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I’m an Adult Now?

Wrote this shortly after my Dad passed away in 2011. My Dad was a very hard working man, with a very English sense of humour, and I miss him every day.

That realization came to me the day my Dad passed away around Easter (yes my Blogcation, wasn’t really a vacation it was me helping out my Mum (as best I could) to deal with my Dad’s passing). I still haven’t really come to grips or feel comfortable writing about this subject, but the N.C.F.B.A. did convince me that when I did, it would be OK, as long as I was honest (thanks Preet, Michael James, Canadian Capitalist, Larry Mac and My Own Advisor).

With this in mind, I have actually written a few posts already about this topic and what I have learned over the past few months, but I want to edit them before posting them (so that they simply aren’t cathartic and emotional explosions from me) .  One idea and post that came to me right after my Dad’s passing was the realization of when you reach Adulthood.

I am an Adult Now?

As I was driving to my Parent’s home (about a 2 hour drive) just after my Mum had called to tell me about my Dad’s passing, I had a lot of thoughts and emotions going on but the one that really stuck with me from that day is, I am an Adult Now (and frankly it scares the hell out of me).

Most of us grow up with our parents, and in most situations we start endowing our parents with super powers (in our own minds). Parents are indestructible, they are infallible, and they are someone (or more specifically the ONE) who can make things better (I find it hard to believe my kids think this way about me). This begs the question: when your parents finally pass on, what happens then? Who takes care of you then?

I think the easy answer is, “now it’s time to put on the big boy (or girl) pants and start doing the job yourself“, but that almost sounds trite. There are a lot of people I know that have had to start taking care of themselves very early on in their lives (and I respect those folks a great deal), so me lamenting that I am now suddenly under all this pressure at the tender age of 50, sounds like a pile of self-pitying crap, but it is still how I feel.

Having had a few months to think about this, it is natural to mourn the loss of someone who has been a large part of your life, and to lament their departure with some self-pity, and I guess I am getting used to being an Adult, I might actually even figure out how money works.

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Job Hunting Tips

For those who have not been following me on the tweety you have been missing out on some helpful (if not sarcastic) job hunting tips that I learned throughout my job hunt a few years back.

I have been on both sides of the interview table, so I have interjected a lot of my own pet peeves to this list for candidates that I have met and wondered what they were thinking when they showed up to my job interview.

They are worth a read, and many of them are applicable to all jobs (and some are me being a smart ass). Some of the best Job Hunting Tips:

  • Tip 314: Always wear clean underwear to a job interview but never show them to your interviewer either
  • 319: Never answer any question in a job interview with “This bitch one time…”, unless you are a dog breeder
  • 271: Be Precise, e.g. “When I invented the Internet, I was working at…”, no one likes vagueness in job interviews
  • 666: Be complimentary with your interviewer: “That outfit doesn’t make you look nearly as fat as you are…”
  • 69: Hygiene is important, always shower before your interview, and cover all open sores and cuts
  • 13: If anyone asks you about your religious views, claim to be a Druid or a Sumarian Snakecharmer
  • 44: Humor has a place but don’t do the Uncle Buck mole bit if interviewer has one (don’t be a twiddler)
  • 313: One answer that always gets interviewer’s attention “Why the f*ck would you ask me that?”
  • 535: Scents make you memorable at an interview, but don’t eat bean burritos 2 hours beforehand, you are too memorable then
  • 345: Arguing with your interview about technical issues is OK, but MUST you be right
  • 478: The more the interviewer talks, the better you are doing, except if they are yelling about your lack of skills
  • 41: Tell someone you are using as a reference before you use them, “… who? That Idiot? I would never hire them!”, could be your reference.
  • 87: The only person you can “throw under the bus” in an interview is yourself, don’t blame others, explain why
  • 101: It’s good to seem to know a lot, but very bad to appear to be a Know-it-all keep that in mind
  • 311: Network more with people who have jobs, not as much with folks who are also looking for jobs
  • 444: Over 80% of jobs are found through “connections” and “contacts”, so get out and interact with folks!
  • 665: When interviewer asks “Any questions”, do not ask, “What are your sick leave rules like?”
  • 3: Think you are indispensable? You may be, until you are dispensed, start looking for jobs before you are dispensed.
  • 129: At the interview be sincere (once you can fake it, you are in)!
  • 37: Be agreeable but not a suck-up (unless that is what they want, then be one), be yourself once u have the job
  • 333: Don’t answer question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” with “Doing your job, or better your boss”

Foolproof Job Hunting Tips

Hope these help, stay tuned I do have some more coming.

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Financial Lessons from the Departed

One of my favorite movies is The Departed which is a very violent story about Police and the Mob in Boston, and there is one very good line (delivered by Jack Nicholson) where the mob leader (Frank Costello) states (not exactly and it is actually prefaced by some fairly nasty racist commentary):

“No one gives it to you. You have to take it.”

Which is actually a very true statement about wealth, and most financial opportunities that arise  in your life, you will rarely (if ever) have it handed to you, but I am also not espousing that you should act like Frank Costello either. I like to think Frank is metaphorically speaking of seizing financial opportunities when they arise (although I am pretty sure Frank was talking about taking money by force).

The Departed

In the movie itself (which I highly recommend) there are many twists and changes and such, but the point that nothing is given to you is driven home many times, and I wish to make that point with you good reader as well.

How do you know when financial opportunity is knocking on your door (so you can know to open it), first financial opportunity rarely if ever knocks on your front door. The things that knock on your front door are the opposite of financial opportunity, they are financial burdens looking for somewhere to land.

Opportunity sometimes appears at the oddest of times (it has in my life), but don’t worry about where opportunity arose from, worry about whether it is a financial opportunity you feel comfortable trying to capitalize on. You may have to think about it, you may have to walk away from it, but just work on identifying opportunities when you see them, and you might surprise yourself (by being able to capitalize on one of them).

Opportunity does not knock on the door, but it might knock on your window, or maybe even your forehead, learn to recognize financial opportunities and you’ll be able to take advantage.  If it doesn’t feel comfortable or it just doesn’t feel right, walk away, you’ll sleep better (and you will most likely be right too).

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What you Need

What you need is what you have. Life is just that simple for most of us. I know many folks that are working incredibly hard, and making lots of money, some saving it, others spending it, but at the end of it, do you need all of the things you want, or do you already have what you need?

Another way of putting this that Michael James asks is, “How many yachts do you need to water ski behind?”, and it’s a very good question. Is that what you need ?

what you need

Want vs. Need ? Seems a little out of kilter here…

When I was younger, I kept thinking I needed so many things, but how many of those things did I really need? Many of them are clutter in my house now, others have been simply thrown out, while others I just decided I didn’t need (or they became so pricey I gave up on them).

What do you Need?

So what do you need? What you have? Maybe, but it depends on what you have, doesn’t it?

  • Do you have your health? If you do, keep it, fight to keep it, stay in shape, stay healthy, and live a long life. What do I mean? Violet Large donated (most of) $11 Million that she won on the lottery and died yesterday, all that money couldn’t buy her health back, but she did the next best thing (in my opinion).  Health, if you don’t have it, get it, and if you do keep it, simple? Health is what you need.
  • Do you have a group of family and friends around you that you are happy with? If you don’t, work on that, and if you do, treasure this and move on. Remember as my Dad said, “… you are born with your family, there you have no choice that is why you choose your friends very carefully…” (I hoped he implied you had to love your Family no matter what in that statement as well). Friends are what you need.
  • Do you know how much money you need to live on for a year? A month? A week? A day? If you can’t answer that question, you are in trouble. You must know how much money you need (not want, not for all the crap you covet, the money you need to live) to live each day, week, month and year (and if possible the rest of your planned life). Figure this one out, or you will always need more (and you’ll never have enough). Money is what you want.

Is This Hard ?

Yes, but if life was easy, there wouldn’t be idiots like me telling you how to live it, now would there?

What do you need to live? How are you going to get it (that is the next hard question to ask), and can you do it (the meaning of life really)? (I should really stop watching so much Gordon Ramsay, my inner hard ass comes out a bit too much at times).

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Job Hunting Hints: Dress for a Job Fair

Not a Day at The Beach! For a while I was thinking that I might actually start a blog about the job hunting tips I learned whilst I was unemployed, but it never really got off the ground, and I have a hard enough time making sure I have new(ish) content for this blog, so it died a quiet death, but I do feel I have a few useful hints (IMHO) for folks, so I will be sprinkling these tips in over the next little while.

This current post triggered from another blogger posting 6 Tips for Working a Career Fair, which is one of the places you should be frequenting, if you are looking for a job. These events are effectively cattle calls, and don’t expect to get a job when attending this kind of event, but you might make a contact or meet someone you know who may help you out later, so I think attending these are not a complete waste of time.

Show your love of The Times. Shop Now!

I have worked these events from both sides (candidate and hiring company), and I can assure you of a few things that will quickly get your resume and contact information, moved to file 13 very quickly (look this up, it’s an old Mainframe term):

  • Simply dumping your resume on the desk or table and walking away. I don’t care if you are not a “people person”, you need to at least introduce yourself, say hello and attempt to have at least a 1 minute talk with who(m)ever is working the booth. If they give you the brush off, that is fine, maybe don’t leave your resume, but YOU are looking for the job, not them.
  • Arrogance, that is not well founded, is a killer for me. If you are good at what you do, but act like you don’t want my job, and you pretty much tell me that, I’ll grant your wish (i.e. I will lose your resume). You can be confident, you can be sure of yourself, but it is a fine line between that and arrogance.
  • Simply show up and start taking the “swag” from the table before talking to anyone. Yes, it is supposed to be free stuff, but come on, you need a free pen that bad?
  • Dress like you are going to the beach.
Flip Flops
Great for Squashing Bugs, not so much for Job Fairs

That last one is my personal pet peeve. I have had other recruiters tell me that it doesn’t matter to them if potential candidates are dressed extremely casually, but it does to me. If you show up wearing “flip-flops” (or thongs to my Australian friends), jean shorts and an unbuttoned shirt, what am I to think? I am most likely standing their in a “business casual” outfit, and you are saying to me, “I am this good that I don’t need to dress up to get this job”, or worse “your job is so unimportant to me that I can’t find a descent outfit and some shoes to find out about it”.

I did have one young woman walk in dressed like this, and I asked her, “… were you off to the beach today?”, and when she gave me a blank stare back, I explained my point of view, to which she walked away without leaving her resume (oh well).

What Should You Do ?

Go to the Job Fairs, make connections, collect cards from folks, talk to other folks to find out how they are searching for jobs (but remember don’t spend too much time talking to other unemployed folks, they don’t have jobs, you should be talking to folks who DO have jobs). Please dress like you want a job (not want to go to the beach).

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