FROM TOSHIBA TO THE TRAPEZE – A LOGICAL CAREER CHANGE

September 8, 2014

There are three things on the bucket list of any red-blooded Canadian: to find a way  to cheat on their Employment Insurance, to write the Great Canadian Novel, and to run away and join the circus.

I have always been partial to the last one. When I was eight, I rigged up a tight rope in the basement between two supporting four by fours. It was only a foot off the ground and went all of fifteen feet. I assembled by two sisters and the cat to watch as I stepped on the rope while holding a bamboo pole that one once part of the grass rake. The rope touched the floor.  I wasn’t as exciting as I thought it was going to be.

 I moved the rope higher, and used a turnbuckle at one end to add tension. I used a chair to mount it, and took my first steps , There were only two of them as the rope began to vibrate. I lost my footing and landed with the rope at the confluence of my anatomy. My but landed on the floor, but the rope launched me like a Polaris missile off the floor, the off the ceiling, then into the cat box.

My sisters applauded. I cleaned up the kitty litter.

My next circus stunt involved a trapeze that was set up at whistler. There I hung upside down on a swing as I watched the owner of the trapeze run around underneath me picking up all the change that fell out of my pockets.

A couple of weeks ago I had a notification that one of my contacts, Pixie-Ann just landed a new position. When I first met her at the Vancouver Board of Trade she was a commercial representative for Staples. Then she went to another company to sell other stationery products and computers. I don’t think she liked it there much. They made her drop the Pixie part of here name.

Now she has a new job. She is the is the Antigravity Fitness and Aerial Silks Instructor, Front of House Representative at the Vancouver Circus school in New Westminster.

I emailed her my congratulations and invited myself to her school. She said to come on Saturday.

The school is located inside New Westminster quay, It has a high ceiling with aerial apparatus all over the place. I witnessed students putting on performances that I spent $100 to see at Cirq de Soleil. There were tumblers, acrobats, jugglers and people doing gravity defying tricks on a contraption Pixie-Ann described as a Chinese Pole.

Pixie-Ann had a wonderful smile when I was there. I commented that this looked infinitely more fun than selling Toshibas.

“You have to follow your passion,” she said.  “I also teach an Aerial Yoga class at Steve Nash Fitness World downtown. It’s like Yoga on a hammock.”

“Tell me you’re not going to get me to do a  hand stand on a hammock.”  I said.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “ It’s very safe.”

I love seeing people make big career changes.

She asked me if I wanted to try the trapeze when I realized I had too much change in my pocket. I do, however , have a granddaughter that I would like to bring.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

 

ON A KNEES TO NOSE BASIS – MY JOURNEY WITH OSTEOARTHRITIS

September 1, 2014

People in my fitness classes have learned over the years that I have actually been instructing in a fair bit of distress owing to the onset of osteoarthritis in my knees. I t happened as the result of genetics. My father had it. He told me when I was a teenager that he was planning to hang up his skis and take up golfing.

My grandfather used to scamper around the house with his cane mixing up a concoction of egg whites, turpentine and  other tree exudates  in his liniment bottle that he and my father applied liberally to their limbs while leaning on the fence in the back yard. I thought they were drinking the stuff.

It could also be used as a bear repellent.

I dreaded the day that I would have to join them there as a right of passage. T thought that nothing good could come from drinking anything from a tree – with the exception of coffee and cocoa.  They both passed away before I experienced my own knee degeneration.

It the first incident was while cycling. Then while playing broomball, Aerobics tended to make the pain go away, and it still does. Walking made it worse. I need to pause every few blocks to do some jumping jacks ans squats. So much for romantic walks on the sea wall.

Here are some of the things I have tried, besides teaching fitness, to alleviate the symptoms.

  • Liniments such as Canada Healing oil rubbed onto the joint relieves the pain
  • Ice relieves the pain
  • Heat relieves the pain
  • Cold followed by heat relieves the pain
  • Heat followed by cold followed by liniment sounds stupid, but it relieves the pain

All of these treatments releave the pain, but I became worried about becoming a turpentine/camphor/heat/ice addict and the pain always came back. The only thing that really worked was teaching fitness – probably because it produces a whole lot of synovial fluid that keeps my bones from rubbing together for the duration of the class and a few hours after.

I looked for medical remedies:

  • I was prescribed an extra strong dose of naproxen that made me sick
  • I got X-Rays and a referral to a rheumatologist
  • The rheumatologist gave me a shot of cortisone that had a good effect until I started actuall use my knee.
  • He gave me another shot. It didn’t get better, but it didn’t get cured either
  • He gave me a shot of Synvisc – an artificial cartilage that worked well for about 3 weeks. That worked for a couple of weeks with a cost of $500 per knee. I’ll stick with walking and jumping jacking.
  • The rheumatologist referred be to a place that would prepare me for knee surgery
  • More recently, I have been receiving deep laser deep laser treatment. That seems to be working. I have had 6 treatments so far and I can make it 3 blocks  without doing jumping jacks.

On Friday, at my last treatment, I told the doctor (a chiropractor this time) that I just read an article that said people were taking cartilage from the nose septum, growing it in a culture, then injecting it into the knee and watching it grow. According to the article (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140828090200.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29 )

Now, if you catch me walking around with a Band-Aid on my snoot, you can guess what happened, but I’ll only let you know on a knees to nose basis.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

DID YOU EVER HEAR ABOUT MOUNT MAZAMA?

August 25, 2014

That’s what I asked my dentist last Thursday. He had. He told me that it was one of the volcanoes in the Cascade Range of Washington, Oregon, and California. Other volcanoes in the range include Mt. Shasta, Mt.  St. Helen, Mt Hood, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Baker as examples of live volcanoes that have been erupting off and on for the past 400,000 years.

As I mentioned to the doc, Mt. Mazama is one of those that underwent a colossal eruption 7,700 years ago that resulted in the creation of Crater Lake – a famous seasonal resort in Oregon. The Doc said that there were rocks the size of Volkswagens that became part of the landscape in central Saskatchewan.   

That was one big blow, I said.

I told him that archaeologists often uncover a lens of ash that can be fingerprinted by trace minerals to belong to the same volcano. That’s a good sign. Anything found below the ash layer is older than 7,700 years, and anything above it is younger.

“Why did you come in here to tell me that?” He asked. “Can’t you see I’m in the middle of a root canal?”

I thought that you might like to know, because i have a molar next to a wisdom tooth that did a pretty fair imitation of Mt Mazama over the weekend.

“Hmmm,” he said. “Does it hurt?”

“Not now, I said. But I have a feeling that if the remnant fills up with water, speculators will want to open a resort.”

A quarter of an hour later, I was in his chair while he probed the depth of my new geological landform. He took an X-Ray and proclaimed that it must have been quite a show. He also said that my tooth is legally dead, and it needed to come out on Saturday morning at 11:00.

Now I’m grieving my tooth. I took it home to donate it to the SFU Archaeology Department.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

THE LAST LAUGH

August 17, 2014

A while ago I wrote an article on a fitness phenomenon called Laughter Yoga that you can read at http://www.alive.com/articles/view/23493/laughter_yoga .  Naturally, when it came out I told everyone about it. This means that I had to tell it to my Saturday Morning Interval Training  class in the weight room  at West Point Grey Community Centre in Vancouver.

My participants  coerced me into incorporating it into my class. “If you say laughter is so great for our fitness, you have to put it in our class.

Ever since, I have been treating the class to The Last Laugh. After stretches at the class we reach overhead and I would tell a brief zinger from current events. Then we would all relax and exhale with a belly laugh.

The problem is that I have never had a funny bone in my body, so coming up with a one liner is becoming increasingly difficult. Perhaps that’s an artifact of aging. After all, I am turning 65 next week.

I rely mostly on current events. Rob Ford, the runaway mayor Of Toronto has given me weeks and weeks of mirth  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/rob-ford-soaked-in-ice-water-for-als-ice-bucket-challenge-1.2738734, If he doesn’t get elected in the next election there, I may need to retire.

Senator Mike Duffy is another laugh generator. http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/07/17/mike-duffy-to-be-charged-by-rcmp-suspended-senators-lawyer-says/

Then I need to start making stuff up.

For example, a few weeks ago we had the Vancouver International Folk Festival. Joan Baez was to be one of the headliners. Unfortunately she had to cancel out. The sie

The site  the festival was less than 500 meters away from my class, so I told my class that they had hired Rob Ford and Mike Duffy to sing a duet: The Band’s 1969 song , “The  Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnyeqyCiLdo.

I was really hard pressed after that  – except that I bought some masking tape at the dollar store that I use to prepare my class. I hang signs on each station. The signs were fluttering all over the place. There wasn’t enough stickum. I told my class there are three things you should never by at the dollar store:

  1. Masking Tape – There’s not enough stickum
  2. Batteries – They run out too quickly
  3. Condoms – Those short people call me “Gramps.”

This morning I told them that everyone will need to take the class more seriously next week. I will no longer be a wet-behind-the- ears neophytic whippersnapper. As I turn 65 on Tuesday, I’ll be an honest-to-god geezer who needs to learn to geeze.

Next week, my motto will be, “Fitness is the easy part, it’s comedy that’s hard.”

  Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

WRITE YOUR OWN DAMNED RÉSUMÉ

August 3, 2014

I have been following a conversation on line of my linked-In groups, Careers Debate. Should one write their own résumés? Most of the respondents said that they should. As someone who supplements his income by writing résumés for people who would like to make changes in their careers or lives, I agree. They should write their own résumés.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Hey Mike, what’s the matter with you. You’re writing yourself out of a job. I was thinking of getting you to write one for me. You can’t be serious.”

I am serious. When you write your own, you have the opportunity to list all the skills you have, your experiences, your education, your values and your interests. It’s an exercise in introspection that everyone should undertake at regular intervals in their careers.

“Well, why are you in business then?” you ask.

Because most of the home made résumés don’t work. They are outdated, they are loaded with errors, and they generally do not do a good job of presenting what you may have to offer an employer. Here are a three reasons to drop what you’re doing and take that tome you’re working on to a professional résumé writer:

1. Make use of another set of eyes.
I speak for myself here. When I look at a resume for someone I try to expand the document so my client could be presented as a candidate for a number of different vocations. I do this by really examining the skills they had with what they have been doing. For example, I am an archaeologist with a degree and 13 years of field experience. I took the skills from here and became a street social worker for another 14, then an employment counsellor, and then an employment specialist, then a vocational counsellor for a health authority.

If one were to hire me, I give the advantage of knowledge of most sectors of the labour market, and I could help that person identify several areas where a person can extent their career. The resume that you made, along with some shrewd interviewing questions on the part of yours truly, some interesting opportunities can emerge.

2. Marketing advantages.
Again, I have to speak for myself. I think most resume writers have a good sense of the labor market, and I also believe they know what skills are required for specific jobs. They might even have a good idea of how to make that resume competitive in the marketplace. For example, a document with a heading like “OBJECTIVE” isn’t going to cut it these days. Objectives, by definition tell and employer what you want. Do they care? Employers want to know what you are already, and also what can you do. This can be done in less space than cluttering up with an objective, which is ultimately a lie. The truth is all you want is a job.
You don’t want to lie on your résumé

3. Correcting mistakes.
Most of the résumés I see have good spelling, but they are wordy. The profiles that I see often have sentence structure that you would find in formal writing like essays and novels. By contrast résumé writers have, by convention dictated by the labour market that says to HR personnel, “Thou shalt not spend more than two nanoseconds on a résumé unless it’s a really good one. You want your recruiter to read your profile, read your experience, then jump back to the profile, then education and back to the profile, etc. You want him to have his eyes dancing all over the document to prevent it from being launched into the circular file. That means you want bullets.
A résumé writer can help with this. Then you can free up your own writing time to write the Great Canadian Novel.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

ZEN AND THE ART OF INTERVIEWING

July 21, 2014

Many of my clients have difficulty with interviews as they suffer from anxiety. Sometimes, a client will have a perfect resume that tells the story of a professional with three degrees and an employment history that includes decades of professional work – often including public speaking. Yet the thought of having to do an interview causes profuse sweating, shaky hands, and tongues that dry out to the consistency of shoe leather and clatter on the roofs or their mouths.

I try to deal with this by going some mock interviews, thinking that over time they will overcome the fear, ace the interview and get the job. I wish it were that simple.

“So tell me a little about yourself,” I’ll say, hoping they’ll tell me a little of their experience, their education and training, and maybe a little bit of what they do in their spare time.

“I hate that question,” they’ll say as they begin to sweat and hyperventilate, Once, a client who was perfectly calm when she came into my office, sprinted for the door when I asked the question. She called a few weeks later to reschedule a meeting.

“Should I come up with another interview question?” I asked.

“No,” she said. “I have that one under control now.”

Clearly, I needed to come up with a set of tools that a client can use to get rid of the anxiety before the interview. That way they can better compete in the market place.

I call the set of tools the Zen and the Art of f Interviewing. I use the following three steps to help them gain some control of their emotions.

1. Make them feel powerful.

Back in the ‘50s there was a television show staring George Reeves called “Superman.” At the beginning of the show, George would stand with his hands on his hips with his cape flowing behind him. I get my clients to do this before  the mock interview when I ask the dreaded question. (Actually, I do this before I teach fitness classes. It keeps my knees from collapsing.)

2. Help them feel centred.

Learning breath control can help them relax before the interview. It’s something that they can practice during the interview, providing they don’t fall asleep.

3. Learn how to cheat at the  interview.

Even people with profound anxiety can find success at interviewing if they can find a way to get someone else to do them. The trick is to do it without letting them know they’re doing it. They can assume the personality of someone they admire and answer the questions in a way they would imagine that person  answering them. In 2011 I wrote a blog posting called (How to cheat at your interview that you can read at: http://mikebroderick.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/how-to-cheat-at-job-interviews/

 Many of my clients have had success with this – except one who used me as a role model. “You really should get better control over your language,” she told me as we were writing a thank you note.

  Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

 

WEASELING OUT OF TROUBLE AT WORK

July 6, 2014

Many people have knack for getting into trouble in the workplace. I am one of them. Most of my trouble stems from uttering something that ought to have been left unuttered. Whether I utter something to emphasize a point that I find important, or whether I say it for comic effect, there is always someone around to take offence. Sometimes, it turns out, they should take offence. It gives me a chance to practice weaseling out of it.

Sometimes my workplace is a stage in a gym where I lead fitness classes. In fact, my inspiration for this piece came from the 9:00 AM Circus Training  class I lead at West Point Grey Community Centre in Vancouver. The class is in the weight room where participants are determined to get fitter in spite of me.

Today’s topic  was how I managed to get a complaint from the staff at one of those glittery private gyms that  at the time had one of those mirrored disco balls spinning on a spindle that reflected those little beams of light all over the stage. I was just finishing  the class by leading participants through a series of stretches, including one that had everyone pressing their chests to the floor while having both legs forming a 180 degree angle to their trunks.

“Make sure you do this stretch slowly,” I chanted into the microphone. “Just relax into the stretch. Stretch slowly. Always do them s-l-o-w-l-y. I do everything s-l-o-w-l-y.”

Suddenly I sensed the opportunity to drop one of my bombs. I pitched my voice up half an octave to break the chance and said, ”Except for one thing.”

My class laughed this morning, but there were a few in the glitter gym that didn’t see the humour at all, and I found myself in front of the coordinator explaining that I thought the joke was pretty good. “Self-deprecation is the second simplest form of humour.” I said.

“What is the simplest form?” she asked.

“Repetition,” I said

“Go with the repetition,”  she said.

Notice what happened. I saw an opportunity , took it, and accepted responsibility for it. That was the end of it until I brought it up again this morning. If a complaint should arise out of that, I will explain to the coordinator that part of the class involve not only fitness theory, but also history of fitness, and stories about fitness personalities since the 1950s – of which I continue to be an active member.

I’ll bet Chip Wilson could use a crash course in weaseling out of trouble. A few short months ago the Chipper – one time owner of Lululemon Athletica , got into trouble for explaining the pilling  and eroding of the material.

He said that his apparel doesn’t work for some of his customers. He insulted his customer base. Then he gave an apology:

http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2013/11/lululemons-chip-wilson-apologizes-for-controversial-comments-over-womens-pants-video/

His apology, however, was to his employees, not the customers. There was one good part. He said he was sorry for ‘Chipping’ away all the success they garnered over the year.

What he could have done was made an apology, then fund a video of be putting duct tape on the threadbare portions of my spandex fitness shorts. That way he could have used humor to weasel out of his customers’ ire and not having his board of directors take the company from him.

Let me know when you buy the company back, Chip. We’ll talk about a retainer. I’ll call my company Weaseling Out 101.

  Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

 

HANDLING THE WORST INTERVIEW QUESTION: WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS?

June 29, 2014

Believe it or not, some HR people still ask, “What is your greatest weakness.” To me this is a cop out question. It is like the gym teacher who hasn’t planned anything so we have to spend 40 minutes playing murder ball. There are three reasons for asking it: they want to see whether their candidate is creative, they are nosey, or they are sadistic and want to see their interviewees squirm as they decide which skeleton to whip out of the closet for all the world to see.

Whatever the reason, once it is asked, it has to be answered. Some candidates say that a good answer is that they have the tendency to work too hard, but have developed a plan to develop their skills at time management and their ability to prioritize tasks. The problem with that answer is that it is unlikely that the interviewer has learned these skills and they don’t want to get shown up.

Another favourite is, “I don’t have any weaknesses.” This causes the interviewer to think, “Arrogant bastard. Even I could have answered it that way.”

I always liked the answer, ”My greatest weakness is working with computers, but I found that if I read manuals and take courses I can get the hang of them.” The form of the answer is correct. It shows that you can do something about it.

Unfortunately, nobody will believe that you did. Who would ever sit down to relax with a manual. Isn’t there more to life than that?

I have always thought that the best answer to this question would be, public speaking.

I hate public speaking.

In part, I think my own relationship with public speaking goes hand-in-hand with me being a neurotic introvert at heart. I cured this by becoming a fitness instructor. Nothing cures both neurotic introversion and fear of public speaking faster than parading yourself in front of 40 women in sports bras wearing nothing but a muscle shirt and spandex shorts yourself – especially if the shorts are misbehaving and giving everyone a glimpse of life in the fast lane.

(Here’s a hint. If you’re going to patch a pair of spandex shorts with duct tape, make sure to do it from the inside out. It may feel uncomfortable, but it’s better than peeling your hide off with them after class).

Luckily for applicants, one doesn’t need to become a fitness instructor to get over the fear of public speaking. For the price of a dinner at Macdonald’s, you can join a toastmaster’s club, and that sounds great at an interview.

Here are some tips to be a better public speaker that I’ve picked up from being a fitness instructor:
1. Know your facts: Before you can teach, you learn a lot about theory. Remember it and use it
2. Know your audience: They come to you as informed consumers. Sometimes they are famous, so try not to get stage fright
3. Rehearse: Be prepared with your moves and what you say about them
4. Prepare to ad lib and tell jokes and stories: One time I was leading my class in a stretch, “Do this slowly.” I said in my hypnotic fitness instructor voice. “Always stretch slowly. I always de everything slowly – except for one thing,” Later I got a complaint for being too sexy. But on the plus side, somebody noticed.
5. Anticipate questions: There is no point in being an expert if nobody asks questions
6. Single out a friend in the audience: It’s good to have ally in the crowd, but don’t focus all your energy there. Scan the room and find others. That way you’re including everyone in your Tomfoolery

If you memorize some of this, you will definitely have the upper hand with that worst interview question whether you’re wearing a $500 lets-talk-about-it-suit or a $20 pair of spandex shorts.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

NETWORKING: IT’S NOT WHO YOU KNOW, IT’S WHO THEY KNOW.

June 23, 2014

A few millennia ago, while I was in my senior year at high school, I was asked by the once Homecoming Queen to dig a ditch to raise money for the grad party. I was I suppose I was thinking that if I dug the ditch well I might ask her on a date to recount all the excitement of ditch digging. After all she was once the Homecoming Queen. I agreed.

“Then it’s agreed,” she said. “You and five other suckers will spend Saturday digging an access ditch that 100 feet long and 18 inches deep. You will dig for free, and the school will get er  …   let’s see. … A fair bit of money.

I showed up on Saturday at 8:00 with my shovel and chalk line. Nobody else showed up. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Sucker!””

Not really. Three things happened that day. First, the digging was easy once I broke through the sod. The property was actually an archaeological site. In fact, it was a shell midden so I was digging through loose shell. I was also finding artifacts. I was so interested in this, that I eventually got a degree in archaeology and spent 13 years as a field archaeologist.

Secondly, people saw me working, and they kept calling me. I suppose they thought that if I could dig a ditch, I could build a fence, or mow a lawn, or scythe a field, or bail some hay, or wash some windows. I worked every day that summer, and I found there was other fish to catch that the former Homecoming Queen. There was no time. She had no math skills.

Third, I learned the power of networking. I have often heard the old mantra amongst job seekers that “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts.” You can have all the skills and book learning in the universe, but if you don’t know people, your chances of finding employment are bleak.

I didn’t know anyone while I was ditch digging, and I got a whole pile of work that I didn’t expect. I also got to meet some anthropologists and archaeologists in the process that I also didn’t expect, and after getting a degree or two, I began to make some theoretical contributions to the science. I think this is networking, and I can now change the mantra to, “It’s not who you know, it’s who THEY know that counts.

I often attend networking sessions at boards of trade and chambers of commerce. I tell some success stories about what I did that month to give people the impression that I find jobs for people with mental health disabilities – all the while telling prospective employers that I have people who really want to work as part of their rehabilitation. If they have a job, they can attend all those summer barbecues and say with pride that they dig ditches or work in a warehouse or work on a farm or work as a lawyer rather than saying they are on disability.

Do I get these jobs from people who attend these meetings? No. I get them from the people they know.

 As a last note, these meetings usually have a few people looking for work. They couldn’t come to a better place. They often put the people they meet on their Linked In list of contacts. That way they can contact individuals and companies who may not yet be advertising.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

HERES A THANK YOU LETTER, WOULD YOU LIKE AN INFLUENCE LETTER WITH THAT?

June 15, 2014

A few months ago I did a résumé  for a Social Worker who happened to be a participant in my 9:00 AM Saturday Circuit Training Class at a Vancouver community Centre. She had several interviews and landed a position with Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

This morning, on my way to class, I thought about doing a piece on Thank You Letters, so in the middle of class I asked her if she wrote a Thank You Letter after her interview for her life-altering job.

She told me she didn’t, and added, “What’s a Thank You Letter besides a way for you to bilk more money?”

I suppose she caught me napping. I always tell my résumé clients that after their interview, if you don’t want the job, don’t write a Thank You Letter. “When you have an interview,” I tell them, “If you don’t want the job, don’t write a Thank You Letter.”

A Thank You Letter is a strategy to get an interviewer to remember you when it comes to decision time. Ideally, it should be written in a manner that it arrives on the interviewer’s desk right after they have completed their interviews. Most often, if you ask what the next steps would be at the end of your interview, they will tell you where they are in the process. Use this clue to reintroduce yourself. “Well, isn’t that nice. A thank you letter. We should hire him.”

Of course, they may not have liked you as much as you thought.  “Isn’t that creepy?” they might think. “A stalker.”

A Thank You Letter is generally a very short letter thanking them for the interview and telling them how much you enjoyed meeting them. You tell them you liked their interview style and that you hope you answered their questions to their satisfaction.  Then you write a few words to remind them of who you are and something about your experience. Then wave good bye.

 This week, Allison Doyle, one of my Linked In contacts and Alive.Com Job Searching Guide introduced the concept of an Influence Letter. She mentions a few situations where it might be a good idea to embellish your Thank You Letter http://jobsearch.about.com/od/influence/fl/when-to-write-an-influence-letter.htm?nl=1 . According to Doyle, an influence letter is warranted if:

1. You had a strong interview.

If you can add a paragraph or two about your knowledge of the job, or ask some thought provoking questions  without seeming like a jack ass or worse, a know-it-all, the influence letter gives you license.

2. When you know the employer has reservations.

I know I shouldn’t have put my feet on your desk and said, “Avast you squid-faced son of a bitch, how are you doing?” That was my Vancouver term of endearment and it shouldn’t  give you reservations about what I can accomplish for you in the field.  Hmm … That actually might have worked 30 years ago when I said it, but résumés weren’t even invented then.

When you feel the interview didn’t go well.

That happens as well. You choke up, forget references, or miss-answer a question that left a panel of puzzled panelists with raised eyebrows at the interview table.  An Influence Letter can give you a chance to redeem yourself – provided you remember the question you screwed up.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

 


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