Category Archives: Finances

How to Make a Stellar First Impression

2-½ minutes to read

You have seven seconds to make a good first impression. Of course this assumes the other person has never met you. But in these days of pervasive social media, it’s easy to know a lot about you. The people you’re meeting with about a job or business have checked you out on LinkedIn and Facebook. Before you cry Google-stalking, think about it. Prudent business dictates knowing about the people with whom you’ll work. In all likelihood you have given a first impression long before you meet someone in person.

How to Make a Stellar First Impression

A Less Than Stellar First Impression

Since your online persona will precede you, consider what shapes it. In a face-to-face meeting, most people want to appear humble. They don’t brag about themselves or their accomplishments. Often they take it too far. They avoid talking about their achievements. Instead they recite their skills. By what magic can the person intuit the great benefits such skills will deliver?

Yet these same people thing nothing of posting embarrassing pictures on Facebook. They use unprofessional headshots on LinkedIn. These pale compared to ranting on social media about things they dislike. They attack the beliefs and politics of anyone with whom they disagree.

Overly humble as they are in a meeting, modesty is thrown out the window online. Neither makes a good first impression.

Humility verses Modesty

The solution is simple. Ratchet up modesty, scale back false humility. Consider increasing your online decorum:

  • Images. Before posting that hilarious picture, how funny will it be if a potential employer or client cites it as the reason for not hiring you or giving you their business? Is he really an old fogey or is it valid to question your maturity? People want to know you’ll exercise sound judgment.
  • Complaints. Other than getting it off your chest, what good does complaining in public do? Are you going to start a mass movement? Will people spontaneously engage in a boycott? How do you like being publically humiliated? Leaders know to compliment in public and reprimand in private.
  • Politics. What you post online may outlive you. When I searched my name I found my address from college. The World Wide Web was not launched until 10 years after I got my degree. Do you know for a fact that everyone who disagrees with your views is stupid, evil, or traitorous? Reasoned debate is one thing. Insults under the guise of honesty may cause you lifelong harm.

At the same time, humility need not prevent you from highlighting your accomplishments. Be:

  • Truthful. Give the plain facts of what you’ve done. What does it mean that you’re effective or dynamic? Leave out the superlatives and adverbs.
  • Specific. Are you very experienced? According to whom? If you’ve been in a field for 23-½ years people will figure out you’re experienced. Quantify your achievements. Now you can test whether the person perceives your value. If he doesn’t will you be able to meet your objectives working with him?
  • Confident. Braggarts use lofty words and talk a lot. Speak succinctly. Know what you want to say. Look the other person in the eyes when you talk. Connect with him.

Be modest rather than humble. Make self-discipline and authenticity that builds relationships your goals. They will lead you to success.

Why do you have difficulty promoting yourself? Please comment below.

Do You Have the Courage to Get the Job You Want?

1-½ minutes to read

Do you like your job? Are you paid enough? Is what you do engaging? Do you look forward to interacting with your colleagues? If you answered yes to these questions you’re fortunate. According to Gallup, over the last three years only 30% to 35% of Americans are engaged in their work. Gallup defines engaged employees as being: “…involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.”

Do You Have the Courage to Get the Job You Want-

What Creates Job Satisfaction?

Many factors impact how much you’re likely to enjoy your work. Of the top ten identified by Forbes, most fall into three categories:

  1. Treatment: Do you receive adequate appreciation for your work? Are you secure in your job? Is your job interesting and are there opportunities for professional growth? Does your job allow for a good work-life balance?
  2. Financial Issues: Is your company financially stable? Are you properly compensated?
  3. Workplace Relationships: Do you have good relationships with your colleagues and superiors?

Of the three, note that your ability to impact the other two rests on the quality of your relationships. Is there any doubt that when mutual respect exists between you and your coworkers you’re more likely to be treated and paid properly?

Relationships Get You the Job You Want

Since relationships are the key to job satisfaction, it makes sense to have maximum interaction with people at a company before deciding to work there. That let’s out job boards as a search strategy. They’re easy to use. They feel safe and comfortable. But you’re not interfacing with humans until, maybe, you get an interview. Having run the online gauntlet, you’re setting yourself for getting a job you’ll hate.

Move out of your comfort zone. Take steps to meet and get to know people in the industry and at companies that interest you. Social media makes it easier than ever before to network nationwide. Take a lesson from Millennials and people in their late teens. They’ve been doing this their whole life.

As an added bonus, by building relationships during your working years, you’ll accumulate the asset that leads to a longer life and happiness when you retire.

Be courageous! Overcoming your fear of meeting new people will pay you dividends now and for the rest of your life.

What stops you from focusing your time on intentionally creating and nurturing useful relationships? Please comment below.

How You’ll Earn More Using Scarcity & Urgency

3 minutes to read

You probably have a friend who’s highly skilled but can’t find a job. Or maybe you’re in this situation. It makes no sense. When we were kids we learned expertise commands a big salary. That’s why my mother (and grandmother) wanted me to be a doctor, lawyer, or accountant. But today ability alone may not buy you anything. As an example, for six years in a row the unemployment rate for law school graduates has increased, standing at 15.5% in 2015. What used to be a sure track to a six-figure income isn’t any longer.

How You'll Earn More Using Scarcity and Urgency (1)

Plenty vs. Scarcity

Doctors are in much better shape. The unemployment rate for physicians and surgeons is under 1%. While I couldn’t find statistics for medical school graduates, you can bet with such a low rate for the profession graduates aren’t struggling too much.

Doctors are scarce. Medical schools enroll 20,055 doctors a year. The number of spots is supposed to increase by 30% over the next few years but that’s only an extra 6,000 MDs. With our aging population, demand is increasing faster.

By contrast, the demand for lawyers has been decreasing since 2007. Law schools enrolled a record 52,000 students in 2010, though the number have declined since then to 40,000. Still there are plenty of attorneys.

Further, when you’re sick you want help. Generally legal needs are not urgent.

Making Scarcity and Urgency Work for You

Among elite professionals, scarcity and urgency lead to a higher income. On average a surgeon makes 62% more than a family doctor. Both require four years of undergraduate school and four years of medical school. Surgeons train for another three to seven years. Family doctors go through a three-year residency. So education is not the factor leading to such a large income disparity.

Surgeons assume greater risk, right? As an indicator, malpractice insurance rates for a surgeon are four times higher than for a family doctor. Still they’re only around $20,000 a year. The extra $15,000 is about 10% of the $122,000 difference in their incomes. Surgeons are scarcer. And when you need surgery you can’t wait, even if you would put off your annual checkup.

You can make scarcity and urgency work in your favor. You don’t need to get more schooling.

Gain in depth knowledge of your industry to make yourself a rare commodity. Learn everything there is to know about the problems, challenges, changes, and players in your field. In this respect more certifications won’t help. They deal with such recognized issues there’s routine training to deal with them. You’ll have to be more forward thinking. When you command greater expertise than 90% of the people in your business, you’ll get a top salary.

Focus on the emergent issues. There are new challenges and urgent problems in your field. Be the one with solutions to the critical ones.

You don’t need to spend seven years in medical training to join the sparse ranks of doctors. You can create scarcity and urgency in any field you choose. By putting them to work, you’ll put yourself in demand and secure a high-paying job.

What prevents you from being the top person in your field? Please comment below.

How to Tell if Your Humility Is Self-Destructive

2-½ minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Tzav – Leviticus 6:1-8:36

People acknowledge the value of humility. In particular, veterans are humble. But too often such modesty impedes their ability to get a good job. When challenged, they say promoting themselves is wrong. Parshas Tzav has a different perspective:

This is the law of the burnt offering: (Vayikra/Leviticus 6:2)

How to Tell if You Humility Is Self-Destructive

This Sabbath’s parsha continues the discussion of the korbanos (the offerings brought on the Altar) and details the anointing of Aaron and his sons as the Kohanim or Priests who will serve in the Temple.

Connecting Sacrifices and Humility

Farther into Leviticus we read an animal that is blind or broken or has a split eyelid or wart cannot be used as a burnt offering. As was made clear back in Genesis in the trouble between Cain and Abel, G-d wants offerings to be of the finest we have.

This holds true even though we no longer bring animal or meal sacrifices.

Today prayer has replaced the sacrificial service. When you pray, G-d wants you to open your heart. This requires humbly recognizing all you have comes from the Almighty. In humility you should acknowledge the many mistakes you’ve made and your gratitude that nonetheless G-d loves you. You offer your love in return.

If you are arrogant G-d will still listen to your prayer, but like a damaged animal, may reject your petition.

Humility verses Self-Promotion

People often equate self-promotion with arrogance. But you’re not conceited simply because you let people know about your skills and strengths. To the contrary, if you can add value to someone’s life you have a responsibility to do so. You’ll have to explain to him why you are the best person to help.

There are times when humility looks like a lack of self-confidence. People don’t trust a meek person to handle their problems.

By not clearly expressing the value you bring to the table, you’re forcing someone to figure it out on his own. He won’t. Instead he’ll hire someone who makes his life easier by showing him he has what it takes. You and your family lose out. The Almighty does not want you to impoverish yourself with such false humility.

If you’re not used to marketing yourself, use these guidelines:

  1. Always tell the truth. Implying you have skills that you don’t is worse than conceit. You’ll be exposed in the end.
  2. Talk about them at appropriate times. People will tell you when they want to know more about you.
  3. Be brief. Long-winded descriptions smell of conceit.

When you follow these three criteria, and thank G-d for the gifts He has given you, you’ll keep your humility in balance.

What prevents you from promoting yourself effectively? Please comment below.


Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

You Should Never Go on a Job Interview

3-½ minutes to read

The most frequent complaint I hear from job seekers is they submit a lot of resumes and get few interviews. Countless people have told me, “I applied for this job that I fit perfectly and didn’t even get a call!” They seem to think if you submit a resume showing your skills you're entitled to an interview if not the job itself. This neglects the fact that a couple of hundred other people submitted resumes that show an equally ideal fit.

You Should Never Go on a Job Interview


The Funnel

If you think your resume will get you a job you’re kidding yourself. In today’s competitive market, if it does consider yourself as lucky as a lottery winner.  Don’t count on it happening again. Your resume has one purpose: To get you a meeting with the person who will decide who gets the job.

There are two paths to getting a job: the indirect and the direct. In the former, you submit a resume or application (sometimes both) through regular channels and hope for the best. You’re in a funnel designed to reduce around 200 applicants to five. Yes that’s right, on average 5.2 people are interviewed for a job. It’ll take more than the luck of the Irish to make the cut. (I’m writing this on St. Patrick’s Day don’t you know.)

The second path is how most if not all the people the company spoke with got their meetings. While they may have submitted a resume through the regular process, someone inside the company had it pulled and given consideration apart from the masses. Otherwise they sent it straight to the decision maker or someone in the company who passed it along to him. Your resume is your calling card. No more, no less.

You Want a Meeting Not a Job Interview

While in the 19th century interview and meeting were synonymous, today they’re not. An interview is an oral examination of an applicant for a job, college admissions, etc. In other words, you’re the supplicant. If you go in with a beggar’s mindset you’ll most likely come out empty handed.

How do you know you want, let alone will love a job, before you meet the people with whom you’ll be working? Why would a company hire you if you sit passively in an interview answering questions? Will this convince them you’ll be proactive in contributing to the company?

Stop wishing for a job interview. Get a meeting with the decision maker.

Attending a meeting is better because:

  1. Your mindset improves. You are not a supplicant. You’ll talk with the decision maker about how you and the company can benefit. This is what two competent professionals do.
  2. You can demonstrate leadership. You have 50% of the responsibility for making it work. Set your agenda. You should have researched the company and industry. What issues remain open? The better the questions you ask the more likely you are to get hired. A leader knows the ability to ask great questions is as important as having answers.
  3. You can showoff your expertise. No company is going to pay you a high salary so you can learn the business. You can discuss how receptive the organization is to your ideas for improvements that will grow the bottom line. Afraid your suggestions might be rejected and you won’t get the job as a result? Do you want to work in a situation where your initiative is stifled? Isn’t it better to know your perspective doesn’t mesh before you take the job?
  4. The final decision is mutual. Until you’ve heard what the company has to say you should be no more committed to taking the job than the company is to hiring you.  After the meeting you can follow up just like you would in any business situation. In the final analysis, the company should be as excited that you’ll accept an offer as you are about working at the company. If it’s not, you won’t have any leverage negotiating salary or anything else. Will you get any respect?

Until you give up begging for a job interview and starting setting up meetings you won’t find the job you want. In the end, you’ll hate going to work or end up starting another job hunt soon after getting hired.

Treat yourself like the professional you want a company to hire and pay well. If you don’t, nobody else will either.

How to you keep from feeling needy or desperate when you badly need work? Please comment below.

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