Ten Questions Never, Ever To Ask At A Job Interview

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Work Attire Tips

You must bring questions with you to every job interview.

Here are three good questions to ask your interviewer:

1. How does this position contribute to the department’s — and the company’s — success?

2. What will a successful first year in this job look like? What will your new hire accomplish?

3. Who are the internal and external customers of the person in this job, and what do those customers want?

You will come up with more questions to ask as you research the company you’re going to be interviewing with. You’ll develop questions about the position, the company’s goals, the manager’s communications style and much more.  New questions will pop into your mind during the interview. Don’t be afraid to ask questions — it’s the best thing a candidate can do!

At the same time, there are certain questions never, ever to ask at a job interview. Ten of them are listed below.

1. What does your company do?

You can say, “I know Acme Explosives manufactures stick dynamite for the coyote market — but I’d love to hear your perspective on the organization and its mission.”

You can’t show up at a job interview not knowing what the company does. That’s what the internet is for!

2. Do you have any other positions available, apart from this one?

Right now, you’re sitting in an interview talking about a specific job. Don’t ask about other positions unless the interviewer says, “I don’t think you’re a good fit for this job.”

If you feel that the job you’re discussing is not a good fit for you, you can say so — but until you’ve reached that point, keep the conversation on topic and remember that no one can force you to take a job if you don’t want to.

If they make you an offer and it doesn’t excite you, you can inquire about other available positions then. Cross that bridge later!

3. Which bus comes to your building from the east side of the city?

It’s up to you to figure out public transportation. Every public transit authority has online maps and schedules. It’s not the interviewer’s job to know every bus and train route, and this type of low-altitude question doesn’t brand you as a professional.

4. Do you use ABC Software here?

If they care about your proficiency with a particular software program, they will ask you. If you ask whether they use ABC Software and they don’t, you’ll be hanging in the breeze. The interviewer will say, “No, we use XYZ Software — are you proficient in that?” and you’ll have to say, “Nope.”

There’s no advantage to asking, “What kind of software do you use here?” in the early stages of your interview process.

5. Do you drug test applicants?

This is the biggest red-flag question you can ask. Even if you’re just asking out of curiosity or because you eat a poppy-seed bagel every day and you’re worried about the poppy seeds messing up your drug test results, don’t ask  the question!

If they drug-test applicants, they will tell you that when it’s time for you to take the drug test.

Cut back on the poppy seed bagels, just in case.

6. Are you interviewing other people for the job?

You can safely assume they’re interviewing other people. Also, what difference does it make? If it’s the right job for you at this moment in time, they’ll make you an offer, and you’ll accept.

Don’t worry about other candidates they may be considering. Focus on yourself!

7. If I don’t get the offer this time, how long do I have to wait to re-apply?

I include this question on our list of “Don’t Ask” interview questions because I have heard it from applicants’ lips so many times.

Everyone can understand how nerve-wracking the job search process can be.  Don’t make it worse by asking your interviewer what to do if you don’t get the job!

8. Are you going to talk to my former employer?

Any employer who’s considering hiring you is going to conduct some type of employment verification process. That process works through your former employer’s HR department.

Unless you listed your former manager as one of your references, prospective employers are very unlikely to talk to your old boss (or even to learn your former boss’s name).

Don’t put questions about your relationship with your ex-boss in their minds by asking, “Are you going to talk to my former employer?”

9. Does your company offer tuition reimbursement? How much is the deductible on your dental plan? How many vacation days will I accrue in the first three months? Does your health plan cover contact lenses?

It is a bad use of your precious face-to-face interview time to ask questions about the specifics of the company’s benefit plans. Ask for a copy of the health care program documents and read them when you get home.

You have a real person who works for the company in front of you — pick their brain about the work, the mission, the challenges, the opportunity and the culture.

Don’t turn your poor interviewer into a walking, talking employee benefits encyclopedia!

10. How long is your new employee probation  period?

This is another unnecessary and potentially alarming question for a job applicant to ask at an interview.

You can ask, “What is the waiting period for health benefits?” or, “What is your 401(k) eligibility schedule?” but don’t ask about the probationary period specifically.

If you do, it sounds like you’re anxious about making it through your probationary period. In reality, the probationary period for newcomers isn’t all that significant unless you work in a unionized environment that gives workers more protection after they’ve finished probation.

For everybody else, a major slip-up on Day 100 of your employment will outweigh the fact that you’ve completed your 90-day probation. Don’t give your possible next boss reason to wonder,”Why does this person care so much about the probationary period?”

Ask for a copy of the company’s handbook instead of asking this question — and read it cover to cover!

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com

The Right Way to Ask for Help at Work

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Hispanic intern asking boss a question

Bill Thomas knew nothing about steel mills. That’s why, as an interning quality control technician, he found himself in his boss’s office asking questions three or four times a day.

“He was a master deflector,” Thomas says. “I swear he never answered a question.”

The young worker was baffled. Wasn’t his manager supposed to provide him with direction? Frustrated, Thomas finally tried a different approach. The next time he wasn’t sure what to do, he found his boss and said, “Here’s what I think the answer is.”

The lead engineer grinned.

“He stood up and hugged me and said, ‘That’s what I want to hear,'” Thomas recalls. “From then on, I got it.”

When it comes to asking for help at work, some approaches are more fruitful than others, experts say, and what you ask for matters less than the way you ask it. A straightforward, polite and thoughtful request will yield the most useful results and make the best impression.

Ask directly and anticipate success.

Asking for help makes many people feel vulnerable, and they may hesitate to inquire out of fear of rejection. But those concerns are overblown, according to research conducted by Vanessa Bohns, associate professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University.

“Overwhelmingly, people expect to be rejected much more than they are,” Bohns says. “When someone is there asking you for help, it’s really hard to say no. There’s a lot of pressure to agree. In most cases, people will say yes.”

That’s not the only misconception about asking for assistance. Bohns’ studies show that people tend to seek help from individuals they know rather than strangers, and they’re more likely to request repeat favors from those who have helped them previously.

Yet for small, direct requests, strangers are as likely to help as acquaintances, she says, and people who have refused help in the past are more likely to acquiesce in the future.

“They probably felt guilty saying no and are more likely to say yes the next time,” Bohns explains.

Worried about asking for too much of a favor? The amount of effort involved in your request matters less than you think. What does matter is the method you use to inquire. Demurely mentioning that you’ve got a problem in hopes that someone offers to assist is the wrong way to go.

“Being completely explicit about it is more likely to get you the help you want,” Bohns says. “It’s more appreciated by the other person. There’s less ambiguity.”

And if you’re debating what method of communication to use, the answer is clear: Ask in person.

“Almost no one, especially if you’re asking people you don’t know, says yes over email,” Bohns says. Meanwhile, “face to face gets really big effects.”

Don’t seem helpless to your boss.

Asking directly and in person are good starting points for making office inquiries. But when seeking help from your boss, there’s more specific etiquette to consider, says Thomas, who is now managing principal at Centric Performance consulting firm.

When workers start new assignments, they should never be shy about asking to clarify what exactly managers expect from them. If they find themselves struggling as they work, most supervisors would prefer that they seek assistance instead of fail to meet expectations or deadlines.

Continue on to US News to read the complete article.

Taking Engineering to a New Level—Q&A with NASA engineer Adriana Ocampo

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Adriana Ocampo, PhD, is the Science Program Manager at NASA headquarters. Take a look at NASA’s Q&A with the accomplished engineer.

Where are you from?

I was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, and I was raised in Argentina. My family and I moved to the United States when I was a teenager. I now live in Washington, DC.

Describe the first time you made a personal connection with outer space.

When I was a little girl, I would go on the roof of my house and look at the stars and wonder how far they were away from me. I would also make “spacecraft” with the pots and pans from my mother’s kitchen. I would dress my doll up as an astronaut, and my dog Taurus was my co-pilot.

How did you end up working in the space program?

As soon as I landed in the USA I asked: “Where is NASA?” After my junior year in high school, and thanks to the Space Exploration Post 509—sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—I was able to first volunteer at JPL and then work there as an employee during the summer. As I started college I continued to work at JPL. I majored in geology at the California State University at Los Angeles, earning a B.S. there in 1983. I then got my Master of Science in planetary geology from California State University, Northridge. I received both my degrees while working full time at JPL as a research scientist. I’m currently finishing my PhD at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Who inspired you?

My parents were my inspiration. They always encouraged me to reach for the stars and instilled in me the knowledge that education was the gateway to making my dreams come true. Space exploration was my passion from a very young age, and I knew I wanted to be part of it. I would dream and design space colonies while sitting atop the roof of my family’s home in Argentina.

What is a Science Program Manager?

Some of my duties include being the New Frontiers lead program executive. New Frontiers includes the Juno mission to Jupiter, the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the asteroid sample return mission OSIRIS-REx. I am also the lead Venus scientist responsible for NASA’s collaboration with ESA’s Venus Express mission, JAXA’s Venus Climate Orbit and the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG), which develops strategic plans and assessments for the exploration of this planet.

Tell us about a favorite moment so far in your career.

A favorite moment would have to be my research that led to the discovery of the Chicxulub impact crater. The impact that formed this crater caused the extinction of more than 50 percent of the Earth’s species, including the dinosaurs. I wrote my master’s and PhD theses on this crater, and I have led six research expeditions to study this amazing event that changed the evolution of life on our planet.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take the same career path as you?

“Dream and never give up.” When thinking about the great adventure that you have ahead, dream and never give up, be persistent and always be true to your heart. Live life with gusto. I would like to share my mnemonic (STARS) with you from the Girl Scouts book “Recipes for Success:”

STARS

Smile: Life is a great adventure
Transcend to triumph over the negative
Aspire to be the best
Resolve to be true to your heart
Success comes to those who never give up on their dreams

Source: NASA

How to Talk to Your Boss (When the Questions Get Tricky)

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Landing a job doesn’t mean your days of navigating difficult questions are over. You should be prepared to handle uncomfortable queries, an especially tricky feat when it’s coming from your boss. You may face one or more of these awkward questions at some point in your career.

Here are ways you can respond to them professionally and keep the relationship with your boss intact.

  1. “Are you looking for a new job?”

If you’re putting yourself back on the job market, tell the truth. Chances are that your boss has a good reason for asking, so a denial will only make you look bad. But don’t overshare. This question isn’t an invitation to air all your complaints about the position or the company. When responding, keep the focus on you and your career.

Keep the answer short and to the point: “I’m interested in exploring positions in a different industry. “I’m thinking about relocating to another city.” “A former colleague contacted me about an exciting opportunity, and I feel I should look into it.” “I’m looking for a position with more flexibility.” “I don’t feel I’m making much progress here.”

Be polite and emphasize that you’re committed to performing your current job to the best of your ability.

  1. “Have you heard the latest about Jamie?”
    Co-workers who spread rumors are difficult enough to deal with, but having a boss who engages in office gossip is a potential landmine. You don’t want to sound disapproving or like a Goody Two-Shoes. Your best option is to offer a noncommittal response, such as, “I really haven’t heard,” and then either change the topic or try to leave the conversation. Maintain an attitude of polite disinterest. Once your boss realizes you’re not a gossiper, he or she will drop the subject.
  1. “How would you rate my performance as a manager?”
    This question is particularly tricky because you might not know your boss’s motivation. Has upper management requested that he or she seek feedback from employees, is the person just fishing for compliments, or is he or she genuinely interested in constructive criticism?

To remain on safe ground, lead with positive feedback. Then choose one aspect of the person’s managerial style that could use some work, and make it actionable. For example, “The next time there’s a new project, I’d like a little more guidance so I don’t go in the wrong direction.”

 

  1. “How would you rate your performance during Q1?”
    Balance is key. Outline what you did well, and reference tangible results, such as exceeding goals or meeting tight deadlines. Then discuss a few ways you might do better next time. To show you’re serious about self-improvement, ask your boss for an assessment—and any tips for Q2.

 

  1. “Can you take on this project (that no one else will do)?”
    You may feel pressure to say yes to every request to maintain a good relationship with your boss. While it’s occasionally necessary to “take one for the team,” you need to be honest about how Project X will affect your present workload and whether it’s within the scope of your job description.

If you’re genuinely reluctant to lead this project, tell your manager that you simply don’t have the bandwidth to do it justice and get all of your regular assignments done on time. But also think about what may happen if you agree: If leading Project X will win you points with the boss and prove your leadership skills, it might be worth the extra work to say yes—this time.

Source: careerbuilder.com

The Vital Nursing Skills You’ll Need to Grow a Healthy Career

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hispanic nurse

By Callie Malvik

Pursuing a new career can leave you with a lot of questions: Is this the right choice for me? Do I have what it takes to succeed in this position? How can I prepare myself?

Fortunately, the nursing field offers many paths for those interested in pursuing a hands-on healthcare career. And the job outlook is favorable, too. The demand for registered nurses (RNs) is expected to grow at the much-faster-than-average rate of 15 percent through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Knowing that nurses are needed is reassuring, but just because the opportunities are out there, it doesn’t mean they’ll give them to just anyone. Working in such a high-stakes position means there are some critical nursing skills you’ll need to master to be qualified for the role. There are also some other qualities that lend themselves well to the profession.

We’re here to help you better understand the need-to-have nursing skills and the nice-to-have nursing skills. Whether you’ve acquired some already, or will add them to your arsenal while enrolled in a nursing program, you’ll know whether you’re ready to launch a successful career in nursing.

The must-have clinical skills you’ll need to become a nurse

As a nurse, whenever you’re on a shift, there are patients’ lives on the line. It should come as no surprise that there are many technical nursing skills that are necessary to perform the duties required of you. This is why there are such strict requirements for becoming a nurse.

We used real-time job analysis software to examine nearly 1.5 million registered nurse job postings from the past year. The data helped us identify the top clinical nursing skills employers are seeking. Here’s what we found: Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), hospital experience, critical care nursing, acute care, treatment planning, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), telemetry, life support, case management, patient/family education.

As you can see, the list above is comprised of very technical nursing skills. Most are not things you can learn on your own. But don’t be intimidated by this, because these are precisely the nursing skills you’d be trained in as part of a professional nursing program.

If you’re unsure of whether you should enroll in nursing school, learn more about the natural qualities that the best nurses share. You may already possess some of the transferable nursing skills needed to succeed.

The non-clinical nursing skills necessary for success

There’s no doubt that the nursing skills we covered above are essential. But a handful of soft skills that help separate a good nurse from a great nurse. Find out if you are naturally inclined for a career in nursing.

Effective communication

As a nurse, you’re on the front lines of care. You’re often the middleman, relaying critical information from a physician to a patient. You will also need to be able to foster an open dialogue with patients and their families, so they fully understand their diagnosis, medication, and any other medical concerns.

Effective communication among fellow nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals is also vital as you share the responsibilities of caring for your patients. Additionally, you may find yourself facilitating dialogue with worried or uncooperative patients, concerned family members, busy doctors, and everyone in between. Strong communication skills will be crucial for all of the above scenarios.

Flexibility

As a nurse, you never know what the day will bring. Last-minute changes constantly keep you on your toes while you juggle multiple treatment plans, physician’s requests, paperwork, and patients’ families. Many nurses would agree that adaptability is one of the most important non-clinical nursing skills.

“You need to be mentally flexible because if you have a patient that is non-compliant or a doctor who is having a bad day, you need to have alternative ways to solve problems and make everyone happy,” says Michelle Katz, LPN, MSN. Without the ability to quickly adapt to changes, a nurse simply can’t keep up.

Critical thinking

A sharp and critical mind is essential for excelling in the nursing field. Nurses must be able to assess a situation and make crucial decisions on the spot. In nursing, there are often multiple options for treatment, which means critical thinking is essential for quickly analyzing a situation and determining the best solution.

Nurses must also be able to swiftly and confidently find best-outcome resolutions in high-pressure scenarios. Because of these reasons, critical-thinking skills are invaluable in the nursing profession.

Desire to learn

“The most effective nurses are curious and avid learners,” says Antonio Pizarro, MD.

Earning a nursing degree doesn’t mean your days as a student are over. The best nurses are the ones who continue to question, explore, learn, and develop throughout their entire careers. Because the field of medicine is always changing and evolving, nurses should be prepared to continue learning, says Fiona Spearing, clinical lead nurse.

“Always ask questions,” Spearing says. “Whether you’re a student nurse or a qualified nurse, there is always something that you can be learning.”

Attention to detail

Paying attention to minute details is important in the nursing profession, especially when you have a lot on your plate. For example, nurses must document everything they do in their patients’ charts. They must listen closely to their description of symptoms, ask the right questions, and remember to bring medications at appropriate times.

It’s critical to remember even the smallest detail amid all of the commotion. At the end of the day, one small slip-up could become a fatal mistake. The best nurses are naturally detail-oriented.

About Rasmussen College
Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college that is dedicated to changing lives and the communities it serves through high-demand and flexible educational programs. Since 1900, the College has been committed to academic innovation and empowering students to pursue a college degree. Rasmussen College offers certificate and diploma programs through associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in seven schools of study including business, health sciences, nursing, technology, design, education and justice studies.

Source: rasmussen.edu/degrees/nursing/blog/nursing-skills/

Alex Rodriguez: From Baseball Star to Business Supernova

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MLB player Alex Rodriguez attends the 2017 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center on December 4, 2016 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize)

By Brady Rhoades

Did you know that Hispanics contribute $1 trillion to the economy every year?

Two years into his second career as a business executive and baseball analyst, Alex Rodriguez—always a student, always a numbers cruncher—knows all too well.

And he’s looking ahead.

“I think… we should be having really smart conversations on how to double that number,” he said.

Rodriguez was one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball history, finishing his career with 696 dingers and winning a World Series with the fabled New York Yankees, but this is A-Rod 2.0.

Owner and CEO of A-Rod Corp. Investor. The first Hispanic to swim with the big fish on Shark Tank.

Rodriguez has gone from baseball star to business supernova.

“When people think about my career, they think about the championships, the RBIs, the home runs, but what they don’t realize is that I’m fifth all-time in striking out, so that means I have a PhD in failing,” Rodriguez, 43, said. “But I also have a master’s in getting back up and that’s what America is all about: getting back up, not getting defined by your mistakes. That’s what I try to push and encourage.”

Rodriguez, the father of two daughters, started A-Rod Corp, a private holding company with multiple businesses in the United States and Latin America, when he was 26. His motivation? “Fear.” He’d already seen too many players go broke.

His first investment was in a type of infrastructure he knew all about from his modest childhood: rental properties.

New York Yankees vs New York Mets -
New York Yankees batter Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out at Shea Stadium, Saturday, May 19, 2006, in Flushing, New York. The Yankees lost 7-6. (Photo by Jim Rogash/WireImage)

“We find ’em, we vet ’em, we underwrite ’em, we close ’em, we manage ’em, and then we rehab ’em,” he said. “We buy in secondary markets where job growth is growing. Millennials don’t want to own a house. They want to own an app. The last five or six years have been very healthy in the multifamily apartment sector.”

Today, A-Rod Corp owns or manages about 20,000 properties in 12 states and has branched out to fitness centers and automotive dealerships. The man who made hundreds of millions in his playing days also invests in Google, Amazon, Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, among others.

He espoused his investing strategy on his first appearance as a guest judge on Shark Tank.

“I always invest in jockeys, not horses, because business—like sports—is just about people and I always tell people that I want entrepreneurs and partners with a PhD, not from Harvard or Yale, which is nice, too, but I mean poor, hungry and driven. I want entrepreneurs that are scrappy, that are gritty, and that can think outside the box, and that are winning players.”

Rodriguez retired from Major League Baseball after the 2016 season, and after Sports Illustrated named him one of the 30 most influential Hispanics in sports. The shortstop/third baseman won three MVP awards, was named to 14 all-star teams, and knocked out 3,115 hits in a 22-year career.

He was known for putting up staggering numbers; he was also revered as a student of the game.

He had been in business for years while he played for Seattle, Texas, and New York. He even took marketing classes at the University of Miami and value investing at Columbia University.

Now, it was time to do a deep dive into business. Rodriguez did what he’d done in sports: stepped into circles of greatness.

He asked questions. He listened.

His mentors include Lennar CEO Stuart Miller, JPMorgan Asset Management CEO Mary Erdoes, billionaire Warren Buffett, and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who once said Rodriguez’ most impressive quality was “incessant curiosity.”

Rodriguez has never forgotten—and always applied—a simple lesson about business he received from Buffett: Never personally guarantee any debt and never hold too much cash, but rather put your money in great businesses.

Buffett also taught him that you can be a great businessman and a great guy.

“Always be a gentleman,” Buffett told him.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ, BARBARA CORCORAN, MARK CUBAN
SHARK TANK -“Episode 901” – Sharks include; Alex Rodriguez, Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban. Photo: ABC/EDDY CHEN

“That was simple, but it was genius,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez first appeared on Shark Tank in 2017 and is returning as a guest judge for its tenth season.

As usual, he looked like a natural, as if he’d been swimming in those waters all his life. Truth be told, his success is a result of hard work and preparation.

He says starring on the show with the likes of Mark Cuban, Daymond John, and Lori Greiner is a thrill.

“Of course, being the first Hispanic on Shark Tank is something to be really proud of,” he said.

In one of his investment victories, Rodriguez teamed up with Cuban to invest $150,000—for a 15 percent stake—in an Ice Shaker business, which sells insulated bottles that are an upscale version of plastic cups used to mix up protein shakes.

Chris Gronkowski—brother of famous New England Patriot Rob—said Ice Shaker sold about $80,000 worth of shakers in the first few months after he, Rob, and his three other brothers appeared on Shark Tank.

Rodriguez has stayed involved in baseball, honing his skills as a broadcaster for FOX before ESPN named him their lead analyst in early 2018. During his playing days, Rodriguez was versatile enough to switch from shortstop to third base when he joined the Yankees. As a broadcaster, he seamlessly goes from color commentator during games to studio analyst.

“It’s an exciting time in baseball and now I get that front row seat to tell that the story,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez has proved to be studied, insightful, and articulate in his off-the-field role. Listen to him for ten minutes and you’re bound to learn something about the national pastime. Recently, in a studio appearance on the morning sports show Get Up!, Rodriguez named the five greatest hitters he’d ever seen.

His take went viral. Many agreed. Many disagreed. Nobody questioned his baseball acumen, or his reasoned arguments, however.

For Rodriguez, life is never business as usual. There’s parenting, and there’s giving back to the community.

Rodriguez has spearheaded the Alex Rodriguez All-Stars in Education Scholars, offering hundreds

Alex Rodriguez on the phone doing business
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 11: Baseball player Alex Rodriguez attends the annual Charity Day. (Photo by Mike McGregor/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)

of thousands in scholarship money to those determined to be the first in their families to earn a college degree.

He also premiered a TV show called Back in the Game earlier this year, designed to help athletes who are down on their luck, financially speaking. His co-star? Former NFL great and current TV superstar Michael Strahan.

“Michael and I, something we’re really passionate about is taking athletes who have run into some bad luck … [and] lend a helping hand and hopefully they can get back on their feet,” Rodriguez said. “If you look at the data, they suggest that a lot of our players are going bankrupt way too soon. You make 90 percent of your money between age 20 to 30. Less than 5 percent of our guys in the major leagues have a college degree. What happens from age 30 to 80?”

Alex Rodriguez seems to have packed several lifetimes into his 43 years. And he’s come a long way from his early life as a child of Dominican immigrants who was raised by a single mother and had to move every 18 months “because the landlord would raise the rent.”

He was born in New York City and spent time in the Dominican Republic and Miami, Florida. He has never forgotten his Hispanic roots.

In 2005, amid confusion about his ethnicity, Rodriguez stated: “I want to say it out loud. I am Dominican.”

He has gone the extra mile to help Dominican baseball players thrive in “The Show.”

When Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, he and Jennifer Lopez visited the country and raised more than $30 million to help victims and rebuild infrastructure.

His mission is to improve financial literacy among Hispanics and athletes in general.

What comes next for A-Rod?

If past is prologue, as Shakespeare said, he’ll surprise us with yet more accomplishments.

If humility is wisdom, as Proverbs says, he’ll continue to grow wiser, because he’s got two secret weapons named Ella and Natasha.

“My girls are great at making fun of dad,” he laughed. “They’re never impressed with anything I do. I love that.”

 

Four Companies That Are Getting Diversity & Inclusion Right – And How They’re Doing It

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5-Business-People-at-table

Not that long ago, Diversity & Inclusion was viewed as a sort of “icing on the cake” issue – companies knew that having a team dedicated to these issues was a good thing to have, but not totally necessary to the bottom line.

Thankfully, that viewpoint has shifted over the past few years, as more and more data is showing that diversity and inclusion is actually correlated to value creation and a company’s profitability.

Therefore, companies are realizing (some more quickly than others) that focusing on total societal impact is fundamental to driving long-term financial success. But how do we measure total societal impact? What factors do we take into account, and how do we quantify and measure that data? One approach to tackling this problem has come from Thomson Reuters, who recently released its 2018 list of the Top 100 Most Diverse and Inclusive Organizations Globally.

The team behind the annual D&I list looks at more than 7,000 companies across the globe and ranks them according to how they’re doing based on environmental, social and governance data spread across four key pillars: Diversity, Inclusion, People Development and News Controversy. Companies that score the highest across all measures are awarded a spot on the list.

It’s not easy to become a leader in Diversity & Inclusion, but it’s well-worth trying. Many companies who have invested in D&I practices over the years have seen significant growth and financial gains as a result. Here are four of the top leaders in D&I, as well as an overview of what they’ve been doing right over the past few years to help them gain this ranking.

Accenture PLC: In 2017 alone, Accenture added 1,800 employees of diverse backgrounds, up from approximately 1,000 in 2016, and increased the number of women in their workforce from 36 to 37%, with a goal of hitting 40% by 2020. The company also hired 750 veterans and military spouses, bringing them halfway to their goal of hiring 5,000 by 2020.

Medtronic PLC: Medtronic has made an effort to develop a series of robust diversity networks and employee resource groups for their employees across the globe. Their networks include the African Descent Network, Asian Descent Network Hispanic Descent Network and the Medtronic Women’s Network. They also have 12 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which are built to engage employees around shared interests and affinities.

Diageo PLC: In addition to boasting 50% female representation on their board and 40% on their executive committee, Diageo has also set goals of hitting 35% female representation on their senior leadership team by 2020, with a goal of 40% by 2025. They’ve also launched Plan W, a program that’s part of Diageo’s 2020 sustainability and responsibility targets which aims to build thriving communities by empowering women. As of 2017, Plan W has empowered over 315,000 women through learning, and indirectly impacted more than 1,700,000 people and is building thriving communities across 17 countries.

Gap Inc: In addition to business resource groups and advisory boards designed to provide opportunities for cross-cultural learning, mentoring and relationship building among employees, they’ve also launched ASCEND, a program devoted to developing an inclusive, diverse workforce and a pipeline of future leaders. ASCEND is designed to help minority leaders realize their potential and achieve their career aspirations through mentorship, building opportunity and individual capability building.

Continue on to Forbes.com to read the complete article.

Spanish-speaking SoCal residents can now enjoy the FREE comedic and educational “SoCal Yard Transformation” guide

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Riverside, CA – Western Municipal Water District’s (Western) new handbook, the SoCal Yard Transformation guide, is now available in Spanish. The landscaping guide is free and available to Western customers, as well residents throughout the Santa Ana Watershed. 

The Spanish version was developed in response to the more than 1.5 million Hispanic/Latino residents in the watershed region.

This landscaping guide offers full-color illustrations, and covers topics such as water, planning, soil, planting, utilizing native plants, irrigation, and sustainability. It was written by experts in an easy-to-understand manner and includes a dose of humor. Assisting local homeowners to strive for sustainable water use, the SoCal Yard Transformation English and Spanish versions provide important recommendations on how to create permanent water-saving landscape changes. With California’s cyclical drought conditions, homeowners now have a helpful guide to adapt their yard to be water wise.

“With such a significant demographic of Spanish-speaking residents within the Santa Ana Watershed, we wanted to provide a version of the book for those who prefer to read in Spanish. We want our Spanish-speaking residents to know that upgrading their landscape doesn’t have to be expensive or troubling, but rather it can be fun and rewarding in surprising ways,” said Pam Pavela, Western’s water resources specialist, handbook editor and co-author. “Adjusting your home’s landscape can increase your property value and save money on your water bill.”
SoCal Yard Transformation’s seven simple chapters break down everything that homeowners need to know to create a lasting transformation:

  • Water: Where it comes from, how it gets to the tap, and the true cost to the customer
  • Planning: A simple guide on how to design a water-efficient landscape
  • Soil: The foundation of all landscapes, and the life it contains
  • Planting: The who, what, where, when and why of planting and care of plants
  • Natives: Why these plants are important
  • Irrigation: How to irrigate efficiently, covering topics such as scheduling, troubleshooting, and how to make improvements
  • Sustainability: Creating a holistic, long-term landscape

The book was made possible by the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality, and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006 (Proposition 84). The handbook can be picked up at Western’s office at 14205 Meridian Parkway in Riverside. For more information, or to request your own copy, please call 951.571.7100 or visit wmwd.com and search “SoCal Yard Guide”.

How Executives Can Stay Calm Under Pressure

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As an executive, you might find it difficult to stay calm during stressful times. “One of the toughest things a CEO or executive can do today is stay focused and steady when the business is under stress,” says Stephen Miles of TMG, which advises Fortune 500 C-suites on leadership. “Something like a stock price dip can send the company into overreaction mode—trying to fix things that aren’t even broken.”

Uncertainty can cause even the strongest executives to react in negative ways. “2018 has brought enormous uncertainty around everything from trade policy to interest rates to energy prices,” says TMG’s Courtney Hamilton. “This causes wild fluctuations not only in markets, but in companies themselves, as they try to jump ahead of changes and second-guess strategy, usually with bad results.” Leading in a “wartime” full of uncertainty is very different from leading during a time of growth, says Hamilton. “As one CEO that we worked with said, ‘My very best peace-time advisor was my worst team member in a crisis.'”

During these times of stress and uncertainty, three common toxic behaviors among executives can derail a company. These emotional impulses not only are ineffective but also magnify problems and affect all members of the management team.

1 Focusing on “process” vs. opportunism. One of the most common stress responses is to get bogged down in the small details, slowing things down so that they move at a bureaucratic pace. “Getting bogged down in these less mission-critical process items just deflates the team and misses the opportunity to think creatively about solutions,” says TMG’s Matt Bedwell. “The executive may think that stomping on or calling out someone on, say, breaking the travel policy is being helpful and additive to the quest for a good outcome—when it’s just demoralizing to everyone.”
2 Being egocentric and deflecting blame. Executives displaying this behavior during stressful times maneuver to ensure that one of their peers gets all of the scrutiny—effectively taking the heat off from themselves. They can become highly emotional and personalize every discussion, making the team totally ineffective in its pursuit of developing plans that will lead it out of the mess. “For CEOs, you must re-assess all members of your team to understand their capabilities in this new reality,” says Bedwell. “Unfortunately, you need to be ready for some of your highest performers to disappoint you.”
3 Going into panic mode and wanting to change everything. When a high-performing business starts to underperform, the natural reaction is to panic and begin to examine and change everything. “People generally have good intent and want to be part of the solution, but in their quest to solve problems, they often start to change things that are perfectly good and do not need to be changed,” says Bedwell. “You cannot panic or get caught up in the flurry to ‘activate’ and start doing something.”

To combat these derailers, CEOs need to take on these leadership behaviors.

“Go slow to go fast.” The “go slow” component means to step back and diagnose before activating on those things that require intervention – and not everything requires intervention. Ruthless focus and prioritization is equally important in a stress event; you cannot be overcome by your organization’s quest to “do things.”

Be the absorber. Underperformance requires the CEO as a leader to be calm, cool, and collected, and “absorb” the stress and panic on the team. The CEO must then be the focuser, redirecting the energy to help everyone focus on the problem, the facts, the supporting data, and the proposed solutions. The moment a CEO panics, there is a 100X amplification into the company, and then people start to worry about the implications for them and are not focused on leading through the issues.

Remain fact-based and data-driven. CEOs must ensure that someone is collecting the data and validating or refuting “gut instinct” and anecdotal information. CEOs should be careful not to be overly influenced by the best communicator or presenter on the team – or by the person he or she last spoke with. Being fact-based and data-driven will require CEOs to be consistently Socratic and seeking to understand with context.

“Moving from good times into much more difficult times challenges every executive, making it critically important for CEOs to adopt a different leadership style,” says Miles. “And as difficult becomes the norm, there will be greater need to adjust to how your talent is behaving in real time, and prioritize what’s needed to dig in rather than overreact.”

Source: The Miles Group

3 Career Lessons Anyone Can Learn From the 2018 Boston Red Sox

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Most people don’t get a chance to play professional sports for a living, but many truths we see on the field apply to the average workplace.

Just because you’re not working in front of sold-out World Series crowds does not mean that some of the things athletes have to deal with aren’t similar to situations you may find yourself in.

The 2018 Boston Red Sox offer a number of lessons that someone working a more traditional job can learn from. You may not be competing for (and winning) a world championship, but you can act like a champion and propel your own career forward.

1. Make the most of your opportunities
Steve Pearce has been what’s politely called a “journeyman.” That means he has bounced around the league, playing for multiple teams and never making much of a mark. He was good enough to stay in the Major Leagues, but for reasons that are hard to pinpoint, he never became an essential member of any of the organizations he played for.

That changed with this World Series. Pearce, who was traded from Toronto to Boston in June, changed the course of his career and baseball history with one home run and a bases-clearing double in game four of the series and two home runs in the series clincher.

Those hits earned Pearce the World Series Most Valuable Player Award and forever cemented his place in Red Sox lore. His actions showed that just because success and recognition do not come easily does not mean they won’t come. Pearce kept at it — long after many players might have called it a career — and when the opportunity came, he seized it.

2. Keep at it
Entering the 2018 playoffs, David Price had lost the first 10 postseason starts of his career. That put a cloud over the pitcher who had been a regular-season force, and it’s the kind of demon that sometimes becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Price did not allow his past failures to define his future. He pitched well in the early rounds but struggled to earn a win. He got his first postseason victory in the American League Championship Series and earned two wins in the World Series, including the series-clinching victory.

This changes how people will perceive Price going forward. He changed his narrative, and that’s something you can do as well if you keep getting up after being knocked down.

3. Do whatever is asked

Baseball generally has well-defined roles for its players. Starting pitchers start games and relievers finish them. In the playoffs, however, that’s not always the case. With so much on the line, Red Sox manager Alex Cora asked members of his team to operate outside their comfort zones.

Position players played in unfamiliar spots due to the rule that pitchers have to bat in National League ballparks. Others who’d earned the right to start sat on the bench, ready for the moment they were needed. And, most notably, starting pitchers came on in relief, shoring up a weak bullpen, perhaps the team’s only weakness.

It’s about attitude
Cora kept the Red Sox on an even keel throughout the season by having a relentlessly positive attitude. He created a supportive culture in which players were defined by their actions, not their pasts. That allowed Price to find playoff success and created the environment where Pearce could be a hero. You can accomplish the same things if you remain positive and keep working toward your goals even when dealt a setback.

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4 Things Hiring Managers Don’t Want to See on Your Resume

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Though the job market is pretty healthy these days, there’s a lot of competition out there. One way to get a leg up, is to present an outstanding resume, and knowing what mistakes to avoid will help in this regard.

Below are four things that are almost guaranteed to turn hiring managers off, so keep them in mind when crafting your resume.

1. A boring personal summary

The first thing hiring managers will see on your resume is your opening summary, and getting that snippet wrong could cause that document to get rejected in the blink of an eye. When composing your personal summary, be sure to steer clear of boring clichés and buzzwords like “go-getter” and “team player.” Instead, get creative. While calling yourself a “copywriting ninja” is a bit bold, it’ll also grab hiring managers’ attention more than “detail-oriented copywriter who strives for results.”

2. Grammatical errors

When hiring managers get a ton of qualified candidates for a given role, they often have no choice but to look for reasons to weed out applicants. And if your resume contains even one or two grammatical errors, there’s a good chance it’ll wind up in one rejection pile or another. That’s why you must make sure to present a grammatically clean document, even if you’re applying for a role that in no way hinges on your linguistic prowess or lack thereof.
Unfortunately, computerized spell- and grammar-check programs don’t always do the trick in spotting errors, so your best bet might be to enlist the help of a friend or associate who’s better at grammar than you are. Even if you don’t know a so-called grammar wiz, remember that an outsider is far more likely to pick up on mistakes than you are as the author.

3. Hard-to-read fonts

Most hiring managers scan resumes rather than read them. Therefore, using a tiny font to cram as much information onto a single page as possible isn’t going to serve you well. You’re better off making sure your resume is easy on the eyes, and that means choosing a more readable font, even if it causes your content to spill over to a second page.

4. A rundown of every responsibility you’ve ever been tasked with

The purpose of a resume is to help you prove that you’re qualified for whatever role you’re applying to. As such, it’s natural to want to include as much experience as possible. But there is such a thing as going overboard in this regard, especially if that document winds up rehashing every single task you’ve accomplished in your career. So rather than focus on quantity of responsibilities, focus on quality and relevance. Maybe you did field customer service calls in your early days as an account manager, but if you spent the past two years onboarding major clients and implementing a training program that increased sales, it pays to focus on those items instead.

A solid resume is your ticket to a job interview and eventual offer. Avoid these mistakes, and there’s a better chance your application won’t wind up in the trash.

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