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Career-Life Times, Issue #32--Five Tips for Holiday Gift Exchanges at Work
November 26, 2006

Issue 33, Nov. 26, 2006

Ready to GET HIRED, GET NOTICED, and GET AHEAD? Read on...

In This Issue:

  • Five Tips for Holiday Gift Exchanges at Work
  • Does Your Career Depend on Your Intentions?
  • Don’t Let Smoke Get In Your I
  • 'Tis the Season for a Temporary Job
  • Resources
  • Worth Quoting
  • Just for Laughs
  • Random Rants & Ramblings

    Before I begin, I'd like to thank everyone who responded to my questions in last month’s issue about starting an online discussion forum to complement this newsletter and my web site. I received some great feedback, but haven’t quite made up my mind yet.

    The general consensus is that a private (members-only) forum that offers lots of “bonuses” would be best, but I realize that some people searching for a job may not be in a position to pay a membership fee (even a small one)--and I don’t want to exclude them, because they would benefit the most from such a forum.

    I’ll continue looking into this to see if there’s a way we can build a top-quality online community… with an increase in customer service… and without a negative cash flow for any of us!


    Five Tips for Holiday Gift Exchanges at Work

    Does the thought of exchanging holiday gifts with your coworkers—and/or your boss—fill you with anticipation and joy? Or uncertainty and doubt? What’s appropriate in the work place? If you give a gift to only one coworker who is a good friend, will the others in your group feel slighted? Can you afford to buy gifts for everyone at work? Do you have to match the value of a present from your highly paid boss?

    So many questions and worries can sometimes spoil the wonderful spirit of the holidays for us. But that needn’t be the case. Here are five tips to choose from that will make exchanging gifts at work a less stressful experience:

    1. Have everyone in your work group (including the boss) draw names and set a price range for gifts to be exchanged. Keep the price range low. Many nice gifts (such as picture frames, books, paperweights, calendars, boxes of candy, etc.) cost less than $10. An option would be for all the gifts to be from anonymous “Secret Santas.”

    2. Get your coworkers (and boss) to contribute their time to a volunteer effort, or make a monetary donation to a local charitable cause or organization.

    3. Ask everyone to chip in for a gift that’s for the entire group (such as a new coffee maker for the office).

    4. Agree to exchange only token gifts, and perhaps even specify what they should be (such as tree ornaments or home-baked goodies).

    5. Make it a “policy” in your work group to exchange cards only… no gifts.

    Personally, I think gift cards make ideal coworker gifts. You don’t have to wrap them (a big plus for me because I really suck at wrapping presents), the recipients choose their actual gift, and yet gift cards can have a personal touch (you can give one from a book store to a coworker who enjoys reading, one from Starbucks for someone who loves coffee, etc.).

    Whatever you and your coworkers decide to do this year, gifts or no gifts, enjoy the holidays!

    Does Your Career Depend on Your Intentions?

    One of my subscribers, Susan Miller, has been sharing her recent up-and-down career experiences with me, and gave her permission for me to share them with you.

    Susan first contacted me on September 26th. “I just want to let you know how much I enjoy all your newsletters,” she said. Then she told me about what had happened to her at work and how unhappy she was with her job. “I’m about ready to quit. I am upset and frustrated, but reading about others’ success has given me hope!”

    Three days later, Susan went on a job interview. Within a week, she told me, “I'm going to do some contract work for the woman I interviewed with. I start this Saturday!”

    That was good news. But it got better. On October 27th, Susan wrote, “Just thought I'd share the good news with you. I had an interview this morning with a company called Netshare, Inc. They've been voted by Forbes magazine as one of the 'best of the best' job websites. Anyway, I guess they were as impressed with me as I was with them. This afternoon the VP called me and made me an offer! I will be working in customer service for membership support. It's only a few minutes from my home, and the hours and pay are much better than where I currently work. Thanks for all your help and support!”

    But that’s not the end of Susan’s story. We kept in touch, and on Nov. 16th, Susan told me, “As it happens, my new job is no more. On Tuesday morning I got called in and told that my skills were not good enough for the job. So, once again I am given the gift of time to find my true place.”

    Read that last sentence again. Have you ever seen such an upbeat, positive statement about getting fired? I certainly haven’t. I have no doubt Susan will find her true place soon.

    Before getting the Netshare job, Susan had declared this intention to herself: “…to make more money, work less hours and no weekends, with good benefits and a really short commute, with great people in beautiful offices, providing a wonderful service.” She said the real secret is “… to let go of HOW this happens, and not demand that it be a specific job or company. Just state it and let it go, allowing the universe to deliver it at the right time.”

    Susan believes in “intention manifestation.” You must admit her job with Netshare, short-lived though it was, did fit her very specific intention.

    Shortly after my email exchanges with Susan, I came across an interesting blog post by Steve Pavlina (at titled “Cause-Effect vs. Intention-Manifestation.” Here are a few short excerpts:

    “…If you want to achieve a goal you’ve set, the most crucial part is to DECIDE to manifest it. It doesn’t matter if you feel it’s outside your control to do so. It doesn’t matter if you can’t yet see how you’ll get from A to B. Most of those resources will come AFTER you’ve made the decision, not before…

    “… Whenever you want to set a new goal for yourself, start by setting it. Take the time to become clear about what you want, but then just declare it…

    “…Say to the universe, ‘Here is the goal. Make it so.’ Do not ask the universe for what you want. Declare it.”

    The same day I read Steve’s post, a friend of mine (Kim) who’d just gotten a great new job told me that before she went on the interview, she had visualized herself impressing the hiring manager, getting the job offer, and going to work for this exciting new company. Before Kim did any other preparation, she’d decided she would get this job. She believed it would happen, visualized it happening, and made it happen.

    Many of the world’s best-selling books (such as “Think and Grow Rich,” “The Power of Positive Thinking,” and the Bible, to name a few) tell us that our beliefs can create our reality. Do you believe that?

    Can making a decision, declaring your intention, believing it will happen and visualizing it as reality help you get a better job? A better life? Only your own experiences will answer that question. But it has worked for Susan, Steve, Kim, and millions of others. I’d say it’s definitely worth exploring. Imagine the possibilities!

    Don’t Let Smoke Get in Your I

    Don't let smoke get in your I—I as in Interview!

    Obviously, you know better than to smoke during an interview (right?)... but what about before?

    Why should it matter? Because you may take the smoke in with you, on your clothes or your breath.

    If the interviewer is a smoker, this probably won't be a problem. But if the interviewer is a nonsmoker, and perhaps (unfairly) biased against smokers (as many nonsmokers are), smelling cigarette smoke on you may cause him/her to unconsciously (or consciously) eliminate you from contention.

    So what’s a poor smoker to do? Quit smoking! (Just kidding, though that’s a good idea.) Ideally, don’t smoke before your interview. If this isn’t going to work for you--especially if you need a cigarette to calm your nerves before the interview--go outside. Even if there is a designated smoking area and ashtrays in the lobby or waiting room…go outside! If there’s a breeze, even better… step out into it, away from the shelter of the building. You want the smoke to flow away from you and your clothes. This works much better outdoors than indoors.

    Of course, this tactic will be futile if you didn’t clean those clothes after the last time you wore and smoked in them! So… wear clean, non-smoky-smelling clothes and do all you can to keep them from being “contaminated” by smoke before your interview.

    And if you DO smoke before your interview, be sure to pop a strong breath mint in your mouth after you finish your cigarette!

    ’Tis the Season for a Temporary Job

    This time of year many people can easily supplement their income with a temporary retail sales job. After all, who couldn’t use a little extra money to help pay for holiday expenses?

    Fortunately, it’s not complicated nor difficult to land one of these temporary, seasonal positions.

    First, write down the information you’ll need for the job applications: your name, phone number, address, email address, your desired work schedule (days of the week and hours), past (and/or current) employer information (name of company, position and dates).

    Then think about where you’d like to work. This is a bit late in the season, so you might not get your first choice. Pick several stores.

    Dress appropriately, grab your written information, and visit those stores to fill out job applications. Be prepared for an on-the-spot interview. But don’t be too disappointed if that doesn’t happen. You may still get a job offer—if they have openings, you’ll probably hear from them within just a few days!


    More Good Info. If you haven't visited my web site lately, I’ve added a blog, some videos, and more articles. Here are a few recent additions to my article library:

  • Job Interview Tips for Pharmaceutical Sales Positions

  • Returning to the Workforce: Employment Gaps One Step at a Time

  • Being your Own Boss

  • Fired? The Interview Solution

  • Fancy Working on a Cruise Ship?

  • 10 Ways to Get Fired: Career Decisions that May Cost You the Corner Office

  • Develop Your Career Exit Strategy

  • Your Interview Environment: More Than Just the Interview
  • Take a look at the complete article index by clicking on: Article Index.

    Amazon Gift Certificates. I have trouble finding “the perfect gifts” for people on my list every year! So I’m not even going to try this year. Instead of guessing and giving them something they may not like, I’ll let THEM pick their gifts from me at Music, books, gadgets, tools… heck, Amazon sells everything these days! It’s one of my favorite online stores because of its huge selection and low prices. When I give Amazon gift certificates, I know my family and friends will be sure to find something they really like. And I gotta tell you, doing this is SO much easier than fighting the crowds at the stores during the holiday shopping madness! If you’d like to give Amazon gift certificates yourself, just go here: Amazon Gift Certificates.

    F-r-e-e Stuff. We’ll all be spending too much during the holidays, so I thought you might want to give your wallet a break. Here’s a list of sites with f-r-e-e- stuff:


    "Job Interview Success System". Everything you need to know and do before, during and after your job interview, in a simple, step-by-step guide. Plus several special reports and a money-back guarantee. Check it out here: Job Interview Success System.

    Worth Quoting

    "The future belongs to those
    who believe in their dreams."
    ( Eleanor Roosevelt)

    Just for Laughs

    Why Teachers Have So Much Fun…

    TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America.
    MARIA: Here it is.
    TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America?
    CLASS: Maria.

    TEACHER: Why are you late, Frank?
    FRANK: Because of the sign.
    TEACHER: What sign?
    FRANK: The one that says, "School Ahead, Go Slow."

    TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
    JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables.

    TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell "crocodile?"
    GLENN: K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L"
    TEACHER: No, that's wrong.
    GLENN: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.

    TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
    DONALD: H I J K L M N O.
    TEACHER: What are you talking about?
    DONALD: Yesterday you said it's H to O.

    TEACHER: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.
    WINNIE: Me!

    TEACHER: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?
    GLEN: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.

    TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with "I."
    MILLIE: I is...
    TEACHER: No, Millie..... Always say, "I am."
    MILLIE: All right… "I am the ninth letter of the alphabet."

    TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?
    LOUIS: Because George still had the ax in his hand.

    TEACHER: Simon, do you always say a prayer before eating?
    SIMON: No sir, I don't have to. My Mom is a good cook.

    TEACHER: Clyde, your composition on "My Dog" is exactly the same as your brother's. Did you copy his?
    CLYDE: No, ma’am. It's the same dog.

    TEACHER: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?
    HAROLD: A teacher.

    Random Rants & Ramblings

    Holiday Happenings.To all of my American subscribers, I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving Day. My husband and I did the traditional thing… you know, ate way too much food. It’s absolutely disgusting how he can eat five times more than me and never gain an ounce, while I just have to sniff some tasty treat to gain weight! But I love him anyway.

    Things at work used to slow down around the holidays, but for the past few years that hasn’t been the case. More to do, fewer people to do it, less time to get it done. This sometimes means “getting it done” takes priority over “getting it done right.” But “right” is subjective in my work group. We all take pride in exceeding expectations and delighting our customers. So when we’re unable to do that, and instead do work that is simply “good enough,” it’s a bit frustrating… even when no one except us knows the job could’ve been done better.

    I’ll have a new boss soon (my previous one recently retired). I’m not sure if starting a new job during the holiday season is good or bad. He/she will have a lot to learn and do, but many people in the organization who would help will be on vacation. On the other hand, those who are not gone will (hopefully) be in a festive, generous and forgiving mood. As many of you know, training a new boss can be challenging. We also have a new General Manager and new Board Director to break in. Yep, 2007 is going to be an interesting year!

    So, what did you think of this issue? Any suggestions? Topic ideas? Questions? I really appreciate your feedback. Please send me a note at

    Please forward this to your friends!


    P.S. To prevent your email service provider's spam filter from interrupting delivery or this newsletter to your email inbox, please add to your address book or "safe list."

    P.S.S. I apologize for the glitches (especially in links) you may see if you receive this as straight text. If you can receive your email in HTML format, choose that and it'll look a lot better.


    Lowe-Commotion Publications
    442 Gatehouse Dr.
    Vacaville, CA 95687

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