First impressions are usually everlasting impressions. When you meet someone for the first time, you immediately decide what kind of person he is, whether he is educated or not, what he does for a living, what his social status is, and other issues that brand the other person and place him in a specific box. Other people, upon meeting you, also do the same thing even though we sometimes forget and try to stand by that people shouldn’t be labelled without knowing them.
Well, it’s a shallow world and people will see what you present to them.
When entering the workforce, newly graduated students are informed to wear a suit to your interview and make sure to go on time. They are right, it makes a big difference in your employ-ability rating (how employable are you.)
Some issues cannot be changed such as if the person you are meeting generalizes all women into being soft or all people who graduate from a certain college to be smart. Some generalizations may come to your advantage but you will never know which would fit your future boss.
So to make sure you are doing things the right way, at least in the perspective of many managers out there, make sure to follow these points when meeting someone for the first time, especially if you are going into a job interview.
1- Make sure you prepare for the interview in advance. Read about the company you are going to and know the position you are applying for (you’d be surprised how many people aren’t sure).
2- Make sure you know the means you will use to get to your interview and what route you will be taking. You don’t want the interview jitters to mix with traffic and a blank mind.
3- Print your CV and use a sheet protector to protect it. Make sure to keep an extra copy just in case there might be more than one person interviewing you.
4- Arrange what you will be wearing in advance. Give yourself a chance to go buy something just in case. Choose what you will wear wisely. This is very important, your clothes should fit you correctly, you need to make sure that your outfit is ironed, and you shouldn’t be running around last minutes looking for your other pair of shoes.
5- Read and review your CV. Yes you may have just written it but you might not remember all points listed. You do not want to be in a situation where the person interviewing you is asking when you graduated and you mix up your dates. This puts a big question mark on who actually wrote your CV which makes you an unreliable candidate.
6- Make sure that you get a good night sleep. You need to be fully rested. So ignore Netflix and get yourself into bed.
7- On the day of the interview, do something that relaxes you spiritually. You may choose to pray or meditate or call your mother for support. Do something that would give you an extra boost of confidence.
8- Make sure you care for your hygiene. Take a shower, use deodorant, brush your teeth, wipe your shoes, and put some – not overwhelming, perfume. Do not smoke before your interview, they can smell it on you and it’s not pleasant.
9- Get there at least 15 minutes before the interview. Give yourself some time to relax and get acquainted to your surroundings. When walking in, pay attention to the surroundings, they might give you some information about the company and how it functions
10- When your name is called, breathe, stand up straight, and with confidence walk into the room. Knock on the door, smile to the person you see, and go for a good handshake. In some cultures, males and females are not supposed to have any physical interactions so make sure you know the culture you are in too.
11- Sit when requested and look the part
12- Answer genuinely. Honesty is the best policy. Talk clearly and maintain eye contact. When you don’t know the answer to a question simply say that you don’t. It’s alright.
13- When given the chance, try to talk about your accomplishments as objectively as possible. You are simply stating facts so there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
14- Show your interest in what the interviewer is saying. You need to listen attentively and respond accordingly. THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO DAYDREAM!!
15- At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer and if you are not told what the next step would be, ask politely. One way would be, “would I be getting a call in either case of acceptance or rejection?”
16- Breathe: you can now daydream, take off your tie, get into your slacks, forget to shower, and simply be you.
Good luck 🙂
We like to think that we have “everything under control” and that the time spent doing things not on the top of our priority list is an actual choice we made. Ha! Wake up and smell the coffee. Who is really pulling your strings?
Values and preconceptions have been embedded in out minds from a young age and seldom do we question their validity. We do not question why our parents raised us a certain way and why they enrolled us in a certain school. We take it as a given that they were and always will be looking out for our best interests. Now let’s assume that somebody’s parents were selfish people who couldn’t care less what he did in school and who he’s hanging around with. Does it mean that the strings they are supposed to hang on to and care for get thrown down for anyone to pick up? Yes, that’s precisely what it means.
If parents are not there to “pull their children’s strings” before the children are all grown up and can pull their own strings, someone bigger and probably not wiser will be more than happy to control them. Watch out for your kids.
Alright, back to you. Now after we as children were being controlled by our parents’ values and limits, we quickly graduated to have the school teachers have some control. This control doesn’t necessary mean it’s bad, on the contrary, it means that we still need some guidance before the time is right and we’re ready to fly from the best.-
The issue lies when we are introduced to a bigger circle. Friends included in a bigger social circle, the society and its many different ideologies, sometimes religion and people who represent it, celebrities, people with big names, people with no names, your neighbor, your local milk man, anybody can hold your strings and control you when you least know it. What can you do? Don’t allow it.
Don’t allow anyone to take control. Hold your own strings and stand your ground in regards to your beliefs. You may be surprised that one day you will turn from being the puppet to being the puppet master.
Influence, do not let people influence you
Lead, do not be satisfied with being led.
Make your own mark, find your own voice, and speak. Believe in yourself: you are your number one everything. Do not allow yourself to be controlled
Control, who’s really holding your strings?
We all know that sometimes it’s easier to talk to SIRI than actually going through the whole swish the finger across, swish it again, tap, and get what you want (we are a generhation who took the word lazy to a totally different level). SIRI uses voice recognition to follow commands given by the owner of the IPhone/Ipad/Ipod and other I-related products. For more information about what SIRI is, google SIRI wikipedia.
Last week, my five year old niece comes up to me and asks, “Can I talk to your phone?” I didn’t quite understand her and was like huh? She said, can I talk to your phone for a bit? Her mom tells me from across the room that her daughter wants to talk to SIRI so I tell her to go ahead. I was having a nice cup of tea and didn’t really need my phone so I didn’t think I would miss it.
A few minutes later, I hear my niece screaming, “I SAID SING A SONG!” over and over again, louder and louder each time. What she didn’t realize, though, was she wasn’t changing her command and when she does, it is very minimal. I totally ignored her for the next ten minutes and then started worrying about my battery. Luckily, she managed to get SIRI to “sing a song” which was basically just playing a random song from my music playlist. She was beaming! I took the phone away.
My three year old son wanted to, obviously, copy his “amazing older cousin” so he came and said, “mama can I use your phone? I want it to sing for me.” Which is very adorable because it sounded like he wanted someone to sing him a good night song. I let him have my phone and he, come to think of it, knew how to get SIRI working. Hmmm, I just realized this now. Anyway, I told him, “Tell her play a song SIRI” and he did. He was ecstatic and went to show his cousin who was surprised.
I got to hear how she doesn’t have a SIRI in her Ipad (it’s probably an older model) and how her mom’s SIRI isn’t working. So today she comes up and asks to talk to SIRI again, please just for five minutes, ok three minutes, pleeeeease. And I give in. She picks the phone and before she says anything I say, “if you want her to play music don’t ask her to sing a song, ask her to play music.” and she did. She didn’t have to scream, she didn’t have to waste her energy, she didn’t have to waste battery life, and she knew what she needed to ask to get her required result.
What we learn from this is
- when you want to ask for something, identify exactly what it is that you want and ask for it clearly and precisely.
- If you use the exact same words to ask for something, do not expect different outcomes at different times. This expectation is known as insanity according to Einstein (doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results).
- You will not get different results when you shout, you will only get a headache.
- Kids will get what they want when adults are having a tea break
- Sometimes when copying a cousin, you still need to listen to your mom for directions
As a fresh graduate, I never knew my true worth in the job market. I thought that I would be lucky to get a job, any job. I know that I haven’t been the best student to graduate from college but, come on, at least I graduated with a decent degree and some knowledge that I thought would do me well.
What I didn’t know was that people in the real world aren’t giving out jobs like lollipops, it is a gruesome process to get employed.
So when I got a call for an interview just a few weeks after graduating and applying to every single company I know including google, I was stunned. Happy, but stunned. I knew that many people didn’t get a call EVER.
Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am 21 years old, somewhat serious given that some kids my age grew up with the Xbox, WII, and playstation, and I have been trying to grow out my pink hair for the past few months. I am aiming to cut off the last few inches next month if my calculations serve me right and I’ll be a normal blonde.
Like all kids preparing for an interview, I got my friend over and started going through my closet looking for something decent enough to pass as work clothes. You see, I really just graduated and don’t have the money to splurge on a suit. So I ended up wearing a short black dress with a red blazer on top. I put my hair up in a ponytail, put on my black choker for luck, and was ready to go.
I was nervous as hell! I walked into the office and was ushered to a long corridor with chairs. I could see that there were three other kids there waiting for their turns and gave the one closest to me a smile. He smiled back barely. I could see that he was wearing a suit and started questioning my choice of clothes. I looked over to the other girl in the row and saw she was wearing a suit too. It’s not that I looked unprofessional, it’s just that I looked less professional. Plus, the company is going to give us all a chance based on our qualifications, right?
My heart started racing as I nodded and stood up. The guy who went out of the room was smiling I felt my heart plummet thinking that they’ll choose him over me and it’s a waste of time going in. I walked in the room. It was a big room with an elder man sitting on one side. He looked up and I could have sworn that he cringed. I wasn’t sure what was the deal but he just added on to my nervousness.
Have a seat, Amy. He said
I did as I was told.
- How old are you
- 21 years old
- Why do you think we should employ you?
- because I feel like I would be able to give so much to the organization
- Do you know anything about the organization?
- Yes, I read about the latest development of…
- Yes it was in the news, everyone heard about it. What about your skills? Are you able to work long hours?
- I am willing to work all day if needed
- Yes yes, that’s what they all say. What about when you get married and get pregnant, do you think you will be able to work?
- umm, I haven’t thought that far, sir. You see, I just graduated a few weeks ago…
- do you have someone you are in a relationship with? Wait, scratch that I’m not supposed to ask this. But you can tell me if you want (he looks at me like he was pushing me to answer)
- No I am currently single and want to focus on my work
- So you’d be free to work extra hours for the next, let’s say, two or three years. Any other special talents you have up your sleeves?
- I am fluent in French.
- Is that right? Well, now we’re talking. How long have you studied it?
- Around 12 years
- Impressive. Anything else you want to add? Any questions?
- Just one, and I ask you because this is my first interview, sir. How did I do?
- He sneered, chuckled, and look up at me. Not well enough.
When you change nothing, nothing changes. When life reaches a point where every day is like the day before, things get comfortable. You know what is expected from you, what you expect from people, and what you will achieve that day. But in the long run, your achievements will be minimal in relation to the number of days you lived.
So why wait for the change to happen when the factor that is needed is you. You need to change to enforce change. You need to do things differently to get higher results or, at least, something else. Yes, we are all guilty of taking the back seat in our lives but we shouldn’t settle because there are many things out there that can be achieved.
Things you wanted to do before you turned 30 shouldn’t be a list thrown away. Even though 15 year old you is only living in the past, you owe him/her some respect towards their desires; he/she is still a part of you. When change happens, everything happens.
Your comfort zone is like your home. You feel comfortable in it and you stop growing. You stop learning, and you stop expanding your horizon. The world is continuously changing and people who follow these trends and accept these changes are no longer prisoners of their fear. Fear of change and fear of growth.
But how can you be the factor that induces this growth? Takes you from one phase in life to another? First, you need to accept the challenge and know your strengths and weaknesses. You need to identify what you want done, face your biggest fear, your demons, head on. You need to take one step outside your comfort zone. Feel uncomfortable: it won’t kill you.
There are many cliche sayings such as “think outside the box” and “there is no box” and “be the change you want to see in the world,” but in my opinion, the best is “There is no spoon”. Yes, there is no spoon because the boundaries and your fear is all in your head. For example, let’s assume I am afraid to present in front of a big group. It’s not an impossible task; many people are capable of doing it and yet my speech starts to slur and I feel like I’m having a nervous breakdown. Now, this contains me in a little bit, taking away possibilities and choices, and reduces my skills by one skill. Imagine that this goes on to include more skills: networking, socializing, report writing, too scared to watch movies that have to do with death, too scared to read books that have more than 300 pages. These are all restrictions on ME. I am actively putting myself in jail and making it smaller by these ridiculous constraints that nobody placed but myself.
So why do it?
Because it’s too scary?
Well, outside is where the magic happens. Where possibilities are infinite and everything is within reach. Stepping outside your comfort zone may be hard to start, but after a few steps and familiarizing yourself with your new surroundings, you have a new bigger comfort zone. One that may have included one thing you consider “magic.” And you take another step out, and you grow your comfort zone, thereby including more magic in your life.
Stepping outside your comfort zone doesn’t necessarily mean meeting new people, it could mean doing something different. Skiing, skateboarding, traveling, meditating, taking a journey inwards, taking a journey outwards, reading a new genre, it doesn’t matter. It only matters that you made the effort to change your days and understand that perception is everything. You are the only one binding you with unnecessary limits in a place where there are no limits.
Think. Step outside. Grow. Find your magic. And remember, there is no spoon.
We’ve all been there. Our puppy eyes wide open and looking forward to our first day in our job. We were finally able to convince someone working in the HR department of some company that we actually know what we’re doing and, surprisingly, they take our word for it. The excitement, the anxiousness,, the butterflies in our stomach, the sleepless night, and the many outfits we tried are all witnesses to our new step. We don’t just panic, we ARE panic. We don’t have breakfast that morning and have a coffee instead. Everything seems to be surreal and amazing. We walk up to the office and meet the sweet HR lady who, for what we believe, is our only support in the new found land. We listen intently to every word she says. Induction… break time… new employee… parking… refrigerator… telephone… the list goes on. You hear some words and miss out much more. And if your workplace is big, you fear getting lost.
“meet your colleague, XYZ, he is assigned to be your ‘buddy’ and show you around. For the first two days, just be his shadow.”
And you look in the face of your new friend. Your only friend in this unknown land and you smile, thinking that this is going to get better, that this is not so bad after all. So you put all your trust in that one person and think that you have grown from being the newborn holding onto your HR mother to a toddler, happy to go a bit further and spread your wings.
Now, you took it as a given that XYZ is a good person. A person who will tell you the truth and give you insights as to how to conduct yourself in the workplace. Little did you know that many times XYZ turns out to be something else. Let’s take different scenarios:
XYZ is a
1- Loser. So you end up being stamped as a loser from day 1, thereby losing all your chances in ever being a part pf the in group
2-Disgruntled employee. So you end up hearing what a bad place your work is and you question your decision regarding taking the job
3- Lunatic. So you end up questioning everything including your sanity and you may also turn into a lunatic yourself (remember, this is your first job so you’re fairly young)
4- Optimist. So you see flowers everywhere you go and will end up falling flat on your face when reality strikes
5- Pessimist. Similar to disgruntled employee, a pessimist at work will show you how bad your work is. You leave your job and end up with somewhere worse, thereby wishing time would go back.
6- Mafia king. You can be taken under his wing if you are lucky and will feel like a part of the family until someone ends up sleeping with the fishes and you question your “luck”
7-Mean girl. You throw all caution (and your values) to the wind and be part of the group. You only question yourself if (and only if) something wrong happens because being a mean girl is just fun
8- Nerd. And thereby dig a grave for your social life.
But you could also end up meeting a friend. Someone who would always be there and who would always give you great advice.
Be careful who you hang out with once you go somewhere new, it could make or break you. Take things slowly, understand that the person introducing you is just doing his job and you can always find the circle you are most comfortable with.
After all, isn’t work just like school at a bigger scale? And isn’t life just the same?
Try to play by your own rules and be comfortable with who you are.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when many eyes are watching you, the definition of beauty changes from one person to the next. Nowadays, we are being watched and judged by the way we look, how we present ourselves, and who we know. When society provides us with the mold we should abide by, what is our net worth as individuals?
With the advancements in medicine and technology, we could be faced with the choice of having a genetically enhanced designer baby free of ailments and closer to perfection than we ever will be. (Ted talks: Paul Knoepfler: The ethical dilemma of designer babies – TED.com) My question is, however, what kind of life would a designer baby have? A child, and later on an adult, who can do things easily, doesn’t feel the need for competition because he/she is the best anyway, looks amazing, and doesn’t have to put up with acne, lives an empty life. Some people might say that yes, this is the life they want for their child and why not give them a step up in life while they can? If I had to choose, I’d rather not.
We meet people who have great skin, who have great hair, and who are more talented than we ever dream to be but it does not make us any less. In a life filled with perfect people there will be nothing to do. No feelings to feel, no issues to solve, and the easy life will be boring.
An empty life.
Beauty in life comes from our imperfections. Our uniqueness makes us who we are. Our different levels of talent, our different skill set, our different backgrounds, merge to an ocean of possibilities. Possibilities of meeting the right person, making friends, fighting with someone who doesn’t believe in what we do. Differences in people are what makes life what it it.
A life that is meant to be lived.
Heartbreaks make the heart beat stronger… scars make us who we are. Subjecting ourselves to the confusion of not knowing, of searching in the oblivion for a clue as to who we are and what is our purpose in life gives life meaning.
Our learning curves when we were babies are beautiful. Watching a six month old try to talk to beautiful. A preschooler not knowing the difference between the colors orange and red is beautiful. A seven year old finally understanding the concept of fractions is mind blowing. The minute our brains battle to understand and conceptualize life around us makes us humans who we are: knowledge seekers.
Emotions of love, pain, pride, despair all contribute to the journey of self discovery. The uniqueness of each person, the imperfections, the not too straight nose, the frizzy hair, the gap in the front teeth all make us unique… and from this uniqueness, from this diversity emerges the beauty of humankind. The beauty of life and its many quests inwards and forward towards our end.
Wabi Sabi: (Japanese) a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.