Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for CHOICE

Many years ago, I was fortunate to visit with some excellent educators and trainers (thanks Norma and Phil), who gave me an exceptional toolbox with which to successfully address life.

One of those tools was a brief meditation exercise, using 5 words that all begin with the letter C.  You can use your fingertips as “anchors” to remember the 5 C’s.

The object of the exercise was to walk through a sequence of thoughts (and it is important to follow the sequence) to arrive at CHOICE, which creates a more powerful state of being.  The theory behind this is that all of our power comes from choice – the ability to have control over multiple options.  Many times people believe that they have no choice, but discover that with some creative thought, a choice is in fact available.

So here is the process:

Sit comfortably in a chair, holding your hands in your lap, close together but not touching.  Relax and take a few deep breaths.  Focus on your breathing.  Let your muscles completely relax.  When you become aware of how relaxed you feel, focus on the word…


Very lightly, touch your pinkies together, and keep them together.

As you focus on Comfort, realize that comfort includes letting go of things that encumber you, and when you let go, you immediately increase your capacity.  When you can do more, it enables you to feel…


Touch your ring fingers together, and keep them together.  Experiencing competence almost immediately enables you to also feel…


Touch your middle fingers together.  (You now have three sets of fingers touching).  When you are competent and confident, those traits immediately elevate and empower your ….


Touch your pointer fingers together.  Creativity enables you to find new alternatives.  Finding alternate solutions enables you to have …


Touch your thumbs together.  Your hands should now have each set of fingers touching, and your thumbs will be pointing upward.  (Thumbs up for choice!)

I will almost guarantee that if you try this once, you will be smiling at the end, and feel greatly empowered.  I’ve been using this simple tool for 25 years, and I still love it!

Tags: , , , , ,

Posted by Mark Bregman at 5:08 PM

Friday, March 8, 2013

Career Talk at INCOSE


Mark Bregman will be speaking on “The Headhunter’s Secret Guide to Getting a Great Job” at the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) Los Angeles Chapter 2013 Mini-Conference, to be held Saturday, March 16th at Loyola Marymount University.  The INCOSE event has three tracks: In addition to the Career Track, there will be a focus area on Systems Thinking, plus a Systems Engineering “Camp” for exchanging ideas and best practices.

In his Career address, Mark will be focusing on the job seeker’s value proposition, how to brand, market and package yourself for an effective job hunt, and the essential elements including resume, on-line and social media presence.  He will also discuss how to network into job opportunities, critical aspects of interviewing, and how to negotiate offers.

Posted by Mark Bregman at 11:56 AM

Monday, March 4, 2013

Top 10 Ways to Blow a Job Interview

You’d think people would always be at their best in a job interview. But, in our over 30 years of interviewing candidates, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Some of the things candidates do in interviews just make our heads shake. Here, in a tongue-in-cheek way, are the top 10 ways to blow an interview:

  • Get Defensive: If asked probing questions about your work history, let the interviewer know that you don’t see those questions as relevant, and tell him/her only the facts that you personally think should be used to rule you in for the job.
  • One-Up the Interviewer: Interviewers are sometimes nervous too, so take the upper hand and interrupt, contradict to show how strong, decisive and confident you are. If you disagree with the interviewer, feel free to debate any topic, to illustrate how you stand up for what you believe.
  • Don’t Prepare – Just Wing It: You go to work meetings unprepared all the time, so use that same approach in an interview. No need to waste time researching the company, the interviewer, or the job requirements. No need to rehearse what you want to say or prepare stories that will illustrate your skills. It will all come to mind immediately when you need the info. You work well under pressure, right?
  • Don’t Dress Up: The HR person told you business casual, and it’s Friday, so wear khakis and that plaid shirt. Definitely don’t wear a suit, you might be better dressed than the interviewer. Dressing down will make them more comfortable, right?
  • Keep Talking and Give Plenty of Details: The more they know about you, the more they will like you, so embellish stories with extra details, go off on tangents, and continue stories as long as you can. If your interviewer is looking off in the distance, it just means they are thinking deeply about what you are saying.
  • Ask What’s in it for YOU: When the interviewer says “What questions do you have for me?”, ask all about working hours, benefits, promotions, and now is the time to make sure you can still take that 3 week camping trip you planned before you went on the job market. Don’t ask more about the company or the job – they should have covered that all themselves.
  • Give the Textbook Answers: All those interview books you’ve read must be correct, right? So when asked about weaknesses, by all means give the cliché answer, “I’ve been accused of being a workaholic!” Odds are your interviewer has never heard that answer before, and will find that fresh and new, and be amused.
  • Lie About Negative Information: If you were fired or laid off, attempt to say that it was “a mutual decision”, or “the company was reorganizing.” If an interviewer acts like the claims on your resume are overblown and overstated, defend your honor! What are the odds that they will check your references or verify employment?
  • Ask for Way More Money: Seek to discuss money as quickly as possible in the interview. You’ve heard that people get 15-20% increases to change jobs, so definitely ask for top dollar, even more than the expected range for the position, and much more than you are making now. After all, if they want you they will negotiate.
  • Criticize Your Last Company: Help them understand why their company is better for you by discussing all the things that were wrong with your last company and last boss. HR reps have boring jobs, so liven up their day by dishing the dirt!

Believe it or not, everything above is tongue-in-cheek, and my real advice for good interviewing is to do the exact opposite of the above. If you reverse each of the suggestions above, you won’t blow the interview, and you can have an exceptional interview. But blowing an interview does get the adrenalin pumping, so that’s your choice. 🙂


Posted by Mark Bregman at 6:36 AM

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Could Sequester Cuts COST the Government Money!?

Numerous articles are out today saying that the Sequester cuts might actually cost the US money rather than saving money.  I just read an Article by Andy Sullivan of Reuters that explains how the Sequester really won’t save the country $85 Billion.  That is the number that keeps circulating.  However, that is a BUDGETED amount.  The amount of actual spending that will be cut in the current fiscal year is only $43 billion.  This is because many budgeted items take years to actually be finished (like warships and planes).

Many economists are saying that the effect of this on the economy will be minimal.  However, if the economy does slows its growth rate, that means less income tax collected by the IRS.  Current estimate is that this will amount to $6 billion lost revenue, if the economy slows as a result of the Sequester.  In addition, outlays for unemployment, food stamps, and other automatic entitlements will rise.  These are beyond the reach of the sequester – they are already law, and go into effect when need tests are met.

Fewer IRS agents and Medicare watchdogs means more cheating, and more lost revenue.

The ripple or snowball effect could also be large.  Suppose a defense contractor faces lost revenue.  They might cut back even further than needed to just offset the revenue loss, to ensure they don’t lose money.  If more areas of production are shut down, that could mean long-term job loss, and eventual loss of GDP to overseas firms.  This could mean even more unemployment claims, lost tax revenue, etc.  States will be losing grants, projects, educational aid too, so the cuts would also mean reductions of personnel at the State employment level.

Many defense industry experts and economists are saying the Sequester will be fixed within 45-90 days.  That both sides are just hoping the political fallout hurts the other side more, and then they can both sit down and fix it.

It will be very interesting to see what the actual savings of this manufactured crisis turn out to be!

Tags: , ,

Posted by Mark Bregman at 10:10 AM

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Sequester: Who, What, Why, Where, When

The Sequester is looming, and will go into effect on March 1, if Congress and the White House don’t come up with an alternative solution. Plowing through all the rhetoric, there is a simple and complete explanation of what we are facing in THIS ARTICLE from the Christian Science Monitor. The article decodes what comprises the sequester, what will be impacted, what will happen to the economy right away this year, what will happen next year and beyond. It also looks at who is to blame (everyone?), who voted for it, and more.  Also take a look at THIS VIDEO from yahoo, that accompanied the article on their news re-post.

I personally believe there will be an 11th hour solution, and the sequester will either be averted or yet again postponed.  There are too many cuts that will hurt too many people.  It is one of the dumbest of all the “manufactured crises” that our dysfunctional government has come up with in recent years!


Posted by Mark Bregman at 1:56 PM