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You don’t need to cure cancer to find meaning in your work.

30 Aug

I don’t need research to tell me that I want my work to count and give me the opportunity to have meaning, but the research does exist. When we talk about the concept of “meaning at work”, I’ve often had folks say: “Well, I’m not in medicine or in some job that really counts, so I guess that doesn’t apply to me.


When I asked one of the most successful fast food restaurant managers of a chain what his mission was, he said: “I hire many young people, and this is their first job beyond lawn mowing or babysitting. I teach them responsibility and how to treat people with courtesy and how to take pride in work. Most of these young people go onto to other jobs, but it is wonderful when they come back and tell me they’re a better person and employee because of the skills and values they learned at our restaurant.”

Meaning and purpose are NOT sequestered in one profession. Where does that purpose and meaning reside?

In you.

In EVERY job you can take the mindset to act in a way that adds dignity and meaning.

And you can do that in even the most so-called “modest” job.

Set your mindset that you will find the meaning and mission in what you do.

Prospective and current employers will notice.

There are training videos on the web site of my faith community and a handout. This content is free:

#career #jobhunting #careers #jobsearch

JOB SEARCH TIP: If the Job Search Ghost haunts you.

29 Aug

Have you applied for a job at a company, had an interview, and then never heard back?

You’ve been “ghosted”.

Sadly, many employers don’t follow up with candidates who aren’t moving forward on a job. It is, in my view, lazy, disrespectful and unprofessional on the part of an employer. It can hurt their brand. Even if you don’t get this job, you are still a potential future employee, referrer and also a customer.

As a job seeker, what should you do?

~ If you had what you thought was a good interview that you think might lead to an offer, DON’T STOP SEARCHING. Keep looking. You are in control of your search.

~ Check your networking contacts to see if you know someone can help.

~ Finally, take the high road. Send one last note to the recruiter or hiring manager. Express your disappointment they have not followed up, and wish them well.

Stick to your plan. Do your homework. Tell your story.

It’s a new day. Let’s get going.

There are free training videos on the web site of my faith community:

#career #careercoach #jobhuntingtips #jobhunting #careers #jobsearch #jobsearchtips

JOB SEARCH TIP #: Evaluate the safety culture of prospective employers.

28 Aug

There was an article in the newspaper about a woman who was recently invited for an in-person job interview. She thought it went well, but didn’t get a call back.

She followed up and found the position had been filled. When she asked why they hired someone else, they said: “When you came in for an interview you wore your mask the entire time. We thought you might be one of those people who will complain about every safety issue.”

Each of us will need to make a decision about what kind of work environment for which we will feel comfortable. In the case above, the woman was actually relieved she found out that their values regarding safety weren’t the same as hers, and went onto her next career opportunity.

I used to work for a utility that highly valued safety, and I never felt unsafe when I worked there. That was important to me, so in that case my values and the values of my employer were aligned.

Use online resources to understand the safety culture of a prospective employer. Additionally, you can use networking skills to gain additional insights.

Do your homework. Find a job that is right for you in an environment and culture that fits what is important to you.

There are training videos on the web site of my faith community. This content is free. Please pass along:

#career #careercoach #jobhuntingtips #jobhunting #careers #jobsearch #jobsearchtips

#jobsearchcoach #jobsearchhelp #jobsearchstrategies

JOB SEARCH TIP: There is bias in the hiring process (and workplace)—a story from Dr. Clifton

26 Aug

Don Clifton was at a national sales meeting of a client. He heard people whispering about a man across the room. Although the man had on a nice sports coat and tie, he apparently had made a faux paus with his socks…

They were white.

Don found out later that the man with the white socks, although ridiculed, was outstanding. In fact, his hecklers didn’t know that later that day he was being honored at the meeting.

Don deemed his peers suffered from “glare”, where in this instance they were evaluating this gentleman wearing white socks which, of course, has absolutely no relationship to his productivity and success.

If Don was alive today, he wouldn’t call it glare; he would call it bias.

Sadly, there is way too much “glare” in the world of work, too much bias, including in the hiring process.

We must fight against this bias; resist it. As job seekers, some of you may face it because:

~ Of your age

~ Of your gender

~ Because you are a person with a disability

~ You are unemployed

~ Of your sexual orientation

And, three months after the death of George Floyd in my hometown, there is bias because of your race.

Let’s name this—it is bias.

Photo is of Don and me in 1982. I miss him.

#jobsearch #careers #bias

JOB SEARCH TIP #: “What would a former boss or co-worker say about you?”

26 Aug

new day 2

Don’t you just love job interviews? (tongue firmly planted in cheek)

This is a question you’re likely to get in a job interview, so best you think about how you will respond.

Recruiters and hiring managers have told me that by asking you to respond “to what a former manager would say” you actually are revealing what you think about yourself.


Think carefully about what descriptors you use to answer this question, because what you say may be telling to a prospective employer a lot more than you think. You can also use this as an opportunity to provide an example or two of your successes and accomplishments.

And, of course, be honest.

This is one of those questions for which you will want to practice (there’s that awful word “practice”) with a friend. Record your response and review. Think about how well your response represents you and helps advance your search.

So, what would a former boss or coworker say about you?

It’s a new day. Let’s get started.

There are training videos on the web site of my faith community and a handout. This content is free. Please pass along:

#career #careercoach #jobhuntingtips #jobhunting #careers #jobsearch #jobsearchtips

#jobsearchcoach #jobsearchhelp #jobsearchstrategies

JOB SEARCH TIP: You have a job and want a different job where you work…

24 Aug

You see an internal job post where you work. It looks like a job you would have a real chance of getting, and it fits your career plans. Since it’s an internal post you probably don’t need to do the things you would do for an external post, right?


You should put in as much effort into an internal posting. You’ll want to:

  • validate that the job is a good fit,
  • prepare a cover letter and resume that is customized to the opportunity,
  • network with people who know about the job and can provide good coaching,
  • do homework to determine salary, if that information isn’t available,
  • practice for an interview so you can tell your story and connect to the job requirements, and
  • prepare follow up correspondence after the interview.

All this work may seem unnecessary, but these tasks are all within your control and give you the best chance possible to be successful.

Do the work. Identify needs. Tell your story.

There are training videos on the web site of my faith community. This content is free:

#career #careercoach #jobhuntingtips #jobhunting #careers #jobsearch #jobsearchtips

#jobsearchcoach #jobsearchhelp #jobsearchstrategies

Don Clifton got a second chance. He used it to live well. What would do with yours?

23 Aug

don and me

I’m going to finish up my series about my mentor Dr. Clifton with this story:

Don was an aviator in World War II. One day he was headed toward his plane for a trip across enemy lines, but at the last minute was bumped so a new navigator could join the experienced crew.

He stayed on the ground, and that plane didn’t come back, shot down in combat.

Don felt like every day he lived after that was a gift, and he wasn’t going to waste one of them.

Don’t waste your days.

This seems like good advice for living, but is particularly important for those in the job search. It’s easy to let a day or two “slide by” where you don’t work on your job search. You find some excuses not to follow up with jobs, you let networking calls slide, rationalizing that you’re not convinced that those calls will make a difference anyway.

Each day is too precious, and in a job search each and every day can be used to advance you to your ultimate goal—reemployment.

There are free training videos on the web site of my faith community:

#career #careercoach #jobhunting #careers #jobsearch #strengths

JOB SEARCH TIP: Bring questions to the interview that will help them know you– advice from Dr. Clifton.

20 Aug


Back in the day Don Clifton was advising college students who were applying for jobs. Several complained that the college recruiters didn’t really spend much time getting to know them, preferring to tell them about the benefits of joining their company.

Don said: “Write a list of questions that if the recruiters were to ask you they would know a lot about you. Give them the list and ask them to read you the questions.”

The recruiters did. Most of the recruiters were so impressed they asked if they could keep copies of the questions.

Don’t assume recruiters know the right questions to ask to learn about you. It may sound audacious, but you can use the same strategy—prepare a set of questions, give them to the recruiter, and ask them to ask them to you.

Just like Don’s students, you might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

The posts for the next couple weeks are inspired by a man who inspired me, Donald O. Clifton.

There are training videos on the web site of my faith community. This content is free:  All the posts at

#career #careercoach #jobhunting #careers #jobsearch #strengths


JOB SEARCH TIP #: How to destroy yourself—insights from Dr. Clifton

19 Aug


My mentor Dr. Donald O. Clifton often said: “If you want to destroy a person, consistently ask them to do something for which they have no adequate response.”

Yes, this sounds harsh.

What Don was referring to is that people often take on jobs that are unaligned to their skills and talents. They go to work each day, trying their best, but they don’t have the talents to do the job in a way that would bring them success and satisfaction.

In the world of academia it would be called poor “person-job fit”.

As you plan for your next job, consider the following questions:

  • Is the work similar to other work you have enjoyed?
  • Is in the kind of work that in the past you’ve quickly learned?
  • Is the work similar to work where for which you’ve received recognition?
  • Is it work that you could see yourself doing for a time?
  • Is it work in a field where you could see opportunities for growth?

You don’t want to “destroy yourself” in a job that really isn’t you. To the degree you can, look for that fit.

The posts for the next couple weeks are inspired by a man who inspired me, Donald O. Clifton.

There are free training videos on the web site of my faith community:

#career #careercoach #jobhunting #careers #jobsearch #strengths

JOB SEARCH TIP: We don’t really learn from our failures—insights from Dr. Clifton

19 Aug


I had blown it. I made a big mistake at work, and was now in the office of my boss, Don Clifton. I apologized, and promised I would “learn from this experience”.

He said: “You know, Mark, we really don’t learn from our experiences.”

I had no idea what he meant.

Then he said: “We often keep making the same mistakes, so we don’t learn from our experience. But we have a chance to learn if we take time to reflect on our experiences.”


This is great advice for any time in your life, but is particularly important if you are in the job search. Look back and reflect on your experiences. See if any patterns emerge as to when you have not been as productive, when you’ve failed. I reflect by writing, but you can reflect with your coach or former work colleagues.

When an interviewer asks about this, and they probably will, you will demonstrate that you have an awareness of your past mistakes and have thought about managing them.

Reflecting can help.

The posts for the next couple weeks are inspired by a man who inspired me, Donald O. Clifton.

There are free training videos on the web site of my faith community: