Category Archives: Relationships

How to Be an Insider Who Gets the Job

3 minutes to read

Many veterans tell me stories about not getting a job that they obviously qualify for. They can’t figure out why they lost out or didn’t even get a meeting with HR. It feels like when you were a kid and wanted to be in a particular club. Try as you might, they wouldn’t let you in. If your hunt for employment feels like constant rejection from the “in crowd,” you’re committing job search sin #7: Applying for a job at a company where you don’t have an internal advocate.

How to Be an Insider Who Gets the Job

The Huge Advantage of Getting Referred

About 7% of applicants for a job got referred by someone already working at the company. But 40% of people hired by a company come from employee referrals. Six times as many people apply for jobs through job boards. But only 15% of hires come from that source. Your chances of landing the job you want increase significantly when you have an advocate in your target company. Consider that:

  • 86% of employers and recruiters said referrals are their top source for quality candidates.
  • 70% of employers felt referred hires better fit their companies’ culture and values.
  • 67% said the recruiting process is shorter with referrals.
  • 51% said it was less expensive with referrals.

You may be thinking that’s fine for employers, but what about me?

  • Employees hired through referrals reduce their average start time from 39-55 days to 29 days.
  • The process for hiring a referred employee is 55% faster than one who comes through a career site.
  • Referred employees stay at companies two to three times longer than those hired through a job board.

You’ll likely have greater job satisfaction if you’re referred to a company.

So if having an insider advocating for you is so great, why doesn’t every job searcher get one? Well, most people don’t have the basis for making the initial connection. And they won’t do the hard work to build the relationships.

As a veteran, neither of these hurdles stands in your way. Military people love to help each other out. And you’re used to working hard.

Becoming an Insider

Here’s where social media gives you a huge advantage. Once you’ve identified a target company, find another veteran who works there. Stick with someone who served in your branch of the service if possible. Then get in touch with the person and start building a relationship.

Earlier this year I wrote several posts on relationships building. They explain how to choose whom to connect with and the process of growing relationships. If you’re not sure how to get started select a topic, read up on it, then take action.

Learn what it takes to go from contact to relationship.

Build relationships physically, mentally, and spiritually. Keep in mind business relationships are first and foremost relationships.

How to spend your time creating relationships wisely.

How to make connections.

Prepare yourself to invest time.

Be on the lookout for fortunate opportunities to create relationships.

You may blow the first few contacts. But remember, you’re dealing with your fellow veterans. We’ve been there and want to help you. So be genuine, be open, and by all means be proactive! Get a company you want to work for in your sights. Then go find your internal advocate so you can be an insider and get a job you’ll love.

What is the best way for you to connect to other people?

Please comment on this question or ask another question below.

How to Improve Your Colleagues’ Ethics

2-½ minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Lech Lecha – Genesis 12:1-17:27

Americans believe that service members’ ethics rank among the highest of any profession. Yet many service members have the opposite view of their fellow citizens. In fact, there are scoundrels in the military and civilian life. Holding to such a high standard causes service members to fall into a trap. Parshas Lech Lecha explains:

“Only what the young men ate and the share of the men that went with me; Aner, Eshkol, and Mamre, they will take their share.” (Genesis/Bereishis 14:24)

How to Improve Your Colleagues’ Ethics

In this Sabbath’s parsha G-d tells Abram (later Abraham) to leave his land and relatives to go to the land of Canaan. Abram sojourns in Egypt during a famine then returns to Canaan. Abram and his nephew Lot part ways. Then G-d promises to give the Land of Canaan to Abram and his descendants. Abram wins a war and rescues Lot. But he turns down the booty that normally goes to the victor.

Next, the Almighty reiterates His promise to give Canaan to Abram and his descendants. Sarai (later Sarah) tells Abram to take her servant for a wife. Then G-d and Abram make the covenant of circumcision. Finally, G-d gives Sarai and Abram new names and the promise of a son to be named Isaac.

Stretch to Reach the Highest Ethical Standards

Abraham rejected the King of Sodom’s offer to split the war booty. His refusal seems strange in light of America’s practice of giving veterans benefits. Abraham earned his share. And it looks like he violated Henny Youngman's central tenet of Judaism, nem de gelt – get the money.

Shortly after the war Abraham and Sarah have a child. Then G-d tells them another will be coming a year later. Even though they didn’t have to pay college tuition, some extra shekels would have come in handy.

While he appears arrogant, Abraham acted with a holy motive. Not long after this incident, G-d destroyed Sodom because of its depravity. How would it have looked for Abraham to take the booty? The King of Sodom could have said he enriched him. Abraham wanted people to know his wealth came from the Almighty not the ruler of a corrupt nation.

Be the Example Not the Enforcer

That being the case, why did Abraham allow Aner, Eshkol, and Mamre to take a share? If rejecting the spoils was the right thing to do, Abraham should have had his men do so too.

Morality is not the same thing as personal ethics. As the victor in a war, Abraham had a right to the spoils. Keeping them would not have violated any Biblical principle. Abraham’s personal standard prevented his taking the loot. He wished to elevate himself above the minimum requirement.

Each person has a right to be strict with himself. But it’s wrong to force others to be more stringent than the Bible requires. As praiseworthy as Abraham was, it would have been equally inappropriate to place that standard on his men.

Human nature seems to drive people to be tough on others and lenient with themselves. The opposite will build and maintain strong relationships. And, by insisting others live up to your standard you close yourself off from opportunity, like a great job.

Be careful to distinguish between someone acting immorally and not living according to your standard. If you judge someone from the outset you preclude any relationship. Let them find their own path to loftier principles. Show you value the relationship. Then you’ll have the chance to positively influence a colleague’s personal ethics.

Question – How do you show proper regard for another person without compromising your own standards? 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!

Strong Relationships Require Place and Faith

2 minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Bereishis – Genesis 1:1-6:8

The word friend today means something different than in times past. I have hundreds of friends on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Some I’ve never met or even spoken with. For a close relationship, place comes to mind. You know you can’t have a strong marriage when you’re never home. Relations with your kids suffer when you have to be away. Likewise, in your relationship with G-d, Parshas Bereishis shows place matters:

“In the beginning of G-d creating the heavens and the earth….” (Genesis/Bereishis 1:1)

Strong Relationships Require Place and Faith

The parsha for this Sabbath, Bereishis, begins a new cycle. It tells the story of creation and how Adam and Eve sinned and got thrown out of the Garden of Eden. The conflict between Cain and Abel explains we are our brother’s keeper. It ends by enumerating the ten generations between Adam and Noah. Isn’t it wonderful to be reading the great stories of the Torah again?

Judaism and the Land of Israel

The Torah contains the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Other names include the Five Books of Moses and Toras Chaim. The second one means rules for life. Not a history book, the Torah instructs you on how to have a relationship with G-d and other people.

So why does it start with a lengthy narrative about the creation of the world? Surely the Creator knew this story would cause a bitter argument among His children. Quarreling about whether it’s literal or allegorical won’t build relationships.

Rather, this parsha and the rest of Beresheis prove the Jewish people’s title to the Land of Israel. Many mitzvas (ways of relating to G-d) depend on living there so it is crucial to establish this claim. Like trying to sustain your marriage without a home, without the Land of Israel, G-d’s relationship with the Jewish people weakens. Were the Land lost forever the relationship might die.

Out of Contention Comes Faith

Still the question remains. Did the Almighty create the world in six 24-hour days or over billions of years? This dispute underlies a crucial principle for understanding the Bible. The question is more important than the answer.

No matter the time period of creation, the Almighty challenges you to have faith in His eternality and omnipotence. He could have created the universe in six days or six eons. The difference is indistinguishable to Him. But faith is indispensable for establishing your relationship with G-d. The same applies to your spouse, children, and friends. Sometimes they’ll make mistakes or disappoint you. Without faith in their love and good intentions your relationship will not survive.

Creationism versus cosmology makes a lively discussion. Remembering why the Creator opens the Bible with such a contentious story will give you enduring relationships.

Question – Which do you find a bigger challenge to your marriage: place or faith? Please leave a 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!

How to Know Trouble Is Brewing in Your Life

3 minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Ki Savo – Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8

When in the middle of a fight, ever thought, “Where is this coming from?” I have, even when I started the argument. Hannah and I never quarrel when we feel connected. One of us has to create distance between us so the feud has a place to grow. Separation also allows me to craft a scenario in my head to support my grievance. The reality of the situation doesn’t matter. When I read Parshas Ki Savo, I realized this process permeates life:

“…all of these blessings will come upon you and cleave to you…” and “…all of these curses will come upon you and overtake you.” (Deuteronomy/Devarim 28:2 and 15)


In this Sabbath’s parsha, the Israelites continue preparations for entering the Land of Israel by discussing the first fruits offering. Next, Moses reiterates the inseparability of G-d and Israel. Then he details the blessings and curses that will befall them depending on how well they follow the Torah. At the end of the parsha, Moses begins his final exhortation to the Children of Israel.

Disconnection Leads to Problems

You probably noticed the two verses above are the same except two words. In the original Hebrew, only the words blessings and curses are different. The Hebrew word, v’hisigucha, gets translated two different ways. For the blessings, it means "cleave to" and for the curses, "overtake." So good and bad enter our lives through similar mechanisms.

V’hisigucha comes from the root, naga, which means, “make contact with.” Of course, this includes being gently tapped, struck with a stick, or emotionally moved. You may have abundant blessings but not satisfied. In that case, the blessings are essentially wasted. You have not allowed them to touch your life. You may be too disconnected to notice them. Or, they may be disguised as a disaster that only later reveals its benefit. The blessing has cut through your lack of awareness. Only then will you and the blessing be joined.

If you remain oblivious to blessings, G-d will need to awaken you by having curses touch your life. If they rouse you, you can correct your behavior. But if you’re unreceptive, the curses will have to overtake and strike you until you take notice and change.

When disengaged from your loved ones and the Almighty, you miss opportunities for self-improvement. You also cannot see the bounty of goodness in your life.

AWACS that Trouble is Brewing

The current cost of an E-3 Sentry is almost $400 million ($298 million in 1998 dollars). You can see the premium the Air Force puts on getting early warning of a threat. So where can you get an affordable harbinger of problems in your life?

Track how connected you feel to your family and events in your life. Take a moment each day to assess how you and your spouse greeted each other. Did you feel bonded? Yes? Great! No? Beware. You may be missing some blessings. Curses may be looking to overtake you. The same applies to any relationship, whether with people or G-d. The closer the connection the more frequently you need to gauge its solidity.

Social media can be a good tool for staying in touch. But it can isolate you from real people. Liking and commenting on posts doesn’t foster the kind of connection that prevents trouble. You’ll need more direct, one-on-one contact. Face-to-face is best. But with greater separation, you lose some information. Skype and Facetime work when you’re far away. You’ll miss visual cues you when on the phone, but it will suffice. Texting sacrifices anything visual plus the subtext of tone and inflection in verbal communication.

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Make sure you do a daily or weekly review of your life. What is the status of your health and finances? What progress have you made on your priorities? Have you held true to your mission and values? Periodic assessments reduce the chances you’ll overlook blessings and fail to see curses are tailing you.

It can be exhausting to stay connected. Ironically, to maintain your resilience you should disconnect on a regular basis. We live in such a visual society, activities like watching television may not provide the separation you need. Physical activity is excellent. Listening to music will work. Try meditation. And of course, would you expect a rabbi to leave out praying? Sure you’re connecting with the Creator. But if you seek repose in prayer, you’ll find it in plenty.

Separation and inattention always let you know trouble is brewing. Be intentional in staying connected to loved ones, colleagues, yourself, and G-d. That way you can embrace your blessings and avoid a lot of curses.

How do you avoid becoming disconnected from loved ones and life? 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!

3 Reasons You Must Read to Succeed

2-½ minutes to read

Like most of us, I got advantages and disadvantages from my upbringing. We’d lived in five different cities and eight houses by the time I was nine years old. Maintaining friendships has been a challenge for me ever since. My dad was an engineer (electronics not train-driver). Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he would get work on a project and once the contract was done move on. Not a recipe for financial stability. But I was fortunate to have received many blessings from my parents. After their love and belief in my success, the most important is they made me a reader.


Being Literate and Going to College Aren’t Enough

By 1969 only 1% of the U.S. population couldn’t read. However, this statistic hides all but the utilitarian benefits of reading. Just because someone can read signs or simple forms doesn’t mean he’s reaping the advantages that come from literacy.

I’ve written before about why getting a degree won’t make you more money. These days an undergraduate degree is about as valuable as a high school diploma was 30 or 40 years ago. Master’s and doctoral degrees do not lead to wealth. Less than a quarter of the 400 wealthiest people in the United States have an advanced degree. Your success depends on two things:

  • Knowing what it takes to be successful, which colleges don’t teach at any level.
  • Increasing your value to your organization or clients.

So if college doesn’t guarantee success, what will?

Steve Seibold interviewed over 1,200 of the wealthiest people in the world. He found the one pastime they have in common is reading. Two factors distinguish the reading habits of wealthy versus middle and lower income people.

  • Rich people use books to educate themselves on how to be more successful.
  • Middle-class people read to be entertained.

Even more so, wealthy people value the life-long learning that comes from books.

  • 67% of wealthy people watch an hour or less of television a day and only 6% watch reality shows.
  • 23% of poor people watch less than an hour of television a day and 78% of them watch reality series.

If you want to succeed, get in the habit of reading books on personal development, success, and that give you the most advanced knowledge in your field or industry.

Read to Succeed Because…

Beyond the ability to create wealth, reading leads to better health. Michael Grothaus reports reading reduces stress and may stave off depression and dementia.

Not to sound like a Ronco commercial, but there’s more. My top three reasons for being a reader are:

  • You learn without getting the hard knocks of life.
  • You have experiences you cannot have any other way.
  • You can challenge your ideas in a safe environment.

What good comes from developing relationship skills by trial and error? Many excellent authors and books will help you do so more elegantly and efficiently. My favorite for business relationships is Judy Robinette’s How to Be a Power Connector. Dr. Mark Goulston deals with professional and personal relationships in his book Just Listen If you have a particular relationship challenge, post a comment or send me an email. I’m happy to recommend a book.

You’ll never ride to Samarkand on a fleet Mongol horse or live the genteel, 19th-century life of an English country gentleman. But Patrick O’Brien will take you to China and Mongolia in The Road to Samarcand. Anthony Trollope invites you for a long visit to Barchester in Framley Parsonage. Though some may dismiss these as worthless novels, they contain many lessons about leadership, human inter-relations, and the values that support strong relationships.

Exchanging ideas with another person can build a more solid connection. But it can also lead to arguments. As well, you may want to explore an idea so you can engage with someone more intelligently. No matter how heatedly I attack what’s written in a book, it’s never slugged me.

You can improve every area of your life without leaving a comfortable armchair. Develop the habit. Read to succeed.

What are you reading? Please comment below.

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