Careful Planning Makes The Most Of An Interview

Artist Michael Aliaga

It has become quite a popular statement to say that you have been out of work for over a —  (and then you state the time).  The statement does nothing to get you back to work.  It is a complaint statement and it keeps you right where you are — unemployed.

Unemployment!  Is It Possible to Get a Job These Days?  Sure it is!  While times are reported on the news to be hard, think about what’s going on in all thriving companies.  There is always constant turnover within any company.  Women and men make decisions to leave and become the center stronghold of their family life.  Others decide to work closer to home and family and relocate.   Yes, family is becoming a central decision-maker for most households and this may be a new result of the recession.  In other words, dreams of a bigger car, a bigger house, etc., is being replaced with dreams of a happy and healthy family.  Jobs are available.   Employees are people.  They get sick, have accidents, go on extended vacations, leave for greener pastures.  Every company has a human resource department for hiring new employees to replace the old.  They may try to get along with fewer employees but in the end they are required to employ replacements if they wish their business to grow.

Traditional ways to advertise their open position has changed dramatically.  Newspaper classified ads were replaced with internet classifieds.  Yet of late, employers are wary of placing an ad to see so many unprepared jobseekers.  The evolution of hiring may now focus more on promoting from within the company and then hiring new, entry-level employees.  These candidates need to prove they are assets not only to the task at hand, but to the harmony among the employees already present.  It is not uncommon for employees to recommend new candidates.  Employees know best the culture of the company and who will “fit in”.

  • When you get the interview make the most of it!  You get one chance to be yourself, your true self; you know, the one who is well-groomed, professional, warm, happy, attentive to the moment and centered.

Here’s some thoughts to get the job you want when an interview is offered to you!

I’ve worked in management one way or another most of my life.  The words of advice I am about to share with you is already known by you.  But something happens when you are the one without the job, asking to get inside.  You seem to leave all the common sense you possess at the door; all the successful experiences you have stacked up from raising children, keeping a roof over your family’s head, cooking the most magnificent meals, making the beds, paying the bills, teaching your children to drive, helping them toward college, not to mention your previous career experience.  I humbly but firmly offer these words:

Put all fears in their place!   

  • Listen to your thoughts as you begin to respond to an ad.  “I can do that!”, “Who am I kidding, I can’t do that.”, “They won’t want me, but I’ll try.  I’ll give it my best.”  So how are you going to put the fears aside? You are going to take a piece of paper and you are going to write down your immediate answers to this question:  How do you feel about this job?
  • You will probably begin by writing something like, “I’m excited!”, “This looks too good to be true”, but if you continue to persist, asking yourself over and over, How do you feel about this job, you will uncover your fears.  Believe me, if you keep writing a page or two, you will uncover your fears.  And, don’t you think it is better to locate your fears prior to your interview?  Yes.  That would be a grand idea!Fears do not come from the core of your being.  Fears live in a dark, “just beyond reality”, place and always disappears with light or what I would call awareness.  Once you put your fears on paper, you can see whether or not your fears are justified.For instance, if you are on and see a job for an IT person, but you don’t know how to send an email, then your fears may be justified.  If you think this sort of job is interesting, you may wish to research schools where you could learn about computers.   With another ad, you may see a job that announces a training program within a work environment.  You know you could meet the requirements.  Now you begin to write down how you feel about applying for this position.  You cannot merely wish that someone in human resources will discover you and your potentially wonderful talents.  Listen to your fears and sort out the ones that bring great emotion with them from the ones that are merely making statements.  For instance, “I can never do well in interviews!” is a fear that will help you fail every time even when it is a job that you could excel in.  “I’ve never used a computer in my life.  Why am I considering applying for an IT position”, is a sensible fear and because it does not bring about much emotion is somehow often overlooked.When you have totally exhausted your list of fears, (ask yourself the question at least ten times), you will begin to see how you really feel about this job.  If you have any defeating thoughts written, you need to address them before you even begin to prepare to go on an interview.
  • You don’t feel pretty/handsome enough to get this job.  Get a haircut.  Ask a friend to share some new looks with you.  And of course, everyone knows that when you are shining from within, you are always professionally beautiful.  Clothes matter.  If you are applying for a professional job, look the part.  It is not acceptable to wear old, shabby-looking clothes to an interview.  You need to look yourself in the mirror and be honest.  Are you projecting a professional man or woman?  Would you hire the person in the mirror?  Are you wearing clothes that suggest you are capable?  What is the costume you will wear that will tell your future employee that it is okay to hire you?
  • I’ve never had this position before.  What skills can you apply to this position?  Can you cite past experiences in your personal or career history that would make it possible for you to serve in this position?  The question is, are you confident that you can successfully function in this position?  It is not good enough to answer, “… because I want the job,” or “… because I’ll do my best.”  Really.  What does that mean to the person who is going to hire you?

Phrases that employers hear all the time and do not impress:

  • “I learn fast.”   Fast for you may not be fast for me.  Tell how you have reached your supervisor’s expectation, in fact surpassed their expectations in a consistent manner.  Offer to have them contact your supervisor to find out just how quickly tasks can be done and with what accuracy!  Smile.  Laugh.  Be confident!
  • “I will do my best.”  “Best” is a relative term.  Your best may not be as good as my best.  Too general.  Tell how you are known for doing your best.  Give examples.  Let the interviewer know you understand how important it is to give a consistently good performance at work.
  • “I am a big ‘people’ person.”  Your idea of service and my idea of service may not be the same.  So, give three examples of how you successfully have interacted with people.  Give one example with a co-worker, one example with your supervisor, and one with a customer, client or patient.
  • Never, never, never talk about your last employment in negative terms.  You may not have thought about it. While you are talking about that last boss who didn’t know what he was doing half the time, your interviewer is thinking “next”.  You have just told the interviewer that you are a complainer, a trouble maker, a person who won’t really work out until the attitude changes.

Once you’ve put your fears in their place, you will remove the artificial facade.

Remember, the person you are selling is yourself.  It is the same person who will be coming to work every day after you are hired.  Try to let your unique light out, your personality.   Your confidence comes from your heart, not from your brain.  So if you find yourself sweating, you are coming from your brain, not your heart!  Deal with your fears before your interview and you will succeed.  Good luck!

Balancing Work and Play

You know the old saying, “All work and no play makes John a dull boy.”  Even when you love work, work is work.  It is possible to lose your balance.  And  contacting your core of happiness is dependent on a healthy balance of work and play, light tension and relaxation.

If you find yourself in moments of frustration or irritation, this may be a sign for you to check around you.

Describe how you have spent your recent days

    •  Who have you spoken to?
    • Are your thoughts heavy? Are you carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders?
    • Are you worried about the future? about the past? Have you momentarily lost your connection with the present?
    • How many hours have you sat in front of the TV? the computer? What did you feel?
    • What did you do to express yourself? How did you feel?
    • What were you thinking that made you feel sad? irritated? frustrated?

Once you get a report on what has taken place in the last day or two, you will begin to see the balance or lack of balance that only you have control over.  Take a breath.  If you have been out of balance, try one of the following.

    • Play catch with your dog.
    • Play Words with Friends
    • Send your family a homemade gift even though it is not the holidays, a birthday, anniversary, etc. Send a gift for no reason at all! You’ll feel better.  It’s like magic!
    • Take a walk and if you have a dog take your dog along. See how many flowers you can name. Bring your camera along and take pictures to share with your family and friends when you get back.
    • Go to the park.
    • Find a few friends and play Settlers of Cattan.
    • Take a shovel and dig in the garden.
    • Rearrange your closet and get rid of the things you can’t wear anymore.
    • Watch a funny movie.

Most of all, if you have been a little down lately, chances are you have not been that good to yourself. Once you give yourself a break and balance out, your natural inclination will turn back to well-being and happiness.


*Available at now:  Aunt Barbara’s Powerful Little Book of Comfort

Two Exercises For Peace, Love and Happiness

Today I am offering two ideas for a more pleasant day.  Audio Blog Available.

Number one:  Plan your day as if it has already taken place.

This exercise might seem a bit strange at first, but it packs a powerful punch. Instead of getting up in the morning and hoping things will turn out, imagine the actions of the day as already having taken place, as if you are watching a movie.  Imagine you are finished with the day.  Imagine how you feel because of the day’s events.

You can rise in the morning with enthusiasm, or you may dread the day.  The first thing you can do is be thankful for your bed, for the body you are in, for your surroundings and for the people in your life.  The best days start with appreciation for what you have.  The second thing you can do is to plan for your day.  See yourself talking to your co-workers in a happy environment of sharing.  See yourself completing your tasks at work with ease and enjoyment.  Imagine all sorts of good surprises for yourself. And, top it off with the thought, that all of your dreams have already come true!  Imagine you are getting ready for bed tonight and enjoying the memories of the actualization of your dreams.

As I said, this may seem a bit strange at first. But don’t give up!  It will bring about happier situations throughout your day as you perfect your skills.  You are beginning to achieve the skill of objectivity.  You are beginning to see yourself and your situations in a new light and gain power over your daily life and situations.  You are in touch with your core of happiness.

Number two:  Be your greatest fan

Have you ever heard yourself singing or read something you wrote long ago and been surprised that it was you singing or writing? Have you ever come across a project from work that gave you an amazing feeling that it was you who accomplished that project?  If so, you have a rare opportunity to be your greatest fan.

Self-love is the beginning task for all of us.  To the extent you love and admire your true self you will be able to love others … and not a speck more.   Take time today to find out more about yourself and see if you can be proud to know yourself the same way you would be proud to say you know a rockstar or politician or actress or boss or anyone you admire in your life.  Are you proud to know you?  Are you proud to be you?  That is powerful stuff.

Many people are taught to love their neighbor as themselves.  They may work hard on charity events only to find themselves unhappy and in conflict with those they work with.  They wonder how it is that they can be so charitable and so irritated at the same time.  Of course, you know the answer.  You cannot give what you do not have.  Love yourself and loving others becomes a natural response.

Perhaps today you will take time to express yourself in art, writing, singing, playing an instrument or creating an audio book.  Tomorrow, enjoy what you have created.  Don’t worry if you have not received any feedback from anyone regarding how great you are.  Take time to enjoy and admire who the person is behind the creation …. you!  Allow yourself to admire yourself and you will experience happiness and peace because you will be coming in contact with all that we consider important.


Courage To Be Yourself

There is nothing quite so satisfying as the calm, peaceful connection to happiness.

Yet many days we are caught up in the rough waters of sorrow, fear, defense, and concerns that can lead only to unhappiness. It occurred to me yesterday that a stumbling block to experiencing my happiness is trying to create a projection to others that I think might please them.

At the moment I realize I am who I am, flaws and all, I stop projecting the person I consider passable for other’s approval, and I am immediately returned to my happy state.

The question is this: Is it possible for me to get along with you by just being myself?  You bet it is!  In fact, I am worthless to you if I am not myself.  So, here I am in my natural, free state of happiness. There is nothing so satisfying as being myself.  So what if my house is a little untidy.  So what?!!  So what if my pants have a wrinkle.  So what if my hair doesn’t match the hollywood stars I see.  So what if I don’t fit into the latest fad group.  So what if I occasionally have a grammatical error in my blog.  So what!

The only way I will fit into this world is if I let myself be me with all the wonderful flaws and creative, free, child-like expressions of joy.

I pass this piece of wisdom on to you today.  Be best friends with yourself.  Stop creating a nagging mother and an unhappy child from within.  When you see a flaw, love the flaw and go on.  It is part of you this day and it is part of your life today.  If you really don’t like a wrinkle, iron your pants, but do it for yourself, not for who you think will be impressed. If you don’t like the way your hair looks, then go and get it cut.  But get it cut for yourself, not for the way you think others will like it.  If you cut it for others to notice, you’ll be disappointed in their reaction every time.  The only person who can please you and compliment you and make you feel important is yourself.  

Give up trying to fit in and LIVE your life with joy.  You and I are marvelous creations.  Enjoy today with your best friend who will always be with you … you!

New Beginnings Today and Everyday

Just like a canvas, this empty box of nothingness is just waiting to be filled with typewritten words, ideas that have never been put together in quite the same way. All artistic expression comes from nothingness and mysteriously emerges into something-ness!  It is what I am doing right this very moment.

The same can be said for each morning. With awareness, there is always an opportunity for new expression, greatness.

I’ve often wondered why we require sleep each day. What is it that takes place when we are unconscious? You can answer by giving me a lot of scientific and biological reasons why sleep is required, but I believe there’s more treasure in the answer.  What is the deeper reason? Is there a hidden opportunity for me?   Am I not given a clean slate in life each day to express whatever I like?

Right now I am rested and ready to take on the adventure of the day.  What opportunities to learn new things, meet new people, solve new puzzles and challenges await me?  I am filled with hope upon awakening every day.  Today will be a most wonderful memory tomorrow!

Here are two ideas for making each day a new beginning:

  1. Wake up with the idea that your job today is to find three happy surprises.  Decide whether your surprises will be discovered at play, at exercise, at work or at home.  Know that you will need to write down the discoveries at the end of the day in order to win this game of life.  Can you feel yourself getting more enthused about the day?  And, so you should, because you definitely are in for three happy surprises and you don’t want to miss them!
  2. Wake up knowing that today is different from any day you have ever lived.  First feel your feet and notice how different they feel to you. Stand on the floor and walk from heel to toe and become aware of the fact that you can walk.  Decide you are going to walk with a new awareness today.  Make a plan to walk to three new places that you have never walked before.  That can be a walk around the block at lunchtime, or a walk around your house with a new awareness of gratitude for your surroundings, or even a walk through a store with new insights into the amazing choices that are awaiting you down each aisle.

With a slight positive slant on your day, you will find your day filled with wondrous experiences this very day!  Each day you are given a clean slate with which to enjoy and to express whatever is within.  Go ahead.  Dance through today with a bright, new attitude of expectation!

A Gift For Those Who Are Grieving

This audio/video book sample calms me down even though I produced it. As I listen I experience the peace that is within all of us.  I hope you will share it with your friends and neighbors, especially those who are a little down at the moment.

The audio sample reading is taken from “Aunt Barbara’s Powerful Little Book of Comfort.  I hope it will soothe the pain many may feel on this day.  Hopefully it will guide anyone who has lost their sense of happiness back to peace.  It is a 20-minute reading hosted on

For those who need assistance, CLICK HERE.