Don’t Be a Dumb Bunny, Use Your Soft Skills to Your Advantage

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I pay close attention to transferable skills when assessing employability, especially those skills we have come to call “soft”. Soft skills refer to interpersonal abilities that enhance an individual’s interactions with others, career prospects and performance on the job.

Soft skills are comprised of personality attributes or habits (no not rabbits >-=], social graces, communication, language style, interpersonal skills, managing others, leadership ability, self-motivation, time management etc., and the rules change depending on the culture of where you work and the people you work with. It’s because soft skills characterize personal relationships with other people.

Image result for rules

Rules Change, Which is a Good Thing!

In contrast, “hard” skills (the ability to perform specific tasks or functions with technical components, like using math or software programs, typing, operating specific machines and tools, driving truck, compiling research, data entry, measuring, calculating and recording; editing and writing, etc.) that tap into left brain functioning where the rules for performance stay the same regardless of where you work

To me, what is most valuable about a soft skill is that it brings value to any job/career. Although soft skills maybe can be “mastered” new situations or people will also test them (and push you to learn more about yourself.)

Mollie
Mollie

Mollie is not a “dumb bunny”. Her intelligence surprises me. And her personality makes her so lovable (rabbits are good office mates, and she lets me know when she is in need of something……she’ll bump into my ankles under my desk….treat please!)

Soft Skills Puzzle

Scrambled Words Answer Pattern Clues
nilinbaegt ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ not made of physical substance
hetics ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ rules of behavior
lcpanutu ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ on time
jaequnsesoi ___ ___      ___ ___      ___ ___ ___ ___      ___ ___ ___ “I know not what.”
hdadlveeele ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ cool under pressure
aobitnim ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ a desire to be successful
vmietiepcot ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ able to compete
lixbeefl ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ adaptable

Did you solve them all? 

Soft skills are not as easily measurable as hard skills because they are less tangible. Perhaps the best way for me to measure or assess soft skills is to ask two or three people who have a good understanding of the evaluee’s work performance and personality to subjectively assess the person; then have the person do a self-assessment on the same set of skills; then evaluate how the information from the assessments coincide / match.

You can use Mind tool http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/get-started.htm  to help.

It is also to your advantage to understand which skill set your career relies on to be successful. For example, there are jobs / careers that need:

  • Specific technical/hard skills and little soft skills (where you don’t necessarily have to work well with others). Examples include: physicist, chemist, scientist, production machine operator, assembly line worker, cook, carpenter, electrician, computer programmer, etc…
  • Both hard and soft skills (where you need to use the rules of your learned skills and also depend on cooperating, selling or collaborating with others.) Examples include: accountant, lawyer, teacher, counselor, coach, truck driver, dispatcher, cashier, administrative assistant, etc…
  • Mostly soft skills and little hard skills (where your work is more dependent on “reading” others). Examples include: sales ~ the person needs to know more than the average consumer, but really needs to know how to communicate, persuade and close a deal. Other examples include security officer, food server, host, merchandiser, etc…

I’ll add to the etc… listing of workers as I think of them! : )

Rabbits are Soft and Smart

Be a smart rabbit, use your soft skills to your advantage!

(Source: A national survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from February 10 to March 4, 2014 that included a representative sample of 2,138 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.)

In general, soft skills are more important in most business careers than hard skills. Click here for a blog containing a soft skills matrixEmployers like outgoing, friendly, and cooperative employees.  To many employers, this is more important than any other qualification.  In addition, because most employers look for a person who can “break the ice” at the workplace and bring valuable dynamics to their business without causing conflict, soft skills are key to being successful at work.

Image result for smart rabbit

Rabbits have fine-tuned senses that make these small mammals some of nature’s most excellent survivors!

Keep in mind, if you don’t feel you have the soft skills you’d like, they are somewhat teachable. Here’s an idea that will help you to do so https://academy.justjobs.com/improve-your-people-skills-and-emotional-intelligence/

Let me know how I can help. My vocational counseling services are available!

__________________

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work

Soft Skills Matrix, Take A Look!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I’ve blogged about Soft Skills  in my writing about Don’t Be a Dumb Bunny; and just wanted to add this soft skills matrix to help.

 

Soft Skill Other words that mean the same Examples when soft skill is used
Manners Politeness, consideration, courtesy Saying thank you, holding doors open for others, asking permission to do things etc.
Ownership of tasks Responsibility, duty, dependability Making sure tasks are done properly, turning up on time for meetings, working in partnership with others and doing your role so they can do theirs etc.
Attendance Turning up, coming in,

Appearing

Arriving on time for meetings and for work. Making sure you keep people informed regarding your attendance or availability.
Motivation Incentive, inspiration, drive, impulse Taking on new challenges, working hard to achieve goals, thinking of new ways to do things.
Professionalism Competent, skillful, dedicated Working to a high standard, being consistent in attitude (not allowing emotions or personalities to influence you)
Work Output Activity, productivity, production Meeting deadlines and standards for work. Producing products to target.
 Conduct in Workplace  Behavior, attitude, maturity Respecting others, not playing games when you should be working etc.
 Timekeeping On time, not late Arriving for work or meetings on time, leaving at the right time.
Verbal Communication Talking, consulting, meeting, discussing  Using the right tone of voice and words when speaking with colleagues, etc.
Organization / Planning Preparation, scheduling, arranging Having all required resources to hand, thinking jobs through, arriving on time, meeting deadlines etc.
Team-Work/Respect Esteem, valuing others, helping others, consideration Working well together on a task, making best use of your skills and the skills of others. Acknowledge the status of others and act accordingly.
 Helping Others Supporting, offering, training Giving up some of your time to support those who are struggling or need help to meet a deadline,
Conscientiousness Careful, meticulous, thorough, hard working Paying attention to detail, accurate work, making sure you do what you are paid to do.
Ability to Ask for Help Admitting own limitations, confidence, courage Asking colleagues to show you how to do something or to help you complete a task on time etc.
Adaptability / Flexibility Compliance, accepting change Taking on new challenges, accepting changes to rules and conditions, staying late to finish urgent tasks etc.

Source: Teaching and Assessing Soft Skills K. Kechagias (ed.), MASS Measuring & Assessing Soft Skills 2011, Lifelong Learning Programme  Table 1 page 82-83 Included in MASS Materials  http://www.mass-project.org/attachments/396_MASS%20wp4%20final%20report%20part-1.pdf    Edited in part 12/4/2014

Golfing and Communication, Using Tee Ups Effectively!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Been on the links yet? If not, hopefully very soon! I enjoy golfing and teeing off is my favorite part (not that the ball goes much more than 100 yards or so). I just really like it when my ball flies high and straight! 

Image result for golf course cartoonIt makes it much easier to smack the ball into the air if  the tee is adjusted in the ground just right, not too high or low. Read: Maximize your efficiency either long distance or not as long depending on the goal.

Colorful Tees

Place the tee in the ground at the right height!

However, teeing up may not be such a good thing, especially when not on the golf course. Off the course, a tee up is a phrase to transition to introduce your verbal message. It’s a style of communication that’s often used to soften what’s coming, obscure meaning and, at times, “signal that bad news or dishonesty” is on the horizon.

Image result for golf course cartoonHave you noticed that often, those who are known to lie or bend the truth the most are the ones who say “to be perfectly honest” the most? At least that has been true in my personal experience. If a person has to announce their honesty before they speak, maybe they aren’t always truthful.

Sure, I use tee-ups and I am very conscientious of it. I catch myself and reiterate in my mind how I feel when I use them. A tee-up can be impolite and can also draw less attention to what you really need to say.  When I hear others use a tee-up phrase it makes me think about how they’re communicating and what may be motivating their behavior or thought.

I Hate To Tell YouI Hate To Tell You, But

When a tee-up is used to preface a neutral statement, it can potentially appear to make the speaker sound formal, conscientious, or sophisticated. When used before a negative statement, a tee-up can be condescending.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but all in all” they signal a weakness in communication. Whether you mean it or not, tee-ups make a listener shut down. The best way to circumvent that is for the speaker to stop using tee-ups whenever possible.

Other examples of a tee-up phrase are, “To tell you the truth”, “To be perfectly honest”, “I hate to be the one to tell you this, but” ,“Believe it or not” ,  and “I hear what you’re saying.”  How about this one, “Don’t take this the wrong way!” What are we really saying when we use this phrases? Not much.

My personal favorite is “without a shadow of a doubt”. I’m not really sure if that’s a tee up but I said it the other day to Randy when we were in some sort of philosophical discussion.  (Get the picture?)

Proceed With Caution

Proceed with caution when you hear a tee-up!

There are various reasons for communicating this way. These “tee-ups” are a good way to lie, because it softens the blow a bit by distancing you on an emotional level. The bottom line is when a person uses a tee-up it almost always has to do with emotions.

Tee-ups are yellow lights. If you are about to utter one, slow down. Proceed with caution. Think about what you are about to say or write. And put your communication in the right context from the beginning! You may find this related Wall Street Journal article of interest, It’s titled Why Verbal Tee-Ups Like ‘To Be Honest’ Often Signal Insincerity and can be found at: online.wsj.com/news/articles/

“But then again”, a tee-up may make it easier to say something difficult or buy a few extra seconds to collect your next thought. “Yet all in all”, they can become communication habits that waste time. The person who you are talking to can get stuck on the tee-up and not listen nearly as well as you had well-intended. If you really have something serious to talk about, it will help to use your body language and tone of voice efficiently.

“Okay, don’t freak out, but” if you are feeling a need to use tee-ups a lot, perhaps you’re saying too many unpleasant things to or about other people. Sometimes, the shiny feather (fletching) on an arrow can distract you from the barb; often, it just makes it hurt more. More likely than not, your message will miss the ultimate target.

Precept Golf BallI use this kind of ball! Precept: Noun: a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought.

If you whiff on the first shot, you can tee-up again, but you have to count the stroke and you’ll need to work harder on your game! Ill think of my precept golf balls next time I use a tee-up (or whiff) and will then try to regulate my behavior or thought. The greatest precept is continual awareness. Do you want to do the same? Or would you rather just go golfing with me?

P.S. Congrats Mark Calcavecchia, winner of our 2015 Principal Charity Classic!

Let me know what I can do to help you in a litigated matter involving work and disability. As far as golf, I really can’t help you there much other than to simply motivate you to have fun and don’t worry about whiffing….we all do it! Don’t get all emotional about it!

___________________

 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Got Motivation?? Let’s Just See!!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Did you take the Why Do You Do Your Work assessment? Read on and at the bottom of my blog post, you’ll find a key with detail on your results!Image result for motivationMotivation describes why a person does something. According to current psychology, motivation involves biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that initiate, guide, and maintain goal-oriented behaviors requiring endurance to keep going and the ability to persist through obstacles in spite of difficulties.

As part of my work, I’m commonly asked to give an opinion of a person’s motivation to find work or to keep work (in the realm of job search or job retention). I can uncover a match in skills, education, and experience, and have motivation scales available which help form my opinion, yet still this x-factor of success is extremely difficult to determine.

However, creative interviewing that generates specific examples from a person’s work history provides further evidence. Couple this with contacting the person’s previous or current supervisor, which I believe to be the best and most reliable method of assessing a person’s level of self-motivation, to get their input.

For example questions to ask a supervisor / former employer could include (all questions would be tailored to the worker, and focused on productivity): Is the person capable of following through consistently without supervision? Does the person handle customer complaints independently? Does the person show up on time as scheduled? Would you say this person is motivated to learn new skills? You get the idea I hope, as answers to specific questions help form opinions. 

Motivation can be used to explain behavior. In general, intrinsic motivations (driven by an interest or enjoyment in a task) arise from within; while extrinsic motivations arise from outside the person (and often involve rewards such as money, trophies, social recognition or praise.)

Favorite trophy

When young and in swim club, I received these swimming trophies! I was motivated to swim, swim, swim but really don’t know why because I certainly didn’t think of trophies when I was competing.

There are 3 major components to motivation: activation, persistence, and intensity. Activation involves the decision to initiate a behavior. Persistence is the continued effort toward a goal even though obstacles may exist. Intensity can be seen in the concentration and vigor that goes into pursuing a goal. Each of these components can be assessed and described in detail.

A few signs of self-motivation in a job search (considering obstacles) that I can report on and/or testify to include:

  • Applying to numerous businesses each week.
  • Performing informational interviewing as well as direct interviewing.
  • Scheduling time to research companies and using results to benefit job seeking “marketing” campaign.
  • Critiquing one’s own job search and learning from efforts.
  • Participating in short term skill building activities while in job search mode.
  • Volunteering in a useful and purposeful area.

If currently employed, I have also been asked to provide my opinion of a worker’s motivation to do their best at work (again, considering obstacles). A few signs of self-motivation on the job that I can report on and/or testify to include:

  • A history of doing more than just what is required.
  • Consistently exceeding performance expectations.
  • A history of working the amount of time/hours necessary to get the job/project done, not just the “required” hours.
  • Participating in activities that will benefit the bottom line of the business.
  • Helping and supporting co-workers and supervisors
  • Sharing talents and information openly, in an optimistic manner

In summary, success in a job search or success on-the-job requires self-motivation. If there is proof of high achievement that can be duplicated (once again, considering obstacles), strong self-motivation is suggested.

Why Do You Do Your Work?

The key along with information on your results:

Motivation Results and Descriptions

Intrinsic motivation: 4,8,15;

Integrated regulation: 5,10,18;

Identified regulation: 1,7,14;

Introjected regulation: 6,11,13;

External regulation: 2,9,16;

Amotivation: 3,12,17.

***

Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards and is inspired solely from the interest and enjoyment a person finds in an activity.

Integrated regulation arises when a person has fully integrated a motivation within, and behavior is influenced after undergoing self-examination and then internalizes and assimilates the reasons behind an action. S/he has carefully explored external motivations and decided that they’re congruent with his or her other personal beliefs and values.  An example of integrated regulation as motivation would be a person who attends church through the belief the act aligns with a personal belief system, even if the person doesn’t attend for the sheer enjoyment of it. The person doesn’t feel guilt or shame if s/he doesn’t attend, s/he attends because it feels right and suitable.

Identified regulation is when a person has personally identified with the importance of a behavior and accepted it as a regulation of her own because it benefits her in achieving a goal, she’s motivated by identified regulation. With this form of motivation, the individual doesn’t have to find enjoyment in the behavior, and there doesn’t have to be an immediate reward. The person also isn’t motivated by guilt or shame: She simply recognizes that a behavior is beneficial toward her development and adopts that behavior as her own. For instance, a person may recognize that studying grammar for English class is an important means to the end of becoming a successful writer. This is a subcategory of external motivation that’s more self-determined and personal than external regulation: External regulation may be for a more immediate positive reward, while identified regulation is used to achieve an end that affects an individual’s personal well-being and desires.

Introjected regulation is motivation from an internalized, pressuring voice. The source of motivation for a behavior is guilt, worry or shame. Introjected regulation inspires an individual to enact a behavior not because s/he wants to, but because s/he fears not to out of a sense of obligation. An example of introjected regulation is a person who goes to church every Sunday because s/he fears a negative effect in the afterlife or the negative reaction of peers at a church event — s/he doesn’t necessarily find enjoyment in the service itself. Avoid this form of motivation if at all possible, as it fosters anxiety. When succumbing to this form of motivation, it’s difficult for individuals to feel positive and confident about their actions.

External regulation. People are motivated by external regulation due to an external acting influence. If an individual exhibits a behavior to obtain an externally provided reward, then her behavior is externally regulated. For example, if a person enters the science fair because she wants to win a gift certificate for a restaurant, she’s not acting out of what interests her personally but out of a desire to obtain the reward. External motivation is often used to encourage employees or students to take part in a behavior that they must complete but may not be genuinely interested in — that way, even if they don’t otherwise wish to engage in the behavior, they do so to obtain the reward.

Amotivation is a state of lacking in any motivation to engage in any activity, characterized by a lack of perceived competence and/or a failure to value the activity or its outcomes.

Sources for above are taken in part from http://www.ehow.com/info_12153839_5-different-types-motivation.html

Do you want more assessment information or want to read more! Here’s an earlier blog about motivation. And here’s one about Randy and his work ethic. Read on! Call me! 515-282-7753

___________________

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Why Do You Do Your Work? You May Be in Love!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I hope you had a fantastic weekend. Are you happy to be back at work?! I hope so. Do you love your job? I hope so. What motivates you toward your job? Is there a match, or a mismatch?

love my job mutuallyI am in Love with my Job!

I met with Lin Phillips, a career counselor who is very skilled and talented at helping people “see the light” regarding what makes them tick at work and in life. If you love your work, your life feels so natural. Not sure if you’re really in love yet?

Using the Why Do You Do Your Work? self-assessment scale below or download a copy, indicate to what extent each of the following items corresponds to the reasons why you are presently involved in your work. Then ask yourself why. Send the scale and any of your notes if you’d like back to me and I’ll let you in on your own motivation!

[Please note I do not know the origins or where I found this scale and have made edits and additions for my blog. If anyone knows of its source, please let me know as I would appreciate it!]

Why Do You Do Your Work?

Does not correspond    Corresponds moderately   Corresponds exactly

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. Because this is the type of work I chose to do to attain a certain lifestyle.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. For the income it provides me.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. I ask myself this question, I don’t seem to be able to manage the important tasks related to this work.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. Because I derive much pleasure from learning new things.

 1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. Because it has become a fundamental part of who I am.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. Because I want to succeed at this job, if not I would be very ashamed of myself.

 1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. Because I chose this type of work to attain my career goals.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. For the satisfaction I experience from taking on interesting challenges.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. Because it allows me to earn money.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. Because it is part of the way in which I have chosen to live my life.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. Because I want to be very good at this work, otherwise I would be very disappointed.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. I don’t know why, we are provided with unrealistic working conditions.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. Because I want to be a “winner” in life.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. Because it is the type of work I have chosen to attain certain important objectives.

 1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. For the satisfaction I experience when I am successful at doing difficult tasks.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. Because this type of work provides me with security.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. I don’t know, too much is expected of me.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 

  1. Because this job is a part of my life.

1                 2                 3                 4                 5                6                 7

 Your Notes: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

 

Image result for motivation

It’s an Organic Carrot!

Stay tuned for test results and descriptions of motivators based on this scale. Are you motivated to continue to read my blog posts! I hope so! My goal is to get you excited about working with me! I’m here to help you help your client!

___________________

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Creative Cover Letters Entice Your Reader

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I decided from my last blog (so many choices!) to write about me looking for temporary work….

Last year, I applied for a temporary part-time academic counselor position at DMACC. The position was focused on young “at-risk” students. I share my cover letter (which wanted the applicant to address certain characteristics or skills in the cover letter). I added side comments and graphics to illustrate!:

November 25, 2014

DMACC Human Resources

2006 S. Ankeny Blvd., Building 1

Ankeny, IA 50023-8995

ATTN: Susan Bernard smbernard@dmacc.edu or 515-964-6487

Dear Susan:

I am hopeful my master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling will be put to good use at DMACC as the college’s newest part-time temporary career counselor. I am a DMACC graduate and if it weren’t for my experiences with many of the college’s instructors (for special reasons I recall Robin Orr; and many other great teachers!), and the time in class I spent learning on the Ankeny and Urban campus, I would have never gone on to get a bachelors, let alone a master’s degree!

HSDOI had the lovely label “high school dropout”

As a person with a colorful educational background, including being labeled a “high school dropout” I fully acknowledge the importance of a great community college. I value DMACC highly. This is where I found how much I love to learn, and better yet, I found out I wasn’t so dumb after all!

Happiness is Finding Out

 “Happiness is finding out you’re not so dumb after all.”

I love to help others, and people absorb information if it is presented in a number of different ways, in one sitting, or through several meetings and follow-through activities. My experience also tells me that as the “teacher” such knowledge has to be facilitated in a holistic manner, encompassing what the learner has offered about their background.

I’ve delivered presentations to many audiences, including youth at church, high school age learners, adults (colleagues, clients or potential customers), health-educational programs (smoking cessation, CPR/First Aid), including an entire room full of attorneys (for their continuing legal education needs). I see presentations as a way for me to become a better counselor. I re-learn the topic for the presentation, gather updated information, and focus on how to present in a creative way that makes sense for my audience.

The timing for your needs and the interest in this opportunity is coming at a great time for me. As this counselor position is temporary and part-time, it works well with my current work load as a self-employed person. I hope you read the answers to the supplemental questions I prepared for more information on the required and desirable qualifications you seek.

DiversityI believe diversity surrounds us, and without embracing this limitless concept we’d all be boring! I however do not know a second language, although I do know and utilize methods for taking notes, including Gregg shorthand and medical terminology shorthand, all in order to gather and absorb valuable data.

Thank you Susan. You can reach me at 515-282-7753 or vocresources@gmail.com. Please feel free to look at my LinkedIn page, and connect with me for more information. I also blog and maintain my own website at www.lcpresourcesplus.com  You can find a lot about me on these two platforms. Or better yet, call me soon and we can interview!

Sincerely,

Amy E. Botkin

BTW, I’ve followed up on my application with Susan four times since, and haven’t heard back….but I am persistent and I want to know the status of the application. I’ll keep trying…however now the timing may not be so perfect for me!

Image result for time cartoon

Timing is Everything!

___________________

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce

Is Your Glass 1/2 Full or 1/2 Empty Today? Personality Assessments Help Find Out!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Studying personalities is important to me. I’ve reviewed the results of many personality assessments and am a proponent of using assessment results if it helps you or who you are working with move forward in positive ways. One of the main personality dispositions is whether you are optimistic or pessimistic. (Which are you?) You can go to The Big Five Project, where you can take a personality assessment for free.

Half FullMy glass is usually ½ full!

I’ve studied optimism and after reading the March 25, 2012 TIME magazine article titled The Science of Optimism ~ Hope Isn’t Rationale, so why are humans wired for it?” written by Tali Sharot, I’ve learned more. Sharot is a research fellow at University College London’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging. She searches for the places in the brain where optimism lives!

In her work, she’s interested in how our natural optimism actually shapes what we remember. In one of her studies on optimism, using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) the areas of the brain shown to light up  are found in the prefrontal cortex (responsible for planning and goal setting), hippocampus (crucial to memory), amygalda (my favorite emotional processing almond!), the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (boost the flow of positive emotions) and caudate (processes rewards).

Big BrainAll this brain activity is involved in self-reflection and recollection!

I’ll apply her knowledge that our brains are biased towards optimism. She has a great Ted talk on The Optimism bias that helps me to better understand and work with my clientele, evaluees, referral sources like attorneys, insurance representatives, and the entire array of people encountered in the process of rehabilitation counseling. See the optimists and pessimists lining up?

As part of my ongoing continuing educational pursuits in my beloved career, I promise to continue to study personality and use it to help me to read others and to ultimately help you, my client, with your case.

It definitely helps me in my forensic work to seek information about whether a person is an optimist or a pessimist, and then identify if that person can strike a balance. Why is this important to me? Because it shows the person is flexible….and what a great attribute to have as our world constantly changes!

Every time I study others my skills improve!

Every time I study others my skills improve helping me to make more valid and reasonable assessments of persons, places and situations that need to be brought to light. Of course, even the best detective or mind reader is not always right on track each time they do an assessment. It takes continually gathering knowledge of others, practice, practice and more practice (while myself remaining optimistic yet neutral) to effectively and without bias counsel and teach others.

Rosey GlassesToo rosey at times?

I’m told I’m often overly optimistic and overly analytical. Really I’m just sucking up as much information as possible during whatever time is available and I don’t want to miss anything that may make a difference. Therefore, I need to balance my construct of optimism depending on the situation and have an alternative plan to avoid being unrealistic or irrational. A small dose of realism or even pessimism might be the best prescription to achieve my consulting goals.

Sharot writes, “True sometimes we regret our decisions; our choices can turn out to be disappointing. But on balance, when you make a decision ~ even if it is a hypothetical choice ~ you will value it more and expect it to bring you more pleasure.”

I believe this to be part of my mantra when on the stand…knowing my testimony is based on decision making processes that I chose to undertake, and the hope that I am making a difference in the lives of others.

Hope is an emotional state. Optimism is a cognitive process.

Click here for a great take on Hope Versus Optimism

___________________

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Congratulations to my Beautiful Daughter….She Starts a New Job Today!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As I mentioned in last week’s post, Arin was in interviewing mode. She found success! Today she starts her training at the Des Moines Public Library. My daughter, a librarian aide! I love it. She is so excited! It’s a part-time position, which the library does for all aides, that pays pretty good! She will continue at Walgreen’s as well, so will be working plenty of hours. Do you remember what job(s) you had at age 18? Click here for my earlier work history.

AJ the L

Arin the Aide To the Rescue!

I have blogged about Arin in the past and my grandma’s love for reading. Reading helps in lots of ways; one being that your vocabulary will become larger and more sophisticated. I remember one of my professors at Drake University (Dr. Bob Stensrud!) said something along the lines that a strong vocabulary is a sign of high intelligence. I’m sure there’s plenty of variances on that statement from people much smarter than me, but I agree that intelligence drives the need to acquire the vocabulary in the first place.

On Saturday, Randy and I took a road trip. When we realized from listening on the radio that the Cyclones just might win, we decided we needed to watch the second half! We found a nice place in Oxford, Iowa and stopped on in. There were some buddies hanging out at the bar and one was kinda making me sick. He was a “chain swearer”. You’ve heard one. F this and F that in almost every sentence. And when watching college football on a big screen tv, you can imagine what I heard. Yuck!  I will admit I heard myself say “Poopy” over and over towards the end of the ISU game….

I thought hummmm is my theory that people who swear excessively have low vocabulary levels and corresponding low intelligence? I don’t know, but there are studies out there I’m sure. I do pay attention when interviewing evaluees about their use of profanity and will report on it (while also offering counseling “advice”) as it certainly affects one’s view of professionalism in the workplace.

Profanity BoyPeople Swear, and Unfortunately I Am One of Em

But I don’t want to and I do notice it when I swear and chastise myself! And I try to stop hubby too. And Arin. And Jake. And Nick….and on and on! When my mom swears (not often) I sure take note! Woah!

I cringe when I hear a person swear in professional environments (and on the playing field…and  especially in front of children). I certainly hope Arin doesn’t let a big “F-bomb” out when she is at work at the DMPL (frown upon for sure!) She won’t! [I’m making her read this post…]

Back to the point of this blog and successful interviewing. The keys to a successful interview are preparation and practice. Let me know how I could help and download this tip sheet titled on Interviewing.

P.S. Don’t swear during an interview! Use the best communication skills you have!

P.S.S. My grandma Jean’s favorite “bad” word was “Horrors!”

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce

Alison is a Nice Name ~ Advanced Learning Interactive Systems Online

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Alison stands for Advanced Learning Interactive Systems Online. Alison is an online open source educational website that provides over 500 high-quality, certified, multimedia courses, free to individual learners and groups of learners.

Free Online Courses

Open source learning is exciting!

Alison helps the user to develop essential workplace skills. There is a plethora of choices. You can chose from courses in Business & Enterprise Skills, Finance & Economy Skills, Languages, Digital & IT Skills, Personal Development & Soft Skills, School Curriculum and Diploma Courses. These courses are standards-based and certified. It can be somewhat overwhelming to go through the site to find what you are interested in taking.

You can earn a certificate or a diploma, which indicates the learner completed courses and scored 80 percent or above on the online assessment. There are vocational courses at “certificate level” (1 to 2 hours of study) or “diploma level” (about 9 to 11 hours of study).

Most of the courses are in a PowerPoint style presentation, though a few are audio or video intensive.  The courses appear to parallel job training and certifications I’m aware of throughout the course of my career and by various online resources.

I have used the website to take a diploma course in Legal Studies earlier last year. However, I chose not to become certified because it costs money to print out a certificate. If I were wanting to enhance my skill set for a law office, I would think the attorneys and staff would be grateful of this new knowledge. But I do not work in a law office!

This website would be good for people whose job prospects are constrained by their skill levels and who lack the resources to upgrade them through conventional training. I recommend this website to my placement clients, especially those who may have been out of work for a period of time. I explain that certifying in an area that they are interested in can reveal to a potential employer that you as a job seeker took a learning course on your own accord. This reveals you are a worker who wants to learn something new that would benefit others in the workplace.

It shows you, the job seeker, engaged your brain! You are ready to use your new skills at work. Plus you can list your learning accomplishment on your resume and application! And talk about what you learned in your job interview! Sounds good doesn’t it!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce.

Reference Letters are Golden Nuggets!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A reference letter can provide potential employers or consulting prospects with an idea of someone else’s understanding of who you are and what qualifications and characteristics you bring to the table.

Reference letters are like golden nuggets because not many job seekers use them! 

As I wrote about in a recent blog on retirement from writing for a women’s publication, I asked for a reference from the person who hired me and here it is:

Reference Letter from Kelcie Warren Women’s Edition

Open me!

I always recommend using 3 recommendations (verbal): consisting of 2 people who have first hand knowledge of your work productivity and 1 person who knows you out in the community. Of these 3 people please ask one to write you a reference letter!  You’ll be happy to have one around whether you need it or not!

I have written several recommendations for others.  A well-written reference letter is also a source of support during a job search! Read it and feel proud of yourself!

 

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce