Friday, September 1, 2017

Answering Reader Mail: I Got Really Sick Before An Interview & Still Went. Did I Make The Right Choice?

Dear New & Returning Readers,


Helloooooo, everyone!  Welcome back to my blog!  As you know I only blog when I feel inspired and hopefully feel that I have some wisdom or tips to impart.  I love helping people and that will never end.  Several people have encouraged me saying I should really charge for my services and insider knowledge. Seeing that I gained all this wisdom via experience or by reading, I can’t imagine why anyone would pay for what I consider free advice…  

In the future (like 20 years from now), I may send out a survey to see if there are services you feel aren’t fitting your needs as an executive assistant, admin person, job hunter, college graduate, young professional, business owner, executive, CEO, or anything else you can imagine to see what type of help people crave.  OR if you want to EMAIL me why you would PAY to hire someone like me, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Are you looking for networking advice, job hunting advice, resume services, interview prep, career navigation, LinkedIn self branding, or getting mentored about career/life? And what sort of online content you would pay for?

In the past I had been approached for various consulting gigs, which I’ve all turned down for one reason or another, despite how lucrative they were.  In the end, I know running a small business is a lot more work than people initially realize and my interests lie in helping CEOs/Owners run and maximize their business.  Being a business owner is not the path that I wanted to take and that’s okay!


So today I’m answering a reader’s question via my love of helping others! Today's reader asks the below.


"Today I had an interview and just as I arrived, I got really sick and wasn’t feeling well at all.  I don’t know if I ate something bad or just had some sort of reaction.  I seemed okay if you saw me.  However, I could definitely tell something was really wrong.  The interview went less than ideal, it may have been my worst interview ever.  This was not my #1 dream job if that helps.  During the interview the guy asked me if I was okay as I seemed to be in visible pain and extremely agitated.  I didn’t want to bring up something negative in case it sounded like an excuse so I gave profuse apologies that it wasn’t my intention at all.  I mentioned I was having a bad day and rarely react the way he described.  I didn’t want to go into a long explanation because it’s embarrassing.  So I minimized it so he would know this was a rare occurrence and the interview continued.  We both agreed the role was not a great fit for me because it wasn’t the right type of tasks and responsibilities so we concluded the meeting after about an hour.  Afterward, I sent a thank you card and explained my behavior. I sincerely apologized.  I wrote I felt really ill from a bad reaction while stating it would not happen again.  I explained I knew I could attend the meeting or reschedule.  However, I wanted to keep our commitment because it’s important to me to overcome obstacles and stick to a promise I made and to deliver. What you would have done if you were in my situation?" 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

On Work / Life Balance and Supporting Those You Love

Dear Readers,

If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm an introvert and I like routine/being consistent more often than not.  Being introverted doesn't mean I'm shy or I dislike being around people.  Rather, it means that I tend to get drained very quickly when I go out and socialize for too long of a period.  I need a lot of down time and quiet surroundings to feel re-energized and to feel like myself again.  And the routine part means that I like being mindful with how I spend my time and am methodical about it.

Like almost everyone, regardless of profession, I struggle with work / life balance.  And most often in life, my largest struggles center around knowing the sweet spot of when is something too much versus too little.  At what point is something acceptable vs unacceptable?  Where do I draw the line?  Much of the time this also might look like a struggle between head and heart, logic and desire.  This, of course, not only affects me, but also those around me, especially my loved ones.

I wrote the following post at my 3rd blog site about how I've come to view work / life balance, my needs, in relation to others, their need for it, and how I support them.  If you read all the way through, you'll see that this post is relatable to anyone regardless of the lens I filter my personal story through.  And if I'm being really honest, it means the post was written as a reminder to myself when I I'm doing too much of one thing vs what I really should be doing.

I've pasted it for you here:

This Will Convince Your Wife or Girlfriend To Let You Play More Golf — From A Woman Who Loves A Golf Addict (Men, Forward This To Your Wives or Girlfriends)

Dear Golf Addicts & Their Ladies,
Before I met my dear boyfriend, I had never dated a golfer. I was like you, completely lost to the obsession of golf that men have with the sport. As a former outsider, it seemed less of a game and more of a long leisurely stroll, mainly, for nothing. It really seemed as though they were chasing a little white ball over here and over there and in between they were really just wanting an excuse to drink, smoke cigars, and hang out with their buddies. That might be the case with casual golfers. I thought to myself, if hanging out is really the point, just go on a hike with your buddies or we should just have a bar-be-que, throw a little party so all the wives and girlfriends could come too. So you might be wondering why I encourage my boyfriend to play as much golf as he wants.
When you are in love with a golf fanatic, it’s much different. It really is about their drive and love/hate relationship of wanting to improve their swing, their score, and that addictive chase of an amazing shot. It really is about “flow” where they are so in the zone, in the moment, in that space between where something is not so easy they get bored and borderline so hard they want to give up and pull out their hair. It’s that delicate balance of finding that right mix of good technique, a good strategy, vision, and feeling just challenged enough to chase the ultimate personal record which always seems so close, within reach, yet so far away.
If they are not playing every weekend or the entire weekend, they are practicing every single day — chipping and putting on the range, working on their short game. And it’s not just them being gone half of the day, it’s the obsession with the right club or the latest equipment. It’s as though looking at, buying, and collecting all the stuff is part of the obsession too. There’s also re-living with their buddies the best shot they ever hit or that one time when such and such happened, just insert that one same story [right here]. You know, the one that you can never relate to or understand what’s so funny.
To an outsider, golf just seems so boring compared to other sports. Where’s the excitement, the cheering and the yelling, the team camaraderie? No, in golf, if you tag along you have to be quiet, and observe so many rules, and be out in the hot sun or the cold wind. There’s no Jumbotron screen so you can catch all the action, see the instant replays, conveniently placed bathrooms, or 50 different counters to buy burgers, fries and ice cream.
But here’s what I’ve learned even before I met my dear boyfriend. Everyone, and I mean everyone, you, me, we all have something we’re obsessed with — yours might be marathons, crossfit, guilty-pleasure TV, yoga, reading, or your pet. And whatever your drug of choice is, I’m sure your boyfriend or dear husband, at the very least, loves to make fun of you for it. And at the very worst, hates having to hear you drone on about it or even join you when you’ve asked them to be next to you to watch/participate. And when they do agree, that one time a year or every 5 years, you’re so happy, even if they do it begrudgingly. Secretly he is hoping you’d just call your 20 girlfriends to gab about x, y, z instead.
Here’s what’s important to remember. Just like you, your man works. While you have your own career or are putting out fires as a stay-at-home mom and homemaker, or being a philanthropist, your man is out there at the office, out in the field, busting his a** doing what he does for a living. He works 40, maybe 50, 60+ hours a week sometimes. He provides for you, takes care of you, and is there for you in every way humanly possible. Because good men THRIVE on making their women happy, knowing he can please her. This might come as a big shock to you, but they really only live to have your respect. They want to impress you, have you be proud to be with them, and to make you smile. They want to be your superhero. They may not say this or have shown this at times, but that desire to know they make a world of difference in your life is there. If anything, the silent ones need and want this the most. It’s what gives them joy, a sense of accomplishment, and makes them feel like a man. If he can go out into the world and make an honest living and put a roof over his lady’s head or buy her a burger with cheese on it, he feels like a king. If he can make you laugh or share a fear knowing you will listen or feel that the spark between you two is so electric, it makes him feel alive and invincible. It’s YOU that makes him feel that way and no one else.
It’s known that men don’t have a lot of friends, or aren’t as close to their friends as women are with their best friends. It’s known that men aren’t allowed to be as open, emotional, or cry as much as women; it’s why statistically they die at a younger age than women. So trust me when I say he does EVERYTHING for you, in your name, as a demonstration of his love, to see your face light up and your eyes sparkle. Why? Because you are his Queen. You, the love of his life, are his world, his best friend, his confidante, his everything. So you might be asking what does this have to do with golf?!
Because here’s the secret. When you let men, people really, do whatever their heart desires, they get really happy. Your loved ones, they feel valued, validated, supported, and loved. They feel as though you see them for the unique individual that they are. They feel understood, heard, seen and cared for. And when they feel that way, they love you even more. I’m not saying you should do this because of what you’ll get in return. I’m saying you should do this because it’s the right thing to do and what you believe in. Because if you do it for any other reason besides that, he will know, and see right through your act. Be a good person, not because they are a good person, but because you are.
So how do you do it and also mean it? Have your own interests, be your own person, and go out and do something while he is golfing so that you are having just as much fun as he is. In every relationship, you have to have some independence and different hobbies. Otherwise, it just gets boring. Everyone also needs “me time.” You know the saying, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Will the world end if he plays golf on the weekend when he’s working Monday through Friday for you? Is it so terrible that he has the day all to himself to relax and do what he wants to do? What would happen if you happily let him go play as much as he wanted instead of him fighting to get out of the house? Try it one time, see what happens. I know, because I’ve tried it, even before I met my sweet, beloved golf addict.
Let’s do a quick math problem together. To play a round of golf, 18 holes, takes about 4 hours. Let’s pad it to 5 hours in case they like to show up early to warm up and practice on the golf range or the group in front of them is playing slow or someone shows up late. If you live in Los Angeles like I do and traffic is horrendous, let’s account for 1 hour of traffic each way. So now we are at 7 hours. Let’s add in another hour in case they eat lunch after 9 holes at the club house. Or even if they play straight through and eat between the holes from something from the golf cart snack lady, let’s keep that 1 hour cause maybe they want to have a nice cold drink and shoot the sh*t with their boys at the end of the day. So now we’re up to 8 hours of your man being gone to drive, play golf, and hang out. That’s a WORST-CASE SCENARIO, that your man is gone an entire work day to play golf.
We can also be very pragmatic. You work, your man works, so Monday through Friday you are each working and contributing to the managing the household and finances. Because your man is obsessed with golf, I’m going to assume he wants to play both Saturday and Sunday. Since there are 24 hours in a day, I think about it like this.
8 hours of sleep
8 hours of working or golfing
8 hours of free time
Granted, that’s a very rough breakdown because we get ready for work and have to commute so that might really only leave about 5 hours of free time each day Monday through Friday, that’s 25 hours. There is also 16 hours of non sleep time on Saturday and another 16 hours of non sleep time Sunday, 32 hours total. That’s a lot of free time. Are you telling me that your man can’t be gone for 8 hours on Saturday and/or Sunday to play golf if it leaves you 41 hours with him? 41 hours is a lot of hours. Being gone for 8 hours is the worst-case scenario because I doubled the 4 hours it takes to play 18 holes. If you have kids, he can play and come back after 5 hour or 6 hours. If he just wants to practice his short game he will be done in half that time. There are very few situations where letting your man leave for golf should be an issue.
If you’re going to have the argument of not having enough quality time with your man, relationship books say you only need 15 hours of quality time a week to have a close, intimate relationship. Quality time is defined as being together or doing an activity together that is engaging and you interact with each other, hopefully without cell phones or disruptions. Going to the movies or co-existing in silence does not count toward the 15 hours. Talking about the movie for 30 minutes afterward does. Catching up on your day over a meal counts, spending time with the kids counts, cooking together, jogging while talking together counts, date night counts, having a cocktail together at home counts. Almost any activity where you talk, laugh, share ideas, and actively enjoy each other’s company, and become closer counts. And those 15 hours can be spread out during the week. It can be two hours each night or any other configuration. The only goal is to have fun or a meaningful time together for 15 hours a week. It’s about giving each other your undivided, focused attention. So short of having a baby or if one of you is a raging workaholic, there is enough time for golf and quality time with loved ones. There is always enough time if, as a couple and a family, you have your priorities in order and do what is meaningful to you both.
There’s also give and take, push and pull in every relationship. So the more you get angry and upset that your man is playing too much golf, the more he will want to play to get away from your negative energy. The more you encourage him to go play, the more he will look forward to coming home to a positive and happy Queen. Encourage him to go play if for nothing else than to have time for yourself to go for a special mommy/daughter or mommy/son outing, a mani/pedi, a nap, or a massage or to take a long bubble bath, and catch up on whatever you wish. Treat yourself while he is out doing his thing and do a trade off. He gets to golf during the day while you go out with your girlfriends and he cooks dinner or watches the kids or tidies up the house at night.
Your man will come home happier, less stressed, and more energized to spend quality time with you. Accept him as he is. It will be easier to love him. While you may not believe me and everything that I’ve written, just trust me and give it time. While you adjust to the idea that if you let him play as much golf as he wants and worry he may never come home, just remember this saving grace. Golf can only be played during daylight hours. Hallelujah!
P.S. Golfers, don’t forget to forward this to your wives or girlfriend. Also, you’re welcome.



***New “rule” - when you ask me a question for anonymous advice and I answer it, could you write an anonymous comment so I know you're the one who ASKED and read the post?   :)

As always, I usually tweet any new posts I have. And anyone can email me questions and I respond only via this blog, not to your personal address.

I also write over at Jobstr.com under Hollywood Executive Assistant.

http://jobstr.com/threads/show/4303-hollywood-executive-assistant

Friday, March 10, 2017

10 Tips for Setting Up Your Social Media & Internet Presence Safely to Improve Your Job Search & to Protect Yourself

Hello New & Returning Readers,

About 2 years ago I wrote an in-depth post about how I job hunt.  I had always meant to expound on that post about how the internet, social media, and networking online play a very big role for how I conduct my search and also improve my chances of protecting myself.  So I figured, now would be a good time for part 2.  Here are my 10 tips on setting yourself up for a great job search, whether for the very first time or not.  AKA – Kiyomi’s 10 Tips for Setting Up Your Social Media & Internet Presence Safely to Improve Your Job Search & to Protect Yourself

They say that the interview starts even before you’ve walked through the door and it’s true.  Except in this day and age, it also starts even before they’ve contacted you for that interview to walk through their door.  Your online presence is probably everywhere and can be hurting you without you knowing it.  Whether fair or not, people make decisions based on emotions sometimes and exercise their personal preferences.  Here are some tips to think about.  I will admit they are not conventional, at all.    

1. Have more than one phone number and email address - Besides your personal cell number from your iPhone, get another free number just for job hunting or work.  Google voice, Sideline, and other companies offer local phone numbers for free.  They all connect to your cell phone, have texting capabilities, have apps, and offer voicemail with transcribed messages.  It’s also a good idea to have different emails for different purposes.  One for online shopping, one for job hunting/business, one for personal friends and family.  Through Gmail you can funnel all of them to one gmail address so you only have to sign into one account, yet you can reply back from the specific account that someone wrote to you at as well.  This way all of your accounts are separate.  This is key (more on that later).   

2. List your resume on career job sites - Okay, a lot of people will tell you it’s not worth it to post your resume on sites like Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, etc.  The dangers are a lot of spam or recruiters in a different country or state reaching out to you with ill intent, etc.  As long as you are smart and don’t give out your social security number via email through them, I think you’ll be fine.  The reason why I believe in doing this is because I once got found by Facebook through one of those sites.  Yes, Facebook!  This was 2011 and I got really lucky.  The LA office was tiny.  They had asked an outside company to look for an assistant.  This outside company did NOT specialize in hiring EAs nor admin at all.  However, Facebook was so over-extended that they couldn’t do it themselves.  That company looked online and found me.  I could NOT believe it either.  I got an actual interview out of it too.  I was not the right fit.  They wanted to promote someone to a sales role eventually which I had no interest in.  So while that may never happen again, I still post my resume online with a stripped down version because you never know.  
 
3. How to strip down your resume - An online stripped resume is used to post at sites like Monster or CareerBuilder that have resume databases for when any recruiters want to see who’s looking for a job.  These are generally pretty public for recruiters who have paying memberships.  (And they are slightly different than sites where you can save/hold your resume online, but only you can decide which specific company sees your resume when you 1-click apply to a specific job posting.  I’m not referring to those sites.  You can use your real full resume for those since it will be hidden until you give permission to share to each company.)  Thus, my online resume that anyone can see at anytime, does not list my supervisor/boss’ name at any of my jobs.  My private cell is not listed, since I have the free job hunt cell number from Google Voice.  I do not put my full address on it, just my city and state.  You can also use your job hunt email or an even more modified version of your email address if you use Gmail.  Search Gmail hacks for using the + symbol to have your email inbox sort various accounts by what you use in conjunction with the + sign (Monster, CareerBuilder, etc).  Or you can use them as a “disappearing” email address for newsletter sign ups and to track who actually sold or shared your email address.  

4. Do not use your real name on social media sites - I know MANY people may disagree with me or raise their eyebrows at this.  Just hear me out.  When I say social media sites, I mean sites you use purely for personal posting and for socialising.  Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Pinterest, dating apps, or Twitter, as an executive assistant or admin assistant there really isn’t a reason why your personal postings should be under your real name.  If your job is in social media, that’s another story.  However, you do not need to be found with your full name or your job hunting email address/cell for any reason if you want to post about what you did that weekend or what you ate or bought etc.  As a testament to this, recruiting agencies or HR folks WILL Google you and WILL look you up on social media sites.  While it’s not fair that what they find may be used against you, they most likely will.  The more personal information you have online, the more they can use it against you.  Agencies will tell you to scrub your profile clean and will warn you their clients will also look you up.  

5. The ONLY time to use your real name is with LinkedIn and maybe Twitter - LinkedIn is a “social” media site for professionals which is why it’s the only one you should DEFINITELY list your real name.  Also list a photo (optional) and your job hunting email address, not the one work gave you.  With Twitter, depending on how you use it, you can use your real name.  If you are only using it to re-tweet and tweet business related content, by all means, go for it.  However, even then, there’s a news story online almost every week in which someone tweeted something and then got fired for it even if what they commented on was or was not related to work.  The problem lies in whatever they said, did, or endorsed was so terrible that people started to Google them and found out where they worked, it goes viral, the company they work for gets brought into the drama and things get worse from there.  I’m not saying you can’t have an online presence, I’m saying you should have separate accounts - lots of them.  But also, be a good person and learn from your mistakes.  

6. Separate accounts should truly be separate - Any names and photos you use for your NON WORK accounts should be nicknames, fake names, partial names, or photos where your face is not shown.  Use your pets’ photos, your favorite cartoon character, etc.  And make sure that you do NOT use the same photo or screen name across different social media sites.  Once they figure out who you are, if they go to another site they just have to look for the same name/phone/etc and they’ve found you everywhere.  So the key is to have a completely different fake name and fake photo for EACH account and that YOU add new people that are personal friends because new friends won’t be able to find you.  I’ve read articles online where people who use dating apps tend to use the best photo of themselves also for LinkedIn, Twitter, etc so even if your last name isn’t shown on one site/app, you can be found easily through other ones.        

7. Have multiple accounts for social media -  I sometimes have more than 1 account for social networks.  It’s wise to have a couple of accounts for EACH social media site if you will truly use it for work stuff. My name listed there does not have my full name regardless of if I’m using it for professional or personal use.  I only use my full name at LinkedIn and Twitter.   I am a part of 2 professional networking groups that are invite only.  They are professional groups on social media sites so a lot of people go there for advice, to vent, get feedback, or network with peers.  Almost any industry is small with about only 2 degrees of separation.  The point is, you don’t want random HR recruiters being able to find you online anytime you apply for a job.  Not that you have anything to hide, but do they really need to see a photo of you with a drink in each hand?  Or maybe wedding photos where they might think you spent too much money or perhaps not enough, even though it’s none of their business.  Or maybe they are a dog friendly office and see you are a cat person so they’d rather hire someone who also owns a dog.  Petty, yes.  Believable, also yes.  

8. Anything you write, online, in emails, in texts, anywhere, whether personal or business, assume it can be found and published at some point - With so much going on with hacking and lack of privacy online, assume that anything you write could potentially be seen by the entire world even if it’s 10 years from now, whether you are famous or not.  When Sony got hacked all those work emails got published and then archived forever to be searched by anyone for eternity.  Headlines mentioned a lot of personal things came to light.  You can never be too careful.  I just never understood why people used their work email address for personal use if the subject was strictly personal.  I realize a lot of these measures are very restrictive and you certainly have to pick your battles because you can’t live in a box or in fear your entire life.  I admit, it’s hard to know where to draw the line.      

9. At least twice a year, check your online presence - It’s always a good idea to Google yourself online and see what pops up.  Don’t forget to Google various name combinations, spellings, or your maiden name, etc.  You’ll want to see what links come up first, what pictures show up for you, or if other people have the same name for you that might affect you.  A couple of weeks ago, on Facebook, there was a post getting passed around about where you live, your family members, age, and contact information were visible at Family Tree Now so you should opt out.  I went to look and sure enough my information was there.  It’s probably a good idea to check a couple more sites that post public information for free online to see if you can opt out.  Also make sure your privacy settings are set so that people can NOT search for you in the public directory of any social media site.  This also means do not have your profile available to the public/Google search indexes, or without someone signing in and creating their own account.  Also delete old accounts, like MySpace.  If you find not nice things on the internet, figure out how to remove it or make it go further down on search results.  One of the ways to make it go away or not show up so high on Google is to create other pages for yourself so those rank higher.  You can create free pages at Strikingly, About.me, or other similar sites.  Showcase yourself as a professional, but also humanize your profile by giving a glimpse of who you are as a person with what your fave business book is, or your hobbies, or where you volunteer, etc.  Again, HR folks should not be able to look for you at all with your job hunting email address, personal or job hunting cell number, real name, or a real photo via using Google’s reverse image search.  And if it’s really bad or really urgent...  

10.  Hire a company to help you - A journalist friend of mine that wrote for a MAJOR front page web portal once was a random victim of repeated attacks on all their articles.  Someone who was bored had created an ENTIRE page/website to this person just to point out all of their mistakes.  Their colleague was very good with computers so they were able to figure out it was a complete stranger doing it and not anyone they knew at all, just an internet troll.  Unfortunately, by googling their name alone, this site comes up on the first page.  It’s towards the bottom, but it’s not a great first impression to make.  Companies like Reputation Management work with individuals as well as celebrities and companies in various different ways to help you manage your online identity.   

Now that you are harder to be found via your personal info and personal social media sites, create your own luck.  The goal in any job hunt is to find the hidden market, help others, grow and keep in touch with your network, and use the internet as a gateway to lead to a phone call, informational meeting, job interview, or fostering an in-person relationship.  Always send a cold email or take a chance.  Never be afraid to hear no as long as you asked nicely, are humble, and give them plenty of room to say no.  A future post will go over more tips on how I create my own luck.




***New “rule” - when you ask me a question for anonymous advice and I answer it, could you write an anonymous comment so I know you're the one who ASKED and read the post?   :)  

As always, I usually tweet any new posts I have. And anyone can email me questions and I respond only via this blog, not to your personal address.

I also write over at Jobstr.com under Hollywood Executive Assistant.

http://jobstr.com/threads/show/4303-hollywood-executive-assistant



Sunday, February 5, 2017

Inspiration

Hello, Readers!  It has been forever!  I've been alive and well.  The last half of 2016 was CRAZY for me.  It's why I've been so absent from my blog.  The more I write, the harder it is to find inspiration.  I have so many ideas brewing, but not enough to churn out a post worthy of your eyes of lessons I've learned or tips to give you or any answers about life.  With the New Year, life has been about finding inspiration.  What drives me?  What burns a desire in me?  What do I want to learn about and do for free even if it went absolutely nowhere, just because I love it?  Right now, that answer seems to be sports, and not necessarily playing it, but learning about it, and writing about it.  You know me, I love learning.  I love reading.  I will read many different topics, mostly non fiction.  Many years ago, I read "random" books - Andre Agassi's OPEN.  I've never played tennis in my life.  Still, it was one of my favorite books.  I've read a couple of books about Phil Jackson and the Chicago Bulls.  I never played basketball on a team or anything.  I've been to maybe less than 10 basketball games in my life and never watch it on TV.  Yet, I'm drawn to people and teams who are successful and how people make changes and overcome.  I've also read 2 books about Tiger Woods.  The one he wrote called HOW I PLAY GOLF and one book written about him.  I found both fascinating.  Again, I've never really played golf, I've been on the driving range twice.  I was TERRIBLE.  LOL  But the great thing about life and being curious is, you can find inspiration in the most random places.  I remember reading an article or essay about a well-known advertising agent.  He's really old, I can't remember his name or where I read it, but he was responsible for the magazine cover of Muhammad Ali with arrows sticking out of him or an a cross like Jesus.  His Sunday ritual was going to the museum every weekend for inspiration.  That was his methodology.  For decades he found so many of his ideas there.  And reading, movies, art, random things, and enjoying life are my methodologies.  So I am now blogging on a THIRD site.  (Don't worry, I will also still write here about my career too.)  If you're a reader of my blog here and like my style, it's very similar.  The only difference is, my writing comes from a different lens.  It's about the intersection of life, movies, books, hope, inspiration, learning, growing, self reflection, and golf.  In the end, all my writing is about helping others, reflecting on life, and sharing my adventures both big and small.  

My New Blog (my 3rd one)

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Where do you find your inspiration in the most random places?  What did you learn?  Leave me a comment below!  Tell me if you hated or loved my new blog post in that comments section or here.  And if you love my 3rd blog, please don't forget to bookmark it.  



***New “rule” - when you ask me a question for anonymous advice and I answer it, could you write an anonymous comment so I know you're the one who ASKED and read the post?   :)  

As always, I usually tweet any new posts I have. And anyone can email me questions and I respond only via this blog, not to your personal address. 

I also write over at Jobstr.com under Hollywood Executive Assistant. 

http://jobstr.com/threads/show/4303-hollywood-executive-assistant

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

5 Traits of the Best Boss I Ever Had

I’ve had many amazing bosses and my luck with finding the best bosses is quite unheard of.  Many I’ve worked for were the most down to earth, humble, smartest, kindest and richest people in the world, but you would never know it by meeting them.  My bosses were not extraordinary in terms of charm, looks, humor, or personality.  By all outward appearances and spending a few minutes or even an hour with them, you’d walk away not realizing you were in the company of some of the greatest business people in the industry.  Today’s post on the best boss I ever had was actually the least well-known and also the least highest-ranking.  In fact, this boss was just barely at management level or had only been in the role a couple of years.  And it’s worth noting, all the below traits were held by all my great bosses.  I think what made this specific person the best boss I ever had was how much depth and breadth they had in their mastery.  


  1. This person was “self-made.”  


All my bosses were self-made.  There was no nepotism or anything of the sort at play.  This specific boss - their educational background was not Ivy League.  I can only assume they either didn’t go to college or went to a state university such as UCLA, UC Irvine, or Cal State LA, etc.  They probably came from a blue collar or middle class family.  Many of my other bosses were also from “regular” and also Ivy League schools.  And while we can’t deny going to a great college helps, the bottom line is, you don’t HAVE to go to a great college, or even go to college at all, to be a great manager, leader, or a star performer.  I believe where and how one learns just comes from different avenues and sources.  For example, I love this thing that has been making the rounds…



2.  This boss was relatable.


Most of my bosses could talk politics, the environment, current events, and tech.  When I say relatable, I also mean this person could talk to someone under 25 and know enough about culture or trends to also share what they enjoyed and why.  They could carry on a 15 min conversation and tell some funny stories too; it wasn’t just topical banter.  However they related to some, age 22 or 82, it was authentic.  They could also talk to a traveling foreigner about gourmet/foodie culture, sometimes in that exec’s native language.  I’ve had bosses who were trilingual, I’ve had bosses who were bilingual, and I’ve had bosses who spoke only English.   And what made this boss so likable was because they were so relatable, the every man and the every woman, sorta like how Tom Hanks is the every man in Hollywood.  They were personable.


3.  This manager provided excellent training and mentorship.  


The sheer hours of mentoring I received from this person was unmatched.  I’ve been groomed well and taught across the board in each of the roles I’ve held.  However, that was more basic training on how the office runs/works, my boss’ personal preference, and additional business acumen in various ways because it was a new dept, company, or field.  This boss upped my game and provided a higher level of one-on-one training, leadership, and management skills.  I also got to understand them a lot as a person, an employee, my boss, and peer just thru how they interacted with me, others, and coached me.  In some instances I was almost shadowing them, though this was very rare.  It’s one thing to be in a room and listening in.  It’s another to be at the table, leaning in, and getting tips and pointers once the mtg ends on why something was said, why this vs that decision was chosen, or why the better course of action/process is this.  There was a lot of consistent backfilling, explaining, feedback, and training for more than the customary one week or two weeks during onboarding.  This training and mentorship was extensive, thorough, and specific.


4. This executive was flexible and would bend rules, appropriately.


This executive had very sound judgment, interpersonal, and communication skills.  The soft skills they possessed, along with the hard skills was impressive.  They were able to navigate office politics very well because they smart and were “low enough” on the totem pole to know the various employees, departments, and the “masses” pretty well, but also just high enough on the management ladder that they could enlist change or provide exceptional insight.  Their role was in the middle of that sweet spot of having their feet in both worlds.  They would never do anything illegal, immoral, or overstep their jurisdiction, but if the rules should or needed to be bended slightly, they would be.  And they could gently persuade the rest of the team to come aboard on a plan, or point out things that were important to keep in mind during the decision-making process.  I also think this was possible because they were so relatable, they probably knew almost every single person in the company, if not all of them.  They had a personal/cordial friendship with each employee.  While this boss wasn’t the “class clown” or the “most popular/coolest” employee, they were certainly well-liked, respected, and most likely perceived as fun, funny, smart, and very fair.  So they had a lot of allies and would only use that leverage that would benefit the entire team/company.  They were also very firm and diplomatic, but in the nicest of ways or a sensible authoritative way.  


5.  This boss would not take anything personally and was a realist.


That this boss was a realist and would not take anything personally was the most admirable and defining trait.  I’ve never seen them mad or upset for THEMSELVES/THEIR NEEDS.  Like President Obama, the Dalai Lama, or the Royal Couple, they were always present, gracious, and attentive.  They did not seem to have a bad day.  Nothing was ever about them.  They were never in a bad mood, tired, or crabby.  And I always wonder about that.  Does the Dalai Lama EVER get mad?  And HOW is the Dalai Lama so patient and forgiving?       


I read a book once that said when people get mad, the reason is because now X has become more important than them.  And it sounds very simple, but it’s true.  This person was able to not take offense nor hold anyone in blame.  They could make the distinction that it was not personal.  I had only seen them so very empathetic and sympathetic for their team, employees, and the company.  They were very selfless in the truest sense of the word and lacked an ego.  The perspective they held was not personal, subjective, nor selfish.  


At work, their mindset and focus was always, what’s good for our employees, the company’s goals, and the company’s culture.  Like so many admirable public figures they constantly give of themselves where you feel like nothing else in the world exists and their attention is focused solely on you or the company.  They are good with all sorts of people - VIP, civilians, luminaries.  Their public persona was also their private persona.  However, since this boss was the least well-known, I should actually say their private persona was the public one…  I had never seen them do press because that’s how non-famous they were.  


And this boss was able to see clearly any situation without being waysided about their career trajectory, their workload, getting credit or blame, or their comfort.  In dealing with others on tasks, projects, or in meetings, they were able to account for each person’s strengths or lack of them, and would let that person succeed or navigate/solve things their own way.  It was very unlikely an employee would fail in a spectacular fashion, but this boss gave the employee the room to manage something and if the work was not of A++++ quality, it was fine.  This executive understood, as with all situations, problems and conflicts in life/work, there is typically no real or perfect solution.  When disagreements arise, everything is a difference of opinion, preference, or values. The only "solution" is to learn to deal with it better (not get frustrated), leave, or stay & try to troubleshoot/problem solve for the next time.  


They accepted people as they were and understood/assumed everyone was operating at their very best.  They didn’t expect one to change or do things a different way.  They very, very rarely might offer a suggestion or a tip, but if one didn’t take it, they didn’t even bat an eye.  They led with positive reinforcement and ignored anything else.  They understood that people have a core set of talents. We CAN all learn new skills and get better/improve, but it's unrealistic to ask/expect someone who is more left-brained (more organized and systematic) to be more right-brained (more creative and intuitive) and vice versa. Very few people have BOTH sets of skills at a very high level.  Skills are on a continuum/spectrum which means one set of skills is a lot more lacking than others based on if you are right or left brained.  


This executive never got annoyed, upset, or angry when something didn’t pan out as well as it should have because they didn’t expect perfection or for everyone to perform at the same level.  They really saw people for who they really were, in that specific moment or scenario and accepted it.  They were very patient, helpful, and wanted to help you succeed/grow, but only if you were interested.  They realized some, if not many, just had a job to have a paycheck, and others had a job because it was their life’s passions and they loved what they did for a living.  They understood that people had full and active lives outside of work and had interests or hobbies that may or may not relate to work.  


Most importantly, this executive was able to understand, relate, and cater to the entire/whole individual - one’s mindset, personality, work ethic, and quirks.  It’s sounds weird to say this, but I imagine this executive sort of saw every employee, regardless of rank or title, as their children (learning/growing individuals) and treated each with unconditional support, unconditional forgiveness, and unconditional encouragement with proper gentle feedback if/when needed.  Their attitude was very much a mix of, “Ask what you can do for your country,” “It is what it is,” “And this too shall pass...”


Completely selfless unconditional support, unconditional forgiveness, and unconditional encouragement takes a lifetime to master.  And somehow, this executive had that skill set very early.  While many of my bosses had these traits, it was only this boss that mastered them ALL at such a high level, so thoroughly, and didn’t have an “off” day.  And that’s what made this boss the best boss I ever had among the very many amazing bosses I’ve had the privilege to serve.  



***New “rule” - when you ask me a question for anonymous advice and I answer it, could you write an anonymous comment so I know you're the one who ASKED and read the post? :) As always, I usually tweet any new posts I have. And anyone can email me questions and I respond only via this blog, not to your personal address. I also write over at Jobstr.com under Hollywood Executive Assistant. http://jobstr.com/threads/show/4303-hollywood-executive-assistant

Friday, July 8, 2016

10 Tips on Taking a Vacation (and Derek DelGaudio)



Hi New and Returning Readers,

As you know I always wish I was blogging constantly, but it takes a lot of inspiration and something meaningful to impart for me to blog.  This is partly because I’ve been writing this blog for so long.  I’m also juggling work/life, and I want to be really passionate about what I write and share.  

Every day I feel very blessed in the life I lead.  Whether it’s because it was the 4th of July and I’ve heard too many freedom/USA/patriotic type songs or perhaps it’s because I know I should always be grateful for what I have, the reason is so not important.  I’ve been extremely busy both at work and in my social life and it’s all great and exciting stuff.  Each year gets better than the last and I am astonished how lucky I’ve been.  The high-octane lifestyle had me feeling tired and worn out; one can only operate at a break-neck speed for so long until you need to go on vacation or really unplug and do nothing.  After the long July 4th weekend, I do feel much better and every week, if not every day, I make time for non-work activities too, to get away from it all.  

A week or two ago, it was one of those weeks where my brain just felt tired.  I was stressed out from the pace of work and also the length of a couple of special projects with a long lead time.  I hadn’t gone to the gym and lunch for about a month or two and it was starting to have an affect on me in the tiniest of ways.  In the span of about 48 hours, I made about 5-6 minor mistakes, which is unheard of for me.  While I don’t have 100% accuracy, I’d say it’s pretty high up there as I am such a worrywart and have a fear of failure that I quadruple check stuff, don’t assume anything, also get others to help me proofread, and usually take a stance to over-communicate.  The mistakes were along the lines of typos, not explaining a request so it was 100% dummy-proof, and not catching a detail buried on a multi-page group email that had been forwarded to so many people by the time it got to me that I had to hunt and peck for the bits of information like I was looking for Waldo.  So my mistakes were generally understandable, but I was HORRIFIED and EMBARRASSED because it’s not my work ethic nor how I operate, and it was too many in such a short period of time.  More on this later -- how I bounced back.  Which brings me to today’s post...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My Boss Has Been Fired... Now what?

Hi Everyone,


I got a reader question that I wanted to answer.  For any new readers and for BL, I cover the basics so much of what I say to BL may or may not apply to them.  However, for new EAs, and those climbing the ladder, I want to be as thorough as possible. Here is their question:


"Hi!


I came across your blog and found it so informative and interesting.


I landed my dream job a year ago, I absolutely loved it and had plans to stay for the very long-term.


That's when the universe lowered the boom on me! My boss, the CEO, got fired in September last year and the company still hasn't started the process to replace him.


The company has told me they value me and want me to stay on, but it's been seven months now and I don't have any work to do, despite offering my services to a variety of Partners.


My company has now recently started 'cost savings initiatives'. I know that I earn SIGNIFICANTLY more than any of the other Assistants so I'm feeling vulnerable. I want to put my CV on the market but I don't know how to say that I'm leaving behind because my boss has been fired, I don't know when they're going to replace him, I don't have any work to do and I'm worried I'm next on the chopping block!


Is there any advice you can give me?"


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Interview Styles: How I Aced A Job Interview Without Selling Myself

I’ve been on many interviews over my career and have encountered many different interview styles - the behavioral interview, the panel format with a few people interviewing me at once, the “mean” interviewer, and so forth.  One interview “style” that caught me off guard was the NON interview style.  It was almost like going out for coffee, as it was more of a hello, meet and greet, and ZERO questions were asked about my background, skill set, or qualifications.  My resume was not even looked at.  So in an interview style without the actual interview questions to answer and sell myself, it was hard for me to figure out my competitive edge.  In the end, I passed with flying colors and here’s how.

Monday, July 20, 2015

10 Tips to be a Better Executive Assistant - Part 6

Here are 10 random tips I’ve culled over the years on how to be a better assistant.  This is part 6.


1.  Be a ninja

Whenever I go into people’s offices, I try to train them to understand that if I need them, I wait in the doorway until they see me or acknowledge me so I can ask them a question.  If I only need to drop stuff off, I walk in silently, don’t make any eye contact, put stuff in their in box, and leave silently.  This way, after repeated exposure, they understand don’t need to greet me and don’t need to stop working unless they want to.  Usually when I enter in silently, I will get a thank you and I say thank you/you’re welcome and leave.  Or sometimes they are so focused they do not even hear or see me come in.  So be a ninja!  And you might be interested in being another sort of ninja too.  http://officeninjas.com/about/


2.  Create an office bible

In case you get sick, go on vacation, or get hit by a bus, it’s always good to have an office bible so your temp or co-worker can have info at their fingertips when needed.  This will likely cut down on a lot of basic questions like the what the fax number is or your boss’ parking spot number.  Keep it somewhere where it can be easily found, but either limit the amount of confidential information or put it in the your top desk drawer so it’s not out in the open.  This office bible should list any detail you can think of from both basic information, like or dislikes, favorite catering places, etc.  Also have a digital version so you can easily find stuff by keywords or phrases.  If you need to list confidential information like passwords, put it in code by using hints, clues, or only putting part of the info, but use your best judgement.  Constantly update it as well.   


3.  Use your cell phone alarm

Chances are, you use your calendar to remind you about meetings and any important events. However, I found that not helpful and I’ve always used my cell phone’s alarm clock.  I have an Apple phone so I use the “chimes” tone because it’s soft, sounds pretty, and is not as disruptive as other sounds available.  The cell phone alarm clock method is much better because I set several alarms giving myself 15 min warning, 10 min warning, 5 min warning, and a warning for when the actual engagement is.  I also always have my cell phone with me so if I’m greeting guests, in the copy room, restroom, I don’t miss an alarm.  The alarm that everyone else can hear allows me to say, “Oh sorry, that’s just my alarm.  I have another meeting after this one.”  I also don’t write what the alarm is for, I generally know is on my calendar, but even if I don’t, I know I have something soon so I check my calendar right away.  I have 2 sets of alarms on my calendar.  The ones for work I label Wk in my phone and the really loud alarm that I use for myself at home or when I’m not at work is just labeled Alarm.


4.  Save all food orders and preferences

Chances are you order in lunch a lot and probably from the same 5-10 places.  I save “food profiles” of each individual for each restaurant.  This way, I tell them I will order them what they usually get unless they want to see the menu again.  This helps track preferences, any allergies, diet restrictions, and cuts down on circulating a menu and following up to make sure people get back to you in time.  For buffet style lunch meetings, I look back on the calendar or in my account history to see what was ordered and try to order completely new stuff so they don’t get bored.  I also try to find new places that cater or look for different cuisines to keep in interesting.


5.  Save emails and details

I very rarely delete any emails.  I will work at a company for 4 years and have emails archived from my very first year that I’ve had to look back at for handy information three years later.  When I book meetings for my boss, I paste in the body of the event the entire email thread to help refresh their memory or put in attachments and links as necessary.  Also list a phone number, parking instructions, confirmation numbers, and other details in the subject, location, or body fields of a calendar event.  


6.  Refer to the past, and start on a positive or grateful note

When I haven’t spoken to someone in a long time, or especially when I need help, I always try to remember a detail from our previous conversation or exchange for a more personal touch.  I will either ask them about it or thank them for something.  This can be anything from asking how their vacation was, their children’s recital, or thanking them for the lunch spot suggestion.  It starts the conversation on a positive note.


7.  Know the players of your industry, your local community, government officials, luminaries, and the competition

If you work for a high level executive, chances are, they know EVERYONE.  Whether that person is a governor, senator, actor, or works for a competing company, or is high profile - smart, wealthy, business people tend to network and know people from all walks of life through their philanthropy work, and have ties with universities, and probably worked with a great many of those they compete with.  At the core of every successful and rising executive is their desire to SOLVE A PROBLEM and that means they consult and meet with others to tackle and come together to solve an industry-wide problem, a policy problem, or a humanitarian problem.  So at least be familiar with all the key players, even if it’s just their name.  The degrees of separation are very few and they’ve met each other at conferences, retreats, seminars, and grew up with them at university or at the same companies when they were younger.  When you know the players and they call for your boss, you will save face instead of asking how to spell their name or what company they are calling from.


8.  Have your full signature in every email

I never understood those people who only had their name in their signature or only put the full signature in the very first email, but did not enable it for replies.  Your contact information should be easily found instead of people having to scroll through many emails to find it.  This is what should be in your signature - a closer like Best, Sincerely, or Regards, your full name, your job title and who your executive is, your mailing address, your email address, your phone number, and if applicable, your fax number, and if appropriate for your work responsibilities, your social media handles/info.  Don’t forget to do this for your cell phone if your work email is connected to it too.  


9.  Write down reminders as you think of them

As an EA, you will get stopped by so many people, interrupted a lot, and have to multitask.  Make sure you write down all requests or questions as you think of them.  I make it a habit to either text myself, email myself, or write it down in my notebook as it happens or the thought comes to me.  I utilize Siri a lot for this and if my mind wanders while I shower and I think of something, I repeat it to myself over and over until I get out.  LOL  You can also call your office line and leave yourself a voicemail, if helpful.    


10.  Try finding the answer first

The more self sufficient you are, the better colleague you can be.  Even if you need IT or tech support, most often you can Google for an answer or solution if you have a question about how to set up a signature in Outlook or do something in Excel.  If you need to put toner in your printer, either read the instructions by yourself or be taught how to do it once.  Also, take good notes so you don’t have to ask the same question even if something only comes up about 2-3 times a year.  I keep notes from my very first day on the job and find myself referring to certain passages every now and then.  Your co-workers will love you more if you can do those things yourself, as long as you are not breaking union rules.


***New “rule” - when you ask me a question for anonymous advice and I answer it, could you write an anonymous comment so I know you're the one who ASKED and read the post?   :)  

As always, I usually tweet any new posts I have. And anyone can email me questions and I respond only via this blog, not to your personal address.

I also write over at Jobstr.com under Hollywood Executive Assistant.

http://jobstr.com/threads/show/4303-hollywood-executive-assistant