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Begin Each Day With A Grateful Heart [Monday Rx]

 

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Begin each day with a grateful heart! This image was scooped from Kimberly Allison’s Google+ Page, so attributes go to her (and the proper owner).

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! While today is Columbus Day in the US, it’s Thanksgiving Monday here in Canada. It is an opportunity for us to look back and be grateful for what we have, knowing that so many people all around the world are facing arduous situations. What are you grateful for?

The five points in the image above are appropriate for today’s Monday Rx. They might not be the typical Thanksgiving message, but let them serve as encouragement to you, whether in your personal life or your job search:

  1. Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality. Well, if it’s a positive opinion and a true reflection of you, then you have nothing to worry about. If it’s a negative one that doesn’t ring true, don’t dwell on it. You have far better things to do.
  2. Never let a bad day let you feel like you have a bad life. How unfair this would be to the other 365 days? Put things into perspective. It can’t be all that bad.
  3. It’s never too late to be what you might have been. This is sound advice for those of us who gave up on a dream, or something, and are now lamenting the fact that we allowed ‘could’ve, should’ve, and BUTs’ to get in our way.
  4. If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. Sometimes you have to be proactive. Take a risk; reach out for help or advice. Your effort could open a window of opportunity.
  5. Begin each day with a grateful heart. If you are able to read this; if you have food on your table; if you are fairly healthy; if your family is well, then you have much to be grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Your Job Search Failure is Not Fatal [Monday Rx]

Failure is Not Failure

Many of us have experienced a failure of one kind or another at points in our lives. Sometimes it’s an interview that did not go well, a job offer that went to someone else, or a promotion that did not materialize.

The reality is that whatever the failure, its initial impact is never pleasant. But, because most of us tend to wrap our self-worth around our jobs or careers, when we experience a failure or we are rejected, we tell ourselves that we don’t have what it takes to succeed.

Last week, soon after I sent out the Monday Rx, I received the following note from a client:

“Daisy, I have a job now…I am working with xxx as a Client Supervisor and Foot Care Nurse. My boss is great, and I really like my job. Very little stress and lots of fun. Thanks for all of your help. I will keep in touch.”

One would not believe that, at one point, this woman was near to giving up on herself, and she had several reasons to prove it: Her original resume wasn’t marketing me well; her age was going to preclude her from consideration; she was crippled by nervousness when it came to interviews. “I just cannot conduct a job search anymore”, she said to me then. One of my first questions to her was, “Are you a great nurse?”

Having said all of that, did she find overnight success? Of course not, but she changed her perspective about herself, and something about her changed!

As a job seeker or career changer, realize that a few failures do not mean the end of your career journey. When you embark on such a journey, you have to believe in yourself and your abilities. You have to dig deep to uncover your success stories and own them, then learn to articulate them clearly and convincingly in your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn Profile, and your other marketing documents. Your goal with this exercise should always be to make sure you are seen as the only candidate for that job.

Your job search failure is not fatal. Learn from your failures and setbacks, but don’t allow them to take over and cloud your ability to tell a convincing story to get hired.

Just in case you believe you will never rise from the ashes of a failure, consider the following individuals who faced rejection and failures in their lives, but went on to achieve great things:

Oprah Winfrey was told she wasn’t fit for television.
Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen received 144 rejections from publishers for their book Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Jay-Z had big dreams to become a rapper, but couldn’t get signed to any record labels. He created his own music empire: Roc-A-Fella Records.
J.K. Rowlings got fired because she spent her time writing stories on her work computer.
Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He went home, locked himself in his room and cried.

While your story might not be as well-documented as these celebrities; while you might not aspire to such heights, you could change the direction of your life if you view failure as an opportunity to start over. Bob Marley, in one of his songs, says, “As one door closes, another one opens.” Don’t continue staring at the closed door of failure that you miss other doors of opportunity.

Your job search failure is not fatal. Make a decision today to learn from your failures, and spring forward to success.

________

Note: Sections of this post have been excerpted from my new book “Tell Stories, Get Hired”, which will be coming soon to a bookstore near you.

 

 

 

Dare To Take Chances – [Your Monday Rx]

Monday Rx_CareerTips_Sept_27Have you ever wanted to do something – probably pursue a dream, or ask for a promotion – but got stopped by a big knot in your stomach? Or, did you allow a negative comment by someone to derail your dream? This happens all the time – in the workplace, at home, with friends, BUT…

Have those dreams remained dormant? Are you being haunted by regrets of “I should’ve…, could’ve…, If only I had…”? It’s not too late. You still have time to pick up from where you left off. It’s time try again. Social Media consultant Chris Voss said, The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.”

Whether it’s an entrepreneurial dream, a dream of a better job, a promotion, or a career transition, here is what you need to know:

  • You don’t have to go it alone. Ask for help!
  • You don’t have to risk your life, limb or livelihood. Start small.
  • You don’t have to become overwhelmed with negative thoughts and by negative people. Banish negative thoughts from your mind, and surround yourself with ‘possibility thinkers’.

Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, said “Most people live and die with their music still un-played. They never dare to try. Mary Kay Ash knew it all too well.

After seeing all the men she was training being promoted over her, she decided to write a book to help women survive in the male-dominated business world.  One of the things she did was to make two lists.  One list highlighted the things her employers had done right; the other had things she felt they could have done better.  After reviewing the lists, she realized she had inadvertently created a marketing plan for a business. The rest is history!

Whether you are a male or female, you too, can make your two lists. One list could be what you have done; the other could be what you can offer an employer or a customer. Those two lists could be the beginning of your own marketing plan for your job search marketing plan or your business. Whichever one it is, are you ready to step out in your boldness, and try again? Phil Knight, Co-founder of Blue Ribbon Sports, now known as Nike, told graduates of Standford’s Graduate School of Business (his alma mater): “Dare to take chances, lest you leave your dreams buried in the ground.” 

You don’t want to leave your dreams buried in the ground! “Let your dreams be bigger than your fears and your actions bigger than your words.” ~Unknown

This is another dose of the Monday Rx. Have a great day!

Related link: Find Your Calling and Ask for Help

It is a Dumb Idea to Dumb Down Your Resume

Yellow Duh! Road Sign Against a Dramatic Blue Sky with Clipping Path.It is a dumb idea if you have been advised by the experts to dumb down your resume. Unless, of course, you have been inflating your responsibilities and accomplishments, and if that’s the case, you need to get your head examined.

September is Update Your Resume Month, an annual event launched 14 years ago by Career Directors International. Its intention is to remind everyone – job seekers, and those not actively looking – to set aside time to take a fresh look at their resumes and make sure it is current. This is important, but while preparing to update your resume, take some time to focus on the value you have to offer an organization. Don’t think of ways to dumb down your resume.

The following statements were taken from the resumes of three clients. One client is a regional sales manager, the second a senior sales and marketing leader, and the other a business development executive:

  • Created and executed a common business plan for sales division, just in time for new product launch ensuring early revenue stream for brands.
  • Performed innovative market research and captured smaller companies with great potential. Assisted the growth of three clients into industry leaders during world economic crisis.
  • Transformed organization from system integrator to total solution provider including internet and mobile banking solutions. Retained 90% of existing clients, and increased revenue and market share.

Can you imagine these three clients trying to dumb down their resumes after making significant contributions to their companies’ bottomline? The funny thing is that one of them was told to do just that. Of course, I objected. What’s the point? After you have spent years turning around under-performing companies, or engaging in successful mergers and acquisitions, why should you now downplay those accomplishments? Such advice is from the old resume school. Accomplished and confident managers or executives walk away from such advice and devise ways to reach the eyes and ears of decision makers.

It is widely reported that in 1482, Leonardo Da Vinci, wrote the first professional resume highlighting his skills and abilities. He took a pen and a piece of paper, reflected on what he had done, and came up with a masterpiece of a resume. Unfortunately, some job seekers, including mid-career professionals, managers, and executives, fall prey to job search myths, including the idea to dumb down their resumes. They also buy into other myths such as:

  • A resume should be one page
  • It must have an objective
  • It should have a summary with 6 bullets, and
  • Your resume is too big and with too many with accomplishments

These are real comments that job seekers repeatedly hear. There is nothing to suggest that Da Vinci cowered under the weight of other people’s opinions and dumb down his resume. He didn’t downplay his accomplishments because someone told him it would be a good idea. He looked deep within himself, decided he had much to offer, created his resume and sent it off to the Duke of Milan. Don’t play small with your successes! Somewhere out there is an employer looking for someone just like you, with your unique skills and abilities.

There is no doubt that many people are faced with different challenges, and nowhere is it more apparent than in the job search. People become desperate and vulnerable, and when told they are overqualified, the first thing they think of doing, or is advised to do, is to dumb down the resume. The sad part is that these highly accomplished individuals believe this myth.

All is not lost. Before September ends, take some time to update, not dumb down, your resume. While doing so:

  • Avoid redundancies such as ‘references available on request’
  • Use quotes from your performance appraisals or testimonials that validate your accomplishments
  • Adapt your resume to fit the needs of each employer
  • Focus your resume on your skills, talents, experience, and your potential value
  • Rework the resume so that it attracts attention and have employers reaching out to you
  • Be distinct, be unique, be confident! Break out of the sameness mentality and let your resume demonstrate your unique value

Remember: “Your UNIQUENESS is your greatest strength, not how well you emulate others. ~Simon Tam

Have you ever been told to dumb down your resume? Share your story below.

Networking Tools to Manage Your Job Search

How would you like to easily manage your job search, especially after you lazed through the summer months, and suspended your job search activities?

It’s about time! The kids are heading back to school in a few days, and the lazy, and somewhat hazy days of summer have come and gone. Now you won’t have any excuses for not ramping up your job search. It’s time to get back to job search school, and the first subject I recommend you enroll in is, How to Network Effectively. To assist you, I am introducing two networking tools to manage your job search. They are Twoople and JibberJobber.

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Twoople was developed in my backyard – in my own City of Brampton – so I am pleased to be highlighting it here. I first heard about the tool in an article on TechCrunch and Fast Company. When you are mentioned in these two media, you know you ‘have arrived’!

A few months later I met the co-founders, Pat Arlia, Rino Spano & Cristina Arlia, at a networking event hosted by The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Toronto. A few weeks ago I reached out to Pat to find out how job seekers could use Twoople to network and engage with recruiters, and potential employers. Here are some of the main points from our discussion:

  • Twoople is an engagement messenger for people who don’t know each other. It is, therefore, a great networking tool for job seekers and recruiters.
  • A Twoople address is an alternative to a phone number or email address. My Twoople address, for example, is http://www.twoople.me/daisywright.
  • Unlike Skype and BBM that require registration, Twoople users don’t have to wait for someone to add them or accept an invitation. Registration is one click and you’re ready to chat.
  • Email addresses are never shared. That ensures a certain degree of privacy, especially if someone does not want people to know his or her email address.
  • The tool is universal, meaning it can be used from anywhere in the world, and since it’s a URL, no apps are required.

To begin networking on Twoople, a job seeker could offer their Twoople address as a way for a recruiter to quickly chat with them, should they prefer a chat instead of an email or phone. Increasingly, people prefer to chat but it’s not always possible between two people who aren’t yet acquainted. Twoople opens the door to potential connections.

Experiment with this free, easy-to-use tool and see how many network connections you can make. And by the way, businesses are using it to connect with other businesses, as well as with consumers.

JibberJobber_Logo

JibberJobber was developed by one of my colleagues, Jason Alba. It is a powerful tool that lets you manage your career, from job search to relationship management to target company management (and much more). According to Jason, it “allows you to do everything you need to do to manage a job search and optimize your network relationships – for the duration of your career!”

To organize your job search, and manage all of the information you are going to have to manage, sign up for a free account on JibberJobber.com. This is where you can put contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses, list your target companies and what jobs you have applied for. You can enter information such as which version of your resume you used to apply to what job; who it was sent to, and when do you need to follow-up. That is a lot of information to keep track of, especially as you network more and more, and apply to more job openings.

JibberJobber’s strength is helping you follow-up and not miss opportunities. This is done with the log entries and action items. For a nominal upgrade (as low as $5 a month), you can have additional features, including the ability to send emails to JibberJobber to create new contacts, log entries and action items.

Jason does weekly webinars to help users get started, and I highly recommend that you sign up at JibberJobber Webinars.

As you head back to Job Search School, take these tools with you and use them if you want to stay ahead of your competitors. Please use the Comment space below to share any other job search tool that you are aware of that could help another job seeker. Will you?

 

5 Job Search Mistakes You Should Avoid

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From time to time job seekers, prospective clients and clients discuss with me the difficulties they face in finding a job, or getting interviews. Sometimes, these conversations come from unexpected sources: mid-career professionals, managers, and executives.

Most times I empathize with these individuals because the job search process can take a toll on anyone; people get into panic mode, and all rational thinking goes through the window. Sometimes, though, I have to be direct and tell them to hit the delete button on negative thinking. Professionals at these levels should be focusing on who they are and the value they have to offer, rather than how difficult the job search process is. It is said that whatever one focuses on, expands. Focus on negative thinking and it breeds more negatives.

Over the past few days, I have had some email and face-to-face exchanges with several job candidates and identified several job search mistakes they were making. This prompted me to write this post on five job search mistakes you should avoid:

  1. I am overqualified. How do I handle this in the interview? Do not spend your time focusing on being overqualified. Think about what you have to offer. Prepare to explain that you may be overqualified, but only if the company is looking to remain where it is. But, if they want to benefit from your years of experience delivering results; if they want to surpass their competitors, then you are the right person for the job. Of course, back that up with concrete examples that demonstrate your point.
  2. The company indicated only those selected for an interview will be contacted. Follow their rules. Don’t contact them directly, but no one said you couldn’t contact them indirectly. Find employees willing to talk with you about the company, and the position. Ask them for specifics: contact details for the person responsible for hiring, major problems the company is facing, workplace culture and fit. Check out the company’s blog and online presence (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook). What’s being discussed? Who are the influencers? Also, search for former employees who will be able to give you the inside scoop on the company. All this investigative work could pay off, and place you and your resume ahead of others competing for the same job. Some companies offer incentives for internal referrals, and this extra research might just helped you to find one.
  3. I don’t have any interviews lined up, so I am going to wait until I get a date before I seek help. This the most crucial part of the job search. Don’t wait for the last minute on something as important as an interview. Review some interview questions that you are sure they are going to ask, such as ‘Tell me about yourself’, or ‘Why should we hire you?’ Practice with a friend, family member or a career or interview coach. Be prepared! “It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” Whitney Young
  4. My friend in HR reviewed the resume you did, and said it does not have an Objective. This is ‘old school’ thinking, in my opinion. But, on a more serious note, keep in mind that if you show your resume to ten different people, you will get ten different opinions. So, while I respect your friend’s opinion, current resume practice, especially for mid-career professionals, managers, and executives, is to substitute an Objective for accomplishment or value-based statements that speak directly to the position. If the statement focuses on the company’s pain points, and grabs attention, you have just made the hiring manager’s job easier.
  5. I have a LinkedIn Profile, but don’t want to upload a photograph. This is a huge mistake. Without a photo on your LinkedIn Profile, you are considered invisible by hiring managers and recruiters. Go ahead and upload a photo, and when you do, make sure it is professional, and does not include other people. As of today’s writing, I have 27 LinkedIn invitations waiting to be accepted, but they fall into the categories of: no photo, a group photo, or a sketchy profile. I am sure they are great people, but they are hiding. As a job candidate, if you want to grow your network on LinkedIn, or get connected to other people, stop making these mistakes.

Are you making any of those mistakes? Are there others you could add to this post? You are welcome to comment below.

The Best Day For Your Job Search

Monday Rx - Best Day to Job Search Job seeker, this is another sporadic dose of the Monday Rx, a picker-upper to help you get through Mondays. I say ‘sporadic’ because, honestly, it’s not every Monday that I write such a blog post!

Are you having a case of the Monday Morning Blues? Grab your favourite cup of coffee, perk yourself up, and get ready for some great news! Today, Monday, is the best day to submit your resume to the employer (or employers) you have been targeting.

A survey conducted by Bright.com (prior to its acquisition by LinkedIn in February 2014), indicated that the best day to apply for a job is on a Monday (at least in the US).

They analyzed more than half a million job applications revealing that 30 percent of people who applied for a job on Mondays went on to get interviews. On the contrary, Saturdays were the least successful day, when the success rate was only 14 percent.

Bright-Com_SurveyImage: Courtesy of qz.com

The report does not explain why Monday job seekers do best, simply confirming that they do. However, the assumption is that applications that come in on a Monday stand a better chance of being seen than ones that come in later in the week, as resumes pile up on hiring managers’ desks. Then, too, it’s possible that Monday applicants might be more eager, go-getters.

Take some time today to review your resume, make sure it addresses the employer’s needs and articulates the value you will bring, then put your ears, telephone, iPad and email services on alert. You might just be called for an interview.

By the way, there are other positives about Mondays. It is said that Monday is the best day to quit smoking, start a new diet or buy a new car. What are your thoughts about Mondays?

Related links:

Good Morning America Blog

Manjari Shukla (Indian Republic)

 

 

7 Traits of Highly Successful Job Seekers [Infographic]

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Click image to enhance

This infographic highlights seven traits of highly successful job seekers. While not all-inclusive, these individuals:

  1. Are Proactive: Always prepared for the next opportunity.
  2. Exude confidence: Know their value, and articulate it with confidence.
  3. Invest in their careers: Recognize their areas for growth, and are committed to professional development.
  4. Have a circle of influence: A personal board of directors consisting of individuals whose career trajectory they want to emulate.
  5. Are active on social media: Recognize that social media is an equal opportunity platform and does not require a PhD to be a player.
  6. Demonstrate cross-cultural competency: Able to operate in different cultural settings and recognize that diverse talents solve problems faster.

  7. Know how to collaborate in virtual teams: Have well-developed skills to work productively and cooperatively. Team members are not always in the cubicle next door.

Recognize these traits in yourself? If not, it’s time for some introspection. What are your thoughts?

A Job Rejection Could Add Dollars & ‘Sense’ to Your Pocket

Rejected

Napoleon Hill said, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Nowhere is this more applicable than the rejection Brian Acton, cofounder of Whatsapp, received from both Twitter and Facebook. These days, Brian is laughing all the way to the bank, because Facebook, the company that once rejected him, recently purchased Whatsapp for $16 Billion.

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While it’s a big win for Acton, Dr. John Sullivan, professor of management at San Francisco State University, and an expert on recruiting and staffing, views it as a ‘colossal recruiting failure’  by Facebook. The most costly recruiting error in recent history…”, he said. Well, it depends. If you are Facebook, probably; if you are Acton, certainly not.

Many of us have faced rejection of some sort or another at some point in our lives. Sometimes it’s a job offer that went to someone else; a promotion that didn’t materialize, or a response to an email rebuffing your subscription to a job board. The reality is that whatever the rejection, its initial impact is never pleasant. We begin to play the blame game or beat up on ourselves.

I remember how devastated I felt years ago when I lost out on a job that I thought had my name written all over it. After I got the bad news, I held a pity party the entire afternoon.  I was the only one in attendance, and didn’t I spend the time beating up and second-guessing myself?

At some point, I faced the reality that wallowing in self-pity wasn’t going to help me. I brushed myself off, took an introspective look, and decided that I had too much to offer to spend the time moaning and groaning over a lost opportunity. That self-assessment was the first step that helped to change the trajectory of my career and my life.

In my book, No Canadian Experience, Eh? I mention that the more No’s one gets, the closer one is to Yes, and one ‘Yes’ is all that’s needed. As a job seeker, you may have received your quota of rejections, but this is not the time to give up. It’s time to redouble your efforts. Count your No’s as stepping stones to Yes! Here are three tips to help you deal with a job rejection:

  1. Assess yourself. Review the situation to see what went well, and look for opportunities where you need to grow.
  2. Be courteous. Notice that Acton’s tweet paid a compliment to the people he met at Facebook. He didn’t engage in any bad- mouthing).
  3. Follow up with your interviewer. Sometimes the candidate they chose didn’t work out, but because of your professionalism and lack of bitterness, they could decide to offer you the position, or at least give you a second opportunity.

Just in case you believe you will never rise from the ashes of a rejection, below are some individuals who faced rejection in their lives, but went on to achieve great things:

  1. Oprah Winfrey was told she wasn’t fit for television.
  2. Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen received 144 rejections from publishers for their book Chicken Soup for the Soul.
  3. Jay-Z had big dreams to become a rapper, but couldn’t get signed to any record labels. He created his own music empire: Roc-A-Fella Records.
  4. J.K. Rowlings got fired because she spent her time writing stories on her work computer.
  5. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He went home, locked himself in his room and cried.

While your story might not be as well-documented as these celebrities; while you might not aspire to such heights, you could change the direction of your life if you view rejection as an opportunity to start over.

Bob Marley, in one of his songs, says, “As one door closes, another one opens.” Don’t continue staring at the closed door that you miss other windows of opportunity.

Are you ready to step forward after a rejection? Share your thoughts or your story below.

Workplace Lessons from a Pot of Veggies

Diversity in all its SplendourWhile cooking vegetables over slow heat recently, the rich diversity of colours really jumped out at me. I quickly grabbed my cell phone, took a picture and sent it off to my family Whatsapp group made up mostly of my sisters and nieces, although two brothers are in on it as well. Long before Whatsapp was acquired by Facebook, it had been our means of making daily ‘touch base’ contacts with family. One of the things we frequently do is to show off pictures of our meals, and this time it was my turn.

As I looked at the beauty and blends of vegetables in the pot, I thought how boring would the workplace be without diversity – diverse skills, cultures, races, languages, and names? Discussions of diversity are not always comfortable, yet discussions have to take place. Consider a recent ‘uncomfortable’ article in the Toronto Star, The Curse of a Foreign Name, written by an acquaintance, Priya Ramsingh. She addressed the issue of how some people were being rejected for job opportunities because of their ethnic names.

This is a reality. I work with clients from all over the world, most with English-sounding names like Barb Bill, John and Jane, but a good mix of names such as Smita, Giusseppina, Chun, Carlos, Bassam, Ismail and Guylaine. All these individuals, regardless of their names, are accomplished in their fields with PhDs, MBAs and BAs. They have much value to offer employers. But, some with non-English sounding names have wondered out loudly if their names have been or could be a barrier to job search success. One young lady of Chinese descent, asked me recently if she should use her English name when applying for jobs. How narrow minded of the recruiter in Priya’s article, to make assumptions that the candidates didn’t speak English or would be too difficult to understand”, and reject them on that basis?

The topic of ‘names’ hits close to home as my children do not have English-sounding names either. My daughter, whose name is Damali Shimona, used to wonder if her name (pronounced ‘Damalee’), would be, or has been a deterrent to her job search. I haven’t seen evidence of that yet, but one never knows. Regardless, it is a legitimate concern, considering Priya’s article. The good news is that, although these biases still exist, I believe most recruiters and hiring managers are not so elementary in their thinking. They have realized that ‘sameness’ isn’t a good strategy, and are largely helping employers to enhance the range of skills in their workforce thereby making the most of the wealth that diversity brings.

As I reflect on the rich diversity of the vegetables in my pot, I am reminded of an excerpt from a book by British Economist, Journalist and former advisor to the World Trade Organization, Philippe Legrain, where he said “Most innovations nowadays come not from individuals, but from groups of talented people sparking off each other – and foreigners with different ideas, perspectives and experiences add something extra to the mix. If there are 10 people sitting around a table trying to come up with a solution to a problem and they all think alike, then they are no better than one. But if they all think differently and bounce new ideas and reactions off one another, they can solve problems better and faster, as a growing volume of research shows.”

That’s the splendour of diversity! So, whether we have different names, speak different languages, or have different skin tones, when we embrace diversity together, we make the workplace that much richer. My meal wouldn’t have tasted that great if all it had was broccoli or red peppers. As Albus Dumbledore of Harry Potter fame said, “Though we may come from different countries and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one.”

What are your thoughts on diversity, or on my vegetable analogy?