Archive for the ‘coping’ category

Video Friday: There is no scapegoat for change

April 21st, 2011

Everyone needs a laugh on Friday. And in honor of some visitors to my home, I decided to post this video for Video Friday:


5 You May Have Missed – I’ll Take Potpourri for $300, Alex

November 24th, 2010

Jeopardy calls it Potpourri, a mixed assortment of items that don’t easily fall into one category or another.  This week I found a few articles of interest, that don’t really have much to do with one another, but provided some grist for the thought mill, or at the very least some amusement for the short work week.

The first two articles come from a place I normally am not too enthused about – CareerBuilder.  I am usually put off by the amount of roadblocks that CareerBuilder puts up between you and the job listing or application.  But I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of hurdles to pass to get to their blog.

‘Overqualified’ Workers Struggle to Find Work, Employers Fear They’ll Flee via CareerBuilder‘s The Work Buzz

Normally, I’d run screaming in the opposite direction when faced with an article such as What Your Pet Says About Your Career.  I generally would categorize such writing in the same bucket at your astrology forecast.  But there’s something about a basket full of cute kittens that will draw you in every time.  And really, who wouldn’t want to know what snakes say about their owners potential earnings?

What Your Pet Says About Your Career via CareerBuilder‘s The Work Buzz

In August of this year, Wired magazine announced the Web is Dead, this next blog entry offers a similar thought on IT careers – is it time to start thinking about a new career path?:

Big IT is Broken via

If you’ve started to use Twitter as a job search tool, you may want to brush up on your Twitter etiquette.  Here’s some insight into why folks may choose to unfollow you, as well as some general hints on how to behave:

Five Reasons We’re Going to Unfollow You on Twitter via Social Meteor

And finally, if you are using your iPhone, Android, Blackberry, whatever to send and receive email, text messages and tweets, beware the auto correct:

Damn You, Autocorrect – this website actually underscores the need to review before hitting send.  Many of the auto-corrections turn simple text into messages not appropriate for an office environment.


Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish

October 29th, 2010

Do you see your unemployment as an opportunity?

For most of us who are unemployed, one of the most difficult parts of our journey is what got us here.

We are unemployed, laid off, displaced, in transition (and who thought that one up anyway?) — we are unwanted.

It may have come in a phone call, an email, an interoffice memo, or a face to face meeting.  We were informed that we were no longer needed to perform the job that paid our bills, help put our kids through college, funded our family vacations, covered our medical expenses, made possible our planned retirement, and in many ways fulfilled our lives, nourished our minds, satisfied our souls.

So much of our identity is wrapped up in what now is our past job title or set of responsibilities — and in many ways I think that this is even more so for men who head families and may be the primary breadwinner.

Now that when we find ourselves out of a job we may not feel that we have an identity any longer.  We seem to float around in some odd state of limbo.

We spend a lot of time worrying — and rightly so — about finding the next job and returning to work.  Unfortunately, we don’t take the opportunity to celebrate the fact that not having a job is an opportunity to explore avenues previously closed off due to the obligations of a job.

Did you know that Steve Jobs was fired from Apple? In this video, Steve Jobs speaks about several things, but in particular, how his being fired from Apple offered him an opportunity to reinvent, change and grow.

I attended the CED‘s Start Something celebration last night at the American Tobacco Campus and toured the new American Underground.  The whole purpose of what is being done at American Underground is to create an environment that nurtures new ideas and innovation.

Jobs’ advice to the graduating class at Stanford doesn’t have to be only for the young eager students graduating from college. Each of us on our journey to the next point in our career can take his advice and move forward.

Perhaps your unemployment will allow you to be like Steve Jobs.

Perhaps we all should Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.

What is this time in your life going to allow you to create, innovate, explore? What have you done foolish lately?


It’s “A” Little Thing

October 18th, 2010

I’ll pretty much answer to anything – Info Yenta, Data Diva, jw, Joanne.

I never really thought of my name as being that difficult, but the increase in being referred to as “Joanne” is having me rethinking this issue.

I’ve been called by the wrong name much of my life.  When I was in High School, I even had my name spelled three different ways incorrectly in a programme.  Perhaps this is my destiny.

My email address is my last name followed by my first name, and my name — along with my email address and twitter handle — accompanies each email I send out at the bottom in my signature file.  Come to think of it, my business cards pretty much have it spelled out clearly as well.

Just for the record, my name is Joanna Wolfe – that’s Joanna with an “a” and Wolfe with an “e” at the end of each.

You may be thinking, so what’s the big deal?  Why even bother to bring it up?

Well, in a job search, where you are trying to making an impression and make yourself memorable, the last thing you want to be is remembered for a name which is not yours.

Having lived with being called by the wrong name and having my named misspelled much of my life, I’m constantly challenged on how best to address the issue.

You want people to remember your name, not someone else’s name.

Think about it.  You would never want to address your potential new manager by the wrong name or spell it incorrectly in an email or thank you note.

But the if the tables are turned, how do you correct the interviewer, screener, or recruiter?

I struggle with the amount of people who call me Joanne, address me as Joanne in emails, and introduce me as Joanne – and these are people I’ve known for a fair amount of time, in some cases years.  I mean, it sounds pretty ungrateful for me to correct these people.  After all, they’ve taken the time to contact me and speak to me.  I don’t want to offend them or come across as difficult –  but I’d like to claim my name back.

William Blackmon, who teaches the LinkMeIn* course at Wake Tech, actually has a novel way of approaching this issue.  He suggests for names that are misspelled that you actually list the common misspellings of your name in the Summary statement in your Linked In profile.  That way if someone is searching for, say “Joanne Wolf”, they are presented, not only with the Joanne Wolf’s of the world, but (in this case) me as well.

Mike Komives, who runs the St. Thomas More Jobs Network, and teaches the workshop Networking and Job Search Strategies for the Mature Professional at Durham Tech**, suggests spelling out your name when introducing yourself or making an elevator speech.

Me, well, I’ll just keep introducing myself as Joanna, or as I have taken to when being introduced by others “Joann-NA“,  and hope people will remember the “a”.  After all, it is “a” little thing.

How do you approach problems you may encounter with your name?

* The next LinkMeIn course will be given on Friday, October 22nd at Wake Tech’s West Campus in Cary (Kildaire Farms Road between Penny and Ten Ten).  There are two sessions:  Basics 8:30am to 11:30  and then Next Steps & Advance 12:30pm to 3:30pm.  To register, send an email to  This course is free to folks who are unemployed.

** The next Networking and Job Search Strategies for the Mature Professional will be begin on Tuesday, October 19th at the  OCSDC Job Skills Center, 503 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill.  The class runs 1:00 to 4:00 PM. No pre-registration required.  Attend one of the first two sessions to register.  Questions? Contact:


Volunteer, But Be Sincere

August 20th, 2010

One of my rather not so well kept secrets is I love my dogs.   Crumpet and Nutmeg, my retired racing greyhounds, amuse me highly.  I can spend hours waxing poetic about how they make me laugh or how they have spoiled me for any other kind dog (I’m on greyhounds 3 and 4).  I’ll tell you how they lay real flat and sleep 18 hours a day.  And if you talk to me long enough, I might even get you to take the plunge and drive out to one of the Greensboro area kennels to see if you want to bring one home for yourself. 

greyhound dogs sleeping on a chaise

high strung, high energy, active dogs

I’ve volunteered with Greyhounds Welfare and Adoption groups, and Dog recreation groups for more than ten years.  In fact, the projects I have worked on as a volunteer,  in the canine community, are some of my proudest accomplishments.  Along the way, I’ve gained skills in managing events, people, and dealing with local government (ask me about getting the Durham Dog Park built).

One of the things you are often told when you are unemployed is to volunteer.

There are lots of good reasons to volunteer:

  • You do good things for others.
  • It makes you feel good about yourself to contribute to something in a meaningful way.
  • You have a reason to get out of bed in the morning — or afternoon :) — and get out of the house.
  • It gives you a productive break from searching the web for the next job lead.

In fact, it might also provide you opportunities you didn’t count on.  When you volunteer:

  • You meet people of all sorts – people who are employed, people who run companies.
  • You demonstrate your ability to work within a group.
  • You demonstrate your commitment to a job.
  • You demonstrate your work ethic.
  • You have an answer to that question “What have you been doing while you’ve been unemployed?”

Volunteering can help you stay current on your job skills — consider volunteering with your professional organization when they do a study group or review course for certifications — who knows, you may even get some Continuing Education credits for your work.

In fact, volunteering may gain you access to an industry or company you have targeted.  When money is tight and you can’t pay the fee for an area conference or industry event, you may be able to volunteer and gain access.  Don’t forget, the person staffing the registration table sees every person who attends an event.  It’s a great way to keep current on what is going on in your target industry, and make new connections.

Should you expect volunteering to lead to your next job? No.

Could volunteering lead to your next job? Possibly.

The key is to volunteer but be sincere.  Volunteer for something you will enjoy regardless of whether or not it leads to a job.

For every skill and interest you have there is a volunteer opportunity where you can put them to work:

  • Are you bi-lingual? Consider volunteering as a translator at a local hospital or shelter.
  • Do you enjoy working with your hands? How about a Habitat for Humanity project?
  • Want to help out in general? How about the United Way?
  • Enjoy golfing?  There are programs that teach golf to at risk youth.
  • Are you a good manager, experienced in mentoring staff?  Why not be a mentor to a student – middle school, high school, even college?
  • A good leader? The scouts have a job for you!
  • Computer Geek? How about refurbishing computers?
  • Have the gift of gab? How about visiting shut ins, area nursing homes, or rehabilitation centers?
  • Like to drive? How about meals on wheels?
  • Cooking your thing? Area shelters need volunteers to prepare and serve meals.
  • Now is also a good time to recommit to exercise – how about a walk-a-thon or 5k?
  • If you like working with animals, there are numerous animal shelters, animal rescue, welfare, and adoption groups that could use your help — but don’t blame me if you fail fostering.

So here’s something for you to do, make a volunteer connection, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Below is an arbitrary list of some area opportunities:

Remember you’ll get the most out of volunteering if you are sincere about what you are doing.  So I’m curious to know, what volunteer activities are you involved in?  Share with us your volunteer activities and what you have gained from your experience.