In The Blink Of An Eye

Happy New Year! I hope you had a good holiday and were able to enjoy some time off. My own holiday was something of a mixed bag this year. A planned outing at my brother’s house was cancelled at the last minute when Santa brought with him a virulent strain of vomiting bug that took down three adults and four …

Ask For What You Want

Recently, I heard a story about a man who worked at the UN. After 27 years of service, he was finally taking retirement. At his exit interview, he was asked by a Human Resources Manager for “feedback” on working conditions in his department. Was there anything that could be improved? The man thought for a while before answering: “Well, I …

Join the Dance

Life is unpredictable. Haven’t you noticed? Just when things look like they’re finally settling down, just when you’re getting a handle on it…BAM! The whole thing up and changes again. Hey, No Fair! you scream and shout. At least five times a day, I hear some version of this in my office. And I am very sympathetic to it. In …

The Social Network

According to research, about 85% of all jobs are filled through some form of personal referral. Understanding this simple fact is essential for making progress in your career and in your life in general. Back when I worked in recruitment, we used to have a saying that “People hire people.” And it’s as true now as then. The word “networking” …

Are You Experienced?

My friend’s son Dylan is six years old and off-the-charts gifted. He knows this, and has begun to hold himself to impossibly high standards because of it. For instance, he’s learning to play guitar and an absolute natural at it. So my friend took him to see a concert by a local Jazz guitar legend, expecting it to inspire him. …

Shadowboxing

Growing up, my father worked two jobs to support his growing family. It was unglamorous work, the kind that requires sturdy boots year round and insulated overalls during freezing winter months. After work, he liked to unwind with a couple of beers while he sloughed off the day. As a child, I was sometimes fascinated to witness him engaged in …

The Art of Make Believe

Not long ago, I found myself listening with fascination to a radio piece on NPR about a family growing up in Chicago during the 1980s. The father, Jim Steinfel, had been in the Navy as a young man. Now married with 12 children (yes, that’s right, twelve children), he invented an elaborate game in order to amuse, distract and occupy …

Four Walls of Freedom

Yesterday, I sat on a beach watching my son as he filled a bucket with briny slop, his face a study in concentration. Then a wave came crashing in and swept the bucket away from us. After righting himself and collecting his bucket, he then set about his task again with a singular focus – scoop the sand, fill up …

Adaptation

While I am not usually drawn to military memoirs, I found I could not put down General Stanley McChrystal’s Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement For a Complex world. The book is an easy read, even for military know-nothings like myself. He does a masterful job of telling his own story, while extrapolating from it some great lessons in …

Adult Education

When you’re a kid, nothing spells your doom quite like those ubiquitous “back-to-school” ads running through the full month of August. Even now, they still have the capacity to conjure that sinking feeling that heralds the end of lazy summer days and a return to normal operations. Once again, I am 9-years-old, going with my mother to get a new …