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"Know your Ruling Star. One man is better received by one nation than another, or is one welcome by one city than another. He finds more luck in one office or position than in another, and all though his qualifications are equal or even identical. Let each man know his luck as well as his talents. Follow your guiding star and help it without mistaking any other for it. Know how to transplant yourself. There are nations with whom one must cross their borders to make one's value felt."
- Balthasar Gracian, (Spain, 1600's)

Have you ever felt, "Here I am, best job I ever had, good money, an excellent career move - but, what in the world am I doing here where I feel so alone and out-of-place with my surroundings? How did this happen to me?"

I've been there, because someone offered me a job and I accepted, knowing ahead-of-time, intuitively I wouldn't feel at home in the town and surroundings.

Or - maybe you love your location but, sadly, are unable to find any openings in your field. I've been there also. Looking back on my years in Austin, Texas, I can't believe the number of short-term, soul-emptying jobs I tried very hard and unsuccessfully do to. My job-duration ranged from only two hours (which was long enough when you hate what you are doing!) to several months (each day seeming like an eternity) before my opportunities in broadcasting finally came.

It's a rare person these days who is able to say, "I love this community, love my home, love the work I do, get along great with my business colleagues and supervisors. How do you beat perfection?"

There is a wonderful quote I repeated to myself many, many times during my ups and downs in Texas.

"Hence the first principle in changing one's character is to seek another environment, to let new forces play upon our unused chords, and draw from us a better music." - Will Durant

That's what I wanted! I wanted another location - another place - where new forces could play upon my unused chords and draw from me a better music.

"There are nations with whom one must cross their borders to make one's value felt." - Gracian

Yes! Yes! Yes! That's what I wanted. To cross borders and feel my native talents valued again.

"Know your Ruling Star," the Spanish priest Gracian wrote in The Art of Worldly Wisdom. "One man is better received by one nation than another, or is one welcome by one city than another. He finds more luck in one office or position than in another, and all though his qualifications are equal or even identical."

We are better received in certain locations or areas than in others, welcomed when we show up, and we most certainly do find more luck in one place than another.

"But where, where, where is THAT PLACE?" I wondered.

In Texas, for every 100% plus I gave in my career, the returns (feeling valued, appreciated, and being monetarily rewarded), always fell short.

I hosted a noon talk show for awhile at an Austin TV station. Our ratings were great. The guests I booked were top names in the literary, entertainment, self-improvement, and political arenas.

After our ratings came in one spring, I couldn't believe how well the show was doing.

Several days later, however, the General Manager wanted to see me.

After all the years of my show's success, he said, "James, I can't complain about your ratings. That's good for ad revenue, but I finally got a chance to see your show yesterday. As you know I only have a tenth grade education, never finished high school, started in sales, worked my way up to where I am today." He beamed proudly, "I didn't understand it."

I knew when he said, "I didn't understand it," my show was doomed.

The GM was the standard by which all business decisions at our stations were made.

I wanted to call him, "Idiot," but restrained myself.

My favorite line in Texas TV came from a female news director who told me, "You have a master's degree. We don't need people that smart to do the news." I never worked at that station.

"Let each man know his luck as well as his talents. Follow your guiding star and help it without mistaking any other for it. Know how to transplant yourself," Gracian reminds us.

Know how to transplant yourself!

Finally, I did transplant myself, once again. It was time to move from the newsroom and go into teaching; use, finally, that masters degree referred to earlier that wasn't needed to report the news.

"There is a simple answer to the question 'What is the purpose of our individual lives?" A.J. Ayer wrote. "They have whatever purpose we succeed in putting into them."

Yet, if you believe you are being guided by and toward a higher destiny, as I do, use what others know (their gifts and resources) to inform and enlighten yourself.

I've also successfully used relocation astrology as an essential tool to follow my guiding star. Through my sessions with Cait Benten, I'm finding, as we'd all like to do, a balance of the "right place" and the "right work" combined.

"This time, like all other times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it." --Ralph Waldo Emerson



This article talks in brief about how to get maximum milage out of career fairs.
You step into the hubbub of the career fair, take a deep breath, and make your way toward a representative from the top-ranked company on your personal list. This is the company you want to work for, and the woman you are approaching is the first gatekeeper.

You make eye contact. Smile. Say hi. Your practiced firm handshake follows. And then youre on.

Even though no one yells Lights, camera, action! this might be as close to an audition as you will ever come. What can you say and do during the next 60 seconds to make this recruiter want to explore the possibility of hiring you?

Several career services counselors recommend drafting an introduction as a brief commercial that allows you to sell yourself. Mark Reed, career counselor at California State University, Hayward, suggests developing an elevator speech, a personal presentation just long enough to say to someone in an elevator before they reach their floor. (After all, you never know when or where an opportunity will arise to pitch yourself.)

Follow the Formula

College career counselors and employers alike suggest following a formula for your introduction. According to them, students should provide the following information during their introduction:

Name Class (senior, junior, sophomore) Major Opportunities that you are seeking Relevant experience (work, internship, volunteer work) Highlights of skills and strengths Knowledge of the company Tailor your introduction to each employer based on good research and knowledge of each companythis will generally impress recruiters. Ted Bouras, director of the Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Business School, says you should articulate how youll fit with the company based upon your research.

Do your research before the career fair. A list of employers attending is usually available prior to the event through the career services office. Most companies have web sites that provide information about their products and services. Other resources such as annual reports, press releases, and newspaper coverage are also very helpful and can usually be found on the Internet or in the library with a little digging.

Ask an Engaging Question

Tracey Cross-Baker, associate director of career services and leadership education at St. Lawrence University, suggests that you end your introduction by asking a focused question that will engage the employer in conversation. Robert Jankouskas, human resources analyst for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, said he often remembers students by the questions they ask during career fairs.

Cross-Baker suggests asking: Could you tell me more about the new (product) you are developing? or Could you tell me more about your financial management training program?

Several things career services counselors and employers say you should avoid doing include:

Asking what the company does; Asking if the company has any jobs; and When asked what type of position you are seeking, saying you would be willing to do anything at the company. Practice to Perfection

Many career services counselors recommend practicing your introduction. Winging it is not a very wise plan of action, especially when a potential job is at stake.

Youll project confidence and charisma during your introduction if you are comfortable with what you are saying. Remember, the words that you say are just part of your presentation package to potential employers. Your overall manner and confidence are also critical components to the successful introduction. Of course, your confidence and personality should be obvious, but not in an exaggerated or cocky way...just a professional one.

Incorporate positive nonverbal communications, such as eye contact, facial expressions, body language, posture, etc. A mirror, a friend, and/or a career services staff member are all good practice partners. Ask for constructive criticism and try it again. Take the adage practice doesnt make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect to heart.

A solid introduction will help you move on to the important next stepthe interview. A poor introduction, however, may put you on a slippery slope to the cutting room floor.


When writing a resume, create a mental picture of a desk piled high with dozens or even hundreds of resumes next to each other. These resumes were submitted by people who want the job you are applying for and are just as qualified as you. Keeping this image forefront is critical to your success in creating compelling “ad copy.” It will force you to focus on creating a strong title and a targeted opening which tells the employer to consider your qualifications with care.

Each reader who picks up your resume will make a quick decision as to whether to read it carefully — therefore, the top one-third of your resume should include a powerful statement that sums who you are and encapsulates your professional experience.

These are the questions a hiring manager wants answered:

• The field you are in -- even more specifically, what department you want to work in and the title you would like to have.
• How much experience you have in a similar position or in the field?
• What special skills and/or certifications you have?
• The difficult problems you have solved and what you have accomplished.
• The advances you have made throughout your career.
• The type of person you are and your work characteristics.
A profile statement is an overview, a brief summary of your accomplishments. It should be 1-2 paragraphs long with of 3-4 sentences, or perhaps a series of bulleted points.

Here’s an example of a tightly written, short summary statement


Accomplished marketing and business development executive with perennial record of success driving marketing strategies and capitalizing on opportunities that have led to multimillion-dollar growth.
Able to deliver results that position organizations for immediate and long-term growth. Expert presenter, astute marketer, and confident team leader with documented strength in forging strong, sustainable executive-level relationships. Skillful change agent with advanced problem solving and communication skills. Understands both macro picture of market issues and minute details necessary for successful business solutions. Goal-driven.

Below is an example of series bulleted statements
 Accomplished manager with 20+ years of experience as Environmental, Health & Safety specialist for industry-leading organizations. Maintain highest quality standards to avoid time and cost expenditures.

 Quality and safety specialist with the ability to analyze operations, pinpoint areas for improvement and redesign, and implement plans that generate profitable results.

 Excellent relationship builder with success in forming strong, sustainable relationships and securing consensus among cross-functional team members for key initiatives.

To wrap up

The most qualified candidate is not always the one to get an interview – the one with the strongest resume is. Your profile sets the tone for the rest of the resume, and serves as a tease that invites the reader to take notice. A resume is more than just a piece of paper, and as a job seeker it is your responsibility to make it easy for the reader to conclude that you are the best candidate for an interview. A targeted opening will capture the interest of the reader.

Certified in all three areas of the job search – Certified Interview Coach ™ (CIC) Job & Career Transition Coach (JCTC) and Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW) – Linda is qualified to assist you in your career transition. Whether it be a complete career makeover, interview preparation or resume assistance. Linda is the president of CareerStrides and can be reached via email (linda@careerstrides.com) or by visiting her website (www.careerstrides.com).

Copyright Linda Matias -

With today's economy, more and more companies are finding themselves
faced with the situation of having to reduce headcount to remain
competitive. Here are five key factors to consider when selecting
an outplacement firm if your company is ever faced with a workforce

1. Types of Services Provided.

One decision you will need to make regarding outplacement is whether
your displaced workers would benefit most from group or individual
one-on-one outplacement. For the majority of outplaced employees,
if your budget permits, individual outplacement is the preferred
option since it provides one-on-one support that will help them move
forward more quickly than they would on their own.

If you decide they would benefit most from individual outplacement,
you will then need to determine what services would be most valuable
to your displaced employees. One option would be to select an
outplacement firm that develops their resume and cover letter for them.
Another option would be an outplacement firm that offers office space
and a computer for the displaced worker to prepare their own job
search materials.

2. Areas of Specialty.

Another factor to consider when selecting an outplacement firm is
whether it is important to you that they have experience working with
the type of displaced employees you will be sending them. A related
factor is whether it is important to you that the outplacement company
specializes in dealing with companies like yours.

If their areas of specialty are important to you, review the
outplacement company's web site and other marketing materials to see
what their specialty is or ask them directly. If an outplacement
firm's expertise lies in serving large companies displacing
administrative staff and your small business is displacing experienced
managers, this outplacement firm may not be the best fit for you.

3. Experience with Current Job Search Practices.

How important is it to you that the outplacement firm be experienced
with Internet job search techniques? Is it likely that the Internet
will play a key role in your displaced employees' job search strategy?

If you determine that Internet savvy is an important evaluation point
for an outplacement firm, check to see whether the outplacement firm
recognizes the importance of the Internet by having a web site. Are
they aware of the top online career sites? Do they offer a service to
post displaced employees resumes on these top online career sites?
Do they have the ability to distribution resumes electronically to a
select group of employers and recruiters?

4. Length of Time Support is Provided.

Another factor to consider when selecting outplacement services is the
amount of time you feel the displaced worker would require outplacement
support. In general, the more senior-level the position, the longer it
will take the displaced employee to find suitable employment.

A second time factor to consider is whether the displaced worker will
receive ongoing one-on-one scheduled sessions with a career transition
consultant or whether the ongoing support merely includes access to job
search support materials.

5. Costs.

Outplacement costs must be considered when selecting an outplacement
firm. Check to see whether outplacement costs are clearly defined and
stated on the outplacement firm's web site and in their marketing
materials. Are you charged only if the displaced employee elects to
contact the outplacement firm for support or are you charged regardless
of whether the displaced employee receives support? Are there
affordable packages available that provide the services you feel your
displaced employees would most benefit from without providing unwanted

Another cost factor to consider is whether the outplacement firm gives
you the able to select outplacement services a la carte to meet your
needs. Also determine whether the outplacement company has a minimum
fee requirement or whether they will charge you only for the number of
displaced employees you actually have even if the number is as few as

By considering each of these five factors you can develop effective
selection criteria for deciding on an outplacement provider to best
meet the needs of your displaced employees while adhering to your
budget constraints.

One of the most common obstacles many home-based working moms face is trying to start or run a new business on a limited budget. The first few years
of a business are usually the hardest financially. Some moms leave full-time
careers and substantial salaries to start a new business. Others start a
home business as stay-at-home moms wanting additional income to support
their family as well as a professional outlet to balance their diaper-changing days.

In either case, starting and running a home-based business takes money. How much money, will depend partly on you and the type of business you choose to run.

Below are our top 10 tips to save you and your home business money:

1. Do your own market research by talking to potential clients or
customers. Many new home business owners skip this step only to come
back to it later (or wish they had). Those who start businesses without doing
any type of research risk the possibility that their target market doesn't need or want their particular product or service. The competition may be too fierce. There may not be enough potential customers to support the
business. Or the product isn't priced correctly. It is just as important not to price your product too low as it is not to price it too high. Talk to others
in similar businesses as yours to see how much they charge and what they offer for that price.

2. Team up with other non-competitive businesses that target the
same market to do some co-marketing. For example, desktop publishers and
print shops can do a direct mail campaign together advertising both of their services or buy an ad in a local publication and split the costs. Neither is in competition with the other. They also can hand out business cards or flyers for one another as well as give word-of-mouth referrals. It's a
great way to double one's marketing efforts while splitting any advertising

3. When you have a satisfied customer, don't be afraid to ask for referrals. People like to help others especially new businesses trying to succeed. Show pride in your work and people are sure to notice. And when they do, ask if they know any others you can send a brochure or sample to. Another great way to encourage referrals is to offer a discount or special offer for any customers who are referred to you.

4. Barter or trade your services for other products or services
you need. Associations and organizations are not only great places to network; they are also great for finding businesses that offer services and products you need. Look for businesses you could help with your product or service and offer to barter or trade for theirs. (Be sure to check with your tax professional for tax issues involving bartering and trading.). Diana Ennen of Virtual Word Publishing(http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com) has found bartering her virtual assisting coaching has allowed her to get web design work done, PR work out, proofing of assignments and much more. It's a win/win for all.

5. Find another home-based working mom to swap babysitting with. All home-based working moms need some dedicated time to work on their business tasks. By swapping with another mom, both can work on their businesses without adding to their childcare costs.

6. When buying new office equipment, go to a place that offers a low-price guarantee. You can save time and money by shopping at places that will refund any difference in price if you find the product cheaper elsewhere.

7. If you are looking for computer equipment, consider buying used
equipment. Look in the classifieds and talk to others that may know someone looking to upgrade. Ask for warranty information and make sure the machine is in good working condition. Also take a look at the computer companies offering refurbished machines. Some are priced accordingly and usually come with some type of warranty.

8. Send postcards for direct mail solicitation. They are cheaper to print and less expensive to mail. Another advantage is that they are more likely to be read since they take no effort to open.

9. If you hire sales help, pay by commission only so you only spend money if you make money. A salesperson can increase your sales without adding any up-front fees or salaries.

10. Use pre-printed design papers for letterhead, brochures and business
cards if you only need a small amount. The papers can be found at most large office supply stores, and they are great for new businesses trying to get started on a small budget.

These money-saving ideas should help with your budget but new business
owners also need plenty of drive and determination to succeed. It takes
time to develop and grow a business so be patient and give it all you've got!


"Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time."
Max Ehrmann

When it comes to career success, direction and focus are crucial. But beyond direction, how effective is it to have goals?

Requirements for Effective Goal-Setting

Much has been researched and written about the effectiveness of goal setting.
The findings say that :

 Difficult goals lead to higher performance than easy goals.
 Difficult goals lead to higher performance than "do your best" goals.
 Setting specific goals results in more precise performance than setting "do your best" goals.

Just having the goal is not enough. You must develop a strategy to make it happen. What are the activities you need to perform everyday? Plan those activities, but also stay alert and open to new ways to achieve your goals as they present themselves.

There are three critical requirements that dictate how well goal setting will work:

 Commitment to your goals.
 Periodically reviewing where you stand regarding goal achievement (getting feedback).
 Belief that you can achieve your goals (self-confidence and self-efficacy).

You need to genuinely desire the goals you set. If you don't like your job and don't want to be there, then it is difficult to be committed. It's also crucial that you believe that you can achieve the goals you set for yourself.

Stress and Goal Setting

Goals create striving which results in more stress. So how do you deal with this stress?
Since I am notoriously poor at pacing myself, I created a structure to help me with this process. My plan includes eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, but also not scheduling clients on Fridays. I never work past 8 p.m. I plan vacations and weekends away, and schedule social events with friends at least once per week. Part of my stress management program also involves not over-booking myself with social activities so that I have time to retreat for rest and recuperation.

As I approached graduation from college many years ago, I wrote a poem about goal setting which I titled, "My Brook and I."

I remember the brook
streaming though the woods;
spending hours around it,
building forts, wiping the mud off me with skunk cabbage.

I remember the brook on sunny days;
Water babbling over stones and rocks, pieces of wood;
making the water ripple the way it did.

I wondered what happened to the brook
traveling away from my yard.
I had a goal for my brook
to flow to the ocean...but then what?

I see goals for myself
thwarted, rearranged, fulfilled.
But the goal for my brook;
What happened to it?

Deepak Chopra, in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, says that if we want to have a successful career, we should first center ourselves and then release our intentions (our career goals) to the universe. We should not be attached to the way these goals develop, or to the exact outcome, but leave the details to the universe. We can get the same results through effort and trying, he says, but the result is stress, which can lead to heart attacks and other physical illnesses.

Sometimes we focus more on our unhappiness with our present situation, than on what we want to achieve. Chopra says that we should accept where we are now, be fully present in the moment and concentrate on our deepest intentions (goals).

Goals should be difficult, but achievable with persistent effort. Goals that are too extreme, such as doubling your income in one year, can only discourage you.
Goals work because you persist and focus your efforts in a specific direction.
Without that direction, we can find ourselves floating through our lives, more at the mercy of outside forces that are not devoted to our welfare or success. But we can manage our goals in a way that does not create undo stress by not being attached to the exact way they are achieved.

Having set goals the brook and I
build toward them.
The brook unable to know...
about a pipe in the ground, a seeping marsh, a dam.
Myself not knowing the course I will follow.
Knowing what I want,
yet finding it hard to grasp.

I remember years of competition, of struggle, of acceptance.
Then discovering what is real, important;
myself, my friends, expression;
a soft kitten purring on my lap;

Being more than a doctor, a lawyer.
Knowing comfort, relaxation.
Being myself.

Approaching the completion of one goal,
I set new ones.
But fulfilling them means going away, sorrow.
Like the brook moves on, streams to the river...
the ocean.
Saying goodbye to familiar things,
Facing a reoccurrence of similar past memories,


In my business I set performance goals for myself every year. I also set goals for relationships, finances, home, physical and mental health, as well as spiritual development. I can attest to the fact that the more specific the goal, and the more frequently I review that goal and focus on it, the more likely I am to meet that goal. It helps to write down your goals, read through them periodically, visualize them and keep a picture journal that represents the achievement of those goals. But it also helps to listen to the feedback from the universe, and make adjustments to those goals when necessary. We should have a career plan, but be flexible with how it unfolds.

I know a word...self-fulfillment.
Being vulnerable, can I take chances?
Being strong, grinding ahead through disappointments.
Being weak, letting go of crippled goals.
Like a brook who misses the river,
finding another happiness.

Being motivated, seeking what I am after,
But not too aggressive.
Being easy, tension-free.

Making it through the insecurity
Like cool water in a brook;
not knowing what will come.
Traveling through the seasons of time.
Molding myself to the environment like the brook
makes its path through nature.
Sliding over any obstacles
the brook continues over rocks, pieces of wood.
Freezing in the rough, cold spots;
melting in the warm.
Praying for a map free of dams to follow
in a steady, unchartered progression.
My brook and I.


Create a support system for yourself emotionally and for your job search. Identify allies that you can count on. Know some will have strengths in one area, but weaknesses in another. Recognize different people will play different roles in your job search.

Maintain a positive attitude. Inevitably, negative feelings can sabotage your job search. If you have anger about your former employer, work through it. Negative emotions will undermine your best efforts. Keep yourself renewed and enthusiastic throughout the process.

Network. The number one way of getting a job is through networking. Even if you are involved in the computer industry, less than 10% of jobs are obtained through the Internet. Devote energy to making real, valuable connections with people.

Develop a schedule and goals. Getting a job is of course the ultimate goal, but it is impossible to predict when you will achieve it. Develop daily and weekly schedules of job search activities you can control. For example, send out 10 resumes, research 5 companies and call 10 people in your network. This will keep you on track, and focused.

Know what you want. People need to work for money and benefits. But remember other components are necessary for you to feel satisfied in the workplace. Know what motivates and satisfies you. Know which environment you're most productive in. Know what you can compromise on and what you won't.

Always have a "Plan B". The best time to accelerate your job search is when you've just had the greatest interview of your life. You're feeling confident, enthusiastic and competent. This is the time to expand your networking, follow-up on contacts and schedule new interviews. Remember, even the most promising prospect can backfire.

Take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Exercise and eating right can't go wrong-they are proven to enhance quality of life. Celebrate your creativity and find ways to engage your mind, body and spirit.

Research companies before the interview. Find out about the company through your local library and Internet. Request an annual financial report and promotional information from the company. Ninety percent of the other job seekers don't do their homework, be the one that stands out.

Know what you have to offer. Identify your relevant skills and accomplishments. Know the unique contributions you offered former employers. Be able to articulate your strengths on your resume and in the interview.

Think outside the box during your job search. Look for unexpected opportunities; explore untapped skills and interests. Open yourself up to
new possibilities


Preview of picture in folder The Magic Of Surroor


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