Monthly Archives: June 2013

Busy, Rushing… Oops

Show of hands – who makes more mistakes when rushing?  (Hmm, are we being honest with ourselves today – I think there should be more hands up.  This is a safe zone, your boss can’t see us.)  It is a conundrum but a fact that we end up wasting a terrible amount of time rushing and then having to redo things.

busy rushing

I came up with this post idea while on my way to an appointment.  I actually allowed plenty of time for traffic delays so that I wouldn’t be rushing; and since the world has a perverse sense of humor, I hit all green lights.  Which gave me time to jot down notes for this post in the parking lot before my appointment.  Writing the notes at that point served two purposes – first I would therefore be respectfully early and not I don’t have a life early, second I wouldn’t forget the idea while at the appointment.


(Blogging tip – always carry a pad and something to write with because inspiration is everywhere, but you won’t remember later.)


So, rushing leading to oopsies – I’d like to be able to say that I learned my lesson a long time ago that it never pays to work in that one more thing because you have a half a second.  But I can’t.  Ask me next year and I hope to be able to say, yes indeed I finally got that lesson down cold.  I do not squeeze in that one more thing, I take a deep breath before shooting off the email in a rush, making the call, fill in that activity.


We should all be so lucky to be able to build in more than adequate travel time, prep time, etc. in front of every effort.  Since we can’t, we can still take that millisecond to review our logic before we act.


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations



Filed under Personal Growth, Work Life

Making a Personal Plea for LinkedIn Profile Pictures

I know, I know that you’ve heard all the reasons why you should have a profile picture – people don’t want to hire ghosts, blah-blah-blah.  Please keep reading, this isn’t about that at all, I promise.  And let me just add that while I am an avid recorder of life in pictures, you will infrequently find one of me in my own archives because I’m not fond of my own image.


profile pleaBut look me up, I have a profile picture.  It took a month of nearly daily photo sessions to get one that I liked (and that was on a haircut day, so I didn’t do my own hair), but there is an acceptable picture of me out there attached to my social media persona.  (By the way, I use the same picture for all social media – which helps me to show that if you find someone out there doing something untoward and that person has my name but not my image it is not me.)


I have been busy meeting many new and interesting people in the last few months and I have connected to quite a few of them on LinkedIn, even some that I have yet to meet in person.  I love expanding my circle and I’m pretty good at remembering faces.  I’m working on being better at associating the faces to the names.  (It’s a work in progress, we won’t count how long this has been an active project.)


About 2/3 of my current connections on LinkedIn have pictures and I thank you sincerely.  It helps me with my name to face association project.  If I know that I am going to see someone that I haven’t seen in a little while, I go to LinkedIn to refresh the association.  And I am occasionally disappointed when I get that ghost staring back at me.


Also, if I am to meet someone new, someone that I’ve only spoken to via email or phone, I do the same.  I was recently in a coffee shop waiting to meet a new contact in person and looking forlorn, I’m sure, because she was a ghost on LinkedIn.  Luckily it wasn’t a busy time of day or I would have had to approach every woman who walked in.


So for me, and all those potential new and useful contacts you might make out there, please add a clear picture of yourself to your profile.  My name to face association project thanks you.


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations

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Confusing the Search for a Job with a Validation Check

I have gotten good responses when I write about skills and I have been working on a potential post about the difference between job skills and job search skills when I was distracted by a more powerful idea, the implied relationship between validation and a job.  We all encounter, need, fight off a range of internal and external motivators.  Some people are greatly influenced by the external, some greatly by internal and the rest of us fluctuate between moderate areas of these two extremes.


People who regularly read this blog know that the idea of value comes up here quite frequently because fulfillment of value (meaning worth) is right there after fulfillment of our basic needs.  Validation is closely related.



verb (used with object), val·i·dat·ed, val·i·dat·ing.

  1. 1.   to make valid; substantiate; confirm: Time validated our suspicions.

We like to get our parking fees validated, consensus validates our opinions – and so on.


photo credit: Wikipedia

photo credit: Wikipedia

Sometimes we too closely relate our value to the money that we are able to make and therefore our job becomes our greatest validation of worth.  Making job loss equate to lack of validation; which then brings us to run the risk of becoming unsubstantiated in our own minds.


Which couldn’t be further from the truth – circling back to value as an example; each of us is a bundle of unique learning and experience which is valuable in and of itself.  Add this to a life scenario – work, personal – and we can bring value to bear in sharing, building, striving.


A job is a productive use of our time, education and effort for which we are monetarily compensated.  But it is only part of the overall value that we can offer.  Job seeking is an effort to find a new position, which will allow the job seeker to participate in a productive mutual activity.


Validation comes from all of the facets of our lives, in all the many ways that we can provide value – community, family, friends, with work being part and parcel of the whole.


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations

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Filed under Job Search, Work Life

Calor Humano, Human Warmth

It used to be a regular occurrence, my phone would buzz an internal call and the receptionist would ask me if I could take a call from a customer who was distressed.  The caller needed someone else who wasn’t available, or had not been able to explain what was needed so the call was routed to me.


Unless I was due in a meeting, I would always take the call.  Even when I knew that I would not be able to immediately resolve the caller’s direct issue.  I could act in the service of this Spanish phrase, calor humano, and thereby begin to relieve the caller’s distress.

human warmth

First, I could listen and ask gentle probing questions to underscore to the caller that – as recorded voices in corporate voicemail loops like to assure us all – ‘their call was important to me’ in a truly meaningful manner.  Distressed people want to get the sense that their concerns are being listened to, and with these questions I could do so.  Together, the caller and I could clearly define their issue as well as the expectations for resolution – these acts didn’t require specific knowledge of the customer on my part to start on the path to resolution.


All that was really required on my part was an ability to convey empathic listening and identification of distress.  Plus a repetition of my understanding of the issue and enumeration of a follow up plan, or the next steps.


In all these types of calls in the years that I took them, I only had one person who was offended that I was not the right person to immediately resolve her issue.  Every single other person got off the call breathing more calmly and expectant of eventual positive results.  Because I offered human warmth specific to their moment of need.


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations


Filed under Personal Growth, Work Life

Accepting a Compliment

This post isn’t for the narcissists among us, unless you have an interest in seeing how the rest of us feel about compliments.  We are taught to say please and thank you as children, and perhaps some parents include the niceties of accepting a compliment.  The rest of us not only turn varying shades of red when complimented, we get tongue tied.  (I still have reading Peggy Klaus’ book, Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It on my to-do list.)


I don’t remember my exact age, but it would have been in the 12-14 year range when my method of dealing with compliments was abruptly altered.  Prior to this incident, I would argue with the person offering the compliment.  (Sound familiar to anyone out there?)  One day a well-meaning but sharp tongued adult told me that I was being rude by contradicting the compliment.  I was taken aback and hadn’t yet found my more vocal current style.


Luckily the adult went on to say that if I felt uncomfortable with a compliment, the best response was always to say thank you.  And leave it at that.  No explanation necessary, certainly no need to contradict the compliment.

photo credit: Wikipedia, public domain

photo credit: Wikipedia, public domain


Since that day I mostly only continue the practice of hedging a compliment in my head.  I have to qualify that because people who know me well read this blog and might feel the need to bring up a time or two when I didn’t just graciously accept a compliment.  On an off moment, or couched in a weakness – like my lack of style.


Would any of you like to share an experience of giving or receiving a compliment?  I have found as I get older that the more specific compliments are the most memorable and likely to impact the quality of someone’s day for the better.


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations


Filed under Personal Growth, Work Life

Fishing for Post Ideas

Happy Summer, Readers,

I have several posts in process, but thought that I’d throw out a request for ideas.  What would you like to see here?

Beth as Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations


Filed under Work Life, Writing

Our Brains on Summer


Everyone who knows me is going to cry foul – so do as I say here and not as I have done in the past and get out of the office to take in some sunshine and fresh breezes as many days as you can.


Why?  Because your brain will thank you.


Why?  Because vitamin D directly from the sun is the best kind.


Why?  Because we should all channel our inner child periodically and watch the clouds scuttle across the sky.


Why?  Because people watching is an interesting pastime.


To fulfill all of these whys, and just for funsies – leave your phone and your pad and all other electronic devices in the car or the office.  Partake in the sounds of nature along with the sights.


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations

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Filed under Personal Growth, Work Life