anger and blame, acceptance and exploration of new possibilities, and commitment to action.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life by Carole Kanchier elaborates on these stages of unemployment.

2. Express feelings and thoughts. Advise family and friends of the layoff. Their support, information and referral sources are crucial. Discuss responsibilities, values and goals with your partner.

Write about concerns, plans and questions you want to address. Join a support group for people facing the same challenge. Meet regularly to vent anger, generate ideas and receive encouragement and feedback. Consider counseling.

3. Develop a healthy lifestyle. Take care of your mind, body, emotion and spirit. Schedule quiet times to reassess. Practice stress relievers such as exercising and meditating. Eat healthy, get sufficient sleep, reduce alcohol intake. Take time for fun.

Change perceptions. A major stressor is the perception that we can’t cope and don’t have options. Believe you can cope and DO have options.

4. Maintain optimism. Your attitude about yourself determines others’ perceptions. Reinforce the positive in yourself and others. Expect good things. Watch your “self-talk.” When you think or say something that fuels fear, replace it with a positive statement.

5. Develop a routine. Create a work area. Job search is a full-time job. Schedule job search activities like normal business appointments. Keep a log of calls and follow-up actions.

Update your resume using key words listed in job descriptions. Proof read correspondence. Then market yourself.

Leave the house. Attend seminars. Volunteer. You’ll feel good, meet people and be available when opportunities arise.

6. Manage money. Planning and willingness to live on less stretches finances.  Create a budget. Cut expenses. Look at needs rather than wants.

Use coupons, negotiate reduced payments with creditors, comparison shop. Consider a more inexpensive residence. Can family members cut expenses? Work part-time? Think about borrowing.

7. Get a part-time, survival job. Work as a sales clerk or waiter to bring money in. Register with temp agencies.

8. Know what you want. Identify your purpose and the skills, needs and other qualities you want met in your job. Explore compatible options. Clarify your goal and develop an action plan.

Don’t select a job because it’s in demand. It’s difficult to maintain enthusiasm when you’re not excited about positions.

9. Network. Join alumni or civic groups. Attend career fairs, trade shows and professional meetings. Identify people who can connect you with organizational decision makers. Maintain contact with references. Show appreciation for assistance.

10. Use varied search strategies. Don’t passively respond to ads listed in your field. Peruse ads in many fields. Management positions are often listed in construction, retail or education.

Look for hidden leads. Newspaper or television stories describing new products may suggest positions with new  or expanding companies.  Try executive recruiting firms. Consider relocating.

Contact company hiring managers. Request and prepare for interviews. Follow-up contacts. If nobody responds, call or email again. Don’t take rejection personally.

11. Develop luck-facilitating attitudes and strategies.  Luck is being prepared when opportunities arise. Become open to new experiences.  Challenge conventional beliefs. Recognize and seize opportunities.

Don’t fear mistakes. Ask: “What’s the worst that could happen?” Decide whether you could live with the worst scenario or take steps to reduce the chance of it happening. Instead of worrying about failure, think about opportunities you’ll miss if you don’t try!

12. Manage fear. Identify worrisome issues. Minimize these using appropriate information and resources. Live in the present. Don’t worry about what might happen.

13. Practice imagery daily. Imagine yourself living your goal today. See yourself performing your goal while in a relaxed state. Experience it. Notice how it feels, smells, sounds.

View unemployment as an opportunity to revitalize your career. Believe you’re beginning a wonderful new chapter in your life.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, offers additional strategies for managing unemployment and starting a wonderful new chapter in your life career.

Telephone Communication Skills Crucial for Career Success

The telephone is the most common business tool and its proper use is essential for career advancement.

Talking with a potential client, customer or colleague on the phone can sometimes be challenging. Without seeing an individual’s face, messages can become muddled and meanings misinterpreted.

To strengthen telephone communication skills, ace the following:

Make a great first impression

Show the caller you’re helpful, confident, competent.

When you answer the phone, smile as you greet the person on the other end of the line.  A smile creates positive energy which translates to the person on the other end.

Speak briskly but pronounce words clearly. When you talk fast, you may sound hurried or excited, and are difficult to understand. When you speak too slowly, you may sound tired, lazy or uninterested.

Strive for an energy level that matches your normal conversation. A soft voice suggests shyness or uncertainty; a loud voice implies anger or worry. Be alert to your caller’s needs. If he’s having trouble hearing, speak louder, more slowly.

Control your rate of speech and pitch. The average individual speaks at a pace of 130 to 150 words per minute. Try to match this rate while on the phone.

Keep your voice pitch moderate. A high pitch connotes youth and may fail to suggest an authoritative image. A low pitch may sound harsh.  Find a middle ground, and vary your inflection to ensure you sound natural, interested. A monotone sounds boring, unenthusiastic.

Use the person’s name

As soon as you receive a caller or customer’s name, write it down. This will help you remember the person’s name, and will personalize the call for you.

Include it naturally throughout the conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask them for the proper pronunciation. Most customers will appreciate this gesture.  Get the spelling correct, too. Callers will value the personal touch you provide with a name

Be genuine

Avoid scripted greetings as most sound artificial, inauthentic.

When you answer the phone include the company’s name, the department, your name, and offer your assistance by giving the caller requested information. This shows you’re a professional ready and willing to be of assistance.

Provide the person with honest answers. Use positive words to ensure a pleasing exchange.  Avoid phrases such as “I don’t know,” or “I can’t do that,”  State what you can do to help, and specify how long a hypothetical task may take.

Be courteous, respectful

Always say hello and identify yourself. Ask how you can help. Use courtesy words, “Thank you for waiting.”  If you need to put the caller on hold, ask, and wait for an answer. If you need to phone back, indicate when you’ll call.

End the call positively

Ensure the caller understands the information you passed along before hanging up. Summarize your conversation. Ask the person, “Is there any other information I can give you?” Answer any final questions he or she may have to ensure complete comprehension and satisfaction. Also, provide any information that the caller might need in the future. If the person needs to call back, share optimal contact times and with whom he or she should speak.

When all of necessary information has been shared, finish the call in a friendly manner. Say, “Have a nice day” or, “It was nice talking with you.” Let the customer know you are willing to assist anytime.

Let the caller hang up first. This gives the person control of the ending as well as an opportunity to ask further questions.

To ensure mastery of telephone communication skills, review the following periodically.

Effective telephone communication skills

When making calls:

  • State your message briefly and clearly
  • Leave your name, organization and phone number, repeating these twice, slowly and clearly
  • Give the full name of the person for whom you’re leaving the message
  • State the date and time of the call
  • State whether you’ll call back or you’d like the other person to call
  • Ask for a return call at a time you’ll be available

When receiving calls:

  • Identify yourself
  • Use courtesies such as “Please hold while I complete another call
  • Offer to take messages when you’re answering for someone
  • Repeat the caller’s name and number to make sure they’re correct
  • Speak in a professional manner
  • Does your answering machine have a pleasant, professional and courteous message? Leave a good impression

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, offers additional strategies for succeeding in your life career.

Is It Too Much For You To Go To Work?
Are you wondering whether you should make changes in your career – and life? Are you satisfied with your job? Responding “yes” or “no” to the following questions, may help you get a clearer picture of whether you should consider a job shift.

1. Is your body sending you messages? Do you have lingering colds? Trouble getting out of bed on a work day?
2. Are you constantly thinking, “I can hardly wait till Friday?” Do you often watch the clock?
3. Do you frequently daydream on the job?
4. Do you call in sick even when you’re not?
5. Do you arrive late for work often?
6. Have your performance and productivity slipped?
7. Do you have many disagreements with colleagues or superiors?
8. Do you feel withdrawn at work?
9. Does the prospect of spending a whole day at work get you down?
10. Will leaving the organization enable you to achieve your career dreams more quickly?
11. Is your work damaging your self confidence? Your health? Your personal and family life? Other life facets?

Scoring: Two or more “yes” answers suggest you are dissatisfied. The more times you said “yes,” the more dissatisfied you seem to be.

To nurture your career, act
If you’re convinced a job move is in order, go for it! Here’s some advice:

  • Define and overcome barriers. Describe any blocks that are preventing you from making a move. Examples could be fear of losing a secure income, pension or other benefits; fear that you will lose power, prestige; fear of having to live up to an image, making a mistake, or being embarrassed; not knowing where to begin a new job search; or guilt that change may interfere with relationships.
  • Know you have many exciting options. These include changing departments in the same organization, shifting employers, changing occupational fields, becoming self employed, taking a sabbatical or going back to school for upgrading or retraining.
  • Investigate alternatives. Research and planning will reduce risk. For example, if you want to return to school or start your own business, and fear reduced income, you can learn to live on less, work part-time while pursing your goal and borrow money from family or the bank.
  • Avoid guilt. Don’t worry about letting everyone down, or what your colleagues may think.
  • Avoid idealizing your former position. Don’t mourn a job that is no longer meeting your needs.
  • Don’t stay in a job you dislike because of security. Security is wishful thinking today. But developing positive attitudes, believing in yourself, working hard, and developing the will to risk will enable you to prevail.
  • Realize that change involves tradeoffs. Change may involve some temporary personal or financial sacrifices. But most Questers agree that in the long term, their gains far outweigh their losses. Greater satisfaction, independence, flexibility and control over personal and work lives are some benefits acquired.
  • Listen to your self. Don’t base your self-respect on what other’s think. Listening to your feelings will help you identify what you really want. If you make the move that’s right for you, you will succeed. Better relationships with family and friends are often added benefits.
  • Don’t make excuses. Be honest. If you feel stagnant, deciding to stay can be as traumatic as moving. Staying in a job with no hope of advancement or satisfaction is self defeating and risky. Stress, illness, and loss of enthusiasm, self-confidence and employability may result.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. Setbacks are learning experiences. Successful changers eliminate much failure by planning and persisting. If they do fail – and they often initially do – Do they say, “I’ve done my best. I’m only human.” Then they figure out what went wrong, modify their plans, and try again.

Dare to change
Keep the following in mind as you pursue your goal:

  • State what you really want, not what others think you should have.
  • Write a paragraph outlining why you want it.
  • Affirm how your goal will benefit yourself and others.
  • Be prepared to make tradeoffs such as living on less while you return to school.
  • Work hard.
  • Believe you will attain your goal.
  • Have a support group or positive people with whom to associate.
  • Be patient as you work toward you goal.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Dr. Carole Kanchier, offers additional suggestions for enjoying your life work.



Sharpening Job Interview Skills

Do you ace job interviews? Or do you need more practice presenting yourself?

It’s crucial to make a great impression at your job interview. The interview usually determines whether you will receive a job offer.

Interviews are a two way street. Both you and the employer are evaluating each other. You want to convince the employer you’re the best candidate for the position, and get information to evaluate the company. The employer wants to determine your qualifications and motivation, whether you’ll fit into the company’s culture, and your cost effectiveness.

The Mock Interview
To sharpen your interview skills, practice a mock interview with two friends. Ask one to be the interviewer, and the second to be the observer who will evaluate your performance using the following criteria:

First Impression
1. Is well groomed and appropriately dressed.
2. Presents resume targeted to position.
3. Demonstrates optimism and energy.
4. Talks clearly and distinctly.

Body Language
5. Appears relaxed, poised.
6. Has good posture.
7. Leans forward.
8. Maintains eye contact.
9. Maintains open position (arms not crossed, etc.)

10. Communicates job objective.
11. Expresses why job is wanted.
12. Demonstrates skills relative to job sought.
13. Relates past accomplishments to job skills.
14. Demonstrates interest and enthusiasm for job.
15. Answers questions with confidence.
16. Turns weaknesses into strengths.
17. Asks questions about the job and organization.
18. Avoids “yes” or no” responses.

19. Asks when interviewer will make contact regarding the hiring decision.
20. Thanks interviewer by name for the experience.

Scoring: Two points for demonstrating excellent or very good behaviors, and one for fair behaviors on each of the 20 given criteria:
36 – 40: You’re hired!
30 – 35: You may get the job.
20 – 29: You need more interview practice.
11 – 19: You need much more practice.
0 – 10: You need to do more work on all aspects of career planning and job search.

Preparation is Key
Preparation is crucial for successful interviews. Before the interview, research the organization and the job. Call any contacts to get an insider’s perspective. Be conversant with the company’s products and services, and recent developments in the industry. Prepare questions to ask and review those that may be asked of you. Then plan how to manage and structure the interview to your advantage.

Be ready to discuss your background and to state the contribution you can make. Outline your top five selling points. Practice your delivery. Use a tape reorder or video, role-play with a friend, or get feedback from a counselor. Know the complete names and correct titles of all interviewers. Program your mind for success. Visualize yourself performing well.

Dress professionally. Take a note pad, copies of your updated resume targeted to the job, and written lists of questions and references. Radiate energy, enthusiasm and optimism. Confidently offer examples of how you’ll contribute to the company.

Be genuine; smile when appropriate. Listen carefully and answer all questions directly. If you’re unsure, ask for clarification before responding. Get information to evaluate the position by asking questions.

Don’t share negative comments about former employers. Never negotiate a salary until you’ve been offered the job. If pressed, speak in terms of a pay range based on the going salary in your field. Close the interview effectively by emphasizing your key skills and why you should be hired. Ask for a time and date to call back to learn of your status. Never turn down a job offer on the spot.

Send a thank you note within 48 hours after the interview.  Follow up with a phone call if you haven’t been notified within a month.

Before accepting any position, get all the facts. Note your gut reactions to the people and work environment. Get the offer confirmed in writing once you and the employer have reached an agreement on all aspects of the job.

Don’t take rejection personally. If you don’t get the position, ask for feedback on your qualifications and interview performance.

Practice makes perfect. You can enhance your job interview skills. Best wishes.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, offers additional tips for acing interviews: