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Hey Buddy! I Need Some Help

by Jory Butler on September 10, 2010


Working with clients, reading many books, and simply living life, one thing is for sure about careers.  In order to find a career that you love, you must “Network.”  That means building relationships and asking for help.  The term network, can instantly cause our minds to go blank and bring fear. Some clients say, “I don’t know anyone who could help me in my job search.”  I feel confident they really do know people, but don’t utilize the relationships they have.

Do you remember the movie, “Cast Away?”  This is the movie that Tom Hanks is stranded on a deserted island for years. Tom Hanks was truly alone and had to figure out how to survive. Many job seekers can relate to the feeling of being on a deserted island called the “Job Search”.  People, who tend to find work they love, find it because of relationships.  Sometimes people need to be reminded to connect with others, in order to find a career they love.

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about people you may know to help land your next job or career.

  • Social Media/Networks
  • Job Search Networks and Clubs
  • Community Leaders and Local Business Contacts
  • Friends & Family
  • Past & Present Coworkers, Classmates, and Teachers.
  • People that work within your target company
  • Authors for Newspapers, Magazines, and Blogs.
  • People in your church

I know there are many more ideas out there, but start with a few and get to connecting.  Start “Networking” and you might be surprised how close you really are to finding work you love.

Photo by:  Anthony Reeves


Dating In Financial Darkness

by Derek Sisterhen on August 19, 2010

Alright, I’ll admit it: I get some twisted form of guilty pleasure from a few reality shows. Last night I was watching “Dating In The Dark” – ABC’s show about twenty- and thirty-something singles who go on dates in a pitch-black room. At its core this is a social experiment (which is the only way I can attempt to justify watching it – it’s science). The show is trying to answer a timeless question: is love really blind, or does physical attractiveness control everything?

So, naturally my mind wandered into the realm of personal finances.

For those out there who are in engaged to be married, are you dating your spouse-to-be in financial darkness? Do you know how your fiancé behaves with money? If he has debt? If she likes to save money?

What if you’ve been married for awhile? You probably have a very good understanding of your mate’s strengths and weaknesses, but do you know how to handle money together in a productive, intimacy-building way?

When I was doing research for Get Naked: Stripping Down to Money & Marriage, I found a study revealing that 84% of married people cite money as the primary source of tension in their marriages.

There isn’t even a close second.

Whether we are engaged or married, many of the couples in this country are operating in darkness. Either we don’t know about our fiancé’s financial habits, or we don’t know the peace and passion we could be experiencing with our spouse.

The first step is to have a conversation and just talk about what money means to each of you. Prepare for this by reminding yourself to extend grace if you’re learning of habits or financial skeletons you didn’t know about before.

If you’re committed to each other first and foremost, you can work toward a position of unity, which feels as reassuring as finding a light switch in the darkness.


Americans Living Like Spartans

by Derek Sisterhen on August 12, 2010

Growing up, I recall my dad regularly saying, “I don’t need much; I can live a Spartan existence.” I was confused by that, because didn’t the Spartans hide in a huge horse and then jump out and attack their enemies? (No, it turns out, those were the Trojans.)

Spartans led a particularly simple lifestyle. They didn’t accumulate much and, aside from the clothes on their backs, could probably count on two hands the material possessions to their names.

One social change researchers are beginning to see take root in the wake of the recession is a return to simplicity among a growing segment of Americans. Not only simplicity in living, but downright purging of stuff. New websites and blogs are popping up all over the place chronicling the journey these Americans have embarked upon in an effort to let go.

Tammy Strobel ( and her husband have made it a point to live life with no more than 100 personal items. They live in a 400-square foot apartment in Oregon. She owns four plates, three pairs of shoes, and two pots. They got rid of their cars and dumped $30,000 in debt.

Today, Tammy is a freelance writer making just over half of what she used to as a project manager for an investment company. And yet, she and her husband can afford to take trips to visit family and friends, focusing more on building relationships instead of accumulating possessions, because they have very low expenses.

Researchers are studying the impact of these decisions and have found that humans are happiest when involved in strong relationships with others, not when they are spending money. However, when spending money, the greatest levels of happiness are derived from spending on experiences – travel, recreation, leisure – that facilitate the building of strong relationships.

So, if we choose to live like Spartans, it appears we’re choosing a life of simple significance over a life of stuff (including big wooden horses).


Losing Friends and Alienating People

by Derek Sisterhen on June 23, 2010

A few years ago my wife and I were walking through Home Depot on our way to the paint section. When we got there, another couple of similar age struck up a conversation with us about what rooms we were painting, etc; you know, small talk. By the end of the conversation, they said we should try to get together some time. Seemed harmless enough, so we exchanged phone numbers.

A week later I got a phone call from the guy, inviting us to dinner and offering to “tell us about his business.” Turns out he was a Kool-Aid-drinking Amway fanatic.

Just this past week, a good friend was offered an opportunity to hear an Olympic athlete speak on health and wellness. As a doctor, she jumped at the chance. Turned out to be a pitch for a vitamin supplement multi-level marketing program.

Now, I happen to have a few friends that have been successful with multi-level marketing businesses simply because they operated them like, well, successful businesses. The funny thing is that they never told me about what they did until I asked!

Apparently they missed the orientation meeting that taught about misleading, deceiving, and manipulating people into attending a high-on-emotion, low-on-facts presentation from someone who will happily belittle them for not singing up. (“You’re a smart guy. Only a fool wouldn’t want to take advantage of an amazing opportunity like this,” I still remember hearing.)

Many – though not all – of these “opportunities” are positioned as the solution to personal financial challenges. All you have to do is utilize your network of friends and family to build your business and then you can make residual income hand over fist.

Here’s my point: Is it safe to say that many of those falling into the trap of chasing money are doing so at the expense of their relationships?

And yet there are some of us working in careers that demand we work 70 or 80 hours a week…

Rather than drive those we love away from us, what can we do to have a significant, meaningful impact on the lives of those around us?

If we have that kind of impact and it leads to business, great. If not, at least you haven’t lost any friends or alienated people that care about you.


Once upon a time, people would go to work for a company for many years, retire with a nice pension and health care benefits to last the rest of their lives. Once upon a time, kids could go to college without incurring mortgage-sized student loans.

The good ol’ days.

“Sandwich Generation” is the term used to describe the folks in our country with aging parents and children on the cusp of higher education. The squeezing effect – or sandwiching – sounds like the ringing of a cash register: aging parents may not be prepared to live out their lives financially and the expense of raising children and transitioning them to college can be overwhelming.

If you’re already feeling the squeeze, it’s time to buckle down. There are conversations that need to occur with both sides of the sandwich.

For aging parents, it’s time to get real about their financial and physical situation. Do they have enough cash flow for rising medical costs? Will they need to be relocated or require an assisted living arrangement? Would you (or a sibling) be providing some level of care – physical or financial – as a result? Should your parents’ ability to make clear, rational decisions diminish with age, who will step in to help?

For children on the verge of leaving the nest, it’s time to reveal the realities of life on the outside.

Do your children understand how a budget works? Do they have an accurate understanding of the cost of living? Kids know how much music downloads, clothes, and lunches at their favorite restaurants cost, but they might not know what it takes to keeps lights on, water running, and a roof over their heads. Have you set expectations for life after college? If your children return home, is there a timeline in place for them to move out on their own? What expenses will they be responsible for when back in the nest? Do they avoid taking on new debt?

Just because you’re caught in the middle doesn’t mean you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. You can work out of the sandwich – start with some proactive conversations today.


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