Past Work Experience and Academic Achievement vs. Personable Personality for Getting Your Dream Job

Mistakes that most people make when preparing and going for job interviews is that they base their confidence more from their past work and academic achievement. And, that’s purely wrong.

When I consider hiring anyone for any position, I equally consider both the person’s past work experience and academic background, but most importantly, I look for the personality. It doesn’t matter how much experience and academic achievement you have attained, if your personality (attitudes) stinks, then your whole resume and any possibilities of getting hired are just a dud.

Stinky personality, I meant, don’t be cocky, too overly confidence, or displaying low self-esteem. Just be yourself. When preparing for the job interview, don’t memorize what they may or not ask, or be nervous of what or how to answer their questions. Just be yourself, and answer only the questions as asked. Read between the lines, look at their body language, facial expressions, and eye movements.

If he/she asks you a question, and you start answering it and then, he/she starts moving around, moving papers, reading a text message or typing on the computer, meaning not seems to pay any attention to whatever you are saying, then that’s an indication to stop talking. You are just rumbling too much irrelevant information, and that shows that he/she has no interest in whatever you are saying.

Don’t tell what they don’t ask. Answer the questions just as asked, and pay close attention to how they stare at you as you start speaking. Just tell the story of your life, personal, professional, or academic, just as you know it well, yourself. No one knows you more and better than yourself. Only answer what they ask, make it short, sweet, and straight to the point.

Overall and most importantly, think carefully what to say and how to say it, before you open your mouth to answer the question. But, don’t take too long while you are thinking how to answer the question. Be smart, be calm, be collective, and be creative by reading from their body movements and expressions, and then excite him or her with what you want him or her to hear and know more about you.

Lastly, and very important. When you walk in his or her office, make that office environment to suit you, so you can be comfortable and less nervous. As you enter the office, look around the office, most of the times, he or she has some pictures on his or her desk; perhaps some family photos, or whatever pictures on his or her desk.

Those items on his or her desk can tell you a lot about his or her personality. If the pictures are family photos, then you know that he or she’s a family oriented person, and try to capitalize on that by, as soon as you walk in the office, mention the pictures by complimenting them and then relate to yourself. If you are a family person, then also briefly mention your family. Bosses like to know that you are a family person, because that shows stability and consistency in your personal relationship, social life, and characteristics.

If there are no photos on the desk, then look at the office view, or just find anything that may be of interest to you. May be look through the office window or whatever stands out in that office and then mention it in complement. Doing this at the very beginning of the interview helps you to break the ice, and make his or her office environment suit you, and then use that to your advantage by being less nervous, and that enables you to answer comfortably any questions that he or she may ask.

Don't show up like this!

In summary, don’t memorize what questions they may ask, simply be yourself, calm and collective, and answer only what you are asked.

Stop rumbling words when they start yawning, staring at your breasts, scratching their heads or his crotch (you may want to walk out right then if that happens) or if he or she starts looking around with no sign of interest in whatever you are saying.

And if you are religious, it doesn’t hurt to say a little prayer for God to speak for you, through you so you can answer what they want to hear and that God may open their ears, so they can better comprehend whatever you are saying to them.

It’s the job that you want, go get it!

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Dream, Make a Wish, and Act on It

To dream is to wish, to wish is to set a goal for yourself of what you, no body else, but what you want to be doing or become at some point in your life. No matter who you are, where you are from, or what you are, you too can dream, you too can make a wish, and set a goal for yourself, whatever that might be, and act on it. You can’t just dream and make a wish, you have to act on it, and do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Just sit back for a minute, and ask yourself; what is it that you really want in your life? What is it that you need to do in order to get what you want? What does it take and how long will it take for you to get it? Then make a move; go get it.

The only difference between you and the guy next door who is living his dream, the guy who you be starring at, dissing and hating, it’s because he did whatever needed to make his dream and wish come true, while you haven’t. You simply sat back and watch it go by, you got lazy, you got scared to go out there and make it happen.

Don’t stop dreaming, but don’t just dream and wish for things to automatically happen for you the way you want them, you have to do whatever it takes to make it happen. No body else can do it for you but you.

You only get one chance in life, so make every minute count!

A Success Story: Guided by an Angel

I grew up on a farm with my mom. My dad always lived in a city where he worked and only came home rarely, on weekends, not every weekend, but may be twice a year. I was the oldest male-child in the house, after my older brother went in exile and joined SWAPO, a political organization that fought to liberate Namibia from the South African apartheid government.

Since I was the oldest son left at home, with two of my young brothers and youngest, baby sister, and my mom, I had to take on the tasks, which were generally handled by adult males, usually the fathers, the heads of household. Tasks such as plowing the field during the rainy season, looking after our farm animals, and simply maintaining the exterior and interior structure of the house and the sprawling, long and high, fence that covered our farm of more than 75,000 acres of land.

These kinds of tasks had to be dealt with constantly on a daily basis, every day of the week. And since I was just a little boy, in addition to helping my mom at home with all these tasks, I also had to go to school and keep up with my homework and study. Most parents then discouraged their children from going to school, so they could stay at home and work. However, I had and still have a wonderful, the best mom, not only that she never asked me to stay out of school, she actually helped me study. She actually taught me how to read, even before I started school. For all of us, her children, to get an education was her first priority.

In order to stay on top of all the household chores and school homework, I made a deal with my mom. That we’d go to school three days a week, and stay to work at home on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. On the days we had to go to school, we would get up at five in the morning, and work in the field before leaving for school. And then after school, we would go to work in the field some more and attend to our farm animals.

That was my daily life, everyday of each week, except on Sundays when we had to go to church and rest up. In my whole neighborhood, I was one of the very few kids who went and stayed in school. Most of them stayed at home, and probably never even passed standard 5, let alone finish school.

In primary (elementary) school, I was smart, but not the smartest kid. Luckily, there was this girl in my first grade class, standard one. Her name was Katalina Asino, and she was so beautiful. She was so beautiful that she took my breath away each time I looked at her. I have to say now that I had fallen in love with her the very first time I laid my eyes on her on the first day of class. However, Katalina didn’t come from my neighborhood but from the opposite side of our school. I was from the east side and she was from the west side of the school. So, the only time I could get to see her was if I had gone to school.

Not only that Katalina was the most beautiful girl in the whole school, she was also the smartest kid in class. I immediately befriended her, the very first day of school, the very same day I met her in class. However, if I had to be her friend, or maybe I could now say, her boyfriend then, then I’d have to be smart like her as well. So I had to push myself harder, study harder, just so I could keep up with her in class, and still be able to play together outside of the class, during the school recess.

At home, when I was not at school, I missed her a lot, and so I had to talk to my mom about me going to school every school day, instead of just a few days a week. Basically so I could see Katalina. Of course I didn’t tell my mom why I really wanted to go to school every day, but my mom perfectly understood the need to be at school every day regardless of the never ending house chores. So, she let me go to school five days a week, but so as long as we would work on our farm before and after class.

At school, I was able to see Katalina every school day, but I was also able to keep up with her academically. That was the whole thing about being her friend. It wouldn’t have looked good to be her friend and not be smart. Because in quizzes and tests, so as in the exams, Katalina was always the first student and I was second in class. There has been times that I was also either the first and she was second. It was beautiful. I was able to do my chores at home and be the second best student at school.

Times went on like that for years until we got in standard four (grade six). We had also gotten a bit older, and Katalina started looking and talking to other boys, other than just me. And when she did, her school work started to slack too, to the point that she barely passed standard four. In standard five, she was slacking far behind. We weren’t even talking as best friends by then, as she was seeing and dating another guy, Gottlieb, who was one of my best friends. I was devastated when Katalina and I were no longer friends. I couldn’t sleep at times at home, nor could I do anything else, because my mind and thoughts were about Katalina. I wrote her several love letters and most times, she would throw them away, letting the whole school read them. That had hurt me so much that I felt like quitting school. But I never did, because I am not and have never given up on anything that I’ve wanted in my life, and at that time school became my only priority.

Gottlieb knew that Katalina was my girl, and he would tell me about all the fun things they’d be doing, him and Katalina, just to shove it in my face and then laugh at me, which to him was just a big joke, but to me, even if I didn’t show it, deep down inside of me, I was horrified. However, instead of looking down on myself, I lifted my head up high and I studied hard, more than ever. Standard five (grade seven) was and may still be one of the hardest classes in Namibia and South Africa. Most students in Namibia back then never even passed it. Also, most of my classmates in standard five were repeaters, those who were taking it over. Some students were repeating it for their 3rd or 4th times.

While Katalina was struggling with the rest of the majority of the class, I was thriving. I made up my mind that I would not flunk the class and especially that Katalina was not talking to me, I had to show her that I was the best man for her, that I was smart, and not only that, I played soccer, was on school soccer team, and cross country. In my mind, that’s all I had gotten used to, getting A’s and B’s in any class at that time. Even though Katalina and I were no longer best friends, I couldn’t let myself get any grades less than A’s and B’s.

At the end of the year, after the final exams, I was only one of the 3 students who passed standard 5, out of more than 40 students in our class. Two of those students were repeaters. Katalina and Gottlieb both flunk the class, they stayed behind, and I moved on to a secondary (high) school at Iipumbu Secondary School, then to Jacob Marengo Tutorial College.

I believe that certain things happen for very good reasons, and that Katalina was my angel, purposely sent by God to help me with my early years of school, she was the main reason for me to go to school and study hard in order for me to pass all my primary classes. If it was not for her, I don’t think that I would have been able to pass my classes with A’s, let alone go to and stay in school. I’d have ended up just like some or maybe, most of the students in Namibia who never even finished standard five. So, if I could go back in time at my primary school days with Katalina, my true guided angel, then I would try to encourage and make her realize how silly it was to give up on something so important, education, instead of just focusing on some other things, especially boys, some who may not have had her best interest.

At home, there were never days that we went to bed hungry. My mom and I worked very hard to keep our house afloat, and it was one of the best fields produced in the area. We produced lots of food products, from corn, watermelons, black-eye peas, peanuts, rye and more. At the same time, my older sister Jenny, whom I’m forever indebted to, was working for the Retail Magnate, Mr. Aupa Indongo at Continental #1, so she was able to financially support the whole family and my school fees. Thus we were very well off compare to other families, and, in addition, we were never hungry and were never in need of anything. I was able to comfortably help my mom and work at home, in our farm, while maintaining good grades at school. This was and still is an achievement I will always alone cherish. And it didn’t go unnoticed, because when I left for the secondary school, I was told that most parents in the area were pushing their children to go to school so they could one day be like me.

Excelling in school, while at the same time helping my mom at home, just made me feel very proud of myself. Thanks to my mom who never stopped me from going to school, even when most other parents wouldn’t let their kids go to school every day or even some days in the week as I did.

A few years ago, I tried to find out what had happened with my God given angel, Katalina and to my great sadness; I was informed that she might have died of AIDS. And, that just sadness me more, because I never even kissed her, and mostly, I never had a chance to say thank you to her for helping me realize my academic potential early in primary school and for helping me go to school every day and passed all my classes with high grades.

Angels come in many different ways, shapes, and forms. She or he might be the guy next door, or perhaps someone who tried to talk to you in the hallway or street the other day, or may be the person who was standing on the corner begging for some change, but you’ve ignored him, or perhaps, your best friend who tried to warn you about a mistake that you were about to make.

Angels come in many different ways, forms, and shapes. Try to explore and discover yours, and try to listen to him or her. You may just make the right decision as I did, by going to school and finish my primary school education, and eventually college – which is the best thing that I’ve ever done in my life. Now, I’m going to pursue my MBA at INSEAD and PhD in Economics at Harvard University, with focus on Economic Development, Macro and Political Economics.

So You Can, Stupid, Just Try!

Hey you, stupid, if you ever wanted something in your life, whatever it is, and you haven’t gotten it yet, it’s because you simply don’t want it. But if you really want it, then go get it. No what it is, no matter how long it takes, just go do it, don’t quit and don’t give up on what you really want.

Anything is possible, but only if you strongly believe, only if you try, don’t just say you want it, you have to get up and go get it, no matter what it takes, just get up, and go get it, don’t hold back, don’t be shy, and don’t worry about what anybody else is saying. It’s your life, you have to do what you want in your life, you have to do it for you, for yourself, may be for your family, for your community, or for your country.

Just know this; nobody is going to do it for you. Don’t expect anyone to do it for you, and even if you ask or pay someone to do it for you, they will never do it for you exactly the way you want it. You’ve got to be involved, you’ve got to be a participant, you’ve got to be there, it’s how you want it, the way you want it. So go get it. You are just a second away from getting there, just keep on trying.

Remember, a winner is just a big loser who never gave up. You can have it all, you can do it all, you can do anything, but only if you try harder, but smart. And, while you are trying to do it, don’t forget to say a prayer, to ask for help from the Mighty; it works, always, and it will work for you as well, just believe and go out there and do it, now.

Just remember, haste makes waste, so don’t get demoralized if it’s not working out the first time, just keep on trying, it’s already yours, just go out there, claim it, and get it.

Don’t give up, stop being stupid, go out there and get it!

Reinstituting a Reformed Welfare-to-Work Program

The current U.S. Welfare system needs to have a complete overhaul, not only to provide better programs for those who really need it, but to help close some of the loopholes currently ravaging the program. Some people, like Stephanie and her friend Maria, who currently work at the Columbus Port International Airport, have a familiar scheme they use to cheat the system.

Stephanie and Maria work as customer service representatives for an airline, where they make $9 an hour. They both work full-time and put in lots of overtime hours, but since each has three kids, according to their household income, they are qualified to receive welfare assistance for as long as they earn a certain salary amount per month which is below the poverty level. Therefore, each month, they report to the welfare office that they only work part-time. They don’t tell the exact number of hours they each have worked, and welfare equates their hours with cash assistance to make up what they didn’t earn at work. In doing so, they keep getting money from the welfare office plus their real monthly earnings.

Other examples of those who might be exploiting the welfare system are the cases of Angela, Jackie, John, and Helen.

Jackie is a 45 year old woman, who has two grown daughters. Her husband passed away when the kids were 19 and 17. She lives in a nice apartment in a Section 8 division where she doesn’t pay any rent. She never graduated from high school and only has had a few odd jobs on and off, in her whole life. If you go in her apartment, you will not think that she is a welfare recipient, because she has a large TV screen, DVDs for almost every movie ever released, and she smokes about two packs of cigarettes every day. Jackie is completely healthy and is capable of finding and having gainful employment, but because she chose not to, she doesn’t have to work because she relies on her welfare benefits.

Helen is a 29 year old young lady and has 6 kids. Her oldest daughter is 13 years old and each child has a different father. Helen doesn’t have to work and she probably never will, because she receives welfare. For each child, she receives a certain amount of money each month, and she too lives in section 8 housing where she doesn’t have to pay rent.

John is 52 years old and has 5 kids. Each of his children live with their different mothers. For years, he has been in and out of jail for selling drugs, and now lives with his girlfriend in a one-bedroom apartment in section 8 housing, where they don’t have to pay rent for as long as they have no income. His girlfriend works, but she gets paid under the table and she doesn’t have to file her federal income tax, because of fear of losing their welfare benefits. John still sells drugs, and they have three different cars, except not one car is in their names, but in his brother’s name and his oldest daughter’s name.

Angela is a 46 year old lady, who has been legally deaf since she was in the 8th grade. She doesn’t have to work, never has, and probably never will, because she is legally disabled and therefore she receives federal welfare, which are housing, food and money each month.

As portrayed in the above examples, the current welfare system does not have the needed tools in place to help forcefully combat welfare fraud. It also handicaps and makes people to become lazy, because the longer they stay on welfare and don’t have to work, then the more they lose the will to ever look for a job. In addition, they may even forget any work they might have done when they were employed. These are the people who could be out there working, helping to contribute to the national economy, but they simply chose not to work and  live off of welfare without having to ever worry about working and paying for rent, utilities and food.

America is the richest country on earth with the largest economy. The American government is well known around the world for taking good care of its own people, in terms of social welfare and socio-economic empowerment.

Most Americans, even those who are on welfare or live below the poverty level are still far better off compared to those in many other countries. However, in continuing to provide unrestricted welfare to some citizens, the government has been handicapping some of the welfare recipients by continuing to provide them with all their necessities without ever trying to help them improve their skills in order to find jobs in the future.

In achieving these goals of caring for its people, the U.S. federal government has instituted many programs designed to implement policies to achieve the highest well-being for every legal resident. The U.S. Welfare system is one of the best social programs in the U.S. designed to provide the necessities for those who are unable to work and have income to support their well-being.

The U.S. Social Welfare system was first introduced after the Great Depression in the 1930’s. The U.S. Social Security Administration website states that beginning in 1932, the Federal Government first made loans, then grants, to States to pay for direct relief and work relief. After that, special Federal emergency relief and public works programs were started. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed to Congress economic security legislation embodying the recommendations of a specially created Committee on Economic Security. There followed the passage of the Social Security Act, signed into law August 14, 1935.

The current Welfare program provides necessary food coupons, known as food stamps, and housing assistance, known as Section 8 programs, for low income families and those who are unable to earn a living because of health related issues, as well as monthly cash stipend to some recipients.

Because of the current welfare system which most observers believe has loopholes, there have been talks about reforming the welfare system for many years. In 1997 President Clinton took the initial step in reforming the welfare system with his initiatives of a Welfare-to-Work program. The Welfare-to-Work program was specifically designed to help provide welfare recipients with the needed recourses, training and skills, so that they may get jobs in the future and not continue to solely rely on the federal welfare system. In doing so, the program will help more welfare recipients to return to the workforce.

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Welfare-to-Work program was tasked to encourage states to provide certain logistical support such as funding for transportation, vocational training, child care, and substance abuse treatment assistance for welfare recipients. However, many states have complained that they could not meet some of the requirements such as providing transportation and child care. Due to logistical and political reasons, the program abruptly ended in September 2004.

Some applauded the program while many thought that the program was designed to force people to work. In 2003, O’Neil of the New York Post wrote that politicians from both left and right perceive the Welfare to Work program as a success beyond expectations, but yet the program is nonetheless under political siege that requires it to reauthorize its basic component and it is now a year overdue and seems like it may never pass through Capitol Hill politics. In this article, O’Neil simply characterizes how some politicians from both left and right may say one thing, just to score some political points for future re-election purposes, but fail to fulfill their obligations and do the opposite.

President Clinton’s goal and purpose were to reform the Welfare system in order to better serve its purpose. He reinforced his rigorous commitment to provide welfare recipients with opportunities of attaining educational training and development that further help improve their knowledge and necessary skills in finding better paying jobs in the future and that help rid them from continually receiving welfare assistance.

However, when Bush came in the office in 2000, he had his own agendas such as the No Child Left Behind program, but not to make sure that the Welfare-to-Work program survives the political hurdle. It was also just a few months of him in office when the U.S. was hit by the act of terrorism in September 2001, and thereafter the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq followed in October 2001 and March 2003 respectively.

Thus, maintaining and continuing to fund certain programs such as the Welfare-to-Work program might not have been a priority for the U.S. government during these years of war on terror and the recession. The U.S. economy has been slowing down since the early part of 2000, and up to now, in the year 2008, the economy has really never recovered to the point where the government may want to include certain programs such as the Welfare-to-Work system in its monstrous budget to fight and combat terrorism.

The Welfare-to-Work program was designed to be a solution to the welfare system and to provide constructive benefits to the recipients. However, President Clinton’s plan collapsed because he and his advisors failed to study it more on how to make it work better, given its complex task and States’ requirement. An addition to the cause of its collapse, the House was mostly controlled by the Republican lawmakers who severely opposed and voted against most of President Clinton’s proposals.

Thus not having provided all the needed tools, recourses and funding might have helped to contribute to the collapse of the program. If it was well studied and developed, then it could have lasted for a long time to help provide better incentives to help some people and families from solely relying on the federal government welfare subsidies.

In the article “Welfare-to-Work Transition” by Jacqueline J. Kirby, which appeared in The Ohio State University’s Human Development and Family Life Bulletin, she describes the history and the after effects of the Welfare to Work program and used data and information from various sources to compare her argument such as the concern related to the inadequate federal regulations mandating matches in state funding, the lack of specific eligibility requirement for each state around the country, and no stated guidelines and specific requirements about how or where the money will be spent in each state. She depicts a program, which was implemented for a good intention but lack proper execution.

There are a few federal programs that are well-managed and strictly designed to make it hard or almost impossible for anyone to cheat or take advantages of them. Programs such as the educational Pell grant and some states have programs such as unemployment benefits, which have some of the best controlling programs designed to measure and check qualifications for anyone who may apply for either.

The educational Pell grant has two prominent and strict rules – felony and time cap for completing the first undergraduate degree. Under these rules, when someone applies for the federal financial aid, in order to qualify for the Pell grant, the applicant must not have a drug felony on his or her record and must graduate for the first undergraduate degree within eight years. If one applies for the financial aid and has a drug felony on his or her record, then that applicant will not be qualified to receive Pell grant for his or her education. Also, if the financial aid recipient does not graduate with his or her first undergraduate degree within eight years, then after eight years, he or she will not be eligible to receive a Pell grant.

For unemployment, when someone has been laid off work for any reason other than quitting or resigning, when that person applies to claim unemployment benefits for every week, then he or she must provide complete details of him or her looking for work for each week claimed. If he or she fails to look for a job, then he or she is not eligible to claim unemployment for that week or any other weeks he or she has not looked for a job.

These two programs work fine and they have tools and resources in place that help prevent fraud and make it hard for anyone to continually receive the benefits. They encourage their recipients to make sure that they must follow and abide by their strict rules in order to be eligible for their benefits. However, the current welfare system does not have a limit of how long someone can continue to receive welfare benefits.

In some European countries such as Denmark, the government provides their citizens with government income subsidies, but they have an incentive program that encourages the citizens to work or do anything that may generate income for their households. In the U.S., it is different. For as long as one is unemployed and has a reasonable excuse to convince welfare officials, then he or she can perfectly and safely have access to government sponsored (section eight) housing without ever having to worry about paying rent.

Therefore, if the Welfare-to-Work program is reformed to equally and efficiently serve the needs of both the federal government, the states, and the welfare recipients, then it will help more welfare recipients to find jobs, which in turn will help them to become productive and that will help increase the GDP. A portion of the money spent in the program can be used towards other social programs.

Reforming the Welfare system has been a subject that has been discussed by many pundits over the years, but putting it into action yields little. Even our current presidential candidates, McCain, Clinton, and Obama rarely talk about it. But it is one of many issues that need immediate attention.

It poses no fair compliment to those who get up each morning going to work, just to help fund the welfare system for those who simply chose not to work, because they just do not want to work for as long as the welfare system finances their well-being.

In an article titled “Reforming welfare with work” Gueron decries how our country has been debating the question of how well to redesign the welfare system, especially the federally supported welfare Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, which is equipped and is tasked to provide them with cash assistance for single-female-parent households. Gueron questions whether the welfare program should be continued with focus on providing broad assistance or it should simply become a “reciprocal obligations” program, whereby recipients must be required to find work within a given time period.

There are many Jackies, Johns, and Helens in most neighborhoods around the U.S. Let’s reform the Welfare system in order to help rehabilitate and empower them, give them the necessary training and skills and put them to work in order for us to further strengthen our economy.
 
Work Cited

Welfare-to-Work (1996, June). U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Retrieved Wednesday, April 9, 2008, from http://www.opm.gov/wtw/index.htm.

O’Neill, J. (2003, April 14). Welfare Reform Works. New York Post, pp.A11, A14.

Kirby, J. J. (1995). Welfare-to-Work Transition. The Ohio State University’s Human  Development and Family Life Bulletin, Volume 1, Issue 4, Winter 1995.  Retrieved Wednesday, April 9, 2008, from http://fcs.osu.edu/hdfs/bulletin/volume.1/bull14a.htm.

Gueron, J. M. (1987). Reforming welfare with work. New York: Ford Foundation.