Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Open Letter to President Elect Trump

Open Letter to President Elect Trump
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, November 29, 2016

Dear President Elect Trump,

Being approximately the same age, I know you are aware of the goal established on May 25, 1961 by President Kennedy to land a man on the moon within 10 years.  This decision was a classic education on the value of establishing goals and then mobilizing everyone to help you achieve the goal.  That is exactly what happened when within 10 years America had a successful lunar landing and a safe return to Earth.

I am shocked that Presidents since Kennedy have not attacked seemingly insurmountable objectives and rallied the entire Federal Government, State Governments, Local Governments and more importantly privately owned commercial entities by getting them all on the same page to accomplish a single objective.

For the past 8 years under the Obama Administration, we have seen the establishment of Obamacare much to the consternation of the American public because President Obama rallied ONLY his political team to accomplish the goal rather than getting the entire country including his political adversaries to work on the objective. 

I would respectively request that given the cost of medical care not only in America but also around the world, the Federal Government is in a position to attacked major costs of medical care by attacking the cause of the various medical conditions that drain government and private assets to combat the most serious medical conditions.  According to an Internet search, the following are the “leading causes” of death in America and by inference the leaders in medical costs to fight the causes of death at least in America:

·       Heart disease: 614,348
·       Cancer: 591,699
·       Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 147,101
·       Accidents (unintentional injuries): 136,053
·       Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 133,103
·       Alzheimer's disease: 93,541
·       Diabetes: 76,488
·       Influenza and pneumonia: 55,227
·       Nephritis, nephritic syndrome, and nephritis: 48,146
·       Intentional self-harm (suicide): 42,773

Applying President Kennedy’s goal/objective setting proclamation in 1961 to 2016, I would highly recommend that just like setting a goal to become debt free, we as a country attack the above list from the bottom up.  I am not sure that preventing suicides, as admirable as that goal would be, is the proper place to start.  Having said that, what would happen if you set a goal for all forms of government and private industries to eradicate Nephritis, Nephritic Syndrome and Nephritis with the first two or three years of your administration.  

If everyone tried to eradicate just one disease instead of focusing their collective attention on eradicating many diseases all at the same time, America would realize a much quicker success.  Then just as you would create a plan to eliminate all your personal debt, you apply all of those same resources to the next disease on the list.  Set a goal by which time you want that disease to be eradicated.  Then move on to the next one. Over time many if not all of the diseases affecting America would be eradicated or at least severely limited.  If Americans are saved from disease and the cost of treatment of a disease, the world be also be saved by sharing information.  Once established, I would think that world-wide governments and commercial entities would join in the battle as well.

The important aspect of this plan is that Americans can easily see what the Federal Government’s policies and plans as in respect to eradicating death causing diseases in America and therefore the World.  Get everyone involved to the maximum degree possible and then move on to the next one on the list.  You could easily start at the top or the bottom.  I would suggest that you first get medical people involved in making a list of the most difficult to eradicate to the least difficult and then start with the least difficult first.

I would also encourage you to create a line-item entry on personal income taxes where citizens can check a box and then add money to their income tax submission for the sole purpose of find cures to diseases.  But, for this to work, you MUST establish a lockbox type of arrangement where the money could not be used for other purposes by the Federal Government as it does not with items such as Social Security.
One very visible way to “Make America Great Again” would be to at the same time “Make America Healthier Again.”
All the best.

Jim Brown

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Lost in the Travel Section

By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, November 19, 2016

A quick explanation of the Left Brain vs. Right Brain science can be found at:  http://ucmas.ca/our-programs/whole-brain-development/left-brain-vs-right-brain/The very first paragraph explains it as such:  In general, the left and right hemispheres of our brain process information in different ways. While we have a natural tendency towards one way of thinking, the two sides of our brain work together in our everyday lives. The right brain of the brain focuses on the visual, and processes information in an intuitive and simultaneous way, looking first at the whole picture then the details. The focus of the left brain is verbal, processing information in an analytical and sequential way, looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole

So what!  That is a statement and not a question.  Why should anyone care about how the Left Brain thinks or the Right Brain thinks or how they interact with or against each other?  If there is one thing of which I am certain, EVERYONE should care otherwise either YOU or someone you care about may end up “Lost in the Travel Section” as I have been.

Briefly if you are a Right Brain dominant person, you will be open to very creative ideas.  You will probably create your own creative ideas.  You may play a musical instrument.  You may write a book or a blog.  The best example might have occurred when you were a child and you wanted to paint a tree purple and not necessarily stay within the lines or as a Right Brain child might say to you, “What lines?”

On the other side are the people who are Left Brain dominant.  These are your analytical types, your engineers, technicians, architects, math majors, scientists, and most educators.  As a child not only would the leaves be green and the trunk brown on the same tree being painted, if the child dared to stray outside the lines, he or she would be frantic about how the picture looks.

Here is a “what if” for you to think about.  Let’s assume you are in a negotiation.  The subject of the negotiation doesn’t really matter but whether you consider yourself a Right Brain person or a Left Brain person does matter and could make the difference between successfully completing the negotiation process or not.  If the two or more people involved in the negotiation are all Right Brain dominant or if they are all Left Brain dominant the negotiation will proceed much smoother than if there were opposing sides of the brain at work.   Let’s take it a step further, you are a real estate salesperson and you are a creative Right Brain person.  You describe the home to a potential buyer in glorious and colorful detail.  You are painting a very clear picture of the home, at least in YOUR mind.  The potential buyer however is a total Left Brain buyer.  While you are describing a beautiful room with a vaulted ceiling and gorgeous stone fireplace, the Left Brain buyer is calculating the monthly principle and interest payment and how soon the loan could be paid off.  You are on totally different pages. 

How do you know which side of the brain your opponent is?  You ask a lot of questions.  Then IF you are paying attention and that is a HUGE IF, if you are paying attention you will pick up on the way the other person describes his or her thoughts.  For example, if most of the buyer’s interests seem to be about money, inflation, deflation, or future value, you are definitely talking to a Left Brain dominant buyer.  On the other hand, if the potential buyer is placing furniture, changing the color of the rooms or carpets, the buyer is painting a picture in his or her mind and is definitely a Right Brain dominant buyer.

Are these rules cast in concrete meaning they are scientific fact?  Of course not but it is the scientific basis of a good foundation for improving your communication skills especially between you and a person you only just met.  Try to find out from which side of the brain they do most of their thinking.  One more thought before I give you a personal example of what can happen when you have a conflict between a Right Brain person and a Left Brain person.  Dr. Morris Massey gave one of the most interesting seminars I have ever heard.  You only need to know the title to understand what he had said.  “You are what you are because of what you were when you were ten (years old).”  Do you think it might be possible if you were Ten during the 60’s you might have different values than if you were Ten during the 50’s or even the 40’s.  I can guarantee you that if you were ten during the Great Depression, you would be all consumed with saving money and paying the least for anything you purchased.  So let’s use the real estate salesperson example again.  If you the salesperson were ten in the 80’s and you were selling to a person who was ten in the 50’s, do you think there may be a conflict in personal beliefs and values?  Therefore if you want to make the sale or win the argument, you have to start thinking and speaking like the person you are speaking to, otherwise, you will be forever on different pages. 

Here is my personal example of how a Right Brain dominant person (me) was taught by a Left Brain dominant person and what happened.

I have always loved music.  I took up the clarinet sometime in the mid 50’s.  I ended up playing the clarinet for about 10 years through my high school graduation in 1963 and have never touched it since.  How could that be?  In actuality I have to admit that I was (past tense) pretty good not only on the clarinet but also the bass clarinet and the baritone saxophone.  I was 18 years old when I graduated so I started on the clarinet when I was 7 or 8 years old. 

Enter my problem.  I have always been able to pick up almost any musical instrument and play it by ear.  What does that mean?  I typically didn’t require any instructions on the “how” to play the instrument, I just played what I thought I should hear which was not necessarily on the sheet music and it worked very well for me.  It did not work very well for my musical instructor that my parents were paying for to teach me how to play from sheet music.  I remember on one occasion he gave me some sheet music to play for a recital.  I began playing the piece as I knew it should sound, at least to me.  Obviously it did not sound like he thought it should sound and definitely did not sound like the music on the page; I had added a few notes here and there.  In fact, I never even looked at the notes; I just played the piece as I knew it.  Just like everyone might sing a song they have heard over and over again. 

Why was that a bad thing for me?  Initially I took a disliking for my instructor and that is never a good thing if you expect to learn something.  Secondly, the instructor instead of encouraging me to run with my ability to play, he was seriously discouraging me to the point I no longer wanted to take lessons.  Over time, I lost interest in playing music in general and the clarinet in particular.  At the risk of sounding immodest, while I played in my high school band, the band director would have me fill in on an instrument when one of the band members could not play for whatever reason.  As an example, during one parade, I played the tuba an instrument I had never tried to play before.  He asked me to play the bass clarinet in a clarinet quartet which I did but I had never even seen sheet  music written for any bass instrument before and could not read it if I wanted to.  I played it by ear.  I also played drums, trumpet and even the tympani drums.

I can only wonder what might have happened musically if someone had encouraged me when I was just Ten years old (there is that number again).  The lesson to learn?  Before you discourage anyone from doing anything, you must ask yourself, am I discouraging this person based upon my own perspective and my view of my goals for them or upon their perspective and what THEY want to achieve?  Makes a difference does it not?

Back to the Right Brain vs. Left Brain.  It makes a huge difference in relationships if you don’t know what you are or what the person you are communicating with is, especially children.  When I attended school through the 60’s it was always do as the teacher directed you to do or in other words stay within the lines.  Read only what you are told to read and then God forbid you were ever asked to explain what you thought you had read if your understanding was different than your teacher’s views.  I had no idea what a Right Brain person was back then and I seriously doubt the teachers did either.  It was not their fault.  I can assure you that there were many times when I wanted to do something very differently than the teacher thought about how it should be done.  As a result there were many times I found myself and my teachers (plural) on different pages and it was reflected in my grades.  There were times I thought I was a slow learner.  The teacher would cover a subject and my mind started to take off with something she had said or demonstrated.  She continued with her presentation buy my mind was somewhere out there in space thinking of what she had said 15 minutes ago.  I was not alone.  Looking back it was easy to spot the Right Brain students. 

I once worked for a former college professor, Dr. Tom Hill, who taught Left Brain/Right Brain theory.  He said that my problem (didn’t know I had a problem at the time) was that I was a Right Brain person in a Left Brain world.  In other words, I was lost in the travel section of my mind.  He was right!

My suggestion to you is that you research the Left Brain/Right Brain process and then determine if you might be on different pages than your children.  It could prove beneficial for all concerned if you do; or if you don’t.  That is when all Hell breaks loose and your child or children will eventually become “lost in the travel section of life” as I have been; not a great place to travel.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

That's What They Do!

That’s What They Do!
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, November 10, 2016

I could have titled this, How I Became A Single Issue Voter.  I remember when I despised single issue voters.  Why would someone put all their eggs in one basket and then bet their life on that one basket?  Why would someone’s position automatically rule out all other issues a candidate might stand for but because you are so focused on just one issue that you cannot give the candidate credit for everything else; then vote for the opposition.  That was THEN, this is NOW!

Bear with me; I have to set the stage for why I believe as I do.  In THIS story YOU are a Coast Guardsman serving aboard a ship on the East Coast home ported in Cape May, NJ.  Your Commanding Officer receives the call that you MUST get underway in less than 60 minutes because someone is in distress in the North Atlantic Ocean.  As you set sail and leave the safety of the port, you realize that there are numerous smaller vessels all returning to port.  You wonder, what is wrong with THIS picture?  They are returning to port because the weather and the seas have turned ugly and you are putting out to sea.  Why?  Someone is in serious trouble and needs to be rescued and that is what you do, you rescue people.

Obviously this didn’t happen but let’s say it did.  While approaching the sailors in distress, suddenly your engines quit, something had caught fire and now you were in trouble along with those already in trouble and seeking your assistance.  You are pitching and rolling in very heavy seas with rain and wind causing your ship to be completely out of control and now bobbing like a cork on the North Atlantic Ocean.  What happens next?  You all could be lost at sea forever. 

The Commanding Officer and your fellow shipmates all seem to be calm and collected in spite of this turn of events, why?  Because they know for certain that the District Commander and the Commandant of the Coast Guard will find a way to come to your rescue; that is what they do (sounds like a GEICO commercial) but it is, that IS what THEY do.  No need to worry, they have your back.

Here comes the real problem.  Like so many of your shipmates, you all have parents, spouses, maybe children, brothers, sisters, etc all back on the beach.  When you joined the Coast Guard those family members all knew that in a few seconds, any situation could turn really ugly and the entire ship/boat/aircraft could be put in “harms’ way” and that would not be good for anyone.  So they worry, that is what THEY do, THEY worry.  But they also know that the District Commander, the Commandant, the Secretary of the Treasury (dating myself) and even the President of the United States all have your backs because that is what THEY do, THEY have YOUR collective backs. 

No problem, right?  But what happens if anyone of those people on the beach, the District Commander, the Commandant, the Secretary of the Treasury, or even the President of the United States chooses on this particular day NOT to have your backs?  What happens then?  One answer is that it will be reported on the news that you have been lost at sea and are presumed dead. 

At that point the entire nation will pause and collectively sigh, “poor souls” and then go about their business and within a week your passing would be nothing more than a memory, if that.  That is what the public does; am I not right?  You know I am and that is sad.

Then come those who start asking questions as to what happened to the ship, the crew and the people who initially called for help and who if anyone was ultimately responsible for this tragedy happening?  So the investigation begins.

The Commanding Officer and even the District Commander, are just two pawns in this overall story, the real players are the Commandant of the U. S. Coast Guard, Secretary of the Treasury and the President of the United States and if the responsibility for the loss of life and property can be traced back to either or all of them, all Hell would be paid by those holding those offices or at least I would like to think so.  The Commanding Officer and even the District Commander will more likely be held responsible because people tend to cover their ass, that is what most people do, cover their ass.

Meanwhile back home, the numerous family members remain grieving for everyone lost at sea; that is what they do, they grieve.  But they also want answers, how could this have happened and who is responsible?

What does the news media discover?  The President blames the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary blames the Commandant, the Commandant blames the District Commander and the District Commander is off the hook because he or she blames the Commanding Officer and a defective crew on a ship that was otherwise in perfect working order; it must have been “human error”.  They all do this because that is what they do, blame someone else.  But what about the Commanding Officer?  He cannot defend him or herself nor can the crew that was also blamed because you and the entire crew perished at sea and therefore cannot attest to what actually happened, can you?

NONE OF THIS EVER HAPPENED and I use the Coast Guard ONLY because I served in the Coast Guard for twenty years and am very familiar with the Chain of Command.  In reality you and the crew would have extinguished the fire and made repairs and continued on with the mission.  The Coast Guard investigators would have discovered the fire had been caused by a defective bearing in some piece of machinery not the crew, nor the Commanding Officer because that is what the Coast Guard so effectively does, it investigates maritime incidents to determine the actual cause of the incident.

Does any of this sound familiar because it should.  Something very similar to this fictitious situation DID HAPPEN yet so few members of the “public” cared that it happened nor did the public care about who was responsible for it occuring.  It was called Benghazi and Benghazi is why I became a single issue voter.  Unlike my ship story above where there were no survivors, in the case of Benghazi there WERE survivors so it would be impossible to blame the Ambassador who died in the attack because the survivors could not attest to a fictitious account of the attack or why 4 Americans had died.  So what do those in the chain of command above the Ambassador do when they are caught with their hand in the cookie jar, so to speak?  They do what children have done for hundreds of years when they are caught doing something wrong – they create a diversion THAT IS WHAT THEY DO!  The diversion in the case of Benghazi was a YouTube video THAT NO ONE HAD OR HAS EVER SEEN; AT LEAST VERY FEW HAVE SEEN IT.  Who is to know that the claim was not true?  Benghazi took place half way around the world, out of site of most people except of course the survivors of the attack.

In the 2016 Presidential Election I became a single issue voter because the then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton AND, the President of the United States BOTH claimed that the YouTube video was responsible for causing people to start a spontaneous protest and to take up arms including hand grenades and grenade launchers and mortars as if those are readily available to residents who want to protest a video.  It was a very convenient story told by both the Secretary and the President at the time because that is what they do; divert the public’s attention from the real cause of the attack.  The public bought it because that is what the public does (who are also voters); it buys the fictitious stories that politicians feed them because people who hold such high office would never lie to us, right? 

Hold the phone!  It gets worse.  The Secretary looked into the “public’s” collective eyes and said the cause was the result of this horrible YouTube video.  The President said as much as the same thing and then even said it to the assembly at the United Nations not to mention we the public on our television sets; the attack and deaths were caused by a video! 

It is one thing to lie about keeping your doctors or even that you took a public office to help the public (you and me) because that is what they do and we the public know they are lying but still we accept the lies because that is what we do.  We know that most if not all politicians lie and lie frequently and repeatedly.  But to lie to the victim’s families of Benghazi goes WAY BEYOND being despicable.  It’s immoral.  It’s uncaring.  It’s irresponsible.  But is it illegal to lie?  There is probably no law that prohibits officials from doing what they did, lie.  Absence of a law however does not make what they did morally or ethically acceptable, at least to me.

Maybe you refuse to hold either or both the Secretary and President responsible for what they did or did not do but what about me?  That’s another story.  There is nothing I can do to hold the President accountable; nothing.  But when the Secretary later decides to run for President of the United States, there is still not much I can do other than to VOTE against her and one person at a time encourage others NOT to vote for her as well and why.

In 2016 I am so disheartened that those people in power who are ultimately responsible for deciding upon who will run for the highest office of the land can choose two candidates who are both so significantly flawed; how does anyone choose who they will vote for?  In my case and because of Hillary Clinton’s failure to have the backs of her employees in Benghazi, I became a single issue voter and my choice of candidate became extremely easy.  There was nothing she could ever say or do to change my mind or position.  There was no way that I could ever vote for someone who lied about Benghazi, later lied about what she had said, and then lied about being a liar.  There was no way I could ever vote for someone who so blatantly failed to have the backs of those people who thought she would and counted on her to do so.  There was no way could I ever vote for someone like that; no way!  Nor did I!

You can hopefully understand my total shock when approximately 60 million Americans voted for Hillary.  If Hillary had won, I would not have liked it but I would have accepted it and moved on; unlike the hundreds upon hundreds of Hillary voters that took to the streets to demonstrate.  What are they demonstrating?  What do they hope to achieve?  They are demonstrating because they do not like Trump, not because the election was fraudulent; someone please explain the logic of that to me.  What do they hope to accomplish beyond nothing?  As far as I am concerned they are all anti-American and some have even suggested that people on both sides will die because that is what they do, they create serious disruption and WANT TO cause bodily harm to those who have taken an oath to preserve their right to protest.

Is this the America that you live in?  Definitely not mine!  I did serve America by serving in the Coast Guard and I continue to serve America by voting every chance I get.  But unlike the morons now violently demonstrating, I accept the outcome of the elections and I move on hoping and praying that all will turn out okay regardless of who wins because THAT IS WHAT I DO!  You?

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Applying For A Job?

By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, November 5, 2016

We all have seen the unemployment rate either promoted or criticized on the national news outlets over the past several years.  Yesterday it was indicated that 4.9% of Americans were unemployed yet millions are no longer counted as being “unemployed” because they have quit looking for a job.  This Nugget is NOT about the politics regarding the unemployment number; it is about applying for a job.

Before I left my U. S. Coast Guard career, I attended a pre-retirement course conducted by an employment “expert” who gave us instructions on writing effective resumes and being engaged in effective interviews.  Before I explain the actual reason behind this Nugget, I want you to read the following excerpt from Orison Swett Marden’s book, How to Succeed, or, Stepping Stones to Fame and Fortune and keep in mind that it was written in 1896 and that is not a typo, it was written in 1896.  I emphasize the date for two reasons, first, interviewing for a job, whether it is entry level or upper management, the process is critical for getting the job.  Second, things are not always as they may first appear and I’ll explain that more in this Nugget.

“A gentleman advertised for a boy to assist him in his office, and nearly fifty applicants presented themselves to him. Out of the whole number he in a short time selected one and dismissed the rest. "I should like to know," said a friend, "on what ground you selected that boy, who had not a single recommendation?" "You are mistaken," said the gentleman, "he had a great many. He wiped his feet when he came in, and closed the door after him, showing that he was careful. He gave up his seat instantly to that lame old man, showing that he was kind and thoughtful. He took off his cap when he came in, and answered my questions promptly and respectfully, showing that he was polite and gentlemanly. He picked up the book which I had purposely laid upon the floor, and replaced it on the table, while all the rest stepped over it, or shoved it aside; and he waited quietly for his turn, instead of pushing and crowding, showing that he was honest and orderly. When I talked to him, I noticed that his clothes were carefully brushed, his hair in nice order, and his teeth as white as milk; and when he wrote his name, I noticed that his finger-nails were clean, instead of being tipped with jet, like that handsome little fellow's, in the blue jacket. Don't you call those letters of recommendation? I do; and I would give more for what I can tell about a boy by using my eyes ten minutes, than for all the fine letters he can bring me."

Fast forward to 1985, the year I retired from the Coast Guard and attended the pre-retirement course.  The instructor went into great depth to talk about the interview process at a very well known hi-tech company.  He described entering the company’s main office and noticed that it was finely decorated and very pleasant to the eye.  There was soft comfortable living room type furniture with a couch, two chairs, a coffee table, two end tables with home-style lamps all sitting on a plush small room size, 8x10 blue carpet; the remainder of the area was all finely finished hardwood flooring. Perpendicular to the couch was an office-style desk where the receptionist sat with a very clean and neat desktop (meaning it was not cluttered with papers or things you might see on top of a work-station type desk).  Behind the receptionist was an original oil painting on the wall, plants adjacent to the credenza that sat behind the desk and throughout the reception area there was soft and welcoming lighting instead of the typical harsh lighting that you might expect in most office spaces.  Atop the coffee table were three booklets that faced the couch and were all related to the hi-tech company.  One was a Profit & Loss booklet; the second was the company’s Benefit & Services booklet and the third was the company’s official Mission booklet.

Our instructor then described the process.  The potential employee entered the reception area and immediately was greeted by the receptionist who used the interviewee’s name without being told the name by the interviewee.  In other words the receptionist was prepared in advance of his appointment and was instructed to expect him.  He was invited to sit down and his arrival would be announced and informed that it would be about 5 minutes before he could be seen.  Shortly after he sat down someone came in and offered him refreshments from a cart that included soft drinks and snacks.  All was going well and he was very impressed and excited about the opportunity.

Keep in mind what Marden wrote above as to how the employer literally eye-balled the boy and hired him without as much as a “recommendation” or what we might call referrals.  In the case of this company the actual interview process had already begun without the interviewee recognizing that everything thus far was part of the interview process.

The receptionist was not only grading the “first impression” in regards to his dress, speech, and manors, he was being scrutinized as to how he presented himself to the receptionist.  A lot of people are very noncommittal and almost condescending to people who greet them at the front desk of most businesses, they are literally taken for granted meaning they are there to greet them and are low on the company’s organizational chart so to speak.  Eye contact by the applicant is minimal or nonexistent.  

The receptionist grades this type of behavior.  Was there eye contact?  What kind of interaction took place between the interviewee and the receptionist?   Was the interviewee polite and courteous or more distracted and nervous without much conversation?  Did the interviewee take a seat as requested or did he pace the room?  When he sat down, which one of the three booklets in front of him did he open to read if any?  For example, was the company’s befits and services more important than the company’s mission and/or profit & loss statement?  What was his reaction to the person who came in to serve him refreshments?  Was it cordial or condescending because this person was obviously even lower on the organizational chart than the receptionist?  Did the interviewee accept any of the refreshments and if so which ones?  Not a good thing to eat or drink anything just prior to an interview.  What if you spill something on your clothing?  Just not a good idea.

In other words, the interviewee was already engaged in the interview process and had already been met by two people who would be part of the decision process as to the employment of the applicant.  First impressions are extremely critical and they often take place BEFORE you get the opportunity to sit in front of the person who YOU think will be doing the hiring.  Marden described the exact same things that this hi-tech company engaged in even before the interviewee had the opportunity to speak to the employer.

In today’s world no one would or should ever apply for a position WITHOUT a personal resume.  I am not certain that would have been a requirement in 1896 but I can assure you it is today no matter what position or entry level you are applying for.  Let’s assume that a person is applying for a basic entry level position.  How many of these people do you think would report for the interview process WITH a personal resume in hand?  If the company is like most, my guess would be NONE.  So if you are applying for an entry level position, a personal resume would automatically be one step ahead of most if not all of your competition.  Here is a HUGE BUT…resumes are like eating at a restaurant.  You can get a good meal or you can get a bad meal.  The meal can look bad but taste good and vice versa.  In other words, consider the type and quality of paper you use.  Is it prepared where it “looks good” before it is read?  Was it too long (usually more than one page but definitely more than two) or too short, just not enough information about the applicant.  If you were required to mail in your resume before you could obtain an appointment, the resume is YOUR KEY to the appointment.  I can speak from personal experience that when I reviewed resumes; some never got a second look because of the initial appearance of the resume.  My feeling was that if the applicant could not take enough pride in a document they provide to you that will be used to help make a hiring decision, is this the type of person I would want working for my company?  Probably not.  Therefore, just like the “boy” described by Marden above, the applicant was being eye-balled before a word was exchanged.

Something else that I did was that I would have the receptionist ask the applicant to fill out some type of form.  I was not really that interested in what the applicant put on the paper as much as the handwriting used in doing so.  Could the applicant write where anyone could read it?  Did the applicant simply “fill out the form” or did the applicant take pride in what he or she was not only writing but more importantly how it appeared as written?  To me that was very important.  If people can’t read what you have written, do you really want that type of person working for your company?

Know what YOU are going to say as you enter the interviewer’s office; do not wait until you get there to know exactly what you will say.  You should have rehearsed it long before you arrived and practiced it until it becomes natural and almost routine.  Once you get past the opening comments, the interviewer will control the conversation and questions.  But you should know what you will initially say and also what you will say to end the interview.

Entry level or management – personal dress is EXTREMELY important because it represents the employer’s FIRST IMPRESSION and probably the most lasting impression.  Did the applicant dress for the occasion or was it just another day and another interview and no importance placed upon the applicant’s appearance.  Was the applicant’s hair neatly prepared (both men and women)?  Did the applicant wear excessive jewelry?  My suggestion would be to NEVER wear a watch to an interview – NEVER!  If during the interview you look at your watch, it signals to the person conducting the interview that you have more important things to do or places to be and you do not want that to happen.  Again you don’t have to say a word and the box on the mental checklist of the interviewer has been checked and it is not good.

PHOTOGRAPHS:  I know what professional recruiters say about attaching a photograph to a resume – don’t do it.  They feel that a photograph may keep you from getting the interview and they would be correct.  Some applicants may feel they may be rejected because they are not the right color, the right age, or the right gender and being rejected on these grounds would be against the law and they would be correct again.  SURPRISE, this could happen whether you attach a photograph or you just walk in; either way you WILL be judged. Anyone who says they do not judge people they first meet will lie about other things.  It is human nature and it cannot be avoided no matter how many laws to the contrary are passed.  Yes, people try not to judge but the question really comes down to one simple question; Does this person present the image I want to project for this company?  That may not be an official check box on an interview sheet but it is being check nonetheless and you need to both know it and accept that it is happening.  Therefore your initial appearance, whether it is in person or on a photograph attached to your resume, it is EXTREMELY CRITICAL to you being hired.  A high quality photograph is always good to have.  I would recommend getting a professional photo but not a Glamour Shot type photo, you do not want to scare the interviewer when they actually see you in person if you know what I mean.

YOUR VOICE:  You will also be graded on your voice.  Normally an accent will NOT be something that will work against the applicant and in fact oftentimes it helps because it may be uniquely different.  More importantly, when you talk, can someone understand what you say?  Do you distinctly pronounce your words or do you slur them?  Do you use what you might think to be endearing terms like, “honey”, “dear”, “baby”, “sugar” and yes I have heard them all used during the interview process.  Such words should NEVER be used.  Is your voice excessively loud or extremely soft; unless it is not important to the position you are applying for, this too is very important.  You want to conduct your interview using a voice that is both conversational in tone and volume.

RESUMES.  My advice would be to purchase a book on writing resumes or check the Internet for tips and advice.  Resumes are critical to the process so do not take it lightly.  My personal advice would be to start with a basic resume that you can change on a moment’s notice.  When you get the opportunity to meet for an interview or you are mailing a resume in KNOWING what type of job you are actually applying for and the type of work the company is engaged, you can and should personalize your resume with those two things in mind.  I would NOT recommend sending in a “standard” resume that you use for every job opportunity – customize it so it applies to both the position and the company.  As a side note, most people prepare their resumes on white or slightly off-white colored paper.  In fact most use basic printer paper to prepare their resumes; not good.  My suggestion would be to use a different color but NOT bright colors, something like a parchment color.  This makes YOUR resume standout in a pile of other resumes.  Just a thought, you want to appear different but not eccentric.  I would also get someone to read your resume to get fresh eyes on it and ask them to read it as if they were an employer, not a friend.

TERMINATING THE INTERVIEW PROCESS:  This too is so important to the process.  Learn how to exit the interview gracefully.  It is critical to thank the person conducting the interview and asking if he or she needs any additional information to be provided.  If yes, make a hand written note of what is asked for, this shows the interviewer that you are meticulous.  Leave gracefully but before you leave the building, make absolutely certain that you greet the receptionist (preferably by name using Ms. Mrs., or Mr.) and thank them as well.  Remember, it is quite possible that the interviewer will ask the receptionist and any other person you may have met what their first impressions were of you and that could make a difference.

There are a lot of other things that “should” be obvious and taught long before you ever are interviewed for the first time.  Sadly I should not have to list them but if you watch any of the tips on the various business channels, they apparently are not so obvious.  Never chew gum.  Never look at your incoming text messages, in fact leave your phone in your car so you are not tempted.  Never pick your teeth.  Sit up straight, don’t slouch.  And most importantly, dress for the occasion.  This may be and probably is the most important day of your life thus far.

Lastly, on the very same day as your interview, sit down and with your best handwriting, write the person conducting the interview a personal, HANDWRITTEN thank you note and mail it the same day as the interview.  I can personally attest that during a period when unemployment was almost as high as it is in 2016, I was hired for a position because I was the ONLY ONE who wrote a thank you note to the interviewer.  I was told that my note card was why I was hired over at least 30 other resumes she had on her desk most of whom had more impressive resumes than I had.  There were applicants with Doctor’s Degrees applying for the position obviously beneath their educational level because jobs were so hard to acquire; yet she hired me because I wrote a note.   

Final note:  I have become an avid reader and huge fan of Marden’s books.  You can obtain most of them FREE on www.Amazon.com if you order the Kindle version.  Some may cost 99 cents.  Either way they are priceless.  Just search for Orison Swett Marden Kindle and you will see them all.  Marden’s Pushing to the Front is an amazing but very long read; I highly recommend it to everyone.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Thoughts on Time and Timeliness

Thoughts on Time and Timeliness
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, November 4, 2016

"To-morrow, didst thou say?" asked Cotton. "Go to—I will not hear of it. To-morrow! 't is a sharper who stakes his penury against thy plenty—who takes thy ready cash and pays thee naught but wishes, hopes and promises, the currency of idiots. To-morrow! It is a period nowhere to be found in all the hoary registers of time, unless perchance in the fool's calendar. Wisdom disclaims the word, nor holds society with those that own it. 'Tis fancy's child, and folly is its father; wrought of such stuffs as dreams are; and baseless as the fantastic visions of the evening." Oh, how many a wreck on the road to success could say: "I have spent all my life in the pursuit of to-morrow, being assured that to-morrow has some vast benefit or other in store for me." "I give it as my deliberate and solemn conviction," said Dr. Fitch, "that the individual who is tardy in meeting an appointment will never be respected or successful in life."

This is an excerpt from How to Succeed, or, Stepping-Stones to Fame and Fortune by Orson Swett Marden, written in 1896 and yes that is correct, 1896.  Why do I repeat the year it was written?  Because if you read it carefully and accept that words such as “to-day” and “to-morrow” are spelled correctly for that period of time, you realize that Marden could say the same thing today about business people of all walks of life.

Have you have ever had an appointment to see a Doctor only to discover that several if not many others have the exact same appointment time and the appointment that should have taken but 30 minutes to accomplish takes upwards of 2 to 3 hours?  Have you ever taken your car in for repairs and was promised that it would be repaired and returned to you in just one hour yet not done so for 2 to 3 hours; or promised in 24 hours that quickly extends to 48, 72 or even longer? 

I have spent more than 33 years of my life in the real estate business so my specific knowledge of “time” relates primarily to REALTORS® all of whom are truly fine individuals.  REALTORS® however should take the advice of H. W. Shaw who said, “The greatest thief this world has ever produced is procrastination, and he is still at large.”  With few exceptions and based upon my personal experience, REALTORS® are notoriously late.

“Then you must get a new watch, or I another secretary,” replied Washington, when his secretary excused the lateness of his attendance by saying that his watch was too slow.

In business a loss of just one minute could cost you a sale yet minutes are constantly lost by all involved.  The crime occurs when lost minutes are forgiven because there were no lost consequences.  But here is the rub, when someone gets accustomed to being excused for being late, the lateness becomes a habit.  While YOU may accept the habit of being late, your customers I can assure you have not.  Being routinely late is a vile habit that sends repercussions throughout your business career.  When you steal a person’s time, and that is what you are doing, stealing their time, you might as well steal their money for we have all heard the phrase, “time is money.”

To put this into its proper perspective, think of it this way.  As a REALTOR® I would hope that the expenditure of YOUR time is worth as much as $50.00 per hour and hopefully much, much more.  When YOU go to a doctor’s office and expect to spend 30 to 45 minutes of YOUR time, it is like handing over to the doctor $25.00 or more that does not appear on the bill given to you by your doctor as a reduction in your cost.  Using the lowest amount of just $50.00 let’s assume you spend 3 hours waiting most of the time to be called in by the Doctor’s Nurse and then you wait in a small very impersonal examination room waiting another 15 to 30 minutes for the Doctor to make his or her appearance.  Over the course of the 3 hours, you have wasted $150 of your time and probably much more; remember time IS money and in this case it is YOUR money.  It is money that you will never recoup because it represents the loss of upwards of 3 hours of your time; time lost is time lost never to be returned.  I have known a REALTOR® who after waiting for more than 3 hours for his doctor to complete the process, sent the doctor a bill for over $500.00 for HIS time while waiting.  When the doctor complained, the REALTOR® pointed out that $500.00 is how much his time was worth to him sitting in the doctor’s office spending most of it just waiting.  He did not charge the doctor for the actual 15 minutes of examination time; more than fair right?

For REALTORS® who may read this I want to point out that there are Left-Brain individuals in this world and there are Right-Brain individuals.  To a Right-Brain person time is not all that critical and if your customer happens to be a Right-Brain person, being late for an appointment will not mean much to him, her or them.  But if your customer happens to be a Left-Brain individual(s), time is of the essence I can assure you.  Being late just minutes will be one strike against you and you haven’t even opened your brief case as yet.  How do you know which type of individual your customers are?  You probably don’t on the first meeting so why chance it by starting out being late as a lot of RELATORS® are. 

I once wrote an article on the lateness of REALTORS® and that was over 30 years ago, it was not published by the Board of REALTORS probably for good reason.  I joked in the article, that in Baltimore it was 9:00 AM, in Cleveland it was 8:00 AM but at the Board of REALTORS it was 9:35, better known as REALTOR® TIME.  Anyone in the business for more than 3 years has definitely heard that term when referring to “certain” fellow REALTORS® who are habitually late for appointments.  “They are on REALTOR® time.”  Sadly that same attitude extends to others within the real estate business such as loan officers, appraisers, closing attorneys, home inspectors, etc. 

Why does being late seem to permeate the real estate business?  Because most people have come to accept it even though they do not like it.  My advice to customers is to use Washington’s comment, “You must get a new watch or I a new REALTOR®.”  If you are the Broker, Manager or Trainer, start your classes/meetings regardless of who shows up on time, you owe it to the people who do show up on time.  I have known some Brokers who have actually locked the meeting room door to prevent any stragglers from entering the room.

Some of the, let’s say more productive agents, think being late for an appointment/meeting/class is their mark of distinction as they proudly enter the room late and everyone takes notice of them doing so and are rarely or ever reprimanded for being late.  Personally I have always found being late a mark of rudeness and disrespect for those who are there on time and ready to work.

From Marden’s book: Frederick the Great had a maxim: "Time is the only treasure of which it is proper to be avaricious."  In the event you might not know what “avaricious” means, being “avarice” is being greedy or covetous.  Being greedy of one’s time is admirable.  Disrespecting the time of others, is the equivalent of spending other people’s money without their permission.

I have become a lover of Marden’s books.  When read, you must appreciate that they all were written in the late 1890s early 1900s.  Shockingly they are more applicable today than when he first wrote them.  Also very shocking to me is that as you read them you cannot help but think we as a society have learned very little since his books were written meaning history does repeat itself and we are all living proof of that as evidenced by the content of Marden’s books.

Here is the best part, you can obtain most of Marden’s books absolutely free if you access www.Amazon.com and search for Orison Swett Marden and select the Kindle version.  Of those that are not free, they cost a whopping 99 cents.  They are all PRICELESS!  This Nugget is all about time and how precious it is.  Sadly most waste their time on things and matters that do not advance them towards their life’s goal or mission assuming they have a life’s goal or mission.  My advice is to spend a little of that time reading material that will help you attain your life’s goal or mission.  Marden’s books are a great place to start that journey but very few will take this free advice. Maybe that is the problem, when something is given freely, others put little value in the gift and that is truly sad and set a horrible example for their children.