Friday, August 26, 2011

Tell Me A Story, Please

I listen to sermons on almost every Sunday. Some were ordeals that I have to endure as I struggle to stay awake but some have the capacity to keep my mind fully engaged till I get lost in time. Yes, the preachers have everything to do with it. Some are more gifted than the others, I must say. But one thing I noted: An average preacher is able to make his sermon engaging if he used stories. Our ears are somehow tuned to stories. As simple as that.

Guess what, it’s the same with job interviews. Candidates need to learn this secret: TELL STORIES! In case you do not know by now, most of the interviewing questions are formatted based on “behavioral interviewing”. What it means is this: that it is a belief that your past is an indication of what you are or do in the future in similar situation.

Question: How do you manage stress?

Don’t say, “I think I will do this….” Instead, relate a story in the past how you did it. “A few months ago, I was overwhelmed with a few project deadlines and they really affected me. When I realized that I was under tremendous pressure, I did…..”

If you need some clues on how to make your story more appealing, follow these rules:

1. What was the situation?

2. Relate what, why and how you did or solve it.

3. What was the outcome or the learning experience.

The third point is obviously important because you might not have a successful outcome from your story. Say, you collapsed the last time you were under stress. But like any good sermon, end with a positive note – a learning lesson for the future.

So for the next job interview, be prepared with a few good stories in your pocket. Seize every opportunity to tell stories. Good luck, folks!

Some questions are too tough? Get tips to how best to handle them.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Am I Having A Mid-life Crisis?

I’m sure feel I'm in one. Otherwise, I won’t be blogging about it, would I? Ironically, I used to jokingly tell my friends four years ago that I'm in a mid-life crisis when they spotted me driving a new roadster...yeah, i needed a change. mid-life crisis, what else? That was supposed to brush off any further questioning.

Four years today this phrase came back to haunt me. Probably I’m getting old. Of course, age has to do with it. In fact, age has everything to do with it! I google searched on mid life crisis symptoms and found this interesting page .

I like the points listed that acts like a checklist. So I went through the points one after another and see how I fit in.

Lets see..

The first point…No longer “knowing” the person staring back at you in the mirror

"Knowing?" I got a slight problem with this. I don’t even "look" at the mirror that often nowadays. The one I used for make-up in the morning has a spoiled bulb. The light that I ever get is behind my back. So it’s a dim affair in the morning. In the office, forget about the mirror. It is so tiny that the only thing I ever spotted was the white hair sticking out unto my forehead. Shucks! Time to dye my hair again…and that’s the only time I seriously look and it's my hair I'm staring. Well, I was not born with white hair. So, it makes sense, no longer "knowing" this person. A tick here. Next..

2. Worrying about where your life is going

I know where my life is going - the numbers are climbing. Well, who isn't? Worrying? Now, who has time for that? No tick.

3. Feeling frustrated with just about everything

Feeling frustrated, yes. About everything? I would have died long ago if "everything". Tick or no tick. Oh my, this is tough.

4. Experiencing feelings of regret

Of course there are regrets. I have been alive and kicking all these years not hiding in a closet...harlo? Alright, half tick.

5. Focusing on what you are losing. It feels as though you are standing on shifting sands, that your best years are behind you and that everything is changing.

Gosh, menopause came into mind. So shall I give a tick?

6. Feeling almost 'invisible'. You may feel stripped of your identity and purpose and find it increasingly difficult to be 'seen' when you no longer attract instant admiration.

“no longer attract instant admiration” LOL I can't even remember an experience of instant admiration. So, where is the point of comparison? A tick or no tick this one?

7. Thinking that time is running out. Midlife is that time when you metaphorically turn a corner and see the finishing post for the first time!

Oh, I have trained myself to have the end in mind all the time! And I hope I'm not being delusional. Or am I?

8. Questioning the meaning of life. Midlife has been defined as the time when you reach the top of the ladder only to find it's leaning against the wrong wall. If you keep asking yourself 'Is this it?', then chances are your ladder is indeed against the wrong wall.

Alright, I confessed. I do asked this question sometimes. But I didn’t know I’m leaning on a wall. Am I not supposed to break down walls? Ok, this is lame but seriously, one makes the best of whatever wall given as long as the wall is not on the brink of collapse. I refuse to tick this one. You can say I didn't get it right. But I'm standing my ground.

9. Feeling trapped.

Thank God I’m not inside a lift...phew!

10. Wanting to make some changes but not know where to begin. Feeling overwhelmed saps your power and keeps you stuck, helpless and fearful of making the 'wrong' choices. The way to move out of the paralysis is to stop 'getting ready' and start 'doing'. Take responsibility for making change happen, no matter how small and remind yourself how good it feels to be in control.

This is tricky. I need more time...

End of checklist.

The author of the page finally said what may feel like a crisis is in fact an inevitable and natural life stage characterized by internal change and reorientation. I really like that. So, it’s a stage or phase of life one has to go through. I conclude now that mid life crisis is a misused term. What crisis? I probably just need a vacation...:p