Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Nuggets from Psychology Today’s “Essential Reads”

From the thousands of articles on published this year, the editors selected approximately 300 as “Essential Reads.” 

I have reviewed them all and in my article today, I list my favorite nuggets. I’ve divided them into categories: self-help, mental health, relationships, parenting, materialism, and aging.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Workplace and Career Predictions and Trends for 2015

As you make your career and workplace plans for 2015, you might want to consider the list of predictions and trends I identify in my article today.

Not Workaholic, Heroic: An ode to people who work long hours

I’ve been saddened, okay angered, by the change in how we treat our hard workers. They used to be almost universally admired. Today, many lesser lights diminish them as "out of balance" or pathologize them as "workaholics." My article yesterday is an ode to the people who work long hours.

Commercials Seem More Deceptive Than Ever

When commercials come on, I typically look away or turn off the TV. But recently I happened to notice the commercials…with concern. So, I carefully watched and then researched an hour or two worth of commercials. They are even more deceptive than I would have thought. I report on what I learned in my article today.

Should You Say Something Negative?

Many people have been taught that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.  But not everything is nice nor deserving of suppression.

My article today presents an internal debate that may help you decide when to speak up and how.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Should I Bother With New Year's Resolutions?

My article today presents an internal debate on whether it's worth making New Year's resolutions. It also embeds tips on how to keep the two most common resolutions: losing weight and finding a good job.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Toward Renewal Tips for an ever faster spinning world

Renewal is a Christmas theme but whatever your religion or an atheist like me, year-end is one of the few times our world slows down enough to offer a chance for renewal.

But many of us don’t make conscious effort to reinvigorate. My article today offers ideas that may help.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Dying Well: How to Deal With a Terminal Illness

My mom, Seva Nemko, playing with my granddaughter Lea.
I'm grateful that was willing to publish my article on a most difficult-to-discuss issue: How to deal with a terminal illness. I'm also grateful that I can write about this without me or anyone I know having a terminal disease. My mom did and my experience helping her die well informed this article and I like to think she would have been happy to know that her dying may have benefited others.

When It’s Hard to Feel Grateful

Around Christmastime, we’re particularly exhorted to feel gratitude. But if you’ve had a tough year and especially a tough life, it can be difficult to feel grateful. Perhaps you were unemployed, lonely, depressed, and/or suffer a physical illness.

My article today offers some questions might help you find at least a bit to be grateful for. That can help you enjoy the Christmas season at least a little more.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Fashion Executive's Candid, Anonymous Disclosures About the Fashion Industry

Meryl Streep the fashion executive and Anne Hathaway, her assistant.
It appears that the movie, The Devil Wears Prada, understates the realities of the fashion industry.

I wish I could write about this in one of the media outlets for which I write but it's off-topic. Also I have only one person's reportage on this and she has asked for anonymity. So the following doesn't rise to a journalistic standard I'd feel comfortable sending for publication beyond on my personal blog.

With that disclosure made, here are some of the nuggets this New York fashion executive shared with me today. She told me that the following are norms in the fashion industry.

These all are pretty close to what she said verbatim. I mainly just edited out irrelevant bits and distilled sentences. But the operative language and contentions are hers: 

"The executives will do whatever they can to sabotage their fellow executives. They act like they like them but it's all a fake. For example, an executive sent her admin out to the Spy Store to get itching powder to put on seats where the other executives will be sitting in an upcoming meeting with the Big Boss."

"Executives receive flowers all the time as an obligatory thank you. If it's a mere dozen roses, they consider that an insult and send it back with the deliveryperson. What's an acceptable-size bouquet? One that fills a small table, roughly 3-feet square. AND the flowers cannot just come from any florist. They must come from one of the few super-elite New York florists, for example, Miho."

"Fashion executives' 'return policy' extends to jewelry. When David Yurman sends a "thank you" piece of jewelry, if it's not big enough, it's considered an insult and it goes back."

"At least 50% of women can cry on demand. 75% in the fashion industry." 

(Here, it's my wording and expansion, but she made the core point.) In most journalism, there's a firewall between advertising and editorial. But in fashion, the models in the actual magazine (not in ads,) are disproportionately wearing clothes and jewelry made by manufacturers that advertise in the magazine. 

"How do you get ahead? Eat her out. With many women, that can help. Really. At least in my industry."

"They all submit false receipts. They'll go out to a fancy store and buy something for themselves and then submit it is an expense necessary for a photo shoot, thank-you present, whatever."

No wonder fashion is so expensive. 

I think I'll keep my clothes basic.

Hiring the Best Employees: A better way to find and vet job candidates

Back in June, I wrote a article on how to hire people

I recently wrote a complementary one on hiring wisely in TIMEHERE is a version of that article with just a few small improvements.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Rose in December: A Christmas story that happened today.

As part of today’s daily hike with my doggie, Einstein, something remarkable happened--perfect for Christmas. I wrote about it as my article today. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas for Atheists and Agnostics

In December, America redirects much of its attention to Christmas. An agnostic, let alone an atheist, can feel like an outsider.

Some atheists don’t mind that, even welcome it. They prefer to be far from the madding crowd.

But for the atheist and agnostic who want to feel included and to experience Christmas’s many benefits without having to feign allegiance to some omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent deity and his “son,” My article today offers some thoughts.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

If Santa Were Real: 17 Questions to Help You Figure Out What You Want, Really Want

In my Psychology article today, I offer a thought experiment to try. Imagine Santa existed and, even better, that you’d get anything you asked for. What would you ask for?

I present 17 questions to help you decide. While Santa may not actually grant your wish, your answers may tease out something that you or someone you love could actually make real. For each question, I offer a few examples to spur your thinking.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

14 Gifts for the Psychologically Attuned

In my article yesterday, I suggested a dozen books you might give to psychologically attuned readers. But not everyone would welcome a book. So today's article offers
a baker’s dozen of gifts for other psychologically oriented folks on your gift list.

12 Books for the Psychologically Attuned

I like giving and getting books as holiday presents. Not only are they more beneficial than, say, another sweater, bottle of booze, or calorific treat, they’re easier to buy and to find what’s right for the person. Amazon has 33,000,000 books, e-books, and audiobooks easily searchable, and instantly orderable, gift-wrapped, at a discount, without having to get in the car, get stuck in traffic, find parking, only to find the stores don’t have anything as on-target as what I could have bought effortlessly on Amazon. Indeed, a just-released e-Nation poll found that “1/3 of Americans would rather have a root canal than go holiday shopping.”
My article today recommends a dozen books that would make a fine gift for the psychologically attuned reader on your list.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Reinventing How Our Professionals Get Trained and LIcensed

Too often, we're disappointed in the professionals we hire, the teachers our children get, etc. The problem is in how they're trained and licensed. I make that case in my article today.

Making and Keeping Good Friendships

After you’re out of school, it may not be as easy to make friends. My article today may help. Here we’re talking about platonic friends, not romantic ones.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

19 Questions That Can Trigger a Fantasy

In my article today, I offer 19 questions that can trigger interesting fantasies.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

All the Career Advice Your Need in One Blog Post?

There is so much career advice out there, it’s overwhelming. In my article today, I attempt the perhaps ridiculous goal of, in the space of one moderate-length article, telling you what you really need to know to: pick a career, land a job, succeed on the job, be a good leader, become successfully self-employed, and feel good about the way you’re living your life.

Friday, December 5, 2014

In Praise of a Double Life

What’s your reaction when you hear about the pillar of the community whose hobby is shoplifting? The pious cleric who molests children? The idealistic-sounding politician
who, when day is done, limos to an enclave with a carbon footprint bigger than BigFoot?

Yet a double life can be a good thing, one pursued by too few people. I help you develop one in my article today.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

What Should Be Your Theme Music?

If you’re like many people, you’re searching to figure out who you are at your core, your essence. It might help a bit to identify a piece of music that’s quintessentially you. An example might elucidate. The 16 pieces of music I link to in my article today reflect my essence. 

Few of you will want to adopt one of those as your theme music but perhaps listening to them might encourage you to find your own. At minimum, they should provide a bit of respite from your packed day. These are excellent performances of each piece, all with video. It’s wonderful that we can, with a click of a mouse, experience them, let alone for free.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Parent's Role in their Child's College Search

An internal debate on what a parent should and shouldn't do in helping their child decide whether to go to college, where, and how much help to give on college essays. That's my article today.

Toward a Truly Honest Conversation About Race

Ferguson isn’t the first time we’ve heard calls for an honest conversation about race. Bill Clinton issued one. So did Eric Holder. But it doesn’t seem to have happened yet. Indeed, it seems that the media coverage, from all sides, seems to lack honesty.

That’s understandable. Race is a most difficult topic to discuss in full-dimension. My article today proposes an approach that might be better.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Getting Hired With a Liberal Arts Degree

A 2012 study found that 53.6 percent of college graduates under the age of 25 are unemployed or doing work they could have done without a college degree—read: cab driver or hotel room cleaner.

A 2014 study that tracked college graduates since 2009 found that a quarter are living at home two years after graduation, 20 percent were earning less than $30,000 a year, and half of those less than $20,000.

The news is even worse for liberal arts majors. A 2014 study found that only 2% of employers are looking for candidates with a liberal arts degree. 49% believe there are “no jobs” out there for those with a liberal arts degree.

But there you are with your B.A. in psychology, sociology, English, ethnic or gender studies, art history, etc.  You also have a mountain of debt. You want a job. You need a job. But how do you defy the odds?  I offer suggestions in my article today.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Be Quick But Don’t Hurry

ESPN named John Wooden the sports coach of the century. He is known for telling his teams to be quick but not hurry.

That advice is useful for many people outside of sports. I discuss how in my

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Holidays and Your Career

Many people defer career thoughts and actions until after the New Year. That’s unfortunate because, whether you’re employed, self-employed, or unemployed, December may be most potent.

Many articles have been written on the topics. In my article today, I try to cram all the best advice I can think of into one short article.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Alternatives to Black Friday

"Black Friday” is the latest marketing ploy to get you to buy more than you need or even, unnudged, want.

Yet, like lemmings, millions of Americans will trot out, or should I say crawl out given the likely traffic and parking problems, to the mall to get the “bargains.” Of course, only a tiny percentage of most stores’ items are much less costly than after Black Friday. And the odds are even tinier that one of those items is what you really want. So if you’re lucky and they haven’t run out of those “bait” items in your size and color, it’s misleading to say you “saved” anything. You’ll probably spend good money on something other than what you really wanted or maybe didn’t want at all---Do you really need yet another pair of shoes, even if it is half off the likely inflated regular price?

So, might it be time to create a new post-Thanksgiving tradition, a more colorful and rewarding alternative to Black Friday? In my article today, I propose 17.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Dieter’s Moment of Truth

If you’d like to lose weight, you’re about to face the year’s biggest challenge: a gauntlet of pigging-out opportunities: Thanksgiving, the day-after-Thanksgiving leftovers, office holiday parties, personal holiday parties, Christmas dinner, day-after-Christmas leftovers, capped off by New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. 

As someone who, despite having written on how to lose weight, can’t seem to lose my 15 extra pounds, perhaps I have no right to offer any more dieting advice but I sense that being aware of the dieter's moment of truth may have some value both to you and to me. That's my article today. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Do Your Hobby at Work

More often than you might think, you can incorporate your hobby into your job. I offer lots of examples in my article today.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Practical Path to Prominence

Just three years ago, if I had told Barbara Nemko that she would have won four national awards in technology, she would have had me committed. While she was a successful education administrator in Napa, California, she had little expertise in education technology.

Yet in the last two years, she was named one of the nation’s Top 40 Education Technology Leaders by the Center for Digital Education, the Legislative Advocacy Award from Computer Using Educators, the Digital Innovation in Learning Award from Digital Promise, and the Public Policy Award from the International Society for Technology in Education. 

For My article today, I interviewed her to unearth lessons for anyone trying to gain professional prominence.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

What Careers Match Your Core Skill

In a previous article, I reviewed the hundreds of skills listed in Gallup’s Strengths Finder, Eureka’s Microskills, the Knowdell Motivated Skills Card Sort, Elevations, and Skills Profiler, and then adapted or wrote 26 skills that I believe are most likely to help people find and succeed in white-collar or professional employment.

In my article today, for each of those skills, I list one or more careers that require that skill and is liked by many people. For each career, I include a link to a site with information on it.

This article may be of use to you even if you’re staying put in your current career or job. Scan the list of skills to find one or more that you’re good at and would enjoy using more in your job. Might there be ways to tweak what you do so you spend more time using your favorite skills?

Using Thanksgiving to Boost Your Career

Sure, you could say, “Thanksgiving is no time to talk career—it’s downright unseemly. Thanksgiving should be about family, football, and gratitude."

But especially if you could use career help, it’s a terrific opportunity. My article today offers tips on how to make the most of it, whether you're looking for a job, could use some advice on a problem you're facing at work, or want to give a struggler some career tips.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A New Tool for Helping You Decide Whether to Change Jobs, Career, or Neither

In my article today, I offer a novel tool for helping you decide whether to change jobs/careers.

Age Gracefully or Rage Against the Dying of the Light?

If you’re in your 60s or 70s, you may well be in your final decade on life’s conveyer belt. That’s especially likely if you’re a man--We live 5.2 years shorter.

We face a macro choice: Do we “age gracefully,” or, as Dylan Thomas urged, “Rage.” Of course, there is a middle ground but few among us trod dead-center on the fence.

Wherever we fall on the continuum, most of us do it unconsciously. In an attempt to make the decision more consciously and help us gain more clarity on where on the continuum we want to be, my article today offers an internal debate that might occur between an “Age Gracefully” advocate and a “Rage Against It” devotee.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

When Should You Say Something Controversial?

We all think things we don’t say. And usually that’s wise, but here’s a safe place to consider what might happen if you did.

In my article today, I list 12 things that many people think but don’t say and invite the reader to do a thought thought experiment: Ask yourself whether and under what circumstances you might want to let ‘er rip?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Anxious about the holidays? Ways to cut the holiday blues.

Graeme Cowan led a mental health support group for ten years and noticed that each year, his group's stress level started to rise in mid November as they contemplated all the implications of the holidays. Graeme brainstormed solutions with the groups and kept track of what worked best. 

In my article today, I quote his highlighting of eight factors that bring us down during the holidays and his advice on how to deal with each.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Most Inspiring Career Counseling Client

Woodminster Amphitheatre, where Jeffrie Givens has performed in nine shows.
I tell the story of my most inspiring career counseling client, Jeffrie Givens, in my article today.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Are Men Treated Fairly Relative to Their Merit?

Are men treated fairly relative to their merit? My article in today makes the case that they are not.

How to Make Best Use of a Career Counselor, Coach or Adviser

Career counselors, coaches, and advisers are, in my view, of greatest value, not to people who are choosing a career or trying to land a job, but on the job: coaching on management, communication, time and stress management. I make that case in my article today.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Are You Nice But Not Good?

Ideally, we’re congruent: We’re nice to people and, even when it’s undetectable, we do the ethical thing.

Alas, we’ve all met people who are nice but bad. That is, they’re polite, friendly, smilers, yet when expedient, will screw you.

My article today offers a  self-assessment inventory to help you assess the extent to which you’re nice and good.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Counsel for the Creative: Practical advice for those wanting an artistic career.

Many of my clients would like an artistic career. My article today offers thoughts on how to maximize your chances of making one work.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Planned Happenstance

It’s often said that we make our own luck. But how? 

One way is to use what Stanford professor John Krumboltz calls planned happenstance: putting yourself where good things are likely to happen and there, taking the right actions. In my article today, I describe how to do that both in finding a better job and in meeting that special someone.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Smarter Approach to Hiring

My article today offers an approach to hiring that makes it much more likely you'll hire an excellent employee.

Thinking Thanksgiving: Thoughts on planning

Although we’re supposed to be happy at the Holidays, many people’s aren’t. My article today offers ideas that may help.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In Praise of Negativity:

America has a bias toward positivity--optimism, chipperness, gratitude. Criticizers get a bad rap. In my article today, I argue that critics, naysayers, and curmudgeons often deserve more praise than they get.

Networking for Introverts

Alas, in today’s society, it's often schmooze or lose. But if you’re an introvert, the idea of pressing the flesh at gatherings is anathema. If you decide you should go,  you take two days to prepare and two days to recover.

In my article today, I offer ways introverts can find it easier to network.