I was graced with the creative gifts of my church friends at my 60th birthday dance party. They crowned me Dancing Queen and serenaded me with personalized lyrics to that song, preceded by a memorable poem about me.

What creativity might be in you to be manifested, whether in your career or personal life?

After their gift, I shared a favorite song by Motown artist, Eddie Watkins, Jr. that speaks to creativity and enthusiasm for life.

“What are we gonna create today?

The universe is ready to play.

Spirit surely will lead the way.

Just say Yes.”

The lyrics are from his song, “I’m going to Say Yes to Life.” Eddie has recorded with Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Diana Ross, the Pointer Sisters, among others.

What might you be ready to say Yes to?  If you would like to explore more career enthusiasm and creativity, I’d love to help.

I enjoyed creating my birthday party, “Dancing through the Decades with Karen.” From Dancing in the Moonlight on the back deck to a grand finale of Katy Perry Firework with sparklers, creativity sparked my energy.

Inspired treats were a Buy Local theme, featuring products from the Swissvale Farmers Market and four Swissvale restaurants.

Related to the buy local theme of my party, I stumbled on beautiful mandala products the week before at a Mind Body Spirit Fair, and purchased four lovely coasters with quotes on the back.  Artist, Mara Carlini, shared that her art came from creating a mandala for her wedding for guests to sign.  From experiencing the powerful energy of the messages in her home, she was inspired to create pieces infusing them with specific intentions during the creation process.

I met another inspiring artist during my 60th birthday vacation retreat on Lake Erie in Cleveland. Walking into the warehouse-sized Waterloo 7 Studio/Gallery, I felt I was in another world. Jerry Schmidt takes used materials and recycles them into mind blowing, often larger than life sculptures.  Jerry told me he was drawn to this work from seeing his father only be happy when he was in his artist studio.  He shared that instead of going to bed concerned about troubles, he drifts off thinking about creative art possibilities.

My Air BnB vacation spot was hosted by Cindy Barber, owner of Beachland Ballroom in the Waterloo Arts District of Cleveland. Another creative visionary.  After big unhappy changes at her employment, Cindy purchased an old Croatian club in 2000 where she cofounded this music venue that hosts performers from across the country on a daily basis.  This was the cornerstone of rejuvenating a section of Cleveland, creating this arts district.  It was during a monthly Walk All Over Waterloo that I met Jerry Schmidt and many other artists.  Cindy’s made a real difference in her community.

What might you like to create in your career, your community, your life?  I’d love to help you explore your passions and talents.

As for me….I’m excited about the next decade and saying YES to life!

Over the years when I hosted World Gratitude Day Pittsburgh, I would send along quotes. I was surprised by the positive feedback and how people were sharing them with others. I’ve compiled my favorite quotes and offer them to you as a thank you for reading my news and being willing to stay connected with me. Feel free to copy and use the quotes as well as the slide I created.

“I cannot tell you anything that, in a few minutes, will tell you how to be rich. But I can tell you how to feel rich, which is far better, let me tell you firsthand, than being rich. Be grateful…It’s the only totally reliable get- rich-quick scheme.” Ben Stein

“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” Johannes A. Gaertner

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K. Chesterton

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” Denis Waitley

“Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.” Alfred Painter

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” Cicero

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
Albert Schweitzer

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
John F. Kennedy

“Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.” William Faulkner

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” Anthony Robbins

“Change the conversation of the world by dwelling on what’s gone right.” Mary Ann Radmacher

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle

There’s no magic crystal ball showing the jobs of the future. However, my respected colleague, Jim Peacock, wrote an excellent newsletter in July about the future of work with fascinating links I want to share.

My favorite is from the World Economic Forum even though it is 18 months old. The article, 4 Predictions for the Future of Work, shares this (in the article’s exact words):

  1. AI and robotics will create more jobs, not mass unemployment — as long as we responsibly guide innovation
  2. Cities will compete against other cities in the war for top talent
  3. The majority of the US workforce will freelance by 2027
  4. Education breaks out of the silo

Click HERE for the complete article.

The other three articles that are worth a read are:

It’s all a reminder that no jobs are secure, and we need to be doing career planning on an ongoing basis.

Introducing yourself to new people or making an introduction to someone new doesn’t have to be awkward.  A few simple steps and phrases will serve you in any circumstance, whether socially, at the office, or at a networking event. Also read on for help when you forget someone’s name.

To introduce someone to someone else:

  1. Start with the name of the most important person.  In business, this would be the person at the highest seniority level for internal introductions.  If one of the people is a customer, client or guest, that person is the most important, so start with their name.  Socially, importance is often based on age.
  2. Use introducing phrases. Examples would be “I’d like to introduce _______” Or “please meet___.”   More common language may be “I’d like to introduce you to ______” Or I’d like you to meet _____. “
  3. Share brief, relevant background of each. This might include job titles or role, business at hand, or a segue into a conversation.

Example: Ms. Client, I’d like to introduce you to Sam Smith who is Vice President of Sales.  Ms. Client, is Supply Chain Manager at ABC company and is here for a meeting about our new XYZ product line.

Example: Mayor Jones, I’d like to introduce you to my colleague, Sally Singh, who is Director of Community Relations for our bank.  We were just talking about what a nice event your town is hosting.

Proper etiquette is to not use first names until invited to do so.  Norms can vary by industry and organizational culture.  Public officials and religious leaders should always be addressed by their title until invited otherwise.

Introducing yourself:

You may need to do this at a meeting, networking event or if someone is not making the introduction:

Example: Hello, my name is Hello, my name is Nora Numbers, a staff accountant. Welcome to ABC&D. (or How do you do or It’s nice to meet you)

Example: Hi my name is Fred Fundraiser from ABC agency.  I don’t believe we’ve met yet.

If you forget names:

Do something rather than hope the person hovering will go away or that someone will save you.

Example: I’d like to introduce you to Markita, who is one of our staff attorneys. (Markita will likely then extend a handshake and the guest whose name you forgot will introduce him/herself by name.)

Example: Mr. Client, I’d like to introduce you to one of our sales team members.  I’m so sorry, but I blanked on your name even though I remember we worked together on the ABC rollout. (And that person will then introduce him/herself.)

For more help in negotiating business etiquette in social situations, consider engaging me for my workshop: Power Mingling: Network with Ease and Effectiveness.  It is highly interactive and includes mock reception exercises. Click HERE for a small excerpt that is more in keynote format.

Is the local economy starting to slow down?  A Pittsburgh Business Times study reported in its most recent issue that there was an 18% decline in job vacancies posted by the 50 largest Pittsburgh region employers, comparing this July to last July. Keep in mind it’s always better to explore a career or job change in a good market than a tight one.

According to the analysis, 26 employers had fewer openings and 21 had more. The decrease is in multiple industries, including banking, manufacturing, hospitality, and retail. Healthcare postings are still up. Elsewhere in the article, a report by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development noted that data science and IT roles continue to be the region’s fastest growing occupations in addition to healthcare. Artificial intelligence, operations, civil engineering, and personal financial advising were also cited as in demand in this issue of the PBT.

Despite some news of a slow-down, data from the PA Department of Labor and Industry show that the Pennsylvania unemployment rate was just 3.8 percent in June 2019, down from 4.2 percent in June 2018.  The Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s “2017-18 Inflections Point” report shows projections of a shortage of up to 80,000 workers by 2025 due to Baby Boomer retirements.

For help in navigating education, career, or job choices, consider career coaching to help save time and energy and avoid mistakes.

A January 2019 article by SUCCESS Magazine referenced a study that found that simply the presence of a smartphone reduces “available cognitive capacity and impairs cognitive functioning, even though people feel they’re giving their full attention and focus to the task at hand.” Get smart about your smartphone!

Keep reading for a link to the article and complimentary handout.  Since the article gave the 3 C’s of Smartphone Etiquette at the office, I thought I would briefly share my Top 10 Digital Etiquette Best Practices from a tips sheet I give out during my business etiquette and professional training sessions:

  1. Refrain from texting during a meeting or dinner
  2. Test texting waters
  3. Text primarily when response time is important
  4. Safer to avoid abbreviations
  5. Proofread
  6. Include a clear, direct subject line
  7. Keep emails short
  8. Refrain from Reply All
  9. Participate and give feedback on social media
  10. Use a personal, customized message for invitations

If you would like the complete one-page handout I am happy to share it with you. Just reply back with the subject line: Digital Etiquette Tips Sheet Please.  If you know of an organization that would benefit from increased professionalism (often sales teams, leadership programs, associations, and accounting and law firms), I would love to hear from you about that too. My most popular programs are:

  • Power Mingling: Network with Ease and Effectiveness
  • Dining Etiquette: Command New Confidence at Your Next Business Lunch
  • You Did What? Cultural Social Graces for International Travel

Click HERE for a link to the SUCCESS Magazine article.

When I traveled to Georgia last month to see President Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School, it made me think about the concept of character.

I want to share a bit of my trip and also a link to a free character strengths profile.

When I was researching my trip, I was heartened to see comments from Republicans about admiration for Carter as a person even if they did not agree with aspects of his presidency. I have admired his character and spiritual grounding for many years.  I first saw him when he campaigned at the Beaver Valley Mall and volunteered for his campaign as a senior in high school.  His message at the Sunday School Class was one of love, service and peace.  At 94 he was sharp and witty. If you want to check things out for a pilgrimage/bucket list, go to maranathabaptistchurch@yahoo.com. Plan on a long night.  I arrived at 3:03 AM and was car 35 winning me a seat in the third to last pew. People attending were from across the US as well as international visitors.

In thinking about character in the workplace I wanted to share some research, so here is a link to those of you who may want to delve in.  I moved in a different direction when I enjoyed some synchronicity with a mastermind group of career counselors.  Some of them use the Character Strengths Profile.  From my own experience of taking it, I prefer to address the four core parts of self-assessment (interests, skills, personality, and values…what you want from a job) separately.  The profile combined aspects, and I find it simply a nice self-awareness and self-development tool.

Click here if you would like to take the free 15 minute VIA Institute on Character survey.

As a reminder and motivation for us all about character, I’m listing the core traits as noted by VIA here:

  1. Wisdom: creativitycuriosityjudgmentlove of learningperspective
  2. Courage: braveryperseverancehonestyzest
  3. Humanity: lovekindnesssocial intelligence
  4. Justice: teamworkfairnessleadership
  5. Temperance: forgivenesshumilityprudenceself-regulation
  6. Transcendence: appreciation of beauty and excellencegratitudehopehumorspirituality

Finally, I’d like to close with a quote:

“I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.”

― Jimmy Carter

A good job market is a good time to explore a career or job change.  Would you like to be happier?  It’s much easier to make a move when you aren’t worried about just hanging onto a job in a bad market.

Pittsburgh has been in the news multiple times this past year for a top job market. In January of this year WalletHub noted Pittsburgh as #15 in its list of Best Places to Find a Job from research of 180 cities.  In October 2018, Glassdoor put Pittsburgh at #1. Click here for the article.

A May 28, 2019 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article gave highlights of more good news. The Pittsburgh region has seen a record low unemployment at 3.8% in April. The good job market has resulted in overall pay rising at 5.4% compared with 1% in PA and 2.5% nationwide. Top growth industries currently are construction, leisure/hospitality, and to a lesser degree, education.

If you’ve been thinking about a next move….if not now, when? I’d be happy to help!

“Work is love made visible.”

 Khalil Gibran

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Confucius

“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.”

Rumi

“Do what you love. When you love your work, you become the best worker in the world.”

Uri Geller

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”    

Wayne Dyer

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”     

Steve Jobs

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”     

Aristotle

“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it. “   

Pearl S. Buck

“There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning.”

Warren Buffet

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”

Ella Fitzgerald

“Paul and I, we never thought that we would make much money out of the thing. We just loved writing software.”

Bill Gates

 

“Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.”

Johnny Carson

The people who make it to the top – whether they’re musicians, or great chefs, or corporate honchos – are addicted to their calling … [they] are the ones who’d be doing whatever it is they love, even if they weren’t being paid.”

Quincy Jones

“If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures. Sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Only 55% of people negotiate salary following an offer while 70% of senior managers expect some negotiation.  Candidates are leaving money on the table!  These are survey results from the Robert Half staffing firm released on February 13, 2019, and include 2800 workers and 2800 senior managers. Complete survey: http://rh-us.mediaroom.com/2019-02-13-Survey-55-Percent-Of-Workers-Negotiated-Pay-With-Last-Job-Offer

Women are typically the big losers in the salary negotiation game with only 45% reporting they tried to negotiate pay in their last job offer as compared to 67% of men. Younger job seekers (ages 18-34) are more likely to negotiate than older workers (55+) at the rate of 65% versus 38%.

Workers in coastal metro areas are more likely to negotiate with Miami, San Diego, San Francisco, and New York City topping the list of negotiators in the 70% range.  At the bottom were slightly more Midwest cities of Minneapolis, Cleveland, and my hometown of Pittsburgh, whose job seekers only negotiated 42% of the time.

Negotiation Tips:

  • Challenge your FEAR: It’s highly unlikely an employer will rescind your offer if negotiation is respectful. The worst response may be “I’m sorry, there isn’t any flexibility in our budget.”
  • Do your research: Use resources like Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, and PayScale.com for data on salary ranges, including by location and industry. Supplement this with networking.
  • Delay initial discussion: Don’t mention your salary expectation first during interviews. Sidestep it with “I expect your salary would be competitive with the industry.” or ask “What is the position budgeted for.”
  • Ask for time: If you are caught off guard by a verbal offer, thank the employer and ask for time to think about it stating you may be back in touch with a couple of questions. You can ask for time even after the final offer, reminding the employer that it is a big decision that you, of course, want to consider thoughtfully.
  • Go a bit higher: Ask for at least a few thousand more than your ideal number so you can land on a comfortable number after the employer’s likely counter offer.
  • The ask after the offer: Begin on a positive note, demonstrate research, and highlight a strength. “I’m very excited about the offer and I think we could see during the interviews that we are a good fit.  Based on my market research, your $xxxxx offer is at/below the median for this position, and I’m wondering if there is flexibility for a salary of $xxxxx?  With my background/experience of ________, I’m confident I will be a quick and valuable contributor. “ Stay positive and upbeat.
  • Allow silence: After you make your ask, stop talking and wait for a response.
  • Prepare another ask: If the employer counters about budget or Human Resources policies, consider following up with, “I understand. I’m wondering if there is anyone you could follow-up with to ask about flexibility?”
  • Compensation is more than salary: You may negotiate for vacation, professional development, remote working options, or equipment.  Prioritize what is most important. If you don’t get something, it may give you leverage for something else.
  • End on the positive: Thank the employer for their consideration. Regardless of where things stand, restate your appreciation of the offer, and also your interest in joining the organization if that is so.