Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Latest Non-Profit Job Postings

I just received this week's non-profit job postings for central Indiana from Charitable Advisors. I forgot to link into their site last week (sorry Bryan). If you're not signed up for their weekly email and interested in this job sector, you should be. I's a wealth of information and opportunities. Let me know if you apply for any of the positions and how it's going.

President, Brooke’s Place for Grieving Young People – Seeking a dynamic individual to lead this eight-year-old agency in its work to provide group grief support programming to children and their families. The candidate must possess strong leadership, interpersonal and business skills. In addition, experience with fundraising (including writing grant proposals), special event planning, staff management, and budgeting/financial oversight is essential. Requires a Bachelor’s Degree, or equivalent experience. Candidate should have demonstrated success in managing multiple projects with multiple constituencies. Respond by October 5 with resume, letter of interest/availability and salary expectations to (Featured September 25 and October 2)

President, Near North Development Corporation (NNDC) -- Based in downtown Indianapolis, NNDC is seeking to fill its senior leadership position. The President is responsible for the development, implementation, and monitoring of all plans and programs for the organization. Strong candidates will have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in urban planning, public administration, or a related field. Knowledge of urban planning, real estate and/or economic development, housing issues and non-profit management are essential. Please submit all inquires to Orson Mason at For more information and a full job description please visit (Featured September 25 and October 2)

Bookkeeper/Accountant, Connect2Help - Seeking part time bookkeeper experienced in nonprofit accounting. Must possess knowledge of not-for-profit general accounting and finance. Chosen candidate will produce monthly financial statements and handle month-end closing procedures, account reconciliations, billing, regular statutory filings, prepare audit documents and interact with agency auditors, board members and staff. Excellent oral and written communication skills, exceptional interpersonal skills and judgment, effective organizational skills, and strong computer skills. Flexible hours. Please respond with cover letter, resume, references, and salary requirements to: or Lynn Engel, P.O. Box 30530, Indianapolis, IN 46230-0530 (Featured September 25 and October 2)

Team Leader, St Vincent - Responsible for all aspects of caring for the sites in an efficient manner. Ideal candidate will display excellent leadership qualities, patience, teamwork and dependability. Previous supervisory experience a plus. Reference job opening ID number 25709 or 25296. Interested candidates should apply online at: (Featured September 25 and October 2)

Director of Membership, The Indianapolis Zoo - Lead one of the most vital membership programs in Indiana with a base of over 34,000 households and annual revenue in excess of $3.5 million. Requires 5+ yrs experience in a non-profit membership department -- 2 or more of those years in direct staff supervision -- with experience in direct mail offers and subscription programs. Excellent organizational skills required with demonstrated ability to analyze and interpret information regarding the membership program. Strong computer skills/experience with database software (Raiser’s Edge preferred) a must. Experience with customer call and service centers helpful. Strong marketing and communications skills with a BA/BS in business, marketing or related field required. Apply online at or Email resumes to No phone calls please. EOE/Drug Free Workplace. (Featured September 25 and October 2)

Bilingual Specialist, Family Development Services (FDS) - FDS manages the Head Start and Early Head Start educational programs in Marion and Hamilton counties. Plan and implement an annual rotation schedule for enrollment of children who speak Spanish, facilitate communications between program staff and families, assist with home visits. High School diploma, Bachelors in Spanish, Early Childhood Ed preferred. Must be fluent and able to translate to and from Spanish. At least one year exp with children, knowledge of computers, excellent communication skills, and valid drivers license. Some local travel. Competitive salary + generous benefits. Respond to: Family Development Services, 3637 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208, f.317.803.9486, EOE/M/F/V/D (Featured September 25 and Oct 2)

Coordinator, Marketing – United Way of Central Indiana – Provide primary project coordination for the Strategic Marketing department. Undergraduate degree or some higher education in marketing/communications with at least 2 year’s experience in marketing project mgmt and coordination is preferred. Demonstrated work experience in program and event coordination is desirable. Must type at least 55 wpm and be knowledgeable of various computer and database software including MSOffice. Experience with content management software is helpful. Full Description at: Respond by October 5, 2007 with cover letter, resume, salary expectations and three professional references to: United Way of Central Indiana, HR, 3901 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208 or or Fax: 317-921-1329 (Featured September 25 and Oct 2)

Intern, Family Volunteer Day, United Way of Central Indiana(UWCI) - To research, plan, execute and manage UWCI’s Family Volunteer Day event in each county. The internship is through November 2007 and requires a minimum of 20 hours per week. College junior, senior, graduate student or graduate. Previous event experience desired, but not required. Must be detail-oriented and have effective communication and interpersonal skills. The ability to be a proactive planner and handle multiple tasks while working independently and as part of a team. Dependable transportation and a valid driver’s license are required. Full Description at: Respond by October 5, 2007 with cover letter, resume, salary expectations and three professional references to: United Way of Central Indiana, HR, 3901 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208 or Fax: 317-921-1323 (Featured September 25 and Oct 2)

Marketing Communications Specialist, Conner Prairie Museum - Are you a creative marketing writer who can write clean and compelling copy in print and Web-based media? Be a key promoter of the museum and an important guardian of its brand through writing, project planning and management and assistance with basic design work (no design experience required). This position will be part of a challenging, fun and creative marketing team. A great opportunity to gain experience in a wide range of marketing areas. Please respond with 2-3 writing samples, cover letter, resume and salary requirements to: or Conner Prairie; Attn: Judy Crawford, 13400 Allisonville Rd. Fishers, IN 46038 (Featured September 25 and Oct 2)

Assistant Controller, National FFA Organization - Manages and coordinates reconciling of balance sheet accounts, general ledger review, pension and benefits accounting, cash and investment accounting, not-for-profit accounting, endowment accounting, year-end audits, internal control, policy and procedure review and improvement, state and federal reporting, etc. Bachelors Degree, 5-7 years professional accounting experience with at least 3 years working with an ERP system and 2 years of supervisory experience. Send resume & salary history to: (Featured September 25 and Oct 2)

Nurture the Child through Kindermusik, Inc. is currently looking to hire a part time teacher to teach classes in Plainfield and Mooresville, IN. If this person has not been trained through Kindermusik University, NTC Kindermusik will pay for one half of the training. Qualifications needed: Experience in music; ability to sing accapello on pitch; experience with children newborn-7 years very helpful; and a love for children and their families. If interested call Laraine Hudson at 317-892-2487 or email (Featured September 25 and October 2)

User Support Analyst, Children’s Bureau seeks full-time User Support Analyst for the Management of Information Systems Department. Responsibilities include providing consulting/technical support to end users, installation, configuration, and troubleshooting of diverse software applications and hardware systems. Efficiency training staff on various applications as well as proficiency working with Microsoft Office Suite and Windows server environment is essential. Associates degree in computer science and 2 years experience assisting end users with computer hardware and software preferred. Excellent communication, organizational and time management skills are a must. Submit cover letter and resume to: Children’s Bureau, Inc. Attn: Human Resources, 615 N. Alabama St., Ste. 426, Indpls. IN 46204. Fax: (317) 264-2712; E-mail: (Featured September 25 and October 2)

Full-time Case Manager, IHN ( Interfaith Hospitality Network) , a not-for profit agency serving homeless families. Responsibilities: Conduct in-take process including drug screenings and background checks; Provide case management for homeless families w/children; Ensure client program compliance and program outcomes; On call responsibilities – carry cell phone; Assist w/day center operations, phones, security, in-kind donations; Coordinate overnight emergency housing services w/area congregations; Travel to area congregations as needed for training and oversight of program services. Requires BSW, plus experience in social services agency. Experience with homeless population preferred. Word, Excel, E-mail, and data entry. Send resume, salary requirements and 3 professional references to: (Featured September 25 and October 2)

Part-Time Therapist, Reach For Youth, Inc. - Part-time clinician experienced at working with sexually maladaptive youth. Responsibilities will include a co-facilitating a weekly evening group for adolescent males as well as additional hours for comprehensive psycho-sexual evaluations for referred youth. Salary to be commensurate with experience. Licensure preferred but not required. Respond to Reach For Youth, Inc. Re: ASO Therapist 3505 N. Washington Blvd. Indianapolis, IN 46205. Fax to 317-920-5911, or EOE. (Featured September 25 and October 2)

Marketing/Communications Manager, American Diabetes Association, Indiana Area – team player needed to organize and manage marketing and communications for state affiliate, including developing strategic marketing plans for special events and programs, media relations and PR efforts. Work with volunteer committees. Includes special event mgmt. Requires bachelor’s degree and 3-5 years progressive experience, understanding of strategic marketing, demonstrated experience with PR writing, special event campaigns and preparing and giving presentations. Knowledge and experience with local media helpful. Strong organizational and interpersonal skills, excellent writing skills and ability to multi-task. Respond to: fax: 317-594-0748; email:; or mail: American Diabetes Association, 6415 Castleway West Drive, Suite 114, Indianapolis, IN 46250 (Featured September 25 and October 2)

Development Manager, Goodwill Industries Foundation - Exciting opportunity to be part of a team creating new directions for Goodwill Industries Foundation in its fundraising efforts. Ideal position if you can organize, plan, and have strong writing skills. Create and implement the annual integrated campaign, from prospect identification through acknowledgement. Annual fund experience required; capital campaign experience preferred. Bachelor’s degree with at least three years of fundraising experience. Excellent written, oral and analytical skills. Knowledge of fundraising and databases, Raiser’s Edge preferred. Competitive salary/benefit package, good working environment. Respond with resume and salary requirements to: Robin Kares @ (Featured September 25 and Oct 2)

President/CEO, Janus Developmental Services, Inc. - a non-profit agency in Noblesville, Indiana that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Seeking new President/CEO to lead the agency in its stated mission and vision for the future as well as directing and managing the routine business of the agency. For further information including primary responsibilities and minimum requirements of this position, please refer to our website: Respond with resume and salary requirements to: Dr. Meredith L. Carter, Chair of the Board of Directors, Janus Developmental Services, 1555 Westfield Rd., Noblesville, IN 46062. (Featured September 25 and Oct 2)

Executive Director, The Writers’ Center of Indiana (WCI) - the state’s only comprehensive literary arts organization, seeks an Executive Director to be responsible for overall management, organizational and fund development of the WCI. The ideal candidate should have experience in small nonprofit administration and fundraising, as well as a passion for the literary arts. Send resume and salary requirements to (Featured September 25 and Oct 2)

Team Leader II - Member Services / Baxter YMCA - provides quality member service to members, participants & volunteers and supervision/direction to the courtesy desk and member services personnel. Process memberships/program registrations, assist with staff training/evaluation, and troubleshooting/answering questions. High school diploma, or its equivalent, and computer proficiency using standard word processing. Min. 1 year customer service and supervision experience preferred. Respond by Sept 26 with cover letter, resume, and 3-5 professional references to: YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, 615 North Alabama Street, Suite 200, Indpls, IN 46204, or e-mail with job title to (Featured September 25)

Associate Vice President of Community Development & Branch Executive Director / Urban Mission YMCA - provide primary staff leadership to achieve the YMCA mission in community development in the urban neighborhood communities and YMCA service area. Requires a BA/BS degree in a related field, recognition as a YMCA Senior Director or equivalent, successful professional and admin experience with the YMCA or similar organization, and an understanding of the philosophy and nature of the YMCA. Strong human relations and organization skills are required, as is sound judgment. 5-7 years exp developing and managing community-based outreach programs is required. Experience in supervision and training. Respond by October 1, 2007. To apply, send cover letter and resume and 3-5 professional references to: YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, 615 North Alabama Street, Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46204, or e-mail with job title to (Featured September 25)

Aquatics Director / Baxter YMCA - Seeking team-oriented and motivated professional to provide leadership to branch aquatic initiatives and direct supervision of aquatic programs at the Baxter Branch YMCA, located on the south side of Indianapolis. Indoor/outdoor pool areas and two off-site locations (in the summer). BS degree in Exercise Physiology/Science, Physical Education, Recreation or related w/an Aquatic/Fitness emphasis preferred and minimum of 2-3 years exp in YMCA or aquatic programming/mgmt. Admin skills and abilities in personnel mgmt, program planning, income production, expense control, training, public relations and interpretation, record-keeping and facility utilization, equipment maintenance and care are required. Reply by October 1, 2007 with cover letter, resume and 3-5 professional references to: YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, 615 North Alabama Street, Suite 200, Indpls, IN 46204, or e-mail with job title to (Featured September 25)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Introducing Matthew Fox

I've been reading Matthew Fox's Wrestling with the Prophets. All I can say is "oh, my gosh". His big, big category is what he labels Creation Spirituality. It resonates deeply with what I've been reflecting on these past three or four years. I rushed out and bought five more of his books just to have them stock piled for the winter.

Here's a paragraph about work and creativity that stood out to me: "There is no question that when the human species does not have work, it begins to hate itself. Work is the way in which we give our blessing back to the community, the way in which we express our creativity.

The fact is that there are over 850 million unemployed adults in the world today. The young all over the world are being raised without the promise of work, and this is a primary reason why the young are in such deep despair.

Look around the universe: every other creature has work, every action interlinking with the next. It is only we humans who are out of work. We have invented unemployment, especially in the last few hundred years.

We are still defining work in the narrow sense of "industry". The fact is that the world needs a very finite number of factories and military bases, but there is infinite work to be done on the inner house of the human being. That is the basic source of employment and good work for our species."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Become the Sky by Rumi

The Problem

The following was posted on Paulo Coelho's blog. I've read a number of Coelho's novels this summer and am fascinated with his slant on passion and life purpose.

Alessandra Marin tells the following story: the Grand Master and the Guardian shared the administration of a Zen monastery. One day, the Guardian died and a replacement had to be found.

The Grand Master gathered together all the disciples in order to decide who would have the honour of working at his side.

‘I am going to set you a problem,’ said the Grand Master. ‘And the first one to solve that problem will be the new Guardian of the temple.’

Once this briefest of speeches was over, he placed a small stool in the middle of the room. On it stood a priceless porcelain vase containing a red rose.

‘There is the problem,’ said the Grand Master.

The disciples looked in some perplexity at what was there before them: the rare, sophisticated designs on the porcelain vase and the elegance of the flower. What did it represent? What should they do? What did this enigma mean?

After a few moments, one of the disciples got to his feet and looked at the master and at his fellow students. Then he walked resolutely over to the vase and threw it to the ground, shattering it.

‘You are the new Guardian,’ the Grand Master said to the student.

And as soon as the student had returned to his place, he explained.

‘I made myself perfectly clear. I said that there was a problem to be solved. Now it does not matter how beautiful or fascinating a problem might be, it has to be eliminated.

A problem is a problem. It could be a very rare porcelain vase, a delightful love affair that no longer makes any sense, or a course of action that we should abandon, but which we insist on continuing because it brings us comfort.

There is only one way to deal with a problem: attack it head on. At such moments, one cannot feel pity, nor be diverted by the fascination inherent in any conflict.’

Thursday, September 20, 2007


From Jessica Hagy again. I always have to slow down and read her indexed cards closely but 9-out-of-10 times they always make me smile. Sometimes I actually chuckle when no one's around to see me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Three Steps for Creating Your Life

I'm a big fan of Paul Ferrini. The "voice" he uses in his books may turn some people off, but I find him one of the most sensitive and insightful authors I've read this year. I'd like to highlight some of his work over the coming weeks. This one grabbed me this morning.

1. First, get clear on what you want. Take as long as you need to get clear. It might take a day, a month, a year. Don't ask for something you're not sure you want.

2. Believe in what you want and move toward it steadily, no matter how implausible it seems or how many obstacles seem to be in your way.

3. When you create what you want, celebrate it. Be grateful for it. Give up your pictures of the way you thought it would be. Embrace it just the way it is. Work with it. Use it. Love it and keep on loving it.

Your job is to be clear about the goal, committed to it, and grateful for its accomplishment in your life. You don't have to know "how" the goal is going to be realized in your life. Just do the best you can. Follow any strategy that feels right to you.

Remember, it is not the strategy that brings you toward your goal, but your desire to reach it and your commitment to accomplish it. When you know "what" you want and "why" you want it, "when, where and how" will be revealed to you.

Latest Non-Profit Job Postings in Central Indiana

Updated - Executive Director, Southeast Community Services – seeking a dynamic individual to lead this well-established agency in its work with residents in the Indy Southeast neighborhoods to build financial self-sufficiency and strengthen community. The Board seeks a candidate with strong leadership, program, interpersonal, and business skills. Experience with fundraising, guiding a grant writer, budgeting, and basic computer literacy. Requires a minimum of five (5) years relevant experience, including at least five years in mgmt/supervision. Prefer established relationships within government, business, and philanthropy. Prefer past executive director or organization leadership experience and experience in Indy SE or similar neighborhood. Requires a Bachelor’s in field of Human Services, Administration, or related, Masters preferred. Bilingual ideal. $65-75K plus benefits. See Job Announcement Respond with detailed cover letter, resume, and salary history by October 4, 2007 to: SECS Search at or C/O Charitable Advisors, P.O. Box 501245, Indianapolis, IN 46250 No phone calls please. EOE (Featured September 11, 18, 25)

Part time Tour Guide, James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home - The Riley Children's Foundation is seeking a part-time tour guide to greet visitors and give tours of the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home where the famed Hoosier poet spent the last 23 years of his life. Ability to interact with people of all ages and background, particularly large school groups, is a must. A high school diploma or equivalent required; post-secondary education with special interest in history, preservation, museum studies, and literature preferred. Candidates must be available to work during the day and on weekends. Please submit a letter of interest and resume to (Featured September 18 and 25)

Human Resources Manager, Riley Children's Foundation - The Human Resources Manager is responsible for all aspects of human resources including benefit administration, recruitment, retention and recognition of staff and staff development training. Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree as well as three to five years of human resources generalist experience, PHR certification is preferred. Riley Children’s Foundation is located in downtown Indianapolis. Parking is provided. The Foundation provides an excellent benefits package and compensation is commensurate with experience. Qualified local applicants are invited to submit a cover letter, resume and salary expectations to (Featured September 18 and 25)

Executive Director, Indiana 211 Partnership, Inc. - Candidates should have demonstrated success in managing multiple projects while simultaneously working with multiple constituencies. Prefer experience in nonprofit management, fund development, contract oversight, 24/7 system operations. Prior experience with human services information and referral and/or telecommunications a plus. In-state travel required. Bachelor’s degree, masters preferred. Respond by October 5 with resume, letter of interest/availability and salary expectations to with “ED Position” in the subject line. (Featured September 18 and 25)

Support Services Supervisor, Family Development Services(FDS) - FDS manages the Head Start and Early Head Start educational programs in Marion and Hamilton counties. Serve as Executive Assistant to two Assistant Head Start Directors; supervise Support Services clerical staff; prepare meeting minutes, handouts and sign-in sheets; collect payroll time and mileage sheets. Responsible for front office copiers, mail, office supplies and room scheduling. Associates degree in Business or related plus 2 years as an executive level Admin Assistant or Office Mgr. Able to work with minimal supervision. Knowledge of computers, excellent written and oral communication; ability to use various office equipment. Supervisory exp a plus. Competitive salary + generous benefits. Please respond to: Family Development Services, 3637 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208, f. 317.803.9486 EOE M/F/V/D (Featured September 18 and 25)

Preschool Teachers, Family Development Services(FDS) - FDS manages the Head Start and Early Head Start educational programs in Marion and Hamilton counties. We plant the seeds of future success for 2,000+ children and their families each year by providing a head start in socialization and school preparedness, as well as family social services. Immediate openings in the Indianapolis area. Plan and implement classroom activities, maintain a healthy and safe environment, demonstrate ability to manage a classroom and follow established curriculum, and communicate with parents. Associates or Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education or related degree with a minimum of 18 credit hours in Early Childhood Education required. $13.48—$14.86 / hour + Generous Benefits. Submit resume in person at 3637 N. Meridian Street, online at or by fax at (317) 803-9486. Include transcripts for immediate consideration. EOE (Featured September 18 and 25)

Director of Destination Services, International Center of Indianapolis - Requires exemplary customer service and project management. Duties include coordinating all aspects of relocation services for international families and interacting successfully with HR professionals and service providers. Must be able to communicate with individuals across diverse cultures. Requires substantial knowledge of Indpls, and surrounding cities. Must be fluent in a second language; and eligible to work legally in the United States. Requires Microsoft Office skills. Min. 5 yrs experience in project management or high-level customer service. Bachelor’s degree required. Experience living and/or working overseas preferred. EOE. Apply with references by Oct. 10 to: Human Resources, International Center of Indianapolis, 32 East Washington Street, Suite 1625, Indianapolis, IN 46204, or, or fax (317) 955-5160. (Featured September 18 and 25)

Director of Funds Development, Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership - Responsible for envisioning, planning, and implementation of the organization’s overall development function. Duties include donor identification, research, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of individual, corporate sponsorships, and foundation prospects while also supervising the development staff. Anticipated to make 10 personal solicitation visits per month with average request amount of $5,000 per visit. Creates and evaluates annual development strategic plans and writes grant proposals for funding requests. Provides support for President and VP, Finance in the area of fund development. Respond to: (Featured September 18 and 25)

Executive Director, The Timmy Foundation - The Timmy Foundation works to create a network of students, teachers, and medical professionals who work to fundraise, advocate, and provide resources to NGOs serving in the developing world. Primary responsibilities include staff development, quality programming, financial management, performance assessment, and policy development and implementation. Must have knowledge and experience in finance, operations management, & strategic planning coupled with the ability to lead groups and programs. Please send all inquiries to: (Featured September 18 and 25)

Family & Community Program Coordinator, Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Indiana - This position is responsible for implementing the family & community education programs and overseeing the chapter’s support group network. Bachelor’s degree and/or equivalent experience in human service, gerontology, social work or related field. Some evening and weekend work required. Salary range of 28,000 - 34,000 depending on experience. Respond with cover letter and resume to by October 1, 2007. For a full job description please visit (Featured September 18 and 25)

Case Manager Team Leader, Horizon House, Inc. - Provide a continuum of case management services to empower homeless neighbors. Assist Director of Program Services with implementation and supervision of a Social Work Intern program. MSW required. Three (3) years post MSW experience desired. Must possess strong desire to work with individuals to empower them to achieve goals needed to end their homelessness. Detailed job description available. Respond to: fax 317-423-8906, attn: Director of Program Services; email to; or mailed to: Horizon House, Inc., Attn: Director of Program Services, 1033 E. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202 (Featured September 18 and 25)

Chemical Dependency Counselor, Family Service - Part time or full time position is available in the downtown Indianapolis office to lead chemical dependency treatment groups, provide individual counseling, and to conduct assessments. Knowledge of chemical dependency and experience in the field is required. Masters degree and license in human services field required. If interested, please contact Jessica Bonnell at or fax resume to 464-9575. EOE. (Featured September 18 and 25)

Public Relations / Communications Coordinator, Family Service (part time) – coordinate PR activities, increase awareness with media partners, donors, volunteers, corporate sponsors, referral sources, and community. Self-starter with Bachelors degree, relevant experience, excellent oral and written communication skills, and ability to manage multiple projects. Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop and Acrobat) and Adobe Dreamweaver strongly preferred. 21-24 hours per week with flexible hours. Nonprofit or social service experience a plus. Respond with 2-3 writing samples, resume and salary requirements to: or Family Service of Central Indiana Inc., 615 N. Alabama, Suite 320, Indpls, IN 46204; Attention: HR. EOE. (Featured September 18 and 25)

Volunteer Coordinator, Family Service (part time) – Engage and support volunteers in programs and projects throughout the organization. Develop relationships with community groups and corporations to promote volunteer opportunities and carry out all aspects of recruiting, screening, training and retaining volunteers. Bachelors degree or equivalent experience, initiative, compassion for vulnerable individuals and families, and good communication and organizational skills. 15-18 hours per week with flexible hours. Nonprofit or social service experience a plus. Please submit a resume and salary requirements to: or Family Service of Central Indiana Inc., 615 N. Alabama, Suite 320, Indianapolis, IN 46204; Attention: HR. EOE. (Featured September 18 and 25)

Administrative Coordinator, Human Resources & Legal Counsel, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis - Provide administrative assistance, clerical and direct project support to HR Vice President and General Legal Counsel. Processes correspondence and meeting minutes and carries out other projects as assigned. Provides front desk assistance. Requires min. 3 yrs related experience with excellent organizational, analytical and priority establishment skills, and sound knowledge of business terminology, processes and etiquette. College degree preferred. Excellent MSOffice skills, including proficiency in presentation software. Respond to ATTN: HR Department, P.O. Box 3000, Indianapolis, IN 46206-3000, Fax to 317-920-2047, or EEO/EA (Featured September 18 and 25)

Coordinator, Program - United Christmas Service, United Way of Central Indiana - (Seasonal: October 22, 2007 – January 11, 2008) Manage the referral and general applications that are submitted to the United Christmas Service (UCS) program. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience plus 3+ yrs working in program or project management required. Organized with planning, program development, community relations and fundraising management skills. Work well with volunteers and staff with minimal supervision. Able to manage a work team. Full description at: Respond with salary expectations and 3 prof. references to: United Way of Central Indiana, HR, 3901 N. Meridian Street, Indpls, IN 46208, E-mail:, Fax: 317-921-1329. (Featured September 18 and 25)

Coordinator, Donor Program - United Christmas Service, United Way of Central Indiana - (Seasonal: October 22, 2007 – January 11, 2008) Work with United Christmas Service Program Team to organize and coordinate the UCS Donor Match Program. Bachelor’s degree in business, non-profit management or other related field or comparable experience, plus 3+ yrs experience as a community volunteer in volunteer management preferred. Effective supervisory experience, current computer literacy and the willingness to learn a new software database program necessary. Data entry experience preferred. Full description at: Respond with salary expectations and 3 prof. references to: United Way of Central Indiana, HR, 3901 N. Meridian Street, Indpls, IN 46208, E-mail:, Fax: 317-921-1329. (Featured September 18 and 25)

Program Manager, People’s Burn Foundation – 10 year old nonprofit is "exploding" onto the national stage and needs a seasoned nonprofit professional to take the lead on local programming and operations. Self-starter with broad nonprofit experience preferred, ideally working with people who are homeless and/or dealing with significant disruption or trauma in their lives. Needs to be able to move easily between management and direct service, build staff teamwork, market programs, and initiate and execute programs with minimal supervision. Bachelor’s degree plus 5 years relevant experience desired. Project management and supervisory experience. MSOffice. Competitive salary. Learn about us at Respond with cover letter, resume, and salary history by September 28th to: PBF Search at No phone calls please. EOE (Posted September 18 and 25)

Financial Literacy Coach, Hawthorne Community Center - Requires 4-yr degree in business, finance or related field. Also must have 2+ years experience in financial or credit counseling industry. Should be motivated, have excellent written and oral communication skills and be willing to work with a team of professionals to assist families move toward self-sufficiency. Responsibilities include but not limited to credit counseling, retrieving credit scores, teaching money management classes, case management and asset/resource planning. Interested parties should send resumes to: Diane Arnold at Hawthorne Center,, by September 28, 2007. (Featured September 18 and 25)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Direct Deposit is a Good Idea

Animals at Play

Obesity Rates by Educational Attainment

There is a definite correlation between educational attainment and various health indicators. Take obesity for example - The highest rates of obesity in the United States can be found among men and women with the lowest levels of education attainment, while rates of obesity among those with a bachelor's degree or higher are significantly less. Want to lose weight (and positively affect other aspects of your life and career)? You may want to consider continuing your may just make a difference! Source: 2001 Data National Center for Health Statistics

Monday, September 17, 2007

Become an imperfectionist

The burden of perfection women feel is enormous. Pointing to women’s magazines as the emblem of this burden, Leslie Bennetts argues that women’s magazines are centered on articles about making yourself better, whereas men’s magazine are about cool gadgets.

To combat the viscous perfectionist cycle, Marci Alboher says she is trying to become an imperfectionist — and implores women to drop three things from their to do list.

Update Your Resume: 3 Simple Steps to Success

Whether you are happily cruising along in a job, facing a layoff, or unemployed and seeking employment, it it never too late to update your resume for better job and career opportunities. In fact, September is the 7th annual Update Your Resume Month as proclaimed by Career Directors International (CDI).

To assist you in an endeavor that many consider daunting, here are 3 relatively simple steps:

1. Get rid of the old and irrelevant information.
2. Concisely and compellingly convey the new and relevant.
3. Proofread - and get others you trust to proofread for you as well.

If you apply these 3 steps to each section of your resume, you can "eat the elephant one bite at a time" and emerge with a transformed marketing document that will not only convince an employer you have value and are differentiated from your competition, but also market you as up-to-date in terms of technology and industry standards.

In order to perform steps 1 & 2, you need to determine your focus for this resume: what type of job and what level are you targeting? Generic resumes, listings of everything you have ever done that you keep adding onto year after year, just do not cut it anymore.

Are you looking for an Entry-level Customer Service Rep position or a Financial Information Systems Management position? Give the reader a focus in order to make sense of the content in the resume. The focus is the touchstone for what is relevant information (to include and emphasize), and what is irrelevant (to eliminate or downplay). The content of your resume is the proof that substantiates whether your focus is believable in the employer's eyes or not.

Once you have decided on the focus, you can then turn your attention to what layout is optimal to showcase your resume content. What structure - a reverse chronological layout, functional, or combination style - would more easily and convincingly convey your qualifications and points of differentiation? Remember, too, employers are more partial to reverse chronological and combination style resumes...functional resumes are less in favor.

Here are the 7 basic content areas of a resume:

1. Contact Information
2. Header / Summary
3. Education, Training and Certifications
4. Technology and Language Skills
5. Professional Experience
6. Professional Associations and Memberships
7. Leadership Involvement, Awards and Honors

What do you want to consider to get rid of the old and irrelevant, and emphasize the new and relevant? Here are a few examples using some of the above resume content areas:

1. Contact Information. Do not include your office phone number or 800 number; most employers will not take it kindly that you are using your employer's time to job search and they assume you will do the same with them. Whatever phone number(s) you list, home phone and/or cell phone, be sure the voicemail message is professional. Same goes for your email address - get rid of cutesy addresses or ones that contain your birthdate or year of graduation. If you are posting your resume online, you may want to consider eliminating your street address and phone numbers and only include your name and email address for privacy reasons and to help thwart identity theft.

2. Summary / Header. This introduction to the relevant content (proof) in your resume is
critical; it may be the only section of your resume that gets read. Include your focus as the Header and then make your case in the summary for "Why should I hire you?". Go beyond just saying you have excellent communication skills; prove you have them by pointing out your added value, accomplishments, and cutting-edge qualifications, such
as certifications, technology, and language skills. Include keywords and keyword phrases
that pertain to your focus. Check out current job postings for your targeted job title and look for required and desired keywords, as well as for up-to-date qualifications now required by employers.

3. Professional Associations and Memberships. Omit professional and trade associations that you are no longer currently involved with or that are not relevant to your resume's focus. Be proactive about joining and participating in at least one professional association, preferably a large and well-known one that has state and/or regional chapter meetings you can attend. Again, choose an association in the industry and/or career field that is relevant to your focus for the resume. The contacts you make at the meetings will jumpstart your networking for job leads, and the association will likely also have a members-only job board with exclusive job postings and a resume database that employers and recruiters will peruse for candidates.

Finally, proofread your resume carefully and have others proofread it as well for grammar, spelling, and to see if it makes sense. It is amazing what you think is obvious will not be to others. Eight-four percent of executives polled by Office Team relayed that only one or two typos are enough to disqualify a candidate from consideration.

In the process of updating your resume you may find there are additional skills you need to acquire to be competitive in today's job market. For example, just because you obtained a Bachelor's Degree 20 years ago does not mean you are still viewed as a viable candidate. Certifications, coursework and professional development are considered proof of ongoing excellence in knowledge for any career field. Bottomline: employers do not hire old knowledge.

With the above 3 simple steps, you can accomplish updating your resume in an organized manner, one step at a time, by keeping an eye always on your focus. Why not consider updating your resume on a regular basis, more than just annually? That way you will be prepared for good opportunities as they emerge and be ready to act on them immediately (the good job openings rarely stick around for long).

By Susan Guarneri

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt

Only great minds can read this.

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too.

Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

If you're struggling to read it, try reading it faster. I find that reading faster makes my mind actually subconsciously absorb the patterns better.

Friday, September 14, 2007

ive ways to feel less guilty quitting – and why Gen Y feels guilt giving notice

As usual, Penelope Trunk of Brazen Careerist offers some insightful perspectives.

I write posts about how to quit because so many people ask me for advice, but I marvel that this is such a big issue.

I have no memory of any of my Gen-X peers having this problem. Maybe because when we were in our twenties there were not jobs to consider quitting. But I think the real issue is that Gen Y is one of the most loyal generations to come along in a while.

Just because young people job hop constantly doesn’t mean they are not loyal. In fact, the reason they job hop is undying loyalty to the values their parents raised them with: Value your time (remember those overscheduled after-school superstars?) and always learn new things (Gen Y is the most educated generation, ever).

So Generation Y leaves a job when there is not great personal growth. But in each job they have, they are great at asking people to help them, so they generally feel guilt when they leave one of those people for a new job offer – because Gen Y feels loyal to people who help them.

And, one more guilt factor: Gen Y are great team players. Team players in a way that Gen X and the Baby Boomers can’t touch. So quitting a job to Gen Y is jilting the team, and they feel bad.

Mangers need to understand these issues when a young person is quitting. That young person probably has a lot of guilt, and you could make their life better by congratulating them on their new move and thanking them for their work and assuring them things will be fine when they leave.

If you are a young person worrying about quitting, though, here’s a reality check. The company is going to be fine when you leave. There’s no need for guilt. And here’s why:

1. Money talks.
And at the entry level it says: “Easily replaced.” If you are paid a low salary then the office is not going to be disabled if you leave. If you are so important and so difficult to replace then they can pay more and hire someone quickly. That’s why essential people are highly paid.

2. If you have a good boss, your boss knew you were looking.
Most people under 30 are job hunting - at least passively - all the time. It should not be news to your boss that you are in an entry level job and would quit if someone offered you a better job. And if you are entry level then most jobs are better than what you have, so the odds of you leaving at any moment are huge, no matter how nice your boss is to you.

3. Your company has little loyalty to you.
If your company laid you off, they’d give you two weeks’ notice. That’s how the work world works. Play by the rules. Give two weeks notice. If your boss is so desperate without you she can double your salary to keep you there, right? And she probably won’t do that. The two weeks’ rule is there because once people know about an upcoming separation, the workplace dynamic changes, and the less time you have to deal with this dynamic the more productive everyone will be.

4. Good mentors care about you and want to see you grow.
If someone has been a good mentor to you then you owe it to them not to screw them. This means, don’t let them go to bat for you to — like, get you a raise — if you’re quitting the next day. But if someone has been a good mentor and you have been a good mentee, then you don’t owe the person more than telling him or her when you have a new job. Two weeks is fine.

5. A don’t-ask-don’t-tell approach works.
Do not tell your boss you are looking for a new job when you do not have a new job. There is nothing she can do in response to that. She can’t hire someone new yet, because you’re not gone and you have no idea when you’ll actually get another job. So telling her doesn’t help anyone, it just adds tension at work.

Humor for Lawyers and Victims of Orthodontia

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

How important is the resume? How important is networking?

Here's a recent interview with Richard Bolles, author of What Color's Your Parachute. He's 80, still going strong and offers the most solid advice out there STILL.

Everything depends on the employer when it comes to the resume. There are employers that hate them and employers that love them.

A human relations director of one of the largest corporations in California recently told me: “I haven’t read a resume in I can’t tell you how many years because it’s so easy to lie on them.”

There are a huge number of lies on resumes, much worse today than in the 1970s, particularly about education and experience.

I think a resume is an important thing to leave behind after you’ve been to a company. You have to use your contacts, not the resume, to get into a company. If you want to work at Bechtel Corp., I would ask everyone I know if they know anyone at Bechtel. Chances are someone will say yes and they can give you an introduction over there.

Then, when I got there I’d I leave my resume because I know I probably didn’t initially meet with the decision maker. At big companies hiring is probably done by committee. So with the resume they’ll have something to show everyone.

The resume is poison for many employees if they send it on ahead. One resume out of 1,470 leads to a job.

The preferred way to get your name into a company that interests you is through your contacts and (finding) someone you know that knows someone there. You can do a lot of research on a company but if you don’t have a contact it won’t work.

Contacts, contacts, contacts. They can be social networks, friends, and family. Anybody that’s pleasant to you and that you’ve been pleasant to.

In a small company this is a no-brainer. You go to the owner.

In a corporation, you have to use your networks. Well, I don’t like to call them networks. I like to call them grapevines, like [in the song by] Marvin Gaye.

You’ve heard people in checkout lines in supermarket strike up conversations. Why not ask, “Do you know any one at this or that corporation?” You have to have the chutzpah to ask the person if they happen to know someone.

A cold call to a large corporation? I don’t recommend it. They don’t want to be bothered. They typically want the HR person to be the person looking for an applicant. Sometimes you’ll be able to get through, but most times you’re talking to someone who is very busy and all they have on their mind is how to get rid of you the fastest.

How do you go about choosing an employer?

I know a woman in San Francisco that picked a street she liked the best, slowly progressed down the street, went into shops, law offices, for a quick interview to find out what each company does. By the time she was finished she had three job offers.

It’s like trying on a suit of clothing before you buy. You say, “The truth is, I really like the looks of this place. What do you do?” They will either say, I’m too busy, come back later, or they’ll ask you to sit down and tell you on the spot what it is they do and ask you what you do.

If they ask you what you’re doing, you say, “I’m doing a survey to find out where my particular skills and talents can best be used.” If they say, Are you looking for a job? Say no.

Also, go through the Yellow Pages. First go to the index and underline any topic or field or industry that you like, then go back and circle your top 10, five or three. Then go see what organizations are listed under those topics. In a large city this works very well. You can get names of companies or organization then you try to use contacts to get your foot in the door.

Should You Go Back to School?

This morning I woke up thinking about going back to school. Yeah, at my age with two kids in college no less. Here's some good perspectives on this age old question by Darlene McDaniel.

Should You Go Back To School? If you do not have a degree and you are having difficulty moving along in your career or promoting in your current organization, go back to school.

Should You Go Back To School? If you do not have a degree and you are competing with people who are degreed, go back to school.

Should You Go Back To School? If you have growth opportunities and you can not strenghten them on your own, go back to school.

Should You Go Back To School? If you want to change careers, and you have no experience in the industry, go back to school.

Having an undergraduate degree was important to me years ago. But it became even more important when I wanted to climb the corporate ladder. Prior to having my degree, I was told I couldn’t get promoted without the degree. Today, I have a degree. Today, that issue is off the table and we can talk about other reasons I may not get a job, but education is no longer the issue.

Today if you want to go back to school, there are ways to work and study. With the growth of online learning, there really is no excuse for not completing your degree. Especially if you need it to compete for the jobs you want.

According to Job Interviews for Dummies, “The issue of concern to you in your role of job seeker is the marketability of your online degree. Will someone perceive online learning as inferior to onsite learning? That answer depends on the institution or program you choose. In general, online courses may be of inconsistent quality at first as colleges edge into a new world of learning. But the online trend is unstoppable. Quality will level out, and employers will become accustomed to candidates who are credentialed by online study.”

Should You Go Back To School? Only you can decide whether you should go back to school. I am a huge supporter of college educations. If for no other reason than eliminating the excuse of not hiring or promoting you because you don’t have a degree.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A.J. Jacobs: Career lessons from the Encyclopedia

By A.J. Jacobs - For my last book, The Know-It-All, I tried to fill in the huge gaps in my learning by reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. I read from A to Z. Or more precisely, from a-ak (East Asian music) to Zywiec (a town in Poland) – a total of 44 million words. Admittedly, there were quite a few slow parts — the 21 pages on Portuguese literature comes to mind — but overall, I learned a tremendous amount of fascinating information. Including lot of great wisdom about jobs and careers. Here, a distillation:

If you’ve got a business idea, hurry the heck up.
Here’s a disturbing story: There once was a brilliant man named Elisha Gray. Ever hear of him? Probably not. That’s because he filed for a patent for the telephone on the morning February 14, 1876. Problem was, a couple hours earlier, another man filed patent papers for the telephone. That would be Alexander Graham Bell. Gray should have known: File for patent, then go grocery shopping. (In fairness, some claim that Gray did beat Bell to the patent office, but still lost the patent).

I’m no Gray or Bell, but I did have a troubling conversation with a fellow writer about a year ago, a nice man from Texas. He told me that when my book deal was announced, he was in the midst of writing a proposal for a book on reading the encyclopedia. There’s no such thing as a unique idea. It’s all about execution and timing.

Be totally inappropriate
The best networking story in the Encyclopedia comes courtesy of poet Langston Hughes. The man was ballsy. He was a busboy at a hotel in Washington D.C. While in the dining room, he slipped three of his poems beside the dinner plate of established poet Vachel Lindsay. The next day, newspapers announced Lindsay had discovered a — busboy poet. In other words, he refused to let his dreams be deferred.

Work anywhere
The British-born author Hugh Lofting wrote Dr. Dolittle while in the trenches of WWI. As shrapnel burst around him and his friends died, he wrote this lovely story about a guy who talks to animals. So if Hugh Lofting can do that, you can concentrate on a big project when you’re at a train station. In fact, I recently realized my work sometimes improves when I’m in chaos. It somehow lessens the pressure — it removes the crippling burden of perfectionism — which is key for writing.

Sometimes right, sometimes wrong, always certain
That’s one of the big things I learned in my quest to be a know-it-all. Say it with confidence, and you will be believed. If someone asks you what country had the greatest total number of Catholics, and you say, Mexico, without a hint of doubt, then few will question. The right answer is Brazil, by the way. Without a doubt.

Stick with your strengths, and bend the situation to cater to them
Be like Duilius, a Roman military genius. The Roman troops were excellent ground fighters, but were terrible at naval warfare. So Duilius came up with the idea: Turn the sea battles into land battles. The Roman ships would paddle up to the enemy boat and slam down a plank. The soldiers would board the enemy boat and go to town with their swords. In short, land battles on the sea.

The stakes in most of our lives are lower, thank God. But the strategy still works. Today, I was writing an article for Spin magazine. This, despite the fact that I know embarrassingly little about post-80s music. But since I just wrote a book about living by the Bible (The Year of Living Biblically), I had pitched a story about music and the Bible. That allowed me to board Spin and go to town with my word processor.

Juggle jobs
All the great figures of the eighteenth and nineteenth century had at least two simultaneous jobs, maybe more. My favorite was a woman named Virginia Woodhull, who was both a psychic and a stockbroker (a brilliant mix. Who wouldn’t want to invest with her?) But other combos were just as strange:

Lyricist/Mollusk scientist

Granted, it was easier back then. I imagine it took about three weeks to learn all there was to know about mollusks.

What Does It All Mean?

The department of labor says the top ten jobs that will be in demand in 2010 did not exist in 2004.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Don't Tell Me You're Too Busy.

This post is an old one by Penelope Trunk of Brazen Careerist. I think it's a good reminder for all us too busy types.

Let’s abolish the word busy. When you ask someone, “How have you been?” and they say, “Busy,” it doesn’t mean anything. I’m sick of it. We all have the same 24 hours to fill. Everyone’s are filled with something.

The difference is that the “busy” people feel frenetic during those hours. Those of you who walk around telling everyone how busy you are, get a grip. Make some tough choices and calm down. There’s a big difference between a busy day and a full day. The former is so frantic that you aren’t effective.

Don’t tell me you can’t help it. You can. Here are the steps to take:

1. Recognize that a frenetic life is a life half lived. You should aim for “Flow,” a concept from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow is a unique state of mind where productivity and creativity are at their highest. Csikszentmihalyi shows, in his wide-ranging study, that Flow generates the grand ideas, phenomenal work, and intense, rewarding experiences that people identify with happiness.

Flow occurs when you are fully present and engaged in what you are doing; the concept of time melts away in a commitment to the goal-oriented activity. This feeling requires being occupied and engaged for uninterrupted chunks of your day without ever once thinking that you’re rushed for time. People who are busy do not get this feeling.

2. Recognize that you are addicted to busy. You like what busy does for you.

Busy gives you an excuse for poor performance. Busy gives you a way to ignore parts of your life that are falling apart and need attention. And when what you do makes you feel inadequate – for example, if you’re a volunteer, taking care of a parent, meditating or doing other things that are not valued by society — busy gives you something to say that society does value.

Many people mistakenly feel that busy means important. But busy really means out of control. A full day means planned and prioritized. A busy day means frenetic and unorganized. Full is fine. It is expected. But important people have full days, not busy days, because important people can’t afford to be out of control.
3. Prioritize. This does not mean making a to-do list. Nor does it mean making a list of career goals. You need to list what you want in life. It should be a short list, because life is short. Don’t make a list of dreams; you need to give up your dreams. Not all, but most.

This is because being an adult means making choices. It means admitting that we cannot do everything and choosing to devote the time we have to what’s most important. By not making choices, you aren’t facing the realities of adulthood. By scheduling your days with more things than you can accomplish, you are not taking control of your life. You’re letting chance take control. Chance will dictate what gets done because you refuse to prioritize.

4. Say no. Whenever someone asks you to do something, be ready to say no. Your priorities at work, home, and during your personal and networking time should be clear.

Do not worry that you’ll hurt someone’s feelings by saying no. To do something well, you must be focused. That takes self-discipline. But when you say yes to please someone, it shows you lack the self discipline to be truly focused. Saying no is a gift to the people and projects that are the priorities in your life.

You do not automatically have to say yes to everything you’re asked to do at work either. Your boss establishes your priorities. If she then gives you work that would compromise those priorities, you can refuse (with an explanation). Sticking to the plan will makes you look smart and committed.

5. Change how you talk. Don’t ever say again that you’re busy. If this is your current response, realize you can’t bear to give up your dreams and being busy veils your fear of underperformance. You need to say something more honest than busy.

When you have done the first four steps, you will no longer be busy. You will have room to be focused and enthralled. Then, when someone says, “How have you been?” you will have something more interesting and engaging to say than “Busy.”

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

How do you react to someone else's good news?

Perhaps you’ve heard the now-famous quote, “Will you be there for me when things go right?”

Shelly_gable This powerful question stems from Dr. Gable’s research into the positive psychology of love and marriage. She does not focus on troubled marriages. She studies how to make good marriages great. She's been interested in how one partner responds to the other’s good news.

It sounds absurdly simple but it’s not: your response to good news affects your relationships. More specifically, the way you respond when someone in your life (loved one, acquaintance, friend, even a colleague) shares a positive event shapes the quality of your relationship with that person.

According to Shelly, how you respond to another person’s good fortune can be divided into these four categories:

Active/Constructive: enthusiastically, showing genuine concern about the good event

Passive/Constructive: silently supportive, displaying subdued happiness

Active/Destructive: critically, pointing out negative aspects and possibilities

Passive/Destructive: indifferently, failing to show any interest

For example, a close friend calls to tell you she’s been asked to teach a course at the University of Chicago. You can respond:

“Wow, congratulations!! You’ve so earned this! You’ll be great!” (Active/Constructive)

“That’s nice.” (Passive/Constructive)

“But that’s in a really bad neighborhood?” Or much worse, “Honey, I’m sorry, but you’re not going to be able to handle it.” (Active/Destructive)

“Did you hear who got voted off American Idol last night?” (Passive/Destructive)

To read Marty (Seligman’s) discussion of this construct, click here.

As he writes in the article, Shelly calls the first category "Capitalizing," amplifying the pleasure of the good situation and contributing to an upward spiral of positive emotion.

Capitalizing turns out to be a key to strong relationships.

Even though we understand its importance, many of us find it’s very easy not to remember to capitalize with our children or spouses when we’re distracted. And it is particularly likely to happen with colleagues.

Since I learned about her work, I’ve realized that I often unknowingly fail to respond in an active constructive manner.

Here’s what I do to get back on track when I realize I’ve gotten derailed.

Notice the Cues

When you’re interacting with someone, pay attention to the energy in their voice, the speed and richness of their speech, the way their eyes look: all signals for whether or not you’re responding in an active/constructive manner. A rise in energy almost inevitably follows when I respond actively and constructively. When I respond with a passive constructive or a negative, the other person’s voice loses energy.

Create Opportunities to Practice

Practice active/constructive responding by starting conversations with invitations like, “What’s new & exciting?” This invites them to tell you their good news. And it then gives you practice in responding.

Balance Safety vs. Savoring

When you want to support someone, but you’re legitimately concerned there may be a dangerous side to their good news, show your support first: let them savor the good for a while --- and tell them your concerns later. For example, Susan tells me about a wonderful opportunity she’s just received but I know that she may be missing a dangerous possibility. My first response is still, “What great news! You deserve this. Tell me about it.”

Avoid The Hero Trap

I notice that sometimes I find myself offering unsolicited advice or trying to come up with things they haven’t thought about before. This is a particular trap I can fall into. When I ask myself why, I discover it is almost always for my benefit more than theirs.

There is one friend whom I’ve supported for 20 years. When she tells me great news, I sometimes start to throw in my advice, and her voice’s loss in energy alerts me. I think I do it because I do not want to lose my privileged place as a key supporter. My advice says, “I’m still here. I can still help you.” In other words, it’s become about me, not her. And I quickly try to fix the situation.

Put Them First

If their triumph involves a conflict with an opposing person, don’t show empathy for the other person. (Possibly save it for later.) By definition, this is not affirming for them and will kill their energy every time.

Avoid Subtle Put Downs

Notice the difference between “I can see how this could be exciting for you,” and legitimately being excited about it. Not participating in the excitement is a subtle way of sabotage when you’re feeling threatened. I once had a friend who would respond to my good news with an “I can see this matters a lot to you.” Arrgh.

In general, by paying attention to cues, you can tell when you’re being a deflator (me first) instead of a supporter (relationship first).

Active/constructive responding seems obvious, yet it is so worth paying attention to: I promise you, this is a simple change that will pay big dividends.

Want to hear a perfect example?

In the movie Yours, Mine, and Ours, Helen North (Rene Russo) and Frank Beardsley (Dennis Quaid) fall in love (many complications with kids and differing outlooks shortly follow). Then they have a huge fight. While on the outs and unbeknownst to Frank, Helen wins a huge contract with Saks Fifth Avenue, something she'd been pursuing for months.

Later that evening, Frank asks how her day has been. In a monotone, she lists four or five things, ending in the same dull voice with, "and I got the deal with Saks.”

"You did not!” Frank yells. He hugs her, asks her all about it. Then he asks: “And how can I help?”

You cannot have a better example of an active-constructive response than Frank’s. We don’t need to know about Hollywood endings to guess how their relationship turns out.