Hope and a Future

24 12 2008

In this special season, when people the world around celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, it brings to mind the powerful message of Starhope.

On that quiet night in Bethlehem, born into poverty in a land under foreign domination, a tiny infant was the fulfillment of a promise of a Father to His people. For those of us who share the Christian faith, this humble beginning was the spark that lighted hope in millions of hearts and changed the world. 

For our friends who celebrate Hanukkah, this is a treasured symbol of hope and courage. With the miracle of the one day’s worth of olive oil keeping the light of the Temple burning for eight days during turbulent times, this is a vital message of light against the darkness. 

Even the ancient cultures knew the power of hope to combat the ills of the world. We all know the Greek myth about Pandora’s Box. Despite being warned not to open a special box (or jar), Pandora’s curiosity won out and she opened it. Immediately, out flew all of the evils and diseases that plague our world. She quickly slammed down the cover, but it was too late. But what many of us don’t know is that the last thing that flew out was — hope!

Times look severe right now, but we’ve faced worse before – and emerged stronger and better as a result. In the course of human history, it is hope, combined with action, that overcame the ills and tribulations of each time.

Whenever I get worried and stressed about the economy and how it has impacted us all, I try to get my mind on a different track, focusing on what I can do, and turning fear into action. Also, we’ve seen throughout history, many examples of when hope, courage, and personal action have changed the tide of history.

Let’s cherish this special time with our friends and loved ones, and take a break from the worries of this economy and allow the message of hope from this season to lighten our spirits and give us renewed energy in the New Year.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

If you have Slim Wallet Syndrome …“got time?”

19 12 2008

Whether you are out of work or if you have a job, we’ve all trimmed spending either voluntarily or by necessity.

The unfortunate result is that vital charities are very short of funds at a time when there’s a rapid increase in need for their services, especially this Christmas season.


“got time?”

A gift of your time (and talent) is a great solution when you don’t have the ability to write a check! Or if you can write a check, it’s even more rewarding to be a hands-on volunteer for that charity, too.

If you can bring friends and family with you, it makes it more fun and a special way to share time together…and it’s an excellent way to teach your kids about giving. You can pitch in to help with Christmas meals and gift delivery, or to visit the sick and elderly.

It’s not too late to find some good organization that can use your help for Christmas. And I’m sure there will be plenty of need in the New Year as well.

The KIT List folks already have shown their generous spirit of volunteering:

  • When Hurricane Katrina hit, some friends and I started a relief effort in the Bay Area to help evacuees. I sent out an email to the KIT List and many people pitched in to help get over 2,000 boxes of clothing and supplies sorted, packed and delivered to Katrina victims. It was terrific to meet other KIT folks in person and see their commitment to help, even when they were out of work themselves.
  • Challenge Learning Center which helps at-risk teens become leaders, needed volunteers to help with their annual fundraising event a few years ago. KIT List people stepped forward – not only that year, but again the following year. Sadly, CLC just became a victim of this economy. It closed its doors after 17 years of service helping over 39,000 teens in the Bay Area.
  • Taproot Foundation which posts non-profit jobs on the KIT List has told us, “We’ve gotten so many great professionals in the door to do pro bono work through the site!”

There are unexpected benefits to helping out:

  • If you’re out of work, it’s a good way to get out of the house!
  • You never know whom you’ll meet. The person bagging groceries next to you for Adopt-A-Family might be someone who will have job lead for you or can refer you into their company.
  • You can contribute your special talents and skills – and develop new ones.
  • It puts your own problems into perspective when you see what others endure.
  • There is a multiplier effect a generous act. Also, it somehow attracts positive things back to you.
  • And it just feels good!

Share your ideas on what people can do!

Please post a comment with a recommended charity or volunteer activity. It will be an excellent way to connect good people to a worthy cause.

Thank you all!

Reasons to keep the job search up during the holidays

11 12 2008

I’d like to share some great advice that came from KIT List folks who commented on our first KIT List blog (thank you, everyone!).

Their messages are to encourage you all to keep your job search efforts going strong during the holiday season.


This is a perfect time to be “the early bird” while other job seekers are taking time off. Many companies will be ramping up their efforts in the New Year. Get on their radar screen now. The early bird gets the job!

Here are some great comments from the blog:

“For the rest of you out there: don’t fall into `holiday malaise’ and stop looking during the last few business weeks of the year because `no one hires in Q4′.” – Frank Hoeflich

“Conventional wisdom says that the holidays are a tough time to look for a job – I disagree. It is often busy for both recruiters and job hunters because of that end of the year push – trying to get critical positions filled before a budget ends or to be ready to start 2009 with a full team. While this year has the added challenge of the economy, we all need to keep focused on finding that next great job.” – Deb McClanahan  (www.broadbandhr.com)

In a phone call today with Mike Manoske from Yoh Search (www.yoh.com), he added these points:

  • “Out the front door. In the back door.” Even when a company is having layoffs, they are still hiring for jobs that are important to their business.
  • Companies are putting together budgets for next year, so they’re getting ready to hire.
  • Many companies are in the final phases of product development with a Q1 release. They’re going to need help to launch and support their products.
  • Use this time to get current in new technologies if you’ve gotten out of touch. That will make you more marketable.

A few more thoughts:

  • Grab coffee or something stronger (hey, it’s the holidays!) with a friend or two, especially during the slow time during Christmas and New Years. Catch up and let them know about the kind of job you want.
  • You never know whom you might meet at a party or event. Let them know about the kind of work you are seeking. Keep it upbeat and positive…and brief! But it’s very important to come with an attitude of giving instead of taking, and be sure to focus on what you can do for them.
  • Be open to consulting work since I’m hearing a lot that companies that will first hire contract help before committing to permanent staff. As a consultant myself, I highly recommend the consulting life!

If anyone else has other tips to share, please add it in the comments section for this blog. This way, we’ll all benefit from the great ideas.

Keep up the good work during the last few weeks of the year. Grab a Christmas cookie and pick up the phone!