Category Archives: Transitions

The Most Amazing Job Interview of All Time

4 Powerful Attributes You Can Use Now

2-½ minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Mikeitz – Genesis 41:1-44:17

Your palms sweat. Your shirt collar feels tights. You fumble for the right words. Before your know it, the interviewer has thanked you for coming in and you’re out the door. Then the recriminations begin. “If only I’d answered that first question better.” “I should have mentioned that project I did where the CO gave my unit a Bravo Zulu (well done).” Job interviews create an enormous amount of anxiety. Joseph’s rise to Prime Minister in Parshas Mikeitz shows a better way to handle them:

“And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘after G-d made known to you all of this, there is no one discerning and wise like you. You will be over my house…’”(Beresheis/Genesis 41:39-40)

The Most Amazing Job Interview of All Time

In this week’s parsha Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and became Viceroy of Egypt. Next, a famine began, resulting in Jacob sending ten of his sons to Egypt to buy food. Joseph knew he must fulfill the prophecy that his brothers would bow down to him. He demanded they bring Benjamin to Egypt. At first, Jacob would not consent but the lack of food became so severe he had no choice. Once they were all there, Joseph endeavored to find out if his brothers’ attitude had truly changed.

From Slave to Prime Minister in One Meeting

With just one conversation the slave Joseph, a prisoner, became Prime Minister of Egypt.

Unsurprisingly, ex-convicts have a hard time finding work, especially for jobs requiring a high degree of trust. Yet the absolute ruler of Egypt promoted Joseph to the number two position of power after just one interview. Granted Pharaoh acknowledged his wisdom and discernment. But how could he have had such confidence in Joseph?

I’ve called it a job interview, but I doubt Joseph looked at it that way. Though he acted with respect, the meeting was between two equals. Pharaoh ruled the most powerful nation on Earth. And even though he’d been in prison for two years, Joseph stood as a prince of the Almighty. He could have felt inferior. But Joseph acted with self-confidence.

Before interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams Joseph acknowledged his own lack of power. He attributed his gift to G-d. From this minor point, Pharaoh extrapolated Joseph’s total integrity. Joseph was modest but honest.

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In the previous parsha, Joseph dreamed his brothers and parents would bow down to him. He didn’t hesitate to share this vision with his family. True to character, for the bad tidings in Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph boldly offered his solution. Pharaoh rewarded his authenticity by appointing him Prime Minister.

How to Have an Amazing Job Interview

I’ve written before that you should not go on job interviews. The interview frame of reference casts you in the role of a beggar. The employer has all the power. You seem to have no control over the outcome. You cannot perform well under this scenario.

When meeting with the hiring manager, you should adopt Joseph’s example. Be:

  • Self-confident. A private sector employer will be fortunate to have your military experience put to work for him
  • Honest. You have skills, abilities, and experience. Don’t hesitate to show your Unique Value Proposition.
  • Modest. People like to know that you’ll give credit where it’s due, whether to them or a military colleague.
  • Authentic. Avoid arrogance and exaggeration. Be professional. Don’t be afraid to let the real you show.

Model Joseph’s attitude and behavior when you meet with a hiring manager. The same formula that made him Prime Minister will land you a high-paying job.

Question – What makes you nervous when meeting to discuss a job?

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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 Made These Most Popular This Year

The Valuable Information You’ll Get in 2017

1-1/2 minutes to read

Building our relationship requires that I provide you with value. I cannot waste the precious time you spend reading my posts. So yearend provides the time to examine if I’m meeting your expectations.

You Made These Most Popular This Year

2016 in Review

You spent almost twice as long reading a post this year as last. And, you were more likely to check out another one. Finally, you were among a growing number of people who came back multiple times for information.

Of the ten most popular posts for the year, listed below, seven cover making a successful transition to civilian life and job hunting. Two talk about how to create and improve relationships. The final one deals with values.

It sounds like you find these topics relevant. Am I right? (Take my 30-second survey to let me know.)

The 10 most-read posts were:

  1. Are You Committing Any of the 8 Deadly Sins of Job Hunting? (A top ten post of all time.)
  2. 5 Common Career Problems: Which Ones Do You Want to Overcome? (A top ten post of all time.)
  3. Why Money Is Not the Root of All Evil
  4. The Truth About Military vs. Civilian Life
  5. A Successful Life Is Like a Jigsaw Puzzle
  6. Know the Most Powerful Word for Getting What You Want?
  7. How You Can Benefit from Blurry Vision (A top ten post of all time.)
  8. You Should Never Go on a Job Interview
  9. 4 Things You Need Besides Skills to Get a Job
  10. How to Know Whom to Create Relationships With

If you missed one of these, take three minutes to check it out now.

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The Year Ahead

For 2017, I plan to continue helping you meet the challenges you face transitioning from military service to the private sector and dealing with civilian life. Will you answer my three-question survey? It will take you 30 seconds or less.

Beginning the end of January you’ll see changes resulting from your response to the survey.

Working together, you can get your share of the American Dream you defended!

What is your top goal for 2017?

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10 Books that Will Improve Your Life in 2017

2-1/2 minutes to read

You may know I read at least 50 books a year. With so many goods ones even at one per week it seems to make hardly a dent. My reading focuses on personal development, history & biography, business, and literature. My guilty pleasures are detective and historical fiction. It all unites to help my family and me live the life we’ve charted.

10 Books that Will Improve Your Life in 2017

I keep abreast of current works But I also look back to see what older books and classics I have missed. Here are the best. Why not treat yourself to one for a Christmas or Chanukah gift?

Personal Development:

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz

We live amidst great abundance yet don’t seem to be happier. Is it nostalgic yearning? Barry Schwartz makes the case that too many choices bring about unhappiness as surely as no choice. He also gives you actionable steps to relieve yourself of this burden.

The Miracles in You: Recognizing G-d's Amazing Works in You and Through You by Mark Victor Hansen

If you sit around hoping for a miracle it’ll be a long wait. Mark Victor Hansen (the Chicken Soup Book Series) challenges you to become a miracle maker. He explains how to see them in your life and make them happen.

Great Work: How to Make a Difference People Love by David Sturt

In many ways, David Sturt’s book is a companion to Geoff Colvin’s Talent is Overrated. No matter your IQ, talent, educational level, gender, or the circumstances of your birth, you can create a difference the world loves. The ability to innovate comes through the five skills that Sturt reveals. His illustrative stories prove you can execute them.

The 2-Hour Job Search: Using Technology to Get the Right Job Faster by Steve Dalton

Steve Dalton fills in a crucial piece of the job-hunting puzzle. His book will teach you how to connect with people who can help you get the position you want. I used his system. It works.

The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard

This 34-year-old classic details more than a sound strategy for managing people. Kenneth Blanchard gives you the formula to boost the quality of all your relationships. His simple steps yield clear communication leading to mutually agreeable outcomes.

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History and Biography:

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

Orville and Wilbur Wright were not extraordinary mechanics, businessmen, or thinkers. David McCullough shows their success came through sheer tenacity. This story will inspire you to redouble your commitment to your life’s mission.

Bull Halsey by E.B. Potter

Arguably the navy’s most beloved admiral, William Halsey’s life testifies to the power of personal connections. E.B. Potter reveals how relationships with his sailors, peers, and family propelled Halsey’s legendary success.

Business and Entrepreneurship:

The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki

I’m not a Guy Kawasaki groupie. I checked out his work from the audio books section of the library so I wouldn’t run out of things to listen to on a car trip. His step-by-step breakdown of entrepreneurship converts a daunting process into manageable pieces. For veteran entrepreneurs and rookies, this book will accelerate your success.

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz & Joanne Gordon

I am a Howard Schultz fan. I loved his first book, Pour Your Heart Into It. In Onward, he emphasizes the bond between business success and foundational values. You don’t need to like Starbucks coffee to get inspired by this story of its rescue.

Guilty Pleasure:

The Road to Samarcand: An Adventure by Patrick O’Brien

If you saw the movie Master & Commander you got a taste of Patrick O’Brien’s rollicking adventure tales. A group of hardy sailors treks across 1930’s China to exotic Samarcand. This is old-fashioned excitement, breakneck horseback rides and hand to hand combat.

If you want to succeed you must read. If you have a specific challenge that none of these books address let me know. Happy to recommend material to help you.

What books did you read this year that you recommend?

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How to Maximize Your Inner Strength

Using Solitary Time for Spiritual Growth

2-½ minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Vayishlach - Genesis 32:4-36:43

Have you seen the TV show Rawhide? Clint Eastwood gained his first claim to fame as Rowdy Yates in a 7-½-year long cattle drive. Often you see a single rider out on the plains. Can you imagine being so alone? No cellphone to contact his fellow cowboys. No iPod to feed music through earbuds. Just the noise of cattle moving and an occasional shout carried on the wind. What did these cowboys do with so much solitary time? Parshas Vayishlach answers:

“And Jacob was left alone…” (Bereshis/Genesis 32:25).

How to Maximize Your Inner Strength

This Sabbath’s parsha begins with Jacob preparing to be attacked by Esau. He defeats an angel who gives him the name Israel.  Then he reunites with his brother. Jacob settles in Shechem where the prince of the country abducts and rapes his daughter. His sons, Simeon and Levi, take revenge by killing all the males in Shechem.

Jacob travels to Bethel where G-d confirms his new name. The Almighty reaffirms He will give the land of Canaan to his descendants. Benjamin is born and Rachel dies. After reuniting with his son, Isaac dies. The parsha ends with a listing of Ishmael’s family and his death, a listing of the lineage of Seir, and the chronology of the Edomite kings.

The Source of Inner Strength

An army of 400 men doesn’t sound big by today’s standards. But it was a powerful force in Jacob’s time. As far as Jacob knows, Esau’s vow to kill him stands. Nor does he have any reason to think his brother will be merciful with his family.

Yet the night before a battle, Jacob goes off by himself. He sacrifices what may be his last few hours of life with his family. To what purpose?

Life can be summed up in two words: “emulate G-d.” The Almighty embodies all creation. In Him, the physical ∞ mental ∞ spiritual realms perfectly merge. In this ultimate unity, the G-d is unique. Jacob knew he needed the inner strength that comes from unity and uniqueness.

The Torah describes the battle between Jacob and the angel as a wrestling match. But beating an angel is a spiritual victory. It came through the innermost resolve in Jacob’s soul.

Jacob could not have mustered such spiritual strength amid the chaos of family life. He needed solitary time to model the Almighty’s uniqueness. By unifying the three realms, he became unconquerable.

Transitions Require Solitary Time

One of the best character traits you can develop is the ability to be alone. When faced with a major change in your life, you will need every ounce of inner strength. By keeping your soul focused on your desired outcome you are much more likely to achieve it.

Conversely, lack of spiritual commitment to a transition undermines your mindset. You may feel unsure of yourself. New friends, colleagues, and hiring managers you have to interact with sense your hesitancy. They get nervous about dealing with you. Each feeds on the other.

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Jacob inherited his ability to grow through being alone from his grandfather Abraham. G-d Himself called Abraham unique in his world. No one exceeded him in pursuing G-d. But you don’t have to have such an illustrious ancestor.

To gain inner unity, you need to forge your ability to be alone.

  1. Explain to your family why you need to take time away from them periodically.
  2. Find a comfortable place where you can be alone with you thoughts.
  3. Plan to do nothing, just think.
  4. Meditate on what makes you unique. Reflect on your values, skills, experiences, and your goals. How do they form you into a unified individual?
  5. Write down your thoughts. Read them back to yourself. Do they make sense? If not, clarify them.
  6. Each time you practice being alone, go deeper. Like exercising your muscles, spiritual strength comes from overcoming resistance. In this case, the hurdles come from the heart and soul.

Before the crunch of a transition hits you, build your inner strength. Get crystal clear on your uniqueness. Create the foundation for an unshakeable mindset. Take solitary time to fortify yourself for the battle to come.

Question – How can you gain the most benefit from alone time?

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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!

10 Things that will Boost Your Transition

How to Reintegrate to Civilian Life Quickly and Smoothly

2-½ minutes to read

You don’t know what you don’t know. Wouldn’t you love to have a dollar for every time you heard that during your military career? And its corollary → You can’t fix it if you don’t know what’s wrong. Both are true. And they apply to your transition to civilian life. It doesn’t matter if you’re already in civilian life or getting out next year. Knowing the most common pitfalls veterans fall into will help you avoid them.

10 Things that will Boost Your Transition

3 Areas Where Veterans Struggle

The three areas may not surprise you. But give yourself an honest appraisal of the specific issues within each one:

  • Skills
    • Poor job search skills
    • Cannot translate military skills and experience to the private sector
  • Support
    • Lack of camaraderie
    • Lack of proper mentorship
    • Unable to communicate effectively with civilians
  • Mindset
    • Rigidity
    • Lack of structure
    • Lack of confidence
    • Bad attitude toward civilians
    • Lack of preparation and follow-up
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My series on the 8 Deadly Sins of Job-Hunting shows you how to avoid the most common mistakes veterans make when looking for a job. You can learn to properly assess your skills using the four steps I outline here. Let me know what questions you still have. Look me up on the mobile phone app Carrot.FM if you want to do a quick one-on-one.

Create Momentum in Your Transition

With any long-term task, some early wins will motivate you through the inevitable setbacks. If you’ve been struggling for a while you know how a lack of positive momentum hurts your efforts.

Start by ensuring your job-hunting skills are up to speed. Be clear about you private sector value proposition. Know the outcome you want. Because you control these issues they’re the easiest to deal with.

Now you can overcome the bigger hurdles of support and mindset.

Support seems like a straightforward issue. But surrounding yourself with people who can and will encourage your aspirations can be difficult. Do you miss the closeness of relationships in the military? You may have to give up some friendships and create new ones. Be intentional when deciding whom you’ll befriend.

Not everyone who wants to mentor you can. Find one who has:

  1. Already succeeded in civilian life.
  2. Knows military life and culture well.
  3. Has the time to help you.

If any one of these is lacking you won’t get the support you need. A person can’t teach you to communicate in a realm he doesn’t know.

Most coaches will tell you mindset conquers all. Actually, your attitude and ability to market yourself mutually support each other.

Adapting to civilian life requires flexibility. Paraphrasing Helmut Van Moltke:

You have thoughts about how reintegration will work. You have dreams for what civilian life will be like. Fine. Just know reality won’t match what’s in your mind.

Despite all my experience and contacts in the civilian world, very little of my transition matched my post-navy plans. Some things turned out better. Others worse. That’s life.

At the same time, you must be self-disciplined enough to overcome the loss of military structure. Have a set wake up time and bedtime. Keep up an exercise regimen. If you’re looking for a job, work the same hours as you would on the job.

People get a gut feeling about your confidence level. If you have a negative dialog going on in your head here’s how to change it. Have your mentor on call to give you confidence boosts when you need them.

Check out Job-Hunting Deadly Sins #3 and #8 to handle a bad attitude toward civilians and follow up. I’ll talk about preparation in a future post.

Now you know the key issues supporting a successful transition. Examine each one in light of your own situation. If it applies to you deal with it as soon as possible. None of them are insurmountable. Put on your Kevlar and push through the obstacles.

Which issue is disrupting your transition?

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