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Dec 18

December 18, 2013, TGIW: Unhumping Hump Day

By Darrell Gurney | Blog

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”–Ella Jane Fitzgerald

Wishing you a couple wonderful holiday weeks ahead, and a Sweet Spot New Year.

What do I mean by “Sweet Spot”? I mean that place where work no longer occurs like work…where you are actually oblivious to Mondays vs. Fridays…and where you are sometimes amazed that you actually get paid for what you get to do!

Sounds like magical thinking? Well, perhaps that’s why the majority of folks don’t get there. But know that some do, and you can be one of them…if only you first start to consider it as possible.

As a consideration for your new years resolutions in development, why not have 2014 be the year where it all comes together? With a vision of you in your Sweet Spot, along with a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual roadmap, your next year could have you doing things and meeting people you never imagined possible…until now!

What one resolution can you make NOW to move toward the kind of days you can’t wait to begin…every day?

Got Passion? (I wrote a whole eBook on it too!)

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” –Steve Jobs

Q & A

Media Source:

Topic: Acceptable job interview lies?

Reporter Query: I want to write an article that features a list of five questions (give or take) that job interviewers frequently ask where the person being interviewed sometimes lies, and it’s not a big deal to the employer. For example, I am firmly of the belief that whenever a job interviewer asks “Where do you see yourself in five years,” that any response given by any applicant is a lie, and that employers are aware of this.

CareerGuy Response: Hi Daniel, As to your query, I agree that the question you mention above is inauthentic because nobody knows where they will be in five years. Taking a job is like today’s marriage vows on the part of both employee and employer: you state your intentions, and then you just give it your best shot. No guarantees.

In addition to that interview question, another one that has traditionally been respononded to inauthentically is “What do you see as your greatest weakness?” In the old days, most people came up with something good about themselves and couched it in terms of a weakness, such as “I’m such a perfectionist that I end up staying late at work and my wife gets mad at me.” Right. Sure it is. However, in today’s more psychologically adept world, those types of answers don’t fly as much, as just about every hiring manager and HR person has heard them. They are looking for people to be consciously self-aware of their real weaknesses, yet like it when the weakness is followed by a self-generated solution, such as “I tend to take on more than I should in terms of work and responsibilities, which sometimes affects not just me but my coworkers and work environment in terms of stress. So, I have learned to step back and reserve my default “yes” answer for a bit to look more closely at whether an additional task can seriously be accomplished by me or should be tackled elsewhere. This keeps me pressing the envelope of what I can truly do well while also not taking me down for the count…which does nobody any good.”

Dec 11

December 11, 2013, TGIW: Unhumping Hump Day

By Darrell Gurney | Blog

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”–Joseph Campbell

In the the practical analysis, there’s really no difference between 11:59pm on December 31 and 12:01am on January 1. They are simply two moments along the continuum that is our life and times.

However, we make a big deal out of that tick of the clock because ritual is valuable and new beginnings are seductively empowering.

In just 3 weeks, another year will have ended and a new one begun.

What do you want to fulfill on in this new chance/new year that approaches?

What are the hopes and dreams to renew your belief in again?

What one action can you take today, NOW, to plan for a solid new beginning in 21 days?

Got Plan?

“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.”  –G.K. Chesterton

Dec 04

December 4, 2013, TGIW: Unhumping Hump Day

By Darrell Gurney | Blog

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson

We just finished Thanksgiving…a wonderful time for reflection and gratitude for our lives, families, and the opportunities that we have been given.

It’s a really smart practice, in fact, to take such pointed time to acknowledge all the demonstrations of growth and expansion in our lives over the past 12 months… especially when, at this time of year, many people will start planning out goals for the New Year ahead.

Got Gratitude?

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” –Meister Eckhart

Nov 27

November 27, 2013, TGIW: Unhumping Hump Day

By Darrell Gurney | Blog

“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.”–Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

It’s easy to read the above quote and think it to be highfalutin’ and not applicable to “little old me”. After all, who has the time in the day to think of high minded meaning behind to-dos, schedules, the putting of food on the table and shoes on the kids’ feet.

But notice Frankl didn’t say we would necessarily be aware of the concrete assignment that we are fulfilling, nor our unique irreplaceability. He just said we have a mission and a specific opportunity to implement it.

The question is, will we do it consciously or unconsciously?

Something tells me that the conscious route–truly realizing our irreplaceable assignment and unrepeatable life–is the funner way to go!

Make a list this holiday weekend of your top 15 accomplishments in life…and then pretend it isn’t you. What do you see about the person that could accomplish those things? What are the patterns? Finish this sentence: “This seems to be a person around whom X occurs.” What’s the X-factor for you?


“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”–Thomas Jefferson

Nov 20

November 20, 2013, TGIW: Unhumping Hump Day

By Darrell Gurney | Blog

Thanks for being a subscriber…and welcome to a new logo, look, and liveliness from your Dream Job Life coach.

Once a week, on Wednesday, when you’re in the middle of your workweek and perhaps beginning to fantasize about the weekend, you’ll get a little JOLT insight or inspiration to help you take the hump out of hump day.

Around mid-month, the JOLT will be an insight, like today’s. The others will be short and sweet, an inspiration…to ideally give your Wednesday that loose and easy Saturday feel.

Today’s JOLT insight is about dreams.

There’s lots of talk about pursuing dreams and one’s “vision” yet, if you’re like me, maybe you grew up in a culture that simply valued hard work with no real attention to the feelings surrounding it.

Simply being able to pay the rent or mortgage, put food on the table, and ideally save to enable your kids to get an education and yourself a modest retirement after 62 was as far reaching as many dreams extended.

And there’s nothing wrong with that thinking. That salt-of-the-earth mentality is respectable and honorable even to this day and no one can fault someone who buckles down, does what has to be done, and maybe even accidentally turns a more utilitarian job into an actual vocation.

Perhaps it was even easier in the days when there were less choices as to what one would actually do with their life. With little awareness of options, it may have been easier to be at peace with your “place” in life.

For example, I had the good fortune to be able to travel into the former Soviet Union after college before the wall came down. I was with a tourist group that travelled in from Helsinki to the then Leningrad. Some fellow travellers brought gum, nylons, and cassette tapes (yes, this was a while back!) to give to the Russian traders who would congregate behind the hotel at night on the banks of the Baltic. The Russians brought icons and flags and wanted to trade for Western items they couldn’t get elsewhere. My friends didn’t want to trade, but just gave them the items they brought as gifts.

The impactful moment was when, in chatting with a Russian citizen who spoke incredibly good English, he asked me where I was from? I told him Texas and that I had attended college in Austin, at the University of Texas.

He then proceeded to tell me more about Austin than I knew about the whole Soviet Union! I was amazed at his knowledge and intelligence. I then asked what he did for a living. He said that he delivered milk. I was again amazed. “What? You are so incredibly smart, you know so much about the world, and you speak such good English, and you deliver milk?” (I phrased it better than that, so it didn’t sound lik an insult.)

He got my point and responded “Here, they tell you what you will do, and you do it. They told me I am to deliver milk, so I deliver milk.”

I immediately felt so privileged to live in a free society where I could maybe NOT know what I wanted to do yet (just after graduation), or have tons of choices, or take some time to figure it out, or try one thing and then decide to do another thing.

[On a side note, some people who’ve heard this story claim that he was surely KGB. Yet, who knows? It’s completely understandable that in some societies there are not the options we have in the more developed world!]

But did he have it better, or did I? Does having more options serve us? One might see it either way.

I’m of the opinion that having freedom of options is a privilege if you use it, much like the right to vote. The right to vote itself is only a privilege if it’s utilized.

As for one’s career, there’s nothing ultimately wrong with sticking with the straight and narrow, and to simply HAVE a job after the ravaging Great Recession is a blessing.

And yet having a Dream Job, something that engages our real passions, is a privilege if we take it…and refuse to settle for less. It definitely takes work and finesse and clarity and connections to make our way into a Dream Job, and yet what is the alternative? Grin and bear it?

In starting this weekly missive, I’m moving more toward my own Dream Job Life of writing more regularly, rather than only books every decade. I always considered being a “blogger” something I just wasn’t capable of…but in now marrying my desire to write more with technology, I say “Why not?!”

What actions will move you toward your Dream Job Life today? What little step can you take ? What outreach can you muster to get support from someone else? What bold requests can you make? And what can you keep pursuing even in the face of all the reasons not to?


“Action expresses priorities”–Mahatma Ghandi

Feb 15

Real World on “The Job”?: Episode 2, Vogue Magazine

By Darrell Gurney | Blog

The JobIn continuing my support of the ideal world of work promoted by CBS and the producers of the Friday night prime-time offering, “The Job”, I again offer some thoughts as to the fact vs. fiction goings-on in Episode 2, where 5 more candidates vie for a job as an Assistant Editor at the prestigious women’s magazine, Vogue.

The producers were smart enough to start the show with all jobs focused in the New York area…for reasons of production costs as well as a big enough metropolitan area where nearly every possible type of work can be found.  I only wonder how much the glitz of skyscraper publishers and high-end dining establishments in New York City can relate to the hiring dilemmas of the mass of American Everymans (and women).  But, after developing my own “reality” show concepts in this TV game for the past 7 years, I simply appreciate that producers with clout like this are at least making an attempt…when so many other job show ideas have been cut before even a sizzle reel was produced.  Networks have been antsy about this kind of content, so kudos to CBS.

Here are some fact vs. fiction as well as educational ideas to consider from Episode 2.  Again, I won’t outline the show’s drama, twists and turns.  You deserve to see it for yourself.  And when you do, keep these things in mind:

1.  Brenda, the twice-their-age contender for this Asst. Manager role, shows gumption after having been an entrepreneur for perhaps the last 10-15 years.  Good for her!  Except she was obviously so out of the job-search (and newly graduated) mode that she forgot to do her homework!  She didn’t even read any recent issues of Vogue to catch the style and flavor of the voice of the magazine?  Every company, whether it’s a publisher, a restaurant, or a saddle-maker, has a style, flavor and voice.  Do your homework!

2.  Give me a break!  5 apparently sharp women competing for a role in publishing who don’t even do a spell-check on their final work?  I would like to think that this was a gimmick put in by the producers to create some gasps of incredulity for the viewers…yet you would be amazed at some of the resumes and emails that come into my office.  Fine, upstanding, highly-experienced professionals with typos and misspellings throughout.  Folks, this is an easy one.  Spell-check your work…and have a few other friends do it too, because you get too close to the forest for the trees!

3.  This is the second show in which the candidates were grilled with common terminology, facts, and trivia surrounding the field…therefore, I suppose this will be a staple in future episodes.  And it points to a glaring fact: if you are really pursuing a field you are passionate about, this is a no-brainer.  And yet, if you simply need a job, you will be stumped.  For a couple episodes now, the candidate who seemingly had the most sincere interest and passion in the field tended to get more answers correct.  The point is: don’t waste your time pursuing jobs of non-interest.  Go for what your passionate about, because it shows more than you know!

4.  The show is built for suspense and drama, and therefore takes the viewer and candidates up and down, up and down.  Just when you think you’re the bees knees, you fall on your face.  And just when you think you’re sunk, the sun also rises.  How much is this like the real world of job search!  Keep moving, don’t give up!  It reminds me of a little piece I use to inspire my clients when they get down and out.  It’s called “Press On” and goes like this:


Nothing In the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful individuals with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent

5.  Joanna, the Editor-in-Chief, gives a pre-commercial tip to “not be a braggart in the office” because nobody likes self-promotion and you need friends around you.  I agree…and remember, she’s talking about in the office once you have a job!  One of the things I work on most with people actually competing for jobs is their ability to speak well and highly of themselves…because most are so afraid of being perceived as a braggart that they don’t even sell themselves well.  As I say in my book, Never Apply for a Job Again: Break the Rules, Cut the Line, Beat the Rest, if you’re not tooting your own horn (in order to be known so you can land), then nobody is!

6.  This is the second show where one of the onlooking companies makes an offer to take one of the candidates out of contention, so the main sponsoring company (Vogue in this case) can’t have them.  The joke here is that these candidates or being “offered” a job by the competing company and they have to make a decision as to whether to take it or wait for their chances with the main company without knowing any details of the offer!  Come on producers!  We all know an offer isn’t simply a childhood request “Will you go with me?” “Want to be my girlfriend/boyfriend?”  An offer is made up of a LOT of factors that go into the decision.  Perhaps the offer Diandra would have received from Archetype Me was 50% more than Vogue?  We will never know, as this aspect of the show is simplified to ridiculousness.  How about teaching viewers how to sort out all the pieces of an offer, and to negotiate??

7.  I love the questions the final candidates are asked about their social media presence.  “Anything untoward may we find about you on Facebook or elsewhere?”  It’s real folks.  Don’t think they aren’t Googling you as much as you are them!

8.  Again, the show needs to simplify and spoonfeed the emotions so as to compete with much less educational and even plain dumb shows out there…so they make everyone happy at the end by giving both of the far and away “good guys” (the top contenders) jobs.  Yet, we all know folks, most often, and especially at the higher levels, there’s no room for “Oh, sure, let’s take two”…so what are you doing, right now, today, to stand out from the rest when there is only one position?  Will you be chosen…or the biggest loser?

So glad there’s now a mass venue in which to discuss the very real world of work that the entertainment world has been devoid of addressing.  This has been a personal mission of mine for several years, and I can’t wait until my own offering in this “reality” show genre is ready for unveiling.

More next week on “Real World on ‘The Job’?”

Feb 08

Real World on “The Job”?: Episode 1, The Palms

By Darrell Gurney | Blog

The JobCBS’s mid-season addition to their Friday night line-up, “The Job”, has a lot going for it. It embraces a near-perfect world of hiring in which truly the best person for the job is actually hired and, if there’s a close-enough contender, heck, why not give them a job too? One of the first “reality shows” was called “Real World”…so I want to apply that concept to what “The Job” is offering us.

I love the idyllic world presented by the producers, and agree that this is the way life should be. And, as part of the whole educational purpose that the show positions itself to fulfill–besides the heart-warming entertainment–I want to assist that education by pointing out the so-called “truths” about being a candidate in this job market vs. the idealism of the show. Through educating the job seeker as well as the hiring manager, perhaps the more ideal world of work can arise.

The season opener on Friday, Feb. 8, pitted 5 candidates in a hiring contest to become the Assistant Manager at a long-time New York landmark restaurant, The Palms: a blonde Caucasian woman (Maggie); a couple of Hispanic men (Anthony, overweight, and Alex); a black woman (Jann); and a Caucasian male (Ryan). They each took their blows throughout the show, as is the case in all reality shows, because the juice is in the up-and-down drama. And yet, eventually, one was hired (Jann) by The Palms management…who happened to also find a role for the close contender in another location (Ryan).

I won’t recount the show. You deserve to watch it yourself. Yet, for the purposes of furthering your education toward a more ideal world of work (whether you be a job seeker or an employer), I will point out some valuable take-aways from the episode:

1. Though perhaps standard knowledge for some, the little commercial-break tips from the employers on such things as dress, communication during an interview, not asking for vacation right away, and not bad-talking former employers are little gems. I like that the producers included these because, even at the highest level of executive candidates out there, it’s amazing what some folks should know but apparently don’t. And for new folks to the job market, like my 18-year-old son, this is all fresh news.

2. Ryan shows early on that he is a serious contender by demonstrating the amount of research he had done on The Palms, thereby impressing the management on the initial hello portion of the show. The point: you can’t do too much research before an interview folks! Short of being a stalker, when you demonstrate that you are so interested in the other party (like on a date) by knowing about them and what is important to them, you gain points in what I call “relationship equity.” Relationship equity has a long arm of reach…which eventually pays off when Ryan gets a second job that they just happen to find for him.

3. Who’s kidding who? Was Maggie really “shocked” when she was eliminated as the first to be dropped? She showed neither any good sense nor understanding of the job. Unfortunately, outside of idyllic reality shows, those types still tend to know somebody who knows somebody…which can land them as your boss! I’m a huge proponent of not what you know but who you know, and because of her looks and eventual knowing the right person, she’ll land somewhere for sure. I’m glad the looks didn’t win the day in the idyllic world of “The Job.”

4. The whole idea of “protecting” a candidate and having other companies taking their pot-shots by making offers from the sidelines is a fun one to put in a show needing tension and make-or-break decisions. Bruce, the General Manager of The Palms, “protects” Ryan as the onlooking companies pull Anthony from contention by giving him a job offer. Good choice Anthony! You were looking weak on style alignment with The Palms, my friend! Anthony demonstrates that what may look unkempt and frumpy in one environment can be a perfect fit in another. The point: know the employer’s environment, and look like you just stepped out of it.

5. The very personal interest aspects involved in each candidate’s life story–a single-mom with 6 kids, a cancer survivor, a man who wants to make his dad proud–adds a touching flavor and demonstrates the very real impact that your personal story can have in a hiring presentation. You are a person getting hired by other persons…and if you play your personal cards right, they can enhance (and, in some cases, make up for) the necessary skills required to be hired. It’s not all about your story or personality, and yet politics and PR are as strong in hiring as they are anywhere else.

6. Jann, a beautifully smile-laden, southern, black single-mom with 6 kids is chosen as the winner of the Assistant Manager role over Ryan, the close runner up. How idyllic is that, when she is compared to a single, unattached Caucasian man who could drop everything and move to New York on a dime? Hello?? Schools for the kids? Worries that a single mom must deal with as a sole caretaker and breadwinner for a family of 7? After-school involvements for 6 kids? Again, I’m admiring of the producers wanting to show us a perfect world where the obviously best skilled candidate wins out…and, unfortunately, I don’t know that the hiring world sees things the way these producers do. But, good on ‘ya, they inject a bit of real reality when The Palms management just happens to find another role in their Boston location for Ryan.

In the process of producing my own “reality” show around the world of work and people pursuing their dreams, I’ve become intimately aware of the elements necessary to make a show fly. Therefore, I don’t critique the sweetness nor simplicity of the worldview “The Job” promotes. I only emphasize the contrasts between this TV reality and the one most candidates see day-to-day so that perhaps we can all get more clarity on the way it really “should” be.

More next week on “Real World on ‘The Job’?”

Feb 05

Top 10 New Year Career Resolutions: Resolution #10 “I Will Never Consider Myself Simply an Employee Again”

By Darrell Gurney | Blog

Video #16, the FINAL VIDEO in the “The Top 10 New Year Career Resolutions” series…and wouldn’t you know the camera stopped! Nonetheless, this is still a resolution that you deserve to declare for yourself in 2013. Here I cover how critical it is for you to treat yourSELF like a business. Download the full PDF from the homepage at Please like and comment on YouTube, share and repost so everyone can benefit!

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