Archive for April 2012

The 5 Part Happ…   Leave a comment



I am a fan of happiness. I like to read about it, write about it, teach it and live it! Happiness comes easily to me but I understand that that isn’t the case for everyone. I’ve come up with what I think is the exact formula needed.

Excitement + Freedom + Joy + Inspiration + Love = Happiness

It might look a little complicated, but it really isn’t. You can start small and look for small ways to incorporate more of those states into your life.

1. Excitement By excitement, I don’t necessarily mean jumping up and down, or heart-pounding situations. It could be what comes with thinking about something you are really passionate about, or planning a party, or a trip. It could be a ride at an amusement park, or just rolling down the windows in your car. Anything that adds that shiver of fun to your life will instantly lift your mood.

2. Freedom The ability to make your own decisions goes a long way in happiness. When you base your decisions on what other people might think or say, or when you feel obligated to do things that independence disappears, and your happiness goes right along with it. Start small, or start to appreciate the things in your life that you do have complete control over, like what kind of socks you can wear or the route you take to get to work.

3. Joy This is just another word for happiness, but it implies peace. Joy is an internal feeling; it comes from loving people and your environment. Joy does not depend on the things you have, but rather the way you feel about them. Add more joy to your life by creating a Gratitude Guide and writing 10 things in it every night.

4. Inspiration Nothing like feeling inspired to act. You can’t help but succeed when you follow divine inspiration! It could be trying a new recipe, or dancing to your favorite song. It could be taking a leap to change careers or move to a new city. Big or small, inspiration instantly increases your happiness when you follow it.

5. Love The original happiness formula did not have love in it. I assumed that most people are surrounded by love, and this is true, but many do not recognize it. Love comes from within. You must love yourself fully because others can only love you to the extent that you love yourself. When you fully love yourself, you also realize that everything is love. When you’re angry, it’s actually love misdirected. For example, when I was working a job I hated, I used to get very upset and aggravated. I started to listen to the story I was telling myself and it went something like this, “Why should I have to work at this job? I hate this job. No one appreciates me. I’m meant to do something bigger…” I dug a little deeper and realized that instead of frustration, what I was actually feeling love. So I changed my perspective, “I love the fact that I’m angry about being stuck at this job because it means I know I deserve better.” Then I made the choice to act like I loved myself, left the job and started something I’m truly passionate about.

Find ways to bring more love into your life. Smile at a stranger, practice more empathy, or cuddle your cat. Anything you can do to release love, will automatically add happiness.

Now that you have my formula and a few ideas that you can use to get started I suggest that you apply changes immediately. Start living in the moment, appreciating what you do have and loving the life that is right in front of you. Your perspective will change and so will your happiness!

Posted April 30, 2012 by mikaljackson in Uncategorized

Deepak Chopra’s Spiritual Advice For The Unemployed   Leave a comment

 Anyone who has ever been passed over for a promotion or failed to negotiate the pay raise they thought they deserved knows what it feels like to be down in the dumps. For the long-term unemployed — about 5.3 millionAmericans — feelings of anxiety are even more acute.

Deepak Chopra, the physician, spiritualist and author, thinks he has some advice that can help assuage the negative feelings that come with trying to get ahead. His new book, “Spiritual Solutions: Answers to Life’s Greatest Challenges,” posits that many of us see only crisis in failure, and not the opportunity to do better.

Most of us have only “contracted awareness,” which is like being in a dark room with just a candle to illuminate what’s around us. “Expanded awareness” gives us a flashlight to see the opportunities that exist within the darkness, and “pure awareness” is when the curtains are pulled back and sunlight illuminates everything.

Chopra spoke with FINS about using “divine discontent” to inspire your career, the importance of asking reflective questions, and why there are more opportunities contained within crises than we realize.

Joseph Walker: People sometimes feel they haven’t achieved enough in their careers. Do you have any advice for them?

Deepak Chopra: The best advice for people is to take a little time for reflection and ask themselves deeper questions even though they seem to have no immediate answers. The questions would be: Who am I? What do I want? What’s my purpose? What makes me really happy or joyful? What are my unique skills and talents and who could use them? Who are my heroes in mythology history or religion? Could they be my role models? What are the relationships I’d like to cultivate? If you ask the questions, life will lead you into the answers. But you need to live those questions.

JW: What is contracted awareness and does it impact our ability to achieve success?

DC: Contracted awareness means to live in fear or feel that you’re separate from the web of relationships around you and to be caught up in anxiety. Contracted awareness influences your moods of course, you feel anxious and depressed but it also influences your perceptions. You see every situation as a crisis.

It also influences your assumptions and influences your beliefs and expectations. And your mood leads to failures. On the other hand, if you expand your awareness, all those things change: beliefs, perceptions and feelings. The things that seemed like crises become opportunities for success.

JW: Can happiness or contentment hamper one’s career? After all, dissatisfaction often drives us to achieve.

DC: I use the phrase ‘divine discontent.’ As long as striving is without anxiety, it’s great. We all want to achieve; as long as it’s not driven by attachment to an outcome which affects your equanimity and your ability to achieve. If you can stay centered and strive at the same time, that’s great.

JW: Do you have any advice for the long term unemployed?

DC: For people who are so inclined, and this may not apply to everyone, this is an opportunity to find out what your real purpose is and how you can express your uniqueness. I met a young woman in New York City and she’d just been laid off. She’d been working for a technology company and she was very distressed. I asked if she enjoyed her job. She said, ‘no.’ I said, ‘What do you enjoy?’ ‘Being a chef,’ she said. ‘Why don’t you start a catering company?’ I said. ‘With who and with what resources?’ I said, ‘No, you don’t need resources or partners. Just promote yourself on the internet and go on LinkedIn.

A year later, she has a business, she has 20 employees and she’s making a lot more money than she was in technology.

There you have an example of creativity in a moment of crisis. Every crisis is a moment of opportunity but you have to reflect on what that opportunity is.

The collective economic downfall that we’re experiencing right now is purely psychological. America did not lose its ability to be creative and innovative. This is still the cradle of civilization. This where Twitter and iPhones and Google all emerged. This is where all the best scientists and researchers from around the world come to.

JW: Is there something wrong with the way we define ‘success’?

DC: I’d define success as the progressive realization of worthy goals. It’s the ability to have love and compassion and the ability to get in touch with your own creativity. If you define success purely in material terms, yes, it’s an overrated value.

JW: How does the speed of technological change affect our chances at happiness?

DC: Actually, it’s up to us. The technology by itself is neutral. Also, technology is unstoppable. Technology is the next stage of human evolution and especially the technology creating social networks and the Internet is an extension of our mind. Our mind is not confined to our brain anymore. Slowly we’re going beyond ethnic, racial, religious and national boundaries and we’re speaking with people all over the world.

If you’re bamboozled by this technology and distracted by it, of course it’s going to affect your happiness. On the other hand, if you understand the implications of it, this is the only thing that will solve our issues of racism and war and terrorism and eco-devastation.

Posted April 26, 2012 by mikaljackson in Uncategorized

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Warm and Fuzzy…Sometimes good for the soul!   Leave a comment

Posted April 24, 2012 by mikaljackson in Uncategorized





I read a few interesting articles recently and I thought it would be a great blog topic because of how mixed my feelings were toward the subject.  The topic, discrimination against the unemployed, seems to be getting more airtime and more heated in recent months and it’s worth discussing.

Here’s the first article link:  (…).

The article discusses how Maryland was considering a bill that would prevent employers from limiting applications to only those who are currently employed.  This would essentially ban them from advertising “Only employed applicants will be considered” on the job posting.   While most of the article highlights this banning of ‘employment status’ as a screening criteria, putting it in the same category as religion, sex, race, age, etc, it also touches on a movement among employee advocate groups to ban employers from ‘only hiring those who are employed’.

When it comes to advertising ‘only employed applicants will be considered’, I have no problem with legislation.  While I don’t really see legislation as completely necessary, I support the notion that making a sweeping judgment like this is potentially unfair and not something that a prudent company would engage in.   Like any form of prejudice or blanket thought, it’s incredibly unwise because of how unique every person and circumstance is, whether in life or in work status.   I know plenty of stay at home mothers who, if they decided to enter the work force again, would put many employed applicants to shame from a skills and work ethic standpoint.

On the other hand, I think it’s equally imprudent to force businesses to hire based on a criteria alone – it’s the same thing in reverse.   Now, I don’t think this article goes that far, but here is an article that talks about a more aggressive move by state legislatures to prevent any type of screening that involves employment status or length of unemployment.

It’s a slippery slope because, as the article mentions “hiring is an art, not a science”.   In some cases, ruling someone out because of a long stint without employment is a sound business decision.   In certain industries, the dearth of talent can make not having work essentially a choice that you can make one way or the other.  In other instances, entire counties were seemingly laid off at the same time and unemployment rates were in the 12-15% range.

As a recruiter, I am paid to have sound judgment (if not, I don’t get paid J).  I am evaluating dozens of criteria when looking at a resume (industry, education, duration, career progression, etc) and even more when talking / interviewing.   It’s almost never just about skills.  Culture and fit are so much more important once skills are a reasonable match, that most of my job is assessing candidates psychologically, not matching words.      Therefore, I feel very strongly about retaining the right to make my own hiring decisions.

The bigger issue no one is talking about is how this legislation may actually hurt the cause of the unemployed.  Let me explain through several scenarios:

Example 1:  I am recruiting for a specialized engineer that can come into a situation and hit the ground running and I talk to someone who worked in the industry several years ago but has been unemployed for 18 months, I am going to first address that gap.   If their response is “I was relaxing and drawing unemployment” – I am going to rule that candidate out.   The narrative in the Business Week article tells me I could be breaking the law by using that as a criteria, if certain states and advocates get their way.

Example 2:    Same situation as above.  This time I pass over the resume and don’t make the phone call to learn more because I want to limit my exposure to potentially breaking the law.  No one will ever find out about the calls I don’t make.

I realize we don’t live in a perfect world and sometimes laws are needed to push people out of their biases and thought processes.   History has shown this to be an effective way of generating change.  However, the ultimate success of eliminating discrimination usually comes from smart people seeing past biases and making choices based on getting to know if individuals can help their specific situation.   Those slower to change are penalized through falling behind in their industry and ultimately being less successful.

I will always look at each situation as unique and interpret accordingly.   If you are not, don’t be

10 Things You Need To Do While You’re Unemployed   1 comment

If you’re unemployed and worried that employers will turn you down for taking on unimpressive work during the recession or for the large employment gaps on your résumé—you needn’t panic.  A new survey just released by the careers website reveals that the vast majority of employers are sympathetic to such circumstances.

The nationwide survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive, on behalf of CareerBuilder, among 3,023 hiring managers and human resource professionals between November 9 and December 5, 2011. Not only does it offer unemployed job seekers some hope, but it also provides tips to help them land a new position.

Eighty-five percent of those surveyed employed reported that they are more understanding of employment gaps post-recession. Ninety-four percent said they wouldn’t have a lower opinion of a candidate who took on a position during the recession that was at a lower level than the one he or she had held previously.

But this doesn’t mean you can sit around and wait for a sympathetic employer to offer you work. “The worry is that employers may think job seekers are losing some of their skills because they haven’t been utilizing them. By volunteering, taking temporary work, or signing up for a class that develops your professional tool kit, you show employers that you’ve made the most of your time and will be ready on day one,” Haefner says.

Employers and CareerBuilder experts recommended a variety of activities you should engage in to build, expand, and strengthen your skills during period of unemployment, in order to increase your marketability.

Take a temporary or contract assignment.

Seventy-nine percent would recommend doing this. Why? “The key is to get people to see your work and to see what you’re capable of doing,” says Andy Teach, the author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time. “If you do a great job, even if it’s for a temporary job, whoever hired you is more likely to recommend you for a permanent position.”

Take a class.

Sixty-one percent of the hiring managers surveyed recommended taking a class during a period of unemployment. “You never stop learning in your career, so the more technical competence you have, the better,” Teach says. “When you take a class in your field, you are also showing that you are serious about your work and that you take initiative.” Another advantage to taking a class: It’s a great networking opportunity.


Sixty percent of the hiring managers said volunteer work makes you more marketable. “When you volunteer for something, you are telling potential employers something about you as a person,” Teach says. It shows that you are passionate about something and care about helping others—and it demonstrates that money isn’t the most important thing to you, he adds. “When companies are hiring, they are looking not only for people who can get the job done but also for people with character and integrity.”