Tracy thinks she might like to own a boutique. Ricco doesn’t know whether to be a computer software or hardware engineer. Hang doesn’t know whether she should work for a large company or a start-up. To obtain additional information about occupations and industries, they conducted informational interviews.


Informational Interviews

Informal meetings are excellent sources of knowledge, and can be fun. People enjoy talking about themselves and their jobs.

Informational interviews provide a reality check on what you’ve read, heard and thought. The person interviewed can offer up-to-date, personal and local information. You can observe the job atmosphere and gain confidence by taking control in interview settings.

Interviews are also a great networking tool. They can uncover a prospective employer’s needs and may lead to a position. Interviews enable you to enhance your contact network. You can meet hiring authorities and may be invited back for a job interview.

Seventy five to eighty percent of available positions are not advertised, but filled by the contact network. Hiring managers prefer to fill positions by interviewing candidates referred by people they know rather than reviewing dozens of resumes.

Informational interviews differ from job interviews in that you control the conversation. You know what information you want, ask the questions, and gain meaningful information. Because the focus is on getting information, you feel less pressure.

To find knowledgeable experts to interview, ask friends, neighbors, colleagues, human resources personnel or people representing professional trade, labor or business associations. Contact college advisors, coaches and former employers. Call community service agencies, trade organizations, business and professional associations and chambers of commerce. Look in the yellow pages. Check Dictionary of Occupational Titles DOT for occupational information: Read other library and internet guides. Try to meet with hiring managers.

The most effective way to arrange for interviews is to ask for personal referrals from mutual acquaintances. Letters, phone calls or emails are the next best thing. Follow up your letters and emails with phone calls requesting interviews. Be clear that you’re seeking information only, not looking for a job. State how you got your contacts’ names and the kind of information requested.

Make friends with receptionists. When you connect with your contacts, indicate the purpose of the meeting. Ask for 15 to 20 minutes of their time. Prepare questions in advance so that the contacts can answer them over the phone if they have no time to meet in person. If the response is negative, ask for referrals to other experts.

Prepare carefully. Don’t waste the expert’s time. Don’t ask for information that’s readily available in directories or the Internet.

Here are some points to ask the person. Give a brief description of yourself (to the person you are interviewing). Include:  How did you get started in the job? Describe a typical day or week. What do you like most and least about your position? What are your biggest challenges? What skills, personal qualities, experience and education are needed for this work? What are good sources of training?

What are the opportunities for advancement within your organization and the field? What’s the salary range? How did you get started with your organization? How does your company compare to similar organizations in the field? What advice would you give to people starting out?

Ask for names of others with whom you might speak and get additional suggestions. Consider taking an updated resume in case they ask for it, but don’t offer the resume if it’s not requested.

After the meeting, write down your thoughts. Ask yourself: Would this work satisfy me? Do I have or can I attain needed skills? Does the occupation fit my personality, interests, needs, passion and desired lifestyle? Do friends believe I’m suited to this work?

Will the work enable me to achieve my long-range goals? What do I like most and least about it? How would it impact my family? Am I willing and able to invest time and money to get necessary training? What additional information do I need?

Follow up with a thank you note. Reiterate information which you found particularly helpful. Record names, dates, comments and referrals. Ask if you can call for further questions.

Could you benefit from conducting an informational interview? Where can you get needed information?

Why not conduct an interview this week?

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Your Life, by Dr. Carole Kanchier, provides additional informational interview and job search tips.


Do You Have Old or New Views of Career Advancement and Success?

Automation, globalization, demographics, and insights gained from consciousness research, are changing the way we think about work and adapt to our continuously changing work world!

career advancement

Which views of career advancement do you have?

Career development

Old: Career growth means moving up the corporate ladder and measuring up against the approved professional timetable.You are what you do.

New: This is a lifelong process of development to maintain harmony between your growing personality and career. Who you are is important.


Old: It’s measured by external rewards like status, respectability, money, and security.

New: It’s defined personally. Rewards are judged by personal and job satisfaction. Status means offering creative ideas.


Old: It’s resignation, sometimes mandatory, from a long term employer at about 65. This age was set by German Chancellor Otto von Bismark in 1881.

New: Age is irrelevant. Adults reassess goals during life career transitions at about age-30 and every decade after that, and continue involvement in activities that give meaning and direction until their nineties and beyond.

Managing layoffs 

Old: Employees wait for the notice. Job search focuses on responding to ads and accepting a secure job in the same occupation.

New: Employees attend to company happenings. They prepare by upgrading skills and creating their own jobs.

Management style

Old: Organizations have centralized hierarchichal “command and-and-control” structures. Employees are told what to do, don’t question status quo.

New: Organizations employ decentralized “coordinate and cultivate” management with loose structures. Employees participate in decisions, think critically.

Succeeding in uncertain times

Take responsibility for your career advancement

– Know yourself. In particular, clarify your purpose. This is your compass which guides you through chaos. Identify personal and transferable skills. Skills and knowledge used in one occupation can be transferred to others. These adaptive skills include openness to ideas, persistence, creativity, enthusiasm, problem solving, patience, and tolerance.

– Strengthen Quester qualities such as optimism, growth, and resilience. Learn how to learn. Continuously update technical and professional skills.

– Explore compatible options.  Investigate other jobs in your organization. Explore another field or self employment. Consider time out. Study, travel, volunteer. Consider the trades.

– Network. Let others know what you can offer and want. Create opportunities to meet people. Think of yourself as a product to be sold.  Demonstrate how you can make or save money, manage people, improve products, expand markets.

– Strengthen mind power. Skills for tomorrow, called “meta skills,” can’t be easily automated. They include critical thinking, intuition, research, judgment, ethical leadership, mental training, interpersonal, and Quester traits.

– Expand horizons. Go beyond borders. Prepare for and welcome the unexpected.  Innovate, adapt, explore, seize opportunities!

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Dr. Carole Kanchier, shows how to move forward with career advancement.


Good manners are good business. Many potentially profitable alliances or promotional opportunities are lost because of unintentional breaches of manners and poor business etiquette. Second chances aren’t always possible.

business etiquette

Test your business etiquette

Which of the following demonstrate appropriate and inappropriate business etiquette?

1. Your boss, Ms. Andrews, enters the room when you’re meeting with a client, Mr. Block. You rise and say, “Ms. Andrews, I’d like you to meet Mr. Block, our Chicago client.”

2. You answer the phone for a peer who’s available, and ask “Who’s calling please?”

3. In a restaurant, you drink thin soup served in a cup with no handles.

4. The male pays when he’s having a business meeting at a restaurant with a female colleague.

5. When you greet a visitor in your office, let him sit where he wishes.

6. You leave a luncheon meeting after two hours.

7. You’re scheduled to meet an associate for a working lunch. If your associate hasn’t arrived after 30 minutes, you order and eat.

8. Name tags should be placed on the right shoulder.

9. It’s acceptable to make sales pitches at networking functions.

10. It’s proper to give business cards to everyone at business meetings.

11. It’s acceptable to discuss food preferences at employer receptions.

12. It’s appropriate to take phone calls while in meetings.

13. It’s important to hold doors open for women.

14. It’s okay not to attend office parties.

15. It’s correct for women to extend their hands when greeting others.


1. Inappropriate. Introduce or name the more important person first. In business, clients hold the highest authority.

The person of lesser importance, regardless of gender, is introduced to the person of greater importance. “Mr. or Ms. Greater Authority (Mr. Block), I’d like to introduce Mr. or Ms. Lesser Authority (Ms. Andrews).”

2. Inappropriate. Asking “Who’s calling?” suggests calls are screened. To avoid insults, have the person answering the phone announce you’re unavailable, then ask for the caller’s name and message.

To avoid screening, announce yourself at the beginning of calls. By stating your name, you’re sending a subliminal message that you have a right to speak to the person.

3. Inappropriate. Use the spoon provided.

4. Inappropriate. The person who benefits from the business association pays, regardless of gender. Clarify you’re hosting when extending invitations.

5. Inappropriate. Indicating where your guest should sit will make him feel more comfortable.

6. Appropriate. Allow two hours for business lunches. Start discussing business after the appetizer has been served.

7. Appropriate. Also, expect an apology.

8. Appropriate. When shaking hands, your eyes follow the line of the arm to the person’s right side. By placing the tag on the right, you can read the name while shaking hands.

9. Inappropriate. You’ll be perceived as pushy, needy, insensitive or inexperienced.

10. Inappropriate. Wait till you’ve established a reason to make further contact before exchanging cards. This enhances the value of the exchange.

11. Inappropriate. Downplay preferences. Some may wonder how well you fit in the company if you fuss over small things.

12. Inappropriate. Taking calls while in a meeting is rude. It says others are more important than the person with whom you’re meeting. If you’re expecting a call, tell the person with whom you’re meeting in advance.

13. Inappropriate. Business etiquette is based on hierarchy and power, unlike social etiquette which is based on gender and chivalry. Nobody should be given special treatment because of gender.

Doors are held open for persons more senior in rank, regardless of gender. Whoever gets to the door first holds it open for people following. 

14. Inappropriate. It’s a “must-attend” event. Not attending shows disrespect.

15. Appropriate. A firm handshake made with direct eye contact sets the stage for a positive encounter.

Conclusion: How many of the foregoing courtesies do you practice?

Follow such basic courtesies as returning messages promptly, leaving concise voice mail messages, sending hand written thank you notes, and greeting people when entering an office.

Present yourself with confidence and authority. Consider others’ feelings. Be courteous, respectful and considerate to everyone. Business etiquette can advance your career.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life gives additional business etiquette tips.


Do you feel stuck in your career? Do you want to make a career change, but keep making excuses? Do you say, “yea, but,” to justify why you can’t pursue desired goals?


What does this quiz say bout you?

To identify the degree to which you may be stuck and reasons you’re trapped, answer “yes” or “no:”

I. I’m usually tired.
2. I have little time for leisure activities.
3. I’m energetic.
4. I’m optimistic.
5. I’ll do almost anything to avoid embarrassment.
6. I feel good about myself.
7. Before making decisions, I worry whether others will approve.
8. When I buy something, I rarely consider others’ opinions.
9. I listen to and accept my feelings.
10. I’m scared to fail.
11. I worry about what might happen.
12. I fear living up to an image.
13. I accept responsibility for my decisions.
14. I’m achieving my goals.
15. If I want something, I’ll go after it.
16. I’m growing professionally.

Scoring: One point for each “yes” to items 3,4,6,8,9,13,14,15 and 16; and no to 1,2,5,7,10,11 and 12.
12 or higher: You’re achieving your goals. You’re confident, energetic, growth-oriented, inner-directed.
6 to 11: You may be concerned with others’ opinions, fear failure or lack energy.
5 or lower: You’re stuck in “yea-but” excuses.

Address factors that trigger excuses

1. Fatigue

You have little energy and don’t enjoy life if you responded yes to 1 and 2, and no to 3 and 4. You’re probably too tired to change now. Care for yourself.

– Rest. Sleep at least eight hours a day. Pamper yourself. Meditate, enjoy nature, build “quiet time” into your daily schedule.

– Keep body in top working order. Eat healthy, exercise regularly.

– Do something stimulating and enjoyable each day. Make family and leisure time fun. Enjoy small pleasures.

– Seek professional advice. If you can’t manage on your own, seek help from a reputable professional.

2. Need for approval

Yes responses to 5 and 7, and no to 8 and 9, suggest you’re influenced by others. You do what you “should,” not what you need.

– Complete the following sentences. If I didn’t care what anyone thought, I’d ________________________. If I could be sure I’d do it right, I’d ____________________________. Try pursuing one desired activity.

– Share goals and dreams with supportive people. Don’t confide in negative people.

– Accept yourself. Own your successes. They’re the result of hard work and abilities. Believe in your decisions. Avoid negative, self-fulfilling prophesies.

– Confront limiting beliefs. Challenge their validity. For example, state negative predictions. “People will stare if I dine alone.” Test them. Venture alone to a restaurant. Measure the outcome. Observe people’s reactions. Draw a conclusion. “I can dine alone.”

3. Fear

Yes responses to 10, 11 and 12 suggest fear may be holding you back. Identify what’s blocking growth, such as fear of the unknown, making a mistake or losing a secure income.

– Acknowledge fear. Fear signals you’re about to stretch. Some fear is good. It alerts you to protect yourself from loss. But continuous fear is destructive. Underlying most fear is lack of trust in your ability. We learn to be cautious, fear mistakes.

– Live in the present. Don’t worry about what might happen. Research your goal, develop an action plan, and pursue your goal daily.

– Let go of “attachments.” The more attached you are to something, the greater the fear of losing it. If you’re attached to a high salary, you may fear losing it for work that promises more growth.

– Know yourself. Clarify career goals. When you’re true to yourself, you experience harmony, stability, are willing to risk. When you ignore your spiritual self, you experience disharmony, indecision, doubt. Work at achieving goals that are in harmony with the real you. Believe you’ll attain these.

– See yourself as someone who has choices, takes action and operates from a position of inner strength. When you say something that fuels fear, replace it with a more positive statement. Follow your dreams even when scared.

Pope John Paul 11 said: “An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded.” Florence Nightingale shared her secret to success: “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.”

Work with integrity. Discard self-defeating excuses. Start using your power today!

Numerous tips for building a satisfying, productive life career are offered in Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life.


Do you supervise or manage anyone? Are your subordinates suffering from job stress? Does your work environment contribute to worker stress? Do you address workplace stress issues?

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), job stress occurs when job requirements don’t match employee capabilities, resources or needs. Wide spread and costly, job stress is called a “world health epidemic” by the World Health Organization.

Companies pay out millions as a result of accidents, absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity, legal, medical and insurance costs, and court judgments. NIOSH reports that sixty percent of lost work days each year can be attributed to stress-related conditions.

workplace stress

Job conditions that promote workplace stress

How many of the following conditions exist in your company?

– Limited employee influence over decisions affecting work

– Ambiguous job descriptions, conflicting expectations, inconsistent rules

– Rude customers or clients

– Few stress breaks

– Excessive competition among co-workers

– Responsibilities without adequate control or resources

Job insecurity and no preparation for change 

– Inability of workers to balance personal and work lives

– Gender or cultural biases

– Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions such as crowding, noise

– Excessive bureaucracy, paperwork

– Nasty politics

– Few advancement opportunities

– Low salary for job and industry

– Too much or too little work

– Poor communication, little information to perform well or plan

– Little recognition or support from co-workers or supervisors

Little employee development or training 

– Management insensitive to grievances, family-friendly policies

Counteracting job stress

Stressed workers often feel powerless to improve their work environments. But supervisors can make a difference. Be responsive to workers’ needs. Consider the following:

1. Match worker traits to job requirements.

Conduct appropriate assessments to identify employee needs, interests, skills and goals. Create job descriptions to accommodate worker characteristics and job requirements. Ensure work loads are compatible with workers’ capabilities and resources.

2. Divide or rotate tasks.

Organize work so that employees can take turns at stressful or monotonous tasks. Hire additional help during demanding times.

3. Plan regular breaks in routine and to socialize.

Coffee breaks, social activities and adequate vacation time offer relief from stress.

4. Conduct realistic orientation programs.

Provide prospective employees with truthful company policies and procedures to reduce unrealistic expectations.

5. Provide opportunities to participate in decisions affecting jobs.

This helps employees take ownership of their work. Encourage employees to express opinions and share helpful, new ideas.

6. Provide appropriate training and development.

Effective training is ongoing and addresses employee needs and concerns. Stress management programs help participants recognize and manage stress as well as feel secure in reporting stressors.

7. Give constructive performance feedback and recognition.

Praise and constructive feedback should not only come at formal evaluations, when promotions and pay raises are discussed, but also be offered spontaneously and informally. Invite employees to participate in evaluations.

Positive reinforcement is more effective than negative. Give immediate, specific, frequent feedback. Recognize good performers publicly. Coach marginal performers.

Reinforce and encourage creativity, resilience and risk-taking.

8. Clearly define roles and responsibilities.

Clarify employee and organizational goals. Employees need to know the roles they play in achieving company goals. Job responsibilities that are reasonable, well-defined and consistent help workers identify themselves in the organization, and create a shared purpose between employees and employers.

9. Communicate.

Keep employees informed and involved. Let them know how the company is doing and how their work impacts the big picture. Be honest, and ask for feedback about your own and the company’s communication. Advise employees about changes in rules and rationale for decisions.

Listen. Let others know you hear and understand their thoughts. Address issues quickly and discuss individual concerns privately. Reduce uncertainty about future employment prospects. Share information about upcoming changes to help staff deal with anxiety and dispel rumors.

10. Offer assistance with work/life balance issues.

Establish work schedules that are compatible with employees’ non-work responsibilities. Provide flextime, job sharing, telecommuting, compressed work weeks, on site daycare.

Offer employee assistance services such as legal assistance and counseling to deal with family and career issues.

Implementing change takes time. Eliminate one stressor at a time. Involve employees in prioritizing these. You’ll have healthier, happier, more productive workers.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life provides additional ways both employers and employees can minimize stress at work.


Several studies suggest that having a sense of control over work plays a central role in workers’ health. Employees, who are given more autonomy and challenge, have nearly half the number of stress related illnesses such as high blood pressure compared to workers who have little challenge and control over work.

control at work

Are you in control of your work?

Answer “yes” or “no.”

  1. My job enables me to use my own ideas.
  2. My job allows me to accomplish something worthwhile.
  3. My work gives me a sense of purpose.
  4. I can use my skills on the job.
  5. My job provides me with a desired amount of variety
  6. My job is challenging.
  7. My job provides opportunities to learn new things.
  8. I have a say in planning my work week.
  9. I have input into decisions affecting my work.
  10. I set my own work pace.
  11. My work hours are flexible.
  12. I can decide when to take a break.

Scoring: One point for each “yes.” The higher you score, the more control you have over your work. Five or less suggests you have little control. If you want to strengthen autonomy, read on.

Strengthening autonomy

Review your work history with the company.

Do you presently have a sense of control over your work? Did you ever? What made you feel you had control? Is there anything you can you do gain control?

Identify co-workers who feel they have control over their work?

What are they doing? Are they taking initiative? Volunteering for new assignments? Assertive at meetings? Politically astute? Are you the only one who feels a lack of control? If so, what does this tell you?

Restructure your job.

What can you do to give yourself more control over your work and also work more efficiently? Write these down. Then propose suggestions to your boss including examples of ways you can work more efficiently and also contribute to the company’s bottom li

Take the initiative.

Look for jobs that need to be done in your company. Identify the project manager, research ways you can enhance the project, and offer assistance and suggestions.

Volunteer for special projects.  Find small things to do that will give you a sense of autonomy. This will bring more variety and challenge to your work. Offer to take charge of a newsletter, a social activity, or a community relations project.

Become a team member.

Work towards the success of the project. Help the company meet deadlines and bottom lines. What can you do to help your superior become successful? Offer recommendations for making the product or service better. Show that you’re committed to your team’s success.


Know what’s happening in the company. Communicate regularly with superiors and colleagues. Attend meetings, participate in social activities, and read newsletters.

Continue to learn.

Attend seminars, read professional journals, and go to professional meetings. Share your knowledge and skills. Create a demand for your expertise.

Manage stress.

Get involved in non-work activities. Make family and leisure time fun. Engage in hobbies, or volunteer for a community project that will provide challenge and autonomy. Meditate, exercise, and eat healthily.

Consider changing jobs.

If the foregoing suggestions don’t help, consider moving to a new department, a different employer, another occupation, or take time-out.

Since most of us spend one-third to half of our waking lives working, commuting, or thinking about work, these hours should be filled with challenge, enthusiasm and growth, rather than with frustration, discouragement and boredom. Take an active role in controlling or reshaping your work environment.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life gives additional tips for strengthening autonomy.


Loyalty at Work

Carole Kanchier —  January 29, 2018

Loyalty involves faithfulness to commitments or obligations.  It requires steadfast allegiance to a sovereign, government, organisation, leader, cause, person or other.

Loyalty at work is a two-way street. Both employees and employers need to give and receive loyalty.

If put to the pinch, an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.” – Elbert Hubbard

Loyalty has nothing to do with length of employment. The employee who’s been with the organization for six months, who embraces company goals, and works her butt off every day to accomplish stated goals, is loyal. But the 23-year veteran employee who does just enough to get by, criticizes his supervisor and employer at work and in public, and undermines company decisions is not loyal.

Loyal employees work hard for their pay and are committed to their company’s success. Although they may leave someday, they do their best and often even put the company’s interests ahead of their own.


Employee Loyalty Qualities

They view superiors as human beings, not just bosses.

They know their supervisors want to help them reach desired professional and personal goals.

They communicate honestly and openly with superiors.

They’ll tell superiors what is working and not working because it would benefit the employee, the supervisor and the organization as a whole.

They share their opinions freely and openly.

They enjoy debating, weighing pros and cons of issues, and playing devil’s advocate. They believe everybody benefits from an honest exchange of differing opinions.

They don’t criticize their supervisors in front of others.

They disagree with superiors on private.

They don’t gossip, snipe, or talk behind their supervisors’ back. They treat superiors like they want to be treated.

They support their superiors and their decisions.

When they disagree with a decision, loyal employees don’t try to prove superiors wrong. They do everything they can to make things work.

They tell the superiors when they need to leave.

Sometimes, loyal employees need to move on for better opportunities, different lifestyles, new fields, self employment, education and training, or time out. But they also know their departure will create a vacancy so they to give employers ample time to prepare for their replacement.

Employers can recognize and thank employees to convey loyalty

Say thank you.

Social niceties do belong at work. Show employees appreciation for their work and contributions, and say please, often, as well.

Praise something the employee has done well.

Identify the specific actions you found admirable. This praise feels sincere because you took time to spell out details. You could also review the activities you’d like to see the employee do more often.

Know employees personal and work backgrounds.

Learn about their family, hobbies, special social or other activities in which they’re involved. Genuine interest enables people to feel valued, cared about. Demonstrate this interest regularly by asking questions such as, “How did Sally’s tournament turn out last weekend?”

Offer employees flexible scheduling for holidays or special events, if feasible.

If work coverage is critical, post a calendar so people can balance time off with that of their coworkers. Realize most employees like a flexible schedule most of the time.

Give personalized small gifts or greeting cards occasionally.

Present a card to celebrate a birthday, to offer sympathy, when an employee is ill or experiencing a family tragedy, or for no reason at all.

Provide end of year bonuses…

Attendance bonuses, quarterly bonuses and small gift certificates that say “thank you.” Most people appreciate food. Order pizza for lunch or take employees out for a birthday lunch or special occasion.

Create a fun tradition for a seasonal holiday

Have employees draw names for their secret Santa gift exchange. Consider a treat day every month. It’s a great mixer, morale builder, and provides opportunities for everybody to show off culinary skills.

Treat employees.

Bring in bagels, doughnuts or other treats for everybody. Offerings such as chocolate, cookies or cupcakes, particularly anything that you’ve baked personally, are a hit.

Offer varied educational and training opportunities.

Many employees enjoy participating on special committees where their talents are recognized. They also like attending professional association meetings, and representing the organization at civic and philanthropic events.

Enhance creativity.

There are hundreds of employee and employer appreciations ideas. They’ll bring the company success as well as motivate and recognize loyal employees, building a positive, productive workplace.

Use every opportunity to demonstrate the company’s loyalty, gratitude and appreciation to employees. No special occasions are necessary. Employee appreciation is never out-of-date!

Additional tips to help employers and employees develop loyalty to adapt and succeed in changing times are found in Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life.


Attitude plays a big role in your career growth

good attitude

At 52, Fred, a senior project manager with a large manufacturing firm, felt he was ready for a career change. Because he loves “fixing things” he found a position as maintenance manager for a large apartment complex.

Fred still enjoys fixing things, but he also has fun sharing jokes with the tenants. “If you’re doing something you like, then it’s not really work and you’re making money,” Fred says. “Your best work goes into it because you like it.”

Fred’s decision to become a maintenance manager may mean dropping several notches down the traditionally perceived career status ladder, but Fred is happy with his new work and lifestyle. So is his family.

Dixie talked to me because she wanted support for her decision to go back to school to study a new field.  She left her position as vice president of a Marin county bank to follow her long-term dream of studying architecture. Now she is in her third month of classes and loves it.

Fred and Dixie represent the new career attitude, which I call Questers. What makes them different? Is it important to develop those characteristics?

Like many of us, they will spend a third to half of their waking hours working, commuting to work or thinking about their jobs. But Questers also share many of the same personality traits, including the willingness to risk, to take charge of their careers and lives, and to be true to themselves.

Questers are optimistic, self reliant, inner-directed, and represent all occupations, ages and walks of life. They move up-down-and sideways on the occupational prestige ladder to achieve growth.  They view failure as learning experiences and measure success by internal standards.

They reevaluate their career goals periodically. Other qualities include a sense of purpose, confidence, resilience, the ability to combine the best of male and female strengths, and desires for such things as autonomy, challenge and achievement.

As we grow older, various life experiences may influence us to lose the excitement for learning and set up barriers to growth that are manifested in expressions of resistance such as fear, denial, delaying tactics, impatience, and low self-confidence. We lose touch with the inner child as well as the Quester characteristics.  But we all retain those traits within that can be strengthened if we desire.

People who suppress the traits tend to be traditionalists. Sometimes crises such as layoffs, illnesses and death of loved ones force traditionalists to come to terms with who they are and what they really want to do.

Are You a Quester? By answering “yes” or “no” to the following questions, you will have an idea of whether or not you lean toward Quester or traditionalist characteristics:

1. When you want something, are you willing to risk?

2. Do you have a sense of purpose in your life?

3. Do you feel comfortable doing what you feel is right for you?

4. Do you enjoy challenge?  A sense of achievement?

5. Are you usually optimistic?

6. Do you thoroughly enjoy your job?  Your lifestyle?

7. Do you feel good about yourself?

8. Do you set high standards for yourself?

9. Do you like trying new things?

10. Do you place more value on personal growth than security?  Money?  Prestige?

11. Do you periodically assess your values and goals?

12. When you set desired goals, do I work hard to achieve these?

13. Do you listen to your feelings and other intuitive cues as well as your intellect?

14. Do you make your own decisions, and when need be, even swim against the tide?

If you answered “yes” to 10 or more of the above questions, you tend to be a Quester. If you got 5 to 9 “yes” answers, you have some Quester and some traditionalist qualities. You seem to be a traditionalist if you answered “yes” to less than five.


Elon Musk is a Quester

Carole Kanchier —  January 25, 2018

“I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.” -Elon Musk

elon musk and spacex

Elon Musk is a Quester

His willingness to publicly discuss even the failures of his insanely ambitious SpaceX missions reminds us just how confident the man truly is.

Musk has accomplished feats previously thought impossible–in fact, if he’d listened to his advisers, he’s never have experienced the success he has been. Born in South Africa in 1971, he sold his first computer game at age 12 and went on to co-found Tesla Motors, PayPal and SpaceX.

Elon Musk is a Quester! A risk taker; he’s an innovator and dares to dream the big dreams. Further, he has the ability to actually make them happen.

Read about other Questers in Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life by Dr. Carole Kanchier 


“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”  Mark Twain

Have you ever lied at work? Do you tell half-truths to get the sale or job? Do you keep your promises?


Do you tell the truth?

What does this quiz say about you?

Answer yes or no.

1. I’ve lied on my resume or fudged reports.

2. I call in sick when I’m not.

3. I use the Internet on company time.

4. I fail to disclose pertinent information.

5. I’ve cheated on school or employment tests.

6. I’d tell a face-saving lie if the truth will damage my career.

7. I exaggerate the truth or tell white lies to avoid hurting someone.

8. I lie about family emergencies.

9. I’ve stolen office supplies.

10. I’ve padded expense accounts.

11. I lie to serve my employer.

12. I’ve copied software or reproduced cassettes.

Scoring: One point for each “yes.” The higher your score, the more you could enhance honesty.

Lying is stressful, and stress harms health and accelerates aging. Frequent lying and fear of exposure keeps your body’s “fight or flight” response on. Long term activation of this system may result in health conditions like heart disease.

The Pinocchio Effect also kicks in when you lie. The temperature in the muscles around the nose becomes hotter, according to Emilio Milán and Elvira López at the University of Granada. There is corresponding action in the insular cortex of the brain which controls emotions. Fear of being caught in a lie increases activity in the insular cortex, leading to more heat emanating from the nose. The researchers called this the Pinocchio effect. In Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, the boy puppet’s lies are revealed whenever his wooden nose grows.

Lying damages a person’s self respect and credibility. Dishonesty also affects company productivity. Using company time and stealing small items add up. Honest employees pay for others’ lack of integrity through stricter rules, or other..

Why People Lie

Children learn to lie. Many don’t view cheating on exams as unethical. Dishonest behavior is encouraged when schools fail to show disapproval of students’ cheating. The same message is given when parents cheat on taxes. Children learn all methods for achieving goals are justified.

We fib because we need to appear competent, want to avoid hurt or conflict, desire to protect our jobs, or not rock the boat. Some workers may lie about a sick child to protect themselves from taking another business trip. Others who call in sick are tending to personal needs. Not all supervisors understand employees’ need for family or relaxation time. Business behaviors such as not disclosing pertinent information or selling defective goods are rationalized along the same lines.

Political and business leaders have lied for centuries. Recent studies conducted by Paul Piff, social psychologist, at the University of California, Irvine, found that self-interests tend to spur the elite to lie and cheat.

Lies have hidden costs, not only in productivity and teamwork, but in a person’s self-respect. It’s difficult to stop, once you start exaggerating the truth. People who lie don’t remember who knows what. A major consequence is damaged credibility.

Various workplace situations facilitate untruthful behaviors. Employee dishonesty may be a sign of outdated company policies. Workers may take time off for questionable family needs because the employer has no flex time or personal care days.

Demonstrating Truthfulness

William Shakespeare offers sage advice: “Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.” Additional suggestions follow.

Love and accept yourself.

Know what you want. Surround yourself with supportive people who accept you for who you really are.

Don’t compromise your integrity and reputation by associating with people whose standards of integrity you mistrust.

Speak the truth.

Communicate in an open and honest fashion. Exaggerating your ability to meet expectations will hurt your status and business more than being honest up front. Truth and trust go together. Lies erode others’ faith in you.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Present both sides of an issue to ensure objectivity. Simplify your statements so that others understand your message. Tell people the rational behind your decisions so that your intent is understood.

Keep promises.

If there is a genuine reason you can’t reveal your position, such as when you’re negotiating, consider saying, “I can’t discuss that now.”

Hold people accountable when their actions don’t match their words.. If you have a personal bias or a conflict of interest make it known to people with whom you are interacting.

Avoid compromising situations.

If your boss tells you to lie about a given situation, gently decline saying you’re not comfortable with the idea, or offer an alternative way to achieve the goal.  If you find yourself in many compromising situations, think about moving on.

Shift mindset.

Lying is a learned survival strategy that can be unlearned. Note what triggers your decision to lie. What fear (e.g., being wrong, hurting someone) is behind this choice? Why do you believe the lie will have a better outcome, and for whom? Reflect on your answers to uncover your motivation, and make needed modifications.

When you sense yourself crafting a lie, ask yourself. “What’s the worst that can happen if I tell the truth?”

Visualize your ideal picture of yourself.

Focus on this image of your honest self to maintain truthful behavior in all situations.

Additional tips for being truthful with yourself are found in the award-winning Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life.