Category Archives: Interview

What if You’re C.) “All of the Above”?

*WARNING: The following post contains a rant. The writer is subject to:

A.) Fly off the handle

B.) Break down in tears

C.) Crawl under a rock

D.) Be prepared for whatever LIES ahead.

I rarely rant (okay, my husband and children would say otherwise) Yet, today I have stewed about a particular situation all last weekend, and it’s time to let it out! WHAAAA!

I am embarrassed to say that I’m looking for a job. I have owned my own business (Emerald City Consulting) for 8 years. It has been profitable at times, and not so profitable at other times. It takes money to advertise in the never ending fragmented ways that exist in today’s ever changing marketplace, and my marketing budget is non-existent. Therefore, since August I have been actively seeking employment.

In the course of my 35 year career, I have accumulated vast and varied skills. Rather than be viewed as well-rounded, I think it’s probably working against me in the hunt for a job. It’s like taking a true/false test, when I have a multiple choice background.

“Yes, I can do all of the above”. Therefore, my search for a job has been vast and varied. I have experience in many areas, rather than 35 years building on just one skill.

For this reason, I don’t remember exactly what the ad on www.Indeed.com said that caused me to apply for a particular job last week. There were likely a multitude of ways I “fit the bill”.  I was happy to receive an email last week from Catherine Smith in HR at Dynamic Concepts, Inc. She was requesting an interview with me. In 10 weeks of submitting over 100 resumes, this would be merely my second actual interview. (Perhaps I should have been suspicious).

Even though I had no memory of placing the application, nor did I remember the job description, I took the opportunity to look at the website for Dynamic Concepts, Inc. Here are a few screen shots from their website.

What would YOU believe Dynamic Concepts, Inc. to be known for?

My interpretation was thus:

They are a company who works with clients to increase the client’s branding and marketing efforts.

It sounded to me as though they had a unique approach to helping their clients manage and market their businesses. I was ALL ABOUT these ideas, and I was excited for an interview. Furthermore, their website touted the following (I’ve bolded the words/phrases that appealed to my skills and abilities):

  1. Success in unprecedented growth for the clients we work with by following a couple of core principles. Targeted outreach programs place branding specialists in front of an ideal buying audience to produce rapid returns. An emphasis on team building allows for the highest standard of service to be duplicated into new markets at an accelerated rate.
  2. The standard of excellence we provide has allowed us the opportunity to partner with nationally recognized name brands. As such, we are committed to maintaining the highest levels of professionalism because we know that we are not only representing ourselves, but the top-notch clients that put their faith in us.
  3. We are continually able to reach new markets and demographics with the help of our global network. Our clients know that we are not alone when marketing their brand. A solid network of marketing executives enables us to become fast and efficient problem-solvers. We can respond immediately should any situation arise.
  4. The most significant factor in our success is the experience of the consumer. We are diligent about following up spectacular campaigns with exceptional support and customer service. Our approach is convenient and cost-effective for the consumer, allowing them more freedom with their time and money without sacrificing on quality.

The Dynamic Concepts, Inc. website was done very well. Large amounts of money had been spent on its engaging and motivating content and layout. I looked forward to my interview in Renton – a few miles from where I live!

A few minutes before my scheduled interview time last Friday, I pulled into an industrial park. Industrial park? The first clue that Dynamic Concepts, Inc. may not meet my expectations.

I found building 10. Amid a sea of doors, I saw one labeled “Dynamic Concepts, Inc.”

Upon entering the door, I came face to face with a young man sitting at a desk. He looked like an adolescent trying to look like an adult. He was wearing a bow tie and a suit jacket that was at least three sizes too big.  It reminded me of this scene in the movie, Beetlejuice:

Okay, he was a nice enough looking young man, but this picture illustrates the thought that came to mind because of his over-sized clothing.

I was feeling uneasy, but took the one-page application form he offered and filled it out. Then, an adolescent-looking girl asked me to follow her into a small, poorly decorated office. She explained that this was a short “get to know you” meeting.

She asked what had drawn me to their ad.

“I actually don’t remember the ad, but I am drawn to some words and phrases on your website – mentoring, management, marketing, and client support”, I replied.

She asked, “What two words describe you?”

“Professionalism and eloquence” I said. (Yeah, corny. Whatever)

She began to describe Dynamic Concepts, Inc. as a company that uses event marketing to support their clients. “Clients”, she said “like Kroger, Costco and gas stations.”

She then showed me a picture of “what our members do”. It was a picture of three young people wearing orange safety jackets standing under a portable pop-up tent behind a table with spray-paint-can-like objects on the table.

“Where are they?” I asked.

“This is at a Kroger store. Right now, we are new to Washington, so we have two products we feature – a car wax and windshield repair. But the company has over 75 products.”

I’m trying to wrap my brain around what I’m hearing. I point to the picture. “Are these Kroger products?”

“No, these are our products, but Kroger, who is our client, partners with us.”

My stomach is getting queasy, and I realize I’ve been duped. This is nothing more than a sales position. A freaking position selling car wax under a tent in the parking lot of major retailers. Retailers who rent their space to Dynamic Concepts, Inc., who call the retailers CLIENTS.

By this definition, my landlord is my client because he lets me use his home to live in. WTH???? (“Honey, did you send a check to our “client” this month to pay our rent?”)

My choice: D.) NONE OF THE ABOVE!

Holy Crap! This company went to a lot of trouble to lie about what they do, so that they could get stupid people to apply for a stupid sales job, who would then be taught how to manage and lie to more stupid people about how to sell stupid products for “clients” who are anything but clients!

On my way home, I began to realize that they saw my resume, and thought I was stupid enough to be taken in by their masquerade. What does that say about me? I’ve struggled with this all weekend, and my ego is bruised badly. I am both angry that there are people out there making money off of lies and dishonest methods, and sad that I was viewed as someone who could be taken in by people making money off of lies and dishonest methods.

My job search has been essentially unproductive, and I’m not sure what to do next. I’ve never considered myself unskilled, but I’m sure beginning to feel that way. Perhaps it’s this way for everyone. I mean, I haven’t looked for a job for more than 10 years. Is this what it’s come to? Lies, dishonesty?

Or, am I simply going about it the wrong way? I have NEVER had trouble finding a job in the previous twenty years of my career. Yet, I am so much more experienced now. I have accomplished amazing feats. I have run a business, and directed a non-profit successfully. But I am under-valued by potential employers.

It seems that when it comes to true/false job searches – false is okay. People make lots of money being false.

It seems that in multiple choice job searches, A or B are appropriate answers, but never apply if your answer is C.) All of the above or D.) None of the above.

Therefore, I have written a 1000 word essay about my job search. Will it help? Will it matter? Heck, I don’t know. I just don’t want to be duped again.

Anyone out there want to hire an “ALL OF THE ABOVE”?

 

 

Fourteen Questions to A Cancer Research Student and Author

All I know about life I learned from a bowl of gold fish. Okay…maybe not everything, but I learned some of the important parts of life from watching a bowl of fish. One of those important parts of life is that we all want to lead. We all want to have a moment where we have affected the life of someone else. We all want to be the cause of change in the life of our bowl mates.

I’ve been writing Navigating Your Fishbowl blog for four years. My purpose has been to help you, my reader grow from being a bottom feeder to an exceptional leader. For the very first time in my blogging career, I’m presenting an interview I conducted with an up and coming leader. This young woman is taking action at the age of sixteen I’m confident will change the life of many people who suffer from cancer.

Jennifer Schwartz is an inspiration to me. She and a group of her high school peers discuss the most recent new ideas being explored by people all over the world. They share what they think are the most important issues facing society from social media to medicine. Jennifer says, “I am able to see what ideas can change the world and I only wish to help promote these.”

I hope Jennifer remembers me when she wins the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts.

Jennifer Schwartz is from Ridgefield, Connecticut. She is currently nearing completion of her junior year at Ridgefield High School, where one of her courses has been the Science Research Program, a three-year elective. Jennifer has recently published a book titled: On the Right Track, A Student’s Memoir of Research, Advancement, and Holding on to Hope. Her book was released on May 17, 2015 and available now on Amazon.com

Jennifer’s book is about her journey through the Science Research Program, and is filled with emotional anecdotes and new perspectives on innovative cancer research. The program is made up of a community of students who travel together from early curiosity to self-discovery in the science research world. Students’ topics are not just projects, these are the ideas that will fuel the future of research and innovation. Jennifer chronicles her struggles and successes, both in the program and in her life, to create a powerful and touching story.

I have read the first three chapters of Jennifer’s book. Following are a few excerpts from those three chapters:

“I know cancer is a seemingly endless struggle in which people undergo significant torture to fight to reach remission. Their cure may not be the end of their journey, but the end of their current suffering.”

“To me success is increasing the well-being of the world and the lives of the people who inhabit it.”

“This book is a reflection on my first steps toward lighting a match to ignite hope.”

“I took this fear and turned it into an ambitious energy….”

“I watched my mother lose her hair and feel sick.”

“Every decision one makes is based on their previous experiences.”

You can contact Jennifer on her website: www.jenniferleeschwartz.wordpress.com  She is also on Twitter @jenschwartz798


Following are Jennifer’s answers to my candid questions:

Q: Hope is in the title of your book. What are you hoping for?

A: In my book I tell a story of meeting a girl who was a cancer survivor. I hope that the type of research I’m doing will change the type of treatment she and others with cancer will have to go through, and make it easier to go through cancer treatment. I hold on to hope that the future is always improving, and that cancer treatments are getting better every day. I also hope to be successful through the science of research to help other people.

Q: What is your purpose in writing this book, or what do you want the reader to do after reading your book?

A: I want to show people the unique experience I had compared to other high school students. I also want to show people that no one is limited in how they can make a difference. I believe more people should put effort into making an issue better by helping other people rather than by raising money. Creating opportunity for yourself and finding your passion isn’t so hard. When you apply yourself to the right things, you’ll get a result.

Sarah and John are two of my closest friends, and we have started a TED Ed club at our school, which is a high school version of a TED event. It’s about finding what you’re passionate about, exploring your interests, learning how to share your ideas with the world, and how to present your ideas in a way that connects with the audience.

Q: Are there other schools in your area that offer a Science Research Program?

A: A few high schools have implemented the program, which started as an idea from the University of Albany. Each school that has the program runs it a little differently. A science fair is held every year that involves students in the high school programs. My high school has been doing it for four years, I believe. It is just one elective course. I have seven other classes each day.

Q: Is this your favorite subject?

A: It is, even though I find anatomy more interesting and more fun. This course allows me to get what I want out of it. I can watch a video of a doctor doing a presentation, or read a journal article. I can do what I want, but still get the most out of it without being stuck to a particular curriculum. We have milestones to meet every month, but it’s pretty loose.

Q: Where did your inspiration come from to write a book about your experience in the Science Research Program?

A: I wanted to show people the beginning of my journey – from my Sophomore year. There are steps you can take to help yourself and your future.I wanted to show the steps I’m taking that will hopefully make a difference.

Q: What has been the result of your two years with this program? Have you accomplished what you wanted to so far, and what do you still have left to do?

A: I feel like I’ve accomplished more than I ever thought I would. I came into the course thinking I would get to the cool topic, maybe go to some science fairs, and place in one of them – hopefully. I didn’t realize it was even possible for me to write a book, or to place at a science fair as a junior. I didn’t think I’d be talking on stage at the end of the year. The sophomore year set me up for the rest of my success. My junior year is where I really started to see results of the research.

Q: You weren’t sure what you wanted to research when you began the program. You considered many topics as they related to science and genetics. How did you finally come to choose the one that you knew was the right topic (Cancer treatment drugs) to research?

A: I started researching birth defects and toxins that could be in food products that could lead to the development of birth defects. It was such a controversial topic, and I didn’t always believe what other scientists were reporting. I didn’t want to be too controversial. I started researching Downs Syndrome, but I didn’t want to get involved in that. I didn’t believe I should look for a cure for Downs Syndrome because I know people with Downs Syndrome, and I love them just the way they are. I wouldn’t want to picture them any other way.

I wanted a topic where I could really make a difference and change someone for the better. I wanted to feel fulfilled, knowing I was making a positive difference. I started reading a lot of articles about things that interested me. I found an article about specific cancer treatments, and how they targeted one little protein that could kill cancer cells, and I thought that was so cool. It proved an effective way to destroy the cancer without hurting the body of the person with cancer like chemo therapy does. My amazement in this made me realize this must be the topic I should research. As I continued, I discovered so many more reasons why I love this topic.

At first, I didn’t want to let passion control my decision, but then I thought, of course I should let passion control my decision! It was an emotional decision and I settled on the topic. I read news articles and journal articles and everything I could find about these proteins.

Q: How are you marketing your book?

A: I have a friend, John who wrote a book, and we had an event together at a local library where we invited friends and family. We had two articles written about us and had some sales online from that, but most of the sales happened that day at the library.

Q: Do you plan to write a second book?

A: That’s what a lot of people have been asking me. I think I will wait until this summer to decide. I will be doing my research, and maybe some eventful things will happen. I might wait until after my senior year as a second step to my story. I don’t think I’ll write a trilogy for my three years.

Q: What does the future hold for you? What do you want to do with the knowledge you’ve gained in this process?

A: This summer I will be in a lab doing some research, and that will help me decide if this is a career for me. It could be, but I want to be open minded. I’m definitely going into the sciences.

Q: Is there an end product or a presentation of some kind that you’ll end the class with in your senior year?

A: During the summer between junior and senior year, students go around the world to research centers. This summer I will be experimenting by testing some cancer drugs. Our final report will be like a journal article. Then I will apply to present at some science fairs and hopefully attend some.

Q: What type of experiments are you doing this summer? Are you using mice?

A: We start by using cell life to test the efficacy of certain drugs and to test proteins inside of a cell. That will lead to information for clinical trials in the future. After we determine which drug is more effective, then they would be given to mice.

Q: This interest in cancer began because your mother had cancer when you were very young. How is your mother today?

A: She’s very healthy and has been cancer free for a long time.

Q: What else would you like for my readers to know about your book?

A: I wanted to thank a teacher at my school. He was my advisory teacher and he’s the one that helped me, John and Alexandra to write our books. I wanted to give credit to Mr. Bryan Holmes. I wanted to give you his website, as well as John’s and Alexandra’s websites. Mr. Holmes wrote a book about how to self publish. He didn’t market his own book that much because he wanted to help us market our books. That was really nice.

Here is Mr. Holmes’ www.bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com

This concludes my interview with Jennifer Lee Schwartz, an impressive science student who is determined to make a difference in her world! I appreciate the opportunity to help her market her book and share her story.

Jennifer inspires me because she practices what she preaches in her book – to open your mind to all possibilities, then allow an emotional connection to naturally help you realize your passion.

I encourage you, my readers, to check out Jennifer’s book, as well as the literary works of her teacher and friends. Also available on Amazon is my book – SELF Centered Leadership: Becoming Influential, Intentional and Exceptional. 

I hope Jennifer’s interview has inspired you to be curious in your search for actions you can take to better the life of yourself and others. Happy swimming!