The Blog You've Been Missing

The View from Here

May 30, 2015

Over the 15 years we’ve lived in our home here in the Berkeley Hills, we’ve been witness to a number of stunning views from our back deck.

I thought you might enjoy a look:

No dates, no times, just random scenes over the last few years.

Clouds make The City

Clouds make The City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fog creeps in

The fog creeps in

 

 

Our Golden Gate

Our Golden Gate

Summer sunset

Summer sunset

 

 

A sky ablaze

A sky ablaze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watching over us all

Watching over us all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can We All Agree – 5/30/15 Edition

Filed under: Can we all agree — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 6:27 am

Can we all agree that FIFA might be the most corrupt organization in sports?

Can we all agree that FIFA’s leader, Seth Blatter, may be the most sanctimonious president on the planet?

Loretta Lynch

Loretta Lynch

Can we all agree that it seems a bit odd that Europeans have no problem challenging Google or Facebook, but they refused to do anything about FIFA?

Can we all agree that every other official at FIFA, including it’s president, should be pretty nervous?

Can we all agree that we now know why Mr. Batter has not visited the US in quite a while? He would have been arrested.

Can we all agree that Loretta Lynch has made quite an entrance on to the world stage?

Enough already, on to other topics:

Can we all agree that the Warriors-Cavs NBA finals will be great to watch? I’m with Steph and his daughter, Riley, in 7.

Can we all agree that the latest revelations about former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, while shocking, are a bit perplexing, coming 40 years after the alleged incident – while he is no longer at the pinnacle of power?

Can we all agree that the life sentence handed down to the creator of the Silk Road website, was meant to send a message to everyone on the dark web?

Can we all agree that the Nebraska legislature’s decision to abolish the death penalty, over the governor’s veto – is pretty amazing?

Can we all agree that Rick Santorum and George Pataki just make two more passengers for the GOP presidential Clown Car? How many more do you figure will fit in?

Can we all agree that we can blame President Obama’s come from behind win over Hillary in 2008 for Martin O’Malley’s entrance into the Democratic primary?

Can we all agree that a future Supreme Court decision on the definition of a voter may alter the US election process forever?

Can we all agree that it’s pretty remarkable that the words being used to challenge the ACA are now being called mistakes, by the folks who wrote the legislation?

Can we all agree that the latest court decision delaying immigration reform, ignores the human toll being placed on 12 million residents of the United States?

Can we all agree that, while we are a nation of law, governing by court decision is not the way the founding fathers designed the system to work?Flooding

Can we all agree that most climate scientists are looking at  extreme flooding in Texas and unusually high temperatures in India and saying,”we told you so?”

Can we all agree that Ted Cruz’s condemnation of federal money for Hurricane Sandy, and about-face on aid for Texas flood victims shows him to be the duplicitous politician that he is?

 

 

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Can We All Agree – 5/23/15 Edition

May 23, 2015

Filed under: Can we all agree — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 7:39 am

Can we all agree that while the acceptance of gay marriage was a dramatic turn in the United States, it is revolutionary for Ireland?

Can we all agree that despite Elizabeth Warren’s best efforts the President will probably get  both his fast track trade authority and his Pacific Rim Treaty?

Can we all agree that this week’s deal with  Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta farmers to give up a quarter of their water this season, is a drop in the bucket, but it’s an important PR move for the farm community?

Disputed islands in the Pacific

Disputed islands in the Pacific

Can we all agree that the US-China mini-war of words over Pacific islands, that China is artificially enlarging, sounds a lot like the cold war rhetoric of the 60’s?

Can we all agree that a year from now visiting the US embassy in Havana will be normal for US travelers?

Can we all agree that it looks like Hillary Clinton is trying to get all the scandals and bad news out before the real Preidential campaign starts?

Can we all agree that the renewal of the Patriot Act and the NSA data collection authority has become a political circus thanks to Rand Paul?

Can we all agree that when a conservative state like Nebraska bans the death penalty there may be hope for our civilization?

Can we all agree that when 5 major international banks can buy their way out of a multi-billion dollar market rigging scandal and no-one goes to jail there is something wrong with the US justice system?

Can we all agree that no matter how quickly they clean up the 105,000 gallons of oil that spilled from a ruptured pipe in Santa Barbara, many people are wondering how we’ll deal with a similar spill in the Arctic?

Can we all agree that despite GOP calls for stronger action against ISIS, there will be no increase in American boots on the ground in the Mideast?

Can we all agree that moving the point after touchdown play to the 15 yard line will add a bit more excitement to NFL games and lead to a lot more one point victories?

Can we all agree that 34 million is a lot of airbags to recall?

Can we all agree that every time another GOP candidate enters the race for President it just seems like more clowns being packed into one car?

Can we all agree that, whether you liked him or not, David Letterman was a uniquely American institution?

Can we all agree that Taylor Swift is a true phenomenon?

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift

Can we all agree that when Robert Kraft dropped his appeal of the NFL penalties for Deflategate, it sounded an awful lot like there may be a deal in place (wink, wink) to get Tom Brady’s suspension reduced?

Can we all agree that whether they were arguing over jacket patches, territory, or parking places, motorcycle gang wars are terrifying because it doesn’t sound like they are over?

Can we all agree that while the Los Angeles City council took the easy way out in delaying the implementation of a $15 minimum wage, at least they took the first step and set a standard for other US cities?

Can we all agree that the Boy Scouts should end their outright ban on gay scoutmasters and allow local troops to decide who their leaders should be?

 

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Graduating Into Networking

It’s graduation season.

High school seniors are looking forward to a summer off, before they start worrying whether they chose the ‘right’ college.

College graduates are considering taking on more debt to get an advanced degree, or worrying if they will ever find a job.

And perhaps not surprisingly, older workers are starting to wonder if they should return to the classroom. In an era where many thought leaders are openly questioning the value of a college education, univrsities have seen a dramatic increase in the number of ‘mature’ students returning to campus.Unknown

Just 15 years ago most of these older students were baby-boomers who were suddenly empty nesters, looking for a new challenge. Degrees such as Executive MBA’s were the province of small schools trying to generate some extra money from unused classroom space at night or on the weekend.

But with the recession, and millions of Americans out of work, almost every major university suddenly discovered that money from established workers was just as good as fees from undergraduates. Schools such as the University of California’s Haas School of Business, which had dismissed executive MBA programs in 2000, now have huge, and costly, courses in conjunction with other major universities.

So, as your son or daughter threatens to do a “Steve Jobs”  – rejecting college to work in the garage – is returning to school worth it?

I might be biased, since I received my MBA about 30 years after my bachelor’s degree, but my answer is a decided yes, for a number of reasons.

First and foremost is the knowledge you gain, which is particularly valuable in an economy where you can never have enough skills. Change in the American workforce used to take place over generations. These days, it can occur in much less than a decade.

Just look at the number of jobs that went begging over the last 8 years while unemployment hovered around 10%.

Schools are making it easier to get accepted by removing testing and, in many cases, undergraduate degree requirements. Your work experience now has a completely unexpected real-life benefit.

Secondly, it’s all about networking. I once had a very heated and lengthy discussion about post graduate networking with a dining companion who insisted that “the only value’ to an advanced degree was the people you meet. His argument suggested that the only programs worth attending were from elite schools where you could rub elbows with classmates who were already successful.

The discussion grew so heated, my wife pointed out later, that diners were asking to be reseated away from our table. She admitted that I was not the main culprit, my debate-mate was. His debating style included language that probably should not be used outside a locker room – if at all.

I know I wasn’t convinced that my MBA was worthless because it was not from an Ivy League school, and I doubt he agreed that an education could be just as valuable, but we both should have apologized to the other diners.

You probably didn’t realize you were networking as an undergraduate, but as any college career office will tell you, your classmates can be a huge advantage when you start looking for a job.

In fact, some schools welcome freshman as alumni at their annual convocation near the start of the school year. They don’t exactly start fund-raising to 18-year-olds –  that’s a subtle side benefit that comes later.

School networks can be incredibly valuable on both the graduate and undergraduate level. Particularly with sites such as LinkedIn where you can easily find fellow alumni at companies where you want to work.

Likewise when hiring agents recognize their own college on your profile, it might be the extra leg up you need to at least get an interview.

So whether you are in college now, or contemplating a mid-career  advanced degree, remember the advantages of networking and use it as part of your job search. By the way my undergraduate degree is from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and my MBA is from Dominican University in San Rafael, CA.

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Emotionally Intelligent Interviews

May 17, 2015

In the last few years emotional intelligence has gone from a consultant’s buzz word to bonafide skill that employers value when they make a new hire.

In many cases it may be the key characteristic that separates one candidate from another.emotional-intelligence-graphic

Emotional intelligence covers a wide range of characteristics, but they are all classified as ‘soft skills’ that can be difficult to quantify. They include self awareness, and self efficacy, but also includes empathy and a range of talents that allow you to connect with your fellow employees.

Emotional intelligence is a key component in your ability to work well and communicate with others.  It’s recognized as a key strength for good management.

The ability to understand your employees and know how to motivate them is often the difference between managing and leading.

I mention all this because mastering emotional intelligence is not easy. While books have been written on how to learn the basics, there is a significant body of opinon which suggests that emotional intelligence is something that cannot be taught – either you have it or you don’t.

Personally, I believe you can teach EI, but I’m not sure it’s the kind of skill people acquire fully through classroom instruction.

Why is this imporntant for your career? Because if you don’t at least understand some components, you may find yourself asking, “Why didn’t I get the job, I thought the interview went great.”

The biggest challenge for most people is self awareness. I have had many clients who don’t have a good understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses. Even if you work for a company which does annual performance reviews, and you have a good manager who explains what you might do better, it’s always easier to blame someone else.

Office politics, prejudice, managerial incompetence are always easier to see than your own faults. You can’t depend on friends and loved ones to explain what’s wrong and if they do, it comes with a good deal of emotional baggage.

I recently had a new client complain to me that he, ‘just couldn’t get past that first interview for a new job.’ He couldn’t understand why, even though his wife had been telling him, apparently for months.

He is very competent in his field, but the funding for the project he was working on was running out and he had to find another position. He explianed all this is a monotone voice, with no espression other than resignation. He had, what psychologists call, a flat affect. No emotion, no enthusiasm and certainly not the kind of personality that would make employers want to add him to their payroll.

He told me that his wife had pointed out his lack of enthusism, but he chalked it up to marital issues. When I confrmed what his spouse had told him, he was shocked.

He’s a research scientist and doesn’t really understand why he needs to have the kind of enthusiam that I seem to be suggesting, since his work is pretty solitary, but I tried to convince him that it makes a difference to the person doing the hiring.

We’ll see where his coaching leads, but as a former hiring manager, I can tell you that self awareness is important. You need to know your strengths and weaknesses.

It works on the other end to – you have to know what you’re good at, but I’ll take that up in a future post.

There are host of other concepts that contribute to emotional intelligence. Author Daniel Goleman has made a career out of explaining the characteristics. I would refer you to his books on the subject, or you can just call me next time you can’t figure out why you didn’t get that new job you wanted, EI may be the answer.

 

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Can We All Agree – 5/17/15 Edition

Filed under: Can we all agree,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 9:16 am

Can we all agree that any journalist (George Stephanopoulos) who donates to anything associated with a politician, doesn’t understand his job?

Can we all agree that Tom Brady has already been convicted of cheating in the court of public opinion, now he’s just trying to play in a few more games?

Can we all agree that for the second time in two weeks we have lost a true prince of the arts? This time it was B.B. King.

B.B.KIng

B.B.KIng

Can we all agree that Jeb Bush had a pretty bad week of campaigning?

Can we all agree that we’re not surprised that even Democrats wanted a say in any deal with Iran?

Can we all agree that when an auction house can sell over $1 billion in art in one week, you can’t help wondering if there was a better use for the money?

Can we all agree that when California Governor Jerry Brown tells critics of his water tunnel plan to ‘shut up,’ he’s not really adding to the political discourse?

Can we all agree that we are disappointed on so many levels that President Obama allowed an oil company to begin drilling in the Arctic?

Can we all agree that Seymour Hersh’s revelations about the raid on the Bin Laden compound, is worth one big yawn?

Can we all agree that when the new leader of Saudi Arabia refuses to come to Washington to meet with the President we have a problem?

Can we all agree that no-one is disappointed that American Idol will end after one more season?

Can we all agree that Verizon’s decision to buy AOL is testament to how great a salesman Tim Armstrong is?

Can we all agree that despite the tragic loss of life in this week’s Amtrak crash, the GOP has no intention of giving them more money for safety, or anything else?

Can we all agree that after The President’s trade bill was defeated one day and passed the next, we’re a little confused?

Can we all agree that if the Republicans in the House could quit taking votes on issues that have no chance of becoming law, they might actually get some credit for getting some things done?

 

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Can We All Agree – 5/9/15 Edition

May 10, 2015

Can we all agree that the Big news of the weeks the return of the Muppets toTV?

The Muppets

The Muppets

Can we all agree that the addition of 230,000 new jobs last month confirms that the rest of the nation has joined the economic recovery that began here in California?

Can we all agree that the biggest news out of the Conservative Party’s win in England was the faulty performance of so many polls?

Can we all agree that England’s new princess, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, may have the best name in royal history?

Can we all agree that Pamela Geller is a publicity-seeking racist who does nothing to improve the relationship between Muslims and everyone else in the world?

Can we all agree that despite the latest additions to the GOP presidential list, it’s still a pretty sorry group?

Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana

Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana

Can we all agree that revelations that the Germanwings co-pilot may have rehearsed his tactics is even more terrifying than his final successful crash?

Can we all agree that mandatory water cutbacks may be the only way California will survive its drought?

Can we all agree that Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady’s legacy may be forever tarnished by the ‘Deflategate’ report, but that he still belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Can we all agree that the investigation of police attitudes in San FranciscoBaltimore and other cities may be the start of a long healing process we desperately need?

Can we all agree that Benjamin Netanyahu must be envious of the outright  victory won by David Cameron in England? Natanyahu was not able to form a government until two hours before a 30-day deadline was about to expire.

Can we all agree that giving Congress a say in the upcoming Iran nuclear treaty will produce what can only be called a circus-like atmosphere in the Senate as multiple Presidential hopefuls jockey for position?

Can we all agree that  a Federal  court’s decision declaring  the NSA’s phone record collection illegal, makes Edward Snowden’s actions a bit more understandable?

Can we all agree that with multiple polls showing Hillary Clinton either doing better than expected or in deep trouble it’s really too early to tell?

and finally:

Can we all agree that hiring a man, convicted of sexual harassment to run a woman’s basketball team is just absurd? But that’s what James Dolan did this week in New York when he hired Isiah Thomas to coach the New York Liberty. You can’t make this up.

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Resume Writing: The job No-one Loves

May 2, 2015

Filed under: Coaching,Resumes — Tags: , , , — admin @ 8:28 am

Resume writing may be the most hated job in America.

At least that’s the impression I get from dealing with hundreds of rewrites over the last few years. Most of my clients, young and old, seem to be very unclear about the actual purpose of a resume or what they should include.submit resume

The purpose of a resume, and cover letter, is to get an interview. Nothing more, nothing less. The goal is to let the reader know that you have the skills and qualifications needed for the job and that they need to speak with you.

Which means, that it doesn’t have to include everything you have ever done, every job you have held and every award you received.

Without exception, this can be accomplished in a one-page document, that is clear, concise, and accurate.

In ‘the old days’ when I wrote my first resume, completing a neatly typed one-page document was almost impossible. White-Out liquid, and Correct-o-Type strips were a necessity, and making multiple versions for different employers was a just a dream.

These days, with computers, tablets, smart phones, you can rewrite your resume in the blink of an eye, tailoring it for every employer and even for different potential interviewers within the same organization.

A resume should not be a dry recitation of every job you have ever held. You don’t need to make sure every year of your life is covered. Yes, that two year gap when you decided to take time off, or were forced to take time off, doesn’t have to be explained in the resume. You will probably be asked about it and should have a good answer ready, but it’s wasted space on the resume.

The goal is to impress your potential employers with your skills. I advise all my clients to list their skills first. Not the jobs, the skills.

Are you a manager? Did you create budgets? Did you lead a project? This tells me more than the title you had and years you worked at Widget Works United Manufacturing.

These skills are what a potential employer is hiring, and can be adjusted depending on the job you want.

You are trying to match yourself to an opening, so don’t be afraid to re-arrange the skills to match the needs of the job advertisement.

Younger clients always complain, “I haven’t done anything, yet, so I don’t have any skills.” This is simply not true. You may not have on-the-job skills, but unless you’ve been hiding under a rock during your high school or college days, you have been involved in a host of activities that have left you with skills.

Maybe you worked at a fast-food restaurant and became a shift manager: maybe you joined a sorority and became the treasurer: maybe you volunteered at the local Boy’s and Girl’s Club and coached basketball.

You have skills in management, bookkeeping, or organization, which might make you stand out. Most employers, hiring new graduates are looking for some indication that you have  “soft skills’ in communication, teamwork and trainability. They don’t expect to be hiring a polished professional.

No matter how old you are, there is no need to embellish, and there certainly is no excuse for lying. The internet lives forever so it’s not too tough to uncover something that isn’t true.

Once the skills are done, you can list the relevant jobs you have held and, particularly for older workers, that doesn’t mean you should list all those part-time high school jobs.

If there are some older positions that you held that may or may not be relevant, maybe a simple one-line listing is enough.

After the jobs, you can list education, with degrees, and finally any organization memberships and leadership positions.

You should provide enough information so that the reviewer understands what you did, but remember, the idea is to get an interview, where you can impress them with the details and emphasize your strengths.

I urge my clients to include a section on hobbies or interests to provide another ‘entry point.’ You never know when an off-hand comment about your interest in, say, photography, will spark a question from an interviewer with a similar interest.

It may not be relevant to the job, but it humanizes you and provides another topic to discuss.

So, if you’re having problems completing the most hated job in America, let me know, and I’ll be happy to help.

 

 

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Can We All Agree – 5/2/15 Edition

Filed under: Can we all agree — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 8:28 am

Can we all agree that entertainer Ben E. King, who died this week, will be missed for more than just “Stand By Me?”

Can we all agree that charging the police officers involved in arresting Freddie Gray in Baltimore was the best way to calm tensions in the city.

Can we all agree that one mother’s attempt to corral her wayward son in Baltimore may do more for race relations than any indictment?635658161629637683-Screen-Shot-2015-04-28-at-11.09.01-AM

Can we all agree that the guilty plea and new indictments in the ‘Bridgegate’ scandal just puts anther nail in Chris Christie’s presidential coffin?

Can we all agree that even Americans are following the Royal Family and are thrilled that she had a healthy baby girl?

Can we all agree that Prime Minister Abe’s speech to Congress was largely a non-event.

Can we all agree that, as the death toll in Nepal climbs toward 10,000, the government’s response has been a second disaster? Continued calls to donate to private organizations and not the government are very telling.

Can we all agree that some sort of justice was served when Malala Yousafzai’s attackers were sentenced to life in prison?

Can we all agree that Alex Rodriguez’s climb past Willie Mays in the baseball’s home run count will, forever been an embarrassment – especially here in San Francisco?

Can we all agree that the Pope’s call for increased awareness of man-made climate change is like a breath of fresh air? Now, if he would accept his invitation to address Congress, that would be an event.

Can we all agree that Governor Jerry Brown is at least making an effort to make Californian’s care about water conservation and the environment, by calling for $10,000 fines and more greenhouse gas cuts?

Can we all agree that Bernie Sanders presidential campaign announcement is this week’s campaign chuckle?

Can we all agree that all the speculation about what The Supreme Court may, or may not do, on gay marriage, is getting a bit tiring?

And finally,

Can we all agree that it is incredible that after multiple reviews and conferences and probably hundreds of meetings, Bud Light still came up with an embarrassing promotional slogan for their latest ad campaign?

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