The Bottom Line: Older Employees: Liability or Asset?

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th5T1W4ZSKThere is a movie at the theaters right now, titled “The Intern”.

In the movie, 70 year old Robert DeNiro is hired as an Intern at a company, run by Anne Hathaway.

Hijinks ensue.

As the movie progresses, the “old codger” turns out to be of immeasurable worth to both Hathaway and her company.

Is this movie simply a comedy? Or a lesson in Business Management?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the month of August,

…the civilian labor force participation rate was 62.6 percent for the third consecutive month. The employment-population ratio, at 59.4 percent, was about unchanged in August and has shown little movement thus far this year.

That means that 37.4% of America’s Workforce has either voluntarily walked away from the “Rat Race”, are working “under the radar”, or, have just flat given up seeking gainful employment.

Additionally,

In August, 1.8 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 329,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 624,000 discouraged workers in August, down by 151,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.2 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in August had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Being 56 years young, I also noticed, while looking at the BLS’s August Report, that, only 39.8% of Americans, 55 or older, are working.

Why is that?

Are honesty, dependability, punctuality, stability, loyalty, wisdom, and experience, no longer valued by America’s Employers?

According to a Government Accountability Office Report, published in 2012,

The experts and staff GAO interviewed at some one-stop career centers, as well as the unemployed older workers who participated in GAO’s focus groups, identified employer reluctance to hire older workers as a key challenge that older workers face in finding reemployment. They also identified out-of-date skills, discouragement and depression, and inexperience with online applications as reemployment barriers for older workers. Some one-stop staff who serve older workers told GAO that providing the type of assistance some older workers need to address these unique challenges can be very time-consuming.

As often occurs, especially in the case of older potential employees, an employer’s preconceived, and perhaps, stereotypical notions, can blind him or her to the benefits of hiring an experienced professional.

In 2006, entrepreneur.com published the following list of 12 benefits of hiring an Older Employee.

Below are twelve reasons why hiring older workers can help you maintain a reliable, dedicated workforce and provide a significant cost savings for both the short and long term. (The reasons themselves are their original posting. The descriptions are mine.)

1. Dedicated–

Quite honestly, folks my age and older, tend to throw ourselves into our work, given the opportunity. We do not know how many more chances at gainful employment that we will receive.

Additionally, because we are so driven to do our best, we tend to identify costly mistakes, before they can damage our employer.

2. Punctuality–

Older Employees come from a generation that was taught that punctuality was “good manners” and “being respectful”.

Also, when you get older, it becomes harder to sleep in. Trust me.

3. Honesty —

Older Employees come from a generation where honesty and personal integrity were valued above everything else.

4. Detail-oriented, focused and attentive–

Again, this is a part of being older. Older Employees tend to be so self-aware of our need to do a good job, that we go over everything several times, before passing it “down the line” or “upstairs”, or wherever the heck it needs to go.

5. Good listeners–

Older Employees are easy to train, because we pay attention. You only have to tell us how to do something one time.

Of course, when we get home, our wives have to repeat themselves, especially during televised sports.

…But, that’s neither here nor there.

6. Pride in a job well done–

Older Employees tend to stay until we get the job done. We take pride in our work because we are happy to be employed.

7. Organizational skills–

Do you know haw many valuable man hours are lost each year simply due to workplace disorganization?

If I told you over a million, would you be surprised?

Older Employees tend to be meticulous to a fault.

8. Efficiency and the confidence–

Older Employees are not shy about sharing our experiences. And, at times our “war stories” will prove to be just the answer an employer will be looking for, in order to handle a problem efficiently and economically.

9. Maturity–

Older Employees have “seen it all”…twice. Because we’ve “been there, done that”, we tend not to have a screaming hissy fit, when unexpected problems occur on the job.

10. Setting an example–

Older Employees’ work ethics and calm, assured presence on the job can be an encouragement and example to younger employees. Also, because we are good listeners, we usually wind up as mentors and trainers, again, becoming an asset to our employer.

11. Communication skills–

Older Employees know when to speak and when to listen. We know how the game of “Office Politics” is played. And, we know how to get our ideas across, in a respectful way, to the Boss.

“Why, boss, that’s the greatest idea you’ve ever come up with!”

12. Reduced labor costs

A lot of times, Older Employees already have Health Insurance from a previous employer or they have some sort of income from another source, and can represent a savings to the company’s bottom line.

Speaking from personal experience, as an **cough** “experienced professional”, the benefits of hiring an Older Employee greatly outweigh the liabilities.

In today’s atmosphere of rapid employee turnover in the workplace, the hiring of older Americans offers not only a potential savings in HR costs, but also presents an opportunity for a stable workplace environment.

The Bottom Line?

Hiring Older Employees will increase your company’s Bottom Line.

Never Give up. Never Surrender.

Allen

Allen Fitzhugh is an “experienced professional” “seeking new opportunites”. He may be contacted at In-mail at linkedin.com.

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Management Style: Dealing With Unethical Behavior in the Workplace

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thUTVM5S72To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.– Douglas Adams

In this Brave New Business World, in which International Business Deals are accomplished with the flick of a button on a keyboard, do the majority of employees in the workplace believe that the words of Douglas Adams still hold true?

And, if they don’t, how do we, as Vice-Presidents, Directors, and Managers, fix that?

Back in January of this year, Kessler International released the results of a nationwide survey, outlining the current state of manners, etiquette, and ethics in the workplace.

They surveyed upper and mid-level management at 40 professional services firms.

Those polled held the belief, by an 84 percent margin, that their employees were inconsiderate and rude in the workplace. Additionally, the same respondents cited by 65 percent that they felt a majority of their staff lacked a moral compass.

Kessler asked individuals to anonymously comment on their employees’ use of personal electronic devices, dress, manners, ethics and level of respect for other employees.

This resulted in some of the respondents expressing their disgust of certain individuals on their staff, as well as their ineffectiveness and unwillingness to say something and correct the situation.

Among their excuses for not being able to correct the problem of unethical behavior by their employees were their company’s policy of “political correctness,” their own inability to have confrontation, and constraints instituted by their human resources department.

Among the items that most of the respondents cited, were:

1- untimely and inappropriate use of cellphones

2- wearing inappropriate clothing to work

3- complete lack of courtesy

4- use of street talk and signs in professional meetings

5- the inability of younger staff to write a letter/email

6- the lack of personal responsibility

7- failure to say please and thank you

8- lying to phone caller

9- hanging up on phone calls when they are confronted and were uncomfortable

10- cheating on time billed to clients and stealing time by arriving late and leaving early

11- cutting corners on work product rather than staying after hours to correct the mistakes they made

12- visiting sex and dating websites on company time

13- sexting on company phones

14- the inability to interact professionally with clients during a business function

15- the lack of manners

16- the lack of integrity

United States President Harry S. Truman had a famous plaque on his desk which read,

The Buck Stops Here

As an experienced leader of men and women, in the military, the workplace, and, as President of the United States of America, Truman knew that as a manager of employees, you are held responsible not only for heir behavior, but, what you do about it.

In her book “7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership (Leading in Context, 2013),” author Linda Fisher Thornton offers the following advice on how leaders can integrate the practice of ethical conduct into their organizations.

1. Face the complexity involved in making ethical choices: Openly discuss the ethical gray areas and acknowledge the complexity of work life. Involve others in more of the ethical decisions. Be a leader who talks about the difficult ethical choices, and help others learn to take responsibility for making ethical decisions carefully.

2. Don’t separate ethics from day-to-day business: Leaders must make it clear to their employees that ethics is “the way we operate” and not a training program or reference manual. Every activity, whether it is a training program, a client meeting or an important top management strategy session, should include conversations about ethics.

3. Don’t allow negative interpersonal behaviors to erode trust: Make respect a load-bearing beam in your culture. Be an ethical leader who expects it and practices it. Cultivate a respectful environment in which people can speak up about ethics and share the responsibility for living it. Build trust, demand open communication and share the ownership of organizational values.

4. Don’t think about ethics as just following laws and regulations: Leaders need to take action and show consumers and other stakeholders that they are actively engaged with ethical issues that matter. Recognize how ethics influences consumers’ reasons to buy from you, and demonstrate a commitment to go beyond mere compliance with laws and regulations. They must prove that they are committed to ethical issues, including human rights, social justice and sustainability.

5. Don’t exempt anyone from meeting ethical expectations: Allow no excuses. Make sure that no one is exempted from meeting the ethical standards that are adopted. Maintain the status of ethics as a total, absolute, “must do” in the organization. Hold everyone, particularly  senior leaders and high profile managers, accountable. No exceptions.

6. Celebrate positive ethical moments: Be a proactive ethical leader, championing high ethical conduct and emphasizing prevention. Managers should talk about what positive ethics looks like in practice as often as they talk about what to avoid. Take time to celebrate positive ethical choices.

7. Talk about ethics as an ongoing learning journey, not a once-a-year training program: Integrate ethics into every action of the organization — everything people do, touch or influence. Talk about ethics as an ongoing learning journey, not something you have or don’t have. Recognize that the world changes constantly, and that ethical conduct requires that everyone remain vigilant.

As leaders, it is our job to protect our companies’ revenue streams, as well as to keep and cultivate the trust which our clients place with us.

We cannot perform our duties effectively, if we have to constantly be on the look out for unethical behavior in our “home away from home”, our workplace environment.

Hopefully, these tips, which I have presented today, will help us, as leaders, foster an atmosphere of trust and shared expectations, smoothing out the journey down the road to success.

Never give up. Never surrender.

-Allen

Allen Fitzhugh is Director of Sales at Candlewood Suites-Memphis. He can be reached at dos@cwsmemphis.com.

Sell, Sell, Sell: Staying Motived

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th58CIMHJYWhether you sell automotive parts to garages, pharmaceuticals to doctors, or Extended Stay Hotel Rooms to Corporations and Industries, as I do, one has to stay motivated in order to remain at their best.

The challenge that we all face is how to stay motivated, while facing the daily grind of a career as a Sales Professional.

Here are three excellent suggestions, courtesy of salescareer.net…

1. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

When you are in a comfort zone, you are usually in familiar territory and you are not pushing yourself.  You are playing it safe and not growing or taking the calculated risks to go for more.  Accept that you are in a comfort zone and take some time to look at the big picture of your business and strategize to take it to the next level.  In sales you could always make more and with new challenges that you place on yourself, you could gain the extra boost of excitement back into your sales career.

2. CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE

Like a muscle, for you to truly build it and for it to grow is to shock it into growth by changing your exercise routine.  The body is constantly looking for homeostasis and like your sales career, if you get into a routine, it could quickly become stale and boring.  Sales should be exciting and challenging, with adrenalin pumping activities.  Change your routine and seek ways to challenge yourself other than just doing the things that just get you by.

3. FIRE YOURSELF

I don’t mean literally, but when people are first starting a new job, they are usually gung ho and guns are out blazing with the enthusiasm and motivation on overdrive.  To get this feeling back, try firing yourself every once in a while and ask yourself, if you were to take on your territory as a new hire, how would you beat the “old” you and what would you do differently to make it better?  Look at your sales territory with fresh eyes and to fire yourself and then rehire yourself with the new energy that you would if would have just been hired for your job.

However. as good as those suggestions are, they pale in comparison to the advice, given across both decades and continents, during the career of one remarkable man.

Zig Ziglar, age 86, of Plano, Texas passed away November 28, 2012.

That is how the first line, of the obituary of one of the most influential men in the history of American Business, reads.

…An understated end to an extraordinary life.

For those of you who may have spent your lives living under a rock, like those guys in the Geico Commercial, please allow me to tell you who this remarkable man was.

Years ago, Zig Ziglar walked away from a record-setting sales career, to fulfill his desire to help other people become more successful in their personal and professional lives.

His extremely successful sales background was the primary factors is Ziglar becoming one of the world’s foremost Sales Trainers.

During his remarkable career as a sales trainer, he boosted the careers of hundreds of thousands of people, around the world, with effective strategies to not just make a sale, but to create a sales professional. According to him,

Selling is not something you to do someone, it is something you do for someone.

Zig Ziglar was the world’s leading authority on motivation.

He was an internationally renowned speaker and authority on high-level performance, whose “I CAN” course is taught in more than 3,000 schools.

Hundreds of companies and businesses continue to utilize his CDs, books, and video training programs to motivate and train their employees effectively.

During his lifetime, Ziglar’s “Secrets of Closing the Sale” audio training program became a “must-have” for anyone involved in the world of selling and remains so to this day.

During his decades-long career as a Sales Trainer/Motivational Speaker par excellence, Zig Ziglar taught his values-based principles for becoming a more effective persuader and person to sales organizations, church groups, schools, and businesses.

Additionally, as if his multitude of personal appearances were not enough, Zig Ziglar reached thousands more through numerous television and radio appearances and through his popular audio and video training programs.

He became so popular, that, for many years, his Sunday school class held at First Baptist Church, Dallas, was broadcast each Sunday morning, via satellite.

Even though this remarkable man is gone, his legacy of optimistic, motivational selling lives on.

Here is a list of ten of Zig Ziglar’s most famous quotes that can make a difference in your life.

10) “Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”

9) “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

8 ) “People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”

7) “There has never been a statue erected to honor a critic.”

6) “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.”

5) “Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.”

4) “If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”

3) “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

2) “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

1) “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”

In conclusion, motivation is a driving force, which comes from within. If a salesperson can focus on it and maintain it, the sky’s the limit.

Or, as Zig Ziglar himself put it,

Positive thinking will let you use the ability which you have, and that is awesome.

Never give up. Never surrender.

-Allen

Allen Fitzhugh is Director of Sales at Candlewood Suites-Memphis. He can be reached at dos@cwsmemphis.com.

Being Hospitable: Enjoying the “Benefits” of a Hospitality Job

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thOLV49LJSA little over 6 months ago, I began my latest adventure in the Hospitality Industry, as the Director of Sales at Candlewood Suites-Memphis, An IHG Property.

I wrote a blog at the time, that included some suggestions by the Founder of Holiday Inns, concerning how to make it in the Hospitality Industry.

Here are Kemmons Wilson’s “Twenty Tips For Success”:

1. Work only a half a day; it makes no difference which half-it can be either the first 12 hours or the last 12 hours. 

2. Work is the master key that opens the door to all opportunities.

3. Mental attitude plays a far more important role in a person’s success or failure than mental capacity. 

4. Remember that we all climb the ladder of success one step at a time.

5. There are two ways to get to the top of the oak tree. One way is to sit on a acorn and wait; the other is to climb it. 

6. Do not be afraid of taking a chance. Remember that a broken watch is exactly right at least twice every 24 hours,

7. The secret of happiness is not doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.

8. Eliminate from your vocabulary the words, “I don’t think I can” and substitute “I know I can”.

9. In evaluating a career, put opportunity ahead of security.

10. Remember that success requires half luck and half brains.

11. A person has to take risks to achieve.

12. People who take pains never to do more than they get paid for, never get paid for anything more than they do.

13. No job is too hard as long as you are smart enough to find someone else to do it for you.

14. Opportunity comes often. It knocks as often as you have an ear trained to heat it, an eye trained to see it, a hand trained to grasp it, and a head trained to use it.

15. You cannot procrastinate-in two days, tomorrow will be yesterday.

16. Sell your wristwatch and buy an alarm clock.

17. A successful person realizes his personal responsibility for self-motivation. He starts himself because he possesses the key to his own ignition switch.

18. Do not worry. You can’t change the past, but you sure can ruin the present by worrying aver the future. Remember that half the things we worry about never happen, and the other half are going to happen anyway. So, why worry?

19. It is not how much you have but how much you enjoy that makes happiness.

20. Believe in God and obey the Ten Commandments. 

After suggestion #20, Suggestion #7 – “The secret of happiness is not doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.” is one which I have taken to heart.

Quite frankly, I am enjoying the stew out of my job.

This may sound corny, but I wake up every morning in anticipation of going to work that day.

There are several reasons for this.

Bob Smuckatelli, writing in an article for positivelyindy.com, detailed the Six Benefits of Working in the Hospitality Industry.

When I read the article, I thought that he had read my mind…and then, I saw that it had been posted on December 20, 2012.

The Benefits that he listed back then are:

Amazing Opportunities: If you love variety, you’ll also love the fact that working in hospitality is never dull. Whether it’s a new challenge or the opportunity to travel to different places, this type of spice makes it very easy to wake up in the morning and feel excited about heading to work for the day.

Appreciation: There are plenty of jobs that involve mostly thankless work. While society couldn’t function without people willing to do these jobs, that doesn’t mean those individuals feel any type of appreciation on a daily basis. The nice thing about hospitality is you won’t have to be put in this type of position. Instead, patrons will remind you on a daily basis of just how much they appreciate what you do for them. The knowledge that you’ve just made someone’s day is a feeling that never gets old!

Meritocracy: One of the reasons many people aren’t interested in working in specific corporate environments is because they know that the only way they’ll be able to move up is by playing constant political games. If you’re the type of person who wants the quality of your work to speak for itself, you’ll be very fond of how the hospitality industry operates. People will notice when you take initiative and follow through. If you have a go-getter attitude, the sky will be the limit in terms of where your career can go.

Lots of Perks: Even though this isn’t the biggest driver of most people’s happiness and satisfaction with their job in hospitality, it’s still worth noting. As you may have guessed, being in a position that’s about ensuring other’s happiness does mean that you will get to reap plenty of perks as well.

Stability: The impact of the 2008 and 2009 financial meltdown wasn’t limited to the housing industry. The travel and hospitality industry also took a big hit as a result of people tightening their wallets in response to concerns about the financial future. Although there’s no sugarcoating the fact that those were very dark times for the industry, it survived and is once again flourishing. Being able to survive that type of trial shows just how robust hospitality is as an industry.

Exercise Creativity: Musicians and writers aren’t the only people who get to enjoy creative work. Because there are always unique challenges that need to be tackled within hospitality, you’ll always be able to put both your critical and creative thinking to good use.

As the Director of Sales at an Extended Stay Hotel, I have had the privilege and opportunity to be able to make a direct impact on the  bottom line of the budgets of individuals, and of companies, both small and large.

It is a great feeling to be able to help clients from reservation to departure.

At our property, we pride ourselves on our Customer Service.

When guests stay at your property, especially when they stay for a extended time, ranging from a month to a year, you and your Hotel Staff get to know them well, their likes, dislikes, and their daily routine.

Eventually, if they stay with you long enough, they don’t seem like a “guest” at all, but rather, a part of your hotel “family”.

And, being able to make a difference in these “family members'” lives, is the greatest benefit of all.

Never Quit. Never Surrender.

-Allen

The Secret Of My Success…And Yours, Too

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The Secret to my SuccessWhat is the secret of success in today’s business world?

Is it education? No. In my 33 years of competing in the business world, I have met a lot of educated failures.

Is it ” being born into the business”? No. While that might bring you money and perceived success, your employees will still look at you as nobody but your father son. Inheriting a business does not bring  respect with it.

Is it “who you know”? No. While having influential connections in the business world can help you land a job, they won’t be able to do your job for you.

So, what is the secret of success in business?

I believe that there are two factors that are very important in order to achieve individual success in today’s business world.

First, you must be persistent.

John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States. Known as “Silent Cal”, he was a quite, introspective man, who spoke very little. However, when he did speak, he spoke volumes:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.

Persistence requires patience. Patience is a virtue. I know that sounds corny, but it is the absolute truth. Persistence means that you will work toward a goal which you have set for yourself in your business life with a singular focus, set on the ultimate achievement of this goal, no matter what obstacles life throws in your path .

The second thing that you must possess in order to be successful in the business world, is happiness.

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. – Albert Schweitzer

So, how to you achieve happiness in the business world?

Forbes.com recently listed the following suggestions, found in the book, “The How of Happiness”, written by Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California. (The steps themselves are the author’s. The analysis and any smart alack remarks that may occur are mine.)

1. Express gratitude –

Say, “Thank you” Just two little words. However, little words mean a lot.

“You didn’t have to do it, but you did what you did what you did, and, I thank you.”

2. Cultivate optimism –

Work on viewing the glass as half full. You’ll be surprised what happens.

“Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant.”

3. Avoid overthinking and social comparison –

You can drive yourself crazy with thoughts of “What if?” and “How Come”? And, don’t compare yourself with anybody else. You are unique. One of a kind. Wonderfully and fearfully made.

Besides, if “ifs and buts” were candy and nuts, we would all have a Merry Christmas.

“Welcome to my morning. Welcome to my day. yes, I’m the one responsible. I made it just this way.”

4. Practice Acts of Kindness –

Whether it is opening the door for someone, buying a co-worker’s lunch when they’re short, or helping a co-worker finish an assignment before a deadline, helping someone else feels good.

Therefore, the more acts of kindness you engage in, they better you will feel.

“You got to try a little kindness. Show a little kindness. Shine your light for everyone to see.”

5. Nurture relationships –

Be a good friend. Our relationships in the business world are not only essential to our careers but our sanity, as well.

“Sometime in our lives, we all have pain, we all have sorrow. But, if we are wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow.

Lean on me when you’re not strong. And, I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on. For, it won’t be long, ’til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on.”

5. Develop strategies for Coping –

The most powerful resource you have at your disposal is you. We often get so caught up dealing with problems, we forget to acknowledge, develop and keep our attention with our strengths. Sometimes, when the chips are down, this is all we have – character strengths such as our determination, grace, compassion, clarity of mind and creativity.

“Learning to love yourself…It is the greatest love of all.”

7. Learn to forgive –

Life is too short to hold grudges. You may have to work with the person that your mad at, later in your career.

Everybody makes mistakes. “To err is human. To forgive divine.”

8. Do more activities that truly engage you –

Whether you are at work or at home, look for more activities in which you can “lose yourself”. The stress of life can take years off of your life. Finding a hobby or enjoying your work, can add those years back.

“I don’t want to work. I want to bang on the drum all day.”

9. Savor life’s joys-

Fondly recall the past. Be in the present. Anticipate the future.

“Life is a highway. I want to drive it all night long.”

10.Commit to your goals –

Make sure the goals you set are important to you. Make sure to consider the “what if’s”. Renew your commitment each day.

“Today is mine. Today is mine. To do with what I will. Today is mine. My own special cup to fill.to die a little that I might learn to live. To take from life, that I might learn to give. Today is mine.”

11. Practice religion and spirituality –

“Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force – that thoughts rule the world.” –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You raise me up so I can stand on mountains. You raise me up to walk on story seas. I am strong when I am on your shoulders. You raise me up to more than I can be.”

12. Take Care of Your Body –

This not only means exercising, but also smiling, meditating. and laughing.

“You’ve got to stop and smell the roses
You’ve got to count your many blessings everyday
You’re gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road
If you don’t stop and smell the roses along the way.”

The author of the Forbes article suggests picking 4 of these 12 things to do on a regular basis, at your business, in order to achieve happiness in the workplace.

In my view, you should attempt to do as many of these things, as often as possible, because…
Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.- Paul Ryan

In conclusion, allow me to tell you that the American Dream is still achievable.

You just have to be “happily persistent”.

Never Give Up. Never Surrender.

-Allen

***I am the Director of Sales at the Candlewood Suites in Memphis, Tennessee, an IHG Property, and an extended stay hotel. I can be reached at dos@cwsmemphis.com***

The Job Interview: To Be Silent and Thought a Fool Or To Speak And…

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unemployment16If you are an average American, chances are very good that you will have to go through multiple job interviews during your lifetime.

After you have survived these interrogations, you will probably second guess yourself:  Did I talk too much? Did I speak enough? Did I say something stupid?

Trust me. I speak from experience.

In August of 2013, foxbusiness.com ran a list of “10 Things Not to Say During a Job Interview”. The questions are the author’s. The analysis is mine (along with any smart alack remarks that may pop up).

1. “My boss at ABC Company was awful.”

It does not matter. You’re out of there. Plus, you are presenting yourself to the Interviewer as a complainer, i.e., a “bad attitude” employee.

2. “How much do I get paid? What about vacation time?”

Patience, grasshopper. All will be revealed in due time. “Ask not what the company can do for you, tell them what you can do for the company” (with apologies to Master Po and JFK).

3. “Did you know I ran cross country in high school?”

Great. What the heck does that have to do with the position that you are applying for?  Unless you’re going to be running around the building several times a day…

4. “I’m sorry, but I’m really nervous!”

Well, duuuh. The interviewer probably was also, when they applied for their job. It happens to all of us. Be cool. Be confident. Engage that winning personality of yours. Let them know that you are worth hiring.

5. “Man, I really need this job to pay off my credit card debt.”

Don’t we all. Any company worth their salt is going to run a background check on you. Your debt is not the interviewer’s concern. They have been charged with finding the best candidate for the position you are interviewing for. Concentrate on properly presenting your professional triumphs, not your personal challenges.

6. “I just need this job so I can fulfill my dream of being a CEO.”

Ambition can be a wonderful thing. However, the interviewer wants to know what you can do for their company today, and how good a fit you will be, right now, for this position.

7. “I need a flexible schedule to accommodate my in-home business.”

What’s your priority? Being a productive employee for the company you are interviewing for, or trying to get your own business started? A man cannot serve two masters. The interviewer will not be impressed by someone with split loyalties.

8. “What does your company do again?”

At this point, the Interviewer will probably look at you with that “Wow. Really?” look. This question definitely shows a lack of preparedness.

9. “I’m sorry, I don’t remember what I did during that internship.”

If you sleep-walked through your internship, what sort of worker are you going to be in their paid position? Interviewers are looking for potential employees who will be active and engaged.

10. “Wait, what position did I apply for?”

Are you kidding me? Again, a question like this one tells the interviewer that you just aren’t that motivated to work for their company. Why should they be interested in you, if you are not interested enough in them enough to remember what position you are applying for?

So, what should you say during a Job interview? Investopedia.com listed some suggestions in their article, published in April of 2010, 7 Things You Should Say In An Interview: (again, their questions…my analysis)

1. I am very familiar with what your company does.

I have found that the more research you do, the more Interviewers are impressed by how engaged you are.

2. I am flexible.

This is a great response, especially when they ask you which days and shifts that you are available to work. It demonstrates your work ethic and level of commitment.

3. I am energetic and have a positive attitude.

Go get ’em, Champ! This sort of positive statement and the attitude it displays,  is exactly what an Interviewer is wanting to hear from an applicant.

4. I have a great deal of experience.

This Statement lets the Interviewer know that this is “not your first rodeo” and that you will be ready to “hit the ground running”. In other words, you would a great fit in this position and you would easily assimilate into the corporate structure.

5. I am a team player.

Translation: I will do whatever is required of me to make this company a leader in the industry and to help foster a great work environment.

6. I am seeking to become an expert in my field.

This tells the interviewer that, if they hire you, you will continually seek to improve your skills and abilities while performing your job functions.

7. I am highly motivated.

In any job interview, motivation in the key. How motivated are you to get this job? How committed are you? The Interviewer wants to know. It is up to you to tell them.

So, the bottom line to all of this advice is…

Every  job interview is an opportunity to sell yourself to a prospective employer. By using the right phrases and presenting yourself in a professional manner, you maximize your chance of landing a great job and winding up in that cushy corner office on the ninth floor.

Do your research. Be on time for your interview. Stay calm…and “sell the product”…YOU..

Never Give up. Never Surrender.

-Allen

 

 

What the Heck Are Employers Looking For In a Potential Employee?

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Unemployment15One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation. –Arthur Ashe

Whether you’re a fresh-faced neophyte, fresh out of college, or a grizzled veteran of the Business World, like myself, there is a universal question, which we all ask ourselves, while we are in the midst of a job search:

What the heck are employers looking for in a potential employee?

In a 2009 survey, commissioned by Careerbuilder.com and Robert Half International, American Employers said that aside from having the basic job qualifications, multitasking (36 percent), initiative (31 percent) and creative thinking (21 percent) are the most important characteristics in a job applicant. In that survey, they also asked six “workplace experts” to list 10 of the most common reasons employers hire employees, in no particular order.

The list topics are their’s. The analysis (including any smart-alack remarks that may pop up) is mine.

1. Long-term potential

Businesses are always looking to the future. They want to know if you will be able to grow professionally as an employee of their company? Will you be an asset, whose worth to the company increases with every passing year?

Or, will you take advantage of their free training and on-the-job experience and head off to greener pastures within a couple of years?

It’s a cliché that you have probably heard before, I know, but, hiring a new employee is an investment.

2. Ability to work well with others

One of the definitions of the word “corporation” is “any group of persons united or regarded as united in one body”. While your potential employer wants you to be a success and an asset to their business, if you are….ummm…a jerk or a drama queen…you will be more trouble than you are worth, and will be “shown the door”, with or without the “appropriate disciplinary procedures”, depending on how mad the powers-that-be are with you.

3. Ability to make money

Well…Duuuh. Do you think that they are going to hire you for your good looks? Unless you’re Christie Brinkley, that is. (Google her, kids.)

4. Impressive résumé

Whether you have the experts at a website like careerbuilder.com build a resume for you, or you ask a talented friend to help you,the fact remains that your resume unlocks the door to your professional future. It can be your “good first impression”.

5. Relevant work experience

If you want to travel in a new direction in your career, you have to show the potential employer that you have performed similar activities to the requirements they list in their job description. Somehow, you have to show them that your professional background makes you a viable candidate for their open position.

6. Creative problem-solving skills

As I used to tell the younger folks whom I managed, “There is more than one way to skin a cat.” Of course, their usual response was to look a me like a deer in headlights, But, I digress…

Basically, your potential employer is looking for the ability to “think out of the box”.

7. Strong online presence

Yes, boys and girls, they will be looking at your Facebook Pages, your Twitter Account, and your Personal Blogs. It is a great way for employers to find out who you actually are, and if the private individual matches the person they are interviewing.

8. Multitaskers who thrive on variety of projects

Just how mentally agile are you? Employers want to hire someone who can prioritize, organize, and produce. Employers do not want to hire someone whose work style is reminiscent of Lucy and Ethel at the Chocolate Factory.

9. Enthusiasm and initiative

“On it, Boss!” are the words than an employer wants to hear, when they give their employee a task to be accomplished. However, they not only want you to be able to follow orders, they want you to be able to anticipate them. Your potential employer wants you not only to be able to contribute to the bottom line, but also to be able to lead by example.

10. Good cultural fit

Employers want to hire someone who can hit the ground running, fitting into their Corporate Culture as seamlessly as possible.For example, an employer would not hire Stone Cold Steve Austin to be the host of a Tea Room: “Are you two going to have a seat, or am I gonna have to lay the smackdown on ya?”

John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States. Known as “Silent Cal”, he was a quite, introspective man, who spoke very little. However, when he did speak, he spoke volumes:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.

Therefore, in conclusion, as I am experiencing in my own job search, your success in finding meaningful employment will depend on how much effort you are willing to put in.

The preceding list is a very helpful tool. But the list, in and of itself,  will not land you a job.

Do your due diligence. Be prepared.

Do your “homework” concerning the company  that you are interviewing with.

Never give up. Never surrender.

Press on.

-Allen