Tips

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.

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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.

Activity

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.”

OR

“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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Reasons to Work (and Stay) at Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments is hiring and here are just a few (of many) reasons to head on over to their job listings to apply to your next dream job!

I had the distinct pleasure to have Harold Stankard, the Senior Vice President, General Manager and Regional Leader of the Fidelity Investments Regional Center in Jacksonville, FL as a recent guest on Hard Workah with Pete the Job Guy. He shared great information based on his 21 years at Fidelity Investments (that’s a LOOOOOONG time).

To listen to the full conversation (or read, if you’re a reader), click here.

Before I dive into the reasons to consider working at Fidelity Investments, I’m going give important background information.

Fidelity Investments is one of the largest and most diversified financial services firm in the United States with over $7 trillion in customer assets. Fidelity Investments serves over 27 million Americans by helping them build a strong financial future. One in five American investors has an account with Fidelity Investments (and they actually handle our 401k at GEE Group Inc. NYSE: JOB). For more information on Fidelity, click here.

All in all, Fidelity Investments is a hot destination employer nationally. Specifically, in Jacksonville, Fidelity is planning to hire 70 to 100 people by the end of the calendar year of 2018. If you’re already convinced that you or a friend should work for Fidelity Investments, (then great!) click here to view the current job openings. If not, keep reading for my 6 reasons to work (and stay) at Fidelity Investments.

  1. Two words: “Mom room.”

So, if you’re like my co-host Arren and you’re a working mom, this is going to be something VERY appealing. They have a whole room dedicated to moms. And get this, IT WAS DESIGNED BY MOMS. So, it has everything you need if you have just had your child and you’re ready to enter the workforce again. The room concept is so thoughtful and cool itself, but this is just one of the many things that prove Fidelity Investments will go the extra mile for YOUR comfort – again, the word “comfort” is not even on the radar for most companies, just remember that!   

  1. Central Location = Shorter Commute

At the beginning of the show, I shared a couple stats on how long commutes can affect your work day, ultimately wasting your time and making you more stressed. You’d be happy to know that Fidelity Investments is in the center of Jacksonville, off Gate Parkway, on Touchton Rd. This not only means lunch at some of the best places in Jax (I may be biased) but also a shorter commute for many of you!

See how far it is from you:

4601 Touchton Rd Jacksonville, FL 32256

  1. Open Concept

“I just LOVE going to work and sitting in a boxed cubicle for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, not interacting with people around me,” SAID NO ONE EVER.

One thing that Harold mentioned that is VERY rare in Jacksonville is that the office has an open floor plan. There is nothing traditional about walking into their office – the cube walls are down, which ultimately drives flexibility and work ethic up. They have a new 50,000 square foot facility here in Jacksonville!

Harold Stankard: We wanted to do things in a new, modern manner that created a really collaborative work environment for our people. So, when thinking about this new 50,000 square foot facility, most people would visualize a traditional call center setup. Where is there is this big room with lots of cubicles and everybody has a headset and they are tied to their computer all day, and also tied to their phone.

Let me tell you, this is not that.

Every one of our associates works off a laptop and a wireless headset. There are no cubicles. It’s all flat desks with open areas. There are standing stations all over the place where, if you want to get up, you could even mid-conversation, detach your laptop and walk around the building and go to a couch to finish the call or a standing station to finish the call.

We’ve been in this space for about six months and the results are just awesome. Most people feel much more free while at work, they collaborate with their peers better. We tore down the walls. We tore down the traditions and we’ve created this new, really cool work environment.

  1. No Dress Code

Fidelity Investments allows you to dress comfortably (of course, if it’s appropriate) so that you can save your brainpower to focus on more important issues and feel good!

Now, I will say there is a difference in dressing appropriately for interviews, but once you land the job and prove that you’re a ‘hard workah’, then enough spending hours on thinking about what to wear or moving to adjust your pants or socks that ride up or down throughout the day – just dress for comfort and work hard! I like that, I mean Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg did/do it.

  1. Student Loan Forgiveness + Tuition Reimbursement Programs

Pete: Harold, maybe you can help me out with this. I see a lot of folks that graduate college and they’re wrestling with so much student loan debt and people make life decisions based on that debt, or perhaps maybe they decide not even go to college just to stay out of debt. Do you have any kind of programs or something that Fidelity Investments offers for people carrying substantial student loan debt.

Harold Stankard: Yes! It’s a legitimate concern for people today and on one side, we’re constantly advising parents, grandparents and others on how to best save for future college, so debt isn’t required, but there are a lot of us, myself included, who leave school with debt on the books. And, about a year and a half ago, Fidelity Investments unveiled a pretty awesome benefit.  In addition to tuition reimbursement programs that most companies have, we now have a Student Loan Debt Repayment Benefit where we will help you pay back your student loans if you’re a Fidelity employee. We’ll help you pay back up to $10,000 worth over five years.

So, I took away two things when Harold told me this: (1) Free money and (2) Fidelity will support your educational endeavors! Which leads me to the number one reason on why you should work at Fidelity Investments:

  1. They Offer World Class Training

When making hiring decisions, Fidelity Investments looks for hard working individuals that have a passion to serve others.  Fidelity Investments has a phenomenal and innovative training program to help you to be successful no matter what previous experience you bring to the table.

Harold Stankard: If there are people in this industry that are interested in Fidelity Investments, we’d love to talk to them, but the majority of people we hire, believe it or not, don’t have financial services experience. We teach those skills… It’s really important for us to find people who are learners, who thrive on learning…  we’ll help you get licensed. We’ll teach you the dynamics of our firm and how we serve customers. Just getting licensed in this industry is not easy. In the past, the historic pass rates for the Series 7 license have always hovered in the high 60 percentages nationally. We hover around 90%. So, we make sure we prepare people for that examination.

*BONUS: They Treat their Customers like People* 

Harold Stankard: When it comes down to talking to customers who are real people with real problems, they’re worried about their finances, because finances empower so many of the other things that you care about in life: family, retirement, vacations, college, etc. So, we try and create a learning experience that’s as real as possible. In fact, one of the things that we’ve been piloting this year is a virtual reality learning experience. Imagine being new to the industry, new to Fidelity, and we’re trying to teach you our systems, products, services, and how we communicate with customers. It’s one thing to learn it with role-playing or in a book or in video, but it’s quite another if you can put on a virtual reality helmet and we can place you right in the kitchen of an investor who happens to be juggling two kids and calling us with their statements on the counter, pen in hand, feeling the stress that they’re feeling when they call…

Fidelity will train you so that you can be the best in your field. Whether you are already familiar with the finance industry and just don’t have certifications OR even if you are new to the industry, it will definitely bump up your personal development!

Additionally, they are aware of the human condition. I firmly believe that businesses who recognize that customers are people and not numbers will create a highly valued experience for their customers and gain even MORE business. Fidelity Investments uses technology (virtual reality) to teach their employees, firsthand, this concept that ‘people are people and they have real problems’. You don’t get this type of training just anywhere, it only comes from successful businesses who have a genuine relationship with their customers rather than simply a transactional relationship. This is truly invaluable.

There you are! These are the reasons you should consider working for this hot destination employer, Fidelity Investments, provided to you by me – a staffing expert who has been in the field for over 20 years. So catch this opportunity and apply now, before it’s too late!

If you have your resume ready, apply here, today!

Ready to listen to the full conversation, click here.

5 Simple Online Tips to Prevent Criminals from Stealing your Identity

It happens to A LOT of people; to enumerate, 7 million people. According to an online survey conducted for Symantec by The Harris Poll in 2018, 7 million consumers experienced identity theft in 2017.

It makes you wonder: well, how safe am I?

Katie Norton is an independent agent with LegalShield & IDShield.  She is an Employee Benefits & Identity Theft Specialist and she is certified to go into companies and train their employees on how to prevent identity theft in the workplace. The official name of what she does is (long, but it is called) Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist (CITRMS).

Katie Norton: I’ve worked with over 200 companies just in the Jacksonville market, going in and talking to them just about this very thing, doing a workshop with them, getting all their employees signed off, that they’ve been through the training. Really, that’s what they need. They need to have someone come in, and train their employees on how to prevent the simple things of identity theft.

If you would like to have Katie come in to train your employees, click here.

On the show, Katie and I talk about how easy it is for regular people and professional hackers to get to your personal information. Katie shares with us some consumable tips that we can start practicing in our daily lives to prevent identity theft and hacking.

 

  1. Logout of work and public computers

Katie Norton: You know, over 70% of identity theft happens in the work originates in the workplace, not because of an employee’s intent. Really, because of employee error. They do something like walk away from their desk, and leave information out on the desk. Somebody walks by with a camera, you know, we all have one, we carry it with us on our hip, or at our purse, everywhere we go.

[So], I always tell employers, make sure that your employees are using a two-lock policy. If they’re walking away with something sensitive in their office, it should be locked. Even if they’re just walking down the hall to get a bottle of water, going to the restroom, they need to consider a two-lock policy. Lock your desk, lock your door, make sure the building is locked at night, because of things like that.

If you want to protect your (and others’) personal information, then lock those computers and offices. Five seconds of human error could burden you with 600 hours of repairing your identity. Take that extra five seconds to simply lock your computer and door and you WILL lower your chances of being a victim.

  1. Use Incognito windows when making purchases on the internet (IT CAN SAVE YOU $$$)

Katie Norton: So, we travel, right? We’re often in hotel lobbies using the computers, or maybe we’re at the office store because we have to print something out, and we’re using their internet, their websites. Really, what we should be doing, even if we’re using those, is using an incognito browser. It’s just a matter of right-clicking on the tab at the top of your internet explorer and saying I want to open a ‘New Incognito Window.’

Where [using an incognito window] saves you money, whenever it comes to airlines, is if you’re going to the same computer from the same IP [address] over and over again, and they see you’re searching for the same flight, to get a better price, to get a better price. You’ll notice it keeps going up, up, up, there is no better price. It’s because some of them, [they are tracking you and raising the price.] -Katie Norton

This is true, airlines want to scare you into buying the ticket. It’s called personalized pricing or price discrimination – and it results in different prices for different people for the same product. To protect your personal information as well as price discrimination, use those incognito browsers. Here’s a short video from Chrome on how to use the Incognito feature.

  1. Phishing emails – Don’t click

Katie Norton:  Then the phishing emails. You brought that up earlier, they’re so easy to trick someone. My brother, just the other day, called me and said, “Hey, I just got a message on my computer that if I don’t call this number, that they’re going to take over my computer. It’s Microsoft.” I said-

Pete:   It’s weird, because they look so official, they’ll have the logo of whatever it is, and say, oh, we just need a password update. I was watching one on one of those expo shows on TV, I don’t know which one, like a 48 hours … Not 48 hours. What’s … I don’t know. One of these ones where they were doing this thing on identity theft. The very people, the producers that were on the show going through, meeting the guests, and talking, all this stuff, we said, watch this. We’re going to send them an email, that we’re updating, we’re all getting brand new phones. They’re going to be so excited that they’re going to be getting all brand new phones, all they have to do is send in so they can update the software, just send us your password, send this, and your new phone will be issued today. Both the producers of that show immediately got the email, responded to it, and then all of a sudden the camera crew comes in and says, hey, did you fools know that you just did exactly what they said? But it was legit, it was from this, and we’re getting new phones. Well, number one, you’re not getting new phones, and number two, you’re stupid. We just told you not to do this stuff.

Katie Norton: It is absolutely crazy what happens. Just with the phishing emails, if you just hover over top of the email address that it comes from, you’ll see it’s not really that address. Just never, ever click on a link on an email. I know we’ve heard that over and over again, and it’s a simple tip. But never click on a link in an email. Just go directly, matter of fact, pick up the phone. It’s old fashioned, it’s really direct, there’s no way to hack it. So pick up the phone and call your bank, call your credit card company, or whatever it might be.

Here is an example of how to check for spam email:

  • Look at the “To:” These pictures have “undisclosed-recipients.” That should set some flags off
  • Too good to be true (if you won a contest you have not even entered)
  • Using all caps in the subject line
  • Look at the “From:” email, if it is not a credible address, it is probably spam.
  • If they request personal information

  1. Use Two-Factor Authentication

We didn’t get a chance to elaborate on this term more on the show, however, I do want to share what it is now.

Two-Factor Authentication is an extra layer of security. It requires two ways to verify the user (1)  a password and username but also (2) something that ONLY that user has on them. It is a piece of information only they should know or have immediately to hand, i.e. a picture, icon, a physical token. This makes it harder for criminals and hackers to steal personal information. To read more about it, click here.

  1. Create Smarter Passwords

Katie Norton: [If I am a hacker and going to hacking  your account] I’m going to be thinking about that, and I’m going to be looking for your anniversaries, looking for your birthdays. I see people literally trying to think how quickly can they get to their computer or their phone to change their password because I’ve really guessed, if I really did know the name of their kid, their kid’s birthday, that they would have … I would be in their password. So we need to be thinking about using smarter passwords, or even a password generator. ID Shield has ID Vault, and you know, there is other ones, Lass Pass, and so on. But using one, where it generates the password for you, and then fills it in for you later. I could never remember any of the ones they generate, never remember those.

Passwords should be hard for you another to guess. If your passwords (right now, as you read) contain:

  • names of people who are significant to you
  • your pet’s name
  • a significant date (your birthday, your kid’s birthdays)

these are all things hackers (with enough research) can retrieve THEN please, change them. It can be hard to remember, especially with everything now having passwords, but look into ways to keep them for you.

We really hope that you start using these tips so you can set yourself apart from those 7 million people, who had their identity stolen last year. If you aren’t propelled to start using these simple tips, Katie has something she wants you to know:

Katie Norton: If you think about it, there are people out there that still say, I don’t get on the computer, I’m not susceptible to this, I can take care of it myself if it happens. It’s not true. It takes 600 man hours to restore someone’s identity on an average basis. They think because they’ve never been on a computer, they don’t do social media, that they’re not vulnerable. But if you’ve ever been anywhere, and you’ve given them your driver’s license, your social, your medical ID, and you’ve had them copy it on a copier, now you’re open, you’re exposed, because I mean, have you heard of this before? Where they go in, and they buy the copiers after they’ve been turned back over to the leasing companies — they’ve extracted 48,000 documents and they sell most of it.

The point is, next time it could be you.

Remember to not only proactively (1) prevent but also to (2) plan if such a situation were to evolve.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Katie Norton at www.katienorton.net or her email katie@katienorton.net and let her know that Pete the Job Guy sent you!

I didn’t write down all the tips that Katie shared on the show, so if you want to listen (or even read the show), go to PeteTheJobGuy.com or click here. (and practice those link-awareness skills and hover to see the site we’re linking 😉 )

5 Free Solutions to Keep Your Employees Healthy and Focused

Laura Nolan, Health Solutions Executive at Humana, is a strong advocate for bringing a healthy lifestyle into the corporate office environment. We spoke the other day and she spoke passionately about how health solutions can positively affect output for any company AND the community.

Here are the numbers:

  •  Productivity losses linked to absenteeism cost employers $225.8 BILLION (or $1,685 per employee). Source: CDC, International Monetary Fund
  • People going to work when they’re sick (presenteeism) accounts for nearly TWO-THIRDS OF THE TOTAL COSTS of worker illness. Source: Harvard Business Review
  • More than 48 million workers—or 38 percent of the U.S. working population— have no paid sick leave. Source: NHIS, 2008
  • Companies that have exemplary safety, health and environmental programs OUTPERFORMED THE S&P 500 by between 3 and 5 percent. Source: Fabius R, Thayer R, Dixon BA, et al. 2013

And then it hit me:

Why aren’t all companies already doing this? It would save them so much money!

After 16 years with Humana, Laura has to say this to employers:

“…with wellness, each and every employer should consider it. Even if they aren’t, [or if] they don’t have the funds with the budgets to purchase a high tech wellness program for their employees, anything that you can do to think outside of the box [to ensure your employees are treated well.]”

There are BILLIONS — okay, maybe not billions – but a lot of apps out there to help you and your employees on their health journey!

Check out these other articles:

The best 8 Apps for a Calm, Focused Mind by Huffington post

15 tools that will help you stay focused by Product Hunt

 

Personally, I’m old school and if I try to take a break, I try to do it away from tech. So, here are some of the things that are free (or close to free) that can help you through the day.

 

1.     Set up reminders to take a break

“[At Humana,] twice a day I get an email that tells me to be mindful and to take a moment to meditate, to stretch or to do yoga and it’s linked to YouTube videos, so right. They don’t want me sitting and stuck at my desk all day zoning out and becoming less productive because I’m in the zone, so twice a day I get an email.”

 

This takes time, yes, but overall a free alternative and makes you (your company) an ‘accountability partner’ to your employees’ health journeys.

2.     Stretch

Do some chair yoga! This sound intense, but even just not looking at your computer, or stretching forward while sitting down will do your body some good! Our bodies take so much physical strain from sitting. YES, you heard correctly! Or as Laura would say: “Sitting is the new smoking.”

3.     Dance

Now for those who follow me on “the” social media, you know that I don’t waste any time. In the morning, I like to get my blood pumping! Some mornings I spend at The Gym Jax, but in the office, I like to dance…with my office! We usually do the YMCA, we blast the volume, share some laughs.

Check out this sweet video of us in action. AND YOU’LL LOVE THIS: I did the #inMyFeelingsChallenge, check it.

Are you in Jax? Check out some classes at The Gym Jax here or listen to our other podcast episode about The Gym Jax, here.

4.     Walk it Out

Bring your phone, don’t bring your phone, whatever you choose, just set a timer to 5 minutes and see how far you can walk away from your desk! Whatever you do, the point is to get those legs moving and your brain a break from going 100MPH all morning/afternoon.

5.     Play a Game

Get your office involved, too! Arren was telling me about her college job: she worked at the Dean of Students office and at 2:55pm every day the entire office gathered and would play a game. The games would range from doing icebreakers, light team building activities, and or just being in the room together silent and listening to classical music – just something unrelated to work!

So there they are, 5 free, easy solutions to get your employees happy, healthy, and more productive.

Keep workin’ hard my friends!

 

 

To listen to the full conversation, click here.

Tips on Buying your new house from a real REALTOR™

I had licensed Realty Professional, Kim Sessions, in the studio the other Sunday and we talked about “everything houses.” In case you missed the full conversation, here were her tips for before buying your dream house.

#1 Get pre-qualified first

Kim: Get pre-qualified first! So, the biggest thing a lot of times is people just, they think they can afford “x” and they start a window shopping and even start looking and then they can’t afford it. And then, you have your mind set on a certain price house and you can’t get it. And then it’s a big struggle. So, it’s very easy to get pre-qualified I would say. That’s the absolute first thing that you need to do.

#2 Check/ Work on that Credit Score

Pete: What’s your payment? What the total cost is? What you’re looking to accomplish? Is it 30, is it 15 [years]? And you know, FHA, VA, you got all these different programs out there and the adjustable/ nonadjustable I don’t even know what the heck…

Kim: Oh my gosh, they have something for everybody. But it’s, that’s why it’s so important to pre-qualified again because if your credit is not that great, it can affect what your interest rate would be. And that could actually push you out of a whole price point of a house.

#3 Envision what you want

Kim: I would really start to think about how you live your life. Where do you go, how do you live your life, not only in your house but within a facility because I mean, if stores are very popular to you or, or whatnot, you really need to think about what is in the area and can it fit your price point. And within that time too,

#4 Interview Realtors in the Area

Kim: I would interview agents that do take buyers out and see if they’re qualified to know what you want. Do they have the knowledge and the ability to get you the best deal.

 

To listen to the full conversation, click here.

Check out Kim’s advice for home-sellers here.

To connect with Kim Sessions:

Phone: 904-537-8380

www.KimSessions.com

Facebook | Instagram Twitter | LinkedIn

 

Tips on Selling your house from a real REALTOR™

I had licensed Realty Professional, Kim Sessions, in the studio the other Sunday and we talked about “everything houses.” In case you missed the full conversation, here were her tips for before putting your house on the market.

#1 – Declutter

Kim: Well, the first thing you should do…

Pete: …it’s called Kim sessions, right?

Kim: [laughs]. Well, yes. The first thing you should do — Which is everyone’s non favorite thing to do is declutter. Go through closets, depersonalized, things like that. It gets very overwhelming because you open a closet and you have a small closet and you take everything out and it fills the whole room. It’s amazing what we just shove in places. So, really it’s not really cost. That takes a lot for a lot of people their time.

Kim notes that it is important to declutter because it does take a lot of time, but also, could cost you money in the end.

Kim: You could have a house that wasn’t even updated but was super organized and clean and you would maximize and get a great price for it. You can have an updated house that was dirty and not organized and people view that as you don’t take care of your house and you will not get the maximum price. You can’t for your house.

#2 Fix the little things

Kim: I get this a lot. “Well, I’m going to leave a couple of these obvious things out because the inspector has to get, you know, ding a couple of things.” But the reality is, is if you take care of these things before you put it on the market and get a contract, you can have a handyman or you could do it yourself. When you start getting into your home being under contract per the contract, you do need to use a licensed contractor, which means you are most likely spending more money and frankly, buyers are walking in and they’re looking for things. So, if they see a ripped screen, that’s so easy and cheap to fix, you don’t want them to see that; you want them to walk through and see an immaculate house and they will be impressed. They will give a really great offer for that and just have the confidence that the house has been really taken care of.

 

#3 Stay neutral … when painting

Kim: So, a lot of people can’t visualize, so I do recommend to neutralize. I don’t go into every house and say you need to repaint your whole entire house, but if it’s a color that doesn’t really meet the mass, a lot of people will walk in and they can’t get past it. And painting is very easy fix. So, you know, the grays are the new neutrals right now. So, we really recommend sometimes it really will bring more money to the table by painting.

 

#4 Stay safe and use a Realtor

Kim: So, we’re actually seeing more for sale by owners right now because we are in a great market. But, it’s not as easy and as it is; there’s a system in place and there are strong statistics that show that you are leaving probably money on the table by not listing with a professional that does this on a daily basis.

You are also putting yourself in a safety situation. We are in the one of the most dangerous occupations; we have to really pay attention. We have to field out people, and really try to qualify them before we even meet them because I am putting myself in big jeopardy meeting a stranger. So, the safety is a huge factor.

#5 Save Valuable Time with a Realtor

Time. I mean, you’re taking a lot of time. You have to leave work to go open the house up buyers. I mean when they want to see a house, they want to see a house. So, not all of them are going and wanting to see it from 7 – 9 on the evenings or on the weekends. So, you really want to try sell your house, be available at all times.

#6 Have a game plan for post-sale

Kim: Sellers should have a game plan of where they’re going to go next. We are seeing this very often right now, where someone’s putting their house on the market and it’s going in a week or less. And a lot of people were like, “oh, we’ll just list it and see.” And they have nowhere to go or an idea. So, really kind of have an idea if you decide if you really want to sell your house…

#7 Crunch some numbers

Kim: I would say the financial part of selling a house, have an idea of what the closing costs are, what are the fees are, so you really know what your profit is at the end of the day and you have no surprises.

 

To listen to the full conversation, click here.

Check out Kim’s tips for homebuyers here!

 

To connect with Kim Sessions:

Phone: 904-537-8380

www.KimSessions.com

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An Open Letter to Busy Parents about Motivating your Kids

Dear exhausted-busy-parents,

It’s hard. Raising a human (or multiple humans) seems like an insurmountable task, mostly because it cannot be done in just one sitting AND you have to do it while tackling your job and your personal physical and mental health.

You know, I get it. You have something going well for yourself: a personal business, your job, your social life, and it seems like you jip your kids of “learning opportunities” or time spent with family because you’re just so busy. And when you realize that you are doing this (some are lucky to catch it) you just feel awfully guilty. I’ve been there. Multiple times.

Let me tell you: I’m right there with you. I’ve been a parent for 22 years and I feel like I am still am not giving enough. It’s a feeling that eats me up when my head hits the pillow and I want to know how to get rid of it.

Luckily, I had a conversation with some of my friends who are also parents facing the same struggles of preparation and motivation.

To listen to the full podcast, click here.

I was able to get some good takeaways that I think would be good to share with you, the stays-up-asking-“I’m I really giving 100% to my children to ensure they are prepared for the future?-question-parent”

Here is how to combat the following situations:

When you’re not with them

Desire (you want this for them): You want your kid(s) to thrive when they are “set-free” into the big world (whether that’s college or the workforce). You want them to succeed when they are independent of you because they choose to be responsible and not fall to the pressure of their peers or environment.

Action: Stop weeping for yourself about the time you are not with them. If we could all quit our jobs and still get money, we would, but we can’t. Instead, start focusing on who your children are spending time with beyond you. If you take note of who they are spending time with and if they (friends/ family) encourage your kids to do better, to do more, this will help achieve your desire of responsible, independent young adults. It is good to “train them up” to make a decision by themselves and to surround themselves with positive people.

Hear Preston Stuckey, son of Alex Stuckey, and rising sophomore at Florida State University, talk more about taking on independence and responsibility in the full conversation here.

When you are with them

Desire (you want that for them): You want them to be a good human. And by “good,” I mean you want for them: good self-discipline, the power to choose to do the right thing in the situation, and the courage to fight for what’s right. You want them to help whenever they can, even when they don’t want to. AND most importantly, you want them to be happy.

Action: When you are around them, the quantity of time does not matter, so long as it is quality time where they can witness those good traits in you. Be the example of what you want your kids to be in the future, today.

Stop telling and start doing.

If you want them to realize that family is important, then make time for family. If you want them to be successful, show them persistence, responsibility, and motivation propels you to finish. If you want them to clean their room, wash your dishes after dinner. These small ripples can make lasting waves in their minds. You must understand that you cannot control them or order them; you can only lead by example and show them that there are certain principles that you won’t compromise.

So, parents, my friend-who-stays-up-wondering-about-the-future-of-your-child(ren)’s-life, stop thinking and start doing.

As my good friend, Tom Nolan says,

“Everything you do is a reflection and your kids are watching.”

Or I like to sum it up like these: kids are sponges. (Not as eloquent, but you get the point.)

So, to the busy parent, my challenge for you, right now, is to talk through your child(ren)’s goals. Why? To make yourself aware of them, to make yourself available when you can, and to motivate them until they make it.

Until then, parents, keep workin’ hard, for this is the best way to prepare your kids!

Connect more:

Connect with Tom Nolan on LinkedIn!

To listen to the full conversation, go to the Pete the job Guy Podcast here. Thanks for reading!

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.”

or

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

Catfished:

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
here.

8 Practical Tips to Prepare Your Business and Employees for a Hurricane

Hurricane season has begun (dun dun dunnn); which means we should start boarding up our houses and buying all the canned foods and water bottles we need for 3+ months — RIGHT NOW. Right?

On the contrary, hurricane season preparation doesn’t begin as early as it should AND we are not preparing everything that needs to be prepped. Unfortunately, we forget about the other important things like our business properties and our employees in the event of a hurricane/ storm, which means we may not be as ready as we thought.

You’re probably thinking, “So, Pete, you’re telling me, in addition to preparing my family and my house, I have to prepare my business and employees?”

Yes, that is absolutely right! You need to ensure that there is a plan in place so that your business can keep going.

Now, you’re thinking: “how do I prepare my business buildings, employees, and processes so that we can continue to serve our customers during and after the storm?”

Luckily, I have these 8 tips that I gathered from a conversation with my good friends at Florida Family Insurance and SNI Companies on exactly how to do that! So, keep reading! (For the full podcast, click here)

1. Speak to your Insurance Agents, now!

Stephanie: “We suggest you call your insurance agents now and ask them to review your coverage. The last thing you want is to go through a hurricane and have a surprise. So, call your agent, ask them, and don’t be afraid to ask: ‘how did my current carrier perform during [Hurricane] Irma?’” 

Takeaway: Stephanie from Florida Family Insurance suggests that you call your insurance agents and go over what’s covered and what’s not. This will help you get an idea of how to react once the storm has past and if you have an damage, how to report it.

2. Ensure your Employees are Cross-Trained 

Stephanie: “Our hurricane plan is making sure both our policyholders and our agents are prepared and have the materials they need, but making sure our staff is ready by the time hurricane season hits… And it’s about making sure that everyone is cross-trained. We all become staff members of the Claims Department if there’s a hurricane. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re in actuary or a financial analyst, you’re on the phone taking claims calls.”

Takeaway: Not everyone will be able to make it into work during or after the storm. If your employees are not cross-trained, there is a lower chance that your business will be able to take on the post-hurricane demand. You’re probably thinking, “Pete, I don’t have time to cross-train my employees before the storm comes, what are my other options?” If you cannot cross-train your employees in time, look to our third tip!

3. Speak with a Staffing Agency to Fill Temp Positions Immediately

Rose from SNI Companies:  “If you know your business gets a boom during a certain time, I think it’s always important to partner with a staffing agency so they understand what your needs are, what your culture is, what the job duties are, so they can plug the right candidates in for you when you have the need…Our office always has a pool of candidates that we steadily used to fill positions that are open and we’re not waiting for a client to call us. We’re proactively recruiting and getting those candidates ready. So, as soon as we get a call, we are ready.”

Takeaway: Hurricanes are not all bad, in that they can create business for companies, which means more work for you. Therefore, if you are not properly staffed to take on all those requests, it will be hard to stay organized and leverage your new customers. Staffing agencies like SNI Companies can immediately place temporary candidates to help with the influx. We’re talking about positions like cost accountants, project estimators, claims adjusters, customer service representatives, and more. Call SNI Companies to find out more about how they can help your business prepare.

4. Let your Employees Prepare their Families/Homes

Stephanie: “At the beginning of hurricane season, we make sure that our employees put a lot of focus on preparing themselves, their home, and their families. If they don’t feel confident about their family’s [safety], if they are insecure and unprepared, they’re not going to be able to and shouldn’t be able to devote the time and attention to the policyholders; so, we make sure that they spend the time on the front end preparing themselves and they are ready when they need to come back to the office. So, we have plans to text message and our employees. We have an employee hotline. Each employee gets a card that gives them the information — so that they can get regular updates on what’s expected of them in the office.”

Laurie: “I think one of the most important things you can do as an employer is to remember your employees are people and their primary concern is about their family and their homes. So, what we do at Florida Family is we’ll rotate people in and out during a workday to give them time to go to the grocery store to get the food they need to go get plywood from home depot to get their house ready. So, we just feel it’s really important that they feel 100 percent confident that they’re prepared for the storm.”

Takeaway: Allow employees to focus on their family and home before they take on the challenge of maintaining the business. Once they feel confident that their family and home are secure, they will do the same for your business.

5. During/After the Storm, Provide your Employees with Food/Snacks/Water

Stephanie: “If you’re in a situation where your employees are going to have to come in rapidly and worked for long hours after a storm, supply them with some food and snacks, they’re not going to be able to take breaks to eat lunch and it’s hard to find lunch…”

Takeaway: Make it easy for your employees to work in the conditions of the aftermath. Providing food is a simple way to do that.

 6. Protect the (Tech) Goods

Stephanie: “So, practical things that people should think about for their plan are, what are you going to do with your equipment? So, you have all these computers and if we work downtown on the South Bank, in San Marco, which we knew the during [Hurricane] Irma was going to get some water. We didn’t know how much. So, you might want to think about taking all your computers home or having the employees take them. [Ask] how are you going to process payments? Do your employees have calculators and practical things, enough paper receipts, right? So, all that should be in a plan and thought/ about purchased in-advance.”

 Takeaways: Figure out each scenario (no power, no internet, no computers) and ask, “how will you conduct business through each?” and then plan accordingly.

Also, if you do have expensive equipment and you are near a body of water, place the equipment at least 5 feet above the floor in case of flooding or ask your employees/ IT department to take them home.

7. Have a Paper Copy of Everything

Stephanie: “Make sure that you have your home insurance agent’s contact information, how to know how to report a claim, take a photo of your policy number and your agent’s phone number, carrier’s information. Make that a note in your phone and keep that handy.”

Takeaway: Do not rely on your electronic devices and the cloud for important documents. Write them down, take pictures, and print them out to guarantee you have everything on hand.

8. Create a “boredom” box

Stephanie: “I’m preparing my “boredom” box is one of the last things I do. You don’t, you forget how bored you get during the storm, so get all your games down, get your puzzles down, books you want to reread and put them in a central location in your house so you’re not climbing through dark closets, letting things fall on your head during the storm.”

Takeaway: Things don’t have to be gloomy during/after a hurricane. Keep the ambiance light and fun. The “boredom” box is something that you can easily do at home and in the office to get some good energy out of a terrifying or stressful situation.

 

So, there you go hurricane/ storm preppers! If you didn’t get any new information, fantastic, sounds like you’re prepared for the next gust of wind flying our way. If you did get some new insights and you want more information, feel free to visit the links below!

Happy prepping from your Hurricane Staffing Expert,

-Pete Langlois

 

Visit Florida Family Insurance’s Resource Center here.

Get more info on Temporary Staffing Services here.

Get Free Business Hurricane Guides here.

To listen to the full podcast, click here.