Rebounding from a Lay Off

Economists tell us that the changing job market is a good thing. It shows us what works and what does not work. What worked for a time will not continue to work as technology improves. The ice man lost his job and was retrained and hired as a freezer manufacturer.

Do not burn your bridges. Do not allow hurt and anger to reflect negatively on your exit. A gracious departure will work in your favor for future referrals or possible rehire.

Understand conditions. Seek counsel regarding unemployment benefits or departure package from your employer. Will they pay for schooling? What compensation is there for unused vacations or sick days? Look into extending insurance coverage through cobra. Determine how to invest your IRA rollover.

Your job is finding a job. Step back into the job market immediately. Do not depress and do not delay. Brush up your resume and polish your networking skills. Get out the door five days a week, eight hours a day. At the Salvation Army’s Fresh Start Center, Federal convicts have fifteen days in which to find employment or its back to prison. If they can do it, you can too.

Network, network, network. Tell everyone you know that you are available; remember the five degrees of separation. Do it in concentric circles – family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, clients, vendors, professional contacts, community leaders, business owners and the internet. Make memorable business cards and hand them out in mass. My friend in the education field was downsized. She made a clever calling card proclaiming, “School is out… I’m not ready for recess.”

Practice interviews. Know what BNI calls your “elevator speech”. Condense your job skills, qualifications and character qualities to a sound bite that can be professionally delivered to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Include what you have to offer and what you will accept. Perfect your performance in front of the mirror, on your cat and to your family. Graciously receive their input.

Obtain counsel. The fee for professional help is an investment in your future. They are experts at packaging you and your material to make the best impressions. The human condition is to sell self short. From a dynamic cover letter to a spruced up resume, the professional is less modest in extolling your stellar qualifications and outstanding character qualities.

Something is better than nothing.
Monetary resources deplete quickly so a job beneath your qualification level is still employment. We have an innate need to serve and this is accomplished to a large degree through the work we perform. All jobs are honorable, as long as they are legal and moral, and you add dignity to the position. Negotiate with the employer that you are willing to become an apprentice to learn new skills. Use your experience as leverage to move up the ladder quickly.

Be open to a new career.
Maybe the time has come to start your own business and turn your hobby into a career. Explore new interests and technology through education. Become an apprentice to a master.

Difficult times force us to step outside our comfort zone. Have fun and grow in the process. Use your creativity to expand shrinking income, use set backs to strengthen your stamina, develop internal character qualities, appreciate family and time spent together, and always trust your higher power.


Networking Assertiveness

Networking is a vital part of social capital. As in all areas of business, we want to be both effective and efficient. Following are ideas for disengaging from the prolonged networker.

Set limits. If there seems to be no end to the saga, hold your hand up as if to indicate, “Stop”. Jump in with the assumption that this could take awhile and that you have other obligations. Smile and graciously go on your way.

Ask for a conclusion. Assertively set boundaries by asking him to skip the details and briefly give the end result. Firmness shows respect for you and kindness shows respect for the bore.

Use Archer Bunker humor. Rather than gesture hanging yourself, in a playful manner act as though you are dozing off. Make your exit and go home to go to bed or the washroom to splash cold water in your face. No other explanations necessary.

Act as if. Give the individual an easy out by acting as if you have been monopolizing his time and offer to let him go. Then do it.

Stand up - physically as well as for yourself. If you are seated, stand up. Whether in an office setting, your living room or a barstool, when you stand up it gives a powerful non-verbal message that the encounter is over. In a standing encounter, give the physical stance of departure.

Pass the buck. I hesitate to suggest this, even though I have used it on more than one occasion. Using the networking strategy of acting the host, draw another person into the conversation then make an amiable exit (to entertain others, of course). Later, make it up to your unsuspecting pawn by taking her to lunch.

Even though bores are boring, they are still human beings so treat them kindly. Be firm without being rude. Be more cautious the next time you are around them to practice amiable avoidance.


Creative Problem Solving

Creativity is a matter of perspective. It is the ability to look at the ordinary and see the extra-ordinary. When face with problems, we can take the low road of pain, frustration, and unhappiness or we can take the high road of information, value, and happiness. Your chose.

Learn to develop your creativity. Work puzzles. Engage in something artistic like paints or clay. Turn on the music and do impression dancing. Play games or rhymes or tongue-twisters with a child. Rearrange furniture. Prepare an exotic cru sine. Go camping. Make do. Giving freedom to your innate creativity lends itself to solutions.

Live life in pencil. There is usually more than one answer to a problem, or at least many sections to the overall answer. You are continually choosing from many possibilities. Try, fail, learn and try again. Brainstorm and come up with many possibilities, then focus on the most plausible without ruling out the absurd. Photo Journalist Dewitt Jones of National Geographic uses 400 rolls of film and 14,000 pictures taken per assignment with the results of 30 photos per issue.

Ask pertinent questions. Reframe problems into possibilities.
* what factors/causes/variables are we ignoring?
* what information do you still need?
* whom do you need to consult?
* for clarity, define the problem in writing
* what is the worst that could happen?
* what good could come even if the worst happened?

Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Lighten up; a mistake is a behavior that does not get what you want. Break the pattern. If you continue in a habit long enough, it becomes organized behavior performed by habit and never improved. Summons the courage to make the tough decisions.

Train your techniques. Until you own your new behavior, when pressure comes, you revert to the old pattern. Set up a safe environment in which to change and to practice. Practice becomes permanent as you practice correctly. Remember, you are always practicing. That is how habits are formed – or broken.

Accept problems as a passage of life. Once you realize that life is difficult, you transcend the difficulty and can creatively concentrate on problem solving.

Mona Dunkin is a Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer and Personal Success Coach.


Boost Your Brain Power

Regardless of age, a frequent complaint is the inability to remember names, events or where things are located. Use the following suggestions to improve your thinking skills.

Step it up. The body and mind is interconnected. To increase brainpower, increase the oxygen level through improved use of your body. Engage your body in different activities as a springboard to get your mind unto a new frame of reference for thinking. Walk a little faster. Stretch. Exercise. Get the blood flowing to stimulate thinking.

Water, water, everywhere. We are a nation that is drink obsessed and hydration depleted. At a recent holistic conference, Bill Yeary stated that 75% of Americans have chronic dehydration and this fact alone is a major contributor to pain and disease. The first thing he does in giving body assessments is to test for proper hydration by simply putting pressure on the hand to see how quickly color returns. Most participants were dehydrated despite the tables being strewn with coffee cups and soda cans. To improve overall health – mentally and physically - daily drink 8 ounces of undiluted water for every 20 pounds of body weight.

Learn new things. Exposure to fresh experiences and information forces the brain to make new connections. Read challenging material outside your familiar genre. Take up knitting, carpentry or paint a picture.

Do mental gymnastics. To develop mental acuity, take a familiar sequence and mix it up, add to or take away. Recite the alphabet backwards. List the birth order of family members from oldest to youngest. This exercise allows you to relate to each item individually while also seeing them as a whole. Play word games and work puzzles. A good online source is www.sharpbrains.com.

Love and laugh. Love, giving and receiving, is healing. Laughter is a tonic for whatever ails. Love deeply and laugh often. Make relationship more important than mental sharpness by bestowing and accepting compassion for memory slips.

Meditate. To meditate is to think deeply by mulling over in search of profound insights. In the hustle of life, we lose touch with the wonderful being we are. Our emotions and senses become overloaded thus thwarting free-flowing thoughts. The letting go through contemplation releases you from the fear of health issues, estrangement, aging and death. Reflection frees you to live one-day-at-a time and to find humor in the absurd.

Even the youngest and the healthiest have occasional lapse of memory. Be patient with yourself and do not berate those “senior moments” as a personality flaw. Accept them as an occasional reality, reconnect and get back in the game of life.

For all your speaking and training needs, contact Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach monadunkin@gmail.com www.monadunkin.com.”


Benefits of Getting Your Z's

Every parent knows that a cranky child is more pleasant after her “beauty sleep”. It works for adults too. If your life has become so busy that you have decided to give up on sleep, please reconsider. There are numerous benefits. Here are a few.

Sleep aids in the processing of emotions. REM is when sleep experts say dreaming takes place. Supposedly we start by reviewing the events of the day and trying to make sense of them. Thus, the right-brain/left-brain battle brings on some weird images or nightmares. As the night progresses these issues are settled and dreams become more positive, going into the realm of problem solving and goal setting type of daydreaming. What a shame to get too few hours’ sleep and miss out on this beneficial imagery.

Sleep helps to balance perspectives. Research says that because of the right-brain, left-brain switches over during sleep, one’s dream state gives more input and creativity than one’s awakened state. Also, in the relaxation of sleep, the intuitive side willingly receives new insight from the logical side.

The old recommendation to “sleep on it” bears a lot of truth. While your body is being reset through the restful mechanics of sleep, the mind is fully active, exploring through buried files unhindered by conscious thought. The engaged mind reviews and sorts and categorizes and comes to conclusions. Even though it happens frequently, I am still impressed when I awaken with the answer to last night’s cross-word puzzle.

Sleep helps elongates short term memory. Harvard University studies taken from different angles, has impressive research showing sleep improves information storage. Students that study intensely followed by sleep then awaken to testing, scored consistently higher than students who studied intently then immediately was tested while “it was still fresh on their mind.” There is something mysterious about sleeping that allows the mind to better understand information, associate it with prior knowledge, store it and easily retrieve it later.

Experts say the amount of regular sleep effects one’s overall weight. Too little restful sleep the more pounds on the frame and the more difficulty in losing weight.

Sleep resets our systems. As a person who functioned well on only a few hours of sleep, I was reluctant to stay abed longer. These benefits have been motivators to me to and have improved my life and health. It may take a while to learn new sleep habits and it is well worth the effort.

For all your speaking and training needs, contact Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, monadunkin@gmail.com www.monadunkin.com.”