Radio Show Guests

Leaders Share Advice to Their ‘Younger Self’

We’ve All Been There

No matter who you are, we all have that one thing—that one situation—we regret or would do differently. Whatever it is, reflection is a good tool to make that specific situation be a lesson to you, or someone else contemplating the same decision.

Reflection as a tool is often times not utilized in the professional space, which leaves leaders repeating an unproductive process, or even worse, a costly mistake.

How Can I Implement This Tool

Reflection can be as easy as spending 5 minutes to think about your day before you go to bed, or as intense as the car ride home without the music on.

Benefits of Reflection

There can be many benefits of self-reflection depending on how you use it. I will just name a few that I have personally experienced:

  • Learn from my Actions
    • I can analyze what I did on a ‘good’ day and what I did on a ‘bad’ day and change my attitude or actions to ensure a better day.
  • Gain Humility
    • When you are able to analyze your thoughts and emotions outside of the immediate conversation, you can find faults that could be attributed to yourself, which in the end makes one extremely humble and makes you think before you speak before the next time.
  • Challenge Myself
    • We spend time in reflection to grow, it never hurts to give yourself a mini-challenge the next day to correct minor things (i.e. coffee consumption, water consumption, saying hello to a stranger, etc.)

How does this Apply to the Hard Workah Show

On the show,  I make it a point to ask my guests:

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 21-year-old, younger self?

I am not surprised that these leaders knew exactly what they would advise their younger self. Some of my favorites (in no particular order) from our shows are below. Be prepared to learn from someone else’s mistakes and let us know if it was helpful in any way to you.

Don’t want to read it? Listen to it in this episode!

Work-Life Balance

“If I was going to give advice to someone who is just starting out on their career, again, I would say, “Be committed. Find something that you’re passionate about or that you at least really enjoy doing, because you’re going to spend a lot of time at work. And when you’re at work, work smart and work hard so that you can go home to your family and do ‘home’.”

Allison Gwisz, Human Resources Business Partner, The Suddath Companies

To listen to the full conversation, click here.

Recognize the Resources You have

“Nobody’s a self-made man. There’s always somebody there who’s helping you out and helping you along the way. My recommendation would be to anyone, pay attention to what you’re doing. Listen to those people. Do the best you can and just understand that every decision that you make today will affect every decision that you make in the future.”

Lt. Jason A Clements, PE, PSM, Civil Engineer Corps, United State Navy

To listen to the full conversation, click here.

“I can tell you, I think I would have told myself what a recruiter is and what they do.  Because when I was 21 and I went to UNF, I had no idea that a staffing agency existed. I had no idea that there were people out there that, pending graduation, were able to assist me and that it would be so simple for me to have the door open to all of these companies that I had never even heard about.”

Erica Brockway, Division Director, SNI Companies

To listen to the full conversation, click here.

“One, it’s gonna be okay. And you will find a job, you will figure out what you wanna do with your life. I mean I think that Erica spoke to it very well, where if I had known there was going to be a resource for me coming out of college, I probably would have been more comfortable. I was one of the students who took every class, changed my major like four times- I had no clue what I wanted to do and I think I could have probably gone to a recruiter or a staffing firm and said, “Listen, this is what I like and this is what I don’t like and this is what I hope to make in life.”

Taylor McLellan, SNI Companies

To listen to the full conversation, click here.


Be Resilient

“One that I’ve struggled with, from time to time, that I’ve hopefully gotten better with over the years is, when you hit upon hard times or when you don’t get something you’re pursuing, being resilient with a positive attitude.”

Harold Stankard, Senior Vice President, General Manager and Regional Leader of the Fidelity Investments Regional Center in Jacksonville, FL

To listen to the full conversation, click here.

“The main thing I’d probably tell myself is to be open to being an entrepreneur, because the nine to five cubicle space was not for me. I don’t sit still well; it just wasn’t for me. And I’d say the last thing would be to always be ready, because in some moments maybe I was in between jobs, I still got up every morning, and I got dressed like I was going to go to work in case I got a call from a resume, or I got a call from a staffing agency, or I got a call to do some temp work, whatever it might have been. I had some of my best sales whenever someone said, hey, can you come right now? Just always be ready.”

Katie Norton, Independent Agent at LegalShield

To listen to the full conversation, click here.


This advice comes from combined years of experiences and a LOT of mistakes. My wish is that you are able to avoid some of those hefty mistakes and run with this great advice from successful leaders.

There is a Balance

Warning: too much reflection is overthinking and overthinking is unhealthy. If reflection brings on anxiety, try doing it in small doses, or focus on things that are correctable.

For instance, you can correct your attitude by how you speak to people or by your morning routine. You cannot correct someone else’s attitude or thoughts, you can influence them, but try to focus on YOU in reflection.


Try to spend 5 minutes right now, wherever you are and just think about your day (so far). Think about the interactions you had, about the times you spoke, or emailed, times when you got upset, or felt uneasy. After taking some time to do that, now try to think about how you can improve the rest of your day, or tomorrow.

Here are some examples:

“I spent the morning rushing out the house and I didn’t even say goodbye to my family. Next time, I will take a minute to say goodbye.”


“I was upset on the way to work because I got cut off (or I cut someone off), next time I will leave a couple minute earlier to avoid traffic so that I will not have to cut someone off, or I will not lay on my horn.

I use this format:

Today, I [What I did] and next time [what I will do].

I hope that this time of reflection becomes a part of your daily life, and that it makes you strive to be better than the day before!

If you would like to hear the full conversation, click here.








First or Worst: CALLERS NEEDED

LIVE Broadcast: Sunday, August 12, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.


WOKV 104.5 FM

(or, on Sunday morning, click here!)

You know you’ve worked a stupid job before, or you had a disaster of a boss at some point….I want to hear your story!

The theme of this Sunday’s Hard Work-ah Show is discussion around first jobs, worst jobs (and perhaps your first job was your worst job).

And we need to hear yours!

Listeners, this is where I’d love to have YOU call in.

Simply dial 904.340.1045, Sunday between 8:00 and 9:00 am.

Can’t wait to here your stories!

Four Do’s and Don’ts from Recruiters gathered from Embarrassing Stories

This past Sunday morning on “Hard Workah,” we spoke with professional recruiters about some funny stories. I’ve gathered some Do’s and Don’ts from those embarrassing situations (you know, just in case you were thinking about committing the listed offenses) and here they are!

Before I continue: Yes, these are real stories. And yes, these are real tips. These kinds of stories remind of #dogshaming pictures like the one below, so join me in envisioning them like this.

1 – “I turned my Interview into a Tinder Date”

Don’t flirt with your recruiter

Kumi: …I don’t know, but he essentially —  I would redirect my questions, I would say like, “so where do you want to be in five years?” And he’d like take my hand, legitimately, and give me really intense eye contact and that’s too much. And he’s like, “well, I want to know more about you. What do you want? Is this what you’ve always wanted to be here? I mean, and also where did you get that dress? Because you look amazing in it, but also what are you doing after this?’”

Do act professional in the interview/professional space

Kumi: Oh yeah. No, absolutely. And I basically say these are “ no-no’s” in the interview process and I would say please don’t like grab your recruiters hand or the hiring manager’s hands and ask them out for coffee later.

Patricia: Yes, correct. That’s actually way more common than you think. We get a lot of people trying to pick us up on LinkedIn, too. LinkedIn is strictly a professional website. Folks, do not use LinkedIn for trying to get to know me better personally.

Unfortunately, dating is hard these days BUT it does not mean you should start practicing your “moves” on recruiters. K.I.P.P. Keep it Professional, People. Keep your space; speak only about the job and your qualifications. If the recruiters say, “tell me about yourself,” then speak about your professional experience(s) with a light hint of your personality. Avoid speaking about your deep personal life, especially as it relates to “finding the one.”

2 – “I bad-mouthed my previous employer”

Don’t speak negatively about your past employers

Alex: So, that seems to be a common theme that we hear every day. Right? They come in for the interview and for some ungodly reason they believe ‘if I bashed the last person I worked for, my prior manager or a prior company, this is going to make me look really good in front of my new prospective employer.’

Kumi: No, wrong way to think for sure.

Alex: But this happens every day, right?

Kumi: Does it happens very often and I always find myself having to have that discussion with the candidate and [retrain]. Like, do not talk negatively about your previous employers. If they pry and continue asking you the same question over and over about why you left a position, you just give them a blanket statement, “not the right fit moving forward with something else.”

Do redirect and make it positive.

Kumi: If they pry and continue asking you the same question over and over about why you left a position, you just give them a blanket statement, “not the right fit moving forward with something else.”

Patricia: …if it’s starting to go in that direction, the right thing to do is always say not what wasn’t good, but what you’re looking for versus what you’re not looking for

Speaking negatively about your previous employer DOES NOT make you sound trustworthy or loyal. Therefore, prevent all negativity and focus on moving forward in a positive light. Let’s look over Patricia’s example:

Employer: “why did you go? why did you leave?”

You: “Because I’m looking for a larger company with more opportunities.”


Employer: “Do you have experience in this?”

You: “Oh, I’m familiar with that and I can do this AND this and this as well.”

These tactics keep your value and your skills the focus of the interview.

3 – “I posted a ‘good’ picture of myself on Facebook”

Don’t post things you wouldn’t want other professionals to see

Alex: That’s another piece – a “Pete-ism,” he said make sure you’re congruent, too right? So, you can’t have in your professional life to the suit and tie picture and then have your Facebook with big rants on them, going off on that the companies that you’re looking to go to work for. And that’s kind of part of the interviewing process now, right? Not only do you look at their professional site, but you’re also going in and looking at people’s personal sites as well to determine, you know, a little bit more about the person before you actually do the interview.

Patricia: It’s actually great that you bring that up because we had somebody — I mean she was great over the phone. It was for a recruiting job that we were working for and this person, she’s had great experience, very personable, loved her, but her Facebook had some risqué photos;  a little too much to show. So, she made it through an interview, and then that company, themselves, rejected her because of that. So you know, make them private, make them professional because we will find out.

“There’s a difference between a good picture of you and a professional picture of you.” – Pete

Do make all your sites (personal or professional) congruent

LinkedIn should only be used for professional purposes. LinkedIn is a professional website, so ensure everything is up to date and correct. It should be an online version of your resume.

Since recruiters conduct a thorough search on their candidates for the companies, make sure your social profiles are either private/unsearchable or that you simply don’t post controversial or private matters. This could cost you your job.


4 – “I ‘Catfished’ my Recruiter” and “I used a picture from Google as my excuse”

Don’t falsify information


Patricia: Super interesting. I had a person come into the office. I interviewed we went over their resume. She was — great. She had the experience I was looking for this particular position, which was one of those direct starts where we would send them right to the company to start. So I was really excited. I called her a couple days later to offer her the job and when this person picked up the phone, [it was] very clearly a different person over the phone. I mean probably say that they were [older], then they were like, ‘oh yeah, I was in your office the other day. Yeah, the interview went so well. I’m so excited to get started’. I’m like, [you] just clearly sound 30 years older…

Google Photo:

Kumi: I had a candidate that reached out to us actually and was like, ‘oh, I’m going to be late. I was in a car accident, had to go to the ER and was in this car accident with my sister’… She ends up reaching out to us via email and saying like, ‘Hey, just so you know, here’s a picture of the car accident. And luckily, my cousin is going to be fine.’

Forgot that it was her sister in this car accident with her. This was supposedly a picture of her car and the damage that had occurred. And so my coworker, she is kind of like P.I (Personal Investigator) on her own accord, something like clicks off in her mind and she says, ‘That looks super familiar. Let’s put this into Google images.’

So we do and it’s the first picture that pops up on Google. So, I call her out and I say, ‘Hey there. So, how’s everything going with your family member?’

And she’s like, ‘Oh. So… my aunt’s fine.’ But did you get that picture I sent?’

And I was like, ‘Yeah, I got it from you and Google crazy, right?’ 

She goes, ‘ah, so, um,’ and she hung up on me. So I was thought, ‘cool, you’re fired though.’

Do have open communication with your employer and be transparent

Employers are looking for loyal employees, more specifically, employees who can communicate. Don’t start off with the wrong foot by giving false information. Whether that is sending a different person into interview for you or simply entering inaccurate data on your resume, just refrain from doing it. Instead, focus on your value by understanding the company’s goals and problems and effectively communicate how you are able to fill that gap.

And if you do land the job, keep that job by showing up and driving up results. If you cannot make it in due to an emergency, then again, use that open line of communication and let them know. Most employers know that emergencies happen, but cannot help if you do not tell them. Do avoid lying about an emergency. It cannot be stress enough: simply, do not lie.



And there you are, my friends! May your interviews be less awkward and may you bounce back quickly, if theya are!

To listen to the full conversation, go to the Pete the job Guy Podcast

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